Thursday, February 23, 2017

Leaked tapes reveal Trump's offer to his 'real group'

From Daily Kos:

All those everyday working stiffs who think they have a friend in Trump need to spend a minute listening to him talk to the $200k a seat members of his club.

“So, this is my real group,” Trump said at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, on November 18, according to the audiotape. “These are the people that came here in the beginning, when nobody knew what this monster was gonna turn out to be, right?”

And for his “real group” Trump makes some special invitations that he wasn't handing out to the small crowd he gathered at a Florida airport. 

"We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” Trump told the crowd, according to an audiotape of his closed-to-the-press remarks, obtained by POLITICO from a source in the room. “You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government."

For the rest click here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My favorite presidents on President Day

By SJ Otto
It is Presidents Day, so I decided I' mention my favorite and least favorite presidents of all times. So first of all, here in the US I like Thomas Jefferson. He is about my favorite. He was probably about the last US president who did not belong to a Church. He was not an atheist, but a theist. He believed in God, but did not practice religion or belong to a church.

He and Thomas Paine believed that focussing on the human race was the real way to honor God. His political work was his religion. He saw Jesus as a great philosopher, but not a divine person.
He was one of he last truely ideological presidents. He believed in the Republican movement, as did Paine. He believed the era was over were a person's politics and wealth were all dependent on their birth right. He and Paine believed that from now on, a person should earn their wealth and politics. It was the end of feudalism and beginning of the new capitalist era.

Almost everyone likes Abraham Lincoln. He was one of the few presidents to get the attention of Karl Marx. He originally just wanted to prevent the United States from dividing into two countries. He was willing to tolerate slavery in some parts to the US, in certain states. But he end of the war he changed his stated position and made the ending of slavery as the main purpose of the campaign. He was not an ideological man. But he ended slavery even if that wasn't really his goal.
Not many people appreciate Ulysses Grant. Although he accomplished little, he was the drinking man's president. He proved that a person can drink a lot of alcohol and still run a country.   

According to Wikipedia:

"Grant served as president during the Gilded Age, a time when the economy was open to speculation, western railroad expansion, growth in manufacturing, oil and steel industries, which in turn fueled corruption in federal offices. Against the harsh public revelation of the Credit Mobilier of America scandal, Grant responded to charges of misconduct in nearly all federal departments, engaging his administration in constant conflict between corrupt associates and reformers. Although Grant's reputation remained personally untarnished, he was trusting and had difficulty in accepting corruption charges against his associates."

What most historians have decided is that Grant was an honest man but allowed a lot of dishonest friends to run important posts in his presidency. He was not the worst president by a long shot. But he is best known as a benevolent drinking man.
Of course, as with anyone to the left, I liked the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He is responsible for almost all the social programs that protect the American public from the cold and cruel dealings of US business. He was also pro-union. He did more for the working class than almost any other president.

Another president that stood up for the poor and underprivileged was Lyndon Johnson. He took a lot of heat for creating public welfare. He still gets heat today. It is too bad his presidency was destroyed by his anti-communism. He built up the Vietnam War and invaded Dominican Republic to prop up an unpopular right-wing government. His anti-communist campaigns helped ruin his presidency.
Another president I like is Jimmy Carter. He was honest and tried to do what was best for this country despite all the right-wing jerks trying to destroy him. Life under Carter was not that bad compared to the ass hole Ronald Regan who replaced him four years later.
And that brings us to the worst presidents. In my lifetime Ronald Reagan permanently pushed this country to the far right and it has never recovered. He destroyed the power of unions and he kept working class wages down by 10 percent over his eight year reign. He helped destroy the Sandinista Revolution. He helped destroy the dreams of leftists and third world politicians everywhere. Few people have done as much damage to the national spirit as Reagan. Close behind him are Richard Nixon, who damaged civil liberties at home and cost the lives of at least 2 million people with his meddling in Indochina. George W. Bush may be the most moronic president we ever had. He stared the war in Iraq for no real reason.
My very favorite president is not even a US president. I admire Salvador Allende, the former president of Chile, who gave his life so that his fellow citizens might have some hope for the future. He was the first Marxist president in the American hemisphere.  

So there we have it- the good, bad and ugly presidents.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Drone use not heroic —and in Wichita, we will work to stop it

An open letter to The Wichita Eagle:

I read with disgust the article "How Wichitans fight in Combat from here." The whole article makes a hero out of a woman who sits in a nice safe room and kills people she never met in person thousands of miles away. Heroic! considering how easy our technology has made war these days it seems more cowardly to me. Our troops no longer have to meet the enemy on  a battle field, we just push a button and they are gone.
The article uses clever words like "the neutralizing of 92 high value individuals." I think the more common word is either to kill or murder.
We are talking about a fight in someone else's country where people have lost their nation, sovereignty and their national pride. Some of those combatants are not just Taliban. Some people there have joined in the Taliban's fight because they want the foreigners to leave. That especially goes for the many factions of resistance in Iraq and other parts of the world where this country feels free to impose our standards on them against their will. We impose democratic puppet regimes that ignore these people's own dynamic interest, culture and national needs.
Not only is their resistance justified, these machines kill members of their families, including young children and innocent civilians who happen to be there at the time these bombers go off.
I can't understand how a country that claims to be for "freedom and democracy" and a "beacon of hope in the world" can rely on technology that makes a button pushing soldier judge, jury and executioner. We are doing all of this because we have the ability to do it—Not because there is any moral grounds for it. It has never been justified to take over someone else's country just because it serves our needs.
I'm not alone in this complaint. A lot of people in Wichita are concerned about the use of unmanned drones to kill people. 
Steve Otto

Film: National Bird
Friday, March 3, 7:00 - 8:45 pm

At the Peace and Social Justice Center
1407 N. Topeka 

Wichita, KS  

National Bird is a 2016 documentary film directed by Sonia Kennebeck with executive producers Wim Wenders and Errol Morris. It was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival, and it was reviewed in Variety and The Guardian. It will show on PBS Independent Lens on May 1, 2017.

National Bird follows the dramatic journey of insiders who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: The secret US drone war. The film gives rare insight into the American drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors. Plagued by guilt over the killing of faceless people in foreign countries and suffering from PTSD, the veterans decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Backlash against Republican’s repeal and non-replacement of Obamacare

By SJ Otto
For years now the Republican Party has been trying to kill Obamacare (Affordable Care Act or ACA). That was a major promise made by President Donald Trump as he ran his election campaign. But he also promised to replace Obamacare with his own program that would take care of the nearly 20 million people who now have health insurance thanks to the act. Trump has kept the first part of his promise. The Republicans are busy trying to repeal Obamacare. The second part is not so clear. There is no replacement of the ACA. Chances are there never will be a replacement. That has been traditional Republican strategy.
And so far repeal and no replacement is causing a backlash across the country. Angry people are not just willing to die over Trump’s inaction on health care.
The strategy has always been to keep US medical policy the same. Those who make good money can either afford the extremely expensive insurance rates or some lucky workers get some kind of coverage through their job. There is also Medicaid for those few individuals who are poor enough to be eligible for public assistance. And thanks to hard working Republican leaders, very few poor people are eligible for Medicaid, in most states.  
The Republicans represent the 1 percent of the population who have most of the money and most of the political power (such as the Koch brothers). They want to do what is best for businesses and wealthy people who profit for voting for them. And they represent the insurance companies that profit off of the sick and dying, but wealthy individuals.
So the real plan for US medical policy is actually repeal Obamacare then stall. That will give them what they want….the old status quo we had before President Barack Obama.
But so far, many of the people who are set to lose the coverage, that they have, are not willing to just die off for the benefit and convenience of their wealthier fellow citizens. Reports have come in from all over the country that Republican politicians have been hearing from such people—the people whose health is now at risk because Obamacare is being repealed and not replaced. According to last Sunday’s The Wichita Eagle:

“It's a scene that's played out around the country over the past several weeks as Republicans and President Donald Trump have assumed control of Washington and begun moving forward on their long-held promise to undo former President Barack Obama's health care law. In an echo of the raucous complaints that confronted Democrats back in 2009 as they worked to pass "Obamacare" in the first place, Republicans who want to repeal it now are facing angry pushback of their own at constituent gatherings from Utah to Michigan to Tennessee and elsewhere, even in solidly Republican districts.”

And The Wichita Eagle article had its own example of a person who is worried about his loss of insurance:

“The voter identified himself as a cancer survivor, and he had something to say to Republican Rep. Justin Amash: "I am scared to death that I will not have health insurance in the future."
The comment earned 61-year-old retiree Paul Bonis a standing ovation from the crowd packed into a school auditorium in Amash's Michigan district Thursday night. And the congressman was booed for his response: That the Affordable Care Act has "hurt a lot of people," and he supports his party's plans to repeal and replace it, even though the GOP still hasn't united around an alternative.”

It seems a lot of people have said they are scared that they will die waiting around for the Republicans to come up with a better plan. They should worry, because the plan is really to do nothing once the old act is repealed. I know I am scared, because my wife retires this year and when she does I will not have health insurance. I had Hepatitis C for nearly 10 years. I was treated for it with an old set of medicines that made me real sick, almost like a person going through Chemotherapy, as they do for cancer. The first treatment didn’t work. I have stage four liver damage. A few years ago they came out with a new drug that cures Hep C. Even though I am free of the viruses, the disease has left me with liver damage and other health problems. If I can’t afford health insurance under someone’s plan, I will probably die in the next few years. I know there are many people who are in similar situations. As with many others, I don’t want to die just so some wealthier people won’t be inconvenienced or because the drug companies need to make massive profits. Facing death over a political situation creates contempt. And it should cause contempt as it has. For example, from The Wichita Eagle:

“In a Salt Lake City suburb on Thursday night, GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz faced irate constituents chanting "Do your job!" as they pressed the House Oversight Committee chairman to investigate Trump. Chaffetz struggled to be heard as he faced a litany of sharp questions and screams from a crowd of people who grilled him on everything from Obamacare to Chaffetz's desire to overturn a new national monument in southern Utah.”

This is what is needed here in this country. There needs to be a powerful backlash against repealing Obamacare and finally—we may have that backlash. It is badly needed. Even before Trump won, there are parts of the country where Obamacare is not being implemented because of certain stubborn Republican Governors and state legislators. Such an example is Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. He has opposed every part of Obamacare including expanding KanCare, his state's version of Medicaid. The results are that many working poor people and other poor persons are dying from preventable diseases. There has been some backlash against him, but it hasn’t been enough.
Much of what the Republicans are talking about doing, to replace Obamacare, is the usual foolishness that comes from their insensitivity to the poor. For example they want to encourage poor persons to build savings accounts for their medical needs. If I set up such an account, I might as well start a second one for a LearjetThe cost of medical treatment in the US is so ridiculously high that it isn’t much cheaper than buying a Learjet.
This backlash is a positive sign. If we can capitalize on it, then we can begin to push for serious change in US medical policy. We need a single payer system. But anything is better than the status quo we had before Obamacare. For all its wealth, the US has the worst health care system in the industrialized world.

To see The Wichita Eagle article click here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Public Citizen sues Trump over de-regulation

From Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Moments ago, Public Citizen filed a lawsuit against President Trump.

Here’s what you need to know about the case, Public Citizen v. Donald J. Trump:

  • In a unilateral directive issued in just his second week in office, Trump essentially ordered the government to stop issuing new health and safety, financial, environmental, workplace and other vital public protections.
  • Trump’s executive order will allow Big Business to exploit workers, Wall Street to rip off consumers, Dirty Energy companies to pollute, Big Pharma to continue price gouging, auto makers to sell dangerous cars, and on and on.
  • It will be nearly impossible for the government to carry out its duties under popular and effective laws like the Clean Air Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, to name a few.
  • Even after the Wall Street crash, the BP oil disaster and other failures that resulted from letting corporations “regulate” themselves, the American people will be forced to suffer still MORE corporate recklessness and greed.
  • The executive order requires that for every new regulation adopted, two must be eliminated — a nonsensical standard with absolutely no basis in law.
  • Especially insidious is an edict that regulations be evaluated only by inflating estimates of their cost to businesses while completely ignoring their substantially greater — and real — benefits to society.
  • This executive order will mean more contaminated food, an accelerated rush to climate catastrophe, more dangerous cars and trucks, more workplace injuries and deaths, slashed consumer rights, more oil spills, more human misery. All unnecessary. All preventable.
Our lawsuit takes direct aim at Trump’s plot to put corporate profits before people’s lives and the public good.

If you can, please chip in today to help us prevent Trump’s wild lawlessness, preserve lifesaving regulatory protections and stand up to these stunning abuses of power.

