Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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. . . .


- September 20th, 2010
No guarantee
The September 6 issue of Northern Express contained an article by
Congressman Bart Stupak called “Social Security: don’t mess with
I don’t know Bart Stupak personally. He may be a wonderful fellow. But
as I read his article I became more and more appalled at his ignorance
in regard to the Social Security system, which so many people in
Michigan rely upon for financial assistance.
In his article, Bart Stupak stated that “Social Security has been
providing (people)... a guaranteed source of income,” and that it was
“life-long wage insurance,” and that “contributions (to it) come
back.” He also said that “Social Security is a uniquely American
system ...”
However, the perception that there is a Social Security fund is, for
all practical
purposes, a myth. The federal court in
Helvering v. Davis made it very clear that “The proceeds from (Social
Security taxes) are ... paid into the treasury like other internal
revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way.”
The court has pointed out that payroll deductions are NOT payments on
premiums for insurance of any kind, but are simply additional income
taxes. In Flemming v.
Davis, the federal court said that “eligibility for benefits ...
(does) not in any true sense depend on contribution through payment of
And in Flemming v. Nestor, the court said that “Congress ...has
...retained a claim expressly reserving to it the right to alter,
amend, or repeal any provision of the (Social Security) act.”
Accordingly, there is nothing that is guaranteed or life-long about
Social Security payments.
The Internal Revenue Code (Chapter 21, Section 3101) makes it clear
that payroll deductions for so-called Social Security are simply
additional income taxes. The taxes collected are more than spent each
year. In a very technical sense, one might say that there is a trust
fund, but that is only an illusion created by deceptive accounting.
The trust fund holds only paper IOUs (bonds). And those IOUs are no
more than a claim against every U.S. citizen for taxes not yet
collected. The IOUs are nothing more than the U.S. government owing
the money to itself!
In closing, if anyone believes that the Social Security system is, as
Bart Stupak stated, uniquely American, please log onto the Crown’s
website in England and look up statutory Instrument No. 1778, The
Social Security (United States of America) Order 1997. Go to
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si199717.htm and look for order 1778 to see
who has the power to approve and amend “our” social security system.
Do your own research. See for yourself. You, too, Bart.

Joseph Allan • via email

Vote on TCL&P
In both our public and private lives we have to trust others. When
that trust is betrayed, our only choice is to make different decisions
to meet our goals. Most of us trusted Traverse City Light and Power
(TCL&P) to include us in honest and responsible discussions of
power-generation issues, and decisions on future power generation
We all know this didn’t happen (in the recent controversy over TCL&P‘s
biomass proposal); at best we were ignored, at worstwe were
manipulated and lied to.
The trust was broken and the only choice left was to change the rules
that allowed the TCL&P Board to do whatever they wanted, accountable
to nobody. Since they weren’t elected, there was no way to “throw the
bums out,” but two changes to the City Charter will force them to act
openly in our best interests.
To rewrite the rules we had to collect enough signatures to put two
proposals on November’s ballot. The first would make sure that the
director and the board would carry out public business under public
scrutiny and follow the same rules that govern other public bodies.
The second would allow voters to make decisions on new power plants.
While the petition drive was amazingly successful, the job is only
half done until the vote is passed. We can’t rest on our laurels, lose
momentum, and lose the single best chance we may ever have of making
TCL&P answerable to the public that owns it.
The people won on the facts; our greatest challenge now is to fight
complacency. That means everybody must vote on November 2!
Remember how helpless we felt when TCL&P refused to listen to our
concerns? A “YES” vote on both proposals will restore our rights, and
while it might take a while before we trust again, we’ll be able to
verify immediately!
Margaret Dodd • TC

Chamber opposition
On September 14, the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of
Directors approved the Chamber’s opposition to Traverse City Proposal
1 that will appear on the November 2 general election ballot in the
City of Traverse City.
Proposal 1 calls for an amendment to the Charter of the City of
Traverse City to give the city commission exclusive power and duty to
operate Traverse City Light & Power while limiting the TCL&P Board to
an advisory capacity to the city commission.
The Chamber’s opposition to Proposal 1 is due to the following reasons...
1. The residents and businesses in Traverse City benefit from low
rates and reliable service provided by TCL&P. This contributes to
Traverse City’s financial stability by ensuring the lowest possible
rates and (the highest) quality service.
2. Proposal 1 would cause uncertainty in customers’ rates, fees,
services and taxes. This hinders the ability of small businesses in
Traverse City to plan for growth and hiring of more employees because
the long-term energy decisions would be limited to the staggered
two-year election cycle of the city commissioners.
3. Future business growth and job creation in Traverse City depend on
consistent energy costs. The economic and regulatory climate in
Michigan is already a double barrier for employers considering
Traverse City. Uncertainty in power costs would be another stop sign
to these prospective employers.
4. Proposal 1 would cause reduced efficiency and longer decision time.
Currently, the TCL&P Board, which is appointed by the city commission,
has the ability and specialized knowledge to make decisions on
projects and opportunities. Increases in time will cause increases in
costs, which will be passed on to the customer.
5. Proposal 1 would politicize energy planning, placing unnecessary
government control over a proven, responsible process. The city
commission already appoints the TCL&P Board. Proposal 1 would create
an unneeded double layer of oversight.

Doug Luciani, President & CEO
TC Area Chamber of Commerce

Wrong religion
Just a note to correct an error in Robert Downes‘ excellent article
about the American perception of Muslims. He sites Chaldeans as being
among Muslims he has known and liked. The Chaldeans are in fact devout
Christians, Catholics.

Bob Underhill • via email

(Whoops! Thanks for the correction Bob. -- R.D.)

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