Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Letters 4/20/09

Letters Crisis management
If you have some extra money, it may be time to sidle up to the table and get yourself some assets. President Obama and others have said that the “profit ratios are now such that it may be time to invest.”
Hmmm! Back down that road again?
There are millions of properties that are now owned by banks, the government, and other lenders that can be snatched up at bargain basement prices. Stock values of financially sound companies are available at half the price of two years ago! Lay down the cash and walk away with some great homes, companies, and stocks. Or, if you can leverage one of your hedged futures, please do so. Now! You may not have to part with any of your cash or other assets and still pick up a whale of a deal on a foreclosed home or two!
Hmmmm! Have we so quickly forgotten where that road will lead us?
The sparkle can be seen in the eyes of those who will weather this “downturn” with excess cash left in their wallets or sufficient assets remaining to leverage credit. They know the game and are waiting patiently just outside the circle of light as the foreclosures, lost retirement funds, and folding small businesses burn down to ashes. If allowed to, the cyclical dynamo that propels additional wealth into the coffers of those who are already the most well-to-do, will work its magic once again, and again, and again.
Here is an outline that can help us to “make the best of this crisis” while at the same time heading down a road that may help us avoid such crises in the future:
• Create a single-payer universal health care system.
• Get rid of the health insurance industry.
• Re-employ insurance workers in a publicly run health care administration.
• Determine the present cost of health care without the insurance industry profits.
• Project the cost of health care for all people who live in the US of A.
• Re-work the pay structure for health care workers including doctors, nurses, technicians, etc., with negotiations resulting in a more equitable distribution of pay.
• Focus on achieving a healthy population through preventative care and education.
• Fund universal health care with a graduated monthly fee structure based roughly upon the asset ownership of individuals.
• Place banking services under public ownership.
• No longer charge interest on home mortgages or small business loans. Rather, add a fee to the loan principal at closing.
• No longer charge interest on credit card debt. Rather, add a surcharge to the principal at the time of each purchase.
Of course, there are many more ways that we could reduce the greed-driven functions of our economy while increasing the uplifting aspects of our “post crisis” existence. The way that we handle transportation, utilities, communications, energy, and natural resources are all areas that need re-evaluation along similar lines.

Dale S. Scott • Harbor Springs

All quiet on the left in TC
With a week in time passing since the serving of papers to the mayor of Traverse City and select commissioners, the local left has been very quiet on the subject.
I just checked out some of the local lefties haunts online and there was not one mention (excluding the Record-Eagle) of the lawsuit. Could it be the T.C. lefties don’t dare come out against George Galic at this point? Maybe because they know something? Or at the least have good reason to suspect he’s correct?
What if George Galic prevails and it is shown without a doubt that government business was conducted in the backroom? Would they defend conducting business behind the scene as the right way to operate government? No, they’ll remain quiet on this one. For now anyway. But that’s okay because “no (leftie) news is good news” as an indicator of George Galic‘s chances of prevailing.

Alex Peterson • TC
 
Monday, April 20, 2009

Letters 4/20/09

Letters Crisis management
If you have some extra money, it may be time to sidle up to the table and get yourself some assets. President Obama and others have said that the “profit ratios are now such that it may be time to invest.”
Hmmm! Back down that road again?
There are millions of properties that are now owned by banks, the government, and other lenders that can be snatched up at bargain basement prices. Stock values of financially sound companies are available at half the price of two years ago! Lay down the cash and walk away with some great homes, companies, and stocks. Or, if you can leverage one of your hedged futures, please do so. Now! You may not have to part with any of your cash or other assets and still pick up a whale of a deal on a foreclosed home or two!
Hmmmm! Have we so quickly forgotten where that road will lead us?
The sparkle can be seen in the eyes of those who will weather this “downturn” with excess cash left in their wallets or sufficient assets remaining to leverage credit. They know the game and are waiting patiently just outside the circle of light as the foreclosures, lost retirement funds, and folding small businesses burn down to ashes. If allowed to, the cyclical dynamo that propels additional wealth into the coffers of those who are already the most well-to-do, will work its magic once again, and again, and again.
Here is an outline that can help us to “make the best of this crisis” while at the same time heading down a road that may help us avoid such crises in the future:
• Create a single-payer universal health care system.
• Get rid of the health insurance industry.
• Re-employ insurance workers in a publicly run health care administration.
• Determine the present cost of health care without the insurance industry profits.
• Project the cost of health care for all people who live in the US of A.
• Re-work the pay structure for health care workers including doctors, nurses, technicians, etc., with negotiations resulting in a more equitable distribution of pay.
• Focus on achieving a healthy population through preventative care and education.
• Fund universal health care with a graduated monthly fee structure based roughly upon the asset ownership of individuals.
• Place banking services under public ownership.
• No longer charge interest on home mortgages or small business loans. Rather, add a fee to the loan principal at closing.
• No longer charge interest on credit card debt. Rather, add a surcharge to the principal at the time of each purchase.
Of course, there are many more ways that we could reduce the greed-driven functions of our economy while increasing the uplifting aspects of our “post crisis” existence. The way that we handle transportation, utilities, communications, energy, and natural resources are all areas that need re-evaluation along similar lines.

Dale S. Scott • Harbor Springs

All quiet on the left in TC
With a week in time passing since the serving of papers to the mayor of Traverse City and select commissioners, the local left has been very quiet on the subject.
I just checked out some of the local lefties haunts online and there was not one mention (excluding the Record-Eagle) of the lawsuit. Could it be the T.C. lefties don’t dare come out against George Galic at this point? Maybe because they know something? Or at the least have good reason to suspect he’s correct?
What if George Galic prevails and it is shown without a doubt that government business was conducted in the backroom? Would they defend conducting business behind the scene as the right way to operate government? No, they’ll remain quiet on this one. For now anyway. But that’s okay because “no (leftie) news is good news” as an indicator of George Galic‘s chances of prevailing.

