Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Music · Early Start to the Stupid Season
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Early Start to the Stupid Season

Steven Tuttle - August 29th, 2011
Early Start to the Stupid Season
The political Stupid Season, usually reserved for election years, is off to an early start.
Most of the stupidity is more silly than destructive. But not all of it.
When Sarah Palin told us that Paul Revere was “...shootin and ringin’ those bells...” to “warn the British” it likely didn’t help her much but, aside from that, it was just a harmless flub.
The impact is about the same when Michelle Bachmann confuses John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy or mistakes Elvis’ birthday with the anniversary of his death. It provides fuel for her political adversaries who delight in her every misstatement and bit of fractured syntax. It is certainly no help to Rep. Bachmann. But in the larger scope of things her occasional, inaccurate blathering is mostly meaningless.
There is another level of stupidity that is somewhat less benign. Vice President Joe Biden gave an excellent example of that next level when he claimed recalcitrant Republicans, unwilling to go along with the administration’s budget proposals, were behaving like “terrorists.” C’mon, Joe.
Republicans are not terrorists nor have they behaved like terrorists. The suggestion they are is both stupid and dishonest and added absolutely nothing to the debate. (Actually, they were behaving like obstinate brats but that’s a different issue.)
Then there’s the final level of stupidity – intentionally dishonest stupidity.
Michelle Bachmann is currently engaged in a fine example of that when she claims she’ll lower gas prices to $2 a gallon if she’s elected president. She knows she will be capable of no such thing.
Oil prices are determined by a global market over which an American president has almost no control. Her explanation, that if we produced more oil in the United States prices would tumble, is preposterous.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), if we opened exploration on both the east and west coasts and Alaska and began to exploit oil trapped in shale rock and sand in the west, we could produce another 500,000 barrels a day. The EIA says that quantity, theoretically, might bring the pump price of gasoline down about three cents a gallon. Maybe, but not likely.
In fact, oil production in the United States has increased by 1.5 million barrels a day during the Obama administration and that has had no impact on the global oil market or on domestic gasoline prices. Bachmann’s claim that she can reduce the pump price by nearly 50% bespeaks a profound ignorance of exactly how those prices come to be in the first place.
Then there’s Rick Perry’s pronouncement that if the Federal Reserve decides to increase the money supply, so-called quantitative easing, it will be a “treasonous” act on the part of Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.
Treason is a pretty serious charge, even in the silliness of a campaign environment. It’s an especially stupid assertion since Bernanke and the Board of Governors of the Fed actually have every legal right to increase the money supply should they choose to do so.
Such a decision might well be wrong and even counter-productive, but treason, which can be a capital offense, it is not.
Governor Perry needs to read up a bit about the role and independence of the Federal Reserve. Board members each serve a single, 14-year term specifically so they can stay outside the reach of politicians like the president or presidential wannabes.
Which brings us to the most discouraging sign this early in the campaigns, a series of television ads being run by something called the Coalition to Protect Patients Rights.
The ads are blasting away at healthcare reform using a barrage of half-truths, exaggerations and distortions. The ads were produced by some of the same folks who ran the notorious and wholly dishonest Swift Boat ads that eviscerated John Kerry’s presidential bid. And they’re the same group that has, in the past, run ads and PR campaigns attempting to debunk climate change science and the dangers of cigarette smoke.
We don’t yet know where the money behind these ads comes from but since the consulting group involved has previously worked with the health insurance industry it’s a pretty good bet their billions are behind this effort.
We’re pretty tolerant of heat-of-the-moment mistakes by politicians. When a Democrat makes such a faux pas, Republicans howl and point to it as proof of their incompetence. When a Republican does it, the Democrats howl just as loudly. The truth is the overwhelming majority of the verbal gaffes made by both sides are pointless nonsense meaning nothing at all.
We’re hearing more Republican errors right now because there are so many of them out on the presidential campaign trail. Their days are long and their schedules impossibly crowded so mistakes are absolutely inevitable. Obama and the Democrats will make their fair share soon enough.
Unfortunately, the factual dishonesty demonstrated by the Coalition to Protect Patients Rights is not a mistake but intentional misdirection. When Gov. Perry accuses someone of treason and then refuses to back off that claim, that dishonesty is also intentional.
The reason advocacy groups and candidates push this stupidity at us is incredibly simple; they believe we’re stupid. They count on the fact that too many of us will accept their foolishness without bothering to do our homework. Unchallenged by a somnambulant media, they know they can get away with almost any assertion or accusation no matter how stupid it is.
In the end, the Stupid Season is our own creation, a product of our willingness to assume the worst about those with whom we disagree while blithely ascribing some kind of divine infallibility to our favorites.
As long as we’re willing to ignore the facts and abandon common sense the Stupid Season will be with us.

 
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