Amazon and Plastic

Greenpeace USA photo credit

Action alert from Iowa Public Interest Research Group

Iowa PIRG is an independent, state-based, citizen-funded organization that advocates for the public interest and is a member of U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups.

Do you shop online with Amazon? Most of us have — the retail giant was behind half of all e-commerce transactions in 2018.1

Which means you’re probably familiar with the dilemma: Ordering from Amazon is fast and convenient, but the stuff you need often shows up at your door wrapped in tons of plastic.

That kind of waste is piling up fast. As of 2015, only 15 percent of all plastic packaging was recycled.2 And every plastic package that goes unrecycled has added to the monumental 6 billion tons of plastic waste that have ended up in landfills or our environment since 1950.3

We know Amazon can do better. Send a message to Amazon today urging the company to quit plastic in its new lightweight packaging.

Amazon has been spearheading a shift from bulky cardboard boxes to lightweight plastic mailers — a good move for its efficiency, but bad for the plastic waste catastrophe choking the planet. The new plastic mailers can’t be recycled at the curb, meaning most of them end up in the trash.4

Luckily, Amazon has already indicated that it’s thinking about a more sustainable path forward: The retail giant claims to be developing “a fully recyclable cushioned mailer that is recyclable in paper recycling streams.”5

The shift to lightweight, fully recyclable, non-plastic packaging can’t come soon enough. Plastic is creeping into every corner of our world. It’s been found in the deepest parts of the ocean, and raining from the sky over pristine mountains.6,7 Most recently, it’s turned up in the food we eat — to the tune of up to 52,000 tiny plastic particles consumed per person, per year.8

For the sake of our health and our environment, we need to stop using so much plastic — before we drown in it.

Amazon has the chance to be a part of the solution, rather than worsen the problem. Urge it to switch to plastic-free packaging today.

The more of us speak up to demand more responsible practices, the more likely the industry is to change. Amazon is already noticing its consumers’ desire for sustainability: The company claims to have cut more than a quarter million tons of packaging between 2007 and 2017.9

We have to let them know that we expect more. A company of Amazon’s size can not only do better, but lead the way for the rest of the shipping industry to make sustainable changes as well.

Send your message to Amazon today.

Thank you,

David Rossini
Acting Director

1. Kristen Millares Young, “Why Amazon’s new streamlined packaging is jamming up recycling centers,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2019.
2. “Containers and Packaging: Product-Specific Data,” Environmental Protection Agency, last accessed June 7, 2019.
3. Stephen Leahy, “Microplastics are raining down from the sky,” National Geographic, April 15, 2019.
4. Kristen Millares Young, “Why Amazon’s new streamlined packaging is jamming up recycling centers,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2019.
5. Kristen Millares Young, “Why Amazon’s new streamlined packaging is jamming up recycling centers,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2019.
6. Sarah Gibbens, “Plastic Bag Found at the Bottom of World’s Deepest Ocean Trench,” National Geographic, May 11, 2018.
7. Stephen Leahy, “Microplastics are raining down from the sky,” National Geographic, April 15, 2019.
8. Sarah Gibbens, “You eat thousands of bits of plastic every year,” National Geographic, June 5, 2019.
9. Jon Bird, “What A Waste: Online Retail’s Big Packaging Problem,” Forbes, July 29, 2018.

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Steve Bullock: Conquering Divisiveness

NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo will host the first 2020 presidential primary debate in June of 2019. This is the sixteenth in a series of BFIA’s coverage and commentary of the announcement speeches by the declared Democratic candidates for president for 2020 in no particular order.  To view the previous candidate announcement posts type the candidate’s name in the search box on this page.

Steve Bullock interview with CBS News Ed O’Keefe right after announcing his candidacy in Helena, Montana: (26 minutes) 

Perhaps the most notable absence from the first round of Democratic debates next Wednesday and Thursday will be Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. As we see the political divide growing across the country, Governor Bullock takes a different road. He is a liberal Democrat in a reputed Republican state. He believes in compromise and bipartisanship.

