Loebsack Calls For King To Resign

Congressman Dave Loebsack

Loebsack: For the Good of Iowa, Steve King Needs to Resign

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today called on Rep. Steve King to resign for the good of the people of Iowa. While Steve King has a long history of making hateful and disgusting remarks, by having his committee assignments taken away, he is no longer able to effectively serve the people of Iowa. Loebsack also announced today that he has become an original cosponsor of Rep. Tim Ryan’s bipartisan resolution to censure Steve King for his history of making hateful and disgusting remarks. Earlier today, Loebsack sent a letter to Rep. King outlining his position.

“I have repeatedly called out Steve King when he has made disgusting and vile comments. His words and beliefs should have no place in public discourse. Additionally, Steve has made no effort to change his behavior and I believe it is past time for him to be held accountable for his actions.

“Iowans deserve a Congressman who is able to fight on their behalf and now that Steve’s committee assignments have been taken away, he is unable to truly be a representative for the people. Iowans deserve someone who can serve without distraction, and advocate for the people of their district. It is clear that Steve is no longer able to serve in that capacity and should, for the good of Iowa, resign and pass the important responsibilities of this office to another.”

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Wisconsin Court Rules For Stein Recount

I’m not a fan of Jill Stein’s inflammatory, overly cynical, self-serving Democrat bashing.  That said, I don’t think  she was involved in any way in the Russian conspiracy. I tend to believe her story of why she was in a picture with Putin in Moscow of 2015.  So in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, Stein is doing something incredibly important that no one else thought was worthwhile enough to bother with, and is winning court decisions. 

The following is a press release from last week from Stein Recount 2016 on VotingJustice.us

Court Rules for Stein Recount, Denying Attempt to Prevent Public Disclosure of Voting Machine Inspection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2019
Stein Recount 2016

Today, former Green Party Presidential nominee Jill Stein announced another win in her push for election integrity in the 2016 recount follow up. She hailed a Wisconsin court ruling that denied a request by voting equipment corporations that would have barred any public disclosure of the findings of a groundbreaking examination of voting machine software that the Stein campaign will conduct. The voting machine corporations sought the gag rule in the wake of a Wisconsin Elections Commission decision allowing the Stein campaign to inspect this software and review its accuracy and reliability.

“This decision is a huge win for voters everywhere, and for the common-sense principle that the accuracy and reliability of our voting system is more important than shielding corporations from scrutiny,” said Dr. Stein. “As the Wisconsin Elections Commission ruled and the court affirmed, the law is unambiguously on our side. If the voting machine corporations had their way, we’d be prohibited from disclosing our findings under penalty of law, even if we discovered evidence of problems that could have changed the outcome of the election.”

“The only reason for voting machine corporations to push for a gag rule was to prevent us from revealing any problems with their machines, which would threaten their ability to keep profiting off our elections. It’s outrageous that we’ve had to go to court to argue that the integrity of our elections is more important than protecting corporations.”

“When we launched the 2016 recount with the support of over 161,000 people, we knew it wasn’t just a single election people were worried about, but the whole system. Over and over, we heard the concern that the computers and technology that were supposed to make our elections modern and reliable had instead made them more vulnerable. So when the recount in Wisconsin made it possible to examine voting machine software, we jumped at the rare opportunity to look inside the voting machines to see if they deserve the immense trust we’re told to put in them.”

“Wisconsin law allows us to conduct a groundbreaking state-wide examination of the voting machine “source code” – a crucial piece of voting machine software that controls the actual counting and tallying of the votes. This decision allows us to start preparing for the first-ever independent post-election examination of voting machine source code.”

The Wisconsin decision is the latest in a series of victories for election integrity resulting from the 2016 recount effort, including a recent settlement with the state of Pennsylvania to replace easily-hacked paperless voting machines with paper ballots and institute automatic vote audits. This precedent raises the bar for election integrity across the country. It adds to previous victories in Michigan and Wisconsin after the recount identified voting machine failures, leading to the replacement of faulty machines.

The Wisconsin court decision can be seen here.

