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 · I heard it‘s a...
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I heard it‘s a conspiracy

Stephen Tuttle - May 16th, 2011
I Heard It’s a Conspiracy...
We all seem to love a good conspiracy. Or at least a good conspiracy theory.
If we can’t understand why something happened, or it seems just too
improbable, it usually takes no more than a few minutes before the first
conspiracy theories start cropping up on-line.
Which is not to suggest real conspiracies don’t exist. Caesar bit the
dust as a victim of a conspiracy, Jesus was captured and crucified as a
result of a conspiracy, every coup in history has resulted from a
conspiracy. One could argue that our very mortality is the result of a
conspiracy that took place in the Garden of Eden.
There are real conspiracies aplenty to keep us occupied but that never
quite satisfies everybody. The idea that nefarious forces are out there
secretly plotting our discomfort and ultimate demise is still popular with
Back in the 18th century it was a shadowy group collectively known as the
Illuminati plus the Jesuits and the Freemasons who were allegedly
controlling the world, or at least the little European chunk of it in
which they were supposed to operate. At a time when any kind of organized
education was rare, here were some folks doing plenty of book learnin’ and
many people were quite sure they were up to no good. The boring truth is
there’s no real evidence they ever actually conspired to do much of
anything beyond their own backyards.
More recently, the assassination of John Kennedy did more than any other
event to enhance the notion of vast conspiracies. We couldn’t quite grasp
the enormity of November 22. The idea that some little pipsqueak was able
to single-handedly gun down our young, vibrant president made no sense.
That the assassin was subsequently murdered himself deepened our
skepticism. When the Warren Commission issued their report it all seemed
too neat.
There were conspiracy theories everywhere. The CIA did it as retribution
for Kennedy’s failure to come to the aid of their operatives who were
essentially abandoned when the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba went badly.
Cuba did it to get even for the failed attempts on Fidel Castro’s life.
The Mafia did it because Kennedy had a girlfriend who was mob-connected
and he had revealed plans to crack down on their activities. Lyndon
Johnson did it so he could be president. The commies did it as payback
for having been humiliated when Kennedy made them back down in the Cuban
Missile Crisis.
After nearly half a century of investi-gating, with magic bullets and
grassy knolls and all the rest, it appears more likely than not that Lee
Harvey Oswald did it, acting alone.
We went through the same disbelief when Dr. Martin Luther King was
murdered and again when Bobby Kennedy was shot.
Conspiracy theories, at least the modern day versions, almost always begin
with an event or circumstances we cannot completely understand. Unable to
figure it out ourselves and unsatisfied with whatever explanation we’re
given, we begin looking for causes beyond the obvious. Surely there must
be some group somewhere creating these messes that bedevil or mystify most
of us while benefiting a few.
The gas shortages of the ’70s? Must be the Trilateral Commission helping
the global conspiracy to drive up oil prices. The current economic mess in
which the world finds itself? Must be the Bilderberg Group plotting the
new world order and a one world government they will control. UFOs?
C’mon. Everybody knows the government has captured space ships and space
monkeys and keeps them out at Area 51 near Groom Lake in Nevada.
A conspiracy, by definition, must be secret. Until or unless it is
exposed, we don’t know what happened. Our contemporary conspiracy
theorists will never be deterred by this lack of facts.
In fact, their cult-like adherence to conspiracy
theories requires them to accept as fact that which cannot be proven and a
willingness to ignore those facts which do exist.
Which brings us right up to our truthers, birthers and deathers and their
belief in government conspiracies.
Truthers believe 9/11 was either a full-blown government operation that
did not involve al Qaeda or was the CIA working with al Qaeda or we knew
about it in advance and let al Qaeda do it anyway. We did it, supposedly,
to create a justification for invading the Middle East so we have a
military presence and can protect the oil supply in the region.
To become a truther one must ignore a ton of existing facts – we know who
did it, who planned it, where it was planned, exactly how it was carried
out and the bloody results. And we know exactly how the Trade Towers
collapsed, without government-planted explosives, and that a hijacked
commercial jet, not a missile, struck the Pentagon.
The birthers, who believe Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen of
the United States, are in a special class since their perceived conspiracy
benefits but a single person. They’ve been confronted with documentation,
court rulings and witnesses but are undeterred.
Now we have the deathers, who believe we did not kill Osama bin Laden or
he’s been dead for a decade and we kept him on ice until we needed the
corpse. Sigh. Why it would be to our advantage to pretend he’s dead while
he might still be wandering around hasn’t been adequately explained. Nor
has why the Bush Administration thought it was to their advantage to keep
an already dead bin Laden on ice for two full terms in office while the
public wanted his head on a stick.
Conspiracy theories are fun. We all play the game and add our speculation
to the rest of the nonsense that floats around. But the notion of any
kind of large government conspiracy is just silly and I think I can prove
A successful conspiracy requires perfect planning, flawless execution and
absolute secrecy. Does that sound like our government to you?
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