Important Changes In Early Voting

With Iowa’s new voter ID law the rules changed for early voting.

Here’s good information from Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert about the new rules. I modified the press release to make it applicable statewide.

It’s less than 120 days until the Nov. 6 election, and voters may now request mailed absentee ballots. Request forms are available on the Secretary of State website where a page is devoted to early voting. The site can be found here. Ballots will be mailed beginning Oct. 8, which is also the first day for in-person early voting.

Note that under the new voter ID law, absentee ballot request forms must include the correct ID number. There is not an “oath” option for mailed absentee ballots – if you do not provide the correct ID number, the auditor cannot mail you a ballot.

If you have an Iowa Driver’s license or Iowa non-driver ID you are required to list that number.  If you don’t have an Iowa license or non-driver ID, use the PIN number from your voter card. (Voters with an Iowa license or non-driver ID do not have a PIN number). The auditor cannot accept the last four digits of a Social Security number on an absentee ballot request.

Voters should visit their county auditor web site or call them with any questions. The Secretary of State provides contact information for all 99 Iowa counties here.

Posted in 2018 Election Campaign, voting rights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Photo Credit – Campaign Website

A lot of pixels have been spilled over the primary election win of Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on June 26.

Regardless of the methods of her election or her platform — or the buzz around beating 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District — if she wins in November she will be one of 435 members of the House of Representatives.

To get anything done, she will need help from other legislators as she attempts to carry the momentum from her district to the Congress. What help can she expect?

Establishment Democrats

“Establishment Democrats” is shorthand that rose to common usage during the 2016 primary season to serve as the whipping boy for all that was perceived to be wrong with the Democratic Party. Think of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz or maybe John Podesta. To the extent members of congress have been categorized as part of the establishment, I believe Ocasio-Cortez will find more common ground with them than not. In any case, she could take a lesson from establishment pol in chief Hillary Clinton when it comes to legislating. Become less a personality in the Congress and more someone willing to work hard to find common ground on issues that matter as Hillary did when she was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York. If she does this, such establishment Democrats as there are will reciprocate.

Hispanic Caucus

The Hispanic caucus has been welcoming despite being more conservative than Ocasio-Cortez. One of her signature policies is abolishing ICE and she outlined a process within the caucus to legislate it.

“What we can do is — I’m unafraid to champion a really bold and strong stance in the sand, and what that does is give us an anchor, a negotiating point,” she said. “I think the abolishment of ICE makes a lot of sense, and I’m willing to have those conversations and figure out how we get that done as a caucus.”

Abolishing ICE is a lightning rod that could diminish Ocasio-Cortez’ influence. I predict regardless of the outcome of abolishing ICE, media (and not just FOX News) will paint her as either a hero or the goat soon after the 116th Congress convenes based on this sole issue. A competent legislator will find there are a lot of ways to shave ice. The Congress has been unwilling to address immigration and naturalization since the Reagan administration. If the time has come, I believe Ocasio-Cortez and the Hispanic caucus will be part of it, bringing new energy and ideas to the stale debate.

Democratic Leader

More than anyone in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi knows how to count votes. While Ocasio-Cortez indicated she may vote for someone else as speaker/leader if elected, unseating Pelosi seems unlikely in the 116th Congress. That means Ocasio-Cortez will have to develop a relationship with her to get anything done. She would be foolish not to.

For Iowa Democrats who worked on many campaigns, it was great to see someone use the skills and techniques in the progressive activists kit bag to win big against an entrenched incumbent. Winning in November looks like a cake walk in Ocasio-Cortez’ heavily Democratic district. Assuming she wins, her real work will begin in the 116th Congress. She will find plenty of Democratic help among liberals, centrists, conservatives and everyone in between.

Adrian Carrasquillo wrote about Ocasio-Cortez’ potential relationship with the Hispanic Caucus at The Intercept here.

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Elect Fred Hubbell – Rita Hart

Rita Hart and Fred Hubbell Photo Credit Hubbell Campaign

Since Iowa Democrats picked Fred Hubbell as their nominee for governor he’s honed his message to a few major issues. In a recent letter Hubbell wrote,

I want to be clear about one thing: I’m not just running against Governor Reynolds and her failed record. I’m running for the people of Iowa. All of Iowa. I’m running on a vision to get Iowa growing the right way and a record of bringing people together to get things done. We’ve got to turn this state around and we don’t have time to waste.

