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 · Really rich Americans for...
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Really rich Americans for prosperity

Stephen Tuttle - August 6th, 2010
Really Rich Americans for Prosperity
We are now being bombarded by anti-government commercials sponsored by
something called Americans for Prosperity. The idea of these spots is
that we little guys are being screwed, squeezed and destroyed by
government excesses. They would have you believe Americans for
Prosperity is some kind of grassroots organization willing to rise up
and smite the evil government.
In fact, Americans for Prosperity is a front group funded primarily by
Charles and David Koch.
The Koch brothers are not well known by design, preferring to dance in
the shadows rather than come out and play in the light. They own 84%
of Koch Industries, the second largest privately held conglomerate in
the country. Koch Industries is not exactly one of the little guys
about whom they feign such concern. Their holdings include mining
(Koch Minerals), oil refining equipment (Koch Engineering), oil
exploration and production (Koch Petroleum Group), petroleum-based
chemicals (Koch Fertilizer and Flint Hill Resources), oil and natural
gas pipelines (Koch Pipeline), textiles and polymer-based fibers
(Invista), lumbering and paper products (Georgia-Pacific), cattle and
trophy hunting (Matador Ranching Company) and their own securities and
investment business. They have more than 70,000 employees in nearly
60 countries.
Together, the Koch brothers are richer than everyone in the country
except Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
Their disdain for regulation manifests itself in the long and
impressive list of environmental and regulatory violations and
accompanying fines levied against their various enterprises. Their
most famous violation occurred in Lively, Texas, in the ‘90s when a
leaking natural gas pipeline exploded, incinerating two men in a
pick-up who had the misfortune of driving into the leak.
Koch Industries was started in 1940 by the late Fred Koch, who also
co-founded the John Birch Society. The late Mr. Koch had an
interesting take on what the United States should be. Aside from his
virulent anti-communist rants, Mr. Koch didn’t much like any
government that either regulated his businesses or took any of his
money in taxes. In 1980 he ran as the vice presidential candidate on
the Libertarian ticket (he founded the U.S. Libertarian Party). Among
other bits of extremism, he called for the abolition of Social
Security, nearly all federal regulatory agencies, the F.B.I, the
C.I.A. and all public schools.
His sons are apples that haven’t fallen far from the tree.
Their Koch Family Foundation funds or has funded many of the groups
now denying climate change science (they’ve funneled almost $50
million to these groups since 1997), groups attempting to debunk the
dangers of second-hand smoke, much of the so-called tea party
movement, the Cato Institute, the Republican Governor’s Conference and
many libertarian causes. They’ve spent almost $40 million lobbying
for the fossil fuels industry in the last dozen years.
But it’s Americans for Prosperity that keeps cropping up on our
television sets with its forlorn small business owner wondering how
she’s going to tell her employees they’re going to be laid off because
she has to provide them health insurance.
(Ironically, despite spending additional millions attempting to defeat
the healthcare reform legislation, they were among the first companies
to apply for federal money to supplement healthcare costs for workers
over 55 not yet eligible for Medicare.)
To be fair, the Brothers Koch are entitled to their inheritance from
daddy, are entitled to their far-flung business enterprises and are
entitled to their political perspectives. None of it is illegal.
The problem is the deception of their political activity, couching
their true intent behind populist front groups. We are entitled to
know they are the money behind Americans for Prosperity and their
efforts have nothing to do with protecting small or medium-sized
businesses. It’s a charade.
The Koch brothers do not travel this road alone. Rupert Murdoch, who
owns the Fox television networks among his far-flung holdings, is a
kindred spirit to the Kochs. But Murdoch at least lets us know what
he’s financing so we can make an honest judgment about the efficacy of
his efforts. On the liberal side, George Soros has been more than
generous with his checkbook. But Soros can hardly be pulled out of
the spotlight so eager is he to take credit for his largesse.
The Koch brothers are in a class by themselves when it comes to
financing their political proclivities while hiding in the darkness.
There is no law, of course, preventing them from camouflaging their
efforts in the name of anything. But we view their efforts through
more jaundiced eyes when we know Americans for Prosperity is not a
legitimate grassroots effort aimed at helping Ms. Small Business Owner
but an attempt by extraordinarily rich, huge business owners to make
the government butt out of their massive corporate enterprises and let
them make their billions without paying those annoying taxes.
It is not unreasonable for us to ask the Koch brothers to be up front
about their real intentions. Just tell us the truth about who you are
and what you want. If you’re convinced yours is the right path for
America then don’t hide behind the sham of cutely named front groups
that have almost nothing to do with your real intent. Step up, step
out and let’s have the debate in the daylight.

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