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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2014

KEEPING WATCH - WILSON AND OSBORNE NOT ADDING VALUE

By Steve Wilson | Sep 26, 2012

No Value Added — To view the archives click here on - Additional Posts (3 - 24)

10/25/2012

Yesterday I got similar messages from two sources that the Self Appointed Watch Dogs of Henry County are not adding value. I was told We are creating an unnecessary ruckus that is not good for the County. That is a serious allegation and it is certainly something I want to think about. Just look at what the truth did to the Catholic Church, and the Boy Scouts and Penn State. Fortunately, compared to these, the revelations of the Watch Dogs have been relatively minor and the adjustments could have been very easy if the concept of transparency had been embrased.   

I found it particularly interesting that I got the message I am not adding value following a meeting where I brought it to the attention of the the Board of Supervisors, supervisor candidates and the public that County Resolutions have habitually been passed that have not been listed on the Agenda. 

After I brought it to the attention of those in attendance one of the attendees, who later told me I was not adding value, none the less did  participate during and after the meeting in seeking a solution. Yes, the discussion was interrupted and then held over until after the meeting was adjourned but all three supervisors continued to be in attendance and to participate?  

So I am confused and I am seeking to understand the people of Henry County. Do You want visibility of your government bad enough to work for it and to pay for it in terms of making the opportunities to improve visible - or not?

Careful now, since the question is, did You want me to bring it to the attention of the public that the supervisors were passing resolutions without putting them on the Agenda? Did You want to know discussions were being held over until after the meeting has been adjourned? (And for those who remember, did You want to know there was fractured limestone in the proposed lake basin?)

If there are county officials who are breaking the law or seeking to decieve the public, do You want to know about it? If so, do You want to know about it only when it hurts You directly or do You also want to know about it when it hurts strangers?  Do You believe in the process of transparency or do You want to give the Supervisors their heads and trust that they will serve the best interest of the county by what ever methods appeal to them?

I know now that I do not know what You, the People of Henry County Iowa want. And even though I am only using  methods available to the People to monitor their government if a majority of the People would prefer to restore the good ole boy system of the past, then lets find a way for You to vote specifically on that question. Lets find a way to get past the hypocrisy that goes with giving the "right" answer on the question of transparency in government and get to the grit of a honest answer.

Help me here, where there is a will there is a way. How do the people of Henry County feel about the current efforts of Osborne and Wilson to enhance the transparency of county government? I cannot speak for Osborne, but if I get a clear message that the majority of the people of Henry County want me to stay home, I will.  Maybe We could arrange for something like an X for keeping government covered and an O for making it open in the lower right hand corner of the your ballot or in the write in spot for County Supervisor. Ideally, democracy should give You the government You deserve, nothing better or worse, just let me know what You want. I have not been paid a dime for my time and if I am trying to give You more transparency than what You want, just let me know.

10/23/2012 (See Update below)

A new Yahoo Box poll indicates that among the first 2600 responders, 15% changed their vote following last night's Presidential debate. Update: At 159,000 votes the percentages remain unchanged. No question We have a horse race but if Romney and Obama are as much alike as Bush and Obama.... I will be standing at the finish line with one hand clapping and the other covering a yawn, no matter the out come.

Maybe this time the winner will so exceed my expectations that I will forever more wish I had voted for him. I certainly hope so. I am getting settled at the county level and watching closely at the state level but I am still not expecting to vote for President.

I am not proud of that. I will vote... in other races.

At least Ron Paul was interested in repealing the Patriot Act and reigning in the powers of the President. That sounded good to me. The less I trust the Presidents the less power I want to seem them holding.

Did someone run on the platform, Restoring Trust? I see the need. The key to that is to be open and transparent.

I have come to have great respect for creative agnostics. That would be folks who dare to wonder and to work all the while confessing they do not know the answers but they have chosen an option that they seek to responsibily actualize. Seems knowing I could be wrong is good insurance against excess. That is what makes those who disagree with me as valuable as those who agree. There is more to "love you enemies" than being a do gooder.

10/23/2012

I was torn in the County Sheriff election but Allen made it easy for me. I do not see any reason to go to the expense of a special election.

I want to thank Allen for his years of service and wish him well. I have always enjoyed my dealings with him. I look forward to getting to know Mr. McNamee better.

County Supervisors: Updated/Edited 10/23/2012 8 PM

Today a discussion  over the lack of public visibility of resolutions  embedded in one of today's agenda items grew to involve members of the public, sitting supervisors, candidates for supervisor and the auditor. This allowed me and the media a precious opportunity to compare the ease with which those involved in the discussion were willing to forward the cause of transparency in county government. I was favorably impressed with both Garretson (D) and   Moeller (R) and the Auditor. These folks appeared to work very well together seeking to build a procedure that will give the public the visibility We need to keep up with what is going down in the courthouse.

