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Letters 04-21-2014

An Exercise of Power

Many brave men and women have worn and do wear the military uniform of the United States of America. They put their lives at risk and have lost their lives to protect our freedom, our loved ones and our right to vote...


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Monday, January 31, 2011

Letters

Letters America’s Accomplishment
The civic role of religion has resulted in large part, from the unique
constitutional status afforded religion. The first Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution states that Congress will not endorse, or
“establish” a religion. In the immediate wake of the nation’s
founding, this clause did not preclude states from supporting
particular denominations by, for example, allowing clergy to be paid
out of the public purse. By the early 1800’s, all such public
subsidies for religion ended and the no establishment was taken to
mean that all levels of government are precluded from providing
financial support to any particular religion. Likewise, the U.S.
Constitution also prohibits religious tests for public office.  At the
time of founding, it was a significant issue, given that England had
employed the Test Acts to limit public office to members of the Church
of England.
No founding father is more closely associated with religious liberty
than Thomas Jefferson who summarized the way many Americans think
about religious differences: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to
say there are twenty gods, or no gods.” Americans today hold to
Jefferson‘s philosophy. 85% agree,” that morality is a personal matter
and society should not force anyone to follow one standard”.
Americans have gone beyond the Jeffersonian conception of religion as
personal and private. Americans endorse religious diversity for its
own sake. 84% of Americans agree, “Religious diversity has been good
for more America”. Even among the most religious, 74% see the good in
religious diversity.
Unfortunately, when one listens to the media one does not get the
impression that there is religious acceptance of others, but rather
one of religious intolerance.  This view of religious intolerance only
describes 11% of all adults. Our country has come a long way in
overcoming religious intolerance. Perhaps our media needs to reflect
the American endorsement of religious diversity as our redeeming
quality.

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey
 
Monday, January 24, 2011

letters

Letters Under attack
My friends, family, and every Traverse City resident who are
respectfully requesting their “right to vote” are paying a terrible
price while asking for one of our country‘s most valued gifts, a vote.
In response to our opposition, we are called haters, homophobes, and
worst of all; we are being associated with Fred Phelps Jr., one of the
most despised human beings in the country.
Traverse City citizens are not paid elected officials, we simply pay
the bills. I think it is time for those in government who know your
fellow citizens are no threat to our public officials (and) are not
haters. They should realize by now that we have a constitutional right
to disagree with a city ordinance without being attacked by the very
people we elected to protect us.

Paul James Nepote • TC
 
Monday, January 17, 2011

Letters

Letters Mental illness & Arizona
Let’s stop being afraid of the subject matter of mental health.
Just because a mental disease can show itself in an overt, scary way –
as recently shown in Arizona – it does not mean we should run. It is
a disease. Like all of the hundreds of diseases that human beings
suffer, it has a biological, physical and emotional cause. We just
need to do a lot more work to really identity mental illnesses. It is
one of the major medical areas still not fully explored.
What can each of us do? First, if you or a family member seem to
be mentally suffering, just go to your doctor and talk. Keep asking
questions, read up on it as much as possible. Don’t be afraid, don’t
ignore the situation and don’t let it fester. Second, try very hard to
keep it in a balanced state. Balance is the key for diabetes,
hypertension, etc. Third, philanthropic people, gear up. City,
state and national telethons like Jerry Lewis’s MD drive are needed to
garner huge funding for mental health research - more activated brain
scans, post-autopsy brain pathology and sociological studies.
We all have suffered from disease. Mental disease sufferers have
suffered longer. Let’s put our American wherewithal into it.
Remember, truth will always give light to the darkness.

Jill Rahrig Bourdon • via email
 
Monday, January 10, 2011

Letters

Letters Reaching out to farmers
Kudos to Anne Stanton for the recent features on farming. It was nice to
read both sides of the CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) debate.
Consumers can support what they believe in with their purchasing dollars.
Without easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables at every roadside
stand, it gets too easy to just go to the mega-grocery stores for
everything this time of year. But great local products are available at
many stores, the indoor farmers markets and directly from the farmers.
Our website, www.MichiganFamilyFarm.com is working to help connect farmers
and consumers. Thank you for keeping this great movement in front of your
readers.

