Can We Talk About Guns Yet?

Image (2) warren-burger-on-guns-300x300.jpg for post 32938

There hasn’t been a mass shooting in the US that appears to be worthy of mass media attention in the past three weeks, so IS NOW THE TIME TO TALK ABOUT GUNS? Can we finally get something started before the arbiter of gun conversations – the NRA –  calls another moratorium on serious discussions on ending this unconscionable slaughter and waste of life in this country.

While Las Vegas was the last mass shooting that the media chose to pick up on it is hardly the last mass shooting in this country. Since the Las Vegas incident there has been at least 12 mass shooting incidents leaving 13 dead and 38 injured. We have now had 285 mass shootings in this country this year on the 294th day of the year. So we are slightly below an average of a mass shooting a day.

I just wrote both of my senators and my representative with this message:


It has been 18 days since the mass shooting in Las Vegas.Is this now the time to talk about guns and gun violence in our society?

I have children and grand children. I do not want any of them to be targets for any goofy bastard that can get his hands on assault rifles that shoot 800 bullets a minute.

I am trusting that like me, you do not want your close relatives and loved ones to be targets for some crazed person that can get their hands on weapons designed for mass execution.

However you have power to do something about it. I do not. Therefore I am sure you will work for the safety of your loved ones and mine and begin the process of passing some sane gun laws.

Now is the time to start that conversation. NOW!

If each of us reaches into our lives we will be amazed at how much we have been affected by gun violence. The human mind is often great at repressing memories of traumatic experiences in our lives. Many victims of sexual abuse have been able to repress the memories. This allows a person to continue to function, else they would be consumed by those memories – I speak from experience on this one.

Military aside, one has to wonder how many civilians in this country have been around guns shooting that they did not anticipate (like hunting) or have had family members or close friends or loved ones killed or wounded by guns. I have been shot at at least 4 times and have known at least half a dozen people who have lost their lives to guns. This is in a small farming town in Iowa.

My kids were pre-teen when they first encountered gun deaths. Sadly, I do not think our family is that unusual. For a period of time we had a neighbor who loved his guns and had a fight going on with the ‘establishment.’ That was many years back before the fear of the black man in the White House was used to spur gun sales and heighten fear.

This is a time when we need leaders with guts to stand up to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and tell them that our America’s citizens right to live far outweighs their drive to sell guns for the gun lobby. Certainly it is long past time that the NRA and true constitutional judges read the full second amendment, including the opening clause:

       “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.”

Going to school, walking down the street, waiting at a bus stop, eating at a fast food restaurant, going to a concert, enjoying a night on the town, driving down the street, practicing for a congressional softball game or holding a town hall should be events that Americans should be able to attend without fear that they may be shot because our laws were so lax that anyone could get a gun.

Recently women have noticed that if the anti-abortion laws so in favor among the extremist right wing were also applied to obtaining guns, it may go a long way toward lessening guns in society.

gun control gloria steinem

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Charles Grassley, gun control, Joni Ernst | Tagged | Leave a comment

Impeachable Offenses: Failure To Uphold The Law  start at 4 minutes ends at 22:15.

from bradblog:

First up, Trump’s recent comments and actions to sabotage American health care are, as I argue, in violation of his sworn oath to “protect and defend the Constitution”, which includes the Article 2 requirement that the President must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Instead of faithfully executing the law, Trump is undermining it, and putting millions of Americans at risk of losing access to affordable health care, as provided by the Affordable Care Act. In addition to his unforgivable lies about ObamaCare on Monday, thanks to his announcement late last week that he will stop payments to help cover out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pays for low-income citizens (as mandated by the ACA), insurance premiums have now sky-rocketed in a number of states, including in Pennsylvania, which, its insurance Commissioner announced on Monday, will see average increases of more than 30%. (Similar increases are also slated for Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Alaska and dozens of other states, thanks to Trump and the GOP’s attempt to gut the Obama-era law that has helped some 30 million obtain and pay for health care, while improving health care insurance plans for hundreds of millions of Americans.)

Repeat – Article 2 section 3 of the Constitution of the United States states that:

“he {the president} “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Note what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say “execute the laws he agrees with” nor does it say “he may choose not to execute laws as he sees fit” nor does it say “the president may actively work to undermine laws he doesn’t like.” Doesn’t say anything like that. Nope – it is pretty clear even to the dullest of wits. The constitution states once more that ‘”he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room there. Yet some 10 days ago or so, the current president declared that “Obamacare is dead.”

