Loebsack Questions FCC Commissioners About Broadband DATA Act

“Dave questioned FCC Commissioners about his Broadband DATA Act to improve the collection of data to ensure broadband gets to where it is needed, including rural areas. He also discussed the Precision Ag Act that was signed into law as part of the Farm Bill and how high speed broadband is needed to make sure our farmers can use all the technology available to them.”

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What You Need To Know About The December Democratic Debate

Tired of cable news? Follow Free Speech TV

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All Hands On Deck: What Caucus Night In Johnson County Will Be Like

Here’s a note from John Deeth, caucus organizer, JC Dems

As you all know caucus season is fast approaching. The Johnson County Democrats and Republicans have been working together for several months to schedule locations, and we are moving on to the last stages of planning for February 3rd.

(Disclaimer: Most of you know I work in the auditor’s office. The caucuses are a party meeting, not an election, and the auditor doesn’t run them. I just so happen to be volunteering my own time on this. It’s pretty much just like work except instead of getting paid, I burn my vacation days.)

Because Democrats in Johnson County are serious about doing their civic duty, we expect extremely high attendance in our county, the highest per capita in the state. That means a lot of enthusiasm, plus long lines, crowded rooms, and overflowing parking lots.

We would appreciate help in getting the word out and setting public expectation for what caucus night in Johnson County will be like, and we hope to promote this during December.

We also want to promote early voter registration. People CAN change address and party on caucus night, but the process will go faster if they update their registration before the end of the calendar year. After that point, both parties will print their caucus night lists, and anyone re-registering during January is going to be asked to re-register again at the caucus. This will slow up the line.

I am available to discuss this and any other caucus issues, and so is our chair Ed Cranston.  Additional contact info is available on request. Thanks and we hope to talk soon.

John Deeth, caucus organizer, Johnson County Democrats

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Common Sense Ideas About Reducing Gun Violence in the United States

Protect Kids Not Guns

by Ralph Scharnau

The gun control debate continues to roil politics in the United States. The divide between those who favor stricter gun laws and those who don’t revolves around the Second Amendment.

The Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In 2008, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia scripted the Court’s 5-4 majority decision on guns with a controversial ruling that the Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm for self-defense in the home.

But it is Congress that holds the Constitutional power to organize and arm the militia “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” The Constitution spells out no specific individual right to firearm ownership.

Scalia’s interpretation of the Second Amendment recognizing gun ownership is not, he contended, “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” He cited prohibitions on the possession of guns by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

Firearms in the United States number roughly 315 million, about the same as the nation’s population. Residents usually direct their gunfire at each other, not the state. American history is replete with examples of firearms use and other violent behavior directed at Africans, immigrants, and workers as well as Catholics, Muslims, and certain non-Christians.

Acquiring guns in America is often easier than buying certain over-the-counter pain medicines. Most of the injuries and deaths come when people turn weapons on others they know, relatives, and friends who often live in the same household.

Roughly 34,000 lives are lost to gun violence each year. Generally, Republicans, backed by the National Rifle Association, oppose gun controls. Started as an organization focused on recreational shooting and hunting, the NRA today lobbies against all forms of gun regulations. The NRA has, furthermore, succeeded in persuading some state legislators to expand gun rights in the form of vigilante-style “stand your ground” and “open carry” laws.

The grisly stories of gun violence have stirred debate in Congress and state legislatures over proposals to limit Americans access to firearms. The recent formation of multiracial and inclusive youth-led groups, like Black Lives Matter and Never Again, want stricter gun-control legislation. In addition, women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks support stronger gun laws.

A 2017 survey noted that nearly 40,000 Americans died of gun-related injuries. And 2019 marks a year of shootings in schools, churches, nightclubs, concerts, and malls.

To address this crisis, a number of gun regulations seek to reduce gun violence. These include universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers, including those sold by dealers, on the internet, and at gun shows. Other regulations include registration of all firearms and licensing of gun owners, limiting magazine capacity, reinstating the congressional ban on assault weapons, and adopting age limitations for gun use.

