Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kansas Underground News Bulletin: "Two Versions of the 2012 Business Owners Income Tax Exemption" August 25, 2015

The mission of the Kansas Underground News is to uncover the hidden agenda of special corporate interest groups who remain underground, then meet in secret with some elected Kansas lawmakers to write and ultimately pass bills into law that cut taxes and turn over government services to businesses at tax payer expense, and without public knowledge.

Please watch the first video from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting held in San Diego during July 2015. Former speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives in 2012, and now President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Mike O'Neal, tells the ALEC interviewer his version of what happened in 2012 when the legislature slashed taxes for 330,000 business owners in their march to a zero income tax for all Kansans.

O'Neal believes the sky is still blue in Kansas and noted the real story of what is happening is not getting out to the public because the liberal newspapers are not reporting it. He referred to Lawrence, Ks as the "Peoples Republic of Lawrence." O'Neal blames the tax bill signed into law by Governor Brownback in 2012. on the senate leadership who wanted to kill the House version after repeated attempts by the House to compromise with good faith offers. O'Neal said after the senate rejected these House offers, Governor Brownback signed the bill.

Now watch the second video where former President of the Kansas Senate in 2012, Steve Morris tells a different story.

According to Morris, as I spoke to him in a recent interview, the supporters of the tax bill on the senate tax committee lobbied hard for the House bill's passage, and recommended what the House passed with a few modifications. Morris and senate moderates defeated the senate committee's recommendation with a 20-20 vote. While presiding in the senate, Morris received a phone call from Governor Brownback.

Morris left the chamber to take the call in his office. Brownback told Morris this tax policy, as is, would bankrupt the state, and asked Morris to help get the bill through the senate so they could get it worked out in a conference committee.

Morris said it's pretty hard for a Republican senate leader to say no to a Republican governor. Morris got the votes in the senate to reconsider the bill and sent it back to the House. Morris acknowledged that trusting the Governor and passing the bill was a huge mistake on his part.

Governor Brownback had a different plan than the one he committed to Morris. The Governor went to the House Republican caucus and asked them to concur with what the senate passed. This would bypass the need for a conference committee to reconcile the differences in the bills and all but ensure the fiscal nightmare the state faces today.

As the senate debated a more modest tax-cut approved by a conference committee, the House Republican speaker, Mike O'Neal brought up the tax bill for a vote. O'Neal received harsh criticism by other House Republicans for going against the rules of his own chamber to speed up passage of the bill.

To expedite passage of the bill, O'Neal used a parliamentary procedure to cut off debate including changes and explanations of votes. This must of seemed like a scene out of the popular T.V. series "House of Cards" where actor, Frank Underwood, (Kevin Spacey) passed a bill using the same tactics in a fictional episode, which makes one wonder just how much truth is portrayed in the "House of Cards" series and what goes on in our legislature.

Morris said, "The governor just flat out lied to us and stabbed us in the back."

The Governor's betrayal of Morris was the first shot fired across the bow to start a civil war within the Republican Party where the extremists prevailed over the moderates. The divide widened when Governor Brownback, with the help of dark money purged 20 moderate Republicans, including Morris during their primary elections in the fall of 2012.

Morris received the brunt of vicious false attacks from outside influences in his defeat with funds provided by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and now a defunct group called KanPac (Kansas for a True Republican Majority.)

O'Neal was a party to this moderate purge, as he retired from the legislature and was rewarded for his efforts when he was hired during September of 2012 as President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, a group who was and still is (as you will hear on his interview), a strong advocate for Governor Brownback's aggressive income tax cut.

Steve Morris served as a member of my board of directors when I was the Executive Director of the Kansas State University Alumni Association back in the late 70's and early 80's, and is one of the most honest and trusting persons I know. Think of someone in your hometown who everyone trusts and respects, and that's Steve.

One of the reasons, I have become a strong and outspoken grassroots advocate for change in the legislature is the shabby treatment Steve received from O'Neal and Governor Brownback.

The videos will tell the story, and you can decide for yourself which version you choose. I've already made my decision by going with Steve's account. And as Paul Harvey used to say, "And now you know the rest of the story."

If you feel as strongly as I do about this issue that should be shared statewide with your networks, then contact Mr. Mike O'Neal, President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, 835 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka, Ks 66612, 785-357-6321 or email at: president@kansaschamber.org

I plan to tell him I watched both videos, and felt he left out the real story in his ALEC interview in San Diego. I was especially offended when he seemed proud and said, someone wrote there are three parties in Kansas including the House Chamber, The Senate Chamber and the Kansas Chamber. I believe that says it all if anyone is not convinced ALEC along with the Kansas Chamber is controlling our legislature, and unless we rebel it will continue. Go make some noise and let Mr. O'Neal know the true story is being distributed throughout the state.

The sun may have been shining on ALEC members in San Diego, but it's still cloudy here in Kansas with more fiscal revenue shortfall storms and tornados on the horizon during the remainder of 2015 and well into 2016.

Larry Weigel, Editor & Publisher
Kansas Underground News

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Click this Headline for July - August 2015 "Sunday on Sanders" @ The Internet Archive

Dave Lindorff: "Now I get it!" Katie Couric's Hit Job on Social Security" @ This Can't Be Happening!

Katie Couric, a veteran TV journalist and currently global anchor for Yahoo News, just trashed Social Security in a hit piece misleadingly called “Explaining Social Security” that purported to be explaining the system’s financial “crisis.” Far from explaining the system, she trundled out tired falsehoods and scare tactics long used by the system’s enemies -- notably the Republican Party and including many Democrats in the pocket of Wall Street. (Significantly, the online video was sponsored by a Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, hardly a fan of Social Security.)

First, Couric’s long list of whoppers:

She claims the system works like a bank, collecting workers’ Social Security payroll taxes, and stashing them under a government mattress, and then paying out the money as retirement checks when they take their retirement. This is simply not true and was never meant to be true. What actually happens, and happened from the beginning of the program in1936, is that the payroll taxes collected from current workers and their employers go to pay for the benefits of current retirees.

Couric makes it appear that greedy baby boomers are going to be sucking money out of the pockets of younger active workers to fund their retirements as though this were something new and unseemly, when in fact, retirees since 1936 have been getting their benefits paid by younger people actively in the workforce. That is the actual way the system was designed to work, not, as she suggests, as a enforced retirement savings program.

Then she highlights what she wrongly claims is the problem: that the system has gone out of whack because of the unanticipated burden of some 74 million baby boomers now beginning to retire and collect Social Security benefits, and a relatively diminished number of current workers who have to pay for those benefits.

Couric warns ominously that the $2.8 trillion in the Social Security Trust Fund is being diminished to cover the annual shortfall in current payroll tax collections, and says this fund is going to eventually run out. Then she says that the program’s future is “well...not secure.”

This is about as disingenuous or ignorant as a journalist can be. Social Security is completely secure -- unless crooked politicians kill it. Sure the trust fund would “run out” in about 2033 if nothing was changed by Congress between now and then But Couric conveniently fails to mention that even then, taxes from current workers would be sufficient to cover 77% of the retiring boomer benefits due indefinitely until the percentage of elderly begins to decline. And remember, by 2033 the youngest baby boomer would be 69, so the wave of retirees would actually already be shrinking in relation to the active workforce, meaning the alleged “crisis” would already be resolving itself.

Couric, like political critics of the program who have been seeking its demise ever since its creation as a signature New Deal program, offers only a hatchet in listing various “cures” for the problem...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCan’tBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/2829

We Need Your Support!

We are one of the few genuine, uncensored and unafraid journalistic outlets in the country that is actually still doing investigative reporting and commentary about what is really happening in the US and the world, and we need your financial support to do it. Please join in and support our first-ever fund raiser, which has so far reached just 10% of our target: $2000 towards a goal of $20,000, an amount which would enable us in this collective to devote real time to this work instead of doing it in the interstices of our day jobs. Even five dollars a year from all our readers would allow us to be a major force in maintaining a free press in America.

Please use the handy Paypal button at the top of our home page, or send a check made out to David Lindorff/TCBH at POB 846, Ambler, PA 19002

Monday, August 10, 2015

Parody of "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" - the classic Coke commercial from the early 70's, targeting the...
Posted by Bill Tong on Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Dave Lindorff: "Puerto Rico's The New Greece: Washington & Wall Street Tell Them "Drop Dead" @ This Can't Be Happening!

You can read the entire article in the New York Times Tuesday business section reporting on Puerto Rico’s default on a payment on its staggering $72 billion debt without once learning that the
little Caribbean island, home to 3.5 million US citizens, is a territory of the United States, or more properly, a colony, insofar as its residents have no representation in Washington, cannot vote for national candidates for office, and furthermore, are subject to US federal courts, whose judges are all appointed by the federal government.

