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 5/27/04
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Letters 5/27/04

Various - May 27th, 2004
Destroy Abu Ghaib

I believe one of the things we could do to help create U.S. credibility in Iraq is to destroy the Abu Ghaib prison.  We could borrow from Israel a few of those big Caterpillar bulldozers, bought with our tax dollars that Israel uses to destroy Palestinian homes, bring them to Iraq and flatten Abu Ghaib.
Randy Bond • Beulah

America‘s gas problem

Just got done reading an e-mail regarding the one-day gas boycott (May 19).  Talk about pie in the sky, taking the easy way out, responsibility shirkers.  What 12-year-old came up with this off-the-wall idea?  So, we don’t fill up our huge gas-guzzling behemoths for one day?  Lots of people will pretend to be cool and not pump gas on Wednesday.  What will be accomplished if they go ahead and pump Tuesday or Thursday?  That’s the typical way most spoiled Americans try and take advantage of everything.  They will try to be hip, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them the slightest little bit.  I can just hear the over-weight, super-sized SUV owner bragging over their $3 lattè, “I’m really going to stick it to ‘em today.  I’m boycotting big oil!”   
Dare I suggest that Americans really start fighting the good fight?  Let’s stop spending trillions on our military offense (I really can’t justify calling it defense) budget and start spending it on research and development of alternative fuel vehicles.  How about looking into mass transit that really works? 
  We spend far too much money trying to protect our oil interests in countries on the other side of the planet.  We look like heavy handed thugs to the rest of the world while we wallow at the trough of cheap energy and ignore our poor and homeless.  It is time we get our priorities straight and begin to make decisions based on love, not self-centered greed.  I read somewhere that if the rest of the world used the same amount of energy that Americans did, we would need eight planets.  We should all be ashamed. 

Lynn Ketelhut • via email

Kick out the jams

Kudos for the full page on Detroit’s legendary MC5. As a patriot of my native city’s high energy sounds, the MC5 constitute a testimonial to one of the highest times rock and roll has known.
With only three official albums and a few dubious live discs and collections released, the legend has grown. My first concert was at Wayne State University’s Tartar Field back in 1969... or was it 1970?... I have already purchased my tickets for their return to the Motor City on June 10 at the Majestic Theatre... billed as DKT/MC5. The three surviving members are Michael Davis on bass, Wayne Kramer, guitar, and Dennis “Machine-gun” Thompson on the drums (hence the DKT moniker).
The article suggested the first date was Chicago, when actually it is in Toronto, with the first USA date in Detroit. Another misconception is that they are the “godfathers of punk.” Not exactly true from this fan’s point of view or their original manager, John Sinclair. Aside from attitude, there is no punk aesthetic to be found. The MC5, then and now are skilled musicians who could play their instruments, compose tunes and kick out the jams! Like most of the bands of the era (Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Allman Brothers Band) their roots were African-American music. Their repertoire included the works of Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles and soul man James Brown with the added jazz sounds of John Coltrane and Sun-Ra. The 5’s little brothers, the Stooges with Iggy Pop would best capture the punk sound, which the New York Dolls and the Ramones took a step further before crossing the Atlantic, spawning the Sex Pistols, Clash and the Damned.
The MC5 walked the walk and talked the talk, unlike some of the phonies pretending to be rockers today. The surviving members have been active in the music world over the years. Just as in the past, under the radar and not fit for the majority. Thanks for letting me speak... now I’m gonna K.O.T.J.M.F!

