Senator Joe Bolkcom: Warren Is Clear Choice

Joe Bolkcom endorses Elizabeth Warren. 

https://www.press-citizen.com/story/opinion/contributors/guest-editorials/2019/09/13/elizabeth-warren-clear-choice/2310751001/

The 2016 election was a loud wake up call, driven by profound unhappiness with business-as-usual powerful special interest politics. The ensuing chaos has been unsettling and corrupt. The 2020 election is about two things; stopping the crazy and breaking the grip of corporate special interests on our democracy.

I enthusiastically support Elizabeth Warren for president because she can win and is best suited to transform our politics once she’s in office. She has the energy, experience and guts to take on powerful entrenched special interests in Washington to solve daunting problems facing the American people and our planet.

As I’ve watched the Iowa caucuses unfold over the past several months, I’ve seen Elizabeth organize a grassroots campaign rooted in big ideas and person-to-person connections. She is campaigning in small towns, rural communities and big cities. That time she spends listening and learning about the lives of everyday Americans makes her a better candidate — and will make her a better president. She’s proving she knows how to win.

Elizabeth values what we value. Like her mom who went to work at Sears to save their family home, my mom worked at J.C. Penney’s to put food on our table.

Our moms both worked long hours for their families. They instilled in us the notion that hard work deserves respect and an honest paycheck and that people who work hard to make ends meet shouldn’t be ripped off if they live in a mobile home park, are paying off a student loan, a credit card bill or saving for retirement.

Unfortunately, those values aren’t very well-represented in politics nowadays. I know all too well how the most powerful interests can set the terms of the debate — and dictate the outcomes. I spent eight years as a state senator trying to crack down on the predatory payday loan and car title lenders. While we successfully drove the car title loan schemers out of Iowa, we’re still fighting the predatory payday loan sharks.

Beating these interests is no easy task, but Elizabeth has done it.

Prior to her election to the U.S Senate in 2012, Elizabeth worked for decades as an effective citizen advocate in Washington on behalf of struggling families facing financial ruin. She fought the big banks’ attempts to weaken bankruptcy protections and represented taxpayers’ interests in the bank bailout after the 2008 crash. And against fierce opposition, Elizabeth employed her expertise and savvy to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency that defends working people from predatory financial schemes.

Income inequality driven by corporate greed and ineffective government are tearing away at the American dream and the hopes of millions of hardworking families. Money in politics is crushing our democracy. Old school, business-as-usual politics won’t fix it —only a courageous, relentless fighter like Elizabeth will.

Elizabeth Warren is the clear choice for transformative, experience driven problem solving. A powerful woman president is the best hope for the positive change we need right now. That’s why I’ll be caucusing for her on February 3.

Joe Bolkcom is an Iowa state senator from Iowa City. Follow on FB and Twitter

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Climate Strikes September 20 to 27 Around The World

You may have heard of the trans-Atlantic boat trip taken by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in recent weeks aboard a zero emission sail boat. The teen age activist who launched worldwide school strikes last year is back to do it again this year. With July of 2019 now the hottest month on record for the world, it is readily apparent that world saving work is out there to be done.

Most of the school strikes this year are scheduled on September 20th. Iowa does not have any school strikes for the climate scheduled based on the website set up for this round of strikes.

The closest strikes to Iowa are in Omaha, Nebraska, Chicago, Illinois and Morris, Mn.  Climate change is an existential crisis. 

YOUTH CLIMATE STRIKE

20 Sep 2019 @ 08:00am

Omaha City Hall steps. 1819 Farnam St Omaha NE US 68102

ELMHURST CLIMATE STRIKE 2019

19 Sep 2019 @ 05:00pm

Elmhurst Presbyterian Church. 367 Spring Rd Elmhurst IL US 60126

WEST CENTRAL MN CLIMATE STRIKE

19 Sep 2019 @ 01:30pm

Green River Park. Green River Park Morris MN US 56267

Here Greta Thunberg discusses the climate situation with DemocracyNow!’s Amy Goodman (47 minutes):

Posted in Climate Action, Climate Change | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Sunday Funday: Yay For The Chosen One Edition

 

We stepped out of our comfort zone Thursday and into the lair of the enemy last Thursday when we accepted an invitation to a round table given by Iowans For Tax Relief. Not sure why we chose to go, but lunch was provided.

If you are unfamiliar with ITR it is a group that was founded in Muscatine 40+ years ago by David Stanley. They are a very right wing organization.