At least USA Today made the story its page one lead, instead of just a business story, but it too just notes that the island is a “commonwealth” and that as such it cannot be bailed out as Greece hopes to be, by such international bodies as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the European Union. The meaning of the term “commonwealth” is not defined.

The Wall Street Journal ran its report on the bankruptcy on the front of its Money & Investing section, making it clear that the only significance of this story was to the many institutional and individual investors who hold Puerto Rican tax-free bonds in the municipal bond allocation of their investment portfolios. It too failed to explain what it meant to call Puerto Rico a “commonwealth.”

US citizens outside of Puerto Rico, most of whom don’t even know Puerto Ricans are fellow citizens, and not potential “illegal immigrants” to their shores like the Haitians, Dominicans, Cubans and other residents of neighboring islands, are no doubt understandably confused about Puerto Rico’s status, given that Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania all refer to themselves as “commonwealths” and not as states.


But Puerto Rico is no “commonwealth,” a term which the Oxford dictionary defines as “an independent state or community, especially a democratic republic,” and which Websters dictionary defines as a nation or state, or alternatively -- in a special category for Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, presented without any sense of irony -- as “a political unit having local autonomy but voluntarily united with the United States.” 

That last bit is actually a bad joke. Puerto Rico is can never be said to have been “voluntarily united” with the United States. It was a spoil of war when the US defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898, and became a colony under brutal military rule, its indigenous independence movement crushed, and even its native Spanish language barred from public education from 1898 until 1948.

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2822


We are one of the few genuine, uncensored and unafraid journalistic outlets in the country that is actually still doing investigative reporting and commentary about what is really happening in the US and the world, and we need your financial support to do it. Please join in and support our first-ever fund raiser, which has so far reached just 5% of our target: $1000 towards a goal of $20,000, an amount which would enable us in this collective to devote real time to this work instead of doing it in the interstices of our day jobs. Even five dollars a year from all our readers would allow us to be a major force in maintaining a free press in America.

Please use the handy Paypal button at the top of our home page, or send a check made out to David Lindorff/TCBH at POB 846, Ambler, PA 19002

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hear a message to the Democratic Party leadership in the first 10 minutes last July 19, 2015

Karoli Kuns: "Mission Accomplished: Planned Parenthood Attacks Coordinated by High-Ranking Republican Operatives" @ R H Reality Check Commentary

They Called Themselves “Groundswell”

Just after Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, disappointed conservative thought leaders came together at the annual CPAC conference in Washington, D.C. to strategize. Demoralized but determined, they formed a plan to fight a “30-front war to fundamentally transform the nation.”

In early 2013, they formed an email group to begin the process of organizing for action and messaging coordination. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ key aide Danielle Cutrona was part of the group, as was Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Breitbart News Editor John Nolte, Family Research Council officials Jerry Boykin and Ken Blackwell, Tea Party Patriots Founder Jenny Beth Martin, Washington, D.C. attorney and public relations expert Diana Banister, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, former Congressman Allen West, former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, Frank Gaffney, and Ted Cruz staffer Max Pappas rounded out the top-tier of group participants, according to David Corn’s report.

They met weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch to hone their message and action plans. One meeting was secretly recorded, getting them on the record with regard to their desire to get a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, mostly for the purpose of obtaining unlimited subpoena power. ... [End of Excerpt]

Read the complete commentary at R H Reality Check.

Alfredo Lopez: "Denial of Service Attack Spreads to Entire May First System" @ May First - Peoples Link

Hear Alfredo Lopez on RFK's "Saturday High Noon" August 1, 2015.

The entire May First/People Link server system was attacked today in what appears to be an expansion of yesterday's attacks on the Fund Abortion Now website. The Denial of Service attack focused on May First's DNS (Domain Name Service) servers, crippling virtually all its 850 members' websites and services.

It was the largest attack on May First in the organization's history.

Today's attack, which lasted over 12 hours, follows yesterday's similar but more specific attack on the Fund Abortion Now website and other pro-choice websites. MF/PL technologists worked to thwart the attack and bring all systems back on line at about 2:00 pm today.

DOS attacks make repeated attempts to connect with a service or a website at such a rapid pace that the service or site overloads and shuts down. The DNS servers hold and distribute the information necessary for someone to reach a site or send email. If the DNS servers are shut down, no one can use basic web and email services.

That makes attacks against DNS servers among the most serious and aggressive Internet attacks conceivable: they affect so many people.

