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 8/1/02
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Letters 8/1/02

Various - August 1st, 2002
A system gone mad
Corporate fraud, scams, stealing and corruption are simply symptoms of a
system gone mad.
Fueled by greed, motivated by increasing the “bottom line“ at ANY cost,
and “unhindered“ by social or environmental responsibility, is it any wonder
that corporations have gone amok?
These are the crooks, who buy the politicians, who write the laws, which
steal billions of our tax dollars in the form of corporate welfare.
Welfare given to the poor is a drop in the bucket compared to what is
shelled out to these rich, seedy crooks and their corporations!
Time to get these greedy scumbags off the tax dollar gravy train and
enact strong campaign finance reform to put an end to this “good ol‘ boy“
network, which is sucking the lifeblood from working people, their children,
future generations... and the earth itself.
Time to strip corporations of their power. Time to demand reform and
accountability. Time to take back our democracy... don‘t you think?

Virginia Heick • via email

The Rainbow People
I was glad to read Bob VanderLewn’s letter about the Rainbow Gathering
in the July 11-17 issue of the Express. I didn‘t know the Forest Service was
sending out letters of disinformation as far as Manistee!
This year‘s national gathering took place in the western UP‘s Ottawa
National Forest near the town of Watersmeet. The peak of activity was the
week of July 4, and it is pretty much over now except for maybe 100 people
doing cleanup, recycling and restoration. Based on vehicle counts, I think
about 12,000 attended.
I went for five days starting July 4. I haven‘t been to a gathering in a
few years, and it was nice to see people, to be outside, and to experience
the communal, non-commercial atmosphere.
The area where many of the free kitchens first set up was declared closed
by the Forest Service on June 23. The site, now a meadow, was the location
of the logging town of Choate for a few decades around 1900, and the Forest
Service said it was archeologically sensitive. Kitchens moved to the woods
across the river, but the Choate site was the only spot big enough for
everyone to gather at the prayer circle. (One kitchen wouldn‘t move and
there were 15 misdemeanor arrests).
On July 4, around 10,000 people crossed the pioneer bridge over the river
and prayed together for world peace and healing. Forest Service and other
police showed up on horses and ATVs but did not intervene. A rainbow formed
around the sun.
If our archeological heritage had really been in danger, gatherers would
have arranged to pray somewhere else. What really was threatened by the July
4th assembly, however, is the belief held by some in the Forest Service and
the federal government that they can obstruct and deter people from
exercising their right of peaceful free assembly. Bureaucratic regulations
passed in 1997 require that groups of more than 74 must have a permit to
gather in a National Forest. The permit conditions are onerous (the Forest
Service proposed a site on a clearcut with no running water this year), and
besides that, Rainbow operates by consensus and without leaders, so no one
is authorized to sign a permit. Three people are currently serving three
months in federal prison for gathering without a permit at the 1999 National
in Pennsylvania.
“We‘re for peace in a time of war and that‘s unpopular,“ one gatherer
explained. Others believe that the Forest Service wants to stop Rainbow
Gatherings because they fly in the face of a new push to charge money for
recreational use of National Forests.
As VanderLewn said, Rainbow Gatherings are not a problem for nearby
communities. Many Watersmeet businesses had signs that read, “Rainbows
Welcome.“ Gatherers have a good record of cleaning up and restoring impacted
Yes there are houseless people, poor people, travelers and street kids
there, along with students, doctors, teachers, laborers, business people,
families and locals. They won‘t hurt you but they will share good free
meals, music and culture with you. Next year‘s National will be in Utah,
Nevada or California. There is a Regional Gathering in Indiana this fall.

Edmund Frost • via email

Long hair and men
Three Bronx cheers to Robert Downes and his enlightened editorial titled
“Letting my freak flag fly.“ Rarely does one encounter a media person these
days with the type of insight shown in that piece. Perhaps I am in such
strong agreement because I happen to wear hair which is a little longer than
is popular these days. I must also admit to the practice of coloring it a
bit to get rid of the gray. The insults and the rejections I have
encountered the past two years in particular for my predeliction for longer
hair says more about the intolerant society I live in than it does about my
preferences in personal grooming.
One might think this whole topic is trivial but really it isn‘t. The
choice of hairstyle and color does make an important cultural and even
political statement. Usually the “buzz cuts“ so popular these days are a
statement of conformity, of a desire to show intolerance towards those who
are different, and probably of a repressed fascism or militarism. After all,
none of the Nazis wore long hair. The Hitler Youth all had the same type of
haircut popular these days among many.
The cultural and political landscape these past five years has been and
is remarkably conservative, Republican, elitist, and affluent. While the
feminist movement made great strides throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, and early
‘90s against sexual stereotypes, such cultural straitjackets have returned
in abundance. The causes of this are varied but perhaps they stem from the
pseudo prosperity that most Americans believe themselves to be experiencing.
Add to this the post September 11 patriotic fervor (bordering on obsession
and authoritarianism) and the crew cut indeed represents the dominant
cultural theme of the day.
Yet I am glad to read that longer hair among men is making a comeback of
sorts. Longer hair has always represented a more enlightened and tolerant
view towards one‘s fellow man. I have always felt that longer hair made one
look younger. Many have said that shorter hair makes a guy look younger, but
not on all. Whenever I let my hair grow a little longer I actually get
“carded“ upon entering bars, this despite the fact that I just turned 45.
Certainly my ego is gratified on such occasions, but I simply prefer longer
hair even if a younger look isn‘t always the result.
Longer hair, if it is properly groomed, and yes even trimmed on occasion
represents the epitome of style. That‘s just my opinion and I will be
tolerant of those who disagree. However it has been my experience that those
with the crew cuts are remarkably intolerant of those of a different
stylistic persuasion.
One should not confuse longer hair with any type of sexual identity
crisis. Actually it‘s quite the opposite. Many men who are insecure about
their own masculinity or who are afraid to explore their feminine side are
the ones demanding crew cuts not only for themselves but for other men as
well. Those who are truly secure in their male gender need not flaunt it
always by looking like John Wayne with an attitude.
Live and let live should be the motto of our society. Unfortunately the
cultural zeitgeist of the day is conformity, machismo, and cruelty towards
others. Yes hairstyle does matter. A seemingly trivial topic like this does
have greater cultural significance.
Our society and the world at large would be much better off if we could
see the beauty in others who looked different from ourselves. If we but
opened our mind to things we would respect others a lot more and probably
end up experimenting with new ideas and habits.
Real men don’t have to wear crew cuts, drink beer, smoke, and have
tattoos. Real men can, like me, drink Chardonnay, be a non smoker, and
actually like cats.
I say lets get rid of all this crew cut late-‘90s conformity and let
another true age of social experimentation return. I will raise my tall
glass of Chardonnay to that anytime!

Brian Morgan • Gaylord

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