Dean Berry • TC

God & the death penalty

A candidate for retiring State Rep. Ken Bradstreet’s seat in the Republican Primary was quoted as favoring the death penalty in Michigan. He used examples from the Old Testament to buttress his view that God not only sanctions capital punishment but requires it. While each of us are entitled to our own views of scripture, I personally do not believe that a loving and righteous God requires the death penalty in this day and age.
While the Book Of Romans tells the believer that all governments are ordained by God, certainly governments are capable of making mistakes. Governments are made up of fallable men and women and those who are innocent are convicted and executed. Would Jesus be unconcerned over the fate of those wrongfully put to death? Having suffered a fate such as that himself, would the Lord turn a blind eye to those put to death by a criminal justice system known more for its adherence to historical secular legal doctrines than for its biblical purity? Would the Lord not only countenance but require a sentence of death knowing that our legal system is flawed? Who among us can say that it isn’t?
The death penalty is disproportionately applied towards the poor and those who obtained inadequate legal counsel. It is also applied, at least in the State of Texas, to the mentally ill. A man was just put to death in Texas for a murder he committed over 20 years ago. This person was a paranoid schizophrenic, meaning that he was generally not in touch with reality. Voices and mental images in his mind, the result of a genetic chemical imbalance, caused him to commit his horrendous crime.
The Texas Parole Board recommended a commutation of this particular man’s sentence, but it was overruled by the Republican governor of Texas. How sad it is that many who profess the name of Jesus use his teachings of love and forgiveness to further a secular society full of state sponsored revenge. Forgiveness means nothing if it isn’t applied to all areas of life, not just in the pulpit but in our secular lives as well.
There is a petition drive in this state to institute the death penalty and I hope and pray that it does not garner the necessary signatures to be placed on the November ballot. Many family members who lost loved ones to a homicide are behind this petition. Many others simply have hatred and revenge and a perverted view of scripture as their motivations. The death penalty has never been proven to be a deterrent. It simply makes many of us feel better for having it.
The very elements of the Christian right who rail against acting upon our emotions in other contexts, readily surrender to their own version of carnality when it comes to crime and punishment. They worship a different Lord than I. May the Lord soften their hardened hearts.

Brian Morgan • Gaylord

Wake up America

As I read “The flip side of Iraq” by Jacob G. Homberger (4/29, about how Americans would react if occupied by the Chinese) I felt a bitter bile in my throat. It has been 30 plus years since it has been there, but the article brought back thoughts and feelings that I had thought were over with and left in the past. I am talking about that bitter bile that rises in a serviceman’s gut when he is demonized and mischaracterized by those for whom he/she has sacrificed years of his time and perhaps even his or her life in service to their country.
If we as a country could be compared to others in the human rights arena, perhaps I would support another country intervening. If we as a country were governed by a regime that tortures, rapes, and kills tens of thousands of our own citizens it would be high time for someone to intervene. The Chinese, however are a poor choice of liberators with their human rights record. They still imprison and kill citizens who dare to disagree with the party line.
It would seem that after reading his article that Mr. Hornberger is perfectly happy to allow the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, and Saddam Husseins of this world to commit genocide on a massive scale without interference. If that is the world he wants to live in, then perhaps he should live under those kinds of conditions himself instead of in a country that even though not perfect, still gives its citizens a better chance at life than most of the rest of the world.
During my 20 year tenure in the military I saw for myself what life is like for many citizens in other parts of the world. I saw small children whose families were so poor that they would dive into a river literally full of raw sewage and floating dead animals and rotting garbage to retrieve the equivalent of a nickel. According to Homberger, an American serviceman would promote a tragedy like this to further the war effort.
Am I alone in my outrage here? Dear God I hope not! Is this what America really is? If we agree with what Hornberger writes about America then perhaps we do need another country to intervene and stop our headlong mad rush to “destroy” the rest of the world. Who knows what damage we cause other nations with our endless foreign aid programs and relief efforts, or what trauma we have caused to Europeans having rebuilt Europe after two world wars?
For Pete’s sake America, wake up and smell the smoke of the ruins you have left behind in the rest of the world because of your “imperialist aggression.” Open your eyes to the “slaughter” you have left in your wake. Yes America, listen to those who denigrate any kind of good you try to do. Stop sending money and lives overseas. Nobody there and several here really don’t care or appreciate it anyway.
There is heaviness in my heart and a tear in my eye for the veterans of wars past and present because of the misguided and to me disgusting attitudes of some who must make political hay of the blood sacrificed by the best that America has to offer. Yes, I guess it is true that the more things change the more they remain the same. When after 30 years attitudes such as this still get traction, things have not really changed much. How shameful. What a pity.