Alex Peterson • TC
 
Monday, April 13, 2009

Letters 4/13/09

Letters Holding the line
Homeowners, neighborhoods and communities are best served when people are able to remain in their homes. Families across our state are struggling to do just that, and I want to make sure they have a fighting chance. That’s why I am working on measures to protect homeowners from property tax increases that are out of step with their home’s actual value.
Legislation I sponsored would make sure that a property’s taxable value doesn’t increase any faster than its assessed value. I also co-sponsored legislation to prevent homeowners from seeing their property taxes go up if the assessed value of their home goes down. In addition, homeowners whose tax assessments fall below the taxable value of their home would see the taxable value of their home also reduced. Both measures would need approval from voters in November.
It’s true these proposals will result in less revenue for government. But just like our hardworking families, government at every level must learn to tighten its belt and live within its means. Common sense and fairness says that if home values are falling, property taxes should not continue to rise. With families leaving our state in droves and those who remain struggling to stay in their homes, how can we justify collecting property taxes that are out of step with home values?
When I came to the Legislature in 1992, Michigan was hurting – property taxes were out of control and families were losing their homes. Today we find ourselves in similar distress, and I will not let government continue to rob our hardworking families. Bringing property taxes back in line with home values is a common sense approach that will help struggling families and communities throughout Michigan. Homeowners shouldn’t have to watch their property taxes climb while their home values drop. I am fighting to change that. I urge our House colleagues to join us in protecting Michigan families during these tough economic times.

Michelle A. McManus • State Senator, 35th District
Stop sexual assault
The Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRC) joins the rest of the country in recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The WRC helps hundreds of individuals and families each year that have experienced this devastating crime of sexual violence at some point in their lives.
We now have an additional mission of primary prevention. This is taking action before any violence occurs to prevent an assault or victimization. Primary prevention seeks to change root causes of sexual violence; such as societal norms, attitudes and behaviors.
The responsibility for sexual violence prevention lies within each of us. Educate yourself and start conversations about the problem of sexual violence. Challenge those who use degrading language or actions. Intervene or get help if you see a friend or stranger grab or insult a woman. Do not support companies that use commercials or ads exploiting women, and explain to children, nieces, nephews, and others that this is not okay.
Help re-define what healthy masculinity looks like to end dangerous stereotypes. Mentor youth by modeling equality in relationships. Primary prevention helps create communities where we all have the right to feel safe in our relationships, homes, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.
The WRC is a non-profit agency serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information, call the WRC 24-hour crisis and information line at (231) 347-0082 or
(800) 275-1995.

Carrie Sundstrom • Community Prevention Coordinator

 
Monday, April 6, 2009

Letters 4/6/09

Letters Stop the spending
Until the U.S. government can balance its checkbook it is time to stop the frivolous, wasteful, and seemingly endless spending.
What is the point of creating a budget if you cannot or do not plan to adhere to it? According to the 2006 U.S. census, the payroll of the U.S. government alone is a staggering $13,896,346,626 per month. There is a lot of fat that could be cut from that payroll which continues to grow with every new problem the country encounters. The attacks of 9/11 gave birth to a new branch of payroll in formation of the Homeland Security Office. Didn’t we already have homeland security through the National Guard?
I do not believe that the problem was not enough security, but instead a false sense of security that we allowed ourselves to be lulled into. Even if Homeland Security is a viable need for our national safety, there are plenty of other programs not necessary to the survival of the nation that should be terminated or put on hiatus, until such a day that we are once again in the black as a country.
One program that should be looked upon as fluff and should be discontinued, until we actually have the cash in hand to fund it, is the space program, which according to the 2006 census demands $150,593,571 per month just in payroll alone. This may not be a popular opinion, but our future is not in space, it is here on Earth, and even though I am interested in what is out there as much as anyone, we should concentrate on our current homeland.
Programs like the Blue Angels should be looked at for their entertainment value, and not as a necessity for national morale and recruiting. How about cancelling the Army, Navy football programs? That is what would happen if it was a public school that could not make the ends meet. It is time for the government to be more responsible and accountable with its spending, and if said government proposes a budget, approves the budget, then damn it, balance the budget!

Donald Robinson • Frankfort

Spending spree
It is becoming more clear every day that the President’s budget and stimulus package includes enormous spending for programs that while worthy of debate in their own right are masquerading as keys to reducing structural costs and providing the essential elements for economic recovery and prosperity. The country is in a serious economic recession and financial system crisis and the president is trying to smooth talk the people into believing that borrowing to spend unprecedented billions on health care, the environment, green energy , education and adding enormous cost to entitlement programs are indispensable components of a financial recovery plan. Items that are important but not urgent should not escape exhaustive debate and not be immune to the process of purging based on affordability.
Sorry Mr. President, but your strategy of throwing every pet social program onto the recovery wagon and calling it essential baggage is not selling to thoughtful Americans who know that spending beyond our means has consequences. When news pundits struggle to explain the enormity of the increase in national debt you advocate and when economists are forecasting dramatic damage to the dollar as the world’s standard for currency, and forecasting upward pressure on interest rates and inflation, the credibility of your assertions of future financial health is undermined beyond repair. Your spending spree is looking more and more like a cure that could end up being worse than the illness.

Dick Selvala • Cross Village
‘Best of’ feedback
It seems your fact checker, or the compiler of lists, is asleep at the wheel when it comes to servers and bartenders.
Kim has not been a server at Hanna for over a year. She currently manages at Siren Hall.
The bartender at Hanna (yours truly) was not even listed, and many of his regulars believe that he is the best in Traverse City.
So it goes.

Tony Berry • TC

Loved the “Best of” issue. But I suggest another category: Best Cop. I nominate State Trooper Blair DuVall of the Honor post. He lost his life to cancer last July. He was a gentleman and a gentle man.


Nutty ACORN scheme
ACORN was and continues to be contentious in regard to their roles in registering voters this just past election. I seem to recall individuals registering the same potential voters dozens and dozens of times in some cases, and investigations of this corruption being discussed in the many states in which it occurred. With that in mind, I’ve been expecting some announcements as to accountability of these illegal activities from the Justice Department and as to those who lead this organization.
With the latest stimulus package that President Obama has just announced and signed, I think I’ll stop holding my breath as to any in this organization being held accountable. Rather than that occurring as most might expect, just the opposite has been announced that carries a large price tag that will “benefit” this group. For those who might have missed being informed, ACORN is now receiving $5 billion of your hard earned tax payer dollars as part of this “stimulus” package for all the good deeds they do for us.
Can anybody explain the stimulus involved with rewarding those attempting to dismantle and destroy our one-man, one-vote democracy? Further, just what is it that our new President is attempting to stimulate? Seems like a reasonable question that all might ponder thinking about.