The appalling frequency of gun violence poses a public health crisis. Congress should finally fund research into the causes of gun violence. We should also provide support, including mental and physical health care, for survivors of gun violence.

Instituting meaningful gun control measures remains largely unfulfilled. Reducing gun violence saves lives, and represents a moral and humane way to align us with our democratic traditions.

Ralph Scharnau
November 25, 2019

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Joni Ernst Chooses Gun Rights Over Victim Safety

Progress Iowa Report: Ernst refuses to protect domestic violence survivors

Ernst’s VAWA reauthorization attempt allows convicted stalkers to continue gun possession

Des Moines, Iowa — Progress Iowa released a report today, detailing the failure of Senator Joni Ernst to protect domestic violence survivors in Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization. Ernst’s legislation comes months after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a VAWA reauthorization bill in April.

The report discusses the history of the Violence Against Women Act, as well as the current efforts to reauthorize the legislation, which has lapsed for over a year. After a VAWA reauthorization passed in the U.S. House, the Senate began working on a counterpart. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a version with bipartisan support that closes the so-called boyfriend loophole and includes a number of other provisions backed by advocates and survivors of domestic violence.

Key findings in Progress Iowa’s report include that Ernst’s VAWA reauthorization would allow convicted misdemeanor stalkers to continue gun possession, and it would not prohibit people subject to a temporary domestic violence restraining order from gun possession, and it would adversely impact indigenous women and the LGBTQ community.

“If Senator Ernst continues to refuse to support VAWA as passed by the House and supported by Senators from both sides of the aisle, I can only conclude that she is in denial of the terror these crimes inflict even though she has been subjected to it in her own life,” said State Representative Marti Anderson of Des Moines. “These crimes strike horrific fear in women and children who are targeted. Senator Ernst’s failure to do everything the can to stop this insidious violence gives enormous power and control to abusers — men who say they love the women they abuse and often threaten with death. Senator Ernst must listen to survivors and those who work for their safety. She can distinguish herself by doing all she can to stop violence against women.”

Advocates and domestic violence survivors in Iowa have been speaking out, constituents have attempted to contact Senator Ernst directly for nearly a year to address this issue, but have been unable to speak with her. Ernst’s constituents and every Iowan concerned about domestic violence are encouraged to contact her office and demand that she take appropriate steps to stand up for survivors.

Click here to read the report, entitled “Joni Ernst refuses to protect domestic violence survivors.”

Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of more than 75,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law. To learn more, visit progressiowa.org.


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Is Democracy Sustainable When Paid Ads Replace Journalism?


VOX: “President Donald Trump is angry about impeachment and he wants his supporters to be, too — and he’s spending millions of dollars to make that happen.”

Action alert from Indivisible. Click here to join Indivisible Iowa.

The GOP is going all in to shield their president from the consequences of breaking the law. And if we don’t respond now, they’re going to succeed.

According to the New York Times, Trump has spent roughly 8 million dollars on digital and TV ads. On top of that, the Republican National Committee (RNC) says they’ve spent another $2.3 million. And here’s the kicker: Just yesterday, Politico broke that the American Action Network, a Republican advocacy group, is launching a $7 million anti-impeachment advertising blitz in 37 congressional districts.

Us? Here’s the truth: We want to fight back, but we’re 80% behind our fundraising goal for this month. Right now, we don’t have the money to keep up.

The GOP will do literally anything to protect Trump, but if we can’t keep pace with their spending, they will beat us.  Chip in $10 TONIGHT to fund ads, calls and more to impeach Trump and push forward our progressive agenda:

If you’ve saved your information with ActBlue Express Lane, your donation to Indivisible Action will go through immediately:

Donate $10, $20, $50 or another amount here

We’re doing everything in our power to push impeachment forward, from running massive ad buys to making calls to making our literal own news show (the Impeachment Daily) to keep you up to date. But none of that matters if we can’t fund it. Donate now — we’re counting on you.

