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 6/30/08
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Letters 6/30/08

- June 30th, 2008
Christians & torture
What happened to us? How have we turned into a nation that invades and totally destroys a country, causing the death of up to a million innocent civilians? Is it not immoral to kill? Is it not immoral to seek the treasures of another country for our own gain (i.e, oil)? Isn’t there a commandment about coveting thy neighbors’ things?
As if all of this were not enough, the U.S. government now condones torture. The evil ones have given the word torture new names, such as “abuse“ and “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Water boarding made the news for weeks, as it was debated as a form of torture or not. Did you know we tried the Japanese in WWII for using water boarding? Water tortures have been considered torture for centuries, but under the Bush regime, it’s acceptable.
The election of George W. Bush and the religious right is a strong connection. I still ponder how any Christian is okay with the death and suffering of innocent people in Iraq. I ponder how any Christian can support a regime that legitimized and legalized torture.
Did you know that five cases of detainee deaths as a result of abuse (i.e. torture) by U.S. personnel have occurred? In addition, 23 other cases of detainee deaths are still under investigation. (The Schlesinger Report, cited in “Torture and Truth“ by Mark Danner). These detainees were not charged, tried, nor convicted for any crime to my knowledge.
From everything I’ve read on torture, IT’S UNRELIABLE. Innocent people will say anything they think is required to end torture. Even those who are guilty may still give false information, thus leading investigators on wild goose chases.
How can anyone be okay with torturing a human being? These detainee victims were someone’s brother, son, or father. These victims may have been guilty of nothing more than lacking the ability to speak English as they were picked up off the streets. Even if guilty of something, does that justify torture? I say to you, who would Jesus torture? Would Jesus prefer the water boarding technique or perhaps a stress position for hours? Or perhaps exposure to extreme temperatures for long time periods?
In recognition of National Torture Awareness Month in June, please contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that we Americans do not support torture.
Torture is absolutely immoral, it is an aberrant behavior, it is opposite of everything the America I knew once represented.

Karen Martin • Cheboygan

Regulate government
(A rebuttal to “Time to regulate oil companies,“ Express, 6/9)
Why are gasoline prices soaring past $4 a gallon at the pump, and a barrel of oil trading for nearly $135? The answer has little to do with Big Oil and more to do with a fixed supply of petroleum, an increased demand for it, and a diminished value of the dollar. Why is the supply of oil unable to increase at a pace rapid enough to match its increasing global demand? The guilty party is none other than your federal government.
Let’s begin by dispelling the notion that oil companies can yank up the price of gasoline and then sit back, feet-up, sipping a martini, while “docile, obedient, and brainwashed consumers are bled at the pump.” On the contrary, as the price of oil increases, consumers have responded by purchasing less gasoline, signaling to oil companies that we have better places to spend our money than at the pump. Consumers are using gasoline more conservatively, which is exactly how the market responds to protect a scarce resource such as oil.
While there is no doubt oil companies are enjoying the increased price of oil, it is not Big Oil, but instead the number of buyers and sellers in the market that determine the price of the petroleum.
What we have today is a sharp increase in the demand for oil caused by a number of emerging markets, including the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries that are leaving the third world behind. They are industrializing and using energy— building homes with electricity, running water and air conditioning, buying cars, and building hospitals. The increase in what we pay for oil is worth sacrificing when millions of people around the globe can begin to crawl out of poverty.
In order to keep up with the rising demand for oil, we must supply more of it. We have the resources and technology to tap a large domestic supply, but unfortunately our government has made this next to impossible. Oil companies are burdened by excessive regulation and must wait, sometimes several months, for permits from the government to explore and drill.
Exploration in the Great Lakes and in ANWR is off limits due to exaggerated allegations that environmental destruction will ensue.
What’s more alarming is that the government is discouraging the construction of nuclear energy plants—which supply the cleanest, safest, and most efficient form of energy known to man. The least we can do is thank China for approving the construction of 12 nuclear generators, in addition to the 11 currently in use, which will depress their demand for oil and place downward pressure on oil prices.
The truth is we need to think twice about government intervention. What we have today is a market that has miraculously survived the heavy burden of government over-regulation. It is illogical to suggest that increased taxation on oil companies, and cutting the profits taken by them will lower the price of oil. This is a recipe for higher prices.
Government intervention in energy has succeeded in ensuring that oil producers do not meet the rising demand for oil, at your expense. If the government stays out of the picture, the profit incentive we see today from increased oil prices will draw more firms into the industry, and oil supply will increase to supplement the rising demand.
Unfortunately, the government has a vested interest in keeping oil prices high: political candidates can fool you into believing there is a need for regulation while reaping huge tax revenues from oil profits, which in the past 30 years have summed to $1.34 trillion—more than twice the revenue earned by oil producers themselves during that time.

Jenny Bowser • TC

Not fade away...
Recently I was jolted out of my ho-hum existence and worries about getting older by the sight of an iconic senior citizen prancing, dancing, strutting his stuff, totally engaged with a crowd on their feet, arms in the air, smiles on their faces, and young enough to be his grandchildren. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
Resolved: To kick my exercise program up a notch.
Recommended: Reset the minimum age for “senior citizen” to 70. Better make that 75.
All those who can’t get no satisfaction and missed the Rolling Stones film “Shine A Light” at the State Theatre might want to buy, rent, beg, or steal the DVD for a shot of pure joy.
Surrounded by the State’s great sound system, I heard one of the best bands ever shift effortlessly from rock to country to Motown to blues. I wanted to dance in the aisle. The thought even crossed my mind that the sound was a bit too loud until I realized with horror I had become my parents from 40 years ago.
Forty years ago, and our music is still listened to and our musicians are still performing. We didn’t go deaf from our music, we made the world hear us: on racial equality, women’s rights, and environmental protection. We did something back then – started movements, ended a shameful war, and proved that the biggest changes in the world can be brought about by standing convention on its head.
There’s a point in “Shine A Light” where the original lovable pirate is asked what he thinks about while performing, to which he replies: “There’s no thinking on stage, only feeling.“
For this baby boomer, the classic rock of the ‘60s and early ‘70s never fails to lift my spirits, but it’s also much deeper than that - it’s an indescribable feeling embedded in my cells. I had to go back and watch it again for another fix.
Everyone who came of age during that time and knows what I mean should see this film, crank up the sound, and witness the past and the present at the same time. You’ll end up with your ears ringing, a flood of old memories, a new outlook, and believing that time, time, time, is on our side.
Yes it is.

Andrea Stewart • TC

Fighting to the end
I am writing in response to the article about my divorce and the letters that have been sent in regard to this matter.
First, this is not just about veteran Calvin Murphy, this is about the American veteran of the past, present, and future and the benefits they earn while serving our country.
Are these benefits ours or not? There seems to be a lot of confusion about the laws that pertain to this issue, lawyers and judges can “not“ agree on how the law reads and the veteran has to suffer because of this. Second, everyone‘s story is different and we can “not“ compare all stories to one. Third, it was put out there the amount of money I receive for my disabilities. Are we now putting a price on freedom?
And last, I think of the O.J. Simpson civil trial, where they said he had to turn over all earnings to the victims‘ families, but the pension and other money from his football days were protected and they could not touch them. That is a shame when you can play football and what you earn is protected, but you can serve your country and be willing to give your life, and what you earned is not protected.
There is something wrong here. Federal law says that Veterans Disability is protected by Title 38 Sec. 5301 and I will fight this on behalf of all veterans as long as I can. That is a soldier‘s way to stand up for what you believe in. And we are supporting our troops in this fight because divorce is at an all time high in the military. Thank You!!

Calvin Murphy • Manistee
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