Austin Frerick Joins Iowa 3rd District Congressional Race

Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Scroll down for video of Austin’s speech at the Democratic WingDing last weekend.

Former U.S. Treasury economist Austin Frerick is calling for breaking up monopolies.  He will seek the Democratic nomination for 3rd congressional district.  Frerick promises a robust, progressive agenda for working Iowans.

Winterset, IA – Austin Frerick, a former U.S. Department of Treasury economist, announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.

Frerick, a gay, 7th generation Iowan and the first in his family to attend college, returned to Iowa earlier this year. “For too long, agricultural monopolies like Monsanto have been milking Iowa’s farmers with high seed costs,” Frerick said. “I’m tired of watching career politicians stand aside while huge corporations push around average Iowans.”

“If President Trump and David Young won’t stand up to them, I will.”

Frerick emphasized that the next several years represent a watershed moment for determining whether the United States restores its foundation of widespread prosperity or continues to be divided into a country of haves and have nots.

“More than anything, this comes down to basic fairness,” Frerick added. “The deck is stacked against Iowans, whether it’s a farmer being squeezed by rising seed costs, or a family with a child in need of a lifesaving drug who has to battle pharmaceutical companies that place profit ahead of people.”

“Iowans deserve a representative who will look out for them, not for Monsanto or Pfizer,” he added today, “they need a representative who will fight to restore a social safety net that gives Iowans the security they need to start a small business, raise a family, or learn a trade.”

Frerick was immediately endorsed by Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), who called Frerick “one of the most exciting and substantive candidates across the country.” According to Rep. Khanna, “Frerick understands that monopolies and economic concentration hurts farmers and rural America. He is running on a bold economic vision of standing up to big corporations in the tradition of Wilson, Roosevelt, and Truman.” Congressman Khanna currently serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Today, Frerick embarks on the first stops of a sixteen-county tour, which will take him to every corner of the district. ***

About Austin Frerick:

Frerick is an Iowa native and currently lives in Winterset. He has worked as an economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Policy, and at the Congressional Research Service in the Domestic Social Policy Division. He has published research on executive compensation, pharmaceutical corporate charity abuses, and the growth of monopolies in the U.S. economy.

He was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Grinnell College and completing his Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin La Follette School of Public Affairs. To cover his tuition, he took out student loans and worked four jobs, including as a Special Needs Care Provider for the Arc of East Central Iowa.

About Iowa’s Third Congressional District:

The 3rd Congressional District covers Iowa’s southeastern corner, and includes Polk, Dallas, Guthrie, Warren, Madison, Adair, Cass, Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Montgomery, Taylor, Adams, Union and Ringgold counties.

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Loebsack: Censure Trump

A word from Iowa’s only Democratic congressman, Dave Loebsack.

I’ve been both heartbroken and angered in the days since watching the horrific acts of violence and hatred from the radical racist fringe that took place in Charlottesville – and astonished at President Trump’s utter incompetence and inability to lead our nation in the aftermath.

I want to be very clear here: The people responsible for this vile act of domestic terrorism and loss of three American lives in Charlottesville were the white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups. 

President Trump’s refusal to unequivocally denounce the hate groups responsible for the deaths of Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, demonstrates a profound lack of leadership. And worse, it puts us on a dangerous course that could lead to further acts of violence from now emboldened white supremacists and anti-Semitic individuals who believe that the White House is on their side.

I won’t stand by and allow hate to win. 

It’s time for us to stand together and condemn these racist groups, and formally condemn President Trump’s comments and lack of moral authority in the wake of Charlottesville – I’m calling for Congress to censure President Trump and stop this hatred from further polluting our nation.

Leadership demands that you call out evil when you see it, you bring people together in its aftermath, and you fight to ensure it never happens again.

President Trump has failed in every one of these tests.

Generations of Americans before us have fought and died to end the spread of racism and anti-Semitism. It’s now time for us to stand up once again, and do what is right for the future of our country.

No matter our party or office, we need to join together and send a message to President Trump, and let history show that we stood against hate. Join me in demanding Congress officially censure President Trump and his response to the Charlottesville tragedy.

Add your name

Thank you,


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Leann Jacobsen Joins Race To Oust Steve King

Leann Jacobsen is asking you to join her campaign to take out Steve King in northwest Iowa CD 4.  “Steve King is just another politician doing the bidding of special interests.”

Visit her website.

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Camera Proves Mightier Than Bullet

Greg Palast, author The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, is well worth following.

