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Republicans Play The Outrage Card Over Netanyahu Speech

obama netanyahu boehnerby Laura Twing

There are many words available to describe how the Iowa GOP felt about Congressman Loebsack not personally attending the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech to the U.S. congress joint session. But they chose to use the word “outrageous,” a word that is highly charged emotionally, a word that deliberately moves away from engaging in productive, adult discussions of the issue at hand.

Let me offer some alternative uses for the word “outrageous.”

I find it outrageous that people who say they are concerned about eminent domain and property rights, are completely silent about the families who lost land that had been in their families for generations, when we “gave” land “back” to someone who left it two thousand years ago.

I find it insulting that people who are intensely determined to stop abortions, turn a blind eye to the injustices done to innocent children by America’s ally. Displacement, torture, murder and callous disregard to their needs for medical attention – those actions are outrageous. As long as it isn’t via abortion, killing Palestinian children is not a problem for you?

I find it very sad that people who think they are the “serious adults” in discussions of any kind, see no irony in basing our policies, that affect lives, on religious allegories.

I find it intensely depressing that those who bring us “peace through strength” fail to see that our current volatility in the MidEast is directly tied to our destabilizing of Iraq.

I find it outrageous that people who supposedly value “honor and integrity” hide from discussion of all of the relevant history of this issue, and ignore injustices that interfere with their personally desired outcome.

I am deeply troubled that claiming a special relationship with the people of Israel based on our shared religious background, is resulting in violating one of the most common themes presented in our shared religious writings, that of championing justice. We cannot build peace on the back of injustice. I fully understand the emotional appeal at the end of WWII, of providing a homeland, a safe place for our Jewish neighbors, but the majority of Jews left that region two thousand years ago. The people now known as Palestinians, who were there before the Jews in the first place, never left. In my opinion, the Palestinians have the rightful claim to this property.

The corresponding problem to this, is that outside of the Holy Land, anti-semitism is on the upswing again. We must also fight injustice to people of Jewish heritage everywhere, outside of Israel. Here, in the U.S., those least tolerant of Jewish people as our neighbors tend to vote for the party that is spending $8 million dollars per day to perpetuate the above-mentioned injustices. Does anyone else find irony in this?

Supporting Jewish people and Jewish heritage? Absolutely! Tolerating the injustices done to Palestinians for a political homeland? Never. Not in my name.

Iowa Workers Demand Apology From Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

iowa afl-cioAs Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker makes his first appearance in Iowa after making comments at CPAC comparing union members protesting his policies to ISIS, Iowa workers are speaking up and demanding an apology. Union Members and workers from all over Iowa are planning to hold a press conference in Dubuque to address Walker’s unpatriotic remarks in front of the Hotel Julien, at 6 pm on Saturday March 7.

Bruce Clark, President of the Dubuque Federation of Labor will be the main speaker. Other officials have been invited to speak at this Press Conference.

WHO: Veterans, Nurses, Schoolteachers, Parents, and other Iowa workers
WHAT: Press Conference with Iowa workers demanding an apology from Wisconsin Governor Walker.
WHERE: In front of the Hotel Julien, 200 Main Street, Dubuque, IA 52001

WHEN: Saturday, March 7, 2015, at 6PM

Tracy Leone
Organizer – Iowa Federation of Labor

www.iowaaflcio.org
www.iowalabornews.com
https://www.facebook.com/IowaAFLCIO
http://www.youtube.com/AFLCIOIowa

Here’s more:

On Saturday, Governor Walker of Wisconsin will be in Dubuque at the Hotel Julien for a fundraiser for newly-elected IA 1st District Congressman Rod Blum. The fundraiser is part of a day-long trip by Walker to Iowa who will speak earlier in the day at the Ag Summit in Des Moines – an event that profiles would-be presidential contenders.

However, when Walker arrives in Dubuque, he will be greeted by Iowans who are deeply offended and shocked by his recent comments at a CPAC conference that compared union members to ISIS terrorists. Saying, “If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the world,” Walker suggested that his experience in 2011 pushing through a bill that gutted public sector bargaining rights, is similar to the skills needed to handle global threats such as ISIS.

