Some Thanksgiving thoughts

While President Trump is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us can exercise that same presidential power by choosing a non-violent Thanksgiving observance.

And here are some other good reasons:

• You can brag about pardoning a turkey — like Trump (or not).

• You will stay awake for your entire favorite football game.

• Your sensible vegetarian kid won’t have to boycott the family dinner.

• Plant-based holiday roasts don’t have to carry government warning labels.

• You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family out of the hospital.

• Your body will appreciate a holiday from the fat, cholesterol, and hormones.

• You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.

• You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

Seriously, this Thanksgiving season, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health, and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of plant-based holiday roast, vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Our own dinner will feature a store-bought plant-based holiday roast, mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. An internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” is getting us more recipes than we could possibly use.

Weaver Johnson

Council Bluffs

Keep West Broadway plan as is

Iowa West Foundation’s board is a great asset to the City of Council Bluffs, however I feel funding to beautify our city could be done by providing smooth, well-lighted streets that drain after heavy rain storms.

We all should realize the extra cost it will take to maintain medians — god forbid the plants and shrubbery that is endless. I was once told taxpayers should not be concerned as Iowa West pays for it. Wrong answer.

We need these funds to be spent as if we earned it. Common Sense in looking at the long term maintenance is must.

Lastly: the City Council needs to listen more to taxpayers — this includes the private businesses.

Thanks Roger Sandau and Melissa Head for your continued support.

Doug Fowler

Council Bluffs

America needs to pay attention

We repeatedly hear President Donald Trump say “we love our veterans.” Look at what he does, not what he says.

At the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, he appeared at an allied cemetery with other leaders but refused to visit even one of many U.S. cemeteries to honor our fallen, then, on Veterans Day he did not participate in a single ceremony or visit our national cemetery. Both are hard to imagine and inexcusable, but what he is doing to the VA will really get your attention.

In less than two years, there have been three acting and three confirmed Secretaries of Veterans Affairs. It’s been a perfect example of bad leadership and management, plagued with confusion, conflicting guidance, lawsuits, mass firings, mass resignations, and countless unqualified political appointments to upper management positions.

The VA has been repeatedly forced to cut and cannibalize programs to pay for new unfunded requirements being heaped on them by the administration. This intentional strategy is quietly destroying the VA from the inside out.

Trump claims he wants to improve access and care. Not really. In a very ceremonious signing of the “Mission Act,” he said he was “very happy” to sign the “biggest VA spending bill ever,” and then, before the ink dried he took executive action to cut funding for many of the programs he had just praised himself for.

Our Constitution requires the president to faithfully enact the laws he signs. Think about this deceit and our women and men who have served. America, wake up.

The truth is, Trump’s agenda is to starve the VA hospitals of funds while claiming it’s to give vet’s freedom of choice.

The cuts and damage from this intentional strategy is in turn being used to justify how broken the VA is and that it must be privatized and outsourced to Washington friendly health care contractors.

We’ve been down this road before, but not this far and it’s happening right under our trusting and complacent noses.

We should have recognized his contempt for those who served when we elected a guy with five deferments from military service. One was for bone spurs, yet he was able to play college sports for the duration of the deferment. Now he is playing the same games with our veterans.

Jon Harper,

retired Air Force chief master sergeant

Council Bluffs

A no vote for Iowa Western bond

I am voting “no” on the $11.5 million Dec. 11 Iowa Western Community College bond referendum. The bond referendum is for replacement of centralized steam heating at the Council Bluffs campus.

I am voting “no” because southwest Iowa taxpayers need better transparency on how our tax dollars are being spent. In researching the need, I was unable find more than abbreviated news articles calling for the special election nested between holidays. A direct inquiry with college leadership yielded little additional insight.

Justification through a public forum on the condition assessment and engineering report would be a good start. I want to know what’s wrong, how bad it is, and what options (in-situ repairs, decentralized systems, renewables, etc.) were reviewed. I want to know how a recommendation was evaluated.

These are the same criteria I use to manage my own household budget so why can’t it be done for our other hard-earned taxpayer dollars?

Select soundbites of “savings” with a new system having “reduced operating costs” and — I’m not joking –a “60 year return on investment” are meaningless without the context of transparency.

Further, I am suspicious of budget needs that are awash because some other cost is expiring. In this case, I learned a 20-year-old $13.5MM bond from 1998 will be retired and – surprise – there would be no net difference to tax payer pocketbooks. That starts to smell like an odd coincidence.

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Southwest Iowa has a strong history of supporting community needs, but we are not a limitless well. Don’t we deserve better for our hard-earned dollars? Join me in ushering a new era of transparency by voting “no.”

Frances Mierzwa-Parr

Council Bluffs

#Just Wondering

Is a Democracy the same as a Republic? Are we endowed with certain unalienable rights?

What is the purpose of government? Do we tell the government what it can do or does the government tell us what we can do?

If we do not respect the laws, enforce the laws, then aren’t laws just words on a piece of paper?

If I’m on trial for breaking a law will it matter if the judge is a Democrat, independent, Republican, or a Libertarian?

At what point does a person become extreme (ultra) left or extreme (ultra) right?

Do we vote for policies or personalities?

What is the purpose and responsibilities of news agencies? What is the difference between a journalist and a reporter?

Without virtuous people can a Republic survive?

Brian Kirlin

Council Bluffs

Progressive memes

The progressive mind set is on display when viewing many Facebook posts.

The use of the meme often reflects a ridiculous and catchy false premise. I find it frustrating because of the likes they receive via their progressive friends.

If a conservative responds, by replying, more ridiculousness ensues. It is truly scary to see the use of the word Nazi and Hitlerisms being used.

This same theme is pervasive throughout cable opinion programming. I see a direct correlation of such programming and the content of progressive memes.

The sad part for me is the lack of knowledge and understanding by those that are exposed to and react to the intentional anger invoking memes and programming.

The lack of a proper and truthful education, of world history, is making it possible for agenda driven propaganda to prevail. We deserve better from our educational systems and the progressive media outlets.

Ken Lane

Council Bluffs

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