The Ads Are Making Themselves

And Trump is, as usual, threatening to sue.

The Chosen One, our Dear Leader, who couldn’t lead his way out of a paper bag, is having his actual words and actions being used by Democrats in ads. When a leader is so incompetent, so ill-equipped to do his job, such a national disgrace and so inept that if the situations were not so critical he would be little more than a buffoon caricature, why not let him make our ads?

  Here is one that was so repugnant to Dear Leader that he had some lawyer (Rudy maybe? Or is he still out digging up dirt on Biden?) send a cease and desist letter to TV stations to stop running this ad. Yet the ad is just Dear Leader speaking on the pandemic as he did nothing and the pandemic grew to the point where we are now the epicenter of Covid-19.

Guess we didn’t get a C & D letter. We aren’t a TV station.

Or there is this one that apparently is also making Trump sick:

And of course there are always the online memes and posts that go viral:

trump is culpable

Gee ain’t free speech wonderful? Let’s use it while we still can.

If you really like free speech, vote Democratic this fall from the county court house clear to the White House.

And let’s not forget the propaganda arm of this outfit: (1.5 minutes)

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2020 election campaign, Blog for Iowa, Trump | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Hunkering Down Edition

Wow – here it comes. Looks like the pandemic is roaring thanks in great part to a total lack of action by the Chosen One and only slightly more action by our puppet of a governor. 

Our best hopes that all Iowans and Americans can survive the double edge sword of the virus and the lack of leadership. When you can, stay in, when you can’t, please be extremely careful. Wear what ever protection you can find or finagle, wash your hands often, take along some disinfectants if you can.

At a time like this we could use a laugh. Who better to deliver that laugh than Sunday Funday favorite Randy Rainbow:

Oy Vey! Here is hoping it gets better:

  1. What international leader, who originally took the corona virus lightly, announced he had the bug Thursday?
  1. On what day did the US become the the top country in terms of number of Covid-19 cases
  1. What NPR affiliate quit carrying the administration’s daily press conference live “due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time”?
  1. What Republican congress member from Kentucky chose to force a floor vote on the massive disaster aid bill forcing congress members to return to DC to vote?
  1. Still Women’s History Month. What is the highest position of power any woman has achieved in our national government?
  1. What long time journalist and host of “Iowa Press” died last week at age 81?
  1. The owner of what US craft store chain decided to keep the chain stores open after receiving a “message from God”?
  1. In Italy a decision was made early this week to no longer allow people of what age to have access to ventilators in hospitals?
  1. Among other incredibly stupid ideas, Dear Leader proposes that businesses should be reopening on what significant date?
  1. Another crazy idea, since rejected, was to put troops on what US border?
  1. A tough one here: What woman was the first woman elected governor without having been married to a man who served as governor first?  (Hint: Connecticut, late 1970s)
  1. Iowa extended early voting for the June 2nd primaries to 40 days. Thus early voting will be starting on what date?
  1. How many people filed for unemployment insurance last week?
  1. In Kentucky, at least one person tested positive for Covid-19 after a group held what kind of a gathering?
  1. Using the cover offered by Covid-19 what cabinet department has suspended its enforcement of environmental laws?
  1. Bernie Sanders indicated he will stay in the race for the Democratic nomination for the presidency until what state’s primary?
  1. Many large events announced postponement last week including what huge international sporting event?
  1. What global landmark reopened last week after being shut down for months due to Covid-19? (Hint: think of what country was the first with Covid-19)
  1. What controversial, private Christian university announced it would reopen last week?
  1. How many women are currently serving as state governors in the US?
Obama trump real difference

tip of the hat to allhatnocattle.com 

Answers:

  1. Boris Johnson in the UK
  1. Thursday (we’re #1!)
  1. Seattle’s KUOW (university of Washington) 
  1. Thomas Massie
  1. Speaker of the House – Nancy Pelosi
  1. Dean Borg
  1. Hobby Lobby
  1. 60
  1. Easter (why? “Because it’s a beautiful day.”)
  1. Canadian
  1. Ella Grasso 1975 – 1980 She resigned because of ovarian cancer and died shortly thereafter
  1. April 23rd
  1. 3.3 million in the US – 21,000 in Iowa
  1. A corona virus party. 
  1. The EPA
  1. New York April 28th
  1. The Tokyo Olympics
  1. The Great Wall of China reopened a small segment to limited people
  1. Liberty University in Virginia
  1. 9 – Iowa, Oregon, New Mexico, Kansas, Alabama, Michigan, Maine, Rhode Island and South Dakota

Happy Birthday, Madam Speaker! Your leadership in this time of crisis has been so vital. I shudder to think how things might be this #ThursdayMorning if the Republicans still controlled the House. – TheDailyEdge tweet

Speaker Pelosi turned 80 Thursday

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2020 election campaign, Blog for Iowa, Humor | Tagged | 1 Comment

Demand Governor Reynolds Issue a Shelter in Place Order!

