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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Trust & Consequences

Robert Downes - July 27th, 2009
Random Thoughts 7/27/09
Robert Downes
Trust & Consequences
If your spouse was caught fooling around under the covers with someone else, would you go on national TV and stand behind him (or her) and make like it’s all nicey-nicey now and you’re on the road to “healing”?
We’ve seen a parade of political ‘Stepford Wives’ standing behind their men at press conferences over the past few years. Consider the rogue‘s gallery:
• New York Governor Eliot Spitzer spends $7,000 a pop to have sex without a condom with a call girl.
• New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey drops the bomb on TV (and his wife) that he’s gay.
• Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is caught seeking sex with other men in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.
• Presidential candidate John Edwards is caught making a baby with his “videographer.”
• Sen. John Ensign? Another “family values“ Republican on this list who gave his mistress tens of thousands of dollars and other perks.
• And the latest: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford blubbering on TV about his eternal love for a South American hottie - slash - trade mission destination.
Usually, these Lady MacBeths standing behind these guys look like they’ve been chewing on earthworms during their moment at the podium. After their culprit husband makes a confession (blaming the whole thing on sex addiction, alcoholism or a fat head that got the best of him), the wife comes forward and repeats a mantra of forgiveness that’s on par with those old newsreels of captured U.S. soldiers confessing their sins under torture.
That’s why Jenny Sanford has become something of a hero to many women.
The first lady of South Carolina, Sanford refused to ‘stand by her man‘ when Gov. Mark fessed up in a press conference that he has been fooling around with a “soul mate” in Argentina named Maria.
Gov. Sanford, you may recall, went missing for several days and his staff claimed he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail until someone recalled that it was “nude hiking day“ on the trail and he decided to ditch the story as being even more embarrassing than confessing his affair.
But instead of playing the role of a compliant crash test dummy, Jenny Sanford told her husband to go ahead and take a hike. When asked if she was concerned about the governor’s future, she said no -- she and her kids have their own future to think about -- one without him.
“I’m glad she didn’t stand up there with him,” my wife Jeannette says whenever that news clip airs on TV. “Why do all of these women go up on stage and pretend everything’s alright when you know they hate being there?”
One can imagine the calculus of power and loss that goes through a political wife’s mind when she’s forced to make such a stand. On one hand is all the time served with her narcissistic husband, attending 1,001 rubber chicken dinners and boring town hall meetings on a million miles of roadtrips. On the other hand are the perks of riding in limos, state dinners, living in the governor’s mansion, black tie parties, trade missions to Japan, and a cushy non-job fronting some charity. Sounds awful, come to think of it.
But you can only imagine that someone in that bag -- say a Hillary Clinton -- saw the last fumes of romance drift away long ago and struck a devil’s bargain with an egomaniac.
Interesting to note, when Elizabeth Edwards aired the dirty laundry of her relationship with John in her recent memoir, Resilience, she was lambasted by feminist writers such as Tina Brown of The Daily Beast and Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, who rushed to her husband’s rescue.
Elizabeth Edwards was accused of seeking “revenge” in her book for dropping tidbits that the affair had made her “sick to her stomach.” But is there any saint among us who wouldn’t have feelings of rage toward a spouse who fathers a child with his mistress?
Perhaps a woman should be writing this column instead of me. But I imagine that Jenny Sanford’s example may be even more instructive to men than to women.
When men see the wives of the rich and powerful lining up like bowling pins behind their cheating husbands on TV to have their dignity spun into the gutter, it sends a message that betraying your marriage is no big thing -- all will be forgiven. By refusing to play a groveling sap, Jenny Sanford set the record straight, reminding us that marriage is a covenant of trust -- and consequences.

Robert Downes is author of the round-the-world adventure, Planet Backpacker, available in local bookstores.

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