Taxes is certainly on most everyone's mind, this time of year. Everyone seems to have a little difference of opinion on just how to 'reform' taxes. The issues vary by geography, financial position, priority of public needs, etc etc. Local, state, and national taxes must be included in the formulas and who benefits, who pays, and how it affects society is a very important part of the debate.
Front Page » Story Type: Opinion
It's been awhile since I contributed to KFP or Citizens United. I'm submitting this to both venues.
Yep, I'm still a registered Democrat and identify with Christianity as my religious affiliation. I am actively interested and involved in both of those areas. Thus, I'm zealous. That doesn't mean I'm a zealot. I try not to be belligerent, warlike or intolerant. I enjoy lively debate on the pros and cons of issues. I tune in on all the debates and town hall meetings, I have time for. I have studied many religions and try to understand their origin and basis. I research denominational variants of Christianity, and, believe me, there are many. I devote personal and group time to study the accepted Christian Bible and how it relates to our present times and issues.
We, in the United States. live in a diverse society that includes numerous religious groups and variants of all those groups. We have political and economic opinions that cover the spectrum from every conceivable extreme.
It's been awhile since I posted anything on KFP. But, I still have my opinions and interpretations of the political scene in our state and nation. That scene is about as topsy turvy as it has ever been. Yes, I'm still a registered democrat and trust the overall intent of the democratic platform. Yes, I still identify myself as Christian (Still under construction.)
I don't agree with all planks of the Demo platform and I don't agree with everyone on what it means to be Christian.
Tim Huelskamp finally arrived in Salina Nov. 23rd, after town-hauling it all over West-Central smaller towns. Speculation was, he didn't want to face more critical questions likely in more populous areas.
Turns out, he didn't have to worry. Such stage shows masquerade as 'listening' tours, but primarily feature the representative front and center. They are held during most people's working day, with resulting attendance consisting primarily of retirees, other Republican office-holders, business folks with potential benefit from federal sausage-making, and standard-bearers of the rep's fan club.
Room for dissenting views is largely overshadowed, if the rep is even moderately skilled in the art of question deflection, non-sequitur creation, and appeals to his base's basest emotions. Tim is.
Despite his "Front Lines of Freedom" newsletter claim that, "Saline County residents were especially concerned about the threat of ISIS," I saw little of that, but plenty of contradictions in his barriers to Syrians fleeing for their lives.
His drumbeat that we are the land of freedom seems not to apply to Syrians--unless they are Christian.
From all evidence, he hasn't consulted Jesus' actual stance on such exclusions. Nor did he specify a litmus test. Syrians wearing crosses? Syrians taking loyalty oaths to Jesus?
More strands of his threadbare analysis frayed when confronted by a KWU student, afraid she might not be reunited with her Indian husband. Who will we let in?
This Republican stock-in-trade fear is much harder to maintain when confronted with a real person in a wedding picture--or lying drowned on a beach.
To paraphrase John Oliver, only one wave of refugees did huge damage to the existing population. It began in 1492.
I could only hear, as a descendant of immigrants in Tim's Town Haul, Pogo drowning Tim out. "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Kansans: Ready for an insurrection? We are, after all, being asked yet again to bend over, this time to closely examine Brownback's bottomless budget pit--before being kicked into it for burial.
How big is the hole? First year after Brownback's tax giveaway: $700 million. 2015's Deficit: $800 million. Looming cuts: $120-$350 million. "One of the worst reserve funds in America." State budget: "Running on fumes."
Instead of admitting their obvious failure, our clueless leaders have hired an outside firm, Alvarez & Marsal, to find "efficiencies." Really? First they pull the money rug from under you, then make you sacrificial lambs fed to wolves.
Estimated cash reserves to end this fiscal year: $5.6 million. Amount to pay A&M: $2.6 million.
Cluelessness reigns. House Speaker Merrick is "excited" about it. Appropriations Chairman Ryckman's inappropriate editorial letter says, "Close collaboration between A&M and state employees is the only way" to succeed. In other words, state workers, "We're about to fire you or cut your salary, but get in line or you'll get worse." The corporate cutback/cutthroat model guarantees poor or no service for Kansans. Merry Christmas!
Will schools be cut? "Nothing is off the table right now," says A&M.
Alvarez & Marsal's record speaks for itself. St Louis: 16 schools closed; custodial and food services outsourced; bus routes redrawn, kids walking; academics "gutted"; accreditation lost. New Orleans: 7,000 teachers fired, charters replace all public schools. Other clients: North Carolina, where churches declared "Moral Mondays" to confront legislator's cuts. Puerto Rico, a bankruptcy basket case.
In all states, promised savings questionable. Study costs often doubled, or more.
A&M's Brownback donations: $2,000 in 2010 and $1,000 in 2014. Brownback didn't pick them, but remember those private emails. . . . .
Kansans: Wake. Up.
The foxes are eying your roost in the hen house.
To procreate--if you're a woman.
An old story, from the April 12, 1999, edition of the Topeka Capital Journal has the headline: "Brownback: Abortion Partially to Blame for Social Security Woes." At the time a U.S. Senator, Sam Brownback, came to Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, to speak to college students, high school students, senior citizens, and anyone else who had the noon hour free to listen to him.
I was still teaching at Butler. I was free between classes to go to the all-purpose room to hear what he had to say. I am the "older woman" who called Brownback out when he said women who got abortions were responsible for the shortfall in Social Security. I don't remember what he said in response to my remarks. I had a one o'clock class to get to, so I didn't hear any follow-up.
Recently, Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas Board of Education member sent an opinion column, "New Teacher Policy Benefits Students." to state newspapers justifying their move to allow Kansas public schools to hire uncertified teachers for the six schools that applied for innovative school district status. The uncertified teachers would come from the ranks of "industry professionals."
I started teaching in 1965 in a Michigan country school. By then, I had enough credits to make me a college sophomore. I did not have enough credits to be certified as a teacher. Even so, the school, run by a few farm parents and uncertified by the state, hired me. I lasted one year. That's all it took for me to realize that that those students deserved a teacher who knew what she was doing.
According to an article in the Wichita Eagle Sunday, June 21, 2015, Sen. Michael O'Donnell and other Republicans who voted to raise consumption taxes may be vulnerable in the 2016 election for Kansas Legislature.
The article by Bryan Lowry, Eagle Topeka Bureau, quotes O'Donnell as saying he "has a target on his back" after voting "last week in favor of HB 2109, which increases the state's sales and cigarette taxes, among other things." O'Donnell says he voted for the bill because it included a sales tax cut on food a year later.
Even so, O'Donnell isn't the only Republican feeling the heat for voting in favor of what several news sources are calling the largest tax increase in the history of Kansas.
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