Monday, January 15, 2018

5th-grader echoes Martin Luther King Jr. with her own 'dream' speech

It amazes me that this little kid has the common sense to see that Martin Luther King Jr. dream has not been realized yet. I would say not even close. In fact the goals of an equal society, where people have what they need to survive and live are farther away now than anytime since King lost his life. It takes a little kid, Tchanori Kone, to look around and see just how messed up our world is right now. If the next generation can see through our terrible leadership we have today, with the world's Trumps and other scum bags, and realize how much needs to be done then there lies the hope for this world. SJ Otto
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Trump looks to Kansas for ideas and inspiration for his pogrom against poor and work requirement for healthcare

By SJ Otto
If there is one clear theme of the Donald Trump Administration I would call it "the scum rising to the top." Everything that is wrong with the direction of this country and government is being sought out after by Trump and his party. Our own Governor Sam Brownback is playing a leading roll as a source of inspiration to this countries pogrom against poor people. Welfare today is almost non-existent in Kansas. The restrictions are so great that few of its many poor people can take advantage of them.
Here are some statistics from this Sunday's The Wichita Eagle, in an article called "Brownback cut welfare in Kansas; is Congress about to follow?":


Welfare restrictions and work requirements have knocked tens of thousands of Kansans off assistance over the past few years. Many get kicked out for not working, but only a small percentage leave because they have a job, the latest federal data reveals.
Republicans in Congress have said they want to tackle welfare reform. Some, including Rep. Ron Estes of Wichita, say Washington, D.C. should look to Kansas as an example, but it’s unclear whether program cuts in Kansas left recipients better off.
During his time as governor, Gov. Sam Brownback lowered lifetime caps on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families from 60 months to 24 months and implemented work requirements for recipients. The Republican-controlled Legislature also acted to place many of the changes made by Brownback into law.
Federal data released in October shows that last year only 9.2 percent of Kansas recipients are getting off assistance because they’re employed. Nationwide the rate is 19.7 percent.
At the same time, 21.8 percent of Kansas recipients lost benefits for not complying with work requirements. The U.S. average is 5.7 percent.
“Communities are suffering and families are suffering because we have put barriers up,” Rep. Monica Murnan, D-Pittsburg, said.....
...... DCF spokeswoman Taylor Forrest said the agency “allows its clients to voluntarily close their assistance cases at any time, and they are not required by law to report why they are closing” their case.
She acknowledged that only 9 to 10 percent of recipients list new employment as a reason. Others offer no explanation, she said.

Kansas may be about the hardest state on poor people when it comes to welfare. It should be relabelled "don't care." Our idiot governor, who seems to have been born without a heart, has almost completely destroyed any vestige of a safety net for our neediest citizens. For most people in Kansas there is no welfare system. Brownback seems to take delight in kicking people off of assistance. And for years he and his followers have bragged that they have lifted people out of poverty and have gave them employment. This has all been an elaborate lie.
Even worse than welfare, Brownback is interested in Trump's moves to require work for Medicaid. Brownback has already stood against expanding Medicaid in Kansas. As many as 77,000 Kansans are without healthcare and cannot get KanCare, the bastardised privately run version of Medicaid, dumped on us by Brownback.
The decision by 25 states to reject the expansion of Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act will result in between 7,115 and 17,104 more deaths than had all states opted in, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School and the City University of New York. And that includes Kansas.
For most of my adult life and the lives of many other fine Americans, I have fought for universal health care. This is the only industrialized country without it. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, was a step in the right direction all thought it did not go far enough. Now we have politicians such as Trump and Brownback trying to go the other way, trying to put more obstacles to the few people who have access to Medicaid. This is more red tape. The people who really get hurt by this are those who are already sick, need health care, and can't work because they are sick. With so many people getting sick and dying it is hard to buy the ridiculous arguments that work requirements make life better for those denied health care. Those who push for these work requirements are despicable human beings who seem to have a great contempt for the poor. This is hate legislation and their is no better word for it. Trump and Brownback are nothing more than classist criminals who treat the poor the way the Nazis treated the Jews.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Trump's foul mouthed, racist blather is not surprising

