Archive for Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Letter: Out of balance

October 2, 2012


To the editor:

I believe in our democracy. I believe we need a balance between responsible conservatives and progressives, but we in Kansas have lost that balance. Our secretary of state is the leader in the national effort to suppress votes and is a national embarrassment. All of our representatives in Washington vote against any bill that supports the middle class, including the farm bill.

This Republican Congress is a giant anchor around the neck of progress. We have a governor who honestly believes that rich business owners should pay no taxes and all of their employees and everyone else who is working to keep a roof over their heads and buy food to feed their children should carry the state’s tax burden. Why do we the common people continue to vote against our own interests?

This is not the Kansas that I know and love. When do we get the courage to confront the fat cat Koch brother manipulators? When do we stand up and say, “The emperor has no clothes”? I am sick and tired of having the rest of the country thinking of Kansas citizens as backwoods, masochistic idiots.

In the past we have been represented by honest statespeople like Bob Dole, “Ike” Eisenhower, Sandy Praeger and Nancy Kassebaum. They are Republican conservatives who want the best for our state and the common people who live and work here, and they voted accordingly. It is time to stand up and be counted. God forbid you might even need to vote for a Democrat.


Steven Gaudreau 5 years, 4 months ago

Making statements like "rich business owners" is not a true statement. The tax break is for sub s, llc and sole prop which consists mostly middle class small busimess owners.

Carmalee Winebrinner 5 years, 4 months ago

The tax break also includes the Koch Brothers entire business structure. Convenient, huh?

Most sub-s, LLC, and sole proprietorships that are run by small business owners, especially sales businesses as opposed to service industries, run at a paper loss due to depreciation, and the ability to expense off items that would be household expenses in a wage-earner's tax return. So they won't pay taxes on it anyway.

nativeson 5 years, 4 months ago

Some of the concerns expressed are valid. They can be cured with one word - Vote. Primary elections still have very small turnouts that can be influenced heavily by targeted spending.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

But you are part of the far right, so you'll never consider voting for anything else.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

And you are part of the far, far left and would never consider voting for anything else. Two peas in a pod, in my opinion.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I think it's obvious that your political positions are consistently to the far left of the political spectrum. Do you disagree?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

I want what works, and plutocracy only works for the plutocrats. If that makes me "far left," then I plead guilty.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Oh, I have no problem with having systems in place that work, as long as the people have the ultimate say in what that system is and how they want it to work. We all have our own ideas about what is best. That said, in that marketplace of ideas, your ideas are on the far, far left, no more likely to win the support of a majority than those ideas on the far, far right, those you criticized constitutional for. It's those in the "mythical" middle that are more likely to actually win enough support to govern.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Just because there is some arbitrary middle position that gets enough support to be implemented doesn't mean that it's workable or practical.

Global warming/climate change is a perfect example of that. All indications right now are that only dramatic changes in a relatively short period of time will prevent a disastrous situation. Taking a "middle course" will do nothing but delay that disaster by a few years.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Your solution reminds me of the old saying: The medicine is worse than the disease.

You must govern with the consent of the governed. Should they make bad choices, such as global warming, that has to be tolerated. The alternative, to impose good ideas on the people, is the medicine that is worse than the disease because we all know that it's not always going to be your good ideas. Sometimes it's going to be Liberty_One's good ideas. Sometimes it's going to be SageonPage's good ideas. And sometimes it's going to be Hitler's good ideas.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

That means if you could you would turn us all into a socialist borg. You can't do it, but the impulse is there.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

I want nothing of the sort. But throwing out such straw men is apparently as intelligent an argument as you're capable of.

Carmalee Winebrinner 5 years, 4 months ago


When I first registered to vote, I liked the entire platform of the Repubs, except for their anti-abortion stance. I thought I could help push pro-choice items onto the platform, instead of trying to pull the Democrats to the right and get them to be fiscally responsible. But the party got infiltrated by the rich, who pandered to the Religious Right for a steady supply of faithful voters on the single plank of abortion (well, that and gay discrimination), so they could get a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

But when they started talking about making a procedure that saved my life illegal, and allowing everyone under the sun to make decisions about my reproductive system except for ME, I left.

And now, if you look at recent history, the Democrats are actually MORE fiscally responsible than the Republicans have been.

I was a Republican for better than half my voting life, and I doubt I will ever go back to being a Republican again.

