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- November 14th, 2011  

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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.

Perhaps the Tea Party needs to listen to those who occupy Wall Street. While there is nothing wrong with getting rich, the income inequality is growing. Changes in government policy beginning in 1972 produced an enormously wealthy class.

The biggest winners are the financial executives. This group was responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin. In 2004, the top 25 hedge fund managers combined appear to have earned more than all of the CEOs from the entire S&P 500.

The next biggest winners were the top executives from the S&P 500 companies. In the 1970s, the executives at the S&P 500 made 30 times what their workers did. Today they make 300 times what their workers make. The government aided the large banks by letting them borrow money at lower rates than smaller banks costing billions in subsidies.

The deregulation of our financial institutions allowed the banks to gamble with our investments resulting in huge profits for the executives. When the banks were facing bankruptcy due to their reckless speculations, the government bailed them out. The government has aided the CEOs through Corporate Welfare.

Ronald Marshall • TC

Tuttle on the mark

I really appreciated Stephen Tuttle’s article “We Are the 80%.” He has captured what I and, I believe, the majority of Americans are thinking and feeling. Thank you.

Gail Glarum • TC

Unintended results

Dear Carolyn Francis, I should thank you! There were a number of people in Northern Michigan who were not opposed to Proposal 1, but felt it was unnecessary. After all it is 2011, not 1950!

Well, thanks to your letter, Prop 1 passed with over 63% of the vote and the ordinance that was already in place will remain in place protecting our friends and neighbors. Reading your words, “by extending special protection based on sexual orientation, the ordinance is limiting these public spaces to those that are comfortable being in an environment where gay sexuality is embraced and protected,” SURELY reminded people exactly why this ordinance MUST NOT be repealed.

I am PROUD to live in a community that embraces and celebrates people’s differences! I am raising my two wonderful children to uphold these values. We see people for who they are; not what they look like, who they marry, how much money they make or even who and/or what they may vote for.

Humans don’t always agree, but we must RESPECT each other and that starts with our basic human rights. I’m sorry that we won’t be seeing you in Traverse City anymore, but I promise you we’ll be just fine without you and your judgments.

Sarah Bielman • TC

Veteran for peace

I’m a veteran. I was in the Army, infantry, Vietnam. I think Veterans Day has been subverted from its original intent and is now just one more tool that is used to build the myth that the solution to conflict is military action.

I feel that the glorification of the military is so pervasive it has become part of our culture. “The few, the proud . . .”, “An army of one,” highways dedicated to military units and organizations, fighter jet fly-overs, POW-MIA flags – the list goes on and on. What is seldom said is that military action is death and destruction. Therefore, all of these subtly add to the myth and glorify the act of killing.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 was when the killing stopped in WWI. In November of 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. He said this day should be used by America “to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that said we should observe the day “with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”

I recommend that you use the eleventh hour of the eleventh day to research the most decorated Marine in history – two time Medal of Honor recipient General Smedley Butler. After his career he wrote a booklet titled War is a Racket. Reflect on General Butler, the trillions of dollars spent on war, the millions of lives lost and ruined, and the original intent of Veterans Day. Then, do something to promote peace and justice.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

Help the homeless

Each year hundreds of our community neighbors are faced with the perils of homelessness or go to bed hungry at night. National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 12– 20, is a time to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness and hunger in Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

In the past year alone, over 600 women, children, men and families have suffered from homelessness in our community (at least 116 were children or unaccompanied youth). Local food pantries provide thousands of meals to individuals and families in our area. Homelessness and hunger do exist in Northern Michigan!

The Charlevoix-Emmet County Continuum of Care/Poverty Reduction Initiative is reaching out to the community to help solve these social issues that, as a community, affect us all. The C of C/ PRI meets regularly to address issues of homelessness and poverty in Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

How can you help those who are hungry or homeless in our area?

-Volunteer! Local human service agencies, food pantries and the PRI Navigator Program are always looking for volunteer support to enhance the level of service they are able to provide. The Volunteer Connections website ( provides a listing of area volunteer opportunities.

-Be informed and inform others!

Attend the upcoming community Poverty Simulation being planned for January, 2012. Speak up to your legislators, friends and neighbors about our area’s homeless issue. Attend a C of C/PRI meeting (contact Jamie Winters 231-347-1572). Check out our website at or look us up on Facebook. Community involvement is imperative to helping end homelessness and providing services to those that are homeless in Northern Michigan.

-Donate! Local shelters, food pantries and non-profit agencies need food, supplies and financial support throughout the year to meet the ever-growing need.

Jamie Winters • Women s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Inc.

Corey Berden • Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency

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