This site focuses on Republican politicians and conservatives that rip off their constituency. We have the Tea Party, fundamentalist churches, the corruption of ALEC and other special interests groups. But the site also supports progressive Democrats and the local Democratic Socialist of America. We must have ideas on how to replace regressive and corrupt politicians with something better. For comments firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrick's Day. While the tradition is that this is a Catholic
holiday honouring a saint, many of us use this day to honour the culture and
history of Ireland.
The country has a long history of political rebellion. Here is a song to honour
the country's culture.
Once again conservative
Christians in SedgwickCounty want
to let atheists know that they are not welcome in this communities they call
home. I have lived in SedgwickCounty most
of my life. I consider myself an Epicurian.
It is not really a religion but a set of beliefs that I use rather than a
religion. I don't believe in God or the afterlife. Why should I or others like
me, be treated any different than any other citizen just because we don't
believe in God. I don't go around disrespecting other Christians or other
religions. For that I deserve to be told to "go to hell"by two elected officials, Sedgwick
County Commissioners Dave Unruh and Richard Ranzau? According to The Wichita Eagle:
to a demand that an atheist be allowed to give the invocation at a SedgwickCounty meeting,
Commissioner Dave Unruh says they can go to hell. Commissioner Richard Ranzau
Ranzau has been a very
un-Christian leader. After all, were in the Bible does it instruct Christians
to discriminate against Hispanic people, poor people, or immigrants. Ranzau and
his fellow conservatives sent
back money the Federal government gave them to help fund the Women,
Infants and Children nutritional program, known as WIC program, just a few
years ago. This action was clearly taken to disrespect both poor people and
Hispanic immigrants. Ranzau and his fellow bigots were determined that
immigrants would not make us of that program. Ranzau's contempt for Hispanic
people is fairly obvious. A few years ago he
refused to answer questions from a local bilingual television reporter
– but agreed to speak with a reporter from the English-language side of the
same news organization, using the excuse that he thought the Spanish-born
reporter was an advocate for illegal immigrants. The simple truth is that
Ranzau is a bigot.
The saddest part of all of
this is that there are people in this town that help elect these bigots and
they would probably vote for them again. It is really hard for an atheist to
get any respect in this town. Conservative Christians can be quite nasty to
those who do not share their beliefs. They are constantly given air time, from
the local news media, for their repugnant beliefs. If Ranzau and Unruh had any
decency to them, they would apologize to this community's atheists and resign.
They do little to the benefit of this community anyway.
were about 3,000 student walkouts planned for today. Several hundred students
walked out of High School North to protest gun violence and call on legislators
to pass more restrictions on guns. Althought school officials cooperated with
and tollerated this walk out, USD 259 School officals did not OK the walk out.
"What we do not want is (for) kids to be
walking out of a building unsupervised, because . . . that is not a safe way to
be able to get their voices heard," said
Alicia Thompson, superintendent of Wichita schools, said just days ago.
So these studunts took some chances.
This is an example of young people taking their lives and
future in their own hands. According to KAKE
TV, in Wichita:
From Maine to Hawaii, students planned to walk
out of school Wednesday to protest gun violence in the biggest demonstration
yet of the student activism that has emerged in response to last month's
massacre of 17 people at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In nearly 3,000 protests nationwide, students
from the elementary to college level are taking up the call in a variety of
ways. Some planned roadside rallies to honor shooting victims and protest
violence. Others were to hold demonstrations in school gyms or on football
fields. In Massachusetts and Georgia and Ohio, students said they'll head to
the statehouse to lobby for new gun regulations.
Wednesday I will be working at my job as a substitute teacher for the USD 259
School system. I don't know which actual high school I will be at, but I will
be somewhere on the school grounds and I fully support the student's desires to
walk out on March 14 at 10 in the morning to take part in a nation-wide student
walkout to demand that something be done about the availability of guns in this
country, especially by minors and it will also be a demand for safer schools. I
think what I like best about this is that students today are using a form of
civil disobedience to make a political statement. It is my hope they will learn
that this country has a long tradition of such civil disobedience.
students are learning to directly confront authority. They are learning that it
takes powerful action to force the stodgy leadership of this country, including
our moronic president and his inept congress allies. It takes direct action to
get any results. The students may not get exactly what they want, but by taking
such a bold move, they may actually make a difference. Not everyone agrees with
me. According to The
"What we do not want is (for) kids to be walking out of a
building unsupervised, because . . . that is not a safe way to be able to get
their voices heard," said Alicia Thompson, superintendent of Wichita
....Thompson said Wichita high schools will allow student-led
rallies during the lunch hour or before or after school, supervised by
is not alone. There is considerable resistance to the walkout as it is planned.
Also according to The
"The Women’s March EMPOWER
branch, a group dedicated to youth-led advocacy, is encouraging students,
teachers and others to take part in“#ENOUGH,” a
school walkouton March 14 at 10 a.m.