A gun in his face, but he got the photo

By Greg Palast
(Charlottesville) Four neo-Nazis beat black school teacher Deandre Harris with iron bars and lumber. ©Zach D Roberts 2017Don’t look away.  Four white neo-Nazis are beating a Black man, crawling on the ground, with their metal poles and a yellow hunk of lumber. The beating continues – there’s blood on the pavement.Our photographer, Zach D. Roberts, continues to shoot – even as a white militant raises a 9mm pistol to his face.Zach got a shot of the gun and gunman, too. Luckily, the gunman didn’t shoot back.
One photo has gone viral internationally.  These others we bring you here because they must be seen.  Including, for the first time, the gunman.Welcome to Charlottesville, USA.  Trump’s America, month eight.

Photojournalist Zach D. Roberts is Associate Producer and stake-out videographer for Greg Palast’s film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.”  We are now making the post-election update.  You can add your name as a producer for a minimum tax deductible contribution of $1,000  ($500 for Co-Producer) or get a screen credit as a supporter for $100 minimum donation.  And you’ll get a signed copy of your film on DVD. Or help us fund our continued investigation of ‘their’ vote-swiping schemes for any amount no matter how large or small.

The young victim is Deandre Harris, a special education teacher in Charlottesville.
According to the President, the violence was perpetrated on “many sides.”  The only sides I see are the beaters and the beaten; Deandre on the ground with the alt-Right storm troopers with weapons.

Zach D. Roberts is an investigative photojournalist who has been with the Palast investigations team for eleven years.

Here is Zach’s report.  Deandre Harris, the school teacher, was walking down the street with friends, trading taunts with the white supremacist demonstrators.

Harris’ jibes were hardly fighting words.  “Go home!  Leave town!”  Locals like Harris resented the jack-ass invasion.

That’s when fists flew and Harris was slammed by one of the white guys straight into a parking lot barrier so hard the yellow wooden arm broke.

Now Deandre fell to the ground, “alone, surrounded by all these white guys—and they started beating him with the poles that almost all the white supremacists were carrying.”

In the photos, you can see one white guy picking up the yellow barrier arm and raising the three foot hunk of lumber high over his head before he brings it down on Deandre—who is being kicked by another white man’s boots while two others bring down metal rods on the prone man.

And no, that’s not a cop on the left in the photo—that’s a neo-Nazi in full riot gear.  (Where were the cops?  Good question:  this parking garage is next to the Charlottesville Police Station.)

Deandre was saved when some gutsy young Black men—with no weapons—ran into the underground garage– and the white posse scattered.

Except for one.  The gunman.

White militant with 9mm, then aimed at rescuers. ©Zach D Roberts 2017

He pulled out what looks to be a 9mm pistol, maybe a Glock semi-automatic, and positioned himself to fire on the rescue squad. But then he heard the click of Zach’s camera, just three feet away, and realized he was getting photographed.
Simultaneously, Zach realized he’d left his bullet-proof vest in his car.  (I’ll have that discussion with him later.)

In this strange stand-off, the camera proved mightier than the bullet. In his tiny little brain, the would-be shooter figured it would be wiser to quickly conceal the weapon and flee.

Deandre “ran into the garage’s staircase and collapsed bleeding profusely from the face.” Zach waited with him and his protectors for half an hour but no ambulance arrived for him or the other people who were injured.

So, that’s the news from Trump’s USA.  Nazis marching in the street, nuclear war with Korea, the “military option” for Venezuela.  And it’s only Monday.

I was going to write about Korea, then Venezuela, but then the Armed Alt-Righteous exposed themselves to Zach’s lens.

The Virginia story is not over.  We will be going back to Virginia on September 9.

Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, now out as major motion non-fiction movie.Stay informed, rent or buy the film from Amazon or Vimeo or get the signed DVD, a signed copy of the book companion or better still – get the Book & DVD combo.

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American Nazis And The Right Wing Propaganda Machine

Nazis in America, you ask?  How can this be?  Answer:  The Right Wing Propaganda Machine has effectively brainwashed a large number of Americans.  Let’s start with Sean Hannity,  a particularly vile cog in the machine as Media Matters explains below in their action alert.

But first, before we get to the Media Matters alert, we would like you to know that the following Iowa radio stations each carry 3 hours every weekday of Sean Hannity in addition to many other equally vile propagandists.  Maybe we could all give our local station a quick call or write a letter to our local paper about getting rid of hate speech on our local radio stations, or contact the station’s local advertisers or all of the above.

