Post Election The Mind Wanders

Mueller Hope

  • If Matt Whitaker had any ability as a lawyer he would understand that he is about the least qualified person in the US to be Attorney General. Of course the man who promoted him is only interested in fealty and how good someone looks on Fox News.
  • Quite the “Republican” move by Kim Reynolds last Tuesday as reported by the Des Moines Register Wednesday. Just like a certain president, Reynolds extracted what she wanted from racist congressman Steve King and now that she got what she wanted she decided to throw King out like last week’s garbage. I am not defending King just pointing out that chucking King should have been done long before the election. Citizens will not be fooled by your sudden conversion, Ms. Reynolds.
  • Speaking of Reynolds, can’t wait to see what kind of budget messes she and her Republican cohorts will stumble into. They don’t care, as long as they can be pure on not raising taxes.
  • Iowans voted to keep going heading down the fiscal drain just like two other Midwestern states that have frequently been cited as outstanding examples of how not to govern, Wisconsin and Kansas. Both took eight years to finally dump their Republican governors. Iowa has had eight years and all sorts of leadership screw ups, but we haven’t learned yet. 
  • Also in the Midwestern neighborhood we note that Minnesota turned a little more Democratic than they were, including controlling one house of the legislature. Minnesota is often compared to its neighbor Wisconsin since they are very similar in size and population. Minnesota has had Democratic leadership under Mark Dayton while Wisconsin has had Republican Scott Walker. Comparisons have not been kind to Wisconsin over the past eight years.
  • New Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said that there would be some gas tax raises to fix the state’s highways. We visit there frequently and find their roads to be in far better shape than Iowa’s. That shows what the differences in philosophy of the parties is. Republicans will claim low taxes in Iowa, but we will make it up in shock and tire repair.
  • “All pretense of Trump being concerned about anything but saving his own ass went out the window when he fired Jeff Sessions Wednesday” said columnist Bob Cesca on the Stephanie Miller Show last week. Republicans better pay attention. Your leader cares nothing about except how you can save him. That is it. 
  • Twitter should be tasked with creating a way to shout above all-CAPS for Dear Leader. Dear Leader is expected to be ranting to high heaven in the next few weeks and needs to be heard above EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD!!!!
  • One reason why Republicans assume they will win all the close elections is because of the voter suppression laws they have passed across the country. They practically pick the voters, shape districts so they are almost guaranteed to have a majority and use equipment that is easily hackable while using untraceable voting. So when a Republican expresses surprise they lost, they are in essence say “How can we lose when we set everything up so we couldn’t lose.”
  • Heard from Stephanie Miller on her Show: (paraphrased) “My Dad (former US representative, Nuremberg Prosecutor and VP candidate (1964) William Miller) unlike others of his time did not say communism was the great threat to the world, Naziism was. “ And apparently it still is.
Posted in #trumpresistance, 2020 election campaign, Blog for Iowa | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Happy Thanksgiving Edition

thanksgiving native americanThis year Thanksgiving Day coincides with the 55th anniversary of President Kennedy’s murder. So for many of us Thursday will be a day of mixed feelings. 

While the media created fantasy of Americans on Thanksgiving Day is that of happy  people (mostly white) sitting down to a meal fit for a king, reality in America is much different. For one thing America is becoming much more of a melting pot every year. For many of these folks their access to achieving the American Dream has been thwarted through legalities and societal norms. 

The America that governed itself with the goal of the best for all people has become a society fractured in many ways with people who have no access to health care, are homeless, have been stripped of their rights to vote, and have become political footballs for the immigration wars. We are constantly on a war footing. We now have a president whose strategy is to split the country into those loyal to him and others.

On the other hand, all this splintering may save the lives of some turkeys this year.

Well, maybe winning the House moved us a step back from oblivion, but we still have to wait until after the New Year.

