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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Hello? Some news you may not want to hear

Robert Downes - May 10th, 2010
Remember those old commercials: “This is your brain on drugs,” where they
showed a blob sizzling in a frying pan? Well it turns out that drugs
aren’t the problem: it’s your cell phone.
Not to mention your wi-fi hub, iPad, laptop, and all of the other wireless
gadgets filling up your life. Like a vampire bat that refuses to buzz off,
studies involving the link between wireless technology and cancer keep
coming back to bite us.
“The only honest way to think of our cell phones is that they are tiny,
low-powered microwave ovens without walls, that we hold against the side
of our heads,” writes Christopher Ketcham in the February issue of GQ
Ketcham offers a rundown of numerous studies coming out of Europe on the
effects of microwave radiation via our digital phones and wi-fi
connections. Interesting to note, at a time when Traverse City is striving
to establish a free, city-wide wi-fi system, Germany is urging its
citizens to avoid wi-fi altogether.
(By the way, those of you who are reading this online may wish to move
your laptops off your laps and onto a table, because you may be
irradiating your testicles or ovaries with microwaves... not a good idea.)
Five years ago, there was a flurry of controversy over the death of
Johnnie Cochran, the lawyer who defended O.J. Simpson. Cochran was a
heavy cell phone user who died of a brain tumor on the same side of his
head as his phone hand. Predictably, digital phone companies came up with
their own studies and scientists who said the danger of cell phone usage
was all bosh, and don’t worry about it.
But to paraphrase Cochran: if the digital phone danger fits, we must not
quit investigating it.
On Wall Street, GQ reports that an unusually high number of day traders
in their mid-30s have been afflicted with brain tumors. Coincidentally,
these traders hang on their phones all day for years on end, and their
doctors tend to believe there‘s a connection.
But it’s not just urban phone addicts who are at risk. A 2005 study in
Sweden found that “people who lived in rural areas who had been using a
digital phone for more than three years were three times more likely to be
diagnosed with a brain tumor than those living in urban areas.”
Since then, there have been a flood of studies on the risks of radiation
from digital phones and wi-fi transmitters. Ketcham notes that these
studies have come primarily from Europe‘s top research centers, linking
cell phones and PDAs to “brain aging,” brain tumors, early-onset
Alzheimer’s, DNA damage, senility, sperm die-off and testicular cancer
(the latter because many men carry their phones in their pockets or on
their belts).
Here’s more:
• In 2008, scientists from 13 countries took part in an “Interphone” study
which reported that the chance of getting a brain tumor on the same side
of your head as your phone hand goes up by as much as 40%.
• Israeli scientists have traced a connection between digital phones and
cancer of the salivary gland.
• Last year, Swedish scientists reported that people who started using
cell phones before the age of 20 were five times more likely to be
afflicted by brain tumors.
• In 1999, Stanford University reported chromosomal changes in blood
cells when they were subjected to the same kind of radiation emitted by
cell phones.
These studies are just the tip of the iceberg, with additional concerns
over the hazards of living near cell phone towers which emit microwaves.
Sabotage is on the rise around the world, with worried, sickened citizens
destroying towers in Ireland, Spain, Australia, Israel and other
Love your laptop? Then consider this. Blake Levitt, the author of a book
on protecting yourself from electromagnetic radiation, reports that wi-fi
operates at the same frequency as a microwave oven, “but is embedded with
a wider range of modulations than cell phones, because we need it to carry
more data.”
He says that installing wi-fi transmitters in our homes, schools,
libraries and coffee shops is like “inviting a cell tower indoors.”
Europe is moving to scale down its use of wi-fi, with the systems being
yanked from government buildings in a number of countries. In addition to
Germany warning its citizens against going wireless, the national library
of France has just announced that it will shut down its wi-fi system.
Austria is urging a ban on wi-fi in all schools.
So far, however, Americans have generally turned a deaf ear to the dangers
of digital phones, wi-fi and cell towers. It’s the news that no one wants
to hear.
You meet a lot of people who are head over heels in love with their cell
phones these days. Digital phones have become the bling of the 2010s.
Whether you’re packing an iPhone, a Blackberry or one of the new Droids,
your phone is a status symbol imbued with near-magical powers. How else
could you have 500,000 aps in the palm of your hand? Or all of the
movies, MP3 files, stock quotes, weather reports or webpages you care to
download? Like the charms of a voodoo sorcerer, digital phones have
gained a mystical power over us zombies who can no longer live without
Then too, Ketcham notes that the digital phone and wi-fi industry is
collecting hundreds of billions of dollars per year in revenues and has
plenty of incentive to hide the risk of brain tumors in the same way that
Big Tobacco, asbestos manufacturers and pesticide companies hid or
suppressed research that could have saved millions of lives.
All of this wouldn’t matter much if cell phones and wi-fi were just the
province of middle-aged phone geeks. You get to a certain age and your bad
habits and addictions make you expendable.
But consider that on the average, an American teenager sends out 50 texts
per day and is now connected to a wi-fi device nearly every waking minute.
This is the first generation being raised with nearly constant exposure to
microwaves. Where will that take us?

Protect yourself:
• Devra Davis, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for
Environmental Oncology, says to use a speakerphone or an earpiece instead
of holding your cell phone to your ear. Even a matter of inches “reduces
radiation exposure dramatically.”
• Use a landline at home and get rid of radiation-emitting cordless phones.
• Ditch your wi-fi in favor of an Ethernet cable, or place your wi-fi hub
as far away as possible.
• Avoid living or working near a cell phone tower.
• Don’t carry your phone in your pants pocket or on your belt.

-- Excerpted from “Move Away from Your Cell Phone,” GQ magazine, Feb.

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