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 5/5/08
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Letters 5/5/08

- May 5th, 2008
Republicans Gone Wild
The greatest myth perpetrated this election cycle is that the nasty, bitter Democratic presidential campaign will leave the party divided this fall. Sure, supporters of the losing candidate will be angry and disappointed and may sulk a bit, but any notion they will go for Sen. John McCain in November is Republican fantasyland.
When the Democrats leave Denver in August, their presidential nominee will have a double-digit lead and the “battle” over lapel pins and Bosnian snipers won’t even be a blip on the voter radar honed in on Iraq, the economy and eight years of Republicans Gone Wild.
No matter how many times McCain says “my friends,” he will have few of them among general election voters when they give unbridled attention to his position on issues they care about.
Soaring gas prices, stagnant wages and the housing collapse have our economy in tatters, and McCain concedes this isn’t his strong suit. Our failing economy is one of the casualties of the Iraq War that McCain continues to strongly support. At long last, the media are beginning to ask some hard questions about the cost of the war.
As has been pointed out numerous times, Iraq is the first major war that this country has fought by transferring the entire cost to future generations through government debt. President Bush never proposed raising taxes to pay for the war. Worse, in 2003 he substantially cut taxes, unprecedented in war time.
Expect more of the same from a McCain administration. McCain has endorsed tax cuts that would cost more than $300 billion a year, including reduction of the corporate income tax from 34% to 25%. And he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, another $110 billion.
A constant worry to families across America is our deteriorating health care system where rising costs leave nearly 50 million with no insurance coverage and millions more underinsured. The current system cherry-picks the healthy and tells those with chronic diseases to get lost.
McCain says he would give people with preexisting conditions “an extra tax credit” to help pay for insurance funded by savings in the Medicaid program. Where does McCain think the Medicaid savings will come from? Does he mean cutting benefits to poor people who depend on Medicaid for health care? Or from middle-class families who rely on Medicaid to pay for nursing home care?
Real issues like these keep people awake at night, and only the Democrats offer real solutions. I think I’m really going to enjoy the fall campaign.

Victor Kamber • via email

The folly of war
In “honor” of the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, it is time to review some history. Since the 1950s we have had a steady pattern of very bad foreign involvements around the world. The U.S. frequently assisted in the toppling of leaders (many democratically elected) in order to put our preferred choice of dictator in power. This happened in Nicaragua, Haiti, Peru, Iran, Angola, Cuba, Chile and Vietnam.
Ever wonder why the Iranians toppled the Shah of Iran and took American hostages? The Shah was “our guy,” we helped overthrow of an elected leader and installed the Shah, who was a brutal leader. His secret police (SAVAK) were well known for much torture and cruelty.
It is estimated that almost three million Southeast Asians died as a result of our involvement in Vietnam. Over 58,000 Americans gave their lives to allegedly stop the spread of communism. Somewhat ironic that today, the communist regimes of Vietnam and China have become our major trading partners, while it is illegal for Americans to travel or send food or medicine to communist Cuba.
The U.S. has turned its head to atrocity after atrocity. When the flow of blood ceased, we then agreed an atrocity occurred. We sat and did nothing during the blood-baths in Rwanda, East Timor, Darfu. We did little to ease problems in Lebanon and Palestine.
Why do we have 170 military bases around the world? Do we really need them in Japan and Germany anymore? Why must the USA be the world’s police force? We cannot afford this role.
Can someone please explain why we need over 10,000 nuclear warheads? We have the capability right now of destroying the planet many times over.
Let’s get to the Iraq of 2003-2008. When we invaded, the population of Iraq was about 27 million people. Since 2003, over 4.5 million Iraqis have become refugees, half within Iraq. Most of the middle and professional classes have fled. Iraqi casualties are hard to determine, since the U.S. forbade such counts. Johns Hopkins conducted a study two years ago, in which they estimated that 655,000 Iraqi civilians died since the invasion of March 2003. Injuries are estimated to be between three-to-four million.
Almost one million Christians had lived peacefully in Iraq for over 2,000 years. Today, more than half of these Iraqi Christians are gone -- either killed or as refugees. Oil, electricity, clean water and food production is currently less today than before our invasion. Unemployment is over 50%.
The latest poll shows that 82% if Iraqis (the people we are allegedly protecting) want us to leave.
Over 4,000 US soldiers have died and over 30,000 have been injured. We have spent almost $600 billion to date with long term estimates going as high as $3 trillion of our tax dollars.
Iraq will go down in history as one of the most horrific acts ever by one people upon another. How many have suffered for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and their views of “this noble” and “romantic” effort? The U.S. war hawks running the invasion totally destroyed a people and a country whose history predates the dawn of civilization.
According to Alan Greenspan, the primary reason for this adventure was oil. Gas averaged $1.39 per gallon here on 1/20/01. Today oil is over $3 per gallon and heading towards $4. Yes, the Bush administration could say: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
After the terrible lesson of Vietnam, why did we let this happen again?
America, it’s time to wake up to what we’ve done. Don’t let us continue on this path of bully on the hill, the path that has renamed torture as “enhanced interrogation.” We are so much better than this. It is time to demand ACCOUNTABILITY as we recognize the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

Leonard Page & Karen Martin

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