While the luncheon was political, it was in no way as rabid as some meetings can get. There were 3 local legislators bragging about how they saved taxes before taking questions. The question time gave us a couple of interesting moments.

The first was when an older man stood up and declared “only one politician has ever done me any good and that is Donald J. Trump!” In a room of about 50 of what I assume were Trump’s base only one person clapped at that statement. This from a group that should be his base and that had been applauding rather vigorously throughout the day.

The other was a rather strange Q & A about the need to fix roads. While there seemed to be total agreement roads needed to be fixed there seemed to be no desire to raise taxes to do so. Well at least that is what I took from the conversation.

The food could sure have been better, BTW. 

  1. If your on a world trip for the current administration, there is a good chance you will stay overnight at what resort in Scotland?
  1. The 2nd Circuit Federal Appeals Court Friday reinstated CREW’s emoluments lawsuit against who?
  1. Republican Texas legislator Briscoe Cain made headlines Thursday night when he threatened what Democratic presidential candidate with a tweet that said “my AR15 is ready for you”?
  1. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY raised American spirits this week when his House Judiciary Committee would begin what?
  1. He either quit or was fired. Either way what National Security Advisor left his job last week?
  1. Firings were threatened in retaliation to NOAA forecasters who contradicted The Chosen One’s Alabama hurricane tweets by what current cabinet secretary?
  1. Typhoon Faxai hit what major world city last Sunday and Monday?
  1. 75 years ago today – September 15th, 1944 – American troops first crossed the border of what European country?
  1. Unlike other states that are cancelling their primaries and caucuses what group in Iowa says they will hold their scheduled caucus?
  1. Officially, The Chosen One picked up a third challenger when what former governor announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination?
  1. Wednesday federal prosecutors recommended that what former second in command at the FBI should face criminal charges?
  1. Not nearly responsible for as many deaths as AR15s, yet the administration is readying a ban on an aspect of what current bad habit?
  1. What neighboring country kicked off a six week election cycle leading up to an October 21st national election?
  1. Using a ruse to fool Democrats that the legislature would not hold votes during 9/11 memorial services, what state’s Republicans over rode the governor’s budget veto?
  1. Also on this date in 1916, what mobile fortress military vehicle made its first appearance in combat at the Battle of the Somme?
  1. The Chosen One made a short trip to what city he had previously described as a “rat and rodent infested mess”?
  1. The administration announced it would not extend temporary protected status to citizens fleeing from what storm ravaged country?
  1. Which pharmaceutical company reached a collective settlement concerning its role in the opioid epidemic?
  1. Who claims that LED lights give his skin an orange glow?
  1. And once more the current administration is rolling back an Obama era environmental rule, this time on what?

Republicans on e-cigarettes:“We want a ban!”

Republicans on abortion:“We want a ban!”

Republicans on immigration:“We want a ban!”

Republicans on trans military members:“We want a ban!”

Republicans on gay marriage:“We want a ban!”

Republicans on guns: “BANS DON’T WORK!!!” – Andrea Junker

Answers:

  1. The Chosen One’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland
  1. The Chosen One
  1. Beto O’Rourke
  1. An impeachment inquiry
  1. John Bolton
  1. Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross
  1. Tokyo
  1. Nazi Germany
  1. The Republican Party. Sure would be funny if you know who lost.
  1. Mark Sanford of South Carolina
  1. Andrew McCabe
  1. Vaping
  1. Canada
  1. North Carolina
  1. The tank
  1. Baltimore
  1. The Bahamas
  1. Purdue
  1. The Chosen One
  1. Clean Water Protections
Posted in #trumpresistance, Humor | Leave a comment

Two Stories Of Note From Progress Iowa

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

We would like to tip our hats to the folks over at Progress Iowa for bringing these stories to our attention. This is what watchdog groups are supposed to do.

As many may recall our current governor accepted airplane rides from donors, including a flight to Iowa State’s Liberty Bowl game in 2017.  

A complaint concerning one of the flights which Reynolds took was dismissed Wednesday by the Iowa Court of Appeals. 

From Matt Sinovic at Progress Iowa:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Matt Sinovic

(515) 423-0133

matt@progressiowa.org

Progress Iowa Congratulates Gov. Reynolds On Accepting Legal Bribe

(DES MOINES, IOWA, September 11) — Progress Iowa responded to the Iowa Court of Appeals today upholding the dismissal of a complaint that Gov. Reynolds did not properly value a private flight that she took in 2017. Reynolds has flown on private jets owned by executives who do business with the state of Iowa, calling into question whether they were buying influence.

