Tuesday, July 26, 2016

This time I actually watched the Democrat Party National Convention — and I liked it!

By SJ Otto
Its been a while since I actually watched a political convention of either party. But tonight's was actually very interesting. They had some music by Paul Simon. They had appearance by  Senator Al Franken; who cracked a few good jokes, First Lady  Michelle Obama, Sarah Silverman, another comedian who not only cracked a few jokes but called to the Bernie or Bust people    ‘'You’re Being Ridiculous'’

And last but not least; Bernie Sanders himself.

Bernie reminded people that his political revolution was not about one candidate or the others, it was about the issues and platform positions he had raised. After stating his own agenda he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Maybe at least some of the Bernie or Bust people will finally get on board and drop the ridiculous position that it really doesn't matter if  Donald Trump gets elected. Bernie said what I have been saying all along  Yes. It does matter who wins this election. Bernie laid it out in a passionate but factual argument   that we need to support Hillary over Trump.
That should put an end to the ridiculous booing, hissing and in general divisive and destructive ranting we can hear all night on the convention floor. If Hillary is a liar, it only proves she is a politician. Some of the younger crowd needs to wake up and realize the following:

·                     The two-party system sucks, but refusing to vote for Hillary is not going to change that.
·                     The Democratic Party is a bourgeois party and it has been for most of its history. Hillary did not make it into such a party overnight.
·                     Hillary was not responsible for the DNC fiasco.
·                     All politicians lie.

As I stated earlier, this time the speakers were good and I was very impressed, with Bernie, Michelle and Sarah. I'm glad I didn't miss it.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Millennials not happy with the two-party system

By SJ Otto
According to a new Poll that come out and was published in several AP publications, including The Big Story and The Wichita Eagle, young people realize the system is broke and needs fixing. I have voted since the fist Jimmy Carter election, in 1976. In the Carter- Ronald Reagan election, four years later, I voted for an independent non-two party candidate John B. Anderson.
I knew then how messed up the two-party system was and by now I know it can't simply be fixed simply by voting for someone outside the two-party system. The new Poll that just came out shows that many young people also dislike the two-party system.   
According to this article, "Poll: In tumultuous summer, young Americans in a dour mood,";

"A new poll of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 finds that an overwhelming 90 percent think the two-party political system has real — though fixable — problems or that it is "seriously broken." Three-quarters believe the U.S. is "falling behind" or "failing" as a nation."


"The generation that is the most educated, diverse and indebted in U.S. history is still pining for the candidate who only this week left the race: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"Millennials, unfortunately, are subject to an economic and political future that is not of their own making," said Sarah Swanbeck, executive director of the Center on Governing & Investing in the Future at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's no surprise then that young adults across the country have increasingly turned to 'political outsiders' promising to reform the system."

The article pointed out that many millenials notice the similarity of the two parties:

"The candidates we're left with are very similar," said Alejandro Ochoa, a 21-year-old from AdelantoCalifornia. "I say that they're similar mainly because they're both rich, and I get the sense that they're going to look out more for the 1 percent and not the rest of us."

So finally after all these years there is some serious opposition developing to the two-party system:

"Young adults are especially sour about the two-party political system. More than a third of respondents said the system is seriously broken, with just 9 percent saying it is working well. The majority, 54 percent, said the system has real problems but can be fixed."

One thing younger people need to understand is that the two-party system can't simply be voted out. The system needs serious change and voting for Bernie Sanders is not enough.

For the entire story click here.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen.

I have my own selfish reasons for voting for Hillary. They mostly have to do with Obamacare and my own ability to get health care after my wife retires. A lot of millennials probably aren't that worried about health care. I wasn't in my 20s. I was in good health most of the time. But that was then, now I need a lot of care. The fact is I don't trust Donald Trump to replace Obamacare with something that will work for me. Also there is the Supreme Court nominations coming up and the fact that the Republican Party, which I generally hate, will control EVERYTHING! -SJ Otto

From Daily Kos

First of all — this is not my writing.  It's a Facebook post by someone I don’t even know, a man named Michael Arnovitz in Portland OR.  But as a Facebook post it passes the fair use test and I’m quite certain he would not object that I share it here (he doesn’t).   The original Facebook post is here: www.facebook.com/…  So without further ado, it’s truly worth the read:
"In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person." —Henry Louis Gates The quote above comes from a fascinating article called “Hating Hillary”, written by Gates for the New Yorker in 1996. Even now, 20 years after it was first published, it’s a fascinating and impressive piece, and if you have a few spare moments I strongly recommend it to you. (www.newyorker.com/...)

And I’m reading pieces like this because now that Hillary has (essentially if not officially) won the Democratic Primary, I have become increasingly fascinated by the way so many people react to her. In truth, I sometimes think that I find that as interesting as Hillary herself. And I can’t help but notice that many of the reactions she receives seem to reflect what Gates referred to as “a cultural inventory of villainy” rather than any realistic assessment of who she really is and what she has really done.

