Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bernie Sanders- The Revolution Continues was a successful event

By SJ Otto
At an event called Bernie Sanders- The Revolution Continues, last night, local politicians joined a large group of about 100 people or more, to continue the vision of Bernie Sanders.
Speakers, at the event, called for redefining the vision of the campaign. Candidates there pledged to carry on such important issues as tackling global warming/ standing up to the fossil fuel industry, free college tuition, raising the minimum wage, and universal health care.
Locally candidates spoke of expanding Medicaid here in Kansas. Susan Osborne, a candidate for state representative in the Kansas 94th district, endorse the expansion.
"I believe in the US  we would like to get to the point were everyone has health care," she said.
She added that this country should follow the example of European countries and have some kind of universal health care.
Osborne also quoted Sanders when he said a revolution has to bubble up from the bottom.
"Bernie was very uplifting," Osborne added.
She also said our trickle down economics here in Kansas don't work and our governor has proven that with his policies.
The crowd watched a tapped message of Bernie broadcasted live.  

Other candidates there last night included Cammie Funston, for state representative, Dan Giroux for the 4th congressional district, Gabriel Costilla for the Kansas Senate, 16th district and Stan Reeser, running for Kansas House 97th district.

Here Stan Reeser, Kansas House candidate, spoke to the Bernie supporters. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mike Pompeo is a militarist fool- needs to go

By SJ Otto
Representative Mike Pompeo is probably the worst representative to every come from the 4th district.  The following was sent out in e-mails to his constituents:

"We are living in dangerous times here in America.  Sadly, policies set in place by the Obama administration and actions taken by those in his administration have made us markedly less safe. Over the last couple weeks I have been asked to speak on television about some of these major foreign policy blunders that have been in the news.
About two weeks ago, a congressional task force that I served on released its interim report.  Read it here.  Our work found that senior officials at U.S. Central Command had been manipulating intelligence regarding the fight against ISIS.  This manipulation consistently downplayed the strength of radical Islamic terrorists.  It caused policymakers to believe we were winning a battle we were actually losing.  I joined Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to discuss further.

Around the same time, we all learned about the shocking $400 million payment to Iran that by shipping pallets of foreign currency being flown to Tehran secretly while U.S. hostages were being released.  The world knew this was a ransom payment.  I wrote a letter to the Treasury Department demanding to know what legal grounds they had to make such a transfer.  Then, just this week, the State Department confirmed it – the $400 million was contingent on Iran releasing the American hostages!  I explained all of this to Trish Regan on Fox News on Monday before the State Department confirmed our suspicions."  

He is a true arm chair warrior. He sits in his conges seat and acts as if he knows all. The truth is that politicians like him are for more dangerous than our president. The $400 million sent to Iran was part of a diplomatic deal and had nothing to do with hostages. Pompeo seems to believe we can treat regimes we have odds with- to automatically go to war. I don't have any sympathies for the Iranian Government but going to war with them, without any real provocation is just plain Looney. We don't go to war with a country just because we don't see eye to eye.
As for ISIS, the US is fighting to control Arab oil fields. We would not be at war otherwise. As much as I don't favor ISIS we can't just be at war with people because we don't have the same ideologies.
Pompeo has no real intelligent ideas on how to fight ISIS. If it were up to him, this country would put thousands of our men and women into harms way without necessity. Pompeo is a reckless fool and we need to vote him out of office.

We can only assume that Pompeo learned about the military reading comic books and watching John Wayne movies. We don't need that kind of leadership.

Monday, August 22, 2016

House Republicans apparently committing felonies in pursuit of Hillary Clinton

Yet another story whose full import won’t be discussed anywhere that the majority of Americans are likely to see it:
After the Director of the FBI fully exonerated Hillary Clinton and made clear that she broke no laws and told no lies, House Republicans took the extraordinary step of demanding copies if the FBI’s notes from its interview with Clinton. That request was granted, and almost immediately, information from those notes began leaking to the media. The trouble: every word of those notes is, by definition, classified information.
Jennifer Palmieri, the Communications Director for the Hillary Clinton campaign, tweeted this evening that she “Would remind all that this material is classified. So this is leaking of classified material.” Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta added that he’s “Already hearing from people who have been contacted by reporters with knowledge of the content of their interviews in FBI 302’s.”
But, just as with PutinLeaks, we are told over and over that we shouldn’t care about how this material came to light, much less that it was cherry-picked and artfully arranged to cast a false light on the whole truth.

