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November 2009

“Read ‘Em and Weep”

By Deborah Thornton

Every card player is familiar with the phrase, “Read ‘em and weep!” proclaimed as the winning player shows his cards and takes the pot. It refers to the risks and hopes of gambling. You have no control over the cards, only the risks you take. Iowa Governor Chet Culver probably wept following recent tax reports. The cards are bad and the risk quite large.

Tax collections have been trending downward for over 12 months and the State budget is badly out of balance. The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) officially projects the revenue number used to determine the budget in December for the fiscal year starting the next July. For FY2010, July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010 the REC estimate was done December 2008. 

The REC reviews a variety of data to make its projections. For example, the Department of Revenue produces the Iowa Leading Indicators Index (ILII) every month. This is intended to help determine the economic direction, and presumably the resulting budget bet. In September 2009 the leading indicators continued falling from a March 2008 high of 107.3 to a record low of 94.5. The ILII has been on a straight-line downward path since March 2008.

The December 2007 REC estimate for FY2009 was $6.14 billion. In April 2008, following the March 2008 ILII projection of 107.3, the REC actually increased its FY2009 estimate to $6.18 billion. In October 2008, the ILII fell to 104.43. By December it had fallen even further, to 101.85. Yet the REC dropped its estimate by only $38 million, and by another $100 million at the October and December meetings. Still not low enough as final FY2009 revenues were even lower, falling below $6 billion to $5,934 million.

The real trouble begins with FY2010 projections-the current budget. Though the ILII has been in a straight downward line, last October the REC again projected a revenue increase, this time for FY2010. Finally the REC budget projections were dropped in December, and further in March.

However, Governor Culver and the Democrat-controlled Legislature read last October’s report and stopped. They rejected all budget reduction attempts, including over $400 million Republican proposed cuts. Bolstered by enthusiasm for the federal stimulus Culver signed the largest budget in state history, including $800 million in I-Jobs borrowing. Governor Culver signed the largest budget in state history while his own REC and ILII numbers were dropping significantly. What hand was he playing?

Last month the REC reduced the FY2010 estimate even further, to $5,438 million. Culver called for a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut. But at an October 8 press conference, he said the budget already included, a “couple hundred million from the cash reserve, we’ve already drawn down a third of the cash reserves, and we’re still short.”

Based on the 94.5 September ILII, the FY2011 budget cards are bad. Not only are projections down, but home and car sales, land values, exports, and non-farm jobs are still dropping. We trust the REC will heed these numbers in its FY2011 official estimate in December.

Another gambler saying is, “Go big, or Go home.” In our family that meant you put all 50 pennies in and hoped for the best. But the Governor and Legislature are playing with millions, not pennies in a family poker game. They’re gambling with our schools, our jobs, and our future. They can not keep playing with Iowans’ money and making bad bets. They better read the cards accurately, or we’ll lose everything.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Public Interest Institute.  They are brought to you in the interest of a better-informed citizenry.

Deborah D. Thornton is a Research Analyst with the Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, IA. 
Web site:
www.limitedgovernment.org.


Liberals are idiots

Why do liberals - claimers of all government is good, proponents of the government must be the first and only solution to all supposed problems - seem to think that the government is some kind of Fortune 500 business with an endless stream of cash?

Such thinking is void of logic and common sense.

But that's liberal thinking for you.....

Ladies and gentlemen the city of Iowa City can't afford to properly fund basic services and public safety.  The county has made some false promises and can't properly maintain the basic services they're responsible for.  If you've been paying attention, you know that the state is out of money.  And we all know (or should) that the federal government has been deficit spending our grandchildren's earnings, with Obama quadrupling the spending of the Bush years.

Is it any coincidence that all levels of government we in Johnson County deal with are being run by liberals?

The economy is sour and what do liberals in every phase of government want to do?  Spend more of YOUR money!

That's simply illogical.

Iowa City needs another fire station, and what does Mayor Bailey propose to do?  Spend $80K on art!  What does the city council approve?  $10K on Wii consoles, $62K on a pointless survey for the downtown area,  and give a failing theatre $50K annually. 

Johnson County needs to focus more on road maintenance and what do they do?  Spend millions on mental health and build a multi-million dollar facility that isn't being fully utilized and was even suggested to house homeless people because it was unpurposed.

AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!

Iowa City - raising taxes instead of cutting their budget; Johnson County - spending exceeding proper budget constraints; State of Iowa - borrowing money to pay bills; Federal Government - deficit spending your grandchildren's wages.

All levels of government you currently live with have liberal leaders at the helm.....


