Virtual Event: Amy Klobuchar And Art Cullen Discuss The Problem Of Monopolies


https://www.facebook.com/events/1419714625050348

THURSDAY, May 6, at 7:00pm

Please join us for a special Prairie Lights Virtual event on Zoom for Amy Klobuchar in conversation with Art Cullen

To join this virtual event go to the Facebook event page and register.

Klobuchar and Cullen will talk about the newly published ANTITRUST: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age, by Amy Klobuchar.

“The effects of monopoly power can be felt everywhere raising all sorts of questions for the American economy. Why do farmers pay so much for seeds and fertilizer? Why is health care so expensive? And why are so few incentives in place for big tech companies to protect your private information? If you haven’t wondered about any of this, you need to. And if you have, you should also start thinking long and hard about the state of the nation’s antitrust laws.”  –from Antitrust

Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Antitrust is a searing look at the history of American monopolies, from Standard Oil and Bell to today’s tech giants and Big Pharma, their effects on innovation, entrepreneurship, and consumer pricing, and the fights to regulate and reign them in. She suggests legislative proposals that would strengthen our current antitrust laws and help pave the way for their enforcement.

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Art Cullen is the editor and co-owner of The Storm Lake Times, Buena Vista County’s Hometown Newspaper. He is the author of Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland. He was awarded a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for his editorials taking on corporate agribusiness for fouling the state’s water and despoiling its soil. His commentaries on politics, immigration and the environment have been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian, along with regional newspapers and news sites. Cullen has been profiled by National Public Radio, Katie Couric, and CNN, and has served as a guest political analyst on MSNBC. He understands how necessary Antitrust legislation is to the regenerative agriculture that is his vision and his passion.

Click here for more info

To order ANTITRUST:
https://www.prairielightsbooks.com/book/9780525654896

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Brainwashing Documentary Nominated For Webby Award

“He would have Fox and Limbaugh on at the same time.”

Jen Senko was a guest on Thom Hartmann’s program yesterday. Senko is the director and creator of the excellent documentary The Brainwashing of My Dad, a film about the purposeful rise of right wing media in America and how she lost her father to it. Brainwashing is currently nominated for a Webby, the internet’s highest award, in the category of Public Service and Activism. Please watch and then go vote. If this film wins it will mean more recognition for her brilliant work. It is so important that more people recognize the harm being done to America by right wing propaganda. Follow Jen on Facebook.

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Fox News Misinformation

Maher:  “With Biden polling so well I’ve noticed that the right wing media has had to ramp up the lying…” This is pretty hilarious because sometimes you just gotta laugh.

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Republicans Use High School Playbook To Bully Democracy

All good liars and bullies know how to cover their lies by accusing others of the very thing they are doing. So it is with Republicans and their obsession with pretend voter fraud. They know it’s not true. They’re all just playing along, remember like you did in high school when the popular kids started a vicious rumor about a kid and you had to pretend to go along with it or you could be ostracized or just considered not cool?  That’s what Republicans are all doing, pretending there is voter fraud so they can rig the rules in their favor.  It’s time to stop respecting their pretend-beliefs as if they are real beliefs.  But I digress. Robert Reich has some ideas of how to stop Republican election stealing.

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Al Franken: Crisis Intervention Training

For a funny guy, Al Franken sure makes a lot of sense. 

In this 11 minute video Franken discusses a concept of his that feel like something that could really be used right now.

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Once Again Democrats To The Rescue!

hat tip to EarlG at democraticunderground.com

On his 99th day in office, President Biden gave a speech to a joint session of the US House and Senate laying out his vision for America. The vision laid out by President Biden was starkly different than that laid out by his predecessor. Should Biden’s vision come to fruition, the US will be dramatically different than it was on the day he took the oath of office.

For the second time in slightly over a decade a Democratic President stepped into the most powerful office in the word with the country in gawd awful mess, the economy in tatters, the country purposely split on cultural issues for political purposes and most recently the country in the midst of a horrible pandemic that was never addressed by the previous administration. Oh, yeah, did I mention a world wide climate crisis?

