Tuesday, July 18, 2017

US Army is on an extermination campaign

By SJ Otto
Not long ago people complained about the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Back then President George Bush called those prisoners "enemy combatants." he said they had no rights at all as enemy soldiers. They had no right to trial.
Todaymany years later—where are the enemy combatants?
The answer is simple­—we no longer take prisoners. We just kill those who violate our western values. Not since the US Indian Wars was there such an attempt to exterminate a people as is now being done in Iraq.
If we go back to World War II, our army captured many troops and leaders of those troops. Out troops took prisoners in the Korean War. Not today. We are exterminating them.
So what happens to those who actually surrender to US led coalition troops?, according to Independent UK News:

"Iraqi security forces kill Isis prisoners because they believe that if the militants are sent to prison camps they will bribe the authorities in Baghdad to release them. “That is why Iraqi soldiers prefer to shoot them or throw them off high buildings,” says one Iraqi source. A former senior Iraqi official said he could name the exact sum that it would take for an Isis member to buy papers enabling him to move freely around Iraq."
Guantanamo bay is almost empty today. We are fighting wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. So were are all the prisoners from battles we won? There are nonf. We kill them all. When it comes to leaders our US Army makes a priority of attacking and killing leaders. From NBC News:

"The leader of an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan was killed in a U.S. airstrike on the groups’ headquarters this week, the Pentagon said Friday.
Abu Sayed, the emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Khorasan Province, called ISIS-K, died in Tuesday’s airstrike in Kunar Province, a region on Afghanistan’s northeast border with Pakistan.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on Friday that when leaders of terror groups like ISIS-K are killed the groups could be set back a day, a few weeks or a month. "It's obviously a victory on our side, in terms of setting them back. It's the right direction," he said."
So we see the proud victory of an Army that takes no prisoners and celebrates every time the kill an important person.
This is nothing less than genocide. This country has decided to kill all those who don't fit in with their new global order. In this war the idea is to wipe out the people who may have differences of opinion.
Another thing missing is any kind of negotiating. Our military treats that as weakness. But we have no way of moving out of this war. There can be no solution to these wars but absolute and total victory for the US Empire who is now relying on their superior weapons. 
This is one more reason to oppose these phony wars. We know they are not about terrorism, that is a lie. This is about defending the US empire against all those who oppose it. The US started this war, not them. They are extermination campaigns and nothing less.
Pix by Facepunch. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

An Open Letter to Liberals & Progressives from the Black Bloc

I believe everyone deserves the right to be heard. So I'm posting this. -SJ Otto

The deep state isn’t coming to save us. Trump isn’t going anywhere and it seems clear that the elites have no desire to remove him. Meanwhile war and another economic collapse lay just on the horizon, as violence, intimidation, and threats from the far-Right seek to attack anyone who isn’t loyal to the billionaire king. As tens of thousands mobilize in Hamburg, Germany against neoliberal capitalism and as both repression and resistance at home heat up, progressives and liberals must ask themselves a simple question: what side are you on? 

In recent days, the mainstream media has been rocked by the story that Donald Trump has yet again shared social media created by the white supremacist Alt-Right, and secondly that neo-Nazis from within that movement have begun to threaten journalists and their family members for reporting on the story.
Only several days before, liberal and progressive groups organized protests to demand that Trump be impeached and were met in numerous cities by Alt-Right counter-demonstrators who used violence in an attempt to push them off the streets. In San Diegomembers of the Alt-Right carried flags with racist symbols and attempted to surround protesters, in LA and Philadelphia clashes broke out, and, in Austinthe far-Right attempted to block the march’s route.
The targets of the Alt-Right weren’t just the black bloc, anarchists, or antifa–they were anyone who dared to come out that day and voice their displeasure with the president. Ironically, despite the permitted rallies hardly even being disruptive, in the months leading up to them, far-Right conspiracy theory websites such as InfoWars claimed that they would lead to violent riots backed by the Democratic Party in an effort to play up hysteria.
“THE TARGETS OF THE ALT-RIGHT WEREN’T JUST THE BLACK BLOC, ANARCHISTS, OR ANTIFA – THEY WERE ANYONE WHO DARED TO COME OUT THAT DAY AND VOICE THEIR DISPLEASURE WITH THE PRESIDENT.”
This fear mongering was then kicked into overdrive with the shooting of Steve Scalise by James Hodgkinson in Virginia, as the Right used it as a vehicle to pump up fears of “left-wing violence.”While at the center of this demonization are anarchists and antifascists, as the recent viral NRA video shows, the target has widened to the entire Left, including liberals and progressives.
All of this is taking place against an immense backdrop of rising far-Right violence, murder, and arson attacks, which have been almost completely ignored by both the media and the Trump administration. This violence is also growing in the midst of a massive campaign attacking the working class, pushing through repressive measures that defile civil liberties and the right to protest, slash taxes on the wealthy and regulations on the environment, and move billions in services and healthcare out of the hands of the poor and most vulnerable and into the pockets of the billionaires, CEOs, and 1%.
At the same time, the Trump administration has launched a campaign to gather voting information from all states in order to launch a countrywide version of Cross Check, the same system that struck millions of mostly Democratic black and brown voters from the rolls in 2016. Heading the campaign is Kris Kobach, who is both the Kansas secretary of state as well as the legal counsel of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a white nationalist think tank.
For the rest click here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

