New Format, New Era For Blog For Iowa

cropped-blogforiowa-header.jpgWe hope readers enjoy the new Blog for Iowa format, which went live July 13.

We joined the broader WordPress Community for ease of administration, use, and platform stability. While we join millions of WordPress bloggers we hope our Iowa perspective and lean toward action remains constant.

Here are some new features:

The blog is easier to read on tablets and mobile devices.

We developed a daily political action box at the top of the right-hand column. Our editors select actions we believe warrant your consideration.

There are two ways to follow us: via email and on the WordPress Reader if you have a WordPress account. There are buttons for each in the right-hand column.

Links to our Facebook and Twitter accounts are under the heading “Get Social.” Follow us on social media for additional content.

Most of all, our transition to a new format reflects publisher Dr. Alta Price’s commitment to the future.

Thanks for reading Blog for Iowa.

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Organic Food’s Sticky Wicket

Michigan Cherries

When people think of local food, most have seasonal sweet corn and tomatoes in mind. That hasn’t changed much in years.

The quest for good-tasting food that does no harm has also been around for a long time. Organic food production came up in the early 20th Century as an alternative to the rise in mechanized, industrial farming.

An organic food production system developed, although there is less clarity about it today than there was a few years ago. Organic certification has contributed to confusion.

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the National Organic Program were game changers that created a new certification process and, importantly, a greater market for organic food. Sales of organic food more than doubled during the period 2006-2015, according to the Organic Trade Association, reaching $43.3 billion in 2015. In its quest to bring standards and a market, the well intentioned government program suffered abuse in the form of government lobbyists from moneyed interests who diluted the meaning of “USDA Organic” many of us found inspiring in the 1990s. Under Sonny Perdue, the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, further erosion of the law’s original intent and the organic standard is expected.

“It seems that uncertainty and dysfunction have overtaken the National Organic Standards Board and the regulations associated with the National Organic Program,” Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said recently according to the Washington Post. “These problems create an unreliable regulatory environment and prevent farmers that choose organic from utilizing advancements in technology and operating their business in an efficient and effective manner. Simply put, this hurts our producers and economies in rural America.”

Roberts statement is code for getting government regulations out of the way of large scale producers in the organic market. As the 2018 farm bill is crafted by the Congress, any meaningful regulation pertaining to organic standards is expected to be gutted by Trump Republicans.

What you see is not always what you get as organic food producers scale up to meet demand and work the system. Here are two recent examples:

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Saranac, Michigan produces one in 10 organic eggs in the U.S. according to the Chicago Tribune. The linked article describes production processes indistinguishable from those of almost any Iowa confinement egg producer. Those eggs don’t seem organic despite assertions by the ranch. What does “organic” mean in this context. At a minimum, not what we expected.

In May, Peter Whoriskey of the Washington Post reported fraud in imported corn and soybeans. A large shipment of soybeans began as “regular” soybeans in Ukraine and changed to “USDA Organic” by the time it reached a California port, garnering an additional $4 million for the shipment because it was “organic.” Some doctored documents is all it took for a huge, fraudulent payday.

My perspective of organic food is from a backyard garden. Gardening is about changing one’s relationship with food as much as providing food for the table — process more than produce. Using organic practices comes naturally as gardeners are mindful of crop inputs that will land on the dinner plate. A common mistake is neglecting the social context of gardening. In most cases gardening includes family, fellow consumers, merchants, farmers and gardeners. A gardener has only slight intersection with government.

Once government got involved in organic food production a market became viable. That was a good thing for farmers who sought to make a living growing organic food. Organic food systems then merged toward commodification as they scaled to meet demand and that’s the sticky wicket.

An ability to increase organic food production without compromising organic standards has been difficult all along. When news stories raise doubt about the meaning of “organic food,” it’s one more burden for farmers to bear in a business where the challenges of producing organic food at a profit are substantial.

I work on farms that use organic practices and plan to resist compromise on organic standards in the next farm bill. If you care about what’s on your dinner plate, you should too.

