Wednesday, September 20, 2017

No surprises from the dangerous rants of this brutish buffoon—Donald Trump—as he lays out his vision for the UN and his empire

By SJ Otto
President (and Emperor) Donald Trump laid out his world view in his latest speech to the United Nations and there was little in it that surprised me. Trump is a brutish buffoon who should have never been given the job of President of the United States. This country is seriously broken when an unprofessional amateur can manipulate the system, the electoral college, and win without the majority of his people's votes. His speech reflected his amateurish, uncouth, authoritarian views.
Yesterday a pundit on NPR read a few lines of a speech that former President Barack Obama gave the to UN when he was running things. There were surprisingly many similarities. So the speech was far less of a difference on policies and substance, but a difference of bad language and brutish and irresponsible threats.

That came to light over what he said about Democratic People's Republic (North) Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, calling him "Rocket Man." Trump said:

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime."

Rocket Man is not really that strong of an insult. Most of those who were at the UN seemed to believe it was just unprofessional. Much worse was his threat to "totally destroy North Korea."  That is not because the country has a lot of supporters among leaders of the UN, in fact North Korea may not have any supporters at all. Supposedly China is their ally, but China has done little if anything to help out their supposed ally.
As stated above, Obama made anti-North Korean remarks somewhat similar to that of trump's when he was the president:

"North Korea tests a bomb that endangers all of us. And any country that breaks this basic bargain must face consequences.

So calling out North Korea is nothing new to US politics. What is different is the stark language—an outright threat to wipe North Korea off the map. And also, just as in the past, this US president did not say he would attack if North Korea does. He said that North Korea was being aggressive just by having nuclear missiles. It doesn't seem to matter if Kim uses the missiles, just having them is considered an "aggression."
We have to wonder if Trump is so unstable that he would actually start a war with North Korea. There is no doubt who would win. The US has way more weapons and people to destroy that country. That could be done without any help from any other UN ally or country. The problem is it could end up killing a lot of people, maybe even in the millions. Even a few nuclear weapons from the north could wipe out the city of Seoul, South Korea's capital, which is just about 35 miles south of the border. Cities in Japan, South Korea and cities in US controlled colonies, such as Guam, could be destroyed. Any use of a nuclear missile could leave an area poisoned and useless for years. The US has wanted to take over North Korea ever since the war ended in July 1953. That real estate is part of the US Empire's global desires. North Korea stands alone on a peninsula that is covered in US allies. North Korea is the one nation that stands in the US Empire's way.
Trump urged the UN to join together in order to curtail North Korea's nuclear efforts.
"We meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril," Trump said.
He also declared he would always put America first:
"As president of the United States, I will always put America first," he said.
But what did he mean? Did he mean the country, the government, the people? He couldn't mean the American people. Only a minority of people actually voted for him. And it is likely his support has actually gone down since the election. And he only represent wealthy Americans. His latest efforts to repeal Obama Care (Affordable Care Act or ACA) will leave many poor Americans to die from lack of health care. So Trump's "America" has no concern or respect for its less wealthy citizens.
Trump urged other leaders to do likewise and always "put your countries first."
"The potential of the U.N. is unlimited," he said.
Acknowledging that he's been a "critic" of the organization in the past, Trump praised its future, saying "there can be no better forum."
He may have praised the UN in his present day speech but he has been very critical of the UN in the past. In the past he called the UN anti-American. Trump left the Paris Climate Accord because he lamented it was unfair to U.S. workers. He's railed against multilateral trade deals, like NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership, that he feels don't benefit the U.S.
Today we live in a Unipolar world. Since the fall of the USSR[1] there has been no other superpower to rival the US. Countries, such as North Korea, that oppose the US imperialist order can't put up any real military threat the way the USSR did. Russia today is imperialist, but they have the same ideology as the US. There are small imperialist countries, like Iran,[2] but they aren't able to put up any real challenge to the US militarily. Most of Europe's industrialized nations act as an ally to the US, taking their own share of the US Empire's spoils. Smaller weaker third world countries are completely under control of the US. Because of this, the entire UN body supports almost all of the US's actions and intentions. When Trump asked for sanctions against North Korea, no country got up and tried to oppose it.
The US has gotten complete support on the other rogue nations it has condemned, Iran and Venezuela. Except for Climate Change Trump has gotten everything he wants from the UN. With the exception of the nations of Europe, the US is full of yes-men and Imperialist lackeys. So Trump's accusations of UN anti-Americanism just doesn't make any sense.
The only country that opposed Trump's anti-Iran rant was Iran:

