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..

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- December 17th, 2012  

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.

Black marks for governor

Gov. Snyder: When I voted for you, I was encouraged by your desire to avoid issues that were divisive and provided little mileage in moving us out of a very depressed time.

With our educational system becoming increasingly more amputated, our infrastructure crumbling and our state losing people, I put my hope - and trust - in your insight to keep focused on what mattered and what was needed.

Why you have decided to veer from this course and play a major role in significantly weakening the unionized workers of Michigan is disheartening and it is wrong.

We have been a great state to live in because middle class people have had an opportunity to enjoy a quality standard of living, earn a decent wage, and provide a hand up to our children.

Your decision and that of the legislature, done in haste and with no interest in hearing points of view like mine, will change all this. We will become a great state for the business world to pay its workers lower wages, less benefits, and at the same time, increase their profits. Good for them, bad for the rest of us.

I was deceived by you, Governor, the first time around. I won’t be again.

Harriet Jones • TC

Prior to the election, Governor Snyder spoke against right-to-work laws as being too divisive. In addition, I did not notice legislators who voted for this law run on this issue in the last campaign.

The lack of transparency subverts our democratic process. We could have had the public debate on this issue, so voters could have weighed-in. Instead, we are now facing a public outcry that will be very divisive.

We are being told that right-to-work protects collective bargaining and provides freedom for workers. What we are not being told is that right-to-work laws enable someone to obtain a free ride: those who do not have to pay union dues but still receive the benefits of the union. This certainly does not coincide with my sense of fairness.

Ron Marshall • Petoskey

It comes in many forms. When our governor signed the right-to-work crap, he is just as guilty as any terrorist whose purpose it is to take us down. To destroy the AMERICAN DREAM that so many of us have paid one hell of a price to keep and preserve.

To hell with those who seek to divide us.

And to him and his pals who would rob us of our liberties.

Gary R. Baumdraher • via email

The meaning of Christmas

This time of year I’m filled with memories of Christmases past, and of them all the last Christmas my father was with us lives on in my heart.

It was 1956 and I was seven years old. Thanks to my mother, I didn’t know just how sick my father was or that we were in real money trouble and in jeopardy of losing our house. He died that coming spring and it would be sometime before I would know the whole story.

I wanted the Lionel Train advertised on the round screen television we owned. It was an oval track with an engine that made smoke and pulled three cars around a pile of presents under a Christmas tree. I just had to have it.

On Christmas morning there was a box about the right size under our tree for me. Inside were different sized boxes, all Christmas wrapped, so I opened the longest first.

It contained a meticulously cut out black and white shadow box picture of a locomotive. I tossed it aside, sure the next would be the engine, but all of the boxes contained shadowbox pictures of locomotives and I was crushed. As I asked what had happened, my mother promised me that next year Santa would have enough to go around.

Along the journey of my life I have lost those meticulously cut out pieces of black construction paper and the simple frames that held them, but I have never lost that Christmas when I was given the greatest gift of all, the deep and abiding love my mother held for me.

That is why I cringe at times when I hear adults and children speak about Christmas now. It is the gift of love that truly matters and not the presents under the tree.

Michael H. MacCready • Cadillac

Keep up the videos

Guys, even though Tom Speers wrote a blistering critique of the video clip of the Right Brain’s grand opening without any offer of help, I want to commend you on the stellar job you did on the “Man of La Mancha” clip you posted from the recent production at the Old Town Playhouse. The filming was great, the editing was perfect and the background score was spot on. Thank you for including a new video view of events in our area.

Joe Trubiroha • via email

(Thanks Joe - credit for the “ LaMancha” video goes to Wayne Erreca. - ed.)

Defending Israel

Like all too many writers, Barbara Young lumps the Israeli military occupied West Bank with Gaza. They are two different entities.

There is no question that the Israelis have been expropriating land and building settlements on the occupied territories, but Israel no longer occupies Gaza. Gaza is autonomous and controlled by Hamas, which wants an end to Israel. The Palestinians that are occupied want a two-state solution that recognizes Israel as a Jewish homeland.

Hamas in Gaza has been firing rockets into Israel for years and smuggling arms in through the Egyptian border. The Israelis finally had enough and fought back. You would, too.

But if Gaza is a prison, it is a prison in part because of its own making. No wonder the three gates into Israel are hard to cross. But the Egyptians have the fourth gate and they want nothing to do with the Gazans. Since smuggling arms into Gaza provides more ammunition for attacking Israel, the Gaza coast is blockaded to stop contraband.

As for asking the U.S. to stop aid to Israel, how about also stopping aid to Egypt’s Islamic Brotherhood government? The Islamists are not our friends. The Israelis are.

Harley Sachs • Portland, OR

An ignorant letter

Though I understand that the Northern Express has a liberal leaning, nonetheless, I find it necessary to respond to the letter from Barbara Young (“Agony in Gaza,” Dec. 9).

I can listen to, disagree with and debate with people who have a different opinion than mine, and do so respectfully if their positions are based in fact and reasonably coherent argument. What I cannot abide are letters like Ms. Young’s, which are written by the ignorant, whether it be genuine ignorance or willful ignorance. It’s clear that either way, Ms. Young’s letter is based on virtually complete ignorance of the facts and of history, outright anti-Semitism or both.

She states that civilians were deliberately targeted. That is an outright lie. Is Ms. Young completely ignorant of the fact that the terrorists in Gaza have a long history of basing their rocket sites, arms depots, headquarters and such deliberately in the midst of civilians, in places like schools, hospitals and mosques? Apparently she does not know that Israel has a history of giving the civilians in Gaza plenty of warning that an attack is coming so that they may distance themselves from those sites.

She goes on to accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Again, another outright and baseless falsehood which is usually heard from the lips of rabid anti-Semites. The facts of the matter is that Israel has a sizeable Arab population within its borders who enjoy Israeli citizenship and, in fact, have a number of Arab representatives in the Knesset. As for genocide and ethnic cleansing, of course, she ignores the murder of both Jews and Christians in a good number of Arab countries in both the Middle East and in Africa.

The rest of her letter is no more than irrational ravings based on the lies that I’ve mentioned, as well as other lies she relates. I would like to suggest she actually read something about the history of the Middle east and Israel. No doubt that suggestion will be ignored. My impression is that she is one of those people to whom no amount of reason or fact would make any difference, who hold onto their ignorance with pride.

Joel Weberman • Mesick

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