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..

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Catching up with the Republicans

Stephen Tuttle - May 23rd, 2011
Catching Up With the Republicans
It’s time for our Approximately Quarterly Almost Official Update on the
Republican presidential race. There have been some changes since last we
discussed the subject.
Let’s start with the dearly departed.
The not-quite-brave-enough who dabbled at the prospect of a run and then
ran away from it are Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana
Congressman Mike Pence, South Dakota Senator John Thune and, most
recently, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. All demonstrated unusual
wisdom in dropping out.
Huckabee’s departure is especially significant given his appeal among
Republicans who describe themselves as evangelicals, a group that turns
out in big numbers for Republican presidential primaries. Those voters are
now up for grabs.
And, of course, Donald Trump has confirmed what many of us already knew;
he had no intention of running. His departure mostly benefits Republican
voters who will now be spared his self-aggrandizing blather.
On the opposite side of the ledger we have two official candidates,
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who is taking his third stab at the
presidency, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
“Exploring” a run are former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle
Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Herman Cain, the
former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and a talk radio host.
Not officially running or exploring but lurking around the fringes or
making lots of speeches in the early primary states are former Vice
Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former
Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie and Wisconsin Congressman and budget guru Paul Ryan.
Quite a group.
We can eliminate Cain, Bachmann, Santorum, Christie, Paul and Ryan. They
lack name recognition, have no natural constituency and will never raise
the funds needed to mount an effective campaign. Paul has a loyal but too
small group of supporters and will likely hang around as a matter of
principle. Expect him to do about as well as he did in his two previous
That leaves us with Romney, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Daniels and Huntsman.
Daniels, Huntsman and Pawlenty are an interesting trio.
Mitch Daniels was Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
under George W. Bush and has been a popular governor of Indiana despite
struggling with the state’s budget issues. Jon Huntsman, a thoughtful
conservative, was governor of the bright red state of Utah until accepting
President Obama’s appointment as Ambassador to China. Former Minnesota
Governor Tim Pawlenty has solid New Right credentials and has become a bit
of a darling among the evangelical set. Any of the three would make a
legitimate opponent for President Obama but all lack name recognition, a
national organization and money.
Now we’re down to Romney and Gingrich.
Mitt Romney looks like he should be president. He’s been a successful
businessman and politician, has been campaigning for two solid years,
built a decent national organization, has the ability to raise money and
has consistently been at or near the top in early polling.
He’d be an attractive candidate in a General Election if he could somehow
get through the Republican primaries, but that’s the rub. His advocacy of
healthcare reform in Massachusetts that included mandatory insurance for
everyone reminds too many Republicans of Obamacare (there are stark
differences but his opponents won’t care) and, unfortunately, his Mormon
religion makes him untrustworthy in the eyes of many evangelicals. We
aren’t quite done with religious bigotry just yet.
Newt Gingrich will never be president. He is plenty smart and full of big
ideas but he’s prone to grandiose statements few can understand and is
already being accused of flip-flopping on more than one issue. His
reputation for big ideas is accompanied by a reputation for never bringing
any of those ideas to fruition.
Gingrich is trying desperately to capitalize on Mike Huckabee’s departure
from the race by courting religious fundamentalists. But he has a real
problem with the large bloc of Republican women voters who describe
themselves as religious or very religious – two unpleasant divorces and
tales of multiple affairs.
The former Speaker has also discovered an ugly truth about the 2012
Republican presidential politics – there is a litmus test for everything.
Vary even slightly from acceptable dogma and risk being called a traitor
to all that is righteous. Gingrich made the mistake of tepidly criticizing
Paul Ryan’s draconian approach to Medicare and was immediately excoriated
by several darlings of the New Right. Newt had a different idea but the
GOP believes they don’t need any new ideas since the Ryan plan was
apparently etched in granite and brought down from on high.
I know. I’ve left out Sarah Palin. There is little reason for her to run.
Her weaknesses as a candidate far outweigh her strengths and her negative
poll numbers are daunting. A recent Quinnipiac University poll of
registered voters who have formed an opinion of the candidates found that
a staggering 58% of respondents said they “would never vote for” Palin.
That’s not such a good start. Her infatuation with celebrity, at least so
far, appears to outweigh her desire to jump into the rigors of a national
campaign. Why become a target when you can tweet potshots from the safety
of the sidelines?
We’re now just 18 months from the 2012 elections. The Republican field is
still a muddle of posturing and positioning. The endless trips to New
Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina are well underway. The petty sniping
has begun.
Whoever emerges as the Republican nominee, and it may well be someone not
currently on the above or any other list, faces a formidable challenge.
Awaiting is a well-organized, effective campaigner who is also the best
fundraiser in American political history – Barack Obama. His re-election
team is talking about raising $1 billion. That’s $1,000,000,000. He will
exploit every advantage of his incumbency and if the economy improves
enough to restore just a glimmer of confidence in the country he will be
extraordinarily difficult to beat.
We’ll check back in a few months to see how much Republican blood has been
spilled and which candidates, if any, are still standing.

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