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 7/22/04
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Letters 7/22/04

Various - July 22nd, 2004
Outsource government
Recently on CNN, I saw an economic advisor in a nice suit insisting that, “Outsourcing was good for America.” Speaking as one of many former Lear employees whose jobs got passports and left town, I’m comforted to know we are all doing our part for the good of the country.
In a perfect world this gentleman would have been informed that his job had been outsourced, on camera. Then the commentators would cut live via satellite to Saddam’s former Minister of Dis-information, “Baghdad Bob.” Gee, if exporting our jobs is so good for the United States, maybe it’s time to OUTSOURCE GOVERNMENT.

Joseph Morio • via email

Who will prevail?
This is in response to Harley Sachs’ article on “Polarized Thinking” (7/15). I believe a large part of the problem with having any kind of rational discussion of issues today is that partisans find it to their advantage to mischaracterize the opposition as extreme and rely on emotional and ad hominum illogic. This is more than a tactic. It is a philosophy (“postmodernism”) that denies that any objectively knowable truth exists, so large chunks of morality and social policy and behavior become matters of personal taste rather than matters of right and wrong, or of having positive or negative consequences for society. Anyone who applies religious or rational arguments to an issue is rejected as intolerant and arrogant. Everything is an opinion, so one is as good as another unless a claim for universal applicability is made. Then the one making that claim is the equivalent of the Taliban!
In the medical field this results in people believing every sort of nonsense, mixed in with alternative therapies that really work, mixed in with scientifically based medicine that sometimes has its own negative consequences. It’s no wonder people are confused.
People are even more confused on social issues and the role of religion in society. All religious thought is mischaracterized by the opposition as irrational and extreme. I had the experience of taking a college course in ethics at a Catholic university even though I’m not Catholic. I was impressed by the complex and nuanced thinking that went into their ethical principles and their application. They certainly didn’t see the world in black and white and they took into account the complexities and conflicts inherent in ethical dilemas. Yet the opposition demonizes Catholic positions as extreme and simplistic and people buy it.
Much of the bitter hatred of George Bush results from his claims that there are clear moral principles we are bound to follow. The intellectuals can get so confused by the complexities that they are paralized when it comes to choosing a clear course of action and sticking with it.
Our society is evenly divided between two mutually exclusive world views that ultimately cannot co-exist. One will prevail and the other will be repressed.
So, in fact, there is an either-or choice to be made. We live in interesting times.

Nancy Brimhall, RN • via email

Green Party is no joke
Re: “More proof that the Green Party may be a huge joke,” Express, 7/8-14. I’m happy you have enjoyed my singing. It’s in the pipes, as we singer/drain commissioners say.
Water is life. We cannot live without it. The quality of our lives is rooted in the quality of our water. The Great Lakes Basin holds 20% of the freshwater of the world and over 85% of the freshwater of the United States and that water is finite. The water coming into the basin and the water going out are in perfect balance. All water transported commercially out of the watershed is gone forever.
As populations increase and war and conspicuous consumption devour the resources of the Earth, water supplies have become more and more polluted. The world thirsts. Wars are being fought over water in Israel/Palestine and around the world. Here in Northern Michigan where sweetwater rushes pure and clean from the hillsides, it is becoming more and more difficult to access uncontaminated water. Petoskey and Charlevoix have had to abandon polluted groundwater sources and must now use chlorinated water pulled from Lake Michigan. “Self monitored” industries poison the air and water and unwise and illegal development destroys the last trout streams. Rather than protecting groundwater, we drill down one more aquifer for drinkable water.
Water is more valuable than oil. Bechtel and Halliburton and other multi-nationals are buying water rights around the world. In villages of South America and South Africa, water “credit cards” give access to clean water to the few families who can pay for it. In Stanwood, Nestles of Sweden (Ice Mountain/Perrier) continues to take the water in spite of a judge’s ruling that it negatively impacts a stream and lowers the water table. In the western United States, rivers no longer reach the sea and groundwater tables and reservoirs are dropping at alarming rates.
As a child, I did not aspire to be a drain commissioner. But I have always loved frogs and fish and streams. Drain commissioners are elected officials, responsible for the health, safety and well being of the public and their water. The quality of our lives, the economics of this region, the survival and abundance of creatures, ALL are rooted in the quality of our water.
I love democracy and democracy is bigger than two voices. The path the U.S. and world are on is a path leading to the death and destruction of the human race. The path of war and mindless consumption is anti-life. Who will lead in turning the great ship America around? Who will forge a new path of wisdom and conservation, compassion and diplomacy, respect and prosperity for all?
The Green Party has been a voice for justice, the environment, peace and democracy and for the people. I was honored that Michigan’s delegation asked me to carry the message “Water is Life!” and “Water is a Human Right” to their national presidential convention. David Cobb, the elected Green Party presidential candidate, has vowed that he will work against the taking and diminishment of our water for profit.
And yes, I am just a drain commissioner, but my voice and my work count as much as the pedigreed and privileged. My work is most definitely not a “huge joke.” It is what democracy is all about.

JoAnn Bier Beemon
Charlevoix County

Real patriots
ask questions
It is the duty, responsibility, and obligation of every American who considers themselves any kind of a patriot to ask tough questions of their elected leaders, even in times of tension such as this. Doing so serves several vital functions:
- It reminds our elected officials that the people they have to thank for their jobs are paying attention to them and are aware of what they are up to.
- It reminds our elected officials just who they are ultimately accountable to - US, the citizens (and registered voters) of America. It is US who will decide who among them will last past November. If this means they need a figurative pitchfork in the butt to remind them of this fact, then so be it.
- It serves to remind those who live under totalitarian regimes that there is something better than the yoke they live under. It reminds them that the actions and policies of their leaders CAN be called into question and put under the light of public scrutiny and debate. It will reinforce this concept: “If the citizens in America can question their leaders, why can’t we question ours?”
If you ask no questions and simply accept what they hand you, then you are ripe for being on the receiving end of deceit and tyranny. As the old saying goes: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll go for anything.”

Karl Kitchen • Suttons Bay

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