– Indivisible Impeachment Team

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Book Review: The Hidden History Of The Supreme Court

Thom Hartmann

The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America by Thom Hartmann is a quick but important read for partisan progressives who want to review the history of the Supreme Court.

At 168 pages, the book takes readers through the founders’ vision of the courts, the Powell Memo, the growing influence of fossil fuels companies on the court, judicial review, and the constitution’s preference for property rights over human rights. Hartmann also covers the court’s involvement in key American movements and issues, including labor, abolition, racism, abortion, environmentalism, and the rise of the TEA Party. The final section of the book offers solutions to “save the planet, democratize, and modernize the Supreme Court. It’s a page turner.

“But isn’t Hartmann preaching to the choir?” engaged readers might ask.

What’s important about this book is it exists at all.

Blog for Iowa, and others like it in Iowa and around the country, rose up in the years after the 2004 general election offering an alternative voice to right wing talk radio, evangelical Christianity, and a media landscape where the Fairness Doctrine no longer applied and cable news companies gained hegemony with partisan, conservative messages 24/7. In addition to progressive national and state-based blogs, radio and television personalities competed to gain a progressive audience. Thom Hartmann is one who survived and thrived. He is currently the number one progressive talk show host in the United States according to the about the author section of the book.

The purpose served by The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America is presenting a narrative of the key elements of the Supreme Court’s history to a progressive audience.

So often ideas about the Supreme Court are formed by snippets of information in various media about specific decisions, the judicial nominating process, and groups like the Federalist Society which lobby the government for appointment of certain types of judges. Increasingly social media is a key driver for informing our opinions, yet it presents an incomplete picture. It is not enough. What has been lacking is a more comprehensive look at the supreme court told in language that is easy to understand. Hartmann delivers that and more.

Here’s a clip of Thom Hartmann reading from his book. The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America is available from the publisher and most places where books are sold.

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How Corporations Swallowed Family Farms In Iowa

This from The Guardian:

How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms. Across the midwest, the rise of factory farming is destroying rural communities. And the massive corporations behind this devastation are now eyeing a post-Brexit UK market.  Semi-automated pig barns now dominate large parts of rural Iowa.

When the vast expanse of rural Iowa was carved up for settlers in the 19th century, it was often divided into 160-acre lots. Four farms made a square mile, with a crisscross of dead-straight roads marking the boundaries like a sprawling chess board.

Within each square, generations of families tended pigs and cattle, grew oats and raised children, with the sons most likely to take over the farm. That is how Barb Kalbach saw the future when she left her family’s land to marry and begin farming with her new husband, Jim, 47 years ago.

“When we very first were married, we had cattle and calves,” she says. “We raised hogs from farrow to finish, and we had corn, beans, hay and oats. So did everyone around us.”

Half a century later, Kalbach surveys the destruction within the section of chessboard she shared with other farms near Dexter in southwestern Iowa. Barb and Jim are the last family still working the land, after their neighbours were picked off by waves of collapsing commodity prices and the rise of factory farming. With that came a vast transfer in wealth as farm profits funnelled into corporations or the diminishing number of families that own an increasing share of the land. Rural communities have been hollowed out.

Read more…

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Thanksgiving Impeachment Conversation Tips

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Stacey Abrams Retains Greg Palast Team To Fight Georgia’s Voter Purge In Court

Stacey Abrams Hires Palast Investigations Team
for Massive Federal Suit to Restore Voting Rights

By Greg Palast

Stacey Abrams’ non-profit Fair Fight has retained the Palast Investigations team experts to provide court testimony, based on our six years of investigation, in Fair Fight’s federal law suit to overturn Georgia’s massive, racially biased purge of voters.

Watch the preview of the first of our series of film reports, The Purged: The Vanishing Voters of Trump’s America.

