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 · Conservative confusion
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Conservative confusion

Stephen Tuttle - February 21st, 2011
Conservative Confusion
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) just wrapped up in Washington, D.C., the city conservatives love to hate. A fine time was had by some.
These gatherings started way back in 1973, founded by the American Conservative Union, the oldest conservative membership organization in the country, and Young Americans for Freedom, a group of mostly college students. A stodgy old mainline group and another of fire breathing students made for strange political bedfellows but they shared a philosophical bent and a desire to strengthen and increase their numbers.
CPAC operated mostly in the dark for years. It wasn’t that they weren’t trying. They just couldn’t gain much traction with the media or the public. Ronald Reagan’s presidency gave them political legitimacy and power, and the advent of the internet enabled them them to increase both their reach and influence via a growing and more vocal conservative movement.
Their annual conference is now one of the signal events for serious conservatives. It’s well-publicized, well-attended and extraordinarily well-reported, especially since some of the leading lights of conservative talk radio have been featured speakers in the past.
Since political positioning is intensifying as the 2012 presidential slugfest draws near, attendance was considered almost mandatory for those Republicans dipping their toes in the campaign waters. Virtually all the players you’d expect were there with one notable exception. Sarah Palin was conspicuous by her absence, off doing her television show or at a book signing or some kind of speech making or something. Gov. Palin no longer attends events at which there might be someone friendly to one of her potential opponents or at which she might be confronted with a difficult question.
Everyone else was there, though.
The speeches were disappointingly predictable. Romney, Paul, Pawlenty, McConnell, et al, offered up rambunctious boilerplate presentations – government is too big, taxes are too high, healthcare reform is socialism. The usual stuff. Ann Coulter, the Broom Hilda of the right, was her usual ray of sunshine, dripping venom while lecturing the attendees on the various evils of believing anything she doesn’t. Even His Royal Hairness, Donald Trump, was there with yet another of his pretend dabbles in politics.
The one thing on which they all seemed to agree is that Barack Obama is a very bad person and an even worse president. We expect hyperbole and polemics at these kinds of events but the unfettered joy these speakers apparently feel while verbally eviscerating the president was at least marginally unsettling.
There was less unanimity on most everything else.
Some attendees thought Obama reacted too quickly when Egypt blew up. Others said he reacted too slowly. Still others said he shouldn’t have done anything at all. Some speakers excoriated the president for being too soft in Afghanistan. Others said we should get out of there altogether. Too much waste at the Pentagon or not enough spending at the Pentagon. Fix healthcare reform or do away with healthcare reform. On and on they droned.
They were even all over the place on the budget. Some demanded $70 billion in budget cuts, some said it had to be at least $100 billion, others thought $200 billion sounded better. Nobody, however, suggested cuts of more than a $1 trillion and that’s about what the deficit will be in the next budget year.
They certainly knew who and what they didn’t like but they were a little weak on offering concrete alternatives to the policies they so despised.
That’s pretty much par for the course at these gatherings, whether the attendees are from the left or the right. Little more than exercises in political self-gratification, true-believers of some cause or philosophy join together and talk trash about people with whom they disagree. In the end, they all join hands in blissful unity.
It doesn’t always work out that way. Even CPAC saw it’s share of factionalism.
The rift, in general, appears to be between those who want to maintain some sort of ideological purity and those who would actually like to win the presidency in 2012. The split was obvious in CPAC’s presidential straw poll, won by Texas Congressman Ron Paul. He is a darling of young conservatives but has no chance to win the Republican presidential nomination. Ironically, Paul was then immediately booted off the Board of Directors of the Young Americans for Freedom for not being tough enough on foreign policy.
Runner-up in the straw poll was Mitt Romney. Romney used to be considered a moderate and pushed through Massachusetts’ healthcare reform legislation which mandates that everyone must have insurance, the very requirement in Obamacare that has made conservatives apoplectic. But Romney is certainly more electable than Ron Paul so some CPAC attendees apparently gave him a pass on ideological purity.
By the time the conference ended, not everyone has happy.
There are breaks between traditionalists and neo-conservatives and the tea party folks. There are still big government Republicans and no government libertarian Republicans. The rips in the Republican fabric may be impossible to mend. There is no real leadership at the top of the conservative movement, no real affirmative platform or plans and no clear path to the White House despite control of Congress and state legislatures. There is disillusionment, dysfunction, disagreement and distress.
In the past, we had a name for people who belonged to a party with this much confusion. We called them... Democrats.

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