Bullock niche is as that of an executive who gets things done despite the divisiveness in today’s politics. Bullock proudly lists his accomplishments as governor to highlight how he gets things done despite a legislature that is Republican:

A Progressive Who Gets Stuff Done

As Governor, Steve’s been busy:

  • Expanded Medicaid
  • Passed an Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Froze college tuition and started apprenticeship programs at 2-year public colleges
  • Passed one of the strongest anti-dark money laws in the country
  • First Governor in the country to protect net neutrality, with other Governors following his lead
  • Suing the Trump Administration on dark money
  • Created landmark protections for the LGBTQ community
  • Actually passed major infrastructure investments
  • Under Bullock’s leadership, Montana’s economy has strengthened, with families climbing into the middle class at the fastest rate in the nation

But there are a few things he won’t do:

  • Vetoed attacks on worker rights

  • Vetoed attacks on civil rights and access to the court house

  • Stopped big polluters and vetoed attacks on our public lands

  • Refused to give into fear-mongering around refugee families and declared he wouldn’t send his National Guard soldiers and airmen to the border based on a whim or tweet.

  • Stopped every single attack on a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions. Every. Single. One.

Bullock entered the race too late to give him time to accumulate the necessary donors and recognition to qualify for round one of the debates. His website proudly proclaims that he has already qualified for round 2. 

Bullock is soft spoken, a rare trait for a politician. What he says can be profound. 

In this year when our current president is pushing hard to further divide our country, Steve Bullock may be a refreshing change.

steve bullock family

Governor Bullock Family from

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Sunday Funday: Drumbeat Of War Edition

Wow – well just on the eve of the Democratic debates next week, our Dear Leader once more found a great way to shine the light back on himself – start a war! As this is written, war is still not certain, but with Bolton and Pompeo just itching to settle some scores, spend your money and send your kids into battle, it won’t be long. 

Who better to put war in perspective than the late, great George Carlin, who died 11 years ago yesterday (June 22, 2008) (7:35): Not Safe For Work!

We’ll throw in some debate history questions to get you warmed up for the big show.

  1. Despite requests not to run again, what long time Alabama politician announced he would run for the Senate in 2020?
  1. Perhaps one of the harshest lines in debate history “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” was directed at what VP candidate?
  1. Power outages made huge news last weekend. What two countries in South America had power blackouts that lasted hours last Sunday?
  1. Republican state senators have fled what state in order to avoid a vote on climate change legislation?
  1. What city demanded pay up front for security costs from Dear Leader’s campaign last week, since the campaign seldom pays these fees after the fact?
  1. What former acting Secretary of Defense suddenly left when the reasons his security clearance was being held up were made public?
  1. The concept of candidate debates goes back to the 1858 senatorial campaign debates between what two Illinoisians?
  1. In Iowa the big news was the sudden and totally unexpected resignation of what DHS director?
  1. Gloria Vanderbilt died last week at age 95. Her son is what well known news personality?
  1. The mention of what industry by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren caused stock in that industry to drop substantially?
  1. In an early attempt to engage a president in a debate, what Republican candidate challenged FDR to a radio debate in 1940?
  1. Former aide to Dear Leader, Hope Hicks, refused to answer how many questions during her closed door appearance before the House Judiciary Committee?
  1. A gunman wearing tactical gear and bearing multiple clips of ammunition staged an attack on the federal courthouse in what major Texas city?
  1. Philadelphia had a couple of stints in the news this week. Tuesday a shipment of 15,000 kilos of what illegal drug was seized at a Philly port?
  1. Friday Philly was shaken by an explosion as what exploded into a huge fire?
  1. It is SCOTUS decision announcement month. SCOTUS ruled that a state and the federal government could prosecute a person for the same crime, thus denying that that violated what clause of the 5th amendment?
  1. The administration argued in court Monday that what group of people were not entitled to toothbrushes and soap?
  1. A US House Judiciary subcommittee had a hearing on what topic that stretches back at least to the Civil War?
  1. Facebook introduced what cryptocurrency in an attempt to create an alternative financial system?
  1. Last weekend what major retailer had a nation wide outage of its cash register system which caused shoppers to get very angry?

