Sandy Hook Was Five Years Ago Thursday

Gun Debate 5 years after Sandy Hook Massacre – 2.5 minutes

We were on our way to visit some friends when the news broke in with the story of the tragedy in Sandy Hook.

I pulled over and started crying thinking of those devastated families and friends.

Why were those innocent children slaughtered? To what purpose. Some fantasy that every American should be able to wantonly kill on a whim because he can get a gun almost on demand. Not just a gun but a weapon of mass destruction that can shoot hundreds upon hundreds of bullets a minute.

Can anyone really believe this is what the founders envisioned? Especially when there was no unfettered access to guns written into the constitution or the bill of rights.

Since that horrible day five years ago the only thing that has happened is that more and more Americans are slaughtered. Our lawmakers quake at the word “NRA” and show the courage of a panicky cat.

How much longer Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley will you bow to these purveyors of the weapons of death? Or how about you Steve King? Congressman Young? Congressman Blum? Is there not one ounce of decency or courage in your souls?

Hope you have plenty of time to ponder on the deaths of those kids over the holidays.

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Sunday Funday: Republican Christmas

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Oh My! these people have been extremely naughty

 

A post on democraticunderground.com

“Just got a phone call from a very upset program admin at our local visiting nurse association, which provides housekeeping services for elderly and disabled. She was in tears, choking up repeatedly, as she explained the reason for her call. “We have just been notified,” she said, “that Trump has eliminated our funding for this program. And we have no way of replacing that funding.” 

The funding for the housekeeping assistance had already been reduced a few months ago; now it’s just gone. Also gone are the jobs of those who provided that much needed help. 

Just one more example of the cruelty of the Trump administration and his complicit cronies in congress. “

Merry Christmas from the Republican Party. We have numerous examples of what Republican policies are doing in Iowa, especially to those dependent on Medicaid.

For Christmas they will raise your taxes, cut your healthcare, funnel your money to the filthy, filthy rich, let the corporations control the internet, cut pensions, cut your right to vote and collude with Russia. But you can say “Merry Christmas.”

I can’t keep up anymore.

1) Rumors were flying Thursday that what high ranking Republican official would not seek re-election this fall?

2) What two losers did the current president back in Alabama?

3) There was also a special election in Iowa last Tuesday for an empty state senate seat. Did the Republican or Democrat win that one?

4) 104 years ago today what event took place in North Carolina that would forever change the world?

5) Immediately following the FCC’s vote to end internet neutrality, who announced he would file suit to stop the decision?

6) Well someone has a conscience. What state’s Republican Party leader quit over the party’s decision to help the Roy Moore campaign in Alabama?

7) In a strange attempt to deflect charges of previous pedophilia, Alabama Republican candidate took part in a video interview conducted by whom?

8) A state senator from Kentucky committed suicide after he was accused of what?

9) Well, good old Steve King made national headlines by tweeting what this week?

10) Kim Reynolds the made headlines by doing what in response to King’s tweets?

11) What Republican announced he would not seek re-election following many stories of general debauchery and sexual harassment?

12) Former VP Joe Biden said Thursday that he owed an apology to who?

13) December 18th, 1892 the world saw the premiere of what Christmastime ballet favorite.

14) Amid stories that she was thrown out of the White House, what presidential aide announced she would be leaving the White House next month?

15) The current president outdid himself this week with a tweet that essentially called what senator a whore?

16) Brett Talley was in the news last week. Why?

17) 60% of Iowans disapprove and 35% of Iowans approve of what in an Iowa poll published Wednesday in the DMR?

18) In Minnesota Wednesday, Governor Dayton selected who to fill the pending empty senate seat now filled by Al Franken?

19) At a Friday presser, the current president would not rule out a possible pardon for who?

20) In response to the administration’s moving the Israeli embassy Jerusalem, what Israeli town cancelled all Christmas celebrations?

John Fugelsang on the Doug Jones victory: African American voters in Alabama did more to help white working Americans last night than Donald Trump has done all year.

Answers:

1) House Speaker Paul Ryan

2) first loser was Sen. Luther Strange. The second was Roy Moore.

3) Republican. However, there was a huge move to the Democratic Party since the last election.

4) The Wright brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk

5) New York AG Eric Schneiderman

6) Nebraska Republican chair Joyce Simmons

7) a 12 year old  female Trump supporter Millie March

8) allegations of sexual assault of a 17 year old girl in 2012

9) “diversity is not our strength”

10) despite the racist tweet by King, Reynolds kept him as co-chair of her campaign

11) Blake Farenthold of Texas

12) Anita Hill

13) Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”

14) Omarosa Manigault

15) Kirsten Gillibrand of New York

16) He was the totally unqualified candidate for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench whose nomination was withdrawn last week.

