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..

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Stuck in Guantanamo with no way out

H. Candace Gorman - September 7th, 2009
Stuck In Guantánamo
with no way out

By H. Candace Gorman 9/7/09

Perhaps you have read about Al-Ghizzawi over the years in Northern Express? I am a lawyer and Al-Ghizzawi is my client. However this is not a normal attorney/client relationship. You see, Al-Ghizzawi is a prisoner at Guantánamo and therefore none of the rules that usually affect the attorney-
client relationship are in play here.
When I meet with Al-Ghizzawi, I must turn over my notes to the military and the Department of Justice to read before they are returned to me. Al-Ghizzawi’s letters to me are read before I receive them and my letters to him are searched for contraband (staples, paperclips... and who knows what else? Words perhaps?)
Al-Ghizzawi began his eighth year at Guantánamo this past spring. He has never been charged with any wrong-doing and he never will be charged with anything. The American government has known that fact for many years.
Al-Ghizzawi languishes at Guantánamo, in ill health, hoping to one day see his wife and daughter again. His daughter, who was only a few months old when he last saw her, will turn eight this fall. At the time Al-Ghizzawi was turned over to American forces in return for a bounty, he did not have a picture of himself, and so his young daughter does not even know what her father looks like (or the sound of his voice).
(It was a common practice by unscrupulous Afghanis to turn foreigners over for sizeable bounties after the American invasion. Al-Ghizzawi was a baker from Libya. -- ed.)
For more than seven years now as
Al-Ghizzawi has sat in solitary confinement in Guantanamo, his wife has had to struggle as a single woman in Afghanistan where she cannot even go shopping without a male family member escorting her.
In 2004, the year before I started to represent Al-Ghizzawi, the Supreme Court handed down an important ruling for the men at Guantánamo. The Court held that the men were entitled to attorneys and that a determination had to be made as to whether or not they were actually “enemy combatants.”
The military quickly threw together procedures for proving that the men were in fact enemy combatants. Al-Ghizzawi’s hearing was on November 23, 2004. Imagine the military’s surprise when a panel of three career military personnel met, reviewed the records, and found that Al-Ghizzawi was not an enemy combatant.
I later learned that my client was one of more than 30 men who were determined, even through this rigged system, not to be enemy combatants. At that time Al-Ghizzawi and the other 30 men had already been held for more than two-and-a-half years. When Matthew Waxman, now a professor at Columbia Law School but then the assistant secretary of defense for Detainee Affairs, learned that my client and others were found not to be “enemy combatants,” he set into motion the “do-over” process to make sure that the men stayed at Guantánamo and the government was not embarrassed by their innocence. The following appeared in a declassified portion of an email exchange between Waxman and others regarding the 30-plus men who were found not to be enemies:
“Inconsistencies will not cast a favorable light on the process or the work done by OARDEC (the military command). This does not justify making a change in and or (sic) itself but is a filter by which to look .... By properly classifying them as EC (enemy combatant), then there is an opportunity to (1) further exploit them here in [G]TMO and (2) when they are transferred to a third country, it will be controlled transfer in status.”
Shortly after that email, new panels re-labeled Al-Ghizzawi and the other 30-plus men who had already been found not to be enemies, as enemies. They would now be held indefinitely at the pleasure of the President.
Why are we still holding Al-Ghizzawi? Perhaps General Jay Hood, the former commander of Guantánamo, said it best: “Sometimes we just didn’t get the right folks.” And the reason those “folks” are still in Guantánamo is because “nobody wants to be the one to sign the release papers...”
General Hood also said if something were not done soon he would start screaming. That was in 2005. General Hood never did do any screaming, instead he quietly moved on.
I had hoped that our new president would act quickly and effectively to clear Guantánamo of the many innocent men still being held. However, President Obama has taken the long road on this particular project and in the course of the past six months he has squandered the goodwill of the many countries that want to help us close Guantánamo.
What has Mr. Obama done wrong? Well for one thing, the new and enlightened folks that he has hired haven’t a clue as to what they are doing or what they should be doing, so they have turned to the same people who have been running the Guantánamo project under Bush. They do not seem to get it that listening to the zealots that got us into this mess is not the way to get us out.

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