Donate now.

Thank you for anything you can contribute!


Robert Weissman
President, Public Citizen

Sunday, February 05, 2017

How unpaid tickets trap poor workers in cycle of poverty

By SJ Otto
I have to thank The Wichita Eagle for putting out a piece that actually exposes abuse by our corporate rulers who seem to relish seeing poor people suffer....just  for being poor. In this case the poor get a traffic ticket. Then they have trouble paying it. Eventually they lose their license and can no longer legally drive. Now they can't legally drive to work. They lose more money. They end up driving their cars anyway because they need to see a doctor, go to work or get things they need from the store. Eventually they are caught and they are put in jail. And the fines just keep piling up. Before long these poor people owe as much as the make in a year. And it just keeps getting worse from there.
Picking on poor people seems to be a pass-time for wealthier Republican politicians who seem to treat being poor as a crime. Just as when drowning a person, we don't let them up for a single breath of air. It just delays the dying and prolongs a miserable life. In Kansas most poor people know how much they are despised. The wealthy political establishment fights against raising the minimum wage, which has been frozen for years. Here in Kansas none of these people can get health care, through Medicaid since our Governor, Sam Brownback has prevented Medicaid expansion and sees to it that many of these people die from preventable disease. Over the last six years, our Tea Party legislatures have gotten rid of any government program that benefits poor workers...and that includes a small government stipend that used to be issued to burry people after they die.
As always, our corporate elites keeping poor workers going from pay day to pay day, and any thing that goes wrong traps them in poverty and creates a massive dependence on what ever lousy job they are stuck with.
The following article gives the details or the process.  

Larry Merriweather says he lost his driver’s license after a downturn in the economy in 2008 made it difficult for him to pay a traffic fine. Since then, he has racked up around $8,000 in tickets and fees, many for driving on a suspended license. -Oliver Morrison The Wichita Eagle

Larry Merriweather runs a small business from Wichita in which he strips and waxes the floors of stores across Kansas.
In 2008, when the recession hit, he said his income fell from $63,000 to $21,000 in one year. As a result, he couldn’t pay a speeding ticket, and his license was suspended.
He couldn’t stop working, so he said every time he got pulled over, he would get additional fines and penalties, including having to pay bail when he was jailed for driving on a suspended license. He’s never had a DUI and hasn’t been in any accidents, he said. Merriweather said he now owes about $8,000 in back fines.
“How can I make a living if I can’t get to my job?” Merriweather said. “I’m being treated like a criminal, and my crime is driving to work.”
As of November, more than 100,000 Kansans had their driver’s licenses suspended for not paying traffic tickets. That means there was about one suspended license for every 20 adults living in Kansas.
For the rest click here.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Journalist student who helped break coverage of the Koch Brothers interference with WSU dead

I just found out that Nathen Davis, a reporter at The WSU(Wichita State University) Sunflower has died. Davis is the student who gave me information when I wrote Koch brothers helped create a “culture of fear” at Wichita State University. I also reposted an article he took an interested in, Koch influence on WSU questioned at Faculty Senate, will be revisited. As far as I could tell, Davis was headed to become one of our badly needed journalists of the future. He had spent a lot of time on those stories and he was willing to take a lot of risks to put out that kind of journalism. He will be badly missed. SJ Otto

Nathan E. Davis, 23, died over the weekend in his apartment near Wichita State University.
Davis was born Dec. 22, 1993. He lived in Lawrence, Kansas, before moving to Wichita for college.
Davis studied psychology at Wichita State. He had intentions to switch to a communications major.
He started work at The Sunflower as a reporter in August. Davis reported on campus issues and politics.
Davis additionally picked up work as a cook at Shocker Grill and Lanes in the Rhatigan Student Center in the fall of 2016.
Davis will be remembered as a friend of his colleagues at The Sunflower. His character gave us lots of laughs and loads of memories.
The Sunflower Staff remembers Nathan Davis.

Davis is the man in the middle.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Kansas National Guard commander sees intimidation as a second amendment right

By SJ Otto
The conceal and carry laws, favored by Kansas conservatives, are getting crazier every year. It is one thing to claim they have a right to carry guns, but it is an absurd twist in logic when they suddenly insist they have the right to carry guns for the purpose of intimidating others. Intimidation is not a second amendment right. 
Most professors and students oppose having students carry guns on campus. Most don’t want to go to school surrounded by pistol packing nut-jobs. If these conservatives are so insecure that they need to protect themselves from other students, maybe they don't belong at a university. Maybe they should avoid education—or maybe they lack the ability to be educated.
The latest absurd conservative argument comes from Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Holder, commander of a squadron based at a Kansas National Guard Armory in Emporia. He said he was offended that Representative Stephanie Clayton, Overland Park Republican, proposed legislation that would undermine his constitutional rights, by repealing a law that prevents the state’s higher education institutions to ban concealed carry guns on campuses. Holder said on a Facebook comment that Clayton should “swing from a tree,” according to the Garden City Telegraph
Clayton is among those Kansas legislators who want to repeal a law that would prevent the state’s higher education institutions to allow concealed carry on campus starting July 1. Clayton’s bill would make the existing ban on concealed guns permanent.
The Civil Air Patrol is a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force created by Congress. The Kansas Adjutant General’s Department has provided administrative support and budget oversight for the CAP for the past 20 years.
Holder leads the 77th Composite Squadron and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in June 2016. He is among the adult mentors responsible for promoting integrity and self-discipline among cadets as young as 12. Adults in the CAP are expected to encourage cadets to embark on careers in aviation or the military.
So a person like this is a public official who feels free to intimidate an elected official. He hammered out these comments on Facebook and according to the Garden City Telegraph:

"Holder said sharing his personal “opinion with spleen” could only be viewed as a threat by “intolerant social justice warriors who believe free speech only applies to their way of thinking.”
“We have laws in the country that protect our civil rights from individuals who choose to oppress others under the color of the law, authority of their office or through violence,” Holder said. “These crimes are punished up to and including the death penalty. I firmly believe that any elected official who brings legislation clearly intending to violate my civil rights is guilty of these crimes and should suffer those sanctions.”

If I go by his logic, I am justified to kill those in the "pro-life" movement who seek to destroy women's rights and women's access to health care. If we all took his advice we would have permanent war between liberals, other leftist and right-wing political activists. People who use that kind of logic really should not have guns, much less carry them in public. Where in the constitution are we given the right to shoot and kill those whose opinions differ from our own?
If this were an isolated case it could easily be dismissed as one lone crack-pot. But he is hardly alone. Just cruising Yahoo News, lots of conservatives like to leave comments. Some are revealing. For example, in response to an article called “Illinois concealed carry rules survive suits by gun owners,” this racist comment was left:

Only black thugs are allowed to carry concealed guns in Chicago.”

Then there are comments as this one:

“Cognitive Dissident
it would be nice to know what the supposed "explanations" were. You wanna bet they were vague? I know of a guy who tried to get a carry permit in New Hampshire (hardly a gun-grabbing state, in context) and he was denied because he had been arrested for PROTESTING the government.”

He doesn’t say what kind of protesting this guy was doing. Was it just protesting or something more like intimidation? We have no way of knowing from the comment. A few years ago a man with a gun strapped on him was counter-protesting a protest by Wichita women at a Hobby Lobby. Although he was peaceful, his gun was intimidating to some of the people there.[1]
Then there were those comments that were simply not true:

The communists want a disarmed citizenry.
From my Cold Dead Hands!!!”

Pro-gun conservatives like to say this, but it simply is not true. Most of America’s communists and Marxist oppose gun control.[2] This is a case of people making assumptions. This assumption is that communist want people to be submissive to a communist state, therefore they want to confiscate all the citizen's guns. The assumption also comes from cold war propaganda from the 1950s that was never based on anything other than conservative assumptions. That assumption is wrong.
Do we really need a lot of racist people running around with guns. We need to let conservatives know we will not be intimidated by their threats. Their rights only go as far as they can protect themselves, not their right to threaten those who disagree with them.

Breeders - Happiness is a Warm Gun

Happiness Is A Warm Gun - Joe Anderson Ft Salma Hayek 

Pix YouTube.

[1] Wichita protesters respond to the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling, Otto's War Room, see comments,

Oppose Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice—defend Roe vs. Wade

From Julie A. Burkhart, Trust Women:

President Trump is making good on his campaign promises, and with tonight's announcement of his U.S. Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch, we are not folding.