Kim-Reynolds-shrug

In these uncertain times, Iowans need bold action from our governor. 

Kim Reynolds must issue a shelter-in-place order for the safety of all Iowans. We must get ahead of this outbreak and ensure that our clinics and hospitals are not overwhelmed. Lives are at stake and we need sweeping action to stop the spread of this pandemic immediately.

Sign our petition (from progressiowa.com) to demand that Governor Kim Reynolds issue a shelter-in-place order!

 

Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Kim Reynolds, Progress Iowa | Tagged | Leave a comment

Where Did The Money Come From?

profits first

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post giving my understanding of how the Republican Party (aka now the Trumpublicans) had worked for 40 years to drive the country so deeply in debt that the government could not possibly begin any new social programs and in fact would be going after some of the stockpiles of money such as Social Security or Medicare to pay for emergencies.

As the administration continued to fiddle while the country burned it became readily apparent that massive amounts of money would be needed to keep the country afloat during the crisis. Given the size of the need it was probably a natural jump for those of us who understood the game that the Republicans have been playing for decades that they would immediately grab at a chance to use the rolling disaster to do in what has been their targets for decades.

Trying to kill Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at a time of national crisis would seem to be a dangerous political move, but they have tried such moves before and survived. After all as Covid-19 cases are piling up, the administration is still going full bore in their effort to have the ACA declared unconstitutional by the courts. (Note: I believe the SCOTUS has delayed hearing the case until AFTER the election.) 

However, the Republicans (Trumpublicans) took an unexpected turn. They decided to become Socialists. Not Socialists in the classic sense, but the kind that of Socialist that took the collective money and dispersed into the economy through corporations. At least that was McConnell’s plan. And the money would come from nowhere just as the money for the giant corporate tax cuts came from nowhere in the December 2017 tax cut bill. So much for the old Republican mantra of caring about deficit spending.

While McConnell’s plan was pretty much set aside in deference to Democratic ideas of more logical disbursement that would go to the unemployed, small businesses and others most directly hurt by the huge economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. Still, where would the money come from?

For those of us pondering this question, into the breech steps Professor Stephanie Kelton, the former Chief Economist for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, author of the upcoming book The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy. Kelton was interviewed on The Brad Blog by Brad Blog proprietor Brad Friedman:

“And yet, nobody — not Republicans or Democrats in the Senate, House of Representatives or White House — seems to be complaining that we don’t have the money to pay for it, or that we must cut somewhere else or raise taxes to be able to afford it. It is as if, as our guest today, Stony Brook University Professor of Economics and leading authority on Modern Monetary Theory STEPHANIE KELTON notes, we are able to just “conjure into existence, in a matter of days, a couple of trillion dollars,” enough money for the largest spending bill in the history of the country. And, as it turns out, she is right!

As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) noted recently in response to the sudden disappearance of so-called “Deficit Hawks” on Capitol Hill: “It’s actually a fascinating progressive moment, because what it’s shown is that all of these issues have never been about ‘how are you going to pay for it?’ It’s never been about whether we have the capacity to do these things. All of these excuses that we have been given as to why we can’t treat people humanely have suddenly gone up in smoke. And what has been revealed is that all of these issues were really about a lack of political will and who you deemed worthy to be in an emergency or not.”

Kelton, the former Chief Economist for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, has been trying to make these points of late in Twitter threads, New York Times op-eds, and her upcoming book The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy. As she tells me today, “Congress will always find the funds to accomplish the things that it considers a priority. If that’s tax cuts, then that’s the priority, and the money will be there. If it’s wars, that’s the priority. If it’s dealing with a global pandemic, then that suddenly becomes a priority.”

She laments that Democrats, over months on the Presidential campaign trail, have not been able to educate the American public about these facts and how difficult it has now become — after years of phony claims from politicians (of both parties) that the U.S. was going broke or that government should be run by the same fiscal rules that govern households and businesses — “to disabuse people of these myths that we have heard from our politicians, pundits and reporters.”

