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 2/12/03
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Letters 2/12/03

Various - February 12th, 2003
Kill your television

So, CBS would not allow MoveOn.org to buy air time during the Super Bowl to help expose some of the BU$H Administration’s deceptions, but they would allow Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake to bump and grind their way through a tacky halftime song-and-dance number which resulted in the exposure of one of Jackson’s breasts. Interesting.
Whether or not that display was part of the choreography doesn’t really matter much. What does matter is the message that simulated sex and gratuitous breast-grabbing is completely fine “entertainment.” People ask me why I killed my television in 1992 -- I would encourage more to do the same, starting now.
Matt McCormick
• TC

Israel’s apartheid wall

Israel continues to erect a barrier wall in the West Bank. The barrier wall is a 440 mile complex of trenches, fences, concrete walls, razor wire and electronic sensors. It does not always follow the 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank, but often dips deep into Palestinian territory. On January 15, 15 Roman Catholic bishops from Europe and the Americas issued this press release after visiting the Holy Land: “We have seen the devastating effect of the wall currently being built through the land and homes of Palestinian communities. This appears to be a permanent structure, dividing families, isolating them from their farmland and their livelihoods, and cutting off religious institutions.“
The International Court of Justice at the Hague has scheduled a hearing for February 23 on the legality of the barrier wall. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) only has the authority to render an Advisory Opinion. Despite this limitation, Israel and the United States have rallied opposition to the ICJ hearing the case citing this is a “political“ rather than “legal“ dispute. Does not international law apply to Israel?
On February 2, Israel requested that the U.S. State Department postpone its annual report on human rights abuses around the world for fear it could be used by the International Court of Justice against the barrier wall the Israelis are building. Does the U.S. State Department take orders from Israel?
Seemingly every day Israel and the United States lectures the Palestinians that they must stop the use of violence and reign in “terrorism.“ A public and legal forum is now available to discuss the Palestinians‘ complaints as to this one issue: “Yes“ the barrier wall violates international law or “no“ it does not. How much longer can Israel and our government deny the Palestinians a right to have a forum for their grievances? Time is of the essence.

Marian Kromkowski • TC

A derivative letter

Where did Neil W. Ahrens MFA get the idea that the Petoskey Contemporary Arts Group is trying to usurp New York City as art center of the world? (Re: Letters 2/5.)
And what is his bit about derivative art?
Besides, the constant obsessive push to come up with the newest, most innovative art, kind of ran out of steam, became derivative in itself, when wealthy art-ignorant super shoppers wrecked the visual arts by making innovation in art a currency in itself as opposed to basing its value on matters of transformation and vision. Anyway, calling someone else‘s art derivative is kind of.... well... derivative.
What are the Petoskey Contemporary Arts Group members trying to do? You‘d probably have to ask each one of them... but the fact is they seem to be enjoying themselves, are productive and creative, even if derivative by Ahrens‘ definition, and have found a venue outside of the Crooked Tree that works for what they are trying to accomplish in their art. And they have created a community of artists to spark and share ideas. Whether Neil Ahrens MFA agrees with their reasons or not, the Contemporary Arts Group did not find those things at CTAC.
Where is it written that all artists in the Little Traverse Bay area MUST patronize and submit to only one arts venue and its ideas? Who does that idea of community arts serve? Apparently it has not served the artists who have been involved with Petoskey Contemporary Arts Group, and I for one believe the community is richer for what they have done, derivative or not.
Besides, all the greatest art is just derivation refined; great artists have no problem admitting this.
Also, Gov. Granholm did not invent the concept of “cool cities.“ The concept is based on some fairly well-accepted, wide-ranging contemporary studies, documentation and statistical analysis of what makes one city an Ann Arbor or a Seattle, and another city a Grand Rapids or a Tulsa.
Bob Vance • Petoskey