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CCI Update for Legislative Session 2019


From Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI):

On Monday, 150 state legislators descend on Des Moines for the 2019 legislative session.
And over the next 110 days they will introduce, consider, debate, and pass policies that impact us all in every aspect of our lives: policies on factory farms and clean water, healthcare, education, working conditions, our state budget, and more.  We’ll be your eyes and ears at the Capitol tracking bills – good and bad – to let you know when your calls, emails, or weekend visits with your legislator can have a big impact.  To help you get ready, here is our take on what we can expect going into this year’s General Assembly.

Who’s at the table

Kim Reynolds will be inaugurated as Governor next week. We’ll know more about her priorities after Tuesday’s State of the State address, but we’ve heard she is prioritizing cutting even more taxes in spite of tight revenues – which forced cuts over the previous two years.

Republicans control the Statehouse. They will (largely) call the shots. The GOP majority in the Senate is 32-18; and the GOP majority in the House is 54-46 (pending an ongoing review of votes cast in the NE IA House District 55 race).

What’s on the table

We’ve heard bits and pieces of policy agendas from legislative leaders and the governor.

Key priorities for the Iowa GOP:

  • Cutting taxes to benefit corporations and the extremely wealthy in spite of tight budgets and drastic cuts the last few years;
  • Fiddling around the margins of Reynolds’s privatized Medicaid mess, but not fixing the problems with our healthcare system;
  • Imposing stricter work requirements for low-income and out-of-work Iowans who receive assistance in spite of historically low unemployment.

Key Priorities for Iowa Democrats:

  • Increasing funding for Iowa’s education system and addressing student debt;
  • Returning Medicaid to state-run care and increasing mental health
    services;
  • Restoring workers’ rights, which have been attacked in recent years.

Additional hot button issues on the table:

  • Granting another power grab to MidAmerican and Alliant Energy by restricting Iowans’ access to renewable energy;
  • Gutting IPERS (Iowa’s public employees earned pensions) as part of a manufactured budget crisis;
  • Establishing more workforce training programs and addressing state staffing levels in the courts and prison system; and
  • Altering the voter-approved funding formulas for IWILL: that means sending more taxpayer money to fix the water pollution caused by corporations with no oversight.

We could see other issues pop up, and we’ll be on the lookout for other measures that benefit corporate power and the 1% at the expense of our people and the planet.

What we’re bringing to the table

Our agenda comes from you and the issues you have been organizing on year-round. We’re pushing for:

Healthcare for all/getting profits out of healthcare. That means ending privatized Medicaid servicing, establishing the CARE Act to prioritize and support caregivers, and moving towards a single-payer style universal healthcare program that leaves no one behind.

A food & farm system that works for farmers, workers, eaters, and the environment. That means a moratorium on factory farms, local control, and more oversight of factory farms, as well as policies that support family farmers and force Big Ag to pay to clean up Iowa’s water crisis.

Racial justice. That means banning the practice of racial profiling by Iowa law enforcement. We’ll also fight attempts to force law enforcement to act as ICE agents or other policies that force those of us without documentation or in mixed status families into the shadows.

Action on climate change. That means moving to 100% renewable energy for 100% of the people and making sure that all Iowans (not just those who can afford it) benefit from transitioning to renewable energy, and fighting the power grabs by corporate utilities who seek to prioritize their profits over our lives.

Voter justice. That means removing the influence of big money on our political system and fighting any attempts at voter suppression or fiddling with Iowa’s model for a nonpartisan redistricting process.

In the future, we want to run the table

Policy making should be the people’s business, not done behind closed doors by industry insiders. We believe those most impacted by a problem should be in the driver’s seat to craft the solution. We believe in fighting for what our communities need, not what some view as winnable in the moment.

In order to win our vision for Iowa, we need to change who is at the statehouse. We need more folks like you, who come out of our work together, running for office.  Our organizing work, paired with our statehouse work, paired with more work in elections will help us set the political stage on which the 2020 caucuses and elections are played out.

Before we go, what’s on our radar:

As always, let me know what you are hearing in your community – from neighbors and from your elected officials.

And thanks for all you do for a people and planet first Iowa!