For the rest click here.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

'Gerrymandering On Steroids': How Republicans Stacked The Nation's Statehouses

No one will be surprised to hear that I don't like Republicans. I have notices for years that the Republican Party is getting good at winning elections. A good example is here in Kansas where most of the major Republican incumbent candidates were losing in the polls. Yet they won the election and that includes re-electing the most unpopular governor in the history of Kansas. Some of their tricks we know about, such as the new voting laws that discriminate against minorities. Others are more of a secret. This latest article opens a whole new explanation of how and why the Republican Party never seems to lose. It isn't just politicsits also dirty tricks. This is one of the worst I have seen yet. That party has circumvented democracy to the point of making it out to be nothing more than a joke. What amazes me are all the comments after this article where conservatives defend what their party has done. For example:
Oh please. Democrats do the EXACT SAME THING when they are in control!
Republicans generally do better in midterm elections because Democrats are too lazy to vote in the midterm years (or maybe they aren't aware there is a midterm election, or the van with the free lunch never picked them up for early voting)."
This is not only undemocratic it is paaathetic! -SJ Otto

From WBUR:
It was never a secret. In 2010, the conservative political strategist Karl Rovetook to the Wall Street Journal and laid out a plan to win majorities in state legislatures across the country.
"He who controls redistricting can control Congress," read the subhead to Rove's column.
The plan, which its architects dubbed REDMAP for Redistricting Majority Project, hinged on the fact that states redraw their electoral maps every 10 years according to new Census data. REDMAP targeted states where just a few statehouse seats could shift the balance to Republican control in the crucial Census year of 2010.
That plan worked spectacularly. It's why today Republicans have a majority in nearly two-thirds of the country's state legislative chambers. And it's why in 2012 Democratic statehouse candidates won 51 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania, which voted for Barack Obama in the presidential election, yet those candidates ended up with only 28 percent of the seats in the legislature.
Here & Now's Robin Young learns how this happened from David Daley, editor-in-chief of Salon and the author of "Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy."

Interview Highlights: David Daley

On what gerrymandering means:
"Gerrymandering is the word that put us all to sleep in eighth grade civics class, but it is the most important factor in the building blocks of our democracy, which is how the lines are drawn in our legislative districts. Politicians on both sides do it in order to get revenge on an enemy, maybe steal a seat here and there where they didn't deserve it. Gerrymandering changes in 2010. What the Republicans hit upon is a brilliant new plan to put gerrymandering on steroids, and build themselves a voter-proof firewall and it holds up in 2012, as you said."
On what the Red Map Project was:
“The Democrats cleaned the Republicans clocks in 2008. Republicans get depressed. One day, Chris Jankowski is reading a story in the New York Times, and he realizes, wait: 2010 is a zero year. My party is on the out now, but historically the party on the out does better in midterm elections, and Jankowski is a state government guy. He runs something called the Republican State Leadership Committee, so he understands how redistricting works at the state level. What he also understands is that there are 18 state legislative chambers in the country that the margin of control is so close that it's four votes or fewer. So he says, "Hey, it wouldn't cost me a whole lot of money to try to flip four or five legislative districts in these states.' So they go into Pennsylvania.”

or the rest click here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day after day watching the Republican National Convention

By SJ Otto
Once again we are treated by our dream team news people to the glowing positive Republican National Convention (NRC). It is bad enough we have a phoney democracy— a two party system, where the parties are only marginally different. But some news outlets treat the players as if they are rock stars at a concert. There is no real honest analysis of these people or their party (Republican). Most of what I see is nothing new. Donald Trump is now the official candidate—go figure!? His wife doesn't write her own speeches and who ever did, stole parts of it from Michelle Obama. Not much of that is real news. There is virtually no coverage of the protesters out side. That would be the real news. That would be where the surprises are.

The real news- NewsChannel 5 reports live inside RNC protest march- Tara Molina

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Anti-abortion group gears up for a week of harassment: gets plenty of coverage in local newspaper

By SJ Otto
It's hard to say how much news coverage Operation Save America deserves for their  week long attempts at disrupting Wichita's only abortion clinic, Trust Women South Wind Women's Center with their so called “Summer of Justice.” But The Wichita Eagle has given them generous coverage.
They deserve some coverage for making waves in Wichita, but not out right promotional information. The Wichita Eagle has given out a lot of information for those who want to attend these events, such as which churches supporters can go to and the times to go to them. One part of the article I strongly disagree with is about a man to came to these church and political leaders to get off drugs.
As someone who has written on the subject of drug abuse and treatment I strongly oppose the idea of just joining up with one of these fundamentalist religions as a way to get off of drug use. The Wichita Eagle has such a story in their article under "Prayer vigil, church rally kick off week of anti-abortion activism in Wichita." In it a man has ended a 12 month treatment program after doing only 10 months. Church leaders from Operation Save America took him in, calling him a prodigal son, under the sub-heading "Prodigal sons welcome." I'm sure the church leaders told him to just turn to god and join their religion. Now he doesn't think he needs the treatment so he can join their political cause and spend all of his time obsessed with his new religion and that new religion will magically free him from the drugs.
There are two problems with that. One is that he is just trading one dangerous and reckless obsession for another. He won't be healthier, because if he gets away from that religion and those people for any length of time, he will relapse right away.[1] It is not a cure, it is a substitution for the addiction he had. Second, he will be taking up a destructive political path, selected by these leaders and base on THEIR interpretation of the Bible. The path is not chosen out of a sincere belief in the cause, but simply a way to stay off drugs. That kind of roping in addicts is just not ethical.
Overall, Operation Save America is extremely anti-tolerant of other people's religions.
One of their activist, Ante Pavkovic, a North Carolina pastor, was arrested some time back for disrupting a Hindu prayer in the U.S. Senate. The group's members have also burned Qurans and flags they deemed as representing homosexuals. From their own website:

The question has been asked, “Have you burned the Quran?  The answer is yes.  But not the Quran alone....

....In 2004, we added the homosexual flag and the Quran as we saw the rise of Islam, the normalization of homosexuality, and the continued shedding of innocent blood through abortion as a sign of the judgment of Almighty God upon a nation who had ignored His warnings.  Today, September 11, we remember the horrific moment that thousands of innocents died and blood ran through our streets.  We also need to remember that on that same day, more innocent blood was shed through abortion than as a result of the terrorist attack in NYC.  God hates the shedding of innocent blood and it brings His judgment upon a nation.

It is hard to understand why this group is not treated as a terrorist organization, as with certain Muslim groups. They are a fanatic groups, they are intolerant of other people's religions and sometimes these groups endorse violence against abortion doctors and clinic workers.

[1] Steve Otto, War on Drugs/ War on People, (Ide House, Las Colinas) 1995, pp. 181- 182.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wichita's Pro-choice members meet and mingle at Trust Women

By SJ Otto

We are standing up to the anti-abortion fanatics. Here many of Wichita's pro-abortion people met at the Trust Women South Wind Women's Center clinic on East Kellogg. Here many of Wichita's pro-choice crowd mingle and talk the hours away this last Friday for the Show Me the Mercy Celebration.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Day after day...I watch the news...and get a head ache

By SJ Otto
Day after day, I turn on my TV to see the early morning news. It is mostly Good Morning America (ABC) and it is more about celebrities than anything else. They have the latest boy band, or woman singer, or some woman that decided her voice was great so she video taped her singing the Star Spangle Banner at the Lincoln Memorial and it went viral (a phrase I'm beginning to get sick of). An instant celebrity, easy as can be.
But what about actual news. It's there. buried beneath the next "Dances with the Stars" winners and other useless crap. Who gets blown up in a terrorist attack, who gets bombed in the middle east and who is ahead in the elections is only a small detail of the day.

I get a head ache watching that stuff. I can turn to other stations but they are just barely any different. So every station I watch in the morning gives me a head ache and I barely get any real news. I do learn about the latest air headed celebrities that I have no real interest in knowing anything about. Maybe if I were 13 again I would like this kind of news...but I'm not.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Drone Was Used to Blow up a US Citizen Without Trial. Let That Sink In

This is worth thinking about- SJ Otto

From the Anti-Media:
(RPIThe Dallas shootings have ushered in a very new world for U.S. citizens. For the very first time, a drone has been used on U.S. soil to kill an American without trial or charges.
The suspected shooter in yesterday’s tragic killings, U.S. Army veteran Micah Xavier Johnson, was, according to police and press reports, holed up in a parking garage and would not give himself up. After hours of what police claimed were fruitless negotiations with Johnson, a weaponized robot was sent to where he was hiding and blown up, taking Johnson with it.
Get past the horror of what Johnson was accused of doing and think about that precedent for a moment. Is it not chilling?

For the rest click here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Yes...we are pandering to the Democratic Party

I don't always give in to fund raising pandering for the Democrats, but then again, it could be worse. For example it could be pandering for the Republicans. -SJ Otto

From Markos Moulitsas
Founder and Publisher, Daily Kos:

Yeah, we’re not going to pretend like we’re losing. We're going to own the truth.

Hillary is kicking Donald Trump's ass. We’re winning the race for the White House, and we’re winning big.

Republicans running for House and Senate this year can't run away from the Donald fast enough. The GOP could be in full retreat by fall, and Democrats need as few as four seats to flip the Senate and confirm a liberal Supreme Court majority, and we have nine solid pickup opportunities.

Can you chip in $1 to each of Daily Kos' endorsed candidates for Senate?

Chipping in to Democrats running for House and Senate now could be the difference between winning in November and winning big. That’s what’s at stake. That’s the difference between taking the election cycle for granted and working our asses off.

Let me explain: We have three possible outcomes:

1) President Clinton, Republican Congress

2) President Clinton, Democratic Senate, Republican House

3) Democratic trifecta

The third option is within the realm of possibility, but it’ll take A LOT of work. So stop being afraid of success, and start being confident and fighting like we own this cycle, because we do!

This year we’re not fighting for survival, we’re fighting to decimate the GOP.