We are all Iowans and we stand united by a simple vision — that if we invest in the future, the people of our great state will benefit.

Hubbell’s priorities are straight forward: make Iowa first in education again; get incomes rising across our state; restore funding to Planned Parenthood; improve our health care system, including mental health; invest in renewable energy; preserve our topsoil; address water and air quality concerns; and restore workers’ rights.

“Blue waves are not automatic; they must be created,” Hubbell said. “It’s on us to make sure every voter has the opportunity to engage with our campaign and hear our vision for Iowa.”

Consider this an invitation to get involved with the Hubbell-Hart campaign.

Check out the Hubbell-Hart website at fredhubbell.com.

Sign up for campaign updates here.

Sign up to volunteer here.

Make a monetary donation here.

“I know we can take back Terrace Hill, but we can’t take it for granted,” Hubbell said. “Can we count on you to join the team today? With your help we can win in November.”

Posted in 2018 Election Campaign | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

2018 Iowa Legislature In Review

State Senator Rob Hogg

Spirit of Citizenship 2018
2018 Legislature in Review
By State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids
Find bills at www.legis.iowa.gov

More Damage to Iowa’s Working Families, Health Care, Women’s Health, Seniors, Students, Public Safety, and Natural Resources

After the devastation from the 2017 legislative session, the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds continued to pass legislation that hurts Iowa’s working families, health care, women’s health, seniors, students, public safety, and natural resources. After eight years of the Branstad and Reynolds Administrations, they made significant cuts to vital services and public investments.

Working Families

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds continued to hurt Iowa workers and their families by making more mid-year budget cuts to education, human services, public safety, and natural resources (SF2117), by cutting income taxes for the wealthiest at the expense of working families (SF2417), and by taking away local control over lease-purchase construction projects to the detriment of local workers (HF2253).
The tax bill (SF2417) made larger income tax cuts – in actual dollars and as a percentage – for the highest income earners than for lower-wage workers. For example, the average 2019 income tax cut for the 2,616 taxpayers making $1 million a year or more is expected to be $18,773, or 15.0%, while a worker making $40,000 a year is expected to receive an average tax cut of $92, or only 8.9%. In addition, the tax bill is expected to raise sales taxes by $132.5 million in 2019. Overall, the state will lose over $400 million in income tax revenue, with a total revenue loss of $255 million in 2019, which will lead to even more Republican budget cuts in the future.

These bad bills came on top of the 2017 session during which the Republican majority reduced the minimum wage for 65,000 Iowans (HF295); circumvented “Buy American” and “prevailing wage” rules for road projects (HF203); created barriers and reduced workers compensation for all future injured workers (HF518); took away local control over worker qualifications for construction projects (SF438); and took away collective bargaining rights from state and local public service workers (teachers, firefighters, police, sanitation workers, etc.) (HF291).

Health Care, including Women’s Health

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds passed the most extreme abortion ban in the country (SF359). This came on top of the 2017 legislative session in which they passed a three-day waiting period (SF471) and took away access to Planned Parenthood and other health care providers for birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive health services by making those providers ineligible for the family planning program (HF653).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds took away state matching funds for graduate medical education at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Broadlawns, forcing both institutions to cover $8.1 million in non-federal medical school costs (SF2418). This attack on hospitals can on top of 2017, in which hospital reimbursement was cut $27 million (HF653). That funding was not restored in 2018 (SF2418).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds cut public health by $662,000 (SF2117) and did not restore any funding for addictive disorder treatment (SF2418). State funding for addictive disorder treatment has been cut by $3.7 million since FY16, with an ongoing cut of $2.5 million, or 9% less. (Compare “notes on bills and amendments” for HF2460 in 2016 with SF2418 in 2018).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds allowed certain agricultural organizations to sell non-insurance health plans that allow discrimination against pre-existing conditions (SF2349). This came after 2017 legislation that took away outreach for the state’s children’s health care programs (HAWK-I and Medicaid) from Iowa’s tax forms (HF625).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds cut the resource centers at Glenwood and Woodward by a total of $1.7 million, (SF2418), and continued the prior cuts to our two remaining mental health institutes. In 2017, the two mental health facilities (Cherokee and Independence) were cut by $1.7 million (HF653).

