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 9/18/03
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Letters 9/18/03

Various - September 18th, 2003
The 10 Commandments

Recently Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court has been in
trouble with the law because of a stone monument he has installed in a court
house. He has been ordered to remove the Decalogue because nothing in the
United States Constitution gives him the right to display it.
American law is not based on the Ten Commandments as Mr. Moore and friends
would have you believe! American law is generally viewed as having secular origins. Our laws are based on English common and statutory law, Roman law, the civil law of
continental Europe and was also influenced by the Magna Carta, the Federalist Papers and the writings of William Blackstone, John Locke, Adam Smith and others.
It‘s NOT against the law to have or worship other gods, or make a graven
image or take the Lord‘s name in vain. It‘s NOT against the law to not keep
holy the Sabbath. It‘s NOT against the law not to honor your mother or
father. It‘s NOT against the law (nowadays) to commit adultery. It‘s NOT
against the law to bear false witness (the Religious Right does it every
day). It‘s NOT against the law to covet thy neighbors goods or wife.
The only two commandments that apply to the law are killing and stealing,
and a long time before the Hebrews came on the scene, the Egyptians,
Babylonians, Sumerians, the Mesopotamians, etc., had laws against killing
and stealing.
In the United States you can call God by any name you like, and you may
worship in any way you like, so long as you harm none. You may sing or chant
or dance or sit in silence, you may even roll on the floor and handle
snakes. You may speak or write your beliefs without fear and you may
persuade anyone you can to come and believe with you.
The only thing you cannot do is use the law to force your beliefs on those
who do not share them.
You can be Wiccan and worship a Goddess. You may be Puritan or Roman
Catholic or Anglican or Jewish.
You can observe the Passover or the season of Lent. You can be Muslim and
celebrate the Hirja and look forward to the birth of Muhammad. You may
follow Shinto or be a Buddhist. You may seek help from a Navajo shaman. How
good it is that we in the U.S.A. have the freedom of religion without fear!
If Chief Justice Moore had carved in stone the “Bill of Rights“ and placed
them in his courthouse perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Baptist
Joint Committee on Public Affairs, the Commission on Social Action of Reform
Judiaism, the Interfaith Alliance, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the American Jewish Congress, the
Arab-American Anti-Defamation League and several other legal scholars,
historians and others would not have found it necessary to file suit in the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th District.
This is our Republic if we can keep it. We are not yet a Theocracy!

Rev. Robert F. Donaldson • East Jordan

A war based on lies

When I was in Vietnam we were told that we were fighting for democracy and to
liberate the Vietnamese people. History has shown that the Gulf of Tonkin
incident and the war were based on lies. Over 68,000 American troops died.
Hundreds of thousands more were wounded - physically and/or mentally. We were
treated to Agent Orange and denial and benefit cuts by our government.
Our service people in Iraq are facing a much worse fate. Our government is
using depleted uranium to tip all of our shells and bombs. The explosions
generate microscopic particles that contaminate everything, including the air.
This substance infects the body and never goes away. It results in cancer,
deformed children, and other yet unnamed malfunctions. We used depleted uranium in
the first Gulf War and over 300,000 troops are suffering. Our government
denies it.
The government/media encourage us to wave the flag and “Support The Troops.“
They are killing our troops. I say “Protect The Troops“ from a
government/military/industrial/media complex that only cares about money.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake, MI

An end to the strike?

It is my wish to put into fresh perspective the current crisis at Northern Michigan Hospital and its likely outcomes. There are uncanny parallels between
our situation here and a recently settled strike at Nyack Hospital New York. In brief:
• In 2000, 460 nurses organized and eventually went out on strike at Nyack Hospital in pursuit of better quality patient care and better working conditions for nurses.
• Nyack Hospital pursued a similar “hardball“ strategy as Northern Michigan Hospital, utilizing the services of the now familiar strikebreaking agency
U.S. Nursing Corporation.
• Nyack Hospital hit financial bottom when it reported a $34 million loss in 2000, at least $19 million of which was due to strike-related expenses. (Recall NMH is now seeking approval from the State to borrow $10 million dollars “due to circumstances out of our control.“
• Nyack brought a lawsuit against U.S. Nursing Corporation to recoup dollars it said it was overcharged.
• After a six-month strike, the hospital finally reached a three-year contract agreement with its unionized nursing staff.
• Immediately after the strike, a new hospital management team was hired at Nyack as part of its uphill struggle to bring the hospital back into financial health.
What can we learn from Nyack? Not only is “playing hardball“ to union-bust your nurses costly and damaging, but it is likely to end in failure. In order to get such a damaged hospital back on its financial feet, a clean sweep is often needed of the management team responsible for the damage. Such reclusive and unaccountable management teams often become the subject of federal and/or state investigations regarding their use or misuse of funds.
Should we trust the reassuring words of NMH management? Recently Tom Mroczkowski, NMH‘s COO wrote in his guest editorial: “I must say that I felt a deep
pride when we met with the Governor‘s Blue Ribbon Panel.“ He made no mention that under his leadership management had previously stone-walled the panel, or that some currently employed NMH doctors who wished to testify at the hospital‘s closed door meeting were told by management “you are not invited.“ These doctors subsequently wrote a letter to the panel protesting having been shut out of the meeting. Nor
did he mention that on more the one occasion his employees had to be reprimanded by panel members for insulting the Blue Ribbon Panel and the whole information gathering process (this is a matter of public record - you can obtain the full NMH testimony by contacting www.Mash406NMHNurses.)
What does NMH management have to hide? Why did it require a “private meeting“ with the panel, and then deny some of its own doctors the right to testify? NMH
management is now asking the State to approve an additional $10 million loan, but they have not been forthcoming with the public about how much and where they‘ve been spending our precious healthcare dollars over the last 10 months. Let the public beware.

Jim Norgaard • Petoskey

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