Saturday, August 18, 2018

Aretha Franklin: The sound of the civil rights movement

-SJ Otto
Aretha Franklin was more than just a singer and entertainer, she was also a voice for the civil rights movement. We can be thankful that we had such entertainers during the civil rights movement, during the 1960s. The following article explains some of her political work:

From the BBC:
Her Baptist minister father was the organiser behind the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom - the largest-ever demonstration for civil rights in the US until the March on Washington later that year, when the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr made his "I have a dream" speech.
King was a frequent guest in her father's home.
At 16 years of age, Franklin went on tour with him, just after recording her first album.
She would sing at King's funeral a decade later.
King's daughter, Dr Bernice King, called Franklin a "shining example" of how to use the arts to support social change.

For the rest click here.

Aretha Franklin - Think (The Blues Brothers)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Progressive Democrats influenced the Democratic Primary

By SJ Otto
For those of us who are working in Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), we had two major victories last week. Lacey Cruse, a folk singer and political newcomer whose campaign poster proclaimed “NO MORE OLD WHITE GUYS,” will face off against incumbent Richard Ranzau in the race for Sedgwick County Commissioner.
And James Thompson will face off with Republican Ron Estes for the 4rth district representative seat.
Cruse was supported by members of DSA and a lot of political activists from this county. She beat out Michael Kinard, a Democrat established activist and former Wichita school board member. There is little doubt that Kinard was seen as a member of the traditional Democratic Party. The Kansas Democrats have done what the party has done nation, wide, raised money, stuck to the political middle and avoided any real issues. This could spell a real change for this area, since Lacey has been backed by the more progressive members of the Democratic Party.
The big challenge in the county race now is to see if DSA and the other activist can out vote the good-ol'-boy network, presently represented by Richard Ranzau, out.  Ranzau is an openly bigoted right-wing hack who almost lost his own seat to a more progressive Republican, Hugh Nicks. Ranzau snubbed a Latino reporter, years ago, and he helped send back a grant for WIC (a government program to help women in poverty to get milk and other necessities to their infants) money because they were afraid immigrant Latino children might get some of that free milk. He has a streak of petty meanness and he needs to go. Do the local political activist, who are clearly energised and inspired, have what it takes to unseat Ranzau?
The Next big win was James Thompson, who recently had the backing and support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who recently won in New York (she is a DSA member) and Bernie Sanders. Thompson already has a large political organizations with the same political activist behind him (along with DSA). Thompson was able to fill Century II with supporters of both his campaign and the more progressive movement within the Democrat Party. That movement has had mixed results nation wide. But in the 4rth congressional district of Kansas, the progressives clearly have the upper hand of the Democratic Party. Thompson also nearly beat the lazy "stay away from the public/ What!? Me work?!" Republican Ron Estes.
Even if Thompson and Lacey don't win, progressive Democrats in this county and district have made their voices heard. These elections will probably be close and they are an indicator that "business as usual" within the Democratic Party is about over. Progressive activists are already making history.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Two other candidates for Democrat in Kansas, Jack Bergeson, Arden Andersen

By SJ Otto
I have looked all over the web to get ALL the candidates on the Republican side and the Democrat side and in both cases they have left people off. I'm guessing these people don't have a lot of money or they don't the blessing of their local parties. They are Jack Bergeson, Arden Andersen. Their names were hard to find. They have been buried below the other candidates in election article after election article. I just plain haven't been able to find their names and I didn't realize they were running. I don't know anything about them or their background. In our political system many candidates get buried as "not serious." Their not important to the main stream news media (in this case The Wichita Eagle and the three main TV stations). They really don't count and the establishment really doesn't want you to vote for them. So here they are and you can vote for them anyway.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Who should be our next governor?

By SJ Otto
In just a few days Kansas will determine who will run for governor. So who should we vote for, who should this blog endorse? For the Republicans the very worst is Kris Kobach. He is absolutely horrible. He will put us back where we were when Sam Brownback was governor. He will decimate education and he will keep Kansas in the dark over Obamacare, expanding Medicaid and all those issues related to providing the poor with access to health care. So our recommendation is to vote for anyone but Kobach or Jeff Colyer, who is almost as bad. Jim Barnett or Ken Selzer would be an improvement over these two ass holes. Also notice that after all those young people complained that the NRA is preventing any kind of common sense gun rules, Kobach and Colyer both brag of a perfect score in support from the NRA. Another way to look at that is they are telling our young people "to go to hell," if they want any kind of gun law changes.
On the Democrat side we are supporting Laura Kelly. The other two might also make good candidates but we chose Laura Kelly.

The Candidates:

Jim Barnett, former state senator.
Jeff Colyer. Present Governor and dismal failure.
Kris Kobach, Present Kansas Secretary of State and complete ass hole.
Ken Selzer, Insurance Commissioner.
Patrick Kucera, Pastor.
Tyler Ruzich, High School Student.
Joseph Tutera Jr., High School Student.

Carl Brewer, Wichita's first elected African-American mayor.
 Laura Kelly, state senator.
Josh Svaty, a secretary of agriculture and state representative.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Vote Lacey Cruse on Tuesday, for 4th district Sedgwick County

By SJ Otto

This coming Tuesday, August 7, The voters of Sedgwick County's 4th District will have an opportunity to get rid of the bigoted ass hole Richard Ranzau, the present county commissioner.

Let's remember that Ranzau snubbed a Latino reporter and he and others sent back a grant for WIC (a government program to help women in poverty to get milk and other necessities to their infants) money because they were afraid Latino children might get some of that free milk. He has a streak of petty meanness and he needs to go.
On the Republican side he is being challenged by Hugh Nicks who has been attacking him, with mail ads, for his voting against funding the Sedgwick County Zoo, opposing excepting grants for senior-citizen housing and his obstruction to expanding jobs in the county. While this site does not endorse Republicans, Nicks would be a welcome change from the ultra-conservative and bigoted Ranzau.
On the Democrat side we have Lacey Cruse, a young woman who admits she is new to politics but she is very open to expanding jobs in the country and would be a breath of fresh air from the stale Ranzau.

.Lacey Cruse.

We will have more upcoming election news for this area in the near future.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Mao and Stalin greet us from the small town of Lindsborg, Kansas

By Steve Otto
My friends from Spain, Mark Davis and Pedro Esbrit, along with my wife Cam Gentry and I, have been travelling around our home state of Kansas (except Pedro who has never lived here) viewing the sites and small towns. We went to the town of in Lindsborg, KS, which is a small Swedish community. We stopped for lunch at the Swedish Crown Restaurant, on the main street of that town. While we were having lunch I noticed they have small carved statues of famous people, such as past US presidents and famous foreign leaders such as Charles de Gaulle, Mao Zedong (毛泽东) and Joseph Stalin (Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин/ იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე სტალინი).

This photo of Lindsborg, with the restaurant, was taken by Mark Davis. 

I was quite surprised to see Mao and Stalin. Kansas, as a whole, is a very conservative and reactionary state.[1] Those who call themselves socialists are growing in number, here in Kansas. There are a handful of Marxist-Leninists in the state. I just had to take some pictures of Mao, Stalin and de Gaulle.

I also took some pictures of Kansas wildlife. Kansas may be conservative, but the state dose have some remarkable natural resources for those who take the time to admire them.
Here is a picture of a lizard I took. It is a skink. 

We saw plenty of bison, or buffalo, at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge.
Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature
This photo was taken by Mark Davis. 

