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 · 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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