Help Sarah Trone Garriott Defeat Extremist Jake Chapman

Click on the map to visit sarahforiowa.com

Please support Sarah Trone Garriott to defeat right wing extremist/Kim Reynolds crony, Jake Chapman in Iowa Senate District 14.  SD 14 covers the southeast portion of Dallas County.   Check out Sarah’s website here.  

From our inbox yesterday –

They say you are known by the company you keep. For Jake Chapman, this speaks volumes. Tonight, Chapman is attending a fundraiser with Governor Kim Reynolds at the home of the lobbyist for out-of-state venture capitalists who are buying up Iowa trailer parks,  jacking up the rents, and forcing residents out of their homes.

Jake Chapman and Kim Reynolds have a lot in common. They are both fighting tooth and nail to completely ban abortions without exceptions, support a private school voucher scam that will siphon money from public schools, and are relying on GOP megadonors to buy the election for them in November.

 Sarah is a pro-public school mom and ELCA minister running for re-election to fully fund public education and support our students, parents, and educators.

 This evening while Jake Chapman is rubbing shoulders with Kim Reynolds and her megadonors, Sarah will be picking up her kids from school and then heading home to call voters about the issues most important to them.

It’s going to take all of us to win in November. If you’re with us, will you donate $10 or $20 now to help re-elect Sarah?

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Paul Krugman With Al Franken

Krugman does the best job I’ve heard of succinctly explaining the student debt crisis and why student loan forgiveness is the right thing to do. That and more in this well worth your time podcast.

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Sheldon Whitehouse Exposes Right Wing Court Capture In Series Of Speeches

Lewis Powell

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Courts Subcommittee, explains to America how dark right wing money packed the court in a series of floor speeches titled “The Scheme,” exposing the machinations by right-wing donor interests to capture the U.S. Supreme Court and achieve through the Court what they cannot through the elected branches of government.

Beginning in May 2021, so far he is up to eighteen speeches, the most recent delivered last week. You may also have noticed he has been making more media appearances lately. Watch the speeches on his YouTube channel. For your convenience and ease of sharing I have included links and topics below. He begins where it begins:  The Lewis Powell Memo of 1971, officially titled, Powell’s Confidential Memorandum: Attack of American Free Enterprise System.

The Scheme Speech 1: The Powell Report
The Scheme Speech 2: Powell Groundwork
The Scheme Speech 3: The Latent Virus
The Scheme Speech 4: A New Constitutional Right for Dark Money
The Scheme Speech 5: The Federalist Society
The Scheme Speech 6: The Judicial Crisis Network
The Scheme Speech 7: The Kavanaugh Operation
The Scheme Speech 8: Tu Quoque (You Too)
The Scheme 9: Amicus Flotillas
The Scheme 10: Climate Obstruction and The Scheme
The Scheme 11: Faculty Lounge Report
The Scheme 12: JCN’s Opening Salvo
The Scheme 13: “Auditioning” for the Supreme Court
The Scheme 14: Attacking Roe
The Scheme 15: The Hothouse and WV v. EPA
The Scheme 16: West Virginia v EPA pt. 2
The Scheme 17: The Captive Court
The Scheme 18: Leonard Leo’s $1.6 Billion Payday

Here is The Scheme #1 The Powell Report

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Odd Accident Illustrates Need For Universal Health Care

An odd accident happened in Council Bluffs last week. As Jeremy Clingenpeel and his son were practicing with their bow and arrows for the upcoming bow hunting season an unfortunate accident happened that left the father, Jeremy, with an arrow stuck in his chest, but alive. You can read about it here.

What caught my eye as I read this story is that here is yet another example of a family that is being put into financial crisis because of this country’s backward policy of health insurance and health care. If we had universal health care coverage like most first world nations I would not have read these following paragraphs: (from the same article)

Now, the family is worried about a long road to recovery, especially since Tracy, a former nurse, was diagnosed just last year with a debilitating neurological illness. Finances and care are now a concern for the family.

Jeremy worked full-time in waste management. He also took his wife to her weekly doctor appointments. She told 6 News that he even helped with daily tasks, such as bathing and showering.

“There’s a big question of, ‘Am I able to get my medicine? Am I able to get the care that I need? Is he going to be able to get the care he needs?’ ” she said.

Tracy Clingenpeel said that they spend thousands of dollars on her medicine, and will now be adding her husband’s medical bills.

The article does not say if the family has health insurance.  It does mention that Jeremy’s wife has a debilitating neurological condition. As if his accident and her illness weren’t enough to worry about, now, thanks to our insane health care system, finances and care become one more brick in an overwhelming load.

And it doesn’t have to be this way. We need to elect men and women to office that will put an end to this insanity. It is long past time that America join the civilized world and set up a health care system where families in health care crises do not have to watch their world dissolve due to finances.

Let me remind you that America pays almost twice per capita for its crappy health care system that leaves a huge swath of people uncovered. It is an insane system. No one can defend the current system, yet the radical right wing keeps it in place through lies and parliamentary procedures.

Don’t forget that one of the parts of our disjointed healthcare system that almost works – real Medicare – is under attack by the radical right that wants to make Medicare subject to reapproval by congress at some periodic juncture. Rick Scott – head of the Republican Senate election committee – says every five years. With today’s setup in congress, Medicare would never be reapproved even once.

While our lousy health care system is not one of the top issues in this year’s campaign, it should be in the back of everyone’s mind. 

Think of how devastated your family might be by an accident or unexpected illness. Then vote for those who will set up a system to fix the system.

The radical right will never institute universal health care. Vote for Democrats. 

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Biden And The Train Strike: A Perspective

Like many I have become a huge fan of Heather Cox Richardson. Her daily email “Letter From An American” offers us a look at what is happening today with a historical perspective that lets us know that things don’t happen in a vacuum, but are often part of the continuum of history.

Friday’s letter on the rail strike once again showed how what we hear on the 3 minute news-at-the-top-of -the-hour reports often leave shallow and misleading impressions. So here are a few paragraphs from her Friday letter that give some background perspective on what went down:

This morning we awoke to news that rail carriers and union leaders had reached an agreement to avoid a national rail strike that would have badly tangled the supply chains that are just now starting to move efficiently again. That, in turn, would have affected everything from drinking water—the chlorine to purify urban systems is shipped by train—to consumer goods, costing up to $2 billion a day and likely sparking job losses and contributing to the inflation that has only recently begun to ease.

Like many of the victories President Joe Biden has celebrated during his term, this deal was complicated, requiring the administration to bring together a number of moving pieces. In the 1980s and the 1990s, the U.S. railroad industry consolidated into seven main carriers, which are now making record profits. In 2021, profits for the two largest railroad corporations in the U.S.—the Union Pacific and BNSF—jumped 12% to $21.8 billion and 11.6% to $22.5 billion, respectively.

But those profits have come from cost-cutting measures that included job losses from an industry that had remained stable for the previous 25 years. Between November 2018 and December 2020, the industry lost 40,000 jobs, most of them among the people who actually operated the trains, as the railroads adopted a new system called Precision Schedule Railroading (PSR). This system made the trains far more efficient by keeping workers on very tight schedules that leave little time for anything but work. Any disruption in those schedules—a family emergency, for example—brought disciplinary action and possible job loss. Although workers got an average of 3 weeks’ vacation and holidays, the rest of their time, including weekends, was tightly controlled, while smaller crews meant more dangerous working conditions.

<< snip >>

Thanks to the 1926 Railway Labor Act, Congress can force railroad workers to stay on the job, and that is precisely what Republicans proposed in this crisis: forcing workers to accept the recommendations of the PEB (Presidential Emergency Board set up for this negotiation – my explanation). This had political fire just two months before the midterms, as Republicans were trying to force Biden and the Democrats either to abandon the workers they claim to champion or to accept responsibility for a devastating strike. The railroads, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and business groups all favored this approach.