Trump explicitly states that he has cut off the CSRs – therefore stating loudly that he is refusing to enforce the law as it is written. Not much question.

Now the question is whether the congress will use their constitutional authority to check a president who has simply decided that he will choose which laws it will enforce and which laws it will not only refuse to enforce but will actively seek to destroy. The constitution was put together with checks and balances. Remember that concept from 7th grade Civics?

Checks and balances means that each of the 3 co-equal branches of our government holds a check on the other two such that if any one of the branches tries to exercise power outside of their constitutional authority then one or both of the other two branches have an authority that can be used to bring that branch back to a balance. In this case congress has the power of impeachment against a president who is clearly acting outside of his authority.

The president does not have power to choose which laws he will enforce. If he did then why would we even need congress? If the president could choose the laws he would enforce, it would be only a small step to grabbing the power to decide what should become law. Then we have crossed the line from a democracy to a dictatorship.

The judiciary may yet decide that the current president does not have power to withhold the CSR payments, but it has no power to enforce its ruling. Should the judiciary so decide and the current president refuse to accept their decision we would be in a constitutional crisis of epic proportion.

With the current president simply refusing to faithfully execute laws passed by congress, it is well time for the congress to exercise its constitutional authority to bring the government back into balance through the impeachment power.

Do republicans in congress have the courage to stand up and enforce the constitution? I doubt it.

Remember this next year when you vote after millions have lost their access to health care and your own health premiums have skyrocketed due to Republicans failure to stand up for you and the constitution. 

Posted in #trumpresistance, Affordable Care Act, Blog for Iowa, Trump | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ernst And Grassley Vote To Cut Medicare And Medicaid

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As part of the budget bill passed late Thursday night by the senate Medicare will be cut by a massive $500 billion over the next ten years and Medicaid will be cut by an even more massive $1 Trillion over that same period.

To write those numbers out that is $500,000,000,000 from Medicare and $1,000,000,000,000 from Medicaid.

Every Iowan will be affected by these cuts. Medicare supplemental insurances will have to raise their rates probably beyond clients ability to pay. Doctors and hospitals will have to raise rates to make up for those unable to pay, which will raise insurance rates for those with regular insurance. This will also shift care to emergency rooms which is by far the most expensive way to get health care. 

Elderly and the disabled on Medicare will forego care due to inability to pay. Along with that, fewer people will retire in order to get insurance from their jobs. Thus this will block entrance and mobility in the jobs market.

Medicaid has been a huge target for Republicans forever. The trillion dollar cuts will simply leave many of our most vulnerable without health care.

Thousands will die very prematurely if these cuts are made. All this in order to give huge tax cuts to the very wealthiest in our society. THE VERY WEALTHIEST!

That means people like Donald Trump himself. And Charles and David Koch. And Steve Mnuchin. And Michael Bloomberg. And Bill Gates. And Warren Buffet. And a few thousand more.

Iowa’s senators, Ernst and Grassley, voted to let people die so they can give huge tax cuts to those wealthiest of Americans.

It is as if the vast majority of Americans are being punished for being poor by the Republican Party. It is not bad enough to be poor, the Republican party has to take away your health care also.


Though the budget resolution itself is nonbinding,’s Ben Wikler notes how the Senate passage on Thursday represents the “starting gun for what might be the most consequential legislative fight of the Trump era: the looting of the U.S. treasury to reward billionaire GOP donors and mega-corporations, at the expense of the rest of us.” And with the Senate resolution now in place, a reconciliation process can begin with Republicans in the House, meaning the GOP can “shoot for a tax bill without a single Democratic vote.”

From Senator Jeff Merkley:

Senator Jeff Merkley 


Replying to @SenJeffMerkley

In what world does it make sense to rob trillions from the nat’l treasury, all to grant a massive windfall to the very richest individuals?

Just to put things in perspective – All of this has come about through the massive amounts of money now spent on our campaigns. That money became available due to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizen’s United decision handed down in 2010. The Court that handed down that decision was filled with a couple of extreme right wing justices that were nominated by George W. Bush. Bush actually lost the popular vote for president and upon further examination probably should have lost the electoral vote.

However, Bush was installed into the presidency by a 5 to 4 vote by the Supreme Court in 2000. The 5 who voted to install Bush had been put on the Court by previous Republican presidents.

