Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 12/26/2011
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Letters 12/26/2011

- December 26th, 2011  

Email your letter to: info@northernexpress.com

Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page).

Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification. Faxed letters are not accepted.

The Money Party

Let us look at the effects of money on our government. First, our representatives spend at least 30 percent of their time raising funds to be re-elected rather than reading the bills they are passing, or attending committee meetings where those bills are discussed, or meeting with constituents.

At a very minimum, the fund-raising Congress is flawed because they are so distracted.

Another effect that money has is access to government.

The principle aim of most corporate campaign contributions is to help corporate executives gain access to key members of Congress.

This system does not benefit every special interest but only those that can afford the high costs of not only organizing and making campaign contributions, but also paying professional lobbyists.

Lobbying distorts the representatives’ allocation of effort in favor of groups sufficiently resource-rich that they can finance an expensive lobbying operation. Often the representative does not hear the other-side of an issue.

For example, consider the financial reform bill. In 2009 there were more than 1,500 lobbyists representing financial institutions lobbying to affect this critical legislation – 25 times the number of lobbyists supporting consumer groups, unions, and other proponents of strong reform.

Another way lobbyists distort government business is the prevention of government action.

Notice the gap between what the people believe about an issue and what congress did about an issue.

For example, the vast majority of citizens are in favor of taxing the rich, but our representatives are not inclined to raise taxes on the wealthy.

A government that is democratic in form but is in practice only responsive to its most affluent citizens is a democracy in name only.

Ronald Marshall • TC

Australia offers more

Regarding “Australia a great place” (NE 19 Dec.): Besides good pay and health care, can boast another service: “The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World,” initiated by Robert J. Burrowes and some other Aussie resisters who launched the Charter world wide on Armistace Day, 11/11/11 at 11am.

In greater Seattle, the Charter endorsers included Veterans For Peace, #92, the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, the local Nonviolent Peace Team. Launchers here included people from Seattle Occupy, a number of vets, one active Army soldier in dress unform and parents of a soldier killed in Iraq.

They gathered at the Wall of Remberance in downtown Seattle, which lists the names of area miltary killed in last five major U.S. wars.

Tom Shea • Snoqualmie, WA

Holidays great for giving

During this special holiday time of giving and receiving, the Antrim County Democratic Party would like to take time to thank all the caring citizens who help to support our area food banks by donating food, time, and/or money. Your generosity has helped our neighbors who have fallen on hard times.

A big thanks to the concerned citizens who attended the educational forums which offered the public a better understanding and discussion of the serious budget and educational problems the schools are now facing, as well as offering a view of what the future may hold.

The Antrim County Democratic Party is also thankful that with donations we could provide support for the State YMCA Youth and Government Program. This helped to send additional middle school students to Lansing, hoping they gain a better understanding of and interest in the democratic system.

Also not to be forgotten, thank you to those who take time to keep Antrim county the jewel it is by walking the roadways picking up litter.

The area Democrats have been supported by many who are not members of the party, but join in the effort to improve our community. To everyone, a huge thank you.

Kathy Peterson • Kewadin

Australian example

Mike Johnson’s description of his life in Australia, a country where working people can still afford to live comfortably and still earn a living wage, is another reason to aggressively pursue dramatic campaign reform measures here.

In Australia, voting is compulsory. In this country, voting is not the easy or the automatic process it should be because registration requirements serve as impediments.

There is strong evidence that entire segments of the population, such as the elderly and people of color, are being actively disenfranchised in many states (i.e., 32 states) prior to the 2012 election. Voting needs to be more actively encouraged in this country.

Entering one’s name on the voter registration rolls should be done as part of a coming of age ceremony when our youth turn age 18 and also done automatically when immigrants are sworn in as citizens.

Campaign financing should be done strictly with public funds and severely limited private funding to close an avenue whereby wealthy individuals and corporations buy political influence and to allow more people without means to run to office.

Campaign duration should be limited to six weeks (as it is in Australia) in order to lower their cost and to limit seemingly endless and mind numbing political analysis. We can do anything in this country if we set our collective will towards it.

Let’s reform political campaigns and take our country back from the money talks system we currently have.

Kathryn Bamberg • Williamsburg

Bring all troops home

I’m delighted to hear that military operations in Iraq are coming to a conclusion but don’t allow the administration to fool you!

Military spending and US commitments in Iraq will continue into perpetuity. Just like they have in Germany, Japan, Korea and half the rest of the world.

It’s time to bring our military personnel and dollars back to the States. In Iraq we lost 4,487 American citizens and wasted $805 billion. For what?

Let’s bring those dollars home to improve our environment, infrastructure, schools and a host of other programs that benefit to our citizens and don’t sacrifice the lives of our citizens.

Let’s get 100% out of Iraq and every other ounce of earth on this planet not identified as one of our fifty states.

Substantially curtailing military spending will go a long way in solving our budget problems and improving our relations with the world.

Michael Estes • TC


 
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