Trust Women is digging in. We are on the frontlines every day serving women. And while Trump stated he believes women "might" have to travel to other states if Roe were overturned, you know full well that women already travel for access to abortion at additional financial and personal cost. In fact, half of our patients live in a different county than our clinics.

Consider Carrie*, who traveled to us for an abortion. We were able to see her and help her with a low-cost intra-uterine device (IUD) that will be effective birth control for five years. Here's a short note she wrote:

*Name changed for privacy

If Roe were overturned, the state of abortion access could go from bad to catastrophic. This map depicts how grave the situation could get.

However, the Kansas Supreme Court next month will hear arguments on a law banning the most common second-trimester abortion procedure.

The central question for the court is whether the Kansas State Constitution protects the right to abortion care.

If the right to abortion is upheld, the case could make Kansas just one of eight states that protects a women's right choose and the only state in the middle of the country. Your contribution of $8, $18 or $88 will ensure women in this part of the country won't have to wait for trickle-down justice from federal courts, and it will show the Kansas Supreme Court that the nation is watching. 

Let's keep fighting,

Julie A. Burkhart

Founder and CEO

Trust Women Foundation

Friday, January 27, 2017

Trump and/ or Mulvaney need to leave our Social Security and Medicare alone!

By SJ Otto
Right now President Donald Trump has promised not to change Social Security or Medicare. And yet he has nominated Representative Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., to become the nation's budget director. Mulvaney wants to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
As they used to say on To Tell The Truth, will the real Trump please stand up—the one that promises to leave programs for the elderly alone, or the future Trump who changes his mind after being advised by Mulvaney?  
According to the ChicagoTribune:

“Mulvaney would bring a stridently hawkish voice to the Office of Management and Budget. On Tuesday, he said he remains in favor of raising the retirement age for Social Security to 70 but emphasized that he would not reduce benefits for existing recipients. He also reiterated his support for means-testing to qualify for Medicare.”

There are a lot of us, as with myself, who have paid into Social Security all our lives, in a tax that has been forced on us. It is not a small tax. Our money has actually gone to seniors of retirement age, before us. We supported them with the idea we would have our turn and the next generation will support us. I’m presently 62. I am planning to retire in three years. But as with Obamacare (Affordable Care Act, ACT) it the equivalent of a rug being pulled out from under us. Those who have benefited from Obamacare will suddenly find themselves uninsured and without health care when the Republicans get their way. Those of us who are not quite old enough to retire may find that we now must wait much longer before retiring. We may also have a lot of illnesses that can’t be cared for because Medicare will now be out of our reach.
As with many my age, I don’t have a large savings of any kind. I do own a home, but that is it. Lately I have been looking for work, but have had no luck and much of that is because I am getting older and most employers want to higher younger people. When or if they raise the retirement age to 70, the next generation better watch out. If they lose the job they have, they may end up homeless.
As for means testing for Medicare—that would be a good idea if they mean kicking upper middle class and wealthy people out of the system. But conservatives always try to take money from the working poor. Those of us who have worked all our lives, but couldn’t quite make the middle class can be assured we will not pass the means test. If the test is like the one they try and use for those who need welfare, most of us will never see a cent of Medicare.

Mulvaney does have one good idea—that is to cut down on military spending. Again in the Chicago Tribune:

"You've spent your entire congressional career pitting the debt against the military," (Senator John) McCain said. ""I am deeply concerned about your lack of support for our military."

What they should do is cut the military and put that money back into Social Security and Medicare. Social Security promised to us. The government needs to keep its promise to us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump disrespecting Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with Dakota Access Pipeline

By SJ Otto
After just a few days in office President Donald Trump has
begun his destructive agenda, which will adversely affect Native American Indian, immigrants and Muslims.
First he signed an executive orders that will make it easier for TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final uncompleted portion of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Both of these pipelines are a risk to the environment. But the Dakota Access pipeline is a slap in the face to Native American Indians. More than 200 years ago, European invaders stole most Indian land, putting the Native American Indians on reservations, designed to be the worst land available for them, while making sure white people got all of the most valuable land. Fast forward 250 years, our government still disrespects the Native American Indian people and the land they live on.
For months now, members of the StandingRock Sioux Tribe and other supporters have protested to keep the pipeline off of Native American lands. President Barack Obama backed down and stopped the project. Now Trump has pushed ahead, rolling over tribal rights of the Sioux, giving no thought to their needs or religious beliefs. As with other minorities, Trump just doesn’t care.
It seems that this president is not the least bit interested in any minority’s rights. And after almost 250 years Native American Indians still can’t get the respect they need and deserve.
And he is just getting started. Trump plans to discriminate against Muslims coming into the US and he still plans to build a wall along the Mexican border. It is going to be a rough four years for minorities in this country.

Stop Trump from silencing EPA employees

From the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC):

President Trump just instituted a media blackout to all employees in the Environmental Protection Agency.

That means scientists are barred from communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work.

It’s ridiculous, and we must stand against this.

SIGN YOUR NAME: Demand President Trump retracts his media blackout on the EPA >>



We don’t know what to say.

President Trump just instituted a ban on media communication for EPA employees.

That means no press releases, no blog updates, and no posts to their social media accounts.

This is absolutely terrifying.

President Trump is using his powers to silence scientists.

Americans deserve to hear what the EPA has to say, especially because they are funded by taxpayers!

We can’t let him get away with this.

Will you sign on and tell President Trump to leave the EPA alone?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wichita's Women's March was a huge success

By SJ Otto
I was really impressed with Wichita's Women's March. There were thousands of people there. That has got to be about the larges march I ever attended in Wichita.
There seemed to be a general agreement that we all wanted President Donald Trump to know we will not sit back passively and just watch as he destroys women's rights and other rights that we have. There were also women's marches in major cities across the country and across the world.
The march started at the Keeper of the Plains statue. Then people marched to Wichita City Hall. One estimation I heard was that the crowed reached about 3,000. Women and men of all ages marched. Although most of the marchers were women, there were a lot of men and some children.
Once the crowd gathered at City Hall there were some women singing with guitars and the speakers started.
Beth Clarkson spoke on voter machine fraud.
"When I was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor and I was told I could not be a doctor," she told the crowd. "I was told I could be a nurse or marry and doctor. Today I have a PhD and I'm working on the voting system."
She said she has been investigating instances of voter fraud in Kansas and there have been many irregularities.
Close your eyes and think of Wichita in 100 years. I envision flying cars, hand counted paper ballets and universal health care," she said. "Millennials, you are the greatest generation."
And if they help us vote out these conservatives I will agree with her.
 Julie Burkhart, Founder and CEO of Trust Women, spoke of need to fight for reproductive freedoms.
"Dr. Tiller used to say to me 'tell me the bad news first," she said. "Well the bad news is for the next few years reproductive freedom rights will be bad."
She went on to talk about efforts in two states to completely ban abortion.
"If you can't control reproduction you can't control your own life," she said.
Trust Women has a clinic in Wichita, Kansas and Oklahoma City.
Karen Countryman-Roswurm spoke about human trafficking.
"Sexual violence is the pipeline to prison for women," Roswurm said.
She went on to talk about women who end up in prison, women who lose their children and women whose lives have been messed up because their men have been jailed under the "war on drugs."
"We have to stand outside our privilege and recognise that violence exists," she went on to say.
Pastor Pamaline King-Burns spoke of her faith and fighting against hate.
"There are the seeds of discord," she said. "There were the children who grew up slaves, black men were slaves, Chinese were indentured. The seeds grew oak trees of hate. But we rose up. We made child labor laws, women can vote."
Briley Meek spoke for Planned Parenthood.
"I don't think I'm alone when I say I'm afraid for the future of my health care."
She said that Planned Parenthood not only gives women health care but does it without passing judgment on women.
Miranda Allen spoke of empowering women. She spoke of the need for people to vote.  Allen ran for the US House of Representatives as an independent.
Allen ran in the Kansas’ 4th District, which includes most of south-central Kansas. That seat is presently held by Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo.
The crowd was enthusiastic. Reproductive rights, Obamacare (Affordable Care Act, ACA) and issues of combating racism were themes heard from the various speakers.
Other rallies have been held across the country and world. My wife Cam Gentry was in Washington, DC. She said that march was way bigger than anyone thought it would be.
One thing I noticed from many people I know and talked to is that Trump is galvanizing people to become politically active. This may be just the first salvo of a political movement for women and men to defend their rights. 
It was hard to capture the crowd with a camera.

There were some very creative signs.

And in Washington DC.....

Cam and her sister Marsha Hesany.