Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Urban sprawl in West Wichita continues—clutter, clutter and more clutter

By SJ Otto
It seems like every Summer I write about urban sprawl and the lack of open spaces in my part of Sedgwick County. So why should this year be any different?
When I moved to Maize, KS almost 20 years ago, it was a lot like living in the country. There used to be an open field across the street from me. Maize Road went from my house, to a stop light south of me. From there Maize was a 55 mile per hour stretch of black top road that went through empty lots—wide open spaces with wheat, weeds or something else along the way to 21st Street. It was like most stretches of road in the country—wide open spaces and a few tree lines along the farmed areas.
Today there is a 40 mile per hour four lane road blacktop road lined with either strip malls, large superstores such as Menards, Sam's Club or Lowe's Home Improvement, or buildings still being built. It looks like there is a contest to see who can cram the most buildings on every single site along the road from 53 Street in Maize towards 21st Street.  
There are about four stoplights now. And I dread driving down to the corner of 21st and Maize where New Market Square, is a mega market that has lots of useless crap I will never want or use and where such mega-rip offs as Wal-Mart are located.
My front yard is about 1/4th gone. The once lazy road in front is now a busy street. The noise and light pollution are never ending.
Once empty spaces of wheat or prairie grass. Now just urban clutter.

There is a new plan for a park along the road were Cadillac lake[1] used to be. It sounds like a good idea.  
According to The Wichita Eagle:

Seeking to balance nature and commercial development in an ecologically sensitive area, the Wichita City Council reviewed plans this week for a $7.2 million wetland park to be built at Cadillac Lake in northwest Wichita.
The primary features of the park will be flood-proof galvanized steel boardwalks and wildlife observation stations modeled on the leaves of native lotus plants, said Hans Klein-Hewett, landscape architect with RDg Planning and Design, the company hired by the city to design the park.
The park is planned for a wetlands area near Maize Road and 29th Street North.
This all sounds great. At fist the city originally decided to move Cadillac Lake somewhere else, years ago, so the rush to develop all this land was not compromised by actual wildlife. The new plans look OK, but lets look at how the city did with Wichita's WaterWalk. It was suppose to give us something like they have in San Antonio, Texas, with all those neat canals and boats. After 15 years and $41 million in taxpayer subsidies to the WaterWalk, the city of Wichita has gotten no money from a profit-sharing agreement attached to the development deal. The canals aren't built. The developers just took a lot of city development money and they ran. So what if they do that out here? What if our water park is just one more city development rip off. Tax payers like me will get another area of blight to stare at.
This place already looks like clutter. There is nothing but strip malls  with large mega stores behind them. It looks like shit. A once beautiful country drive is now a cluttered clusterfuck of businesses and buildings of which most of them I will never make use of.
More clutter and traffic lights.

I live in a county where most of the people vote for knuckle headed backward people who haven't studied anything new on city development since the 1950s. They are stupid dolts who couldn't plan a modern city if their life depended on it.
So the rest of us pay. We have ugly over-development. The natural beauty of this land is being ruined by these stupid dolts.
I guess for now all I can do is just put up with it and hope they might actually do what they have promised to do with the Cadillac Lake Park. They might get it right for once in their lives. But I'm not holding my breath.
An endless stream of clutter.

The actual Cadillac Lake before it is gone- Last picture by KMUW.

[1] Cadillac Lake used to be a kind of swamp that was used by migratory birds. Ecologist over the years have tried to preserve this lake as it has been an important stop over point for migratory birds. There have always been the dolts who wanted to drain it and develop it for many decades. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why should we care about the health of John McCain?

By SJ Otto
While nearly the whole mainstream press and politicians from both parties are honouring John McCain for his bravery and dedicated service to the American Government, and remember he was a war hero, some of us are not impressed.
The man has brain cancer and if he was one of his less wealthy constituents, he would be screwed. He would either die from lack of health care or he would lose everything he owned trying to raise the money he needs for his very expensive treatment.
The legislators have their own free medical care that the average American can only dream of. And McCain rushed to work today so he can help President Donald Trump pass a new law that will cost millions of Americans their health care. For the needy there is no reason to "hope he gets well soon." There is no reason to care about his health at all. He doesn't care about the health of others, so why are we supposed to care about him. If he wants our sympathy, maybe he should vote against the Republican repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act is heavily flawed, but  McCain and his allies are about to take away what little health care poor people have.