Spared the baggage of historial rubs and thus not entrenched in, or defensive of, past practices the new candidates are both quite refreshing. However, I think it would be difficult for either one of them as a loner to effect change. Gary and Marc together are very set in their ways, but two newbies along with one old dog (Marc) with years of valuable experience (and a couple of retiring (let's hope) watch dogs) might just have what it takes to let the Sunshine in.

Transparency in government is simple once You look at the proceedings from the point of view of the man on the street. It will always require some judgement but if your goal is to serve the public the way opens easily and corrective actions come naturally and painlessly.

 

10/23/2012

The Yahoo Home Page box poll with over 277,000 votes tallied on the question of who "won" the debate shows Romney with 51% and Obama with 49%. Very close. I do not find either candidate to give Us cause to celebrate. Who ever the winner is the People will need to keep a tight reign on him if We are to be the Winners coming out of this election. If the People can send the message that We are tired of being led to war with lies, that we want Presidents who serve the people not kings serving big oil, now that would be something to celebrate and maybe its happening.

Romney said a nuclear armed Iran is the greatest threat to our national security. However,  history shows that Israel's refusal to negotiate a peace with the Palestinians, and our dependency on foreign oil and our support of dictators in the Middle East and our invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya making evident the need for nations to have nuclear weapons to defend themselves from Us and our Presidents leading us into wars with lies are the elements that together create the greatest threat to our national security.

 

 10/22/2012

55%  of those responding to a recent Yahoo poll say Obama's handling of the Libya attack will affect their vote. Does this make the election Romney's to lose? If so, how could he? My guess is by threatening to blow the Middle East wide open with the attitude of a Crusader.

 

10/16/2012

"And not because of anything You have done." Gary See inserted these words into a converstation We were having today and one of those proverbial light bulbs came on.

So that's it. The Supervisors think that I am trying to have an inordinate amount of influence over county government. They do not and can not believe that I am "in it" for the sake of transparency or for the sake of democracy but only for, well, for what they are in it for which is... well, something else.

Ok, let's take the time to clear the air. I am a believer in democracy. As my kids gained the capacity and the tenacity to participate in the governance of the family I tried to do my best, as an overly opinionated Joe, to empower them and get them involved in family decisions. I let them make some mistakes that all of us are still paying for but hey, we all have to learn from and build on our mistakes.

I even have a democratic theology. That is to say I believe that We, as the Children of God, co-create the reality We share, our Home Sweet Home if You will. Physicist of late put it this way, to observe is to participate and to participate is to co-create.

Jesus asked, Why don't You judge for yourselves what is right? Luke 12:57 And noted that all judgement has been given to the Son in John 5:22.  Since Jesus also said, "He who believes in me will do the work I do and greater works than these will he do..." I figure hey, if heaven is to be a shared reality and there is to be meaningful work to do, that work will be the co-creation of that shared reality. As for justice, it is what happens, what emerges if You will, out of the work We do. We reap what We sow.

Now please understand, I am not asking You to share this perspective, I am only asking that You understand it for the purpose of understanding the work I do and how I understand doing it. Let me give You an example by way of a story.

Say there was a corner cafe and gas station in a small community where all the guys got together every morning for coffee. And let's say out behind the station there was a wetland and I liked to sit out there and watch the ducks and geese come and go. And then lets add that there was some other collective property in the community and that the wetland was part of it. And lets go so far as to have an election in that community of a designated person who is to be responsible for the management of community property and by some marvel I was elected to watch over it. Mostly because I was willing to control the flow of the wetland that happened to serve as the final polish for the restroom at the corner station. In short I enjoyed playing in the sewer.

Well then low and behold someone got the idea that We should drain the wetland and build a ball diamond and a shooting range and as it happened it finally came down to my vote. Now as You know if You know me at all, I personally think wetlands are wonderful and ball fields and golf courses are a waste of lawnmower gas. But hey, that is just me.

Please understand I was elected to represent the people I had agreed to serve. So I send an email out to every household seeking to know what they thought shoud be done. As it turns out, and no surprise to anyone, there were many more golfers and ball players in town than bird watchers, sewer rats and mud daubers. Since I was elected to represent those noble folks I voted to drain the wetland. But before I cast my vote, I go to the wetland and I gather seeds and I pay attention to just what there was about that place that made it so wonderful and then I look for a place to buy where I can enter into the recreation of the co-creation of a beautiful wetland.

Do not get lost in the cattails or under the bleachers or on the greens. This is a story about how I believe democracy works and how a person is to work in it.

My position on the parks of Henry County has always been that if a majority of the people want to sell the parks, well then sell them or log em, or farm em or what ever.

My problem was and is - I think The People are being buffaloed. Maybe it is the other way around. Maybe I am the one who was buffaloed, yes, it may very well be.

I believed a Conservation Board was about conservation just like in my youth I believed that a Christian Church is about the Sermon on the Mount or the 13th Chapter of 1st Corinthians. My confusion stems from encounters with folks like Pete Crane in county conservation and Boni Mequi in the Methodist Church. These guys do not now nor have they ever represented the majority of the people in Henry County. They simply filled my field of vision at an impressionable time and distorted my view of reality. I saw them, not You and thought I saw the world.  Hello.

 In the main we create containers for powerful ideas to do just that, to contain them, much like the stuffed animals in the Nature Center.  They look real and they are beautiful and they never interfer as We go about our daily lives. Quality swan habitat in Henry County? There isn't any. Stuffed swans in the nature center, last time I checked, there were two.

If a majority of people want secrecy in government then all they have to do is to just say so, even in a whisper and I am sure that is what they will get. In fact, if You just don't care enough to pay attention and to react, secrecy and deception is what You will get and what You have been getting all along by default.  

Polls show Iowans favor transparency but polls only measure the extent to which people want to give the "right" answer. After all, who wants to say they favor secrecy in government? Nobody. Who turns up for board meetings? Nobody. (I apologize to the 1% who do in fact care enough to show up occasionally.) But who wants special personal consideration from government?

Similarly if You do not care what kinds of early opportunities kids have as their moms go off to work, well then don't pay any attention, but trust me the kids will be. It is after all, their childhood.

Back to basics, if I disagree with You I am going to say so, but in a democracy the majority rules and I accept and honor that. I also greatly appreciate that most of Us, being aware of the fickle winds of public opinion, think things like the private ownership of land where folks like me can preserve/conserve wetlands and forests while folks like my neighbors raise corn and beans is a great idea.

Again, don't get lost in the forest, or stuck in the wetland, or sucked up by the combine, keep your eye on the principles.

Recently I noted that conservation is now being redefined by the board as a trip to St. Louis to watch a ball game. If that is what conservation, Henry County Conservation Board style, is, then I say ok, but hey, I will start looking seriously at putting my forested acres into forest reserve so I am not paying so much in taxes for folks to take the bus to watch a ball game. I do not see the value to the community in such bus trips and doing so in the name of conservation is, or at least should be, a joke. I am thinking trips of that sort should be strickly private outings and maybe a business opportunity for someone. 

But again, perhaps the community does not see the value of the preservation of biological diversity and the conservation of our soils and therefore they think such activities as forests and wetland should occur, if at all, on private land. If that is what You think, then lets figure out how to vote on it and adjust accordingly how We spend our tax money.  

Recently the people of Henry County voted to spend part of any future increase in sales tax on conservation. I figured that was about wetlands and forests and biological diversity but maybe in your mind it was about a double decker bus.

I do not want You paying to support things that are of no value to You simply because You are too uninformed or too lazy to protect your interests. Government should not be a con game and con - servation should certainly not be a con game. If You do not see the value, then simply let the soil erode away until You do. No since pretending to be smart about such things. Either see the value, feel the value, smell the value and celebrate the value or go do something else that is real to You like playing bingo or disc golf or something. Is global warming real? Well just keep watching the summer melt in the arctic until the answer comes to You on its own accord.

Ok, I have said too much, way too much, but if You really give a squat about why I do the things I do and how I feel about government and how it works best, well mull around what I have said and ask some questions. (Yeah right.)

What I do not believe and what I see too many Presidents of late do believe, is that our elected officials are elected to be King for a Term. I still take the idea of public service manifest in the parable of washing the people's feet seriously. I guess that is why losing is not big deal. Who wants to wash feet for a living anyway? That is why lording it over Others is so popular and public service is just another word in the dictionary of classic hypocrisy.

The people of Henry County have spoken. They do not want me to represent them. That works for both of us. I have come to learn your feet stink. But if someday You want somebody who loves kids and critters and wetlands and woodlands to provide some service, let me know. I have noticed that my grand-daughters feet smell fresh right after splashing through rain puddles following a summer shower. Who knows, your feet might not stink so bad if You went bare foot in fresh puddles occasionally. Keep you eye on the principles.