Seniors, Children, Families, and Veterans

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds made even more cuts to aging services ($110,012) (SF2117). Since the original budget for FY2017, aging services have been cut by $1.73 million, or over 12%. (Compare “Notes on Bills and Amendments” for SF2418 in 2018 with HF2460 in 2016).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds cut additional funds for health facility inspections including nursing homes (SF2117/SF2416). Overall, they cut $550,000 from inspections in 2017-18, with an ongoing cut of $357,351 since FY2016 (Compare “notes on bills and amendments” for SF2314 (2016) with SF2416).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds cut an additional $4.3 million from the Department of Human Services (SF2117). Overall, DHS field operations including child support recovery have now been cut by more than $12 million on an ongoing basis since FY2015, or by more than 16%. (Compare “Notes on Bills and Amendments” for SF2418 in 2018 with HF2460 in 2016).

In 2017, the Republican majority cut veterans home ownership assistance by 20% or $500,000 (HF653). In 2018, they did not restore any of that cut to veterans’ home ownership (SF2418).

Education

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds continued to hurt our students by short-changing our public schools with the second lowest funding increase (1%) in history of the school funding formula (HF2230). This came on top of the third lowest level (1.1%) in 2017 (SF166).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds again made mid-year cuts to our community colleges ($500,000) and our universities ($10.9 million) (SF2117). These cuts came on top of major cuts to our community colleges and our universities in 2017 (SF130/HF642). Overall, since the original appropriation in FY17, the University of Iowa has been cut $20.7 million, or 9%, Iowa State University has been cut $16.9 million, or 9%, and the University of Northern Iowa has been cut $3.3 million, or 3.4%. (Compare “notes on bills and amendments” for SF2415 in 2018 with SF2323 in 2016). For the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, funding is now at its lowest levels in actual dollars since 1998.

In addition to the cuts to our community colleges and our universities, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds made additional cuts to the College Student Aid Commission (SF2117/SF2415), which now receives $3.1 million less than it did in the original FY17 appropriation for student financial aid, and $6.7 million less than in FY15. (Compare “notes on bills and amendments” for SF2415 in 2018 with SF2323 in 2016).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds again cut vocational rehabilitation with a mid-year cut of $54,472 (SF2117). Vocational rehabilitation is now receiving $248,000 less than was appropriated in FY17, or 4% less. (Compare “notes on bills and amendments” for SF2415 in 2018 with SF2323 in 2016.)
In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds cut the Department of Education ($784,000) which included more cuts to Early Childhood Iowa (SF2117). They did not restore the $1 million cut they made in 2017 (HF642).

Public Safety

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds continued to make cuts that jeopardize public safety. They cut an additional $3.4 million from corrections (SF2117). This comes on top of cuts to corrections in 2017 (SF130/SF509) as well as cuts to services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault (SF509). Overall, corrections has been cut $16.3 million over two years, and $3.3 million on an ongoing basis, jeopardizing safety in prisons and leading to higher recidivism from loss of post-release community supervision and services. (Compare “notes on bills and amendments” for HF2458 in 2016 and HF2492 in 2018).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds continued to make cuts ($1.6 million) to our courts, which play an important role in preventing crime through juvenile services and specialty courts (SF2117). Overall, our courts have lost $7.6 million over two years and $1.1 million on an ongoing basis (See “notes on bills and amendments” for SF130/SF508 in 2017 and SF2117/HF2495 in 2018).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds hurt public safety by passing a so-called “anti-sanctuary city” bill, which is really an unfunded mandate on local government to assist with immigration enforcement, jeopardizing law enforcement relationships with immigrant communities (SF481).