From comes this story:  

Bolton Argues War With Iran Only Way To Avenge Americans Killed In Upcoming War With Iran

WASHINGTON—Addressing the future casualties in a somber and often-emotional press conference, John Bolton told reporters Thursday that a war with Iran was the only way to avenge Americans killed in an upcoming war with Iran. “Sadly, I believe direct military conflict with Iran is the only suitable response for the heartbreaking deaths of our troops in that upcoming military conflict,” said the national security advisor, noting that only by launching a ground invasion of the Islamic Republic could he ensure the thousands of U.S. troops who will perish in that ground invasion will not perish in vain. “It would be a dishonor to everything our brave men and women will sacrifice if we fail to send them into battle to retaliate for their eventual deaths. Then, and only then, can we truly close the book on this impending tragedy.” Bolton also announced plans to issue 15 preemptive Medals of Honor to military spouses who will be widowed after losing their husbands in the 2021 Battle of Tehran.


  1. Roy Moore
  1. Dan Quayle
  1. Argentina and Uruguay
  1. Oregon
  1. Orlando
  1. Patrick Shanahan
  1. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas
  1. Jerry Foxhoven
  1. Anderson Cooper
  1. The privatized prison industry. Warren said she would end federal contracts with private prisons
  1. Wendell Wilkie
  1. 155
  1. Dallas
  1. Cocaine. (May need a wall in The Atlantic Ocean?)
  1. An oil refinery
  1. the “double jeopardy” clause.
  1. Children detained at the border. The administration also argued in favor of them sleeping on cold, concrete floors.
  1. Reparations
  1. Libra
  1. Target

And let’s end with some Randy Rainbow! 

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From Progress Iowa: Trump’s Terrible Health Care Record

Image (1) progress-iowa.jpg for post 17381


Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0133

As Trump Officially Launches Campaign, His Terrible Record on Health Care Still Stands

Des Moines, Iowa — As President Trump announced his reelection campaign this week, his ongoing war on healthcare jeopardizes the financial security and well-being of millions of Iowans. Trump’s Texas lawsuit puts 187,000 Iowans at risk of losing their health insurance and would strip protections for 1,288,400 Iowans with a pre-existing condition. Poll after poll shows that healthcare is the top issue on voters’ minds heading into 2020, and Trump’s reckless ongoing attacks on Americans’ health care will not be forgotten.

Progress Iowa executive director and Protect Our Care Iowa state director Matt Sinovic released the following statement in response to Trump’s rally and announcement:

“Trump’s rally and announcement was an insult to the millions of Iowans who are fed up with his relentless attacks on their health care. President Trump’s sabotage agenda puts Iowans at risk of losing coverage, and if his lawsuit to eliminate our healthcare system is successful, it will strip coverage from 187,000 in our state, raise premiums, and end protections for millions more with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, or asthma. Few states stand to lose more at the hands of Trump’s war on America’s health care than Iowa, and instead of going to Orlando to play politics and vent his frustrations at a political rally, the president should explain to Iowa voters why he’s so hellbent on taking away our health care.”


 How Trump’s Texas Lawsuit Would Devastate Iowans 

  • 187,000 Iowans Could Lose Coverage. According to the Urban Institute, 1.6 million Iowans would lose coverage by repealing the Affordable Care Act, leading to a 126 percent increase in the uninsured rate.
  • 24,000 Iowa Young Adults With Their Parents’ Coverage Could Lose Care. Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of young adults are able to stay on their parents’ care until age 26.
  • Protections For The 1.2 Million Iowans With A Pre-Existing Condition Will End. 1,288,400 Iowans have a pre-existing condition, including 174,100 Iowa children, 642,000 Iowa women, and 319,100 Iowans between ages 55 and 64.
  • Insurance Companies Could Charge Premium Surcharges In the Six Figures. If the Trump-GOP lawsuit is successful, insurance companies would be able to charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The health repeal bill the House passed in 2017 had a similar provision, and an analysis by the Center for American Progress found that insurers could charge up to $4,270 more for asthma, $17,060 more for pregnancy, $26,180 more for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 more for metastatic cancer.
  • Women Could Be Charged More Than Men For The Same Coverage. Prior to the ACA, women were often charged premiums on the nongroup market of up to 50 percent higher than they charged men for the same coverage.
  • 51,596 Iowa Seniors Could Have to Pay More for Prescription Drugs. If the Trump-GOP lawsuit is successful, seniors could have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole would be reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 CMS report. In Iowa,  51,596 seniors each saved an average of $1,058.