Brian Spencer • TC

Slow down
To the ignorant drivers that use our roads daily. I am sick and tired of you running “up my butt” when I have my turn signal on, which means I am turning either right or left! Got it? That means BACK OFF, SLOW DOWN, BE PREPARED TO STOP, use some common sense!
Homestead Road in Benzie County seems to be one of the worst! Evidently, drivers are not worried about the school zone. Maybe they have no kids attending Benzie Central. Maybe they don’t care that more and more kids are walking, or that the track team trains along this road.
I assume that those who drive this road don’t care about those who live on it because of how fast they go in front of the houses and because of the countless animals that have been hit year after year, both domestic pets and wildlife.
Oh well, I guess nothing will change until a person gets hit and dies. Then maybe someone will care, someone will slow down, someone will stop acting so uncaring.
I will tell you this: if any of our kids, grandchildren, animals/pets get hit by you, you will be sued for the maximum amount allowed. This is simply avoidable ignorance. Maybe you will care when you are the one affected by, or the cause of, an accident

Lisa Mai Shoemaker • Empire


 
Monday, March 30, 2009

Letters 3/30/09

Letters Letters 3/30/09

Branded for life
I just want to thank the Northern Express for telling my son’s story (re: “Branded for Life,” 3/23). Countless lives are forever destroyed by these laws. It has been a crazy few years and I had nearly given up hope of anyone caring.
Special thanks to Anne Stanton for telling the real story. Her article will help the cause, and people have already contacted me with their stories. She went above and beyond for us and we are forever grateful to finally have our concerns validated.

Name withheld

Train to nowhere?
Great article on the proposed mag-lev train (re: Random Thoughts, 3.23). How do these proposals gain traction when there is no science to support them?
At Old Dominion University a demonstration project for two miles has failed after four years of trying a mag-lev train. The same company failed in Florida in a project that was supported by state and federal taxpayers. Is there any evidence of a successful mag-lev project in the U.S.? No.

D. Aussicker • via email


Stop this train wreck
We are at a crossroads. For the first time, the plan to haul toxic wastewater from Bay Harbor Resort and East Park to an underground well in Alba is off the table. We sincerely hope CMS Energy will stop this train wreck and spare themselves a great deal of grief and money.
The cleanup methods that CMS has so far installed do not solve the problem. They merely transfer them to a distant pristine location and pass responsibility for them along to future generations.
Before I get to a saner proposal, consider this question: How long does it take for the substance of a mountain to be washed to sea?
In this case the mountain represents the huge piles of cement kiln dust, 2.5 million cubic yards of hazardous waste, improperly buried and hidden underground at Bay Harbor and East Park. This toxic leachate is so potent it can kill or maim on contact.
The current cleanup plan intercepts the leachate before it enters Lake Michigan, neutralizes its highly caustic pH with sulfuric acid and trucks it off-site for disposal.
Our calculations show that it would take thousands of years to clean up the mountain. That’s one million gallons of toxic leachate per week, collected, neutralized, transported and pumped down the Alba well. Now factor in trace amounts of toxic heavy metals. These “traces” become tons when the variables of time and volume are factored in.
It is immoral to pass these toxic problems on to future generations and to risk polluting our rivers and Little Traverse Bay.
In contrast, our cleanup plan is simple. Entomb the cement kiln dust (CKD) in impervious cells at Bay Harbor. “Isolate and contain...” the CKD, just like the 2005 EPA Order says (and to which CMS agreed).
The process of entombment is widely used and not much different from building a standard hazardous waste landfill. A hole is excavated next to one end of a CKD pile. The hole is then lined with a material that is impervious to water and CKD, which will last forever. Next, excavate a portion of the adjacent CKD pile and place it into the lined hole or cell. Once the cell is full, cap it with the same material as the liner and proceed to line the new hole in the same manner as the first. Repeat until all CKD is contained.
This simple process halts the ebb and flow of water through the CKD piles. Once complete, there will be no need to truck leachate anywhere. The CKD would only need to be moved short distances and the work requires just simple excavating equipment.
The costs of our plan, when factored over time, are a mere fraction of what CMS currently proposes and there is almost no risk of contaminating other places.

Dr. John W. Richter • President, Friends of the Jordan River Watershed
 
Monday, March 23, 2009

Letters 3/23/09

Letters Book store casualty
Thank you for the support and the kind words in your editorial of March 16 as well as in your past issues (“Reinventing the Book Store” Random Thoughts). Our store, Boyne Country Books in Boyne City will be closing as of March 31, just short of 15 years in business. The recent economic downturn made our small business untenable. We really wish to thank all our super customers who have become our friends and supporters over the years.
We are sorry about the Borders situation mentioned in your editorial, and the bookstore business situation in general. The original Borders store in Ann Arbor was our favorite when we lived in that area and helped make us interested in opening a bookstore in the first place. We hope things will rebound for others as the economy improves. You can always be optimistic!

Steve and Kathy Anderson
Owners, Boyne Country Books

Patriotic drivel
Heather Shumaker’s account of her trip to Washington for Obama’s inauguration was interesting and appreciated. Joe Evancho’s eviscerating letter in response was one of the most petty and mean-spirited attacks I’ve seen in your pages.
His letter is just an attack and a blathering outburst of patriotic drivel. We have the highest standard of living in the world? In searching various ranking methods, I could not find a single source where the United States ranks number one. The 2008 statistical update of the United Nations’ Human Development Index ranks the U.S. 15th. The index combines normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment and Gross Domestic Product.
Our per capita income is high but less evenly distributed than in other western countries. In 2006, the poverty rate for minors in the U.S. was the highest of all nations in the industrialized world. There are many people here without full access to medical care. Unlike most European countries, if you lose your job in the United States you’re likely to lose your insurance. And in what other industrialized country does critical illness lead to bankruptcy?
Is patriotism exemplified by ranting slogans and spewing false assertions, then attacking those who take a more critical view of their country in exhorting it to rise to higher standards?
This is a great country, but there’s an adolescent arrogance in flag-waving assertions of being “the greatest nation on the face of the earth.” It’s as if we’re cheering at a football game rather than taking our national interests seriously.
It’s bizarre to claim that we have the backbone to correct our flaws if the government stays out of the way. History shows our government to be an agent of social progress in desegregating society and enforcing equal civil rights.
There are many terrible things in American history, including institutionalized slavery and genocide. What we can be proud of is our demand and expectation that we strive to do better and to live up to the ideals expressed in our founding documents. A tough task to be sure, but can we do it? Yes we can.
People like Heather Shumaker who engage and participate and celebrate our nation at critical moments in her progress are great and true Americans and contribute much more to our patriotic heritage than the petty sloganeers.