By SJ Otto
Is it really that surprising that President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House?
The comment has been reported by a Democratic aide briefed on Thursday's meeting, according to NBC News.
It is no surprise that many politicians this week have labelled Trump a racist. And some people seemed shocked to hear our president use profanity.
I am not shocked at the profanity. I really don't care and I agree it is they way a lot of common people talk. After a year of Trump being in office it is no real surprise to find he is a racist. And as far as calling Haiti and African nations as "shitholes" he is partially right. Some of those nations are bad places to live.
As for the people of Norway not wanting to come here, Trump is pretty dumb if he can't figure that one out. Norway is a developed European nation. It has a well developed economy. According to National Public Radio:

"From 1870 to 1910 a quarter of Norway's working-age population emigrated, mostly to the United States. You read that right — one-fourth of its workers left the country.
Back then Norway was quite poor. Wages were less than a third of what they were in the United States. And the wave of emigration out of the country quickly benefited those who remained. That's because it reduced the supply of workers in Norway, so those left behind could demand higher wages. And this helped narrow Norway's wage gap with the U.S. by 25 percent over that same 40-year period, putting Norway on the path toward its status today as one of world's most prosperous nations.
Those are the findings of a paper published in European Review of Economic History back in 1997 by two economists. It's considered a seminal work because the authors — Alan Taylor of the University of California Davis and Jeffrey Williamson — then of Harvard University, now professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison — combed through paper archives to piece together the first truly comprehensive picture of wage differentials across European countries and the United States during that time.....
.....Then in 2008 a wealth of new data became available about Norway that added yet another twist to the picture: It turns out that the immigrants that Norway sent to the U.S. during that great migration wave of the 1870s were its poorest and least educated citizens. Researchers were able to determine this thanks to newly digitized census data from Norway. (Other European countries have embarked on similar efforts but Norway, with only around 2 million residents in its early census data, finished the task first. That has made Norway the go-to nation for researchers of historical economics.)"

There is a simple reality that Trump overlooks. European countries, such as Norway, don't have so much deep poverty. A lot of people in Norway have jobs. One big factor a lot of Republicans overlook are that most European countries have free or cheap health care. People in Norway pay almost nothing for their health care. So why do people with decent jobs, living in a first world country with a developed economy similar to the US—and most of all—Mostly free health care want to come here? To put this in simple terms Norway is not a shithole of a country.
But the "shithole" countries are a different story. Most nations in Africa and Haiti are underdeveloped. Many lack resources. Many have had famine and other natural disasters. Wages in those nations are often way below wages in the US. Governments are usually corrupt, with lousy human rights records. There is usually a wide divide between the poor workers and the rich upper classes.
Probably the best example of this is Yemen. Yemen is not an industrialised nation as is Norway. Yemen as of 2013 had a GDP (ppp) of US $61.63 billion, with an income per capita of $2,500.The unemployment rate as of 2003 was 35 percent. Simple logic suggests that people prefer to live in a nation that has a developed economy, adequate jobs and they probably like living in a nation where they can afford health care.
One thing that Trump is not talking much about is that the US is presently sending troops to Africa to interfere in those nation's political affairs. To put things in plain easy to understand English, the US is planning to import the same kind of imperialist intervention it has used in the last 10 years in the Middle East.
Until the Soviet Union fell, Yemen had a Marxist Government in its Southern half and a Western style republic in the North. After the Soviet Union fell North and South agreed to unite into one country. Then the northern government attacked the Southern Marxist army and wiped them out. As with many African countries there is presently an Islamic faction that resemble ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in some ways, called the Houthis  (الحوثيون‎). The US, has been using Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, as a proxy army to attack the Houthis. Saudi Arabia attacked them with aircraft and with that action that country and the US have deepened involvement in that countries internal struggles. So not only is Yemen a poor country, it is now war torn nation.
Most people don't like living in countries at war since a lot of innocent bystanders get killed. Who wants to live in a country where they can get killed on any day without any warning?  
While I don't really care if the president uses profane language and I agree people want to come here from "shithole countries" the one thing that is apparent is that our president is just not that smart. The answers to his questions are obvious. Many of us already now that Trump is a racist. The problem is he is also an idiot and he is unfit to be president. This latest incident is just one more piece of evidence that he is unfit for the office.


The Asshole Song



Friday, January 12, 2018

Live stream for universal health car from DSA and Bernie Sanders



From DSA:
I’m excited to invite you to Senator Bernie Sanders’ livestreamed Medicare for All town hall January 23rd! DSA is proud to work with Senator Sanders to promote this event. And DSA chapters all across the country are organizing for universal healthcare and taking the fight to a capitalist class that puts profits before patients.
Check out this video for more information. And you can RSVP here.
This is a great opportunity for DSA chapters and members to hold watch parties for people to learn about Medicare for All and how they can get involved in local and national democratic socialist campaigns. The Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All Campaign is launching a lot of great new stuff:
·         Our website has launched! Keep an eye on medicareforall.dsausa.orgfor all the latest news, including resources to help your chapter get a campaign up and running. This will be our main hub for all things #DSAM4A. Check the site regularly — we’ll be updating it shortly with new features. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

·         As the M4A campaign grows, we’ll face new strategic questions. That’s why our strategy plan includes the Political Subcommittee. This committee is tasked with advising the NPC on strategy questions regarding the M4A campaign. The 20 person body will have representatives from key national committees/working groups/commissions and coalition partners. The rest of the committee’s seats will be filled by rank and file DSA members. DSA members interested in helping shape and build the M4A campaign should apply here.

·         The Campaign’s Organizing Sub-Committee helps chapters develop their local campaigns. This month the committee will be holding a call to highlight current M4A work being done across the country and answer chapters’ questions. If you want your chapter to get involved, make sure you’re signed up for the campaign.
Healthcare should be about healing the sick, not giveaways to the rich. We need a system that prioritizes working-class Americans’ health over insurance companies’ profits. And with #DSAM4A, you and I can stand up to the billionaires for real change in working peoples’ lives. Join us!
In solidarity,
Maria Svart, DSA National Director
PS: Starting next week chapters will be able to order their Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All Campaign Kit: organizing guides, informational pamphlets, and of course some sweet #DSAM4A swag. I’ll email you ordering information!
https://act.dsausa.org/o.gif?akid=915.16735.o6wD7W 


Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Planning commission OKs megachurch- and ignores objections from neighbors

By SJ Otto
A Mega church is planning to build housing, an amphitheater and many other facilities- and all of this at the objection of close by neighbors.
According to The Wichita Eagle, there is a:

complex that will back up onto the Willo-Esque neighborhood in west Wichita, shortly before planners approved the project and sent it on to the City Council.
The new development will include 180 patio homes and apartments, a 165,000-square-foot event center, a 500-700 seat outdoor amphitheater, a school, a youth/fitness center and athletic fields. It’s planned for 33 acres of vacant land just west of the existing church buildings at 6100 W. Maple, near the west bank of the Big Ditch….

And there have been complaints:

…. The plan has so far encountered little opposition and passed unanimously at the District Advisory Board Wednesday. But at the Planning Commission hearing Thursday, three neighbors questioned what it will mean for their lives.
“I’m very concerned about light, noise,” said neighbor Joan Flynn, who’s worried how it will affect the value of her home.
“Even with just the church being over there, they every once in a great while light it up like a Christmas tree and it’s annoying,” she said. “When I hear there’s going to be a sports field and an amphitheater (and) that the amphitheater would close at midnight, gosh, you know, we have kids in that neighborhood that don’t stay up till midnight and I am very concerned.”

The first thing we have to wonder is why a church needs so much property developed. Would Jesus, in his time, become a multi-millionaire capitalist? Why does any church need so much property and income? That seems not to be the reason for a church in the first place. And these mega churches are gaudy anyway.
The other issue is why the city always has to take the side of developers even when the people around them don’t want the development. The answer is easy. This is a city, like many, where the elected leaders are in the pockets of the developers. The developers own city hall and all who serve. They owe their careers to the developers. Until we can get some people elected in city hall that work for the people and not the corrupted interests, that’s how things will be.



Saturday, January 06, 2018

Corporations cut corners and cost workers their lives- two men died

By SJ Otto
This latest story in The Wichita Eagle is an example of capitalism gone wrong. Two men died, smothered by grain as they were buried alive. It turns out that the company that ran the grain elevator has faced 24 cases of safety and health violations by federal regulators over the past seven years. The elevator is operated and owned by Gavilon. They own not only the elevator in which the two men were killed, near Wichita, but they own other grain elevators including one in Ohio where a man was crushed by a grain auger. There is little doubt that corners have been routinely cut by owners who follow the mantra that we have "too many regulations," a theme we hear often from the Donald Trump administration. I'm sure the owners scoffed at the idea that we need so many regulation and that the possibility of an accident from ignoring these rules is just too remote. But in this case we see that the accident was not remote. The chances are good that they just ignored the rules and figured nothing would happen.
Such lack of respect for regulations just cost two men their lives. This accident was probably preventable. If the owners had followed the safety regulations and did what they were supposed to do, these men would not have suffocated. When conservatives publically complain that there is too much regulations of their industries, we need to remember these tragedies and remind the public that not following the rules cost people their lives. Most of the time such rules are ignored to save time and money. When preventable deaths occur, that savings is not worth it.  
Conservatives tell us there are too many regulations. These deaths tell us otherwise.