Liberals want to barter our freedom

"Compromise, hell! That's what has happened to us all down the line - and that's the very cause of our woes. If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?" -- Sen. Jesse Helms

No confidence in government

There are some in this country who support a government run heath care system. To those supporters I ask this simple question.

What has the government done that would give you confidence to believe it could run health care?

The funding of Social Security, the post office and the Med's, care and caid have been botched. What about Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae the real estate mortgage arm of the federal government who were the primary players in our economic collapse? All of these government agencies are on the fast track to bankruptcy but still some think more government is the answer?

I'm not from Missouri but you are going to have to show me how this is going to work because I just don't get it.

~ Tim Borchardt, Iowa City Iowa


Are you being lied to, again?

Several news agencies are reporting that Recovery.gov, the Obama administration's Web site to track stimulus spending, has been calculating jobs created or *saved* in non-existent congressional districts.

Examples of the website either making things up or just being inept:

Recovery.gov The site listed Minnesota receiving $400,000 in stimulus funds for district "00".  There's no such district.  Other fake districts listed included the non-existent 57th, 42nd and 27th.

Where did that $400,000 go?  

The much touted Recovery Act website, which was 'revamped' some months ago for something in the neighborhood of $18 million taxpayer, listed Connecticut's 42nd congressional district as bringing in 25 new jobs there.   The state doesn't have a 42nd congressional district.  Nor do they have a 9th district, which apparently received $18.3 million in stimulus funds.  The website listed money received or jobs created or *saved* in the 6th, 64th, 20th and 86th too, but those aren't real districts.

Where did that $18.3 million go?

These examples are just a few of MANY.  Arizona, Iowa, the list goes on.....

According to this supposedly state-of-the-art tracking website, stimulus funds are being spent in districts that just don't exist.  Jobs are being created or *saved* in districts that just don't exist, and we haven't even started to talk about how those jobs numbers are inflated, that's another story....

How's that transparency working for 'ya?


Unalienable Health Care?

The party is over folks; put the campaign Kool-Aid away. It doesn’t matter who you voted for. It’s time to pay the fine, go to confession, or beg for mercy. Our nation sits upon the edge of a scalpel.
 
If any form of this health care fiasco passes all bets are off. Time to cling to your guns and religion. My grandpa taught me how to use both. He was a farmer. He would get the mail at dinner(that means lunch in today’s terms) sit at his little desk write out a check and put the bill back in the mailbox on his way back to work, which for a farmer sometimes means shoveling sh…stuff. He had an engineering degree from Iowa State, oh yes, an educated man, but he married a farmers daughter and raised pigs, corn and a family. I loved him very much. He would’ve voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election, which I would’ve disagreed with, but he died before he got the chance. He died of old age, not poor health care. He was 92 years old and a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force.
 
In his early seventies he had a pig valve put in his heart. He joked with the doctor, ‘I hope the pig was a Hampshire, that’s the kind I used to raise!’

Let’s be honest. With this new health care plan, my grandpa would’ve been too old for that surgery. Past his prime, not much use anymore, to society as a whole that is. He meant a lot to me nonetheless. You might say that’s crazy talk or fear mongering. I don’t think so; it’s a matter of numbers. Numbers of people versus numbers of doctors; simple arithmetic. You don’t need a death panel to know, it’s called rationing, just ask the Canadians or the English how well socialized medicine, universal health care or socialism works. The Canadian Medical Examiner just issued this statement, ‘Our health care system is imploding.’ I’m not making this up. Socialized medicine fails to serve its elderly, its young and its poor, the very one’s used to bring about its existence.
 
My grandpa’s wife, the farmer’s daughter, she was tough too. At age 80, she got both knees replaced, at once, because she demanded to only go through rehab one time. Her doctor assessed that she was a tough old bird and did as she asked. She’s been walking for more than a decade on those knees. She’s starting to forget things that she once knew, but I won’t forget and I’ll tell my kids, what a strong free line they come from and what a great country this once was. I will tell them before I get too old, because with this new plan, I won’t be getting the same health care that my grandparents got.
Call it single payer or coop, Washington runs it either way. Mr. President and Congress, we see what you’re doing and we don’t like it. Stop now; you are representatives, not rulers. I suggest you remember soon the words of the dead. No one is owed health care; it’s not an unalienable right. Does anyone remember that silly thing called the Declaration of Independence? It was written by the committee of five, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston and my ancestor, Roger Sherman. Rather smart fellows. Here’s a snippet.

-‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’

Truth and happiness, life, liberty, pursuit, power from the bottom up, sounds good. Forcing me into a state run health care plan isn’t liberty. Is this what they meant by ‘Give me liberty or give me death’? I assure you this is the road to captivity.

