John Deere Trying To Discontinue Retirement Benefits

On Iowa Press this week we got to hear from Charlie Wishman, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor , AFL-CIO; and Paul Iversen, labor educator at the University of Iowa Labor Center, about the issues involved with the current UAW strike against John Deere.

It was a breath of fresh air to not have to listen to Republicans on the program for a change.  O. Kay Henderson showed a sudden ability to ask challenging follow-up questions, even interrupting answers being given in response to one of the other reporters. Don’t see that every week! That is, when Republicans are the guests.

This week’s Iowa Press is definitely worth watching despite the reporters asking such questions as “Why is there a picket line?” immediately followed by  “What does a picket line achieve?” and “How long will the strike last?” Hopefully, they were playing the reporter game of “devil’s advocate” or perhaps trying to educate those who haven’t been alive long enough to know what strikes are all about. But if that’s what they were doing they didn’t say that and it came off more like a dig.

But as Al Franken jokes at the beginning of his podcast, this was still a great show – for a change.

“These folks are out there striking in part on behalf of employees they haven’t even met yet who haven’t even been hired yet because one of the issues is they (Deere) want to remove the retirement system for anyone hired after Nov. 1. So folks who have lived with contracts that have divided workers into different tiered systems, they’re saying enough is enough. These are folks in their 40s and 50s who have busted their butts for Deere for twenty years and many of them feel they have yet to come close to the American dream.” – Charlie Wishman, President,  Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

“The workers when they get together have a lot of power. Employers can either cry and say we can’t find anybody or they adjust, pay better, respect their employees, and treat them as human beings rather than as cogs in a machine. Ultimately, employers will have to change the way they approach employees or they’re not going to have anyone to do the work.” – Paul Iversen, University of Iowa Labor Center

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The Five Laws Of Universal Stupidity 

I ran across this article last week. While I almost couldn’t stop laughing, I also couldn’t help but to admit it was spot on.  

In 1976, a professor of economic history at the University of California, Berkeley published an essay outlining the fundamental laws of a force he perceived as humanity’s greatest existential threat: Stupidity.

Stupid people, Carlo M. Cipolla explained, share several identifying traits: they are abundant, they are irrational, and they cause problems for others without apparent benefit to themselves, thereby lowering society’s total well-being. There are no defenses against stupidity, argued the Italian-born professor, who died in 2000. The only way a society can avoid being crushed by the burden of its idiots is if the non-stupid work even harder to offset the losses of their stupid brethren.

Let’s take a look at Cipolla’s five basic laws of human stupidity: 

Law 1: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

No matter how many idiots you suspect yourself surrounded by, Cipolla wrote, you are invariably lowballing the total. This problem is compounded by biased assumptions that certain people are intelligent based on superficial factors like their job, education level, or other traits we believe to be exclusive of stupidity. They aren’t. Which takes us to:

Law 2: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

Cipolla posits stupidity is a variable that remains constant across all populations. Every category one can imagine—gender, race, nationality, education level, income—possesses a fixed percentage of stupid people. There are stupid college professors. There are stupid people at Davos and at the UN General Assembly. There are stupid people in every nation on earth. How numerous are the stupid amongst us? It’s impossible to say. And any guess would almost certainly violate the first law, anyway.

Law 3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

Cipolla called this one the Golden Law of stupidity. A stupid person, according to the economist, is one who causes problems for others without any clear benefit to himself.

The article delves much deeper into this aspect.

Law 4: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

We underestimate the stupid, and we do so at our own peril. This brings us to the fifth and final law:

Law 5: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

And its corollary:

A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit.

We can do nothing about the stupid. The difference between societies that collapse under the weight of their stupid citizens and those who transcend them are the makeup of the non-stupid. Those progressing in spite of their stupid possess a high proportion of people acting intelligently, those who counterbalance the stupid’s losses by bringing about gains for themselves and their fellows.

I couldn’t help but share this article. It captures so much of what is happening in America today.

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Sticker Shocks Coming?

don’t expect any help from this group
Tip of the hat to http://all-hat-no-cattle.blogspot.com

This is the time of year that many of us get the bad news on prices of such things as health insurance (or Medicare supplements for some), house insurances and of course winter heating fuel. 

