Bobby Kaufmann Uses Name Calling And Insults To Defend Republicans At Local Forum

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann seems to think if he is belligerent enough, no one will notice that he has no idea what he’s doing.  In response to a constituent mentioning an item he had read in the QCTimes, and asking why the Republicans were trying to pass such extreme bills and apparently trying to “drown government in the bathtub,” paraphrasing Grover Norquist, Bobby responded by calling the QC Times a bunch of political hacks.  

Then one of his constituents asked this question drawing a reasoned response by Sen. Dvorsky validating the constituent’s perceptions.

When it was Bobby’s turn to speak, rather than show respect and civility toward his constituents who were there on their own dime, not getting paid by the taxpayers to be there, and who Bobby is getting paid to represent, Bobby chose instead to insult his constituent, calling him by name, and saying, in a sarcastic tone, “Well, Don, I can always count on you to be to the left of the far left, so I appreciate the consistency” and went on to whine, cry and complain about how sick and tired he is of Republicans being held responsible for corporate giveaways. 

So sad! Maybe you and your party should quit doing it then.   Or, if you are “so sick and tired of it” and can’t manage an appropriate response to a constituent’s question, maybe you should get a different job.  Not everyone has the temperament for public office.

Everyone who lives in House District 73, there is a Democratic challenger, Jodi Clemens.  Not only is she not a Republican, she will no doubt treat her constituents’ concerns with more civility and respect than what was on display by Bobby at this forum.  Check out her campaign websiteFacebook  page and find her on Twitter.

Watch the entire Muscatine legislative forum here. 

Map of HD 73

Iowa HD 73 – click on image to see larger view

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Anti-Trump/Reynolds Billboard Censored

Billboard “too controversial.”  This is the way of media. Conservative voices get all the exposure they want unquestioned.  Other voices get censored and banned, stifled.  Like there aren’t plenty of controversial billboards out there. As someone commented on a FB post, “you can’t swing a dead cat in Iowa without hitting an anti-abortion billboard.” But the simple and TRUE message, of Trump and Reynolds being “anti-worker, sabotaging schools, wrong for Iowa” is too controversial.

So exactly what part of this billboard is so “controversial”  you may ask. The photos of Reynolds and Trump seem fair, not particularly flattering but not an obvious intention to make them look bad by choosing the worst possible photo.  The message?  It’s an opinion, sure.  Perfectly valid opinion and based on fact that the Iowa Republicans and Trump have been sabotaging public education through budget slashing and appointing cronies to be in charge at the highest level.  What’s so terrible with saying they are “anti-worker?” They have done their best to cut teachers’ wages and bust unions.  “Wrong for Iowa?”  Yeah, that is a valid opinion shared by many Iowans, and not particularly controversial in any way.  The real reasons this billboard was deemed too controversial is because (1) it was true; and (2) the Republican crowd in charge wouldn’t like it.  Pure and simple. 

Here’s the email from Progress Iowa. Support them if you can; they work hard and do a great job.

“On Friday, we [Progress Iowa] placed our order for the billboard copied below. On Saturday, the Lamar Advertising banned it from running, saying it was too ‘controversial’ even though they’ve run similar ads in the past.

Their censorship of our message is completely unacceptable, but they won’t stop us from getting our message out. After we emailed Friday asking for your help to hold Ivanka Trump and Kim Reynolds accountable, you responded with nearly $1,000 raised in just two days. We will still put that money to good use — running our banned billboard message in online ads all over the state to educate Iowans.

And if you can chip in once again, we will keep the ads going and make sure every Iowan knows the truth about the anti-worker, anti-education Trump/Reynolds agenda.

Thanks for all you do,

Matt Sinovic
Progress Iowa

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Video: Scott County Legislative Forum

Thanks to Molly Regan, 1st Vice Chair, Scott County Democrats, for sending these videos along for posting.  Parts 2-4 are available at Scott County Democrats YouTube channel. Everyone should be getting video at your forums whenever possible.  

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Lobbyists: Time To Shine A Light On Them

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Branstad signs Iowa’s union busting bill for an audience of one – lobbyist Drew Klein.

Many years ago I made a proposal that any and all meetings between lobbyists and members of government at any level be held in the open and if possible recorded. If governmental people must wear a recorder 24X7 so be it. We have found with police wearing cameras that what is reported is often at odds with what is recorded.