Dick Sengpiehl 5 years, 4 months ago

Your story is like mine. I was once a moderate Republican. Couldn't change things You see what's happened under Brownback. He's doing his best to defeat moderate republicans. Now I'm a proud Democrat, hopin go change things with the moderate Republicans. The nuts who believe that the Republicans are all far right and the Democdrats are all far left better revise their thinking.

Nellane Laney Croan Stussie 5 years, 4 months ago

"Why do we the common people continue to vote against our own interests?" ... horse crap! We vote R because we have concern for our children and grandchildren's future ... you vote D because they give you things!

There is a long-held belief that democracies, in general, are a predictably doomed form of government.

In the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (Scottish history professor - University of Edinborough) used an analogy to describe "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years, during which these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

From my vantage point, Mr. Tyler’s observation has been unsettlingly predictive of the path of our own experiment in Democracy.

In my youth I studied, with gratitude and reverence, the “bondage to liberty” sequence associated with the birth of our country. I believe I have lived through the “abundance to apathy” sequence. Now, as I watch the “escapades” of our elected representatives in Washington, I cannot help but feel that the road to “dependence” is being charted.

rwwilly 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't know about Tyler but with approximately 50% of reporting households in the US paying no income tax you pretty much got the dependency figured out. Which way do you suppose those 50% will vote?

bad_dog 5 years, 4 months ago

"but with approximately 50% of reporting households in the US paying no income tax you pretty much got the dependency figured out."

You still don't understand the demographics of those you attenpt to slur, do you? Just Google the statement. There's plenty of articles out there to lay it out for you in (likely painful) detail. Just a hint, senior citizens are a significant portion of those "47%". Those over 65 are typically quite conservative, but poke 'em in the eye frequently enough, they just might not like it.

Fossick 5 years, 4 months ago

" I am sick and tired of having the rest of the country thinking of Kansas citizens as backwoods, masochistic idiots. "

Here we go again with Kansas' low self esteem. Hate to break it to you this way, but the rest of the country does not think of Kansans as "backwoods, masochistic idiots." It doesn't think of Kansans at all. The rest of the country does not lie awake worrying about Kobach, and has no idea who Sandy Preager is.

If you really believe in democracy, then stop worrying about whom the voters, in their infinite wisdom, have chosen to represent themselves. If you're constantly worried that the voters are stupid, manipulable, shortsighted, and unable to competently choose a government that represents themselves and their best interests, you really don't believe in democracy at all.

Don't worry, it happens to a lot of guys.

imastinker 5 years, 4 months ago

This is a lost cause. This author can't be reached with reason.

For the rest of you:

Who does the farm bill benefit?

Who benefits from the new taxes in kansas?

Who are these "fat cat" business owners? (I know - it's not kansas. I couldn't find a similar map of kansas)

I'll point out that all the states with budget problems are blue states, but that red and blue politics gave us our national problem with the debt. Letters such as the authors do nothing to help the problem - referring only to things like "progress" without defining what progress is.

My idea of progress is a government that creates stability and the necessary conditions for me to be able to succeed. Our government could be doing a better job of this.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

"you vote D because they give you things!"

Like an Obama Phone!

parrothead8 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad you like this program, Lib. It was originally started by Reagan to ensure that lower income Americans had land lines for employment and emergency purposes (as you might imagine, it's difficult to find a job if you can't be contacted.)

The program was expanded by Bush II to cover cell phones with a small monthly allotment of minutes (70). Gotta love those Republican "handouts," huh?

Fossick 5 years, 4 months ago

"The program was expanded by Bush II..."

Just about every program was expanded by Bush II. That said, there are two things to be learned: a) no matter who started the program, neither party has any interest in killing it, and b) cargo cultists like this lady are being terribly misled - doubtless for political reasons - about the origin of their goodies.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

I totally agree with this letter, it is right on the problems that we face in "bleeding Kansas".

We have a "secretary of state" who is all over the map with his vendetta against any voter who migdht vote Democratic.

We have a governer who thinks there is some heavenly dude who will cast thunderbolts and blessings on those who deserve these things.

We have a huge population of rubes and hicks who live out west who think thast both of these wonks are "just wonderful fellows" and voted them into office.

And this will not change until sensibility and reality become a desired trait of Kansas voters.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

Did you complain four years ago when Kathy was flying all over the place campaigning for Obama? If you did not complain then, you have no complaint now.

Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes because the debt she left was so huge

John Hamm 5 years, 4 months ago

Voter ID laws do not prevent legal voters from voting. The "blocked" farm bill was, mostly, funding food stamps. LiberalThink at its worst.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

The judged in Pennsylvania who just blocked their voter id law would disagree.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

But at least this time, the GOP won't be able to achieve their stated goal of handing Pennsylvania's electoral votes to Romney.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

Naw...the new black panther party will stand outside the voting places with clubs again. Maybe we should get them to check voter id's?

MISTERTibbs 5 years, 4 months ago

Actually, the judge simply ruled that it couldn't be enforced for this election due to the short time period in which to get an ID and the delays people are experiencing in trying to receive their ID. The law itself was not struck down.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

Our secretary of state is the leader in the national effort to suppress votes and is a national embarrassment. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

There is nothing at all wrong with enforcing the law.

Carmalee Winebrinner 5 years, 4 months ago

There was no need for the law. There were acceptable safeguards in place already.

Kobach wrote the law for Kansas, but we, the taxpayers, get to spend a ridiculous amount of money in getting it implemented, all to stop perhaps a dozen votes (if that many) that might just possibly be fraudulent, and not simply a mistake on the part of the voter.

In creating this law, Kobach will prevent many more duly registered legal voters from voting than he will prevent fraudulent voters from casting their illegal ballots. Here in Kansas, I'd bet that a good share of them will be Republicans, too.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

I see a lot of hate for the Koch brothers on this site... but they do create tens of thousands of jobs, 80% of which are highly paid union jobs. George Soros on the other hand has done nothing but destroy lives with currency manipulation and employs relatively few people. If a tax break allows the Koch brothers to employ more people, the state sees increased revenue from the income tax they receive from these employees.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

They don't have to pay the people what they do or keep a unionized workforce. You try to see evil where there is none, and ignore the evil on your side (Soros). Some regulations are needed for safety and common sense environmental purposes, but many regulations go beyond that and choke the life out of American business. Perhaps the Koch's know that well paid employees are generally happy employees and happy employees are generally productive employees.

Again... the Koch's create tens of thousands of jobs, but you slam them because they donate to the guys you don't agree with. Where is the bitching about Soros who has destroyed many more lives than he ever enriched?

Carmalee Winebrinner 5 years, 4 months ago

If only they WOULD employ more people. Instead, they will simply pocket their money, and send it overseas.

Fossick 5 years, 4 months ago

Actually, they employ more than 70,000 people. Not that any number would satisfy internet critics.

Carmalee Winebrinner 5 years, 4 months ago

They employ a lot of people, but giving corporations more tax breaks to hire people to make widgets won't bring in one new job if the middle class can't afford to buy the widgets already on the shelf.

That's exactly why the auto industry nearly self-destructed. They had so much excess inventory when the bottom fell out of the market that they could barely give away cars.

We have to put money in the middle class pockets; they are the ones who have been doing without the new appliances, cars, etc., because they are just scraping along. The rich won't do anything with the extra money; they will just sock it away.

Corey Williams 5 years, 4 months ago

" should not go unnoticed that the man has accused the President of either breaking the law or conspiring to break the law—a charge that is complete nonsense and well beyond the pale."

Maybe you should have read the whole article.

Corey Williams 5 years, 4 months ago

"We concluded the Services had not established all the IVAOs (installation voting assistance offices) as intended by the MOVE Act because, among other issues, the funding was not available. Officials pointed out the law did not authorize DoD additional funding for this initiative and estimated IVAO costs could exceed $15-20 million per year."

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

The Koch brothers are just as much a boogie man as is the welfare queen driving her cadillac. Both will expect their paybacks from their respective patrons. Or not. Equally.

Why don't you endorse queenie and then you can complain if and when the right doesn't support the brothers Koch.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't know, I've seen politicians on both sides of the isle spends tens of millions of their own money to win a job that pays 1% of that. Why do the do it?

I've never met a Koch, so I don't know what's in their hearts. Nor do I know what is in the heart of Warren Buffet. Is Bill Gates trying to buy his way into heaven? I have no idea.

But my point stands. Just putting the name Koch out there as some boogie man is the same as the welfare queen, which I admitted was a boogie man argument.