17) the job the current president is doing

18) current Lt. Gov. Tina Smith

19) Michael Flynn

20) Nazareth

Andy Borowitz: BREAKING: Ben Carson Now Trump’s Only Black Friend ( I don’t know, Andy. ‘Friend’ may be a bit strong.)

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SLAPP Lawsuits

 

These lawsuits have been around for a while.  Robert Reich warns us to look for an upsurge in these types of lawsuits.

This video is about three minutes:

One thing that Mr. Reich failed to mention in this video is that the Republicans stonewalling of Obama federal court appointees while confirming Trump appointees quickly and with little scrutiny will also greatly tip decisions in SLAPP lawsuits.

Once again the oligarchs use their money to destroy the common good.

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Republicans Just Don’t Get it

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Even Grassley had to know this was false based on his request to Trump to pull judicial picks

Have you ever noticed that Republicans at least since the days of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” and probably long before that always seem to take the wrong lesson from major events?

Based on previous experience one could expect that Republicans will view Tuesday night’s defeat in Alabama was not because of their policies, nor was it totally due to their horrible candidate. No, I believe they will double down on a couple of themes they developed to help control the election process. 

They will say they felt their policies were on track, but the media – the fake and perpetually lying media –  once again went after them and their candidate, Roy Moore, thus causing  his defeat. While they can’t shut the media down, they have been taking steps to control it. Expect more steps to attempt to control media in the near future as another election approaches. 

One might say that Thursday’s vote by the FCC to hand control of the internet to corporations is one huge step in that direction.  As it is now the internet represents those backroom printing presses that were so vital to Americans during their revolution. The British did all they could to stop those presses just as Republicans are doing what they can to control the news today. Yet somehow Thomas Paine was able to get a whole lot of “Common Sense” published anyway.

Note that the rush to drastically change the internet is most likely spurred by the upcoming election and the role the internet has played in organizing and spreading the truth about conservative politicians. So make access to left wing websites more difficult and more costly while keeping conservative websites easy to access. Cable TV all over again!

The other major problem Republicans will see is that too many of the wrong people were able to vote. This has been at the top of their issues list for a long time. Expect harsher control measures known commonly as voter suppression laws to be put in place and more disappearing places to vote in Democratic areas. They see this not as cheating but as control.

It isn’t hard to look in the rear view mirror to see many places where Republicans drew the wrong message from events. Protests against the Vietnam War? They could have examined their policies and wound down the war. Instead they attacked protesters in what became an almost civil war at home as the Vietnam war waged abroad.

Nixon’s coverup of the Watergate break in and subsequent resignation. The best scenario would have been to let the law take its course to prove that in America no person is above the law. Instead Jerry Ford short-circuited the process and thereby sent a signal to future generations that Republicans would keep each other out of legal trouble for grand misdeeds.

Thus the lesson learned from Watergate for Republicans was that the rich and powerful are above the law and who is going to stop them? This precedent was used again to pardon those convicted in the Iran-Contra Affair with little fanfare. Honestly, how many CEOs and Wall Street traders have you seen behind bars? Few if any. You can be sure Trump and his lawyers and the administration as a whole are well schooled in the workings of pardons.

Another lesson not learned was about foreign adventures such as Vietnam. One of the problems that pushed Vietnam into such a heated issue at home was the drafting of soldiers from American families. As draftees were killed and maimed in Vietnam, parents, families and friends turned against the war. The lesson should have been to not enter into such foreign adventures without thorough study and planning and for good reasoning.

Instead the Republicans saw the problem of the wrong kids getting killed. They reasoned that a professional army rather than one of conscripts would keep the heat off the government in future wars. Thus we have been in Afghanistan and Iraq for 15 years more or less and we hear little news about either place.

We will soon see Republicans once again demonstrating that they learned nothing from the recent recession or the experiments on trickle down economics that took place in Kansas especially. The real lesson in both of these huge failures is that inequality and money concentrated in too few hands will lead to crashes because money stops flowing through the system when it is concentrated.

Unfortunately Republicans see the problem as too much spending by government. State senate leader Bill Dix stated he will be looking to cut spending to the bone. This will lead to fewer jobs and an economy where people will be afraid to spend. In short cutting spending will eventually lead to a slowing economy.