As for McCain being a war hero, he has promoted war all around the world. It is hard to treat him as a hero when he has promoted war and its destruction on various world societies. Did he learn nothing from his time in North Vietnam? According to Anti-Media McCain's list of war crimes include:

Afghanistan and Iraq
Obviously every US senator (besides California’s Barbara Lee) voted to give president George W. Bush the power to invade Afghanistan following the events of September 11th. However, McCain wasn’t happy with just moving to invade Afghanistan. No, he had other targets on his mind as early as the day after the towers fell.
Despite McCain’s claim in 2014 that “the Iraq war probably wouldn’t have happened” if he had won the 2000 Republican primary and then general election, this assertion seems ridiculous. On September 12th 2001, McCain appeared on MSNBC presenting a long list of countries he felt were providing a “safe harbor” to groups like al Qaeda. This list of course included Iraq and several other countries that appear later on this list.


Another country on that 2001 list (of course) was Syria. Now, the Bush regime may have never gotten a chance to continue toppling Mideast countries (thanks to the failure in Iraq and the exposure of that war being sold on lies). But McCain seemingly never lost sight of his hatred for Bashar Al-Assad.

Shortly after the Arab Spring “broke out” in Syria, McCain – and his constant partner in war crimes Sen. Lindsey Graham – quickly found communication channels with the “Syrian opposition.” Just a few short months after the US endorsed protests in Syria (even having their ambassador attend), McCain and Graham began calling for arms to start flowing to the Free Syrian Army and other “rebel” groups.


McCain’s plans for Syria never quite worked the way he wanted but he probably should’ve know they would never yield a positive result. If McCain didn’t want to look at Iraq to prove that point, he had another more recent example he could’ve used: the NATO intervention in Libya.
It was less than a year before McCain wanted to arm Syrian takfiris that he had supported with the bombing and no fly zones in Libya. McCain even wanted tougher actions against the country. Which has now become an anarchic Wild West that’s home to all sorts of horrors from the Islamic State to a new slave trade.

West and Central Africa

McCain is also a champion of the “war on terror” in other parts of Africa. While McCain hasn’t directly supported terrorists in some countries in Africa, he still has called for more US intervention across the continent.
This list includes countries dealing with Islamic insurgencies, such as Mali. McCain has also called for plans like “deploying Special Forces” to rescue girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria and intervention in Sudan, where McCain and his wife have invested money for some time.


Another country on the list of hated nations originally put forth by Bush undersecretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, and also another long time target of McCain, is of course Iran.
Although McCain has always said “he prays” there will never be at war with Iran, the man constantly calls for it and even jokes about bombing the country when he feels the mood is right. The truth of the matter is, McCain’s positions towards Iran are so hostile that even flagship neoconservative institutions like the Cato Institute think he is too hawkish....


Don’t be fooled into thinking that McCain only supports jihadists in Eastern Europe though! He also backs the overt Nazis acting as death squads for Kiev in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.
This of course started in 2014, but McCain has continued to pledge support for Kiev’s crimes in the Donbass region to this day. This is all par for the course in McCain’s larger theme of challenging Russia– the country he believes controls the separatists in eastern Ukraine.


The story of McCain’s hatred of Russia spans back to the Cold War. We won’t get into McCain’s fear of communism that’s evolved into just general Russophobia. But we will say he didn’t have many excuses to focus on making threats towards Moscow for a good 15-20 year stretch.
This changed in 2008, with the war in South Ossetia between Georgia and Russia. During this conflict McCain was the loudest voice saying the US “should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation.”
This same situation repeated in Ukraine in 2014 but McCain’s worst comments came this year. As soon as the US Intelligence Community’s accused Russia of interference in the 2016 US elections– and without any evidence– McCain was first to say the event was an “act of war.”

North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK/North Korea) was also an early target of McCain’s making his September 12th wish list. More recently though, the restyled “Trump opponent” McCain was all-in on the new regime’s saber rattling. Calling on Trump to strike the nuclear armed country.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Women's rights in Arkansas under attack

From Julie A. Burkhart
Founder and CEO
Trust Women Foundation:

Arkansas is the latest state to put the lives of women in danger with a ban on the safest, most common second-trimester abortion procedure. If allowed to stand — and I can't imagine it will be because it's unconstitutional — physicians will be forced to use an unproven, risky procedure instead of a D&E (dilation and evacuation). 
Why would any lawmaker want to put women at risk like that? You know the answer: politics. 
As you also know, Kansas' ban, the Physician Intimidation and Criminalization Act, is stayed. But women face similar bans in Mississippi and West Virginia. Bans are enjoined in Alabama, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Arkansas' ban is set to go into effect, along with other anti-choice laws, on Aug. 1. A ban in Texas will take effect in September.
Arkansas also passed a law requiring women to notify and get consent from the man who impregnated them or family members about how fetal tissue should be disposed. That's essentially a work-around to require women to get permission to have an abortion. 
Trust Women fought back against the D&E ban in Kansas with the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU and CRR have filed a lawsuit to block the most recent anti-choice laws in Arkansas. 
I have deep concerns that other states will pass similar laws. What's at stake is nothing less than access to abortion care. As I've said before, Roe v. Wade may still stand —and seven in 10 Americans say it should, according to a Pew Research Center survey   but it doesn't mean a lot if women can't actually access abortion care.
On the home front, as I mentioned in our July newsletter, our Wichita clinic has complied with a new law requiring us to disclose medically unnecessary information about the physicians who provide abortion care for our patients. 

We are awaiting a final decision on the Kansas D&E ban from the Kansas Supreme Court. But in the meantime, we are fighting this law actively in the court of public opinion. Please consider contributing $10, $15 or $30 monthly as part of our Circle of Trust. Monthly contributions not only keep our costs low, but they also mean we can broadcast the dangers of such abortion bans across the country with media statements, op-ed pieces and individual conversations.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

US Army is on an extermination campaign

By SJ Otto
Not long ago people complained about the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Back then President George Bush called those prisoners "enemy combatants." he said they had no rights at all as enemy soldiers. They had no right to trial.
Todaymany years later—where are the enemy combatants?
The answer is simple­—we no longer take prisoners. We just kill those who violate our western values. Not since the US Indian Wars was there such an attempt to exterminate a people as is now being done in Iraq.
If we go back to World War II, our army captured many troops and leaders of those troops. Out troops took prisoners in the Korean War. Not today. We are exterminating them.
So what happens to those who actually surrender to US led coalition troops?, according to Independent UK News:

"Iraqi security forces kill Isis prisoners because they believe that if the militants are sent to prison camps they will bribe the authorities in Baghdad to release them. “That is why Iraqi soldiers prefer to shoot them or throw them off high buildings,” says one Iraqi source. A former senior Iraqi official said he could name the exact sum that it would take for an Isis member to buy papers enabling him to move freely around Iraq."
Guantanamo bay is almost empty today. We are fighting wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. So were are all the prisoners from battles we won? There are nonf. We kill them all. When it comes to leaders our US Army makes a priority of attacking and killing leaders. From NBC News:

"The leader of an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan was killed in a U.S. airstrike on the groups’ headquarters this week, the Pentagon said Friday.
Abu Sayed, the emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Khorasan Province, called ISIS-K, died in Tuesday’s airstrike in Kunar Province, a region on Afghanistan’s northeast border with Pakistan.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on Friday that when leaders of terror groups like ISIS-K are killed the groups could be set back a day, a few weeks or a month. "It's obviously a victory on our side, in terms of setting them back. It's the right direction," he said."
So we see the proud victory of an Army that takes no prisoners and celebrates every time the kill an important person.
This is nothing less than genocide. This country has decided to kill all those who don't fit in with their new global order. In this war the idea is to wipe out the people who may have differences of opinion.
Another thing missing is any kind of negotiating. Our military treats that as weakness. But we have no way of moving out of this war. There can be no solution to these wars but absolute and total victory for the US Empire who is now relying on their superior weapons. 
This is one more reason to oppose these phony wars. We know they are not about terrorism, that is a lie. This is about defending the US empire against all those who oppose it. The US started this war, not them. They are extermination campaigns and nothing less.
Pix by Facepunch. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