The administration put its weight behind negotiations, including not only three cabinet secretaries—Labor Secretary Marty Walsh (who is himself a former union official), Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack—as well as Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese, but also the president, who worked the phones and got mad that management would not loosen scheduling rules. The details of the deal are not yet published, but it appears to have accepted most of the PEB recommendations on pay, given workers a day of paid sick leave—union leaders wanted 15, up from none—and, apparently, removed the penalties for missing time for illness or medical emergencies, one of the workers’ key demands. 

The deal is a big deal, but it has not yet been accepted by the union members, who will still be on tight schedules although they can now take unpaid time off for medical emergencies without losing their jobs. (My guess is that higher pay is intended to make this seem like a workable solution to the scheduling issue.) Initial responses to the agreement seemed mixed.

The deal does, though, highlight that Biden is using the power of the presidency to protect the American people while trying to be fair to labor and management, a system pioneered by Republican president Theodore Roosevelt and adopted afterward by Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Republican Dwight Eisenhower, among others. It’s a very different principle than the idea that workers should accept whatever conditions management imposes on them. 

Richardson’s historical perspective with data that expands the scope of what went on during negotiations gives a much deeper understanding of how difficult and important what the administration did was to the country.

Biden continues to solve major problems with sensible, rational solutions. From creating a huge amount of jobs, setting the country up for the future and wrestling with a worldwide inflation problem, the Biden administration is working for us like few administrations since FDR has. 

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Sunday Funday: Hispanic Heritage Month Edition

An oldie but a goodie: (1:32)

It seems like it was hardly an accident of timing when the despicable Florida governor and radical right winger Ron DeSantis used fraud to load up a plane full of Hispanic citizens and sent them to Martha’s Vineyards on Thursday which was the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month in the US. Thursday was also the 59th anniversary of the Birmingham Church bombing which killed four young girls.

One can almost hear the echoes of the voice of George Corley Wallace when DeSantis speaks. He and fellow governor Greg Abbott of Texas rekindle memories of Ross Barnett, Strom Thurman, Lester Maddox and all the other Southern politicians who made their bones on hate and division. It speaks so badly of our country that people of their ilk even have a chance to be elected to public office in America.

But they probably wouldn’t have a chance without the far right media such as Fox News laying the groundwork for the hate to take hold.

*************************************************************

Looks like the trains will run on time. Who did that? Joe Biden!

A) What state’s coastline is being battered by the remnants of a typhoon this weekend?

B) Who is the US Secretary of Labor who was a former labor leader himself, helped negotiate the deal between the railroads and the teamsters?

C) The boil water order for what state capitol was lifted Thursday as the governor declared the municipal water safe to drink?

D) What two members of Britain’s royal family will are not allowed to dress in military garb despite being the only two to have served in the military?

E) What businesses drew criticism from the gun industry when they announced gun sales will now be put in a separate category on statements?

F) In what was no surprise in Sweden’s parliamentary elections last Sunday the party representing which spectrum of the political landscape won a majority in parliament?

G) Major League Baseball celebrated the life of what Hispanic American and humanitarian Thursday?

H) Not to be outdone, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a busload of immigrants to whose home in Washington, DC last week?

I) Hardee’s restaurants got a publicity boost last week when who had his phone seized in the ongoing insurrection investigation?

J) Trump had an up and down week last week. On the downside who rejected a Trump offer to settle the investigation into fraudulent statements for tax purposes?

K) On the upside what judge once again stepped in to rule in Trump’s favor in the special master questions in his theft of US secret documents case?

L) Which side took a major upper hand in the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week?

M) What lawyer who was the lead prosecutor of President Clinton’s impeachment died last week?

N) Dolores Huerta and Caesar Chavez were labor leaders co-founded unions for what section of labor?

O) The head of what global health organization declared that the “end of the covid pandemic is in sight”?

