Friday, December 08, 2017

We should all get to celebrate the holidays we want— and for me that is Winter Solstice

By SJ Otto
It is getting close to December 25, the traditional date for Christmas in this country, and as much as I love this festive season, I have to put up with those who have deemed themselves holy crusaders to keep Atheists and similar views out of the holiday season.
It has gotten harder to understand whether the hard core Christians want us non-Christians to not celebrate their holiday or whether they want us to be forced to celebrate "Christmas."
Some time ago people in this country realized that Jews don’t celebrate Christmas, so some people began trying to include Chanukah in these holidays. In some cities as in New York there are a lot of Jews. There are menorahs and many people say “Happy Chanukah.” There is also the newer holiday called Kwanzaa. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966, as the first specifically African-American holiday. According to Karenga, the name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda yakwanza, meaning "first fruits of the harvest", although a more conventional translation would simply be "first fruits".
A few years ago I studied various pagan beliefs. Most celebrate some kind of version of the holiday known as Winter Solstice. I later decided to go back to my traditional humanist approach to spirituality and I adapted the doctrines of Epicurus. Epicurus did not deny the existence of god(s) but decided that gods take care of gods and humans need to take care of themselves. He also told people we should learn not to blame everything on gods. ‘If your house is crushed by an earthquake it isn’t the anger of the gods, you built your house in an earthquake prone place.’ And he didn’t believe in an after-life.
I still like the fall holidays, I still celebrate Samhain for Halloween and for Christmas I celebrate Winter Solstice or Yule, which at one time was also celebrated as Saturnalia. Saturnalia or the solstice was actually the December holiday that was taken over by the early Christians, when Rome converted to ChristianityMany of the old symbols are still used—such as putting a tree in the house and decorating it. And also having some kind of father character which we now call Santa Clause.
I’m sure many atheists celebrate these holidays as well. It is a good and festive celebration. Why should we not take part in such a holiday. After all it is in the dead of winter when we could use some cheerfulness. So why then do some Christians get so angry if non-Christians want to celebrate this holiday? Why the blatant hatred against all of us by conservative Christians?
Consider these arguments from Life Site News:

"Support our Christmas campaign today and help reach millions with pro-life and pro-family news"

"Atheist objections to public Nativity scenes are nothing new, but a leading atheist group has shown a pattern this year of challenging displays of the Christmas message.
Several actions, legal and otherwise, have been initiated across the country this Christmas season by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)....

....Elsewhere in Indiana, the FFRF was behind an “atheist nativity” erected in late November at the Franklin County Courthouse.
The display, a “Bill of Rights nativity” containing George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the Statue of Liberty with the Bill of Rights in a manger, was to go up next to the traditional Nativity.
Franklin County, Indiana, commissioners drafted an ordinance allowing multiple displays on the courthouse lawn after the FFRF sued last year, according to, implementing a permit application process resulting in some nine different displays approved this year so far....."
Another article in the Huff Post where the president of a Kentucky creationist museum told Fox News that Christmas was a “time to take on the atheists” who used their free speech rights to doubt the existence of God;
“Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without someone complaining about Christ,” Fox & Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck told Creation Museum President Ken Ham, noting that atheists had put up a billboard in Time Square which suggested that Christ was not needed during Christmas.

“You know, the atheist who are a very small minority in the population have been trying to impose their religion of atheism on the culture now for quite a while,” Ham explained. “You know, getting Bible, prayer out of schools. Christian symbols out of public places.”