We need new ideas yes, tort reform like with the airlines, and nationwide competition over state lines, tax deductions for doctors to donate time to free clinics, no more insurance pools that reward the healthy and punish the sick, etc. Yes, we need to make the best health care system the world has ever seen better, not turn it into the DMV. Take a number? Our government has only proven it can’t run anything well. Freedom from government is the key, not reliance upon it.
 
I’ve lived without health insurance before, because I was young and couldn’t afford it. I’ve never had an employer plan. I’ve always paid for my own policy with money that I’ve earned from working. Apparently, there are thousands of companies competing for your business, right now. Who knew? You currently have the right to buy any policy you see fit, sounds kinda like liberty huh?

All of us have this unalienable right in America. That right is the pursuit of happiness, not happiness in a government box. Pursuit is the key word, it’s not a guarantee of mediocrity, its much more than that, it’s life, it’s freedom and it’s worth dying for. Here is the last sentence from the Declaration of Independence; these men understood the cost of freedom and their words speak for themselves. I assure you our freedoms hang in a balance, and they can be lost. Once lost, they will take this kind of resolve to regain.

-‘And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.’

Let’s make sure it doesn’t come to that.

Sherman S.C. Sherman, a free lance writer, novelist, and contractor, lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.

‘If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from hell before breakfast.’ General William T. Sherman


What does annointed County Supervisor Janelle Rettig bring to the table?

Higher property taxes and bigger government.

Background: 

Of fairly recent note, Rettig was the co-chair for the Citizens For Our Land, Water, Future group that promoted the $20 million Conservation Bond in last year's general election (November '08 for those of you who live in University Heights).  That issue authorized county government to buy up unspecified lands for unspecified uses with taxpayer money.  The bond passed.  Rettig was instrumental in the county taking more money out of your bank account.  Rettig is also the chair of the Johnson County Trails Advisory Committee (JCTAC).  She likes to take land off the property tax rolls, and build trails. 

As a result of the Conservation Bond issue passing by a very slim margin, a recount was petioned for.  As the go-to 'yes' person, she was involved in the recount process, but behaved more like an obstruction to due process.  There was not a signifcant change in the vote count but the process didn't have to be as difficult as it was made to be by Rettig - the passage of the bond was confirmed.

During the course of the following months and as a chair and/or member of numerous committees and commissions, Rettig provided input and helped set agendas on how to spend taxpayer money.  This is not at all to be confused with how to spend money wisely, let alone considering cutting back on things due to the sour economy.

A lobbyist for LGBT rights, Rettig announced her intent to run for County Supervisor in June.  County Recorder Kim Painter was on her steering committee, County Supervisor Rod Sullivan (who worked with Rettig on the Conservation Bond) is a big supporter as is County Auditor Tom Slockett.  It's that local Democrat machine thing....  As her campaign developed, Rettig continued her *work* on commissions and committees.  Money continued to be spent not just needs as is reasonable, but on nice to have projects as well.

Sadly, County Supervisor Larry Meyers passed away in September, losing his battle with cancer. 

That event resulted in three liberal members of the Democrat machine annointing Rettig to the vacant seat.  Was it all legal?  Yep.  Was it a sham of a processYou decide.

As a result of the Rettig annointment, a special election was petioned for by the people.  Nearly 8,000 Johnson County residents signed that petition, far exceeding the 7,299 required to make the special election happen.  The date is set for January 19.

So just when Rettig had temporarily put the brakes on her Supervisor 2010 campaign, she has to get back behind the wheel.  

On her campaign website, she clearly mentions that she's a Democrat and a progressive one at that. 

Kudos for being upfront.  Sort of.....  Snippets from her campaign are below highlighted in blue, the Real View translation is in Red.

"For nearly 20 years, I’ve been active in many aspects of our county.  I’ve been involved in issues such as land use, conservation, civil and human rights, fiscally responsible government, open and good government practices."

That's all happened with quite a price tag and intrusion.  You see, Rettig is a typical liberal, who believes that the government knows how to run your life better than you do.  Rettig was instumental in getting the $20 Conservation Bond issue passed.  That's the measure that authorized the government to buy unspecified lands for unspecified uses.  Not exactly open, not exactly fiscally responsible and good government is defined as liberal.  In fact, the first land purchase under that bond issue was made jsut recently, with an acquisition of 87 acres west of Tiffin for $420,280.68.  What's it for?  We don't know.  Who sold it to the county?  We don't yet know.  Was this some kind of sweet deal for land that the federal government wouldn't allow development on without a lot of strings attached due to the 2008 flooding?  This story is developing.

Also on the Rettig campaign website, some bullet points.  Again, her points in blue, translation in red. 

