Strong Opposition to Constitutional Amendment Surfaces
Haga clic para aquí traducir esta página en el español using FreeTranslation.com

An Ozark E-Zine

Before we get too deeply into this subject, let me point you to an online poll being conducted right now (Saturday, February 28) USA Today on this subject and encourage you to register your opinion by clicking this link.

I was heartened when I went there and voted, noting that 86.72% of the 385,528 votes cast were "no" and only 13.28% were "yes." Makes me feel proud to be an American and very much connected with the powerful currents that are emerging from our (ever diminishing "status quo") mainstream.

In this same vein, though on a superficially unrelated subject, I bring to your attention an article penned by William Rivers Pitt of TruthOut fame, titled "The Passion of the Americans." It is, in my (not so humble) opinion, one of the most articulate (and brutally accurate) statements ever made about Christianity and Americanism, and it may be read in its entirety by clicking here.

And on another oddly related yet seemingly unrelated note, when you have a few moments to go pondering, make sure to click here.

Beyond that, I want to encourage all of you who have strong  opinions about such things and want to work together for proactive social/civic change to get together with the Arkansas Kucinich Camp tomorrow (that's Sunday, February 28), 2pm to 4pm, at a shop called "For Mother Earth," located at 13857 Hwy 5 South in Norfork, Arkansas. (For a map, click here.)

Now, with these bases covered, I'll share with you the most recent news release from the Arkansas Kucinich Camp, which does an admirable job of representing how many of us feel about this entire Constitutional issue...

Arkansas Kucinich Camp Opposes Constitutional Amendment
"Our whole way of life is changing out from under us," Sandie Cloud, Arkansas State Coordinator for the Kucinich Presidential Campaign, commented on behalf of her chosen Presidential candidate, Democratic Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich.

"In only three-and-one-half years, we've lost 3 million American jobs, health care costs have skyrocketed, the national debt is astronomical, our military forces have been put to fighting an unconstitutional war, and now they're talking about cutting Social Security benefits. But this takes the cake," Cloud aimed her candor at recent proposals made by the current administration to amend the U.S. Constitution with specific definitions that would effectively give preferential treatment to a gender-defined social class.

"Our federal policy makers are clueless," Cloud asserted her disgust. "The U.S. Constitution is not a rule book that tells individual people what they may or may not do. It is a set of ordinances, issued and authorized by all of us. You know, by 'we the people', that limits our government's ability to force citizens to do or not do certain things."

Cloud called the proposed amendment "an outrageous attack on human dignity," asserting that such action is "a vile threat." She said this is, in her opinion, a predictable outcome when people take actions that are grounded in paranoia and fear.

"There is so much going on in the world right now that we need to be aware of," Cloud said. "And it angers me that the highest officials of our government seem to be passing around these obnoxious sugar pills to placate the swelling tide of atrocity being wrecked on our nation.

"So I wholeheartedly agree with Congressman Kucinich," Cloud continued."That we are being called to challenge the direction our country is headed, and that we have some very serious challenges we must confront. Global warming, energy independency, not-for-profit health care, jobs that pay a
living wage. We've got to start confronting these issues head on, and Congressman Kucinich is the only Presidential candidate who has been campaigning on these issues since before he threw his hat in the Presidential ring."

For information about the local and national campaigns to elect Dennis Kucinich President, or to learn about his work in the U.S. House of Representatives, contact Sandie Cloud, 870-499-5514, visit www.ark4kucinich.us or www.kucinich.us or www.house.gov/kucinich or the Arkansas For Kucinich yahoo discussion list by clicking this link.

New District Coordinator, Kucinich Rallies Announced
“You can see the passion coming out in people,” Sandie Cloud, Arkansas State Coordinator for the Kucinich Presidential Campaign, extolled what she described as a grassroots groundswell of support for Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich.

“Our volunteer network doubled in the first half of February, and I’m pleased to announce that Ron and Linda Moore, of Hamburg, Arkansas, are now the District One Coordinators for the Southern regions of our state,” said Cloud. “That means that three of our four state districts are now served by their own Coordinators.” Cloud said Daniel Lysk of Little Rock heads up District Two and George Lyne of Lowell coordinates District Three.

“And we have three regional rallies coming up in the next few weeks.” Cloud noted that support for Kucinich in Arkansas is strongest in the Central and Northwestern quadrants of the state.

“We intend to change that,” Cloud affirmed. “We’re stumping for every Arkansan to support Kucinich in the Arkansas Presidential Primary, May 18. To make a unified statement with their votes. A unified statement for political sanity, social justice, common sense, and a sustainable peace.”

Dismissing concerns that pundits have ignored the Kucinich camp, Cloud attributed Kucinich’s low polling numbers to the “blatant lack of public knowledge” about the Buckeye State’s 10th District U.S. Representative and his progressive platform. “Once you hear Dennis speak, once you understand what he’s about, you simply cannot in good conscience vote for anyone else,” Cloud emphasized. “That’s why we’re having these rallies. To get the message out.”

Upcoming events include a “Name Recognition” event being held in Fayetteville, on Monday, March 1. Those wanting to learn more about the Kucinich platform will meet at 1:00 pm at Sidney's Emporium, 647 W. Dickson St, in the old U-ARK Theater. “The plan from there is for campaign volunteers to go up and down Dickson a time or two and then fan out to cover other areas of the city, carrying signs and handing out leaflets. Then do a drum circle at Walton Art Center in the evening if it's nice,” Cloud elaborated. For more information contact Sid Simons, 479-444-0726.

On Saturday, March 13, a “Peace Rally” will be held in Mt. Home. Pro-peace activists will meet on Courthouse Square in Mt. Home at 12noon. For more information, contact Dennis Heiskill, Baxter County Kucinich Campaign Coordinator at 870-425-3181.

Sunday, March 28, will see Kucinich for President volunteers gather in Eureka Springs to attend the Willie Nelson concert being held that evening at the downtown Auditorium. “Willie was one of the first celebrities to openly endorse Kucinich,” said Cloud. “So to show our thanks to Willie for his support of Dennis, everyone that wants to join in will do a pre-concert tailgate gathering in the parking lot between the Eureka Springs Courthouse and The Auditorium, on Main St. at Spring St., beginning at 5pm,” she explained. “Others will be handing out leaflets and CDs in Basin Park and responding to questions about the Kucinich candidacy.” For more information, contact Sandie Cloud at 870-499-5514.

For information about the local and national campaigns to elect Dennis Kucinich President, or to learn about his work in the U.S. House of Representatives, visit www.ark4kucinich.us or www.kucinich.us or www.house.gov/kucinich

Arkansas Army National Guard visits Shirley Schools
by Shalom Weiss, apprentice editor

Randy Moore, Principal of Shirley High School, made it possible for his little brother, LTC Richard Moore, Counterdrug Coordinator of the Arkansas Army National Guard, to come to the school on February 3, 2004, with their Drug Enforcement surveillance helicopter. Richard and other Army personnel were there to talk to and answer questions.

The National Guard is in the process of changing out all the old UH-1 fleet with the new H-60 Blackhawks, to operate one of these is about $2,700 an hour. They don’t go out with the helicopter looking for plants and such unless they are working for a law enforcement agency, whether it’s for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the State Police. They don’t go unless they are asked for their assistance.

During the summer months, July through the end of September, they will go wherever the law enforcement agency asks them. They do county by county, maybe a county a day. “Wherever the law enforcement is working they will tell us specifically what to look for,” Richard Moore said.

Michael Kelly, editor of ArmchairHoodlum, asked “Does the government consider the drug-ops cost effective? In other words, is it worth the money?” Richard Moore believes “yes.” Going out and actually cutting the plants down is part of it, and what they were doing at the school, what the Drug Commander does, is just basically teaching the kids to just say no to drugs.

My mom, Christine, editor of Gozarks, asked about their general surveillance technology. Richard replied there is a lot of current technology out there. Some of the stuff that this particular helicopter is equipped with is a heat-seeking device. This is commonly used in the event that someone is lost. If it is within the first 24 hours, they can fly at night and detect heat signatures, but after 24 hours it may be too late.

There is no surveillance done on “people” and no surveillance on anything else unless there is a house that is a suspected drug house. All other local resources (officer patrols, investigative techniques) are used for detecting this kind of stuff, first. But, if local law enforcement asks the Arkansas Army National Guard to look at a house from the helicopter, the kind of things they are looking for include people coming and going often, but not what is happening inside the house.

Meth labs put off a particular heat signature. If any house is putting off this heat signature, they will be able to tell. They are not using any x-ray technology.

No weapons are carried on the Drug Enforcement helicopter or on any of the people on it. Michael asked if there have been any accidents with helicopters. Richard said one, because of an engine failure.

Captain Dickinson piloted that helicopter. He received a “Broken Wing Award” for the job that he did landing the aircraft in a field with hay bales, ditches and other obstacles. That information and the rest of his story will be printed in this month's "Flight Facts."

Underneath the helicopter is a thirty million candle power spotlight and the infrared sensor/day camera with a seventy-two-times zoom on it. It has six auto tracker functions. It can track a moving target, a stationary target, a heat source and also it can track something that is gray or any given color.

With the technology they have on the helicopter, they can pick a person out of a crowd from one hundred feet, even sometimes from two hundred feet or more, depending what they are looking for.

They have three helicopters plus light and heavy armored vehicles. The heavy armored vehicle is a wheeled vehicle, not track. It is known to be an impressive piece of machinery, and it will run about fifty miles an hour.

Time for a Tea Party...???
by Christine Weiss, editor@gozarks.com

UPDATE February 6, 2004: The hootin-an-hollerin is done. Arkansas Legislators are fixin' (lovely colloquial phrase) to get outa the legislative business for a while, having left in their wake the LARGEST TAX INCREASE in Arkansas history. And though the watered-down version of HB1030 ended up with a radically downscaled list of sales-taxable-services, the bottom line is the same as noted below: sales tax is "just plain wrong."

Now, in our own best interest, I'll ask: What are we going to do about this at the polls in November...??? Well, how about choosing to support candidates who actually have a clue. Don't know any? Well, maybe it's time for YOU to do more than bitch, moan, gripe and vote "for the lesser of two evils." Maybe it's time for you to get involved as a Senator, Representative, Council Person, City Clerk, Mayor, School Board member or as some other type of civic leader in your own community....!!!

SEND YOUR CANDIDACY ANNOUNCEMENTS TO editor@gozarks.com 

February 1, 2004: First and foremost, I wish to extend SPECIAL THANKS to Robert Reed, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas for his tenacity in ferreting out facts, compiling data, and challenging all of us media types to get off our butts and do our jobs, re: watchdogging government.  (Click for the Arkansas Libertarian News PDF)

Second, I must say that I totally agree with Robert, and with the Arkansas Citizens First Congress, and with a long list of other proponents of common sense, that sales tax is "just plain wrong" to begin with, and that here in Arkansas the plans being forwarded by our State Legislature are destined to do us considerable harm and absolutely no good.

On Monday (February 2, 2004) a piece of legislation titled HB1030 (see below) is scheduled for a critical vote in the Arkansas House. This bill, if passed, will not only increase the amount of sales tax by nearly a penny on a dollar but will also cause the levy of NEW sales and excise taxes on a variety of services, effectively doubling the total amount of sales and excise tax revenues collected by the State and increasing the general cost of living in Arkansas by up to 20%.

And the best news is that NO WHERE in all this proposed legislation is this NEW revenue dedicated to "education."

That's right, boys and girls, all these NEW dollars will flow directly to the General Fund, of which "education" gets 46%... leaving 54% of this NEW revenue available to fund, well... whatever our legislators choose.

Numerous organizations are calling on citizens to contact their State Representatives and tell them to find a more equitable way to generate revenue. In support of this proposition, the Arkansas Citizens First Congress has compiled a remarkable assessment of various options that could be employed by our Legislature to raise the (seemingly) requisite "educational" funding. To read their extensive look at the matter, including contact info for various Arkansas Legislators, CLICK HERE and TAKE ACTION...!!!

HB1030: NEW "taxable services" and NEW "excise taxes" (ie: taxes in ADDITION to standard sales tax) NOW BEING CONSIDERED BY THE HOUSE (in addition to the Governor's proposed 1cent sales tax increase) as a proposed bail-out of our educational funding debacle. Please notice about all this that:

#1 -- All such "sales/excise" tax is a "regressive" form of taxation which requires lower-income persons to pay a higher percentage of their overall income in taxes, thus making the "poor" pay disproportionately more for public services than do their "rich" brethren. 

#2 -- The following list is NOT comprehensive but intended only to give you an idea of the SERVICE PROVIDERS who would, in context of the proposed legislation, be forced to act as UNPAID tax collectors (ie: indentured servants) for the state... of whom I am one, and if you are a Service Provider, you probably are too...

PARTIAL LIST of Services which will be subjected to Sales Tax:

Advertising Agencies and Services, Architects, Attorneys, Auctioneers, Bail Bondsman, Banks and Financial institution (taxes to be levied on customer Service Fees), Barbers and Cosmetologists, Brokerage fees, Charter services, Commercial Art and Design, Computer Consultants, Court Reporting Services, Data Processing, Dry Cleaning and Laundry, Funeral Services, Employment Services, Engineers, Environmental Consultants, Interior Design, Investment Counseling, Landscape Architects, Lobbyists, Lock Smith, Management Consultants, Rental of Meeting Rooms, Paid Admission to Conferences, Conventions, Social functions and OTHER EVENTS, Personal Instruction Services (music, dance, pain management, sculpting, Martial arts, more...) Pest Control, Private Investigators, Process Servers, Real Estate Fees and Commissions, Secretarial and Word Processing Service, Security Services and Alarm Monitoring, Surveying and Mapping, Travel Services, Camping fees, Excursion tours, Veterinary services, Water Well Construction, etc., etc. and so on.

Partial list of Services which will be subjected to Excise tax: Sewer services, Sanitation, Garbage Collection, Solid and Liquid waste collection and disposal, and ANY other utility of public service ie: telephone, electricity, etc.

In addition, the proposed legislation calls for the levying of sales tax on the inspection of motor vehicles, farm machinery, implements, and the installation of motors of any kind, plus increased taxes on radios, jewelry, watches, clocks, medical equipment, bicycles, office machines and more.....

AND taxes to be paid on ANY alteration, addition, cleaning, refinishing, replacement or repair of a building (ie: YOUR HOME) or other improvements or structures affixed to real estate, including but not limited to doors, window, walls lighting, fences, gates, parking lots, sprinkler systems, and MORE, MORE, MORE. Plus an additional gross receipt tax to be levied on all labor charges for anything on this particular list.

Also, a gross receipt tax is to be levied on things like cleaning the outside of a building, or its grounds, pet grooming, boarding, kennel services, taxidermy, wrecker/towing, boarding or training of horses, landscaping, lawn care, and dues or fees to join, retain membership, or be initiated as a member of a health spa, fitness club, or ANY PRIVATE CLUB.

Plus excise tax (in addition to the standard sales tax we're already paying or will be paying if the Governor gets his way) is to be levied on the "License to use Software" (aka: ANY and ALL computer programs), programming, writing, creating, producing, designing, modify, installment of or maintaining computer software.

And also there will be sales tax on YOUR purchase of a newspaper and the advertising space in newspapers, publications, billboards, and subscription service.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is unconscionable. The problems we have with education here in Arkansas are NOT going to go away by throwing more money at them. Respectfully, we must demand sanity. We must insist on a practical pragmatic approach to resolving these issues. This proposed legislation is NOT a solution, but will only further entrench us in the problem. For example:

According to the National Education Association (NEA), the State of Arkansas spends roughly $5,651 per child on public education each year. Considering that we (my family) have 4 school-age children, that totals $22,604 per year. THIS IS ROUGHLY THE SAME AMOUNT AS OUR TOTAL FAMILY INCOME FOR A YEAR, AND WE FEED, CLOTHE, SHELTER, AND EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN AT HOME... AND WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, OUR KIDS ARE BETTER EDUCATED THAN 95% OF THEIR "PUBLIC SCHOOL" CHUMS.

And anyone who knows my family also knows that we enjoy a relatively "high" standard of living. Though we may not dine nightly at a steakhouse, all of our needs (and a lot of our passions) are met. This is possible because WE ARE GOOD STEWARDS. We are "accountable." We "plan & budget." And we firmly believe it is time for the State of Arkansas to do the same.

As always, I'm wishing all of us a life worth living, filled with all those things we prefer, desire, wholeheartedly celebrate and richly deserve to enjoy.

Christine Weiss
editor@gozarks.com

Hey! Come visit us at SassafrasWilds!!!

~ Gozarks Endorses ~ Dennis Kucinich for President: Light Up America

I'm serious... Dennis J. Kucinich, Democratic candidate for President of the United States of America, supports single-payer universal health care for all, no more nukes, regulating marijuana like alcohol, free education for all (including college tuition), organic farming, no GMO's, Veteran's benefits, and the end of the WTO, NAFTA, the SOA and the Patriot Act. I mean really folks... isn't this what we're "saying" we want...???


Say hello to Gozarks Website Development & Internet Marketing Clients:

Photo: Exterior of the Van Buren County Child Care Center building.