Statement from Progress Iowa executive director Matt Sinovic:

“The Governor has figured out a way to let companies who do business with the state pay for her travel, flying her on private jets to whatever event she chooses. It may technically be legal, but Iowans expect better from our elected officials. It’s no surprise that corporate CEOs are willing to buy her influence, but it should be disturbing to every Iowan that she’s willing to accept.”

“We offer our most insincere congratulations to the Governor for finding a loophole for legalized bribery, and offer our hope that next time she pay her own way instead of flying the corporate skies.” (bolding mine – ed)

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.

###

Background:

Dismissal of complaint over Gov. Reynolds’ family flight upheld by appeals court

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/dismissal-of-complaint-over-gov-reynolds-family-flight-upheld-by-appeals-court-gary-dickey-20190911

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

Earlier in the week Progress Iowa reminded us that Democrats are moving on addressing skyrocketing drug prices:

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2019

Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0133

House Dems Bill Will Lower Drug Prices, Stand Up to Big Pharma

Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats Set to Unveil Historic Legislation To Lower Drug Prices While Trump And Congressional Republicans Continue Defending Status Quo And Protecting Big Pharma

Following reports of the sweeping legislation set to be unveiled by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to drastically lower prescription drug costs and hold insurance companies accountable, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“The landmark legislation Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have crafted is the most sweeping and comprehensive reform of prescription drug prices in modern history. By lifting the ban on Medicare negotiations for lower drug prices and introducing the strongest-yet measures to hold big pharma accountable for the rigged system they’ve created, this plan would take on the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Too many families are struggling to afford either rent or pills, but this plan would take on the drug companies and reduce drug prices for every American – those on Medicare and those who are not. President Trump and Republicans in Congress continue to be relentless defenders of the status quo – protectors of drug and insurance company profits. Republicans gave new, record-breaking tax breaks to the biggest drug companies and will now almost certainly try to block Medicare negotiations to lower prices for the American people.

“With this legislation, it’s clear that Speaker Pelosi and Democrats are taking seriously their commitment to ending the rigged system that keeps prices high, and their responsibility to ensure that no American goes broke trying to afford their prescriptions or access the care they need.”

BACKGROUND: 

Drug Prices Are Surging Under Trump

Drug Prices In 2019 Surged Compared To The Year Before. With Hikes At 5 Times Inflation — “More Than 3,400 Drugs Have Boosted Their Prices In The First Six Months Of 2019.”

 “Price hikes on prescription drugs are surging in 2019, despite vows from the Trump administration to rein in pharmaceutical costs. So far in 2019, more than 3,400 drugs have boosted their prices, a 17% increase compared with the roughly 2,900 drug price increases at the same time in 2018, according to a new analysis by Rx Savings Solutions, a consultant to health plans and employers. The average price hike for those 3,400 drugs stands at 10.5%, or about 5 times the rate of inflation, the study found.” [CBS News, 7/1/19]

AARP Analysis Found Specialty Drug Prices Have Grown More Than Three Times Faster Than Inflation.

 “The prices of widely used specialty prescription drugs grew more than three times faster than general inflation in 2017…The new report found that the average annual price for a single specialty drug used on a chronic basis is now nearly $79,000, compared to $27,824 in 2006.” [AARP, 6/25/19]

Insulin Costs Have Tripled Over The Past Decade. 

As costs continue to rise, as many as one in four of the 7.5 million Americans dependent on insulin are skipping or skimping on doses.

Despite Tough Rhetoric,  Trump And His Republican Allies Continue To Block Meaningful Reform. 

Trump And His Republican Allies Continue To Block Medicare Negotiation For Lower Drug Prices.

 Even though  86 percent of Americans support allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, Republicans refuse to allow Medicare to negotiate. A 2018 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Democratic Committee report found that Medicare Part D could save $2.8 billion in a single year if it were allowed to negotiate drug prices. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was recently blocked by Senate Republicans.

For more on Trump’s broken promises on drug pricing, click here.

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Argentina And China Make Deal On Soymeal

It seems like every week farmers suffer another kick in the ass as an outgrowth of the current president’s ill advised and poorly conceived trade war with China. This week brought the news that China and Argentina agreed to a deal that will have Argentina exporting soymeal to China.

