Thursday, September 09, 2010

Michael Caddell: "Raving Bull at Kansas State Fair: Brownback to provide Christian 'conservative' crazies with cheap thrills"

The controversy was hinted at as far back as Aug. 14, 2010 when Tim Carpenter at The Topeka Capital-Journal wrote: “the unique vibe of a state fair debate would appear fit for an insurgency campaign. About 2000 will jam an outdoor venue. In a break with debate etiquette, folks at the fairground will be encouraged to chant, boo and cheer.”

Carpenter has access and his generous piece “Participation up for debate: Not all Gubernatorial hopefuls welcome at state fair forum” hooked up with the smaller candidates representing the Reform Party and the Kansas Libertarian Party and let their candidates make a case for allowing some, or none of them on the stage this coming Saturday, Sept. 11.

The “debate” will be held at the Bretz Law Arena beginning at 11am preceded by an hour and half of marching bands sponsored by the Hutchinson Community College. On the stage will be state Sen. Tom Holland (D) and returning U. S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R) both have agreed to appear, but Holland has asked for ten debates, Brownback so far will allow this single event with bused-in crowds to cheer and jeer.

Will the Big Energy billionaires running Koch Industries and the Republican Party donate the buses as a democratic gesture to the toiling “pro-life” and pro-war masses from nearby Wichita? After all, the self-styled “libertarian” billionaires donated $10,000 to the Brownback campaign, and not a discernible dime to the Kansas Libertarian Party.

The Fair's web themes this year: “Raving Bull: It’s a wild ride, baby” and “Sheep Thrills” is rather apt considering the strategy Brownback has developed early in his million dollar plus campaign against humane social-democracy and toward more federal subsidies in Kansas; enlarged federal military bases, construction of a bigger germ warfare lab at Manhattan, Ks and more tax abatement for out-of-state corporations.

It is being hosted and the rules establishing debate criteria are being enforced by a “radio personality” that received regular pay checks for decades from Sen. Brownback’s in-laws who owned Stauffer Communications until around 1995. His name is Kelly Lenz.

WIBW 580-am Farm Director Kelly Lenz received the 2000 Kansas Farm Bureau “Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.” What better illustrates the vested financial interests of monopolistic news media married to corporate financial interests in Kansas? And citizens, Kansas voters, we are expected to have a fair airing of issues and candidates during the Great Recession at the single debate Brownback allows?

Lenz was a long-time Farm Director at WIBW TV (currently owned by Grey Television, Inc.) from 1978 through 2001 hosting the “Midday in Kansas” show. According to a WIBW 2007 alumni ceremony he currently also heads the Kansas Agriculture Network providing radio agriculture programming and advertising to “34 stations in Kansas and one in Colorado.”

Calling this a “debate” is a stretch in the imagination of any high school level debate coach. Despite Carpenter’s article which attempts to expose the difficulties of smaller political parties to get their positions on issues across to large numbers of Kansas voters, the only “insurgency campaign” will be Sen. Tom Holland against Brownback’s enormous campaign war chest, national name recognition and Tea Party dalliances spawned by devious billionaires.

Andrew Gray, candidate for governor and chairman of the Kansas Libertarian Party, made a rather discombobulated comment on Radio Free Kansas defending Lenz and WIBW’s “local” media power over the “free market” empire. Libertarians must know the limits of savage social-Darwinian capitalism, but perhaps not in Kansas, yet.

Sen. Tom Holland at this point in time might consider standing-up Brownback at Hutchinson, until Brownback makes a public apology to the people of Kansas for unfairly rigging “the game.”

Kansans are suffering, many of our youth are being forced from poverty into military service abroad in endless foreign wars, while the state’s economy and schools are ravaged by limitless corporate welfare.

This Sept. 11 in Hutchison, Ks. Brownback will engage in “sheep thrills” for people with more empty fear mongering from terrorism, delighting the Christian theocrats, and ultimately waste our goddamn time with conservative hocus-pocus economics, again.

No comments: