Letters 11-28-2016

Trump should avoid self-dealing President-elect Donald Trump plans to turn over running of The Trump Organization to his children, who are also involved in the transition and will probably be informal advisers during his administration. This is not a “blind trust.” In this scenario Trump and family could make decisions based on what’s best for them rather than what’s best for the country...

Trump the change we need?  I have had a couple of weeks to digest the results of this election and reflect. There is no way the selection of Trump as POTUS could ever come close to being normal. It is not normal to have a president-elect settle a fraud case for millions a couple of months before the inauguration. It is not normal to have racists considered for cabinet posts. It is not normal for a president-elect tweet outrageous comments on his Twitter feed to respond to supposed insults at all hours of the early morning...

Health care system should benefit all It is no secret that the health insurance situation in our country is controversial. Some say the Affordable Care Act is “the most terrible thing that has happened to our country in years”; others are thrilled that, “for the first time in years I can get and afford health insurance.” Those who have not been closely involved in the medical field cannot be expected to understand how precarious the previous medical insurance structure was...

Christmas tradition needs change The Christmas light we need most is the divine, and to receive it we do not need electricity, probably only prayers and good deeds. But not everyone has this understanding, as we see in the energy waste that follows with the Christmas decorations...


A story in last week’s edition about parasailing businesses on East Grand Traverse Bay mistakenly described Grand Traverse Parasail as a business that is affiliated with the ParkShore Resort. It operates from a beach club two doors down from the resort. The story also should have noted that prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit in federal court by Saburi Boyer and Traverse Bay Parasail against Bryan Punturo and the ParkShore Resort, a similar lawsuit was dismissed from 13th Circuit Court in Traverse City upon a motion from the defendant’s attorney. Express regrets the error and omission.

A story in last week’s edition about The Fillmore restaurant in Manistee misstated Jacob Slonecki’s job at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. He was a cook. Express regrets the error.

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Losing at oil roulette
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Losing at oil roulette

Stephen Tuttle - May 24th, 2010
Many of us assumed that oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico had to meet
stringent government safety regulations and included layers of fail-safe
devices to prevent a massive oil spill. Now we know we were wrong.
It is increasingly clear that government oversight of BP’s Deep Horizon
drilling rig was fatally lax. It is also clear that BP cut corners and
sacrificed safety in favor of speed. Even when it was obvious that safety
devices were breaking down or malfunctioning, BP just plowed ahead. When
the inevitable breakdowns occurred, there was nothing to stop the
cascading events that killed 11 workers, blew up the rig and spewed
millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
It’s not as if we weren’t warned. Environmentalists, especially those with
knowledge of the ecological sensitivity of Gulf Coast wetlands, have been
telling us for decades that even a single failure of one of the 4,000 rigs
in the Gulf could be catastrophic.
The “drill baby drill” people tried to assure us otherwise. We need more
domestic production, they said, and we need it quickly. In fact, we
continue to import nearly twice as much oil as we produce domestically, so
new exploration and drilling had its fans. And renewable energy sources
like solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cells seem to be perpetually mired
in the demonstration and hypothetical stages.
That’s a shame, because that attitude guarantees we will continue to be
locked into a self-destructive dependence on oil for the foreseeable
future. That means more pollution, more oil spill disasters and, even
worse, more reliance on unstable and unfriendly governments that export
Even if you believe global climate change is a conspiratorial myth and our
addiction to petroleum products is not destroying the planet, the folks on
whom we must rely for our daily oil fix should give all of us pause.
The number one supplier of our imported oil is Canada, our old and
reliable friend. That’s a good thing. Second on the list of importers is
Mexico, another old but, alas, less reliable friend. But even in the
worst of times it seems unlikely they will ever turn off the spigot.
Beyond those two it starts to get plenty murky.
The next three biggest suppliers are
Nigeria, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
Nigeria, the eighth most populous country on the planet, has recently
returned, sort of, to democratic rule after years of revolving door
military coups and juntas. Unfortunately, their last national election,
in 2007, was marred by fraud and violence. Give them credit for trying,
but they are less than a completely reliable ally.
Venezuela is led by Hugo Chavez who professes to hate us and is
perpetually ranting about potential American invasions of his country. He
has stripped his country of any semblance of freedoms as we know them, is
trying to develop a strong military and has installed himself as president
for as long as he pleases. He loves the money we provide for his oil but
little else about us and would likely jump at the chance to do us harm if
he could.
Then there’s Saudi Arabia. They are most assuredly not our friends in any
sense of the word, regardless of what they might claim and no matter how
much our government sucks up to them. We import just under one million
barrels of oil every day from Saudi Arabia in exchange for which we pay
them tens of millions of dollars every day. As I write this the price is
about $72/barrel so today’s bill will be more than $66 million. We owe
them about that much every single day, day after day. In return, the
Saudi government uses some of that money to finance terrorists committed
to our destruction.
The Saudi royal family has made a Faustian bargain in which they
finance the most extreme, cult-like version of Islam known as
Wahhabism. They do it quietly, with their checkbooks, sponsoring and
paying for madrasahs (schools) that teach this virulently violent
interpretation of the Quran. The Wahhabists have plucked the most
isolationist and angry sections of their holy book and turned
themselves into a bastardized version of Islam. In short, if you don’t
agree with Wahhabi principles, they believe you are an infidel and must
be killed. Not could be killed or even should be killed but must be
killed. They have set up most of the terrorist training camps, gave us
the 9/11 attackers, and are responsible for most of the terrorist acts
at which we cringe while watching the evening news. Their believers
make up the core of both al Qaida and the Taliban. Their intent is a
world that agrees with their belief system or else. And we help
finance them.
We are now trapped. We know that additional oil production here will
inevitably lead to new disasters. We’re pretty sure the pollution caused
by burning fossil fuels is slowly destroying the environment. We know
that continued dependence on foreign oil forces us to rely on those who
wish us harm.
It is long past time both the government and industry quit delaying, quit
making excuses and make the commitment and dedicate the resources
necessary to whatever sustainable, renewable energy can move us away from
our addiction to oil and other fossil fuels. We’re playing Russian
roulette with our future and every year we fail to make a real commitment
to alternatives adds another live round to the chamber. Eventually, and
it will be sooner rather than later, the gun will be fully loaded and
there will be no escape when we pull the trigger.

Stephen Tuttle is a political consultant who formerly wrote for the Arizona

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