Jena Van Wagner • Executive Director, Michigan Family Farms

 
Monday, January 3, 2011

Letters

Letters Pay up and move on
Choosing war is a knee jerk reaction to a foreign problem. In
Afghanistan, after fruitless war, the British decided to simply pay
off the tribal leaders to keep the Russians out so the battered
British troops could go home. The British finally understood the
nature of that country: mostly illiterates who know little more than
fighting among themselves and against all foreign invaders.
Now, we have been sacrificing blood and treasure in Afghanistan for
nine years with no definition of victory.
Bribery is a way of life there. Instead of fighting, we should have
simply paid off the Afghans in exchange for their keeping al Qaeda out
of the country.
It is not cost effective to wage war in Afghanistan. Consider these
simple numbers: each “troop” (soldier, airman, marine) we put in
Afghanistan costs us $1 million a year. A thousand troops cost us $1
billion a year and that doesn’t dent the opium trade. But the value of
the Afghan opium crop is only $100 million. We should do the old A&P
thing: buy up the entire crop of opium and destroy it. Dealing
directly with the farmers will corner the market and put the smugglers
and middlemen out of business.
The opium trade may be immoral, but so are tobacco subsidies for
American farmers. More Americans die every year from tobacco than from
heroin.
Once trained, what is to prevent the Afghan police and army from
joining the Taliban and turning against the American foreign invaders?
Are we nuts, stupid, or what?

Harley Sachs • Houghton, U.P.
 
Monday, December 27, 2010

Letters

Letters Inhumane treatment
I am responding to George Barnette’s comment on Don Strzynski’s letter
to the editor about the deportation of Liz Larios (Letters 12/20).
Mr. Barnette misses the point entirely; it is in regard to the
egregious treatment that the involved individuals received. Whether or
not they were citizens, they deserved humane treatment. Yes the Jews
in Germany were citizens, and yes they were stripped of their
citizenship and possessions but they were also “deported” to camps
like Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland.
The subjects of the illegal immigrant article were also deported to
border towns that may as well have been Auschwitz. I believe that Mr.
Strzynski being a Polish American probably has a little better
understanding of Nazi Germany than the “average” American. We live in
a country that promotes freedom and democracy, yet we tolerate these
practices and many more atrocities like water boarding.
We are a land of immigrants, a country that is a melting pot. Mr.
Barnette could have also have been the product of illegals or even
have a trace of Latino blood.
America has developed an elitist attitude that we are the land of the
chosen people and that people from other countries are not worthy to
live in the U.S. The problem is not illegals, the problem is our
country’s restrictive immigration policy. Why do people from all over
the world want to live here? It’s because America is supposed to be
the land of opportunity and freedom, but is it really?
Perhaps Mr. Barnette would be surprised if he knew the number of
illegals from Eastern Europe who left to escape the violation of their
human rights. Are they okay, just because they are not Latino?
Whether or not we want to admit it, we are a country of bigots. We
hated black America and it took years upon years for them to gain the
human rights that we stole from them. Now we have a black American for
a president and we have to find another group to hate, and presto,
it’s Latinos. It’s kind of like the Jews of Nazi Germany. We disguise
our bigotry in dollars and cents and how it could affect our standard
of living.
By the way, I do know Mr. Strzynski and he has lived in the west,
California to be exact.