In 2018, the Palast investigations team uncovered 340,134 voters illegally removed from Georgia’s voter rolls by Secretary of State Brian Kemp while he was running for Governor against Stacey Abrams.

That was Kemp’s secretive “cleansing” operation that won him the election over Abrams, the first black woman in American history to run for governor.

Abrams often cites the illegal purge we uncovered. And now, she’s taking action. Her new group, Fair Fight, has hired the Palast team to update and expand our work to put before a court to overturn what we have dubbed, Georgia’s “Purge by Postcard.”

While the Palast Investigative Fund is thrilled with this new alliance, it only covers Georgia. We need to expose new, massive, illegal purges in Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Nevada and other states. We’ve already filed preliminary legal actions in 20 states. Now we move to the expensive process of detailed computer analysis of each purge, voter by voter, more than a quarter million in each of these states.

I’ll be blunt: We need funding to stop these purges.

Our discovery and analysis of the purge list was the culmination of our six-year investigation which involved inventive undercover work, hiring a team of Silicon Valley’s top database specialists and filing our own federal law suit against Kemp.

Because Abrams’ new group is strictly non-partisan and dedicated to voting rights, the Palast investigative Fund has released to her our huge computer files and proprietary algorithms. Our chief database specialist, John Lenser, will act as the expert witness in Abrams’ lawsuit to prevent new purges in Georgia.

How refreshing. I’ve been exposing Jim Crow vote trickery for 20 years — in award-winning reports for The Guardian, Rolling Stone and Salon. But this will be the first time an official, intent on justice, has taken my evidence into a courtroom.

But we’re far from done. The “purge by postcard” scam was launched by a Supreme Court decision just last June. Since then, it’s been used with a vengeance to bleach the voter rolls whiter than white in at least 20 States, most GOP controlled.

Our lawyers have already forced a dozen purge lists from the hands of these “Purge’n Generals” – Secretaries of State totaling over 3 million voters.

Experts Lenser and Mark Swedlund are donating their time as have our dozen attorneys including Jeanne Mirer in New York, Prof. Robert Fitrakis In Ohio, Gary Flowers in Virginia.

Still, our out-of-pocket costs run to at least $30,000 per state.

Meet the victims
And we never forget our journalistic purpose: exposing the trickery, cons, and ballot box blockades that go under the rubric “vote suppression.“

Not only do we get the inside, confidential documents; we bring the story to life with our unique ability to find and tell the stories of the victims. Stacey Abrams often refers to Christine Jordan, Martin Luther King‘s 92-year-old cousin, whom we filmed just as she was booted from the polling station in Atlanta. While 340,134 is a number, Miss Jordan is its human face.

We need to bring the sheer numbers and the victims of this massive new purge operation to the public in 2020 before the next election is stolen again.

About our Reports
We are finishing the first of our series of film reports, The Purged: The Vanishing Voters of Trump’s America. The first centers on our multi-year investigation of Georgia’s Jim Crow operation that defeated Stacey Abrams…and was the test run for the latest massive voter purge game that, if adopted by other states, can “re-elect” Trump.

We have partnered with a major, prestigious media outlet to carry these reports on film and in print, throughout 2020. (Watch for our announcement.)

Through our 2013-2016 work, we first exposed and helped demolish Kris Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck system—with articles in Rolling Stone and on Democracy Now! and especially via our film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, shown umpteen times by The League of Women Voters and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Donate $100 right now, and we’ll add your name to our Georgia report credits as a supporter, for $500 we will list you as a Co-Producer and for $1,000 as a Producer.

Or give any amount no matter how large or small.

Pass this on to anyone you think gives a damn about the upcoming burglary of the ballot box.

I’m counting on you when everything is on the line.

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: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Case of the Stolen Election, now available on Amazon and Amazon Prime.

Follow Palast on Twitter and Instagram | Like Palast on Facebook |
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