Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 11/15/07
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Letters 11/15/07

- November 15th, 2007
Misery on a Plate
In a recent letter, Charli Henry attempts to defend the indefensible practice of foie gras production, in which ducks and geese are artificially force fed until their livers become purposefully diseased and swollen many times their normal size.
In order to produce this “gourmet delicacy”, the terrified birds are restrained several times a day, a long metal pipe is shoved down their throats, and meal is force fed, typically by pneumatic pump, into their esophagi. Throats are often bruised or punctured and many birds die in the process. The rest live in overcrowded cages and pens and endure a cycle of misery and pain until they are slaughtered, never having experienced anything resembling a normal life.
Why take my word for it? I urge readers to take a moment research foie gras production on the web. There are many good resources including the Humane Society of the United States.
We enjoy the privilege of dominion over the animals this planet, who are totally at our mercy. Does this mean we should continually to heap horrific abuse on sentient beings in order to satisfy our palates?
As the light of day begins to shine on another of the cruelest practices in factory farming, the public is responding with compassion. Pope Benedict XVI has decried force feeding and the degradation of living creatures. Whom, sir, did you say is on shaky moral ground? Let’s call foie gras what it is - misery on a plate.

Pamela Montry • Suttons Bay

Foie Gras: Not Humane
I read Rick Coates’ article on foie gras and appreciate his attempt to work out the “controversy,” but there was a fundamental problem with his desire to seem unbiased: he eats animals. He looks through a particular lens that enables him to eat animals (and their organs, as he attests to), which renders him unable to really truly offer an unbiased picture of animal cruelty. The truth is, all of us are biased, but some of us need our biases more than others when we want to justify our behavior.
The scales that weigh the opinions of people who kill and serve animals for a living against those who seek to protect animals are inherently tipped to begin with. Animal advocates have nothing to gain by opposing cruelty, and citing a few large national organizations does not a “gain” make. Animal advocates don’t get into this work for the money. But supplies, processors, butchers, sellers of “delicacies” such as foie gras have everything to gain. Even the journalists from the NY Times who saw nothing wrong with the practice HAVE to see nothing wrong if they don’t want their entire world rocked.
As a meat-eater, to admit there is something unethical about breeding and killing animals for human consumption is to question the very foundation of people’s comfort zones. Tradition and culture are just excuses, as we now oppose many things today that we once thought were acceptable - slavery, child labor, women viewed as property as their husbands and fathers.
The highest expression of human beings is that which compels us to remain open, willing to learn, willing to do better once we know better. There is no justification for breeding, force-feeding, and then killing another living creature just so we can enjoy a delicacy. We have no nutritional requirement for animal flesh, and certainly you would agree we have no need to consume the fattened livers of ducks and geese. To do so is to close our eyes to that which makes US uncomfortable but which continues to desensitize us to the needless suffering of living, feeling beings who, if they had a choice, would never put themselves in such a predicament.
In many ways, we have advanced as a species, but in many ways we have grown very little since people watched lions tear Christians to pieces and families gathered to watch criminals drawn and quartered. We should take “human” out of the word humane, because we have little claim to it.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau • Oakland, CA

Coal is Not “Green“
Thanks for another great environmental story by Anne Stanton on the truth about coal. Judge Swallow of Citizens for Environmental Inquiry is right-on when he says, “the DEQ and Granholm work for Us.” We have a state constitution that gives them a pretty clear job description: Follow the law. It’s as simple as that. Protect Michigan air quality from the largest single producer of our newest classified pollutant, carbon dioxide.
Let’s all see through the governor, as she talks ‘green’ about renewable energy jobs and then lets the coal lobby bring another corporate boondoggle to Michigan to enrich a few at the expense of the citizens. Coal is as filthy as it gets, from raping the Earth for extraction to spewing millions of tons of carbon that is quickly changing our planet for the worse. There is no such thing as clean coal, regardless of gasification.
I urge the public to get involved and learn which energy companies and electrical co-ops are involved in trying to bring this dirt to Michigan. And let’s not forget: coal is what you get in your stocking at Christmas when you have been BAD!

