Front Page » Monthly Archives » Archives: November 2011

State Shifts the Tax Burden

SALINA, Kan. - As he campaigned for governor around Kansas last year Sam Brownback felt little need to lay out any specifics on what he wanted to do once in office. With Republicans having succeeded in nationalizing state and local elections he offered little more than cliches on the need to grow our economy.

A year later his true agenda has come into focus. Brownback's main goal appears to be to shift of the state's tax burden from the wealthy to the middle and lower classes. Two items that will fit into his push during the next legislative session are the revamping of the state's Medicaid program and a push to eliminate the state income tax.

Capitalism, Socialism, Redistribution

COLBY, Kan. - If readers go back and read Bob Hooper's A Message from the SEA Party, they'll find these snippets in Hooper's article: "Then with a wide grin, 'You think the millionaire ought to pay more taxes than the bus driver ... or less?' A thunderous 'MORE!' from the crowd... It's Obama and his class war .... W-w-w-wait. You're shaking your head. Not Oba..? Wha... Reagan? Reagan, a Marxist economic justice'er? Well, indeed. It was Ronald Reagan. He was speaking at Northside HIgh School in Atlanta on June 6, 1985, shortly after starting his second term."

And then a little snippet from an anonymous commenter named Jonathan in reply to Hooper's article, " ...take your anti-capitalism message and go home - before somebody gets killed."

I say, "Jonathan, did you forget that the 'great communicator' was a Republican capitalist? He apparently didn't hear or interpret the thunderous response of the crowd. Instead, he came up with his famous 'trickle down theory'. How did that work for you, or anyone else reading here in Kansas Free Press?"

WICHITA, Kan. - All across America there is a noticeable rise in police brutality against nonviolent citizens courageously speaking out against corruption and inequality within the American political system.

On November 16th, in Wichita, Kansas a group of protesters were unaware they were about to face some brutal treatment by the Wichita police for exercising their First Amendment freedoms, too.

As citizens, the group of protesters decided to register (which was required) and attend Governor Brownback's Town Hall Meeting. The meeting was publicized as an event to discuss child poverty in Kansas.

Most of us think of a town hall meeting like the Norman Rockwell painting where citizens stand and speak while officials listen and learn something. This was not the format for the meeting. It was a very controlled affair with far more show than substance. As others have rightly complained, the meeting was held in the early afternoon. The odd time frame made it impossible for the people who work full time but have the most knowledge or insight about child poverty from attending.

Those citizens who did attend were required to sit at assigned tables. Instead of a panel discussion of various views or open discussion with everyone in the room, the meeting was simply a lecture sponsored by the the Heritage Foundation known as a very bias, conservative think tank.

America Today: Us'ns vs. Them'ns

BOGUE, Kan. - There's a lot of stuff goin' around these days. I know because quite a bit comes my way intended to set me straight.

One recent email forwarded from a persistent lady in eastern Rooks County (forwarded to her from a guy in that neck of the woods, endlessly forwarded to him by... etc.) provided a quote claimed to be from Norman Thomas. It went:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."

If you're a 'righty-fighty' you probably got it, too, since fellow travelers are usually targeted. And you like it because, yeah, you know, there's black and there's white. There's 'us'ns and them'ns.' Us'ns is good and them'ns is evil. Socialism is them'ns and capitalism is us'ns. Us'ns is goodness incorporated. Socialism is ... Well, you can figure it out. Wait. No you can't.

The One-Room Country School Experience

WICHITA, Kan. - In the discussions relating to education on this blog, the topic of one-room country schools has come up a few times. One faithful blog reader and poster asked if I would write about my experience teaching in a one-room country school. I will be happy to do so as long as people realize that my experience may not have been typical for a variety or reasons, the major reason being my incompetency as a teacher at that point in my life.

My then husband, a librarian, took the job as the Audrain County librarian in the summer of 1965. The library was located in Decatur, Michigan, a town of 1,800 located thirty-five miles southwest of Kalamazoo. Decatur was the ideal place to live and raise children. Lake of the Woods, a small lake, was within walking distance of our house. We were on the edge of town and mornings we woke to the sound of cows mooing and the good country smells that come with rural living.

Voter Fraud, Kansas-style

voting-at-general-election-small-size-300px.jpgSALINA, Kan. - Voter fraud is indeed a Kansas problem, as Secretary of State Kris Kobach points out. Not the kind he alleges. The kind he perpetrates.