Kate Rogge 5 years, 4 months ago

Nonsense. You're equating apples and table lamps. Which boogie buys politicians and elections? Why, that's the boogie named Koch.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Each Koch brother has exactly one vote, the same as you or I. If they are buying elections, maybe those who are selling their votes are too stupid to be voting in the first place. That has to be the ultimate conclusion of your position. I, on the other hand, have enough faith in the electorate to assume that if a person votes a particular position, it's because they believe in that position, not because some Mr. Koch bought their vote.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

You have too much faith in the electorate, and not enough understanding about how money is corrupting politics, from this post.

Once politicians get elected, they're beholden to the moneyed interests that supported their campaigns, and the interests that continue after that moment. You can see this by looking at how many politicians get cozy corporate jobs after retiring from politics, for one example.

The electorate can vote for politician A or B, but the average person without lots of money has little to no influence past that point. And, even if the politician had some integrity and valuable ideas, once they've been elected, the corruption has already infiltrated.

In my view, the only way to solve the problem would be to remove the influence of money from the political process.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

It's not that I have too much faith in the electorate. It's that admitting a lack of faith opens the door to tyranny. Once you admit that the electorate is too (anything) to be trusted, then you've opened the door to depriving them of their vote, depriving them of their voice. I mentioned earlier in this thread that sometimes the medicine is worse than the disease. That's what happens when you say the electorate is too stupid to vote, too easily bought, too (fill in the blank). In this case, I'll take the disease of an electorate that can be influenced over the medicine of depriving them of their voice.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Since nobody has suggested that, it's a bit of a non-issue.

Most people concerned about the influence of money in politics suggest that we do something about that, not deprive people of their right to vote.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

So if I want to purchase a billboard on the side of I-70 telling people to vote for a certain third party candidate, that's fine with you, right? And If I purchase a second billboard, that's OK as well? And a third? Ten? And send out some flyers, that's OK as well? How about if I spend millions and millions on flyers and billboards and TV and radio?

Now suppose my last name is Koch. People are suggesting that voices be limited. People are suggesting that because you're speaking with a voice that is too loud, you should have your voice lessened. I don't know when asking a person to lower their voice becomes a suppression of their voice. is it at one billboard, two, ten?

It's a slippery slope there, my friend.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

No, none of that is ok with me.

I'd prefer that nobody spend money on political advertising at all, and that candidates are provided equal airtime, and campaign contributions outlawed, and a very low limit of allowable personal money per candidate is set.

In our current technological state, we should be able to make sure that candidates get their message out, participate in debates, etc. without spending millions of dollars to do that.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Now I really believe your medicine is worse than the disease. That you're suggesting we all will be equally forced to take the medicine doesn't make me feel any better. You will silence me. Why? Are you afraid of what I might say? Are you afraid of what the Koch brothers or Warren Buffet might say?

Will the Libertarian Party candidate receive equal time as the Greens as the American Nazi Party? Or will the Democrats and Republicans receive the bulk of the resources, solidifying their positions in this two party system? BTW - Look at your Constitution and tell me where it says we should have a two party system. Tell me where it says those two parties should be the two.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

You can believe what you like, of course.

I don't believe that spending money is equivalent to speech, though.

And, I am certain that the vast influence of money in politics is a negative, corrupting influence.

Figuring out the details would require a bit of work, but I think we could do it, and in such a way that all candidates get equal time, and that the more affluent don't control the airwaves, which would be a good thing.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

"I don't believe that spending money is equivalent to speech" - The Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution in some very odd ways. A number of years ago, a woman dancing naked on a pole was upheld as "freedom of speech". Odd, in my opinion. But I'm forced to accept that. Abortion, where is that in the Constitution? Well, they found it and I have to accept it. Not that limits can't be placed on any right. That dance might not be allowed within a certain distance of a school. Or that abortion might have reasonable limits placed on them. And the political speech might be encouraged to be limited by offering matching funds. Of course, Obama refused that offer 4 years ago and Republicans have refused the offer when they could raise more money.

