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 · Other Opinions · Bandits in our banks
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Bandits in our banks

Jackie Freeman - March 9th, 2009
You get what you pay for. American Bankers Association affiliates are the biggest contributors to congressional members. You’d have to be extremely naïve to believe that bills are not influenced by where the money is coming from.
Our own Senator Carl Levin introduced a bill “Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act” to help curb unscrupulous credit card practices. Its purpose was to ban egregious practices by credit card companies that exploit consumers and keep them mired in lifelong debt.
But Congress gave in, and offered them a year-and-a-half to mend their evil ways. During this time they will ramp up their victimization of Americans. During this delay, credit card companies will run their businesses like bandits, raising rates now in anticipation of future limits to their authority. Millions more families will become financially desperate as a consequence
Why do huge financial giants like GE Money bank, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, American Express, Discover and their colleagues need a year-and-a-half grace period before cleaning up their business practices? It has been stated that 18 months is necessary to “upgrade the banks’ computers.”
Do you believe that? I don’t.
I think it is one more disgusting sell-out to the financial institutions by Congress. Too often I hear commentators blame the irresponsible consumers. No – blame the irresponsible banks.
Consumers would not be financially strapped if capricious charges and unscrupulous fees did not raise their credit card debt and mortgages to insurmountable levels.
Some abuses:
• Interest charged on transaction fees.
• Fees for paying bills via telephone.
• Charging interest on penalty fees.
• Soliciting college kids for credit cards and giving them cool gifts for opening accounts.
• Arbitrary rate hikes to 32 percent overnight.
• Inadequate time to pay bills before penalties accrue.
• Automatic Arbitration Awards to banks (found in the small print of credit card applications) entered by the millions in favor of the financial institutions. The salaries of the judges presiding over these cases seem to be determined by the quantity of automatic awards they rubber-stamp through.
Banks have had a field day squeezing the American public with bait-and-switch tactics. Zero percent introductory rate? It’s a trick – a temporary rate at best, and then it soars.
So blame the banks, not the folks that got a credit card in good faith and trusted them, to their detriment.
In 2006, members of the American Bankers Association – (a huge trade lobby in D.C. with glamorous offices) threw unprecedented amounts of money at Congress to influence members to pass the so-called Bankruptcy Reform Act - which has pulled the safety net out from under us. Bankruptcy, the action-of-last-recourse, is now gone for many people.
Recently, I visited my hometown bank. New rate sheets displayed many raised transaction fees. I demanded to know why they would raise fees considering the public’s outrage against banks. They just don’t get it.
Banks have become our common enemy. We are drained by taxpayer giveaways to them while they continue to twist the knife in us. Banks are out to kill us.
I have launched a citizens’ protest. Visit www.BringThemToTheirKnees.com for more information. This site has gone viral and is receiving thousands of page views nationwide.
Congress won’t force reforms on them in time to save Americans, and they won’t do it themselves. Now it is up to the debtors.

Jackie Freeman is a political activist in the area of debtor rights. She owns Michigan Debt Settlement in Traverse City and Suttons Bay.

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