Gary Worden • TC
 
Monday, March 16, 2009

Letters 3/16/09

Letters Screening pedophiles
Anne Stanton’s “How a Pedophile Slipped Through the Cracks“ (3/9/09) raises more questions than it answers. First, if the police, the courts and Child Protective Services all knew this pedophile “was trouble,” did they notify the public and especially organizations involved with children?
If so, how was Child Guidance overlooked? If not, are the police, courts and Protective Services negligent? If huge organizations like TCAPS and TBAISD with all their resources could not identify this individual as a potential problem, why is Child Guidance expected to identify that potential?
If a “standard background check” used by “many schools and non-profits” including inquiries to state and national registries, state police and the FBI isn’t fail-proof, then what is the standard?
Attorney Blake Ringsmuth contends filing a FOIA with the Michigan State Police would have provided “reams of information” of “criminal activity” on the pedophile, and alleged Child Guidance failed by not accessing that source, so is a FOIA the standard? If so, why file with just one state’s police? Why not every state’s? And if the FOIA discloses criminal activity, when can a potential employer use that to deny an applicant employment?
Mr. Ringsmuth stated “a pattern of accusations” even without any convictions has to be taken seriously. Has he or the courts defined what a pattern is? One accusation? Two, three, four? And if a potential employer does not hire such an applicant who is legally innocent, will Mr. Ringsmuth or another attorney be taking that employer to court for discrimination?
Clearly a problem screening potential employees exists, and in my opinion the courts and legislature should develop a standard process that would safely, legally, efficiently and comprehensively identify applicants inappropriate for working around children. Mr. Ringsmuth is intelligent, involved and has demonstrated personal concern for human rights; people like him are best suited to spearhead such an effort.

Jan Vlach • TC

Say no to coal
Our elected officials in Lansing need to vote no to any new coal-fueled power plants in Michigan.
Nations around the world and various states are already realizing the enormous health, financial, and environmental risks inherent in coal. We need to speak out to help to stop the construction of dirty coal-fueled power generating plants (along with their toxic emissions) in Michigan.
Coal is dirty to handle and worse to burn. And we know that the industry’s “clean coal” message is more public relation’s spin than anything real. It‘s about as real as “safe healthy cigarettes.”
The coal industry has invested millions in their public relations, advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the myth of “clean coal.” Front groups like American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and a downstate P.R. firm are utilizing the momentum of the elections as a platform upon which to spin their message.
Any responsible Energy Bill must drastically curtail carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, mercury, selenium, arsenic, and particulate emissions in order to protect personal health and our Michigan environment. Statistically, we must reduce our dangerous emissions by 80 percent by 2050 if we have any hope of abating global climate change. Coal combustion tools and techniques at this point in their development area are unable to comply with environmental imperatives.
No coal power plant is worth disease, suffering, and global climate change—especially when there are safe, clean, and sensible energy alternatives in Michigan that will create desperately needed jobs.

Brenda Archambo • Cheboygan
 
Monday, March 9, 2009

Letters 3/9/09

Letters Republican pork
The most vocal Republican governors in criticizing the “pork” in President Obama’s stimulus package are Barbour, Jindle, Palin, and Sanford. Ironically, they are also the top four beneficiaries of federal spending; receiving more than any other state.
For each federal tax dollar sent to Washington, these states receive:
• Governor Haley Barbour (R) Mississippi $2.02;
• Governor Bobby Jindal (R) Louisiana $1.85;
• Governor Sarah Palin Alaska (R) $1.83
• Governor Mark Sanford South Carolina (R) $1.35.
Maybe the taxpayers should publicly demand that these hypocrites return any excess earmarks so they too can contribute to the welfare of our nation. I suggest they receive only 75 cents for each dollar they pay to Washington. That way they would be putting a little in, instead of taking a whole lot out. Something they criticize others for.
Also, the Senate Republican leader has twice as many earmarks in this year‘s budget than the Senate Democratic leader. Interesting is it not?
A handy table here: www.nemw.org/taxburd.htm

Tim Wiley • TC

Shop with conscience
If you believe “that whoever feels deeply feels for all that lives,” then it‘s time to let your spending reflect that view.
Today I was horrified to find items for sale at Oryana Food Co-op which originated in Israel. Israel manages to even outdo the U.S. in human rights violations.
Having a family member who has served as a volunteer in Palestine, we are keenly aware of the human rights violations and degradation of Palestinians.
For those not familiar with Israel‘s less-than-human stance regarding the Palestinians, “Palestine Inside Out, An Everyday Occupation“ by Saree Makdisi would be enlightening. The bare existence of an indigenous people started in 1948 as the U.S. and other colonial powers were determined not to let the Jews into their own countries. Instead, they stole the land which was Palestine and handed it over to Israel. It would be very much like Canada deeding over all of Michigan to someone they didn’t want.
Do not spend your money supporting stores which support Israel. Join the boycott of Motorola (HangUpOnMotorola.org) Support the boycott of Caterpillar by businesses. To honor those suffering in other countries, be aware that every purchase of a cell phone, Blackberry, etc. results in personal devastation with mining practices which place little value on human life. Shop with a conscience.

