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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What‘s new

Robert Downes - July 18th, 2011
What’s New
New in this issue is a Public Safety Map on page 12 which will include a
snapshot of crime in the region -- assault, robbery, B&Es, drug busts and
car thefts -- as well as brief reports on emergency events such as
drownings and major collisions.
The map will be compiled on a weekly basis by investigative reporter
Patrick Sullivan from police reports around the region. We expect it to
be a popular feature, as are similar maps and police blotters in
newspapers ranging from the Ann Arbor Observer to the Toronto Star.
Why a Public Safety Map? To keep you better informed. If there are a rash
of cottage break-ins in Benzie County or an increase in B&Es in Petoskey,
readers will get a heads-up.
Beyond that, as noted in Sullivan‘s June 20 story, “Fewer Cops, More
Crime,” law enforcement agencies in Northern Michigan have been hit hard
by budget cuts. Then too, we’ve seen a rise in hard drug use in the
region, as demonstrated by a number of overdose deaths over the past year.
Aside from crime, Northern Michigan also faces issues involving “growing
pains” such as car-bicycle collisions or tourists involved in snowmobile
crashes and boating mishaps.
As such, it pays us to be more aware of public safety issues in the
region. Consider our new Public Safety Map a tool for your own security
and awareness. Comments? Send them to our Letters page, care of

Nice. The Republican Congress has positioned itself between an anvil and a
sledge-hammer with nowhere to scuttle but sideways.
Consider the Republican pledge not to raise taxes even on the super rich
or the corporations that have betrayed America by taking jobs overseas.
That’s what friends are for, right?
But failing to raise the debt ceiling by the August 2 deadline could mean
a colossal stock market crash, possibly kicking off another recession. It
could also kick financially fragile Europe over a ledge, bringing on a
global depression.
Such an event would be a disaster for Wall Street and the investor class
(uh, not to mention millions of regular Americans) -- a much more painful
prospect than a tax increase.
If you believe Joe Scarborough and his “Morning Joe” crew, the Republicans
in Congress got a call from their masters on Wall Street last week who
said, “don’t go there.”
But let’s say the Republicans decided that their Tea Party principles are
so lofty that they would dare to bite the hand that feeds to make their
point. Let’s say they decided to throw the United States into default just
out of sheer spite.
Well, as President Obama warned, that could mean the United States would
lack the funds to cover more than 60 million Social Security checks as of
the first week in August. No veterans payments either, along with 700,000
federal employees thrown out of work. Medicare? Poof. And that would be
just for starters.
Hmm... stock market crash, millions more out of work, retirees in a
flaming rage... even at a distance, it’s quite obvious as to who would
catch the blame for that train wreck. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell said last week, defaulting on the U.S. debt would mean “the end
of the Republican brand.”

Will anyone be surprised if the British phone hacking scandal spreads to
the U.S. press (if it hasn’t already)?
The United Kingdom has no less than 12 national newspapers. And since
nuttin’ much goes in a well-ordered society of 62 million people, the
British press tends to obsess over the Royals, minor celebrities on the
order of the Spice Girls, nightclub sightings of drunken rockers, and
where Prince Willy puts his wonker.
‘Kind of like the National Enquirer, US magazine, the “E” network and the
New York Post among the gossip media in the United States.
The Brits have gone bananas over the past few weeks over revelations that
reporters from the country’s biggest tabloid, News of the World, had been
hacking into email messages of not just celebrities, but regular folks.
What really set them off were reports that reporters had purposely deleted
emails from a kidnapped 13-year-old’s cell phone in the hope of
encouraging more messages from the serial killer who murdered her.
The latest allegations: Scotland Yard and the British police looked the
other way when it came time to investigate the hackings; they accepted
$150,000 in bribes from News of the World; and partied with executives of
the paper like all good buddies do when it’s time to tuck little messes
under the rug.
It begs the question: is America’s gossip press up to snuff on its own
hacking skills?
Hacking someone’s phone or email records is something that Northern
Michigan‘s news media most likely never even imagined... but who would be
surprised if it turns out that a few of America’s own celebrity chat rags
are as dirty as their cousins across the pond?
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