  1. Now that the election is over, Kim Reynolds decided to dump on what high level member of her campaign about his racist views?
  1. What very important basic unit of measurement has been redefined from a physical entity to its relationship to Planck’s constant to remove any chance the unit might change?
  1. What psychedelic drug was accidentally discovered November 16th, 1938? 
  1. The big news of the week involved Dear Leader NOT doing what?
  1. Freedom of the Press 1, Dear Leader 0! Whose White House pass was temporarily restored by a federal judge Friday?
  1. In an interview with the Daily Caller, Dear Leader inadvertently admitted he hired who to hamper the Russia investigation?
  1. New vote counts from what county in Florida were denied because they were reported 2 minutes late?
  1. An official from what cabinet agency was arrested Thursday for criminal ethics charges – essentially soliciting a bribe?
  1. What noted comic book titan died Monday at age 95?
  1. Which Iowa congress member declared war on the press Tuesday saying they “would not tolerate those who did not print the truth about them?”
  1. Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona will be the only senator to describe her religious affiliation as what?
  1. Sinema’s opponent Martha McSally may end up in the senate at the same time as Sinema. How?
  1. ”To be honest, I don’t do diplomacy or politics through tweets and comments.” This response went from what world leader to what other world leader concerning a criticism?
  1. Following a comment that recalled an era of lynching, what Senate candidate made another statement that seemed to support voter suppression?
  1. “Becoming” is the title of whose memoir published last week?
  1. The first Thanksgiving in America was held in 1621. How long had the Wampanoag lived in that area before the English arrived?
  1. What city that was incinerated by the Camp Fire in California had an ironic name?
  1. What two cities won the “Amazon HQ2 Sweepstakes” to get Amazon’s new headquarters?
  1. What day celebrated on 11/11 is now the world’s single biggest shopping day?
  1. Flying to the WWI ceremonies in France Dear Leader received a call from what world leader whom he then berated?

Weird News 1:  

GULFPORT, Miss. — A man has been arrested after he drove his pickup truck into a courthouse in Mississippi.

News outlets reported that the Gulfport Police Department said in a news release that 28-year-old Keith Cavalier told officers he intentionally crashed into the Harrison County Courthouse early Saturday because it was the best way to let them know his drug paraphernalia had been stolen.

Answers:

  1. Campaign co-chair Steve King
  1. The kilogram 
  1. LSD
  1. Going to commemorations for veterans or military dead from WWI
  1. Jim Acosta
  1. Matt Whitaker as Attorney General
  1. Broward
  1. The EPA
  1. Stan Lee
  1. Steve King. He mentioned the DM Register and Sioux City Journal in particular
  1. None
  1. After McCain died, Az Gov. Ducey appointed Jon Kyl to replace McCain. Kyl said he would leave at the end of the year, leaving the seat open once more for Ducey to fill. McSally is the odds on bet to be picked.
  1. Emmanuel Macron to our Dear Leader. 
  1. Mississippi senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith
  1. Michelle Obama. Given Melania Trump’s propensity to plagiarize Obama, it may be Melania’s book title in a few years.
  1. About 10,000 years
  1. Paradise
  1. New York City and Arlington, Va.
  1. “Single’s Day”
  1. Theresa May. Maybe there will be a Brexit between them?

Weird News 2:  

Akihiko Kondo’s mother refused an invitation to her only son’s wedding in Tokyo this month, but perhaps that isn’t such a surprise: he was marrying a hologram.

“For mother, it wasn’t something to celebrate,” said the soft-spoken 35-year-old, whose “bride” is a virtual reality singer named Hatsune Miku.

In fact, none of Kondo’s relatives attended his wedding to Miku — an animated 16-year-old with saucer eyes and lengthy aquamarine pigtails — but that didn’t stop him from spending two million yen ($17,600) on a formal ceremony at a Tokyo hall.

Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Humor | Leave a comment

Indivisible: How We Win In 2020

indivisible.png

Once again from the email pile comes some good news for 2020:

Short-version: Now that we won a ton of elections(!), we’re launching two new, big guides outlining the Indivisible strategy for the next two years. Indivisible on Offense demystifies what the new Democratic House Majority means, and how you can use it to make your voice heard. Our new state guide describes how to take the Indivisible philosophy and push for state-level policy change with your state representatives. Read our note below for how we got here.