Adam Mason
State Policy Organizing Director
P.S. We’ll be letting you know every week about forums in your neck of the woods. Find those, and our toolkits on our website.

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Reminders: Monday, IPERS Press Conference; Saturday, Women’s March

Image (1) progress-iowa.jpg for post 17381As the Iowa legislature gears up for another session with Republicans in total control, common Iowans will be taking action to protect the retirement that they worked so hard for. Republicans have been itching to turn that money over to money managers who could then start raking fees for managing those accounts.

From progressiowa.org email:

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowans will speak out at the capitol on the first day of the legislative session to call on Governor Reynolds and the legislature to keep promises made on the campaign trail and respect their retirement. Vital retirement programs have been under serious threat recently, such as the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, better known as IPERS. More than 350,000 Iowans would have their economic security threatened if IPERS is changed, and on Monday Iowans will stand up against potential threats to their retirement.

Monday’s press conference will be hosted by the Iowa Coalition for Retirement Security, in partnership with AFSCME Council 61, the Iowa State Education Association, and the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO. Speakers will encourage Iowans to participate in a day of action on January 23rd, which will include contacting elected officials and sharing facts about retirement security online.

EVENT DETAILS:

WHO:

 Everyday Iowans speaking out for retirement security

WHAT:

 Iowa Coalition for Retirement Security Press Conference

WHEN:

 Monday, January 14th, 12:00 PM

WHERE:

 Iowa State Capitol, Room 116, 1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines

Contacts:

Lance Coles, (515) 262-9571

Jean Hessburg, (515) 314-8799

Mazie Stilwell, (515) 246-1517

WOMEN”S MARCH

Women's March 2019

The second reminder is that the 3rd Annual Women’s March is scheduled for next Saturday in Washington, DC with sister marches in Des Moines and Red Oak, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska.

Someone brought up the concern that the government shutdown may stop the Women’s March. The answer is that it will not! From the FAQ section of the Women’s March homepage:  

IF THE GOVERNMENT IS SHUT DOWN, IS THE MARCH STILL ON?

They can shut down the government but they can’t shut down the #WomensWave! This is a First Amendment protected activity — shutdown or no shutdown, we are marching.

MARCH ON!!!

Omaha:

Omaha Women’s March

January 20, 2019 • 1:00 PM

Downtown Omaha

TBD

Omaha, NE 68102

Red Oak, Iowa:

January 19, 2019 • 10:00 AM

Legion Park

101 E Cherry St

Red Oak, IA 51566

Des Moines:

January 19, 2019 • 11:00 AM

Des Moines Capitol

1007 E Grand Ave

Des Moines, IA 50319

Women’s March on Washington

Start: January 19, 2019 • 10:00 AM

12th Street and the National Mall• 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW, Washington D.C., DC 20001

Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Calls to Action, Progress Iowa | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Holding The Country Hostage Edition

Planning on eating today? You may want to stay away from fresh fruits and vegetables since our government food inspectors are locked out from doing their work. For business, this would be a good time to cut a few corners and save a few bucks, right? 

Taking an airplane trip? Security agents are missing work in high volumes since they aren’t getting paid. Air traffic controllers are also. Their ranks were already thin. 

Doing a little sight-seeing at some of our country’s national parks or monuments? Bad timing.

It is almost as if some terrorist has taken control of our government and stopped some of the country’s most basic services. I do not know if that is true, but somewhere in Moscow a man named Vlad Putin most likely has a huge smile on his face as he once again sees the US being ground to a halt by his friend Donald.

Oy Vey, what a mess.