The goal is for students and school staff to walk out of their classrooms
for 17 minutes that morning – one minute for each of the fatalities at Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School – to urge Congress to “take meaningful action to
keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation,” the organization said in
hope these students will stand up for their rights and walk out at their
expected time. This is an opportunity for these students to learn how to develop
an understanding of student activism to empower themselves. It is a great
opportunity and every adult staff member needs to support the students and
their action. I know there will be many staff members who try and control the
students, but those of us who are concerned that students learn from this
experience need to lend their support. I will fully support these students and
Yes, I have chosen to hide my real name, because I don't want to lose my job. I do have to work. Any one who really wants to know who I am can find that out if they want to. I have nearly lost my job in the past for criticizing the school system.
Gentry and Kathy Williams were drinking beer at Hoppy Gnome, Wichita Kansas, for International
Women's Day. Hoppy Gnome plans to donate some of their proceeds to the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center. Many
other people came to drink and donate.
The Wichita Chapter of Democratic Socialist of America
discussed their roll in a Camp out May 18-20, at their monthly meeting last
Sunday. The campout will be at Eisenhower State
Park. There will be chapters invited from Oklahoma, Springfield, Missouri
and Nebraska. There will be leaders from the national office and there will be
some training as well as time to get to know other DSA members.
In other business DSA will have elections in April for about
six positions that will open up.
For this year’s Juneteenth celebration DSA
will try to have a booth or information table. Juneteenth is the oldest
known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major
General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war
had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
I have found other writers besides me
who also see the same government abuses run wild since the end of and because
of the cold war. Jon Wiener and Tom Dispatch
8 Ways America Was Better Off During the Cold War. Instead of “We won the Cold War” and “communism as an ideology
is dead,” They write about the abuses US civilian and military leaders commit
today that they would not commit today. They also write about US abuse of
At a book festival in Los
Angeles recently, some writers (myself included) were making the usual
arguments about the problems with American politics in the 1950s -- until one
panelist shocked the audience by declaring, “God, I miss the Cold War.” His
grandmother, he said, had come to California from Oklahoma with a grade-school
education, but found a job in an aerospace factory in L.A. during World War II,
joined the union, got healthcare and retirement benefits, and prospered in the
Cold War years. She ended up owning a house in the suburbs and sending
her kids to UCLA.
a time when our elected leaders lied to us about the war? Remember when the pentagon
just ignored common sense and let our you men and women die for no real reason.
Sure that happens now, but back in the 1970s the news media actually covered
those things and let us know about them from time to time.
I watched the movie The Post
and it was a breath of fresh air and badly needed. The movie shows us what it
was like before The Washington Post
decided to publish the Pentagon Papers. I remember that time well. Suddenly a whole
edition of that paper let the American people know that our leaders, going back
for decades, knew the Vietnam war was unwinnable and yet kept it going. They
lied about the war. As I watched the movie, it appears these revelations almost
never made it to print. There were legal battles that could have ended with
reporters going to jail. There were threats from government officials. Katharine
Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, had concerns
that The Washington Post would lose its financial backers and go out ofbusiness
if it printed the Pentagon Papers. Many of the newspapers editorial staff tried
to talk her out of it. But in the end, these papers, about 4,000 pages, made it
into the news and it affected the Vietnam War.
I like most about this movie is its timing. Right now there is virtually no
opposition to the wars this nation is fighting in, including Afghanistan, Iraq,
Yemen and elsewhere. The press is not covering the details of our military
actions, and the popular culture just glamorizes the war with such TV shows as Seal Team, Valor and The Brave. Stores and sporting events
also promote the military
without any questioning. Polls show a lot of young people are pro-military. So
this is a good time to remind people that military leaders and presidents lie
to us about the wars we fight.
was true in the 1970s and it is true today. Let's hope this film reminds people
There are several issues being raised by The Sunflower, the official newspaper
for Wichita State University, over the leadership of the school and how they
treat the students. That includes whether or not school officials have the
right to conduct discussions over how WSU will spend student fees in closed
meetings. (See the article below.) Their continues to be a number of other
issues including a proposed
cut to The Sunflower’s budget, which is most likely
punishment for printing investigating issues that WSU leaders don’t want made
In the last few years the Koch brothers, David and Charles, havespent
moneytrying to take over a large part of WSU. They
are trying and succeeding to
privatize parts of the university. The brothers don’t
take well to criticism so it is not surprising that the newspaper’s funding has
been cut. It will not surprise us if there are other forms of punishment dished
out against the newspaper and possibly even changing the editorials staff. It
will also not surprise us if they change the name of the school to Koch
The Koch brothers are like a pair of
wolves who want to piss all over the place to mark their territory. Instead of
actual pee, they use their money to get their name on everything, from
scholarships to buildings. And the leadership of WSU, including John Bardo,
have taken money in trade for all kinds of favors. Bardo and his fellow
supporters are hardly any different from common prostitutes. And they trade
just about anything they get from the students for the money they get from the
Kochs. This is just the first installment of articles, mostly from The Sunflower, that show the new levels
of corruption we and the newspaper staff are seeing at WSU.