As we look back on the first hundred days of the Biden Administration actions and plans are in motion or planned that will rebuild the country and lay the foundation for an economy that works for all:  

President Biden on Wednesday pitched his plan to hike taxes on the wealthy and corporations, saying “trickle-down economics has never worked.”

“It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle out,” the president said during his first address to a joint session of Congress.

This is certainly not the first time a Democratic president has come in to office following a Republican president who has left a giant mess. The country’s politics have lurched from Republican excesses and crashes to Democratic rescues for the past century. Maybe, just maybe the extreme excesses of the last administration was more than a majority of Americans are willing to take anymore.

When we go back a century, we have the excesses of Harding, Coolidge and yes, Iowa’s own Herbert Hoover. While the 1920s were known as the “Roaring ‘20s” much of what made it roar were major imbalances in the economy with an extremely rich upper class and a large poor lower class. When Herbert Hoover took office the Roaring ‘20s had flamed out and the economy came crashing down in the worst international depression ever seen.

On March 4th, 1933 Franklin Roosevelt stepped in, with the backing of a Democratic congress, and immediately put the government to work creating an economy for all Americans. Immediately the economy and lives began to improve. By the end of FDR’s first term, the US was in a much more solid place. 

Programs were put into place that would make it much less likely that the whole economy would fail at one time. If there were indications of that happening would trigger mechanisms to undergird the economy through various ways to pump stimulus into the economy to keep it from collapsing.

FDR and his successor, Harry Truman handed a robust country over to Dwight Eisenhower. While Eisenhower’s Administration did not crash the economy, it was decidedly weak when Jack Kennedy came Ito office. Within the first year Kennedy restored vigor to the economy. Despite his troubles in Vietnam, Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson kept the economy rolling.

By the time the Nixon/Ford Administration was done inflation had created an economy that was leaving most Americans behind. Inflation was eating any progress working Americans were making. While Jimmy Carter was unable to quite tackle the mess left him by Ford.

The 1992 election was highlighted by the phrase from James Carville “it’s the economy, stupid!” This illustrated that after 12 years of Republicans in the White House, especially with their imposition of “trickle down” economics, the economy was very weak and once again working Americans took the brunt of the pain. 

Bill Clinton stepped in, blunted the trickle down economics and raised taxes on business and the wealthy. The economy soared.

When GW Bush became president one of his first acts was to reimpose trickle down. This plus a long sustained unpaid for war nearly collapsed the world wide economy. In November of 2008, Americans called on Barack Obama and Joe Biden to literally pull the world economy from the brink of disaster. 

Through steady leadership and solid policy by the time Obama left office, the economy was zooming. Sadly it seems like once Americans have a buck in their pockets, they forget what they have learned. Despite losing the popular vote by a huge margin, the last president came into office and went about reversing all Obama policies. Once again trickle down economics were imposed.

It usually takes a while for trickle down to erode the economy. Since the huge tax cuts were not put in until December of 2017. Trickle down was already eroding the economy when the pandemic sent the economy reeling.

We have taken a long look at the mismanagement of the economy by Republicans for a century with emphasis on the damage done by trickle down policies. The pattern is obvious. Republicans destroy the economy in such a way that only the wealthy make huge gains and the rest of us lose. Democrats restore balance and we all win. 

This pattern has been very apparent since the Reagan years, yet Americans still fall for the flim-flammery of Republican promises. I guess because there are enough people who see themelves as the one who will make a huge killing under Republicans.

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Sunday Funday: Raiding Rudy Edition

Wingnuts DU EarlG

this week’s cartoons from democraticunderground.com  

Somewhere along all the stories that are floating around about Rudy Giuliani’s apartment being raided by the FBI, I thought I heard that Giuliani supposedly said “well, if they will come after me, then they will come after anyone.” If he didn’t say it that is OK. We will use that idea to illustrate a point.

