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 · Our Wars
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Our Wars

Stephen Tuttle - July 12th, 2010
Our Wars
Michael Steele, chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), has
put the Afghanistan war in the headlines again. Mr. Steele, who
apparently believes his job is to make outrageous statements for which
he must subsequently apologize, said Afghanistan is now wholly Barack
Obama’s war and we have no chance to win, anyway.
Predictably, the Democrats howled in protest. So, too, did a phalanx
of big-name Republicans, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who
decried the defeatist comments as insulting to our troops in harm’s
way. Demands for Mr. Steele’s resignation came pouring in from a
wide spectrum of politicians left and right. Even former Vice
President Dick Cheney’s wife Lynn suggested the GOP might consider new
Officially, the war in Afghanistan started on October 7, 2001, in
response to the attacks of 9/11. It was dubbed Operation Enduring
Freedom and involved American and British Special Forces plus a
blistering American air assault. (If you want to know the real story
of the earliest days of the war, which actually started a bit earlier,
read local author Doug Stanton’s exquisitely researched and written
book, Horse Soldiers.)
George W. Bush was president at the time it all started. Support for
retaliation against Afghanistan was almost unanimous. After all, they
were then being “governed” by the Taliban, who had given safe haven to
al Qaeda, who had given birth to the 9/11 murderers. Congress
provided the go-ahead and funding, and the public was gung-ho for
vengeance. We’ve been at it ever since, the longest military
engagement in United States history. President Obama’s recent surge
placed another 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, giving us nearly 100,000
troops now engaged.
But this is not George W. Bush’s war. And it certainly isn’t Barack
Obama’s war. It is our war.
Technically, it isn’t even a war. No president has requested, nor has
Congress issued, a formal declaration of war since Franklin Roosevelt
requested and received one in 1941. Since then we have engaged in
military operations all over the world for all kinds of reasons. How
many countries? Let’s run down the list.
Since World War II we’ve put our military in harm’s way in Iran (five
times, including deposing a democratically elected government so we
could install the Shah), Yugoslavia (twice), Uruguay, Greece, Germany
(twice), China (twice), the Philippines (twice), Puerto Rico, Korea,
Vietnam, Guatemala (twice), Egypt, Iraq (three times, including a
delightful moment in 1963 when we helped depose the ruling party so
Saddam Hussein could return from exile), Panama (twice), Cuba (twice),
Laos, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Chile, Angola,
Libya (twice), El Salvador, Nicaragua, Lebanon (twice), Grenada,
Honduras, Bolivia, Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Liberia (twice),
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Zaire (now the
Democratic Republic of the Congo), Albania, the Sudan, Yemen,
Macedonia and Pakistan.
Today, we have troops in more than 100 countries around the world.
About 370,000 of our 1.4 million men and women in uniform are deployed
on foreign soil.
We’re pretty much oblivious to all of it. Never mind that all of this
is done with our tax dollars, the spending of which was approved by
our representatives in Congress and endangers our sons, daughters,
brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers.
But we aren’t arguing about winning or losing or military strategy.
We’ve long since stopped arguing about whether or not we should be
quite this adventuresome. Now we’ve decided to fight over naming
rights to the war in Afghanistan. How absolutely remarkable.
Lost in the infantile name-calling contest are the warriors who fight
these things for us. We’re fighting the longest running military
conflict in our country’s history and we have other troops in every
corner of the globe. But we’ve still been asked to contribute nothing
to these efforts.
Oh, yes, on the Fourth of July we pretended to honor our “heroes” by
giving lip service to sacrifice and then listening to the Marine Corps
Band just before settling in for some cotton candy and fireworks.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the death toll races toward 7,000 and
the casualty count has already exceeded 35,000. Except for their
families, friends and compatriots in battle, they hurt and die alone.
The rest of us suffer not at all. We sacrifice nothing. We focus on
oil leaks and vapid campaign rhetoric. Republicans rally for their
tea partiers and against illegal immigrants while blathering on about
less taxes and smaller government. The Democrats, a party in search
of a coherent platform, rant on about reforming Wall Street while
trying desperately to protect their majorities.
Do you know what the GOP or Democrat platform on the war in
Afghanistan is currently? They are both “committed to victory.” Have
you heard any candidate for any office discuss our troops in any
country other than Iraq or Afghanistan? Have you heard any candidate
talking about an increased budget for the Department of Veteran
Affairs or the VA healthcare system? Or maybe, in general, bringing
some of our troops from somewhere home? Not one.
No, Afghanistan isn’t Barack Obama’s or George W. Bush’s war. It’s
our war. All of them are. We all own every military deployment we
ever undertake. We’re just not really interested in any of them.

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