The committee formed to
deliberate how Wichita State will spend $9.53 to $9.82 million in student fees
closed the door on reporters Friday, claiming the meeting was not subject open
meetings laws that require public business to be discussed in public and not
behind closed doors.
The Sunflower presented its
student fees request to the student fees committee Friday morning from about 11
a.m. to 11:45 a.m. At noon, the committee was supposed to begin deliberations
on the Educational Opportunity Fund and Student Service Fees recommendations it
would give to student government, who would then vote on the budget. That’s
when Teri Hall, Wichita State’s vice president for student affairs, closed the
doors to reporters and the public.
“These deliberations have
always been closed,” Hall told reporters from The Wichita Eagle and The
Sunflower when they tried to re-enter the meeting room for deliberations.
In the area of foreign
affairs we can really see the effects of the end of the Soviet Union.
The US is now the main superpower and there is no real opposition to
it. The US acts as a superpower on steroids, with troops all over the
multiple wars on almost every major continent, accept
Antarctica and Australia. Two countries are now occupied by
the US, Afghanistan and Iraq. Just recently the US military
is building up a
presence in Africa.
Islamic revolt has
been the major challenge to the US superiority and imperialism.
The US has made the destruction of Islamic movements such as ISIS
(Islamic State), a major priority. There are several organizations
the US has targeted, such as al Qaeda and various local versions of
that group throughout the Middle East and Africa. There are also the
independent Islamic groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Many
Marxist anti-imperialist groups have had to adjust to the fact that there are
no more Marxist superpowers to support them. Right now they just don’t have the
numbers of people and support networks of the Islamic groups. ISIS was the one
group that had the audacity to take land that the US had conquered
when it took over Iraq. President Barack Obama decided to go
after ISIS and destroy them as a country. When President Donald
Trump took over he followed the same plan to first destroy the country
that ISIS had set up and then carried on the extermination campaign
to wipe that group off of the face of the Earth, along with all its people and
supporters. No attempt was ever made to negotiate an end to the war
against ISIS. The US was intent on destroying that movement completely.
In Europe and the US, those who are recruited to join ISIS are
considered mentally ill. After all who would oppose US democracy and
the system we all love so well? Any opinion in favor of ISIS in any way is
viewed as a crime in the US and Europe.
And the new modern American
Army takes no prisoners. There is no reason to
expand Guantanamo because the US has allowed the Iraqi Army
to kill all prisoners right after they are caught. Some prisoners have been
thrown off the tops of buildings to save on bullets. This country has made it
clear there is no tolerance for those who dare rebel against the US Empire. The
barbarity of today’s military far surpasses the kinds of war crimes committed
during World War II, at least on the ally’s side. And while
the US continues to commit all kinds of war crimes, the troops are
constantly hailed as heroes here
at home. And the constant lie that gets repeated over and over—“they
are fighting to keep us free.” They are fighting to maintain an empire.
That brings us to the
issues of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The alliance was
supposedly needed to keep out the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.
So the Soviet Union fell and the Warsaw Pact faded away. But not
NATO. It has expanded. Now many Warsaw Pact nations belong to NATO. So what
does NATO really do? It is a major tool of the empire.
argument is that it keeps the peace in Europe and
allows the West to efficiently cooperate on counter-terrorism and
humanitarian military operations……
According to Vox, “Everything
you need to know about the military alliance that's freaking out Russia:”
“The positive spin is
that NATO has adapted to the post-Cold War world, and now helps prevent wars,
protect weak states and peoples, and promote democracy.”
The negative spin is
that NATO allows the wealthiest and most powerful nations to bully the weaker
ones. While it prevents war, it also prevents any kind of change. Revolution is
nearly impossible since an attack on any NATO country is considered an attack
on all. That part of the alliance has allowed the US to pull NATO
allies into wars it started, such as the war in Afghanistan. The US had
demanded and got NATO troops and support from the other NATO nations. It gives
the false illusion that the war in Afghanistan is a war that the
entire world, or most of it, is behind. And how democratic is it to force
nations into a war they never had a chance to debate? While the main enemy of
the Afghanistan puppet regime is the Taliban, there are others in
that country who have opposed the US presence and they have also
taken military action.