Be sure to thank Grassley and Ernst for voting to reward the wealthy for them while leaving the rest of us to choose between going broke or dying.

Grassley contact telephone numbers:

Ernst contact numbers:

Tell them to quit representing the wealthy and start representing Iowans!


Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Budget, Charles Grassley, David Koch, economic inequality, Joni Ernst, Medicare, Republican Policy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Community Media and Ensuring the Future of Public Access

Interview with Nicholas Johnson, former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (1966-1973) about community television, the history of public access, and its future.

Posted in media, Media Reform | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How Do Republicans Get Away With The Lying?

 Their strategy is based entirely on lies. Forty per cent of Americans are believing the lies. How can this be?  The right wing eco-system, including radio, helps Republicans get away with lying. We’re not the only ones saying it. 

List of right-wing radio stations in Iowa:

Iowa commercial radio stations that broadcast multiple hours a day of right wing propaganda:

KCPS Burlington 12 hrs/day,

KBUR Burlington6 hrs,

KXEL Waterloo-CF12 hrs,

WOC Quad Cities11 1/2 hrs,

WHO Des Moines 11 1/2 hrs,

KSJC Sioux City13 hrs,

WMT Cedar Rapids 8 hrs,

WDBQ Dubuque, 6 hrs,

KILR Estherville15 hrs,

KGLO Mason City9 hrs,

KFJB Marshalltown, 6 hrs, *updated 09/06/17

KASI Ames, 6 hrs, and

KICD Spencer, 5-6 hrs.

How much right-wing radio does one state need?  Contact your local station!

Join this Facebook group:  Hogwash! Fighting the Iowa Right-Wing Propaganda Machine

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It’s Not The Women, It’s The Men

Woman Writing a Letter

Some of my friends and acquaintances are women who carry handguns.

I’m not worried about getting shot by my lunch partner. I also don’t feel more secure knowing she has a handgun in her purse. It used to be a bit jarring to see weapons unexpectedly in everyday places. Not any more. I’m confident in studies that show women are not the main problem with gun violence, it’s the men.

A common social behavior among men particularly, but with women also, is to assert their gun ownership into a conversation as a way of launching a comfortable jeremiad about why they own them, the positive features of gun ownership, and as a way of testing the waters in social relationships to identify where people stand. This is at the heart of what elected Trump, Ernst and others. Gun ownership and discussions about it are a way to sort people in society into “us” and “them” categories. It has consequences in the electorate, so it is important to discuss and understand.

In an Oct. 10 article in USA Today, Alia E. Dastagir wrote,

Data shows gun violence is disproportionately a male problem. Of the 91 mass shootings in which four or more victims died since 1982, only three were committed by women, according to a database from the liberal-leaning news outlet Mother Jones. Men also accounted for 86% of gun deaths in the United States, according to an analysis by the non-partisan non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.

Men are more likely to own a gun — three times more, according to a 2017 survey from the Pew Research Center. This, despite marketing from gun manufacturers and groups such as the National Rifle Association to lure women.

Fast forward to Dastagir’s conclusion that to understand gun violence we must examine the cultural forces that equate being a man with violence.

Read her information-packed article here.

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Breaking The Grip of Corporate Ag on Rural Iowa

Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors, Inc.
P.O. Box 811, Fairfield, IA 52556
jfan@lisco.com • 641-209-6600

Award-winning agricultural journalist Alan Guebert on Breaking Free of Corporate Ag – JFAN Annual Meeting

Factory farming has a stranglehold on rural Iowa, but can that grip be broken? Celebrated syndicated columnist Alan Guebert will dive into the realities and the possibilities during the JFAN Annual Meeting Breaking the Grip of Corporate Agriculture on Rural Iowa on Thursday, October 19 at 7:15 pm at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, 200 N. Main Street, Fairfield, IA.

Penned an “agricultural insider” by Civil Eats, Guebert will take a hard look at the role of factory farming in the corporate food system and it’s widespread influence throughout society. Not escaping his attention is the failure of governance to address these issues because Big Ag often controls the agenda on the state and national level.

Guebert, author of the popular syndicated column Farm and Food File, says current farming policies fit the definition of insanity. “It hasn’t worked in the past, so let’s do more of it and see what happens,” he wrote about current policy trends. “Instead we should be talking about how to fix what’s broken, not how to patch it.”