While China has been a major buyer of Argentine soybeans, they have avoided buying the crushed beans. This is a major move and is being hailed in Argentina.

What is great news for Argentina is certainly not good for the US and especially for Iowa. From Reuters last Wednesday:

MESSAGE FOR TRUMP

Argentine soy industry insiders said the U.S.-China trade war had helped make Argentine soymeal exports more alluring as Beijing looks to diversify its supply and to send a message to the United States that it had other options on the table.

The pact, which came together faster than many expected, could help local crushers make up lost ground on U.S. rivals, who have benefited from lower domestic prices linked to a glut of U.S. beans. U.S. farmers, meanwhile, lamented the deal.

“Of course we’re sorry to see it,” said Ron Heck, a corn and soy farmer in Perry, Iowa, adding he expects that China may pay more than world market prices for Argentine soymeal to avoid buying crops from the United States. (my bolding – ed.)

“China has shown a willingness to pay extra to punish the United States, which falls on me.”

As we hear the constant lies from the Trump administration about how we are winning the trade war, the reality is we are not only losing now but we may be losing for a long, long time. Markets lost will not come back easily. China is acting fast to fill their needs. We do not have that many options for selling our goods. 

Elections have consequences. In this case the consequences may be very permanent for a group of people who believed a fast talking confidence man. Joni Ernst still backs that fast talking con man to the detriment of Iowans.

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2020 election campaign, Trade | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Republicans Used 9/11 To Stage Political Ruse


There are excellent alternative media sources, such as the Thom Hartmann show. Thom is a prolific author. He is interesting because he has also had a career as a psychotherapist and now is America’s #1 progressive talk show host.  In this segment he explains why Democrats keep getting suckered by Republicans.  Bottom line is, it can take a long time for good people to recognize evil in others.

“We tend to judge other people by ourselves. People judge others by what they would do themselves. The Democrats are basically trustworthy, so they were willing to take a Republican’s word on its face. The Republicans are not trustworthy. They’re lying scum, apparently, in North Carolina and increasingly all across the country… “

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Loebsack Introduces Legislation To Close The Urban-Rural Digital Divide

If you go by what you see in the media, you would think the only thing going on in Washington these days is Trump tweeting increasingly outrageous ideas on a daily basis. But you would be wrong. There is actual work being done by some in congress.

###

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today announced that his legislation, the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act (HR 4229), will serve as the basis of the legislative hearing in the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The hearing is entitled, “Legislating to Connect America: Improving the Nation’s Broadband Maps” and will include discussion of five pieces of legislation, including Loebsack’s bipartisan Broadband DATA Act and the Mapping Accuracy Promotion Services Act (HR 4227), of which Loebsack is the original cosponsor. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, September 11 at 10:30am EDT (9:30am CDT).

“I am thankful that Chairmen Pallone and Doyle are holding this important hearing to examine how we can improve the nation’s broadband mapping system. In order to actually fix the problem and get highspeed broadband to where it is needed, especially in rural areas, we must have the best data available. Without that information, we cannot properly invest in building out broadband access. I look forward to hearing from the experts about what it will take to get the maps correct and the broadband to where the problems truly exist,” said Loebsack in advance of the hearing.

“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.

Hearing starts at about 9:38.

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Returning Iowan To Governor Reynolds: “This Is Not Iowa”

Photo: UI College of Public Health

Contributed by Margaret Acosta Weirich

Having been raised in Iowa, I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to return to my home state this spring. One advantage of living in Iowa is the accessibility of outdoor recreation. I have fond memories of visiting Lake MacBride in my youth, and my current residence is not far from Gray’s Lake in Des Moines. I was excited to spend the summer with my two dogs going to the lake, paddle boarding, boating, and enjoying the various other recreational opportunities that Iowa has to offer.

Unfortunately, over the summer I became more and more concerned about the safety and quality of the water in Iowa’s lakes. I saw photos of Lake MacBride, close to my hometown, turned fluorescent green from a harmful algae bloom. I have heard that Gray’s Lake, which I was so excited to be near, may not be safe for me or my dogs to enjoy. In fact, just this month I read horrifying news stories from across the country about dogs dying from swimming in lakes where harmful algae blooms had caused high microcystin levels. Pets and children are particularly susceptible to serious illness from exposure to toxins. The thought of this happening to my little dogs, Wendell and Wren, is unimaginable.