NATO and the European Union are
control mechanism to prevent internal changes in European countries. The best
example of how it works can be seen in Greece. By 2010 the Greek
government was in trouble and in debt. In order to pay off its debts the
government put in place severe austerity measures. The people fought the
measures on every front. But the one thing they put a lot of faith in was
elections. They voted in a leftist party known as Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής
Αριστεράς, (Translated: Synaspismós Rizospastikís Aristerás), mostly
known by the abbreviation SYRIZA. Voters rejected the Eurozone creditors'
bailout terms in a voting referendum, in 2015, only for Alexis Tsipras,
the elected leader, to endorse even tougher terms for a third bailout agreed
the following month. Despite having popular support for turning back the
austerity plans, the European Union was able to force the party and the nation
to keep the austerity measures in place.
of Greece and SYRIZA had to decide if
it was more important to overturn the austerity or to stay in the European Union.
They stayed in the European Union and now the leadership of that body has more
control over Greece than their own political leaders.
For examples of NATO
being used to interfere in a European nation we only have to look
to Ukraine. Nearly every minor superpower (such as Russia) is
interfering in Ukraine and its civil war. Ukraine is actually
considering joining NATO. If it does it will be joining an
organization that has lead to constant meddling in that nation's internal
All of this shows us
that it is not the Soviet Union that is interfering in the internal
affairs of individual European nations, but it is NATO and the European Union.
It could be argued that Eastern European countries were more controlled and
lacked more autonomy than countries in the West, back when there was a Warsaw
Pact. But today it is the West (The US and major European powers) that puts
more control over the vary countries that NATO was originally supposed to
For third world
countries, they are now so dependent on Western powers the fall of
the Soviet Union has been a major disaster. Marxist-Leninists are
nearly gone from Africa. Political experiments
in Nicaragua, Mozambique and Angola were among the
many nations where newer, more democratic examples of Marxism were being tried.
For those of us on the left, these nations held out great promise. Thanks to
the constant meddling of President Ronald Reagan and then the actual collapse
of the Soviet Union all such experiments have been scrapped. The
Sandinistas, FRELIMO and other Marxist parties changed their alliances to the
Democratic Socialists of Europe to get development aid. There was nowhere
else to get it. China has been no help to such countries and no other
nation, other than the US and European nations, have the kind of
development aid such nations need.
Such nations used to
be able to bargain with one of the two super powers to get a good deal on aid
and weapons. Now they have only one superpower and there is no bargaining. Many
nations have learned the hard way as did when Yemen the leaders there
refused to back former President George H. W. Bush in his war against Saddam
Hussein (صدام حسين), in the first Iraq war,
in 1991. Yemen was punished for not supporting the only super power
left in the world.
For now we live in a
stagnant world where one US empire does what it dam well pleases.
Foreign people in the less wealthy countries are little better off than slaves.
There is absolutely nothing to counter the belligerent US military, a force
that acts drunk with power. When they wiped ISIS off the map they
wanted to let other groups and national leaders know they won't tolerate
dissent. We are supposed to support the US because they tolerate a
diversity of views, a trait that is championed as a cultural bastion of the
West. But that is a bold face lie. Until someone can stand up to
the US military machine we are all just the victims of a massive
 The European Socialist Network, is what is left of Europe's democratic socialist movement. It originally supported actual socialism in its earlier days, since the days of François Mitterrand, starting in 1981, the party drifted right and is now just a liberal party much like the US Democratic Party.
I’ve been told time
and time again college is the best years of your life.
College is the time
when you’re supposed to experience new things and have fun. On its own, college
isn’t inherently fun unless you get out and push yourself to experience the
once-in-a-lifetime moments you can only do in your 20s.
I’ll admit, I
haven’t exactly experienced all of the fun moments in college. I attended
community college for two years where the “experience” of college was a distant
reality. Now, as a fifth-year college student, I’m at a point where I want to
be involved all of the fun, one-of-a-kind college experiences.
One of these can’t
miss experiences I’ve been looking forward to is in jeopardy of losing its
Marshallville, a WSU
student organization, is currently putting together plans for their
fifth-annual campout. As per tradition, students in Marshallville arrange a
campout — welcome to all students — for the last game of the year.....
the athletic department is considering backing out on their promise to
Marshallville directors that ensured the Black Cards would be distributed
during the campout, and instead will distribute Black Cards for the game
against Cincinnati at Wednesday’s men’s game against Tulane, and then again at
the women’s game against Tulane on Saturday.
The Black Card system was
developed with the intent to increase student attendance at WSU sporting
events, like women’s basketball, that oftentimes don’t get the same student
attendance numbers. That’s largely the reason the athletic department is
considering rewarding students who show their support to the women on Saturday. For the rest click here.
Before the end of the cold war, 1991 or maybe 1992, there
were lots of communist and socialist parties all over the world. They fell into
two categories; those that were pro-Soviet Union and those that were
anti-Soviet Union. That might seem simple
enough, but the anti-Soviet Union parties seemed endless. There were lots of
them. But in the eyes of the US
press there was just one "Communist Party." In almost all news
magazines and newspapers there was just that one "Communist Party."
It was pro-Soviet Union. If people only read
mainstream newspapers they would never know there were other communist parties
in the United States of
We can also say that communism in general was almost always
treated as if it were Soviet Union communism.
For a while there was a "Red China," an evil menace that was just as
bad as the evil Soviet Union. And by the end
of the 1970s China
became the "good communist country." They were OK.
It is hard to say when the Cold War actually ended. Did it
end when the Berlin Wall came down? Did it end when Boris Yeltsin (Борис Ельцин)stood down a pro-communist
coup? All we can really say for sure is that it ended.
This article looks at two things. The fist is how the end of
the cold war effected other communist and socialist movements that were not
directly supported or supportive of Soviet Communism. The other is how the fall
of the Soviet Union affected workers
There have been many democratic socialist parties, such as Socialist Party USA and Democratic Socialists of America. There were also many Marxist-Leninist parties opposed to the Soviet Union. We can
safely say they were all against the Soviet Union
and most other communist parties.
Marxist-Leninist division took place in almost every
country where ML parties existed. For example, in Iran Peykar was a Maoist
party that resembled the US Revolutionary Communist Party. Their pro-Soviet party was called theTudeh Party.
Then there was the actual Communist
Party USA. That was the official Soviet Union
supported and supportive communist party. That was the communist party that
news organizations all referred to anytime someone wanted to speak of the pro-Soviet
communist party. The US
mainstream press was not interested in covering or even acknowledging the
existence of other communist parties or tendencies. They all wanted the
American public to believe that there was only one kind of communism and that communism
was exemplified by the Soviet Union, which was often simply referred to as Russia.
Gus Hall was the leader of Communist Party USA. When he died
New York Times described him this way:
Gus Hall, the zealous lifelong
Communist who led the American branch of the party from the cold war through
political oblivion in the post-Soviet era, died on Friday at LenoxHillHospital in Manhattan.
He was 90 and lived in Yonkers.
The son of an impoverished Minnesota miner, Mr.
Hall became radicalized early, beginning a career as a union and Communist
Party organizer during the Depression. J. Edgar Hoover once described him as
''a powerful, deceitful, dangerous foe of Americanism.''
He served eight years in prison
for his political views, ran for president four times and never apologized for
or wavered from the increasingly marginalized ideology he championed.
By the end of his life he had
become a lonely Communist stalwart in a post-Communist world. Those who sought
him out for interviews at party headquarters on West 23rd Street in Manhattan found a genial white-haired man
presiding over ''a museum of history,'' as he put it. Pictures of his family
shared space with a portrait of Lenin (a gift from Leonid I. Brezhnev); a wood
sculpture from Fidel Castro and a tapestry of Karl Marx, courtesy of Erich
Honecker, the former leader of East
........Mr. Hall was first
elected general secretary of the Communist Party, U.S.A., in 1959, when the federal
government considered the organization an outpost of the Kremlin and all its
members potentially dangerous subversives.
Gus Hall, the lumberjack, iron
miner, steelworker and union organizer whose name became synonymous with the
American Communist Party, which he led for 40 years, has died at the age of 90.
The L.A. Times
don't even give the full name of his party and most news outlets didn't do that
either. None of these sources hint that there are any other communist people or
groups besides Communist Party USA.
There were a lot of communists here in the US, as myself, who did not like a lot of the
baggage the Soviet Union had. We didn't like
the lack of democracy, the lack of freedom of speech and the general lack of
political liberties that the Soviet Union just
didn't seem to have. There were other problems, mainly with imperialism. The
Soviet Union tried to oppose US
imperialism, but its own actions were imperialistic. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Hungary,
and sent troops to other parts of its alleged empire. The Soviet Union tried to
put nuclear missiles in Cuba.
It gave extensive military hardware to many nations in Africa and it had
military bases in such countries as Ethiopia. The Soviet
Union directly controlled the affairs of many Easter European
nations and sent in troops when its orders seemed to be slipping. It is easy to
see much of these actions as imperialism.
At first it appears that many communists and socialists are
in agreement with the US
mainstream politicians who constantly complain about Soviet expansionism and
the lack of freedom in the Soviet Union. It
would be easy to mistakenly believe that these two political positions are
either the same or similar. That belief is wrong. All we have to do is look at
such leaders asFrancisco Franco or Spain, Augusto Pinochet of Chile or the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Shah of Iran (حمدرضا پهلوی,), to see that political liberty is not the main goal
of the US.