  1. 13 year old Jayme Closs was able to escape her abductor 3 months after her parents were murdered and she was abducted in what nearby state?
  1. Dear Leader twittered that he will cut off FEMA funds to what state?
  1. In an interview on 60 minutes Sunday night who said there is “no question” that Dear Leader is a racist?
  1. Speaking of racists, who had a hard time understanding that “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were offensive?
  1. Dear Leader called a meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday. Who walked out of that meeting within a few minutes after it started?
  1. Cyntoia Brown was granted clemency for the crime of murdering the man who was sex-trafficking her in what state?
  1. A federal judge ruled what law that stopped undercover investigations of livestock facilities unconstitutional Wednesday?
  1. What prominent Iowa Republican state senator announced his primary candidacy for Iowa’s 4th US congressional seat?
  1. All four living what contradicted Dear Leader’s claim that they are all in favor of a border wall?
  1. Thanks to a resounding referendum victory in November, 1.5 million ex-felons will be able to vote in what state starting last Monday?
  1. Dear Leader claimed there were 4,000 what stopped at the border the first half of 2018. Data showed only 6 what were actually stopped?
  1. Sears – is it still in business or not?
  1. What major figure in the probe into Russian sabotage of the 2016 election is expected to leave the DOJ in the next few weeks?
  1. What billionaire announced he would not run for president in 2020?
  1. What late night TV host is giving jobs to furloughed federal employees during the shutdown?
  1. This ought to be some settlement. What super rich person is being divorced by his wife?
  1. Dear Leader, Jr. drew major backlash when he compared daddy’s border wall to what kind of an enclosure?
  1. Paul Manafort’s legal team filed a poorly redacted file that revealed that Manafort gave what information to a Russian contact?
  1. It’s just a part-time job. What politician sold $35 million worth of real estate last year?
  1. What Dear Leader lawyer claimed Friday that the Trump team should be able to “correct” the Mueller report before any of it is made public?

John Fugelsang on Twitter:

Steve King proves that the most common trait of ignorant racists is a total ignorance that they’re racist.

Answers:

  1. Wisconsin
  1. California – a little confused whether he said he will or he wants to – either way it is the wrong thing to do.
  1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  1. Iowa’s own Steve King
  1. Dear Leader – threw a tantrum and walked out
  1. Tennessee
  1. Iowa’s famous Ag-gag law
  1. Randy Feenstra
  1. Presidents
  1. Florida
  1. People with names on the terrorist watch list. This does not mean any of the 6 were terrorists.
  1. I think so. Sort of.
  1. Rod Rosenstein
  1. Tom Steyer
  1. Jimmy Kimmel
  1. Jeff Bezos
  1. A zoo fence. Seriously,  junior?
  1. Polling data
  1. Dear Leader
  1. Rudy Giuliani – wouldn’t every criminal want that deal?

Did you ever consider that a man who paid $135,000 for one sex act with a porn star is maybe not quite the great deal maker he claims himself to be?

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

IDP Email, Part 2: Defeat Joni Ernst Fund

joni-ernst-the-perfect-Koch-investment

I hope the email from IDP is not supposed to be secret because I am really happy to spread what I believe is a brilliant idea: let’s start now and build up a fund for whatever Democrat comes out of the primaries as Joni Ernst’s opponent. 

A model for such a pre-campaign money raiser for an unknown candidate was recently hashed for the future opponent of Senator Susan Collins in Maine after she diddled and dawdled about her vote on the Kavanaugh nomination. In the process she pissed a majority of Mainers who decided to do something serious about unseating her. As any political person these days know, campaigns cost money.

From the second part of the IDP email:

But we can do a LOT to address the other Senator from Iowa: Joni Ernst. So here’s what I’m prescribing to you to help fix that upset stomach you got about Chuck Grassley (remember, not a doctor): Make a donation to our Defeat Joni Ernst Fund so we can send a true champion for Iowa families to the Senate.

If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately:

Express Donate: $5

Express Donate: $10

Express Donate: $27

Express Donate: $50

Or, donate another amount

It’s bad enough that Grassley moved up in the ranks in the Senate. But that move also opened up a spot on the Judiciary Committee — and his handpicked replacement was Senator Joni Ernst.

Joni Ernst is already following in Chuck Grassley’s footsteps — could you imagine if one day she ended up as the Chair of the Judiciary, or even Senate Pro Tempore?

We can’t let that happen. So we’re going to put a stop to Joni Ernst’s hyper-partisan agenda at the ballot box. But it won’t be easy.