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Sunday Funday: Let’s Do It Again

The way I see it Republicans are working up to some legislative terrorism right now. They don’t scare people to death or drive into crowds with vans. What they do is make things that people need to live unattainable such as health care or food or good paying jobs. While it is not an overt action, it is covert, stealthy and effective. And much like violent terrorism it is meant to maintain control over a population who fear the consequences of not following the dictates of the terrorist group.

With access to health care available to all, people will leave their jobs and start businesses maybe even move to another state. Without such access, people stay in jobs they hate for fear that they may get ill and need the employer provided health care that they themselves could not afford on their own. Creates real freedom for employers and a serf situation for the employee.

Once again it was hard to keep up with the whirlwind.Capitalists

1) After having their problems with CBO scoring of their health care plan, some Republican senators say they may opt for what kind of a scoring?

2) In a really strange move, Sen. Grassley is trying to shift blame for Trump Jr’s. meetings to whom?

3) In another strange move, Congressman Steve King threatened more hearings on what if Democrats do not back off the Trump-Russia investigations?

4) Who released the smoking gun emails that seem to connect Trump Jr. to illegal campaign activities with Russian operatives?

5) Despite scheduling a town hall on short notice and for early in the morning, Sen. Ernst was greeted by many unhappy Iowans in what town that should have been friendly to her?

6) In a survey by detox.net 73% of Democrats said they would give up alcohol if what were to happen?

7) Despite Republican stories to the contrary, a survey by HHS and another by the Kaiser Foundation both found that what is “stabilizing and will have its best year ever?”

8) In the ongoing Republican budget mess in Iowa, Gov. Reynolds announced what actions last week to balance the budget?

9) July 14th is what major holiday in France?

10) Peter Smith, Republican operative involved in the Trump-Russian affair, committed suicide May 14th 10 days after giving his story to what newspaper?

11) July 20th, 1969. Who took “One giant step for mankind?”

12) An amendment to the Republican health care act by what Republican senator would allow the sale of policies that cover little?

13) In Florida, 80 beach goers formed a human chain to save a 9 swimmers that had been swept out to sea by what?

14) Hearings were held this week for what nominee to replace James Comey at the FBI?

15) What congressman who was the victim of an attack at a softball practice had his condition upgraded from serious to fair condition?

16) What Republican challenger in the Iowa gubernatorial race announce he had raised $800,000 for his race in just three weeks?

17) The yearly study by the Social Security Trustees shows that SS is currently very strong and able to pay all obligations through what year?

18) This week it was revealed that as a crisis developed around Qatar what administration official had been turned down for a $500 million loan by Qatar?

19) Transparency. The current president said he would like what future project to be transparent “so we can see the large sacks of drugs being thrown over?”

20) Olympics were awarded for 2024 and 2028 to what two cities provided these two sites can decide between them which city gets which year?

Jimmy Carter was hospitalized for dehydration Thursday when he collapsed at a Habitat for Humanity worksite. Carter will be 93 on October 1st. 93 and he is still out there helping people.

Answers:

1) they will use “alternative” scoring. Sounds very fishy

2) Pres. Obama claiming his administration allowed the Russians to come into th US where they then led Donny astray.

3) Hillary Clinton’s emails.

4) Trump, Jr. – the gun is smoking after shooting himself in the foot.

5) Harlan

6) Trump were impeached. Imagine, celebrating by not drinking?

7) the ACA or Obamacare

8) she is beginning layoffs

9) Bastille Day

10) Wall Street Journal

11) Neil Armstrong. Were you watching?

12) Ted Cruz

13) a rip tide

14) Christopher Wray

15) Steve Scalise

16) CR mayor Ron Corbett

17) 2034

18) Jared Kushner

19) his border wall against Mexico

20) Los Angeles and Paris. They must decide between themselves by Sept. 13

In Oskaloosa Wednesday an atheist gave the invocation before the city council meeting. A local reporter told the atheist that there had been a death threat against him if he gave the invocation. How tolerant.

 

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Chuck Grassley: The Senate’s Keystone Kop

Keystone Cops

Keystone Cops

Scene: Outside a major bank in a major city that has just been robbed. The perpetrator got away to begin with, but came back in order to brag to pretty much anyone who would listen that HE had indeed robbed that bank. Yes he did and he was proud of it. Not only is he bragging about it, but the money is in a white canvas bag with $$$ signs all over it. Police have the perpetrator handcuffed and are about to take him away. They only await the official go ahead from Detective Grassley before hauling the perpetrator to a jail cell.

Enter Detective Grassley. 

“Let him go. I can see that this is a good young man who was only trying to help his family. He would never have been tempted if the bank had not let him in the door! My recommendation is to arrest the bank president who failed to stop him at the door.”

Officer Muldoon: “What the hell are you talking about? We have witnesses, we have his confession, we have the evidence. What the hell more do we need?”

Detective Grassley: “That may look bad. But this young man is from a good family. His father has been running into some struggles while trying to achieve some personal success. This young man was merely doing what any good son would do. He saw an opportunity to help and he took it. The bank president knew something like this might happen. He should have stopped this young man at the bank’s door before temptation took over and led to the robbery.”

Officer Muldoon: “Are you nuts?”

Detective Grassley: “Hardly. We have seen many cases recently where good people saw holes in the law or open invitations for them to bad things. And they took advantage of these openings. I believe we can’t blame those who exploited such openings. The blame obviously lies with those who drafted the laws or left items somewhat unprotected. Now release him!”

Officer Muldoon: “But this is wrong!”

Detective Grassley: “And hurry. I must attend to a situation where some poor people are trying to make it legal to steal health care by making those who have worked and accumulated much pay for it. Allowing those who really can’t afford health care to get it tears at the very fabric of our society. I am honor bound to stop this misuse and save our country. But I need to act immediately.”

Coming Up:

Steve King explains why building a wall against Mexico is so much more important than feeding the poor.

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Third Week Of the Ernst Traveling Show

joni-ernst-the-perfect-Koch-investment

The third week of the 4 week Joni Ernst 99 county traveling show takes place next week. Senator Ernst herself will not be appearing at any of these meetings. Her staffers will be holding these meetings and be passing information up to her.

It is extremely important that people get out to let Ernst know that the Republican agenda in general is bad for the country and Iowa. The new Republican health care destruction bill is out. Ernst claims to be undecided so we need to to help her decide with a strong showing. Next week the internet neutrality bill is up for a vote in the FCC. Net neutrality is extremely important for our country function.

Don’t forget that the Republican health care destruction bill is in reality a huge tax cut for the wealthy.

Here are next week’s meeting in date and time order. For a list of meetings by county, please refer here:    http://www.blogforiowa.com/2017/06/20/schedule-of-joni-ernst-travelling-office-hours/

 July 17th Monday

Monona County 
Monday, July 17, 2017
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Onawa Public Library
707 Iowa Avenue
Onawa, IA

July 18th Tuesday

Ida County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Holstein Lohff Schumann Memorial Community Center
301 Lohff Schumann Drive
Holstein, IA

Johnson County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Iowa City Public Library
Meeting Room A
123 South Linn Street
Iowa City, IA

Page County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Clarinda Public Library
100 East Garfield St
Clarinda, IA

Lee County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
10:45 AM – 11:45 AM
Fort Madison Public Library
1920 Avenue East
Fort Madison, IA

Cedar County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
West Branch Public Library
300 N Downey Street
West Branch, IA

Crawford County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Norelius Community Library
1403 1st Avenue South
Denison, IA

Louisa County

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Wapello Public Library
119 North 2nd Street
Wapello, IA

Mills County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Glenwood City Hall
5 North Vine Street
Glenwood, IA

Muscatine County 
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
Muscatine Community College
Strahan Hall Room 11
152 Colorado Street
Muscatine, IA

July 19th Wednesday

Clay County 
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
10:00 AM – 11:00 am
Spencer Public Library
ICN Room
21 E 3rd Street
Spencer, IA

Franklin County 
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Hampton Public Library
4 South Federal Street
Hampton, IA

Wright County 
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Eagle Grove Public Library
101 South Cadwell Avenue
Eagle Grove, IA

Dickinson County 
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Arnolds Park City Hall
156 North Highway 71
Arnolds Park, IA

Hancock County 
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Garner Public Library
416 State Street
Garner, IA

Cerro Gordo County 
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Mason City Public Library
Large Group Study Room
225 2nd Street SE
Mason City, IA

