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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The inevitability of health care reform

Robert Downes - September 7th, 2009
Random Thoughts
The inevitability of health care reform
Robert Downes 9/7/09

If you were at a dinner party and the conversation turned to health care reform, could you explain the single-payer plan used by many countries around the world?
This is just a blind guess, but one can only imagine that the vast majority of Americans don’t have a clue. All they know is that “single-payer” has something to do with Canadian health care and it sounds like a
bureaucratic buzz word, so it must be a shady proposition.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration hasn’t done a very good job of offering a simple explanation of health care alternatives such as the so-called “public option,” much less a single-payer plan. Instead, much of the debate has been ceded to those who are intent on spreading disinformation.
So it’s high time the president got around to laying out exactly what he and the Democrats intend to offer at the joint session of Congress this week.
The latest disinformation campaign includes the idea that President Obama plans to do away with Medicare, and that old folks will be denied chemotherapy after a certain age, among other lies that some gullible seniors have adopted as the gospel.
But the problem with disinformation is that, like a parasite, it can’t survive outside of a friendly host.
Take Sarah Palin’s claim that a “death panel” would probably kill her Down Syndrome baby if Obamacare went through. Palin came up with this idea out of thin air and there hasn’t been much of a peep out of her since it was debunked in early August.
Ultimately, disinformation withers under the spotlight of public scrutiny. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, the cable TV news shows have nothing better to do than spend endless hours debunking myths, such as the idea that Americans will have no health insurance options other than what the government has to offer. Obviously, in a country as profit-driven as ours, there will always be private insurance companies catering to those who can afford their policies, no matter what public option appears.
In a way, the uproar over health care reform has been a positive thing for America, because ultimately, it will educate us all to better choices than the half-measures that are being proposed by the Democrats.
Take single-payer, for instance -- an option which is considered to be off the books for the Democrats as being “too radical.”
Yet thanks to the debate, the ‘Letters’ pages of newspapers across the country are being flooded with calls for a single-payer plan on par with that of Canada or Europe.
And what is that?
“Single-payer” simply means that every American would begin paying into a public health care plan, the same as we currently pay into Medicare and Social Security.
To put it another way, it would mean a form of Medicare extended to all Americans.
A single-payer plan of universal coverage would allow every American to see a physician for preventive health measures, such as screenings for cancer, diabetes and heart disease. As writer Anne Stanton notes in her excellent article in this issue, “A Sick Story,” early diagnosis and treatment saves money and lives by not letting diseases get out of control.
Most Americans have learned to put their trust in Medicare and Social Security. That trust would no doubt be extended to a single-payer plan. Those who don’t like the plan could buy an additional private insurance policy, just as those who don’t care for Social Security are free to invest in the stock market and 401k plans to supplement their retirement.
Meanwhile, the insurance companies fear that the “public option” proposed by the Obama administration would quickly become so popular with Americans that they’d soon go out of business.
That’s not a difficult idea for Americans to grasp and even applaud, since most of us have no love of insurance company profits. Whatever comes of the joint session of Congress this week, eventually it will sink in that a “public option” may be a good direction for America. Our insurance companies could still have a stake, but as non-profit organizations.
Some may recall that the health care reform plan of 1994 went off the rails in large part because Democratic-leaning union members didn’t support it. Today, however, many of those same union members have lost their health care insurance and are solidly behind reform.
“Single-payer,” “public option” -- these are concepts that were once mysterious, but are starting to be more widely understood, thanks to the debate. Ultimately, America will ‘talk’ its way into health care reform; perhaps the Obama Administration will score only one small victory this term, but in subsequent elections we’ll hear a drumbeat for change that can’t be resisted.

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