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 Fatwa of Osama bin...
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The Fatwa of Osama bin Laden

Robert Downes - May 9th, 2011
The fatwa of Osama bin Laden
Experienced travelers know that the world is generally a safe place where
one is far more likely to encounter smiles and the hand of friendship than
the kind of scary situations we see on the TV news each night.
But it’s never wise to travel blind, and for Americans in particular, that
has meant being mindful of the fatwa of Osama bin Laden over the past 13
In 1998, bin Laden and four other representatives of jihadist groups
signed a fatwa, or holy decree, that provided religious authorization and
justification for the killing of Americans and Jews throughout the world.
By extension, that has come to mean Westerners in general.
As seen in 9/11, the Bali bombings of 2002, the Madrid train bombings of
2004 and the London subway bombings of 2005, Osama bin Laden and his
minions took this fatwa to heart. This is not to mention the thousands of
innocent Muslim persons who have died, often in anonymity, for not living
up to al Qaeda’s perverted ideal of Islam.
There are a fair number of Americans weighing in with the notion that the
death of any human being shouldn’t be celebrated, and that the happy
demonstrations in Washington, D.C., New York, and across the world are
unseemly. Some feel this way from religious convictions, and some for
reasons grounded in humanist traditions.
Fair enough, but perhaps they might recall that under the fatwa, bin Laden
& Co. would have had no such qualms in sending them off to heaven in a New
York second, no pun intended.
For what it’s worth, even the angels were depicted as having venial and
vindictive natures at times in the Old Testament and in works such as
Paradise Lost. We’re no better.
Osama bin Laden gave up any claim to humanity long before he sent his
goons to slit the throats of stewardesses with box-cutting knives, prior
to ramming jets into the Twin Towers and Pentagon.
Our humanity is not diminished by celebrating the death of bin Laden; it’s
a toast to the eradification of evil. Given the chance, this friend of
medieval barbarism might have justified killing every man, woman and child
in the Western world with a song in his heart. He belongs at the bottom
of the ocean and the junk heap of history.

President Obama was wise to keep the death photos under wraps so they
can’t be used to either gloat or inspire. Consider the case of radical
abolitionist John Brown.
Brown was a home-grown terrorist who came out of “Bloody Kansas” in the
1850s, where he had massacred a number of people in the cause of freeing
the slaves.
In 1859 he and 21 men raided the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry on the Potomac
River with the goal of seizing 100,000 rifles and muskets to arm the
slaves and stage an uprising across the South. Although he was captured
and hung, he came to be known as a martyr and hero in the North, and
thousands Civil War troopers went into battle singing a marching song in
his honor: “John Brown’s body is a mouldering in the grave... his soul’s
marching on.”
That conflict -- recently celebrated for its 150th anniversary -- killed
620,000 people, or 2% of the American population.
Somewhere in the Islamic world, someone is crafting the same John
Brown-style legend for Osama bin Laden and writing their own version of
“Glory, glory hallelujah!” We don’t need to give them any more
inspiration to fuel that fire.

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