Lisa Franseen • Interlochen

The Cost of Coal
The Northern Express has provided another great service to Northern Michigan by highlighting the insane proposal for coal power plant construction. I would like to point out that electrical cooperatives are being played for rummies in this corporate power game. We generally have a feel-good, down home, belief that cooperatives offer an alternative to the greed and profit-at-all-costs nature of industry these days. Not so!
The cost of carbon based fuels will be greatly effected in the near future. The cost of building new coal plants has almost doubled in recent years. Wall Street has downgraded coal company credit ratings consistently for the past year. Coal power executives are turning to the rural electric cooperatives as a way around the traditional way of financing huge power plants. Co-ops operate outside the normal regulations we commonly assume are set up to protect the consumer.
Co-ops in Northern Michigan are getting ready to “pass-through” the billions of dollars of cost to their enslaved ratepayers. Not only will the members of these co-ops self finance a new coal plant that will be largest pollution source in the North, but they will end up paying the added expense of carbon regulations very soon.
If you are a ‘member’ of an electric cooperative, exercise your rights and ask for the financial details of your future rates if this proposed plant gets built. Ask if the future cost of carbon regulation will be paid by an investor, or by the members. And don’t forget to mention that we are ALL in this together, and coal is the dirtiest form of power there is.
Thanks again for a great article.

Tom Karas • Interlochen

You Gotta Have Art
Hurray to Jerry Gates for his proactive lifelong commitment to supporting the arts. Promotion of the arts is crucial for Michigan in this era of shifting economic sands. Indeed, our nation is rapidly retreating from “left-brain” dominant occupations, such as manufacturing, as these jobs are out-sourced to other countries. The United States has embarked upon what is coined “the Conceptual Age,“ a time when creativity and intuitive problem solving skills are the dominant driving force of the world economy. Michigan should be on the cutting-edge of this new era.
It is disheartening that our schools have been forced to demote the arts in an attempt to meet the inadequate and antiquated standards of the No Child Left Behind Act. This, in addition to the pressure of the gross funding inequities between school districts, recently prompted a superintendent of a small local district to refer to the arts as “ancillary” to the core curriculum as justification for cutting arts funding. This is truly sad, sorry, and backwards thinking. The old-world view was that the arts “supported” reading, writing and mathematics. The new-world reality is exactly the opposite.
ArtServe Michigan, an arts advocacy group, reported that our state has moved from fourth in the nation (2001) in arts funding to dead last this year. Yet, we are living in a world where creative minds, like those at Google, will rule the day. As it stands, if our children are bright enough to score well on our out-dated tests, then they will have a good job waiting for them....somewhere in Asia.
In truth, the arts do not even need to be linked to the economy to be of profound value. They stand tall at the top of all human achievement. But, take heed; our new-world economy, with its myriad problems, absolutely will not survive without the arts.

Amy Kerr Hardin • Williamsburg

War is a Racket
Recognition is a feeling that everyone enjoys. Whether it’s the star on your elementary school paper or a star on the shoulder of a military General, recognition feels good.
The highest recognition that the military gives is the Medal of Honor. Marine Major General Smedley Butler received two of them. When he retired he reflected on his life and wrote a booklet titled, “War is a Racket”. He said that all of his battles were for the interests of business, and that he was a thug for business.
I’m a Vietnam veteran. As I research and reflect on my experience, I believe that General Butler was correct. The military is a pawn of the political/business cabal. You invade, fight, destroy, kill, and die because some politician says it’s your duty. They give you recognition, and they get even richer.
The 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month was originally called Armistice Day - a day recognizing an agreement to stop all fighting. Use this day as it was intended - recognize that agreements are possible, and war is a racket. As a veteran that is the highest recognition I can receive.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake
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