On The other hand there is the blog for American Atheists who make the argument:

"American Atheists posted new billboards in Memphis and Nashville on Friday that read “Dear Christians, I share my toys. Why won’t you share the season? Happy Holidays for all!” The new message is in response to an anti-atheist billboard placed by a group of Christians on Thursday evening in Memphis that parodies the atheists’ first billboard that launched Monday and that accuses atheists of sacrilege and claims Christians are being bullied.
The Christian campaign’s spokesperson Marshall Hart also accused American Atheists of “using children” to spread its message, despite using the photo of a three-year-old girl on its own billboard.
“The hypocrisy is unbelievable,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “Millions of American children are forced to go to church under the threat of being denied meals, losing household privileges, having their college tuition cut off, or being kicked out of their homes. Many atheist adults are forced to go to church under threat of divorce or lose custody of their children. We must ask the question, who are the real bullies? Those who are unafraid to stand up for our views on billboards, or those who destroy families from the inside out?”
I haven't seen as much "War on Christmas" blather this year as I have in years past. The real point to this is that we have every right to celebrate this season and holiday under any name we want. It is not up to others to decide what everyone gets to celebrate. No one is stopping people from celebrating Christmas, that is the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, despite the fact that that the actual date has never been completely narrowed down. Picking a date for such a celebration is just fine. It is symbolic and I have no problem with that. Just let the rest of us celebrate as we want to. I like celebrating the Winter Solstice and I get to do all the fun stuff, such as decorating a tree, putting lights on my house, toasting with wine, and giving a few gifts to close friends. My spirituality does not come from a god. It comes from within those who share my beliefs. That works for me and I plan to stick with that.


Have a Happy Winter Solstice! —Or whatever holiday you want to celebrate!

Keep The Merry, Dump The Myth!  - Peter D'Angelo

Jethro Tull BBC Promo Vid for Solstice bells 1976

I love putting up Winter Solstice lights.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Franken Announces Intent To Resign From Senate

It is sad that we will miss having All Franken in the Senate. If he were a Republican these allegations wouldn’t matter.  Republicans have no moral scale to live up to. They talk religious morality and act quite different. But the Democrats take these kinds of action seriously and won’t tolerate sexual assaults on people/women. The Republicans just don’t care. Roy Moore will probably win his seat in the Senate and a child molester will get the full privileges as a senator. –SJ Otto

Monday, December 04, 2017

Things are really bad—don’t wait for leaders Mark McCormick tells the Peace and Social Justice Center Annual Meeting

By SJ Otto
“We need to get things done now—we can't afford to wait for leaders,” Mark McCormick told the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas, during their Annual Dinner, Friday Night. “We can't afford to wait for the next Martin Luther King.” McCormick said. There more than 50 people there.
McCormick is the executive director of The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) in Wichita. He spent 14 years as a columnist and reporter at The Wichita Eagle. McCormick received more than 20 journalism and civic awards. Many of his columns from The Wichita Eagle and The Louisville Courier-Journal have just been published in his new book Some Were Paupers, Some Were Kings: Dispatches from Kansas.
McCormick’s speech included quotes from other authors and Martin Luther King. His most pointed comments came from the question and answer time.
When State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, asked what he thought of the new gun laws, he ended up talking about the poverty of this country and how it relates to violence.
“Wealth isn't the opposite of poverty,” McCormick said. “Justice is the opposite of poverty. Charity isn't justice. We need a deep learning and to have a year of commitment.”
He also said we need to get rid of insurance companies.
“No one should profit off of the sickness of others,” McCormick told the crowd. “They shouldn’t profit off of those in prison.”
McCormick said he supports capitalism, even though he seemed to support ideas that were in sync with socialists at times. He told of a child he knew, who was in a hospital and he died because his insurance company insisted they experiment with cheaper drugs.
Faust-Goudeau said she also know of a person who died when an insurance company wanted a young child to use cheaper medicine.
McCormick spoke of the violence in this society and he focused on choice. He told of a situation where some parents lost a son and they could not see his face because it was a part of a crime scene.
“It is not likely this will happen to us,” he added. “But we can choose. The rest of us can choice non-violence.”
He pointed out that this country’s army can send a man anywhere anytime, but can’t put money into healthcare for all our people.
When asked about passive resistance McCormick said that it is not a case of just being passive.
“Sometimes we need a kick in the pants,” he said. “People need to get angry. They need to get out and vote. Things are really bad. People don't know how to respond. They don't know who to vote for. There is a lot of disengagement.”
McCormick quoted from several of his favorite authors. He pointed to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence, as being a much more radical speech than most people wanted to give him credit for.
“Martin Luther King is an American hero now that he is safely dead,” McCormick said. “Dead men make good heroes. We will tell our kids he was a great man. He was a great man but his dream is still just a dream.”
He also read some quotes from Hank Williams - Men With Broken Hearts. It was announced that The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) had won a Nobel Prize. A Tribute was read to Nagasaki and Hiroshima and those who were experimented on. The announcement, which was read said that any nation today that seeks a more peaceful world should support this before they use them again.

