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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A local pastor and a local atheist debate Should Abortion Be Legal?

- August 18th, 2014  

As we all know, much ink (and blood) has been spilled over the whole abortion debate. I hardly believe my 270 words will be a game-changer, but I offer them for your consideration:

I originally started out with three arguments as to why abortion has been a bad deal for everyone—women, men, and society as a whole. I’m old enough to remember one of the early pro-choice arguments: abortion will eliminate or severely curtain child abuse because only wanted children will be born. Have you checked out the statistics on child abuse rates over the past 40 years lately?

Space doesn’t allow me to dive deep into the reasons why abortion is a bad deal for everyone, so let me take a different approach: every human being is uniquely created in the image of God. I bet you didn’t see the “God-card” coming from the pastor, right?

While my atheist friends see human life as a quirk of history or biology, followers of Jesus believe we are neither incidental nor accidental. We are providential—created by God and for God’s purposes. And if that one statement is true, it changes the way we view every human being—born and unborn.

Life is sacred. Treasure, nurture, and protect it. There are tons of viable alternatives to abortion that protect the sanctity of the life of the unborn child and assist women in crisis pregnancies. I say stop the madness, pass laws that protect the unborn child, and let’s unleash unprecedented amounts of compassion for both the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

Gary’s Response

Yes, life is sacred. Overpopulation threatens the lives of everyone currently living, as well as those not yet born. It also threatens our ultimate viability on the planet. I cannot envision ignoring our future as part of any god’s purpose. Additionally, abortion is often the only way to protect the life of the mother. Overshadowing all of that is the absolute right we all have to self-determination. I marvel at conservative views that espouse the benefits of capital punishment, but ignore the needs of women who are unhappily pregnant. Abortion is an unfortunate choice, but must remain one until we find better solutions.

This may be the most polarizing subject in America today. Depending on the poll, the country is almost evenly divided on whether or not abortion should be legal, with qualifiers for varying circumstances. I have straddled the fence on this issue my entire life; I see merit to both views.

One consideration must be that world population is nearing the point at which the Earth can no longer equitably sustain its human inhabitants. Do we continue to increase that number irrespective of the fact that many births are unplanned and unwanted? We must find a better way to control for this outcome since current birth control methods are clearly inadequate and not available to everyone.

Ultimately though, I see this as a matter of personal choice. Who am I to tell a pregnant 17- year old that she must give birth to a child regardless of her wishes? It is similar to demanding that we all be required to donate organs upon death so that others may live. What we do with our bodies must always remain our decision alone.

Nonetheless, I see a need to establish some limits. While it is absurd to attach personhood to a two-day old zygote, a viable fetus is a different matter altogether. In my view, the point at which a developing birth can survive outside the womb is the point at which we should demand legal protection. At that stage, it is no longer just one body.

Nick’s Response

Personal choice...hard to argue against that. Except when that choice ends the life of an innocent child. In 100% of abortions the child essentially screams, “I CHOOSE LIFE.” Immunologists (among others) have demonstrated that the baby growing inside the mother is a completely separate life growing inside her. This is not like a tumor that can be removed and discarded. This is a baby for crying out loud! Some day we will look back and ask ourselves, “How did we ever come to a point where we thought killing tens of millions of unborn children was okay?”

Where We Agree

Nick and Gary agree that life is sacred and that no one finds abortion to be a suitable solution for unwanted pregnancies. Both feel strongly that childbirth is an amazing experience and that in an ideal world, every baby would be welcomed into a loving home.

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