This absurd analogy prompted AFL-CIO president Trumka to tweet, “@GovWalker stmt comparing workers & terrorists is revolting. It’s clear his judgment is impaired & he’s not qualified for the Presidency.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren added, tweeting, “If Scott Walker sees 100,000 teachers & firefighters as his enemies, maybe it’s time we take a closer look at his friends.”

Walker was asked by labor groups to apologize for this comment but has since resisted. He did extrapolate on his remarks on FOX News, explaining, “The leadership we provided under extremely difficult circumstances, arguably the most difficult of any governor in the country, maybe in recent times. To me, I apply that to say, if I were to run and if I were to win and be commander-in-chief, I believe that kind of leadership is what’s necessary to take on radical Islamic terrorism.”

Again, Walker’s response is not only woefully inaccurate, but it is very concerning. The reality of dealing with peaceful public protest against anti-worker legislation is a very different reality than dealing with the magnitude of warfare. For Walker to act like his experience with one qualifies him to deal with the other both underrates the very serious contemplation of war, it alternately conflates peaceful protests with armed conflict.

Whenever I hear some dismiss these comments as “stupid” or by an “idiot,” I pause, because this type of thinking, even as it appears stupid, is actually quite dangerous. Analogies grow on people. What is first just a thought, a suggestion, after repetition becomes conventional wisdom. The lines get blurred between what is our just, lawful, right to protest, use civil disobedience (and to do so while standing up for the rights of workers to collectively organize and bargain), and terrorism.

It is also absurd to think about what on earth would Scott Walker do to deter ISIS, based on his behavior as Wisconsin Governor? Will he tell them he’s going to defund secular education? Will Walker threaten ISIS by saying he will reduce access to the polls and voting? That he will go after women’s reproductive rights and limit access to family planning? That he will implement economic policies that result in Wisconsin being below the national average in job and wage growth? I think ISIS might actually agree with him on a lot of those policies.

Join good people of Iowa this Saturday in Dubuque at 6PM to make sure that this story does not die off as the conservative press would like it to do.

PSR Iowa And UNA Iowa Co-Sponsor Fundraiser For Climate Action

psr-logo-officialIowa Chapter
Physicians for Social Responsibility
20 East Market ● Room 200 ● Iowa City, IA 52245www.psriowa.org

Dear Friend,

  • 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history.
  • 2014 was the year of the Great Climate March for Climate action from Los Angeles to Washington DC over 8 months and 3,000 miles.

Now it’s 2015…

PSR/Iowa and UNA Iowa are co-sponsoring a dinner and fundraiser featuring a presentation by Ed Fallon on the Great Climate March and the Bakken Pipeline

Thursday March 11, 2015, 5 PM to 8 PM
at the University Club at 1360 Melrose Ave, Iowa City
Free Parking

Admission is $40 per plate for this sit-down dinner and presentation

Ed Fallon, former Iowa legislator and the leader of the 2014 Great March for Climate Action, will be speaking about his experiences walking across the country, and his encounters with the President’s special advisers on Energy and Environment.

Of the Great Climate March Ed tells us “We experienced things most people can’t even imagine. Throughout our journey, we encountered first-hand some of the unprecedented weather climate scientists have predicted. And we met face-to-face people impacted by climate change and people grappling with an expanding fossil fuel infrastructure that is damaging or destroying their land, water and very way of life.”

Ed will be joining us from a new March. Starting March 1, Ed will walk across Iowa engaging the land owners along the route of the proposed Bakken Pipeline. The plan is for the pipeline to begin hauling crude oil from North Dakota across Iowa to Illinois for eventual refining in the gulf beginning some time in 2016.

Please join is for what will prove to be a stimulating and educational evening:

5-6 PM: Arrive & gather with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.
5:45 PM: Sit-down dinner served
6:00 PM: Opening remarks from PSR/Iowa and UNA Iowa.
6:15 PM: Ed Fallon’s presentation and discussion

For questions or more information contact us at info@psriowa.org or phone 319-530-3608

Hughie Tweedy To Pipeline: “My Land Is Not For Sale – Not For A Million Bucks”

fallon forumfallonforum.com/

Beginning on March 2, 2015, Ed Fallon began a walk of 400 miles following the path of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. He will walk from the southeast corner of Iowa to the northwest corner of the state, meeting with landowners and others to talk about the importance of respecting farmland and the imperative to stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Follow his walk on the Fallon Forum website. You can also keep track of Ed’s walk on Facebook and through regular email updates.   For Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.

Here is Ed’s post written yesterday, prior to embarking on the first step of his journey.

###

Hughie Tweedy fallonforum

Hughie Tweedy/photo credit fallonforum.com

I’ve not even taken the first step of my walk and I’m already meeting landowners opposed to the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Last night I had dinner with Hughie Tweedy at a Lee County farmhouse. Hughie is a colorful, fiercely independent farmer whose homestead is just a few farms west of the Mississippi River – and directly in the path of the pipeline. A forest that Hughie and his Dad before him planted and cared for would be torn to pieces if the pipeline were built. Hughie considers his land sacred, and cannot understand how anyone would condemn it for an oil pipeline.

Hughie informed the pipeline company that, in no uncertain terms, his land was not for sale, not for a million bucks. His neighbors don’t want a pipeline coming through their land either, but many feel helpless, resigned to the notion that “you can’t beat City Hall.”

Last night, I told Hughie about some of the nearly two dozen eminent domain battles I was involved with back in the 1990s and 2000s. I told him how farmers and landowners banded together to stop developers who wanted to take their land. Often it was for a lake or an airport, sometimes for a mall or a four-lane highway. When people in the path of these projects stood firm – and got others to stand with them – more often than not, they won.

Hughie is one of several Iowans featured in a documentary focused on Iowans fighting against the misuse of eminent domain. Last night, our evening went late as the documentary crew filled the living room with cameras and equipment and captured much of our conversation.

Today, I head down to the Mississippi River for the first leg of my journey. I’ll take with me cedar, sage and sweet grass given to me by my Native American friend from Earlham, Robert Knuth. Following Robert’s instructions, I’ll offer a prayer of protection for the land threatened by this pipeline, and a prayer that Hughie Tweedy and all caretakers of the land will continue to stand strong.

On today’s Fallon Forum, [see re-broadcast times below] I’ll call in with an update from the Iowa Pipeline Walk as State Representative Dan Kelley hosts the program in the KDLF studio. Also, Dan interviews the new director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Jeremy Rosen, about the surprising lack of pardons issued to federal prisoners by President Obama. Also, State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines joins Dan to talk about the achievement gap in education.

Ed Fallon, "People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life."

Ed Fallon, “People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life.”

The Fallon Forum airs live on Monday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) or online. Join the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122. You also can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Thanks!

Ed Fallon

Enduring War Vs. Enduring Peace

Ed Flaherty

Ed Flaherty

by Ed Flaherty

The word “enduring” has entered the conversation on US military policy in the past few weeks. Its most notable mention was in President Obama’s February 11th request for additional war authority. The proposed AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) says it does not authorize “enduring” offensive operations.

A much less noticed speech was by the Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, Timothy Orr, on February 5. He lauded the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing for its progress on a new, “enduring” mission – Remotely Piloted Aircraft. What he refers to is the 132nd’s preparation to become a piloting center for MQ-9 Reaper Drones, armed with Hellfire missiles and bombs.

A third speech, by President Obama on February 2, was the proposed budget for FY 2016. It would allocate 54% of discretionary spending to the military. That military budget includes $821 million for 29 additional Reaper Drones.

Despite the new AUMF’s intent to not authorize enduring offensive operations, the proposed AUMF does not repeal the AUMF passed in 2001, which is still in place and is being used to authorize offensive operations in multiple countries, relying heavily on lethal strikes from Reaper Drones.

Citizens need to find their voice. Tell President Obama and Congress to repeal the 2001 AUMF and to reduce the bloated Pentagon budget so we may have a chance at enduring peace. And say “NO” to Iowa piloting armed Reaper Drones by attending the March 4th vigil at the 132nd’s Des Moines base.

For more information on the March 4th rally, contact Ed Flaherty at flahertyem@q.com

Why Bakken Oil Is Dirty

Bakken Pipeline Proposed RoutePeople who care about hydraulic fracturing say the oil coming from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan is dirty. It is. All oil is dirty, and my two cents is we should leave what’s there in the ground. That won’t go over well in North Dakota where discovery of the Parshall Oil Field in 2006 created an oil boom.

What makes Bakken crude oil problematic is that it contains more volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than oil shipped from wells in other regions of the country. This makes the oil more flammable, so when there is a train derailment, as there was in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in 2013, the oil easily ignites and creates hell on Earth. (Read Adam Federman’s article in Earth Island Journal here).

Because so little public study has been conducted on Bakken crude oil and the operations that produce it, scientists don’t fully understand why the oil is so flammable. There are suspected causes.

The Bakken formation shale oil boom developed from almost nothing to more than a million barrels of crude oil daily in a short period of time. According to Federman, the infrastructure doesn’t exist in the Bakken to fraction off the VOCs as is done with other oil production facilities. The oil is shipped with the VOCs in it, making Bakken crude oil more flammable. There’s more Bakken crude oil today, it poses a real threat to public safety, and the transportation modes used are not regulated well enough for the commodity’s characteristics.

One of the frequent concerns in the Bakken is there are not enough suitable rail cars available to meet shipping needs. Lack of transportation capacity to get the oil to market is an issue. This created a business opportunity, and that’s what the Dakota Access pipeline is about.

Debate over trucks vs. rail vs. pipeline to transport Bakken crude oil is wasted time. Each mode of transportation has its own issues, and most transportation experts agree pipeline is the safest of the modes of transportation. Regardless of transportation mode, if there is a spill, first responders will be required to deal with a commodity on which they have in most cases received inadequate training. That problem could conceivably be fixed, but awareness of the issue hasn’t adequately emerged as we wait for the Iowa Utilities Board’s public healing on the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Combine the increased flammability of Bakken crude oil with lack of proper shipping regulations and capacity, and we know why it is called dirty oil.

BP Gets Off – A Nation Of Laws?

Ed Schultz did yeoman’s work over the past couple of weeks following up on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. As noted in the video above the perpetrator of the spill, BP, did all it could to avoid restitution for their damage. Instead of paying for the damage they caused, they sunk money into lies and propaganda through advertising. They also greased the skids with “campaign contributions” to politicians who have worked hard to get BP off and allow them to get drilling rights once more in the Gulf and in the Atlantic. All the while the American public saw the horror of BP’s negligence slowly morph on their TV screens into BP, a company that cares.

During 2012 Americans were able to learn a great deal about how vulture companies like Bain Capital, at one time headed by then candidate Mitt Romney, would take over companies and essentially strip them of any assets. Among those assets were pension funds that workers had planned to live on in their old age. In the case of Bain victim companies, pension funds would be raided and added to the payments Bain extracted from the company. Thus Bain got some huge checks, many lives were ruined (insignificant no doubt in the Bain way of thinking), and the American taxpayer gets a bill to make up some of the pension “raided” – stolen actually.

Since the pension funds were part of the compensation for work done by company employees every bit as important as their weekly pay, medical benefits and vacations, “raiding” the pension funds is simply a polite term for theft. Why laws were passed for legalizing this theft is simply unbelievable. Bain had a fairly structured way of taking their targeted companies apart and stealing the future from the companies employees was simply part of the plan.

What was good for Bain also appears to be good for governments. Last year we witnessed the dismantling of Detroit. Among the assets seized to pay Detroit’s debt were the pension funds. Funds that police and fire fighters and all sorts of municipal workers had planned to be there when their so-called “golden” years was gone. Some of these folks had worked for the city for as long as 40 years.

In New Jersey last week, Presidential wannabe Chris Christie was handed a judgment that said he must fully fund pension funds. When offered a plan that would raise taxes on the wealthy that would raise the money needed to fund the pension fund, Christie immediately rejected it.

In Illinois new Republican Governor Bruce Rauner wasted little time in going after public pensions. Even though most public pensions are part of a negotiated contract which we may assume are negotiated in good faith with access to viable fiscal projections. Seems like Rauner wants to unilaterally change the contract like so many of his Republican gubernatorial colleagues across the country have been doing. And of course while he can’t find money in the budget to pay legally mandated payments, he can find oodles of money to cut his own taxes and those of his rich buddies.

And let us not forget our governor for life Terry Branstad. While the pension story here in Iowa is good so far, we still have yet to hear anything on Branstad’s paying released employees last year with moneys that seemed to have been shifted illegally.

When I hear some politician, usually Republican, rail about this country being a nation of laws I just have to shake my head. “We are all equal in the eyes of the law” the old story goes. But there is hardly a person among us who can’t tell a story right off the top of their head of some well connected person who got a big break. Still waiting for one person to be arrested and tried for the financial meltdown in 2007 and 2008? So am I. Maybe at least a few real questions of those who led us into an illegal war in Iraq? Still waiting.

In some of the cases above, actions taken were made legal even though they are, to many, repugnant and unethical. When you have money and can buy some influence, you get favors. The reason I used so many stories of workers having their pensions, often pensions they contributed to, flat out stolen from them is to bring it home to the reader. Yes, they are just like you and me. If you think you have a good job with a solid company or a government pension awaiting your golden years don’t be surprised if you wake up one day to find all that money in the back pocket of some Wall Street hedge fund manager and you looking at working until you die.

And when some politician, particularly a Republican tells me they are a Christian, I think of Ghandi’s statement: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” If you claim to follow the Ten Commandments then do something to stop the unethical laws, stop the thievery, stop the discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or skin color. In short let the beliefs you profess actually guide you.

Oh – what’s this? Illinois Congress member Aaron Shock living the high life on the taxpayer’s dime and campaign funds? Que surprise? Hey just rub our noses in it knowing that enough campaign commercials and you will forget – you always do.

Sunday Funday: Time For A Change Edition

I just want to go to the bar after I do the puzzle

I just want to go to the bar after I do the puzzle

Enough winter, bring on some spring. I hate to see what is under the white, but I will have to face it someday.

Oh – and don’t forget to change your clocks next week.

Were you paying attention?

1) Blue and black or white and gold? What the heck am I talking about?

2) One was black and one was white and their romp captured the attention of the nation Thursday. Who were they?

3) He wasn’t here, he wasn’t there. Apparently he wasn’t anywhere he said he was. What national news figure is taking a lot of heat for embellishing his cred by claiming to be on the scene of many important events?

4) Wisconsin faces a vote in their legislature that will make them yet another right to work state. What high profile labor union came out against the right to work vote in Wisconsin?

5) A guy named Chuy pulled a real upset Tuesday when he forced what politician into a runoff election for the Chicago mayor’s office?

6) The nets are free at least for now. What was the vote for making the internet a common carrier Thursday?

7) March 1, 1961 new president John Kennedy established what organization that sent young Americans volunteers abroad to help developing countries?

8) What went into effect today in Iowa, thanks to quick passage by both houses of Iowa’s legislature and the governor’s signature?

9) Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma proved once and for all this week that climate change was bunk by doing what?

10) A bill in the Iowa House will ban the sale of palcohol in Iowa. What is palcohol?

11) What target in the United States was specifically mentioned in a message from Al-Shabob?

12) Who is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress Tuesday?

13) In Idaho a Republican legislator asked a doctor testifying before his committee if a doctor could conduct what kind of exam remotely by having the woman swallow a camera?

14) Iowa’s largest utility companies reported last week that they have approximately how much in past due bills?

15) Manufacturers of what ubiquitous grocery and department store item delayed a ban on their product when they gathered signatures to put the ban on the ballot in 2016?

16) What Republican presidential wannabe is leading in Iowa in a very early Quinnipiac poll?

17) Earl Lloyd died at age 86 this week. He was noted because he was the first what?

18) 70 years after the death of its author and 90 years after it was first published what book will once more be published in Germany in 2015?

19) Boris Nemtsov was shot to death Friday evening in Moscow. He was the leader of what in Russia?

20) Congress averted a shutdown of Homeland Security Friday night for how long?

Special mention to Leonard Nimoy whose portrayal of Dr. Spock on Star Trek helped inspire many future scientists.

Answers:

1) a dress that sparked a fierce internet debate over its real colors. Some saw it as blue and black, some as gold and white.

2) Two llamas that cavorted around the Phoenix area Thursday

3) Billo O’Reilly

4) the NFL Players association

5) Rahm Emmanuel

6) 3 – 2 on basically a party line vote

7) the Peace Corps

8) 10 cent a gallon tax to pay for road repairs

9) taking a snowball onto the Senate floor and noting it was cold outside

10) powdered alcohol

11) the Mall of America in the Twin Cities

12) Benjamin Netanyahu

13) a gynecological exam. Really he did.

14) $39 million

15) the plastic bag.

16) Scott Walker

17) black basketball player in the NBA

18) “Mein Kampf” by Adolph Hitler

19) Opposition to Vladimir Putin

20) a week. Yep next week will be a repeat of this week.

Republicans Fake Concern About Income Inequality

branstad jobs numbers

The Iowa senate passed a raise in minimum wage Monday on pretty much of a party line vote. One Republican joined twenty six Democrats to pass the bill. This would be good news if Democrats controlled the other legislative House and we still had a Democrat as governor. However with Republicans controlling both of those branches there is a good chance that this bill will never see the light of day again. As a friend told me you can probably plan on Tom Sands to let it die in the House Ways and Means Committee, never to see any more action. No mess, no fuss and no raises for Iowa’s poor.

No doubt any stories of a minimum wage will disappear from the pages of Iowa’s newspapers and the screens of Iowa’s TV stations. Maybe an occasional mention in blogs like this, but for the most part out of sight, out of mind.

But the real irony in this story is that at the national level the Republican Party is planning on making a campaign out of the inequitable income distribution in this country. Quit laughing, I am serious. Jeb (I am the third) Bush has already been pushing the issue, as have such union busters as Scott Walker and Chris Christie. Even the religious crazy wing of Huckabee and Santorum have suddenly discovered that some Americans are starving. All of course blame President Obama who, in their altered minds, has created the problems by causing Republican obstruction for six years an many jobs bills, spending programs and tax adjustments to pay for them. Makes sense to them.

What do you suppose their answer is? Why give more money to the wealthy of course! Continue that awesome trickle down economy that has brought so many benefits to – well their donors, the .1%. Don’t expect to hear that spoken out loud. Don’t expect to hear any solution spoken out loud. The strategy today is for Republicans to criticize only but answer no questions. Won’t work you say? Ask Sen. Ernst about that.

But there has been some truly grudging movement among the wealthy to finally take a trickle on their employees. Walmart created major headlines last week when it announced it would trickle on its employees a little bit this year, a little bit more next year. Walmart is owned by half a dozen of the wealthiest people in the world. These are people who fought tooth and nail so that no stinking employee would get a nickel of their hundreds of billions of dollars. Now they are suddenly seemingly showering their employees with trickle down. Did they finally get to the point that they realized that they had so much money it was time to trickle?

That would be a laugh. Much speculation has been put forth on the cause, but I think many folks looked way too deep for motives. Walmart was getting hit in the pocket book. Sales are decreasing because one of their major constituents can no longer afford to shop at Walmart. Even though Walmart advertises that they are the low price store they are not. The very poor are now going to dollar stores with the little money they have. The Republican wet dream of cutting food stamps has been partially realized and those who have lost government aid must make what little they have stretch further. Thus Walmart is too costly. With a significant portion of their low level employees getting government aid in the form of food stamps, Walmart’s employees are going elsewhere.

Add to the mix that Walmart employees are in near rebellion over wages and ridiculous expectations of availability to work anytime they are called and you can guess that Walmart had created a monster for themselves. Internal high level memos were leaked to the press that discussed such problems. Sales were sluggish and suddenly board members started to care. See, they got hit in the pocketbook so now they care. One of the memos discussed lack of product on shelves along with expired products on shelves. Since I do have to shop at Walmart about once a month for a couple of products I can get no where else – remember they ran much of their competition out of business – I can attest to those problems. Lots of empty shelves, lots of product out of place, expired or near expired product on the shelves and no one, literally no one working on it.

So Walmart’s raise in wages was not due to their generosity, but to self-preservation. That is a real trickle on by the Walton heirs.

Liberals have long pushed for wages beyond the minimum to what is known as a living wage. A living wage varies from place to place due to cost of living differences. Right now about $15/hour is a generally accepted minimum living wage. There are a couple of small pockets where a living wage is in effect such as Seatac, Washington which voted it in a year and a half ago. It is hard to isolate what effect such laws have had on local economies since those earning a living wage is narrowly defined and do not necessarily live in that community.

But there is one state that has raised wages considerably, taxed the rich a bit more and has done it for a long enough period that the effects can be evaluated. Many may have heard this week of the success stories coming out of Minnesota. Iowa and Minnesota elected new governors in 2010 both changing parties from their previous governors. In Minnesota, Democrat Mark Dayton faced a huge leftover deficit, and the specter go the I-35 bridge collapse under his predecessor, Tim Pawlenty. Branstad came back into power in Iowa to a budget that was actually in pretty decent shape, and an economy that weathered the Republican recession of 2008 fairly well. Branstad came in with promises of 200,000 jobs and higher wages.

The two governors took entirely different approaches. Branstad took the usual Republican approach of tax cuts for the rich and state cut backs in spending. In Minnesota minimum wages were raised and the highest earners were taxed at a slightly higher rate.

Iowa’s economy has plodded along as the national economy has gained steam. Jobs in Iowa have increased but at a pace far below that promised by Branstad. Meanwhile in Minnesota the economy has prospered. Jobs are up nearly 200,000 under Dayton, governmental finances are in tip-top shape and roads are being repaired. Iowa’s roads and especially its bridges are among the very worst in the country.

Once more tried and true liberal answers to economic problems are proven to work while Republican approaches prove not to work. While the contrast between Iowa an Minnesota are stark, the contrasts between Wisconsin and Minnesota are even more stark. Given that Wisconsin and Minnesota are remarkably similar in many respects, the contrast in approaches and results between now presidential wannabe Scott Walker and Mark Dayton are much more easily discerned.

Republican economic ideas are written by the rich for the rich. Democratic economic ideas are based on scientific research and experience. Once again, the Democratic model proves the best and most reliable model.

Just as this is posted, a new Elizabeth Warren video is making the rounds. Warren says in about 6 minutes what I was trying to say. Since I can’t put the video here you will have to go here to watch it.

Former Grassley Staffer: SCOTUS Killing ACA ‘Would Impact Everyone’

Yep - Gutting the ACA will affect everyone

Yep – Gutting the ACA will affect everyone



My eye caught the name “Grassley” in the title of this diary on dailykos.com by Joan McCarter. So I peeked in and was astonished to see a former Grassley staffer actually telling the truth about the effects of the SCOTUS case of King v Burwell. The case is expected to be heard next month with a decision announced in late June. There are some 70,000 fellow Iowans who could immediately lose health care if SCOTUS decides against the ACA. Many, many more will lose insurance or be priced out of the market in the after shocks.

Here is the diary. I recommend you go to the link to read the full article by Julie Appleby . We also recommend reading the 30 or so comments on the diary on dailykos.

“Sen. Chuck Grassley was at the heart of the development of Obamacare, and one of his key staff members from that time has a dire warning about what the Supreme Court might do to gut the law.

“The doomsday scenario could materialize, and it does impact everyone,” said lawyer Christopher Condeluci, who worked for Iowa Republican Charles Grassley on the Senate Finance Committee staff during the law’s drafting. Those affected would include individuals receiving subsidies and those paying the full cost of their plans in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey that use the federal exchange.

What’s that doomsday scenario, exactly:

Millions of consumers would likely be unable to afford their policies without subsidies.

Most insurers could not drop plans without giving one to three months’ notice. But the companies remaining in the market would likely seek sharp premium increases for the next year, anticipating that more of the sickest consumers would hold onto their plans. […]

“It’s not the subsidy market that will fall apart, it’s the whole market” for everyone who doesn’t get job-based insurance coverage, said Robert Laszewski, an insurance industry consultant who is no fan of the health law. “There will be millions of Republicans who are not subsidy-eligible who are also going to get screwed.”

Again, that’s another Republican who doesn’t like the law and sees impending doom for millions. Millions of Republicans. Who will be pissed at their elected Republican leaders for allowing this to happen.”

Remember that about a month ago when asked about King v Burwell, Senator Grassley said that the lawsuit was ridiculous.