In 2018, the Republican majority also passed a proposed Constitutional amendment for broader gun rights than provided by the Second Amendment (HJR2009). This amendment would have to be passed again in the next General Assembly to go to voters in 2020. This proposed amendment is on top of a bill the Republican majority passed in 2017 to allow expanded use of deadly force, the so-called “stand your ground” bill (HF517).

Water, Energy, and Natural Resources

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds attacked clean energy sources for the first time, ending long-time bipartisan support for clean energy jobs. This attack included a bill that will slash utility energy efficiency investments by over $100 million per year starting in 2019 (SF2311) and a provision to take away the general commercial property tax rollback for new wind energy projects (HF2502).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds made even more cuts to the Department of Natural Resources ($123,000) (SF2117) and to the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program ($2 million) (HF2491). This comes on top of cuts in 2017. Overall, REAP has been cut by $6 million, or 37%, since the original FY17 appropriation, and the DNR has been cut $1.7 million since the FY16 appropriation. (Compare “notes on bills and amendments” for HF2491 in 2018 with SF494 in 2015.) This includes a cut of $115,000, or 5.7%, to the DNR for floodplain management. These cuts also come on top of the elimination of funding for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the elimination of the Watershed Improvement Review program in 2017 (SF510).

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds cut the Iowa Flood Center an additional $28,778, for a total ongoing cut of $328,778, or 21.9% of total funding (SF2415).

After cutting the Iowa Flood Center, the DNR, the DNR floodplain program, REAP, Watershed Improvement, and the Leopold Center, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds promised they would provide additional funding for the voluntary clean water program in the future (SF512). That promise is another Republican bait-and-switch in the making, with no watershed approach and no monitoring or accountability for results.

Voting Rights

In 2018, the Republican majority and Gov. Reynolds targeted voters in Linn and Polk Counties by making it harder for them to vote for County supervisors county-wide, rather than by districts, by imposing a two-thirds vote requirement on those two counties to choose county-wide elections (HF2372). This comes on top of their attack on voting rights in 2017 by imposing multiple new government barriers to voting, including restrictive and costly identification requirements and more restrictive absentee voting periods (HF516).

Key Bad Bills from 2017 (see www.legis.iowa.gov)

SF130 – Made major mid-year budget cuts for our community colleges and our universities, courts, corrections, public safety, and human services, and emptied the Cultural Trust Fund
SF166 – Short-changed Iowa’s public school students with third lowest school aid funding level (1.11%)
SF438 – Prohibited local governments from using pre-qualification for project bidders
SF471 – Mandated three-day waiting period before abortions can be obtained
SF509 – Cut state funding for services to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault by 26% ($1.7 million cut) and made additional cuts to corrections ($7.3 million total cut)
SF510 – Ended funding for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State, eliminated Watershed Improvement Review program, and slashed REAP natural resource funding by 25% ($4 million cut)
HF203 – Circumvented “Buy American” and “prevailing wage” rules for road projects
HF291 – Took away collective bargaining rights from more than 180,000 public service workers
HF295 – Took away local minimum wage increases for 65,000 Iowa workers
HF516 – Created new government barriers to voting, issued costly new voter cards (cost: $700,000+)
HF517 – Allowed expanded use of deadly force, even when a court or jury finds it was not reasonable
HF518 – Created barriers and reduced compensation for injured workers
HF625 – Reduced outreach for our children’s health insurance program (HAWK-I)
HF640 – Cut funds for nursing home inspections ($270,000 cut)
HF642 – Made deeper cuts to university funding (total $24M cut – for University of Iowa and Iowa State University, now lowest level since 1998), cut Iowa Flood Center ($300K cut); cut early childhood programs ($1M cut), and cut vocational rehabilitation for workers with disabilities ($300K cut)
HF653 – Cut field operations for department of human services, reducing child abuse and elder abuse investigations (over $10M cut); cut hospital reimbursements ($27 million); cut veterans home ownership assistance by 20% ($500K cut); cut two remaining mental health institutions ($1.7M cut); and made Planned Parenthood and other health care providers ineligible for family planning program

Key Bad Bills from 2018 (see www.legis.iowa.gov)