Indivisibles,

This time two years ago, we were lost, angry, and scared (okay, we were pissed. Really pissed). Republicans had taken the House, Senate, and Presidency. They were planning to go big. And we knew the only move we had was to play defense, focus on our own representatives and senators, and never give an inch. In that moment, we wrote the original Indivisible Guide, beginning with these lines:

Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President-Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.

Looking back, we think this holds up pretty well. And the growth of the Indivisible movement, and what you have accomplished, has surpassed our wildest expectations.

You didn’t just read the Guide. You didn’t just start groups in your hometowns across the country. You made Congress listen. In 2017, Indivisibles went to town halls, die-ins, and district offices. We defeated TrumpCare, rallied for immigrants, and turned the Republican tax cut for the rich and corporations into an enormous political liability. We stiffened Democratic spines and weakened Republican resolve. We couldn’t stop everything — but we did stop a lot.

The grassroots were responsible for Democrats retaking power.

Taking back the House used to be a pipe dream. It’s easy to forget, but just a little over a year ago, winning back the House was an idea that was too crazy for conventional Washington wisdom (read: pundits). Folks had good reason to believe taking back the House would be impossible. Back in 2010, the Republican Party succeeded in their sinister plot to flip targeted state legislatures and the House, giving their party control over redistricting after the 2010 census. And with that power, they drew gerrymandered districts to ensure a GOP House majority, no matter how unpopular their party became.

But where Republicans built a seawall, you built a bigger blue wave. A week ago, we flipped the House. We flipped 6 state legislatures. And we moved the whole country to the left. 317 out of 435 Congressional districts (73%) were more blue on Tuesday than they were in 2016.

Indivisibles endorsed candidates, knocked doors, registered voters, phonebanked and textbanked. You dragged your friends, family, and neighbors to the polls. Drop by drop, you built the blue wave and remade Congress, state houses, and governors’ mansions. And as a result, our slate of elected leaders at every level across the country will feature people who look like America, ready to fight for economic and racial justice and beat back the worst of Trump’s attacks on our neighbors, communities, and future.

After two years of defense, we now go on offense.

Now, Democrats have the House of Representatives and a ton more power at the state level. (Thank you for that!)

We had a feeling last Tuesday would go well for us. So we’ve been working on a new federal-level guide and state-level guide for months to prepare for this new political reality that we’re calling Indivisible on Offense. We can’t wait for you to dig in. Here’s a quick and dirty summary of how we win over the next two years:

1 We go on offense in the House. With the majority, House Democrats can determine which bills get votes and there are two big opportunities to go on legislative offense in 2019 and 2020: messaging bills and must-pass bills. House Democrats can also hold Trump’s entire administration accountable through oversight and investigations (subpoena power, investigatory power, congressional-hearings power, and more!). This all gets complicated, but check out the guide for practical steps on how to use this intel.

2 We start making gains in the states to save democracy. There are huge opportunities to resist Trump and provide a progressive vision for the country through state-level advocacy. And many of the same principles you use when advocating for federal change apply at the state level. With the big gains last Tuesday, we have a lot more opportunities to accomplish proactive policy wins — and this all starts happening early in 2019 when state legislatures are sworn in.

This is the road to stopping Trump in his tracks, locking in the gains we’ve made, and advancing an alternative vision for the country rooted in democracy, inclusion, and respect. This is the road to retaking the White House in two years. But none of this is automatic. We won last Tuesday. Now we have to make those wins mean something going forward.

So here’s what we need you to do to get ready for this fight:

1 Find your local Indivisible group. No, really. The key to the Indivisible movement is building strong, local groups. And if you haven’t found yours yet, you need to right now. Want to start your own? Awesome. Do it.

2 Read our new federal Guide: Indivisible on Offense. New power in the House means we need a new game plan to demand that our newly-elected members of Congress check Trump and offer an alternative to his backwards agenda.

