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By Steve Wilson | Oct 24, 2012
Photo by: Don Poggensee Endangered Iowa Barn Owl    Keeping Watch

SUCH HOPE AS THERE EVER IS, IS ROOTED IN INTEGRITY — Henry County — To view the archives click here on - Additional Posts (3 - 24)


The elections tell us who We the People have to work with. I am looking forward to working with Greg Moeller. I would have enjoyed welcoming Kurt to the board as well, so maybe another time? I thought Kurt did very well for a Democrat in Henry County on his first time out. I respect Gary See's years of experience and integrity which could yet serve Henry County well in building the foundation for a future of transparency in county government.


We the People must never rest in our responsibilities to assure the public servants we elect do in fact openly serve the interests of the people. To that effect, We must all be Keeping Watch.



"The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God."

Billy Graham

I like the ring to this but the Bible fails to give us the clear definition of Marriage that We need. We need to know how many wives a man can have and how many husbands a woman can have and why? Voting No Wiggins is a cheap trip. No Wiggins is No Answer to the questions that We need to address to come up with a honorable and workable definition of Marriage. To vote No Wiggins is simply to endorse people who have no answer to the questions of why Marriages are failing and families are falling apart. We need to vote for people willing to do the work it takes to examine the history and the future of Marriage. If You want such a person to be in the legislature vote for ..... for State Senator and ..... for State Representative. Funny that. All noise but little substance.

Now how about the number of the prisoners taken in the war on drugs. We are losing the war and destroying families. Vote for.... to make drugs a public health and public education issue. (Another blank)

And how about giving people, esp. breadwinning fathers jobs instead of hand outs? Want to see that happen? Vote for....

And how about developing a national program to assure access to the best available birth control methods to all fertile persons setting the goal of zero unwanted pregnancies and thus approach zero abortions. Vote for....

And how about learning how to live with our neighbors around the world, taking the time to read the Sermon of the Mount again each day until We either honestly say Amen or baloony to the formula given by the Prince of Peace? Vote for..

And how about transparency in government? Vote for...

Drawing alot of blanks, huh?

So just vote for more of the same. The options are out there.

As for Israel, read the story of the USS Liberty before You vote. There is still time.




You can now see the last debate recorded at .

Two "third" party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson both exceeded my expectations with one and then the other taking the lead. My internet connection was slow and choppy but their messages still came through loud and clear.

I will not join the Green Party, I will not join the Libertarian Party but I can now rank presidential candidates.

First place goes to Jill Stein, and in a close finish second place goes to Gary Johnson. Trailing far behind are Romney and Obama tied for third place. I cannot believe that I was so slow in recognizing the merits of these two candidates. I should have been knocking on doors for Jill Stein.

Both candidates favor transparency in government with Johnson saying that as Governor of New Mexico his policy was to tell the truth first and then to work with the lawyers.  Jill said, "It is our right as citizens to know what our government is doing." She disagreed with the attacks on whistle blowers by Obama as did Gary.

Gary Johnson noted that the Democratic and the Republican parties have morphed into one as together they contribute to the loss of our civil liberties and the militarization of our economy. Both candidates bemoaned the violence of our foreign policies. Both candidates called for making friends not enemies abroad with humanitarian foreign aid and the example of our lives, not guns.  Both candidates favored the lableing of GMOs in our food and Jill supported more research into the full spectrum of environmental and health concerns associated with these products.

Jilll said let's put the people to work, giving them jobs weatherizing homes and schools and government offices to conserve energy where we can get our money back in energy savings in as little as two years.  (This greatly expands the public works Bob Batey and I had identified. ) 

Yes, now I will vote for President, and I will be proudly voting tomorrow for Jill Stein. She is way out in front of anything I have seen in presidential politics this year no matter how far behind she is in the polls. If there is one thing that I have learned in my foray into politics - it is this.  It is better to sit in the corner in the back row for the right reasons than to sit up front for the wrong ones.  

You can now see the last debate recorded at . It comes across much better now than did the live streaming earlier on my computer. I will watch it again in the morning before I go to vote. As the next four years play out I suspect that I may return again and again to the recording of this debate to muse on how much better things could have been. The tone of this debate, the honest enthusiasm of the candidates, the dedicated and bluster free dialogue between them, was a breath of fresh air.

Wow, I am so glad that I DID NOT VOTE EARLY. Thanks Jill and Gary for hope of substance. There has to be people, dozens of Us (smile), all across the nation this morning who see the two of You standing head and shoulders above the status quo. Your good will and your integrity will not be lost on thoughtful Americans.

Gary dared to call for the Golden Rule in international politics and said We must lead by example.

Indeed Gary and Jill did just that last night. The America I love is still in the dreams of Americans who are holding fast to our decency our courage and our civil liberties and integrity and transparency in government. These two candidates gave more to America last night than anything I have seen come from presidential candidates for along time. They actually came across as being sincere.


 11/3/2012 THE LAST DEBATE
Viewers can catch the live debate at 

I will not vote for Romney or Obama but after watching portions of an earlier debate featuring four "third" party candidates to include Johnson and Stein, my faith in America was refreshed. Things can be different but it is going to take people with the courage to think differently to make it happen.

Read more:



I have been looking at a list of resolutions passed by the County Supervisors from 1/10/2012 to 10/23/2012. Of the 42 listed Resolutions 28 were not found on the Meeting Agendas. That means two thirds of the time Resolutions are considered and passed without prior public visibility on a published agenda. Nearly half of those resolutions have been hidden under headings like Secondary Roads Update.

So again, People of Henry County,  let me know when You think You have enough transparency in county government and this Watch Dog will stop watching the courthouse and consentrate on being a Bird Dog.

A pointer of some kind would be nice... " Look, a Pine Siskin!"...or my favorite might be a Golden Retriever. Its just that We had one once, Keta was her name. How it came to pass, that from the lot of her ancestors, such a soft mouthed being emerged is, well... any way she was a wonderful dog. She brought up a baby skunk once. We raised that little stinker up. Pepe la Pue of course. She never sprayed us, but she threatened to on occasion. 



One advantage to voting on election day is that things are constantly changing. I have recently been listening to others and re-thinking my position on how best to fill the Sheriffs position. It has been brought to my attention that there might emerge an unknown candidate who previously would not run against the Sheriff but who might make a very good Sheriff.

Ron Osborne has noted that the position is too important to not give the people the opportunity to vote on it. So voting for Allen at this point is simply voting to allow the people to see who might now be interested in running for Sheriff and to then make the decision IN A SPECIAL ELECTION.  Yes elections are a bit expensive, freedom is not free but we do well to know what the available options are and to make informed decisions. At this point voting for Allen Whittmer is voting to have a voice in selecting the sheriff from a new pool of candidates.

I have no idea who might step forward and therefore by voting for Wittmer I am voting to gain that visibility and then to allow the people of Henry County to ELECT their Sheriff.

If Allen wins then the supervisors can call for persons interested in being appointed to finish out Allen's term. If no additional candidates step forward seeking that appointment then it does not make sense to hold a special election. But if someone does, and they express interest in running for sheriff in a special election for the next term, Ok, I favor that option.

If McNamee wins the election, that works for me too, since following Wittmer's announcement, until today, I have counted my self among the McNamee supporters. If McNamee wins the election it also makes sense to me that he would seek, and be granted, the opportunity to finish out Wittmer's term.

 Again, I currently have no idea who, if anyone, is interested in running for Sheriff in a special election if Allen wins, but I want to know the who's and why's if someone is. If there are interested parties they do not have to come forward until after the election. They may want to see the level of support that exits for Wittmer before they do. That is a bit risky since many may see the election now as a done deal and vote for what appears to be the obvious winner.  

At this point is very possible that I would vote for McNamee in the special election even though I am inclined now to vote for Allen just to learn what other options there might be among potential candidates who did not want to run against Wittmer.


10/29/'2012 Keeping an Open Mind and a Good Heart  (click on link to view)

I like to follow The Daily Kos and Fox News and the Pan African News Wire and Yahoo News and The Week and Time Magazine. This first line spread of news sources generally allows me to make additional connections with other sources of news in the Mid-East, Europe and Russia (RT) as well.

Recently I have been pleasantly surprized by the quality of coverage on Libya put out by Fox and disappointed with the campaign coverage of the Daily Kos.  The stories the candidates tell make story tellers of the news sources who are committed to one party or the other. If You are watching only one source You do not know what is going on. If You watch several sources You still do not know what is going on but at least You know You do not know.

This morning the Daily Kos put a spin on the Milgram Study (link above) seeking to show connections between that study and what the Republican spin masters are attempting to do to the minds of Americans in the current Presidential Campaign. I take offense with such a one sided application of the study and encourage all of You to take the time, if You have not already, to view this experiment paying special attention to the commentary at the end. Seeing this  live may hopefully innoculate and empower You to maintain your sence of personal responsibility in these crazy times.  

The Stanford Prison Experiment takes it to another level, up close and personal.;_ylt=A2KLqIExAJBQWjMAw8D7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTBrc3VyamVwBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQD?p=stanford+prison+experiment&vid=EC9FFB2AC3075327E465EC9FFB2AC3075327E465&l=&

 The important thing is to realize that as soon as You are willing to do bad things to "bad" guys be it the prisoners or the guards, You have been sucked in. An unconditional positive regard for all persons is the best defense I know. Among other things that means due process of law for all. 

In the big picture the snap shots we see in these studies explode into international events as cross cultural forces fire international conflicts and good boys on both sides of the madness line up for war made ready to take orders and to do terrible things. Knowing that each of Us can "buy in" (as did the "teachers" in the Milgram Experiment or the "prisoners" or the "guards" in the Stanford Prison experiment or the soldiers blindly following lies into war) is our first defense against doing so. Once again, loving (uncondition positive regard) our enemies is more than hyperbole. It is a spell breaker.  

Again, I am  not voting for President. I think the office needs to be reigned in and re-defined.

I am also becoming more aware and concerned by the day that transparency in government is being pushed down (with a cotton ball) to the lowest levels of government (county boards and city councils) while not being imposed on the Legislature, the Governor, the Congress and the Presidency. What to do? I do not know. However, if the people do not support transparency at the local level it will not climb any higher. And maybe that is it. Maybe we are so lacking in transparency in our personal relationships that there is no hope for it in government. Maybe we are all looking to each other for comforting fabrications and hiding places. Like I said, I am a slow learner but I am paying attention.




Democratic County Supervisor Candidate Kurt Garretson said that he disagreed with me on the issue of transparency in county government as he does not believe there is any conspiracy in county government to cover anything up. (Nor do I) Further more he thinks the ruckus over transparency that I am creating is not good for the county. I was waiting for him to add - therefore, he would do all that he could to assure transparency in county government if elected, so I could retire. Greg Moeller assured me that he would work to assure transparency in county government but from Kurt the message I received was to slack off.

Just where Kurt got the conspiracy idea, I have no idea and I told him so. I have said from the beginning to anyone taking the time to listen that transparency in county government requires a culture shift. It requires thinking about government service jobs and the public's involvement and county procedures in a new light. Most resistance to transparency has come far too naturally to be called a conspiracy. I gave Kurt several examples where it became apparent to me that staff members and board members simply have not grasp the concept.

Anyway, yes, I have seen a  disregard for transparency in the Conservation Department and in the County Supervisors but I have not seen a conspiracy. I have simply watched folks do what comes naturally to them.

So if transparency in government is important to You, I think the only way to get it is to impress on who ever You vote for that You expect it.


For now, if You agree that I am not adding value to county government by encouraging transparency there is a place at the bottom to add your comments. I would certainly enjoy hearing from You what ever You have to say.      


10/25/2012 Osborne and Wilson not adding value.

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.


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.



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.

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