SF359 – Ban all abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat (approximately six weeks)
SF481 – Mandated cooperation with ICE on informal detainer requests – so-called “anti-sanctuary city” bill
SF512 – Promise future funding for voluntary clean water practices, but no guarantee of funding, no watershed approach, and no measuring of or accountability for results
SF2117 – More mid-year budget cuts to our community colleges, our universities, vocational rehabilitation, courts, corrections, public health, human services, aging services, and natural resources
SF2311 – Impose 2% cap on utility energy efficiency programs, slashing investment by over $100 million/year
SF2349 – Allow certain agricultural organizations to provide non-insurance health plans that can discriminate
SF2415 – Continued most cuts to our community colleges, our universities, and vocational rehabilitation; did not restore additional mid-year cut to Iowa Flood Center (total cut of $328,778)
SF2416 – Only $50,000 restored toward nursing home inspections (ongoing cut from FY16 of $357,351)
SF2417 – Increase sales tax collections by over $130 million a year; reduce income tax revenue by over $400 million a year which will cause further budget cuts; slash income taxes for million-dollar incomes by average of $18,773 in 2019, while average cut for earners making $40,000 is $92.
SF2418 – Continued 2017 cuts to hospital reimbursement and made Broadlawns and University of Iowa Hospitals pay non-federal share of graduate medical education ($8.1M); addictive disorder funding (substance abuse treatment) has been cut $3.7 million, with an ongoing cut of $2.5M each year
HJR2009 – Constitutional amendment for broader gun rights; no gun regulation unless passes “strict scrutiny”
HF2230 – Shortchanged public school students with 1% funding growth (second lowest in history)
HF2253 – Ban use of lease-purchase agreements by cities and counties that prefer local companies or labor
HF2372 – County districts must use LSA to draw map; for Linn & Polk, 2/3 vote required to elect county-wide
HF2491 – Additional cuts to REAP ($2 million) and DNR; no restoration of DNR floodplain program
HF2492 – Corrections funding: $16.3 million in total cuts in 2017-18; ongoing cut of $3.3M
HF2495 – Judicial Branch funding: $7.6 million in total cuts in 2017-18, ongoing cut is $1.1M
HF2502 – End commercial property tax rollback for new wind energy developments

Posted in 2018 Election Campaign, Iowa Democrats, Iowa Legislature, Iowa legislature 2018, Rob Hogg | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Here Come The Democrats!

Kirk Nelson from Altoona shared these convention pics with Blog for Iowa.  Kirk shared that for him, the convention was characterized by the presence of so many smart, capable young people determined to make their country great again.  Here are some of his candid shots of these young up-and-comers as well as candidates, activists and old familiar faces.

 

 

College and Young Democrats

The activists…

Familiar faces..

 

the candidate and his party…

Fred…

 

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The Importance of American Freedom

Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons

by Ralph Scharnau

Freedom is the central tenet of how we view ourselves individually and as a nation.  It is embedded in our history and language.  Simultaneously it has been contested in debates and dissents in Congress, in political books/essays/editorials, in parlors, and on picket lines.

The history of the American republic reveals expanding freedoms to include more and more people, women, racial and ethnic minorities, workers, 18-year-olds, and others who have struggled to deepen and transform the definition of freedom.  Belief in freedom as a human right has coexisted with persistent efforts to limit freedom by gender, race, class, and in other ways.  Over time, slaves, women, immigrants, the poor, and LGBTQ folks have struggled to secure civil liberties.

Today, when asked to define their rights as citizens, Americans instinctively turn to the founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The Constitution’s First Amendment, freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly/petition, endures as the most basic and litigated of all the Amendments.

A google search of the term freedom currently shows that most results focus on the press.  This is not surprising given the current occupant of the White House who often makes slurring   remarks about the press.  And journalists today face the pressures of a 24-hour news cycle as well as the threat of possible layoffs.

Criticism of the press most assuredly is not new.  Since the birth of the republic, presidents and other politicians have frequently questioned the neutrality and objectivity of specific journalists, their stories, and their publications.

