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Here's another Web video you may find of interest. Presented as a cutesy-cartoon, between poking fun at the incessant anti-babble of political candidates, it poses serious questions about election issues and values that really matter.

Produced by Sojourners, the same group behind the "God is not a Republican...or a Democrat" campaign, this self-identified "Christian Peace & Justice" magazine looks at politics and culture through the lens of faith, aiming to enable spiritual renewal with actions for social justice.

Makes me wonder...
A friend in Florida just sent me this link. And I encourage you to click it now and let it load (it will open in a new window) while you read on. Both will take a few minutes.

About the clip you're about to view, all I can say -- as I wrote back to my friend -- is that it sure does make me wonder. I mean, on the one hand, are we to believe that all the credentialed national journalists who covered this very high profile story completely missed a wide array of (apparently glaring) facts...?

Or are we being asked to conclude that mainstream media have all been duped into playing along with some sort of governmentally orchestrated covert national security cover-up scheme...?

God... I hope not.

But still, even in this age of digital manipulation when pixels dance with virtual imagination, the images and assertions made in the referenced clip are compelling. And the truth is, given all the attention put on the Towers tragedy of 9/11, there is really almost nothing said about the Pentagon. Even my friend, who sent me the link, said "it seems strange that no one ever mentions the passengers on the flight (that crashed into the building)."

Thus the question seems natural, if these are legitimate images of the Pentagon and the 9/11 attack, where did all the airplane debris go...???

Anyway, I snooped around the parent website, Freedom Underground, a bit and it does not seem to be overtly "anti" any particular person, which was refreshing. Through it I found my way to Electoral Vote (which offers some interesting statistical information) and also to this timeline page which is part of the website produced by Cooperative Research.

Let me forewarn you about the timeline, however, that perusing it is not for the faint of heart. It is exhaustive, comprehensive, and (from what I could tell) politically neutral... and it is very, very long. Definitely not easy reading, this document takes thought.  And probably, if printed and taken to bed with warm cup of chocolate, you would find yourself wide awake to the wee hours of pre-dawn... counting glimpses of manifest destinies, longing for sleep to pull the plug on many grievously sad conclusions.

Partisan bashing...
The stream of email to my Inbox has taken a decidedly bitter turn of late. The trend has been growing in distinction for months, bullish angst pitted against primeval fear, with determined dedication to annihilate any and all ideas "to the contrary."

Thus too frequently now, at least to my taste, I'm getting notes requesting my support of particular candidates for public office which come in the guise of bashing other candidates. And, for those few of you who may not yet know me well enough to be aware of my position on this, I personally think it is wrong.

That is, my personal opinion is that if there is any kind of "evil empire" to be undone, it is the hubris of human intellect... which pretty much is a thing to which the application of the "fight fire with fire" principle only makes everything worse... at least in my experience.

Accordingly, as a person and as the editor/publisher of Gozarks, I do my best to refrain from judging the rightness of such actions -- ie: maybe "liberal/conservative bashing" is the "right" thing for some folks to do....???

At the same time, however, I take my "duty" as a journalist rather seriously, believing that I have of my own free will taken it upon myself to publish this little e-zine and thus am accountable for passing along information, publicly networking and using my media credentials to keep readers apprised of "what is going on" in the world and its interrelationship with day-to-day life here in the Ozarks.

Yet still, the conundrum troubles me. For example...

I have regular correspondence with several good men who are all Vietnam War Veterans and the polarity of their opinions about political affairs today is profound. That is, there seems to be no "middle ground" among them.

Some are staunchly "pro" our Nation's present path of escalating militarization, seeing it as the only viable track to securing the blessings of liberty to all of humankind.

Some are staunchly "against" nearly every ideology that seems to be landscaping today's policy on foreign and national affairs. 

Yet as I responded to one such correspondent the other day, I think just about every politician running for or in office right now is pretty-much equally messed up. As I see it, neither side is addressing what are, I believe, the most fundamental issues that we (the American public) should (in my sincere opinion) be taking a long, critical look at and figuring out.

For example, why is no one making a campaign issue of our national energy policy...??? Why is no candidate proposing as a key platform plank something like "U.S. energy self-sufficiency to be achieved in 5 years"...???

