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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Words of WisdomMatt / Sutherland?s journal offers daily inspiration

Robert Downes - January 4th, 2010
Words of Wisdom/Matt Sutherland’s journal offers daily inspiration
By Robert Downes
Consider the following quote and how it might apply to your own life:

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything in the universe.” -- John Muir.

That bit of wisdom by the legendary California naturalist is one of the quotes in Matt Sutherland’s new book, Go Seek: Journaling to Spiritual Fulfillment. The idea is to think about what Muir said about the interconnectedness of the universe and write out your own thoughts on several blank journal pages that follow the quote.
To aid you in that endeavor, Sutherland also includes some thoughts on how physicist Albert Einstein viewed “the connections between all elements of the universe, be it energy, matter, space or time.”
Spiritual stuff? That’s what Sutherland, 46, is hoping readers and journal writers will get out of his project, which has been published by Spirituality & Health Books, a firm launched by himself and his wife, Victoria, who is also the guiding light behind ForeWord Magazine in Traverse City.
Speaking of ideas being “hitched to everything in the universe,” over the past few years, the Sutherlands have been delving more into the mind/body/health connection for their publishing effort. As an editor who reviews hundreds of books each year for ForeWord, that process planted the seed for Go Seek:.

“The journal came about because as I started to read more about the mind, body and health side of spirituality, I began to collect quotes through the years,” Sutherland says. “And I thought it would be good to identify these thinkers, from Einstein to Buddha and Yogananda, while allowing readers to respond with their own thoughts in a journal.”
Thus, Sutherland has created a 200-page book which allows for eight weeks of journaling via 56 assignments based on the thoughts of seekers ranging from T.S. Eliot to Jim Harrison, Walt Whitman, Ani Tenzin Palmo, Abraham Maslow, Goethe, the Bhagavad Gita, Oscar Wilde, Edward Abbey and many others.
“The book includes more than 50 philosophers, thinkers and theologians from all walks of life,” he says. He adds that each week introduces a new theme to write about, including Nature, Daily Practice, True Self, Misfortune & Suffering, Compassion, Truth Seeking, Synchronicity, and Gratitude.

Sutherland is no stranger to the writing game. As an editor, he has spent the past 12 years assisting in the review of some 80 books per month for ForeWord Magazine, which presents the work of independent publishers.
He has ghostwritten approximately 15 books through the years, and produced a cookbook several years ago called Savor Michigan, profiling the state’s top 25 restaurants. Additionally, he worked with his investor brother, Paul, on last year’s Zenvesting. More recently, he’s been part of the Spirituality & Health Books team that published Bob Butz’s new book, Going Out Green along with Kitchen Alchemy by a writer from Wales, and the new The Cook’s House Cookbook.
Needless to say, Sutherland is on top of publishing trends, which is part of the reason he’s created Go Seek: as a print-on-demand book. Rather than being available at bookstores (which tends to involve the nightmare of national distribution), Sutherland’s $11.95 book can be ordered through www.spiritualityhealth.com/books, www.amazon.com, or www.lulu.com (a website for authors and small publishers). At lulu.com, the book can be ordered with a choice of six different covers.
“Print-on-demand allows small publishers to fulfill orders without having 1,000 undistributed books in their garage,” Sutherland notes. Along with ebook publishing, it’s a new direction for the industry.

Sutherland says that journal writing is a healthful resolution for the new year.
“There’s something really spiritual about writing and seeing your words on paper to take you someplace different,” he says. “I know a handful of writers who said it took them out of depression after weeks and weeks of writing out their thoughts.”
It’s his hope that the wisdom of the world’s great thinkers and writers expressed in Go Seek: will be a catalyst, providing an inspiring line of thought that journal writers can slip into for a ride to self-revelation.
“It’s a way to do something healthy for your New Year’s resolution,” he says. “It’s a way to encourage thinking about healthy practices, such as taking up yoga, going to the gym, eating less meat, or walking 45 minutes each day. When you write for 20 minutes each day, it also encourages you to think about healthful changes for your life.”
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