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 1/26/09
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Letters 1/26/09

- January 26th, 2009
Runaway spending
To young taxpayers: say no to new spending and debt!
Just a few months ago, Treasury Secretary Paulson abandoned his plan for how best to distribute the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. Instead of holding “reverse auctions” intended to eliminate toxic assets from banks’ balance sheets, Paulson switched to plan B. He, along with Fed Chief Bernanke, “offered” nine U.S. banks $125 billion in bailout funds in exchange for government (taxpayer) stakes in the companies.
Despite uneasiness from relatively healthy institutions, such as Wells Fargo, Paulson essentially strong-armed these banks to accept funds in order to restore public confidence in the banking sector. As Paulson put it, “The system needs more money, and all of you will be better off if there’s more capital in the system.”
If there was ever such a thing as inefficient allocation of resources, this has to be it. At a time when businesses and consumers alike are struggling to obtain credit, the central bank and Treasury decided to channel new capital into companies that didn’t necessarily want or need it!
Now, three months and $350 billion dollars later, confidence is still lacking. Citigroup received $25 billion last year, along with Bank of America. Both these companies are posting huge losses, and Bank of America is staged for yet another capital injection from TARP part 2.
As a young taxpayer, who will live with the consequences of these decisions for the next 50 years or so, I am growing increasingly concerned.
Even as budget deficits recently hit a record $485.2 billion in the first quarter alone, it seems no one in Congress or the Treasury is too concerned with the cost of TARP, or other ensuing Obama spending programs.
Why is it assumed that extravagant spending equals economic health? Remember, we are nearly half a trillion dollars in the red after just one fiscal quarter! In other words, in just the past three months, we have already passed last year’s total deficit, on pace for more than $1 trillion for fiscal year 2009.
How long will the rest of the world finance all this deficit spending we Americans love? Or will we simply debase our currency by printing dollars until we run out of ink? At some point, we’ll have no choice but to tighten our belts and bring runaway spending under control. It appears this won’t happen anytime soon. Clearly, the era of big government is not over. Instead, it’s back bigger than ever.

Joe Schoonover • TC

A proud American
I’m a “broken glass” Republican, meaning I will, if necessary, crawl across broken glass to get to the polls. I’m a veteran, a small business owner, I fly the flag, and have a portrait of Ronald Reagan in my office.
When Barack Obama started to gain national attention, I contemplated what it would mean if he were elected president. To say the least, it would be historic. I like living through historic times and this event would certainly make my list.
So here we are, seating the first duly-elected African-American as President of the United States and this Republican is one proud American. My ancestors fought and died in the civil war and their battles are being richly rewarded. For me the best part will be the sight of this beautiful family moving into the White House.
Rest assured on January 21st I renewed my political skepticism. On January 20th, however, I used the day to celebrate what it means to be an American.

Wally Morton • Northport

Different strokes
Rick and Heather Shumaker are the poster children for “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle“ (re: “Less is More,“ 12/22). I find their philosophies and actions commendable regarding budgeting, consumerism, charity and environmentalism. I applaud them and believe the general population can take a lesson from them.
I would, however; like to point out that the Shumakers are fortunate to have the luxury to consciously decide to “only” spend $35,000 of their income. For the many in our area struggling to get by on less it is not a luxury they can choose, it is a necessity.

Marianne Morgan • TC

Strangling Gaza
After a three-week rampage that left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead, 4,000 others wounded (with injuries doctors call “absolutely gruesome”), an economy and civilian infrastructure in tatters, and survivors deeply traumatized, the Israeli military rushed to leave Gaza before Barack Obama took office.
The 1.5 million people who live in an area somewhat larger than Old Mission Peninsula now face what analysts are calling “the most difficult reconstruction project in the world.”
Using U.S. taxpayer-supplied weapons (allegedly along with phosphorous bombs and “new” devices such as Dense Inert Metal Explosives), the Israeli Goliath has crushed David. But to what end?
When will Israel realize that its security cannot depend on the criminal use of military force? How can Israel denounce Hamas’s rockets when it scorns world opinion and inflicts such savage and disproportionately murderous violence on Gaza’s citizens? How can Israel complain about weapons smuggled through tunnels when it uses billions of our tax dollars to replenish its weapons stocks on the open market?
The troops may be gone, but Israel continues to strangle Gaza with its long-standing blockade of food, fuel, and medical supplies. Lifting the blockade and ending the occupation is the way to peace.

Mary Heffron • Cedar

Enemies of America
For years they abused us. Maddening customer service, fluctuating usurious interest rates, fine-print trickery and near-fraudulent advertising. For the past two decades our credit card companies and the banks behind them have done everything they could possibly think of -- both legal and not so much sometimes -- to keep as many of us as deep in debt for as long as humanly possible.
And their devious devices were always aimed at those with least advantage -- least able to pay, least able to avoid the traps set wide by the industry’s best and brightest, who used millions of research dollars and focus group hours to devise the most efficient and nefarious methods to ensnare the maximum number of people into debt so deep many would spend a lifetime crawling out. Their evil was obvious, their arrogance appalling.
Just months ago it seemed like an impossible dream to think that some day some colossal force would bring these corporate behemoths to their knees. But oh would we rue the day! Oh would we love to see the face of that customer service robot who just dismissed your plea for fairness with a scripted denial and disconnect. Wouldn’t that be grand, oh would we cheer and sing in the streets, fairness and the free market prevail, the banks and their bad business practices be damned!
It would be a great day, but here it is, and a great day it certainly is not. Because these corporate cretins have one last dagger to throw -- if they go down, they’re going to take us all with them.
So now they demand payment of the debts they own; they will take their entitlement from us all -- because the millions they duped are no longer able to pay.
So the taxpayer pays, the world pays, we all pay to save these predators from the very disaster they created with their own reckless greed. And pay we will, because the alternative could be far worse -- or so they tell us.
I’m no economist, but I think I can sense fairness and the lack of it when I see it in the world. So I watch the news with a strong taste of bile when I see Citicorp, Bank of America and the like come to Washington with one hand out and the other poised with a hammer aimed at our entire economic system. And I despise the lawmakers who ceded the power to these enemies of America.
We should all hold our noses (and learn our lessons? Nah, that’s too much to ask) while we pay this ransom to the latest breed of terrorist -- the economic terrorist -- our own lending institutions.

Will Harper • TC

Support the arts
As Congress considers the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan in the coming weeks, the arts and culture sector must be included.
The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities. They spur urban renewal; attract new businesses; draw tourism dollars; and create an environment that attracts skilled, educated workers and builds a robust 21st century workforce. It is fiscally sound policy to invest in our nation’s arts infrastructure.
Nonprofit arts organizations are proud members of the business community—employing people, purchasing goods and services, and involved in the marketing and promotion of their cities. Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences generate $166.2 billion in economic activity, 5.7 million jobs, and nearly $30 billion in government revenue every year.
It is in hard times that we need artists most. The Traverse region is rich in artists. Let’s support them by integrating their work with agriculture, education and transportation -- all while improving the quality of our Northern Michigan life and culture.

Amanda Kik • Bellaire

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