Click on the station links for contact and program information. Sean Hannity is broadcast daily (weekdays) on every one of these Iowa stations.

KBUR Burlington

WOC Quad Cities

WHO Des Moines

KSJC Sioux City

WMT Cedar Rapids

WDBQ Dubuque

KILR Estherville

KGLO Mason City

KFJB Marshalltown

Here’s the action alert from MM:

Since 2004, Media Matters has warned the public not to trust Sean Hannity, a serial misinformer with a long history of spreading lies and smears (we should know – we’ve chronicled most of them on our website). But in the Trump era, Hannity has morphed into something more dangerous than a partisan hack – he’s been exposed as a full-blown propagandist who spreads fabricated stories to help the White House.

Enough is enough. It’s clear that 21st Century Fox (Fox News’ parent company) won’t hold Sean Hannity accountable – so, with your help, we will. Today, Media Matters is launching an effort to encourage Hannity’s sponsors to stop financially supporting his propaganda. And we need your voice.

Join our fight to stop Sean Hannity – and make sure to share it now to start building pressure on his advertisers and Fox News!

Hannity’s role as a government mouthpiece became abundantly clear this week after an explosive lawsuit alleged that a conspiracy theory that he relentlessly promoted – that a staffer leaked Democratic National Committee emails, not Russian hackers, and was murdered for it – was known to be fake. According to the suit, the conspiracy theory was concocted on far-right message boards and then deliberately developed by GOP political operatives, Fox News, and even the White House to distract from the ongoing investigations into Donald Trump’s ties to the Russian government. [1]

And Sean Hannity was this story’s most ardent booster. He shared it with a huge audience on his radio show, Twitter, and Fox News. He continued to push the story after Fox News took the unusual step of retracting it, after the victim’s family publicly begged him to stop – and even after several advertisers dropped his show over the controversy in May. [2]

At Media Matters, we’ve covered Sean Hannity for more than a decade. We know him better than anyone does, and this latest revelation proves that we’ve been right about him all along: Spreading misinformation is his business model, and now he’s doing it on behalf of the White House.

Enough is enough: Join the fight to stop Sean Hannity and spread the word about how we’re going to work together to hold him accountable.

It’s up to this grassroots movement – individuals, organizations, and hundreds of independent organizers – to keep up the pressure. At this point, if a company is sponsoring Sean Hannity’s show, it’s essentially supporting a Trump propaganda operation. It needs to stop.

Media Matters for America

P.S. Want to see if a company you support is sponsoring Hannity’s show? Here are his most recent advertisers.

[1] John Whitehouse, “What the Seth Rich conspiracy theory is, why it matters, and why Sean Hannity must be the one to pay the price,” Media Matters for America, 2 August 2017
[2] Matt Gertz, “How Sean Hannity became the champion of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory,” Media Matters for America, 30 May 2017

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Comment On Charlottesville

very short scene of the march in Charlottesville yesterday (8/12/2017)

Watching the events unfold yesterday there were two thoughts that kept cropping up in my mind.

The first was of my late Father-In-Law. Like so many of his day as a young man of 18 he joined the Army to fight against the Nazis. He was among the many thousands who landed on Omaha beach on June 6th of 1944. He eventually fought his way into Germany at the end of the war.

He seldom spoke of his time in the war. What I wrote above was about all he would ever say. He did his part he would say.

There was one other thing he mentioned once or twice. He hated those “Nazi sons of bitches.” So I kept wondering yesterday what he would be thinking to hear a president of the US not condemn those carrying Nazi flags and inciting riots inside this country. I just can’t imagine how that would have cut him to the core.

The other thought is why does this country still allow for the celebration of the Confederate cause? The Civil War has been over for 152 years. The Confederacy lost and their cause – the enslavement of other humans – should have been put to rest.

The cause of the Confederacy was not noble and the men who led the rebellion were not noble. Robert E. Lee was a traitor. Robert E. Lee fought to enslave other humans. That was not a noble cause.

Every statue of Confederate soldiers should be removed from public places in the United States immediately. Every school, park, building, street or urinal that is named for Confederate leaders should be renamed tomorrow. It is well past time for this country to get on with the ideals set down by the founders that “All men (including women) are created equal.”

Many activist groups will be holding rallies in response to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville and oppose the hate and bigotry. You can find a rally near you by going here:    and entering your city or zip-code.

Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Racism in America | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Employers Used to Believe in the Power of Aggregate Demand, What Happened?