For the rest click here.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

DemoFest helps future candidates—"meet the voters"—"contrast with Brownback supporters"—"but not negative name calling"

By SJ Otto
I learned a lot while attending a round table discussion at DemoFest 2016, at the Drury Plaza Hotel (the old Broadview) here in Wichita last night.
This discussion was given by some of Kansas' successfully elected Democrats, including Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Representative Brandon Whipple and Representative Jim Ward. Each speaker gave their own tips on how to win elections. This event was designed to help new Democratic candidates for Kansas offices with the techniques of good campaigning.
Some of the messages that the team suggested included the need to have direct contact with voters, knock on doors, the need to contrast between the candidates and those supporting our Governor Sam Brownback and the use of mailers.
"Build a relationship with the voters," Whipple said. "They may not remember all the issues you brought up but they will remember you."
This was probably the most important strategy the group talked about. Whipple said it was important not to try to come off looking smarter than the potential voters. He added that it was important to know what issues will act as triggers to the voters. 
"You should be asking them 'What do you want to talk about?" Whipple said.
Whipple added that it is important to follow up with mailers. He said that items mailed to potential voters play a crucial role in elections.
"Usually there are ugly mailers sent out in the last two weeks," he added. "The Republicans often send out nasty mailers at that time."
Ward talked about the importance of contrasting the candidate with their opponent.
"There is negative campaigning and contrast campaigning," Ward said. "Negative campaigning would include 'Crooked Hillary' and 'I have big hands."
He made a difference between name calling that looked childish and contrasting between a persons opponent.
Here Representative Brandon Whipple speaks.

"I'm going against Brownback,' is an example of contrast campaigning," Ward added.
All the elected officials there talked of the importance of connecting their opponent's support of Brownback and his policies. They all noted that voter's opinions of him are at a historical low and it is important to take advantage of this.
"People who won in the last election said 'I'm going against Brownback," Ward said.
When it came to advertising, Faust-Goudeau said to take advantage of cheaper publications and institutions. She mention local news papers, such as Active Aging, The Community Voice and advertising on the Wichita city busses.
She also said it was important to always be either well dressed or have good clothes within reach to look presentable at all times.
"Watch out for your opponent taking ugly pictures of you," she said. "Be sure not to be seen just looking around."
Faust-Goudeau added it was important to always look engaged with people.
"Even dress well at picnics or casual events," she said.
Other important points were that campaigning is hard work, but Kansans admire hard workers. Mailers are a good backup after going door to door with potential voters.

Fund raising is important. Candidates were encouraged to ask people for money. Their are PACs and other organizations that have money and want to give it to candidates. Candidates were warned not to make a big deal of negative charges, but it is important to respond to them. If there is no denial of a negative accusation, people tend to believe it.
After all the sessions there was comradery and refreshments.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Earth-Like Planet Around Proxima Centauri Discovered

While it may not be practical politics, a trip to the nearest Earthlike exoplanet may be news worth sharing. We as Earthlings may be interested in seeing what is one of the nearest Earthlike planets. So here is:   -SJ Otto


Earth-Like Planet Around Proxima Centauri Discovered


The hunt for exoplanets has been heating up in recent years. Since it began its mission in 2009, over four thousand exoplanet candidates discovered by the Kepler mission, several hundred of which have been confirmed to be “Earth-like” (i.e. terrestrial). And of these, some 216 planets have been shown to be both terrestrial and located within their parent star’s habitable zone (aka. “Goldilocks zone”). But in what may prove to be the most exciting find to date, the German weekly Der Spiegel announced recently that astronomers have discovered an Earth like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, just 4.25 light-years away. Yes, in what is an apparent trifecta, this newly-discovered exoplanet is Earth-like, so here it is...click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Another look at the recent primary elections

From Julie Burkhart, Founder and CEO of Trust Women:

Well, weren't the results of the primary election a nice surprise for Kansans? Voters sent Gov. Sam Brownback a message by ousting several conservative Republicans in the Kansas Legislature, casting their ballots for moderates. Fourteen incumbents —eight in the House and six in the Senate —lost their seats. Moderates appear to have grabbed open-seat primaries as well. 

This tweet from a Statehouse reporter summed it up nicely:


Voters also let Rep. Tim Huelskamp know he didn't represent them. The 1st District Congressman alienated many with his combative demeanor, so much so that the Kansan —a KANSAN—got kicked off the Agriculture Committee.

We've run up against Huelskamp's venom. He joined Catholic school students who protested our clinic in 15-degree weather. 

We're glad to see Huelskamp gone. Kansas still has more progress to make, of course.

The state scored a D in the National Partnership for Women & Families' "Expecting Better" report. 


As you know, the antis (Anti-abortion activists) talk a good game about helping families, but when push comes to shove (pun intended), they're more interested in the womb than the real world. 

Here's what the report said about Kansas (click here to download the report):


PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS

Kansas law does not expand upon federal rights or protections for new and expecting parents who work in the private sector.

