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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- November 22nd, 2010
Special interest circus
I’m a father, retired business person and a military veteran (Army,
infantry, Vietnam). Like most, I’m glad the elections are over. They
are a circus run by special interests who spend billions to sell their
candidates. Those who were elected throw their fist in the air and
proclaim: “the people have spoken.” They use this slogan to do the
bidding of their big money backers.
We see the broken system, the legalized bribery, the bashing - and we
respond by shutting it off. In virtually every area of this country
about 50% of the people are registered to vote. Of those, about half
vote. Of those, about half vote for the “winner.” Thus, the “winner”
represents about 15% of WE THE PEOPLE.
Politicians, if they truly want to represent us, need to investigate
why they lost 85% of the people, and what needs to be changed to allow
the voices of the people to be heard. WE THE PEOPLE are interested in
our families, our communities, our country. We want to be informed
and involved. We need a system overhaul.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake
Dangers of state religions
This letter is in reply to the one submitted by Rebecca Carlson in the
Nov. 8 issue of Express.
She doesn’t actually say so in her letter, but it sounds like she
thinks there should be no separation of church and state in the U.S.
government. World history shows us why mixing religion and government
is a bad thing, especially for those poor souls who do not worship
the religion in power. Nearly every time, tyranny and corruption
Take, for instance, the fledgling colonies of the United States and
the Salem Witch “Trials” of the 1690s. The influence of a strict
religion on the secular courts combined to do terrible things in the
name of God.
Adolph Hitler, falsely proclaiming himself a Christian in order to
mask his evil agenda as a righteous one, presented the extermination
of the Jews as a religious crusade. In 1943, he wrote of the
“Immediate and unconditional abolition of all religions after the
final victory,” and of proclaiming himself as the new messiah. No
doubt the German people would have happily (or unhappily and without
much choice) followed him straight to hell.
In Iraq, Saddam Hussein wielded his religious affiliations as a weapon
against minority religious groups... even fellow Muslims. To this day,
the Iraqi government is in turmoil due to ongoing religious disputes
between Islamic factions.
In places like Saudi Arabia and Iran, women, Jews, Christians,
reformers and others are harshly oppressed by a totalitarian ideology
of hatred that incites even ordinary citizens to violence against
In Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir tried to impose Islamic law in a
campaign that included aerial bombing of southern areas of his own
country where Christianity and traditional religions are practiced.
Religious battles even between sects of the Christian faith have been
documented throughout history. In 1533, Catholic Queen Mary of
England took the throne and promptly had hundreds of Protestants
executed in a bloody drive to force Catholicism as a national
religion. This is, of course, after her father King Henry III forced
Protestantism on the country, dismantling and selling off the
country’s Catholic churches, monasteries and riches and made it high
treason, punishable by death, to refuse to acknowledge him as “the
only Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England.”
In our own backyard, the Branch Davidians, the People’s Temple and
others show that religious power can be very dangerous, and its
followers deaf and blind to the truth. Believers really do “believe”
anything they’re told, and will follow their religious leaders
willingly, even into death.
Many political commentators today see themselves as leaders, and their
followers internalize every single word; the historical distortions,
outright fabrications, rantings and conspiracy theories. Hearing these
things day in and day out from the same people tends to shape your
perceptions. Regardless of your political or religious leadings,
that’s NEVER a good thing.
If religion should be allowed to influence the U.S. government, which
sect or religion would it be? Would my slightly left-of-center views
cause me to be oppressed, not allowed to vote, not allowed to run for
office, not allowed to write my opinions, be imprisoned or even stoned
to death if I don’t conform? Would the same apply to any sect of the
same faith that is not part of the power structure?
Religion is a highly personal thing, and it certainly has its place in
our daily lives. No religion should have power over government, or any
nation; as no government should have control over religion. When one
religion governs, demagoguery and religious persecution are always the
Ms. Carlson and others who believe that religion should have a bigger
role need only do a little research to see why the separation of
church and state is so important, whatever you believe about the First
Wendy Keene • South Boardman

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