From the Thom Hartmann Show Thursday:

Thom discusses the change in America’s business community from being good corporate citizens who saw their employees as assets to today’s atmosphere where corporations exploit whatever they can. 

Thom speaks with guest Rick Wartzman (Author – “The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America”, Director – KH Moon Center for a Functioning Society, Drucker Institute, Claremont University, and Contributor – Fortune Magazine) about what caused the widespread prosperity in post war American, where it went, and who took it away.

The video is about 11.5 minutes. The exchange helped answer a lot of questions. As maybe many others have experienced here, in my working days employees went from an asset to an expense that must be controlled to the utmost.

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Corporate Greed, Labor | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Bellicose, Blustering Buffoon Edition

Here is a little something from many of our pasts. The administration wants to return to the 1950s in so many ways. Here is one that seems appropriate for what’s going on today. 9 minutes of memories. Sorry we couldn’t get the film strip version:

As we used to say back in those days “get on your knees under you desk, tuck your head under hands, stretch back and kiss your ass goodbye.”

Once again, it is nearly impossible to keep up. While the current president is taking a vacation and apparently playing some odd sort of video games with a fellow in North Korea, the special prosecutor seems to be working overtime.

1) What former king of cable news is preparing to reappear in an interview with Michael Smerconish on CNN?

2) North Korea has threatened to launch a nuclear weapon attack on Guam. How long will it take for a missile launched from North Korea to reach Guam?

3) Tomorrow, August 14th is memorable for two major events in history. August 14th, 1945 what major event took place?

4) Ten years earlier, August 14th 1935, FDR signed what bill that has had significant impact on older Americans?

5) Profiting from the presidency! The Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC turned how much of a profit in the first 4 months of 2017?

6) The current administration is pushing hard to change a rule that will take away what right from citizens in nursing homes?

7) National emergencies are usually reserved for short term crises like ebola. What did the administration declare to be an emergency last week?

8) The US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has hit what US industry especially hard?

9) It has been over a week since a terror attack took place on a place of worship in Bloomington, Mn. yet what American leader has yet to acknowledge the attack?

10) What major midwest city is suing the administration over imposition of sanctions because the city is a sanctuary city?

11) Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the current president are engaged in some sort of pissing match on twitter. What cabinet member is related to McConnell?

12) A report on what major issue was published in the NY Times before the administration could quash it?

13) The Dep’t of Agriculture has banned the use of what phrase requiring that the term “weather extremes” be used in its place?

14) Maui wowee! What state is beginning the sale of medical marijuana this week?

15) Great news! Who won the special election in Iowa House District 82 to replace the late Curt Hanson?

16) Europe has been suffering through an extreme heat wave this past week. What devilish name has been given to this heat wave?

17) Famed singer and musician Glen Campbell died last week from complications of what disease?

18) An engineer for what major tech company was fired last week for writing a memo stating that women were “biologically less likely to succeed in technology”?

19) It was announced last week that the FBI had conducted a pre-dawn raid on the home of what former presidential campaign chair in July?

20) What other right wing international leader is the focus of a corruption investigation in his country?

John Fugelsang on Twitter: ““Locked and Loaded” means that either Robert Mueller or the penis-enlargement research community better hurry up quick.


1) Bill O’Reilly or as Colbert used to call him “daddy bear”

2) 14 minutes

3) the surrender of Japan to end WWII

4) the Social Security Act

5) $2 million

6) the right to sue.

7) Opiods

8) farming

9) the current president

10) Chicago

11) McConnell is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chou

12) climate change

13) climate change

14) Hawaii

15) Dr. Phil Miller

16) Lucifer

17) Alzheimer’s

18) Google

19) Paul Manafort

20) Netanyahu in Israel. He was even heard to call reports “fake news.”

Astrologists note that the current president was born during a total eclipse. Thus they are warning that the total eclipse next Monday (8/21) could spell trouble for the country. React as your education on such things has taught you.

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Humor | Leave a comment

Who Really Owns American Farmland

Image (3) AAAAAIowafarm.jpg for post 3827

“We’re used to thinking of escalating rents as an urban problem, something suffered mostly by the citizens of booming cities. So when city people look out over a farm—whether they see corn stalks, or long rows of fruit bushes, or cattle herds roving across wild grasses—the price of real estate is probably the last thing that’s going to come to mind. But the soil under farmers’ feet has become much more valuable in the past decade. While urban commercial real estate has skyrocketed in places like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., powerful investors have also sought to turn a profit by investing in the most valuable rural real estate: farmland. It’s a trend that’s driving up costs up for the people who grow our food, and—slowly—it’s started to change the economics of American agriculture.