An Open Letter to Liberals & Progressives from the Black Bloc

I believe everyone deserves the right to be heard. So I'm posting this. -SJ Otto

The deep state isn’t coming to save us. Trump isn’t going anywhere and it seems clear that the elites have no desire to remove him. Meanwhile war and another economic collapse lay just on the horizon, as violence, intimidation, and threats from the far-Right seek to attack anyone who isn’t loyal to the billionaire king. As tens of thousands mobilize in Hamburg, Germany against neoliberal capitalism and as both repression and resistance at home heat up, progressives and liberals must ask themselves a simple question: what side are you on? 

In recent days, the mainstream media has been rocked by the story that Donald Trump has yet again shared social media created by the white supremacist Alt-Right, and secondly that neo-Nazis from within that movement have begun to threaten journalists and their family members for reporting on the story.
Only several days before, liberal and progressive groups organized protests to demand that Trump be impeached and were met in numerous cities by Alt-Right counter-demonstrators who used violence in an attempt to push them off the streets. In San Diegomembers of the Alt-Right carried flags with racist symbols and attempted to surround protesters, in LA and Philadelphia clashes broke out, and, in Austinthe far-Right attempted to block the march’s route.
The targets of the Alt-Right weren’t just the black bloc, anarchists, or antifa–they were anyone who dared to come out that day and voice their displeasure with the president. Ironically, despite the permitted rallies hardly even being disruptive, in the months leading up to them, far-Right conspiracy theory websites such as InfoWars claimed that they would lead to violent riots backed by the Democratic Party in an effort to play up hysteria.
This fear mongering was then kicked into overdrive with the shooting of Steve Scalise by James Hodgkinson in Virginia, as the Right used it as a vehicle to pump up fears of “left-wing violence.”While at the center of this demonization are anarchists and antifascists, as the recent viral NRA video shows, the target has widened to the entire Left, including liberals and progressives.
All of this is taking place against an immense backdrop of rising far-Right violence, murder, and arson attacks, which have been almost completely ignored by both the media and the Trump administration. This violence is also growing in the midst of a massive campaign attacking the working class, pushing through repressive measures that defile civil liberties and the right to protest, slash taxes on the wealthy and regulations on the environment, and move billions in services and healthcare out of the hands of the poor and most vulnerable and into the pockets of the billionaires, CEOs, and 1%.
At the same time, the Trump administration has launched a campaign to gather voting information from all states in order to launch a countrywide version of Cross Check, the same system that struck millions of mostly Democratic black and brown voters from the rolls in 2016. Heading the campaign is Kris Kobach, who is both the Kansas secretary of state as well as the legal counsel of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a white nationalist think tank.
For the rest click here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

DSA continues to build on organization plans

By SJ Otto
Last Saturday members of the local Wichita Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) continued organizing for the next year. The group discussed upcoming elections and outreaching to other progressive organizations. They also decided to build two working groups.
One of the more interesting ideas to evolve included taking over the Sedgwick County Democratic Party. That may sound like an over ambitious plan, but the Democratic Party in this part of the state, has been in really bad shape for many years. This goes beyond it being a centrist party that avoids anything controversial. It is poorly organized, week at winning elections and lacks any real dynamic leadership. If done slowly and carefully, it just might work.
Once again the group discussed running our own candidates as well as supporting others who are running. Brandon Johnson met with DSA members early in the meeting. He is running for district 1 on the Wichita City Council. Johnson is the founder of Community Operations Recovery Empowerment. He is also a member of the District 1 District Advisory Board and a former member of the Kansas Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Members were impressed with his campaign and some members said they will work on it.
James Thompson also came to the meeting. He plans to run for the seat now held by Ron Estes ("Slacker Ron"), 4rth district US House of Representatives.
"One thing that is going to hold you folks back is the name (socialism)," Thompson told the group.
"We know," said a group member. "But we are trying to change that".
Changing people's perception of the term socialism is one of the long term goals of the Wichita DSA. It is the groups hope that future Americans will not see socialism as such a dirty word.
Thompson explained that he is working on developing a position on Rural Kansas. He said he is still being advised on that topic. He said that he already knows that keeping hospitals open in the rural areas are a problem.
"When those (hospitals) go out, people lose jobs," Thompson said.
Thompson told the group that he is not anti-gun. That may help him with some conservatives, but not so much with mainstream liberals.
"I like my guns," he said. "I'm a vet."
He said he is very interested in turning some counties, in his district, from red to blue.
During the planning part of the meeting, the group came up with a plan to help get progressive people elected:
The basics of a socialist campaign.