3 Read our new state Guide: Empowering the States to Resist the Trump Agenda. Some of the most important work you can do to save our democracy is to take action in your state legislatures around the country.

Two years ago, we wrote the Indivisible Guide because we knew that everything we hold dear was under threat. We’ve lost a lot since then, but we ‑‑ along with critical partners — have accomplished so much. We resisted. We retook power. And with control of the House of Representatives and new power in the states, we will band together, indivisible to remake this country.

These new Guides offer a road map for the next two years of our journey. Together, we will pave the way to the post-Trump era. Together, we will win.

In solidarity,
Ezra & Leah

PS — This is our plan for the next two years. Just like for the last two years, we’re going to be fueled by grassroots donations — our average donation is just $37. If you can spare some change, help us begin implementing this strategy right now by donating here. If you can’t donate, just help by forwarding this email along to your friends and family to help grow the movement. We’re gonna do this together, every step of the way.

Indivisible Project is a locally-led, people-powered movement of thousands of local groups in red, blue, and purple states, and in urban, suburban, and rural areas (at least two in every congressional district!). Our mission is to power and lift up a grassroots movement of local groups to defeat the Trump agenda, elect progressive leaders, and realize bold progressive policies.

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2020 election campaign, Blog for Iowa, Indivisible | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NARAL:  Stop New Rules On Birth Control

naral-logo-small-for-email-wrapper

“The Trump administration introduced new rules this month (November 14th) — similar to rules already blocked by federal courts — that would allow non-profits, private businesses, and universities to refuse to cover birth control in their insurance policies based on “moral or religious” objections. This new attack is a blatant attempt to allow our employers to control our choices, our bodies, and our lives. “

The above is from the NARAL petition site. It goes along with this email NARAL sent Wednesday. As I understand it the new rules go into effect 60 days from when they were issued:

Anti-choice extremists have never really cared about “life.”

What they do care about is controlling our choices, our bodies, and our lives. The Trump administration’s most recent attacks prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The new rules, similar to rules already blocked by federal courts, would allow non-profits, private businesses, and universities to refuse to cover birth control in their insurance policies based on “moral or religious” objections.1 This is a dangerous attack on our health and our rights, and we will not stand for it.

TAKE ACTION: Demand Congress take action to protect the Affordable Care Act’s no-copay birth control benefit and keep government interference out of personal medical decisions.

Your employer has NO place in your decision to use birth control, and the idea that a boss would be able to deny coverage for any other medication is unconscionable. Yet women are forced to endure these threats to our health, well-being, and autonomy over and over again, for daring to exert control over our bodies and destinies.

And if anti-choice groups were truly interested in reducing unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion, they’d be as outraged as we are about this! But because their real goal is to control our bodies, they are praising the Trump administration’s rules.2

Add your name now to demand the government stay out of our decision to use birth control.

Attacks against our reproductive freedom may start small, but their plan is to chip away at our rights little by little, until they completely eliminate protections for contraception, abortion, and more.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought against this administration’s attacks on birth control, mobilizing activists across the country to rise up and act. We must stay vigilant and fight any effort to undermine our autonomy — and that of our colleagues, family members, and neighbors — to protect our fundamental rights and those of future generations.

Thank you for being with us in this fight.

Stephanie Yost 

Senior Legislative Counsel, NARAL Pro-Choice America

In some areas women are already trying to take care of themselves or forming small groups to fight the administration’s proposed new rules. They know, as we all do, that Women’s reproductive rights are one of the top targets for the religious right in this country. From the unlikely source Marketwatch comes this story of some things that women are doing to try to hold off the monsters:

When Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, many women and reproductive rights activists were worried about what his presidency would mean for family planning services like abortion and birth control.

Some started took matters into their own hands.

Melanie Roven, a 29-year-old brand director in New York City, began stockpiling Plan B, an over-the-counter emergency birth control, early in Trump’s campaign for president, she told MarketWatch.

“It was kind of a joke at first, but as he started forming policy ideas I realized I should actually do this,” she said.