Remember, I've said I usually vote third party candidates. I can't imagine how a third party candidate might gain any traction if their spending was limited. On the other hand, I find it difficult to justify the public providing for an equal setting, equal air time, to say, the American Nazi Party and the Democrats and Republicans. I don't want to limit their speech, but I don't want to essentially finance them either. So let them spend what they choose, let us hear what we want to hear, ignore what we want to ignore. To do otherwise is to guarantee that Democrats and Republicans will be the only two parties forever. Forever is a long time.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Free and equal airtime can be provided by networks, as part of their licensing agreements to use the airwaves.

Then we're not financing them, and we don't have the problem of vastly unequal sums of money being spent by different candidates.

If people were generally more discriminating, and able to see through the various advertising tricks, then it wouldn't be a problem. But, given the vastly successful effects of advertising, and the fact that the candidate who spends the most money almost always gets elected, I'd say that's not the case.

I really think with a combination of free airtime, and required debates with fact checking, and in depth interviews, we could get all of the useful information without as much of the hype.

Also, with current technology, there should be a number of ways to use the Internet that would be helpful, also with very low costs.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Free and equal airtime for whom? Democrats and Republicans, yes. Libertarians? Greens? American Nazi Party?

Should the government be in the job of deciding which parties get on the air and which do not. They are then controlling ideas, controlling speech. As much as I would hate to see Nazis on T.V., the thought that the government would say yes to the Green Party and no to the Nazi Party troubles me even more. Or are you suggesting that every single political party get free and equal time? You'd have Pat Paulsen, Harold Stassen, and Roseanne Barr on T.V. 24/7.

It's not that you ideas are bad. But they require common sense to work well. The problem is that the Constitution does not recognize common sense. The Constitution doesn't say only common sense speech is protected. The Constitution is there to protect the uncommon speech, the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill. in a predominately Jewish neighborhood. And it's not the governments role to say this is common speech and therefore protected and this is uncommon speech and not protected.

lawrencian 5 years, 4 months ago

Whether or not you like campaign contributions, another way to even the field is to drastically shorten the campaign cycle. I'm tired of the election coverage, it's been going on for over a year!

Limit the process to 3 or 4 months, with a set day for people to announce their candidacy, one month for primaries to take place, a convention (but really, what's the point of a convention, just make a politics TV channel on public access that runs every day, like C-Span), and then the remaining time for debates and a daily 30-minute time slot on TV. Candidate A and Candidate B (and Candidate C, we need to get more than 2 parties involved!) get to swap the time slot each day, so one isn't always "first" or "last" in the coverage.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

All good suggestions. Now all we have to do is repeal the First Amendment and implement them.

BTW - The next election cycle will begin the night of the election.

Mark Sanders 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with the article. I don't know what happened to this state. I remember when we had moderate republicans that cared about all Kansans. We still have a few but Brownback is determined to get rid of them.

Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes we have to suffer with a tax surplus now ( you know the opposite of the debt hole Kate dug for us ). and unemployment below the national average. Wow we really have it bad.

bad_dog 5 years, 4 months ago

Just wait until the personal property, sales and real estate taxes get jacked up to counteract the impending local budget shortfalls. Oh and don't forget the state employee layoffs that will be sure to accompany the upcoming 10% agency budget cuts. That will help keep the state's unemployment rating down. You'll be crowing with exultation then for sure.

bad_dog 5 years, 4 months ago

Only to those who either ignore reality or aren't capable of realizing what's staring them in the face.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

I have voted for Kassebaum and Praeger because they are republicans not RINO's. In fact fiscal conservative and socially responsible comes to mind which is NOT exclusive to republicans. Kathleen Sebelius,Tom Holland,marci francisco and Paul Davis come to mind.

I would rather imagine Sam Brownback and ALEC have a candidate waiting to run against Sandy Praeger... absolutely. I will vote Sandy Praeger again as insurance commissioner or as a candidate for governor.

Sam Brownback has never been a republican since I became aware of this master of deception.

Is Anthony Brown from Eudora? He is not republican either.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

RINO's represent the Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism. This is the controlling leadership nationwide which permeates state legislatures using ALEC as one of the avenues.

And yes RINO's are posing as republicans so how can republicans or democrats or women trust a RINO?

Fossick 5 years, 4 months ago

"Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism"

Dude, that part makes me laugh every time. You need to work up a really cool acronym for that.

tbaker 5 years, 4 months ago

It doesn't matter who is elected. The money in your pocket will continue to be worth less every day becuase both sides know the only way to keep the ponzi scheme running is to print more money. We're on the Road to Serfdom.

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