Editor’s note: While not a focus of this article from, Republicans have been trying to kill Medicare and replace it with for-profit health insurance for the elderly. If this should happen it would be a true American disaster.

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Does Reynolds Know What She Is Doing?


Based on Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ dismissal of the head of the Iowa Department of Human Services, Jerry Foxhoven, last week, it is very easy to conclude that she doesn’t.

Since the departure of Terry Branstad, Reynolds basically seems to be flailing around trying to figure out what she is doing. At the center of Reynolds lack of leadership is the ridiculous and inhumane privatized Medicaid system that seems to be set up to maximize profits for the MCOs (Managed Care Organizations) with little regard to the experiences of the patients. 

The Reynolds administration can’t even figure out how to maximize the profits for the MCOs. Branstad created a mess with privatized Medicaid. Reynolds incompetence has turned it into a monster. Much in the mold of our current president, rather than take responsibility for her screw-ups, Reynolds finds a scape goat and fires them. 

Iowans had glimpses of Reynolds incompetence during her interim stint as governor. We could have elected a very competent Fred Hubbell who would have cleaned this mess up. Instead Iowans continued to live in a fantasy world they have created where they believe that Republicans are competent. 

Now what? Surely the Reynolds team will most likely make a decision that will cost us more and make problems worse. The Des Moines Register addressed this question Thursday in an editorial entitled Reynolds should explain Foxhoven’s departure and her vision for next DHS leader:   

In their editorial The Register notes:

That is especially true when you’re the person charged with managing chaos caused by politicians who closed a state institution for troubled girls, forfeited federal money for family planning and banned Planned Parenthood from obtaining grants.


Defending the misguided, GOP-led privatization of Medicaid is virtually impossible. Unfortunately, Foxhoven, a smart man who should have known better, repeatedly tried to do exactly that.

He did so even as Iowans lost access to health care. And health providers closed their doors. And for-profit insurers demanded and received more and more taxpayer money. And two of the three original for-profit insurers hired to manage care for 600,000 poor or disabled Iowans packed up and left the state.

Then addressing the question of who will take Foxhoven’s place, the Register cautions:

Hopefully, it will be someone dedicated to taking care of people instead of pleasing politicians.

Hopefully, it will not be a failed leader from another state, like Medicaid director Mike Randol, an advocate of privatization brought here by Reynolds after he left the Kansas program in shambles.

Well said. Unfortunately Reynolds agenda does not seem to be driven by what is best for the state and its people, but instead is driven by what a small group of donors want. This doesn’t bode well for Iowans.

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Mueller Report In 30 Minutes

From PBS News Hour – 

If you won’t read it, here is a video Cliff Notes: (28 minutes)

Now we know that Russia was not the only country. Perhaps most notable among other nations is Saudi Arabia. Now it looks as if our Dear Leader is ready to launch a war that Saudi Arabia has been hoping for for years. The US will fighting the Saudis biggest enemy if and when a war begins with Iran. Would that be repayment for the Saudis help in 2016? Doesn’t seem like something we should invest our military in. 

Don’t forget that voter suppression in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida  among others played a substantial role in the 2016 election. In short, the election was as rigged as it could be. While other nations worked to sabotage our elections, the Republican Party has worked to undermine our elections for years.

Just to make sure that the advantages used in 2016 are still available in 2020. Mitch McConnell has ’stood in the schoolhouse door’ as it were to stop legislation to strengthen our elections that was passed by the US House. Republicans talk freedom, but act suppression.