Their was a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Hank Williams as Luke The Drifter - Men With Broken Hearts


Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. - April 4, 1967 - Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence

Saturday, December 02, 2017

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Christmas At Ground Zero

By SJ Otto

I usually post this during the Christmas Season.[1] Since the end of the Soviet Union, this song has mostly been posted for the humor of it. Today it holds special meaning since Kim Jong Un[2] and our idiot and unpredictable President Donald Trump have traded threats with nuclear weapons. I suppose it is only fitting that we post this as a tribute to the foolishness of having and threatening to use nuclear weapons against other countries. To be fair, the nation of Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea believes it needs them to defend itself. For the US, such an excuse is as phony as a three dollar bill. It always helps to laugh at our stupidity from time to time. Unlike our idiot leaders I don't take myself so seriously.

"Weird Al" Yankovic - The North Korea Polka

[1] For me it is actually the Winter Solstice celebration. I'm not Christian so I use Winter Solstice to engage in this national holiday. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

Don't forget about this year's Annual Peace Dinner

The Peace and Social Justice Center of Kansas will meet tonight.
25 Anniversary Dinner
Come celebrate our 25th Anniversary. Our speaker will be Mark McCormick, executive director of The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) in Wichita. During 14 years as a columnist and reporter at The Wichita Eagle Mark received more than 20 journalism and civic awards. Many of his columns from The Eagle and The Louisville Courier-Journal have just been published in Some Were Paupers, Some Were Kings: Dispatches from Kansas.
In addition, Peace Center board member Dr. Rannfrid Thelle will help us celebrate the Nobel Prize being awarded to The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Dinner is $25. Please RSVP below. Seating is limited.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Melania 'didn’t want this come hell or high water'

Act One: Donald Trump fumbles his phone from the nightstand, pressing hard on buttons that seem enormous to his stubby fingers as he squints to watch each letter spill from his stream of unconsciousness onto the tiny, glowing screen.

Melania, our great and very hard working First Lady, who truly loves what she is doing, always thought that “if you run, you will win.” She would tell everyone that, “no doubt, he will win.” I also felt I would win (or I would not have run) - and Country is doing great!

Act Two: A keen observer reads these signals and recognizes in them the sounds of a confused child who has never known love, desperately clinging to an illusion of happiness while knowing it is all a lie.

So I take it there's a news story out or about to come out saying that Melania hates her life and didn't expect him to win. 

For the rest click here.
US First Lady Melania Trump walks through Christmas decorations in the East Wing as she tours holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Don't let conservatives dumb down our universities

By SJ Otto
The latest trend among conservatives is to berate a college education. Not unlike the good ol' boys in the 1800s who believed that education was just not necessary to getting a job or leading a practical life, good ol' boy rednecks today are encouraging people to seek out practical education, devoid of such "crybaby" subjects as philosophy. They have been ridiculing the idea of a "liberal arts education." According to these conservatives, there is no reason to try and understand the world around us. There is no reason to try and understand the culture we live in or its history of development. There's no need to have a well rounded education. There is no need to understand basic ideology. In other words they are promoting pragmatic basic skills to operate in a work environment and nothing more. I would seem they are trying to create autonotrons.