In light of the Bill Dix incident this week I will renew my call. In Washington DC we have something in the neighborhood of 20+ lobbyists per congress member. Most do not have the best interest of the average American in mind. That is sarcasm if you missed it.

The Dix incident and the Branstad signing pic with Drew Klein are just tiny examples of what goes on behind closed doors and we are only aware of these because they accidentally leaked out. 

This mixing of lobbyists and lawmakers is toxic. Open government demands that all meetings between them be in the open and available to the public.

I have little pretensions that I am a lonely voice on this, but it just feels like it is way beyond time that we open the government up to scrutiny in every dark corner that still exists out there.

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Sunday Funday: Karmic Edition


At the outset let me explain that this week’s quiz will be less devoted to current events than normal. Your humble quiz master’s universe has been disturbed by a force that occurs once a year and he must attend to it. If you must know it is a force that goes by NCAA. It will be visiting at the same crucial time as is the normal quiz compilation time. I must fight the invasion with diligence, potato chips and diet sodies.

There is something karmic about Iowa senate Republican Majority Leader Bill Dix resigning due to a sex related scandal. Considering how he handled the sexual harassment charges and then lawsuit against his caucus it almost seems as if some force set up his downfall. Wish such karmic events were more common.

It was also almost karmic that Prof. Stephen Hawking died on a day devoted to one of the most fundamental scientific concepts, that of pi, 3.14. Professor Hawking had a very subtle sense of humor. One could almost imagine that he would pick that day as a final whimsical joke on himself.

Finally Republicans gerrymandered Pennsylvania’s 18th district as a district that would be forever a Republican district. As we often find out, forever is a foreign concept to karma. As a party if you keep kicking the electorate at some point they will turn around and bite. What is surprising is that more of the electorate did not bite.

Here goes with some current events, Irish questions and questions on women’s history.

  1. Gina Haspel is the first female nominee to head the CIA. However her history of heading CIA torture site in what country may hinder her confirmation?
  1. Who was the first woman to challenge for the nomination of a modern major American political party?
  1. What Republican congress member publicly dissented from the House Intelligence Committees findings that the Russians did nothing in the 2016 election?
  1. VP Joe Biden was reported in the new book “Russian Roulette” by Corn and Isikoff to have called Trump’s involvement with Russia what?
  1. Dear Leader’s lawyers are trying to stop an airing of 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels. This would be an example of what form of censorship?
  1. Steel tariffs were put in last week just before a special election in what once major steel producing area?
  1. Dear Leader bragged at a fundraiser Wednesday night of lying to the face of what other world leader?
  1. Who was the first black woman elected to congress? (Hint: 1960s)
  1. The NRA responded to the national walkout for safety on Wednesday by tweeting what?
  1. SoS designate Mike Pompeo is a former congress member from what state?
  1. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the US was held in what city in 1762?
  1. In an administration with lots of turnover, John McEntee’s exit was sudden and spectacular. What position did Mr. McEntee hold?
  1. What town in northern Iowa was founded as an “Irish colony” in the late 1800s?
  1. When was the Equal Rights Amendment first introduced in congress?
  1. Iowa Senate majority leader Bill Dix resigned his seat after being caught kissing a lobbyist in a bar. What group was the lobbyist representing?
  1. Katherine Graham was the publisher of what newspaper and what magazine beginning in the 1960s?
  1. What member of Dear Leader’s family is rumored to be in divorce proceedings?
  1. Dear Leader took a trip to California Tuesday to do what?
  1. What little Irish town does former President Obama trace his Irish roots back to?
  1. What woman who was denied permission to sing to the Daughters of the American Revolution was given a venue at the Lincoln Memorial?


  1. Thailand
  1. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine in 1964 in the Republican Party
  1. Trey Gowdy (yeah, not running again changes perspective)
  1. “If true, this is treason”
  1. Prior restraint
  1. Pennsylvania’s 18th district near Pittsburgh
  1. Justin Trudeau of Canada
  1. Shirley Chisholm
  1. A picture of an AR 15 with the caption “I’ll control my own guns, thank you”
  1. Kansas
  1. New York City
  1. Personal assistant to the president. McEntee was not even allowed to get his coat.
  1. Emmetsburg
  1. 1923
  1. Municipalities
  1. The Washington Post and Newsweek
  1. Donny, Jr.
  1. Look at proposed border wall types
  1. Moneygall in County Offaly
  1. Marian Anderson. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in arranging the outdoor concert.