Themain goal is capitalism. Each of
these leaders defended the free-enterprise system and the US empire. Each of these leaders
replaced democratically elected leaders. Curtailment of freedom was perfectly
acceptable to the US and
long as these leaders supported the US and its interests abroad. That
interest always included free enterprise and the international capitalist
class. Support of such leaders goes back for more than a century. Today the US sheds crocodile tears for the people who are
denied freedoms in North
(Democratic People's Republic) Korea and Syria. And yet the US is fine supporting the undemocratic regime of
Since the fall of the
That brings us to modern times. The Soviet
Union is gone. There are still a lot of Marxist-Leninist amd
socialist groups. There are Trotskyists all over Facebook. But are we better off
without the Soviet Union? Is there more
democracy in the world? Is there more freedom in the world under the single
leadership of the US
than having two competing empires? The answer to all of that is NO!
Today the top 1 percent, or those $billionaires who own most
of the country’s wealth, are acting as if they suddenly have a green light to
go after all laws that support workers. Worker’s rights are under attack. What
we have to consider is that capitalism was threatened by the idea of a
communist revolution where workers would get everything and the ruling class
to exist. But with the Soviet Union gone, the
attitude seems to be that the whole idea of communism is dead. The capitalist
act and talk as if communism and all possibilities of communist revolution are
dead. That means the capitalists can do what they want. There are no
constraints. For example the $billionaire Koch brothers, David and Charles, are
out to destroy unions. They want to defang workers and leave them completely at
the mercy of their employers. Elisabeth
Garber-Paul, of Rolling
"Really, what we would like
to see is to take the unions out at the knees, so they don't have the resources
to fight," says Scott Hagerstrom, the Michigan director of Americans for
Prosperity – a group heavily funded by the Kochs – in a damning clip from the
film. And it seems to sum up the Kochs' approach to unions: Americans for
Prosperity were integral to the 2011 union-busting fight in Wisconsin, and American Legislative Exchange
Council (or ALEC, which works closely with the brothers) has drafted the model
anti-union legislation used to slash collective bargaining rights for workers
in 36 states. "They do not want to have safety regulations," says
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in the
film. "They do not want workers to be able to negotiate wages and
And we only have to look as far as our President Donald
Trump, to see this attitude in action. In the past presidents have been
professional politicians that represent members of the ruling class. Now we
have a president who got rid of themiddle man, an actual $billionaire, a man who is actually part of the 1
percent, is now running the country. And it is like seeing a child take over
the candy store. Regulations to protect workers and consumers are being
plundered to let the capitalist class do what it wants, getting everything it
wants at the expense of the common worker. Just recently Trump appointed Mick
Mulvaney to the Consumer Protection Agency. Mulvaney has made it clear he plans to get rid
of as many rules as he can. This is a man who watches out for corporations, not
the consumer. For Trump and Mulvaney consumer protection is obsolete. They will
do what is best for the big banks and corporations—once again at the consumer’s
and working classes’ expense.
The results of all of this are fairly obvious. According to
Premilla Nadasen, of the Washington
“But since the 1970s, the safety
net has been diminished considerably. Labor regulations protecting workers have
been rolled back, and funding for education and public programs has declined.
The poor have been the hardest hit. With welfare reform in 1996, poor single
parents with children now have a lifetime limit of five years of assistance and
mandatory work requirements. Some states require fingerprinting or drug testing
of applicants, which effectively criminalizes them without cause. The obstacles
to getting on welfare are formidable, the benefits meager. The number of
families on welfare declined from 4.6 million in 1996 to 1.1 million this year.
The decline of the welfare rolls has not meant a decline in poverty, however.
Instead, the shredding of the
safety net led to a rise in poverty. Forty million Americans live in poverty,
nearly half in deep poverty — which U.N. investigators defined as people
reporting income less than one-half of the poverty threshold. The United States
has the highest child poverty rates — 25 percent — in the developed world. Then
there are the extremely poor who live on less than $2 per day per person and
don’t have access to basic human services such as sanitation, shelter,
education and health care. These are people who cannot find work, who have used
up their five-year lifetime limit on assistance, who do not qualify for any
other programs or who may live in remote areas. They are disconnected from both
the safety net and the job market.
In addition to the reduction of
public assistance and social services, the rise in extreme poverty can also be
attributed to growing inequality. To quote the U.N. report: “The American Dream is
rapidly becoming the American Illusion, as the U.S. … now has the lowest rate of
social mobility of any of the rich countries.” In 1981, the top 1 percent of
adults earned on average 27 times more than the bottom 50 percent of adults.
Today the top 1 percent earn 81 times more than the bottom 50 percent.”
As to how much the end of the cold war affects the actions
of $billionaires and the rest of the 1 percent is questionable. It can’t be
proven that the end of fear of a worker’s revolution has caused the greed and
oppression of America’s
ruling class today. But they do act as if there is now NO DANGER in pulling out
all the stops to make America
a paradise for them and near slavery for those at the bottom.