The real fraud is perpetrated upon voters, not by them. Kobach's failure to account for just under $80 thousand in contributions and expenses, in a campaign that raised just over $157 thousand, is breath-taking for a man who is presently the watchdog, or rather WatchFox, over the chicken house of Kansas' electoral machinery. Was his staff incompetent or did he just flout the law? Choose your poison.

Whatever the case, Kansas voters, beware! One of Kobach's most egregious fellow-perpetrators is U.S. First District Rep Tim Huelskamp. A leading example is Tim's Town Hall Phone meetings.

At first blush, they seem the essence of Democracy. Call in, talk to Rep. Tim firsthand, and hear other Kansans' questions. Efficient, direct -- what could be better?

Playing Politics with the Post Office

SALINA, Kan. - If anyone doubted Thomas Frank's thesis in his book What's the Matter with Kansas? he or she need look no further than the current drama playing out with the U.S. Post Office.

For those who haven't read Frank's best seller, he made the case that Kansans frequently vote for their politicians based on social issues, particularly abortion, and the leaders they elect, once in office, tend to vote against the economic interests of the very constituents they represent.

'What do you do out there in Kansas?'

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - "What do you do for entertainment out there?" my husband's friend asked him. Ron was traveling east to help his mother with a long drive and had stopped to visit an old friend in DC.

"The land is our entertainment," Ron replied. His friend looked blank. "Do you drive into town to go to movies?" he asked, as if he hadn't heard what Ron said.

Why couldn't he hear the answer? Perhaps he was in the grip of the old stereotype of Kansas as flyover country, the middle of nowhere. Or perhaps he had a concept of entertainment as a commodity, a pre-packaged experience for which one purchases a ticket. In any event, Ron was aware that he had a mentality that was not easily recognized by his city-dwelling friend.

When Ron came home, it became a joke between us. "What do you for entertainment out there?" we would say every time we found ourselves transfixed by something right outside our back door.

Picking On Tim

COLBY, Kan. - I just read a recent contribution of Rep. Tim Huelscamp (KS-1) in our local paper. He was right when he said we had a spending problem, but he certainly wasn't very coherent in his math accounting for taxes and individual taxes paid.

When he validated that Warren Buffet appeared to only pay 17% taxes on his actual income, he was probably close. But when he claimed that the bottom 50% of earners paid an average of less than 2% of their annual income in taxes, he was a bit lacking in honest assessment of reality.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a vote that surprised no one (just in case you missed it), our hard working representatives in D.C. reaffirmed for all Americans by a vote of 396 to 9, the unconstitutional national motto: "In God We Trust".

Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), who is also an ordained minister voted against this resolution. Cleaver stated he didn't think Congress should be telling anyone to trust in God. That's something people have to choose for themselves. It's not the business of Congress to force this on the people.

Talk about being religiously incorrect! If only more representatives had the backbone to stand up to the bullies in the House but sadly, they dare not if they want to keep their seats in Congress. This pandering to religious beliefs when the going gets tough, has been a hallmark of politics since Washington took office. Until men and women of BOTH parties have the courage to denounce it, the trivialization of religion and the real threat to freedom of conscience for all Americans will continue.

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said he voted against the resolution because Congress already reaffirmed the motto back in the 107th Congress . He noted that the resolution has no force of law. Bobby Scott (D-VA) voted no because "when we were sworn in as members of Congress, we took an oath to uphold the Constitution. This resolution is inconsistent with that oath."

A Message from the SEA Party

BOGUE, Kan. - It was past time, he said.

"We're going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes make it possible for millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary and that's crazy." He paused.

Then with a wide grin, "You think the millionaire ought to pay more taxes than the bus driver ... or less?" A thunderous "MORE!" from the crowd.

It's Obama and his class war .... W-w-w-wait. You're shaking your head. Not Oba..? Wha... Reagan? Reagan, a Marxist economic justice'er?

Well, indeed. It was Ronald Reagan. He was speaking at Northside HIgh School in Atlanta on June 6, 1985, shortly after starting his second term.

But as always there's more to the story. Even as he grinned and wagged, the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us kept right on growing while we were kept distracted by fear-mongering and ramped up jingoism. Today, the gap is wider than at any time since the Great Depression and, yes, keeps widening as you read.

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About This Page

This is an archive page containing all stories published in Kansas Free Press in November 2011. These are listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive and December 2011 is the next one.

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