Yet President Trump has raised the stakes to a different, incendiary level.  He has described news organizations critical of his administration as “the enemy of the American people.”  He has referred to reporters as “sad, hacks, crooked, scum, slime, dishonest, and disgusting.”  These slanderous statements have become his favorite weapons in the attacks on news organizations he finds personally offensive.

More than any president in living memory, Donald Trump has conducted a dogged, remorseless assault on those in the news media who deliver negative accounts of his administration.  While vilifying his critics (the Washington Post and CNN) as purveyors of “fake news,” he applauds and offers special access to those praising his administration (Wall Street Journal and Fox and Friends).

The president’s animus toward the media coverage that he dislikes has reached a point where he has even suggested license revocation and stricter libel laws.  He has threatened to sue media he considers unfair to him.

The effect of President Trump’s repeated vitriolic attacks on journalists undermines press freedom.  The Trump administration has attempted to jail journalists and crack down on freedom of information.

President Trump’s words and behavior coarsen political discourse.  This man uses vile rhetoric.  He also arrogates to himself alone the responsibility for fixing all the nation’s ills.  The clear danger here lies in his authoritarian tendencies while dismissing the opinions of certain journalists and, at times, the advice of fellow Republicans.

As the nation experiences a tumultuous and oppressive chapter in its history, it should be remembered that the story of American freedom remains unfinished.  Debates over its meanings will continue, and new globalized conversations and definitions of freedom will emerge.  One thing seems clear, the press should continue to fervently demand its freedom to report the news and steadfastly refuse to be intimidated by abusive tactics from those who would stifle its independence.  In this way, the press will truly continue to fulfill its constitutional duty to inform the American public.

Posted in 2018 Election Campaign, media, Progressive Community, progressive values | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Krugman: Big Business Reaps Trump’s Whirlwind

Image (1) krugman-gop-madness.jpg for post 25090

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has a great article Thursday concerning business’s role in the Republican Party that has gone awry. Joining the Republicans in cynically using racism, xenophobia, misogyny and division of the country in order to win elections, business is suddenly being bitten in the ass by the monster they built:  

The thing is, big business is reaping what it sowed. No single cause brought us to this terrible moment in American history, but decades of cynical politics on the part of corporate America certainly played an important role.

What do I mean by cynical politics? Partly I mean the tacit alliance between businesses and the wealthy, on one side, and racists on the other, that is the essence of the modern conservative movement.

For a long time business seemed to have this game under control: win elections with racial dog whistles, then turn to an agenda of tax cuts and deregulation. But sooner or later something like Trump was going to happen: a candidate who meant the racism seriously, with the enthusiastic support of the Republican base, and couldn’t be controlled.

Recently Tom Donohue, the chamber’s head, published an article decrying Trump’s mistreatment of children at the border, declaring “this is not who we are.” Sorry, Mr. Donohue, it is who you are: You and your allies spent decades empowering racists, and now the bill is coming due.

Krugman then goes on to discuss the various ways that Trump (and therefore Republican) policies are biting the very businesses that built the monster. From threats directly to businesses such as Harley-Davidson, to the spawning of the tariffs, to the concerns of a potential authoritarian executive.

Krugman’s article distills the very cynical game that businesses, particularly the Chamber of Commerce, have been playing for decades all in the pursuit of bigger and bigger tax cuts. They got their tax cuts not only from the federal government but also from states like Iowa, but in the process built a monster that they can no longer control. 

Costs of government have been pushed on to a shrinking middle class while businesses pay less and less and get more and more through their “campaign contributions.”

Much like Frankenstein’s monster, the monster built by business has now been let loose on the public. Subduing it will not easy.

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2018 Election Campaign, Blog for Iowa, Racism in America, Republican Policy | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Sunday Funday: Dear Leader Leaves Country Next Week Edition

trump's organ.png

once again a tip of the hat to democraticunderground.com

In case you hadn’t heard Dear Leader will be leaving the country next week. How fast and how high can we build walls? Just kidding, folks. Can’t think of a single reason why we would want to get rid of this man. But I could think of several hundred reasons.

Well, hope your enjoying what seems to be headed for perhaps the hottest summer the world has ever seen. So if you are making travel plans, perhaps a new world might be worth looking into.