Jerry Young • Bear Lake

Power to the people
With all eyes turned to Washington hoping for an economic fix, are we then as individuals absolved of blame or responsibility? Impotent to affect change with our puny input?
The economy is largely a reflection of consumer spending habits – we vote with our dollars, and we have exactly the economy we’ve supported and deserve. We decry outsourcing and blame corporations for moving overseas, but this is the result of consumers shopping for the lowest price. Low prices require cheap labor.
We live so disconnected from the natural world; most are blissfully ignorant of the cost to the earth in extraction, manufacture, and transport for every shiny object at the mall.
We are now three generations removed from the farm, and much of our agriculture is toxic, inhumane, and unsustainable; but most haven’t a clue how or where their food is grown or processed. By supporting local growers though farm markets we reverse the trend and improve our food and farming.
The imbalance of wealth at the root of so much of what ails us cannot be redistributed by government taxation and regulation, but by informed consumers choosing to support healthy sustainable businesses . . . even at a higher price.
When I shop at my village grocery, I support my neighbors, the store thrives, and money stays in the local economy. If I shop at Sam’s Club, I support the five Walton heirs (worth $18 billion each) and everyone else gets squeezed. What it saved?
Our problems run deeper than a struggling economy – a natural world diminished daily by ignorance, greed driven wars ... we can do better.

Richard Allen • Leland

Vaccine decision
I thoroughly enjoy reading your paper and value the kind of educated insight which surfaces within a number of your articles. However, I was deeply offended and shocked by the recent article, “The Value of Vaccination” by Rebecca Peterson.
It is my understanding that parents have the right to inform themselves and exercise their freedom of conscience in order to protect their children from “bad science.” Peterson believes that “bad science” is being used to dissuade parents from vaccinating their children.
But “bad science” is also being used to coerce parents into following the vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that a vast amount of doctors abide by. The truth of the matter is that this particular schedule consents to injecting a child with an overwhelming amount of viruses in one appointment.
I know that many people argue that we should not be “bucking the herd,” but the real problem is that we are treating each child as if they are part of a herd rather than an individual child with a unique immune system. I choose to vaccinate my daughter, but I don’t believe in burying my head in the sand and blindly following a regimented schedule that does not take into account the unique needs of each child.
Peterson questions, “Why is it that occasionally even a vaccinated person contracts one of these diseases?” This is in fact a true occurrence, but it is not an occasional one. What is alarming is the recent statistic revealed in Mothering magazine: “The incidence of measles cases has risen dramatically from 2007 to 2008 and is at its highest level in more than a decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63 of the 131 new cases of measles from January to July 2008 were among those unvaccinated. The majority of the cases (68), however were among those vaccinated” (O’Mara p. 10).
I can empathize with Peterson’s concerns regarding unvaccinated children, but I refuse to demonize parents who have the right to decline. So, if it is trendy to be an American who exercises the right to choose what is best for his or her child, then I guess I’m trendy. If it‘s hip to be concerned about the vaccination schedule and the recent epidemic of autism, then I guess I’m hip. And if it’s irresponsible to believe in the tenets of this country, then I’m irresponsible too.
Peterson argues that, “vaccination should be a group decision, not an individual one.” This is a frightening statement. Does she understand what this would mean regarding the role of government in our lives?
A responsible parent is a parent who is willing to dissent if it ensures the safety of his or her child.

Kacey Corcoran • Petoskey


 
Monday, March 2, 2009

Letters 3/2/09

Letters Cougar sightings
Very good article on the cougars in the Bendon area. I also live in the Interlochen /Bendon area and have seen the cougars in my back yard ( black ones with a baby in tow ).
There is several living in the Karlin area currently. The are also three living in Grawn. I have been tracking them down for the past year.
I also have a picture of a cougar that is very clear.
Good article that really tells the truth about the way the DNR handles this issue. The same thing happened to me.

Dale Maupin • Bendon

Hogs pose a threat
Readers of the Northern Express should not be mislead by Robert Downes‘ recent tongue-in-cheek treatment (“Who Let The Hogs Out?”) of Michigan’s growing problem with wild hogs. If our state continues to ignore it, and our citizens joke about it while waiting for the government to save us, the wild hog will likely do damage to the land comparable to that caused in the Great Lakes by zebra mussels, lamprey eels and other exotic pests.
Crop losses (as much as $10,000 worth on a single farm), ruined lawns, a child and adult chased by two hogs near Ann Arbor, and state forest damage have all been documented in Michigan in the last several months. Pseudorabies—a devastating disease in domestic swine—has been found in wild hogs roaming parts of the state. It’s not a movie or a joke, or somebody else’s problem.
The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy is not being alarmist in its assessment of the potential effects of wild hogs. The Conservancy has been conducting research and educating the public about the problem for two years. We brought one of the world’s top experts on hogs to Michigan and consulted with several other out-of-state experts about the lengthy and well-documented record of destruction wherever hogs have become established. Forty-two states and several Canadian provinces have learned the hard-way that the wild hog threat is no laughing matter. The $800 million annual damage caused by wild hogs across America is conservative. That’s why biologists, agricultural experts, and citizen-conservationists are urging Michigan, and I urge Mr. Downes, to take the wild hog threat seriously.
For more information about Michigan’s wild hog problem, readers can contact the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy at 517-641-7677 or email: wildlife@miwildlife.org.

Patrick J. Rusz, Ph.D
Director of Wildlife Programs
Michigan Wildlife Conservancy

The cost of digital TV
Re: Tom Carr‘s story on the upcoming switch to digital TV:
Talk about disconnection: look at this side of the situation. All I seem to hear is the date of changeover.
A government mandate to switch to digital TV. Ever wonder where the convertors are being manufactured?
Stimulus: Government mandates should include “Made-In-the-USA”.
Rebate: Yes, please. We all are eligible for a rebate that subsidizes manufacturing in a foreign country.
Reality: Northern Michigan is stimulated by primarily manufacturing industries, correct?
Who will be accountable for this oversight? Those that are still working are paying the tax to provide the rebates.

R. Tegel • via email


Hookah hazard
I am writing regarding the hookah trend that has recently reached the Traverse City area. The hookah, or waterpipe, is often seen as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. However, research indicates that this is not the case. People should understand the risks that hookah use poses to their health and the health of those around them.
The hookah indirectly heats tobacco, usually with burning embers or charcoal. The smoke is filtered through a bowl of water, and then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece. Other common names for hookah include waterpipe, narghile or narghila, shisha or sheesha, and hubbly-bubbly.
Hookah is an ancient form of tobacco use originating in Persia and India. It has emerged as a new trend among young people. Hookah bars and cafes generally target 18-24 year olds.
A typical hookah smoking session lasts 40-45 minutes, during which time the user may inhale as much smoke as consuming 100 cigarettes. The heat sources for the pipe, such as wood or charcoal release additional toxins when burned. Initial research indicates that smoking hookah is at least as toxic as smoking cigarettes. Because the pipe is passed from user to user, there is an increased risk of transmitting infectious diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and herpes. The secondhand smoke generated by a smoking session is dangerous to others.
It is clear that more research is needed related to the health effects of hookah use, but the available research indicates that smoking hookah is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. For more information, please see the following fact sheet from the American Lung Association available at: http://slati.lungusa.org.

Lisa Danto, RN, tobacco addiction specialist coordinator, Traverse Bay Area Tobacco Coalition

Time to evolve
I appreciate Stuart Kunkle’s letter to the editor in your Feb. 2 issue (“Dire predictions“). He brought up an excellent point of view regarding the future of energy and life as we know it.
Listening to the radio every day it seems like we’re just throwing money blindly into the same sinking ship, hoping it will start to float again.
The Transition Handbook, from oil dependency to local resilience by Rob Hopkins states that there are actually several possible scenarios for life beyond the oil peak. Basically they can be described as “Evolve,” “Adapt” or “Collapse.”
“Evolve” suggests that we will use the ideas of earth stewardship and positive transitions to create a new way of life.
“Adapt” assumes that somehow magically a new energy source will be discovered (that we are currently unaware of) that will let civilization as we know it continue forever.
“Collapse” implies that nothing we do will be able to stop the crumbling of civilization (like every other civilization in history). The economy, energy and growth is interconnected in a complex web, similar to an ecosystem in nature. As housing, banking and car industries collapse, initiated by a spike then plateau in energy prices and availability, growth and the civilization based on it struggle to keep from collapsing as well.
Let’s remove our ego (or fear?) from the dialogue and be open to more diverse points of view. Change can be frightening, but please don’t confuse realism with pessimism and dismiss it categorically. Anticipating a future more regionally based (as Stuart Kunkle suggests), actually seems to me an optimistic (and realistic) future, a future where we spend more quality time with people (and our own children), making things by hand and relearning forgotten crafts. Personally, I’m with Stuart. I vote to “Evolve.”

Genevieve Pfisterer • TC
 
Monday, February 23, 2009

Letters 2/23/09

Letters Predator priorities
I read the article “Computer Cop” by Anne Stanton. I commend her on her work. I will state my position on child pornography and child abuse in this manner: I have no patience or tolerance for a person who has harmed a child, I sincerely believe that a man who has been found to have sexually abused a child should suffer public impalement on a fence post. I am NOT joking.
We must be very careful though, to separate the wheat from the chaff. The idea that a person is deemed worse for looking at a disgusting picture is WORSE than the person who actually commits such acts is ABSURD!
The authorities who hunt these predators must not be forced to do their job on a “shoestring” budget either. But, we must be aware of the pitfalls.
One of which is to become a zealot in pursuit of “sin.” We’ve seen this happen before. Recall all of the hysterical probes into the “satanic, child-sacrificial killing cults” that proved nonexistent in the 1980s?
We desperately need dedicated people to pursue these criminals on the Internet, and elsewhere, and I wish Detective Heller success in cornering his quarry; but, I sincerely hope he is not unduly influenced by the sign he has so prominently displayed on the wall behind him in what I assume is his office; to wit: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
No investigator should rely on his/her “imagination” rather than the use of “knowledge” to present facts.
I can “imagine” what my neighbors might be doing in their bedrooms at night; but I certainly have no “knowledge” of those activities.

Jim Parsons • Thompsonville

1st Amendment issue
Anne Stanton’s recent article on Todd Heller, the “computer cop,” raises important questions about the First Amendment which were lost in the glare of the more titillating (and apparently more newsworthy) subjects of internet child pornography and child sexual abuse.
Personally, I find that the idea of law enforcement agents having free rein to examine data on my personal computer smacks of Big Brother. The idea that my privacy is protected by the requirement of a search warrant pales in this day of the Patriot Act, which could be invoked for nothing more than an intercepted email expressing criticism of the government. The oft-used justification that “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear” obliterates the distinction between privacy and secrecy, a distinction I feel is fundamental to our First Amendment protections.
Regarding the article: Ms. Stanton paraphrased comments from myself and Dr. John Ulrich (as experts in the evaluation and treatment of sex offenders) to respond to discrepancies in the law as it applies to internet child pornography and criminal sexual conduct law.
The fact that one can go to jail significantly longer for looking at internet child porn than for actually committing criminal sexual conduct against a child is certainly of legal interest but really speaks more about the trees than it does the forest of our society’s posture on sexual misconduct as well as sexual behavior in general.
I cannot speak for Dr. Ulrich, although I have worked in shared capacities with him on several occasions in the past and know him to be a caring, highly competent and dedicated professional. In the article, I felt that out-of-context quotes attributed to myself might lead the reader to conclude that I might feel the accused are themselves being victimized (by discrepancies in the law). I can say that in my experience, I would never let my professional empathy towards my clients minimize the seriousness of the behaviors of which they may be accused: That is for their attorneys to advocate.
As for so-called “legitimate” Internet pornography in general, while I am a staunch advocate of freedom of expression, I am at the same time a bitter critic of a capitalist economic system that panders to our society’s continuing confusion over sexuality by prostituting it on the Internet solely for monetary gain.

Michael Nunn, LMSW
Interlochen

Bush league
George Bush was right in keeping the nation safe after 9/11. Many times senior Democrats were briefed on interrogations, including then-Senator Clinton, who agreed there would be things done to keep us safe, including in Iran.
Then-Senator Obama voted for the Bush wiretapping program. To this day, more Americans support retaining the Guantanamo prison than oppose it, and many prisoners who have been released by Mr. Bush have come back to oppose the U.S. again in many ways.
Michigan Rep. John Conyers wants to prosecute both Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes, but will not be allowed to do so if Obama demures.