 

10/15/2012

http://www.gtr5.com/evidence/warcrimes.pdf

To understand our government, and how it is working, it is essential to read the above report on the USS Liberty. It would probably be a good idea to read it a couple of times over a period of weeks paying special attention to page 24.

Our government has passed from President to President, from Johnson to Obama a cover-up of a terrorist act and war crimes to include the murder of US military personnel. 

Why?

It would appear that there was a collective effort gone wrong between Israel and the US to sink The USS Liberty and to murder the entire US crew so as to create an incident with no survivors. Why? Perhaps to serve as a provocation for military action against selected but never disclosed targets to the benefit of Israel. I welcome any other interpretation of the facts that factors in the tenacity of the ongoing cover-up. 

"A particularly damning report compiled by a CIA informant suggests that Israeli Defense minister Moshe Dayan personally ordered the attack and wanted it to proceed until the Liberty was sunk and all on board killed."http://www.uss-liberty.com/2011/02/08/the-attack-on-the-uss-liberty/

Considering that every President from Johnson to Obama has been savvy to the particulars of this event and the ongoing cover-up, I find it unfantomable that the American People want to empower their government to murder its citizens (known terrorists?) based on insider information held apart from any public due process of law or declaration of war or consideration of our Constitution or international law.  

America has lost its way and I see no one running for President who shows the capacity or the inclination to restore our sanity and dignity.

Cover-ups have become business as usual until now we can no longer look directly upon what We have become. We send liars to every corner of the earth to speak decietfully "on the behalf" of America.

We have yet to grasp the Wisdom of Job. Those of Us who love America must not think to cover for Her, for in so doing We make a mockery of Her, even as Job's comforters made a mockery of God. 

Those who love America do not seek to cover for America or to cover for those who by way of their lies, cover-ups and distortions have brought shame upon Her. Instead, speaking truthfully We must challenge America with Her shortcomings fully expecting Her to own them and in so doing to effectively to rise above them. 

Joy says no woman in her right mind would vote for Romney. She says things could be worse and Romney is the quickest way to get there.

I think things could be much better, but I do not see who we elect to be President is going to make the difference.  

PS: I know nobody wants to read the story of the USS Liberty and that is why it is so essential that We do. When We start covering up or hiding out in denial we are likely to begin looking for a place to dump our baggage. It is called scape goating. Like blaming people who jobs are sent over seas for being out of work.

 

10/14/2012

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

George Benard Shaw

The Week magazine shared the results of a You/Gov poll that showed 69% of Americans favor  assassinating known terrorists. I presume this is after We give them arms and have them fight a war for us and then turn on them. Our foreign policy is a policy of thugs.  

We have lost our faith in the due process of law, we have allowed our civil rights to be rolled back by the Patriot Act but hey I still have my 22 rifle out in the shed so I must still be safe and free right?

It just goes to show that We take our fears seriously but not our freedoms or our character.

The land of the free and the home of the brave is now a land of cowards and hypocrites.

Below is a sample of the Green Party platform.

  • Jobs for All: A guaranteed right to job. Full employment through community-based public works and community service jobs programs, federally financed and community controlled.
  • Living Wages: A family-supporting minimum wage. Start at $12.50 per hour in 2000 and index to the cost of living
  •  

  • Ban patents on life forms in order to preserve genetic diversity and common access to our common inheritance of nature, including farmers' access to seeds and breeds.
  • Ban the release into the environment and the use in food production of genetically modified organisms that result from splicing the genes of one species into another
  • Civil Liberties: Support the Bill of Rights. No compromise on civil liberties and due process for "national security," "anti-terrorism," or "the war on drugs." Repeal the 1994 Crime and 1996 Anti-Terrorism bills. End domestic political spying by police, military, and intelligence agencies. (bold added) 
  • End the "War on Drugs:" Decriminalize possession of drugs. Regulate and tax drug distribution. Release nonviolent drug war prisoners. Treat drug abuse as a health problem, not a criminal problem. Drug abuse treatment on demand
  • Peace Conversion: Cut US military spending unilaterally by 75% in two years to establish a non-interventionist, non-offensive, strictly defensive military posture and save nearly $250 billion a year.
  • Fair Trade: Withdraw from the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, and all other corporate-managed trade agreements that are driving down labor and environmental conditions globally. Establish an internationalist social tariff system that equalizes trade by accounting for the differences among countries in wages, social benefits, environmental conditions, and political rights. Tariff revenues to a democratic, international fund for ecological production and democratic development in poor countries in order to level up social and environmental conditions to a high common standard.
  • End Global Financial Exploitation: Cancel the debt owed by poor countries to global banks. End the exploitation of poor countries by IMF "structural adjustment" policies. Abolish the IMF and World Bank and replace them with a democratic international financial institution for balancing international accounts and financing short-term current account balances.
  • http://www.greenparty.org/Platform.php
  •  

    The Green Party supports gay marriage and I will not vote for that at any level and so it looks like I will be leaving some races blank with the presidential race being perhaps the most notable of them. Still, I will vote so long as there is at least one candidate I can support. I might have voted for Romney if he was not in a state of constant flips and flops. There is no way to hold him accountable. At the local level I am still Keeping Watch.  

     

     

    1/14/2012

    I still have not seen an autopsy report for Chris Stevens. Why? Will it be withheld until the election is over? Concerns that Stevens was "hung out", by default if not by design, are growing as the stories spun by the State Department and the Administration are crumbling. So far the cover-up appears to be just so much foolishness. Does that mean something substantial is yet to be revealed or does it simply mean the government's knee jerk reaction is to lie even when the truth would fit better? 

    Perhaps the prevailing wisdom is that lies serve as acceptable buffers for reducing shock. The military does that on a regular basis when investigating civilian causualties. So long as the public continues to show it responds better to a good lie than a hard truth the lies will continue and the quality of government will remain in a state of decline.

    Only when all the Presidents involved in the Viet Nam War are dead do we learn that the Mai Lai Massacre was not an isolated incident. Again, transparency after the fact is hell. By the time You know what You needed to know to make a decision that could make a difference the opportunity to make a difference is past. That is why We need transparency now.

    The People cannot hold their government accountable if the People do not have access to good information and if their expectation for integrity is not met. From Oakland Mills to the White House the problem is much the same.  

    Democracy is where We the People get the government they deserve. Scary huh? The bottom line is the People will be held accountable long after the scoundrels are dead and buried. The sins of the fathers will be brought to bear upon the children when no amount of lying shall any longer suffice. The problems created by historical events from the genocide of the American Indian to the slavery of black Africans to Adam's eating of the apple did not go away with the death of those directly responsible. The transformation of the human condition requires transparency and the courage to see what We are looking at here and NOW.

    PS Perhaps the most significant military action in Libya following the attack in Benghazi is not being directed at Benghazi but at Bani Walid the old Gadhafi strong hold. The truth is not to be found in what is said but in what is done. The stakes for bragging about Benghanzi might be pretty high for old Gadhafi supporters in Bani Walid right now but when the city falls more information may be forth coming. 

    The people of Libya are in worse shape now than before the Islamist rebellion but the good news is the oil is flowing to the West and talk about African unity seems once again to be an impossible dream. The nationalization of the resources of a United Northern Africa was a night mare for Europe and creating chaos and submission in Libya was a "cheap" solution.

    “The human rights situation in Libya now is far worse than under the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi,” Nasser al-Hawary, researcher with the Libyan Observatory for Human Rights tells IPS. http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/07/human-rights-worse-after-gaddafi/

    Amnesty International in Libya "has documented torture and other severe human rights abuses by entities of the new government. Amnesty is not aware of any efforts by the new Libyan leadership to hold perpetrators accountable."http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/libya

     

    10/13/2012

    GARY SEE'S COURAGEOUS NAY VOTE

    Among the three sitting County Supervisors Gary See has distinguished himself over the years of my close observation as being the one most likely to respond truthfully in situations where an easy out, some fancy foot work or simply silence would have sufficed as a cover.

    Gary's lone nay vote on the motion to not abate the taxes of the Grace Community Friends Church stands out as another example of his willingness to stand alone as conscience requires and I am impressed, even though I am not in a position to carefully examine his thinking in this case.

    It is worth noting that more independent thinking is going on among the Supervisors of late. Perhaps the day is coming when at least one of them will become an advocate for excellence in transparency. Just one would make a significant difference and if one shows up he will get my vote. At the present I am still waiting for one to have the courage to be an advocate for excellence in transparency.

    PROPOSED SALE OF COUNTY HOME PROPERTY

    I am concerned that the proposed sale of the former County Home property is not being advertised well enough. On the stormwater wetland project bids, the value of getting the word out paid big dividends.

    Are developers and other target markets around the state aware of the opportunity the sale of County Home property may provide for them? 

    FINAL NOTE ON NON-PROFITS

    I think the non-profit designation is abused. Where non-profit organizations are an obvious bargain to tax payers supplying valuable services at bargain basement prices their tax breaks make a whole lot of sense. We just need to be sure, individually and collectively, that is what is happening.

    We had a precedent setting opportunity at the county level to request and honor a formal pledge of service to the community from the Grace Community Friends Church as justification for a tax abatement. My guess is, that would have been a good investment. With the exception of Gary See, the Supervisors did not indicate their willingness to consider doing so and therefore contributed to a model of the formality but not the functionality of granting non-profit tax breaks.

     

     10/11/2012

    The Supervisors voted 2 to 1 this morning to not abate the taxes assessed on the property of a church by a glitch in the law. Gary See voted in favor of abatement noting that each request can be heard on a case by case basis and in consideration of the merits of this particular case, he favored honoring the church's abatement request. The church will now see if any relief may be available based on the significant difference between the appraised value and the market value of the recently acquired property.

    It should be noted that no other church rose to the occasion to offer support for the Friends Church. The churches of the county have thus set a precedent of sorts since going forward their silence in this case will no doubt be remembered by the Supervisors and legislatures of the future. 

    Since the churches do not affirm their collective value by sticking up for each other then maybe it is time for those who are not affiliated with any church to call the tax exemption of churches into question across the board. If We can tax one church for six months why not tax them all, all year?

    If the churches themselves do not believe in their collective value to the community as affirmed in their tax exempt status, then why, in heaven's name, should the rest of Us?

     

    10/10/2012

    It is my understanding that other tax exempt entities are being contacted by the Supervisors to give them a chance to weigh-in on the tax abatement situation. I suppose some of these may have been pinched by the glitch in the past and some not. I look forward to seeing their colors.

    10/9/2012

    Churches, like the Grace Community Friends Church, are tax exempt. They do not have to pay property tax on property they own. However there is a glitch in the law. The certification of the ownership of a property by a qualified tax exempt organization (such as, but not limited to churches) only happens once a year, on or around the 1st of July.

    So if a tax exempt organization like the Church takes possession of a property on the day of the annual certification it owes no taxes from the day of possession but if the church takes possession the day after the annual certification it will owe taxes for the entire year (unless the previous owner had also enjoyed tax exempt status). In this case the Friends Church took possession in December and thus they have a tax bill for 6 months (the amount of time they owned the property before the classification of the property was corrected to show the property was in fact owned by an elgible tax exempt organization) which amounts to just over 6 thousand dollars (which the church needs very much to invest in roof repairs.)

    Now, if You are thinking, why not change the tax exempt status of the property right at the time the church takes possession, then You understand the thinking of the church and presumably also of members of the Iowa legislature who went to the trouble to establish in the Iowa Code that the supervisors may choose to abate such a tax bill. Why they did not write shall instead instead of may into the law is a mystery to me. In so doing the Iowa Legislature did create this rare opportunity for the Supervisors to weigh-in on the question of tax relief for churches and any other eligible non-profits.

    If the Supervisors begrudge churches getting a tax break, this is their legal (arbitrary and emphatic) opportunity to say so. 

    If the Supervisors figure giving churches a tax break is a good deal, then abating the tax being billed against the Friends Church by this contradictory glitch in the law is a no-brainer.

    Let them know what You think. The Supervisors are set to decide the issue on Thursday 10/11/2012.

     

    10/9/2012 b  See 10/9/2012 below for The Truth Is.

    It came to me today, like a voice out of the gloom asking, "Who do You think You are to be disillusioned? Why do You wear the choices Others make and the actions they take as justification for your personal gloom?

    This earth is a cross roads, a meeting place and a stepping stone. Let it be enough to pause for a moment of reflection, check the compass of our heart - and then to move on.  

    You act as if Other people have signed some behavioral contract with you? You act like everybody is going to the same place."

    At that point I paused. I remembered being asked (required) in Don Young's 6th grade class at Harlan School to stand and place my hand on my heart and to pledge alligence to the flag. I remembered attending confimation classes at church where people taught as if with the authority of God. I remembered being spanked at home for lying (the only spanking I remember). I remember being told that the US is a nation of the People, for the People and by the People. I remember taking it all in, being proud to be part of "my" family, my church and my country.

    The earth is no longer the home it once was, my parents, my church, my teachers, my elders, my country.... all are showing up in the rear view mirror now. With the set of my heart and Joy's hand being my destined and chosen guides, I am making final preparations for my departure.

    Long ago I booked a tour of creation and the time of the departure for the next leg of the journey approaches. (I am 64 after all.)

    I also remember the words of Jesus, "My Father's house has many rooms...."  Since Jesus spoke those words we can now "see" more galaxies than they could see stars, with something over 170 billion observable galaxies being a current estimate. 

    So now especially, why should I be disillusioned? Other people are making other choices and taking off in other directions and however contrary those choices might be, let it be!

    Everyone dies. Every tree and every nation falls. The earth is sure to be destroyed even as new planets are being born, and for me as the time to move on approaches, I consider what remains undone that I would yet do here.

    My bucket list, I suppose.

    Until the count down commences I have some special trees I want to plant and some words of appreciation and encouragement I want to share with the geese and some time I want to spend with grand children and some thank yous I need to send out and some mushrooms I want to grow, and some select cattails I want to propagate and some ..... and then...  and when ever... let me die ... walking in the woods, wading in the wetlands, listening to the frogs, celebrating life with children,... pausing in a patch of Bluebells, holding hands with Joy.

     10/9/2102 The Truth Is

    I have become an independent voter because I agree with the 76% of Romney voters who according to a recent poll by the Washington Post believe that Obama is intentionally misleading voters. I voted for Obama because he gave me hope and will not vote for him again because he gave me lies. According to 76% of Obama voters in that same poll, Romney is also lying to the American People.  However only 17% of Romney voters and only 12% of Obama voters confess their candidate has lied to the People.

    I presume that means that 88% of Democrats continue believe that the US/NATO invasion of Libya was for humanitarian reasons.

    A Blue Truth /Red Truth article in the 10/15/2012 Time Magazine also quotes Republican pollster Frank Luntz who says the American People do not look to a news source for informatin but for confirmation.

    Ok, so the press and the candidates all lie to Us, so what? Isn't that just what We want?

    And what does that tell Us about ourselves?

    Hanging the Constitution on the wall of the courthouse does not bring honesty and transparency to government. Only when We the People hold our leadership accountable can We begin to go down that road and that is not happening.

    It is the character of the People, not lofty phrases, that determines the fiber of a nation. There is always a con ready to lead those who will follow blindly into a pit. 

     "Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its one sure defense." Mark Twain

    Limiting the power of the president is the first step toward peace.

    10/5/2012 Getting Serious About Jobs

    Bob Batey and I have to spend some time venting our unaligned frustrations and working out the particulars to come to agree on most anything. Often times we do not allocate enough time to get the job done and we simply agree to disagree with a head shake and a smile. A week ago Bob and I came to agree that in the main when the economy tanks, beyond short term hand outs of cash, we need to put people to work in manufactured jobs.

    Today Joy had an article up on the computer when I got up. It was written by an economist by the name of Jared Burnstein in the Daily Kos .http://www.dailykos.com/

    Jared makes several interesting points stressing that the more direct an investment in job creation is the more effective it is. Giving money to the rich in the form of tax breaks is less likely to create jobs than giving food stamps to the unemployed poor simply because the poor are more likely to spend the money rather than sit on it. A healthy economy works like a healthy circulatory system, it supplies blood ($) to all the organs (families) and like the distance runner the body should be lean and active. The goal is a strong heart not pooled blood.

    Bob remembers the CCC taking work away from his Dad and it made him mad. He thinks the manufactured jobs need to be limited to work that would not be done other wise and yet offer a public benefit. Work in our parks for instance, like establishing boundaries, planting butterfly gardens, restoring facilities, building fence, controlling invasive species, planting trees, monitoring water quality, stabilizing stream banks, building trails, building nest boxes and for the college grads - taking an inventory of the biological diversity. At least this way You are paying someone to get out of bed in the morning, report to work and make a contribution to the community. It is good for them and good for the community at large. Bob and I also agreed that prisoners need full time employment.

    Bob and I even went so far as to consider the creation of business incubators that would work on fleshing out and spinning off new businesses as soon as they no longer needed to be subsidized. The important thing is to keep the work labor intensive and focused on a domestic supply chain. The idea is to focus on labor, not capital, intensive activities.

    Bob supports the pipeline out of Canada. He thinks it is better than fighting with Arabs. So I am thinking, OK fine. But be sure a small army of the unemployed and the imprisoned is on hand to be sure that the environment is being restored to its original condition following the extraction of the tar sands.

    As for Siemens laying off 400 workers in Lee County... it seems to me it is better to subsidize wind in Iowa than war in the Middle East.

     

    10/4/2012 Why Transparency Now?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57525675/secret-cold-war-tests-in-st-louis-cause-worry/

    Because, transparency..... after the fact... is hell.