It happened in Kansas, it will happen in Iowa, and it will happen across the country as Republicans pursue a tax policy that will concentrate more and more money at the top. Those that really drive the economy – the middle classes and poor who spend nearly every penny will have much less to spend. The economy will falter and this time it may be nearly impossible to pull it back from the edge as Barack Obama did in 2009.

Cats, dogs and other critters seem to possess better reasoning skills.

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Join The Factory Farm Resistance This Holiday Season


Please consider joining this action. CCI is leading the fight to save Iowa from becoming wall to wall CAFOs. Follow CCI on Facebook

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We’re ready to stand with you to build the movement for clean water, a factory farm moratorium, and local control in the New Year!

Holiday Card Blitz!

Rumor has it that Jeff Hansen – owner of Iowa Select, Iowa’s largest hog corporation – has even more factory farms on his Christmas list.

Here’s an easy way to stand with fellow Iowans fighting to stop 20 (!!!) proposed Iowa Select hog factories. (Like the Hardin County members who packed their supervisors meeting yesterday, successfully getting them to delay their decision two weeks.)

Send an extra holiday card to tell Jeff that all you want in the New Year is for him to stop building factory farms!

Mail to: Jeff & Debra Hansen, 1469 Glen Oaks Drive, West Des Moines, IA 50265.

Two of our Ames members made the “postcard blitz” popular during the #NoDAPL fight, and we loved the energy it brought to the movement. Check out our Facebook event. Post a picture of the card you are sending and invite your friends to do the same here


Your online actions work!
DNR drops bad proposal to weaken testing of E.Coli in our water

Over 700 Iowans — including at least 216 CCI Action members — submitted comments opposing the Department of Natural Resources’ sneaky attempts to weaken testing for E.coli bacteria (which largely comes from factory farm manure) in our precious waterways. This change would’ve made water impairments harder to track, and put our health and safety at risk. Shout out to the Iowa Environmental Council for sounding the alarm in September.


Your call for a factory farm moratorium and local control is gaining steam!

21 Iowa counties have called for stronger rules for factory farms — whether by passing resolutions or writing letters to the state pushing for a moratorium, local control, or strengthening the Master Matrix permitting process.

  • Over 1,500 members weighed in to say you want a stronger Master Matrix. The EPC is making a recommendation to the legislature, and your energy helped force the public debate in the media.
  • Farm News — a newspaper which gets delivered to thousands of farmers and rural families in North Central Iowa — is the latest to weigh in for stronger local control. In their editorial “Hog confinements raise concerns: Webster County Supervisors raise valuable scrutiny”, they say:

“More broadly, we believe the Legislature should consider giving local governments more discretion in this process. City and county officials are in a better position than DNR bureaucrats to know how a confinement project will impact their communities.”

“…perhaps lawmakers should do what county supervisor boards, rural residents, environmental groups and others have asked. If lawmakers can’t provide more local control, then they should pass a moratorium on new confinements.” 

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
2001 Forest Ave., Des Moines, 50311-3229
515-282-0484
iowacci.org

 

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Howard Dean On Why Doug Jones Won

Follow Howard Dean on Facebook

Reasons Doug Jones won:

1) he is a good candidate:  Alabama native in tune with Alabama values

2) Alabama is changing. Roy Moore represents the worst of Alabama’s stereotyped past. The state remains a conservative state but the business and civic leadership has changed and has been building a modern state for some time, despite the backward political leadership.

3) Strong and well organized African-American leadership both political and civic. The African American vote, particularly women, made the biggest difference and will in the future

4) First Global (millennial) generation voters are determined to build the country they envision and they are taking over in every state. This is just the beginning.

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Don’t Let Congress Take Health Insurance Away From Kids

Action alert from Iowa Senate Dems:

Call Iowa’s members of Congress and tell them to support Iowa’s kids! Senators Grassley and Ernst, Representatives King, Young, Blum, Loebsack  – Congressional Switchboard (202) 224-3121 Also, ask Governor Kim Reynolds to apply some pressure! Call her at 515-281-5211.

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Iowa Needs CAFO Moratorium

This letter to the editor by Joan Olive of Spirit Lake, Iowa, appeared in the Quad City Times November 22, 2017.

If factory farms are so safe, why is the Pork Producers filing suit to block a regulation requiring a report when the toxic gases hydrogen sulfide and ammonia emitted from hog confinements are over 100 pounds per day? All Iowa counties now have either poor or very poor air quality, according to a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality map.