Take it slow, Stupak

Bart, put your paint ball gun back into its holster and slowly back away from the Northern Michigan Hospital.
Congressman Stupak-comrade! You are not General Zhukov leading the Red armies counter-attack against elements of the German army to liberate Leningrad, nor can we be expected to believe that $22 plus dollar an hour health care workers who are fighting valiantly for their right to be represented by a union are analogous to the shattered human remnant which struggled for life inside that besieged city. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Congressman, if you somehow imagine that the voters in this region are going to forgive Mr. Hoffa, Governor Granholm and you if you are able to wield the considerable power of your offices to block all or part of the $44 million Northern Michigan Hospital receives in Medicare funds and/or pull licenses the hospital needs to provide the best possible health care to “our“ community, you sir, are sadly mistaken.
Congressman, the heretofore benign propaganda campaign waged by you and the governor is understandable and appropriate. But when you threaten a serious funding cut at NMH in an attempt to break the resolve of the hospital‘s administration and board of trustees (via a highly placed blackmail scheme), that becomes a PERSONAL THREAT leveled by you against your constituents that seriously endangers the well-being of each and every one of us.
Consequently, General Zhukov back off or come the first Tuesday in November you may be exiled to Menominee, Michigan.

Steve A. Redder • Petoskey

Selective outrage

By now everyone has heard of the stunt pulled by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during half-time at the Super Bowl. The reactions of moral outrage are pouring in from a variety of places, many of them unexpected.
It is with a great sense of irony that those making the charge of indecency based upon monetary gain are themselves under suspicion for doing exactly the same thing, although in a completely different context. Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, recently promoted a set of rules regarding media ownership in this country. These rules relaxed antitrust provisions designed to ensure that the American public obtain a diversity of views and that media conglomerates don‘t monopolize local television, radio and newspaper outlets. These rules were so controversial that even conservative Republican members of Congress passed legislation against it under threat of veto by President Bush who supports monopoly corporate control over news outlets.
This very same gentleman, Michael Powell now takes it upon himself to persuade other members of the FCC to launch an investigation into Janet and Justin‘s antics at the Superbowl. He was quoted as saying that he found their whole performance morally offensive, not just the incident in question. Other than being the son of Colin Powell, our present Secretary Of State, and other than being an effective spokesperson for large corporate media interests, what other qualifications does Michael Powell have regarding issues of indecency? Does not the moral concept of indecency go beyond the sexual and embrace other aspects of our lives?
Should not the self-professing Christian practice morality in all areas, including their business relationships? I recently had an interesting conversation with a gentleman whom I was chatting with in a restaurant. He made frequent references to his strong belief in Christianity and yet upon further discussion he stated that he didnt feel such moral laws applied to either business or politics. In those realms anything goes, yet he felt comfortable about his Christianity simply because he was faithful to his wife and family.
One of the more galling examples of hypocrisy comes from movie director Spike Lee, who was quoted as saying that Janet Jackson sold her soul. His exact quote was, “It‘s getting crazy, and it‘s all down to money and fame.” This is a curious criticism coming from a gentleman who years ago produced a film called “Do the Right Thing,” which was full of racial provocation and many would say incitement to violence.
Indecency like morality and beauty are in the eye of the beholder. Most of us have some religious heritage that emphasizes the Judaeo-Christian ethic. We don‘t agree on all issues concerning ethics and morality in general. Yet, surely fair-minded people can recognize hypocrisy when they see it. Surely the person who says that anything goes regarding business practices and yet condemns sexual indecency cannot be considered morally consistent.
Jesus was quoted as saying to the Pharisees that, “You choke on a gnat and swallow a camel.” We seem to be doing just that regarding this incident at halftime during the recent Super Bowl. In no way do I condone the behavior of Janet Jackson or Justin Timberlake. They deserve to be censured and perhaps fined. But in a society which is riddled with pornography of all varieties, in a society in which corporate crimes go largely unpunished with consequences far more severe than public indecency, our moral outrage shouldn‘t be so selective.

Brian Morgan • Gaylord

Cowtowing to special interests

There‘s a bittersweet irony to the mad cow crisis. A year or two ago the meat packing industry paid off congressmen to vote against a law that would ban the use of downer cows for human consumption. The lobbyists persuaded the congressmen to adopt their own letter supporting the slaughter of downer cattle. The bill was narrowly defeated. The meat packers‘ triumph has now turned into a monster with the appearance of mad cow disease in the food supply. Previously determined to profit from about 20,000 downer cattle, now the meat industry is faced with a boycott by 30 countries and millions of dollars in undeliverable meat.
Is no one embarrassed here? The meat packers for being greedy? The Congress for being bought by lobbyists? Or for letting special interest groups like the drug industry and HMOs write laws in their favor? Why isn‘t the public enraged that lobbyists buy votes and congressmen reward wealthy constituents by cowtowing to their special interests?

Harley Sachs • Houghton

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