This Is Iowa? This Is So Sad

This story popped up Thursday. So sad that folks who work a full time job in Iowa have to turn for aid. Credit this to 12 continuous years of republican leadership in Iowa under Branstadt and Reynolds that have suppressed wages, busted unions, given huge tax breaks to the wealthy and will eventually bankrupt the state. 

The only thing keeping us afloat now is a big infusion of federal money to help folks during the pandemic. Reynolds has chosen to spend it on tax cuts, “hardening” schools and tax cuts. It will catch up to us.

From the iowacapitoldispatch:  

“Bobby Chase’s income as a full-time cook at an Ames pizza restaurant forces him to choose between paying for groceries or rent for the month.

“There are places that don’t want to give hours or a pay that actually makes sure people can pay their bills or for food,” Chase said.

Local food pantries in Ames help him resolve this dilemma. One week out of every month, Chase visits multiple food banks in Ames to stock up on groceries. Even with the support, he still finds himself rationing his food and barely having enough to make it through the month.

Chase is one of many employed Iowans who are increasingly relying on food bank services to make up for rising costs as Iowa food pantries are seeing an increase in services.

Most food bank recipients are employed

Des Moines Area Religious Council’s Chief Executive Officer Matt Unger said policymakers who attempt to write off high food insecurity as a workforce issue are wrong. Over a third of recipients are outside of the workforce age. In May, 32% of the council’s food assistance aid went to children and 13% of recipients were 65 years or older. Meanwhile, only 16% of recipients in May were unemployed and Unger said some work multiple jobs.

“There is a lot of work to do beyond just looking at this and pigeonholing it as an issue of people being employed or not,” Unger said.

Much more at the article. Food banks are hurting. People fall just outside the income limits, but with rising prices for shelter and transportation they are more in need than ever.

Twelve plus years of poor leadership at the state level by Republicans are a major factor in this situation.

So sad that in the very breadbasket of the world we have people go hungry. Especially sad to think about on Independence Day.  

Donate to the food banks if you are able. Be sure to register and vote for leaders who will take a more common sense approach.

Posted in Economy, food, Food Insecurity | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Independence Day Edition

cheaper, less problems (4 minutes)

Elmo Receives Vasectomy In PSA On Preventing Unwanted Pregnancies (from the Onion)  

NEW YORK—In an effort to raise awareness of the medical procedure after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Sesame Workshop released a public service announcement Thursday on preventing unwanted pregnancies that featured Elmo receiving a vasectomy. “There was a little pinch, but that was okay,” said Elmo, who explained to viewers that the elective surgical procedure for male sterilization was safe and over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, making it a great option for people who don’t currently want to have children. “Elmo was real scared at first, but the nice nurse told Elmo that the doctor can reverse the vasectomy when I’m ready to be a daddy. It only took 15 minutes to make the two incisions on my scrotum, and then snip! Elmo’s infertile now!” Elmo then asked some local children to help him count up to seven to show viewers how many days of recovery he would need before being able to have sex again.

We could use a little of the Onion type of humor after what SCOTUS has done to us and the planet.

A) What Trump crony outed himself when he tweeted “Contrary to her false testimony she was never present when I asked for a pardon.”?

B) The SCOTUS ruled that what body must make specific environmental rules Thursday?

C) A couple of disasters last week. One involved a train/ dump truck collision at an unmarked RR crossing in what state?

D) The other disaster involved the attempt smuggle foreigners into the US in what kind of conveyance in an ultra hot Texas?

E) The 50th star was added to the US flag on July 4th of what year?

F) Just a reminder that our neighbors to the north also celebrate their day of becoming a country (Canada Day) in July on what date every year?

G) What US basketball player was put on trial Friday in Russia on what appears to be a trumped up drug charge?

H) Twenty-five years ago July 1st, what territory did Britain return to China?

I) The nation was agog Tuesday when what young assistant to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed some very damaging information on the insurrection?

J) Immediately following this testimony, the January 6th committee issued a subpoena for what Trump aide?

K) John Adams felt that Independence should be celebrated on July 2 since that was the day that what happened?

L) July 1, 1863 was the beginning of what major battle of the Civil War?

M) What extreme right wing news website declared Trump was “unfit to be anywhere near power ever again,”?

N) The Big Ten will get much bigger in the next few seasons as it looks like what two schools will apply for membership?

O) In a scary development SCOTUS announced they will hear a case next year that would allow what body to decide how a state’s electoral votes are cast?

P) Who signed their name in the largest letters on the Declaration of Independence?

Q) Finland and Sweden were officially invited to join NATO after what member dropped its objections?

R) What country defaulted on its foreign debt when it failed to make a $100 million interest payment?

S) What section of the transportation industry is experiencing major problems because of short staffing?

T) How many people lived in the United Colonies on July 4th, 1776?

The last seven years were the seven hottest years on record, you f*cking morons. – TheTweetOfGod

And SCOTUS neuters the EPA!

Answers:

A) Rudy Giuliani

B) Congress instead of the EPA

C) Missouri

D) A semi-trailer

E) 1960

F) July 1st

G) Brittney Griner

H) Hong Kong

 I) Cassidy Hutchison

J) Pat Cippolone

K) Congress declared independence. The Declaration was released on July 4th.

L) Gettysburg

M) the Washington Examiner

N) Southern California and UCLA

O) the state legislature – and thus democracy will die

P) John Hancock

Q) Turkey

R) Russia

S) Airlines 

T) 2.5 million

it’s still kind of wild that we let Putin have three Supreme Court picks. – Jeff Tiedrich

Please have a safe and sane Fourth

Posted in #nevertrump, Humor | Leave a comment

“A Danger Like Our Republic Has Never Seen”

Liz Cheney calls out former president at the Reagan Library.

Gets a standing ovation (4 minutes)

The Republican Party is unraveling. Like everything else the former president touched his party is about to go up in flames.

They will be limping in to the midterm election with three extremely unpopular SCOTUS decisions on guns, abortion and the environment. 

They have a huge albatross around their necks called Trump. They can’t break with him or they lose his supporters which are the biggest single voting bloc in their party. But they can’t continue to support a person who has been exposed as the leader of a violent attempt to overthrow our government. The voters against him outnumber his supporters.

And the young voters are especially angry as the SCOTUS condemned them to a life of dealing with climate change without the tools to do it with. And women are really angry because abortion has been outlawed and they can soon expect contraception to be outlawed by a rogue SCOTUS.

And they will have to try to defend their support of a person who has been shown to have led a violent rebellion against our democratically elected government.

I sure wouldn’t want to be Grassley this fall. 

Or Kim Reynolds whose record has been horrible. And now she will be focused on making Iowa a hell to live in for women.

I wouldn’t want to be Ashley Hinson a big Trump supporter who votes against the good of her state, then pretends she didn’t.

Pretty much the same for Miller-Meeks who makes things up out of thin air.

Opposing them we have folks who stand for maintaining our democracy, who tell us the truth, who work for Iowans. Simply stated they have nothing to hide and strong records of action.

Admiral Mike Franken – let’s send a distinguished Admiral to represent us and help save our democracy as he did fir four decades.

Diedre DeJear – Honest! Works for the common Iowan, not the corporations!

Liz Mathis – the kind of person Iowans can be proud of.

Christina Bohannan – up by the bootstraps story who never forgot where she came from.

Cindy Axne – She has been doing great things for Iowa. She doesn’t have to make up stories and hope that her audience doesn’t read.

Can Ryan Melton pull off a stunning upset in the 4th District? Stay tuned!

This 4th of July vow to help return the country and Iowa back to the days when the government worked for the people, nit just for the corporations and the wealthy.

Posted in #nevertrump, 2022 Election campaign, Charles Grassley, Kim Reynolds | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy 4th Of July: SCOTUS Says Make It Burn

As we come upon the nation’s birthday The Supreme Court gave the country a huge birthday present – the ability of polluters (read corporations) to pollute to their heart’s content with little to stop them. Take a deep breath – with a mask on if you are in a crowd. It may be the last clean breath we get.

If you missed it, the SCOTUS ruled in West Virginia v. EPA that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) does not have power to issue regulations on the environment. They only have power to enforce regulations that Congress passed. Environmental sciences is so vast, so complex and so intricate that few in congress would have the expertise to create regulations. Not to mention that the reactionary Republicans would try to block any regulation anyway.

This essentially pretty much neuters the EPA and will open the US to massive polluting. Or at least that is the way I under stand it. If you are young, if you have children, if you have grandchildren, all these folks’ future just got very scary.

 A tweet from Paul Krugman:

Undoing Roe is awful. Kneecapping environmental regulation is existential. This Supreme Court has just come down on the side of civilizational collapse.

The only way to overrule this decision and all the other gawd-awful decisions of probably the worst Court in our history is for congress to act – very, very unlikely – or for congress to set rules for the Supreme Court and increase the numbers on the Court. That is very unlikely also. 

So until we see some movement to reign in the Court I suspect we are stuck with with this horrible decision, the horrible Dobbs decision, the horrible Bruen v. New York decision on carrying guns. Even more than that, we can expect that next year will be be even worse. We already know that there will be a case that will decide if a state legislature can override the popular vote and cast the state’s electoral votes for whom the legislature decides. Pretty much ends democracy.

Once more this mid-term election just became the most important in the history of the country. Republicans must be voted out of office and replaced with good Democrats. If we do not do that this may be the last viable election we have in this country.

This is truly a scary time. 

Posted in #nevertrump, 2022 Election campaign, Environment, SCOTUS | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis

In July, Blog for Iowa will present some different news sources on Fridays as the regular editors take summer break. This week is a blog post from International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War on the relationship between gun violence and public health from the IPPNW Peace and Health Blog.

The 8th Biennial Meeting of States of the UN Programme of Action (UN PoA) on Small Arms and Light Weapons convened June 27, 2022 at the UN headquarters in New York City. This 2001 international agreement’s overarching goal was to reduce human suffering. Over two decades later, the goal has not been realized. Health effects of the horrific gun violence that continues worldwide ranges from death to physical injury to mental and emotional consequences that can last a lifetime.

IPPNW has advocated for decades that gun violence is a public health crisis, not just a police and security issue. We submitted the following statement to be delivered to States Parties of the UN PoA: (click on the link below to read the statement):

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis
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Watch Trump Supporters Forced To Look At January 6 Testimony

Jordan Klepper of The Daily Show shows Trump supporters video of testimony by Bill Barr that the stolen election lie was a bunch of BS.  We’ve all seen Trump supporters spouting their conspiracy theories but this Daily Show segment is somewhat different because they actually take in the information Klepper shows them on his tablet and they try to assimilate it (not all of them)..  Well done, Daily Show.

Paul Deaton will be covering for me for the month of July as I take my annual break and Dave Bradley will still be around on weekends. See you in August!

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A Case Of Judicial Gaslighting?

Prairie Dog

From the Summer 2022 issue of  The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter. The PP is  funded entirely by reader subscription,  available only in hard copy for $15/yr.  Send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244. Click here for archived issues.

by David Leshtz

A sixteen-year veteran of Scott County’s emergency dispatch system answered a 911 call from a woman screaming over and over, “Help me, my baby is dead.” The woman’s high-pitched screams continued for more than two minutes.

The dispatcher eventually got the woman’s address and dispatched first responders. She soon heard a report from a police officer who arrived on the scene and found a dead infant that appeared to have been attacked with a claw hammer. In the months that followed, the
dispatcher couldn’t shake the mother’s screams from her mind or her ears. Loud noises, especially, would trigger debilitating anxiety. She sought medical help. A counselor and two doctors diagnosed her with PTSD resulting from the call.

Demonstrating the new knife’s edge of the Iowa Supreme Court, its judges ruled by a single vote in early June that this dispatcher had suffered a workers’ compensation injury.

Iowa’s workers’ compensation system is a hundred years old. It has, however imperfectly, evolved with the times. About forty years ago, Iowa recognized that a person who suffers a physical injury at work might reasonably suffer depression, anxiety, or other mental health diagnoses stemming from the work injury. Mental health injuries were recognized to be part of the work injury deserving of treatment and, potentially, compensation.

In the 1990’s, the Iowa Supreme Court recognized that a mental work injury can occur even without physical trauma. In the Dunlavey decision, the Court found that cumulative workplace stress can be a workers’ compensation injury if it leads to a mental health diagnosis and the stressful experience was of a “greater magnitude” than a person in that job should reasonably expect.

Several years later, in the Brown decision, the Court addressed a single traumatic workplace situation – an employee being held up at gunpoint. Brown indicated that, though the injured worker must demonstrate a connection between the workplace
trauma and their mental health, they do not have to demonstrate their highly stressful incident was more stressful than one would expect.

In the recent Scott County decision, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the law – barely. Conservative Justice McDermott ably described the facts and the evolution of the law,
concluding that the Brown decision applied in this case; mental illness linked to one workplace event is a valid Iowa workers’ compensation claim. The Scott County dispatcher
need not demonstrate that calls received by other dispatchers were less stressful. Justice McDermott was joined by two other Governor Reynolds appointees and the lone remaining Democrat, Justice Appel. Unfortunately, there was caustic dissent from Scott County’s own Justice Waterman. In what might be described as judicial gaslighting,
Waterman accused McDermott and the other justices of making a “radical break with existing law.”

Waterman falsely argued that mental injury claims stemming from single traumatic incidents have always had to demonstrate that the stress experienced was greater than the dayto- day stressors of similarly situated employees. At times, Waterman’s opinion reads like an older lawyer trying to put the younger lawyer – McDermott – in his place.  Waterman was joined in his dissent by Justices Mansfield and McDonald.

Iowa law requires Supreme Court justices to retire at age 72. This means Justice Appel will soon be stepping down from the Court, which means that soon every justice will be a Governor Branstad or Reynolds appointee. With just six Republican appointees, this case
shows a balance between three reasonably conservative justices who still believe in the value of precedent and following the law, and three who are focused on a far-right outcome without letting the facts or the law get in their way.

PP Editor’s note: Alas, shortly after this article was written in which Justice McDermott was complimented for respecting judicial precedent, he voted to overturn precedent and find that there is no fundamental right to an abortion in Iowa.

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Iowa Democrats Make The Case For First

I’m not a caucus naysayer. I’ve gone to caucuses most of my adult life.  I want Iowa to continue to be first in the nation. I think we do a great job. In 2020 the Trumpsters jammed the reporting phone lines delaying the caucus results. The media went wild. It was Iowa’s “Dean scream.”  This didn’t get nearly enough blame or media attention.  Democrats are always afraid to be called sore losers or some other Republican generated insult. Anyway, I was proud of our three representatives who went before the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee to make the case to keep Iowa first.

Chair and state Rep. Ross Willburn, Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, House minority leader, and Scott Brennan, former IDP chair and RBC member, did an outstanding job of making the case for why Iowa should remain first in the nation. Give it a listen if you haven’t yet. Konfrst’s upbeat, determined, high energy style was perfectly suited to the task. Willburn gave an impressive and inspirational closing:

If I could take 30 seconds Mr. Chair, just to say that one of the pictures was a picture of me and the flag in the video of the first Iowa Colored Infantry in the Civil war and that was hand sewn by Black women in Keokuk and Muscatine, Iowa. I’m the great great grandson of a gentleman who fought under that flag and survived a battle in Arkansas, was blinded, came back to the midwest and now his great great grandson is the first Black mayor of Iowa City, the first Black representative in Ames, and now the first Black chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, so I look forward to working with you as we go on (applause).

The Iowa Democrats’ presentation starts at 55:20 and ends at 1:34:20.

The Rules and Bylaws committee will deliberate at their July meeting, then finalize their decision and vote at their August 5th & 6th meeting, with the full DNC voting at the September 8,9, 10 meeting.

 

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mike Franken Schools Grassley on Leadership on Iowa Press

There is no doubt Iowa needs Mike Franken to replace Chuck Grassley. On this weekend’s edition of Iowa Press Franken calmly and surely and without partisan talking points, showed viewers, in a way that the Iowa press has not, that Grassley is not doing his job in the office of senator. Asked about his reactions to January 6, Franken said:

Well, I don’t believe I’m much different from any Iowan who wants to ensure that we come clean if we think a transgression occurred. And everybody involved needs to come clean. What happened? Why was it, what occurred? What do you mean, Senator Grassley, that you thought Vice President Pence wasn’t going to be there and you would be president pro-tem? What did you really mean by that? How would you have ruled on the matters before you? What did you know? And don’t let your staff do this business. Walk in front of the committee, swear an oath and make a statement. Be a leader. Step out. You’re supposed to be that individual. You’re the senior Senator, almost in all of the Senate. Act like it. And he’s not. – Admiral Michael Franken

Erin Murphy wins worst questions this week attempting two gun related gotcha questions that failed because he didn’t do his homework and Franken wasn’t there to push BS. He actually knows stuff. And when he doesn’t he says so.