Andy Borowitz:  Nation Marvels at Trump’s Ability to Turn ExxonMobil Multimillionaire Into Sympathetic Figure

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Reminder: March For Our Lives Next Saturday!

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Make your position known! We will not stand for the wholesale slaughter of our children or fellow citizens as gun makers profit from their deaths.

It is time to let politicians who are in the pocket of the gun lobby that Enough is Enough!

The number of marches has grown astronomically in a week. Even the city of Muscatine is joining in.

Go Here  to find a march in your area. Stand up for your kids, grandkids, neighbor kids and all your friends and family!

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The Quiet Room 

A story of a child’s gun death in America

“At the end of an inconspicuous hallway and strategically placed far from the controlled chaos of the trauma room lies a dimly lit waiting area that we in the medical field call “the quiet room.” It is a bland spot; a few soft chairs surround a table that holds a box of crisp institutional tissues. There may be a picture or two on the wall, but generally it is an unassuming room where we physicians tell mothers about the deaths of their children, far too often because of firearm violence.

As we make our way to this room, we recite a careful script; we use words intended to ease this painful first-and-only meeting. The reality is that over the years, we have found that there is no good way to tell a mother that her child has died, especially when the unexpected death might have been avoidable.

We introduce ourselves as the doctor who took care of their child. We take a deep breath, look into their eyes, and quickly break the devastating news — there is no reason to delay. What follows is the visceral, piercing shriek of a mother’s wailing, “Please God, not my baby!” We often weep with these mothers, we sometimes quietly blame ourselves for not being able to do more to save their baby’s life — and when they are alone, as is often the case, we hold them up while they cry.

We walk away from the encounter, our stomachs churning from the stale, metallic scent of a child’s blood barely dried on our clogs, our faces streaked with tears, and our hearts gripped in a vise as we tell ourselves that this senseless dying must end. But it doesn’t end. Another child is shot, and another mother is heartbroken.”

This is the beginning of a story from the New England Journal of Medicine from December 21st, 2017. The story of what happens AFTER the big headlines. How doctors fight to save the lives of the victims and then have to deal with the mothers and fathers.

Yet for very explainable reasons, research into the reasons behind these scenes is illegal in this country. That is right – forbidden by law. Remember doctors live in a world of science where scientific methods are used to research and isolate causes of diseases and accidents. Strangely it is ILLEGAL to do research on the hows and whys of gun deaths in America.

Why? Without much research I think we can arrive at a consensus – it might cut into gun sales and profits of the gun industry. So what you ask? Well the gun industry has an iron grip on at least those in the Republican Party often dictating their stand on gun issues. 

If you value freedom in this country be sure to free some legislators, congress critters and other various officials from the grip of the gun industry this fall. Apparently they are too weak to do so on their own.

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Vulture Capitalists Swallow A Couple Of Companies

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To many Americans Romney is the face of vulture capitalism

Rumors of the demise of Toys ’R’ Us have been circulating for six months or more since they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Almost as if a songbook was sent out for news readers across the land there was a chorus of “online shopping took them down.”

Online shopping is the easy target – gee look at the lazy Americans, can’t even get off their fat duffs to go to the store to buy the kids a toy. Like so many stories we get in these days of instant gratification, simple explanation, no in depth news online shopping tells only a small piece of the story. Also like so many stories the American public is more than happy to have one simple storyline to consume and regurgitate.

Therefore while the whole story of the Toys ‘R’ Us demise is only partially online shopping and more a story of greed known as vulture capitalism or leveraged buyout. Thanks to the media the villain in the story will be the amorphous “online” community including Amazon and its owner and current Trump enemy Jeff Bezos.

Also thanks to the media the damage done once again by vulture capitalist companies like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital came in, ravaged their victim and leave a carcass behind without getting any of the blame. did a story specifically on Toys ‘R’ Us shortly after they declared chapter 11 bankruptcy last September pointing out that Toys ‘R’ Us’s problems were due more to vultures. Here the article is quoting from yet another article on

“After extracting enough cash from Toys R Us and loading it up with a debilitating pile of debt, the three PE firms tried to unload it to the unsuspecting public in an IPO in 2010. They were hoping for an additional payday, the icing on the cake, so to speak. But they had to scuttle their efforts due to “challenging market conditions.”