· Efficient and accountable County Government

Efficient and accountable to liberal standards, which means expansion of government, efficient and accountable as in the government being all things to all people.  None of that is to be confused with fiscal responsibility or transparent policy making, see secretive Conservation Bond information, minus publicly disseminated details of course!

· Livable communities with high quality of life and strong human services

Individual responsibility is not encouraged, in fact, it's held in disdain.  It takes a village and we liberals in charge make the rules in how to run the village and define its needs.  And responsible individuals will be giving more of their paycheck to the county for more government provided human services.   

· Protecting our natural heritage, our environment, our rural landscape, and our family farm culture

We'll buy land, so you can't.  

· Honoring our diverse population with a progressive and visionary County Government

Liberal vision, no other perspectives need apply.

That's why kudos were 'sort of' given to Rettig for being up front.  She may state that she is a Democrat and a progressive on her website, but that's where the being upfront ends and the read between the lines bigger government and more intrusion into our daily lives begins.

Current Issue

A Spade Is A Spade

By S.C. Sherman

A spade is a spade, and no amount of counseling will make it a heart. Speaking politely in the name of not offending anyone is over. Political correctness has now officially cost us thirteen lives. It’s time to stop beating around the bush. Let’s call it as we see it. Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a terrorist. He is not a troubled man, who was made fun of or misunderstood. He didn’t have pre-post-op-pubesent-tween-traumatic-stress-disorder, or whatever nonsense they want to call it to explain away the truth. He walked into the Fort Hood Military Base and despicably murdered his fellow soldiers. This is an act of Treason! Does anyone remember what that is?  Here is the definition.

    -A crime that undermines the offender’s government, disloyalty by subversive behavior, an act of deliberate betrayal.

Hasan definitely fulfills that definition. He should be tried for Treason and punished to the fullest measures.  The reasons these soldiers are dead are our fault. This terrorist exhibited a plethora of warning signs that were ignored because as a nation we are afraid to falsely label anyone. This man could have been removed from the military, but he was threatening to get lawyers, etc, etc. He was an extreme Islamist and his actions bear witness to it. I agree, we cannot call all Muslims terrorists, that is foolish and false. However, we are at war with Islamic terrorists, the countries we are fighting are Muslim countries and our refusal to address warning signs of Islamic extremism- even in our own soldiers- is to invite death.
 
Our President seems unwilling to lead us against this behavior as he cautions us all “not to jump to conclusions” or “no religion teaches that violence is acceptable”. I disagree, radical Islam absolutely teaches violence! We must pull our heads from the sand. This man was a domestic jihadist; more proof comes out every day underscoring the beliefs that drove him to shoot fifty-four people.

Hasan chanted, Allahu Akbar, which translates God is Great, as he murdered our soldiers. We must wake up as a nation and face the fact that giving speeches will not convince these people to like us. They will continue to bring this war home to our soil and showing weakness will only encourage their ranks.

Regular, peace loving Muslims, please arise and differentiate yourselves from these terrorist murderers, as they dishonor you, and the faith that you love.

Hasan detested women so much that he refused to allow himself to be photographed with them. How horrified must Nidal be to know that the quick thinking and quick shooting of a Woman, a civilian police officer, ended his beautiful plan for martyrdom? Her name is Sergeant Kimberly Munley. She ended his terror in misery and cheated him his proud death. Hasan was shot four times but was left alive and paralyzed to face our justice, if we have the courage to administer it. She denied him his room full of waiting virgins, by only wounding Hasan, an ironic twist to be sure.
 
One young woman and her heroic actions saved lives that day. How many more would he have killed without her bravery? She is a hero and a great American. She was shot three times in the exchange for her trouble, but will recover from her wounds and return to anonymity.

A terrorist action is not a ‘man caused disaster’ and this is not a random crazy loon. This man is a harbinger of things to come, America, unless we realize the truth about radical Islam, and stop with this political correctness, before it’s too late. As a nation we must stand together against this enemy. The battle refuses to remain thousands of miles away. The thirteen dead know this to be true.

Extremists like this can only be defeated, not appeased or pacified. Did Kimberly Munley try to talk Hasan down, ask him about his childhood, reason with him, understand his pain, or maybe ask him who he voted for? No, she took him down, like the Traitor he was.

Democrat or Republican, neighbors must speak the truth to one another. Do not water it down or look the other way. We are united as Americans. Our soldiers deserve our loyalty and support even if the politicians do not.

A spade is a spade. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck, and this President is ‘All Hat, No Cattle’.

Sherman S.C. Sherman, is a free lance writer, novelist, and contractor. He lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.

‘If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from hell before breakfast.’ General William T. Sherman