Click here to make a donation to our Defeat Joni Ernst Fund — which is our very first step toward putting together an organization and a campaign that will have the resources to defeat her in 2020.

Looks like a fund to raise some campaign funds for the Democratic senate nominee has been established. 

If anything, the money raised from this fundraiser will help to level a money race that saw Ernst get over $3 million in “help” from the NRA and Koch brother super PACS.    

Of course with that kind of money you buy access. Most of us can think of instances where an Ernst statement or vote may have been “influenced” to be more favorable to the NRA or to billionaires than to average Iowans. Think of the vote for Brett Kavanaugh or the huge tax give away to the wealthy passed last year.

Add to votes like that the fact that Ernst has been a toady for Donald Trump and it is not surprising to find that a Public Policy Polling in Iowa found Ernst with a flat approval rating and support for the government shutdown in Iowa well below water. 

Considering that Ernst’s votes are pretty well pre-determined (see the discussion of influence above)  we are getting from Ernst, we could just as well have a Chatty Cathy doll in that seat.

Since neither you nor I nor anyone we know has Koch brother or NRA type money, we need to band together and build a fund over a period of time that can challenge a senator for sale like Joni Ernst.

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2020 election campaign, Blog for Iowa, Joni Ernst, Koch Brothers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Scary Thought: #3 In Line to The Presidency Is Grassley.

Image (2) Grassley-Trump-and-the-Courts-300x170.png for post 33907

We got several email blasts from the Iowa Democratic Party this week. I am sure many of you got the same blasts.

The first one really got my attention. It dealt with two subjects, those being our two senators, Grassley and Ernst.

The first part dealt with the fact that at age 85, Chuck Grassley has entered the line of succession constitutionally for the presidency. The IDP explains it in this excerpt:

Watching the 116th Congress being inaugurated last week was awesome — but even with all of that excitement, you may have still felt a sudden queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. I’m not a doctor, but I think I know why you felt a little sick. While we were all busy watching Democrats take control of the U.S. House, something scary was happening in the other chamber of Congress.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley became Senate Pro Tempore — meaning he’s now third in line for the presidency.

Look, we’re mad as hell that Grassley is now one of the most powerful people in Washington. We know he’ll be one of Donald Trump’s top enablers. I won’t sugarcoat it, though: there isn’t a ton we can do right now about Chuck Grassley.

I know this has more to do with age and longevity in the senate than anything else, but if you look at Grassley’s track record in the age of Trump the thought of Grassley getting anywhere near real power scare you to the very quick. Just a couple of reminders:

  • When Antonin Scalia died, Grassley refused to follow the constitutional dictates of having a hearing for the legitimately nominated justice Merrick Garland. Iowans should have had enough brains to throw this party hack out of office in that upcoming election but they missed their golden opportunity.
  • Grassley has followed that up with 2+ years of bending himself into a pretzel to do Trump’s bidding including
  • Running a mockery of a Senate Judiciary Committee for Trump nominee to the SCOTUS, Brett Kavanaugh. By disallowing some evidence, refusing to seek other evidence and making it impossible to get all the evidence that should have been obtained, Grassley twisted senate rules to push a very unqualified Kavanaugh through.

This is a short highlight reel of the past couple of years. Having a party hack like Grassley anywhere near the presidency is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

Should Trump not finish his full term, look at the possibilities of who may succeed him in this order: Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Grassley. Two out of three are really bad.

As the IDP then pointed out in the rest of this short email, while we can’t do anything about Grassley right now, we can start working on Iowa’s other seat currently occupied by a senator who seems to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, Joni Ernst. What little she does in her role, she does with party and donors in mind first, citizens seldom considered.

More on that in a couple of hours.

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Only Fox News Can Stop The Shut Down

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Iowans Will Take Action To Save Pensions From Republican Robber Barons

Press release/action alert:

Iowans To Tell Governor, Legislature – ‘Keep Your Promise, Respect Our Retirement’

Press conference Monday, January 14th
Day of action to protect retirement security planned for January 23rd

Des Moines, Iowa

— Iowans will speak out at the capitol on the first day of the legislative session to call on Governor Reynolds and the legislature to keep promises made on the campaign trail and respect their retirement. Vital retirement programs have been under serious
threat recently, such as the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, better known as IPERS.

