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 · The age of what to do
. . . .

The age of what to do

Robert Downes - August 6th, 2010
The Age of What to Do?
There was a wonderfully scary article in the business section of the
New York Times last month, in which a financial analyst predicted that
we’re in for the biggest stock market crash in 300 years.
Market forecaster Robert Prechter bases his warning on the theories of
accountant Ralph Nelson Elliott, whose Elliott Wave theory predicted
the fluctuations of the stock market in the 1930s and ‘40s. According
to this theory, we may be in for the biggest crash since the collapse
of the South Sea Bubble in 1720 (look it up in your old college econ
book), a financial disaster that was so devastating that people were
fearful of buying stocks for 100 years. Prechter says the Dow Jones
average is likely to sink below 1,000 points (it’s currently hovering
around 10,000) and stay there for years. This would put us back into
the economy of the Stone Age.
Yet in the same business section, you could also read happy talk about
the stock market poised to rebound at any moment. This chirpy optimism
mixed with apocalyptic gloom pervades every financial publication,
going round and round on opposite pages, as if the most knowledgeable
“market forecasters” in the world are no better than witch doctors
poking at the steaming entrails of a goat.
In fact, you might be wise to put more faith in goat guts.
It all gets back to this being the great Age of What to Do? since
there seem to be no sure-fire investments to safeguard your savings
(assuming you have any): stocks, bonds, real estate -- all are rather
iffy and uncertain. In recent months the Dow Jones average has been
bobbing up and down like a cork in a flushing toilet.
This might give a lift to the hearts of those who’d like to stick it
to the rich, except that the ramifications of the Age of What to Do?
are far worse for those who are lower on the economic ladder.
Just last week, another business writer claimed that you can forget
about the value of your house steadily increasing through the years to
provide a retirement nest egg as it did during the second half of the
20th century. “More than likely, that era is gone for good,” the
writer claimed.
Elsewhere, the 30% of students who drop out of high school in America
must be wondering what job can they hope to find these days that will
take them to the other side of 20 grand in the pay scale?
Then there are the choices confronting today’s college students. What
can you major in that will assure you’ll be able to pay back the
$60,000 or so that you owe in student loans? Adding insult to injury,
a huge student loan may make you less desirable as a marriage partner.
Young adults also have the nemesis of outsourcing and job-eating
technology to deal with (ie. America’s much-touted “productivity”).
Soon, for instance, the institution of the DVD rental store may
disappear from your neighborhood, replaced by Netflix and the online
streaming of movies. This is already the case in some parts of the
country. Result? More thousands of jobs lost to digital technology.
This uncertainty extends to the unemployed, who are going back for job
retraining, financed by our empty State treasury. But how many air
conditioning repairmen or solar panel installers will we be able to
hire in the future?
You can even see this concern over what to do reflected in the music
played by a number of jam bands at festivals this summer. The new
trend is to bolt several off-the-mark genres together, like East
European klezmer music and hip-hop. Soon, musicians will be aping
Lady Ga-Ga to the accompaniment of bagpipes and Masai cowbells.
We’re living through a time that newsman Tom Brokaw compares to the
Deep Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico: an out-of-control economic
disaster that seems to have no easy fix. If, as predicted, the
Republicans sweep back into power this November, they too will be
confronted with the specter of a permanent jobless economy, taking
their own turn at the whipping post once voters discover that it takes
more than just tax cuts to generate jobs.
What are the antidotes for the Age of What to Do? As in the Great
Depression, courage, imagination and the willpower to keep on keeping
on. Plus, the hope that the green energy movement with all of its
electric cars, windmills, bullet trains and batteries will energize
our economy -- sooner than later.
It’s interesting to note that there are growing fears that our country
may be veering towards socialism. It’s as if the nation’s collective
subconscious has begun talking about this half-forgotten economic
system, foreshadowing what may be inevitable in a digital, jobless
economy. At what point will we decide that public works jobs for the
permanently unemployed is our only recourse? At what point will we --
as in the Great Depression -- decide that government must fund jobs
for artists, road workers and CCC-style public works projects, if only
to keep jobless people from standing around idle on street corners and
in bread lines?

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