As you know, insurance rates are based on experience of the companies. Stated another way, the rates are based on how much they paid out in the previous year. Thanks in large measure to those who refuse to get vaccinated for the corona virus, insurance cost have soared. While many claims are still being settled, you can expect that costs to insurance companies will be substantial. Companies will be making up ground with higher premiums.

Insurance costs are only a part of the story. As thehill.com notes:

The medical, economic and financial welfare of 211 million vaccinated Americans is thus being threatened by the choices of 74 million eligible but unvaccinated Americans. Economists call such adverse spillovers “negative externalities.” Externalities arise when individuals fail to take into account the effects of their actions on other people.

The failure of private markets to provide appropriate incentives in the face of externalities represents the classic rationale for government regulation. In this case, the relevant regulations are mask and vaccine mandates. These mandates substitute for the incentives to control the COVID-19 virus that are missing in private life, protecting people not only from the health effects of the pandemic, but the economic effects as well.

What kind of economic effects are we talking about? According to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, 530,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations of unvaccinated Americans, at an average $20,000 per hospitalization, cost the U.S. health system $5.7 billion. Updating that figure for early September brings that figure closer to $7.2 billion.

But the direct costs of COVID-19 to the health care system are dwarfed by the likely effects of the pandemic on the overall economy. We have developed an econometric model to gauge how the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic affects economic growth. Using projections for pandemic deaths constructed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), we compared projections for U.S. GDP based on the IHME’s recent forecast of pandemic deaths to GDP projections based on IHME’s forecast released in late June, before the full eruption of the delta variant. The difference between our two GDP forecasts is a rough measure of the economic impact of the delta variant, which is gaining so much traction because of the presence of so many unvaccinated Americans.

The bottom line? The delta variant is projected to claim 120,000 American lives over the second half of this year, and this surge will reduce the annualized rate of GDP growth by one percentage point. Overall, U.S. GDP in 2021 will fall by around $70 billion. This represents a very small share of the United States’s $23 trillion economy, but it nevertheless dwarfs the direct hospitalization costs of the delta surge, and represents an implicit tax of about $210 for every man, women and child in the country.

As for home insurance, all those homes that burned, blew over in tornadoes and hurricanes or flooded out must be funded. Once again, the onus is on those who purchase insurance. As climate triggers more and more wild weather, expect rates togo up to cover insurance claims.

Finally we have been warned by the gas companies that supply and demand will fuel rate increases this fall: From Mid-American Energy:  

DES MOINES, Iowa – (October 12, 2021) – MidAmerican Energy is alerting its customers that higher natural gas prices will impact most monthly heating bills during the upcoming winter season.

Natural gas market prices have more than doubled from this time last year, as increased global demand coupled with both limited production and inventory have heavily increased the cost for MidAmerican to purchase the natural gas it delivers to its customers.

“We’re not seeing signs of supply challenges this winter, but we do expect to see higher customer bills because of higher commodity prices,” Peggi Allenback, MidAmerican vice president of market operations and supply, said. “We don’t mark up what we pay for natural gas, rather the cost of the commodity is a straight pass-through to customers. We purchase a portion of gas in advance at the best possible price, and in warmer months, when gas is generally cheaper, we store it for use in winter to help protect our customers financially. Despite these efforts, though, we want our customers to understand that natural gas bills will still be higher this heating season.”

The higher market prices will affect a customer’s gas supply charge, which is the cost of the natural gas the customer uses. Market price fluctuations do not affect rates, which include fixed administrative costs, as well as costs associated with maintaining infrastructure and ensuring safety.

Actual bill impacts will vary by customer due to usage as temperatures get colder and market prices continue to fluctuate. But, based on the market prices for natural gas over the last month, residential customers in MidAmerican’s service area can likely expect their total bills to increase by 46-96%. The heating season runs from November through March.

Unfortunately, for fear mongers and liars like Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the price of natural gas has nothing to do with the Biden presidency. Sure wish they would help Iowans instead of creating false stories that do nothing to help Iowans deal with problems.

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Sunday Funday: What Subpoena Means Edition

You may not see it my way, but to me this is about as scary of a video as I could play during the Halloween. Here is a video of a large group of representatives unwilling to do a damn thing to those who attempted and failed to overthrow our government. If this is what you think you want, let me warn you that what you think you want will not be what you get if the Trumpers succeed in overthrowing our government.