Lee Oslund • Mackinaw City

Fish food

Although your article clearly raised many of the concerns about “fish farming” (5/20), I feel compelled to correct your statement regarding the colorant used in salmon feed. Rather than beta carotene, a vitamin A precursor, most farmed salmon is actually fed food laced with canthaxanthin and astaxanthin as colorants. Although canthaxanthin is a carotenoid, it has no beneficial health effects, and in fact is considered hazardous by the British government in doses lower than that fed to salmon. The astaxanthin is also a carotenoid, although once again the devil is in the details.
Although some researchers consider natural astaxanthin a beneficial antioxidant, others do not. More importantly, the astaxanthin fed salmon is a synthetic chemical that differs greatly from naturally occurring astaxanthin in its effects at the cellular level. Although placed by the FDA on the GRAS list, its effects have not been studied extensively.
Cautious consumers might want to avoid such chemicals, while most consumers would have little objection to the addition of beta-carotene to their food.
I thought your readers would want to know.

John A. Leithauser • General Manager, The Grain Train

Slaves to the grind

Thank You Marne Parker for making my point, exactly!  (re: “Resort slaves of Northern Michigan,” 5/6.) My letter to the editor was written more with a sarcastic tongue-in-cheek than anything else.
The question still stands “Why, are we allowing ‘slave labor’ to be brought into the area when we have people here who can and will work?” And the answer is still, “Because they are being paid cheap wages, being charged for rent (by law they can’t offer free board as a part of wages -- usually $1,000 per week per condo), they are available 24/7, they’re being charged for their food and, in the end, they are willing to settle for less than what it would take to actually live and raise a family here.”
Why is Governor Granholm wasting time blaming President Bush about the loss of jobs in Michigan? Why is our “blond from a box” leader so obsessed with the exportation of jobs when resort owners across the board are allowed to import thousands of aliens for cheap labor? 
What’s even sadder is that year-round Michiganders actually allow such activity to go on. The finger pointing, the remarks about the “slave bus,” and all the while complaining about the lack of good paying jobs. These employers should be made accountable. They should be willing to pay the going wages set by job market demand. But, instead they prefer to circumvent the system, with our Michigan leaders’ blessings. 
Talk about getting a clue.  So, who IS snowing who? Who REALLY is the naive one?

Theresa Cobb • Alanson

Who is Dr. Death?

This is a long overdue response to your articles on Dr. Kevorkian in March.
An article was published in the April, 1999 issue of Reader’s Digest, and was entitled, “Who is Jack Kevorkian, really?” It portrayed a very different man than the one portrayed in the Northern Express articles.
The RD article began by saying that in March, 1994, Geoffrey Fieger, representing Dr. Kevorkian, issued a challenge to the American medical community. An elderly woman was “in profound pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Both her legs had been amputated, and she’d lost sight in one eye. Unless doctors were willing to treat her pain, Kevorkian would help her die.” Dr. Pavan Grover, a pain specialist, read about the press conference. He believed he could help the woman, so he called Fieger’s office. “I was blown off,” he says. “I called a number of times. To this day, I don’t know if she knew of my calls.”
Eight months later, 71-year-old Margaret Garrish died with Kevorkian present, died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Dr. Grover believes that for Garrish and others who have died in Kevorkian’s presence, death was not the only option.”
I recall in the March 11 issue of Northern Express, there was a photo of Kevorkian posing with his friend, Sarah Holmes. It mentioned the fact that he was a painter. It did not mention THE TYPES OF PICTURES HE PAINTED!!! From the RD article it stated, “Even Kevorkian’s hobby, painting, reflects his obsession with death. For the painting, ‘Genocide,‘ he USED HIS OWN BLOOD TO stain the frame!!!“
There is a lot more that I did not mention. The word “compassionate” was used to describe this man in the Express. I don’t see him as being compassionate at all. In fact, I can see him as being right at home in Nazi Germany, doing the death experiments. It’s sad, but he’ll probably go down in history as a hero, a martyr, and he doesn’t deserve that.
I’ll sum this up with a statement from the Reader’s Digest article. “Some say he’s an angel of mercy who helps patients die with dignity. Others say he’s a serial killer.” I couldn’t agree more with the latter.

Peggy Cassidy • Petoskey

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