Sunday, June 26, 2016

Retirement a "train wreck" for baby boomers and future generations

By SJ Otto
This week I read The Wichita Eagle's article called "Challenges ahead as baby boomers begin to retire"[1] and I found a few of my own observations to the so called problem. Many people are calling the baby boomer's retirement a "train wreck." They are looking at the giant boost of retirees as compared to the past— from 65,000 to 111,000. Baby boomer is the group I mostly fit into. I will be retiring in the next 6 to 7 years and I expect the same things the past generation had. Ten years ago, the last generation went around bragging that they paid into the system and they insisted that it was workers like me who had the responsibility of paying for their retirement, even though many of us would not live long enough to see our own retirement. I'm getting on in years and I keep hearing politicians talk about forcing people to work until their 70s before they are eligible to retire at all. While it is true that many of us will live longer than the last generation we still get sick a lot. I know I do. So I need both the money and I need the health care. Also jobs are not that easy to find. I've been looking lately and they aren't handing them out like candy. The next generation may find that they not only have to work years  more before collecting Social Security and Medicare, they will also have to find jobs in a tight market. They may have to go without work OR social security and Medicare.  
I probably am old enough to avoid these problems, but if you are a lot younger, 50 or less years, better pay attention to what politicians do now. Don't wait, it will be too late—and/or when you finally get as old as me, you may be in for a very miserable surprise.
Sunday's article had written about the need for skilled workers for the future of industry and commerce. In other words companies are worried about losing some skilled workers. But they are not too worried. Automation will make some jobs obsolete. Some young people are being well schooled to take over for many of the skilled professionals leaving. Some places are stepping down some of their workers into retirement, so the skills can be retained. But not many are doing the last thing and those that are are only doing it for the highest 10 to 20 percent of skilled workers.
As for me I can't wait to retire. I have no interest in helping out the economy. That is because in this Republican Party economy workers are treated almost as bad as they were treated back at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is not surprising that companies in France are trying to imitate working conditions here. That would include attempts to make it easier to fire people (as in the US), extending a 35 hour work week to a much longer one, maybe 40 and attempts to crack down on their unions.[2] Unions and workers are rebelling in France. In the US workers just learn to put up with les and les all the time. In the US we can be fired at anytime. We can be fired for what is on our Facebook page and that has happened several times. In the last 30 years labor unions here have really taken a beating. Most have been broken. Others have found they have little actual muscle to force companies to negotiate with them. Many companies look to keep wages down and there are fewer and fewer benefits to holding a job. As an example many teachers have had so much taken from them in the State of Kansas that many have taken early retirement or left for other states. The state of Kansas keeps taking away various benefits the teachers now have. All across the country this is happing, such as in Wisconsin. It is foolish for companies to believe they can treat workers this bad and then be surprised that most older workers have no interest in working past their retirement age if they can avoid it. Why should we work for people who don't show any appreciation for what we do?     
I'm doing what I can to get ready for retirement. I have no money save up, although I have a few antiques I can sell. We paid off our house so I don't have to pay an exorbitant rent. And I have NO INTEREST in contributing to the economy past my retirement age. I feel I have contributed more than my share already and the people I worked for rarely appreciated it. I will still write my blog though.

[1] DAN VOORHIS, "Challenges ahead as baby boomers begin to retire" The Wichita Eagle, June 26, 2016, pp. 1A, 10A.
[2] See "French strikes: Does France's Workforce really have it easy?" BBC,

Friday, June 24, 2016

England exits the European Union

By SJ Otto
It is not a huge development for England to leave the European Common Market. But now that it has a lot depends on if other nations follow its lead. Financial markets have fallen, which may not be really that bad...and they are bound to stabilize soon. Prime Minister David Cameron, a ass jerk conservative, has resigned. No problem there.
Some of the people who wanted this to happen are really very conservative. Still, England has retaken its sovereignty. And as a secondary benefit the US government and a lot of liberal bourgeois government leaders are unhappy.
In the long run this will mean little to Europe and the world. In the short run it shook things up and set a lot of people straight.

There are a lot of countries, as Greece, that now should leave the EU. That way they can start to run their own affairs and reject all that crippling austerity measures they have been forced to endure.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jay Sidie to challange wing-nut Kevin Yoder, 3rd district

As we continue to follow political campaigns here in Kansas, we find that Jay Sidie, a Democrat, is running against the right-wing autotron Kevin Yoder. It is a good time to start chipping away at the right-wing not-heads who continue to assault our state and federal government services.
Here is a notice I received as an e-mail. I don't like to take part in panhandling for politicians, but it doesn't hurt to support those who are willing to take on all the right-wing Republicans;  
-SJ Otto

Kansas is headed in the wrong direction — and it’s thanks to policies that Kevin Yoder has supported since Day 1.
The current fiscal dire straits that our state finds itself in are the result of a series of funding cuts to our public education system that began in 2009 with then-State Rep. Kevin Yoder’s budget proposal that slashed school funding by hundreds of millions.
From the bad budget that failed Kansas to Yoder’s support for the disastrous government shutdown and his consistent anti-women votes in Congress, Kevin Yoder is the poster child for right-wing extremists.
Congressman Yoder has even voted to lessen the transparency of financial advisors when dealing with retirees’ savings accounts. That’s right — Yoder handed more power to the financial industry while risking seniors’ savings.
As Kansans we know that we can’t put our future in the hands of extreme politicians like Kevin Yoder who are only beholden to party orthodoxy and big donors.
Help us turn the tide and elect Jay Sidie this year. Contribute $5 or more now.
Thank you,
Democrats 2016

Paid for by Jay for Congress

Jay for Congress
P.O. Box 9574
Mission KS 66201 United States

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dr. Roger Michael's US Representative campaign a waist of time

By SJ Otto
This year we see that Republican Tim Huelskamp is being challenged in his first district US Representative seat, by Dr. Roger Michael, running as a Republican. How is he different from Huelskamp? He's not. He has come out with ads bragging about his conservative views, anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-Obama Care (ACA) and he declared his is ready to do battle with the Democrats in Congress.

As with a lot of Kansas Republicans he takes stands and issues that haven't changed in 30 years. He has no new ideas and there is no real reasons for him to be elected over Huelskamp other than the issue that the incumbent doesn't really live in Kansas.
Michael has shown his true colours  by running ads that blame Obama Care for problems created by Governor Sam Brownback. In a recent ad he claims that Obama Care is responsible for the closing of rural hospitals here in Kansas. The reality is that hospitals have closed in Kansas because Brownback has refused to expand Medicaid. He changed Medicaid to KanCare, which has been a dismal failure and most annalists are in agreement to that.
This makes a liar out of Dr. Michael. Michael also made a stink over keeping his "Dr." on the ballet in the upcoming primary. Apparently Michael is a pompous ass who demands that we know he considers himself to be above the rest of us.
Michael leaves us no real reason to vote for him over Huelskamp. Both hold the same conservative views. There is nothing new about Michael's positions on the issues and he has no knew ideas.  

There is NO reason to vote for Michael in the primary. He is just another idiot Teabagger.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Democratic Party cheats the voters on Bernie Sanders

It is not surprising to find that the Democratic Party went against Bernie Sanders. The Democrats are not liberal today. They are a party for corporate leaders and they do not like socialists at all. This is disturbing and it lends credibility to the Bernie or Bust people. The Democratic Party has deeply disrespected the US voters. -SJ Otto

As Bernie Sanders delivered a livestream address to his supporters on Thursday about the future of his movement, he signaled an eventual end to the campaign. Encouraging his supporters to get involved, Sanders vowed to help Hillary Clinton defeat Trump conditional upon the Democratic Party adopting a “real progressive agenda.” However, earlier in the day news broke about a different story that undercut the Vermont Senator’s calls for eventual party unity.
On the same website that published the DNC’s 200-page Donald Trump oppo file, the hacktivist known as “Guccifer 2.0” released what appears to be an internal email from the DNC discussing strategy, which served to confirm what many of Sanders’ supporters have felt all along: The Democratic Party leadership has had its thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton in the primary. The email, dated May 26, 2015, about a month after Sanders announced his candidacy, revealed that at least some in the DNC were planning for a Clinton nomination:

But whatever the reason behind it, this leak has further incensed Sanders' supporters, and that is telling. It has been a long road to this point, but the fact that the 'Bernie Or Bust' Movement has grown to somewhere in the range of 3 to 4 million people (roughly a quarter to a third of Sanders' supporters) is as much a criticism of Hillary Clinton as a candidate as it is a condemnation of how the party has handled the primary.
From the outset, there has been a perception of favoritism by the DNC leadership. Some of those concerns were due to the very fact that the DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was also Hillary Clinton's co-campaign chair in 2008.

For the rest click here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Worst shooting in US history- let the frivolous, shallow and exploitive pundits sing out!

