Miller-Meeks v Bohannan In IA-01 An Easy Choice

IA-01 do you want this person to represent you in congress?

Or do you want this person to represent you in congress?

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Iowa House Democrats Have A Plan For That

Watch the Iowa House Democrats Blue Statehouse Alert LIVE every Tuesday on Facebook. Get updates from House Democratic Leader Rep. Jennifer Konfrst and Minority Whip Rep. Lindsay James!

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What Are Trump’s Civil And Criminal Vulnerabilities?

Al Franken speaks with Joyce Vance.  Very informative podcast.

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Rally To Restore Press Access At Iowa Capitol Wednesday


Join the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Iowa, League of Women Voters Linn County, and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa

Restore Press Access rally

West steps of the Iowa Capitol 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, from Noon – 1:00 p.m.

All who support the free press are welcome to attend. Masks are required.

The Iowa Senate [BFIA editor’s note: Republican controlled senate] has restricted journalists’ access to the Senate floor during session on the basis that it is difficult to define who is “media,” ignoring the fact that the Iowa courts and Iowa House have defined “media,” and the Iowa Senate has also by determining who can work at the new press tables in the Senate gallery.

The mission of the League of Women Voters is to empower voters and defend democracy, and the Iowa press are an essential part of providing information to Iowa voters. The mission of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa celebrates religious freedom by championing the rights of individuals, by promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and by empowering diverse voices to challenge extremism.

The lack of direct press access during legislative proceedings compromises the depth of information available to Iowa citizens.

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On MLK Day 2022 Register To Vote

It is sad that in 2022 we still have to fight for voting rights and fair elections. But fight we must. Senators will be back at the Capitol this week and they’ll be voting on rules changes that will determine whether voting rights protections are passed.

Check out the following MLK Day message and voter registration information from Johnson County Democrats.

Remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 – 1968

The third Monday in January is a federal holiday honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The day is usually celebrated with parades and marches, service projects, and speeches about civil rights. This year, members of the King family are calling for the holiday be a day of action for activists to promote voting rights. King was a fierce advocate for civil rights and voting rights.

We observe this day knowing that the work of Democracy, that he devoted his life to, is not finished. In 2021, For The People Act (The Freedom to Vote Act is the compromise) and The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act seek to protect the rights of all people to vote and to restore major elements of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. We can then celebrate the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. when these Acts are passed.

Honor MLK by honoring his legacy.
Register to Vote

Register, vote, request absentee ballots, due dates, and more at vote411 and vote.gov.

Register to vote or update your voter registration online using an Iowa driver’s license (DL) or identification card (ID) number using this link.

You will receive your voter registration card from your county auditor within two weeks.

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By George! The Iowa Senate And The 1st Amendment

From the YouTube intro:

Podcast By George

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Further restricting First Amendment Rights in the Heartland! It’s not by accident – it’s by design. Is the GOP afraid of notepads and microphones? Find out on this #PodcastByGeorge. 

See and hear all episodes at www.podcastbygeorge.com

(editor’s comment) As the pandemic ravages the country and other stories command much greater attention, Republicans in the Iowa Senate grab a chance to make Iowa just a bit less free and informed. As George Clark himself says in the intro it was by design.

28 minutes. 

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Sunday Funday: The Virus Wins In Court Edition

Rachel Maddow analyzes the SCOTUS ruling: (4 minutes)

Who’d have ever thunk it? In a case involving public health versus those who want the freedumbs to spread a killer virus, those on the side of the killer virus won. I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that Covid Kim Reynolds put Iowa squarely with the virus. Hasn’t she more than worn out her welcome? 

Geez Louise there, Covid Kim, we don’t ask much. Maybe helping to keep Iowans alive should rank higher than corporate profits. Well, somewhere anyway. And she wonders why no one is beating down Iowa’s doors to get into Iowa. Come get low wages AND covid! Iowa’s daily double.

A) Quebec seems to have found a great incentive for people to get vaccinated. The incentive involved cutting off the unvaxxed from what?

