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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Social Security

U.S. Rep Bart Stupak - August 6th, 2010
Social Security: don‘t mess with success
By U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI)
Social Security is one of the great American success stories, and
August 14 marked the program’s 75th anniversary.
On August 14, 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social
Security Act into law, and since then Social Security has been
providing our seniors, disabled citizens, children, and widows and
widowers with a guaranteed source of income. At the end of last year,
53 million Americans were receiving Social Security benefits,
including 36 million retired workers and their dependents, 6 million
survivors of deceased workers and 10 million disabled workers and
their dependents.
Social Security provides life-long wage insurance that is paid for by
payroll contributions from workers and employers. These contributions
come back to Americans by providing monthly income when they retire or
become disabled or to family members when an individual passes away.
This program will remain critical in light of the fact that only half
of our nation’s workforce has a retirement plan through work, and
employer-sponsored benefit pension plans are quickly being replaced by
riskier employee savings plans.
Social Security is especially important to residents here in Northern
Michigan. The First District ranks 8th in the nation in terms of the
number of recipients, with nearly 164,000 people drawing Social
Security each month. Social Security provides the only income for
many of our neighbors to live with a sense of dignity and
Seniors in Northern Michigan, and nationwide, have worked hard all
their lives, seeing our country through war, the depression and
dramatic social changes. Without Social Security one in every two
seniors would be living in poverty, and today six in 10 seniors rely
on Social Security for more than half of their income.
These men and women also deserve Social Security benefits based on the
true cost of the goods they purchase. That is why I have co-sponsored
legislation to establish a “seniors only” Consumer Price Index (CPI)
to account for seniors’ different buying habits. This would ensure a
truer senior Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
Social Security has provided consistent and reliable income for
retired and disabled workers even during times of economic turbulence.
It has remained strong through 13 recessions. During our most recent
economic downturn, when 401(k)s and IRAs lost 32 percent of their
value, individuals on Social Security did not lose a dime.
That is why I do not support renewed efforts to privatize Social
Security. Many privatization proposals rely on a manufactured crisis
claiming that Social Security will soon be “bankrupt.” But the fact
is, as long as workers continue to pay into the system it will never
become bankrupt. Currently, the fund is large enough to pay full
benefits through 2037 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits after that.
Clearly some adjustments will need to be made to continue to fully
fund benefits after 2037, but subjecting the program to the whims of
Wall Street is not the solution we need.
Social Security is a uniquely American system that guarantees a
retirement nest egg will be there for workers when they retire or
become disabled. Benefits have been paid on time and in full every
single month for 75 years, providing critical income to our retired
and disabled workers and their families. We must work together to
determine long-term solutions that ensure benefits can be paid in full
for another 75 years, and beyond, without putting the financial
security that is the bedrock of the Social Security program at risk.

Bart Stupak is the Congressman for Northern Michigan‘s 1st District.

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