Iowa’s Republican House Delegation Votes To Default

Quite a difference between what Democrats will do and what Republicans will do

Once again Iowa’s Republican members of the US House shamed the state by voting not to raise the debt ceiling and thus cause the US to default on its debts. This was not a vote to spend more money, but to pay the bills for the debt that all congresses have run up since the beginning of the republic. 

Were the US to default on paying its bills – literally refusing to pay debt it incurred through our democratic process – it would throw the international economic systems into chaos. Voting against raising the debt ceiling is a vote against the country itself. That is what Iowa’s Republican delegation voted for Thursday evening.

Perhaps Iowa’s Republicans do not understand what such a vote means. Makes a person wonder how people who attain the power to cause such potential damage could be SO ignorant of the consequences of their votes. How can Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra be in congress and be so totally uninformed of the consequences? 

My guess is that the information they get in their lives is so slanted and false that they are incapable of making well considered decisions. If that is true then Iowa’s voters have an obligation to vote them out of office due to their own self-imposed ignorance. Iowa and the country can not continue to support such ignorance that leads to such bad decisions.

Remember that the Republican Party contributed mightily to the debt that they now vote to refuse to pay. 

  • Since the days of Richard Nixon taking the Viet Nam war out of his budget to the days of 
  • Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts for the wealthy and military build up that greatly increased the debt to the days of 
  • Bush I’s tax cuts for the wealthy to 
  • his son’s (George W’s) HUGE tax cuts for the wealthy and his wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. These were wars for which there were no taxing to pay for the wars. The first war on a credit card in our history to
  • The previous president whose $1.7 Trillion tax cut for the wealthy really bumped the debt.

All those tax cuts for the wealthy have done nothing to stimulate the economy as was promised. All they have done is moved tax payer money from the poor and middle class to the wealthiest 1%. 

Iowa’s Republicans in congress ignore the massive spending, unpaid wars and massive give-aways to the wealthy to jibber-jabber about Democratic proposals to stimulate the economy. Analyses of the Democratic proposals have shown that the spending proposed and the taxes proposed will pay for the spending. They also show that real stimulation to the economy will pour money into the economy that may pay down some of the debt.

By their own votes Iowa’s House Republicans have shown themselves to be simply too ignorant of the issues – especially economic issues – to remain in congress. They are either incidentally ignorant or purposely ignorant. Either way they are too ignorant of issues to remain nonsuch powerful positions.

From Heather Cox Richardson we also are reminded of this unintended consequence:  

The struggle in Ukraine illustrates the deep connection between the strength of the U.S. economy and our national security—something to keep in mind when former president Trump calls for Republicans to refuse to lift the debt ceiling and force the country to default on our debts in order to try to kill the Democrats’ agenda.

We have a duty to remove them next fall. Iowans have excellent choices in Iowa-01 in the person of Christina Bohannon and in in Iowa-02 in the person of the highly experienced Liz Mathis.

Posted in 2022 Election campaign, Republican hypocrisy, Republican Policy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Slowly I Learn Greek Edition

“It’s that Time Of Year” 30 seconds:

What was the old joke? War is America’s way to teach its children geography. Well it looks like the updated version of this is epidemics are America’s way to slowly teach its children the Greek alphabet. So far we have learned Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, some lesser letters, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi and Omicron. More to come I hope not.

It feels like the world teetered a bit last week, but it feels like we have the right people in the right places to prop it back up and keep it rolling. Last year I was hopefully optimistic. This year I know we are headed the right direction. If the anti-vaxxers would just quit trying to commit slow suicide and get a jab for all of us.

Lots of news last week.

A) Let’s start with perhaps the biggest story. The SCOTUS heard arguments in a case specifically aimed at overturning what landmark case?

B) During those arguments, Justice Amy Coney Barret said that adoption could “obviate the need for” what?

C) What European country announced it would enforce an extreme lockdown for unvaccinated individuals beginning in February after a parliamentary vote?

D) Once again the US is stunned by a high school shooting in what city?

E) Where did the suspect in the above shooting get his weapon?

F) Former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, became the butt of derision after he called a story in his own book what?

G) Speaking of books, how is that new Chris Christie book doing?

H) Time to sneak in some ‘time of year’ questions. Although the solstice is December 21, when does the sun start setting later in the day?

I) The debt ceiling was once more extended to February thus avoiding a year end disaster. How did Iowa’s congress members vote on the debt ceiling extension?

J) Some news on the labor front last week. What major player in cereal with a huge plant in Omaha settled their strike last week?

K) On the east coast of Iowa, what long term project connecting Iowa and Illinois has finally been completed after 4 years?

L) Tuesday is the 80th anniversary of what one of America’s most infamous tragedies?

M) What TV doctor has announced he will run for senate in Pennsylvania despite the fact he doesn’t live there?

N) The far right made a big to do when the Vice President bought what on a trip abroad?

O) In Tucson, Arizona a police officer was fired after he shot what kind of  person in an alleged shopping incident?

P) Kind of a Cinderella story. Susan Arnold was chosen as the first female Chair of the Board for what major entertainment company?

Q) The high profile trial of what consort of Jeffery Epstein began last week?

R) What now former head of Twitter announced he was leaving Twitter as of Monday?

S) What CNN news anchor has been indefinitely suspended?

T) Hundreds of what items were found in an Alabama ravine by local authorities?

life hack: avoid the stress of following the government lifting/reinstating of mask mandates by ignoring them and wearing a mask regardless. – shaun tweet

Answers:

A) Roe v. Wade

B) Abortion

C) Germany – unvaccinated will only be allowed to go to things like grocery stores and drug stores.

D) Oxford, Michigan

E) It was an unsecured gun in his parents house.

F) “Fake News”

G) It has sold 2,289 copies so far, making it one of the biggest flops in history

H) next week on December 13th

I) Axne voted to extend and avoid a disaster. MillerMeeks, Hinson and Feenstra voted No and for a possible disaster.

J) Kellog’s

K) the I-74 bridge

L) Pearl Harbor 

M) Dr. Mehmet Oz

N) A copper cooking pan

O) The victim in this case was wheel chair bound and was shot 9 times in the back. He was alleged to have stolen a tool box from Walmart.

P) Disney

Q) Ghislaine Maxwell

R) Jack Dorsey

S) Chris Cuomo. He used his connection to try to help his brother the governor identify those who were accusing his brother of sexual harassment

T) Fed-Ex packages.

Hey Lauren Boebert, maybe not a good idea to call a colleague a terrorist when you’re the one who brings a gun to work. – Andy Borowitz

Posted in #trumpresistance, Covid-19, Humor | Leave a comment

Covid Kim Battles The Public Good

photo courtesy of progressiowa.com

I had a dental appointment this week. Thanks to the Covid-19 it was my first visit in 2 years. I do not like to put so much space between dental visits. I go to the U of Iowa Dental School. One would think that being a public institution set up for public health that the good folks at the Dental School would be tops in Covid-19 preventative measures.

Well boy, was I ever surprised when I went to make an appointment. I asked a simple question that has to be on the mind of everyone who is about to access any kind of health care – Will my provider be vaccinated? I thought this was a fairly straight forward question. And I expected a fairly straight forward answer. I was told that that information can not be given out.

So now I am in the position of possibly risking getting a virus that may kill me or continuing to postpone needed care. I chose to make the appointment, but not before a few calls to the Dental School and several choice words with their public liaison. While I understand there are privacy rules, this seemed over the top. Why could there not have been some indication that the providers were vaccinated.

Since probably a large portion of the Dental Schools patients have their dental care paid by some federal agency, I would guess that the School would come under the guidelines that President Biden set out several months ago that health facilities that get payments from federal programs will have a mandatory vaccination. 

Monday a federal judge in Louisiana stopped the administration’s mandate for now. No doubt this came as good news to Covid Kim. Not sure if this was the case she had our state join in. It did accomplish what she wanted however. While the public good should be the goal of governmental leaders, since Trump was installed as president, disruption has been Republican leadership goal. 

A decision such as this will certainly cause disruption. While the governor will claim this is a victory for freedom, I think most of us would call bullshit on this premise. There is nothing in any constitution or other official document that allows people to cause other people suffering. Most of our laws are based on stopping people from causing pain, damage and bodily harm to others. 

Thom Hartmann in his daily newsletter reminds us that SCOTUS addressed this very issue in 1905:

This (not getting vaccinated – ed.), the Court ruled, was a patent absurdity.

“But the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction,” the majority wrote in the very next sentence, “does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members.

“Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy. Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others. …

“Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”

Being a health care worker with a highly transmissible and possibly deadly disease working in an environment where people are extremely vulnerable sounds to me like the very definition of what should be a crime. Yet our governor supports keeping our system disrupted by allowing providers who potentially have a deadly virus to work around the often vulnerable customers of the health care system.

I would hope most of us would think that the very least requirement that a worker in a public health care system must show is that they are vaccinated against highly contagious diseases. Without that, public health care systems become public spreader systems.

What this does accomplish is to disrupt centuries of work to instill trust in our public systems. As this distrust spreads private business may fill the void. Such a vacuum fill will be a poor substitute, since the private businesses will be much less reliable and less available to the poor.

Just to add to the disruption Reynolds is causing, let’s take a look at the concept of paying unemployment insurance to those who voluntarily leave their jobs rather than get a covid vaccination as their jobs required. This was originated here in Iowa. Back in the old days – a couple of weeks ago – someone who left their jobs for failure to follow orders would be laughed at if they tried to get UI when they purposely left their jobs.

But it is so important to Reynolds and her band of disruptors that the unvaccinated be kept unvaccinated that they will pay them with our money. As long as a large chunk of society stays unvaccinated, it will affect the economy by keeping people home away from stores. Most political students believe as the economy goes, so goes the election. Keeping a high level of unvaccinated will keep the virus spreading and mutating will be a damper on the economy. So Republican governors therefore will pay unvaccinated with our money.

Here is a synopsis on the state of Unemployment Insurance for the unvaccinated from slate.com:

On Oct. 20, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a crackdown on unemployment benefits. She required recipients to double their job-search activity, and she imposed strict audits—with the threat of cutting off payments to anyone who fell short—to ensure that “no Iowan who is receiving unemployment benefits unnecessarily remains on the sidelines” of the job market.

Nine days later, however, Reynolds signed legislation that pays vaccine refusers to do just that: sit on the sidelines. Under the new law, anyone “discharged from employment for refusing to receive a vaccination against COVID-19 … shall not be disqualified for benefits.”

Reynolds is one of many Republican politicians who openly advocate, and in some states have successfully imposed, a two-tiered system of unemployment insurance. It’s not a left-wing policy of money for everyone or a right-wing policy of money for no one. It’s a policy of pernicious hypocrisy: welfare for vaccine refusers, tough love for everyone else.

Under these new laws, any worker who gets fired for broadly defined “misconduct,” such as flunking an employer-imposed drug test, is disqualified from unemployment benefits—but employees who refuse COVID vaccination are glorified, protected, and subsidized. The state must guarantee, in Reynolds’ words, that these reckless freeloaders “will still receive unemployment benefits despite being fired for standing up for their beliefs.”

The GOP’s coddling of vaccine refusers makes a joke of its rhetoric about self-reliance. This summer, for instance, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ended the federal government’s supplemental COVID-era unemployment benefits. “We are paying people to stay home. That needs to change,” he declared. But two weeks ago, Lee signed legislation that pays vaccine refusers to stay home. Under Tennessee’s new policy, the state’s normal rule about employees fired for “misconduct”—that they lose their eligibility for unemployment benefits—can no longer be applied to anyone who is terminated for “refusing to receive a vaccination for COVID-19.” 

I sure hope our press is ready with tons of questions and follow ups next year when Covid Kim stands for re-election. It is long past time that she be held accountable for her policies that have kept Iowa near the top of Covid cases and Covid deaths.

Posted in 2022 Election campaign, Covid-19, Kim Reynolds, Republican Policy | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Reminder: Republicans Only Anti-Abortion For Politics

You may remember this segment of the Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” from the primary year of 2016.  We have posted it here several times before. Sam Bee does a great job of explaining how evangelicals were maneuvered into becoming the shock troops against abortion WELL AFTER Roe v. Wade (10 minutes)

This and its companion video posted at the end explain how the Republican Party took evangelicals major issue of race and were able to twist the evangelicals desire to maintain segregation into an anti-abortion movement. 

For many in the evangelical community this is the only issue that matters. However, as noted in Sam Bee’s videos and in many historical treatises, before Republicans were able to use abortion to turn evangelicals into the anti-abortion fanatics they are today, few in the religious community cared nada about abortion except for Catholics. As a matter of fact, abortion was seen as another tool for families.

From out of the past in Politico Magazine, Professor Randall Balmer then at Dartmouth traced the anti-abortion movement back to its segregationist roots:

“One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.

<<skip>>

But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism. 

***

Today, evangelicals make up the backbone of the pro-life movement, but it hasn’t always been so. Both before and for several years after Roe, evangelicals were overwhelmingly indifferent to the subject, which they considered a “Catholic issue.” In 1968, for instance, a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing “individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility” as justifications for ending a pregnancy. In 1971, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” The convention, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976.

So what then were the real origins of the religious right? It turns out that the movement can trace its political roots back to a court ruling, but not Roe v. Wade.

What follows is the story of “Christian schools” founded by evangelicals to keep education segregated having their tax exempt status taken away due to their refusal to integrate. While the action to repeal their tax exemptions were started under Nixon, the ruling came during the Carter administration. So, in a pattern that would soon become familiar, a Democrat takes the blame for a Republican action.

How did abortion tie in? Please read the story to get the full cause and effect. However, Sam Bee’s part two may help fill in (7 minutes):

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Revisiting The John Deere Strike Settlement With Dr. Peter Orazem

Dr. Peter Orazem, professor of economics at ISU analyzes the outcome of the John Deere UAW strike.

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Mike Franken: All For One And One For All

ICYMI  – Here is eleven minutes of Admiral Mike Franken, one of the Dems who hopes to take on Grassley.  Note that Dave Muhlbauer has dropped out of the race since this was broadcast.

“Iowans deserve a leader who will represent every Iowan and use leadership to help heal the divisiveness between us.” – Mike Franken

Follow Mike Franken on Facebook and  Twitter

Check out his campaign website at FrankenforIowa.com

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CCS Push Back And Climate Change

Corn ethanol

When we took the land after the 1832 Black Hawk Purchase, it was decimated to make neatly cut rectangles of farmland. People are used to that now. Today Iowa farmland is used mostly as a production landscape for hogs, cattle, corn and beans. For too long, Iowa’s air, water and land have been used like an open sewer to support these operations. Farmers are used to what they know and don’t want to change. That’s true for people besides farmers.

Iowa is not an empty place where someone can do what they want with the land. A utility should not be able to build pipelines and transmission lines, or construct large-scale wind farms and solar arrays with impunity. The current crop of Iowa farmers is possessive of the right to their land and to use it as they see fit. They believe they know better than government what works here and what doesn’t. They don’t want infringement on their rights. The myth of farmers as the original environmentalists persists despite evidence to the contrary.

When solutions to the climate crisis require cooperation between large corporations and Iowa farmers there is resistance.

The new carbon capture and sequestration proposals of Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures will confront these well-established beliefs. Even though a prominent farmer, Bruce Rastetter, is behind Summit, the rollout will follow a path familiar to anyone who knows the history of electricity transmission lines and oil pipelines here. Farmers will push back.

Donnelle Eller of Gannett stated the obvious about Summit in Monday’s Iowa City Press Citizen, “The company, a spinoff of Bruce Rastetter’s Alden-based Summit Agricultural Group, says the project would help ethanol and other energy-intensive ag industries remain viable as the nation seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 to address climate change.” The Iowa governor spoke about a low carbon economy, but failed to mention climate change or how CCS fits in such a framework. This underscores a key problem with CCS. They are just out there and bottom line, it’s backers don’t give a hoot about climate change. It’s another opportunity for capital investment which could yield big profits.

The sides are already lining up for this fight.

Opponents of CO2 pipelines have also been opponents of the Rock Island Clean Line and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rural Iowans do not speak of one mind on this yet a common theme is big money, not farmers, are behind these transmission schemes. They claim the voices of farmers are not being heard. They also claim climate change is a lie.

What is the purpose of CCS if not to address climate change? That’s the wrong question. These projects are about investing capital to get a return on investment. If the government is a source of start-up capital, more’s the better for investors. The words “climate change” aren’t needed in this transaction.

“The world must reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 in order to achieve the 1.5 degree Celsius global average temperature increase limit,” according to Summit’s website. “A dramatic increase in carbon capture and storage (CCS) is crucial to achieving net-zero CO2 emissions.”

The second sentence is unlikely to be accurate. The problem is Summit and Navigator seek to change nothing about industrial use of fossil fuels. They seek a profit from ethanol plants and other CO2 emitters who keep on doing what they are doing now. CCS has become a gigantic boondoggle instead of a solution to climate change.

