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 · One way to end the war...
. . . .

One way to end the war forever: tax it

Robert Downes - December 7th, 2009
“Any tax is a discouragement and therefore a regulation so far as it goes.”
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

One idea that went nowhere recently was a proposal by two
legislators to slap a new tax on the wealthy to finance the war in
A pity, because if we citizens really wanted to end war forever --
or at least keep our wars short and sweet -- we would rise up and
demand that every American be taxed to pay for whatever new conflict
our president or Congress dreams up.
Crazy? Yeah, sure. But consider...
It’s common knowledge that Americans hate taxes. Possibly, we hate
taxes even more than we love the sort of foaming-at-the-mouth
patriotic fever that kicks off every new war that comes along. So if
we knew in advance that going to war would mean an automatic tax
hike... well, you get the picture.
Overnight, you’d find anti-tax conservatives transformed into
flower-waving peaceniks.
Most likely, Americans were angry enough in the wake of 9/11 to
have upped their own taxes to pay for the war in Afghanistan, but that
fight would be long over by now if we were still paying. And Iraq?
That war would have blown up on the launching pad if the Bush
administration had ‘dropped the bomb’ on you that you were going to be
taxed an extra $1,000 to $5,000 per year to pay for it.
Can you imagine how popular our wars would be on talk radio if
Americans knew they’d have to pay through the nose for all of those
$30,000 smart bombs we toss around like candy at a parade?
Actually, in a roundabout way, that‘s how it’s supposed to work
under the U.S. Constitution, only the mechanism for paying for our
wars has been broken beyond repair by Washington‘s practice of
borrowing money to pay for them.
When America’s founding fathers wrote the Constitution some 220
years ago, they decreed in Article 1, Section 8 that only Congress has
the power to declare war, in addition to the responsibility of raising
the funds to pay for it.
The founding fathers stuck Congress with the task of paying for our
wars because they knew that our senators and congressmen would have to
drum up the money for all of the guns, ammo and troops from their
constituents. How? Through taxes.
Thus, there was a lot of incentive to end wars quickly -- not just
to avoid the death of family members -- but also to get the
government’s war taxes off your back.
Consider that during World War II, the tax rate went higher than
90% for the wealthiest Americans, with the tax pain spread throughout
the population. World War II was the biggest shoot-out in history, yet
America’s share of it ran just a little over three and a half years.
By contrast, the war in Afghanistan is entering its ninth year and
we’ll soon be heading into our seventh year with the war in Iraq.
That‘s because today, Congress simply votes to borrow more money to
pay for our wars, so no one has a care in the world... for the short
term, anyway.
You can bet that Americans were a lot more motivated to end World
War II asap than they are Iraq and Afghanistan for the simple reason
that there’s no sacrifice of any kind for most of us.
Recently, Rep. David Obey, D-WI., chairman of the U.S. House
Appropriations Committee, called for a “war surtax” to pay for our
additional 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. Each of those soldiers will
cost our country an estimated $1 million per year.
Before backpedaling on the idea, Obey said that a war surtax is one
of simple fairness. “The problem with this issue is that the only
people that have to sacrifice are military families and they’ve had to
go to the well again and again and again and again, and everybody else
is blithely unaffected by the war.”
Similarly, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, (D-MI) chairman of the Senate
Armed Services Committee, recommended a tax on Americans making more
than $200,000 or $250,000.
But that’s not fair: a war tax should apply to all Americans as a
civic duty. If you’re a wealthy citizen who hates war, why should you
have to pay extra while some gung-ho, war-loving redneck of limited
means goes scot-free?
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, when you’re in a war, you either
“hang together or you hang separately.” Only when every American has
to pay up to finance our wars will we ever muster the kind of
political backlash that ends them quickly... or stops war dead in its
tracks before the first shot can be fired.
So, this is a utopian idea that could never come to pass, but we
citizens should recognize that Congress has failed in its
responsibility to seek taxes to pay for our wars, thus prolonging them
and passing on the debt to our children’s children. We should
consider a constitutional amendment requiring an across-the-board
automatic tax on every citizen any time our president or Congress
hatches a new war plan.
If that ever happened, you can bet that Washington would be hearing
plenty of battle cries -- but those rebel yells would be coming from
the homefront before the cannonballs even started to fly.

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