Yet toy industry sales have been “robust,” growing by 5% in 2016, and by a compound annual rate of 5% since 2013.

Incapably managed by the PE firms, Toys R Us has been losing market share in its struggle with online retailers, particularly Amazon, and with Walmart at every level, and with other toy stores. Nevertheless, if the company weren’t overleveraged and didn’t have PE firms leeching off it, its slowly declining revenues and thinning profits turning to losses wouldn’t be the end of the world.”

The article also went on to note that Toys ‘R’ Us was very aware how the leveraged buy out (LBO) would damage their ability to respond to competition due to the nature of their financial arrangements:

  • making it more difficult for us to make payments on the debt, as our business may not be able to generate sufficient cash flows from operating activities to meet our debt service obligations;

  • increasing our vulnerability to general economic and industry conditions;

  • requiring a substantial portion of cash flow from operating activities to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness, and as a result reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations and capital expenditures, capitalize on future business opportunities and expand our business and execute our strategy;

  • exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates as certain of our borrowings are at variable rates of interest;

  • causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;

  • limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements and general corporate or other purposes; and

  • limiting our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and to react to competitive pressure and placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who are less highly leveraged.

Thursday another company filed bankruptcy yet it got little media play maybe because there wasn’t a story that could be played up as new vs. old or bad vs. good. In this case we have a couple of unlikable players who I believe most would be cheering to fail. 

On the one hand we have what was once Clear Channel Communications (CC) which was most noted for gobbling up radio stations in the 1990s after the telecommunications Act of 1996. CC turned many of those once local based stations into a major part of the right wing echo chamber. CC reincarnated into iheartradio after an LBO by Bain Capital and Thomas Lee Capital.

So here you have Romney’s former firm Bain Capital and Clear Channel, a couple of American villains facing off. Bain used Rush Limbaugh as their bargaining chip in the buyout. This was shortly before Limbaugh became the toxic asset he is today broadcasting on 100 watt stations that barely cover small towns:

“Bain Capital like every company going to a bank in this case several banks for a loan had a business plan you give us X amount of dollars and we pay you back plus interest in a certain time.

How do you plan to pay us back the bank asks? Bain replies well Rush Limbaugh is our biggest cash generating asset.

And thats where everyone who boycotted, joined FlushRush, wrote and read articles gets to take a bow. :)”

There are many lessons in these similar stories. One is that the surface stories we get from the media often hides or ignores details they don’t want us to know. Why? Could be the influence of money, could be sloppiness, could be fear of exposing the real behind the scenes movers and shakers.

A second lesson is about those behind the scene movers. The vulture capitalist companies have been wreaking havoc behind the scenes around the world for decades with little impunity. One of the reasons the Puerto Rico is broke and does not have the resources to respond to the devastating hurricanes is because of vulture capitalists. Many emerging countries have fallen victim to these firms causing eventual serious problems.

And with these bankruptcies thousands of people will be out of work, businesses will be left with unpaid bills and leasing companies and malls will be left with empty buildings and store fronts.

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Iraq Peace Vigil, Fifteen Years Later

Action alert by Ed Flaherty –

Please join Veterans For Peace and PEACE Iowa at the Clinton St/Iowa Ave entrance to the Pentacrest in Iowa City at 5:30 – 6:00 PM on Monday, March 19th for a 15-Year Peace Vigil.

The middle of the month of March is a muddle of murky memories. March 16th marks fifty years since the U.S. massacre of 500 Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai. It epitomized the disgrace and shame of a war built on lies which claimed 58,272 American lives and over three million SE Asian lives. But that was more than 40 years ago, and University of Iowa students have no memory of it.

March 19th marks the beginning of another US war built on lies, 15 years ago in 2003, with Iraq the target. Most University of Iowa students were alive then, but most too young to have clear memories of it.

But, as William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” So it is with the Vietnam War, so it is with the Iraq War. 500,000 US veterans of the Iraq war have PTSD. We still had over 5000 troops in Iraq as of a few months ago, and how many are there now? How much educational expenses could be covered by the trillion dollars we have spent directly on the Iraq war? What about the state of affairs in Iraq today, having lost hundreds of thousands of lives in the US war and with infrastructure and social structure severely fractured? Maybe most importantly, what can we learn from these tragedies?

We must do more than mourn the past. We must learn from it and build a better present and future.

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Ankeny Legislative Forum: Constituents Laugh Out Loud At Legislators

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