But there are those who believe the cold war did affect the
way the US
treated its citizens. For example from Shad's
Not all aspects of the cultural
conflicts of the Cold War were negative. One of the worst blemishes on American
culture of the time was racial inequality. Despite being freed from slavery
approximately 80 years before the end of WWII, blacks were still second class
citizens in the South and discrimination was common in varying forms almost
everywhere. While change for blacks and other minorities came slowly, it did
eventually come. President Truman “noted that if the United States were to
offer the ‘peoples of the world’ a ‘choice of freedom or enslavement’ it must
‘correct the remaining imperfections in our practice of democracy” (Foner 857).
Beginning in the early 1950s states began establishing fair employment
commissions, they passed laws banning discrimination, and black voter
registration began to rise….
……..President Johnson not only
disliked injustice, he understood the international repercussions that came
along with America’s
perceived hypocrisy. In turn, he helped pass The Civil Rights Act of 1964
banned discrimination in public and many private accommodations. While it would
not be accurate to say the civil rights movement happened because of the Cold
War, the backdrop of the Cold War helped people to realize that aspects of
American society were in contrast to the values we were professing to stand for
and changes were needed. While cultural effects of the Cold War were primarily
domestic, political battles between the Soviet Union and the United States
were mostly fought on an international stage.
And it is no surprise that the Koch brothers have worked to
reverse these advances, made in response to the cold war. Again from Rolling Stone:
During the 2012 election, an
organization called True the Vote called itself a "citizen-led effort to
ensure free and fair elections." Their tactic? Placing mostly white
"poll-watchers" in polling places, many of them in minority areas,
which led to complaints of voter intimidation. The funding came from
Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity. What's worse, ALEC, which counts roughly
20 percent of all state legislators as members, also drafted a model Voter ID
bill and used its ranks to disseminate it across the country. Now, 41 states
have introduced more than 180 such bills, which could mean that over 21 million
people could be denied their most basic right as a citizen. "The reason
that you target somebody's voting rights," Ben Jealous, the former head of
the NAACP, says… "is it makes it easier to take away the rest of their
So today we have rampant inequality, corruption at the top
and just plain greed at levels never seen since the 1930s. Most Americans, over
the last century, bought all the cold war fear mongering of “commies trying to
take away their freedom
and democracy.” What they didn’t notice was the fear their leaders had of a
society where people are equal. That terrified the ruling class way more than
any loss of freedom or democracy. Today such leaders behave as if there is
nothing to fear at all. And that isn’t so good for the rest of us.
My own political scale goes left to right. That’s not unusual. But I have several categories of right-wing labels that go "conservative- very conservative- ultra-right conservative" and then "ass hole." At some point a politician just doesn't deserve a simple far-far-far far to the right conservative label. I like to call them as I see them. We do have the Nazis, real Fascists and Ku Klux Klan. And they are in the "ass hole" position of my label system. But there are those who are not members of such fascist oriented groups and they are so reprehensible that they may as well be members of the aforementioned groups. They are the people who are against the common welfare of at least some segment of people in our society. Our former Governor Sam Brownback viciously attacked poor people and the programs they relied on. He denied them access to health care. He treated them about a good as Hitler treated Jews. Today The Wichita Eagle  had an editorial piece by Mark Peterson that explains how Secretary of State Kris Kobach could easily win the upcoming gubernatorial election to be our next governor. Peterson admits that Kobach is strongly disliked. And yet he may win. I can understand how that would happen. First there is a primary for both Democrats and Republicans. While there are many candidates to choose from on the Republican ticket, Kobach is the best known Republican running. While there are a lot of middle of the road Republicans who would never vote for such an obnoxious candidate as Kobach, the more repulsive "ass hole" Republicans will turn out in high numbers to put their candidate over the top. Most Kansas are too intelligent to vote for such a narrow minded "ass hole" as Kobach. But only Republicans can vote in the primary and that gives the "ass holes" a great advantage. The next big advantage is Greg Orman who is running as an independent. This is how, as Peterson explained it, "that Bizarro World outcome could unfold." Orman is probably a fairly progressive candidate, at least compared to Kobach. But he is running against a Democrat. We don't know who that will be yet. But whoever wins the Democratic primary they are likely to be way more liberal or progressive than Kobach. Kansas is a Republican state but at times people here elect Democrat governors. As Peterson wrote: "electing an independent to the governor’s office has a July in Kansas blizzard's chance." What he is likely to do is split the vote. For a Democrat to win in Kansas, they have to win over a large section of Republicans —the kinds of Republicans that are able to evaluate the actual issues and not just continuously vote for Republicans for the sake of Republicans. And then there are the "ass holes" who willingly vote for the worst and most despicable people running. There are the xenophobes who enjoy seeing all those anti-immigrant policies that Kobach has enacted. Then there are the racist (who are usually also) xenophobes who like the way Kobach has knocked these people off the voter rolls. And there are those who loved a governor who followed his right-wing ideology despite bringing the state closer to ruination. And most racist people also hate poorer people and just about any other groups of minorities who are different from them. I have to admit that calling a mainstream politician an “ass hole” is not very professional. It shows a lack of respect for the institution of journalism. But then again, I’m not a real professional politician or journalist. Blog writing is a kind of entertainment pass time where an unprofessional journalist can call them like he/she sees them. I see a mean spirited ass hole who has shown a complete lack of professional behavior and an attitude of “if it works do it, even if it is just plain unfair.” Fair play and a sense of common decency is missing. So I just call them like I see them.