Recently, the Reynolds administration rolled out “This is Iowa”, a campaign to attract and retain young professionals to live and work in Iowa. One of the main features of this campaign is outdoor recreation, particularly in and around water. While Iowa definitely has beautiful natural resources that should be protected and celebrated, statewide leaders have not made serious efforts to put their money where their mouths are on water quality. To encourage folks to swim, play, recreate, and relocate based on opportunities for outdoor recreation, those opportunities should at least be safe.

I love this state and I am so glad as a young professional I was able to move back here. I am alarmed and disappointed, however, in the quality of our recreational waters and the potential harm that could be done during what should be a wonderful afternoon at the beach. Iowa should be a great place to live, work, and play, and we deserve to have our natural resources and our public health protected.

Margaret Acosta Weirich
Des Moines, Iowa

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Women Transforming Media: Jen Senko

Read my review of Jen Senko’s film  here:  blogforiowa.com/movie-review-the-brainwashing-of-my-dad/

Connect with Jen Senko on Facebook.  She is seeking our help fighting the corrosive effects of right wing propaganda on our democracy.  Do you have a personal story of losing a loved one to Fox News or Rush Limbaugh? Do you know someone who has recovered?  Jen is seeking stories for her new book.  She is specifically looking for SUCCESS stories of those successfully deprogrammed after being brainwashed by right wing media.

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Dave Loebsack Continues To Work To Improve Rural Broadband

Congressman Dave Loebsack

Reps. Loebsack, Latta, Long and McEachin Introduce Legislation to Improve Broadband Data Maps

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bob Latta (OH-05) introduced bipartisan legislation that would improve the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband availability maps. The “Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act (HR 4229)’’ will improve the accuracy of FCC broadband data maps by changing the way broadband data is collected. The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Billy Long (MO-07) and Donald McEachin (VA-04). Legislation similar to the Broadband DATA Act has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Roger Wicker (MS), Gary Peters (MI) and John Thune (SD).

Additionally, Reps. McEachin and Long introduced today the “Mapping Accuracy Promotes Services (MAPS) Act (HR 4227),” which will help hold broadband providers accountable by making it against the law to knowingly provide inaccurate data to the FCC. Reps. Loebsack and Latta also cosponsored this bill.

“In 2019, it is unacceptable that many families, small businesses, farmers, educators and healthcare providers in rural areas don’t have the necessary access to high-speed internet,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack. “In order to actually fix the problem and get high-speed broadband to rural areas, we must have the best data available. Without knowing where the high-speed broadband problem truly exists, we cannot properly invest in building out access. Folks simply can’t compete in the 21st Century economy we live in without access to high-speed broadband internet.”

“Rural communities like much of Ohio’s 5th District often struggle with having access to fast, reliable broadband. Unfortunately, without this access it is difficult for them to do their jobs, finish their homework, and stay connected to friends and family. With this legislation, we’ll be better able to pinpoint areas that are lacking coverage, and help ensure that unserved and underserved communities have better broadband availability,” said Congressman Bob Latta.

“It is simple: we cannot expand broadband Internet to rural and underserved communities if we do not know first where broadband service is needed,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “This means we need better coverage maps, which in turn requires Internet service providers to submit accurate coverage data to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Our legislation, the Mapping Accuracy Promotes Services Act, or MAPS Act, will make it unlawful for providers to knowingly, willfully, or recklessly provide inaccurate data to the FCC. The MAPS Act, together with the legislation from Congressman Loebsack and Ranking Member Latta, will ensure that we have a more complete understanding of broadband availability—and thus help bring much-needed, high-speed Internet to our constituents.”

“I’m proud to join Reps. McEachin, Loebsack and Latta in sponsoring legislation that improves broadband maps,” said Congressman Billy Long. “For rural communities, such as those in Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, access to broadband is scarce. This bill would take the necessary steps to inform providers who is and is not connected.”

Specifically, the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act:

  • Requires the FCC to collect granular service availability data from wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers.
  • Requires strong parameters for service availability data collected from mobile broadband providers to ensure accuracy.
  • Asks the FCC to consider whether to collect verified coverage data from state, local, and tribal governments, as well as from other entities.
  • Creates a process for consumers, state, local, and Tribal governments, and other groups to challenge FCC maps with their own data, and requires the FCC to determine how to structure the process without making it overly burdensome on challengers.
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