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 · Random Thoughts · Our own reverse Robin...
. . . .

Our own reverse Robin Hood

Robert Downes - November 29th, 2010
Our own Reverse Robin Hood
“Savings almost depleted, might last through the winter. 59-year-old
male, unemployed, wife, disabled with no benefits. 99er! Please vote
for unemployment extension in lame duck session. I see no help coming
after Jan.”
-- Letter to U.S. Rep. Dave Camp from a resident of Empire

Last week, Congressman Dave Camp basically told the letter writer
above to go to hell when he voted against the emergency extension of
long-term unemployment benefits. A “99er” is a person who has
exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment.
Camp himself doesn’t have any unemployment worries. As a congressman
who represents the Grand Traverse area as part of the 4th District, he
receives a salary of $174,000 per year and has a job for life, thanks
to the ridiculously convoluted district that was gerrymandered years
ago by the Republican Party to insure that he’ll never have a serious
Yet Camp also represents a region that has one of the highest
unemployment rates in the country: more than 12%.
But did Camp man-up in support of his suffering constituents when
there was a vote along party lines on Nov. 18 to provide emergency
funding for those whose unemployment benefits are expiring on Nov. 30?
Of course not.
He joined 142 Republicans -- including Rep. Pete Hoekstra who
represents Manistee -- in voting to cut emergency benefits for 800,000
workers, with up to 2 million workers losing their benefits by the end
of December.
Nice gesture at Christmas.
But that’s not where the story ends, because if you read between the
lines of his press releases, Camp seems to spend much of his time
worrying about continuing the Bush tax cuts for the rich, playing the
sad violin on their behalf.
He’s a regular Reverse Robin Hood.
The White House would like to end the Bush tax cuts which expire at
the end of 2010 for those earning more than $250,000/year, while
granting the middle class a permanent tax cut.
President Obama notes that if we continue to provide tax cuts for
millionaires and billionaires in the top 2% of income, our country
will have to borrow $700 billion over the next 10 years to pay for the
Camp, who is set to become the next Chairman of Ways and Means (the
committee on taxes), never seems to be able to parse out the
difference between the rich and the middle class in his news releases.
The average CEO at an S&P 500 company makes $9.5 million per year.
Yet, invariably, Camp characterizes every high-roller as a “small
business owner“ who will simply refuse to create jobs if the taxes he
paid in 2001 are reinstated.
To Camp and his Republican colleagues, failure to include their rich
friends when the tax cuts expire next month is interpreted as a “$3.8
trillion tax hike.” He seems to be unable to remove the super rich
from his equations. This, when the richest 1% of Americans own 24% of
the nation’s income.
Republicans claim that rich folks on par with Donald Trump and Bill
Gates need a tax cut to generate jobs. Many studies have debunked
this claim: the rich tend to put their windfalls in the Wall Street
casino instead of creating new jobs.
Did you know that the least number of jobs created under the last
eight presidents came under George W. Bush, who floated this theory of
tax cuts for the rich creating jobs? Only 1.1 million jobs were
created under Bush and his tax cuts, compared to 22.7 million jobs
under Bill Clinton, according to the Huffington Post.
Bottom line, Camp is willing to deny $12 billion in unemployment
benefits for Americans who are hurting so as not to put our country
further in debt, while championing the cause of borrowing $700 billion
to benefit the richest 2% in our country.
How’s that for standing up for your principles?
This isn’t to say that Camp has no sense of compassion: he might not
care all that much about the unemployed man with the sick wife out in
Empire who’s worried about finding enough to eat this winter; but he’s
got plenty of room in his heart for billionaires who are in danger of
facing the new year without a tax cut.

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