Len Barnes • Mission Peninsula


 
Monday, February 16, 2009

Letters 2/16/09

Letters The need for nudists
On my local NPR station in Ann
Arbor, I heard a report that attendance at the Sleeping Bears Dunes National Lakeshore had been down considerably this past summer. This was blamed on the economy.
Not considered was the effect of the suppression by the park authority of nudism on Otter Creek Beach. I know a lot of naturists (aka nudists) who have given up going to Empire because of the harassment by park authorities on this traditional clothing-optional beach.
A public nude beach is a big tourist attraction. Haulover Beach near Miami (Florida), an official nude beach run by Dade County, is the most used park in the Dade County Parks system and generates major dollars for the parks and the community.
Nude beaches are legal in Michigan if the local community agrees to it. Many people who live in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties enjoy skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing; but they are not
organized. What is needed is a local naturist group to work with the local governments to create an official, clothing-
optional beach. Anyone interested in
doing so can find an article on creating a naturist group on the website,
www.MichiganNudeBeachAdvocates.org.
A nude beach is good for the economy and good for personal freedom!

Matthew Kerwin • Chelsea

Israel‘s infamy
I read January 19-25’s letters with disbelief. I thought that the lack of cheerleading for Israel’s latest collective punishment of civilians in the local letters pages meant that the Israel-first, Israel-at-any-cost folks were feeling conflicted enough to at least keep silent about hundreds of men, women, and children in an open-air prison being blown to bits by some nasty new weaponry being tested in Gaza so Israel can sell that technology to a fearful world. But no. The mythmakers are well here too.
Israel violated the latest cease-fire by assassinating six people on November 4, after blockading the Gaza Strip by land, air, and sea so that the people were denied food, medicine, and everything else for almost two years. This was their punishment for democratically electing Hamas, which is not as corrupt and discredited as the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.
Israel’s response to Palestinian moderation has been to build the Apartheid Wall, to steal land and water, to build checkpoints and Israeli-only roads that criss-cross the landscape, stealing Palestinians’ time and daily lives, as it has for more than 40 years--all with America’s blessing and billions in our tax dollars. Wouldn’t you resist if you were Palestinian? Wouldn’t anyone?
I am sure Hamas extends its apologies to Israel for not setting up a clearly-marked military installation and then putting its members there for them to more easily identify and bomb. Hamas members live in their communities, with their families, in the most densely populated place on earth. Perhaps the fact that Israel’s smart weapons couldn’t tell the difference between a civilian and a militant meant that Israel, the one with all the power, ought to have found another way.
But Israel isn’t very interested in peace, contrary to its public relations. See what the Israeli peace movement says at www.icahd.org.

Bill Watson • TC
 
Monday, February 9, 2009

Letters 2/9/09

Letters Rush hopes we‘ll fail
After eight years of the Bush Administration, it’s time for those who often blindly marched in lock step behind George W. Bush to look at what his policies got us.
Our country is literally crumbling around us. Bridges and levees are failing; our electrical grid is inadequate; our schools are often decrepit buildings with leaking roofs and plaster falling down; and the No Child Left Behind act is leaving plenty of children behind.
A recent report card of our infrastructure netted almost all ‘D’s‘, which includes our nation’s water, roads, mass transit, rails, and more.
Jobs are being lost at a staggering rate. Last year alone over one million jobs lost; just last week over 145,000 jobs lost; poverty and foreclosures are rising everyday; more people are in need of food stamps than ever before.
We’re spending $10 billion a month on Bush’s war of choice, total cost thus far: $593 billion; our environment has been totally neglected; climate change was ignored; 48 million citizens do not have access to health care; millions have lost their life savings and pensions; the redistribution of wealth from our once-strong middle class to the already obscenely wealthy folks at the top 1%; witness Wall Street handing out $18 billion in bonuses to it’s CEOs in December, despite the taxpayers bailing the companies out in September ‘08.
Our national debt when Bush took office in 2000 was $5 trillion; the amount Obama inherited: over $10.5 trillion. In 2000 Bush inherited a budget surplus of $230 billion, while Obama is inheriting a budget deficit of $1.2 trillion in 2009, all created under Bush’s watch.
Bush’s war and his “let-Wall-Street-go-wild” attitude have bankrupted this country. This crushing debt of $10.5 trillion and expected budget deficit of $ 1.2 trillion is far more a national security risk than any terrorist.
Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson pulled off the greatest heist of all time in September, 2008, with a simple six-page plan to give Paulson over $800 billion to hand out to the failing Wall Street banks and other corporations, with no transparency, restrictions or accountability.
Now, it’s a new day. We have a new President. He’s inheriting the biggest crisis ever handed over from one administration to another. What does the GOP and its talking head Rush Limbaugh do? Good ole‘ patriot Limbaugh is hoping Obama and his plan FAIL.
Like a bunch of zombies, every single Republican congressman voted just as Limbaugh directed. This, after Obama sincerely reached out to Republicans and has been appointing them to posts in his administration. On top of this, some items were removed from the stimulus package, or put in, per Republican requests!
America is in a crisis. We no longer have the luxury of behaving like adolescents via partisanship. Do conservatives want a plan to save America to fail, as GOP spokesman Rush Limbaugh wishes?

Karen Martin • Cheboygan

GOP‘s war on workers
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is meant to stimulate and invest in the economy. Americans voted for green infrastructure jobs, health care, education, tax cuts for the working class, middle class, and small businesses. Those are our values and where our money should be spent.
The Republican war on working Americans has cost three million jobs so far. Bush’s tax cuts did not work for us! Republicans are playing games while thousands of workers are daily losing jobs, homes, and health care. Bill passage is extremely urgent. Please contact your legislators today to vote yes. Use www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.

Beverly Christensen
 
Monday, February 2, 2009

Letters 2/2/09

Letters More on the Volt
Here is some additional information to “Recharging Michigan” (Editorial, 1/19):The Volt also contains a gasoline engine assist, which generates electricity for the electric motor on longer trips. This extends the driving range to hundreds of miles.
The Volt is considered an electric car, rather than a hybrid, because the car is always being propelled by the electric motor: On short trips, batteries provide electricity to the motor. On long trips, the gasoline engine provides electricity to the motor.
A commuter driving fewer than 40 miles per day will use battery power only, and will not burn a drop of gasoline. If he or she decides to take a long trip, the gas engine assist turns on after 40 miles and generates the electricity.