“Climate and other environmental and public safety concerns about CO2 pipelines are important,” Ed Fallon wrote in a Nov. 11 email. “But as with Dakota Access Pipeline, in terms of mobilizing the broadest possible coalition of opponents, the strongest argument is the abuse of eminent domain.”

In a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board, Janna Swanson, whose land the Summit pipeline would cross, had this to say about the project and climate change:

There are a whole bunch of plans to mine our tax money for revenue and the excuse is Climate Change. When using that as an excuse then any action against humans is justified.

Summit Carbon Solutions will want the right of eminent domain. They will say that because of Climate Change that their business model is for public use.

When one paints with that wide of a brush then no one’s property is off limits for anything. No one has rights.

From an Iowa Utilities Board filing ID 4277288 under HLP-2021-0001 by Janna Swanson

Let’s be clear. Summit and Navigator are in the CCS business to make money, as much of it as they can. Comments like Swanson’s are setting up climate change as a talking point instead of the reality of extreme weather it is and that must be dealt with.

It is early in the process yet already many comments have been made to the Iowa Utilities Board regarding the potential CCS proposals of Summit and Navigator. If you’d like to make a comment, here’s the information.

Written comments or objections to the proposed pipeline can be filed electronically using the IUB’s Open Docket Comment Form, by email to customer@iub.iowa.gov, or by postal mail to the Iowa Utilities Board, Attn: Docket No. HLP-2021-0003 (Navigator) and/or Docket No. HLP-2021-0001 (Summit) , 1375 E. Court Ave., Des Moines, IA 50319.

The downside of the CCS approval process is it turns rural Iowans against a second science-based phenomenon. Only 56.5 percent of Iowans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. There is no inoculation against extreme weather made worse by climate change that Iowans already experience.

The resource page I wrote recently has been updated with new information. Check it out by clicking here.

Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Biden Remarks On Omicron

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Pulitzer Winner Reveals How To Save Iowa

 

“It’s a religious issue in Iowa that you cannot interfere with the production of livestock in any form and that’s handed down to us by Moses. Agriculture is our state religion and nothing will get in the way of it.” – Art Cullen

In this fascinating podcast on Heritage Radio NetworkThe Storm Lake Times editor Art Cullen expounds on what is wrong with Iowa agriculture and how to fix it.  He lays out just exactly why Iowa is so very stuck and provides what he says is a simple solution that will return us to a more holistic, sustainable farming economy.  Support the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation here

Here are a few highlights from this lively conversation.

The system

“…this is the way Bayer and Corteva and DowDuPont want it…the system is set up that way… They didn’t want local control in Iowa because they knew the Koch Brothers and Bayer and Monsanto couldn’t control 99 counties but they could control one statehouse…”

Politics is personal

“If you’re a young farmer… and you’re trying to hang on by your fingernails through the last 4 years of Trump’s trade wars –  the only way is to get that hog house and get another $20-30,000 in revenue…  it’s very difficult to break through that political culture where the guy you’re in church with is saying you’re gonna drive me off the farm if I can’t put in that hog house…”

Hope

“What will change our politics is the fact that everybody knows down deep – they see our soil blowing away and washing away into the Mississippi and down the Gulf of Mexico. There is a change of thinking going on in the midwest about agriculture that most people don’t appreciate and that change of thinking has affected Tom Vilsack as well.”

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What Is Causing Inflation?

Remember inflation didn’t just pop up out of nowhere on January 20, 2021. Remember also that the US is not alone in fighting inflation. The whole world is.

I believe the following makes fairly good sense.

When it comes to the economy in general the news is extremely good. Unemployment applications hit a 52 year low this week. Wages are up. The supply chain blockage seems to be breaking or broken. The CEO of Walmart is giving Biden major credit for his company heading into Christmas with full shelves.

The price of oil has actually gone down, but that price has not made it to the pump. Why? Not much any president can do about that.

With BBB about to go into effect, it looks to a lot of people that we are on the verge of a boom. Only Fox sees the cloud on all those silver linings. But they know that inflation is an area that scares most people. And inflation does not have to be real, but the perception and fear of inflation must be.

Posted in Biden-Harris, Corporate Greed, Economy | Tagged , | Leave a comment