For The Wichita Eagle story, "Owner of Wichita grain elevator where two men died has history of safety violations," click here.
 Image result for ​grain auger
Pix by Shapeways.


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Bernie Sanders reaches out to us on this new year 2018

From Beranie Sanders:


Sisters and Brothers -
What a year it was!
Yes. We all know that we have seen a president take office who is the most dishonest, bigoted, divisive and reactionary president in the modern history of our country.
We have also seen a right-wing extremist, Republican Congress attempt to throw up to 32 million Americans off of the health care they have, give hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the richest people in our country and the largest corporations, destroy environmental legislation and work overtime to deny women the right to control their own bodies.
Yes. We have seen all of that and much more. But we are also seeing something else that, from an historical perspective, is far more important. We are seeing the American people come together, fight back and win important victories all across the country.
During my campaign for president in 2016 I stated over and over again that the future of our country was dependent upon our willingness to make a political revolution. I stressed that real change never occurs from the top on down. It always happens from the bottom on up. No real change in American history, not the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the gay rights movement, the environmental movement or any other movement has ever had success without grassroots activism, without millions of people engaged in the struggle for justice.
That's what I said when I ran for president. That's what I believe now and that's what millions of us have been working to accomplish over the last several years. At a time of massive and growing income and wealth inequality, when our nation moves closer and closer to an oligarchic form of society, we are working hard and effectively to create an unprecedented grassroots political movement to defeat the greed of the billionaire class and the politicians they own.
And the good news is that we're making progress. In state after state ordinary Americans are successfully taking on establishment politicians who are more concerned about protecting their wealthy campaign contributors than the needs of the middle class or working people they are supposed to represent.
In 2017 we made progress when millions of people, in every state in the country, took to the streets for the Women's March in opposition to Trump's reactionary agenda. We made progress when an unprecedented grassroots movement elected a young African-American as mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. We made progress when tens of thousands of Americans turned out in rallies and town meetings to successfully oppose the Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and we're making progress when more and more Americans are joining the fight for a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.
We're making progress when governors and local officials in every part of the country announce, in response to student demands, tuition-free public colleges and universities. We're making progress when states and communities from coast to coast adopt legislation which provides a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
We're making progress when, on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2017, in local and state elections all across the country, Trumpism suffered a major defeat as hundreds of progressive first time candidates from every conceivable background ran for school board, city council, state legislature and other local offices - and many of them won.
We're making progress when, on Dec. 10, 2017, a strong Democrat was elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, one of the most conservative states in the country.
The truth is that the American people are far more united than the media allows us to believe. They get it. They know that over the last 40 years, despite a huge increase in worker productivity, the middle class has continued to shrink while the very rich have become much richer. They know that, for the first time in the modern history of the United States, our kids will likely have a lower standard of living than their parents.
Our job, in 2018 and beyond, for the sake of our kids and grandchildren, is to bring our people together around a progressive agenda.
Are the people of our country deeply concerned about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality that we are experiencing? You bet they are. Do they believe that our campaign finance system is corrupt and enables the rich to buy elections? By overwhelming numbers.
Do they want to raise the minimum wage to a living wage and provide pay equity for women workers? Yes they do. Do they think the very rich and large corporations should pay more in taxes so that all of our kids can have free tuition at public colleges and universities? Yup. Do they believe that the United States should join every other major country and guarantee health care as a right? Yes, again. Do they believe climate change is real? You've got to be kidding. Are they tired of the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, having a crumbling infrastructure with roads, bridges, water systems, wastewater plants, airports, rail, levees and dams falling apart? Who isn't?
Further, a majority of the American people want comprehensive immigration reform and a criminal justice system that is based on justice, not racism or mass incarceration.
Today, what the American people want is not what they are getting. In fact, under Republican leadership in the House, Senate and White House, they are getting exactly the opposite of what they want.
The American people want a government which represents all of us. Instead, they are getting a government which represents the interests and extremist ideology of wealthy campaign contributors. They want environmental policies which combat climate change and pollution, and which will allow our kids to live in a healthy and habitable planet. Instead, they are getting executive orders and legislation which pushes more fossil fuel production, more greenhouse gas emissions and more pollution. They want a nation in which all people are treated with dignity and respect, and where we continue our decades long struggle to end discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nation of origin. Instead, they have a president who seeks to win political support appealing to those very prejudices.
Maintaining a vibrant democracy based on principles of justice has never been easy. In these dangerous and unprecedented times, it may be more difficult than ever.
As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires are now able to spend hundreds of millions in ugly TV ads demonizing candidates who dare to stand up to them. Republican governors and legislatures are working to suppress the vote, making it harder for people of color, poor people and young people to vote. Republican state legislatures have created incredibly gerrymandered districts which unfairly protect Republican candidates.
Yes, I know. These are painful and frightening times. Many friends have told me that they have given up reading the papers or watching TV. But let us be clear. Despair is not an option. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not anytime. That is exactly what our enemies want. Also, please never forget that the struggle we are engaged in is not just for us. It is for our kids and grandchildren. It is for the future of the planet.
So here is a New Year's resolution I hope you will share with me. In 2018 we will not only intensify the struggle against Trumpism, we will increase our efforts to spread the progressive vision in every corner of the land. Yes. We will create a vibrant democracy where the voices of all people are heard. Yes. We will create a nation which leads the world in the struggle for peace, and for economic, social, racial and environmental justice.
The struggle continues.

Bernie Sanders

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Democrats’ New Agenda Is Everything That’s Wrong With the Party

After all this time it just seems as if the Democrats just can't learn from their mistakes. They are prepared to do the same terrible job they have done for the last 20 years. We have a right to expect something better. -SJ Otto

From In These Times:

More bland messaging and populist posturing won’t save the Democrats. The party needs to take a bold stand against corporate power.
There’s no shortage of ambitious programs waiting for the Democrats to embrace.
The story of the Democratic Party in 2017 has been one of timidity and stubborn resistance to real change.
In the immediate aftermath of the party’s preferred candidate facing a humiliating defeat in last year’s presidential election, questions swirled over what direction the party would take to respond to the new political reality. With Democrats at their weakest position in decades, having lost over 1,000 seats in states and Congress over the previous eight years, it appeared that a drastic shift in how the party operated was in store.
And the party was offered an early opportunity to embark on such a shift, with the campaign by Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee chair. Ellison sported a resume as a bold progressive with popular support from rank-and-file Democrats and party activists alike. And he presented a clear break with the Democratic Party’s traditional establishment.
But rather than embrace the new direction presented by Ellison’s bid, party insiders conspired to instead elect Tom Perez, a candidate with much stronger connections to the party’s establishment wing. The result came as a dispiriting blow to many in the party’s base who hoped for a clear break in Democratic leadership.
In the ensuing months, the Democrats have turned to neoliberal architects such as Rahm Emanuel for advice, invested a historic amount of funding in centrist Jon Ossoff’s failed congressional campaign in Georgia and returned to the strategy of recruiting moderate “Blue Dogs” to run in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.
And this week, the Democratic Party announced its new slogan and platform: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” Besides its possible plagiarism from Papa John’s tagline, the plan includes a repackaging of a number of longtime Democratic ideas, with some potential progressive offerings sprinkled in. But much like a pizza from Papa John’s, “A Better Deal” mostly amounts to an uninspired, stale and cheesy agglomeration stuffed neatly into a box.
Lack of imagination
One of the main policies included in “A Better Deal,” lauded by both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in their respective op-eds announcing the agenda, is a tax credit for companies to train workers in new skills. On its face, this initiative may come across as smart and sound policy aimed at retraining workers and incentivizing businesses at the same time. Except their plan has one problem: It doesn’t work.
As has been documented time and again, simply handing money to the private sector is an ineffective way to make sure that workers become retrained with new skills. In fact, as Corey Robin notes, when such programs have been instituted in the past, data and research over decades has shown that overall they’ve performed poorly.
In an In These Times article published in 1994, John B. Judis explained why job retraining, then touted by the Bill Clinton administration, failed to lead to wage increases for workers or growth in employment. To prove his case, Judis cited the Labor Department’s own studies.
What didn’t work in 1994 and in the intervening decades is not any more likely to work in 2017. And yet the plan sits as one of the centerpieces of the Democrats’ new strategy. Why?
This goes back to the issue of timidity. Schumer has called the plan “a strong, bold economic agenda.” In reality, promising more cash to companies is not bold at all: It is the plan least likely to offend or challenge the profit-maximizing model of corporate America.    
The same holds true regarding the issue of jobs. “A Better Deal” sets a goal of creating jobs for 10 million more Americans over the next five years. This is a good start, but why stop there? Rather than setting its sights on a simple, round number of jobs, the Democratic Party could take an actual bold step and announce a goal of full employment across the country, with everyone who wants a job being offered one.
This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky fantasy. A federal job guarantee has been part of the national conversation going back to at least 1934 when Louisiana’s populist governor Huey Long called for it in his “Share the Wealth” plan. Franklin Roosevelt included a federal job guarantee in his famous second bill of rights. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out in favor of such a plan. George McGovern ran on it in 1972, and some form of full employment was featured in the Democratic Party platform from 1944 up until 1992, the year Bill Clinton won the presidency.


For the rest click here.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Police shooting in Wichita KS puts fear in local citizens

By SJ Otto
Here in Wichita we now see just how dangerous our police are. They shot an unarmed man who did nothing wrong at all. He was the victim of a prank. According to several news sources, the prank was in revenge for a dollar bet on a gaming web site.
According to Yahoo News/ABC:

"Thursday's incident began around 6:18 p.m. Central Time when police received a 911 call about an alleged shooting with hostages at a residence in Wichita, Kansas. The caller told authorities he had shot his father in the head while his parents were arguing, police said. The caller also said he was holding his other family members at gunpoint inside the home and was thinking about setting the house on fire, police said.....
..... Upon arriving at the scene, officers surrounded the front of the house, preparing to make contact with the caller inside and for the potential situation of a hostage barricaded with suspects, police said.
A 28-year-old man (Andrew Finch) opened the door of the home and was told to raise his hands and walk toward the officers -- a command he obeyed for "a very short time" until he moved his hands back down to his waist, police said."

So far in Wichita no policeman has ever had any kind of a reprimand for wrongfully shooting of an innocent person or people. And there have been many instances where either innocent people, or mentally ill people, have been shot and killed by police. Often these people have been unarmed. The prosecutor's office has almost always rubber stamped what the police claim and they have always been exonerated of any wrong doing. The difference today is there is a new set of police officials, new police chief, newer persecutors so we will have to see if there is any difference this time around. The present Chief of Police is Gordon Ramsay. He is fairly new at the job. Marc Bennett is the present District Attorney, replacing Former District Attorney Nola Foulston who preceded him. She retired and she was always on the side of Wichita's police.
According to The New York Times:

"(Deputy) Chief (Troy) Livingston placed the blame for the shooting squarely on “the irresponsible actions of a prankster,” but Ms. (Lisa) Finch said the police were culpable. “That cop murdered my son over a false report,” she said in an interview with The Wichita Eagle. She and other family members did not immediately respond to several messages from The New York Times on Friday."


There are a lot of unanswered questions to this whole event. Why was Finch shot as he walked out of his door. He stepped on his porch to see the police lights and was shot. His family had to step over his dying body to be questioned by police.
Bring a candle. This is very disturbing. This could have happened to anyone. Surely there was a better way of handling this than shooting a man as he walked out of his front door to see why police had surrounded his home. None of us are safe if the police continue to act this way, with no consequences for shooting the innocent. ANY OF US COULD BE NEXT.



A 25-year-old man in California, Tyler Barriss from South Los Angeles, has been arrested for the alleged hoax 911 call.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Extreme poverty returns to America


This article is not surprising at all. The only real surprise is to those who still believe this is the greatest country in the world and a place where everyone has a chance to make something of themselves. When I spar with conservatives on line I find a lot of them refuse to believe that people fall through the cracks and end up destitute or even dead. They don't want to believe that some people who make honest mistakes or choices that just don't work out. They end up homeless or dying from curable diseases or just lead really miserable lives because this capitalist system failed them.
This is the wealthiest nation in the world. There is no disputing that fact. And yet we have some of the worst poverty in the world. This is the only industrialized country in the world that lets people die from a lack of health care. This country
pays less on welfare programs than any other industrialized nation. Workers have little control over their lives and fewer benefits than any other industrialized nation in the world. In the last election in the US, the voters literally handed over most of the political and economical power in this country to the richest 1 percent of the population. That 1 percent are now getting a truckload of wealth and power at the expense of the rest of us. And for many at the bottom:
-SJ Otto

 

From The Washington Post:

The U.N. finds growing numbers of Americans are living in the most impoverished circumstances. How did we get here?

By Premilla Nadasen
“Finish all your food,” my mother used to tell me. “There’s a child in Africa who would love to have that food on your plate.” It was an effective disciplinary approach, especially because my family is from Africa. But my experience is not unique. Images of poverty in the “Third World” — then and now — permeate American society, reassuring us about our country’s ostensible democratic promise and potential for upward mobility. What economists call “extreme poverty,” most Americans think, is a distant problem, a hallmark of the less developed world.
But could extreme poverty also be a feature of what is (although perhaps not for long) one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world? Quite possibly. To answer the question, the United Nations launched an investigation of extreme poverty in the United States.
Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, has just wrapped up a 15-day tour of the United States. His team visited Alabama, California, Puerto Rico, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. The findings, released last Friday, documented homelessness, unsafe sanitation and sewage disposal practices, as well as police surveillance, criminalization and harassment of the poor. The rise in poverty, they found, disproportionately affects people of color and women, but also large swaths of white Americans. The report concluded that the pervasiveness of poverty and inequality “are shockingly at odds with [the United States’] immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights.”
To be sure, poverty in the United States is not equivalent to poverty in less developed countries. This has never been a country free of inequality and poverty, but their rapid growth over the past two decades has undermined any professed commitment to equal opportunity or the belief that the nation’s prosperity rests on the well-being of ordinary Americans.

For the rest click here.
 

The rising rate of homelessness in places like San Diego is one of the signs of growing poverty in the United States. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Reasons for trouble in Iraq

I believe it helps to occasionally get my opinions in the local newspaper. while I can print what I want in my blogs, The Wichita Eagle reaches a lot more people than I can reach. If I get a reaction to it, that is even better. So I was glad to get my letter printed in The Wichita Eagle:

The newly liberated land in Iraq is turning out to be a hell hole for all those who did anything to cooperate with the ISIS government before it fell. People have been given ridiculously long prison terms and they are being executed for simply having had a job that in any way helped the ISIS officials who ruled over that part of Iraq for the last few years.
There has been a report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) that criticized Iraq and the autonomous Kurdish authorities over mass trials of suspected ISIS group militants.
It would be easy to just claim that this is Iraq and this is what passes, in that culture, for normal behavior. But the truth is that it was the U.S. armed forces that trained the Iraqi troops and led their armies to remove ISIS from all Iraq territory.
The Iraq Army is a part of the government that the U.S. built from the ground floor up. In other words this is an extension of the U.S. government and armed forces.
I keep hearing that we must thank our military people for defending this country and our freedom. I hope our freedom does not rely on such repressive regimes.
STEVE OTTO, MAIZE

Thursday, December 21, 2017

For most of us President Trump's tax changes have given us a lump of coal in our stockings

By SJ Otto
The so called Christmas present (tax changes) by our pathetic excuse for a president, Donald Trump is a great big gift to the wealthy corporations and the 1 percent of our population who already have most of the country's money. For the middle class they get a temporary tax break and in the long run, their gift is like a lump of coal. Their taxes will actually go up. The Corporate giveaway is permanent. Much of the mainstream news media is crowing about this being a big win for the Republicans as if this is really good for the whole country. For most of the lower income people this new tax code is a real kick in the groin.
There is nothing to celebrate for those of us who make less than $70,000 a year. People at the lower ends, such as teachers, actually lose tax deductions they used to have. And the President is so happy and proud that he has further destroyed health insurance of many lower income people in this country. Any one who makes less than $30,000 a year and supports this guy really should check into a mental health facility.
Supposedly all that new wealth will trickle down. That didn't work for Reagan and it has been a miserable failure under out inept Governor Sam Brownback. But it is a great excuse to give generous gifts to the wealthy and the expense of all the rest of us.
So this is no Merry Christmas for the 99 percent of people who the President just screwed over.

Captain SKA - Sons And Daughters