She argues “There is a time and a place for offsets. It’s not a free lunch”, but Bernie Sanders’ call for “canceling $81 billion of medical debt is nothing. It’s everything to the people who have medical debt. But from the perspective of the federal budget, it’s practically a rounding error, it’s so trivial. We could have done that and not offset it,” she says. “The federal government’s finances don’t work like ours. They’re not subject to the same constraints as a household or a private company. Once you get your head around that, a lot of other things follow.”

“A year ago, could we have just done free college or Medicare For All or whatever? The answer is yes. Congress can write and pass any bill it chooses, period. The risk, though, is that if you don’t include offsets, and you’re simply authorizing these huge spending bills left and right, at some point you’re going to eat up all of the fiscal space left in the economy. In other words, it’s going to become inflationary. So there is a time and a place for offsets.” That time, apparently, is not now, however. And she hopes that after this emergency finally passes, enough Americans will remember what happened here, how easy it was to “find” all the money when it was needed, to finally do away with the notion that endless wars and corporate subsidies and tax cuts for the wealthy are the only things we can afford to spend money on to “promote the general welfare” of the American people.”

There is much more and the full interview can be heard at The Brad Blog. The show is at the bottom of the link. The intro to the interview starts at @19 minutes and lasts about a very interesting 30 minutes. This is a very eye opening interview.

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2020 election campaign, Blog for Iowa, Budget, Economy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loebsack Statement on House Passage of Third COVID-19 Response Bill

Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which is the third piece of legislation to combat the COVID-19 illness. The bipartisan legislation now heads to the President who has suggested he will sign the bill into law.

“Ensuring the health and economic security for all hard working Iowans and Americans is my top priority. That is why I am pleased the bill passed today gets the resources and tools to the people and workers who have been affected by COVID-19. This bill contains provisions to make health care affordable and accessible, bolster the health care system, protect frontline response workers, support small businesses and assist states and local governments.

As with all compromise pieces of legislation, this bill did not contain everything I would have liked and I don’t support every provision, which is why we will have to make some fixes in future legislation. The American people need and deserve a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe from the COVID-19 illness.

That is why I will continue working with my colleagues on future bills to make sure hardworking Iowans and Americans get the care they need and have the economic security they deserve.”

This bill marks the third piece of legislation that has passed to help combat the COVID-19 illness that has spread worldwide. Loebsack has supported all three bills and will continue working with his colleagues on future legislation that will bring further relief to Iowans and people across the country.

Specifically, the CARES Act includes:

  • $350 billion for Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses with zero-fee loans to retain employees and their salary levels.
  • Unemployment benefits expanded. This includes an increase of $600 per week and an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation to those who have already exhausted regular benefits.
  • Individual payments of $1,200 and $2,400 for married couples and includes $500 per child.
  • Health insurers will cover any Covid-19 vaccines without any cost-sharing.
  • Any lab that runs a Covid-19 diagnostic test will be required to report results to HHS.
  • $15.5 billion for increased need for SNAP program
  • $5 billion additional funding for Community Development Block Grants for flexible funding to state and local governments.
  • $150 million in grants for rural hospital to respond to increased demand.
  • $1.3 billion supplemental grants to expand services for Community Health Centers.
  • $100 million in reconnect broadband grants for state and local governments to provide broadband in rural areas.
  • $100 million for PPE for firefighters and emergency responders.
  • $1.25 billion for public housing to ensure tenants remain stably housed during this crisis.
  • $4 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants.
    $1 billion for Community Service Block Grants.
  • $100 billion in direct payments to Hospitals
    Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics can be used for telehealth services and will be reimbursed based on the national average for these services.
  • Medicare telehealth service requirements can be waived.
  • Medicare sequestration delayed through the end of the year
  • Public Health Programs extended through Nov. 30, 2020, including Community Health Centers, THCGME, National Health Service Corps, Special Diabetes Program, Money Follows the Person
  • $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs
  • Suspends student loan payments and interest through September 30.
  • $30.8 billion to create an Education Stabilization Fund to support elementary and secondary schools as well as higher education institutions
    $20 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical services, facilities, community care, and information technology systems
  • Supports expanded access to mental health services for isolated veterans through telehealth or VA Video Connect
  • $1 billion for procurement expenses under the Defense Production Act
  • Over $1 billion to support the Army and Air National Guard
  • $9.5 billion in emergency aid to farmers
  • $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation
Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Recap Of Iowa City Outbreak Of CORONA-19

