Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

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Random Thoughts

Robert Downes - April 1st, 2004
The Hearings

Like many Americans, I sat agog watching the 911 hearings on television last week and the revelations of former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke.
The hearings have given me a new faith in the political process and the American spirit precisely because what we‘re seeing is a number of prominent Republicans such as Clarke ripping what he calls the “big lie“ charade from the Bush administration.
These are Republicans who care more about protecting America than they do about sucking up to a president who seems to be a loose cannon on par with the Johnny Depp character in “Pirates of the Caribbean.“
There‘s a ring of truth in Clarke‘s outrage when he says that he tried to get President Bush and his staff to respond to pleas for action against al Queda in early 2001. Instead, the Bush administration dithered around with a lack of interest in terrorism until it was too late and then kicked up a world-wide hornet‘s nest with its misguided war in Iraq. As Clarke said on 60 Minutes, what Bush did with Iraq would have been like President Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring war on Mexico after Pearl Harbor.
Clarke‘s story is collaborated by former Treasury Secretary Paul O‘Neill, whose own book states that President Bush was obsessed with attacking Iraq from day one of his administration.
These aren‘t Democrats or liberals making these charges. They‘re registered Republicans who‘ve seen a presidency so misguided that they felt a need to speak out on behalf of the American people.
That should make them heroes, putting their country above the politics of a president whose foreign policy has alienated our allies and made America Target Number One for every terrorist kook shaking loose in the world.
These days, the sharpest rebukes of President Bush are coming from noted Republicans on par with Sen. John McCain.
Besides Clarke and O‘Neill, there‘s a new book by John Dean called “Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush.“ Dean, a Republican, is the former counsel to the Nixon White House. He claims that Bush, Cheney & Co. are more dangerously secretive than Tricky Dick ever was. And he ought to know, being the man who famously warned Nixon during the Watergate scandal of the “cancer in his presidency.“
Then there‘s “American Dynasty“ by Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist for the Reagan and Bush, Sr. presidencies who writes about the “Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.“ It‘s an encylopedia of shady deals made by the Bush family with oil companies, arms dealers, Saudi princes and war profiteering corporations.
Again, written by a former Republican White House insider.
But the worst may be yet to come, because in its wisdom, the Bush re-election campaign has chosen New York City as the site of its convention this summer, and by that time the air of that Democratic city should be whizzing with tracer bullets of anger over 911.
By that time, it‘s expected that Michael Moore will have his new film out, “Fahrenheit 911,“ about the ties between the Bush family, Saudi Arabia, and the resulting blunders which have turned much of the world against America. The film could set the stage for making the New York City convention as memorable a disaster for Bush as Monica Lewinski was for President Clinson.
Speaking of which, it’s ironic but no surprise to see conservatives, the self-appointed champions of personal responsibility, scrambling to pile the blame for 911 on the Clinton administration. Clinton has become the all-purpose voodoo doll and blame-all for those scheming to plunder Social Security and Medicare in the name of enforcing personal responsibility on everyone but themselves.
It was Harry Truman -- a Democrat -- who had a sign on his desk stating “The Buck Stops Here.“ Apparently, that sign got lost when George W. Bush moved into the White House.

One Year Later
On the other hand, one year after Iraq fell, only history‘s reflection many years down the road is going to tell whether the war was a disaster or the best idea ever.
The idea by neoconservative E-Z chair warriors was to vaccinate the Mideast with a successful democracy in Iraq. Other Arab states would see how well things were going in Iraq and democracy would spread through the Islamic world.
That was the intended storybook ending. Yet at this point, we don‘t know whether Iraq is spiraling into civil war, or if it will go the way of an Islamic theocracy like Iran, our other great social experiment disaster from the Carter administration.
As in the beginning of the war a year ago, Americans still want it both ways in Iraq. We‘re happy that 26 million people have been freed from a tyrant and that there will be no more mass graves or torture chambers; but we‘re unhappy with the idea of thousands of dead or wounded U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens.
In retrospect, going to war in Iraq was like slapping an Arab child in the hope that he‘d behave better. A full-blown beating, actually. Is that usually a good policy with a good outcome?
Or could we have used a softer strategy? Such as the soft invasion of culture to disarm Muslum extremism among young Arabs with the music of Britney Spears, American TV shows, and McDonald‘s... accompanied by a Marshall Plan-style jobs initiative to help Arabs pull themselves out of their medieval funk.
That was the road not taken.
 
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