OMG – another week in fantasy land.

  1. Unfortunately, a great spokesperson for workers left us this week. What once well known liberal radio and TV personality died suddenly Thursday morning?
  1. Despite promises to the US and South Korea, what country continues to build nuclear facilities?
  1. Teacher Kristin Mink asked what cabinet member to resign when she saw him at lunch Monday? The cabinet member then resigned Thursday.
  1. And the new president of Mexico is who?
  1. The first shots in the trade war between the US and China were fired at midnight Eastern time on what day last week?
  1. Two people were killed and 5 injured when a huge tree branch fell on a crowd at 4th of July fireworks in what Illinois border town with Iowa?
  1. What two major world leaders will meet IN PRIVATE with no one else around a week from Monday in Helsinki?
  1. Central Iowa were inundated last Saturday night with up to how many inches of rain in a short time causing wide spread flooding?
  1. What former Ohio State wrestling assistant coach and possible Speaker of the House candidate is being called on to resign because of his knowing and doing nothing about sexual assault in the OSU wrestling program?
  1. Monday, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin cut dental and vision care for Medicaid patients when a federal judge blocked the state from enacting what for Medicaid patients?
  1. Similarly in Iowa the U of Iowa dental Clinic announced it would no longer take new patients who are on what insurance system?
  1. LeBron James, NBA superstar, exercised his free agency and went from Cleveland to what other NBA team?
  1. The current head of the EPA once had a job as a lobbyist for what genre of clients?
  1. What Western head of state is the latest to have a vague claim of groping from 20 years ago lodged against him?
  1. Twelve missing boys and their soccer coach were found alive in flooded caves in what country?
  1. Who received a prank call from comedian Stuttering John Melendez on an apparently non-secure cell phone?
  1. The FBI foiled a plot for an attack during the 4th of July parade in what large city?
  1. The new White House Communications Director is what former disgraced Fox News executive?
  1. What company was facing a boycott for selling “Impeach 45” t-shirts in their online store?
  1. Huge protests are planned when Dear Leader visits what world capital next week?

From Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis:

“Your vote matters. If it didn’t, why would some people keep trying to take it away?” #goodtrouble

Answers:

  1. Ed Schultz
  1. North Korea
  1. Scott Pruitt
  1. Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador (AMLO)
  1. Friday
  1. Rock Island
  1. Putin and our Dear Leader
  1. 9 inches was the amount I heard
  1. Rep. Jim Jordon
  1. Work requirements
  1. Medicaid
  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Fossil fuel industries – coal in particular (new boss same as the old boss)
  1. Justin Trudeau
  1. Thailand
  1. Dear Leader
  1. Cleveland
  1. Bill Shine
  1. Walmart
  1. London

As many of you know I celebrate a little bit as the days slowly get shorter during summer. Yippee!

Posted in #trumpresistance, Blog for Iowa, Humor | Leave a comment

Abby Finkenauer – What IA 01 Needs

video 1.5 minutes

One of the most exciting candidates to come along in Iowa in a long time is the Democratic candidate in Iowa’s first congressional district.

Abby Finkenauer is exciting not only because of her youth, but also because her views harken back to a time when the Democratic Party stood tall for workers and minorities. Add in the fact that she is a woman who has been directly in the middle of the battle for women’s rights in the Iowa legislature.

Unlike her opponent who can’t seem to find his own district and when he does stumble in does his damnedest to avoid seeing any constituents, you can bet that Finkenauer will be checking in with the good folks back home on a regular basis.

Above and below we have a couple of Finkenauer’s campaign videos. You can find her campaign website here.  

If you want to see Finkenauer’s positions on issues you can check in here.   

And of course every campaign runs on money. You can join fellow Iowans in supporting Abby Finkenauer on her contributions page here.   

video 3:20

 

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2018 Election Campaign, Blog for Iowa | Tagged | Leave a comment

Health Care, Health Care, Health Care!

Image (1) medicare-for-all.jpg for post 20634

We spent most of the holiday in the emergency room with an elderly relative. For those who have been in a similar situation you know that you will have a lot of time on your hands while waiting for test results or emergency room personnel to be freed up from other emergencies to tend to your patient. 

Emergency rooms are also not real conducive to conversations so we often sit quietly thinking to ourselves.

Wednesday the thoughts that kept circulating through my brain were thoughts about what a crappy, discombobulated, fractured and inefficient health care system we have in this country. Ten years ago it was the number two issue in the presidential election immediately behind a looming catastrophic economic depression of Republican making.

Immediately following Obama’s election he put his focus on saving the world from economic disaster and did so. Will we ever really know how dangerously close the world was to a total meltdown? 

Then President Obama moved on to objective #2, taking on our behemoth health care system. The system was fractured into many parts ranging from full governmental programs on down to fully privatized, for profit set ups that had their emphasis on profits. Some of the segments had coverage for everyone in their segment as a goal, but coverage for all Americans was never a total system focus. Obama sought to change that.

Americans have short memories. We are now about seven years or so removed from implementation of Obamacare. Democrats for whatever reason (this could be the source of lengthy arguments) chose to choose a middle ground that included for profit insurance companies in the mix. Even with all its warts, Obamacare was hailed rightfully as a major step forward. 

And Republicans immediately went to work chip, chip, chipping away at health care programs, especially Obamacare. From constant attempts to repeal in congress – 50+ attempts if I recall correctly – to fights in courts to amendments to spending bills that would weaken the program. There was hardly a strategy that Republicans didn’t employ to ruin health care for Americans.

We can hardly forget that they also employed a vast propaganda network headed up by Fox News to discredit anything and everything about Obamacare. As Republicans chipped away, their media arms discredited Obamacare. 

Now we are nearly 10 years past the original crisis. Republicans have interfered so much that they have damaged Obamacare, especially with the tax cuts for the wealthy they passed last December. Thanks to that Republican interference, it looks like health care premiums will be rising and there are increasing “loosely regulated” plans that will act to segregate those most in need of health care into a type of insurance ghetto that will also cause premiums to rise for some.   

Iowa passed legislation for those “loosely regulated” plans in the spring.     

As I wrapped my mind around what Republicans have done in their 10 year quest to ruin any steps forward, it made me mad. As our relative was getting cared for I wondered if she will be able to depend on Medicare the rest of her life? Will it be there tomorrow? People on Medicaid were blindsided by Branstad and Reynolds a couple of years ago and some of those folks are in a world of hurt. 

We got news last week that the U of Iowa Dental School will no longer take new medicaid patients. This is a direct result of Branstad/Reynolds’ policies of privatization.       

So here we are with an election right around the corner in 4 months looking at possible huge premium increases for some sectors of our populace, cutbacks in other sectors, inadequate policies now being marketed with one party actively doing all they can to cut the poor and the ill out of access to health care. 

The VA medical system continues to have problems with no concrete plans to do anything to fix them. Actually the current administration’s policy seems to be to wreck the current system and then force veterans into a privatized system. 

Even children’s health care was attacked by Republicans last month when the current president tried to pull a “recission” of money for the CHIP program.   

One thing that hasn’t changed is that most of us have our health care tied to our jobs. That is never a good situation.

We are careening back to 2008 complete with pre-existing condition exclusions, large segments not covered and Republicans working hand in hand with insurance companies to maximize profits and minimize health care system usage.

Iowa’s move to privatizing Medicaid is one of the real lowlights of health care in this country. While promising to streamline and “modernize” (whatever that means) Medicaid, the product that these changes have delivered is much higher overhead, much lower service to people who desperately need care and a pile of unpaid bills that threaten to put hospitals and clinics across Iowa out of business.

What is even sicker about Iowa’s Medicaid system is that despite thousands of people of constituents calling for change and a system that seems on the verge of collapse daily, Republicans refuse to even discuss changing back to a system that worked fairly well. Talk about catering to big business to the detriment of the populace! 

So this year you had better vote as if your life depends on it because it does!

Posted in #trumpresistance, 2018 Election Campaign, Blog for Iowa, Branstad, Health Care & Medicare, Iowa legislature 2018, Kim Reynolds, Medicare | Tagged | Leave a comment