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 · The health care victory
. . . .

The health care victory

Stephen Tuttle - April 5th, 2010
The Healthcare Victory
After months of venomous debate, Congress has passed Barack Obama’s
healthcare reform package.
Whether you hate President Obama or love him, whether you loathe the
healthcare bill as a harbinger of doom for the country or love it as
the greatest thing since the Bill of Rights, it is undeniably an
accomplishment of historic proportions for the president and Speaker
of the House Nancy Pelosi. And you have to admit the president is one
tenacious son-of-a-gun. Undeterred when the bill was declared dead on
at least three occasions, he was resolute in his commitment.
National healthcare reform was first proposed during Teddy Roosevelt’s
presidency and it failed. A majority of subsequent presidents have
taken some sort of stab at it. FDR couldn’t get it done even as he
was succeeding at almost everything else he tried. Lyndon Johnson, a
legendary arm twister, couldn’t get it done despite invoking the name
of the martyred John Kennedy during his efforts. Bill and Hillary
Clinton famously couldn’t get it done and it nearly destroyed his
presidency as it was just getting started.
But Barack Obama, for better or worse, did get it done. That would
not be the case if Nancy Pelosi hadn’t been able to somehow keep
enough of her Democrat troops together. She is not especially
articulate or charismatic. She too often appears to be in some kind
of West Coast fog. But her successful effort delivering votes places
her at the top of the list of the most powerful women in the history
of the United States Congress. Extraordinary is too small a word to
describe the accomplishment.
Now that this behemoth is signed into law, where do we go from here?
For starters, children can be covered under their parents’ insurance
almost immediately and they cannot be excluded for pre-existing
conditions. This will be especially beneficial to parents of children
with chronic or catastrophic health conditions. They will no longer
have to go begging and pleading to get some medical help and everyone
should agree that is a very good thing.
Most of the bill won’t take effect until 2014 and that means there is
still time to fix some of the glaring weaknesses. For example,
companies with 50 employees or more will be required to provide health
insurance to their employees. Failure to do so will result in a fine.
But the fine is less than the cost of the insurance so there is a
financial incentive for companies to ignore the insurance requirement
and pay the fine. Additionally, there is little to prevent insurance
companies from dramatically increasing their rates between now and
2014 in anticipation of mandatory coverage and competitive insurance
pools designed to provide coverage for those still uninsured. That
won’t help stabilize or drive down costs, either.
But we will no longer have 35 million plus uninsured citizens using
the emergency room as their primary care providers, a cost being borne
by the rest of us. More Americans will now have access to
substantially cheaper preventative care instead of brutally expensive
crisis management care. And coverage for children is a monumental step
The greatest mystery remaining is the level of vitriol in evidence
from opponents. Political opposition to major legislative efforts is
an American tradition. Angry debate accompanied the efforts to create
Social Security, Medicare and the Civil Rights Act. But this is
something at an entirely different level altogether. The rage we’re
now witnessing, ably abetted by wild-eyed congressional opponents, has
reached irrational levels. Supporters of the bill have been the
targets of racial epithets and death threats. The most extreme
Republicans have become angry Chicken Littles ranting about the end of
the United States. Talk radio has descended to new lows with Rush
Limbaugh referring to supporters of the bill as “those bastards.”
We saw a bit of this during the Vietnam War among those subjected to
the draft and their families. But that involved potential death or
maiming in a conflict few understood and that had become increasingly
unpopular. The level of animosity over healthcare reform is more
difficult to comprehend. Why are opponents so uncontrollably angry?
Do they really think this will destroy the country? Are they pissed
off because their neighbors with the child suffering from muscular
dystrophy will now have some health insurance to help with treatments?
Is it because members of Congress have been so irresponsible with
their rhetoric and the uninformed have simply followed their lead?
Maybe it’s a lot simpler than that. Maybe the anger is more personal.
The same folks who don’t believe Barack Obama was born in the United
States, who believe he is a Muslim, who believe his staff is full of
criminal czars, cannot stomach the idea they once again lost. And,
even worse, Barack Obama won. Again.

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

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