"Why does a kid go to a major university these days?" said Frank Antenori, 51, a former Green Beret who served in the Arizona state legislature, interviewed by Reading Eagle. "A lot of Republicans would say they go there to get brainwashed and learn how to become activists and basically go out in the world and cause trouble."
Antenori is part of an increasingly vocal campaign to transform higher education in America. Though U.S. universities are envied around the world, he and other conservatives want to reduce the flow of government cash to what they see as elitist, politically correct institutions that often fail to provide practical skills for the job market."

As we can tell from Antenori, he doesn't like the idea that University professors often hold liberal views, or at least not conservative beliefs. Of course there are conservative Professors, but he is willing to throw "the baby out with the bath water" as they say.
He admits that he got a lot of his skills from being a Green Beret in the military. 

"Antenori shot the head off a rattlesnake at his back door last summer - a deadeye pistol blast from 20 feet. No college professor taught him that. The U.S. Army trained him, as a marksman and a medic, on the "two-way rifle range" of Afghanistan and Iraq."

Rather than understanding his countries culture or history he values being able to shoot the head off of a rattle snake. The important skills he learned were marksmanship and being a medic. I suppose being a medic could come in handing if Antenori wanted to be a paramedic, but the only thing useful about being a Marksman is his past job as a member of the Arizona state legislature. Marksman skills are essential to being a conservative legislator.
It is not surprising this man values the military. Right-wing leaders today have far more interest in defending the US Empire overseas than studying ways to make this country operate more fairly. Antenori is not alone in his opinion. Conservatives across the country are trying to trash universities. They are having some success. According to Reading Eagle:

"To the alarm of many educators, nearly every state has cut funding to public colleges and universities since the 2008 financial crisis. Adjusted for inflation, states spent $5.7 billion less on public higher education last year than in 2008, even though they were educating more than 800,000 additional students, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association."
And why are such school's funding being cut? Because the Republican Party runs almost 80 percent of this country's state legislators. All kinds of big shots are getting into the act of short changing the universities. Again from the Reading Eagle:

"Schools in Arizona and across the nation are welcoming private donors, including the conservative Koch brothers. In nearly every state, the Charles Koch Foundation funds generally conservative-leaning scholars and programs in politics, economics, law and other subjects."

Here in Wichita we have seen all the blatant corruption of the Koch Brothers trying to control the content of classes and the actual teachers who work at Wichita State University. There is noting unusual about conservatives wanting to struggle over who's ideology gets taught in our universities. Of course they want more conservative professors at work in our schools. But trying to dumb down education is something that needs to be fought on all levels.
Ever since Donald Trump got elected president we have been told by many pundits that we have to drop our elite attitudes. They say we should try to understand the views of those who actually elected Trump. That means getting away from those who are highly educated to understand the average working class voter who isn't well educated.
Consider what Christine M. Flowers wrote for the Philadelphia Daily News:

"But worse than the people who didn't get the joke, the mainstream pooh-bahs decided to take a swipe at the president's people by suggesting they were the only ones who fell for the tweetstorm. How stupid, they implied, that these idiots actually didn't recognize the handiwork of Thomas Jefferson, delivered up in 140-character servings.
Sniff, gawd, bring on the brie and Chablis.
The assumption that only Trump supporters were boondoggled into believing that NPR was calling for the overthrow of government is the same type of pretentious arrogance that caused so many people to react violently when President Barack Obama talked about the poor folks who "cling to their guns and their religion." It is the sort of progressive put-down that made a lot of people vote for Trump as a big "F U" to the establishment, without actually considering the consequences of their act of defiance."

Most of us on the left don't like elitism. We don't believe that we are better than others. But we might be better educated than others. And being anti-elite does not mean allowing the less educated to put ignorant and dangerous politicians in important positions of power.
It has been years, decades and maybe even a century since people argued that the American worker should be less well educated. For years our country's leaders have encouraged students to go to college. Now that is changing.
Are Republicans seriously implying that they need a less educated population in order to get their people elected? That almost seems to be their argument.
We need to fight against those who want to dumb down our educational institutions. A well rounded education has both value and need. We need well educate citizens who can understand the system and how it works. Let's stop conservatives from wrecking our higher education.