B) What? Someone got arrested for sedition in the January 6th coup? The leader of what group was arrested for sedition Thursday?

C) Surprisingly, in the SCOTUS ruling on mandatory vaccines Thursday, what group of workers did SCOTUS agree must have mandated vaccinations?

D) Tomorrow is MLK Day. How many siblings did MLK have?

E) Many celebrity deaths last week. Perhaps the most surprising was what man who played Danny Tanner on “Full House”?

F) In medicine, a US man was the first ever to receive a cross species heart transplant. What species was the heart from?

G) Kayleigh McEnany sat for an interview by the January 6th committee. What was her position in the previous administration?

H) In a Senate committee hearing what senator browbeat Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing Fauci of various controversial acts?

I) In what state did the Supreme Court say the redistricted maps were too gerrymandered endgame the legislature 10 days to fix them?

J) Down in Australia it is beginning to look like the Australian Tennis Open will have to start without top player Novak Djokovic who refuses to do what?

K) Due to the pandemic, winter weather and staffing limitations, the nation’s supply of what is in critically short supply?

L) California Governor Gavin Newsome refused to release Sirhan Sirhan from prison. Sirhan is in prison for assassinating what politician?

M) How many times was MLK jailed in his lifetime?

N) Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds offered a big break to the wealthy in Iowa, calling for a flat tax set at what percent?

O) What British Royal has lost all his titles and may have to face a lawsuit in New York as a private citizen?

P) One more on MLK. The assassination attempt the took his life was the 2nd attempt on his life. The first took place in Harlem a decade earlier where he was doing what?

Q) New quarters are coming out which will depict pioneering women. What woman will be on the first one?

R) Following negotiations with the Teachers’ union concerning teaching during the pandemic, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced she had what?

S) What NPR news host made headlines when the previous president hung up on him in the middle of and interview?

T) Dr. Anthony Fauci supposedly called what US Senator a ‘moron’ under his breath after a truly inane one of questioning in a committee hearing last week?

It turns out that the safest place to hide after committing a crime is a Republican caucus. – John Collins

Answers :

A) access to liquor and marijuana. Seems the province controls who can get such intoxicants. No vax, no booze. 

B) Oath Keepers

C) Health care workers. Covid Kim has been squawking about this.

D) 2 – an older sister and a younger brother

E) Bob Saget

F) a genetically modified pig.

G) She was spokes person. She is the second from that position to go before the committee.

H) Rand Paul. Much of what Paul said was false and incendiary.

I) Ohio – based on the Ohio Constitution

J) get vaccinated for Covid. 

K) Blood. We now have less than a day’s supply.

L) Robert F. Kennedy

M) 29

N) 4%

O) Prince(?) Andrew

P) doing a book signing

Q) Maya Angelou

R) Covid

S) Steve Inskeep.

T) Roger Marshall of Kansas. I concur with Fauci. Marshall was badgering Fauci about his pay which Marshall claimed was secret. It is not.

Missing from the media’s inflation coverage is an acknowledgement that the trend of rising prices is a GLOBAL phenomenon, fueled by the pandemic. Downplayed is the fact that systemic, record-setting inflation is occurring in virtually EVERY major economy. – Jon Cooper

Tip of the hat to EarlG on democraticunderground.com

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Chuck Grassley: Major Obstructionist

Isn’t one of these guys trying to split the country with his ‘Big Lie’?

A friend sent me a copy of a guest opinion from the Cedar Rapids Gazette from January 12th. The opinion is written by David Mannheim, a neighbor of Grassley’s near New Hartford. Mr. Mansheim breaks down many aspects of Grassley’s years in the senate:

“A lot has changed while Grassley has been in Washington. Inequality has risen to extreme levels and the American dream of upward mobility has diminished. The highest tax rate went from 70 to 28 percent so now the extremely wealthy are taxed at the same rate as a secretary or plumber. Last year, I paid more in U.S. income tax than Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk combined because they paid nothing. The astounding upward transfer of wealth during Grassley’s tenure is not an accident.

Forty-six years ago, my dad actually owned the hogs he raised and was not a swine herdsman for China. There were more farms and they produced a diversity of crops and animals for a market not dominated by agribusiness oligopolies. Before Grassley went to Washington, a family could live comfortably on one income, have a decent car, afford a vacation, likely get a pension when retired, and kids could work their way through college if they wanted.

Grassley stood by while automation and globalization hollowed out the middle class and tax incentives promoted “offshoring.” He participated in the destruction of unions but gave huge tax giveaways to corporations and the rich.

Grassley contributed to the growing resistance of facts, science, and climate change. If anyone in his party could afford to stand up and tell the truth about the big lie of the 2020 “rigged” election consuming his party, it is Grassley. But he prefers instead to bask in Trump’s endorsement. He has done nothing to help unify us throughout our disintegrating national solidarity over heightened divisions of race, religion, and gender.

As a Mitch McConnell sycophant, he fosters congressional gridlock and the skyrocketing use of the filibuster. He constantly puts his party above the interests of the country and when the other party is in power, he is on sit-down-strike to prevent government from functioning. He has destructively politicized our courts, denied Democratic nominees but rushed Republican appointments through even if they have never been in a courtroom.”

This is a pretty clear-eyed assessment of Grassley’s years in the senate. Beginning sometime during the Clinton administration, Grassley threw off the guise of being interested in moving the country forward and became pretty much of a party hack – that is an elected official who puts party first above country.

We have seen Grassley’s “party-first” act hurt the country in several major ways. We saw Grassley make an absolute fool of himself in his fight to stop the Affordable Care Act, claiming it would “kill Grandma.” We saw Grassley as the head of the Judiciary Committee trash the Constitution as he refused to allow Merrick Garland a hearing for his nomination to the Supreme Court.

But right now is perhaps the very epitome of his arrogance. At a time in his life where Grassley could use his seniority to try to make the senate into a working body, Grassley os working harder than ever to make the senate an impotent body that can do nothing. His major focus is to be one of the leaders in ruining the Biden Presidency and thus the country.

While Sinema and Manchin get huge press for bucking their party, a long term senator like Grassley could show some leadership on an issue such os voting rights by putting the country first and voting to make voting rights the law of the land. But Grassley won’t stand up for the good of the country or for what the majority of Americans want. In another era he would have been called a ‘good German.’

By electing Grassley to another term Iowans would be approving another 6 years of dragging the state backwards, another 6 years of party first, damn the country politics. 

Democrats have good potential candidates any of whom would be a much better senator than Grassley will be in the next 6 years.

Abby Finkenauer is young, tuned into the world and will represent the most under-represented group in the country these days: the working citizen. She comes from a laboring family and will represent the forgotten worker well.

Dr. Glenn Hurst is extremely insightful. You can bet as your senator, Dr. Hurst will listen to the citizen, not jus give you lip service as Grassley does now.

Admiral Mike Franken has shown true leadership – and the ability to stand up to others when they are wrong. He is literally the opposite of Grassley and something Iowa sorely needs.

Democrats will offer a real choice opposing Grassley this year. Any one would be a far better senator than Grassley has been for decades.

One last thought – even though Grassley would be in his 90s if he wins another term, he will be one of the leaders to end the so-called social legislation – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. This would devastate our country. 

Also remember that despite the increasing evidence that Donald Trump was behind the January 6th coup and also tried to overturn the election in various states (Georgia eg) Grassley is still a supporter. Party First, Chuck!

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About That State Surplus

photo courtesy of progressiowa.com

Kim Reynolds gave the “State of the State” address the other night. One of her points of pride during the speech was her claim that Iowa’s budget was $1.25 Billion to the good. Of course it was a center point of her speech. Her basic claim was (paraphrased) “Look at how great we Republicans are! We have pandemic, yet we were able to manage the state so well that we have been able to run the state and come up with a budget surplus!”

Coming from Iowa as I do, I detected a whiff of hog manure. It is a familiar smell. In this state. Actually, it was a strong smell of manure.

This is hardly a new claim. Reynolds has been touting her incredible fiscal management skills since the budget surplus was first reported back in October. It smelled then, but other concerns kept me from digging in deeper at that time. But I was hardly the only one who was suspicious. I am so glad they were, because they cleared up the mystery for me. 

One thing I did note at the time was that Iowa, like many other states, had received large buckets of money from the federal government to deal with all the unexpected costs that fighting Covid sprung on the states. This made sense, even though governors like Reynolds opposed this bill. She did take the money when it came, though.

So I cast around the internet to find a definitive analysis of the Iowa budget situation that Reynolds and all Republicans claim is little more than their incredible talent. While most of the analyses were in what I would call a ‘he said –  she said’ vein, there was one excellent deep dive analysis that really laid the budget machinations bare.

And so once more I take my hat off to Laura Belin at bleedingheartland.com. In her analysis, from back in October looks at the timing, the moneys coming from the federal government and how Iowa compared to other states in our situation.

This whole budget event is laid out starting from the early pandemic up to the report of the budget surplus in October. People may recall that despite taking most of the money from the federal government without squawking, Reynolds did do some grandstanding last summer by cutting off extra unemployment benefits to Iowa’s unemployed workers. 

Following the deep dive, Belin does a great job summing up what she said in four paragraphs. In a nutshell she summarize a lot of great material into some very understandable themes:

So, what is to be learned from this deep dive into budgets and outcomes? First, Iowa – like every state – is benefiting from historic federal assistance. The entirety of Iowa’s surplus could be matched and exceeded by the federal assistance the state has received in 2020 and 2021.

Second, Iowa’s current budget fortune is largely the result of following its own budget laws, which a Democratic-controlled legislature put in place long ago.

Finally, a strong argument can be made that some of the current surplus might have been better used to grow Iowa’s economy.

The Republican cheers about the strong budget results remind me of an old baseball analogy. It sounds like Kim Reynolds and her minions were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

A big tip of the hat to Laura Belin for making this budget flip-flammery quite understandable.

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Good-Bye Des Moines Register Saturday Print Edition

Gary Sanders in Iowa City circa 2006.

by Gary Sanders

Today’s print Des Moines Register includes a notice that as of March 12 there will be no more print Des Moines Register on Saturdays.

Even as I type this it staggers me. This is a newspaper that not very long ago was read all over Iowa, and still has a stellar national reputation–the Register has won 16 Pulitzer Prizes!  I know that this was a necessary business decision, but it’s still hard to take.

For many, many years the Register proudly placed at the top of page one “The Newspaper Iowa Depends Upon.”But a few years ago I noticed that it now read “The News Iowa Depends Upon.”  Paper was on the way out.

My birthday wish as I turn 75 this year is to get print newspapers delivered to me when I shuffle off to the nursing home. But, like a lot of birthday wishes, I don’t think this one will come true. Print newspapers will end sooner than that.

I know that there are much bigger problems in the world than the end of print newspapers. But I’ve been addicted to them since I was a kid reading the comics in the Detroit Free Press. I wrote for my junior high, high school, and college newspapers. I wrote a column for the Iowa City Press-Citizen 1987-1990, back when the paper was about 10 times bigger, and people actually read it. And before and after my years of column writing I wrote a lot of op-eds and letters to the editor, copies of which are floating around my apartment somewhere.

I know I’m a little crazy, but I think about Johannes Gutenberg inventing the printing press around 1440 in Germany and how it changed the world. I think about Tom Paine’s pamphlet “Common Sense”, which was distributed throughout the colonies in early 1776, and pushed public opinion to the side of those who wanted to declare independence from England. I think about the new book I’m reading “The Correspondents,” the story of six American women newspaper/magazine writers breaking gender barriers covering World War II to write articles for the anxious people at home.

I think about the early 1970’s with Woodward and Bernstein, and I think about the multitude of great writers I’ve read in the Register since I moved here in 1978. The Register still has great writers. I look forward to reading it every morning.

But as of March 12 I won’t be reading it on Saturdays.

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