“Trump’s shameless and ignorant remarks, in which he ignored Iran’s fight against terrorism, display his lack of knowledge and unawareness,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to the official Fars news agency.
Trump called Iran a “depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” saying that it funds “terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors” and uses its oil wealth to “shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.”
In turn, Zarif accused Washington of supporting “tyrannical regimes” in the region, and “the criminal Zionist state.”

And while the other countries also oppose Iran, Trump's attacks on the agreement that Obama hammered out before he left office where not so welcome. Destroying that agreement comes across as reckless by the other countries. From Vox:

All of this raises a pair of questions: Is Trump making a valid argument when he says Iran is breaking the deal? And if not, what’s his actual problems with the agreement?
The answer to the first question is pretty clearly no. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is in charge of monitoring the deal, has repeatedly certified that Tehran is complying with the limits on its nuclear program. The Trump administration has yet to produce any evidence to the contrary.
It seems instead that Trump’s case against the deal is more political and strategic: His team believes that Iran is an enemy of the United States, one that frustrates US objectives in places like Iraq and Yemen, and that the nuclear deal hasn’t done much to solve the problem.
Over all we see the rumblings of an arrogant and ruthless-inexperienced politician who can make or break anyone else's country. He inflicts fear on a lot of leaders. He can carry out any of the threats he has made in his UN speech. There is nothing any of the UN leaders can do to stop him or even slow him down. He is a dangerous man. That the US is an empire and today's supreme source of military and political power in the world is obvious and just about any US president would fit in with that assessment. The real difference between Trump and his predecessors is that he is way more reckless and dangerous.
As long as Trump is the president there is little we can do about his foreign policies. We can try and pressure members of congress, but there are very few members willing to stand up against him. There are a few, such as Bernie Sanders, who oppose at least some of his policies. Let's do what we can.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif © Brendan McDermid / Reuters

[1] Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or CCCP.
[2] Iran has some proxy troops in the Middle East. It rivals such US allies as Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act is now one of trump’s biggest secrets

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange on begins November 1. But Donald Trump is trying to stop the public from hearing about it.
Trump's Department of Health and Human Services just cut advertising by 90% and funding for consumer assistance by nearly 50%, meaning the essential outreach work needed to enroll the people necessary for keeping the health care exchange thriving is in jeopardy.1
These public education campaigns are incredibly important to make sure people know how to get health care, so UltraViolet Action is stepping in to help fill the gap with our own advertising campaign.  You can chip in $5?
Outreach and advertising for the health care exchange are more important than ever this year. The enrollment period this year was cut sharply from what it was last year--ending on December 15 instead of January 31. And after Congress spent the first half of the year trying to kill Obamacare, many people have no idea where the law stands now.2
Even people who do know that the ACA is still in place might not know that the law applies to them. Even when the law had been established for years, only about a third of the population knew whether Medicaid was expanded in their state or that pre-existing conditions no longer exclude them from coverage, and more than 60% of adults didn't know the income level that would qualify them for insurance subsidies.3

Most important, we know that there is a direct connection between the number of advertisements published about and the number of people who sign up.4 And so does Trump--he knows that the less the Affordable Care Act is advertised, the fewer people will join, and the more likely it is to "implode" as he predicted.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

DSA meeting for September

By SJ Otto
The national Democratic Socialists of America has decided to support divestments from all of Israel’s business investments and it pulled out of the Socialist International. These decisions were made at this year’s DSA conference in August. Wichita members of the group attended the conference and reported on this and other important decisions at the local Wichita DSA meeting here last Saturday.
As with most left-wing organizations, DSA is concerned about Palestinian rights. Support for their rights has become more main stream and more groups are opposing investments in Israel for that reason. Also DSA has a lot of new members and the group has been steadily moving to the left in recent years, especially after the last Presidential election, where Bernie Sanders ran as both a Democrat and a socialist.
As for the Socialist international, Jim Phillips told member at the meeting the Socialist International has been moving towards neo-liberalism and really has little in common with a real democratic socialist party.
It was also announced that DSA documents are now available on line. To access them go to:
Or click on the above hyperlink.
A list of actions and positions taken at the national convention was read to the local group.
The local DSA group is planning a retreat for the end of September, possibly the 23rd. The details are not all worked out yet, but it will focus on organizing for the actions that DSA is planning to take. DSA’s next meeting will be October 7. More details will be provided by this blog as they are developed.
Other actions the group discussed include educational outreach, ways to educate people as to what socialism really is and how to reach public educational facilities.
A discussion was held on promoting socialist candidates. The group agreed we will all support Democrat James Thompson and Brandon Johnson, but we are not sure at what point we want such candidates to endorse us as a group since socialism is still a dirty word.
DSA will be supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage increase campaign. There is now some suggestion that a $13 an hour wage is more likely to get passed than $15.
A movie night is being planned for maybe the 30 of September, at 2pm. The planned movie is Union Maids. If that is not available then the movie Matewan will be shown.

Wichita DSA is working on making some shirts for members to wear.

The Socialist International - Pix by Resistance Is Fertile -

Monday, September 11, 2017

Those in pain did not create any “opioid epidemic”

By SJ Otto
I can remember the bad old days. I remember going to get a cyst removed from my chest and the doctor gave me no pain medicine even though it did hurt. He just kept telling me to use aspirin and Tylenol. I found out later that he was against using any pain killers for any reason. When I was a kid the dentist used to drill my cavities without pain killers because they didn’t think pain medicine was good for kids—and those visits hurt like hell!
For many of my early years doctors and dentists had been chintzy with their pain medicines. For many years there was a stigma of using pain medicine. After all there were people who used to use those medicines to get high. That was true then as it is now. But for the last 20 years the medical community learned to ease up and give pain medicine. They learned that people heal better without having a lot of pain. Today doctors give us the pain medicine we need to be comfortable when they treat us. But that may be changing—thank to the so called “Opioid epidemic” and the mainstream news media that have fueled the hype over it. Once again the mainstream media has the country whipped into a frenzy over the so called “over prescribing of opioid drugs.” It always leads politicians into giving in to those pundits who say, “for God sakes do something!” And they mean anything and everything and that usually means doing the wrong thing. In this case we are now being told by so called “experts” that we must now endure pain when we go to the doctor or dentist. According to an NPR piece called “Dental Schools Add An Urgent Lesson: Think Twice About Prescribing Opioids:”

“Now, after decades of criticizing health care providers for undertreating pain and not prescribing enough pain medication, the pendulum is swinging back. Some dentists are getting back up to speed about alternatives to opioids.
"For most dental pains, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) —that's Advil, Aleve, Naproxen — those agents are every bit as effective as one Vicodin or one Percocet," …. (Kellie Moore, a fourth-year dental student at Harvard.)…. "That's been shown over and over and over again."

Even if the pendulum has swung too far one way, that does not automatically mean it needs to swing all the way back. Going back to the days when a doctor’s or dentist’s visit was a painful experience that we all dreaded is what these new “experts in opioid addiction” are suggesting. Again from NPR:

"On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst, if we can get you to a 4 or 5, could you live with that and still function daily?" says Sam Lee, a fourth-year dental student. "If the answer is yes, then I think it's important to the patient understand that that's what we're going to try to maintain as the new normal for them."
David Keith, an oral surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, agrees.
"I think it does us a disservice, making us and the patients assume that we should a total smiley face and a zero level of pain," he said. "That's not the real world. So we take a tooth out. We do a dental implant. You're going to be sore for a few days, but that doesn't mean you can't go to work."