P) In a case in Des Moines that is raising outrage around the country, 17 year old Piper Lewis was ordered to pay $150,000 to who?

Q) What assassin of Beatle John Lennon was denied parole for a 12th time last week?

R) Who got headlines for not voting by mail this year, but instead went to his local polling place to vote Tuesday?

S) Approximately how many Latinos live in the US (2020 census)?

T) In a cultural shock, trailers of what new movie with a black actress as the title character is causing big reactions across the US?

They should have named Build Back Better – Cleaning Up After Trump. That way we can avoid having to clarify how we got here in the first place. – Tim Hannan

Answers:

A) Alaska is being belted by the remnants of Typhoon Merbok in one of the largest September storms ever to hit that state.

B) Marty Walsh 

C) Jackson, Mississippi

D) Prince Andrew and Prince Harry. They no longer do ‘royal’ work.

E) Credit card companies, specifically Visa, Mastercard and American Express

F) the far right

G) Roberto Clemente

H) VP Kamala Harris

I) Pillow man Mike Lindell

J) NY AG Letitia James

K) Judge Aileen Cannon. Cannon also pushed the end date of the special master past the election to November 30th.

L) Ukraine launched a major offensive in the east and took control of about 2500 square miles from the Russians

M) Ken Starr.

N) Agricultural workers

O) the WHO (World Health Organization)- the pandemic isn’t over yet though folks

P) the family of the rapist she killed to stop the raping. A Go Fund Me page has been established to help her pay this odd verdict.

Q) Mark David Chapman

R) President Biden

S) 62.5 million

T) “The Little Mermaid” – Halley Bailey stars as Ariel. Right wing commentator Matt Walsh said “With The Little Mermaid, can we just mention that, from a scientific perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have someone with darker skin who lives deep in the ocean,” – how much scientific perspective do we have on fictional creatures, Matt?

I’ve never wished a man dead, but I’ve read some obituaries with great pleasure. – Clarence Darrow

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Weed In Iowa? The Majority Says ‘Yes!’

Michael Franken

I read this article on Iowa Starting Line this week and was kind of fascinated about how out of step Chuck Grassley is with Iowans. While marijuana is but one issue, it is rather typical of Grassley being about 50 years behind the populace. Really makes you wonder why we elect him. 

Admiral Michael Franken’s proposals seem to be refreshing and in touch with what Iowans think. Franken’s view toward recreational marijuana is a very level, rational view. From the article:

“I view the medicinal use of marijuana and the recreational use, controlled much like we do with alcohol, to be absolutely fine and well overdue,” Franken told reporters on Iowa Press in June. “And we should have the federal statutes put in place where money, revenue generated by taxing THC is used for interstate commerce just like it would for anything else.”

None of the fear generated by decades of drug policies that linked marijuana to a downward spiral to harder drugs and more degenerate lifestyles. While Franken doesn’t mention it, recreational marijuana is finding markets in many states without the predicted spiral into harder drugs and degenerate lifestyles.

In contrast, here is the 1970 view from Chuck Grassley (from the same article):

“I am in support of medicinal marijuana, but not on a willy-nilly basis,” he told Starting Line at a town hall in early September. Grassley clarified that means the medical marijuana should go through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety and efficacy checks.

“I want to be very careful that it’s got quality,” he said. “And in regards to recreational marijuana, I do not support it at this point because I gotta have proof that it doesn’t lead to higher, harder drugs.”

His opposition goes back years.

“Marijuana is illegal because it is dangerous. When you smoke marijuana, or use any other drug, it negatively affects your brain. It changes the way you think, your ability to learn, and how well you can remember,” he said in 2020 in response to someone reaching out to his office. “It can also lead to addiction and has been linked to later abuse of other drugs in long-term studies done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For these reasons, I have opposed legislation that would legalize or otherwise expand the marijuana industry.”

In 2016, Grassley said in a Senate hearing: “Our country is in the middle of an epidemic of addiction focused on heroin and prescription opioids. And just last year, the Centers for Disease Control found that people who are addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin. So if the Obama Administration is serious about addressing this epidemic, it should stop burying its head in the sand about what’s happening to its enforcement priorities on recreational marijuana.”

Almost feels like it was cut right out of that 1930’s propaganda scare movie “Reefer Madness.” To refresh your memory of that classic, here is a colorized version from YouTube (1 hr 8 min):

If Grassley were really serious about drugs that lead to harder drugs and health consequences that we all bear the costs of he would attack alcohol and tobacco. Probably most reading this column and most likely every Iowan has a friend or relative whose life has been affected by alcohol and tobacco.

Marijuana is just one issue to illustrate the differences between Mike Franken – a leader who stood up to power when he thought they were wrong – and Grassley, someone who puts party before country. Heck, Grassley wouldn’t even stand up to Donald Trump after Trump led a coup against our government.

Iowans can simply not trust Grassley’s judgment anymore. Not only is he stuck in a world 50+ years old, he also puts party before country in his considerations.

BTW, the Iowa House Democrats held a press conference in which they also came out in support of legalized marijuana:  

Iowa House Democrats named increasing public school funding, protecting abortion and legalizing marijuana as goals for the upcoming legislative session Wednesday.

The legislative leaders of Iowa’s minority party unveiled their “people over politics” agenda at the Iowa State Capitol. The plan has four components: lowering costs of living, legalizing adult use of marijuana, protecting access to abortion and investing in public schools. While Democrats have rallied behind those policies for years, the four points come as the nation faces changing laws and rising inflation.

Posted in 2022 Election campaign, Charles Grassley | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reynolds Costs Iowa Big Bucks

DeJear won’t bow to corporations

Maybe it is because I am getting into my cantankerous time of life. Maybe I am just getting really cynical after being lied to by people trying to make my money theirs. But when I hear Kim Reynolds on TV claiming that her administration has turned into some kind of heaven I immediately think what a pile from a CAFO.

Just in the last couple of weeks we had another reminder of what Reynolds stands for. She earned the name “Corporate Kim” by giving corporations pretty much everything they want. Nowhere is that more clear than the privatization of Medicaid here in Iowa. Once again the Reynolds administration ponied up another bucket load of money for the corporations to run a program that the state was running for about 1/10th of the cost.

I will admit I do not have the hard numbers, but my recollection was that before Reynolds and Branstad turned Iowa’s Medicaid program over to the for profit insurance companies Iowa was doing the administrative work for around 2%. At that time the program was about a $5 billion program. That meant that the cost was about $100 million per year. 

That may seem like a lot but it is a spit in the ocean compared to what the insurance companies are charging Iowans. Last I recall they were taking 15% off the top. There have been raises since then. So I’m not sure what the current compensation to the insurance companies is out of a now $7 billion program, but let’s say for the purpose of argument it is nearing 20%.

20% of a 7 billion program is $1.4 billion or approximately 10 times more than what the state could possibly do it for when the radical right wing administration privatized the program. That’s about $1.25 billion that should have gone to patient care and medications. It is your money. Plus the program was run much better.

From the Iowa Capitol Dispatch:  

But some critics argued that no matter which companies administered the program, the privatized system itself would continue to cause problems.

“Privatized Medicaid has failed to save tax dollars or make Iowans healthier,” state Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott, D-Waukee, said in a statement. “Year after year, the Reynolds’ administration has disrupted the lives of Iowans while refusing to provide real oversight or accountability. Iowans need new leadership.”

If one grossly mismanaged program with huge buckets of money going to third parties who add no value to the process of health care, just wait until you hear about the radical right’s plan to privatize our school system. Remember last summer when Reynolds weighed in against members of her own party in primary races because these members did not support her plan to destroy Iowa’s public school system? 

The radical right in America has public school systems as one of their top targets. The plan is to syphon public money away from the public school systems and give that money in some form such as vouchers to privatized school systems. Often these school systems will be religious in nature. There will probably little to no rules or standards that such schools will have to follow nor will there be public oversight in the form of school boards.

