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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Welcome to the Age of Irrational Absolutism

Stephen Tuttle - June 21st, 2010
Welcome to the Age of Irrational Absolutism
Republican voters have an agenda. They expect their candidates to be
strongly anti-abortion, strongly opposed to any kind of legal
recognition of the gay and lesbian community, strong supporters of the
Second Amendment and possessed of some kind of Christian belief system
they’re willing to inject into the political arena. Their policy
requirements are equally simple – less government and lower taxes.
They are not especially picky about specifying just how much less
government they want or how much lower taxes should be but,
apparently, they’ll know both when they see or hear them. Add to that
a growing vitriol about illegal immigration.
It’s a crisp and clean series of litmus tests from which there is no
room to wiggle. They’ve been consistent over the years. This year,
especially, GOP voters are prepared to punish those who do not adhere
to this philosophical line as if they’ve been Super Glued to it. Drift
away ever so slightly and the tea party folks and their big money
allies, the Club for Growth, will smite you down with Biblical
ferocity, as four GOP incumbents, now looking for new jobs, have
already discovered.
Democrat voters have a somewhat different agenda, a very long agenda,
an almost endless agenda.
They want the immediate closure of Guantanamo, the immediate end to
the military’s don’t ask-don’t tell policy and an immediate withdrawal
from Iraq and Afghanistan. They want an expansion of something they
call “worker’s rights”, dramatically expanded coverage for home
nursing care, expansion of pro-choice options, a comprehensive energy
bill emphasizing sustainable energy, comprehensive immigration reform,
legislation that somehow stops climate change, a re-write of the
recently passed healthcare reform legislation that includes government
funded cradle-to-grave coverage for everyone and to save the rare
Lithuanian spitting tree slug, or some such thing, and any number of
other obscure critters. They want Social Security and Medicare to be
saved if not expanded. And they’d like President Obama to stop that
damned oil leak. They’ve also started giving some lip service to
smaller government and lower taxes but I’m pretty sure they don’t mean
The Democratic agenda is neither crisp nor clean, has not been
consistent over the years and is not that easy to follow. But it is
incredibly inclusive containing pretty much something for everyone.
Democrats and Republicans do have at least one thing in common – the
quite illogical notion that any candidate they support should be in
total agreement with each and every element of their respective
agendas. As a bonus, they’d like all of it right now. Democrats have
joined Republicans in the Age of Irrational Absolutism. Neither care
about how the system is supposed to work and they don’t want to hear
any nonsense about compromise – compromise is for sissies.
Since these demands cannot and will not be met, the ambient anger
within the electorate will continue to build on itself.
The most conservative Republicans blame both the Democrats in control
in Washington and an amorphous blob known as “the government.” They
believe a conspiracy exists that is depriving them of that which is
rightfully theirs. They conveniently ignore the fact that the great
conspiracy is at least partially of their own making. It was their
expansion of government and deregulation of their big business pals
that helped lay the foundation for at least some of the economic mess
we’re now facing. They have forgotten they were voted out of control
in 2008 and their unwillingness to do much of anything now but shout
“No!” may keep them in the minority despite all their anger.
The most “progressive” Democrats have decided the Republicans caused
most of the problems. But since Republicans are no longer in power it
must be President Obama who is to blame for most everything. He’s too
cerebral, too calm, too measured. Never mind that he couldn’t have
accomplished most of the items on their wish list even had he wanted
to. Never mind that he does not and can not control a Congress
hell-bent on doing nothing during an election year. And never mind
that several items on the wish list don’t even have the support of the
majority of voters in his own party. Just never mind; changes were
promised, Democrats know what they want and aren’t especially
interested in excuses or the facts.
Apparently some Democrats really did believe Obama is a political
Messiah capable of enacting change with the wave of his hand. This
abject silliness makes things difficult for more rational Democrat
voters who want to believe that Obama, less than two years into his
presidency, can still make some positive changes.
Die-hards in both parties, and they’re the folks most likely to vote
in primary elections, are pushing those parties so far apart the gulf
will be incredibly difficult to bridge. Very little will get
accomplished that meets any challenge we now face since all of them
require compromise from both sides. That’s actually the way our
system is supposed to work but too many of us have forgotten that.
After all, both sides now firmly believe the issues they support are
matters of principle and one simply does not compromise on matters of
principle. We continue to demand 100% instead of accepting 75%,
ensuring we’ll end up with 0%. The wish lists of both sides will go
unanswered and voter anger will increase regardless of the results of
the 2010 elections. And the Age of Irrational Absolutism will
continue unabated.

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

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