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 · Trouble in North Korea
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Trouble in North Korea

Stephen Tuttle - December 6th, 2010
Trouble in North Korea
The crazy people who run North Korea, or more to the point, the crazy
family, is at it again, lobbing artillery shells on a South Korean
The Korean War, the Forgotten War, has become the Longest War, now in
its 60th year. Most of us don’t remember how or why it started and
almost no one understands what the hell is going on there now.
From 1910 until 1945, the Korean Peninsula was under the control of
the Japanese. They weren’t especially kind overseers. Once the
Pacific portion of World War II was concluded, the Soviet Union and
United States divvied up Korea as they later did with much of Europe.
The idea at the time was some kind of single, unified Korea but the
Soviets occupied the territory north of the 38th parallel and were
averse to any hint of democratization. When the north refused to hold
elections, North Korea was born. Their George Washington was Kim
Il-sung, the country’s founder and first and only president.
(Technically, he’s still the president having been declared the
“Eternal President” when he died in 1994.)
Kim was a strange ruler from the beginning, a bellicose paranoid who
was an absolute dictator at home while being a financial and political
puppet of the Soviets and Chinese.
In June of 1950, the North Korean military poured across the border in
a full-blown invasion of South Korea. The back-and-forth that
followed, in horrendous conditions, bedeviled President Truman. The
North bludgeoned their way to Seoul before United Nations troops, led
by the United States, forced them back up the peninsula. We probably
could have gone nearly to the border with China but Chinese Red Army
forces joined the fray along with Soviet air support and pushed the
U.N. troops back to Seoul.
In 1953, an armistice was declared and the line of separation between
north and south ended up exactly where it started – at the 38th
parallel. The United States lost more than 54,000 killed in action
with another 104,000 wounded. South Korea lost more than 224,000 and
715,000 were wounded. The numbers for the North, though never
officially released, are presumed to be at least as bad.
The North Koreans never signed the peace agreements and have always
believed, or at least been told by their government, that a state of
war still exists with the South. Kim Il-sung was a master of
fear-based propaganda. The presence of 30,000 American troops in
South Korea fed his metastatic paranoia. The demilitarized zone
between the two countries is the most heavily fortified and mined
strip of land on the planet.
North Korea today is one of the most isolated and mysterious places in
the world. Ostensibly governed on a political theory of
self-reliance, they’ve moved from a brief dalliance with Stalin-era
communism into what is a family dynasty of dictators.
Kim Il-sung was replaced by his son, Kim Jong-il, a diminutive
megalomaniac with elevator shoes and tall hair. While his country
periodically faces mass starvation, he’s reputed to enjoy fine dining,
fine liquor, his choice of drugs, American pornography and Russian
hookers. He’s a tough talking little guy who has turned his country
into a military state with the fifth largest standing army in the
They are believed to have at least one or two nuclear weapons and are
developing a long-range ballistic missile system that may be able to
reach western Europe. We only recently discovered they have a uranium
enrichment plant far more advanced than we had previously believed.
They are the world’s leading exporter of illicit nuclear weapons
technology and have been assisting Iran as they attempt to develop
their nuclear and missile programs.
All the while they continue to pound their populace with relentless
propaganda claiming an imminent invasion from the South or the United
States or both.
Kim Jong-il, suffering from some kind of undisclosed illness, has
named his successor, his completely unknown son, Kim Jong-un. If the
entire family is suffering from a genetic predisposition to lunacy
that worsens with each successive generation, and that seems to be the
case, this third Kim in line should be a real doozy.
It’s possible the North’s latest little act of war is nothing more
than an attempt to prove to their own population that the new kid in
charge is a tough guy like his daddy. And they might be warning their
enemies, real and imagined, not to mess with them while they move
through their leadership transition. It’s also possible they are on
the verge of doing something incredibly dangerous and bizarre.
China is the most important actor in this melodrama. They have the
closest ties, or at least as close as any country can get, to North
Korea and provide them with the most aid. There is hope they have
sufficient influence to calm the jittery North Korean leadership since
China gains nothing by allowing military instability on their
doorstep. The world needs the Chinese to step up here since the
sanctions already imposed by the United Nations seem to have done
little other than add to the deprivation suffered by the average North
We’ve expressed our concerns and outrage and all the rest that passes
for diplomatic communication. We currently have an aircraft carrier
in the waters nearby and engaged in some splashy war games maneuvers
with the South Korean military but there isn’t much we can do beyond
that. It’s difficult to negotiate with folks who are unreliable,
untrustworthy and apparently unstable.
So, six decades after this “police action” (Congress never issued a
declaration of war so it’s a police action) began, after hundreds of
thousands of deaths including more than 54,000 Americans, we find
ourselves still confronted by an unpredictable and intransigent North
Korean leader armed to the teeth and threatening anyone in range.
Our only hope is that the newest branch breaks off the family tree and
grows some sanity in this unpleasant little corner of the world.

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