"We never know whether attacks like these are connected," May First/People Link Leadership Committee member Alfredo Lopez said. "But the closeness in time between the attack on Fund Abortion Now and this more general attack leads us to believe they are linked. In a sense, it doesn't matter. We exist to provide progressive organizations and people the right to communicate openly, freely and securely. We will actively resist any attempt to curtail our members' communications."

May First technologists returned the system to normal functioning at about 2:00 pm today and no further disruption has been reported. May First continues to monitor systems for any problems.

May First/People Link is a membership organization specializing in Internet work with members world-wide, primiarily in the United States and Mexico. It is among the largest politically progressive Internet organizations in the world.

https://mayfirst.org info@mayfirst.org

Sharon Coutts & Sofia Reznick: "Exclusive: The Faces and Fake Names of People Behind Planned Parenthood Attack Videos" @ RH Reality Check

Image Hat Tip: R H Reality Check.

[Excerpt] ... News reports that BioMax operatives presented what appeared to be California driver’s licenses when they visited a Texas Planned Parenthood affiliate lend further weight to the claims of event organizers that Daleiden and his group did indeed present forged ID cards.

To be sure, it’s possible that Robert Daoud Sarkis, Brianna Allen, and Susan Tennenbaum are real people who are in fact associated with BioMax, despite BioMax now being known to have been a front company.

However, RH Reality Check has been unable to locate any such individuals, and neither the Center for Medical Progress nor BioMax itself produced any individuals by those names with ties to BioMax.

RH Reality Check called all phone numbers listed on the business cards. The office number for BioMax goes directly to voicemail. The cell number listed for Susan Tennenbaum is disconnected. A voicemail left on Sarkis’ cell phone was not returned by deadline. We also left messages for other people named Susan Tennenbaum throughout the United States, and all Brianna Allens in California, listed in databases of public records. Emails to the addresses provided on the business cards did not receive a reply. We were unable to locate a single listing for “Robert Daoud Sarkis” in databases of public records.

This new evidence obviously raises the question of whether any of this conduct is illegal.  ... [End of Excerpt]

Read more at RH Reality Check.

To Watch, Support The Real News Click This Headline

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Fund Abortion Now" Website Targeted by Denial of Service Attack @ MayFirst.org

Hear more news of this on Radio Free Kansas.

Using a Denial of Service attack, hackers crippled servers at May First/People Link hosting the websites of several pro-choice organizations Thursday, July 30.

The target was Fund Abortion Now (http://fundabortionnow.org/), the website of the National Network of Abortion Funds, a national network of pro-choice foundations and organizations and a May First/People Link member.

The attack, which appears to be part of a coordinated, national attack on pro-choice sites (including Planned Parenthood) started in the early morning hours of July 30 and continued for several hours after that.

May First technologists resolved the issue by routing the website traffic through Deflect (https://www.deflect.ca/), a free and open source-based service that assists websites that are under Denial of Service attacks. Deflect reroutes the website traffic through its own specially designed distributed network of servers that can filter out attacks like these before routing it back to May First/People Link. After that move, the website came up and is now functional.

Planned Parenthood, the target of a recent smear campaign by right-wing propagandists, suffered two on-line attacks this week: one involved theft of data from the organization's databases and the other was a Denial of Service attack that brought the organization's site down on Wednesday. Planned Parenthood's site, although recovered, remains off-line today.

"This bullying behavior is part of a brtoad and consistent pattern by anti-abortion zealots who want to interfere with personal decision-making," a statement from the National Network of Abortion Funds said. "Instead of spending our time fighting off anti-abortion harassment, we would prefer to be working towards more affordable reproductive health care, great economic security and the ability of people to support and protect their families."

"For us, this is a matter of human rights and reproductive justice,” said Dr. Jackie Smith, a member of May First/People Link's Leadership Committee and Coordinator of the International Network of Scholar/Activists. "These attacks on groups that are working to ensure that all women have access to comprehensive reproductive health care deny women their rights as equal members of our society. These are not only sexist acts, but they also discriminate based on class and race.”

"Our stance in protection of reproductive rights informs our advocacy on the rights of women to access and use technology safely and without fear of harassment; to be represented fully in the ranks of those who control this technology; and to use communications technology to facilitate a discussion about the important issues about and facing women. Clearly the people who attacked these websites seek to curtail not only those rights but the discussion of those issues and the use of the Internet to have that discussion. We, as an organization, won't let them."

May First/People Link is a membership organization specializing in Internet work with members world-wide, primiarily in the United States and Mexico.

