Democrat news from KS

The latest email is announcing a big reception with Paul Davis in Wichita. That's great, but some of us are 5 hrs and a lot of miles from Wichita. We get 20 or 30 emails per day telling us all the negatives about the opposition spending tons of money and asking us to send in 3, 5, or more dollars to counteract all that opposition funding. We seldom ever get any positive emails or information on intended agenda or positions on issues from the candidates, themselves.

It surely doesn't cost anymore money to send us information on issues discussed, questions asked, candidate's answers, etc. Most of us don't need any information on the negative side of the Republican candidates. I'm sure the majority of us reading KFP are Progressives, Liberals or Independents, who already know what our opinions are of the incumbents or Republicans. Negative political advertising may produce results, but there are some of us who are just plain tired of it.

Give us a positive reason to vote for the Democratic or Independent candidate. I'd rather think I'm voting for someone or something instead of just negatively voting against things. I'm never impressed with single issue candidates, even if I'm in agreement with them on that issue. I've served on Boards that had members who were elected on single issues and those members are seldom good at discussing or solving other issues.

I won't be voting for Brownback, Huelscamp, Roberts, or Kobach. (I'd rather vote for my good old chocolate lab, Bubba! He's big and friendly and doesn't have a mean streak in him. He won't share his meal with the cat, but neither does he try stealing the cat's dish.) But, I would like to know what or who I'm voting for to replace them. If I don't know either candidate, I think it safer to vote for the Democrat, but it would really be nice to know a little something about them, more than just that they need money to fund their campaign.

What better or more economical way could you get positive news to the electorate than email, Kansas Free Press, or Everyday Citizen? Incumbents send out news letters bragging about the positives for themselves (legitimate or not) and all the half truths and negatives about the other side. Newspapers give preference to sitting legislators on their op-ed pages. But, they will, also, print concise and well written letters from candidates and their supporters. Let's not waste the opportunity to present positive ideas and solutions with diatribes about the negatives of the other side. Even partisan biased newspapers will print a few letters from the other side.

With the August 5 primary only a day away, some thoughts of the state of democracy in Kansas seem appropriate. An article in Friday's Wichita Eagle predicting  low turnout for Tuesday's primary, despite heated US Senate and House Republican primaries, indicates that there is a real problem. Here are some thoughts.

 The biggest issue, in my opinion, is the restrictive voter identification laws enacted by Secretary of Sate Kris Kobach, but there are others.

Dueling Kansas Governor's Polls

There are now two recent polls with very contrasting results out on the Kansas Governors race. A poll from Survey USA showed the Democratic team of Paul Davis and Jill Docking with a 48-40 lead over incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback and Lt. Governor Jeff Coyler. Then, on Sunday a poll done by British YouGov polling firm for the New York Times and CBS News showed Brownback with 47 to 37 lead, and including leaners at 52 to 40 lead.

Naturally, this has prompted some questions. How can such divergent results, around a 20 percent swing, be explained? Which poll is most reliable?

Red State Blues--Again

Yes, here we are again. Election time around the country. Not for president, this time, but for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as for state offices everywhere. For those of us who are Democrats in Kansas, that leaves many opportunities for muting the TV when campaign ads come on.

In Kansas, the governor's race has garnered interest from around the country. The Kansas economy falls farther and farther into the toilet, thanks for Gov. Sam Brownback's belief in economist Arthur Laffer's economic theory that if you cut taxes to the bone for the wealthy, somehow the state, or the country, will magically become more prosperous. What gets left out of Laffer's theory is that public services also get cut to the bone. When one looks at what has happened to public education, social services, police and fire protection, and the maintenance of such things as city parks and streets, one can see the havoc the adoption of Laffer's economic policy has wreaked on our state.

In response, Paul Davis, a Democrat and the candidate I'm supporting, has mounted what seems to be a successful campaign against Brownback. According to some polls, he's outpaced the governor by eight points, with the primary just around the corner. He's also managed to bring in more money in contributions than Brownback has. Of course, we still haven't heard from the Koch machine in this race, and it's inevitable that it will be engaged as the general election grows closer.

With the Kansas primary only a month away, it  looks like Senator Pat Roberts has "Lugared" himself with what the right-wing media outlet Breitbart,com  called a "Freudian slip" in an interview on radio station KCMO and reported on July 3 in the DC insider newspaper The Hill saying he returns home to Kansas "every time I get an opponent"  and proclaiming that he doesn't measure his voting record by "how many times I sleep wherever it is."

I copied and pasted from Rep. Huelskamp's news letter the following.

"On Thursday afternoon, a strong bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives joined me to pass America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 (HR 4457). This needed bill encourages small business job creators to invest new capitol in equipment. This bill would lock in Section 179 expense levels at $500,000 allowing small businesses to plan with certainty." They joined you or did you finally decide to join them? You've been on the negative side, even with your own party leaders on many issues. Isn't that what cost Kansas any reprentation on the Agriculture Committee?

Thank you Tim, for supporting something 'bi-partisan' that might benefit someone in the middle income category. I surely hope the Tea Party radicals don't hang you out to dry for crossing the line and cooperating with those liberal Dems.

I'll give credit and say thanks, regardless of sex, race, orientation, religion, politics, etc. to anyone who supports what I think is a good bill or practice.