DSA continues to build on organization plans

By SJ Otto
Last Saturday members of the local Wichita Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) continued organizing for the next year. The group discussed upcoming elections and outreaching to other progressive organizations. They also decided to build two working groups.
One of the more interesting ideas to evolve included taking over the Sedgwick County Democratic Party. That may sound like an over ambitious plan, but the Democratic Party in this part of the state, has been in really bad shape for many years. This goes beyond it being a centrist party that avoids anything controversial. It is poorly organized, week at winning elections and lacks any real dynamic leadership. If done slowly and carefully, it just might work.
Once again the group discussed running our own candidates as well as supporting others who are running. Brandon Johnson met with DSA members early in the meeting. He is running for district 1 on the Wichita City Council. Johnson is the founder of Community Operations Recovery Empowerment. He is also a member of the District 1 District Advisory Board and a former member of the Kansas Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Members were impressed with his campaign and some members said they will work on it.
James Thompson also came to the meeting. He plans to run for the seat now held by Ron Estes ("Slacker Ron"), 4rth district US House of Representatives.
"One thing that is going to hold you folks back is the name (socialism)," Thompson told the group.
"We know," said a group member. "But we are trying to change that".
Changing people's perception of the term socialism is one of the long term goals of the Wichita DSA. It is the groups hope that future Americans will not see socialism as such a dirty word.
Thompson explained that he is working on developing a position on Rural Kansas. He said he is still being advised on that topic. He said that he already knows that keeping hospitals open in the rural areas are a problem.
"When those (hospitals) go out, people lose jobs," Thompson said.
Thompson told the group that he is not anti-gun. That may help him with some conservatives, but not so much with mainstream liberals.
"I like my guns," he said. "I'm a vet."
He said he is very interested in turning some counties, in his district, from red to blue.
During the planning part of the meeting, the group came up with a plan to help get progressive people elected:
The basics of a socialist campaign.

1. who is the target?
2. why can DSA win this?
3. Steps in the plan.
4. How does it build socialist power?

The group discussed recruiting students from the colleges and maybe high schools. They also talked about getting kits together for students want to organize for their future.
They will include chapter building kits, magazines and other important items.
Another important topic discussed is outreach. They discussed how to approach organizations that we may be able to interact with. They discussed the need to develop different approaches to different types of groups. There are different types of events that groups put on, including solidarity action events, social events and educational events.
At some events DSA will have a table and distribute information. At some events, such as parades, we may want to bring our banner and other promotional items. At some events we will just support what they are doing and avoid promoting ourselves.
The group also discussed social activities that are both political and allow members to socialize. One idea is to show socialist oriented films. Some suggested films include "13th," "Pride".