By SJ Otto
The first thing I have to think about after the Orlando Gay Club Shooting is what impact does this have on America? All news personalities have focused on the fact that this was the worst shooting of people in a terrorist incidence in the history of the country. Omar Mateen could be shouting "I'm number one" if he were still alive. But he is not. Now comes the big debate. Was he mostly anti-gay or was he a terrorist wannabe supporter of ISIS (Islamic State)? But from what we can tell so far, Mateen was mostly anti-gay. His joining the ISIS cause could have been more of an after thought.
Articles about him say he talked as if he hated gay people, but he also bragged about having ties to Islamic extremists (or terrorists if we can use the US propaganda term). It seems that he bragged as if this made him a kind of "James Bond" Character. He probably got the attention of a lot of curious women when he was out trolling for them.
So is there anything really political about this or is it just a case of a mentally deficient person who wanted to take out his frustration on a gay club?
In the end ISIS got a little publicity and they can brag that one of their own took down 50 gay civilians. They seem to have little to do with it, but why should they waist perfectly good publicity. The guy wins the country's record for innocent people gunned down needlessly by a loan gun-man.

While this is a massive tragedy that this country will take a lot of time to heal from, we can also expect the political hacks of all stripes to try and exploit this event. The presidential hopefuls will talk of how they have the answers to how to stop such events in the future. Some liberal groups will want to call on all supporters of minority rights to rally around the victims in solidarity. Conservatives will point fingers at Muslems and other minatory groups as being responsible. So for now we must let the circus of the frivolous, shallow and exploitive pundits continue and prosper. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Latest scam to rip off the American Workers- laid off/ but shut up

Whether I talk about democratic socialism as in Bernie Sanders or some other type of socialism, people have to wonder why I'm so down on capitalism. It is suppose to work so well. Why complain?
But here is an example of why many of us just don't like the capitalist system. It starts with an article in The New York Times called: "Laid-Off Americans, Required to Zip Lips on Way Out, Grow Bolder"

And the jest of the article is that local people where replaced by foreigners who promised to work for much less than the job they were taking.
Here is how it was supposed to work; Foreign workers were supposed to get temporary visas so they could take these American jobs and work for much less pay. But how did they get the Americans, who were being laid off, to retrain and help these replacement workers to settle in to their new jobs. Well, the Americans were given generous severance agreements, some as as much as $10,000 dollars. While that may seem like a lot, the workers were being laid off permanently and they were supposed to both train their replacements and keep quiet about the whole arrangement.
This was a great arrangement for the capitalists who benefited greatly. They wanted to replace their workers with outsourced foreign workers who were working much cheaper than their American counterparts. The best part must have been that the Americans would retrain their replacements to do all their jobs. And they had to agree to say nothing to the press about their obvious betrayals.
Despite the agreement some workers are speaking out. But for me there is more to the story than that. This is an obvious betrayal of the American worker. We live in this country and we all aspect to be treated with dignity as human beings. This story shows otherwise. We are cheated by those who the system is dedicated to. We are cheated and then disposed of as if we are yesterdays garbage. So why are so many working people in America so dedicated to both the capitalist system and the class of people it is dedicated to serving. It is bad enough that the system gets so much support, but the ruling class political party, the Republican Party continues to get a lot of working class support.

This article is just one more example of why the American worker gets ripped off. They all need to fight back. And the time is now.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Primary is over —it is Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump —let's dump Trump

By SJ Otto
Like it or not we now have two choices for president next November. Both candidates seem to have a lot of hate from their own parties. In all my election years this is the strangest election I've seen in many years.
This was the first year I actually got to vote for a democratic socialist or a socialist of any kind for US president. That is not including when the Communist Party USA ran Gus Hall. My Marxist friends condemned Bernie Sanders and any kind of work for his campaign. They said he was not really a socialist and would really just support the established order. However young people poured out for him in mass all across the country. Even here in conservative Kansas the young got involved and Bernie won by a landslide.  This is all good to see. I have not seen anything like this since the 1960s and 1970s. In the early 1970s George McGovern was the most left wing candidate for president I ever remember in my life time. I suppose the only presidential candidate even close would be Franklin Roosevelt. I suppose we could also consider William Jennings Bryan the most anti-imperialist candidate of the last two centuries.
However the system has never welcomed such left-wing people. McGovern was not supported by most of the Democratic Party when he ran. The press gave him lousy coverage. Why then would the political establishment even consider allowing a socialist to run as the Democratic front runner. Bernie ran well in spite of the terrible treatment he got from the Democratic Party and political establishment. The good news is that he may be able to get nominate in the next open election season. Or someone like him maybe able to take the reins. Such changes come with an establishment that is hostile to the left and just nasty towards socialism.
And Bernie can do a lot of good at the upcoming Democratic Convention. According to NPR:

"Speaking at the White House after the meeting, Sanders reiterated that he would compete in the D.C. primary next Tuesday and take his campaign issues to the July Democratic National Convention. He also affirmed his commitment to working on issues of income inequality. "We will continue doing everything we can to oppose the drift that currently exists toward and oligarchic form society where a handful of billionaires exercise enormous power over our political, economic and media life," Sanders said. He added that he looks forward to meeting with Clinton "to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent."
The meeting came at Sanders' request, according to the White House. According to a statement, the two are expected to "continue their conversation about the significant issues at stake in this election that matter most to America's working families."
But Bernie has said he will support Hillary Clinton and get behind her.
According to CNN:

"Democrats took giant steps toward party unity Thursday as Bernie Sanders vowed to work together with Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump in November and President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden formally endorsed Clinton for president.
Sanders' decision to continue his White House bid even after Clinton became the party's presumptive presidential nominee has had Democrats on high alert as they seek to quickly change gears and take on Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Sanders' first explicit promise on Thursday to join forces with Clinton to take on the Republicans will help quell concerns among Democrats about divisions in the party.
Emerging from the White House after a meeting with Obama that lasted more than an hour, Sanders warned that a Trump presidency would be a "disaster" and that he would "work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States."

So now we are stuck with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I agree this is not a great choice. Hillary is an establishment candidate to the max. She is not left-wing, liberal or socialist. But she would be the first female president. She will be in charge of picking the next supreme court judges. She will support Obama Care which does work and does help provide some medical care for lower income people. With Trump we can assume things will go back to the way they were with poor people having few if any real options for healthcare. Poor people in America die earlier than any other industrialized country. We all deserve better than that.
I know of many friends who refuse to vote for Hillary. Some people have built a case that she is untrustworthy and dishonest. But I like to point out that Donald Trump will win if she looses.
It may not matter to everyone but it does matter to me. We can do better than Donald Trump. If Trump wins the entire country and every branch of government will be in the hands of the Republican Party. That is a party that has created a haven for millionaires and billionaires and the rest of us have had to pay for all their privileges. I'm sick of that. I'm sick of Republicans.

Let's vote for Hillary, because it is just plain foolish not to.

It is time to take out the Republican refuse that continue to support Brownback

Every Kansas Senate race in Sedgwick County now has an opponent who's planning to run against a GOP person or Brownback ally who has done damage to Kansas. In the weeks to come, this site will be posting articles to help voters recognize which candidates are supporting Gov. Sam Brownback and his destruction of schools and other Kansas institutions. Donna L. Wirth will be running to occupy the seat vacated by Michael O'Donnel. Also running will be Deb Shepard who will try to oust John Witmer. -SJ Otto

Here are some other races made public in The Wichita Eagle:

The contests that will make up the next Kansas Legislature took shape Wednesday as the deadline for candidates to file passed.
All 165 seats – 125 in the House and 40 in the Senate – are up for election this year.
The Kansas Republican Party will try to keep or solidify holds on seats being vacated by a number of Wichita-area Republicans who chose not to seek re-election, including Mario Goico, Mark Hutton and Mark Kahrs in the House and Michael O’Donnell, Les Donovan and Steve Abrams in the Senate. A number of primaries will pit Republican against Republican.
Democrats, who have struggled to gain traction in Topeka, boast of what the party calls an unprecedented lineup of candidates, including a candidate in each Senate district for the first time in more than 30 years. They say they want to capitalize on voter angst related to tumult during the last two legislative sessions.

Open seats

Senate District 15

Incumbent Jeff King, R-Independence, the Senate vice president, is leaving.
Dan Goddard, 68, R, Parsons, former city commissioner and retired CEO of Great Plains Development Authority
Virgil Peck, 58, R, Havana, state House member and insurance agent
Chuck Schmidt, 66, D, Independence, retired superintendent of Independence schools

Senate District 25

Incumbent Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, is leaving to run for a seat on the Sedgwick County Commission.
Lynn Rogers, 57, D, Wichita, Wichita school board member
William Eveland, 51, R, Wichita
Jim Price, 45, R, Wichita, defense contractor

Senate District 27

Les Donovan, R-Wichita, is leaving after 19 years.
Lori Graham, 51, R, Wichita, business owner
Gene Suellentrop, 64, R, Wichita, state House member and business owner
Tony Hunter, 39, D, Wichita, attorney
For the rest click here.