Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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Random Thoughts

George Foster - October 23rd, 2003
Coming Together on Iraq
When it comes to Iraq, we all can agree on one thing: our troops crushed that butcher Saddam Hussein and we must now help Iraqis rebuild their country. Right?
The challenge in post-Saddam Iraq is daunting - and we cannot afford to fail. Middle East columnist Thomas Friedman said it best when he compares Iraq to a walnut. Since we cracked it open, it belongs to us. It is time to put all the pieces back together again.
The possibilities of a democratic government there, featuring representation by Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and other factions that have hated each other for centuries, seems remote for now. Yet, we must make Iraq work.
The only alternative is to pack up and go home. Other than Pat Buchanan and a minority of Iraqis, I haven‘t heard any sane person say that the U.S. should pull out their troops and leave Iraq immediately.
I almost forgot, the French have insinuated that we should leave Iraq in 30 days. Don‘t be absurd, Jacque. It should be crystal clear: 25 million innocent Iraqis would be caught in the crossfire of a cruel civil war if the U.S. military returned home any time soon. Besides, if we left before security was instituted in that country, American standing in the world and our ability to find supportive allies in the future would end up in a heap of ashes.
So why am I even discussing the obvious... because our government officials spend a disproportionate amount of time dwelling on the peripheral issues attached to our presence in Iraq. It is the same endless query that resolves nothing:
“Does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction hidden somewhere?“ Probably.
“Is there a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11? Our president says there is no such evidence, the VP says yes.
“Will we find Saddam?“ Of course, we will.
“Should we have invaded Iraq or not?“ I wasn‘t in favor - but who knows for sure?
Now that I‘ve answered these questions for you, let‘s move ahead. History will definitively resolve the above issues for us. It is now critical that a unified, successful U.S. peacekeeping policy kicks in for Iraq. Here is what needs to happen:
(1) Democrat legislators need to keep their big traps shut about Iraq. The same bunch of sissies who lined up behind a popular President Bush when the resolution to invade Iraq was declared, are now blasting his post-war policy after things didn‘t go as well as hoped. Did Gephardt, Kerry, and Edwards really think it would be a cakewalk to rebuild Iraq in the best-case scenario? Democrats, who encouraged the invasion, don‘t seem to have any better ideas for rebuilding, only stinging criticism.
(2) President Bush needs to stop making excuses for invading Iraq. Transparent attempts by the administration to dwell on flimsy evidence of WMD, linkage of Saddam to Osama, or the positive developments occurring daily in Iraq only lead to more skepticism of his policies. U.S. troops stationed in Iraq might be safer if Bush, Chaney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al spent half of their energy on strategies for rebuilding Iraq that is now used for defensive spin on the administration‘s declining polls results.
(3) We need help. More support from the U.N. should be the top priority. As the world‘s only superpower, we should be immune to hard feelings from the pre-war rhetoric. It is in our best interests to hold no grudges against France, Germany, Russia, and the others who disagreed with our invasion. The sooner we humbly find other nations to provide peacekeeping troops, money, and other assistance for rebuilding Iraq, the sooner our troops will avoid being picked off like ducks at a shooting gallery and come home.
There is only one way can rebuild Iraq, keep our troops safer, and not fall into a black hole of spiraling debt - by realizing that we are all in this together.
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