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 2/27/03
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Letters 2/27/03

Various - February 27th, 2003
Are you ready for Armageddon?

The fanatical SuperPatriots view contrary opinions and other cultures as
threats. They express exclusive superiority. Their priority is their
ideology, their government. They have convinced themselves that God is on
their side. They don‘t want to hear any correction or gloomy prediction that
might undermine national morale. People who express a desire for peace, free
speech and the right to be heard annoy them!
Are you ready for Armageddon? Do you see the sword of Damocles hanging
overhead? Still have your y2K survival kit? The United States is ready to
blanket bomb Baghdad and abort the lives of hundreds of thousands of humans.
It is said that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, perhaps nuclear
weapons. At least 10 nations have nuclear weapons -- with more than 50,000
nuclear weapons existing in the world. Does the United States intend to take
them all-out or are all our problems in Iraq?
The war that the leaders of our country call vital is not about the weapons
of mass destruction. Petroleum is a more likely cause of this international
conflict. The monstrous convention of politics require us to murder Iraqis so
we can control their oil wells.
All wars are boyish and are fought by boys. Our boys will soon come home in
body bags. The talking heads on TV news will talk of them as mere
statistics. The triumphs of war, planned by ambition, executed by violence
and consummated by devastation.
Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the
defense of peace must be constructed. Peace is not something that you make,
it is something you do, something you are and something you give away.
Many peace loving people have been hurt by the SuperPatriots fingerpointing:
“If your ways are not like my ways, or your political views are not like
mine, you are unpatriotic.“ Would Jesus Christ be patriotic if He were on
earth today?
In Friendship.

Rev. Robert Frost Donaldson • East Jordan

Send in the “rough men“

Once again this weekend we had the thrill of a spectacle, not just in Petoskey but also around the world. I am referring, of course, to the myriads marching to protest the impending unpleasantness.
Large crowds came together to bang their drums and voice their opposition to war, George W. Bush and Republicans in general. The usual mantras were chanted with “No Blood for Oil,“ “Not in Our Name“ and “Bomb Texas, not Iraq“ being crowd favorites. In many cities, New York and San Francisco in particular, crowd violence against the police was not uncommon (in San Francisco, a police horse was punched in the face and dragged to the ground by its reins. PETA has been conspicuously silent). All in all, it was a day reminiscent of the “love-ins“ of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Thank goodness our local flock of gulls was better
In the many years that I‘ve followed activities of this type, I‘ve never ceased to be amazed by the fact that the protests are always against the United States and all it stands for. There never seem to be protests against the Fidel Castro‘s, the Saddam Hussein‘s, the Robert Mugabe‘s, or the Pol Pot‘s of the world and that is troubling to me.
No, these protests all seem aimed at a particular political persuasion and also seem to imply that its adherents should be, at the very least, muzzled (I suspect that “re-education camps“ would be more to their liking). The protesters all seem to feel that if, like the characters in “Peter Pan“ we will all just believe, evil will disappear from the earth and we‚ll all live happily ever after.
I, for one, disagree. In my humble opinion, we must step up to the plate and resist these tyrants, be they Saddam Hussein or Kim Jung Il, who presently tread the boards of the world stage. Until we rid ourselves of these individuals and their ilk, none of us will be safe to go about our business or raise our families in peace. I have much more confidence in the policies of George W. Bush and the rest of our allies than I do in the masses of street demonstrators.
Lastly, I take comfort in the words attributed to the late George Orwell: “We sleep safe in our beds knowing that rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.“ I believe the current administration, unlike the last, understands this and is deploying those rough men (and women) to accomplish that mission.

Bill Mayer • Petoskey

Madness of war

I feel a growing sense of unease and frustration with our leaders on the
course of action this county is taking with regard to Iraq. There is no love
lost on either side of the debate for Saddam Hussein - we all agree he is a
monster, but the arrogance and lack of diplomacy George Bush and his
administration are exhibiting towards the UN mandate and our allies is
After a weekend of still more worldwide protests (over 700,000 in London
alone), our government blithely goes the path it has made for itself since
Bush sowed the seeds of international ill-will with his “Axis of Evil“ speech
during his 2002 State of the Union address. Now Donald Rumsfeld dismisses
France and Germany as “old Europe.“ And Perle (chairman of the Pentagon‘s
Policy Board) says: “France is no longer an ally of the United States.“
Perhaps this government needs a crash course in Diplomacy 101? After many
months of banging the war drum, it is obvious that they have dug a hole so
deep that it is almost impossible for a peaceful outcome with Iraq.
If we go to war with Iraq we risk many things: the untold death and suffering
on both sides; no guarantee that this war will not escalate out of control in
this very volatile region, or drag on for many months; to turn our trusted
allies into enemies and to antagonize our present enemies to commit even more
acts of terrorism, and finally, the estimated cost of at least $100 billion.
To actively choose to ignore peaceful options, including U.N. arms
inspections, to their logical conclusion and to disregard the rest of the
world‘s opinion, before rushing off to war seems an act of absolute madness.

Sally Vander Wall • Glen Arbor

Spin cycle

I‘m just writing to let you know that your newspaper is listed at
GOPTeamleader.com, a website of the Republican National Committee which
provides pre-written letters to the editor to promote the Republican
talking points. It‘s a practice known as “astroturfing“ to create
“artificial grass“-roots support for the president‘s agenda.
“Sample letters“ and postcards from political and religious groups have
been around for years, and I don‘t know that your newspaper has printed
any of them yet, but as somoene who actually writes letters to the editor,
this practice which through one party gets identical messages directly to
hundreds of newspapers angers me and should anger editorial boards as well
as people who do spend actual time writing lettters voicing their own
opinions instead of parroting the official party line.
You might ask them to either remove your newspaper, or have someone check
the site regularly when particularly partisan cheerleading letters arrive.
Here‘s one source for many of the more obvious Teamleader letters, one of
which did make it into at least 104 papers:
(Incidentally, this letter was sent via GOPTeamleader.com earning 5
“GOPoints.“ Apparently if people send out the official spin enough times,
they can win a pony. My use of their system is meant to help block the
domain, should it be possible on your system using the messages e-mail

Thomas Heald • via email

(Thanks Thomas -- we already knew that and are able to easily identify those letters. Following is an honest-to-gosh letter sent by that site. -- ed.)

Letter from Republican spin machine:

I have an idea for a news story that will sweep the nation by its
feet, which in turn will prepare our children for the most wonderful event
they have ever experienced! There will be nothing secret about the second
advent of Jesus Christ; it will be the greatest event the world has ever
seen, and “every eye shall see Him.“ But Jesus warns us that before His
actual return, false Christ‘s and false prophets will arise and showing
great wonders, and deceive many. And he tells us that a false Christ will
impersonate Him, pretending to be the returning Jesus. But we are told how
we can know that it is a false Christ. The real return of our Lord will
take place in the sky, not on the land. So if a prophet showing great
supernatural wonders tells us that Christ is soon to appear on land, we
will know that this is the false prophet the Bible warns about. “But the
day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.“ The Second advent of
Jesus, when every eye shall see Him, will be first seen as a small black
cloud in the east. The cloud will draw closer becoming lighter, glorious,
and still more glorious, till it is a great white cloud. The bottom will
appear like fire with a rainbow over the cloud, while around it will be
ten thousand angels, singing a most lovely song; and upon it will be Jesus

Ricky Barryton • Palmdale, CA
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