Sami Rasouli spoke recently at the Brainerd Library. Born in Iraq, he left about 40 years ago, living in various places until opening Sinbad's restaurant in Minneapolis for 17 years. In 2005 he sold it to return to Iraq to help rebuild his birth country, and to work to establish peaceful relations between Iraqis and U.S. people. (I'm recalling all this from memory, so may be off a little on some details.)
Mr. Rasouli spoke peacefully and eloquently, never expressing anger at the U.S., his adoptive country, for attacking his native country, Iraq, where many of his relatives and friends still live. His goal is building bridges of friendship and understanding. After speaking for an hour, the program was opened to questions from the audience for an hour.
One person asked how Iraqis generally felt about U.S. military presence in Iraq, and Mr. Rasouli responded the people said thank you for the help, but wished we would leave them, to build their own country in their own way.
One fellow challenged Mr. Rasouli in a most argumentative and violent way. He seemed to be nearly beside himself with rage, and several of us there were very concerned he may attempt to physically attack Mr. Rasouli.
I understand people are presenting a program Monday at CLC to let Iraqi veterans explain some of the good our soldiers are doing there. Many people have no arguments with most soldiers. Soldiers everywhere are only pawns in the system under which they live. The problems come from ourselves, for electing or allowing the type of leaders we have, both U.S. and Iraqi.
The over-the-top anger that man demonstrated at the library must have been very similar to what was occurring with the 9/11 hijackers as they took over the planes.
Islamic killers in the Midwest
The president and his administration have announced bringing Guantanamo Bay terrorist detainees to the Midwest, a facility located in the small town of Thomson, Ill., about 50 miles south of Dubuque, Iowa, on the Mississippi River. Democrat Sen. Durbin is apparently in support, citing jobs for Illinois residents. (government jobs, of course.) So far, no mention of the new business for trial lawyers, who will seek to release as many as possible, as soon as possible.
So we will now locate up to 100 battle-hardened, Islamic radical killers in a small town a day's drive from Brainerd. How do you like it so far? Not only has the military genius, Barack Hussein Obama, dithered for months before sending less-than-requested reinforcements to Afghanistan; we now get to enjoy housing foreign-born radical killers in the Midwest. Coupling this move with his disastrous economic policy decisions so far, there can be no doubt that President Obama strives to seriously weaken America, as he and his radical socialist minions, czars, appointees and union thugs gain more and more power. Change you can believe in: strangling the economy with debt; ruining your personal finances; radically restricting your freedoms; and putting your safety at serious risk.
Koep should eliminate fund
Mary Koep talked once again during Monday's budget meeting about how we (the city) need to tighten up our belts and watch how every penny is spent in Brainerd.
She's been proclaiming this mantra all year and back in February she even got together with the Personnel and Finance Committee to find cuts as minimal as $100 from the city attorney's miscellaneous expense budget.
She's done a wonderful job talking about looking out for Brainerd taxpayers in this sense up until recently, when she expressed concern over the council's Professional Development Fund having so few dollars.
She offered a budget to the Council with a $4,000 increase in the council's PDF over last year and the PDF was subsequently lowered to $2,000 for 2010 - still a $1,500 increase.
Koep talks of how important it is to Brainerd citizens that their elected officials become more educated by attending seminars and conferences with Council's expenses reimbursed from the PDF.
Between 2003 and 2006 Koep alone used $4,900 out of $6,100 to attend conferences and seminars. If she was truly looking out for Brainerd taxpayers, she would be first in line to eliminate the council's Professional Development Fund ... at least for 2010.
Mary Koep talks about making expense cuts and budget reductions and talks about tightening belts whilst leaving the premise she's got the taxpayer first and foremost on her mind.
To avoid double standards, she should stop talking and walk to the front of the line to eliminate the fund of which she uses more than 80 percent.
It's commendable Koep desires further education, however, if Koep's going to talk the talk, she should walk the walk as well and stop acting as if the Council's Professional Development Fund were her very own money ... not yours.
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