The point is that this is America and one of the deepest held tenets of this country is that NO ONE is above the law. Unfortunately we had a really bad outbreak of “you can’t touch me” -itis during the Trump years.

We had cabinet department heads acting like little Caesars and then refusing to answer to anyone, ignoring or right out defying congressional subpoenas. We had people armed to the teeth running will in the halls of state government and at the national capitol acting as if they would never have to stand up for their trespasses. We continue to have governors who defy national laws. We have big businesses who defy laws.

When the media tries to paint a picture of lawlessness in this country many people think of some poor schmuck who commits a small time robbery. The real crimes are those that undermine our country and our economy. It is well past time to picture the white collar criminal when we think of crime in the US. 

And it is well past time that those  who thumbed their nose at the law for the past four years like Rudy Giuliani are brought to justice. Even having once been the president should make no difference in justice being served.

  1. A little over a week ago a new vaccine was announced for what ancient and current killer disease that is most prevalent in tropical areas?
  1. Early census figures came out. Did Iowa grow more or less than 5%?
  1. The Donald Trump campaign has been turned over to a bill collector because they have failed to pay bills run up in what southwestern city?
  1. A letter of confession by Joel Greenburg ties what sitting congressman to having sex with an underage girl?
  1. Not only have 200 million vaccines been administered in Biden’s first 100 days, how many Americans are fully vaccinated?
  1. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is suing the Biden Administration to allow SD to have fireworks at what national park in South Dakota?
  1. What governor will be facing a recall election probably in November since opponents have secured enough signatures on a petition to force the election?
  1. Bucking a century of denial by the US, President Biden recognized the massacre of what group of people at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide?
  1. May 1st has traditionally Labor Day in socialist countries. Fittingly it is also the birthday of what late 19th and early 20th century female labor leader?
  1. 10 years ago today, special forces operations carried out a mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan that assassinated what terrorist?
  1. In a year when theaters were mostly closed Oscars were awarded anyway. What film won for best picture?
  1. Corona virus in India is simply out of control. About how many new cases are being recorded daily in India
  1. The scion of what noted Christian family known fro their cable TV show was arrested Friday on child pornography charges?
  1. Among the strange and false rumors circulating in right wing world this week include a story that the Biden Administration will be banning what staple of the American diet?
  1. Another goofy rumor and lie is that immigrant children at the border are given a copy of whose book by the US government?
  1. Not a rumor is that the FDA is taking steps to remove what flavor additive from tobacco products?
  1. The US economy moved ahead at what rate during the first quarter of 2021?
  1. The one who drove the getaway car. What Apollo 11 astronaut who didn’t get to descend to the moon died this week at age 90?
  1. Tucker Carlson defined child abuse on Fox News this week as a child wearing what outdoors?
  1. Thursday was Amtrak’s 50th anniversary. What frequent Amtrak user known to workers on the train as “Amtrak Joe” came to Philadelphia to celebrate the occasion?

The NRA reminds you that your children aren’t quite as important as the right of convicted felons to obtain a gun. – John Fugelsang

stupid DU

Answers:

  1. Malaria – there are current vaccines but they have low effectiveness. This new one checks in at over 75% effective.
  1. Less than 5%
  1. Albuquerque
  1. Matt Gaetz
  1. 100 million fully vaccinated or nearly 30%
  1. Mt. Rushmore. Remember last year when Trump held a bid super spreader rally there on the 4th?
  1. Governor Newsome of California. Kailin Jenner is already to jump in.
  1. Armenians
  1. Mary “Mother” Jones.
  1. Osama Bin Laden
  1. Nomadland
  1. 400,000. Many say that is only about 5% of the real number. Pray it doesn’t mutate and come back at us.
  1. Josh Duggar
  1. The hamburger. Larry Kudlow even added that we will no longer be able to get meat based beer.
  1. VP Kamala Harris
  1. Menthol
  1. 6.4%
  1. Michael Collins
  1. A mask.
  1. President Biden

You can’t expect people to get over Trump losing when they haven’t gotten over Robert E. Lee losing. – Randi Mayem Singer

Ruby Bridge: Kamala Harris DU

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STATEMENT: Public tax dollars belong in public schools

For Immediate Release: April 28, 2021

Media Contact: Ivy Beckenholdt, ivy@progressiowa.org

STATEMENT: Public tax dollars belong in public schools

Des Moines, Iowa — Progress Iowa executive director Matt Sinovic issued the following statement in response to the Iowa Senate passing House File 813, the expansion of charter schools:

“Iowa families want their children to receive the best education possible. Allowing shadowy, out of state charter schools run rampant and profit from Iowa tax dollars undermines our public schools and chips away at the foundation of what makes our state great.”

“Our public tax dollars belong in public schools. Period. Iowans don’t want their hard earned dollars diverted to corporations that will not be held accountable by local school boards. This extremely flawed bill would open pandora’s box, defund our public schools, expose our children to harm due to lack of accountability, and would lead to more segregated schools.”

“There’s a reason professional educators, administrators, and Iowa families have worked together to oppose this legislation. Our students deserve better than to have their future shortchanged by corporations whose top priority is to fatten their bottom line.”

###

Additional Information:

The Daily Nonpareil: School officials: Charter schools unneeded, may divert public funds

“Millions and millions of dollars have been funneled away from traditional public schools to fund charter schools that underperformed, failed and closed.”

“Also, allowing outside (out-of-state) entities to come into our state with an interest in getting a hold of public dollars is a concern. The ultimate goal in these efforts is usually to turn charter efforts into profit-bearing schools, which is just another attempt to privatize public money.”

Eric Knost, Lewis Central Community School District Superintendent

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Des Moines students protest divisive concepts ban and charter schools at Capitol

“House File 813, a bill to defund public schools and use it to fund private, charter schools will deprive our students of the educational experience they deserve,” Sellers said, calling the bill “a way to segregate schools again.”

Lyric Sellers, junior at East High School in Des Moines

The Daily Iowan: Iowa should not promote charter schools

“The cornerstone of conservative education and civil-rights policy has been this idea that charter schools are the answer to helping close the achievement gap between white and Black students. This simply is not the case, as rather than closing the gap, charter schools end up widening it.” 

– Shahab Khan, Opinions Columnist, The Daily Iowan

The Perry News: Bubba’s charter-school ignorance no joke

“This is not wise decision making. It will not do anything to make our public schools stronger. Hands off public tax dollars for charter schools that operate like private schools, making money for their “founders” and using our children without any accountability to our local school board.”

Judy Kading, Greenfield

Quad-City Times: This isn’t the Iowa way

“This is not the Iowa way. It would only serve to weaken the public school system which exists to provide education for all students, not just a hand-picked and specially-funded few.”

Donna Larson, Davenport

Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of more than 75,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law.

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

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Reynolds Just Doesn’t Know How To Manage A Crisis

Screenshot_2020-04-06 Gov Kim Reynolds updates Iowans on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa (4 6 20)(6)

Thursday night Kim Reynolds made a big splash by going on Fox News cable show and declaring that she, as Iowa’s governor, had sent money earmarked for corona virus testing in Iowa’s schools back to the federal government because as she said Iowa’s schools were already open and therefore no testing was needed.

I got an email from a friend Friday morning with this story and an attached video from KCCI. The video made Reynolds look like a hero, standing up to big, bloated federal government and saving the taxpayer at least a few bucks. A crowd at the town hall where she was appearing cheered her on.  

Reynolds reasoning was summed up in this statement:

“I think that (Biden) thinks that COVID-19 just started,” Reynolds said during the Fox News town hall. “I just returned $95 million because they sent an additional $95 million to the state of Iowa to get our kids back in the classroom (and) doing surveillance testing, and I said, ‘We’ve been in the classroom since August. Here’s your $95 million back.’”