Guebert, though, sees change as inevitable. “I really do believe there is a way out of this mess,” and he will role out how he envisions that can come about. Guebert contends that there is a role for everyone in driving change, and he will outline how Iowans can play an important part.

Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry will also underscore the need for taking action. He will share why his county recently passed a resolution in support of a factory farm moratorium, elusive here in Jefferson County, and other ways his county is addressing the CAFO issue. A strong advocate of regenerative agriculture, Carberry will also speak on ways Iowans can and must wrestle back control from the corporate agriculture agenda to force needed changes that protect people and the environment.

Alan Guebert is an award-winning agricultural journalist with his finger on the pulse of agribusiness. With early roots on a 720-acre, 100 cow dairy farm, he currently authors the popular syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File that he began in 1993. It appears weekly in over 70 US and Canadian newspapers. He’s also a contributor to the online publication The Daily Yonder, and worked previously as a writer and senior editor at Professional Farmers of America and Successful Farming magazines. His numerous awards include the prestigious Writer of the Year and Master Writer from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association.

Guebert, along with his daughter Mary Grace Foxwell, are the authors of The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey. The book chronicles his childhood on the farm and also what Guebert sees as a blueprint for the future of farming over the next 50 years – a trending back to smaller scale farms.

Dr. John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri at Columbia and a member of the JFAN Board of Directors will start off the meeting with a brief overview of the myriad ways industrial livestock corporations influence the well being of rural communities and what can be done to structure change. Attorney David Sykes, JFAN legal counsel, will give a legal update on an Iowa Supreme Court challenge to the Iowa Right to Farm law.

A panel discussion will be held at the conclusion of the meeting.

The JFAN Annual Meeting is Co-sponsored by our community partners: Southeast Iowa Sierra Club, solar powered KRUU – 100.1 FM, Southeast Iowa Food Hub, Radish Magazine, and Little Village Magazine.

Breaking the Grip of Corporate Agriculture on Rural Iowa will begin at 7:15 pm. Admission is free; a donation of $5 is welcome to support JFAN’s mission.

JFAN is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation working to protect the quality of life of Jefferson County residents since 2005. Our efforts successfully help to deter the proliferation of CAFOs in Jefferson County.

For more information:

Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc.
P.O. Box 811
Fairfield, IA 52556
641-472-9332 – Direct
641-209-6600 – Voice Mail

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Republican Credits Dave Loebsack For Persistence on Rural Wireless

We all know what our Republican representatives – Blum, Young, King, Ernst, Grassley – are doing in congress.  They are either doing nothing or making things worse.  Here’s what Iowa’s only Democratic congressman is doing. Working across the aisle to get things done for us.  Check out this one-minute video or see text below.

“This amendment includes legislation I introduced – The Rural Wireless Access Act to make sure we’re getting wireless coverage throughout rural America. I’m constantly driving through the 24 counties of my district in Iowa and I can tell you there are a lot of areas where you cannot get a signal.

“Right now the maps the FCC is using to figure out where to invest resources tells a different story, but somehow low and behold all of Iowa is getting high speed 4G LTE wireless coverage. You can ask me or you can ask any of my constituents who will tell you that is simply not the case.

“My bill would fix this issue and make sure the FCC is using accurate data so that our coverage maps are accurate and investments are going to the areas that need them most.

“And I want to thank in particular congressman Costello for working on a bipartisan basis on this and Madame chair I appreciate your incorporating this into the larger bill.

Dave to Republican Chairman Marsha Blackburn: “I’m looking forward to reporting this out of committee and hopefully will get it out of the full committee and onto the floor and get it passed. Thanks so much.”

Chairman Blackburn: “Absolutely, and you deserve that credit for being so persistent on this issue.”

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The Reynolds Budget Crisis Isn’t Going Away


picture credit: Iowa Starting Line

From the Iowa Democratic Party

Five years ago, our state had a budget surplus of nearly $1 billion dollars, but due to massive special interest tax giveaways by the Reynolds Administration, our state sits with a $350 million dollar deficit.

The failed fiscal policies of Governor Kim Reynolds and her administration caused the most drastic and last minute cuts to programs our state has ever seen.

Add your name today and demand a transparent, nonpartisan audit of the Iowa budget so we can see what Kim Reynolds is really up to.