Claire Ahearne • TC
 
Monday, December 20, 2010

Letters

Letters Illegal immigrant problem
In response to Don Strzynski’s letter to the editor regarding “Gestapo
tactics“ (12/6), I would like to respond with actual facts.
First, in reference to Nazi Germany, the Jews weren’t in Germany
illegally. They were citizens that were stripped of their rights,
property and lives by a totalitarian regime. Comparing this country to
that time is a personal affront to me.
Second, until Mr. Strzynski actually lives with the over 12 million
illegal aliens in this country, he will not be able to clearly
recognize the problem for what it is.
I have recently retired to the great state of Michigan from southern
Nevada. I spent most of my life out West, with the southwestern culture
and the problems associated with illegal aliens inundating this country
affecting my daily life at every turn.
The act of being here illegally is in itself a crime. How could one
reasonably expect me to welcome a criminal to my country? It IS a crime
to enter just about any country illegally.
They overwhelm social services, including hospital ERs (In Nevada,
American citizens were waiting behind illegals for life saving
treatments, such as dialysis.), the school systems, which the illegals
insist accommodate them by requiring everyone speak Spanish, the
welfare and housing systems, and other government services. They drive
without drivers’ licenses, insurance, registration, or knowledge of
U.S. traffic laws, and when involved in an accident, run from the
scene. They don’t pay taxes or file taxes, but are quick to suck up
taxpayer dollars while they’re making money. And most of their money is
sent back South.
Perhaps I might agree the solution is not profiling, but in reality
this country must take this issue in hand, and soon. The last thing
this issue needs to become is a political one, but that is exactly
what is happening because of the potential of over 12 million votes.
Incentive should be given to illegals (and those that employ them) to
return to their own country and use the system to emigrate legally.
Perhaps the process can be streamlined or refined to speed things up.
In conclusion, why would this country even let anyone in to work when
we are in such a deep recession with rampant unemployment? We need to
get Americans back to work, and if that means harsh laws regarding
illegal criminals, then so be it.
Mr. Strzynski, after you’ve lived 40+ years out there with them, and
all of the aforementioned problems, get back to me.

George Barnette • Sault Ste. Marie
 
Monday, December 13, 2010

Letters

Letters Speak up for Liz Larios
The night after I read about Liz Larios in the Northern Express I woke
up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I could not get the vision out of
my head of this beautiful young woman who was pictured in the N.E.
with her fiance, being grabbed up in her own front yard, in her
pajamas, not being allowed to get dressed, dragged to multiple
detention centers before being dumped, still in her pajamas, across
the border.
Can this be happening in our country? Has it come to this? Liz came
here as a child; lived her life here; this is her home. Her crime? She
was born in Mexico. Her parents’ crime? They sought a better life some
18 years ago when crossing into the U.S. was what people did, trying
to escape hunger, poverty and few economic options. Wouldn’t I do the
same thing to try to provide for my family?
Those of us who don’t think this is an acceptable policy - to drag
away people who are working and living their lives - need to speak up.
Our democracy -- as broken as it is -- is all we have. We need to
contact those in power and demand that this gestapo-type behavior
stop. We must figure out a coherent, just immigration policy so that
the millions of people living in limbo can get on with their lives. In
the meantime, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency
(ICE) must be forced to stop its inhumane treatment of undocumented
people.
Recently, it was reported that Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano said her agency should spend its resources tracking down
“criminal aliens” — threats to public safety and national security.
“What doesn’t make as much sense is the idea of spending our
enforcement resources to prosecute young people who have no criminal
records, who were brought here through no fault of their own, so they
have no individual culpability, and who now want to go to college or
serve in our armed forces,” she said. The ICE agency is not in
compliance with these guidelines.
There is a local group forming to address this issue. If you want to
get involved, contact Father Wayne Dziekan at 231-409-1387 or
wdziekan@dioceseofgaylord.org.

Sally Van Vleck
Neahtawanta Center

 
Monday, December 6, 2010

Letters

Letters Gestapo tactics
After reading the Express article “Nightmare on the Border,” I found
myself wondering if I’m living in the United States or Nazi Germany.
The methods and treatment in “rounding up” illegals is akin to the
tactics practiced by the Gestapo against the Jews.
Are the Mexicans the Jews of America? As an American I’m embarrassed
by the treatment that Liz Larios received. Nazi Germany can never
happen here, or can it?

Don Strzynski • TC

(The Express will be following up on Liz Larios’ story and that of
other border sweeps in upcoming issues, including the double standard
Mexican nationals face in becoming U.S. citizens. -- ed.)

 
Monday, November 29, 2010

Letters

Letters Save our film industry
Rick Snyder wants to eliminate film and TV incentives: Sound judgement
or pragmatic disillusionment?
His disregard of economic stimulation hangs a dark cloud over new and
growing entrepreneurs, especially when it comes to the movie and
television industry in our state. Calling the film industry
incentives “dumb and “a gimmick” is just plain ludicrous and
completely preposterous.
Hypocrisy is staring you in the face, Mr. Snyder. You talk about jobs,
jobs, jobs. Yet that is exactly what the movie and film industry is
currently doing in this state. Jobs not only in the film industry,
but jobs for art directors, animators, graphic designers, film
directors, photographers, editors, musicians, composers, writers,
actors, educators, developers, realtors, interior designers, builders,
carpenters, policemen, auto technicians, transport servers, caterers,
painters, and artisans of all kinds.
This doesn’t even include the increased business for restaurants,
entertainment, and the rental and sporting industry throughout our
state.
More importantly, this industry is one of the better and faster ways
of diversifying our state‘s economy. The facts are striking. Since
offering a 40% tax incentive for film companies from out of state,
total income has increased from $2 million in film and TV activity to
more than $600 million in less than three years.
And that is just the beginning. New studios and production houses are
being planned along with existing businesses expanding to handle the
additional workload.
Many of these projects involve cutting-edge technology, while hiring
some of the best and most creative minds from the arts, science, and
education of our state. By keeping the film incentives intact, one
will not only see continual growth and economic expansion, but a sense
of triumph, self-worth, and pride of what Michigan can accomplish.
The film industry is a powerful force. It’s highly creative,
economically lucrative, and can have an emotional and visual impact
that profoundly effects people‘s lives for a lifetime. And Rick Snyder
wants to kill it! WHY?

Robert K. Schewe • via email
 
Monday, November 22, 2010

Letters

Letters Special interest circus
I’m a father, retired business person and a military veteran (Army,
infantry, Vietnam). Like most, I’m glad the elections are over. They
are a circus run by special interests who spend billions to sell their
candidates. Those who were elected throw their fist in the air and
proclaim: “the people have spoken.” They use this slogan to do the
bidding of their big money backers.
We see the broken system, the legalized bribery, the bashing - and we
respond by shutting it off. In virtually every area of this country
about 50% of the people are registered to vote. Of those, about half
vote. Of those, about half vote for the “winner.” Thus, the “winner”
represents about 15% of WE THE PEOPLE.
Politicians, if they truly want to represent us, need to investigate
why they lost 85% of the people, and what needs to be changed to allow
the voices of the people to be heard. WE THE PEOPLE are interested in
our families, our communities, our country. We want to be informed
and involved. We need a system overhaul.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake
 
Monday, November 15, 2010

Letters

Letters Candidates ignored wars
I always read with great anticipation Stephen Tuttle’s piece, as I generally find some very like-minded observations and opinions that are always helpful to hear from someone else!
I was, however, noticing a glaring omission in last weeks article and it strikes me to the core as Stephen Tuttle has been so often the lone voice of reminder of the ‘elephant in the room’...
Last week was the 10th Veterans Day since the U.S. engaged in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not one candidate, that I heard of, had the gumption to even bring up during this last election campaign. We are, as a nation, DISGRACEFULLY silent on this subject! I don’t care if you’re red, blue or green with envy.
Where are the ‘Walter Cronkites’ to bring this subject in graphic details to us nightly, over our dinner tables? Where is THE elected official speaking out for the continued funding of this effort while we struggle with so many issues on the home front? Where are the true moral voices to guide us through this mess? Where are the LOBBYISTS for the returning vets struggling to deal with their experiences or the families who’ve lost a loved one?
But perhaps most importantly, why are WE silent? I surely don’t claim to have the answers but I am so missing the rational dialog to help us out of this mess!

Suz McLaughlin • Frankfort
 
Monday, November 8, 2010

Letters

Letters After the election...
In Michigan the winners have just been elected to run a state with a
$1.5 billion dollar shortfall in its budget, massive
un-and-underemployment, and the largest city dying. I’m glad I didn’t
run for anything.
But really, what are you winners going to do? Cut taxes. Yet Michigan
is 25 or 26 among the 50 states in tax burden on its citizens, so that
doesn’t sound like an oppressive rate.
They might make us a right-to-work state -- that works so well for
North Dakota. They have lots of highly paid jobs for the
undereducated. Ha! Some might consider Mississippi or South Carolina,
states that mortgaged most of their future tax dollars to attract a
few thousand jobs. I’m not sure anyone in Michigan would want that.
Also, because of our hard winters Michigan‘s infrastructure needs more
upkeep.
In Northern Michigan we have two major industries, agriculture and
tourism. This is as true today as it was 100 years ago and both need
good infrastructure and a clean environment. So we must find a way to
bring in more tourists without further damage to our environment. We
can’t pave the wetlands and build more four-lane roads through forests
just to allow a few more people easy access to the north. There must
be a balance between individual property rights, like sales of our
water to be bottled and shipped to Phoenix and Dallas, with our local
need for clean water.
I hope the one environmentally-sound new jobs growth engine is not
killed before it gets a chance to mature: the film industry tax
credits. This could provide healthier growth for the entire state, but
it needs time to bring in not only film crews, editors, stage
builders, electricians, etc, that every production must have behind
the scenes.
On the programs we do fund maybe we should look at them and see what
we are over spending on, like prisons. Michigan spends more money than
any other Great Lakes state. Is that because we have more crooked
residents or maybe because we have more strict laws that jail people
longer. Which is it? Along the same lines how much does the “War on
Drugs” cost us, and what is the return?
Michigan will never again be a state that has thousands of highly-paid
jobs for unskilled people. Those jobs always go where the workers are
paid the least and there are no environmental regulations. We can
develop jobs for skilled people, but that development will cost money
and take time. Have we elected the people who understand this?

Don Seman • Bellaire
 
Monday, November 1, 2010

Letters

Letters Time to choose sides
How many readers have themselves, or a friend, neighbor, or family
member, been laid off, downsized, or saw their job outsourced?
And how many victims of this economy, inherited from the previous
administration, are lazy, lack a work ethic, are not interested in
gainful employment, and simply waiting for handouts from the
government to live a carefree lifestyle? Not many, if any, I would
guess.
On November 2, I hope people will remember our candidates who support
remedies like extending unemployment insurance, reforming health care,
reforming the student loan system, tax credits for small business, and
yes, the stimulus package — as well as those who turned their backs,
citing the deficits or “socialism” as their rationale.
Most economists insist that deficit spending is necessary in a
depressed economy, and that helping families survive by providing
temporary funds for food, housing, school supplies, or subsidizing the
jobs of fire fighters and teachers helps to build the economy.
Yet, naysayers, mostly Republicans, support continuing tax cuts for
the wealthiest Americans that are not paid for and add trillions to
the deficit -- a policy that not only didn’t create jobs but lost jobs
in the last decade.
Compounding this hypocrisy, these tax cutters have railed against
bank bailouts while cynically voting against the Financial Reform
Bill, which imposed much-needed regulations on Wall Street.
Despite the angry rhetoric of the tea partiers, throwing out all the
‘bums’ in Congress and our State Legislature is simplistic and
nonsensical—it is a false populism. Look carefully at the records of
those in office and those aspiring to office – those who will truly
look out for the interests of average citizens, and who will not, and
then vote.

Mary M. Easthope • Lake Leelanau
 
Monday, October 25, 2010

Letters

Letters Eight bad years #1
Will someone tell me what I am missing or not forgetting? Gas over $4
a gallon, businesses closing, jobs lost, veterans’ health care
pathetic, and very little or no sense of leadership.
I remember that situation as being Bush/Cheney’s eight years in office with
Washington out of control. Then President Obama inherited this ongoing
mess. No, there is no magic switch on the wall to turn off the mess
that was created by the prior
administration, it takes time. It takes working together, something it
seems the Republicans aren’t interested in doing.
Never before in this country has there ever been the time for the need
to do as the late John F. Kennedy asked America to do: “Ask not what
your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
In this case it’s vote Democratic!

Wendy Kerry • via email

 
 
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