Now Rep. Tim, can you tell us where you've been these last several years that you didn't know the Vets were having problems with their access to Veteran's benefits? I've known some personally that were not getting very good access down through the years. They had those problems before Barack Obama was ever heard of on the national scene in politics. Those problems have existed through all administrations, whether Democrat or Republican. I'm also of the opinion that the lowest income level Vets had more problems than someone with money and social or political clout.

Were you too busy fighting Obama and any program he might have suggested or backed? You have bragged about not compromising or giving ground on any issue that didn't suit the extreme right conservative line. Stalemate to the point of bankrupting the national economy certainly doesn't appeal to me as being what your constituents really need.

I don't know whether Rep. Huelskamp will ever read this or not. But, I hope someone does and will confront him on these issues.

Post Feminism

My oldest granddaughter graduated from the University of Kansas last weekend with honors in English and German. She wrote her honors thesis on feminist attitudes, then and now. I was able to read it when I went to Lawrence for the graduation celebration, and I found myself surprised at some of the attitudes she unearthed.

She based the thesis on interviews of women representing various generations. I was probably the oldest woman she interviewed, with her scholarship hall friends being the youngest. When I was in my early 20s, I read Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique with my third baby on my lap. As I read, I had that "click" of recognition that so many feminists in the late '60s and early '70s talked about. I realized the feminist movement gave a name to what I'd been looking for most of my life.

Guarding the Kansas Henhouse

Life on my grandfather's farm in some ways epitomized the rural farm life I still envision as the ideal Kansas life. Neighbors helped each other, there was plenty of fresh air and beautiful country. Everywhere there was (with small exceptions) an atmosphere of trust.

If there were problems, they could usually be handled 'in-neighborhood.' Until they couldn't. For example, one neighbor raised a large number of chickens. Although he knew wild critters ran the creeks nearby, he was confident his hen house and collie dog were sufficient for protection. Until they weren't.

One day the farmer awoke, dressed, and walked out to feed his chickens. Only half were left. Both farmer and chickens were traumatized. The slaughter was widespread and ugly. Few spots were left unbloodied. Feathers still drifted, as if still frantically attempting escape, in the early morning breeze. The hens never knew what hit them.

Years later, we Kansans awoke to a much larger, more devastating, raid. The Kansas Teagislature, at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning, raided the public treasury of up to 10 million dollars annually, handing that $10-million gift to corporations (they deduct 70%) to siphon off from public schools to private schools, for "scholarships." This allows them to teach their choice of curriculum to their choice of students, at your expense.

Not only that, they simultaneously slaughtered teacher's due process rights, courtesy of our own non-Senator, Republican Tom Arpke. That due process chicken house had been safe for 60 years--yet both blows to public education were done in one dastardly late-night raid.

With no opportunity for debate, the amendments to the Education Funding bill can only be characterized as a surprise attack.

The process echoed Sam Brownback's earlier perversion of the legislative process. The one which shot a cannonball through the general welfare. The "experiment" making Kansas perhaps the leading example of irresponsible, regressive, unfair tax policy. The tax giveaway handing tank car loads of state money over to--not 1,900, not 19,100--but 191,000--that's One-Hundred-Ninety-One-THOUSAND relatively well-off partnerships and limited liability corporations.

Making it worse, they didn't ASK for it. Many or most would just as soon have that tax money kept to help others in the state. But the Brownback/ Americans for Prosperity/ American Legislative Exchange Council juggernaut of lies-in-advertising seems to have blinded enough Kansans to this reality: The chickens--no, in this case a huge nest of foxes--have come home to roost in their hen house.

According to the Kansas City Star, "Urged on by conservative special interests such as Americans for Prosperity, Republican leaders pressed hard to eliminate due process rights for teachers." The AFP agenda often mirrors that of ALEC, and both are heavily funded by the right-wing big-bucks boys. The Nation previously reported that "untold sums of cash" have been poured into ALEC by the Koch brothers.

But Kansans are waking up. Hopefully in time to clean up the bloodletting and restore the hen house population.

We Kansans remember Sam Brownback's calling in a large group of lobbyists to demand they donate to his list of replacement candidates. Brownback's chosen frozen replaced legislators who actively asked questions, who did not knuckle under to the Brownback/AFP/ALEC agenda, who served the people, not Sam's special-interest underwriters. Thus did hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars in false advertising subvert the will of the people. The latest example: A television ad showing the Guv cavorting with kindergartners while his cohorts undercut public education. Kansans should not buy it.

We Kansans remember the raids on education and social services, the huge budget hole in the ship of state, sinking it under waves of debt, the general lack of compassion, concern--or sanity--in the making of public policy.

We Kansans now recognize similar local 'anti-tax' candidates who have no clue about sound public policy, who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

We Kansans take little comfort in the discovery that ALEC has now sired a little (big) brother, the "American City County Exchange (ACCE) that will target policymakers from "villages, towns, cities and counties." Thus could some already clueless local lawmakers become even more susceptible to deception.

But we Kansans still have the vote. As Richard Crowson, Wichita media commentator, recently noted, "If you're just blaming cowardly, anti-education legislators, you are wrong. Our Legislature was not beamed to earth from another planet. They were elected." And they can be un-elected.

There's more than one way to guard a henhouse.

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