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 5/23/02
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Letters 5/23/02

Various - May 23rd, 2002
Two Peoples, One Land

Jim McCormick‘s article on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tries to give the appearance of being evenhanded while glossing over important historical facts (Express 5/9).
For example, he says, “In 1967 war broke out again between the two sides.“ War is not a natural event like spontaneous combustion or a volcanic eruption! War happens when somebody is willing to use violence (i.e. kill
people) to get something someone else has. In 1967 it was the Palestinians and Arab states that initiated the war and lost. When the United States has won a war, it has occupied the conquered country until it could be confident that there were leaders who would no longer be a threat. Why should the Israelis do otherwise?
There is no mention that tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed by their fellow Muslins in bordering states, or that the Arab states have used the Palestinians as a political pawn for the past 50 years.
McCormick states that the two sides “came close to a deal“ brokered by Clinton two years ago. He doesn‘t mention that everyone thought that a remarkably generous offer by the Israelis and that it was Arafat who rejected it and chose intifada instead.
It‘s an embarrassment and a moral travesty that the United States has just brokered a deal to allow the notorious murderers who were in the Church of the Nativity, and who are known to have killed Americans as well as Israelis, to get away free. It‘s becoming clear that our leaders don‘t think Americans will support a war on terrorism that substantially inconveniences them. They‘re probably right.

Nancy Brimhall • Alden

Cant and the Middle East

In the world of diplomacy, and politics generally, words are not chosen for their correspondence to the truth. They are chosen for their power to advance some purpose. That‘s why most of what we hear is cant.
Nowhere is this rule more faithfully observed than in the Middle East.
When President Bush says Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “man of peace,“ he doesn‘t mean that Sharon is a man of peace. He means, rather, that some goal is served by saying Sharon is a man of peace -- even though he is a man of unfathomable brutality. The events in Jenin are only the latest demonstration of that fact. (He was forced to resign as defense minister in the 1980s after an Israeli commission found him responsible for permitting the massacres of Palestinians by Lebanese allies in southern Lebanon.)
Although Mr. Bush‘s earlier demand of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank villages had absolutely no teeth (such as a threat to cut off billions in annual military aid), those who believe that Israel can do no wrong and that the United States should be a good cheerleader were not mollified.
The president is not the only one who speaks in cant on the Middle East. Ariel Sharon is quite fluent in it too. When he sent his troops into Jenin, he said he would leave “no seed of terror behind.“ But he surely knows this is nonsense. The destruction of that refugee camp, the murder of Palestinians of all ages, and the delay in allowing access to rescue workers
can only sow the seeds of terror, not destroy them.

Sheldon Richman • Fairfax, Va.

Developer‘s threat

Regarding the Bear Creek Referendum article in the Friday, May 10 Petoskey News-Review Weekender, I personally take issue with Kevin McGraw‘s arrogant statements, and threat to the township, as well as their board. (Mr. McGraw is the principal and director of the East Lansing-based Strathmore Development Group planning to develop 175,000 sq. ft. of retail space at the north end of its property in Bear Creek).
His quote states, “If it (the referendum drive) does delay us in any manner, we will be seeking damages aggressively.“
What is really going on here? Who do we allow to make the decisions about our communities and our futures? Is this about the BEST use of the land, adhering to the Master Plan which designated this land residential/farm-forest, honoring the wishes of the people of the township, letting local people make local decisions, or is this about INTIMIDATION and MANIPULATION of a small northern Michigan township, and its board by a BIG NAME, BIG CITY DEVELOPER?
Mr. McGraw goes on to say, “The amazing thing to us is it‘s a minority of the residents. It‘s amazing to me that these people are grasping at straws.“
Let the people of Bear Creek township speak to Mr. McGraw loudly and clearly. Is it really a minority of residents? PROTECT THE PUBLIC PROCESS. Voice your opinions, or watch your community, as well as your township board be manipulated by fear and intimidation from a downstate developer.

Peg Muzzall Kuchin • Petoskey

Keep on talking

A great newspaper is a “community talking to itself.“
Since I married a British woman I only spend part of each year in Traverse City. Whenever I come here I immediately pick up your wonderful free newspaper. It informs me about events, and people, in my community.
A recent issue informed me about two people I knew long ago but lost track of. When Blake Ringsmuth was a teenager, he and I played tennis almost daily -- until he became so good, he blew me off the court. Now I find out he is championing worthy causes. How wonderful to catch up on the daily doings of a former tennis partner.
Judge James McCormick and I don‘t totally agree on the Palestinian issue, but his is an intelligent, informed opinion. Long ago he and I (and others) traveled downstate to a Democratic Convention. It was wonderful to read about him in your local newspaper.
In that same issue of your newspaper I learned about the Mesick Festival. My wife and I spent a wonderful afternoon there browsing & buying. There was nothing about the Mesick festival in the Friday issue of the “other“ newspaper in town -- the one that costs money and doesn‘t tell me about my friends & neighbors.
I love your newspaper. It has steered me to many local events and it has informed about many local issues, and it has contained articles about the people in my town. These are people I‘ve momentarily lost track of, but you tell me what they are now doing, and that‘s wonderful.
Keep up the good work. You are truly an example of “a community talking to itself.“

Henry Morgenstein • Traverse City

Erosion of rights

I am increasingly concerned about the erosion of reproductive rights by this administration, beginning with George Bush‘s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule which denies U.S. funding to any foreign NGO‘s that provide abortion services, counselling or referrals. The rule hinders them from providing family planning and reproductive health care to those men and women around the world that need it most.
This rule allows others to control the right to free speech and access to lifesaving health care. Planning the number and spacing of children reduces the need for abortion by avoiding unintended pregnancies. It also reduces the mortality rate of both women and children and helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases, so prevalent in many developing countries today.
Monies allocated by congress for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have been frozen by President Bush. Not only has he withheld the $34 million approved for UNFPA for this year, he has eliminated funding for next year as well. This signals a long-term threat to the health and rights of the world‘s poorest women, posing grave concerns since complications from childbirth are the leading cause of death for women age 15-49.
Please contact the president and you rcongressmen and ask them to support reproductive rights, family planning and health care for families world-wide. The number of couples in their reproductive years increases by 20 million every year and the world‘s 1 billion youth are just now entering their reproductive years.
You may also make your voice heard by contacting: pphd.org/action/join.asap

Josie MacLean • Harbor Springs

Shrine could counteract ‘bottomless pit of sin‘

Does our nation need a $100 million dollar shrine for the unborn? A New York non-profit corporation thinks so. They plan to build “The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the International Shrine of the Holy Innocents.“
The Shrine will be built on the shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo. The Golden arch of Mary‘s glorious triumph, to be the world‘s tallest monument (700‘), will sound a global signal to repentance, conversion, and increased respect for the sanctity of human life.
Many say that this large sum of money could be better spent on feeding and housing the poor. I disagree. Our country is racing deeper into a bottomless pit of sin. Something must be done to grab our attention. Our government has tried for decades (by spending trillions of dollars) to solve the problems caused by our immorality. Money doesn‘t work. Only a change of heart and behavior will solve our problems.
This shrine will change people‘s hearts and give glory to God. Visitors to the shrine, regardless of their religion, will see perhaps for the first time how catastrophic our actions against life have been.

Thomas Messe, M.D. • Groton, CT
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