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 · Grading the President
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Grading the President

Stephen Tuttle - January 10th, 2011
Grading the President
The trouble with grading a politician is the grade is pretty much
dependent on how we feel about the person being graded. Many Democrats
would have given George W. Bush an F regardless of what he did. And many
Republicans would similarly grade Barack Obama regardless of what he does.
Obama finds himself in the unenviable position of being forced to piss off
both the right and the left and move toward the middle in order to govern.
It’s a lesson quickly learned by every president but, for some reason,
never learned by either opponents or supporters.
The right, particularly the new breed of newly-elected philosophical
fire-breathers, is appalled that Obama did anything and are adamantly
opposed to all of it. They believe he’s a socialist at best, probably a
Marxist and a Muslim and maybe not even an American citizen. They abhor
the healthcare reform legislation, believe the Troubled Asset Relief
Program (TARP) and auto industry bailouts were socialistic government
takeovers, and think the stimulus programs are nothing more than an
unnecessary waste of tax dollars.
The left, or what’s left of the left, is appalled that Obama didn’t do
enough on healthcare reform, waited too long to get rid of Don’t Ask-Don’t
Tell, hasn’t ended the wars, has not solved the illegal immigration
problem, and has caved in to the corporate-military industrial complex.
They fault him for not already fulfilling every campaign promise and for
not doing what they thought he should do, whether he promised it or not.
The right apparently wasn’t listening during the campaign of ’08 and they
haven’t started since. Obama has done much of what he said he would – none
of this was exactly a secret – and inherited both the economic mess and
bailout/stimulus programs from the Bush Administration.
The equally delusional left apparently believes Obama is a benevolent
dictator capable of magically waving his hand to make things happen,
regardless of what that pesky Congress wants.
No president has ever been able to do everything he claimed he was going
to do, and certainly not in his first two years. Nevertheless, there are
always those ready to condemn the actions taken and another group
condemning the lack of action.
The one thing on which there seems to be a consensus is that, good or bad,
some serious legislation became law during Obama’s first two years.
First was healthcare reform. After a century’s worth of presidents trying
to enact some sort of national healthcare program, the Obama
administration actually got something passed. Republicans demonized it as
socialized medicine and Democrats decried it as too little too late. But
the fact is the reform became law and the Republicans will have difficulty
getting rid of it, especially now. In 2011, two critical and popular
elements of the reform package become active – a 50% reduction in the cost
of prescription drugs for seniors who fall into the Medicare “donut hole,“
and preventive care and check-ups without co-pays, deductibles or other
The Obama list is, of course, much longer than just healthcare reform. He
continued the Bush bail-outs and stimulus programs, bailed out General
Motors and Chrysler, prevented the collapse of then toughened regulations
for Wall Street, announced the end of our combat role in Iraq, ended Don’t
Ask-Don’t Tell for the military, extended the Bush tax cuts for another
two years, reduced payroll taxes, successfully pushed the first
legislation to improve food safety since the 1930s, and signed a new
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the Russians.
The test is the impact of all this activity. What kind of measurement can
be objectively used?
If taxes are your foundational issue, then Barack Obama is your man.
Federal taxes have decreased for almost all of us during his term, they’ll
stay at the lower rates and there will be an additional payroll tax
deduction starting this year. The oft-predicted tax bill associated with
healthcare reform has yet to rear its ugly head. Maybe it’s right on the
horizon or maybe not. The fact is our federal taxes are lower.
If Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is your measuring stick, we’re seeing some
progress on that front, too. After precipitous drops in the third and
fourth quarters of 2008, and another in the first quarter of 2009, our GDP
has actually increased since. We made gains in the third and fourth
quarters of 2009 and in the first three quarters in 2010 (fourth quarter
results are not yet in). There are arguments aplenty as to why the
turnaround but the GDP growth is a fact.
If your barometer for success is employment, then we have to again look at
the facts. Since so many believe government employees somehow don’t count
we’ll examine private sector employment only. We lost jobs in every month
in 2008, including nearly 700,000 jobs in both December of ’08 and January
of ’09. The first nine months of Obama’s tenure saw more job losses but
the trend began slowing. The tide turned in January of 2010 and we’ve
gained private sector jobs every month since. That’s a fact.
Statistical job growth is, of course, completely meaningless to those
still searching desperately for work. But it’s a fact that, nationally,
the number of unemployed has stopped growing.
In November, the public seemed to reject the notion that Obama deserves
credit for any economic recovery and they absolutely rejected the
Democrats. We now start anew with a Republican-dominated Congress that
wants to reverse most of what Obama has done. We’ll see how that debate
works out.
What cannot be debated is that since Barack Obama took office our federal
taxes are lower, our GDP is up and we are gaining private sector jobs.
Those are the facts. The President deserves at least a passing grade.

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