And I do blame the media for part of this problem. Mainstream  media panders way too much to $$$ to be a truly "unbiased" observer/reporter about any of this.

Still, knowing as a professional what it is possible to accomplish through a wise use of promotional outreach, I gotta say that it is the candidates who are NOT focusing on the substantive issues... either that or their own promotional people are failing to get their messages out. And, if that is the case, then the quality of the organizations these candidates have built around them is not worth the powder to blow it to hell... but I digress.

What I want to say, publicly and on record, is that I do appreciate the very strong feelings that all Vietnam Vets have about the critical things that many people said in protest of the Vietnam War. There was much needless and unconscionable hurt inflicted by this angst on so many of our fine young soldiers as a result. This was, imho, a national atrocity which, I believe, was of equal proportion to 9/11 and is sadly still unresolved.

Essentially, however, this is one of the primary reasons that some of us believe that we must all come together to discover, invent, and engineer a "new and better" way of resolving international (and local) conflicts than the way that has traditionally and is presently being done.

At the same time, I am not "trying" to persuade anyone to vote for any particular person because I do, as completely as is humanly possible, trust that our Creator has all things in hand and that my #1 job is "walking in faith" as the Good Book bids me to do, which it seems to me includes certain commandments about the importance of me taking (faithful) responsibility for myself.

And in this capacity, I feel that it is incumbent upon me to express my strong sentiments about all issues which we, as citizens, should be publicly and privately discussing... without all this acrimony. Because the hateful, spiteful language that is being slung around by endorsers of various sides is, I know in the heart of my heart, doing our nation (and thus every one of us) great and serious harm.

Anyway, I've rattled enough about this and I thank you for your patient indulgence. Still I wanted to share these thoughts with you... just to make it plain what page I and Gozarks are on about all this.

On other potentially more alluring fronts, do you know about Freecycling...??? Well, perk up your ears because this is a community solution whose time has come!!!

Freecyclying is basically an email-list enabled networking method of getting stuff that someone doesn't want into the hands of someone who does, with no strings, charges, or deals attached.

Here in Van Buren County, Arkansas, an e-list to accomplish this has been set up as a yahoo-group, moderated by Heather Tharpat. To visit online, just click here.

The "rules" of membership in this group are simple:

NO POLITICS & NO SPAM. (Two strikes & you're out.) Also, all posts must be either an announcement of something you're giving away, a notice that something which was offered has been acquired (and thus is no longer available), or a request for something someone wants. In addition, all goods offered through the list must be free to the taker. and for pick-up/delivery arrangements everyone is on their own.

In addition to the Van Buren County freecycling list referenced above, there is also a Stone County group and a Baxter County group, info about which and freecycling in general may  be found at freecycle.org

Another item of interest... How much do you know about Lewis & Clark...??? Did you, for example, know that right now there are a passel of folks involved with a reenactment of the expedition that took place 200 years ago? Well...

Ozark author and river activist Rolland Love has been in some way involved with this illustrious recreation for over two years and foresees 3 years more to come. If you'd like to read a bit of his adventure, just click here.

Finally for this time around, I'm sharing with you something I wrote in response to another reader, earlier today. She posed the simple question, "How are you?" To which, I wrote back...

It is kind of you to ask. As with most typical lives, things are good, and things are bad... pretty much all at the same time. In some ways the daily joys and blessings I experience are so miraculous and profound that I almost feel guilty "having it so good." In other ways, however, there are these "little pockets of despair" that, when I allow myself to reach deeply into them, feel like razorblades shredding my soul.

And still... isn't this "normal"...??? Who among us (ie: Paris Hilton <ha-ha>), ever really has it all "totally good." Certainly not "most" of the people alive today across the face of the earth.

And it seems to me that things like this *should* give all of us  pause to reflect on those things we all deserve to contemplate from time to time, ie: How am I...?

aka: How are each of us doing, really, and what can any of us do to eradicate the pockets of fearful despair that seem to poke holes in our collective human soul.

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

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Merl Eoff, City of Clinton
Recorder/Treasurer Clerk

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