On a scale of one to 10, pain that qualifies for 4 or 5 is a lot. A score of 10 means that 10 is the pain that causes screaming and is nearly intolerable. Even if the pain is not a lot as the patient leaves, that small amount of pain can build up over a period of 24 or more hours. The pain grinds away until the patient is overwhelmed. I’ve experienced that before myself. That much pain is a lot to ask of a patient.
So we are being told now to expect some pain from our dentist appointments and the reason for that is the hand full of opioid addicts that have created this so called “epidemic.”
­­­­And the bottom line to all of this is that we are being asked to tolerate more pain for the benefit of some Americans who can’t control the use of their own medication. Those of us who can control our pain medicine are being told we are going to have to pay for other people’s abuse. There are also some people who simply won’t go to a dentist if they expect pain. A lot of dentist know this and they are reasonably concerned about this issue.
It is already a stressful experience to go to the doctor or dentist. Those trips are often painful and agonizing. The fact is that we have pain killers and there really is no evidence that we heal better because we can put up with a lot of pain. We are being asked to put up with this pain to placate the moral prejudices of dentists and doctors who are wrongfully denying pain medication to people who need and deserve it. And this is all being done to control a hand full of people who can’t control their own impulses.  
Despite all the thousands of over dose deaths and other alarming statistics the media throws at us, less than 5% of legitimate pain patients become addicted.
Other statistics also need to be looked at. According to the large, annually repeated and representative National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 75 percent of all opioid misuse starts with people using medication that WASN’T prescribed for them—obtained from a friend, family member or dealer. Along with these statistics: 90 percent of all addictions—no matter what the drug—start in the adolescent and young adult years. Typically, young people who misuse prescription opioids are heavy users of alcohol and other drugs. This type of drug use, not medical treatment with opioids, is by far the greatest risk factor for opioid addiction, according to a study by Richard Miech of the University of Michigan and his colleagues. 
The evidence shows that over 90% of so-called opioid overdose deaths are the result of polydrug poisoning. It is relatively difficult to overdose on heroin alone or painkillers alone, although it can be done if you are determined enough. However, mixing heroin with another drug such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, or opioid painkillers is extremely deadly.
According to CNN a new study finds that the number of Americans being diagnosed with opioid addiction continues to skyrocket, but still very few receive any treatment. Once again we need to be looking at treatment for all—on demand, not punishment and inconvenience for everyone else.
One thing the mainstream media does not need to do is to scare doctors away from prescribing needed pain killers. I have had experiences were doctors performed operations on me but they did not use enough pain killers. I had a colonoscopy once where they did not use enough pain killer and the pain was excruciating. Putting us through that is unnecessary and we should all refuse to be treated that way. Let those who have problems with pain killers deal with that epidemic.

Little Shop of Horrors I'm a Dentist 

Pix by NPR.

It is 9/11 Day once again!

By SJ Otto
Once again it is 9/11 that horrible holiday that reminds us that we can die at anytime due to terrorist attacks. After 15 years we are not any safer than we were in 2001. We can pretend that all of the efforts our government takes to prevent such attacks are working. In reality those determined to find ways to attack us will at some time succeed.
This is an imperialist country that is heavily involved in shaping the lives and future of others. That task is impossible without someone getting upset and trying to kill us from time to time.
I remember the day the planes hit the twin towers in New York. I was just getting out of bed. I was not working that day. I turned on the TV as the events began to unfold. I was watching when the second tower got hit. Then they began to crumble and New York City looked like the aftermath of a volcano eruption.
As bad as it is to see almost 3,000 die in one disaster, what happened after that was just as bad. Every wing-nut in the country was out waving flags and promoting war with just about any country or group who ever had a tiff with the US. There were flags everywhere and on everything.
Today we have a few tributes on TV, a few flags raised and we're done with it for a year.
Since 9/11 we as a nation now occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. We aren't finished with these countries yet. With the use of drones we kill innocent people along with alleged terrorists who have never been on trial. This country can do a lot better than that.
One other interesting thing about 9/11 is it just happens to be the date of the military coup in Chile that brought about the end of Democracy, under the gleeful eye of our then President Richard M. Nixon. Salvador Allende, the elected president of Chile was overthrown by the military. General Augusto Pinochet took control of the country, set up military rule and banned all political parties.Democracy in Chile was illegal for the next 10 or more years.