What a wonderful world - James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday has become excessive

From Daily Kos:

Black Friday has become an embarrassment of capitalism and excessive consumerism. But this year Daily Kos is joining our friends at The Collective to #ReclaimBlackFriday.

White people hold 90% of elected officials while making up only about 60% of the national population. The Collective is committed to increasing the number of Black people in public office. 

People of color made amazing gains during the November 8th election, giving us incredible momentum for 2018 midterm elections. Today, let's change the narrative of Black Friday to one that uplifts racial justice and Black political leadership. 

Sign the petition: #ReclaimBlackFriday. Join Daily Kos and The Collective in supporting candidates of color in 2018.

All across the country, the next Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, or Maxine Waters is gearing up for a 2018 run for office. Daily Kos-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is ready to turn Georgia blue. 

And we need to have their backs!

Sign the petition: #ReclaimBlackFriday. Join Daily Kos and The Collective in supporting candidates of color in 2018. 

Keep fighting,
Irna Landrum

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Another Black Friday and more reasons not to take part in it

By SJ Otto
Each year I write about Black Friday, that fabricated holiday that corporate and capitalist leaders came up with to promote an orgy over gift buying. To be honest, many people take part in Christmas mostly out of a combination of tradition and religion. I have nothing against tradition. I'm not a Christian, although I do like to celebrate the day of Christmas but as an Epicurean and I celebrate Winter Solstice rather than Christmas. For me that is a holiday that allows for the same traditions. (they were taken from early Pagans and the official religion of the Roman Empire). Christians adopted these holidays for a number of reasons and It made sense to combine the holidays of their new religion with present traditions. Today my only request is that these religions respect those of us who do not believe in the Christian religion. But the massive holiday shopping is another story.
Gift giving has been a part of the Christmas traditions almost since the Roman Empire established the holiday more than 1,500 years ago. As a child, I understand the joy of getting new toys on Christmas day. Many of us do. But as I get older I realize that trying to fulfill my needs, wants and desires from this season are mostly good for the capitalists who make all the money providing these things.  And let's  be serious folks. A lot of what we are enticed to buy is useless crap that most people don't need and may not even really want.
As American capitalism developed, (the nation and the economic system) the ability to use the tradition of gift giving has gone from a quaint little custom to an orgy of greed, ostentatious putting on airs and a way to make a lot of money for the various businesses that exist in the US and other predominately Christian countries. People by iphones, computers, cars and luxury items that way exceed the simple gift giving traditions. I'm sure many people who but the cheap bargains early on Black Friday are actually buying a lot of it for themselves. The basics of Christianity do not include the idea of greed and exorbitant  gifts to impress our friends and relatives. The reality is that capitalism really isn't totally compatible with Christianity. But our corporate leaders encourage this orgy of buying and spending. This tradition is totally rooted in retail sails and is not part of any kind of Christian tradition.
It becomes spiritually frivolous. Rather than promote brotherly love and a spirit of giving, it promotes greed and a need for opulence and extravagant showing off.
Each year my family and I spend less time on shopping and gift giving. We all give to our children because they deserve a few pleasures on this holiday. But as adults such buying just contributes to the crass commercialism and the profit margins of this holiday.
I'm not a fan of Black Friday and I don't take part in it at all. It's the day after Thanksgiving. I sit back, drink a few beers and take it easy.
So this Black Friday keep in mind that this is a holiday designed specifically to make a few capitalists rich. And they get that by manipulating the public through the mainstream news media and commercials on the radio, TV and print media. Stay home, sleep in and find more meaningful things to do this Friday.