My first thought was that this makes no sense. Why would there have been an appropriation for an unneeded process in a recently passed piece of legislation? Surely there are occasional errors in legislation but not usually like that. Talk about not passing the smell test. Reynolds version set off a special stink.

So I checked various Iowa news sources and not to surprisingly all had some variation of the story that KCCI. Main stream media sources obviously take some feed and do a slight mount of massaging to make the story their own as it were. None answered my question.

So I sought out one source who I hoped would dig in deeper. That would be Laura Belin over at bleedingheartland.com. She did not disappoint. As I had hoped, Laura had dug deeply into the story. As she reported:

To my knowledge, no Iowa school districts are routinely conducting surveillance testing of students attending classes in person. Rather, children are tested primarily when they are showing symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, if parents or guardians seek out that testing.

Surveillance testing can identify asymptomatic positives in the student body before those children spread the virus to classmates, their families, and school staff.

The more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant of the virus has been identified in all Iowa counties. First identified in the United Kingdom, that form of the virus appears to spread more easily among children.

Democratic State Senator Rob Hogg, who has been tracking COVID-19 statistics daily, tweeted on April 29 that Iowa has reported more than 8,400 COVID-19 cases among children since January 29, when Reynolds signed a bill requiring school districts to offer 100 percent in-person instruction, without requiring masks or social distancing in schools. The state reported another 110 cases in children on April 29.

The money was authorized to create a preventative method to stop outbreaks before they ignite into full fledged disasters. This is textbook epidemic control and for that matter a common crisis control technique.

By refusing this money Reynolds once again opened Iowa up to the possibility of turning a small fire into a conflagration! I say once again because during this crisis Reynolds decisions have frequently done little to contain the spread of the virus and have always aggravated it. She has been the virus’s best friend.

From keeping meat packing plants open, to mishandling the early crisis in the care centers, to reopening bars and restaurants was too early, to reopening schools before they should have been, to the refusal to mandate masks, and mishandling of vaccine distribution the Reynolds administration has consistently made the wrong decision for the good of Iowans.

I will end with another excerpt from Belin’s report, a comment from epidemiologist Dr. Eli Perencevich:

UPDATE: Dr. Eli Perencevich, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at the University of Iowa, provided this comment to Bleeding Heartland on April 30.

“For the governor it’s always appeared that the science book on COVID-19 was closed in spring 2020. Iowa didn’t learn and the state didn’t adapt since that time. There’s no better example than the state forcing 100% in person K-12 classes right as the science was solidifying around the fact that children, particularly older children, catch COVID and spread it equally to adults. In addition we know that the newer variants like B117 spread more easily and may be more deadly.

Therefore it’s very disappointing to see that the Governor has been sitting on $95 million dollars that could’ve been used to make our K-12 schools and school athletic activities more safe. Colleges across the country have been using frequent weekly or biweekly testing of students to detect and stop outbreaks.”

I wish to thank Laura Belin for doing the job that other news sources refused to do.

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Fifteen Million Union Jobs To Combat Climate Change

The THRIVE Act we’ve been building support for is officially being introduced as a bill today. Now, together with folks from across the country, we want to get 100,000 calls into Congress by May 1st!

Take two minutes to call your Congressional reps right now by clicking here.

The THRIVE Act would authorize investments of $1 trillion per year over the next decade to put 15 million people to work in family-sustaining, union jobs to drastically cut climate pollution by 2030. It would:

  • create a Board of representatives from impacted communities, unions, and Indigenous Nations to guide the $1 trillion per year in new investments.
  • move at least 50% of investments directly to benefit front line communities that have borne the brunt of systemic racism, environmental injustice, and economic exclusion.
  • invest in clean energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable agriculture that would help clean our water in Iowa 
  • expand public health infrastructure such as hospitals, mental healthcare, home care workers, childcare, and eldercare 

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass a transformational economic recovery package and begin the decade of the Green New Deal.

Sign up here to call your reps by May 1st. (this Saturday!)

Let’s make it happen.

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