UPDATE: Iowa City Mayor says he’s prepared to issue shelter-in-place order if Kim Reynolds won’t.  Link

Follow more Coronavirus posts by Dan Shaw on Facebook

I realize that some of you may not have been tracking this local Coronavirus outbreak closely until recently, and are looking for information. We have been trying to investigate and confirm the outbreak these past few weeks in Iowa City, and we did get confirmation of it back on March 14th (a case of community-acquired transmission).

Here’s a quick re-cap to catch you up:

The 21 Egyptian Cruisers who arrived back in Iowa City on March 3 were highly contagious when they travelled around Johnson County from March 3-7. We know this based on when their symptoms popped and they sought medical attention. Testing subsequently revealed that 16 people had been walking around the community spreading infection since March 3. They were seen at local public events during this window.

Unfortunately, contact tracing and containment efforts by local officials were inadequate with these 21 Cruisers, because they did not realize that asymptomatic people could be highly contagious before their symptoms first appeared. The CDC guidelines they were using had not been updated to reflect the most current scientific understanding about just how contagious and slippery the novel Coronavirus is, even with carriers who are not showing symptoms.

If you can believe it, it was Dr. Fauci himself who announced on January 31st: “There’s no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring.” (link below) Our local protocol did not account for this type of asymptomatic transmission in early March, and the virus escaped into our community.

These tragically flawed CDC guidelines did not prepare our local officials to cast a wide enough containment net. From the start, the United States has underestimated our foe, and that is why the virus is wide-spread in our community right now.

Evidence to confirm this outbreak came when a local DJ courageously announced that he had tested positive on March 14, with a case of community-acquired transmission. He wanted to get the word out that he had been unknowingly contagious in public spaces. The DJ company alerted five bars/restaurants in town where he had hosted events in the past 12 days, his potential exposure window.

This confirmed that we have an uncontained, unmeasured Coronavirus breakout in Iowa City/Johnson County. People all over Johnson County with full symptoms and a doctor’s order for a Coronavirus test were told they could not be tested, because they had not travelled abroad. We never had enough tests to give them, anyway.

But how cruel: their government (CDC) told them they could not get tested, even with a doctor’s order, for a potentially fatal disease that their other government (Iowa Department of Public Health) had inadvertently allowed to escape into their community. Their governments—local, state, and federal—failed them mightily these past 2 weeks.

This is day 23 of the Iowa City outbreak, 23 days since the March 3 exposure window first opened. And here we wait.

Why our local hospital business leaders at UIHC and Mercy think it’s OK to leave us out here to die in those circumstances, I couldn’t begin to imagine. Either they don’t understand the threat, or they are saying it’s OK to weigh human life against logistical planning concerns. I’m not OK with either.

India just locked down 1.3 billion people today.

Johnson County Iowa and our ‘amazing” local hospitals can’t seem to lock down a mere 200,000.

#IowaCityLockdown

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged | Leave a comment

Join J.D. Scholten For Virtual Town Hall On Covid-19

We’re in an incredibly stressful, uncertain time and in desperate need of leadership… so maybe someone should tell Steve King?

Steve King voted no on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which had widespread bipartisan support. He voted no on supporting families, workers, students of all ages, and small businesses.

Meanwhile, J.D. is hosting a virtual town hall on the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. CT. He’ll be answering folks’ questions, directing them to valuable resources and information, and giving them the chance to hear from an expert in infectious diseases.

If you agree that J.D. is showing the sort of leadership we need, please chip in $3 or whatever you can afford to J.D.’s campaign for Congress today — we need leaders like him in office during good times and bad.

While Steve King is posting memes about coronavirus online, you can join J.D., Heidi Heitkamp (former senator from North Dakota and co-founder of One Country Project) and Dr. Eli Perencevich (an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist at the University of Iowa) at facebook.com/Scholten4Iowa tomorrow night.

Our campaign will share information about how this disease works; how it’s already affecting our rural communities; policy solutions that would ensure the nutrition, housing, economic, and health care needs of our working people and families are met; and available resources. To get through this crisis, we all need to come together.

This is the type of leadership we need — but only one candidate for Iowa’s 4th District is standing up.

If you can, pitch in today to help us elect a leader like J.D.

Thanks for your help — we hope to see you tomorrow for our virtual town hall!

— Team Scholten

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

Ernst Challenger Michael Franken To Hold Corona-19 Virtual Town Hall

Admiral Michael Franken is a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate challenging incumbent Republican Joni Ernst. His campaign seems to be gaining traction. Read Blog for Iowa’s exclusive interview with Admiral Franken here.

Iowa needs better representation and smarter leadership in DC. Joni Ernst, extreme Trump loyalist,  has done nothing for Iowa in her first term.  Admiral Franken is holding a virtual Coronavirus Town Hall tomorrow.  See details below.

dailykos.com/Join-my-Coronavirus-Town-Hall-on-Thursday

I’m Mike Franken — a retired three-star Admiral and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa.

Thursday at 4 p.m. local time, I am hosting a Coronavirus Town Hall on Facebook Live to answer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. This is my second virtual town hall; Saturday’s event drew over 160 listeners from all across the state.

It is essential for our leaders to help educate the public. Almost all of us understand the dire consequences of COVID-19, but less clear is what policy items are necessary to do the two most important things in this crisis: flatten the curve and protect workers. Last week, a wrote a diary about why Mitch McConnell’s Corporate Relief Bill is not sufficient to do either. Check it out here.

This election is continuing; the Iowa’s secretary of state just extended the early vote period to forty days. And, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and people’s livelihoods are threatened, this election has become even more important.

Please join me at 4 p.m. CT for my Coronavirus Town Hall. I’ll answer your questions, and I’ll talk about what is necessary to keep us safe and keep workers above water. See you then.

###

photo/Bloomberg

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

Include Secure Elections In The Stimulus

Please call Grassley, and Ernst and urge them to include funding in the stimulus for securing the election this fall. They are talking about a $2 trillion stimulus; the Brennan Center estimates that one-thousandth of that amount will fund necessary meas
ures to ensure safe, auditable voting this fall.

Grassley: 202-224-3744
Ernst: 202-224-3254

Here is the Brennan Center’s cost estimate for providing Federal funding for a vote by mail option for every voter in every state, increased election staffing, providing safe polling places, increasing online voter registration and fighting disinformation:

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/estimated-costs-covid-19-election-resiliency-measures

As you read this, Congress is negotiating a COVID19 stimulus package.

It must include significant funding for elections now — to allow people to vote by mail or early — and limit their exposure to the virus in November.

Last night, it was revealed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allocated a measly $140 million in funding for our election systems, despite the massive impact that corona virus has already had our ability to vote safely.

Several states have pushed back their primary elections for fear that it would put voters in the position of choosing between protecting their health and participating in democracy.

We need to act now to ensure Americans have a safer and more secure way to vote in November.

Call your U.S. Senators and ask them to support $2 billion in funding for elections adaptations like vote-by-mail in the current stimulus package. Call this number to get connected: (202) 224-3121.

Our elections need to move in a major way to vote-by-mail with an option for people to use expanded early voting.

These measures will prevent crowding on election day, help protect public health and ensure that vulnerable populations are able to participate in our democratic process.

The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that it will cost about $2 billion to fully adjust our elections to the pandemic for November.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to get connected to your U.S. Senators and ask them to support $2 billion for elections in the current stimulus package.

For those states that do move to vote by mail, curbside voting and other public health adaptations, more voters will have the option to hand mark a paper ballot as they are able.

This is good for security. But we will also need to make sure that the vote count is live streamed, that there are bipartisan observers and strong audits. The counting machines can still be hacked or experience errors.

Voters not used to the vote count happening far away, need to be able to observe and trust that their vote is being counted accurately.

Vote by mail can take many days after election day to count, so we should also expect election results to be delayed a week or more this fall.

Even with funding, it will take states time to ramp up these reforms in time for election day — staff must be hired, new systems must be built and giant mail sorting machines ordered — which is why we need to get funding to the states now in order to ensure that our Democracy remains intact.

Call (202) 224-3121 to get connected to your Senators and ask them to support $2 billion in funding for our elections to adapt to public health needs in the stimulus package currently being negotiated.

Together, we can pass the critical reforms needed to protect our health and democracy.

In Solidarity,
Christine & Aquene
Public Citizen
Citizen.org

 

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

Unforgiving COVID-19

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Tagged | Leave a comment