Plan B has a shelf life of up to four years and retails for around $50. Roven now has five boxes sitting in her bathroom. (Another emergency birth control, Take Action, retails for $35.)”

More at the link. 

With the ascension of Brett Kavanaugh to the SCOTUS we can expect a 5-4 fairly hardline against women’s rights. We are now already in the 2020 presidential election cycle. Trump got his ass handed to him in the midterms. We all know he will use anything he can to win again, so using the government machinery to stop choice legally or not to keep the evangelicals voting for him is right in Trump’s plan.

Please sign the petition. 

Posted in #trumpresistance, Affordable Care Act, Blog for Iowa, Choice, womens rights | Tagged | Leave a comment

Iowa’s Animals Deserve Better


Action alert from Iowa Voters for Companion Animals

Iowa’s two most pressing companion animal issues are weak cruelty laws and a lack of oversight of commercial dog breeding facilities. 

Companion Animal Cruelty Laws

Iowa’s companion animal cruelty laws are weak. They contain numerous ambiguities and loopholes that make it extremely challenging for law enforcement and county attorneys to hold those who have harmed animals accountable and protect pets from offenders in the future. They also do little to deter first-time or repeat offenders and make it difficult to take a proactive approach to animal welfare issues. 

Citizens get frustrated as animal welfare concerns often seem to go unaddressed, law enforcement officers’ options are limited given current law, and even when individuals are charged, our laws often limit county attorneys’ ability to secure adequate sentences.

A study by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA found animal abusers to be: 

  • Five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people
  • Four times more likely to commit property crimes
  • Three times more likely have drug offenses

Animal cruelty is also linked to criminal acts such as domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse. Recognizing this important connection, the FBI began tracking animal cruelty in their National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in 2016. With the proven link between violence to animals and violence to humans, this is as much a community safety issue as it is an animal welfare issue.

Fortunately, we can better protect Iowa’s animals and communities with commonsense improvements to current law by:

  • Allowing a first-offense felony charge for egregious animal cruelty; Iowa is only one of two states without such, Mississippi being the other
  • Removing the need to prove “depraved or sadistic intent” for an animal torture charge; the State of Iowa v Zachary Meerdink case clearly proves why this is needed
  • Clearly defining standards of care, such as “adequate shelter”
  • Removing the owner exemption from the charge of animal abuse
  • Barring offenders from owning or working with animals after conviction

Oversight of Commercial Dog Breeding Industry

Iowa has long been ranked as one of the worst states in the nation for the large number of irresponsible dog breeding facilities or puppy mills – operations who prioritize profit above animal welfare, resulting in inhumane conditions like those at White Fire Kennel.

Conditions within puppy mills include overcrowded, filthy kennels and a lack of adequate food, water, vet care, exercise, and socialization. The female dogs are bred at every cycle, considered little more than puppy producing machines while studies have proven that the puppies born in such conditions show higher rates of health and behavior issues.

Iowa currently has more than 200 federally and state licensed commercial dog breeding facilities. According to 2016 USDA data, 46 of those federally licensed kennels house more than 100 adult breeding dogs. In 2015, USDA data shows that more than 50% of federally licensed commercial dog breeders and dealers in Iowa were cited for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Unfortunately, the USDA has a history of renewing licenses, even to licensees who have repeatedly demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to remain compliant with the AWA and provide humane treatment. And recent decisions by the USDA, including redacting inspection reports; implementing announced inspections; and dramatically decreasing enforcement actions, have only decreased transparency and raised concerns.

As the USDA is failing in their oversight capacity, we need to take action to protect Iowa’s dogs and puppies.

We need state oversight of all commercial dog breeders in Iowa. 

No dog or puppy should need to be rescued from a licensed dog breeder. State laws and regulations need to be implemented to allow inspectors and law enforcement to proactively address animal welfare concerns before they escalate to what we saw at White Fire Kennel, with more than one hundred dogs needing to be rescued and rehabilitated by animal welfare organizations. And those who harm an animal need to be held accountable.