[1] With the possible exception of Lawrence, KS which is a medium sized college town, known for being a pocket of leftism.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Why The Thai Cave Rescue Story Drew So Much Attention Compared To Other Crises and Events

For weeks we have seen every detail of the lives of those 12 boys who were rescued from that cave in Thailand. It was a remarkable story. It was a story with a happy ending. It was newsworthy. But where the minute by minute details and day long coverage really worth it?
In the last several years our mainstream news media seem to look for "heroes" they can honour for various acts of courage under siege, whether related to weather, terrorism or just plain old crime. It's as if our capitalist system has a deficit of heroes to worship and our mainstream news media is looking to fix that situation.  
There are children in trouble all over the world. There are refugees, children who go hungry, children who live in deep poverty or other man-made forms of injustice. These children's stories could easily make good and important news stories. Also, the coach who took these children into a cave right before the rainy season, did something very stupid and yet he gets made into a hero.
The following story looks into the hype related to the kids in the cave story. This story asks a lot of good questions that a lot of journalists should have been asking. -SJ Otto

From NPR:
Like millions of global citizens, Abraham Leno has been riveted by the story of the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand.
"I sat around the radio with my family and we wanted to hear the recent updates of the kids, every little detail," he says. "To see all the governments sending their best divers, giving them equipment, offering their moral support — it was a beautiful thing to see."

But Leno has another perspective. As a youth, he spent ten years in refugee camps in Guinea. Now working at the American Refugee Committee, he wishes that the media had paid more attention to his plight and his fellow refugees: "It would have shed a better light to create the understanding necessary to help us."
Others share his concerns. Manyang Reath Kher became a Lost Boy at age 3 and later founded the charity Humanity Helping Sudan. He says, "I don't want to sound horrible to those kids [in the cave], but the attention they got, it should be spread around. Give that to other children, too."
The aid community is grappling with that issue as well. While they all stress that they were deeply moved by the story of the boys in Thailand, they raise a point: Can the world bring the same level of care and resources to other children living in crisis? More than half a million Rohingya children live in camps in Bangladesh, for example, and 800 children die of malaria each day.

There are, of course, reasons why the cave story is so riveting.

For the rest click here.

Story by

Rohingya children carrying firewood into the Kutupalong camp in 
Bangladesh. Refugees have stripped almost all the area 
vegetation to use in cooking fires.
Allison Joyce for NPR

Friday, July 20, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders come to Wichita to support James Thomson

By SJ Otto
It was a great day in Kansas for those of us who came to see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. But off course they came to back up Jim Thompson for his race against the idiot Ron Estes. We actually have a chance to flip the 4rth district house seat from red to blue in the next general election. And that is why these celebrities came to Wichita.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pulled off a big upset against top House Democrat Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th District in last month’s primary, is now here in Kansas to help bolster the campaign of James Thompson who wants to win in the 4rth of the Kansas House.
"And they said what we did in the Bronx wouldn't' interest Kansas," Ocasio-Cortez said. Ocasio-Cortez is not only a member of the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) she also appeals to many Kansas feminists and Latinos. I personally sat in the DSA,VIP section, up front. There were about 4,000 people in attendance this day.
"And they said what we did in the Bronx wouldn't' interest Kansas," Ocasio-Cortez said. She talked about a teacher she really liked, Mrs Whipple, who assigned her a project to study the state of Kansas. She also pointed out that Kansas was the state that helped push for a free state vs. a slave state during the civil war.
Bernie Sanders, who ran as a Democrat in the last presidential primary, was also present to support the candidacy of James Thompson.
"The Kochs raised $400 million," Sanders said. "They represent the wealthy and powerful.
They will not buy this electorate. The system works for all of us not just the Koch Brothers."
Of course the main point of all of this was to support the candidacy of James Thompson.
All through the event several points were made that all agreed to:

Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Free college and Tech school tuition along with helping those students who already are over burdened with tuition loans.
Health care for all- single payer.
Legalize marijuana.
Women's choice on abortion.