Uncle Bernie's Farm

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Republicans, including Trump, support the sex offender Roy Moore

By SJ Otto
The campaign of Roy Moore trying to be elected as a Senator from Alabama, is a contest by one of the most outwardly crooked politicians to run for office in many years. He is an obvious child molester and yet Most of the Republican Party and many of his fellow Alabaman's want to elect him to the Senate.
This guy is ultra-conservative and that includes taking stands on issues of Christian sexual morality.
About 10 women have come forward so far to accuse the 70 year old pervert of sexual assault. That includes rumors and testimony that he hung around malls in his 30s trying and pick up young girls, many of who were said to be under age.
It seems like more and more women are coming foreword to accuse this man of sexual assault. And yet, he retains a base of supporters in Alabama among voters and Republican Party elites. It seems like a Republican can do ANY THING and still get elected.

According to the Huff Post:

A retired Alabama police officer said she and her colleagues were told decades ago to “make sure” Roy Moore “didn’t hang around” high school cheerleaders, and confirmed previous reports that the Republican Senate candidate was banned at the time from a local mall for predatory behavior toward teenage girls.

Many voters support him over his positions on moral issues such as his strongly anti-homosexual, anti-Muslim positions. He has had past ties to neo-Confederates and white nationalist groups.

According to Wikipedia, When Moore's tenure as circuit judge began, he brought his wooden Ten Commandments plaque with him, hanging it on the walls of his courtroom behind his bench. Moore told the Montgomery Advertiser that his intention in hanging the plaque was to fill up the bare space on the courtroom walls and to indicate the importance of the Ten Commandments. He states that it was not his intention to generate controversy; still, as he told the Atlantic, he understood that the potential for controversy was there, but "I wanted to establish the moral foundation of our law."

This is one guy who talks morality out of the side of his mouth, but acts as if those rules are for someone else—certainly not him.
This phony is one of the worst hypocrites the Republican Party has produced in a long time. If he wins this election, it should be a major embarrassment for the Republicans and the normal thinking people in Alabama.
Those who want him elected want so he can help President Trump with his far-far-far-far right agenda which includes a pogrom on the poor, attempting to deprive all poor and lower income workers of any kind of health care or insurance for it.
He also wants to force his far right religious views on the whole of society. This man sees no need for a separation of church and state.
And on top of all of that he is a no good sex offender—a sleazy sexual child predator who may believe in sexual morality, but he sure doesn't behave in a morally justifiable way.
Anyone who supports this man either with financial contributions or just voting for him, is as guilty of sexual assault as he is.
This says allot about the Republican Party, our phony president, the far right in general and the moral flimsiness of the state of this nation. This is one more breakdown of the so called democracy here in the US. Make no mistake about it—our democracy is seriously broken. We will see if the US public can stomach a sex criminal in the senate.

Blondie - X Offender 1976

Root Boy Slim - I'm Not Too Old For You

Frank Zappa - Magdalena

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Several State GOP leaders work to keep up a pogrom against the poor through Medicaid

By SJ Otto
We are about the only industrialized country in the world that does not have a health care system for all of its people. Not only that, we have politicians trying to restrict poor people from getting health care. If I were a Christian I would believe that there is a special place in Hell for politicians who work so hard to destroy health care for poor people. These leaders are mean-spirited, spiteful and just down right cruel.
Here are some of the policies they have used to stop our poorest citizens from getting badly needed healthcare.
Work requirements- These are already a apart of many welfare requirements for food or cash assistance. Kansas is a state that has some of the  most restrictive requirements for any welfare. But people here and around the world believe that health care is a right. People have a right to be well and be treated when they are sick.
In Kansas as it is in many states, people are calling for expanding Medicaid, as is suggested by Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). Governor Sam Brownback is working the other direction. He wants work requirements for able bodied people who apply for Medicaid (which in Kansas is actually a privatized version called KanCare).
Drug Testing- This is something that Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is proud of. He wants to make his state a model for refusing people from Medicaid if they have a drug problem. It is like he wants those who use drugs to die off. This and other restrictions are like a pogrom against our country's poor. If anyone needs medical treatment it is people on drugs. We have an opioid epidemic and this guy wants to keep the victims from getting any treatment or any other kind of medical care. People like him don't mind spending money putting poor people in jail, but not any public medicine.
Three to five year limits- The idea is being passed around for a three year lifetime limit to receiving Medicaid. I heard this announced on NPR Radio that Brownback wants a three year life time cap for able bodied people who make use of Medicaid. Again, this equates Medicaid with other welfare benefits. But health care is a right and not some privilege. Treating health care the same as free money for poor people is a violation of basic human dignity.
Privatization- Has been done by Brownback, in an attempt to keep up his ideology that all government functions are some how evil. He has created KanCare which allows three companies to try and profit from the sickness of the poor, disabled and people with severe chronic illnesses. The big difference here is that he is not just restricting poor people, but also disabled people as well. The efficiency of KanCare is dismal. It is a huge failure and yet Brownback keeps it going.
Trump kills healthcare on the Federal level- Our President, Donald Trump, has worked hard to dismantle Obamacare. He works at the Federal level to help the pogrom against the poor. This should surprise no one. He is a hero and advocate of the wealthy.  
There are ways to fight these ass holes. In Main they recently voted to expand Medicaid over a Republican governor, Paul LePage, who has fought kicking and screaming in a battle to prevent the poor from getting health care. We may not be able to get these scum bags out of office, but we can work hard to get these issues passed into law. I is past time to stop the pogrom to kill off poor people.    Image result for ​skeleton medical care Related image

Pix by and ShareIcon.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Another Thanksgiving- more mythological fun

By SJ Otto

Today, Thanksgiving is seen by many as a "politically incorrect" holiday. The pilgrim forefathers took advantage of the Indians. And some people believe that it is barbaric to plan a holiday over killing a turkey. Still there are my relatives and I probably won't tell them how bad their holiday is, at least not until after we all eat. So I print this so all may know the truth.
There was a “first Thanksgiving” dinner, but not likely turkey or the fixings we see today. The original meat was fish and deer.  The turkey became part of Thanksgiving about 1857. It is supposed to be of foods native to the New World. It became a national holiday in 1941. The traditional fixings came from a women’s magazine in the 1850s.

However, many of us will go to a holiday feast with the intention of celebrating time with our families and/or friends. We are thankful in life for some things. Most of us have either accomplished something of success in our lives or we may like our relatives—spouses—or our friends and lovers. Since I’m an Epicurean and don’t believe in praying to god, I will simply be thankful. I also won’t dump a guilt trip on my relatives for the sins of their ancestors or the fact that they are eating a murdered animal.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Another Black Friday begins— and we have a crass commercial orgy for capitalism

By SJ Otto
Each year Black Friday, that crass commercial kick off to the Christmas shopping season, starts at different times. This year they want to start it tomorrow a full week before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the usual kick off holiday to the shopping holiday. Thanksgiving is its own holiday with its own traditions. It is usually hi-jacked by Corporate America, which uses this tradition to make huge profits.  This year retail shopping outlets want to start a week early. This is the most important shopping day to US corporations that want to make their top-line of profits for the holiday seasons. The holidays have their own meanings, but Corporate America wants and feels the need to make a huge profit this year and every year. It is capitalisms most disgusting display of greed and it happens every year in the US.  


Addam's Family Values Thanksgiving Play

Bad News - Cashing In On Christmas

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My dad represented a past generation—Like him it is gone now

May dad just passed away and that means it's time to look back on our relation ship, which at times was strained and at times was very happy. My dad was born in 1926, an early part of the 20th Century, in St. Louis MO. He was about 27 years old when I was born. He went on to have five other sons. We all lived in St. Louis until I was 13. Then we moved to Wichita KS where I have lived most of my life.

My dad grew up in the generation that witnessed World War II. The war ended a few months before their plans to ship him off to the Pacific theater. One of the things we have in common is that we both missed fighting in combat. The draft for the Vietnam War ended less than a year before my 18th birthday. One difference is that dad fully intended to fight the Japanese when called on. I on the other hand wasn't sure what I would do about the Vietnam War. I had mixed feelings and if I really wanted to get out it, I believe I could have. My dad was glad he didn't see any action. As with me he had no love for the idea of shooting at other people while they try and shoot back.
My dad and I represent a clean break from one generation to the other. My dad liked music by Tommy Dorsey, Henry Mancini and he liked Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. He liked the big band sound. He grew up in a time when that kind of music was very popular. I grow up as a rock and roll child. That is the music I grew up with and my culture was very different from my dad’s. His culture had actors such as Sammy Davis Jr., Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas. Most of those actors and musicians are dead now, as my father is. My dad and his generation drank alcohol and avoided any other kind of recreational drug use. My generation adopted pot and LSD. So his culture differed greatly from that of mine which was mostly set by the 1970s.
I have spent a lot of years in the peace movement trying to stop most of the US wars. My dad worked with military secrets. He helped design the B-1 Bomber.
My dad was a Republican in his younger years. He became a follower of that party back when most of my other relatives, including my mother, were Democrats. That doesn’t mean they were all that left-wing. The Democratic Party at the time was more of a middle of the political spectrum party. At times the Democrats were quite conservative. As a child, both my parents admired John F. Kennedy and as with most people of that time period, he was anti-communist and anti-socialist.
I was always to the left. As a high school student I was interested in both socialism and anarchy. Much of socialist inspiration came from Salvador Allende. In my 20s I was a liberal. I slowly drifted in to socialism as I got older. My dad will never understand my fondness for the socialist left. But he is way more liberal than he used to be. I can remember having lots of arguments with dear old dad over many different things, from life style choices, (such as my first wife and how we lived together before marriage) politics and such things as using his property when I still lived at home. I used his 22 riffle once without permission—boy was he MAD!
I was a practicing Catholic until my 30s. That was one thing dad and I had in common. But I broke with that religion over political reasons and Christianity as well. I adopted agnosticism and I now consider myself an Epicurean. My dad stayed a life-long Catholic. His funeral will take place in a Catholic Church. Ironically none of my brothers are practicing Catholics. Some of us are Catholic but don’t practice the religion and others simply don’t value religion at all, (agnosticism or atheism). He may be the last of us to be buried in a coffin and the last to have a funeral in a Catholic Church. At times I feel sorry for both my mom and my dad that their religion of choice, which we all grew up in, is dying out in this family.
A point to much of this is that we represented two separate generations. Still, there were times when we had plenty of things in common.
As the years passed by my dad and I mellowed out and in the last 30 years we hardly ever argued things, even politics. We had found more in common with each other and my dad moved farther to the left. He is not a socialist, but he is liberal and supports a lot of liberal positions. By the time he died we had way more things in common.
Not long ago my dad told me that I was more of a pro-family person—that is someone who takes an active roll in supporting various family members, than his other sons. I took that as a compliment. I do think that family is important. I do try to be supportive of other family members. I feel family is maybe the most important aspects of our lives. After all we can’t count on the government or society in general to support us. So maybe family is all we have that we can count on when we need help. As the mother of that show “The Middle” says—“you do for family.”
Politicians such as Donald Trump have helped bring my family together. My dad hated Trump, as does my wife and brothers. My dad and I have that in common.
My dad was 91 years old, so he got a lot out of life. He had a supportive wife, Joan, who is now deceased, had has six sons, of which Paul is now deceased and most of us have been fairly successful in life.
He had a good life. We can all be grateful for that. As with my favorite dead person quote: 

"Living is transformed into dying, lifeless matter is transformed into living beings. I propose that when people over the age of 50 die, a party should be held to celebrate, for it is in inevitable that men should die- this is natural law."[1] 

And here is a good song about dying:

Elvis Costello-God's Comic

[1] "INSTANT WISDOM: BEYOND THE LITTLE RED BOOK," Time, 20 September 1976, Vol. 108, No. 12, p. 38.