Hydrogen sulfide is a potent neurotoxin, and chronic exposure to even low levels causes irreversible damage to the brain and central nervous system. Children are the most susceptible to this poisonous gas, according to the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, and hydrogen sulfide is associated with hog confinements and the application of liquid manure, per Kaye Kilburn M.D.

Factory farms are exempt from the Clean Air Act even though they produce large quantities of toxic emissions that have been proven to harm human health in multiple scientific and medical studies. With thousands of Iowa factory farms/CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) that have little or no public health or environmental regulation, it’s time to clean up our state so our grandchildren will inherit a safe and pleasant state.

That starts with a moratorium on new CAFOs until regulations can be developed to protect our most precious resource – our children. Clean air and water are prerequisites for good health. Contact your legislators and Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, and let them know what the majority of Iowans value, and that if they don’t agree with us, they will be sent home.

Joan Olive
Spirit Lake, Iowa

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Iowa Republicans Plan To Dismantle IPERS

For the 2018 session, Iowa Republicans already have filed legislation to mess with the retirement of hundreds of thousands of public employees.

Senate File 45 would begin to dismantle IPERS and other Iowa public retirement programs by blocking new Iowa workers from joining them as of July 2019.

It would also require studies on transforming IPERS into a risky “defined contribution” plan, one subject to the whims of the stock market.

This Monday, December 11, Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald and Senator Matt McCoy are holding a 1 PM Statehouse news conference on the threats that IPERS and other retirement programs face in the 2018 session of the Iowa Legislature.

Video of the news conference will be available on the Iowa Senate Democrats Facebook page. 

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Franken’s Resignation Casts A Pall On The Season

We will miss this voice

Last year we barely celebrated the season since we were looking down the barrel of what had the makings of the worst presidency in the history of this country and perhaps one of the worst mistakes in history. Less than a year since the inauguration and our worst fears are being borne out.

Throughout the year our spirits were lifted by a massive and sustained resistance to administration policies whether by the huge outpouring of calls to elected officials, marches in the streets, court challenges and an increasing challenge to the administration both in congress and in the news media.

Now it feels like in one fell swoop much of the gains have been muted when what appears to be a concerted effort on the right has brought down one of the most intelligent and most pugnacious voices on the left in what feels like a matter of weeks.

Of course it hasn’t been a matter of weeks. Al Franken has been a loud and proud critic of the right for a long time. From at least the days of Bill O’Reilly, Franken has been the object of the hunt. Franken had been one of the leaders in poking holes in the inflated egos of the right wing blowhards from his small base on AirAmerica radio. Despite the right wing owning nearly all the media, Franken was able to get his message out and keep the right at bay to some degree.

In a near repeat of what happened to Hillary Clinton, after years of unprovoked attacks and misleading stories, right wing media was able to exploit an opening and divide Democrats on Franken. So, while  the right wing attack machine did the set up, it was Democrats themselves who landed the fatal blow.

While losing Franken is bad enough what his resignation portends is kind of frightening. First off is the nature of the charges against Franken. In a matter of degree they are light years less than accusations against Roy Moore and the admissions on recordings by Donald Trump. Yet in a purity purge Democrats insisted on throwing Franken out without any hearing. What does that say to other Democrats that may be accused of some misdeed?

Maybe I am wrong, but it appears that Franken had been the target of a Republican hunt mostly because he called them on their BS in plain and simple language. Witness the way he made Jeff Sessions squirm and even lie. Who else has been targeted by Republicans and demands real answers? How about Elizabeth Warren? How about Kamala Harris? How about Ron Wyden? Fraken’s demise will only embolden the Republican hit machine. Will it in turn stifle some of the criticism coming from Democrats?

There is also the question what this will do to Democratic turnout in the fall elections. You can bet the somewhat covert members of the right wing attack machine that pose as “local” stations but are actually owned by the likes of Sinclair on the TV side and Clear Channel on the radio side will be pushing the “both sides are the same” message to try to suppress votes even more than they are already suppressed.

Finally this pushes Minnesota into electing both senators, a governor and all members of the House in the 2018 election. That will be a heavy lift for the Dems (or DFL in Minnesota) next year.

Since Nixon and especially since the days of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and now with the help of Russians, Republicans have exploited every trick there is for taking power and invented new ways. Extreme gerrymandering, vote suppression, closing polling places, untraceable voting machines, control of most of the media and now taking control of the internet and micro targeting on the internet.

As Ben Franklin said “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

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