Sunday, July 09, 2017

US-Afghanistan War —The Futility of War

From the Peace and Social Justice Center of Kansas, Summer Newsletter:

         The ongoing 15 year US War on Afghanistan is a sadly perfect example of how war as a remedy for injustice and terror creates those very things. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have died, large parts of the country have been contaminated by munitions, and nothing permanent has been built. Our taxes continue to be wasted as we build schools and roads there that then are destroyed by more battles. The women we claimed to be liberating are still bearing the brunt of war deaths and injuries. Bombing weddings and other gatherings, accidentally or not, invites retaliation and does not encourage women to go out into the world. And US personnel are still being killed. In the meantime while we wage a futile war our bridges and schools are crumbling because our taxes go to waste.
           All this because we had to start a war for revenge and now can't quit it because politicians don't want to lose face and don't want to confront the military desire to keep going no matter what. There has to be a better way and it starts with withdrawing from these wars by cooperating as much as possible with international institutions, and then using the massive wealth in the US to create a public jobs program to rebuild and clean up our country. Anything less is not sustainable.





Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The founding myth of the United States



The Boston Tea Party (Wikimedia Commons)
   This article was originally published on Political Violence @ a Glance.
Tomorrow, cities and towns from coast-to-coast will host fireworks, concerts and parades to celebrate our independence from Britain. Those celebrations will invariably highlight the soldiers who pushed the British from our shores. But the lesson we learn of a democracy forged in the crucible of revolutionary war tends to ignore how a decade of nonviolent resistance before the shot-heard-round-the-world shaped the founding of the United States, strengthened our sense of political identity, and laid the foundation of our democracy.
We’re taught that we won our independence from Britain through bloody battles. We recite poetry about the midnight ride of Paul Revere that warned of a British attack. And we’re shown depictions of Minutemen in battle with Redcoats in Lexington and Concord.
I grew up in Boston where our veneration for revolutionary battles against the British extends far beyond the Fourth of July. We celebrate Patriots’ Day to commemorate the anniversary of the first battles of the Revolution and Evacuation Day to commemorate the day British troops finally fled Boston. And at the start of every Red Sox game we stand, take off our hats and sing — 33,000 strong — about the perilous fight, the rockets’ red glare, and the bombs bursting in air that gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Yet, founding father, John Adams wrote that, “A history of military operations … is not a history of the American Revolution.”
American revolutionaries led not one, but three nonviolent resistance campaigns in the decade before the Revolutionary War. These campaigns were coordinated. They were primarily nonviolent. They helped politicize American society. And they allowed colonists to replace colonial political institutions with parallel institutions of self-government that help form the foundation of the democracy that we rely on today.
The first nonviolent resistance campaign was in 1765 against the Stamp Act. Tens of thousands of our forbearers refused to pay the British king a tax simply to print legal documents and newspapers, by collectively deciding to halt consumption of British goods. The ports of Boston, New York and Philadelphia signed pacts against importing British products; women made homespun yarn to replace British cloth; and eligible bachelorettes in Rhode Island even refused to accept the addresses of any man who supported the Stamp Act.

Colonists organized the Stamp Act Congress. It passed statements of colonial rights and limits on British authority, and sent copies to every colony as well as one copy to Britain thereby demonstrating a united front. This mass political mobilization and economic boycott meant the Stamp Act would cost the British more money than it was worth to enforce, leaving it dead on arrival. This victory also demonstrated the power of nonviolent non-cooperation: people-powered defiance of unjust social, political or economic authority.
The second nonviolent resistance campaign started in 1767 against the Townshend Acts. These acts taxed paper, glass, tea and other commodities imported from Britain. When the Townsend Acts went into effect, merchants in Boston, New York and Philadelphia again stopped importing British goods. They declared that anyone continuing to trade with the British should be labeled “enemies of their country.” A sense of a new political identity detached from Britain grew across the colonies.
By 1770, colonists developed the Committees of Correspondence, a new political institution detached from British authority. The committees allowed colonists to share information and coordinate their opposition. The British Parliament reacted by doubling down and taxing tea, which led enraged members of the Sons of Liberty to carry out the infamous Boston Tea Party.
The British Parliament countered with the Coercive Acts, which effectively cloistered Massachusetts. The port of Boston was closed until the British East India Company was repaid for their Tea Party loses. Freedom of assembly was officially limited. And court trials were moved from Massachusetts.