1. who is the target?
2. why can DSA win this?
3. Steps in the plan.
4. How does it build socialist power?

The group discussed recruiting students from the colleges and maybe high schools. They also talked about getting kits together for students want to organize for their future.
They will include chapter building kits, magazines and other important items.
Another important topic discussed is outreach. They discussed how to approach organizations that we may be able to interact with. They discussed the need to develop different approaches to different types of groups. There are different types of events that groups put on, including solidarity action events, social events and educational events.
At some events DSA will have a table and distribute information. At some events, such as parades, we may want to bring our banner and other promotional items. At some events we will just support what they are doing and avoid promoting ourselves.
The group also discussed social activities that are both political and allow members to socialize. One idea is to show socialist oriented films. Some suggested films include "13th," "Pride".

Sunday, July 09, 2017

US-Afghanistan War —The Futility of War

From the Peace and Social Justice Center of Kansas, Summer Newsletter:

         The ongoing 15 year US War on Afghanistan is a sadly perfect example of how war as a remedy for injustice and terror creates those very things. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have died, large parts of the country have been contaminated by munitions, and nothing permanent has been built. Our taxes continue to be wasted as we build schools and roads there that then are destroyed by more battles. The women we claimed to be liberating are still bearing the brunt of war deaths and injuries. Bombing weddings and other gatherings, accidentally or not, invites retaliation and does not encourage women to go out into the world. And US personnel are still being killed. In the meantime while we wage a futile war our bridges and schools are crumbling because our taxes go to waste.
           All this because we had to start a war for revenge and now can't quit it because politicians don't want to lose face and don't want to confront the military desire to keep going no matter what. There has to be a better way and it starts with withdrawing from these wars by cooperating as much as possible with international institutions, and then using the massive wealth in the US to create a public jobs program to rebuild and clean up our country. Anything less is not sustainable.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The founding myth of the United States

The Boston Tea Party (Wikimedia Commons)
   This article was originally published on Political Violence @ a Glance.
Tomorrow, cities and towns from coast-to-coast will host fireworks, concerts and parades to celebrate our independence from Britain. Those celebrations will invariably highlight the soldiers who pushed the British from our shores. But the lesson we learn of a democracy forged in the crucible of revolutionary war tends to ignore how a decade of nonviolent resistance before the shot-heard-round-the-world shaped the founding of the United States, strengthened our sense of political identity, and laid the foundation of our democracy.
We’re taught that we won our independence from Britain through bloody battles. We recite poetry about the midnight ride of Paul Revere that warned of a British attack. And we’re shown depictions of Minutemen in battle with Redcoats in Lexington and Concord.
I grew up in Boston where our veneration for revolutionary battles against the British extends far beyond the Fourth of July. We celebrate Patriots’ Day to commemorate the anniversary of the first battles of the Revolution and Evacuation Day to commemorate the day British troops finally fled Boston. And at the start of every Red Sox game we stand, take off our hats and sing — 33,000 strong — about the perilous fight, the rockets’ red glare, and the bombs bursting in air that gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Yet, founding father, John Adams wrote that, “A history of military operations … is not a history of the American Revolution.”
American revolutionaries led not one, but three nonviolent resistance campaigns in the decade before the Revolutionary War. These campaigns were coordinated. They were primarily nonviolent. They helped politicize American society. And they allowed colonists to replace colonial political institutions with parallel institutions of self-government that help form the foundation of the democracy that we rely on today.
The first nonviolent resistance campaign was in 1765 against the Stamp Act. Tens of thousands of our forbearers refused to pay the British king a tax simply to print legal documents and newspapers, by collectively deciding to halt consumption of British goods. The ports of Boston, New York and Philadelphia signed pacts against importing British products; women made homespun yarn to replace British cloth; and eligible bachelorettes in Rhode Island even refused to accept the addresses of any man who supported the Stamp Act.

Colonists organized the Stamp Act Congress. It passed statements of colonial rights and limits on British authority, and sent copies to every colony as well as one copy to Britain thereby demonstrating a united front. This mass political mobilization and economic boycott meant the Stamp Act would cost the British more money than it was worth to enforce, leaving it dead on arrival. This victory also demonstrated the power of nonviolent non-cooperation: people-powered defiance of unjust social, political or economic authority.
The second nonviolent resistance campaign started in 1767 against the Townshend Acts. These acts taxed paper, glass, tea and other commodities imported from Britain. When the Townsend Acts went into effect, merchants in Boston, New York and Philadelphia again stopped importing British goods. They declared that anyone continuing to trade with the British should be labeled “enemies of their country.” A sense of a new political identity detached from Britain grew across the colonies.
By 1770, colonists developed the Committees of Correspondence, a new political institution detached from British authority. The committees allowed colonists to share information and coordinate their opposition. The British Parliament reacted by doubling down and taxing tea, which led enraged members of the Sons of Liberty to carry out the infamous Boston Tea Party.
The British Parliament countered with the Coercive Acts, which effectively cloistered Massachusetts. The port of Boston was closed until the British East India Company was repaid for their Tea Party loses. Freedom of assembly was officially limited. And court trials were moved from Massachusetts.

To read the rest click here.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Prison riot (or some kind of event) raises questions on state and local funding

By SJ Otto
Just recently I heard about the incident at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, at their maximum-security prison. It amounted to a group of prisoners refusing to go back to their cells after being in a "common area of the prison." I have a nephew who works as a guard at that prison so I was quite concerned. He was not hurt. His mother was giving us updates on Facebook as to his status.
Whether this was an actual riot, disturbance or some other type of event is hard to say. What ever it was lasted for several hours. For a while some people were releasing statements to the press that there were weapons held by prisoners. So far, the officials of El Dorado Correction Facility have said there were no weapons by the prisoners. But there is a lot of distrust among those who have relatives in the prison or working there. Maybe there were weapons and maybe other violations occurredBut until we know more...officially it was a relatively non violent event.  
According to The Wichita Eagle, a few days ago:

"Internal radio traffic at the prison indicated that “the gym, the yard, the Special Security Team office and the kitchen are all under inmate control right now,” (Robert) Choromanski said in another email. “They are refusing to vacate the area.”

So far I have not seen any reports as to why the inmates refused to return to their cells. Where there any demands? Where they just testing out the resolve of those running the prison? I have yet to see any answers.
There is one thing we can tell from all of thisas with the school system, the Kansas Legislature and our idiot governor have not adequately funded this institution. And we can ascertain that other prison facilities either are or will be facing similar problems in the near future.
Last year the The Topeka Capital Journal reported that:

"(Sam) Brownback himself is developing a budget proposal, but he has divulged few details.
Lawmakers and the governor must find a way to eliminate a $350 million shortfall in the current fiscal year, which runs through June.
State leaders need to account for a projected decrease in revenue of more than $580 million in the next fiscal year."

The main problem here is that the governor and his allies are short changing the prison systems just as they did with the school systems.
According to KAKE's Greg Miller:

"they believe approximately 120 positions are open at the facility. That number had doubled since April. Other employees site low morale, ineffective leadership and dangerous practices for so many resignations.
Family members of those employees inside the facility Thursday had gathered at a private parking lot across the street. Many of them said there have been several incidents at the prison in the last few weeks, and that they're worried about safety for guards."

That indicates that some of the problems may be local. There is little doubt that this also occurs from the dreadful under spending at the state level for paying people for dangerous jobs that are required for the safety and benefit of our local citizens. No matter what anyone thinks of our laws or prison institutions none of us are safe with underfunded and understaffed prisons.
And if the local officials at this facility are unfit for the job, they need to be replaced for the benefit of all of us.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Fourth of July holiday- light the fireworks- shut off the jingoistic commercials

By SJ Otto
So another Fourth of July will come in a few days. That is a holiday I have mixed feelings about. No doubt that there will be plenty of jingoistic TV shows and commercials on TV and radio promoting all the wrong things about this holiday. It was a great revolution for its time. The United States was created out of a change, based in part on the anti-feudalistic political movements in Europe and anti-colonialism in the Americas. A small group of colonies of the United Kingdom decided it was time for their own independent country. So they kicked the British out. They got rid of any form of feudal aristocracy. It all seemed good at the time. And let's not forget that this revolution was strictly for the benefit of white people of European decent. Black slaves and Native American Indians were not invited to this new world.

But then we come to the United States in 2017. We have no formal aristocrats, but we
have them informally. Such individuals as Charles and David Koch, Robert Mercer and even out own president, Donald Trump, have huge incomes and promote politics, in the Republican Party, that entitles them to the kind of wealth and power only kings, queens and other royalty are known for having. They have no formal titles, but they have so much power and wealth they don't need them.
For a country that fought off colonialism we are the most imperialistic force in the world today. We are the only country that presently occupies two nations, Iraq and Afghanistan. While we originally fought a colonial power, today we ARE a major colonial power.
If there is one thing I do like about this holiday it is the fireworks. Along with plenty of beer, grilled meat and a chance to hang out with my friends and relatives, who could ask for a better holiday? But there are those who do.
There are those who really hate this holiday and for good reasons. This is a modern capitalist country and we need a socialist movement to push it in the direction of democracy for the masses, not just the rich classes who now strangle us with all kinds of privileges for them and fewer rights and resources for the rest of us. We need a foreign policy that ends our imperialism. We need to end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. We need an end to the War on Terrorism.
But still, I like the fireworks. I like spending time with my friends and family. I like drinking beer. And there was this revolution at one time and it was not such a bad event. So I will continue to celebrate the Fourth of July, this year and any years to come.

For some background on our founding fathers and their role in our revolution, here is last years summery:

While I am a leftist, that doesn't mean I don't like or admire some of our founding fathers. I like to remind people that there are both good and bad things about the US revolution. We are talking about a revolution that concluded with the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies were to become an independent nation.
Of our founding fathers, the Republicans (anti-aristocrats at that time) included both Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. They differed from George Hamilton and his Federalists who wanted to create some new kind of aristocracy.  In his later writings, Paincondemned the Federalists for trying to reverse the US revolution and what it stood for.

For the rest click here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sign the Petition to investigate Donald Trump

Posted By: Common Cause (campaign leader)
President Donald Trump is refusing to adequately address his 
unprecedented conflicts of interest and put his assets into a blind trust. And Republicans in Congress are abandoning their responsibility to serve as a check on the executive branch.

Especially given the dark cloud already hanging over this administration and its potential ties to Russian election meddling, it's critically important that the American people know if our President is receiving money from foreign governments.
That's why we must call on the House Oversight Committee, and its Republican leader Trey Gowdy to use Congress's oversight role to fully investigate the President's conflicts and overseas business ties. The Democrats wouldn't have to sue if Congress was doing its job -- and we should use this moment to push them into action.
Americans agree that strong oversight is necessary to ensure that public servants look to their time in government as a way of contributing to society, not a way of enriching themselves and their friends.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Daily Kos tries to stop Trumpcare (AKA Don't care)

From Irna Landrum, Daily Kos:

Mitch McConnell will force a vote on the as-yet-unwritten, super secret Trumpcare bill this month, come hell or high water. 

There is internal strife among Republicans senators, and some are urging McConnell to delay the vote. However, he will cancel the next recess and work senators until every item on the Senate calendar is complete—unless he gets a vote this month. 

This is part of McConnell's continued pressure on Senate Republicans to fall in line and pass Trumpcare, a bill most of them haven't seen yet.Secrecy and bullying are not how we pass major legislation! 

Call Senator Jerry Moran at (202) 224-6521 and Senator Pat Roberts at (202) 224-4774. Using this sample script, tell them to stand up to McConnell's bullying and reject Trumpcare now.

Hello. My name is steve calling from 67101 in Maize. I'm urging you to reject Trumpcare. Don't bow to Mitch McConnell's pressure to vote on this bill no one has seen and your constituents DO NOT WANT. If McConnell forces a vote, vote NO on Trumpcare. Thank you.

Pix from