Letters 11-28-2016

Trump should avoid self-dealing President-elect Donald Trump plans to turn over running of The Trump Organization to his children, who are also involved in the transition and will probably be informal advisers during his administration. This is not a “blind trust.” In this scenario Trump and family could make decisions based on what’s best for them rather than what’s best for the country...

Trump the change we need?  I have had a couple of weeks to digest the results of this election and reflect. There is no way the selection of Trump as POTUS could ever come close to being normal. It is not normal to have a president-elect settle a fraud case for millions a couple of months before the inauguration. It is not normal to have racists considered for cabinet posts. It is not normal for a president-elect tweet outrageous comments on his Twitter feed to respond to supposed insults at all hours of the early morning...

Health care system should benefit all It is no secret that the health insurance situation in our country is controversial. Some say the Affordable Care Act is “the most terrible thing that has happened to our country in years”; others are thrilled that, “for the first time in years I can get and afford health insurance.” Those who have not been closely involved in the medical field cannot be expected to understand how precarious the previous medical insurance structure was...

Christmas tradition needs change The Christmas light we need most is the divine, and to receive it we do not need electricity, probably only prayers and good deeds. But not everyone has this understanding, as we see in the energy waste that follows with the Christmas decorations...


A story in last week’s edition about parasailing businesses on East Grand Traverse Bay mistakenly described Grand Traverse Parasail as a business that is affiliated with the ParkShore Resort. It operates from a beach club two doors down from the resort. The story also should have noted that prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit in federal court by Saburi Boyer and Traverse Bay Parasail against Bryan Punturo and the ParkShore Resort, a similar lawsuit was dismissed from 13th Circuit Court in Traverse City upon a motion from the defendant’s attorney. Express regrets the error and omission.

A story in last week’s edition about The Fillmore restaurant in Manistee misstated Jacob Slonecki’s job at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. He was a cook. Express regrets the error.

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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