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 · Indefensible Spending
. . . .

Indefensible Spending

By Stephen Tuttle - October 11th, 2010
In fact, stories of Pentagon waste are legendary. We had the $600
hammer and the $12,000 toilet seat... or was it a $12,000 hammer and a
$600 toilet seat? They were the stars of a long list of outlandish
overspending and waste. We were all dutifully outraged and then went
about our business.
The real waste isn’t in hammers and toilet seats but big weapon
systems. This bottomless pit of spending comes in two forms. We’ll
call the first the We’re-A-Little-Bit-Over- Budget strategy.
The best example is the V-22 Osprey, a unique tiltrotor aircraft that
can take-off and land vertically, like a helicopter, but has wings and
can also fly horizontally, like an airplane. It was intended for use
by the Air Force, Marines and Navy as both a troop and equipment
carrier and for close-in air-to-ground combat support.
The Osprey was first proposed in 1983 and was approved in 1986 with a
total budget of $2.5 billion. There were a few glitches along the
way, not the least of which was the damned things kept falling out of
the sky. Plus, the project was just a bit behind schedule and a bit
over budget.
Dick Cheney tried to stop the Osprey when he was Secretary of
Defense. President Reagan wanted it stopped. The Navy wanted it
stopped. But stopping a government program that was at some point
approved is like trying to stop a glacier – theoretically possible but
rarely, if ever, actually accomplished.
The V-22 lived on, supported by President Clinton during his two-
terms. More crashes, more money, and still more crashes and more
money. Finally, the beleaguered Osprey became operational for the
Marines in 2007 and the Air Force in 2009.
That $2.5 billion budget? We’ve thus far spent about $29 billion and
we’re being told it will take another $27 billion to create the full
fleet. That’s $56 billion, about 22 times the original budget. One
other thing – about a third of the V-22s in operation are out of
service at any given time. Seems we’re short on spare parts.
But at least there is a functional V-22, expensive though it may be.
Which brings us to the second form of egregious defense department
spending. We’ll call it the We-Don’t-Care-If-Nobody-Wants-It-We’re-
Building-It-Anyway strategy.
We’re currently developing the next generation of fighter planes, the
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Lockheed-Martin is making the aircraft.
Their winning bid presumed the use of an engine built by Pratt &
Whitney who, in a happy coincidence, also won the bidding process for
the engine. And with good reason. The engine they proposed is a
version of one that already exists and has flown 300,000
extraordinarily reliable miles. Their new engine for the F-35 has
already flown 17,000 test miles without incident.
You would think that would be the end of it. You would be wrong.
There is an “alternative” engine also being developed for the F-35,
slithering along thanks to the Congressional earmark process. It is
the Program That Will Not Die.
Our last two presidents have opposed the F-35 alternative engine
program. Their Secretaries of Defense opposed it. The Navy doesn’t
want it nor does the Air Force or Marines. The Senate actually voted
to block funding for this unwanted orphan program but none of that has
actually slowed it down. So far, we’ve spent about $1 billion on the
alternative engine and we’re told it will take another $2.8 billion.
That’s nearly $4 billion for an engine that nobody wants (except for
the good folks at GE Rolls Royce who are making it, and their
congressional allies) to serve as an “alternative” to an engine that
is extremely reliable and already in production and flying.
Remarkably, there are several other programs chugging along nobody
seems to want and the tab is approaching $10 billion a year in
costs. There are additional tens of billions being spent on the
“over budget” portion of existing programs.
How do these things happen? Defense contractors are savvy. They’ve
spread out their manufacturing and assembly operations to multiple
states. When a program on which they’re working is threatened, they
instantly have the support of the Congressmen from the district in
which their plants are located and the U.S. Senators from that state.
Cancelled contracts mean lost jobs, tax revenues and a collapse of the
micro-economy that has grown up around those operations. Whether or
not a program is wanted or needed becomes irrelevant.
Since the end of World War II we’ve been financing a permanent wartime
economy. This idea was first suggested during the war by a group of
Socialists who thought it would be a swell idea to keep unemployment
low. It was seconded by Charles Wilson, the then CEO of General
Electric and Vice Chair of the War Production Board, in 1944. We
haven’t looked back since. Not when President Eisenhower warned us
about the danger and power of the military industrial complex. Not
when our perpetual readiness has led us into one military misadventure
after another.
Of course we want our men and women in uniform to have the best
available equipment and training. It was obscene that we sent our
troops to war in the Middle East without armored vehicles and so we
witnessed the spectacle of our soldiers trying to attach their Kevlar
vests to their Humvees to give them some protection from the roadside
bombs that were devastating them.
So, yes, we’re in favor of providing our troops the best money can
buy. Unfortunately, what we’re actually providing them is the most
expensive that money can buy. That’s costing us tens of billions and
without making our troops better equipped or us one bit safer.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5