Ted LeButt • TC

Not a fan
I find it puzzling and offensive that your publication would give space for Texas broadcaster Roy Henderson to suggest that he is a supporter of Traverse City. (re: “WLDR” 1/19)
He even had the nerve to imply that he’s a bigger supporter than Ross Biederman. Because of Ross Biederman, our communities have benefited from the Biederman Cancer Treatment Center and the Emergency Room at Munson Hospital. Ross and his radio stations give their time and resources to support area non-profits. There’s even a Biederman Foundation that contributes large sums of money to area non-profits.
Let’s recall what Roy Henderson has done for this community: Large eye-sore in downtown Traverse City. Sued the city leaders. I’m totally unaware of anything he has done positive for our community.
I think you show incredible blindness to this community when you choose to showcase an individual who has done nothing to deserve it. Why not showcase the real pioneers of this community who actually live here and care about this community, and who show it through “actions,” not a lot of “talk”.

W. Larson • TC
 
Monday, January 26, 2009

Letters 1/26/09

Letters Runaway spending
To young taxpayers: say no to new spending and debt!
Just a few months ago, Treasury Secretary Paulson abandoned his plan for how best to distribute the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. Instead of holding “reverse auctions” intended to eliminate toxic assets from banks’ balance sheets, Paulson switched to plan B. He, along with Fed Chief Bernanke, “offered” nine U.S. banks $125 billion in bailout funds in exchange for government (taxpayer) stakes in the companies.
Despite uneasiness from relatively healthy institutions, such as Wells Fargo, Paulson essentially strong-armed these banks to accept funds in order to restore public confidence in the banking sector. As Paulson put it, “The system needs more money, and all of you will be better off if there’s more capital in the system.”
If there was ever such a thing as inefficient allocation of resources, this has to be it. At a time when businesses and consumers alike are struggling to obtain credit, the central bank and Treasury decided to channel new capital into companies that didn’t necessarily want or need it!
Now, three months and $350 billion dollars later, confidence is still lacking. Citigroup received $25 billion last year, along with Bank of America. Both these companies are posting huge losses, and Bank of America is staged for yet another capital injection from TARP part 2.
As a young taxpayer, who will live with the consequences of these decisions for the next 50 years or so, I am growing increasingly concerned.
Even as budget deficits recently hit a record $485.2 billion in the first quarter alone, it seems no one in Congress or the Treasury is too concerned with the cost of TARP, or other ensuing Obama spending programs.
Why is it assumed that extravagant spending equals economic health? Remember, we are nearly half a trillion dollars in the red after just one fiscal quarter! In other words, in just the past three months, we have already passed last year’s total deficit, on pace for more than $1 trillion for fiscal year 2009.
How long will the rest of the world finance all this deficit spending we Americans love? Or will we simply debase our currency by printing dollars until we run out of ink? At some point, we’ll have no choice but to tighten our belts and bring runaway spending under control. It appears this won’t happen anytime soon. Clearly, the era of big government is not over. Instead, it’s back bigger than ever.

Joe Schoonover • TC

A proud American
I’m a “broken glass” Republican, meaning I will, if necessary, crawl across broken glass to get to the polls. I’m a veteran, a small business owner, I fly the flag, and have a portrait of Ronald Reagan in my office.
When Barack Obama started to gain national attention, I contemplated what it would mean if he were elected president. To say the least, it would be historic. I like living through historic times and this event would certainly make my list.
So here we are, seating the first duly-elected African-American as President of the United States and this Republican is one proud American. My ancestors fought and died in the civil war and their battles are being richly rewarded. For me the best part will be the sight of this beautiful family moving into the White House.
Rest assured on January 21st I renewed my political skepticism. On January 20th, however, I used the day to celebrate what it means to be an American.

Wally Morton • Northport


Different strokes
Rick and Heather Shumaker are the poster children for “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle“ (re: “Less is More,“ 12/22). I find their philosophies and actions commendable regarding budgeting, consumerism, charity and environmentalism. I applaud them and believe the general population can take a lesson from them.
I would, however; like to point out that the Shumakers are fortunate to have the luxury to consciously decide to “only” spend $35,000 of their income. For the many in our area struggling to get by on less it is not a luxury they can choose, it is a necessity.

Marianne Morgan • TC


 
Monday, January 19, 2009

Letters 1/19/09

Letters Offensive & ill-informed
It is with sadness that I write to respond to the letter “Holocaust Parallel” (Letters 1/12). I am dismayed that someone ostensibly devoted to peace implies that we Jews only care about suffering when it is “our own” (“...only when Jews are killed that’s it’s an atrocity”) being harmed. As someone who advocates for peace, human rights and justice for Palestinians and other peoples, and as a Jew, I find this notion that I care only about my people in this situation offensive and ill-informed.
U.S.-based Jewish organizations are working to bring an end to not just the current violence but the ongoing social injustice in Palestine and Israel, vociferously decrying the suffering of not just Israelis, but co-equally the suffering of Palestinians.
True peace makers are those who are capable of advocating not only for their own people but who are called and willing to advocate as strongly for the wellbeing of other groups, even those who are called enemies. We have too few leaders who will reach across the lines to make the “other’s” story as precious as their own.
I do not in the least understand what point was being made with the “going quietly to the gas chamber” reference, but I do feel the sting of a writer invoking our deepest pain to express her or his own rage. Message received.
I am deeply sorry for the suffering of this conflict. I am sorry that there are few real peace makers advocating beyond “us and them,” aiming for the higher ideal of commonality. We need more advocates for peace and nonviolence, capable of moving beyond sides and into a new paradigm of shared humanity. Throughout history there have been situations as dire and painful as the one faced in Palestine and Israel, and in every generation leaders advocating nonviolence, justice and healing have emerged. I pray for the emergence of such leadership speedily and in our own day.

Rabbi Chava Bahle • Suttons Bay

 
 
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