To read the rest click here.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Prison riot (or some kind of event) raises questions on state and local funding

By SJ Otto
Just recently I heard about the incident at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, at their maximum-security prison. It amounted to a group of prisoners refusing to go back to their cells after being in a "common area of the prison." I have a nephew who works as a guard at that prison so I was quite concerned. He was not hurt. His mother was giving us updates on Facebook as to his status.
Whether this was an actual riot, disturbance or some other type of event is hard to say. What ever it was lasted for several hours. For a while some people were releasing statements to the press that there were weapons held by prisoners. So far, the officials of El Dorado Correction Facility have said there were no weapons by the prisoners. But there is a lot of distrust among those who have relatives in the prison or working there. Maybe there were weapons and maybe other violations occurredBut until we know more...officially it was a relatively non violent event.  
According to The Wichita Eagle, a few days ago:

"Internal radio traffic at the prison indicated that “the gym, the yard, the Special Security Team office and the kitchen are all under inmate control right now,” (Robert) Choromanski said in another email. “They are refusing to vacate the area.”

So far I have not seen any reports as to why the inmates refused to return to their cells. Where there any demands? Where they just testing out the resolve of those running the prison? I have yet to see any answers.
There is one thing we can tell from all of thisas with the school system, the Kansas Legislature and our idiot governor have not adequately funded this institution. And we can ascertain that other prison facilities either are or will be facing similar problems in the near future.
Last year the The Topeka Capital Journal reported that:

"(Sam) Brownback himself is developing a budget proposal, but he has divulged few details.
Lawmakers and the governor must find a way to eliminate a $350 million shortfall in the current fiscal year, which runs through June.
State leaders need to account for a projected decrease in revenue of more than $580 million in the next fiscal year."

The main problem here is that the governor and his allies are short changing the prison systems just as they did with the school systems.
According to KAKE's Greg Miller:

"they believe approximately 120 positions are open at the facility. That number had doubled since April. Other employees site low morale, ineffective leadership and dangerous practices for so many resignations.
Family members of those employees inside the facility Thursday had gathered at a private parking lot across the street. Many of them said there have been several incidents at the prison in the last few weeks, and that they're worried about safety for guards."

That indicates that some of the problems may be local. There is little doubt that this also occurs from the dreadful under spending at the state level for paying people for dangerous jobs that are required for the safety and benefit of our local citizens. No matter what anyone thinks of our laws or prison institutions none of us are safe with underfunded and understaffed prisons.
And if the local officials at this facility are unfit for the job, they need to be replaced for the benefit of all of us.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Fourth of July holiday- light the fireworks- shut off the jingoistic commercials

By SJ Otto
So another Fourth of July will come in a few days. That is a holiday I have mixed feelings about. No doubt that there will be plenty of jingoistic TV shows and commercials on TV and radio 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.

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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sign the Petition to investigate Donald Trump


Posted By: Common Cause (campaign leader)
President Donald Trump is refusing to adequately address his 
unprecedented conflicts of interest and put his assets into a blind trust. And Republicans in Congress are abandoning their responsibility to serve as a check on the executive branch.

Especially given the dark cloud already hanging over this administration and its potential ties to Russian election meddling, it's critically important that the American people know if our President is receiving money from foreign governments.
That's why we must call on the House Oversight Committee, and its Republican leader Trey Gowdy to use Congress's oversight role to fully investigate the President's conflicts and overseas business ties. The Democrats wouldn't have to sue if Congress was doing its job -- and we should use this moment to push them into action.
Americans agree that strong oversight is necessary to ensure that public servants look to their time in government as a way of contributing to society, not a way of enriching themselves and their friends.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Daily Kos tries to stop Trumpcare (AKA Don't care)

From Irna Landrum, Daily Kos:

Mitch McConnell will force a vote on the as-yet-unwritten, super secret Trumpcare bill this month, come hell or high water. 

There is internal strife among Republicans senators, and some are urging McConnell to delay the vote. However, he will cancel the next recess and work senators until every item on the Senate calendar is complete—unless he gets a vote this month. 

This is part of McConnell's continued pressure on Senate Republicans to fall in line and pass Trumpcare, a bill most of them haven't seen yet.Secrecy and bullying are not how we pass major legislation! 

Call Senator Jerry Moran at (202) 224-6521 and Senator Pat Roberts at (202) 224-4774. Using this sample script, tell them to stand up to McConnell's bullying and reject Trumpcare now.

Hello. My name is steve calling from 67101 in Maize. I'm urging you to reject Trumpcare. Don't bow to Mitch McConnell's pressure to vote on this bill no one has seen and your constituents DO NOT WANT. If McConnell forces a vote, vote NO on Trumpcare. Thank you.




Pix from UPI.com.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's Father's Day—This one is special for me!

By SJ Otto
It's Father's Day. I'm a father myself, with a son who is almost 40. He lives in Portland Oregon. I still have my father, but I won't have him much longer. He has lung cancer and has about six months to live. He is 91. So today we can celebrate the three generations in my family. I have no grand kids.
This is likely my father's last Father's Day with me. I hope to make the best of it. Mao Zedong once said:

"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] 

I think that is appropriate for my father. My mother died a day before her 80th birthday. Both my parents have had fine long lives. I'm sorry to see my dad go, but I'm grateful for the years we have had together.
My Dad and I have had our differences over the years. My Dad used to be a Republican, a kind of Dwight Eisenhower Republican, so the far-far-far-far-far to the right Republican Party political trend has turned my Dad off the Republican Party for now. I have always been more to the left so we used to argue about politics a lot in my younger days. Now we argue a lot less and agree a lot more. I'm still farther to the left than my Dad, but that seems to matter a lot less than it used to. Today my Dad and I have a real good relationship. I don't remember it ever being better than it is today.
So today, my brother, my Dad and a few other relatives will get together to Bar-B-Q some meat and sit around the back yard talking about the good ol' days. My son will probably call me on the phone this afternoon to say "hi" and "happy Father's Day." From what other men about my age told me the other day, "getting a phone call from your son or daughter is about the most you can expect out of Father's Day." And for me that is just fine. I'm always glad to hear from my son.
My wife, Cam Gentry has already lost her father several years ago. Cam really looked up to her father, even though he was a lot more conservative than her. Her Dad landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, during World War II. He was one of the lucky survivors. I know my wife still misses her Dad every year on Father's Day.
Father's Day is one of those little holidays. But this year I will make the best of it. Next year it may just be me and my sontwo generations, of the men in my family. I do have five living brothers, so for all of us the Father's Day situation is the same except for the one other son and the three daughters two of my brothers have. And those two brothers have grand kids.
So to all of you who have a father, or grand father, or great grandfather, etc., be sure and make the best of it. It doesn't matter how long we and our fathers live, it matters most what we do WHILE they are alive. 

My Dad and some of his sons and grand sons.


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

Scalise shooting is the latest in US political violence—it's the "chickens coming home to roost"

By SJ Otto
The latest shooting of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise is a logical reaction when a political party simply pushes certain classes of people to their edge. The Republican Party now runs both houses, the presidency and the Supreme Court. And they are using all their power to punish the poorer classes- even to the point of letting them die from medical neglect.
So to some extent the Republicans are reaping what they sow. They follow an agenda that amounts to giving US corporations everything they want at the expenses of the working poor.
The shooter, at the Republican baseball practice, in Alexandria, Virginia, was James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who died following a shootout with authorities. He was a supporter of Bernie Sanders' progressive politicsand he hated President Donald Trump. That alone is not unique. A lot of us like Sanders and hate Trump. But few, if any of us, want to go as far as actually shooting Republicans. That's not to say the temptation is not there. It is. But most of us have the will power to hold off of on such actions. Hodgkinson was that one person who simply went over the top. He shot at several Republicans and he hit at least six people, but only Scalise was seriously wounded enough that he is still in the hospital.
One thing the Republicans can not say is that their side is the peaceful one. Just a few weeks earlier Greg Gianforte, who won Montana’s special election, was charged with assaulting a journalist one day prior. Many of us found the election results infuriating. However there have been conservative pundits such as Susan Stamper Brown, who wrote in an article: "I thought Gianforte’s response was kind of sexy. Before the snowflake generation evolved, that’s how manly men resolved their differences. And still do, in places like Montana and Alaska, where men aren’t ostracized for being men." Her column was picked up and ran in our local newspaper, The Wichita Eagle
So there is plenty of blame for Republicans for uncivilized behaviour that has taken our country by storm.
There are those who say we should agree to disagree. But the policies at stake have never been greater. The repeal of Obamacare (Affordable Care Act or ACA) was a real hit for many working poor who relied on that for health insurance. With that repeal many of the working poor will now be without health insurance coverage and as a resultsthey will lack health care. With a lack of preventative treatment, many will now die early in life, because they will only see a doctor after they can no longer ignore the symptoms and it is then too late and their once preventable diseases will now become fatal. When people are facing unnecessary death they have good reasons to feel angry.
And many Republicans are just mean-spirited about it. Governor Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require able-bodied, childless adults applying for Medicaid health benefits to undergo drug screening. He and other Republicans want this move to serve as a national model. On one hand this amounts to a death sentence for people with drug problems. It also amounts to potentially killing off poor people because Republicans don't approve of their life styles. In fact Walker also wants to charge Medicaid recipients with a lot of money if they, as he puts it, smoke or engage in other unhealthy behaviour.
This is both mean-spirited in that the drug users will need some kind of health treatment and it is arrogant to let some one die because their personal habits are unpopular. There is definitely reasons to be angry about this.
There is hostility on both wings when it comes to protesting. Anarchists (or antifas, short for anti-fascist, as they are sometimes called) have gone to attacking Trump supporters and conservatives love to brag when one of their thugs hurt an anarchist. A site called Heat Street  bragged that man from Patriot Prayer, at a Portland political rally, "knocked an antifa guy to the ground." There are many YouTube videos showing antifas and Trump supporters fighting.
We are living in a time when people are fighting over the nation's resources and the fighters are not interested in fighting fair. The country has plenty of resources and keeping those from the lower classes is both an act of selfishness and mean-spirited. There is reason to be angry.





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Slacker Ron Estes wants to let the banks swindle us

By SJ Otto
It's hard to say if slacker US Representative Ron Estes wrote his own article that was carried in the The Wichita Eagle or if he had some one else write it for him. Estes avoids any real work. But his article appeared and it was the usual pack of lies that Republicans print and put forward as if they were truth.  He said in his Sunday article:

"It’s clear to most Kansans how Obamacare has harmed their families (doubled their premiums and taken away medical choices)."

He has never met with his constituents to see if that is true. He is a cowardly man and is not likely to do that. But I already know how many of my friends are in trouble over his vote to repeal Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act or ACA). I don't know anyone who is having a problem with "taken away medical choices)." I'm sure some wealthier folks may have problems with higher premiums. But many of my friends have the problem of loosing their health care altogether. The premiums, if they can get them, are so high they have to go without health care. Not having any kind of health is the worst problem of all and the Republicans have brought poor working people to this place once again. That means that poor working people will now die earlier than they planned on, because if they get sick, they can't do anything until they are about to die. After that it is too late for any kind of preventative care.
I'm sure by now that Estes only plans to represent the wealthier people in his district. He could care less about the common citizen. I'm sure he figures they are better off dead.
Most of Estes' article is about:

"Dodd-Frank, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2010, added thousands of rules and regulations for financial institutions to follow."  

Most of us aren't affected by this because it affects wealthy bankers. Estes worries about their financial situation, which was encumbered by our past President Barack Obama. Many of us do remember how the banks were swindling the common citizen which is why Obama passed that act. Many common citizens lost money when banks foreclosed on housed and loans they should not have made. The Dodd-Frank Act simply requires that banks have assets to back up their loans. As from USA Today:

Explaining the Dodd-Frank Act

In an effort to prevent crises like these in the future, the policymakers behind the Dodd-Frank Act underwrote a series of critical reforms. The act increases the amount that capital banks must hold in reserve, giving the banks an added cushion to absorb loan losses in future downturns. It similarly requires banks to keep a larger portion of their assets invested in things that can be easily liquidated in the event of a bank run – namely, cash and government securities as opposed to term loans.
The act also subjects the nation's biggest banks to a series of heightened regulatory requirements not faced by regional and community banks. Under Dodd-Frank, every bank with more than $50 billion worth of assets on its balance sheet must submit to annual stress tests administered by the Federal Reserve, which then determines if they would survive a hypothetically severe crisis akin to the one in 2008. As a part of the stress tests, these banks must also seek regulatory approval to increase their dividends or authorize new share repurchase programs.
Even among the biggest banks, moreover, the Dodd-Frank Act makes distinctions. The biggest among them are classified as global systemically important banks, or G-SIBs, which must hold an additional tranche of capital, known as the G-SIB surcharge. This is particularly burdensome for JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup which have to keep as much as 3% their shareholders' equity laying fallow in cash or low-yielding but highly liquid securities. These banks must also submit resolution plans to regulators each year, detailing how they could be resolved without causing harm to the financial markets in the event they go bankrupt.
Remember folks, when these banks failed, the US taxpayer bailed them out. That is what Estes wants to return to. Large bank loans fail, then taxpayers bail them out as they did before 2010.
The original purpose of the bill was:

"The Act is categorized into sixteen titles and, by one law firm's count, it requires that regulators create 243 rules, conduct 67 studies, and issue 22 periodic reports.
The stated aim of the legislation is:
To promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes."


So what Estes really wants is to allow the banks to rip off the consumers. The businesses, as banks, are more important than consumers. That is the Estes way. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wyoming mayor defends his decision to remove town hall Trump portrait by comparing Trump to Stalin


Jackson Wyoming Mayor Pete Muldoon ruffled some feathers after he took down a portrait of unpopular President Donald Trump last week and replaced it with Chief Washakie, the Shoshone leader of the 1800s. Chief Washakie was a prominent figure in the early history of Wyoming and had the historical distinction of being the only known Native American receive a full military funeral by the United States.
The move has elicited reaction from the political left and right—each taking their predictable sides. Democrats and/or liberals are mostly in favor of the Muldoon’s decision to take Trump down, citing various criticisms of the president. One Facebook user wrote: “Thanks Pete! It’s a little thing but Trump certainly doesn’t deserve that place of honor, in this or any other town.”
Republicans, for the most part, believe the photo swap to be disrespectful to the office. Many in Wyoming living outside of Jackson have pointed to the controversy as a perfect example of why Teton County is often considered an embarrassing part of the Cowboy State.
The move came in tandem with the Jackson town council adopting a resolution in support of the Paris Agreement. With conservatives attacking, Mayor Muldoon sent an email, which has been shared online, to his constituents. Mayor Muldoon explains that he knows that Donald Trump is the president but that there is no law that says presidents must have portraits in local town halls. Mayor Muldoon slowly, and rather masterfully, turns the letter into a civics lesson.
For the rest click here.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Islamic hate march is unsuccessful in Wichita

By SJ Otto
An anti-Islamic march fizzled today, as less than thirty marchers, from ACT For America, went in front of the Islamic Society of Wichita, according to the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas. The March was planned by ACT For America
which describes itself as:

"We are the NRA of national security.
We don’t just support the protection of America’s national security
- we’re fighting for it."

In other words they are a far right organization, just as the NRA. They are Islamophobic and an anti-Muslim hate group, but they also claim:  

"is committed to recruiting, training, and mobilizing citizens community by community to help protect and preserve American culture and to keep this nation safe." 

Usually groups that talk of preserving American culture are trying to prevent other cultures from being able to survive here in the USA. They are more like fascism than a group to preserve anyone's rights.
DSA (Democratic Socialist of America) and other local organizations monitored the event in case there was going to be any trouble. There was a consensus to avoid a counter march so that the ACT did not get more publicity than they would otherwise get.
Many local organizations monitored the event in case there was going to be any trouble. There was a consensus to avoid a counter march so that the ACT did not get more publicity than they would otherwise get.
Members of DSA (a local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America), Peace and Social Justice Center and some others local organization will be attending a Ramadan After Dinner at the Islamic Center, June 12. These groups want to oppose Islamophobia. That is not to say all these members are Muslim, and certainly many people in Wichita do not support a government that is dominated by Islam or any other religion. But they do believe that all religions in the US deserve respect.
All fundamental religious beliefs produce believers who are willing to disrespect other people's religious views. They often support poisonous political views that are disrespectful to people of other faiths and beliefs. But marching against all members of that entire religion is always counter productive.
That is why  many of us will be joining Muslims for their Ramadan After Dinner. We want the Muslims in Wichita to know that we respect their religious beliefs and their constitutional right to practice the religion of their choice.
Local marchers can be seen in the photo below.

Pix by Bill Anderson.

The anti-march was part of an nation-wide effort. Some of the other marches across the US were not as quiet as the one in Wichita. The people and Muslims of Wichita were lucky.




Pix from NBC News: