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 · My opponent is a bum
. . . .

My opponent is a bum

Stephen Tuttle - October 18th, 2010
My Opponent is a Bum
All right. We get it.
All the candidates currently advertising on television are bums. We
know this because their opponents have told us over and over and over
again ad nauseam.
Northern Michigan’s congressional candidates are terrible. Dan
Benishek wants to raise our taxes a staggering 23% and destroy
Medicare and Social Security. His opponent, Gary McDowell, wants to
assess and/or raise taxes on pretty much everything and, even worse,
he wants to “join” Nancy Pelosi in Washington. Oh, my God.
The gubernatorial race is equally distressing. Virg Bernero is a big
taxer and he single-handedly caused Lansing’s unemployment to
skyrocket. And, apparently, he has an aquarium. Rick Snyder, his
opponent, destroyed Gateway Computers after having outsourced
thousands of jobs and making millions in the process.
We are doomed.
It’s possible there has been some hyperbole involved in the
advertising. Benishek’s one-time lukewarm nod to a point-of-sale
national sales tax presupposes the elimination of the IRS and most
other taxes. Gary McDowell has no desire to tax everything nor will
he have the ability to tax anything. As for “joining” Nancy Pelosi,
since she will still be in Congress, both Benishek and McDowell want
to join her in Washington.
Virg Bernero’s now infamous aquarium was actually installed by the
mayor before the mayor before Bernero. It’s in the reception area and
has become quite an attraction for visiting school children. Rick
Snyder didn’t do anything, good or bad, by himself at Gateway. There
were other decision-makers including a board of directors.
To be fair, most of the ugliest commercials have been perpetrated not
by the candidates themselves but by independent expenditure efforts
from third party groups. We’ve had ads from the Koch brothers,
Americans for Prosperity, both the Democratic and Republican
Congressional Campaign Committees, the Republican Governor’s
Association, the Michigan Democratic Party Central Committee, a couple
of unions and the American Futures Forum -- an Iowa-based outfit using
the same communications guru who gave us the Willie Horton ads that
helped doom Michael Dukakis (among many other things) and the Swift
Boat attack ads that crippled John Kerry’s presidential bid.
Third party advertising, nearly all of which is negative this cycle,
is all the rage. These groups cannot, by law, have any connection or
undertake any coordination with the candidates they help. The real
problem here is the lack of disclosure. They need not tell us who is
contributing to their groups so we don’t know who’s trying to impact
our elections.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been accused of using contributions
from foreign sources to finance their third party campaign efforts. If
true, the influence of such foreign funding designed to influence and
shape our government should give all of us pause.
These negative ads are ugly in tone and appearance on purpose. The
jump-cuts, the black and white photos, the harsh sound effects
including the voice-overs, the exaggerations and half-truths, are all
intended to put you in a bad mood so you will think unpleasant
thoughts about the candidate being attacked. The crap we’re now being
subjected to is actually the result of a significant amount of
research. If we didn’t respond to it they wouldn’t do it.
Negative campaigning is as old as the country and in the good old days
the rhetoric and accusations were far more severe than is the case
today. During early campaigns, entire newspapers sprang up overnight
for the sole purpose of defaming an opponent. Thomas Jefferson
famously funded just such a paper directed at John Adams, accusing him
of, among other things, fathering children out of wedlock and being
loyal to the king. Lincoln was called an ape, ape-man, baboon, chimp,
idiot, embarrassment, disaster... the list of insults was almost
(In the interest of full disclosure, I confess that in my three
decades of campaign communications work I might have indulged in a
negative ad or two myself. Only when absolutely necessary, though.
None of that gratuitous rhetorical violence. Uh-huh.)
There are almost no limits on what some candidates will say to
disparage opponents. I’ve seen and heard campaign materials that are
profoundly disturbing. In fact, I thought I had seen just about
everything. Until, that is, a friend of mine received a letter paid
for by the Michigan Republican Party. It was at a different level
This horrible bit of business comes in the form of a letter using a
font made to look like cursive handwriting. It starts “Dear Friend”
and then details the murder of Adam McIntosh and the subsequent plea
deal given his killer. The author is none other than Deb McIntosh, the
dead man’s mother.
Mr. McIntosh, then 26, was murdered by a gang member in 2006 in Flint.
His parents are displeased by the plea deal given his killer and
dismayed by an alleged promise, unfulfilled, made by the prosecutor to
go after two others involved. That prosecutor is now running for
Attorney General. Ms. McIntosh does not want us to vote for him and
she is perfectly willing to invoke the name and memory of her dead son
to convince us. The letter even contains a photograph of what appears
to be a younger Adam McIntosh. The Michigan Republican Party paid for
the mailing.
Nobody other than those who have
suffered the same horror as the McIntosh family can possibly
understand the grief and anger that accompany such a thing. One
assumes this is a deep wound that
never fully heals. Anyone with a heart grieves for their loss.
But there should be lines, even in politics, which are not crossed.
Using a murdered son as chum to appeal to the basest instincts of
voters is one of those lines.

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