Iowa’s current rankings and lack of animal protection laws are not in-line with Iowa values. Fortunately, our legislators have the power to make a positive change.

And each Iowan has the power and responsibility to speak up.

 – Speak up if you see any act of animal cruelty.
 – Speak up if you suspect or discover a dog breeding kennel may not be appropriately caring for their dogs.
 – And speak up if you want to see Iowa’s animal protection laws improved.

Click here to alert Governor Kim Reynolds and legislators of these recent animal cruelty cases and encourage all to support positive legislation to better protect Iowa’s animals and communities in 2019.

NOTE: While we share everyone’s anger and frustration with the current state of animal welfare in Iowa, disrespectful or hateful messages to any lawmaker is counterproductive. Please be respectful to all elected officials, even if you may be of a different political party or have previously been on opposites sides of this or other political issues. We are all Iowans and can certainly find common ground in protecting our pets.

Most appreciatively, 


Haley Anderson
Executive Director
Iowa Voters for Companion Animals

Iowa Voters for Companion Animals
P.O. Box 13021
Des Moines, Iowa 50310

    

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Congresswoman-Elect Cindy Axne On Iowa Press

ICYMI:  Friday,  November 9 Iowa Press

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This Week On The Fallon Forum: Mid-Terms Review

And now a word from Ed Fallon.

First, I want to thank Matt McCoy for calling out Matt Whitaker (President Trump’s new acting Attorney General) for Whitaker’s politically-motivated witch hunt against McCoy in 2007. Whitaker was a U.S. Attorney at the time and came after McCoy on alleged extortion charges.

The trial was an embarrassment to Whitaker and the U.S. government. In a column by McCoy in Politico this week, former Des Moines Register editorial page editor Gil Cranberg noted, “The case against McCoy was so anorexic that not one of the 12 jurors considered it worth protracted consideration.”

The Politico story also notes that Jerry Crawford (McCoy’s attorney) approached the prosecuting attorneys during the trial and asked them to save face, saying, “Pull this case now. I’m embarrassed for the United States of America.”

After a mere 25 minutes of deliberation, the jury found McCoy not guilty. Other examples of Whitaker’s unabashed partisan perspective are too numerous to list. The bottom line is, among many Trump appointees poorly qualified for their jobs, Whitaker ranks higher than most — and that says volumes.

So, to the recent election — here are my three take aways:

1. More Democratic women should run for office. The fact that in four suburban Polk County house districts incumbent Republicans (all men) were ousted by Democratic challengers (all women) indicates a changing perspective among suburban voters. What happened in Polk County was the norm in many other suburbs across the country. Was this a blip, an anomaly? Will Republicans recapture the burbs in 2020? I doubt it. What we’re seeing is a generational and gender-driven shift among suburban voters away from a Republican Party grown callous to the interests of most people.

2. The Democratic Party needs to run progressive populists for higher office. Never again should Democrats nominate a candidate for governor, U.S. Senate, or president who can be easily tagged as elitist or status quo. On a personal level, I like Fred Hubbell immensely. He and his wife Charlotte are great people, and Fred would’ve made an excellent governor.

But Fred wasn’t a great candidate, at least not in these times. Here’s what I wrote in a blog I published last May before the primary election: “I see the barrage of ads touting Reynolds’ humble background — growing up on a farm, her dad taking a second job at a factory to make ends meet, working at a grocery store and later as a waitress. That stuff resonates with Iowans. Voters will have a hard time relating to someone as wealthy and privileged as Fred Hubbell.”

The bottom line is, even with suburban voters moving into the Democratic column (barely), that’s not enough to win a statewide election. You can’t simply hope to blow past rural Iowa by racking up huge vote totals in Polk, Linn, Scott, and a few other urban counties.

And that brings me to the third take away:

3. Democrats must regain the support of rural voters. Others have said this too. (Tom Vilsack comes to mind.) Urban Democrats can and must reconnect with rural voters. In my experience, the only way to do this is to spend prodigious amounts of time in rural communities. You can’t pay a flying visit. You can’t just pop by to talk. You have to go with the intent to listen, learn, and build relationships.

If Democratic candidates and Party leaders make a focused, sincere, concerted effort to do this, rural voters may come to see that they have a lot more in common with city folk than any of us have with Wall Street. For our part, urban Democrats may come to better understand the challenges facing rural communities and stop bashing rural voters as a bunch of dumb rubes.

If that happens, there’s no reason Democrats can’t regain the populist rural/urban majority they formerly enjoyed — a majority that once allowed the Party to accomplish great things for both Iowa and America.

*******

On this week’s Fallon Forum, Charles Goldman joins Ed Fallon to discuss:

(00:52) The Messiah is coming and we interview his spokesperson, with Dick Larson;
(14:46) The color purple: A candid review of the midterm election;
(30:35) Trump blames trees for California fires while gutting fuel-efficiency standards;
(50:12) Remembering D-Day as the urgency for climate mobilization grows stronger.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 96.5 FM and 1260 AM (central Iowa). Add your voice to the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122.

– Listen on other local affiliates:
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks!

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Why You Must Never Retweet or Repeat Trump’s Gibberish

I am a big fan of George Lakoff.  We’ve been posting his work on BFIA for years.  I agree with everything he says about language. But having said that, I would like to add that I’ve noticed that he and other pundits sometimes display an annoying habit of pointing to Trump’s lying ways and calling him “brilliant” or “masterful” at manipulating public perception, etc. , or some other admiring word.  I would put forth that this is ironically, an example of doing the exact thing Lakoff says we should not be doing, that is, unconsciously adopting Trump’s framing.

There is nothing in what Trump is doing that merits an adjective remotely resembling anything positive, especially any word meaning that he is using the thinking or cognitive part of his brain.

Sometimes I think the punditry class secretly or sub-consciously, admire those who can lie without any self-doubt whatsoever and get away with it. Or maybe they’re just going out of their way to appear fair.  The fact remains, Trump isn’t reinventing the wheel here. Liars have been using the exact same methods that Lakoff points to that Trump uses, for a very long time. If Trump is getting away with it better now, it’s not because he’s smart it’s because the way has been  paved and we have a severely broken media.

Republicans have been lying to manipulate public perception for decades. Trump didn’t come up with this strategy himself. He has had the training and guidance of The Republican Party since at least Nixon; he has benefited from the previous work of scoundrels like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. He has the propaganda machine with Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Fox News and all the conservative talkers pointing the way, giving him ideas and literally giving him his lines.  Some say Fox News is the real president.  I tend to agree.  So I really wish a certain subset of the punditry class would quit being so admiring of Trump’s “skill” and stop saying that he is “brilliant,” etc.

Having said that, I agree with everything else Lakoff puts forward here.

Lakoff outlines what they do, then explains why and how it works. I have posted an excerpt and you may want to read the entire article at the link and some of his other works, too, available on Amazon.  He mentions, Don’t Think of an Elephant in this article. Good place to start.

https://www.dw.com/en/dont-retweet-donald-trump-and-dont-use-his-language/a-42213110

“…framing –  get your understanding of the situation out there. Two, divert attention from things you don’t want people to pay attention to, for example by attacking somebody else. Three, attack the messenger or assign blame to someone else and deflect it away from you, for example the press. Four, launch a trial balloon and say something outrageous, an extreme version of what you believe to see what the reaction is and if it isn’t too bad you are in the clear.”

Language activates an idea and a circuitry in your brain. And the result of that is every time a circuit is activated, its synapses get stronger. So the more you hear certain things, even if you just hear and understand them, the circuitry gets stronger.

I wrote a book called “Don’t think of an elephant” — which makes you think of an elephant. Or when Nixon said “I am not a crook” everybody thought of him as a crook. Why? Because in order to negate something you have to activate it in your brain first which makes it stronger. So every time you deny something overtly using the language of the person you are trying to contradict, you are actually helping that person.

Click here to read the entire article

Click on the image to buy this book on Amazon.