Fewer and fewer of our hard earned tax dollars are going towards supporting our kids’ schools, our broken infrastructure, or even to those who keep us safe.

And now Reynolds is dodging accountability for her mismanagement.

Just look at the facts: The budget shortage went from $104 million to $13 million in just three months.

Did Reynolds “cook the books” to avoid a scandal?

Is she not paying our debts?

Where did the over $90 million dollars come from?

Iowans deserve the truth.

Step up and join us in demanding a transparent, nonpartisan audit of Kim Reynolds’ state budget.

Thank you,

The Iowa Democratic Party

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Budget, Kim Reynolds | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: If It Weren’t So Serious I’d Laugh Edition

(6.5 minutes)

So much of what is going on in politics is so ludicrous that it seems like our daily lives are a script written for Saturday  Night Live or a story from the Onion or from Andy Borowitz. It ain’t. When you hear stories like the current president not seeming to understand that Puerto Rico is part of the United States or that our governor suddenly averts a budget crisis with money appearing in the treasury from who knows where it sure feels like we are part of someone’s fertile comedic mind. Now reality is giving the comedic arts a run for their money.

With that as an intro, let me share this little joke from an online forum. The creator of this joke is 10 years old or so his Dad claims:

Q: “How is Trump like a Halloween pumpkin?”  A: “They are both orange on the outside, hollow on the inside and should be thrown out in November.”

So here we go with our weekly (or maybe better ‘weakly’?) attempt to keep up with the news.

1) Who made big headlines last Sunday by leaving a football game before it even started?

2) Fires continue to race through what particular agricultural section of California?

3) What Republican governor threatened to leave his party if the rifts aren’t fixed?

4) Talk about fake. What presidential impersonator will be headlining the Iowa Democrats fall fundraiser November 27th?

5) The current president declared the “disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write” when asked a question concerning what plans for our nuclear arsenal?

6) A suspected anthrax outbreak is blamed for the death of more than 100 what in Namibia last week?

7) The Canadian division of what once giant American retailer is set to liquidate its assets and go out of business?

8) 55 years ago tomorrow, Oct. 16, 1962, the US became aware of what in Cuba in an incident that threatened nuclear war?

9) Speaking of nuclear war, what Republican senator stated last week that Trump  “may be setting the U.S. on the path to World War III.”?

10) Good old partisan Chuck Grassley claims that what rifle accessory was “made legal in the Obama Administration”?

11) The current president announced he would not certify nuclear treaty compliance with what country last week?

12) As part of his tweet storms this week, the current president threatened to pull FEMA and the military from humanitarian mission where?

13) The current president used an appearance by what former Sec. Of State to claim his guest was tired of paying high Obamacare premiums?

14) October 18th, 1954 Texas Instruments ushers in the electronics age by introducing what for sale to the public?

15) An obviously hurt president challenged his Sec. of State to a battle of what kind of test? (to prove he wasn’t a moron, I guess?)

16) In sports, the US men’s team failed to qualify, but Iceland’s men’s team did qualify for what world contest next year?

17) Harvey Weinstein, what did he do?

18) Yet what other Republican senator – from a neighboring state – came in for harsh words from the current president?

19) What long established group for boys and young men will begin admitting girls in 2018?

20) Will they or won’t they? Will NFL players be forced to stand for the national anthem like the current president claims or not stand like the NFL commissioner claims?

Andy Borowitz on Facebook: Obamacare combines two things Trump hates: Obama and the verb “to care.”


1) VP Mike Pence. Who cares why?

2) the wine country of northern California

3) Kasich of Ohio. Don’t hold your breath

4) Alec Baldwin

5) his supposed plans to increase our arsenal ten fold

6) hippos

7) Sears

8) missiles – this was the beginning of the Cuban missile crisis

9) Bob Corker from Tennessee

10) bump stocks. Instead of shifting blame why not fix the problem, Chuckles?

11) Iran

12) Puerto Rico

13) Henry Kissinger. 94YO Henry Kissinger who surely has nothing to do with the ACA

14) the transistor radio

15) IQ test. Yes, he really did

16) Soccer’s World Cup

17) a long history of sexual harassment

18) Ben Sasse from Nebraska

19) Boy Scouts

20) My guess is players will still kneel and set off another tweet storm.

The best quote from last week from Senator Bob Corker:   It is a “shame” that the “White House has become an adult day care center.” 

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Humor | Leave a comment