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.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Thoughts and feelings over the US Fourth of July celebration- 2018

By SJ Otto
In just a few days it will be Fourth of July for 2018. Each year I write an article about the Fourth of July and what I really think this holiday means. I analyse the US Revolution/Revolutionary War and the changes it brought. From here down, I am posting what I posted last year. Not much has changed, if anything, from last year:

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

Here are some of my fireworks for two days from now, including firecrackers, mortars and rockets.

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

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

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

For the rest click here.

Nickelback - Edge Of A Revolution

Tracy Chapman - Talkin' bout a Revolution 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Ocasio-Cortez upset should be a wake up call—yet probably just a snooze fest for the establishment Democrats

By SJ Otto
The latest Democratic upset—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beating long-time mainstream Democrat Joseph Crowley of New York, should be a wake-up call to the mainstream Democratic Party leadership—"your strategy for winning elections is not working. Try something different!"
Actually the Democrat's strategy has been losing elections for years. And yet the leadership of the Democratic Party has not given up on it yet.
Ocasio-Cortez was a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. A number of politicians from the Bernie Sanders campaign last year, have formed a serious challenge to the DNC leadership of the Democrats. The DNC strategy is always the same. They raise as much money as they can, they stay as close to the middle of the political spectrum as they can and they avoid saying anything that will offend a voter. It simply hasn't worked. Democrats have lost many elections here in Kansas and they just won't give that strategy up. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and she ran a campaign that made her left leaning politics in plain site. And she won.
According to The New York Times; Ocasio-Cortez:

"had declared it was time for generational, racial and ideological change."


"Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a native of the Bronx and a Latina in a Queens and Bronx district that is majority-minority, a fact she emphasized repeatedly on the trail against Mr. Crowley, who is white. In hindsight, the seat represented perhaps a perfect brew for an upset: a rusty incumbent, a charismatic challenger and a liberal district that gave Mr. Sanders more than 41 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton."

Not all the politicians who have taken support and backing of Sanders are committed socialists. But all of his supporters are challenging the mainstream corporatist wing of the Democratic Party. For example James Thompson is running a campaign to oust House of Representative Ron Estes, the Republican. He won't use the "S" word (Socialism. He said he thinks most people in Kansas don't like that word). He got nearly no support in his last campaign from the main-stream establishment Democratic Party here in Kansas. He is being challenged by Laura Lombard, who will probably get the support of the more traditional Democrats. But so far Thompson has raised his own money and has a committed staff of supporters that have put him out front for the Democratic Primary, August 7. He came close to unseating Estes, in the last election. Estes made little effort to meet the people in his 4th district. All he did was run some negative and misleading adds that the establishment Republicans paid for. He just figured he'd win because he was a Republican running in a mostly Republican district. He almost lost and there is a strong possibility he will lose out to Thompson this fall. Again from The New York Times:

“What I see is that the Democratic Party takes working class communities for granted, they take people of color for granted and they just assume that we’re going to turn out no matter how bland or half-stepping these proposals are,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in a recent interview about why she was running."

Her remarks strike a cord with voters all across the country, especially young voters, who unlike previous generations, are turning out to vote in large numbers. The old stale establishment Democrats should be noticing that their lock on power is slipping away badly. Again:

"Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had used Mr. Crowley’s role in the leadership, and the fact that he was the head of the local Democratic Party machine, against him in her bid to upend the existing political class. She will face Anthony Pappas, the Republican candidate, in the November general election....
....Mr. Crowley is the first House Democrat in the nation to lose a primary in 2018. His loss is most significant for a congressional incumbent since Eric Cantor, then the No. 2 Republican in the House, was defeated in 2014 to a Tea Party activist, David Brat."

Last December I posted an article on the Democratic Party and their timid plans to do the same thing the party has done over the last 20 years and all of it was wrong. As Miles Kampf-Lassin, of In These Times wrote:

"There’s no shortage of ambitious programs waiting for the Democrats to embrace.
The story of the Democratic Party in 2017 has been one of timidity and stubborn resistance to real change.
In the immediate aftermath of the party’s preferred candidate facing a humiliating defeat in last year’s presidential election, questions swirled over what direction the party would take to respond to the new political reality. With Democrats at their weakest position in decades, having lost over 1,000 seats in states and Congress over the previous eight years, it appeared that a drastic shift in how the party operated was in store.
And the party was offered an early opportunity to embark on such a shift, with the campaign by Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee chair. Ellison sported a resume as a bold progressive with popular support from rank-and-file Democrats and party activists alike. And he presented a clear break with the Democratic Party’s traditional establishment.
But rather than embrace the new direction presented by Ellison’s bid, party insiders conspired to instead elect Tom Perez, a candidate with much stronger connections to the party’s establishment wing. The result came as a dispiriting blow to many in the party’s base who hoped for a clear break in Democratic leadership."