Think of it this way: If you wanted to buy Iowa farmland in 1970, the average going price was $419 per acre, according to the Iowa State University Farmland Value Survey. By 2016, the price per acre was $7,183—a drop from the 2013 peak of $8,716, but still a colossal increase of 1,600 percent. For comparison, in the same period, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than half as fast, from $2,633 to $21,476. Farmland, the Economist announced in 2014, had outperformed most asset classes for the previous 20 years, delivering average U.S. returns of 12 percent a year with low volatility.

Today, USDA estimates that at least 30 percent of American farmland is owned by non-operators who lease it out to farmers.”

Thus starts an analysis of what is happening to the very farmland that grow the crops that America depends on. It is a rather sobering analysis of farmers getting on in years and corporations looking for a place to park money that seems to be relatively safe. As the old saying goes that I used to hear over and over as a youngster: “They aren’t making any more land.”

The writer, Katy Keiffer, then analyzes in depth the changes that have been and will continue to take place on farms and in farming communities. As the price gets higher and the current crop of farmers gets older there is a turnover from the independent farmer-owner of yesteryear to the corporate owned farms leased back to farmers of today.

Keiffer skirts a particular problem that has been a question in many minds for a long time – could a small number of investor-owners control the food supply?

She does, however, look into the question of whether inverter-owners who are not operators will be as responsible for the land as farmer-owners.

Chief among them: The investment entities that own the land can control what’s grown on it and how. A quick look at farmland investment company websites makes it clear that they are very particular about assessing the fertility, the access to water and distribution, and other criteria of the land they are buying. And they favor conventional agriculture—the kind that uses the agro-chemicals, mono-cropping, and extensive tilling that continue to degrade American farmland. For financial investors, commodity crops are king, and it’s hard to imagine that they will change their minds anytime soon. As Don Buckloh of the American Farmland Trust put it, “When it comes to crop diversification it is nearly impossible to shift a commodity operation to something less monolithic. For example, the infrastructure for dealing with products other than corn or soy in Iowa, simply doesn’t exist. So farmers are stuck with having to grow the same crops ad infinitum. It’s a scary proposition because should the ethanol program be dissolved, what will corn farmers do with all that extra corn? Already the prices are so low that farm incomes are projected to be half what they were six or seven years ago.  We have no plan B for this type of eventuality.”

One other question she delves into is that of foreign ownership of American farmland. She notes that croplands in other countries have been bought by large corporations in the past, often to grow specific crops such as palms for palm oil. Will United States farmland be bought up by foreign owners in such a manner?

A good article to bring out some thought on Iowa’s biggest single resource – it’s fertile farmland.

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Union Recertification Begins Next Month In Iowa

Image (1) labor-movement.jpg for post 17588

The massive and in my mind catastrophic overhaul had a clause meant to drive a wedge between state workers in Iowa.

Built out of the Republican playbook of “divide and conquer” the clause that puts the recertification of a union up for a vote before any contract renegotiation was put in there to pit worker against worker at a time of stress for workers – contract time.

And of course the Republicans who fashioned this bill made it as hard for recertification to happen as they could. To be rectified a union must get a majority of all union member whether they all vote or not. This is a high hurdle meant to bring the demise of union representation among state workers.

We hope that most of the workers see through the Republican laid traps and vote to remain unionized. No doubt there will be those who will want to throw unions out and I have no doubt there will be management skullduggery to plant seeds of discontent within the unions.

These are the games that have been played by management and their backers from the day the first unions were formed.

In case you forgot what this meant to some of the unbelievably wealthy donors of the Republican Party, let me remind you who was the ONLY person at the signing ceremony for this bill last February with Branstad: Koch Brothers’ lackey and apparent Branstad minder Drew Klein of the Koch funded Americans For Prosperity.

Image (1) terry-branstad-drew-klein-after-branstad-signs-union-busting-bill-300x169.jpeg for post 36779

Unfortunately there are many among the union ranks who support Republicans and for whom the hard won rights of union members mean nothing. Maybe the kick in the rear delivered by those Republicans finally made them think. We surely hope so for their sake and I daresay for the citizens of Iowa also.

Stay strong union members!

Here is a short video to explain why unions are so important for working men and women. Stated simply, as union representation diminishes, inequality in pay and benefits increases. Video about 3.5 minutes:

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Labor, union busting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment