Today We Celebrate – Where To Watch The Biden-Harris Inauguration

Today set aside everything  that you don’t absolutely have to do and celebrate this moment.  Democracy lives to see another day!  Electing a Democratic president and congress is only the first step in reclaiming our country’s values and maintaining the Democratic experiment. There is a long tough road ahead but for today, be sure to take some time to celebrate and enjoy this historic day.

Check out the links below to find out where to watch.

And if you would like to celebrate with other Iowans, PACG – Progressive Action for the Common Good is hosting a virtual Parade and Dance Party this evening.  Click here for registration info.

Inaugural Ceremonies

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be sworn in on the West front of the U.S. Capitol building today. After they take their oaths of office, President-elect Biden will deliver an inaugural address laying out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation.

Streamed at BidenInaugural.org/watch and expected to be carried live on all major networks and platforms. Streamed live on PIC social media channels, YouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Twitch, and Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T U-verse (Channel 212/1212 in SD/HD) and DIRECTV (Channel 201). For accessible viewing options, please visit bideninaugural.org/accessibility.

Here’s something inspiring to watch while you’re waiting for the moment that our long national nightmare officially ends.

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: The Hidden History Of American Oligarchy

In The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class, Thom Hartmann recounts three periods of increased hegemony of oligarchs in American society. He posits that with the inauguration of Joe Biden as president on Jan. 20, 2021, we citizens have work to do to reclaim our democracy from the control of wealthy Americans.

The history of increased influence of wealth in the United States is becoming well known. Stories about it appear frequently in newsletters, on radio and television, and in books and other publications. In this book, Hartmann adds a needed layer of historical context to the discussion.

Readers may be familiar with the Powell Memo, Citizens United, the rise of dark money interests coordinated by Charles and David Koch, and the power they wielded to take control of our government, including the judicial, legislative and executive branches. Donald J. Trump’s presidency is a logical extension of these influences. We left democracy behind and become an oligarchy ruled of, by and for the rich, Hartmann said. The next step is tyranny if democratic values don’t return to dominance.

“The United States was born in a struggle against the oligarchs of the British aristocracy,” Hartmann wrote. “Ever since then the history of America has been one of dynamic tension between democracy and oligarchy. And much like the shock of the 1929 crash woke America up to glaring inequality and the ongoing theft of democracy by that generation’s oligarchs, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has laid bare how extensively oligarchs have looted our nation’s economic system, gutted governmental institutions, and stolen the wealth of the former middle class.”

Hartmann lays out his argument in plain, easy to understand terms and gets to the crux of it quoting former President Jimmy Carter, “So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election is over…. The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.”

More simply put, Al Gore said in his 2013 book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, “American Democracy has been hacked.”

The book quickly works through the origins of oligarchy in America from the invention and wide use of the cotton gin, the rise of industrial robber barons, and the Reagan revolution. Hartmann’s focus is not only on reminding us of history.

In the final section Hartmann details a dozen ways to break the hegemony of the oligarchy. They include addressing media, taxing the rich, restoring election integrity, and rebuilding a progressive Democratic Party. While readers can’t do everything alone, the book serves as a roadmap for where progressives can go from here to combat the oligarchy.

Like Hartmann’s other Hidden History books, this one is a quick but important read for people who are engaged in progressive politics and seek a change from the power of moneyed interests and concentration of wealth among the richest Americans. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy is a must read. It will be released on Feb. 1, 2021.

Posted in book review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

MLK Day Events In Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Ames, Davenport

Here are some of the free events in Iowa celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Cedar Rapids

• Monday: 7 p.m. on Facebook Live, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church annual celebration with music and speakers; Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris “Who is My Neighbor” Award will be given to an adult and a high school senior, recognized for diligently working for justice in Linn County. Details: facebook.com/stpaulsunitedmethodistchurchcedarrapids

Iowa City

The 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Human Rights is a collaborative effort between the University of Iowa, city of Iowa City and several community organizations.

• Monday events:

MLK Jr. Day of Service Virtual Celebration: 10 a.m. on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, with bell ringing ceremony, guest speakers, performances and resource fair.

Unity March Car Parade: noon to 1 p.m. join Johnson County Board of Supervisors, community leaders and members, meet at 913 S. Dubuque St.

Community Lunch: 12:30 to 2 p.m., one free meal per person while supplies last, at Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ Food Truck, 1104 S. Gilbert St.

Online program: 7 to 8 p.m., with Corridor guests; details and online links at mlk.uiowa.edu/calendar/event/62511

See the CR Gazette for more info.

Ames

An Iowa African American Hall of Fame inductee and member of the city’s human relations commission, Wayne Clinton is the keynote speaker for Story County’s 35th annual MLK Day Celebration.

Wayne Clinton is the keynote speaker for Story County's MLK Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 18

The event on Monday will take place from 6:30-7:45 p.m., live via Zoom, the Ames/Story County MLK Celebration Facebook page and Ames’ YouTube channel. The Zoom link and other program details can be found on the Facebook page.

Des Moines

Check out this link for online events.  https://allevents.in/des%20moines/martin-luther-king-day#

8th Annual MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast

NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter of the Minnesota Vikings will give the keynote address for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, a virtual gathering held by the John R. Grubb YMCA on Des Moines’ east side. The event at 8 a.m. Monday is free, but donations will be accepted to support learning programs including Starfish Academy, a summer literacy camp, and to help local families in need of financial assistance.

WHO-TV 13 news anchor Jodi Long will be the program’s emcee and will moderate a panel discussion by Justyn Lewis, founder and president of Des Moines Selma, a nonprofit that seeks to raise awareness of racial injustice; Kameron Middlebrooks, former Midwestern regional director of the NAACP; and Courageous Fire, leader of Courageous Fire LLC, a company focused on healing from domestic violence.

Click here for more information and events

Davenport

Each year, Davenport joins Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Commemoration Day.

This year, the event will feature Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and political contributor for NBC and MSNBC. Alcindor’s January 18 presentation, “The Legacy of MLK: Purpose, Truth and Justice,” will be hosted as a virtual event.

There is no charge to participate.

What: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
When: January 18, 2021 at 6:30pm
Where: A virtual MLK Day Celebration. Register here

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged | Leave a comment

LULAC Supports $1.9 Trillion Recovery

Nation’s Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Applauds Biden-Harris Road Map as Fulfilling Moral Obligation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has issued the following statement on President-elect Joe Biden’s release of a detailed plan his administration intends to start immediately after his inauguration to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Domingo Garcia – LULAC National President
“Finally, our country can see the road back from what has been such a painful and costly crisis. Latinos and communities of color in the United States and Puerto Rico have experienced the highest impact of lives lost and people infected by the virus because we are the nation’s essential workers. LULAC agrees with the plan’s principal provisions including paid sick leave so workers who are infected are not going to their jobs to keep food on the table or a roof over their heads. Also, ramping up to 100-million vaccine shots in the first 100 days is an important milestone to shoot for especially because it includes going to where the people are, not vice-versa. As critical is the commitment to extend the moratorium on evictions for people who cannot pay their rent or mortgages because their jobs have been lost from the virus devastating our economy. These are the bread and butter issues families have been needing help with and in a few days, it will begin to arrive.”

Sindy Benavides – LULAC National Chief Executive Officer
The vision set out by President-elect Biden today is bold, necessary and LULAC is heartened to hear its details. Also, that help for our schools is being included to deal with the tremendous challenges our children have been facing during these past many months. Especially encouraging is the sense of urgency President-elect Biden is clearly conveying when he says we must act and we must act now. We now see the specifics of a concerted plan of action by a leader who is experienced and who will bring us together to see it through. Our councils are actively working daily to disseminate information and assistance which we will ramp up in the days to come so that our communities can begin to heal and recover.”

Posted in Biden-Harris | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reminder: Special Election in SD41 Next Tuesday

From Rob Sand, Iowa State Auditor:

I’m reaching out to you today on behalf of my friends in the Iowa State Senate. As you may have heard, Iowa Senate District 41 is having a special election on January 26 – yes, just a few days away – to fill the vacancy left by Mariannette Miller-Meeks. This will be the very first election in Iowa after Donald Trump has left the White House, and we need your help to win:

 

Sign up for a phone bank here.

Donate to our Victory Fund on ActBlue.

 

Mary Stewart is our Democratic nominee for this seat and has spent her life fighting for her home of Southeast Iowa as a former educator and community college leader. Mary grew up, worked, and raised her family in this district and knows what life is like for working people in Southeast Iowa. She’s ready to get to the Iowa Senate and fight for health care, public schools, better paying jobs, and broadband access across Iowa.

 

With only a few days left before the special election, we need all hands on deck — and that means you! My team and I will be doing our part to help support Mary and we hope you will join us.

 

Sign up for a phone bank here.

Donate to our Victory Fund on ActBlue.

 

Senate District 41 is a classic Obama/Trump swing district and one that we can win if we work our tails off between now and January 26. This seat was won by Obama in 2008, 2012 and former Congressman Dave Loebsack in 2018.

 

With your help, we can help Mary win this special election and flip this seat BLUE!

 

 

Thanks in advance,

Rob

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: MLK And Inauguration Week Edition

tip of the hat to democraticunderground.com

Just seems sort of like the stars aligning that we would have the inauguration of the administration to rescue America from one of its worst crises ever to happen during the week of the celebration of the life of one of America’s greatest believers in HOPE, Dr. Martin Luther King.

Anybody want to make the connection between Dr. King and America’s first black member of the executive branch in VP Kamala Harris is free to do so. Let us not forget that Harris also is the first to represent that other great oppressed group in the executive branch, women. 

Right now I couldn’t be more full of hope as we climb out of the hole Trump dug us into. Last time I was so full of hope, a young black leader by the name of Obama was tasked with digging us out of the huge hole George W. Bush had put us in. I suspect the Biden-Harris team will do as good if not better than that Obama-Biden team.

One last note: For America’s sake please Donald Trump just disappear until they put you in jail.

  1. In a break in the wall stopping a peaceful transition, what member of the current administration contacted his successor Friday?
  1. The current death rate from corona virus in this country is just short of how many people per minute?
  1. The current administration promised to release the vaccines reserved for followup inoculations. When the reserve was opened up, how much was there?
  1. Georgia’s first black senator, Rev. Ralph Warnock was elected earlier this month in a run-off election. In a twist of fate, what church is Rev. Warnock the pastor of?
  1. A question for old Iowa basketball fans. Who did MLK give the written copy of his “I Have A Dream” speech to when he finished in August of 1963?
  1. Speaker Pelosi turned to what highly respected retired Army general to investigate the Trump coup of January 6th?
  1. There will be dogs back in the White House. What group will hold an ‘indoguration’ ceremony for Biden rescue dog Major later today?
  1. Following the coup attempt what sports governing body cancelled a major tournament at Trump’s Bedminster Golf Course?
  1. Time and tide wait for no one. The state of Iowa celebrates what birthday this year in December?
  1. There is no pee in our bathrooms! What Trump family members refused to let the Secret Service detail guarding them use their bathrooms? This caused SS to incur a $3,000/month charge to access a bathroom.
  1. What former governor of Michigan has been charged in the Flint water fiasco in which thousands of mostly minority children incurred lead poisoning?
  1. Dr. King first gained notoriety nationally when he led a bus boycott in what major Southern city?
  1. How long did that boycott last?
  1. Do you know the name of the Capitol Policeman who may have saved many, many senators when he was able to get the angry mob to follow him away from the unguarded Senate chamber?
  1. What was the name of the right wing Twitter wannabe site that went dark as platform after platform removed access to them?
  1. He crapped out. What Las Vegas casino owner and major Republican donor died last week?
  1. How many Republican members of the US House put their country first and voted for impeachment Wednesday?
  1. Speaker Pelosi announced fines for House members who violate what two rules?
  2. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled a final trip on our nickel after he was snubbed by the Foreign Secretary of what European country?
  1. Robert Keith Packer is a name most of us will forget quickly. However, we may long remember the hateful sweatshirt he wore that said what?

Raise your hand if you’d like to see Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar and Lauren Boebert testify under oath in front of Congress on live television for 11 straight hours to explain how the dipsh*ts with the zip ties found out where everybody’s secure locations were. – Jeff Tiedrich

Answers:

  1. VP Pence reached out to future VP Kamala Harris
  1. 3 – we have been well over 4,000 deaths per day for a while
  1. Nothing
  1. The Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where Rev. D. Martin Luther King once pastored
  1. Former Iowa men’s basketball coach George Raveling.
  1. General Honore
  1. The Delaware Humane Society where Major was rescued at
  1. The PGA
  1. 175th
  1. Ivanka and Jared
  1. Rick Snyder
  1. Montgomery, Alabama
  1. Dec 5, 1955 – Dec 20, 1956 – just over a year
  1. Eugene Goodman – he may be nominated for a Congressional Gold Medal
  1. Parler
  1. Sheldon Adelman
  1. 10 out 207
  1. $500 for not wearing a mask and $5000 for going around the newly installed metal detector. Fines will be deducted from members paychecks.
  1. Luxemburg’s Foreign Secretary 
  1. “Camp Auschwitz”

Next Week we will be running this feature under a new US Administration and new Senate leadership!

Posted in #trumpresistance, Humor | Leave a comment

Historian: Hold People Accountable

Note: I found this unrolled tweet on democraticunderground.com. This thread from historian Seth Cotlar shows that the Republican Party of today that attempted an insurrection on January 6th did not just spring up yesterday. Its roots are deep and filled with those who wish to undermine an inclusive democracy.

Tweet text: 

Seth Cotlar 

@SethCotlar 

Historian here, with a message for folks arguing against holding people accountable for the siege of the Capitol because “history will be the judge.” We are in this mess, BECAUSE people in the past didn’t hold their contemporaries accountable. Please don’t repeat that mistake. 

9:01 AM · Jan 10, 2021 

Unrolled thread here 

Historian here, with a message for folks arguing against holding people accountable for the siege of the Capitol because “history will be the judge.” We are in this mess, BECAUSE people in the past didn’t hold their contemporaries accountable. Please don’t repeat that mistake. 

Nixon was forced out of office, but he was never held responsible for his egregious actions as President. You’ll never guess what sort of precedent and example that set for the future President who most shared Nixon’s moral turpitude. 

In the 1970s, many “mainstream” media outlets buckled to right wing pressure & lent their platforms to gut bucket racists like James Kilpatrick & Pat Buchanan, rebranding them as “conservatives.” We continue to reap the consequences of normalizing racism. 

Here’s a thread on Pat Buchanan. In the early 90s Charles Krauthammer and Bill Buckley, staunch conservatives both, called Pat a “fascist” and an “antisemite.” And yet he still got major media gigs for DECADES. 

Trump’s career (and that of his family) is overstuffed with acts of white collar crime for which no one ever received more than a tiny fine as a slap on the wrist. Everyone one in NYC knew Trump was a morally bankrupt and corrupt crook. But somehow NBC still made him a star.(bolding mine – ed.)

We had almost a century of Jim Crow from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts in 1964-5 because the nation did not hold white supremacists sufficiently accountable to the 14th Amendment. 

AIDS activists who tried to hold the Reagan Administration accountable for its deadly, homophobic, inaction were called “divisive.” MLK, Jr was called “divisive.” Abolitionists were called “divisive.” “Divisiveness” is what reactionaries call “accountability.” Don’t fall for it. (bolding mine. – ed.)

There’s an important distinction between retribution or vengeance on one hand, and accountability on the other. Authoritarian regimes reap vengeance on their “enemies.” Democracies hold citizens legally accountable for illegal actions. 

Now Trump, and his authoritarian enablers, will try to tell you that there’s no distinction between legal accountability and political vengeance. They will say any attempt to try Trump for crimes post January 20 “is just political retribution.” Don’t fall for it. 

The way that a community shows that it truly believes in some important ideal is by holding accountable people who try to smash that ideal. If we believe that trying to violently steal an election by seeking to harm elected officials is wrong, then there must be consequences. 

Otherwise, we can’t say that as a nation we genuinely believe such things are wrong. In which case, they will just continue to happen. Because authoritarianism is an effective route to power, especially for groups that can’t win over their fellow citizens with reasoned arguments. 

One last detail to illustrate this point. The P**ud Buoys who were key in instigating the violence on Wednesday start every meeting with a reading from a 2001, fascist book by Pat Buchanan. Oftentimes, the past is prologue. 

 Pat Buchanan had such a big platform because we gave it to him, even though the overwhelming majority of us (even conservatives) thought his ideas were a threat to our democracy. There was no reason to put him in jail. But we didn’t have to put him on PBS and MSNBC! 

Posted in #trumpresistance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feenstra, Miller-Meeks and Hinson Vote For Insurrection

Maybe I am taking their votes in the wrong way, but it sure seems that having had months of watching Trump do all he can to undermine our democratic processes to maintain his hold on power, and then after seeing Trump’s and his minions make a Charge! to the troops to kick off festivities on January sixth, Iowa’s three Republican congress members could have maybe seen a wee bit of a connection. But, nope they didn’t.

Given a chance to hold someone accountable for an attempt to overthrow our elected government Iowa’s three Republican congress members could not seem to make the correlation. They themselves were among the hunted group that Wednesday. Their lives were in danger. Maybe they weren’t specifically named as targets, but there were guns and bombs that could have wounded and killed unintended victims.

Makes me wonder if they feel the same compassion toward those who were actually in the Capitol with guns and bombs, looting and doing damage? If they are unwilling to hold the leadership accountable, why hold those guilty who were only doing Trump’s bidding?

What were the compelling reasons for these three freshmen congress members to use one of their very first votes in congress to shield a man who has spent months ginning up an attack against congress as a last ditch attempt to keep his position of power?

Ashley Hinson says: 

In a statement, Hinson said in part, “I believe the President bears responsibility, and that is why I urged him personally to call off those who were violently storming the Capitol last week. I wish he had spoken up sooner, but he did not.”

She went on to say:

“However, impeachment is the wrong path forward for several reasons. Speaker Pelosi is bypassing regular order – including the process of collecting evidence, conducting committee hearings, and having preliminary votes – to rush toward a second impeachment of President Trump. Just a week out from a new Administration, impeachment will only serve to feed the flames and further divide our nation.

Next week, there will be a peaceful transition of power to the Biden Administration, and we must re-focus on moving this country forward and solving the everyday problems facing Americans. Amid the chaos, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present real challenges to working people and businesses – Iowans are still trying to put food on the table, handle homeschooling, and struggling to pay their bills.”

Mariannette Miller-Meeks stated: 

“As horrific and devastating as the rampage on the Capitol was on Jan. 6, President Trump has conceded. He has committed to a peaceful and orderly transition of power on Jan. 20,” Miller-Meeks said, speaking on a Cedar Rapids news radio program Wednesday morning as the U.S. House for a second time deliberated impeaching President Donald Trump.

Miller-Meeks reiterated on Wednesday that impeaching Trump a week shy of the end of his term would “only further divide the nation and make it more difficult for President-elect Joe Biden to unify and lead our nation.”

As for Randy Feenstra it was a bit harder to get much, but here we go:  

FEENSTRA SAYS HE VOTED NO BECAUSE TRUMP HAS COMMITTED TO A PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER AND ONLY HAS SEVEN DAYS LEFT IN HIS TERM.

THE 4TH DISTRICT REPUBLICAN SAYS IT IS TIME FOR OUR COUNTRY TO COME TOGETHER AND MOVE FORWARD — NOT TO PURSUE DIVISIVE AND RUSHED POLITICAL EXERCISES.

FEENSTRA HAD ALREADY STATED TUESDAY THAT HE WOULD STRONGLY OPPOSE ANY ATTEMPT TO REMOVE PRESIDENT TRUMP FROM OFFICE BEFORE THE END OF HIS TERM.

We would like to note that all three of Iowa’s Republican congress members claim Trump called for a peaceful transition of power which lessened his impact as leader of the coup. None of them mention that Trump’s call for a peaceful transition happened AFTER THE COUP FAILED. Therefore it is much like any child or criminal whose contrition is caused by getting caught. In other words, like all things Trump, he only does the right thing when forced too.  

It is truly sad and a bad omen for Iowa’s future that Iowa’s freshmen congress members had neither the courage nor the moral compass to stand up for their country over their party in such a stark circumstances. Voting not to hold instigators responsible for their actions is in direct contravention to the claims of what their party stands for. It was literally the executive branch attacking the legislative branch.

Party over country is the greatest threat to this country.

Posted in #trumpresistance | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Axne Takes Lead Requesting Cots, Showers, Food For National Guard At Capitol

UNITED STATES – January 13: Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol Visitors Center as the House of Representatives votes on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, nearly a week after a pro-Trump insurrectionist mob breached the security of the Capitol while Congress voted to certify the 2020 Election Results, in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

We’ve all seen the images of National Guard members sleeping on the floor of the capitol building in Washington, DC, called up to defend our country after Trump’s mob ransacked the place and killed people.  Iowa Democrat Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) teamed up with Colorado Democrat Rep. Jason Crowe to do obtain cots, food and showers. While reports clarify they are not lodged there, there are some basic needs not being met.

We are proud that Iowa’s only Democrat in congress stepped up to support our men and women in uniform and wondering what her Republican counterparts are busy doing right now to help.

From Rep. Axne’s FB page:

My colleagues and I are grateful to the National Guard members and other law enforcement who are protecting our Capitol and defending our democracy – including over 250 members of the Iowa National Guard.
.
Today, Rep. Jason Crow and I led a letter seeking to provide them with the meals, beds, and other accommodations to ease their service. #IA03.

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate Inauguration 2021 With PACG Virtual Parade and Dance Party


An invitation from Progressive Action for the Common Good

PACG invites you to the Inauguration 2021 Virtual Parade and Dance Party on Wednesday, January 20th from 6:45 to 8:30 pm via Zoom.

We encourage people to connect to share their hopes for the new administration going forward. In addition, we have created some patriotic-themed games and will provide a platform for people to show their dancing skills, patriotic attire and parade signs. There will be prizes for best sign, attire and for the games!!

Our DJ will play music from our PACG Inauguration 2021 Spotify playlist to set a celebratory mood for us!

Music begins at 6:45 pm. The program starts at 7:00.

You must register to attend. Register here.

You will receive a Zoom log-in link 24 hours before the event and another reminder an hour before the event.

To fully participate in our gathering you will be using Zoom Chat and Breakout Rooms. Go to our Home page to learn more about these features.

Contact the PACG Office Manager with questions.

We look forward to celebrating this historic event with you soon!

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment