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
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
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,
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.
"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
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,
www.house.gov/kucinich or the Arkansas For Kucinich yahoo
discussion list by clicking
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.
“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
“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
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,
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
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
or www.kucinich.us or
Arkansas Army National Guard visits Shirley
Randy Moore, Principal of
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
Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the
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
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
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."
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
Time for a Tea Party...???
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
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
CANDIDACY ANNOUNCEMENTS TO
February 1, 2004:
First and foremost, I wish to extend
SPECIAL THANKS to Robert Reed, Chairman of
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
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
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,
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...!!!
"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 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Hey! Come visit us at
~ Gozarks Endorses ~
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...???
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