You can read up on how successful this arrangement has worked out in New York City where Hasidic Jews avoid public schools and ‘educate’ their children in private religious schools here. The city pours money into these schools and the kids come out illiterate with poor math skills. While this may be the exception, without oversight we could see privatized schools degenerate to this in a hurry.

Strange that a plan to destroy public schools would ever be looked on favorably. Rather it would seem to make a lot more sense to use that money into renovating our public school system and making it world class.

Finally we have this take on the job situation in Iowa from Matt Sinovic at Progress Iowa:

IOWA JOBS REPORT: Corporate Kim’s agenda is forcing Iowans out

Des Moines, Iowa — Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic issued the following statement in response to the August Jobs Report from Iowa Workforce Development:

“Iowans take pride in making our state a great place to live, work and raise a family. But for years, Republican leaders like Governor Kim Reynolds have implemented policies that are forcing Iowans to leave the state.

“Nearly 35% of Iowa college graduates end up leaving the state, moving to places like Illinois, Minnesota and California. Despite adding 3,800 jobs in August, there are still nearly double the number of open jobs than there are unemployed Iowans. Those Iowans who do have jobs aren’t making enough to adequately support their families. 

“All of this is a direct outcome of Corporate Kim Reynolds’ anti-worker agenda. She has slashed earned unemployment benefits, blocked wage increases and stripped workers of their collective bargaining rights. Time after time, Gov. Reynolds has sided with wealthy corporations over working Iowans, and the end result is a less-desirable Iowa. 

“We deserve better. Iowa workers need leaders who will support them and grow our economy by making our state a more attractive and welcoming place for all.”

Iowa’s Democrats running for the legislature and the Democratic nominee for governor, Deidre DeJear will work to bring Iowa’s priorities back to being people focused and away from the corporate management. Return Iowa to Iowans this fall – vote for Deidre DeJear for governor and Democrats for the legislature.

Aren’t you tired of seeing the radical right rob from the poor and give to the rich?  

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Vote For Tom Miller The People’s AG

It was a disgraceful and disrespectful performance by Brenna Bird on Iowa Press. The Iowa MAGAs should be pleased!

According to Steve King’s former chief of staff Brenna Bird who is running for Attorney General, when Kim Reynolds says on the campaign trail she wants her “own AG!” she is only saying that “she wants an Attorney General who will work hard and do the job.”  Right. Wonder why Kim didn’t just say that instead of “I want my own AG!”  But at least Erin Murphy asked the question even though Bird’s lame response begged for a follow up that did not come.

In typical fashion the Republican got to say whatever she pleased with little push back from the panel probably because they were spending most of the time grilling and knit-picking Democrat Tom Miller. Bird also said she would sue the Biden administration if elected and there was the usual MAGA Republican nonsense. To be fair to the Iowa Press panel, they did ask her what she would sue Biden for.  Kudos for Iowa Press!

Let’s not give Kim Reynolds “her own AG” in the event she manages to get re-elected. Vote for Tom Miller for Attorney General of Iowa and for Deidre DeJear for governor.

Transcript from Iowa Press:  “Erin Murphy: Brenna Bird, Governor Reynolds on the campaign trail multiple times has told crowds and supporters that she wants her own Attorney General. If she is re-elected and if you are elected to this office, will you serve as the state’s attorney regardless of partisan and political issues? Or would you be the Governor’s essential personal attorney in that office?”

Her answer is what you would expect one to say who wants to get elected.

And somehow, this doesn’t look or sound like Kim only means she wants an AG that will work hard and do the job. Oh, and did I mention she wants her “own” state auditor too.

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Biden: Democrats Offer A Vision For A Better America

Democrats, here’s what you’ve been waiting for, your midterms messaging marching orders to be repeated early and often everywhere you are.  Please view the video, then you know what to do.

Biden:  “It’s in our hands if we just get out and vote.”

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