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Donald Trump versus Robert Mueller

by Ralph Scharnau

On May 17, 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to investigate possible Russian interference in U.S. elections and related matters. Since then, President Trump and some GOP state and congressional officials have expressed unhappiness with the Mueller probe.

Mueller himself is a registered Republican. Born into a wealthy New England family, his elite education included prep school, a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton, a Master of Arts from New York University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. After a stint as a decorated Marine Corps combat officer, Mueller developed a strong penchant for public sector law with an emphasis on prosecution.

Mueller heads the ongoing investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election and possible coordination with Trump’s presidential campaign. Mueller’s reputation rests on his methodical and thorough examination of his sources. Mueller has not yet released the final results of his legal team’s findings. Apparently Mueller has not interviewed Trump or any other high-ranking GOP officials or Trump’s business associates.

Some observers contend that the public record already provides evidence of a torrent of indictments, plea deals, and legal maneuvers. Criminal charges include the indictments of at least 25 Russians accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, either through spreading misinformation on social media or hacking email accounts of prominent Democrats and releasing them online.

Meanwhile, the President refers to the Mueller investigation as a “hoax,” a “scam,” and, his favorite, a “witch hunt.” In mid-May tweets, the President attacked Mueller’s probe as “disgusting, illegal and unwarranted.” The President denies any personal wrong-doing, and he dismisses the notion of collusion with the Russians in the 2016 elections as a partisan Democratic Party ploy.

Trump has asserted that he could run the investigation better than Mueller’s team. Trump also claimed that he has the legal right to end Mueller’s investigation. And he even argues that he can pardon himself.

The investigation remains a cloud over the White House, fueling speculation about criminal charges against the president, the politicization of federal investigators, illegal wiretapping and, of course, Russian collusion. It will truly be difficult to predict how Trump handles the Mueller probe. This comes, in part at least, from Trump’s giving evidence-free or contradictory interviews to the press and his remarks at rallies.

Yet there already exists enough evidence in the public record that Mueller has discovered examples of conspiracy and obstruction of justice, of money laundering and bank fraud, of false statements and perjury. The Mueller story can be linked to law, politics, and morality. Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly tried to exert control over the Mueller committee. He has also labeled the investigation a “rigged witch hunt.” He recently called for an end to the investigation, citing lack of support among Republicans and the general public, soaring costs, and another example of the extreme partisanship of Democratic lawmakers.

Mueller has granted no interviews or conducted any news conferences during his time as special counsel. How the investigation will end, remains a matter of speculation. He could write a short confidential summary of his findings to the U. S. Attorney General or he could simply end the probe because he believes there is no verifiable evidence of criminal activity.

While the Mueller probe no longer receives front-page coverage, it still calls attention to the President. Donald Trump’s twitter account pumps out a steady stream of vitriol and gutter language that serves as an inflection point for American values and our justice system.

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Congratulations Congress Member Loebsack

Loebsack 169 x 225

Welcome Aboard Congress Member Finkenauer

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photo: millennialpolitics.com

And Congress Member Axne

Axne-Family

 

Tremendous Try, Mr. Scholten!

JDScholten

As for our old and new members of congress, let me be the millionth to remind you of the little chore in front of you – saving democracy in America. 

You ran because you didn’t like the direction this country was going. That direction is toward authoritarianism and plutocracy. This may not be America’s darkest hours but the light is getting low as the occupant of the White House continues to dim the gas lights a bit more each day.

It will take courage to stand up against the rage that pours from the White House and often on their media outlets. You folks were elected because you can judge what is right and wrong, not because you do what you are told to do.

We will stand behind you through thick and thin. 

Thank you for standing for office and thank you for the task you are about to undertake.

And a special thanks to JD Scholten out there in Northwest Iowa. You almost pulled off the upset of the day. Thank you for what you did in exposing Steve King for what he truly is. May good fortune follow you, maybe into another run in two years.

We would also like to honor those who ran for state House and state Senate. You put in countless hours of door knocking, making appearances and on the phone. You sacrificed your personal life for a higher purpose. Thank you all so much.

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