Santiago de Chile, 11 September 1973, 9:10 A.M.
This will surely be my last opportunity to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes. My words have neither bitterness nor deception. They should stand as a moral castigation of those who have been traitors to their oaths: Chilean soldiers, titular commanders-in-chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself commander of the Navy, even more señor Mendoza, the cringing general who only yesterday manifested his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has named himself Director General of the Carabineros. In the face of these deeds it only falls to me to say to the workers: I shall not resign!
Standing at a historic point, I will repay with my life the loyalty of the people. And I say to you that I am certain that the seed we have surrendered into the worthy conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans, will not be able to be reaped at one stroke. They have the power, they can make us their vassals, but not stop the social processes, neither by crime nor by force. History is ours and is made by the people.
Workers of my Nation: I want to thank you for the loyalty you have always had, the confidence you placed in a man who only was the interperter of great yearnings for justice, who pledged his word to respect the Constitution and the law, and who did so. In this final moment, the last in which I will be able to address myself to you, I want you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, united with reaction, created the climate for the Armed Forces to break their tradition, that which they were taught by general Schneider which was reaffirmed by commander Araya, victims of the same social sector that today will be be expecting with an alien hand to reconquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.
I address myself to you, above all to the modest woman of our land, to the campesina who believed in us, the mother who knew of our concern for the children. I address myself to the professionals of the Nation, to the patriotic professionals who continued working against the sedition overseen by their professional academies, classist academies that also defended the advantages of a capitalist society.
I address myself to the youth, to those who sang and who brought their happiness and their spirit to the fight. I address myself to the man of Chile, to the worker, to the campesino, to the intellectual, to those who will be percecuted, because in our country fascism has now been present for several hours; in the terrorist assassinations, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railways, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to behave.
They are in jeopardy. History will judge them.
Radio Magallanes will surely be silenced and the tranquil metal of my voice will no longer reach you. It is not important. You will continue to hear it. I will always be together with you. At least my memory will be that of an upright man who was loyal to the Nation.
The people ought to defend themselves, but not sacrifice themselves. The people ought not let themselves be subdued or persecuted, but neither should they humble themselves.
Workers of my Nation, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will go beyond this gray and bitter moment when treason tries to impose itself upon us. Continue to know that, much sooner than later, we will reopen the great promenades down which free men pass, to construct a better society.
Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!
These are my last words and I have certainty that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I have certainty that, at the least, I will be a moral lesson to castigate felony, cowardice, and treason.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

More prison disturbances—blame Gov. Brownback for doing prisons on the cheap

By SJ Otto
Doing things on the cheap has not worked out so well in Kansas where Governor Sam Brownback has cut services, such as education, to the bone in order for the state to cut taxes for businesses. It was one thing to let the schools in the state deteriorate and let  teachers leave due to bad treatment and low pay. But that is pail compared to the state's prison system and the various prisoner rebellions that have gone on for the last year.
First there was a rebellion of prisoners at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Now the rebellions have spread. The latest rebellion is at the Norton Correctional Facility, this past Tuesday. Unlike the trouble in El Dorado, this rebellion was worse and has been described as an actual prison riot by corrections officers who have spoken to The Wichita Eagle on condition of anonymity. The Kansas Department of Corrections has labelled it an "inmate disturbance."
"It wasn’t just a simple mattress burning and a couple rocks being thrown," said Robert Choromanski, the Kansas Organization of State Employees, (KOSE) the union that represents corrections officers, director said to The Wichita Eagle. Samir Arif, an agency spokesman, has said inmates set fire to a mattress, broke into a tool shed and smashed several prison windows.
Prisons across the state have had shortages of personnel and that has lead to guards working more overtime and the man-power stretched thin.
Just recently Brownback raised pay for officers at all prisons and gave officers at El Dorado an even greater raise. But this is like building a fence after the live-stock have already left. Stripping the state budget has left our prisons vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.
And one of the reasons for these disturbances is the rotten conditions the prisoners have to go through day to day. Just as cutting the budget affects the guards, it also affects those being housed in these facilities.
“Conditions out there are deplorable,” said Rick Gadbury of Topeka, a friend of an inmate in the facility. “No adequate showers, toilets or room for that many people.”
Our terrible prison conditions are one more example of the failure of Brownback and his far-far-far right-wining policies. This particular failure provides Kansans with an unsafe environment to live in.

Pix by

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

When they attacked the Dreamers — they attacked the American Dream itself!

