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 · Random Thoughts · The great job eater
. . . .

The great job eater

Robert Downes - January 18th, 2010
The Great Job Eater
...You stop by Border’s Books & Music over the holidays to buy some CDs
for gifts and notice that the music department has shrunk to a fifth of
its former size, with little to choose from. Turns out that music has
mostly gone digital and kids aren‘t buying CDs anymore because they can
order it cheaper online (or just rip it off for free). Hmmm... wonder
what happened to all of the people who used to make CDs and the people who
sold them?
...You drive over to Meijer and notice that there are only three cashiers
working at the entire store. But there are more than a dozen of those
irritating self-scan stations. Hmm... wonder what happened to the people
replaced by those machines?
...You hear a talking head on CNN who chirps excitedly that online sales
are up 16% for “Cyber Monday“ this year -- the equivalent of Thanksgiving
weekend‘s “Black Friday“ shopping frenzy. Turns out that more people are
shopping online from home. Hmm... wonder what will happen to all of the
people who used to depend on part-time jobs at local stores at Christmas?
Wonder what will happen to the store owners? Wonder if online shopping is
part of the reason a local outlet mall seems to be going under?
...You hear of GM laying off another 10,000 workers. Flash back to a time
in the early ‘80s when you did a story about the new industrial robots
being installed at GM‘s Orion Township plant. Several nervous-looking
union chiefs were on hand, drinking the Kool-Aid from the guys in suits,
who said that the new welding robots wouldn‘t put anyone out of a job --
they‘d just take over “the dirty work“ that no one wanted to do anymore.
Yeah, sure. But even then, you couldn‘t help noticing that the production
workers looked like a flock of hens accepting a crocodile‘s word of honor.
Hmm... wonder if any of them lost their jobs to those robots?
...You read a business story that amazon.com has raked in $27 billion
this year, and the guy who launched the online sales company is so
smart that he located his distribution centers in states such as
Arizona and Pennsylvania, where he won‘t have to pay any sales tax.
The article notes that these states desperately need tax dollars to pay
for cops, teachers and road workers, but tough beans... that‘s a perk
of “e-commerce.“ Wonder what will happen to those cops, teachers and
other public servants?
...Speaking of amazon.com, you hear that its top seller this season was
The Kindle, a reading device that allows you to download books at a
discount. Nice. Soon digital technology will be able to eliminate all
bookstores, just like it did music stores and CDs. Why, B. Dalton‘s just
closed at Grand Traverse Mall this week. Wonder what will happen to their
...You hear that Booth Newspapers has suffered its first round of layoffs
ever (50? 65? No one seems to know) at the Grand Rapids Press, Kalamazoo
Gazette and Muskegon Chronicle. Hmm, wonder if it has anything to do with
them giving away the news for free online? You know, like the grave
digger who thinks he can get out of his hole if he just digs a little
...Speaking of which, you wonder what will happen to all of the millions
of people who used to work for newspapers, book publishing, the lumber
industry, forestry, trucking, magazines, paper recycling, graphic design,
bookstores, book binding and distribution once everything goes online?
Point of our story? Several years ago, a professor at Harvard
University‘s School of Economics noted that it‘s not illegal immigrants or
globalization that are destroying jobs in the U.S. The chief job eater is
digitalization and technology.
Basically, we‘ve gotten too smart for our own good by digitizing our jobs
away. Today, a handful of software engineers can replace millions of jobs
in music, publishing, manufacturing and retail with a few keystrokes,
aided by you, the helpful online consumer. Like the Greek god Saturn, we
are devouring our own children.
Americans spent the past 25 years shipping their jobs off to China, Mexico
and Japan, buying cheap, imported flat-screen TVs, cars and computers
without a care for the future.
Now the future has come home to roost, but sadly, we don‘t see the other
pillar of job destruction, even though its evidence is everywhere in front
of our eyes.
If a socialist society or revolution ever does come to America, it won‘t
be because of Barack Obama or the Democrats -- it will be a result of the
digital destruction of jobs and the need of the have-not‘s in the face of
the have‘s.

Reinventing Ourselves
Every few years we try to brush off the moss here at the Express and
launch a few new features in the hope of keeping you entertained and
coming back to our pages.
Several years ago, this was accomplished by launching our popular Northern
Seen photo section, along with MyStyle, GearBox, Tastemakers and Bottoms
This time around, we‘re building the ‘front end‘ of the paper with an
emphasis on opinion. You may have noticed that co-publisher George Foster
launched his new sports column, The Score, last week. George knows far
more about sports than anyone I‘ve ever met and once predicted the entire
game-by-game results for the Pistons prior to the start of the playoffs.
Also new in this issue is Steve Tuttle‘s column, Spectator. Steve is a
political consultant who has advised both Democrat and Republican
candidates through the years. He wrote a column by the same name for many
years at the Arizona Republic -- the state‘s largest newspaper -- and we
expect that he will elevate the level of discourse here at the Express
with an insider‘s perspective on politics, among other topics.
We‘ve also added Mike Terrell‘s Call of the Wild in recent months.
Northern Michigan is still an outdoorsy place, and we take pride in
promoting and preserving that heritage by continuing a popular column he
wrote for many years for the Record-Eagle.
Finally, we‘re proud to welcome Erin Crowell as our newest full-time
reporter. With a talent for strong leads and colorful writing, Erin will
strengthen our features section. As a recent journalism graduate from
Grand Valley State University, she brings youthful eyes and experiences to
the Express.
Our goal is to have more meaningful commentary on issues, events and the
people who have an impact on Northern Michigan.

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