Will History Repeat Itself? What
large patterns or trends can guide our ideas about the next century? We
can look at the history of Easter Island as a warning about the dangers
of a future crisis.
Applauding Michigan’s Renewable Standards Recently, state legislators introduced dueling initiatives that would impact the state’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) expiring at the end of the year very differently.
Vet Parade – Hell No
As a nation we have been “smitten with the madness – blindness – and astonishment of heart” – passionately in love with war.
Rather than hold a ticker tape parade, let’s have President Bush apologize to Americans for starting a war based on lies – apologize to Iraqis for the death of 117,000 innocent civilians killed, for the destruction of its infrastructure, and for leaving a nation at civil war – apologize to veterans and families – apologize to America for squandering its resources.
Let’s have President Obama apologize for the needless escalation of the war in Afghanistan – apologize to Afghan citizens for the reckless death of 66,000 innocent civilians – for fueling corruption – return his Nobel Peace Prize as unearned – and end the war today...
Fracking dangerous alternative
Gov't not a business
Candidate Romney claims that his qualification for President is that he is a successful businessman. What he does not seem to understand is that government is not a business. A business produces products or services for a profit for its shareholders. A government provides services paid for with taxes collected from the citizens and businesses.
If the government were a business it could privatize the Defense Department. Following the Romney business tactic, the Pentagon Corporation could sell our surplus aircraft carriers to China, as Russia did. We do not need seven nuclear aircraft carrier task forces when no other country has more than one. We could level the playing field, sell off some of our ships and pass on the profits to the shareholders. That’s what businesses do.
If that meant laying off a lot of sailors, taking away their pensions and medical benefits and dumping them onto the distressed labor market, so be it. What matters to business is dividends for the shareholders.
Business thinks in terms of short term gains and quick profits. Governments think long term. It takes years to plan a bridge, for instance, and no private corporation is going to take that long range view...
Move to Amend
If you weren’t at the Milliken Auditorium on January 11, you won’t believe it. If you were there, you probably still can’t believe it! More than 500 people - to include folks from the UP to the north and Manistee and beyond to the south - crammed into Milliken to hear a riveting presentation by David Cobb, founder and spokesman for the national Move to Amend movement (www. movetoamend.org).
One thing making this evening so incredible was that 500 Northern Michiganders came out, not so much for a speaker most had never heard of, but because we know that corporations are not people. We know that legislators too often are accountable to the huge moneyed interests that get and keep them elected, not to us. We know that WE the people are what make democracy work. And we also know that our democracy isn’t working for 99% of the people in this country – and we aren't going to take it anymore...
Saved by Obamacare
Over 60,000 Michigan young adults 26 and under are now back on their parents’ family coverage thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act. This fall, Governor Snyder sought to exempt Michigan insurance companies from the Obamacare requirement that they spend at least 80 percent of the premiums collected on healthcare. Michigan was one of only 13 states seeking such an exemption.
The Obama administration fortunately denied Snyder’s request and an estimated 340,000 Michiganders will now be getting $89 million rebated from their insurance providers. Snyder argued that some private insurers (United Health, Assurant, Humana and American Enterprise) couldn’t survive on just 20 percent of your premiums for administrative costs (overhead and profit). Michigan actually asked that these insurers be approved to rake off 35 percent of your healthcare dollar...
H2S poses problems
A little after midnight on Christmas Eve morning, a valve failure at the Beaver Creek gas injection well in Crawford County owned by BreitBurn Energy Partners sent a plume of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas across Northern Michigan. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is deadly and often compared with cyanide. It is detected by a rotten egg smell. Higher levels of H2S destroy olfactory senses and can cause coma and death.
Luckily, when sensors at the Beaver Creek injection well site detected a blown needle valve, the H2S being injected into the well was shut down automatically. But sensors did not shut the injection well boreout, and H2S gas spewed back up from the injection well though a 1⁄4 inch hole...