From Alejandro Avilés,
Director of Outreach & Engagement:
Yesterday, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions not only attacked Dreamers — they attacked the American Dream itself.
If you believe, as I do, in that fundamentally American ideal that everyone in this country deserves an equal opportunity to work hard and succeed on their merits, please help us fight back right now. Text “WITH DREAMERS” to 30644 and tell your Representative to immediately pass clean legislation protecting DACA recipients.
DACA is a five-year-old program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the U.S. as kids — most before the age of six — to stay in the country and make a positive impact. America is their home. Dreamers are just like the rest of us. They study in school, lead productive and successful careers, serve in our military and are an important part of the fabric of our society.
And, of the 800,000 DACA recipients across America today, an estimated 75,000 Dreamers identify as LGBTQ. We must demand that Congress act now to protect them from being deported to countries many of them have never known — including some countries with poor human rights records. We can’t allow this to happen.
While the Trump-Pence Administration peddles hatred, discrimination and bigotry, we must unite and fight back. Stand up for Dreamers today and urge your Representative to protect DACA — text “WITH DREAMERS” to 30644 and you’ll be connected to their office.
Join the corporate leaders, tech giants and small businesses who are speaking out in support of these hard-working young people. Join the more than 1,850 governors, state and municipal officials, civil organization and faith leaders who have taken a stand to allow these students to continue learning. Join HRC in being on the right side of history when it matters most for our youth under attack.

© 2017 The Human Rights Campaign. All rights reserved.
Human Rights Campaign |
1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-3278
Phone: 202-628-4160 TTY: 202-216-1572 Fax: 202-347-5323

Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor day and some Union Songs...

Today is fake Labor Day...that holiday the US Government came up with to lure workers away from the real Labor Day on May 1. Here are some fun union songs to sing today and an exlplanation of lobor day from Wikipedia:

Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend and it is considered the unofficial end of summer in the United States. The holiday is also a federal holiday.
Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. statesofficially celebrated Labor Day.[1]
Canada's Labour Day is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. More than 80 countries celebrate International Workers' Day on May 1 – the ancient European holiday of May Day – and several countries have chosen their own dates for Labour Day.

You Gotta Go Down And Join The Union

Woody Guthrie - Union Burying Ground

Joan Baez- Bread and roses

Saturday, September 02, 2017

There are heroes in the mainstream press who didn't have to kill anyone

By SJ Otto
Below is an editorial about how the US really has heroes. Its a kind of "ra ra ra" this country's not as bad as some of you folks say. Well, at least the rescue efforts are good. They have lots of actual volunteers who use their own boats and equipment to go around and help people in danger. Most of these people get no pay for this. No one can argue that these are not good people doing good things. The US mainstream news media seems to look for heroes lately. They seem to believe that this country needs heroes to look up to.
There is a clear difference between these heroes who are helping people and actually saving lives rather than the fake heroes the news media usually fosters on us. Often people who are fighting for imperialism across the sea in Iraq and Afghanistan are built up as heroes. We are told they are saving lives, but that means saving the lives that are illegally there in the first place. The best way for us to save lives in places such as Afghanistan would be to take out all the US troops and let those people rebuild their country in peace. And they ARE NOT defending our freedom! That is simply a lie.
Most of these flood rescue people are not in the news for being royalty. They weren't born into it nor did they marry into it. Isn't it way past time to quit worshiping heroes who have an important job because they were born into it? " “A king is unnecessary, for his shit stinks the same as his own people’s!”
The real reason these rescue folks are heroes is that they are NOT taking lives. They don't have to kill anyone to save anyone. They may have to kill an alligator or two, but that is better than killing a person. So on this rare occasion The Washing Times is right that we do have some heroes and some good people in the US. And it is no surprise they are not members of Congress or President Donald Trump. Trump will probably be pressured into sending aid to Texas and other disasters. But he is no hero.

...And why did The Washington Times have to use those people's heroism as an excuse to trash liberals and progressives? This article is a cheap shot.

America is a pretty bleak place, if you ask some of the soreheads in the magpie media and other places where naysayers dwell. They would tell you that equal justice under the law, fairness, and good neighborliness have disappeared from sight. Taking their place are racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and other diseases that had for years lurked beneath the surface are now returning with a wink and a nod from the White House.
That’s bunk, but it’s bunk that fraudsters and shysters can sell. This bunk motivates the disenfranchised to turn out to vote at election time. If enough of the credulous and the naive buy the bunk, the “regressives” — who used to be called liberals and then progressives — can get back to work expanding the welfare state and enlarging the swamp.