July 20th Thursday

Adams County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Corning Public Library
603 9th Street
Corning, IA

Ringgold County
Thursday, July 20, 2017
9:30 AM- 10:30 AM
Ringgold County Courthouse
Meeting Room
109 West Madison
Mount Ayr, IA

Worth County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Manly Public Library
127 South Grant Street
Manly, IA

Clinton County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Clinton Public Library
306 8th Avenue South
Clinton, IA

Union County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Union County Courthouse
Law Enforcement Center Room
300 North Pine Street
Creston, IA

Winnebago County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Lake Mills Public Library
102 South Lake Street
Lake Mills, IA

Scott County
Thursday, July 20, 2017
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Bettendorf Public Library
2950 Learning Campus Drive
Bettendorf, IA

Adair County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Adair County Courthouse
Jury Room
400 Public Square
Greenfield, IA

Carroll County 

Thursday, July 20, 2017
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Manning Public Library
310 Main Street
Manning, IA

Mitchell County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Osage Public Library
406 Main Street
Osage, IA

Pottawattamie County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Walnut City Hall
229 Antique City Drive
Walnut, IA

Floyd County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
3:00 PM – 4:00 pm
Nora Springs City Hall
Community Room
45 North Hawkeye Avenue
Nora Springs, IA

Madison County 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Iowa State University Extension Office
117 North John Wayne Drive
Winterset, IA

July 21st Friday

Howard County 
Friday, July 21, 2017
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Cresco Public Library
320 North Elm Street
Cresco, IA

Sac County
Friday, July 21, 2017
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Sac City Public Library
1001 West Main Street
Sac City, IA

Chickasaw County
Friday, July 21, 2017
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
New Hampton Public Library
20 West Spring Street
New Hampton, IA

Butler County 
Friday, July 21, 2017
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Allison Public Library
Community Room
412 3rd Street
Allison, IA

Calhoun County 
Friday, July 21, 2017
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Manson City Hall
1015 13th Street
Manson, IA

Bremer County 
Friday, July 21, 2017
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Denver Public Library
100 Washington Street
Denver, IA

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How People Power Defeats Corporate Power

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Country Needs To Stop Whining About Trump

“Why do we have to be victimized by this fecklessness, his ignorance?”  – David Letterman

Former late-night television show host David Letterman says that people need to “stop whining” about President Donald Trump and instead “figure out a way” to remove him from office.

Speaking in an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Letterman said he’s “tired” of “people, daily, nightly, on all the cable news shows telling us there’s something wrong.”

Instead, Letterman said, “I just think we ought to direct our resources and our energies to doing something about it.”

“If the guy (Trump) was running Dairy Queen, he’d be gone,” Letterman said. “This guy couldn’t work at The Gap. So why do we have to be victimized by his fecklessness, his ignorance?”

Trump’s behavior, the former television host said, is “insulting” to the country.

“But it’s just the behavior is insulting to Americans, whether you voted for him or not – and I feel bad for people who did vote for him because he promised them things that they really needed and one wonders if he’s really going to come through.  I know there’s trouble in this country and we need a guy who can fix that trouble. I wish it was Trump, but it’s not, so let’s just stop whining about what a goon he is and figure out a way to take him aside and put him in a home.”

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Constituents Confront Ernst 8:00 Monday Morning In Harlan

Our Senator Ernst

Not exactly a convenient time or place to attract a lot of constituents, but still a bunch of Iowans showed up.  Despite Ernst’s constant drumbeat of “I want to hear from you!”  she displayed how little she has been listening to anyone but the Koch Brothers crowd.  Finding excuses and answering with GOP talking points, she used the town hall to get the Republican message out and politely ignored her constituents’ concerns.

WQAD.com

HARLAN, Iowa (CNN) — In a tense exchange during a town hall meeting, 54-year-old Craig Gill told GOP Sen. Joni Ernst that he had been living with Type 1 diabetes since he was seven and he feared that he would no longer be able to afford insulin if Republicans move forward to replace the Affordable Care Act with legislation that loosens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“You’re worried about how much somebody’s premium is, what about how much it is going to cost me to live?”

Gill, who lives in nearby Council Bluffs, asked Ernst. “Because they take the ability for me to get my insulin away, and my other medications. I’m blind in one eye because of my diabetes because I didn’t take care of myself for a while when I was younger. I take care of myself now. I tried to take and use an insulin pump. It didn’t work. But I take shots. I take multiple shots a day. I go through six bottles of FAK and insulin a day, and three bottles of long acting insulin a month. We’re talking $3,000-$4,000 a month worth of insulin. And you want to take that away from us. Why?”

Ernst interjected “No, I do not want to take that away from you, sir, don’t put words in my mouth, first. I don’t want to do that.”

After a back-and-forth over whether Obamacare-controlled insulin costs, Ernst said Republicans needed to find a way to control the cost of life-saving drugs.

“We have to go back and we have to figure out a way with the pharmaceutical companies to control those costs and make sure that you have what’s available to you,” Ernst said.

“Why don’t you make that part of what they’re doing, today?” Gill asked.

Ernst told the audience that “if we can, that’s a great plan.”

But Ernst warned that the Senate’s rules could inhibit Republicans’ ability to make those changes. Under reconciliation — the process the Senate is using to replace Obamacare with just 51 votes — Republicans cannot make any changes to health care that don’t have a direct impact on the budget.

“The Senate rules through reconciliation will only allow us to do so much,” Ernst said.

A man yelled at Ernst to “reach across the aisle.”

There were about 150 people in attendance at the meeting, officials estimated.

Back in Washington, Republicans plan to replace Obamacare has stalled because of intra-party disagreements. Lawmakers are expected to pick back up on the health care negotiations this week after returning from recess, but it’s unclear whether differences between moderates and conservatives can be mended.

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Tell Governor Reynolds: Restore Overtime Pay

AFSCME Council 61 Action Center

Action alert from AFSCME

Do you get paid for working?
Of course!..

With dismantling collective bargaining in Iowa for public employees, Acting Governor Reynolds and her administration have reclassified over 160 positions of state workers to avoid paying overtime effective July 1st.

Nurses, Safety Inspectors, Social Workers, Income Maintenance Workers, and the list goes on and on.
Mandatory Overtime is one thing.
Mandatory UNPAID overtime is another.
Please click on the link below to add your name to this petition.Thank you.
Allison Ritchie, President
AFSCME Local 3011AFSCME Council 61

PETITION ALERT: On July 2, 2017, the State of Iowa took away overtime eligibility for employees who, under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, were eligibile to be compensated for their work over 40 hours in a work week.Over 160 job classifications are impacted by this below the belt move. One of the largest sectors of targeted job classifications are in patient care positions. If our nurses and other patient care professionals are being forced to work overtime (as they often are) and not being paid for it, the quality of care for our veterans and others who rely on their expert care will suffer.

Our hardworking public employees deserve better, and the Iowans who rely on quality public services deserve better, too.
We are calling on Governor Reynolds and Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Director Janet Phipps to do the right thing and restore the overtime eligibility of every single job classification that was stripped away on July 2nd.
Click on the link to add your name!
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What You Can Do To Save The Free And Open Internet (Again)

al-franken-on-net-neutralityIs it me, or does it seem like we just did this? “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” said Thomas Jefferson. No kidding.

http://act.freepress.net/

Net Neutrality or Bust: A Call With Free Press Action Fund

The fight to save the open internet is heating up fast. That’s why we’re hosting a member call TONIGHT to talk about all the ways you can take action in the weeks ahead — and help win this fight.

We have a lot of exciting news to share with you — Will you join the call this Monday July 10 at 7 pm Central?

The Trump administration, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and greedy corporations have banded together to kill real Net Neutrality. But they’re about to find out what happens when you mess with the internet.

We’re teaming up with organizations, companies and individuals to stop the FCC’s nefarious plan to roll back our online rights — but we need your help to succeed. Join our Net Neutrality planning call on Mon., July 10 to find out what you can do next in the fight to save the open internet.

We’ll talk about all the ways you can participate in the July 12 day of action to save Net Neutrality and we’ll have a policy expert on the call for you to Q&A with. You can submit your questions for our policy expert on the call registration page.

RSVP now for the Net Neutrality or Bust call

 

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