If you are interested the full transcript is available on Iowapbs.org. I bet Murphy does his homework first next time he plans to ask Franken a gotcha question. That said, it was really a pretty good program. Franken was very good and the Iowa Press panel seems to be improving somewhat. To our readers who say they stopped watching Iowa Press long ago because they are hostile to Democrats while sweet-talking Republicans, this one is relatively safe to watch.

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Sanders, Warren Propose SS Increase

FDR 0 The New Bill of Rights (2 minutes)

Something that has been lost in the incredible assault on America and American values that has been the center of our politics for the past decade or more is the vision that progressives had and still have for America. Visions of a better life for all doesn’t make the headlines on the cable newsers, conflict and death do. We have had plenty of that lately.

A proposal from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren reawakened my desire for America to once again dream of what can be. Our founders did not break away from Britain so they could become property of those wealthy in our society. True, that was an element of society back then, but the trajectory has been toward freedom for all.

America made great strides toward real freedom for all citizens from FDR’s New Deal up until 1980 when Ronald Reagans insane ‘trickle down’ economics reversed much of the gains made by the common American. It gets worse each year.

During the Clinton years things were looking up. Had Al Gore become president (after all he did win but SCOTUS short circuited the ballot count in Florida) America would have taken a hugely different direction. Clinton’s economics had the country on a path to get out of debt. With that out of the way, who knows where Al Gore would have led us.

But SCOTUS intervened and Bush got us into a costly war and occupation, bankrupted the country and nearly plunged the world into an unprecedented economic catastrophe. Democrats had dreams of some form of Medicare for All, attacking the climate challenge and the curse of the gun pandemic may have been blunted.

So when this little story snuck its way into some of the lesser news sites, my heart did a little flip.

While the mainstream (and nearly monopolistic) media is setting the midterms up as a quasi Biden v Trump rematch or possibly a referendum on President Biden, the story that Senators Sanders and Warren were introducing a bill to stabilize Social Security and raise the cap on income taxable for Social Security revved up my memory of some of the grand visions that Democrats have for our country.   

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren led a group of lawmakers Thursday in unveiling legislation that would expand Social Security’s modest annual benefits by $2,400 and ensure the program is fully funded for the next 75 years.

The benefit boost under the Social Security Expansion Act would be funded by lifting the cap on the maximum amount of income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. This year the cap was $147,000—meaning millionaires stopped paying into the program in late February.

“It is time to scrap the cap, expand benefits, and fully fund Social Security.”

If passed, the expansion bill would apply the payroll tax to all income, including capital gains, above $250,000 a year, a change that would only raise taxes on around 7% of U.S. households.

“At a time when half of older Americans have no retirement savings and millions of senior citizens are living in poverty, our job is not to cut Social Security,” Sanders (I-Vt.), head of the Senate Budget Committee and a co-chair of the Expand Social Security Caucus, said in a statement.”

YES WE CAN! Democrats must not forget that in America:

    We can afford GOOD schools for every child.

  • We can afford medical care for all 
  • We can afford food for all
  • We can afford a dignified retirement for all
  • We can afford (we simply must) stand up to the crisis of climate change
  • We can assured to house our citizens 
  • We can afford good paying jobs with decent benefits for all 

The list goes on. This is the year we finally say NO to the insane Reagan economics that have so distorted our nation for 40 years. It is time to say NO to the crazy culture wars that have us attacking teachers and doctors and nurses. It is time to say NO to policies that has our citizens armed to the teeth with weapons of war.

And most of all it is way past time to boot out those who use racism and bigotry to divide us and mislead us. In short we can dream again but we must get behind the leaders who will help us achieve this dreams.

Posted in 2022 Election campaign, Health Care & Medicare, Medicare for all, SCOTUS, Social Security | Tagged , , | Leave a comment