For the rest click here.
Fictional heroes...

...And the Real Heroes!

Pix from TJ Ono /

More on US Imperialism —rogue countries do not pose a threat, but an obstacle to Western "order"

By SJ Otto
A few days ago I wrote about the propaganda war discussed in an article on the decline of US imperialism, based largely on "Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’," from INSURGEintelligence. This was included in my article, "As US Imperialism gets weaker, we all play a part in bringing it down." Much of the INSURGEintelligence article is based on a report the  U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) produced. The article was posed as a wake up call, outlining problems and perceived solutions. But one interesting aspect of the INSURGEintelligence article is its bluntness of the true nature of US Imperialism. For example:

"The document also sets out the real reasons that the U.S. is hostile to “revolutionary forces” like Iran and North Korea: they pose fundamental obstacles to U.S. imperial influence in those regions. They are:

“… neither the products of, nor are they satisfied with, the contemporary order… At a minimum, they intend to destroy the reach of the U.S.-led order into what they perceive to be their legitimate sphere of influence. They are also resolved to replace that order locally with a new rule set dictated by them.”

Far from insisting, as the U.S. government does officially, that Iran and North Koreapose as nuclear threats, the document instead insists they are considered problematic for the expansion of the “U.S.-led order.”

Many on the left already know this. This opinion can be found in many leftwing news sources or blogs. But this article is from a more mainstream (or at least centrist) source of news and it actually quotes a DOD document. It is like reading a confession by an actual US imperialist news source. We constantly hear President Donald Trump, members of congress and mainstream news pundits that Democratic People's Republic (North) Korea is a serious nuclear threat. The impression given is that countries such as North Korea and Iran are dangerous Rogue nations that might strike out at innocent smaller countries or even make attacks on the US itself. Barack Obama and other former presidents have claimed that North Korea refuses talk to America on ways to defuse the military tensions. And while Obama did make an agreement with Iran to stop its attempts to become a nuclear power, Trump has insisted that Iran, along with North Korea, can't be trusted and the Iran nuclear agreement is worthless.
Neither Trump, congress people or most past presidents have admitted that much of the attempts by these rogue nations to build nuclear arms are actually defensive positions to prevent being overthrown by the US Imperial "order" as the Pentagon likes to call it. For example:

"The study describes the essentially imperial nature of this order as being underpinned by American dominance, with the U.S. and its allies literally “dictating” its terms to further their own interests:

“The order and its constituent parts, first emerged from World War II, were transformed to a unipolar sys­tem with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and have by-and-large been dominated by the United States and its major Western and Asian allies since. Status quo forces collectively are comfortable with their dominant role in dictating the terms of international security outcomes and resist the emergence of rival centers of power and authority.”

While there is serious concern by the Western Imperialists about IranNorth Korea and other small so called "rogue countries," There is less concern about Russia and China. At times those super powers seem to benefit from the new "order:"

"Russia and China are described as “revisionist forces” who benefit from the U.S.-dominated international order, but who dare to “seek a new distribution of power and authority commensurate with their emergence as legitimate rivals to U.S.dominance.” Russia and China, the analysts say, “are engaged in a deliberate program to demonstrate the limits of U.S. authority, will, reach, influence, and impact.”

They are a threat, but Western Imperialists want to control their influence rather than completely eliminate them, as with smaller rivals. Another way to look at this is that it is nearly impossible for the US and its allies to overthrow Russia and China. But smaller nations can always be changed. Regime change has been a tool of US imperialism for much of US history. That is especially true in Latin America, which the US has considered it's backyard. The US is already at work trying to change the regime in Venezuela.   
So as with the last article I posted, about opposing US and Western Imperialism, we must arm ourselves with the truth. At times the pen is mightier than the sword and it is those times we must take full advantage of our use of the truth. Articles such as the one in INSURGEintelligence are extremely helpful.

Pix by Tes Teach.

