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 · Random Thoughts · The pie in the face
. . . .

The pie in the face

Robert Downes - August 23rd, 2010
The Pie in the Face
Give her credit, Ahlam Mohsen, 22, has got some guts, if not a lot of sense.
The anti-war activist and Michigan State University student from
Coldwater smacked U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) in the face with a
Dutch apple pie last week. Now, she faces a felony charge of stalking,
along with misdemeanors for assault and disorderly conduct.
Levin, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was in
Big Rapids last week to meet with citizens at Peppers Cafe and Deli.
While responding to a young man who delivered a long tirade accusing
him of war crimes, the senator was ambushed by Mohsen with the pie.
Levin wasn’t pleased with getting pie’d, but he laughed it off later,
saying he’d prefer blueberry next time.
According to the congressional website, Politico, Mohsen made the
following statement: “Carl Levin is one of the most respected senators
in Congress. People tend to blame the war on Republicans, but we
wanted to target Levin today to send a message that liberals and
Democrats are just as implicated in the violence as the Republicans.”
As of last week, Mohsen was being held in the Mecosta County jail on a
$250,000 bond. In Michigan, a felony conviction carries more than a
year in prison.
Just desserts? Or high time that pies started flying at other senators
and congressmen?
Mohsen is a Muslim who’s into the whole head scarf thing and has
reportedly harangued Levin in the past. She’s not likely to win many
hearts in places like Big Rapids.
Still, she reflects the frustration of millions of Americans who
wonder why our country always seem to be going down the road to war --
a road that seemingly has no end, not just in Afghanistan, but for
who-knows-what waits beyond.
What’s next? Iran? Venezuela? North Korea? Pakistan? Take your pick.
A new book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, by
Andrew Bacevich questions our role as the world’s policeman.
Bacevich is a Boston University professor and West Point graduate who
served for 23 years in the U.S. Army. An expert in foreign policy, he
says that Americans have been oversold on the dangers of what he calls
“goof states” like North Korea and Iran.
With the Cold War long over and China established as our major trading
partner, the world is a far more peaceful place than we’re led to
believe, Bacevich writes. We’re also far poorer as a nation because
of the $708 billion budget we ship off to the Defense Department each
year. Those funds could go to education, Medicare or universal health
care, rather than to support military bases in wealthy nations such as
Japan and Germany.
What possible reason could we have for stationing roughly 50,000
troops in both Japan and Germany -- two of the world’s largest and
most successful economies -- when our own cities are crumbling from
It never ends: In his interview with the editors of the Record-Eagle
last week, Sen. Levin said that a U.S. military strike on Iran is an
option that’s still “on the table,” possibly using cruise missiles to
strike at Iran’s nuclear program. There’s also a growing buzz in the
media in support of a bombing attack on Iran by Israel.
For those who think that this is a great idea, consider that Iran also
has cruise missiles which are poised to strike our own troops in Iraq
and Afghanistan, along with the U.S. Navy if and when our good buddies
in Israel go ballistic. Our troops would be sitting ducks.
Throughout the lifetime of the baby boom generation, our country has
been bound in a nearly seamless transition from one war to the next:
Korea, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, El Salvador,
Panama, Grenada, Bosnia, Serbia, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq...
Perhaps it’s time for an Alcoholics Anonymous-style intervention to
help us recognize that we’re addicted.
We’re addicted in large part because we’re the world’s chief arms
supplier and people in Washington -- including Sen. Levin -- have a
vested interest in insuring that there will never be peace in the
world. As Bacevich notes, there’s the stimulus of “profit, power and
privilege” in Washington that keeps the war machine running smoothly.
In 2009, America sold the world nearly $155 billion in weapons. Our
country has a huge stake in fomenting endless wars to keep the
military-industrial complex in the pink of health.
Yet, in his farewell address in 1796, President George Washington
warned future generations of the dangers of “foreign intrigues” and to
reject foreign alliances and wars. More than 200 years later,
President Dwight D. Eisenhower echoed the same message, warning of a
military-industrial complex that would plunge America into an eternal
cycle of profit and blood.
What weapons do Americans have who desire peace and a new direction
for our country? One that puts jobs, education, urban renewal and
health care above bombing people in Afghanistan, or the next war on
the horizon? Only a Dutch apple pie.

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