History is full of democracies becoming authoritarian governments. The losers are the citizens in every case.

BTW – among those who voted not to stand up when our country was in jeopardy were Mariannette Miller-Meeks (who is often ready to tell about her military connection), Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra.

Another scary week as our democracy get battered from the extreme right. Of course there will be some Halloween questions!

A) The CDC Thursday approved the roll out of booster Covid vaccines from what two companies?

B) A different strategy for these boosters that the CDC will allow is what?

C) The night before Halloween is often known as Mischief night. However on some places it is named after what vegetable for what reason?

D) The SCOTUS granted an “expedited review” for what law that went into effect in Texas about 6 weeks ago?

E) John Deere Company has threatened to cut striking workers access to what to try to force an end to the strike?

F) What former Secretary of State died last week at age 84?

G) A strike was averted in Hollywood when a last minute deal was worked out between entertainment companies and what union?

H) Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed when a prop gun was discharged on the set of the movie “Rust” by what actor?

I) Magician Harry Houdini died on Halloween 1926. What did he die from?

J) As pointed out by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, what is the number 1 cause of police deaths this year?

K) In Chicago the police union is fighting against mandatory what?

L) Iowa Democratic Chair Ross Wilburn reported what kind of threats following an editorial he wrote for the Des Moines Register?

M) What TV family lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane?

N) Rumors started Tuesday about a name change for what currently controversial tech giant?

O) What organ from a pig was found to work normally when transplanted into a human?

P) The FBI raided homes owned by what Russian oligarch early Tuesday morning?

Q) The trial for the slaying of black man Ahmaud Arbery by three white men began in what state?

R) An Amazon warehouse in what city looks to be the first to vote for a union?

S) What classic Halloween tale gave us the character The Headless Horseman?

T) A Newton Iowa plant that manufactures what has announced it will close on December?

Overheard: If paying a cashier a living wage will make prices go up. Why doesn’t replacing cashiers with Self Checkouts make prices go down?

Answers:

A) Moderna and Johnson & Johnson

B) It will allow the vaccines to be mixed & matched 

C) Cabbage night. That is the night rotting cabbages were left on peoples doorsteps

D) The Texas vigilante abortion law that outlaws abortion after 6 weeks pregnancy

E) Health care

F) Colin Powell

G) IATSE

H) Alec Baldwin

I) ruptured appendix

J) Covid

K) Covid vaccinations

L) death threats, including lynching

M) The Munsters

N) Facebook. One suggestion was ‘Zuckers!’

O) A kidney. The pig was a specially raised pig to eliminate a sugar that had caused rejection in previous attempts

P) Oleg Deripaska

Q) Georgia

R) New York City – Staten Island specifically

S) Sleepy Hollow

T) wind turbine blades

BREAKING – Lev Parnas is guilty on all 6 counts for campaign finance illegality. 

Consider it the opening act for the coming Rudy Giuliani headliner. – Tristan Snell

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Doctor Spews Misinformation On Covid Vaccines

This is a segment from the Anderson Cooper Show on CNN. It is about 10.5 minutes long.

I thought it was important that people see this to see what kind of lies and disinformation people are falling for:

This so-called ‘doctor’ is a not connected to the government. He is using social media to spread his lies.

Down in Florida, Governor DeSantis has hired an anti-vaccine doctor as Florida’s Surgeon General. From an NPR story from last month: 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced the state’s next surgeon general, who falls in line with the governor’s belief that vaccine mandates during the pandemic are unnecessary.

On Tuesday, DeSantis tapped Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who was most recently a researcher at UCLA and is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, to serve as both surgeon general and secretary of the state’s Department of Health.

“Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies in public health. So we’re done with fear. That’s something that unfortunately has been a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic,” Ladapo said during a news conference.

“This idea that people don’t get to make their own decisions on issues of health related to their own personal health is wrong,” Ladapo said, answering questions from reporters. “Vaccines are up to the person; there’s nothing special about them compared to any other preventive measure.”

I so fear for my children and grand-children as those who are anti-science, anti-vaccine and believe much more in faith than science slowly take over what was once the country that believed in science and data. Imagine the once scourges of rubella, whooping cough and even polio once again becoming the scourges of America as voters clutch their beads and crystals praying for a miracle that will stop these childhood diseases.

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Media Shouldn’t Blame Dems

“Kill Switch” author Adam Jentleson interviewed by Clay Cane on the Clay Cane Show on SiriusXM Urban View Radio. “Kill Switch” describes how Republicans have rendered the government neutered using the filibuster. This video is from January but is still very relevant. 22 minutes: 

Day in and day out we hear the media droning on and on about Democrats being unable to pass legislation that would restore voting rights to those who will be be losing their ability to vote due to extremely strict voting laws passed in states with Republican majorities in their legislatures and a republican governor.

Even more than that we hear daily that Democrats can’t pass a much needed stimulus package that would help clean up some huge festering problems of aging infrastructure and begin projects that will take on climate change. Yet according to the media, the only real problem is two recalcitrant Democratic senators who are stopping these legislative initiatives. 

No one mentions the elephant in the room: not one Republican senator is willing to stand up to Mitch McConnell or even more cowardly, Donald Trump and vote for the good of the country. Republicans have 50 members of the senate. Where is that one Republican senator who has any courage that will say “the country needs these reforms. I can back them.”

The infrastructure bill is favored by a vast majority of Americans and a majority of businesses who have a chance to make some great profit on these programs. Yet a few old men stand in the way because of the ancient rules of the senate that makes a minority more powerful than a majority.

Three questions for the media about the infrastructure bill and the voting rights bill.

First – why when stories about these bills are presented we only hear about Senators Manchin and Sinema and their dissent from toeing the party line? How come not one media outlet mentions that 50 Republican senators act as brick wall stopping progress? Why aren’t the names Grassley, Ernst, Sasse and Fischer from Nebraska, Rounds and Thune from South Dakota, and Hoeven and Cramer from North Dakota even brought up as senators who are stopping much needed stimulus?

Why are these senators who represent such a small portion of America’s population so powerful, yet given a pass when the discussion of moving this country forward is brought up?

Second – why is the price tag for especially the infrastructure bill put out as a big scary number that covers ten years? Why not use the much more realistic and comprehensible annual cost of $350 billion per year? More voters would understand that number. As federal expenditures go, it is big but pales in comparison to a pentagon budget of just under a trillion bucks a year. And that trillion doesn’t even pay for the forever wars we seem to be in.

By comparing the annual cost of the stimulus to other federal expenditures people could more easily see that it is not all that expensive. When the effect on jobs and commerce is estimated, we would see that the stimulus would grow the economy and that effect would most likely create the revenue that will pay for itself. Can’t say that about military budgets or tax cuts for the wealthy that are a drain on our society.

Third – why do you insist on conflating Republicans refusal to raise the debt ceiling that has nothing to do with new spending, with the proposed infrastructure bill? The only place these two are related is in confuse Republican senatorial brains and news programs. Wouldn’t it be much better to tell the truth and inform the public?

Lazy media parroting Republican talking points is a bad mix in a country where the press was giving special privileges so they could act as a overseer of government. Mixing media and government is a recipe for authoritarian government.

Republicans have turned their role in government into that of a parliamentary party that votes and acts as one person. The most recent example that we saw of this was Republicans in the US House voting NOT to uphold the subpoena against Steve Bannon. Those voting not to uphold the subpoena included Iowans Miller-Meeks, Hinson and Feenstra.

They purposely voted to make their own House much less powerful and also unable to act even in times of an attack on the government. Geez, I am glad they weren’t in Congress when Pearl Harbor was attacked. They would have blamed Roosevelt and voted to let the Japanese go without a response.

America’s government was not designed to be a parliament. Nor was it designed for minority to hold the will of the majority hostage. Practices in the Senate that grew up in the slavery days continue to be used to stop “the will of the people.” It is way past time to end these practices and make the senate beholden to the majority.

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Republican Talk Radio Host Jeff Angelo Warns His Party “You’ve Got To Take That Second Map”


Possibly the lone Republican who opposes the coming gerrymandering by the Iowa GOP, Jeff Angelo, WHO talk radio host and former 3 x Republican legislator,  publicly opposes the GOP plan to politicize redistricting in Iowa warning his party, “you have to take that second map.”

They won’t.  But hey, we should all sleep well tonight knowing there is one Iowa Republican with a shred of sanity who has a microphone and used it the other day for good.

https://www.facebook.com/IowaSenateDemocrats

“Senator Zach Wahls, the leader of the Democrats was on earlier in the show… But I actually agreed with him. He’s worried that we’ll go down the road to gerrymandering if we don’t approve this second map that’s going to be coming out later this week.

“To get you up to date, so we had a first redistricting map which was generated by the Legislative Services Agency, that’s a nonpartisan arm of the Legislature.And they give ‘em the map, and I as Republican look at the first map and say…”Mmm no, because it didn’t make sense to me with the state going more Republican, that you would put Ashley Hinson in a district that was basically a Democrat district. “Hey let’s more widely distribute those Republicans.”

OK, so I said “Hey, I think the Republican actually should actually turn down this first map.”

Ok, they did. Now you get a second map. You get, again, a yes or no vote, that’s it on that second map. And if you vote no, you vote it down, you go to a third map, that can be amended by the Legislature. And then you can get gerrymandering.

And Senator Wahls is concerned about that. And I’m with him on that. I think as a Republican, you can roll the dice once, and you can get that second map, but then you’ve got to take it.

Because the bottom line is going to the third map sets a precedent that you don’t want to set in Iowa, because we’ve never amended a third map in Iowa.

And you do that, then when the Democrats get control someday, they go “OK, how can we draw a map that keeps the Republicans from ever being in power.”

And somebody sent me, after that conversation, a look at some of the districts that they’re coming up with in Illinois. And my texter said “This looks like chicken fingers.”

Because the Democrats—It’s a blue state—Democrats have been in power a long time in Illinois. And they just draw the districts however they want ‘em to make sure Republicans can never win. You just don’t want that.

So you rolled the dice.

I hope the map’s a little bit better, the partisan Jeff says that for the Republicans, but I agree with them that you basically have to take that second map.

 

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Jordan Klepper v. Iowans Who Say They Think Trump Won

ICYMI

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Rep. Cindy Axne, Rob Sand to Speak at Progress Iowa 7th Annual Corn Feed

Rep. Cindy Axne

State Auditor Rob Sand

Virtual Corn Feed will take place Tuesday, October 26th, free to attend

Des Moines, Iowa – Progress Iowa announced today that their seventh annual Progress Iowa Corn Feed will be held on Tuesday, October 26th with Rep. Cindy Axne, State Auditor Rob Sand, and more. Due to the pandemic, this event will be a virtual training session to advocate for progressive values.

Last year’s Progress Iowa Corn Feed featured Rep. Katie Porter with more than 110,000 viewers. This year’s virtual Corn Feed will be accessible to a wide audience, streaming through Facebook, while also providing more resources to take action.

Click here to learn more and register for this year’s virtual Progress Iowa Corn Feed.

“Our organization is excited to bring back our annual event and energize our progressive community,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “As political advocacy has transformed in recent years, it’s crucial we come together and ensure we’re all sharing progressive messaging in the most productive manner. Everyone who’s able to attend will leave feeling inspired to get to work prior to the upcoming session and the 2022 election.”

Attendees will receive broad-based message training, instructions on how to write effective letters to the editor, advocate online, and be more effective in our rural outreach efforts. Organizers expect more speaker announcements soon. Attendees are asked to register online at ProgressIowaCornFeed.com in order to be the first to learn event updates.

The Progress Iowa Corn Feed will be live-streamed at 12:00 p.m. central time on Tuesday, October 26th, and will focus on bringing together Iowa’s progressive community from the comfort of everyone’s homes. Organizers are asking participants to RSVP at www.ProgressIowaCornFeed.com.

Press interested in covering the Progress Iowa Corn Feed can RSVP to press@progressiowa.org for additional updates.

Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of more than 75,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law. For more about the 7th annual Progress Iowa Corn Feed visit http://ProgressIowaCornFeed.com

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The Brainwashing Of My Dad Comes of Age

Last week Fox News turned 25.  The good news is suddenly Jen Senko, write and director of the award winning The Brainwashing of My Dad, is in the media!  She has broken the taboo against talking about the problem of right wing media, specifically Fox, on cable news. She has made recent appearances on CNN, Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources and  MSNBC The Beat with Ari Melber.  Breaking into the conversation is a huge milestone in the fight against the right wing propaganda machine.

Jen Senko also organizes direct action.

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