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Letters 04-09-2012

- April 9th, 2012  

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Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification. Faxed letters are not accepted.

Andrew remembered

Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear son Andrew. You are right. I would have liked Andrew a lot. A young man who succeeded at the things that truly matter is a loss that shakes the world and is especially devastating to those closest to him.

It sounds like Andrew knew the secret to living life to the fullest. It is found in service to others. May time heal your heart and may Andrew’s memory inspire others to live a life of service. May God Bless You and Keep You.

Linda Krull • Maple City

Bargaining threatened

Our government in Lansing is trying to take away your right to collectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions.

In addition to those already passed, there are as many as 80 bills now pending in Lansing that would diminish or block the ability of workers to collectively bargain with employers.

It’s time to fight back. Against fewer jobs with decent benefits or a pension. Against the continued erosion of our middle class. By amending the Michigan Constitution to ensure the basic right of every worker, in both private and public sectors, to collectively bargain.

Our basic employment “compact” in America, things like a reasonable work week, overtime pay, protection of children, a safe working environment, health care benefits or retirement programs, was never bestowed on workers by corporate interests. It was fought for and earned by demonstrating the value of labor to economic prosperity, secured by a process of collective bargaining, which gives all workers the ability to come together and negotiate a fair contract.

We ask all voting-age Michigan residents to actively support this ballot initiative, we need to collect enough signatures by July, and, then, in November, vote for the amendment’s passage.

Then we can focus on the real work of building Michigan, which is encouraging and rewarding contributions and accomplishments from all sectors of our economy and society.

Timothy J. Dowd • Cedar

Cyber school expansion

The Michigan House is in the process of expanding cyber schools. I am a teacher and know that on-line learning may be good for providing students with extra help, but it can’t replace a good teacher in a classroom with other students, and there is no evidence that it improves student achievement.

In fact, there is evidence to the contrary and it may be detrimental to the development of critical social skills children need to be successful in the future. These schools are big business and will pick the pockets of taxpayers taking money from our children and local neighborhood schools.

Call your legislator now and tell them to vote no on this harmful legislation which transfers your tax dollars away from our local schools to for-profit out-of-state corporations.

Jeff Leonhardt • TC

Tax Code Dilemma

How can we solve the monumental issues of our time when political parties can’t even agree on how to frame the problem? Let’s use the tax code as an example. Republicans claim that US corporate taxes are the highest in the world at 39.9% as of April 1st because Japan just lowered its corporate rate.

They’ll conveniently leave out the important details like the fact that Japan already has a 5% VAT tax and is raising taxes on their wealthy citizens to offset the corporate tax losses.

Those pesky little facts will never pass the lips of right wing commentary. Nor will they admit corporations actually pay close to nothing because our Congress made it legal for them to exploit cheap labor and lax regulation overseas and shelter the maximum amount of profit through US tax code.

Most of its 17,000 pages were crafted as a result of campaign cash quid pro quo deals corporations made with legislators to get favored government tax status. A study of corporate tax returns by the GAO in 2008 showed that between 1998 and 2005, 1.3 million US companies and 39,000 foreign corporations doing business in the US paid zip, zero, nothing in federal income tax on combined profits of 2.5 trillion dollars.

In that same time period, corporations paid an average of 13 percent in US taxes. Canada’s corporate rate was 14.5. The UK’s rate was 27.7 and Australia’s rate was 30.5. As a percentage of GDP today corporate tax revenues are lower than every other member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: 2.1 percent.

We cannot afford to see this nation’s problems in the prism of fun house mirrors. Republicans’ favorite line is, “We need to have an honest conversation with the American people.” We’re still waiting for the honest part.

Julie A Racine • Marion

Women under assault

I am very upset by the ultraconservative stance and the assault on women the GOP has taken.

I have always thought of myself as an Independent until this current campaign, but have found myself, as a retired nurse, very troubled by the recent comments and attacks on women’s health issues. The decision a woman makes about her reproductive rights should be made by her and her health care provider and not dictated by politics.

I have heard remarks about the current administration steering us toward socialism. The GOP war on women is a dictactorship.

Mitt Romney’s statement that he would do away with Planned Parenthood is frightening. It provides cancer screening such as mammograms and Pap smears to millions of low-income women who otherwise would have no access to healthcare. It also provides inexpensive contraceptives to low income women who cannot afford the cost of bringing a child into the world and provide adequate care for that child.

Yes, it does provide abortions, but that is only 3% of the expenditures of this non-profit organization that serves millions of women every year. Early on in my nursing career I saw the horrible consequences of back room or coat hanger abortions: Hemorrhage, sepsis, tetanus, perforated uterus and bowel, and very often DEATH.

Then Roe vs. Wade was passed, in part to offset the high cost of caring for the women who had had illegal abortions with horrible outcomes. There was a dramatic decrease in complications and death because the procedure was done by trained physicians.

Women WILL get pregnant, and women will SEEK abortion, and have for hundreds of years. So keep it SAFE and keep it LEGAL.

I thought women won the right to make informed decisions about their body and their healthcare over 40 years ago, but the current GOP stance wants to take away our rights. Please don’t let that happen.

Jan Stowe • TC

Thanks for sharing

Stephen, thank you for sharing Andrew with us. I read this across the table from my 14 year old son Gabe at Hang On Express in Suttons Bay as he looked at his own copy of Northern Express, lost in the back pages somewhere.

Your words got right through my guard, and I immediately found myself blinking back tears. You are a grateful father of great human being. I will take your advice and let my kids know how much they mean to me. You and your family will be in our thoughts. I hope each of these messages from your readers gets you through another minute.

Raphael Rittenhouse • Suttons Bay

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