It seems unlikely that the Democratic Party will learn anything from this humiliating defeat. They could change directions and start to embrace issues and seriously challenge President Donald Trump and the Republicans. I'm not holding my breath. The only hope for the Democratic Party are the new challengers, such Ocasio-Cortez, who represent a new bolder and liberal, left or democratic socialists who may have the nerve it takes to tell American public what these candidates really stand for. The mainstream Democrats are likely to just follow the same old lame, tired, bland strategy that has lost the Democrats election after election. With these new socialists running, there is a chance that the voters will finally have a real choice in these Fall elections.
 Image result for ​DNC snooze fest

Pix by Bill Clinton DNC Speech: Snooze fest or Sweet? #DNCinPHL.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Socializing at the Socialist Social, in Wichita, KS

Last night I went to a Socialist Social!  event at the Vagabond Cafe. About 20 people attended the event were we all discussed various issues connected with socialism as well as some people who discussed the principles of socialism and some common questions. We all enjoyed our favorite beverages and snacks.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Trump again mocks Sen. John McCain, brags that Republicans 'gutted' healthcare reform

One of the most unforgivable actions taken by President Donald Trump,  our idiot 'n chief, was his destruction of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Trump has bragged about destroying health care for a lot of people. So it is important to keep up on his actions or in-actions on health care. -SJ Otto
 WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27:  (L-R) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) hold a news conference to say they would not support a 'Skinny Repeal' of health care at the U.S. Capitol July 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Republican senators said they would not support any legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare unless it was guaranteed to go to conference with the House of Representatives.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
From the Daily Kos:

By Hunter 
Republican Sen. John McCain continues to remain in Arizona, battling brain cancer. National Republican leader and manifestly unfit president Donald Trump continues to mock and belittle him, this time singling McCain out in a Saturday rally in Nevada for his vote against a Republican bill repealing the Affordable Care Act, the healthcarereform law widely known as "Obamacare."
"Nobody talked to him. Nobody needed to, and then he walked in: thumbs-down. It’s alright, because we’ve essentially gutted it anyway," Trump said of ObamaCare at the rally.
Trump was in Nevada to campaign for McCain's colleague Sen. Dean Heller, who has offered no apparent public comment about his party's leader continuing to publicly sneer at McCain. Heller has also has long attempted to play both sides of the the healthcare debate hemself, so he may have been even more alarmed at Trump bragging to his Nevada constituents that the law has been "gutted."
Trump has at this point taken to attacking John McCain on a regular basis, during his public speeches. Daughter Meghan McCain responded to a similar Trump attack on her father last week as "gross."
Click here for the rest of the story.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rock music is better than unquestioning coverage of the US military by NPR

By SJ Otto
My wife Cam got me into listening to NPR. They do have some good informative articles. They are a little less biased than the other main stream news media outlets. But their are times when I switch the channel to the hard rock station at 95.1. Yes I do like rock music. But more than that I get tired of their many interview with military leaders. They talk about the efficiency of our military, the quality of our troops and how the military maintains itself. But there are questions missing. Why do we need these troops in Yemen, Afganistan or Iraq. These questions are never asked. Aparently NPR seems to think we all agree with what our military does. As Geoff Dutton said recently in CounterPunch:

"Like other major news organizations, NPR doesn’t seem to sense just how polluted the water it swims in is. Example: Recently (6/10/18), it aired a segment on the tribulations immigrants face to join the military, specifically the Marine Corps. We learn that Hispanics, 18% of the US population, make up 25% of active duty Marines. We also learn that the Trump Administration has put up arbitrary bureaucratic barriers to immigrants who apply to serve in our military. That’s due to the fact that one must be a citizen to enlist, a process that the Obama administration simplified that has now become more complex.
Tennessee resident Arturo Solomon, 24, is a DACA recipient and martial arts expert. The gung-ho Hispanic Marine hopeful told NPR correspondent Julieta Martinelli of his frustration from being sent hither and yon to qualify for citizenship. First, NPR Defense correspondent Tom Bowman (always a reliable source for what the Pentagon says it’s thinking) opines that Hispanics such as Solomon are overrepresented in the military due to their “being courageous.”.....
....That cultural value is also known as “machismo,” an attitude many Hispanic Mister Solomon wants to fight, perhaps to die, for his country for reasons NPR chose not to ask. Is it for glory, to serve the empire, or to demonstrate his manhood to impress someone? Either Ms. Martinelli forgot to inquire or her interrogation was edited. That’s too bad, because it would be great to get into those weeds. Her next interviewee, Margaret Stock (US Army Reserve, ret.), underscored that by making it onerous for immigrants to enter military service the Trump Administration is making the military “miss out on a lot of high-quality troops.” All that wasted talent. Such a shame.
Quite probably, Lt. Col. Stock, but to what ends? When was the last time the US Marines were called upon to defend the homeland, inthe homeland? Perhaps in the War of 1812 and arguably in the Civil War, but otherwise deployed abroad ever since. Missions include toppling reformist governments in this hemisphere and confronting Middle Eastern towelheads who supposedly hate our freedoms, presumably including our constitutional right to mow down fellow Americans with licensed large-caliber weaponry, just as our implacable Islamic enemies license themselves to do. Does Solomon want a piece of that? NPR could have asked."

As with me, I believe the substance of these interviews should focus on why the US needs so many people in its military? Do these soldiers realize they are fighting mainly for an empire and not as we are told, "to defend this country." Dutton scholds NPR for avoiding the truth, just has its corporate media oligarchs it competes with.

"Being nonprofit and mostly listener-supported, NPR should have an easier time telling truth to power than corporate media oligarchs do. But tell truth to NPR at your hazard. It used to solicit comments from listeners via email and on its website but gave it up several years ago, saying their comment rolls had become a troll haven that was too tedious and expensive to moderate."

As with me he has problems with the way they cover the military:

"Perhaps I’m being unnecessarily harsh, but couldn’t NPR just sometimes question what all this preparedness, both domestic and foreign, is about? On the nearer hand, we have countless numbers of our countrymen telling the government, “Don’t tread on me,” and on the farther one, our guardians aim to keep the homeland free of terrorists (of which 95% or more must be home-grown). So it goes."

And so our military leaders are given no serious questions. We spend Billions on defense world wide. Our military budget is the highest in the world and military spending dwarfs nearly all other US budgets. As Dutton said:

"Were he able to enlist, depending on his specialty and mission, Mr. Solomon might find himself billeted to any of the estimated 1000 or so US military bases scattered throughout 156 countries. Nick Turse wrote in 2009:
There are more than 1,000 U.S. military bases dotting the globe.  To be specific, the most accurate count is 1,077.  Unless it’s 1,088.  Or, if you count differently, 1,169.  Or even 1,180.  Actually, the number might even be higher.  Nobody knows for sure.
More than half of these “sites,” as DoD prefers to call them, are in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus 10 more currently squatting in Syria, unauthorized. The count excludes sites of less than 10 acres or worth less than $10M (many are likely intelligence and counterinsurgency outposts), chicken feed by DoD reckoning (even though ten million is more than enough to build a decent public school). There have been ups and downs in base construction and foreign deployments since the end of the Cold War, but the trend is decidedly upward and shows no sign of tapering off."

So it is time to hold NPR's feet to the fire. They are constantly raising money and asking people to take part in events they promote. They need to be asked why there is no debate on what our military does. As for that article click here for the rest of it. And I will feel to turn to rock music when they chose to glamorise the military.

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Pix by Wikipedia

Thursday, June 21, 2018

US leaves 'hypocritical and self-serving' UN Human Rights Council

From RT:
Washington has decided to walk out of the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the body of hypocrisy. The US has long cited concerns about the body’s “anti-Israel bias.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley announced the decision at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“The US is officially withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council,” Haley said, calling it a “hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”
“American participation is the last shred of credibility the council has,” Haley argued. “That is precisely why we must leave.”

For the rest click here.
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Pix by Vice.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Wichita now has to face its future, according to The Wichita Eagle, or dump its conservative ways

By SJ Otto
A recent article in The Wichita Eagle looks at the economic stagnation of Wichita and discusses what might be going wrong. Here is how the article starts off:

Amid an avalanche of sobering data that indicates Wichita's economy continues to flounder, one statement by analyst James Chung stuck with Fidelity Bank president Aaron Bastian.

"It was 'We’re starving our city,'" Bastian said. "That just hit me like a bucket of water."
Bastian and other community leaders left the analysis of Wichita's economy last week with a clear mission.
"We need to do more," Bastian said. "What we're doing is not enough."