Then Thompson spoke:
"Who are Vets," he asked? followed by "who are the  teachers? who are in unions?- you are all the wall that separates us from the fascists."
" I should have been in jail," he said. "I grew up in poverty. When I see people struggling I know what it means."
He related that he joined the military to get out of poverty. He spoke highly of the military and those who defend our country oversees."
"They say we should be centrists- Republican lights," Thompson said as the crowd booed. "If that worked Hillary would have won Kansas."
"Ron Estes doesn't want to go out and meet the people," Thompson said.
The crowd shouted "Where's Ron?"
"There will be 17 debates," Thompson said. He asked the crowd if Estes was going to show up to any of these debates: "Or is Ron Estes going to continue to hide?"
There was a massive crowed at this event and things could not be looking better for Thompson in the up-coming race. This could be a turning point for Kansas.
There was quite a crowd.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and James Thompson at Century II tomorrow

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a congressional candidate from New York, a Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) member, who recently unseated the centrist incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, will be here in Wichita tomorrow. Also with her will be Bernie Sanders and 4th District Congressional candidate James Thompson.
Sanders may run for president again in the next Democratic presidential primary.
Sanders has become a real powerful person within the Democratic Party. He has been trying to move the party left and he may be succeeding. While Thompson does not call himself a socialist, he has been supported by Sanders.
Said Sanders:

"I think if you read the platform right now, you will understand that the political revolution is alive and kicking," Sanders’s policy director, Warren Gunnels, told NBC News at the time, adding that campaign got "at least 80 percent" of what it wanted.

This event is planned for at 1pm tomorrow at Century II.

Image result for ​Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Many Wichitans think a good college education is for the sissies

By SJ Otto
Once again we see backward and conservative views from people in Wichita. The latest, from The Wichita Eagle, is that people in Wichita don't value higher education. It is not hard to see that lacking a higher education, many people will fall for the foolish beliefs of the conservatives.
Conservative values include hating unions, supporting the Republican Party, when many people are actually working class, paying higher taxes by the lower classes to support tax beaks for the wealthy and being denied healthcare. They work hard for a living only to be more than willing to give up all their rights to business people who treat them like stupid children. According to The Wichita Eagle:

"I have yet to meet a wealthy individual who has any other expectation for their child other than ... going to college," said Canada, an education activist and former director of the Harlem Children's Zone." I've yet to see anyone with money who said, 'You know what? I've got three kids: You'll go to the University of Kansas. And you, I think I'm gonna send you to Notre Dame. But you ... I'm thinking hairdresser school.' Never heard of it."
In the view of most middle- and upper-class families in America, Canada says, the path to success and a happy life goes straight through college. Graduate from high school, and there's just one question: Have you bought your dorm-room fridge yet?....
..... But that isn't the pervading thought in Wichita.
In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, Americans were asked: "Would you say a college education is extremely important, very important, somewhat important or not too important in helping a young person succeed in the world today?"
Nationwide, about 77 percent of respondents said college is extremely or very important.
In Wichita, 54 percent said so."

So in Wichita we continue to have half-witted politicians who say really dumb things and then get elected. We have a lazy goof-off Republican in the 4rth congressional district who did absolutely nothing to get elected, in a special election, except to sit back on his fat rump and run misleading ads, paid for by his party. He avoided personal appearances, even being late to his own victory party, while his opponent, James Thompson, worked around the clock to get to know the people of the district. Many people voted for Estes only because he was a Republican. He was the weak candidate, but he won.
Other idiots that have won positions they should have lost include Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau, a bigot who was so mean spirited he sent back a government grant to help people on the WIC program because some of them might go to Latino immigrants. He showed an outright biased towards Latinos. And he is still on the county commission.
So we have to wonder how such lousy and creepy politicians keep getting elected. It is simple: Many people in Wichita believe ignorance is a blessing.
People forget that a college education is more than just getting a career. Again in The Wichita Eagle:
"Kristina Everingham, a family and community engagement specialist at Child Start, said too many people have lost sight of the real value of college, which goes beyond income or status.
"College for me was never only about getting a career," she said. "It was about building critical thinking skills, understanding how to hold public discourse when people disagree, how to appreciate great literature and art ... how to make sure I do my part to be a well-rounded and informed citizen."

And there is the ridiculous statement made by Wichita State University President John Bardo:

"Whatever the case, Wichita sits in the heart of a deep red state, and even local university leaders seem to have gotten the message. During a meeting this spring, Wichita State University president John Bardo told members of the unclassified professional senate that creating "an elite little liberal arts college" at WSU "ain't gonna work."

When people embrace ignorance as a virtue, this state and city will get what it deserves. And that is not a good thing. All of us pay for these mistakes.
 Image result for ​ignorant fools
Pix by Owless.

Democratic Party Elites Feel the Grassroots Heat

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Another socializing event from Democratic Socialists of America, Wichita, KS chapter

Another fine outing with DSA members, last, July 9. We had to move our dinner to Paleteria La Reyna, just down the street from bills. SJ Otto

Saturday, July 07, 2018

ICE Protest here in Wichita, KS

By SJ Otto
There has been an occupy movement, Occupy ICE ICT, here in Wichita against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) center at 555 N. Woodlawn, here in Wichita, KS. Protesters have had a presence at the ICE building at Woodlawn and Central all week. Yesterday about 93 people attended the rally, starting at the corner of Central and Woodlawn and meeting at the ICE building. The occupation began as a response to President Donald Trump's actions that led to separated families. 
"We are responding to questions and concerns," said Dennis Romero who MCed the rally. He, along with others present, want to know what the function of that building is. "We need to make transparency real."
" They are arresting people right here in Wichita," Romero said.
The group is demanding that the ICE facility be inspected by a select group of elected officials.
Of those officials, Democratic state Rep. Gail Finney and Democratic state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau came to address the crowd. Missing was Ron Estes, our Republican 4rth district Representative who rarely goes to any event where he can address the people he supposedly represents.
"Where's Ron," the crowd chanted at one point.
Some at the rally did go into the building, as far as they were able to. There were no ICE workers present to explain anything to the protesters.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Pain patients overlooked in opioid hype campaign—we told you so!!

By SJ Otto
When this opioid campaign began I noticed a clear and sharp problem arising in that people with real pain were going to suffer as the opioid "crisis" led to public hysteria and government overreach. (See: Those in pain did not create any “opioid epidemic”).
I have a friend who has cancer and he is having a hard time finding a doctor who will prescribe needed pain killers. He is in the final stages of lung cancer and doctors are telling him "they are going to faze out opioid drugs." He has a morphine pain pump that no doctor will refill. He has had a prescription for methadone. But now he can't get any doctor to treat him. He has been going through withdrawals for days.
Now USA Today has posted an article: "Chronic pain patients, overlooked in opioid crisis, getting new attention from top at FDA," by Jayne O'Donnell and Josephine Chu. It turns out that there are many pain patience, just as my friend, who are having trouble getting treatment for pain. According to that article:

Chronic pain patients and the groups that represent them say the escalating government response to opioid addiction ignores their need for the painkillers and doctors who will prescribe them, leaving some out of work, bedridden and even suicidal. 

I also have posted article in which I was sceptical that all the reported overdoses were not really from people being prescribed medical opioids. (See The opioid epidemic is really a fentanyl epidemic—and we don’t need all the hype). It turns out I was right:

CDC researchers said in an article in April in the American Journal of Public Health that they overestimated the number of Americans who have died of prescription opioid overdoses. Because of inaccurate tracking methods, the CDC said it incorrectly counted many overdoses from illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids such as fentanyl as prescription drug deaths. 

The above statement is exactly what I wrote in an article earlier this year. This is not much different from the crack epidemic, in which the police gave young Afro-Americans ridiculously long prison sentences for selling what amounted to smokable cocaine. It was no different than regular cocaine except it can be smoked.
The mainstream news media should no better than to let these campaigns get out of control, but they just don't learn. So much of the "opioid epidemic" is nothing more than fake news.  

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

"What To The Slave Is The 4th Of July?" FREDERICK DOUGLASS SPEECH, 1852

 "What To The Slave Is The 4th Of July?"


This is a Fourth of July classic. I like posting this almost every Fourth of July. It gives us time to think about our country for real. -SJ Otto

The Freeman Institute Foundation -- Developing Black History galleries designed to
educate and inspire young people in selected cities internationally (collection).

Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfullyreturned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that the dumb might eloquently speak and the "lame man leap as an hart."

For the Rest of this speech click here.