STATE WORKERS

Job-Protected Family Leave
State workers have greater access to family leave under state law than under federal law. New hires may be granted up to 60 days of unpaid leave for pregnancy or childbirth, adoption or foster placement of a child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, including a spouse disabled by pregnancy. Permanent employees may be granted up to one year of unpaid leave for the same reasons. Upon returning from leave, workers must be returned to a position in the same class or in another class with the same pay grade.

So we know there's a lot of work ahead for the sun to truly shine in the Sunflower State.

Julie A. Burkhart
Founder and CEO
Trust Women

Monday, August 08, 2016

US Green Party is not left-wing at all—supporting them is a waste of time!

This election year has given the voters two of the most unpopular candidates in the nation's history. Especially hard not to notice is the "Bernie or Bust" crowd. They are the millennials who are so disillusioned over the cheating and biased actions of the DNC and the Democratic Party in general they just refuse to support Hillary Clinton. Some of these millennials and many other voters I know are planning to vote for the Green Party. Jill Stein is the party's leader and presidential candidate.
But before people vote for Stein or any other Green Party candidate it is important to realize that the US Green Party is not a left-wing party, it is certainly not a socialist party at all.
Probably the most well known Green Party in the world is in Germany. The German Greens do have left-wing factions. It includes leftists, socialists and Marxists.
But the US version of that party is different. There are no socialists. The Greens do not advocate socialism. They do have a lot of progressive platforms, such as supporting a national health care program and generous social welfare benefits for workers and others. But in essence they are a bourgeois  party that supports capitalism.
To illustrate this I've gone to the Green Party Platform:

"A. Ecological Economics


1. We call for an economic system that is based on a combination of private businesses, decentralized democratic cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises, and alternative economic structures. Collectively, this system puts human and ecological needs alongside profits to measure success, and maintains accountability to communities."

It almost sounds like a socialist platform. Some past communist governments, such as the Soviet Union, had cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises (state owned) and some private businesses. Many people don't realize that most communist movements support some small businesses, or at least they tolerate them. But the next line tells us a lot:

"2. Community-based economics constitutes an alternative to both corporate capitalism and state socialism. It values diversity and decentralization......."

This statement is most likely a rebuke at past communist or socialist style governments. It is basically an anti-socialist statement. There is little to doubt about this.
They also make it perfectly clear they don't want to abolish corporations, they want to reform them:

"C. Curbing Corporate Power


Greens want to reduce the economic and political power of large corporations, end corporate personhood and re-design corporations to serve our society, democracy and the environment......."

They call for reforming corporations and the language they use is somewhat utopian:

"Greens believe the legal structure of the corporation is obsolete. At present, corporations are designed solely to generate profit. This legal imperative — profit above all else — is damaging our country and our planet in countless ways. We must change the legal design of corporations so that they generate profits, but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health, workers, or the communities in which the corporation operates."

This statement ignores the very definition of a corporation. They are primarily to make profit at all costs. That is the only goal of a corporation. To believe that these entities can be changed to be democratic and serve society while at the same time producing profit is absurd. Corporate mangers and owners are greedy. That is their primary reason for all that they do. Since corporations were founded the goal has always been to maximise profits and minimize costs- including the cost of labor. Trying to "reform" such institutions doesn't make any sense. The only logical move is to convert them to democratically run coops. The greedy managers must be dismissed or put under constraints. They can't be allowed to make as much money as they want to. In other words the corporations need to be destroyed and replaced with either coops, state run institutions or something of that nature.
Rather than following any kind of worker led models, the Green Party promotes small businesses and corporations not all that different from any other capitalist model. This is in no way a socialist, worker's oriented, labor style or Marxist movement. This is a bourgeois model for business:

"G. Small Business and the Self-Employed


Greens support a program that counteracts concentration and abuse of economic power. We support many different initiatives for forming successful, small enterprises that together can become an engine of (and sustainable model for) job creation, prosperity and progress. Small businesses are where the jobs are being created. Over the past decade and a half, all new net job growth has come from the small business sector.

The Green economic model is about true prosperity—Green means prosperity. Our goal is to go beyond the dedicated good work being done by many companies (referred to as "socially responsible business") and to present new ways of seeing how business can help create a sustainable world, while surviving in a competitive business climate.

We believe that conservation should be profitable, and employment should be creative, meaningful and fairly compensated.

Access to capital is often an essential need in growing a business."

Some of the wording of this platform is quite bourgeois and could easily have come from one of many conservative news sites or the Republican Party itself:

"Government should reduce unnecessary restrictions, fees, and bureaucracy. In particular, the Paper Simplification Act should be seen as a way to benefit small business, and it should be improved in response to the needs of small businesses and the self-employed."

As we see the Green Party is in some ways quite reactionary or at least a conservative party. Some of their ideas are even primitive, such as:

"The creating and spreading local currencies and barter systems."


