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..

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · John McCain‘s...
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John McCain‘s thoughts on war

Robert Downes - March 31st, 2008
John McCain‘s Thoughts on War
A year ago, John McCain was written off as a has-been with no hope of securing the Republican nomination for president. And just a few months ago, conventional wisdom had it that the presidency would surely go to a Democrat.
But now that candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are tearing each other to bits, John McCain has a better shot at becoming our next president than anyone might have imagined.
Except for those of us who‘ve read his excellent, heartrending memoir, Faith of My Fathers, that is. The book offers a spellbinding story of a man who never surrendered, even when the price was five-and-a-half years of torture, beatings and imprisonment in North Vietnam.
John McCain‘s war experience is worth examining in light of his support for the war in Iraq and his statement that America could end up occupying the country for 100 years.
My interest in reading McCain‘s book was sparked by a visit to the infamous “Hanoi Hilton“ prison in Vietnam in January. Hoa Lin Prison is an anonymous looking compound in downtown Hanoi which was used to imprison captured Americans during the war.
It was there that John McCain learned firsthand a revulsion for torture that has set him far above other Republican leaders; he‘s virtually the only prominent member of the party to forcefully oppose torture as U.S. policy, including his comment that waterboarding is “a horrible torture technique.“
Built by the French in 1896, Hoa Lin Prison was initially used to torture and imprison Vietnamese rebels. Then, ironically, the tables were turned on the French, who were held and tortured in their own prison by the Japanese during World War II, and then by their former Vietnamese subjects when they lost control of the country in 1954. That legacy of torture and abuse was handed down to U.S. airmen who were held here -- captives taken from more than 3,000 warplanes which were shot down over 10 years of war.
John McCain was shot down over Hanoi on Oct. 26, 1967 when a SAM missile blew off the right wing of his jet. Bailing out, his body crashed into his plane, breaking his left arm, his right arm in three places, and his right knee. But worse was to come. His parachute dumped him in a shallow lake in the middle of Hanoi, where a North Vietnamese soldier broke his shoulder with a rifle butt and then stabbed him with a bayonet in his groin and ankle.
In his book, McCain says an angry mob descended on him, intent on tearing him to pieces. But a woman intervened and he was carted off to prison to be left to die from his wounds. It was only after the North Vietnamese learned that McCain was the son of a prominent U.S. admiral that they provided him with basic medical attention to save him for propaganda purposes.
McCain spent five-and-a-half years in several Vietnamese prisons without any significant surgery or treatment for his broken limbs. He endured torture and beatings that rebroke his arms and he nearly died from dysentery. Once, he was beaten so badly that he lay unconscious on a filthy concrete floor for days on end. His imprisonment included two years in solitary confinement.
While he was imprisoned, McCain’s father was named Commander in Chief of the U.S. forces in the Pacific. The Vietnamese offered to release McCain after a year of imprisonment to score a propaganda victory, but even though he was in serious danger of dying from his wounds, he refused to leave without his fellow prisoners.
In Faith of My Fathers, McCain explained his decision to stay in prison:
“I knew that every prisoner the Vietnamese tried to break, those who had arrived before me and those who would come after me, would be taunted with the story of how an admiral’s son had gone home early, a lucky beneficiary of America’s class-conscious society. I knew that my release would add to the suffering of men who were already straining to keep faith with their country. I was injured, but I believed I could survive. I couldn’t persuade myself to leave.”
He was beaten nearly to death for refusing to go home, but survived four more years of prison. Eventually, the guards let up on him, and he became the entertainment director and chaplain for his comrades.
John McCain was released in March, 1973. In 2000, he returned to the prison where he was held captive. By that time, he was a U.S. Senator, who helped re-establish diplomatic relations Vietnam. Today, his photo is on the wall of the Hanoi Hilton, along with that of Doug Peterson, another former inmate who became our first ambassador to Vietnam.
McCain is critical of the civilian leaders who put America under the gun in Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson and his administration refused to allow the bombing of North Vietnam, or the invasion of the country -- both of which might have resulted in the quick end of the war. Of course, the reason the U.S. held back was because we didn‘t want to risk starting a world war with communist China and the Soviet Union, so perhaps President Johnson had a good idea to begin with.
But McCain does offer some unguarded insights in the book, which was published in 1999, long before our present mess in Iraq. Those comments don‘t square with his recent statements as a candidate. Imagine that McCain is writing here about Iraq, rather than his thoughts on Vietnam:
“War is too horrible a thing to drag out unnecessarily,“ he wrote. “It was a shameful waste to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through awful afflictions and heartache, for a cause that half the country didn‘t believe in and our leaders weren‘t committed to winning... No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war. If the government and the nation lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone.“
Wise words, John McCain. Let‘s hope he reads his own book again the next time he gets the urge to volunteer America for another 100 years of a war few believe in.
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