More than 350,000 Iowans would have their economic security threatened if IPERS is changed, and on Monday Iowans will stand up against potential threats to their
retirement.

Monday’s press conference will be hosted by the Iowa Coalition for Retirement Security, in partnership with AFSCME Council 61, the Iowa State Education Association, and the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO.

Speakers will encourage Iowans to participate in a day of action on January 23rd, which will include contacting elected officials and sharing facts about retirement security online.

EVENT DETAILS:

WHO:
Everyday Iowans speaking out for retirement security
WHAT:
Iowa Coalition for Retirement Security Press Conference
WHEN:
Monday, January 14th, 12:00 PM
WHERE:
Iowa State Capitol, Room 116, 1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines

The Iowa Coalition for Retirement Security was formed to ensure Iowans can retire with dignity. Recently, retirement security for over 350,000 Iowans has come under serious threat. Politicians and out-of-state special interest groups have made clear their intention to change vital retirement systems like IPERS.

To join the coalition and learn more, visit iaretirement.org.

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2018 A Year Of Threats And Advances

by Ralph Scharnau

The news stories of 2018 reveal a flurry of political and societal events. A remarkable range of happenings unfolded across a wide spectrum of issues. Here is a selective look at some of them.

Internationally, daily scenes of human misery were brought to our consciousness. We also witnessed heroic efforts by organizations and individuals to provide health care. Meanwhile, environmental degradation creates pollution, brings long term health problems, and compounds human suffering.

Reporting on environmental damage continues in ever more alarming ways. Global warming, for example, means more severe weather patterns with stronger storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. There are examples, too. of nations, regions, and municipalities banding together to combat the loss of structures, land, infrastructure, wildlife, and even entire ecosystems. The large corporations seek ever larger subsidies while shifting costs onto the people.

People’s safety and security are undermined by violence. The potential and actual use of force can be seen in insurrections, the steady build-up of weaponry, and invasions. The world seems awash in guns.

The reality of mass shootings is no longer limited to the battlefield; it has happened in schools, clubs, places of worship, and other community venues. Arms control agreements between nations are modified, leaving millions of people vulnerable. Among the nuclear powers, a new arms race could threaten those in Europe and beyond. As great powers unilaterally flex their military muscles, dispute resolution by diplomacy becomes more fragile.

Fueled by the twenty-four-hour-news-cycle and large voter turnout, the year’s mid-term elections in the United States attracted an explosion of commentary in this country and around the world. At the national level, Democrats broke the Republican monopoly on law-making by becoming the majority party in the House of Representatives. Republicans retained their majority in the Senate. The Democrats will now chair important committees (Intelligence, Ways and Means, Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary), play a new role in drafting bills, have a voice in making appropriations, conduct inquires, and establish their own legislative priorities.

The American economy seems to be humming along at a healthy rate. Unemployment levels have reached historic lows. At the same time, wages and workforce participation rates are rising. But even with these positive economic signs, wage levels for millions of workers are still persistently low, and many hold two or three jobs to eke out a minimal standard of living.

It can be argued that women made the greatest gains in 2018. Women everywhere are rising up. They are speaking out about attacks on women’s legal rights, slashing essential health benefits, and the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault. Men with prestigious positions are increasingly being held accountable for using their power and privilege to abuse women.

Women are protesting, marching, organizing, and building power. Thousands of females from all ages, ethnicities, religions and walks of life have surged into the political arena as candidates, campaign workers, fund raisers and lobbyists. Breaking the masculine imposed double standard for women has also translated into new job opportunities, more responsibility, and better pay. And some men have joined women leaders in calling for equal rights.

2018 proved to be a remarkably important year. The possibility of changes marked a strong characteristic of the year. Simultaneously, the suddenness of change could be both exhilarating and frightening. In the midst of these circumstances, most people displayed coping skills.

What all this means for the future will slowly become apparent. The 2020 elections should provide some answers.

Ralph Scharnau

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