Friday, September 01, 2017

We fought the anti-abortion groups—we fought the good fight—Linda Stoner Interview

The following is en excerpt from my yet to be published book, How a Radical, Left-wing Journalist Survived the Bible Belt, by Steve Otto

 By Steve Otto
It was about 1991 that the abortion wars started to heat up in Wichita. The Anti-abortion crowd was made up of cult-like religious people. The way they talked everything was in "us vs. them" and it was the Christians vs. Satan. We were all considered Satanists. Most of us were atheists. But they considered all of us to be "dupes of Satan."
The anti (short for anti-abortionists) crowd, as we called them, wanted to make abortion completely illegal and they wanted to put Dr. George Tiller (an abortion doctor who performed late term abortions) on trial and executed as a war criminal for performing abortions.

During the 1990s I took part in pro-abortion protests and political actions, which included protecting abortion clinics against the anti-abortion movement and its followers. The antis (a name we gave them for short) tried every thing they could to either  shut down abortion clinics or deter women from coming in to seek abortions.
Linda Stoner was an active member of the pro-abortion groups that I also belonged to, which included the Freedom of Choice Action League (FOCAL) and later after that group collapsed we both belong to ZAP.
Stoner told me that she got into clinic support during the Summer of Mercy? At the time, Peggy Jarman, head of  Pro-Choice Action League (PCAL), needed volunteers.
"I liked her," Stoner said . "She was an inspiration for equal rights."
But Stoner's interest in the abortion issue started way before that.
" I started getting involved in the abortion issue in (Wichita) High School (North)," She said. "I wrote a bill for our government class. It was about abortion, to make it legal."
She told me it was a difficult assignment because her school library had little printed information on the abortion issue.  a few pieces in it, a newspaper article and a pamphlet," Stoner said. "I then went to the Wichita Public Library."
At that early age, she said she had already made up her mind were she stood on the abortion issue.
"I knew a woman should be able to control her body and not by a man or society," Stoner added.
Other members of her family also supported abortion rights, including her father, L. D. Diamond.
"My dad was into equal rights," Stoner said.
She added that her dad used to let her help in his service station garage. Stoner used to check oil and transmission fluids. Her dad told her she was just as good a worker as any man could be.
When the Summer of Mercy started, women's organizations such as PCAL mostly wanted to let the police handle the protests. As time went on it became clear that local women's groups needed to put up their own defenses to the abortion clinics.
Later she worked with the FOCAL.
FOCAL was founded to put up a more active defense against the anti-abortion activists. The antis tried to block driveways, they tried to get women to come to their "alternative" clinics" for prenatal care. They tried to scare them or guilt them with such shouts as "you're going to kill your baby." They tried to get the women to take their propaganda literature.
They also harassed doctors and staff members. They followed them, photographed them and tried to shame them in front of their neighbors, friends and family.
In short they tried everything they could to chase women off of the clinics. There were three clinics at the time FOCAL started and the group mostly defended a clinic on Market Street and Seventh Street in Wichita.
The owner of the Market clinic allowed FOCAL members to use any kind of tactics they felt were justified. We also used cameras and photos to make lists of who they were regulars at the clinic. We were allowed by the owners to use cuss words and language that made the antis feel uncomfortable there. It was not uncommon to have visits by nuns and other clergy. 
"I met Pat and Liz (Eytchison) at Market (now shut down)," Stoner said. "I learned a lot from them, 'about standing up for what you believe in.' He taught us how to stand up to the cops."
The Eytchisons were head of FOCAL at that time.
"We had names for the regulars at the clinic," Stoner said. "For example we called their camera person 'Lens Man.' Eventually we found his name and put it on a poster (with other names). They didn't like that when we did it to them."
Other tactics included escorting the women from their cars to the clinic.
"We surrounded the women to prevent the antis from getting at them," Stoner said.
"We encountered nuns on the sidewalk," she added. "They photographed our license plates. Later we put their names, addresses and phone numbers on a poster board so people could see it. They didn't like it when we did it to them."
After a few years there were some internal problems with FOCAL, so the group shut down and a new group, ZAP was formed. The letters didn't stand for anything. ZAP was a fast action group that could set up activities on a moments notice. There was no leaders or elected officials. Everything was done with consensus.
Stoner said she thinks the term "pro-life" is a misnomer.
"I'm a little confused about the pro-life philosophy," She added. "A faction says it is OK to kill abortion providersto kill clinic workers or anyone who helps with abortion providers in any way. They have a problem with ending a pregnancy—to them it is murder.