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Candidate Michael Bennett Says We Are Being Dragged Down The Rat Hole

NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo will host the first 2020 presidential primary debate in June of 2019. This is the fifteenth in a series of BFIA’s coverage and commentary of the announcement speeches by the declared Democratic candidates for president for 2020 in no particular order.  To view the previous candidate announcement posts type the candidate’s name in the search box on this page.

“Our politics in Washington lack all imagination and I think to keep going down the rat hole with the people that are dragging us down the rat hole, is a self fulfilling prophecy of failing as a republic. That’s what I really believe. That’s what I think is at stake. “

Here is the video from his campaign website.  Not bad.  Some powerful rhetoric and appealing images. Good, traditional Democratic speech.

“For the past 10 years I’ve been a senator from the great state of Colorado. You probably don’t know me because I don’t go on cable news every night. I didn’t set out to be a politician. My last job was superintendent of the Denver public schools.”


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Did Trump Manufacture Iran Oil Tanker Attack to Start a War?

“Could Trump lie the United States into a war with Iran as part of his election campaign?”

Does this sound familiar? Trump is on record suggesting war with Iran would be a good campaign strategy.  Weak evidence, little information raises questions.

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Loebsack Welcomes FCC Move to Improve Mapping of High-Speed Broadband Access

Congressman Dave Loebsack

A significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America. Congressman Loebsack is a leader in working to close this divide by promoting broadband deployment throughout rural America. Loebsack serves on the Communications and Technology subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications issues. He also serves as a co-chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus.

Congressman Dave Loebsack today welcomed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announcement that they will take steps to improve the collection of data regarding who across the country has access to high-speed broadband internet. Currently, the FCC maps only take into account where broadband COULD be offered, not where broadband is actually available.

“In order to actually fix the problem and get high-speed broadband to rural areas, we must have the correct data. Without knowing where the high-speed broadband problem truly exists, we cannot properly invest in building out access. I welcome the FCC’s commitment and look forward to working with them to ensure all Iowans, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed broadband internet.”

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Tulsi Gabbard The Anti-War Anti-Nuke Candidate For President

NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo will host the first 2020 presidential primary debate  June 26 and 27. This is the fifteenth in a series of BFIA’s coverage and commentary of the announcement speeches by the declared Democratic candidates for president for 2020 in no particular order.  To view the previous candidate announcement posts type the candidate’s name in the search box on this page.  Click here for more debate info including the matchups.

Gabbard used her speech to deliver a serious, dignified,  anti-war, anti-nuke message. She presented herself as qualified to serve as commander in chief due to her service in the military.  View the announcement video below and visit her campaign website here.

Just over a year ago people of Hawaii and our country thought we were under nuclear attack. We saw college students running frantically across campus trying to find shelter. We saw a father lowering his daughter down a manhole to try to keep her safe; saw families who piled their children into their car and drove to the mountains looking for a cave to find shelter; a mother cowering in the bathtub with her children; a father trying to choose which of his children he would spend the last minutes of his life with. There was no shelter. There was nowhere to hide.

As powerful politicians beat the drums of war and ratchet up tensions between the U.S. and nuclear armed countries like Russia and China, the frontlines have come to our door step as we sit on the precipice of nuclear war.

The reality is right now there are over 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world, many of them far more powerful than those that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, enough to destroy the world many times over.

Today we face a greater risk of nuclear catastrophe than ever before in history. This situation is unacceptable. The president’s most important responsibility is to serve as commander in chief. I will do so as a soldier who understands the seriousness of this responsibility.

Those of us who have experienced first hand the cost of war fight hardest for peace. I served in Iraq in 2005 in a medical unit where every single day I was confronted with the high cost of war and who pays the price.

Our current foreign policy is undermining our national security. It is depleting our resources and exhausting our military.

As your commander in chief i will work to end the new cold war and lead us away from the abyss of a nuclear war that could destroy our world in mere minutes.

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