Services beyond abortion
Thanks to Claire Scerbak for her perspective on utilizing tax payer money for education and family services. I have utilized services at Planned Parenthood and all the services I have benefitted from included education and family services.
My spouse and I received our HIV education in order to get our marriage license there. I got my reproductive health care, including birth control and care and follow up when I was diagnosed with precancerous lesions...
Mike Johnson’s description of his life in Australia, a country where working people can still afford to live comfortably and still earn a living wage, is another reason to aggressively pursue dramatic campaign reform measures here.
In Australia, voting is compulsory. In this country, voting is not the easy or the automatic process it should be because registration requirements serve as impediments.
There is strong evidence that entire segments of the population, such as the elderly and people of color, are being actively disenfranchised in many states (i.e., 32 states) prior to the 2012 election...
I just got another one of these political mailers from some Washington, D.C.-based group I have never heard of trying (and failing) to convince me that Congressman Dan Benishek is somehow saving my Medicare.
Hogwash. Last year, then-candidate Dan Benishek said on many occasions that he wants to end Medicare and Social Security. And the first thing he did when he went to congress was to just that. Rep. Benishek voted to end Medicare and force seniors to pay $6,400 of their own money to buy private healthcare while at the same time giving even more tax breaks to the super wealthy.
So it’s clear that this mailer is flat-out misleading people into believe the opposite...
Where our money goes
There was once a frequent public service announcement on the radio, asking parents, “Do you know where your children are?” With cell phones, that is far less of a concern now. It’s time to change the announcement to “Do you know where your money, personal and taxes, has gone?” Walking away from a cashier, we don’t think twice about our spending and the consequences.
Your taxes buy death as do many of your purchases. Your taxes buy inhumanity to others, degradation, starvation, and worse...
T. Boone Pickens and Big Oil and Coal are working overtime and spending millions of dollars on advertising to convince us that natural gas is the best thing to happen to Michigan since fudge. But if unconventional slick-water fracturing (fracking) is so great, why does it need all the exemptions from law? Fracking is exempt from...
Northern Express’s fracking article portraying Don’t Frack Michigan’s JoAnne Beemon, both protesting and part of the press conference supporting the bills, exposes the duplicity of this group.
One may have the impression that Ms. Beemon of Don’t Frack Michigan (DFM) was there to protest the bills. That would be mistaken. Ms. Beemon was there to show support for the bills with DFM’s sign as a part of the press conference. After Rep. Mark Meadows’ team asked her to take it down as to not confuse the message, she did so...
Buy ‘Made in USA’
I love buying products made in the U.S.A. In a second-hand store the other day, I realized my generation missed out on the good feeling of holding something of great quality, turning it over, and seeing, “Made in U.S.A.”
But there is a brilliant and bold loophole, second-hand stores. They are proliferating here in Traverse City! Brilliant because it is more cost effective to buy quality used products. Bold because buying something made 50 years ago in the U.S.A., that still works better than something made at present, in country X, or shall I just say it, China, is a bold statement in itself...
Welfare for the rich
One often sees in the media signs by the Tea Party calling Obama a socialist. Our socialistic policies began with the New Deal with its subsidies during bad economic times. Since then our economy has improved, but the subsidies continue to this day. For example, every $1 of profits earned by corn sweeteners costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30.
In 2011 the Tea Party was the reform party. Earmarks were blocked in the 2011 budget because the Tea Party insisted upon it. There is an Office of Congressional Ethics, the only independent watchdog ensuring that members live up to ethical rules because the Tea Party insisted upon it...
Military cannot resign
Recently on NPR’s Talk of the Nation (10/24) author Bob Woodward said that senior military leaders have threatened to resign over President Obama’s announcement that troops would leave Iraq this year. The 2011 withdraw timeline was established in December 2008 between President Bush and the Iraqi government – and endorsed by President-Elect Obama.
For military officers to threaten resignation not only is an overt attempt to subvert the authority of the President, but is a renunciation of the officer’s oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” Article Two of the Constitution establishes the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the military...