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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Surviving Really Bad Neighbors

Stephen Tuttle - June 14th, 2010
Surviving Really Bad Neighbors
Much of the world is once again mad at Israel. When Israeli commandos
boarded an aid ship attempting to penetrate the ongoing blockade of
Gaza, they encountered club-wielding “activists” and fought back with
gunfire. The result was several injured Israelis and nine dead
Israel claims they were attacked, the so-called activists say the
Israelis shot first and asked questions later. There is significant
reason to believe the Israelis.
A brief history lesson is in order.
Israel has been under near constant attack since the day it first
became a nation in May of 1948. They were immediately assaulted by
Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq. The Israelis
prevailed, a result that would be often repeated. In 1956, after
putting up with endless terrorist attacks from Egypt, Israel invaded
the Sinai Peninsula, including the Gaza Strip, which halted the
attacks, at least temporarily.
In the following decade, the Israelis become the targets of more
terrorism and ever more belligerent posturing by their Arab neighbors.
In 1967, Egypt, aided and abetted by their Arab allies, reoccupied
the Gaza Strip and closed the Gulf of Aqaba, an essential supply lane,
to Israeli shipping. This was a monumental mistake. The ensuing Six
Day War resulted in the Israelis retaking Gaza, occupying the Sinai
Peninsula all the way to the Suez Canal, capturing East Jerusalem,
Syria’s Golan Heights and Jordan’s West Bank. It was one of the more
serious butt kickings in modern military history.
Still, three crushing military defeats in less than 20 years did not
deter Israel’s neighbors and in 1973, on Yom Kippur, the highest and
holiest Jewish holy day, Egypt and Syria attacked yet again. This
time the Israelis ultimately drove the Egyptians all the way across
the Suez Canal, allowing them strategic control of one of the world’s
most important shipping lanes. The Israelis withdrew from the west
bank of the Suez as part of a cease fire agreement and in 1982
withdrew from the Sinai altogether.
The Israeli government has since consistently, and mistakenly,
sacrificed land they won in combat in an effort to secure peace, or at
the very least, a recognition by their neighbors of their right to
exist. Land-for-peace has been an ongoing strategic blunder by the
Fast forward to today. There has been little peace for little Israel,
which is about the size of New Jersey and has fewer than 8 million
permanent residents (including 20% Arabs who have full citizenship
rights). It is surrounded by historic enemies – Lebanon, Jordan,
Syria and Egypt – and hundreds of millions of Muslims being led by
those whose openly stated goal is to push Israel into the
Mediterranean and massacre the Jewish people who live there.
A new player has now intruded into this mess, the so-called
Palestinian people and their claim the Israelis are occupying their
historic homelands, Gaza and the West Bank. But there has never been
a Palestinian state nor is there any historic record of one and for
good reason; those now calling themselves Palestinians are, in fact,
Jordanians, Syrians and Egyptians. (It’s important not to mistake the
Palestine of the Bible for what is now being called Palestine. They
are two different entities.) Quite the contrary, a Hebrew people
settled into the area more than 4,000 years ago, staking a fairly
significant historical claim to the area.
It is instructive to note there was no claim of either a
Palestinian homeland nor a Palestinian people when the West Bank was
controlled by Jordan or when Gaza was part of Egypt. And neither
Jordan nor Egypt ever intimated in any way they’d be willing to give
up their land for people calling themselves Palestinians. It wasn’t
until Israel occupied those lands, which they took during wars they
did not start, that the cry for a Palestinian homeland started.
Much to their eventual chagrin, Israel ceded both Gaza and the West
Bank in an effort to secure peace with their neighbors. Gaza, at the
southwestern corner of Israel’s border, had been turned into a highly
productive agricultural center with a modern infrastructure. Once the
Israelis withdrew, that infrastructure and those farms were destroyed
by the new overlords. Gaza then became a jumping off point for
terrorist attacks in Israel and seemingly endless rocket attacks from
Gaza itself. Not a few rocket attacks but thousands and thousands.
So bad did it become that schools within range of the ongoing
bombardment had to build rocket shelters on their playgrounds to
protect their children. That was the genesis of the blockade of Gaza;
the Israelis grew weary of Gaza constantly being supplied with more
and more weaponry from other Arab countries.
Gaza and the West Bank are now part of something called the
Palestinian Authority. In what passed for free elections, the people
of Gaza ultimately gave political control of their land to Hamas, a
terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
Israel is by no means perfect. Their government, a parliamentary
republic, has had its share of incompetence and corruption and
mistakes. They are often more aggressive than suits our geopolitical
objectives. That’s what happens when a country has been under attack
for all 62 years of its existence – they get a little testy. One
assumes they are tired of extending the hand of peace only to be given
a grenade in return.
Some will suggest this is a one-sided view of the situation. Fair
enough. But the reality is that Israel has been in the past, is now,
and will continue to be a strong ally. Their enemies are our enemies.
We sympathize with Arabs now suffering as a result of leaders gone
quite mad with hatred of Israel. But we cannot support or help them,
nor condemn Israel, until the bellicose zealots in the region stop
attacking our friends and learn to play nice with their neighbors.

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