I have seen a lot of comments on Facebook recently from leftists who decided to vote for Jill Stein as a protest vote against Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. On one hand Stein has no chance of winning. Because of the Electoral College she can run, but will be unable to win any delegates. Our founding fathers decided the people were too stupid to vote directly for the president so they came up with the Electoral College. We only vote for electors who really chose the president. There is no way the Green Party can win those electors. So if the idea is to register protest vote, it won't really matter. But organizing or campaigning for Stein or any other Green Party candidates is to vote for the opposite of what most leftists want. Support for the environment and generous benefits for workers are always a good idea. However the Green Party is not worth supporting. It is too reactionary to work for us.   

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Fox News attacks mild use of herbs — poppy pod tea — more lies, more hype!



With all the media hype about people using heroin and pharmaceutical narcotics, I knew that members of the media would eventually jump on the sale of poppy pods. I've known a few friends who occasionally order boxes of poppy pods. Their pods just happen to be opium poppies. Those poppies are the easiest to use commercially, even when they are not being used for drugs. But my friends grind them up and make a tea. It relaxes them and they enjoy their use. It seems harmless to me and my friends have used this stuff for years.  
Last year a member of Faux (Fox) News found out, that a person can buy such pods from outlet stores that provide supplies for floral  arrangements and other crafts. The article I saw was called "Opiates disguised as crafting supplies easily bought online." This article includes the usual hype that it is possible to buy opium poppy pods as craft supplies. It is true these supplies can be purchased. But not many people who buy them right now, use them for making tea.
The whole article revolves around a professor and his daily use of these pods:

"The beloved husband and teacher suffered a massive coronary. The death certificate lists opium addiction as contributing to heart failure."

Normally opium (and opiate) use does not cause heart attacks. This is true even when people are in withdrawals. The article admits:

"The death certificate lists opium addiction as contributing to heart failure."

But not the main cause or the only cause. When a person dies while using any amount of drugs it seems common for the cause to be listed, officially, as drug use, when if fact drug users die all the time and that doesn't mean it was because of the drug use. There seems to be a media trend of blaming drugs for a person's death just because the person had those drugs in their system at the time of death.
As the article went on, the professors wife received several boxes of poppy pods that were pre-ordered:

"Sally Sears (the author of this piece) opened the first box with renowned drug addiction specialist Dr. Paul Early and he confirmed the flower husks contain morphine and codeine. To put it bluntly, heroin."  

Opium is not heroin. This is a blatantly false statement. Heroin is Diacetylmorphine and is made by exposing morphine hydrochloride to acetic acid. It is not morphine or codeine. This is an example of hype and exaggeration.  
One thing interesting about this article is that the professor had gotten boxes every day:
   
"As she struggled to settle her late husband's affairs, the grieving widow was stunned as boxes continued to arrive by mail, almost every day."

That stuff is expensive. A half-pound box may cost between $120 to $200. At the rate she described he must have spent at least $500 a week. Most people can't afford that. And he was living on a professors salary.

"Highly addictive drugs, readily available, is always a bad idea," said Early. "Opiates cause a general sense of peace and tranquility."
But that sense of peace and tranquility doesn't last. It soon becomes a hungry monster that's harder and harder to feed."

But not everyone who uses this becomes addicted to it. Most people who do it order it maybe once a month or less. Fox conservatives have shown their hypocrisy with this article. They always complain that government should stay off our backs and out of our lives. They write and talk all the time about liberals wanting to control them. But their attitude is different when it comes to making personal choices about how we chose to live. Drug use has always been unpopular with conservatives, mostly because of religious prejudices and because of fears it will decrease worker's productivity.
But if we are to be a free society  people should be able to live by their own religious standards. People have a right to use herbal plants as they see fit, as either recreation or self medication. There are a lot of herbal plants that may hold some dangers, but most can be used in a relatively safe way.[1] Besides poppy tea, this includes marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms and coca tea (which is legal in some countries and can also be ordered online). Not only are these products relatively harmless in their natural form they are less dangerous than alcohol. Alcohol can destroy the liver, impairs judgment to a much greater extent than herbs, can cause withdrawals and it is far more likely to kill a person than opiate withdrawals. Drinking alcohol causes a lot of health problems and yet it is completely legal for someone to use it. For some alcoholics less dangerous drugs, such as marijuana or poppy tea, may help wean them off of drink.

I'm glad this article didn't spur any more hype than it did. As free citizens we need to have the freedom to chose what we use and how we use it. Employers should judge workers on the work they do and not what they do outside of work. Our lives are ours when we are not at work. If people end up addicted to drugs they need to get treatment. That treatment needs to be made available. But let those who use mild forms of intoxicants alone.

_____________________________________________________
[1] See Steve Otto, War on Drugs or War on People?, (Ide House, Las Colinas,Texas) 1995, p. 190.