Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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When the mob rules, the people lose

Robert Downes - August 17th, 2009
When the Mob Rules, the People Lose
Robert Downes 8/17/09
When the kings and queens of Europe heard of the American Revolution in the 1770s, they doubted that our experiment in democracy would succeed because they assumed our government would fall prey to anarchy and mob rule.
Given what we’ve seen on television with organized activists disrupting the town hall talks on health care reform, perhaps those royals were right.
Apparently, the protesters all have solid gold Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage and think our health care system is fine and dandy the way it is, without a concern for their fellow Americans being raked over the coals by the insurance industry. Armed with Internet advice on how to disrupt public meetings, they‘re getting a lot of attention on TV, while Americans who lack health insurance are ignored.
But when the mob rules, the people lose.
To take you back a bit, some of the political thinkers of the 1700s believed that a democracy could not possibly work because government “of the people, by the people and for the people” would involve too many hands in the national treasury. They reasoned that without a wise king to rule over a country, then the “mob” of a democracy would quickly make a mess of things.
Even America‘s founding fathers were uncertain as to whether their experiment in democracy would work because the predictions of mob rule came true during the French Revolution of 1789. By 1792, France was in the grip of a “Reign of Terror,” in which up to 40,000 people from the nobility and middle class were put to death by the guillotine.
At the time, there was fear that the terror of the French Revolution would spread to America. Fortunately, our government evolved into a representative republic (governed by elected officials) rather than a pure democracy, and the fears of “mob rule” evaporated.
But today, we seem to be coming full-circle back to the fears of the 1770s, with a mob of people with varying agendas shouting down our elected representatives.
Some say the protesters have been organized by the Republican Party, which has a stake in preserving the turf of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Others claim that they‘re libertarian Tea Party types, whipped up over bogus scare stories promoted by FOX News and talk radio.
There‘s also the claim that the overwhelmingly white protesters include racists who still can‘t handle the fact that we have a black president and their guy lost the election.
And some, of course, are simply concerned citizens. But there‘s a difference between expressing an angry opinion and deliberately setting out to sabotage a meeting or spread disinformation.
On TV, you see the so-called “grassroots Americans” going into hysterics over their fear of losing “the best health care system in the world.”
This is the same system that is behind more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in America due to medical costs. It‘s the system that leaves 46 million people uninsured, and up to 40 million others under-insured. Health care costs are crippling American businesses (GM a case in point) and resulting in the loss of millions of jobs.
Will organized mob scenes be the template for all future discussions in America? When Michigan’s insurance industry wants to stick it to you with yet another perk in some future ballot proposal, will hired performers (ie. “grassroots Americans”) be trucked in from other states to shout and make a stink at town hall meetings?
Count on it.
With that said, it‘s good to report that the debate on healthcare in Northern Michigan seems to be taking a more civil tone. U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak reports that he has held a telephone town hall meeting with 3,500 constituents. His office has also been contacted by some 5,000 citizens.
“While there has been both support and opposition for (health care reform), many people simply have questions or are looking for more information on the issue,“ Stupak reports.
So, if you truly believe that America has the “best health care system in the world” which doesn’t need any changes, you are certainly welcome to your opinion.
But ask your boss how long he can keep paying 50 percent rate hikes in your health insurance benefits each year. Ask yourself if you can keep paying if you lose your job or benefits. Ask what you will do if you have a catastrophic illness and no insurance. Lose your house? Lose your retirement savings? All so you can preserve the “greatest health care system in the world” and prevent the government from establishing a health care plan for everyone?
Funny thing. People who are the most opposed to government intervention often seem to be first in line for assistance when, say, a hurricane or tornado blows through their condo. Today‘s activists grinning and yelling on TV will be tomorrow‘s hypocrites, demanding their government health care benefits when the chips are down.

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