Fred Whitehead: "Political Strategy 101" @ Free The State

This essay originally appeared at the new "Free The State" web site July 25, 2015.

In this “summer of discontent,” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has declared his candidacy for the office of President. Most of the mass media initially portrayed this as a kind of political curiosity, a “last stand” of what remained of the Left in this country. Right away, however, Sanders began to attract sizeable crowds, not only in “Blue” States, but in places like Arizona. Pledging not to accept corporate donations, Sanders seems to be building some momentum anyway, depending instead on many small

contributions from supporters.

Furthermore, Sanders spelled out a platform which included planks such as free college tuition, increased money to restore our infrastructure, reversing climate change, raising the minimum wage, health care as a right, etc. When challenged by reporters that such a platform resembles Scandinavian socialism (actually “social democracy”), Sanders has not flinched, but responded: “Why not?” So in many ways, Sanders represents a surprising new force in American politics.

Already it seems clear that Sanders is mobilizing people who have simply been ignored by the political establishment. Most mainstream Democrats lack any kind of visionary capacity. These same Democrats often actually prefer a status quo, which they can control and manage. Large-scale participation of millions of people threatens that control, which they define as “stability.” We only need to harken back to the ill-fated candidacy of Senator George McGovern in 1972 to realize that much of the leadership of the Democratic Party will sabotage anyone with the slightest tint of “socialist” radicalism.

However, there is a much more serious, fundamental problem facing the revival of any kind of Left in America. And no one is talking about it. This is a failure of the most simply, basic kind of political thinking, namely a failure to begin the process of actually taking power. Nauseated by corruption, brutality and stupidity everywhere evident, including, and especially in the mass media, many people recoil from “politics,” especially the electoral process. The politicians and their media actually approve and support this mass turn away from elections, because it leaves their power intact. Indeed, the one thing they fear is mass participation, which could undermine, if not wholly destroy their power.

It is passing strange that Sanders and his supporters apparently have no strategy to run people for office. We have a long history in this country, of relying on messiahs to “save” us: Nader, Obama, etc. The idea is if we just elect a “good” President, all else will follow. The Republicans, on the other hand, aimed at developing and consolidating power at all levels, from local school boards to State Legislatures. While the Left was dreaming, the Right did their homework and the hard work.

Senator Sanders was long associated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). I do not know if he is still a member, but the DSA is solidly behind him now. As a group that emerged from the old Socialist Party, DSA resolved not to become a political party as such, but rather to work as a kind of pressure group within the Democratic Party. Their members are around 7,000. According to their website, they do not run any candidates for office, but may from time to time, support those who do. So they have no strategy at all to build, let alone seize political power in cities or States.

I have implored people involved in opposition to the present extreme Right-wing legislature in Kansas, to run for office. Not as individuals, but as a movement. But I can find no “takers.” Again, this concedes power to the Right-wing.

Historically in Kansas, there has been a hegemony of the Republican Party, dating back to the foundation of the State, out of the turmoil of the 1850s. [Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861, in large part because the Congressional delegations of many Southern States had left Washington.] To be sure, we have had Democratic Governors within living memory, and even, occasionally, Democratic majorities in the Legislature. But typically, there was a working agreement between the Republican moderates (based in the suburbs of the major cities), and the Democrats, based in the cities. In recent years, supported by church-based Tea Party activists, the moderates were defeated, and the Right took control.

Considered from a sociological standpoint, the moderates were what are called “country club Republicans”—responsible, respected attorneys, bankers, doctors, etc. They never campaigned hard, because they didn’t need to. But the religious Right, starting out under Reagan, mobilized whole new groups, who finally overthrew these elites. As a friend of mine in western Kansas, a respected attorney, lamented: “My Party left me.”

Now, my late father, Bryan Whitehead, a railroad worker, and “yeller dog” Democrat, was a perceptive student of the political process in Kansas. He noted that registration of potential Democratic voters in the cities was low. But if they did register and did vote, they could potentially control Kansas politics, or at least become a decisive factor, if not always an outright majority. The Tea Party did for their “base”—the rural voters, who tended to be conservative anyway, what the Democrats rarely even tried to do for their base—the working class.


Read the next installment and more articles, links to a Bernie podcast at FREE THE STATE.

Robert Reich: "How Goldman Sachs Profited From The Greek Crisis" @ The Nation

Matea Gold: "Inside the Koch Network's Plan To Create A Permanent Ground Force" @ Washington Post via McClatchy