Peterson, "How Kobach survives his way to gubernatorial top," The Wichita Eagle, February 18, 2018, p.
Once again we have a school shooting. We had 17 known
students killed by a former high school student who got mad and decided to
"shoot up the school."
People will wring their hands and complain that we should
pass some kind of gun laws. Maybe we need better background checks? Maybe stop
guns from being around a school? Maybe put restrictions on what kind of guns
people can buy?
But we all know that any new gun laws are "dead on
arrival." The NRA (National Riffle Association or as I put it, National
Republican Association since this group almost always supports Republicans)
will oppose any new gun laws and no politician will dare to oppose what they
say. Oh sure... a few Democrats will bravely stand up and propose new gun
restrictions, but the NRA will win in the final count and nothing will change.
For example, just look at all the other school shooting that have taken place
in the last
20 years. There was quite a bit. Or worse yet, let's look at the school shootings in the last
year. There have been 18 school shootings in the first 45
days of 2018. That seems like a lot.
So what does the NRA and their finely tuned leadership say
about these shootings? "Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns,"
According to such right-wing jerks as Todd
Rokita, Member of the US House of Representatives from Indiana's 4th district. We hear that refrain
over and over again from both the NRA and Republican politicians.
I don't want a lot of restrictions on guns. I oppose gun
control in general. But the NRA and the Republicans have supported gun rights
and the right to conceal and carry to the point where they have gotten ridiculous.
Should we change the law to the point where 18 year
olds, rather than being 21 years of age, are allowed to carry
guns? Such changes have been in the works and the NRA supports that. Is there
an age where people are just too immature to own dangerous hand guns or assault
riffles? According to the NRA the answer is no. Any one of any age should be
able to buy a hand gun or any
kind of gun.
There is a way to defend the right of adults to own guns and
there are common sense ideas as to keeping such weapons from children. If the
NRA gets their way, their new motto will be "good children with guns (hand
guns or assault riffles) can stop bad children who have guns. The NRA support
insanity and the rest of the country needs to wake up and stop this ridiculous organization.
I hate commercials. They annoy me. At
times they try to pretend they are entertainment. Other times they pretend to
be news updates. But their aim is always to try and get us to buy something. Larry King says he likes
to connect people with things that work. He is simply trying to sell us clam
oil pills to stop pain. If I could get rid of commercials I would.
This year, as with many years past, the
Super Bowl ads are now looked forward to as if they were real entertainment. I
see news people showing us the most interesting and anticipated ads for the Super
Bowl. But now the ads have hit an all-time low as Dodge uses part of a Martin Luther King Jr.
speech to sell us their trucks.
“Amid the commercial
miasma swirling around Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast, one advertisement actually
stood out as something of a cultural and social event. It was an ad for Dodge
Ram trucks, featuring the uplifting words of none other than Martin Luther King
The ad provoked
immediate comment on social media – none of it, as far as we can tell,
positive. It was seen as a landmark in crassness. That was true not least
because in the speech excerpted for the ad, a 1968 sermon entitled “The Drum
Major Instinct,” King spends some considerable time excoriating the
advertiser-driven quest for material acquisitions, including cars.
“We are so often
taken by advertisers,” he declared. “They have a way of saying things to you
that kind of gets you into buying…. You’ve seen people riding around in
Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford.”
Those words weren’t in the script for the Ram truck company (which is owned by,
yes, Fiat Chrysler). The ad just stuck to King’s exhortation to become great by
Apparently the King family gave permission for Dodge to use this
speech. So what were the King family members thinking when they allowed a
speech by one of our most beloved social commentators of the 20th
century? I can only guess— $$MONEY$$!
This ad takes a
speech that was meant to inspire people to think about the meaning of our lives
and our relationship towards others and gave it a new meaning—to buy our
trucks. The seriousness of such a speech is lost on the crass commercialism and
materialism that has soaked in to every fiber of our collective being. The
message is simple—buy lots of stuff, whether you need it or not, and contribute
to the economy. Such crass commercialism seems to be a form of cultural pollution.
Ads are everywhere we go—TV radio, our computers. They are in every public
place imaginable. The message is always to buy something. As a culture I would
like to think that Americans have more to say about life than buy something and
try to find happiness through the ownership of material things.