     

    10/2/2012 Libya Update:

    "A Facebook page run by supporters of slain Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi highlighted that the diplomat "was in the habit of taking early morning runs around Tripoli" along with members of his security detail. The site highlighted those runs and included a picture of Stevens." Yahoo News

    The means, the motive and the method of the crime all come together in Gadafi supporters.

    The incident reminds me of the mindset at work in the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Are our enemies taking lessons from us and then following our example for what "justice" looks like?

    And now, is Obama confusing his political security with OUR national security?

    We have waited so long to get information on things like the autopsy, will We be able to believe it when we finally get it?

    Remember Stevens was the US point man among the rebels in Benghazi. The Islamists considered him to be the go to guy. He was the arch enemy of Gadafi supporters.

    His requests for additional security denied? Did someone set Stevens up? In the silence questions and confusion grow creating cover and time to compose a story and to create a diversion - or was this suppose to be one?

    The only thing to do now is to watch what happens while ignoring what is said. What will the event be used to "justify" is the important question now. How many troops are being lined up to go to Libya?

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/republicans-press-clinton-libyan-security-183825182--election.html

    10/2/2012 TPPA - FOR THE RICH

    Those who have made billions on NAFTA are now getting ready to do much bettter with the"Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement". The terms of this agreement are being hammered out in secret. It is being called NAFTA on steroids my some.

    Bloomberg says "Transparency has become an issue of the Pacific-region talks, with consumer, labor and environmental groups siding with some U.S. lawmakers who want participants to make their positions public. U.S. officials have said they will hold a public comment period and congressional review after talks are complete, in line with their policy for recent trade deals including those with Colombia, Panama and South Korea."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/trans-pacific-partnership-agreement_b_1871710.html

    You can count on - after the talks are complete- being too little and too late for the public to have significant impact on the final form.

    "The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was negotiated in secret by the Obama Administration, is meant to privilege corporate profits and enhance corporate power in the nations that rim the Pacific, including the U.S. This pact is a threat to jobs in the U.S. It contradicts claims by both President Obama and Gov. Romney that they want to put Americans back to work," said Cheri Honkala, the Green Party's vice-presidential nominee (http://www.jillstein.org).http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2012/10/01-6

    The unemployed willing to work man has no friend in either party because he has no money in his pocket.

    This is another one of those issues, like covering up the endless stream of lies coming out of Libya, where both parties (R&D) appear to be in agreement. Just another chance for the rich to work together to get richer while the rest of us get left out and then get the left overs. 

    Maybe I will vote Green this time. Better to lose standing up with those who have the courage to stand up for jobs, the environment, health and transparency than to win sitting on my hiney with those who just want to be "in" scratching the backs of the "in" crowd.

    Still, if You want to be written in for President of the US, let me know. There is still time. I am not going to vote early.

     

    9/29/2012 More Lies on Libya

    The Administrations failure to be upfront with the American People about what has and is going on in Libya is just what Mike Huckabee has been looking for.

    Speaking about the current confusion created by the Obama Administration surrounding recent events in Libya, Huckabee cut loose.

    “Let’s just get blunt. No way to sugar coat this — We’ve been lied to. We have flat-out been lied to. They know they’ve lied,” Huckabee told Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.”

    “This White House has been discredited and its credibility, certainly the promises of transparency have been completely decimated by their actions,” Huckabee added.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/09/huckabee-obamas-libya-coverup-worse-than-watergate-136929.html

    The classical MO now would be manufactured or provoked events of such magnitude as to completely distract the American People.

    Short of that, only the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will suffice.  

    (How is it that we demand the truth of witnesses in court but not of politicians in office?)

     

    9/25/2012 NO PLACE TO HIDE

    NO WIGGINS? NO HIDING!

    The legislators are the ones who have really dropped the ball. We the people of Iowa must demand the opportunity to define Marriage. The courts have determined the way to do that must take on the form of a Constitutional Amendment. So be it.

    Such an effort must be expected to take several years so that when it is done it has contained within it a sober and comprehensive assessment of the hows and whys and the social implications of all related issues. It may or may not be necessary to create garriage right along with marriage.

    It must be put before the people and we all need to come out of the closet and discuss the total scope of the issues to contain appreciation for the contagious nature of sexual orientation.

    I hold to the position that where homosexuality is a choice, it is a poor one. And where homosexuality is not a choice it is a tragic circumstance deserving compassion.

    I am told that an old Iranian proverb goes like this. "If You see a blind man in the street, kick him. Why should You treat him better than God did?" Why? Because that is the crux of our work. It is not ours to limp before the lame and deem it kindness but it is ours to minister and to assist every person in the context of their limitations to have life more abundantly.

     

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