Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Carter‘s Cuba
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Carter‘s Cuba

George Foster - May 23rd, 2002
Prediction: someday, Jimmy Carter‘s bust will be among the national heroes commemorated in parks everywhere. In Cuba, that is.
In a country where likenesses of Jose Marti and Che Guevara stare incessantly at visitors of Cuban museums and plazas, the former U.S. president‘s blinding smile is destined to accompany the steely gaze of Cuban revolutionaries. That is because Jimmy Carter, more than anyone else in the last 100 years, accelerated the day when Cuba finally becomes a democratic country - complete with freedoms of speech, fair trials, and elections.
The effect of Carter‘s five days in Cuba can be measured as an earthquake of 10.0 on the Richter scale of Cuban politics. What had been predicted by only the most optimistic of Havana observers, now seems to becoming a reality. Fidel Castro is tolerating changes in Cuba that seem to gaining momentum with the speed of Caribbean hurricane.
Cuba will never be the same. The most prominent opposition leader in the country, Vladimiro Roca, was freed after five years in prison just before Carter‘s arrival. The use of a quasi-capitalist system in Cuba, especially in the tourism industry, is growing with the approval of Castro. Open religious services have returned to the island.
Best of all, allowing an American leader to give an uncensored nationally televised speech is unfathomable, shocking the island nation to its core. In the past, Castro has been so obsessed with controlling the content of speeches given to large audiences that he often strode into the government-run newspapers after his marathon lectures to change the text for publication the next day.
While Carter mostly discussed ways to improve relations between Cuba and the U.S., a significant portion of the TV speech addressed human rights issues and the lack of economic and political freedom in Cuba. While the rest of the world was abuzz over the recent Varela Project in Cuba, a petition signed by over 11,000 brave Cubans calling for government reforms, most Cubans first heard of the petition drive from Carter‘s speech. And Fidel Castro was listening nearby, respectfully. Amazing.
As Jimmy Carter has so nobly expressed, now is time for the most powerful nation in the world to do the right thing and jump on the current wave of goodwill to normalize relations with Cuba.
The flap over terrorist warnings before 9/11. This is no time to be pointing fingers at U.S. officials. However, when it was revealed that our government had reports of a plan by Osama bin Laden to seize civilian aircraft and simultaneous evidence of al-Qaida connected Middle-Eastern men enrolled in U.S. flight schools, it seems incomprehensible that little was done. A Minnesota FBI agent even reported just before the attacks that the 20th al-Qaida hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, “could fly something into the World Trade Center.“
This is the same Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida network that was behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Did we somehow forget that it was bin Laden who recently attacked the U.S.S. Cole and several U.S. embassies around the world with deadly results? If there was one person in the world who had declared Holy Jihad against America and whose deeds more than backed up his words, it was Osama bin Laden. Even before 9/11, merely a hint of intelligence reports linking bin Laden with plots against the U.S. should have warranted a condition of high alert. The need for a thorough investigation of the 9/11 attacks is obvious - how and why were they allowed to happen? Let it be crystal clear, though, that murderous terrorists are directly responsible for the tragic events of September 11th - not George W. Bush, not the CIA or FBI, and certainly not Bill Clinton.
The goal of the investigation should be to find out why these reports of imminent terrorist attacks were not heeded and to prevent them from ever happening again.






 
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