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 4/18/11
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Letters 4/18/11

- April 18th, 2011
Art or barbarism?
In response to the “Bodies Human” show at the Dennos Museum Center. Art?
To me abomination is a more fitting term.
Most of the bodies being displayed are Chinese because Red China is one of
the few countries that will gladly sell human organs and whole bodies to
the highest bidder, especially its executed prisoners, which it leads the
world in production of.
Regardless of that, these are human beings who are someone’s father,
mother, son, daughter, brother or sister who are being exhibited like some
kind of stuffed animal for others’ amusement and profit. Or is it alright
to mount humans like hunting trophies as long as they are poor Chinese and
not rich Caucasians?
Masquerading as an education, health and science show, it is really a
third world carnival freak show, except most of the third world has more
respect for the dead. 100 weirdly posed corpses in our museum; what’s
wrong with this picture? Is our country losing its collective mind and
soul and anything goes? I hope not.
The Dennos Museum and Traverse Health Clinic are both wonderful
organizations. But whoever set this event up apparently didn’t think out
its dark side. Please give it some thought and voice your feelings. I hope
you will agree this is an assault on our humanity in our beautiful corner
of Michigan and together we can get it shut down.

Keith Lints • via email

For what it’s worth, it should be noted that the bodies in the exhibit
reportedly came from Taiwan, rather than mainland China. - ed.)

Corporate tax dodgers
For most of us the dreaded tax day is here. Is it fair? Not hardly. If you
paid one dollar in taxes for 2010, you paid more than Exxon Mobil, G.E.
and Bank of America combined. The majority of U.S. corporations did not
pay any federal income taxes in the period between 1998-2005.
Now consider this: Since 2001, the United States has increased its
military expenditures by 81%, an amount that now represents 4.8% of our
GDP. With costly ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the current
military campaign in Libya, we now spend more annually on defense than
China, Britain, France and Russia combined. Defense contractors and
corporations like G.E., Boeing and Halliburton accrue the lion’s share of
that money. Remember the old saying, “War is good for business; invest
your children”?
Meanwhile, we are facing massive cuts to social programs at both the
federal and state levels. Gov. Snyder keeps telling us we are almost broke
(and he has another solution for that in the Emergency Financial
Management bill: privatization of cities). His words and actions
demonstrate that he wants to balance the budget on the backs of children,
the elderly and the middle class (private workers: you are next in line
after the unions).
“We the People” are paying more than our fair share of taxes. If
corporations are “persons” as the Supreme Court designated, why aren’t
they paying taxes also?!

Ann Rogers • TC

The haves and have-nots
As a long term admirer of the Northern Express I’ve always appreciated
your willingness to publish the diverse opinion of your readers; so for
the first time I am compelled to offer an opinion.
We have an unprecedented national debt, a president doing the best he can
recovering from an ill-advised involvement in the Middle East, a Wall
Street fiasco that has cost many of us our investments, and an economy
that has been in a ditch. Numbers are manipulated to reflect the vested
interests of pseudo-politicos who either have a finger in the pie or
simply heads in the sand. Despite all this, we have a recovering economy
and perhaps light at the end of the tunnel. The real issue here is the
ever-growing disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.
The fact of the matter is that the assets of this country far outweigh the
debt. That’s why we are able to borrow at will and at a low interest rate.
Yet a single-digit percentile of our population controls a vast majority
of the wealth, and multi-billion dollars corporations pay low teen
percentiles of tax.
Our newly-elected governor is proposing legislation based on his ‘for
profit’ mentality, giving no consideration to the strengths of peoples’
ability to govern themselves.
All this while the cost of these injustices is expected to be borne by the
people least able to pay. If the interest is in lowering the overall debt
and providing service, let’s either pay the bill and tighten our belts or
initiate a standard income tax percentile applicable to all.

Mel Sweet • Bellaire

Wimp set-back
There are legitimate arguments in favor of the State of Michigan taxing
pension income, and Michael Estes hit on a couple of them in his recent
guest opinion (April 4). Though I don’t agree with most of them, whatever
persuasive value they may have in the current debate was eclipsed in Mr.
Estes’ lecture to union members and elderly persons (including me) by his
arrogant, condescending tone.
In any event, in light of the Republicans’ recently proposed compromise on
the issue, if he is true to his word Mr. Estes will be forced to relegate
his hero, Governor Snyder, to the land of the “wimps,” to use Mr. Estes’

Steve Morse • Suttons Bay

The attack on NPR
Recently, U.S. Representatives Dave Camp and Bill Huizenga voted to cut
the funding for National Public Radio (NPR). This program costs each
person less than one penny per year. God forbid that the public should
have access to intelligent and informed discussion of the issues. At the
same time, Exxon Mobile and General Electric and many other giant
corporations paid no taxes last year when they should have paid tens of
It is no wonder that Congress has an approval rating of 18% and going
down. If you had a business and were paying an employee $174,000 a year
with a generous benefits package that included the best health care and a
pension to die for, you would expect results. Instead, we are getting an
extreme right-wing agenda our congressmen go along with like sheep.
I have a better idea. Let’s make a law that ties congressional salaries
and benefits to their approval rating. If this was adopted something good
might get done. Instead, politicians gerrymander their districts to insure
they will get re-elected. They rely on voter apathy. In our great
democracy less than 50% of people vote.
If you think the Republicans’ agenda has your best interest in mind, you
are delusional. If they get their way by deregulating industry, the air
you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat will be more toxic.
Your health care will be more expensive, if you have it at all. The
education system will be degraded. Our infrastructure will continue to
crumble. You won’t be able to collectively bargain for your wages and
benefits, and the quality of life will keep going down.
If this is okay with you, don’t do anything. They will make it happen.
This is not the dawning of the age of Aquarius it‘s the dawning of the age
of the nefarious.

Craig Laurent • via email

Oil company scam
I am amazed at the reasons that oil companies and the media have given
to “justify” the rise in crude and gas at the pump.
We have heard everything: Terrorists can sink a tanker as it comes through
the straits of Yemen (which hasn‘t happened). Hurricanes in the Gulf,
which happen almost every year with no impact on prices. Leaks in the
pipe lines that they maintain (and there are usually leaks in any
pipeline). There have been additives in the gas for winter climates since
the 1950s without increases in prices; now there is added expense to
switch to summer blends. Yesterday on the news it was stated that the
public isn’t buying enough gas as the reason for raising prices.
It used to be a company needed to produce a better mouse trap or have the
best service to justify staying in business, but now it seems all they
have to do is think up an excuse to raise their profit margin.

James C. Williams • Kalkaska

Ditch the Benzie bus
Government needs to get out of the transportation business, especially in
rural areas.
Well-intentioned efforts to provide bus services to anybody and everybody
no matter where they live and regardless of need should be replaced
through the private sector. The transportation industry has been singled
out and strangled to death by government entities. Now is the time for the
taxpaying public to change course and eliminate public buses starting May
4 in Benzie County.
The government bus services advertise how many people ride their buses as
an effort to create support. It is never a good thing when someone needs
transportation on the taxpayer’s dime. Instead of trying to expand the
number of people riding those buses, we should be trying to reduce those
Nobody should be driven around at taxpayer’s expense unless they need to
be. People who simply want a ride need to find their own.
Those who have trouble paying for food are given a bridge card which
they can use to buy groceries wherever they want. There are no
government food dispensaries. Those who can demonstrate a need for
transportation should be very easy to identify, and they should be
given vouchers with which they could hire a private transportation
The millions which are now spent on bus services would be reduced to
thousands almost immediately. Private transportation companies would have
to compete with each other for that money, just like Save-A-Lot has to
compete with Meijer for bridge card money.
Government employees such as dispatchers, drivers, mechanics, and
executive directors take money out of the treasury. Private companies put
money into the treasury.
Federal, state and local governments everywhere are broke, and mere is
very little a citizen in a rural community can do to reverse the damage.
Benzie County voters have a chance to take a very small first step by
voting “NO” on May 4, and other area residents will get their chances soon

Mike Nicholls • Lake Ann

(Mike Nicholls and his wife own Northern Michigan Medical Transport, a
private bus service in Benzie County.)

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