"Among the numbers:
▪ While the gross domestic product for cities across the U.S. grew an average of 16 percent this decade, Wichita's dropped a percentage point.
▪ Every city in the central U.S. comparable to Wichita grew faster than the national average since 2010. Not Wichita.
▪ The U.S. labor force grew significantly over the past decade. Wichita's shrank."

One thing needs to be pointed out and that is that the economy doesn't really need growth to be successful. At some point the US and other countries needs to examine the idea of a "no growth" or "maintenance economy."
One thing we don't need is all the urban sprawl from the poorly organized development plans (or lack of) at the edges of Wichita. The present city leaders want to see a building on every piece of land at the edges of Wichita and that has created nothing but ugly clutter.
For years I have complained that voters in the city of Wichita have been unable to elect intelligent, progressive, forward thinking people who can move the city forward. Again, quoting the article:

Alex Pemberton tweeted that he wanted to see "a more-or-less wholesale change in leadership, in both the political and civic sectors."
"Get rid of all the leaders-in-title-only who care about their legacy or job security and replace them with real leaders, who will take bold action and engage in honest, critical conversations," said Pemberton, who two years ago founded the Yellowbrick Street Team, a grassroots movement known for drawing attention to urban-living issues until it went on hiatus early this year.

Conservatives and social conservatives have held Wichita back, with their supporters wanting social controls over such businesses as strip clubs and efforts to shut down Wichita's abortion clinics. The people elected tend to be political activists with no real leadership abilities. They have been conservative dolts who can't imagine how to move the city forward. Further in the article:

Others on social media voiced support for bringing better-paying jobs to the city and expanding Wichita's public transit system so it's easier for people to get to and from work in a cost-effective way.

The buss system in Wichita is a perfect example of people who should not run anything. They have a buss system that completely shuts down at 6pm. Many people have told me they would use the  buss to go to work if it didn't shut down so early. They could get to work, but the buss shuts down before they can use it to get home. Another need is for a bus to get people home from the bars and night clubs in Wichita's Old Town development. With all the emphasis on drunk driving, in the state and city, it would make so much sense to have a buss system people could use to get home after they have been drinking to avoid getting DUIs. For a city this size, not having a working bus system after 6pm demonstrates the small minded thinking of our small minded leaders.
Again in the article:

"(Mayor Jeff ) Longwell said the city is "working on a river corridor development that will be a game-changer," though he would not offer details.
"We shouldn’t lose sight that we’ve already planted the seeds of opportunity and we haven’t yet been able to harvest them," Longwell said."

That is an interesting comment considering that the last WaterWalk deal the City of Wichita made lost millions of dollars. According to a past The Wichita Eagle article:

"After 15 years and $41 million in taxpayer subsidies to the WaterWalk, the city of Wichita has gotten no money from a profit-sharing agreement attached to the development deal.
And it probably never will, the way the deal is structured."

In one of the worst rip-offs in the history of Wichita, the city council literally gave all that money away and the developers did absolutely nothing to justify that give-a-way. It was a disgrace. While conservatives wine about poor people getting welfare, a few developers got free money for doing nothing.
Longwell and any other council member who can't manage to do better than that should never be anywhere near a leadership position.
The Wichita Eagle earlier article mentioned one problem the city has and that is a fair and equitable system that pays men and women at the same pay:

One was business consultant Jill Miller, who was upset by research showing the pay gap for women is worse in Wichita than it is nationally.
"I knew that things were hard for women in business in Wichita, but that data smacked me in the face," Miller said. "The numbers are the numbers. It wasn't just a perception. It is the data."

While there are many solutions to Wichita's economic problems, the main one I see is getting rid of all the conservative dolts that keep holding the city back. As The Wichita Eagle articles says:

"Friends University political science professor Russell Fox says Wichita, with its conservative mindset, has "a 'no' mentality" that has limited what the city could have done.
"The truth of the matter is, Wichita is a city caught in the middle," Fox said. "It's a city that looks like it ought to be doing what other cities are doing but isn't."
Residents must ask themselves whether they want Wichita to remain a "steady state" city — not growing, not dying — or whether they want the city to reach the potential so many envision, Fox said.
Voters will say at the polls whether they want to keep things as they are, Fox said, or prefer a different future. To get that different future, he said, residents have to send the message to officials "they should be spending more, risking more, investing more."

And the main message I find useful is to vote out the dolts.

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