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 3/9/09
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Letters 3/9/09

- March 9th, 2009
Republican pork
The most vocal Republican governors in criticizing the “pork” in President Obama’s stimulus package are Barbour, Jindle, Palin, and Sanford. Ironically, they are also the top four beneficiaries of federal spending; receiving more than any other state.
For each federal tax dollar sent to Washington, these states receive:
• Governor Haley Barbour (R) Mississippi $2.02;
• Governor Bobby Jindal (R) Louisiana $1.85;
• Governor Sarah Palin Alaska (R) $1.83
• Governor Mark Sanford South Carolina (R) $1.35.
Maybe the taxpayers should publicly demand that these hypocrites return any excess earmarks so they too can contribute to the welfare of our nation. I suggest they receive only 75 cents for each dollar they pay to Washington. That way they would be putting a little in, instead of taking a whole lot out. Something they criticize others for.
Also, the Senate Republican leader has twice as many earmarks in this year‘s budget than the Senate Democratic leader. Interesting is it not?
A handy table here: www.nemw.org/taxburd.htm

Tim Wiley • TC

Shop with conscience
If you believe “that whoever feels deeply feels for all that lives,” then it‘s time to let your spending reflect that view.
Today I was horrified to find items for sale at Oryana Food Co-op which originated in Israel. Israel manages to even outdo the U.S. in human rights violations.
Having a family member who has served as a volunteer in Palestine, we are keenly aware of the human rights violations and degradation of Palestinians.
For those not familiar with Israel‘s less-than-human stance regarding the Palestinians, “Palestine Inside Out, An Everyday Occupation“ by Saree Makdisi would be enlightening. The bare existence of an indigenous people started in 1948 as the U.S. and other colonial powers were determined not to let the Jews into their own countries. Instead, they stole the land which was Palestine and handed it over to Israel. It would be very much like Canada deeding over all of Michigan to someone they didn’t want.
Do not spend your money supporting stores which support Israel. Join the boycott of Motorola (HangUpOnMotorola.org) Support the boycott of Caterpillar by businesses. To honor those suffering in other countries, be aware that every purchase of a cell phone, Blackberry, etc. results in personal devastation with mining practices which place little value on human life. Shop with a conscience.

Jerry Young • Bear Lake

Power to the people
With all eyes turned to Washington hoping for an economic fix, are we then as individuals absolved of blame or responsibility? Impotent to affect change with our puny input?
The economy is largely a reflection of consumer spending habits – we vote with our dollars, and we have exactly the economy we’ve supported and deserve. We decry outsourcing and blame corporations for moving overseas, but this is the result of consumers shopping for the lowest price. Low prices require cheap labor.
We live so disconnected from the natural world; most are blissfully ignorant of the cost to the earth in extraction, manufacture, and transport for every shiny object at the mall.
We are now three generations removed from the farm, and much of our agriculture is toxic, inhumane, and unsustainable; but most haven’t a clue how or where their food is grown or processed. By supporting local growers though farm markets we reverse the trend and improve our food and farming.
The imbalance of wealth at the root of so much of what ails us cannot be redistributed by government taxation and regulation, but by informed consumers choosing to support healthy sustainable businesses . . . even at a higher price.
When I shop at my village grocery, I support my neighbors, the store thrives, and money stays in the local economy. If I shop at Sam’s Club, I support the five Walton heirs (worth $18 billion each) and everyone else gets squeezed. What it saved?
Our problems run deeper than a struggling economy – a natural world diminished daily by ignorance, greed driven wars ... we can do better.

Richard Allen • Leland

Vaccine decision
I thoroughly enjoy reading your paper and value the kind of educated insight which surfaces within a number of your articles. However, I was deeply offended and shocked by the recent article, “The Value of Vaccination” by Rebecca Peterson.
It is my understanding that parents have the right to inform themselves and exercise their freedom of conscience in order to protect their children from “bad science.” Peterson believes that “bad science” is being used to dissuade parents from vaccinating their children.
But “bad science” is also being used to coerce parents into following the vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that a vast amount of doctors abide by. The truth of the matter is that this particular schedule consents to injecting a child with an overwhelming amount of viruses in one appointment.
I know that many people argue that we should not be “bucking the herd,” but the real problem is that we are treating each child as if they are part of a herd rather than an individual child with a unique immune system. I choose to vaccinate my daughter, but I don’t believe in burying my head in the sand and blindly following a regimented schedule that does not take into account the unique needs of each child.
Peterson questions, “Why is it that occasionally even a vaccinated person contracts one of these diseases?” This is in fact a true occurrence, but it is not an occasional one. What is alarming is the recent statistic revealed in Mothering magazine: “The incidence of measles cases has risen dramatically from 2007 to 2008 and is at its highest level in more than a decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63 of the 131 new cases of measles from January to July 2008 were among those unvaccinated. The majority of the cases (68), however were among those vaccinated” (O’Mara p. 10).
I can empathize with Peterson’s concerns regarding unvaccinated children, but I refuse to demonize parents who have the right to decline. So, if it is trendy to be an American who exercises the right to choose what is best for his or her child, then I guess I’m trendy. If it‘s hip to be concerned about the vaccination schedule and the recent epidemic of autism, then I guess I’m hip. And if it’s irresponsible to believe in the tenets of this country, then I’m irresponsible too.
Peterson argues that, “vaccination should be a group decision, not an individual one.” This is a frightening statement. Does she understand what this would mean regarding the role of government in our lives?
A responsible parent is a parent who is willing to dissent if it ensures the safety of his or her child.

Kacey Corcoran • Petoskey

History lesson II
I found Joe Evancho’s letter (“History Lesson,” 2/23) a bit disconcerting and hope that most of the readers recognize the “blinders and rose colored glasses” view represented in parts of the text in regard to the free market mentality. I am not at all disputing most of what was written about the Constitutional Convention and the Declaration of Independence. They are the backbone of the formation of our union as we know it today. My beef is with the concept that the government is the problem.
How does one go from applauding the incredible achievements of our forefathers to form this “more perfect union” to the derogatory stance against that very union today? Guess it’s not “more perfect.” Guess it is wrought with flaws? Guess it is overflowing with despicable people and ideas? Sounds like partisan whining to me.
History lesson Joe. Yes, President Lincoln saved us from the ravages of slavery but the president who did more to cause the Civil War in the first place was Franklin Pierce. Pierce supported slavery and heavy alcohol consumption. President Pierce was a direct blood relative of Barbara Pierce. Better known today as Barbara Bush. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it Joe!
Actually Joe, our founding fathers fashioned our government by studying a variety of ideologies from ancient times, so to state that there was never anything like our government in the world is a bit of a stretch.
History, Joe, is a story told by a teller with a perspective representative of his or her personal history. Yours is of course western European Christian in perspective. Others (blacks, women, the Irish, Indians, etc.) might see the same instant in history from a different perspective and tell a different story in a different way. The facts may be the same, but the story may be slanted radically different.
I feel fortunate to live in what may be one of the greatest nations to ever exist on this earth but I do not delude myself into thinking we are “more perfect.” Or, that the very government that makes us great is the problem. Or, that left to their own conscience, business people will do the right thing.
Change will come from the government by way of voter pressure to do the right thing for the majority of Americans, regardless of race, religion, or social standing. That is the way it was designed to work by our forefathers.

Karl Thomsen • TC

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