I have a bone to pick with you.

I want to start off saying that I thoroughly enjoy your publication and read it every other week. I think you are a great contributor to the growing culture of the Quad Cities that is much needed and appreciated. With that said ... the bone.

The "Best of the Quad Cities" for fall of 2011 was disappointing to say the least. It is not a good representation of the entire area given to the nature of how the submissions were collected and whom they were collected from. In the introduction it's mentioned that it was like "pulling teeth" to get people to participate in this style of survey. It is evident from the results that this way of polling the public's opinion did not work.

"What if conservatives who preach small government wake up and realize that our interventionist foreign policy provides the greatest incentive to expand the government?" - Ron Paul before the U.S. House of Representatives, February 12, 2009

It baffles me how some conservatives who rail against the excess and waste of big government here at home, in particular its uncanny ability to mismanage and squander our money, still have this benevolent view of government when it comes to our meddling abroad. Not only that, but how can we with a straight face decry the welfare state (socialism) here at home, all the while endorsing free handouts to other nations paid for by our tax dollars?

Foreign aid to Israel is often a popular point of controversy when discussing our foreign policy. As is often the case, the media prefers shocking sound bites rather than critical analyses in order to shape our opinions on the topic. We are encouraged to believe in this two-dimensional world view that all Israelis love the idea of America financing their country.

I submit for your consideration that the Tea Party uprising and the Occupy Wall Street movements are one and the same. I'm sure there are many members of the Tea Party as well as Occupiers who would vehemently protest this idea. But I insist that, in order to truly take the bull by the horns, we must recognize the same underlying American Spring that manifests itself in these apparently distinct movements.

From the recent Quad-City Times commentary "Independents MIA in Iowa Q-C," there seems to be some confusion as to what SuperLiberty is. Started in December 2008 as a local, nonpartisan liberty alliance, we promote all groups who support liberty.

We favor no party over another. We are neither Republican nor Democrat, Right nor Left, Conservative nor Liberal. In fact the American two-party monopoly perpetuates a false issue-based division amongst the people and helps to prevent us from uniting under the common cause of personal liberty.

Last week, the Iowa Department of Revenue issued an Assessment Limitations Order, or "rollback," on property values in Iowa. The order adjusts the property values used by local governments to compute property taxes for agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial property. The taxable value for residential property will be 50.7518 percent of the assessed value. This is an increase from the 2010 level of 48.5299 percent.

This will result in an increase to your residental property tax next September 1 if your assessment stays the same or increases if the levy rates for the various taxing authorities (city, county, schools, community college, etc.) are not lowered.

As with most movements that threaten the status quo, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is being co-opted by that very status quo, under the guise of class warfare, in order to continue pitting Americans against each other.

This movement needs to focus on the big picture. The government facilitates the monopolies that corporations use to exercise their greed. And the Federal Reserve funds these elites' escapades - wars and welfare - with bailouts and inflationary money presses.

Protesters' anger should be directed at the Federal Reserve System, an unconstitutional banking cartel, and corporatism - the merging of big government and big business.

Ron Paul has pushed for an audit of the Fed. When America realizes the Fed creates the economic cycles that strip us of the hard-earned fruits of our labor and makes us poorer through the inflation tax, the Fed will be put out of business and we'll see the restoration of sound money.

OWS should take a look at OccupyTheFedNow.com to understand the real problem.

Mike Angelos
Davenport

I am mortified. I was recently ejected from two local Michele Bachmann public events.

Why? Because I passed out a flyer comparing her voting record to that of the only other member of Congress vying for the GOP presidential nomination, Congressman Ron Paul. It listed votes on economy and spending, privacy and constitutionally protected rights, health care, and military. And it asked: "Which candidate honors their oath of office and obeys the Constitution?"

Fight Bad Laws

On Tuesday, a Scott County deputy pulled up behind me as I stopped at a local restaurant. He gave me a written warning for not wearing my seatbelt after checking my license and proof of insurance.

After I signed the written warning, I asked the deputy if he thought this was a good law. His response: "Yes, because it saves lives."

I told him: "If we could put a cop in everyone's car, that would also save lives." Or, we could outlaw cars; that would save lives.

The Davenport aldermen's and mayor's "hold the line" position is at best typically disingenuous political spin. More accurately, especially to residential taxpayers, it is simply dishonest. Even if they "hold the line" on the city's tax rate, the residential taxpayers will have a 3.41-percent increase in their property-tax bills. In the current economy, with no inflation, no reasonable basis exists for Davenport to impose a tax increase on its citizens. Adding an insult to this tax increase, the city will use the increase to pay $3 million more for public-employee costs when private-sector income is dropping. Every (non-union-sponsored) study comparing private-sector to public-sector pay shows our public employees are considerably overpaid. If the city truly wants to "hold the line," then follow the private sector's lead - start aggressively outsourcing the overpaid city jobs.

Mark Nelson
Davenport

The focus of my campaign remains getting Iowans back to work and balancing the state budget by reducing government spending. In the spirit of reducing government spending and protecting our liberties, I have decided to pursue my inclination to de-criminalize marijuana use and distribution in the state of Iowa if elected to the Senate. Let me be clear that changing Iowa's law will not change the federal classification of marijuana. Further let me also state that I will not pursue a policy of "medical marijuana" that will pit the state law against the federal law and contribute to a California-like problem that comes with taxation and commercialization.

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