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Koch Brothers Intend To To Buy Even More Republicans

AlecSome say the Kochs are America’s third party.  But make no mistake,  the money they plan to spend is for the purpose of electing Republicans.

According to The New York Times, the Brothers are predicting the cost of buying the 2016 election to be around $900 million. That amount of money would be a mere drop in the bucket to the Koch Brothers whose net worth is more than $100 billion. The $900 million doesn’t all come out of their personal checking accounts even though they could easily afford it. The money will also pour in from their network of donors. Republican presidential candidates are queuing up for the money like it was a KYBO on RAGBRAI.  The Kochs intend to throw the cash at congressional and state government races as well.

The news from the Koch donor summit makes clear that it is past time for stepping out of our comfort zones and  getting involved in the work of Democracy. I happen to own an old tee-shirt from the Bush years that says “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”  The only way out of this terrible predicament that we are currently in, is for people to get involved in the political process. Whether you have time and the stomach for it or not. Pretend it’s a football game.

Something you can do this weekend is attend a Run Warren Run house party/informational meeting near you. Go to the Run Warren Run Facebook page or  You can sign the petition asking her to run then find out about events happening right in your neighborhood.

The New York Times reported yesterday:

“The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history.

The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races..

Now the Kochs’ network will embark on its largest drive ever to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party’s dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government.”

Click here to read the entire story.

Ernst Does Her Job, Attempts To Whip Up Base At Summit

AlecRepublicans have absolutely nothing to say and this proves it. Ernst sounded about as coherent as Sarah Palin, and these were prepared remarks.  To be fair, it is tough to sound like you are saying something while saying nothing, which is what their candidates are required to do. Here are some excerpts of her speech at Steve King’s Freedom Summit in Des Moines over the weekend, but if you missed Joni Ernst on the campaign trail, be sure and also watch the video.  It is obvious that she is delivering designated lines to a crowd she and her handlers believe are not terribly bright.

Joni Ernst:

“Thank you Citizens United.”

“Tremendous victory all across Iowa, so thank you for doing that. We can’t stop there.”

“We spoke loud and clear here in Iowa that we want to see a change. That change has been delivered.”

“It was because of you that we saw this tremendous victory.”

“Another thing I spoke about…defending life. defending innocent life.. we will be judged by how we take care of our most vulnerable in our population. that goes from our beginning of life to our natural death. We need to make sure that everyone understands that we are compassionate and we will defend this innocent life…”

“Isis and Al Qaeda are being radicalized by extremists.”

In the first 3 weeks of being in the US Senate we’ve voted on more amendments than they voted on in Harry Reid’s senate in all of 2014..hahaha.”

“another thing I mentioned was exec. overreach… [President Obama] is taking on the jobs that I was sent to DC to to do, what Steve King was sent to do, what Chuck Grassley was sent to do… we are legislators, the president is not. We need to stop that executive overreach…and that includes executive amnesty…uh-huh.”

“We have 54 wonderful Republican senators but we’re still 6 seats shy of that magical number.”

“We want Iowa to remain red. We will not be a purple state. We will be a red state. Heh-heh-heh..”

“I hope that all of you will be involved in the Iowa caucuses. You should be involved in the Iowa caucuses.”

“I will be making sure that we keep Iowa a red state. ”


The Courtney Report School Issues

Courtney Report
editor’s note: I took two sections from Senator Courtney’s weekly newsletter that were relevant to issues that the legislature will be working on. For complete newsletters access Senator Courtney’s website here.

Strong Iowa schools are crucial to a world-class education that prepares students for good jobs and strengthens our middle class.

Business leaders say Iowa’s shortage of skilled workers hurts their ability to grow and operate competitively. That means our state’s continued success depends on support for Iowa students and schools at all levels.

Other states have figured out that high-wage, high-skill economies are built on a foundation of great local schools, and they’ve committed to supporting those schools. While other states are investing more in student achievement, Iowa is failing to commit enough dollars to ensure each student’s success. On average, we invest $1,612 less per student than the national average. We are currently 35th in the nation.

The Legislature needs to increase its commitment to great schools, higher student achievement and increased teacher quality. Local parents, teachers and school administrators say our schools increasingly are forced to choose between providing a good education or just the bare minimum.

The problem has emerged as support for our local schools has become an increasingly partisan issue, and it could get worse. Governor Branstad and the Iowa House have released their proposals for school funding for the next two years. Their proposals provide little support to help our schools keep up with inflation, let alone compete with other states.

A new survey of Iowa school superintendents reports that the Governor’s budget would send our schools in the wrong direction, resulting in fired teachers, overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks and fewer choices for Iowa students. In fact, all survey respondents said they oppose the Governor’s plan to provide less than 1 percent in additional state aid to schools for the 2015-16 school year.

When asked what the impact would be on their students, 75 percent said they would increase class sizes, 74 percent said they would fire teachers, 71 percent said they would delay buying new classroom materials, and 70 percent said they would reduce course offerings.

School superintendents believe the Branstad budget would limit the opportunities of tens of thousands of Iowa students. Iowa is competing with the world for high-skill, high-wage jobs. That means great local schools have never been more important to our families and our state’s economic future.


The Legislature and Governor must make sure that every child gets the best education possible so that all Iowans can compete for the jobs of the future. This session, that means increasing the state’s commitment to public schools, students and teachers.

The good news is that in spite of shortfalls in school funding, Iowa teachers and students are doing pretty well at maintaining levels of academic success. The bad news is that other states are increasing student achievement faster than Iowa and out-performing us.

A report by the Iowa Department of Education notes that:

• Iowa has slipped from one of the highest-performing states in the nation to the middle of the pack in student achievement.

• Iowa’s performance on national assessments is stagnant for low- and high-achieving students.

• Students who face challenges perform significantly behind their peers. This includes kids whose first language is not English, who have special needs or who come from low-income families.

The Iowa’s Condition of Education Report for 2013 shows that Iowa has one of the highest graduation rates in the nation, and the number of students in preschool, advanced placement and community college courses is climbing. Unfortunately, standardized assessments of student achievement show Iowa only making slight gains over the last 12 years, while other states are taking greater strides.

In fact, the National Assessment of Educational Progress for 2013 ranked Iowa 21st for 4th grade reading, 14th for 4th grade math, 20th for 8th grade reading and 25th for 8th grade math. In the 1990s, Iowa scored in the top 10 nationwide.

It’s clear that student achievement trends mirror education investment trends. Imagine the successes our students and teachers could achieve if Iowa boosted school funding per student to the national average! The message is clear: we need to restore bipartisan support for the idea that Iowa’s future depends on high-quality local schools.

Sunday Funday – Deflated Balls Edition

Ernst loaf-ers

Ernst loaf-ers

I can’t believe the fuss the networks are making over the Patriots supposedly letting the air out of footballs.Top story on a couple newscasts I saw during the week. What it says to me is that networks will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid real news. Got to be a sense of pride around the network news rooms that they can fritter away extremely valuable network air time on less than trivia and get highly paid for it. Maybe they could replace the network news with another edition of Jeopardy. At least we might learn something.

Speaking of trivia, were you paying attention last week?

1) So the first question just has to be – what is the proscribed inflation for NFL game balls?

2) By how much was New England accused of under-inflating game balls?

3) Wednesday the US Senate voted on whether human activity caused climate change. “YES” won by a vote of 50 – 49. How did Iowa’s senators vote?

4) According to the United Nations the US, Oman and Papua New Guinea are the only 3 nations in the world that do not offer what?

5) Speaker of the House Boehner committed a major diplomatic blunder (some say treason) when he invited what Head of State to speak before congress without informing the White House?

6) In Cincinnati, one worker was killed and a semi driver injured when what happened?

7) Up in Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock declared a state of emergency when what happened to the Yellowstone River?

8) Doing the math on her age, Joni Ernst was probably using bread bags for shoes during what presidential and Iowa gubernatorial administrations?

9) Disneyland was the epicenter of an outbreak of what childhood disease?

10) Controversy is already swirling in the Iowa legislature concerning schools on at least two issues. Can you give us one of them?

11) In her response to the State of the Union address, Iowa’s Joni Ernst erroneously portrayed the Keystone Pipeline project as what?

12) After Mike Huckabee criticized Pres. Obama for allowing his children to listen to Beyonce, Daily Show star Jon Stewart asked Huckabee how he (Huckabee) could justify playing with what sexually oriented rocker?

13) Republican senators voted down an amendment to the Keystone Pipeline that would have required materials for the pipeline be made where?

14) Good old Steve King just had to show what an embarrassment he can be to Iowa right before the SOTU, when he called a guest of the First Lady a what?

15) The mayor of Paris, France announced her intention to sue what “news” organization after they continued to broadcast false reports that Paris had “neighborhoods that were off limits to non-Muslims”?

One thing about Ernst’s bread bag story. Most every kid I knew used the bread bag trick in the winter, rich or poor. Unlike the kids she apparently knew, we wore ours over our shoes but under the overshoes. Overshoes (or buckle boots) were leaky. So the bread bags served to keep feet dry while also acting as a lubricant to get the shoes and feet into the boot. If you wore the bags on the outside, your would either slip on your butt in the snow or wear the bag out if the sidewalks were clear. Wearing bags the right way you couldn’t see who was wearing bags and who wasn’t.


1) 12.5 to 13.5 PSI (pounds/square inch)

2) 2 PSI 0r 15%

3) Grassley NO and Ernst NO – climate change is not caused by human activity

4) paid maternity leave

5) Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu

6) an overpass on I75 that was being demolished collapsed on the road below

7) oil from a pipeline leaked into the river.

8) Reagan and Branstad. Seems like many folks go through tough times with Republican administrations

9) Measles – Blame for the outbreak was pointed at the anti-vaxers.

10) 1) Branstad called for a very low increase in spending for education and 2) Schools will be expected to start after Sept. 1 next year.

11) a jobs bill

12) Ted Nugent

13) in America – whoops – there goes a bunch of jobs.

14) “a deportable” The First Lady had a Dreamer as her guest.

15) Fox News

Keep your bread bags dry and warm all!

About That Replacement Health Care Plan, Ms. Ernst


Sometimes I make the mistake of believing what people say. You would think that after a while I would learn. But I heard our sparkling new senator tell me though a set of teeth that looked perfect and white that Republicans were going to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.” I figured that maybe this time there was a real plan. So I called her office:

Me: Hey I heard the Senator’s speech last night. She said Republicans were going to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.” So I would really like to see what they propose for replacement. This means a lot to my family.

Staffer: There is no replacement.

Me: No replacement? But I distinctly heard the Senator say last night they were ready. Maybe there is a draft? Do you have a link to a draft?

Staffer: There is no draft.

Me: Well is it in committee? Is there a committee or another senator I could send an inquiry to? I have some ideas.

Staffer: As far as I know no one is working on anything.

Me: No one is working on anything? But Republicans have been talking about this for a couple of elections. I would think by now they would have some concrete proposals. I am sure Americans would love to see them. I figured if they had this statement in their nationally broadcast reply to the State of the Union they would have something.

Staffer: Nope, no plans.

Me: Are there any plans to get to work on this soon?

Staffer: {hem…haw..hem} Er – I am sure they will be working on one.

Me: Yet this spring? Maybe during the Summer? This is really important if they are planning to repeal they better have something to take its place. This is important.

Staffer: I am sure it will be soon – we’ll let you know.

Me: Just put a notice online – we’ll be watching – it is real important – we need healthcare.

Play To Win

Nile Kinnick

Nile Kinnick

Last Sunday I watched the Green Bay Packers play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC berth in the Super Bowl next Sunday. Most folks who saw that game will tell you they saw one of the greatest comebacks in the history of football. I will give you an entirely different point of view. What I saw was a Green Bay team that stopped playing to win with 5 minutes left in the game and started playing not to lose. This is one of the banes of my life. When people or teams or political parties or any other competitor in a competitive situation stops playing to win and starts playing not to lose, they lose.

Let me tell you what I saw. With about 5 minutes left, Seattle was down 22 – 7. Their quarterback threw an interception around the 50 yard line and the interceptor went to the ground rather than running it back. He then started celebrating. The Green Bay offense then came in and ran three running plays that did nothing but were only designed to run time off the clock. I looked at my wife and said “Oh my God – they are playing not to lose – they’re going to lose.”

We then sat back and watched Green Bay blow it. Seattle came out aggressive on offense, Green Bay went in to a tentative prevent defense. Thus they gave Seattle room to work and didn’t tackle crisply. Seattle scored quickly. Then they went for two points while Green Bay looked to be in shock and unable to recover from the TD. Boom! 22 – 15.

Seattle then hit an onside kick. Everyone knew what was going to happen. Even though Green Bay knew what was coming, the Green Bay player was so afraid of screwing up that he screwed up big time. Seattle recovered. Green Bay was now a team scared of its own shadow and BAM!, Seattle scores again quickly. Tie game.

Green Bay gets the ball back, does nothing and time runs out. The game goes into overtime with Seattle on the all out offensive and Green Bay scared to see what will happen next. What happened next is just what Green Bay feared. Seattle went for the big play. Green Bay continued to play tentative, afraid to make a mistake and BANG! Seattle went for the big play, Green Bay let it happen, Seattle scores – game over – Seattle wins!

I have seen this happen so many times. Just two weeks ago, I saw the Iowa men’s basketball team lose badly after running up a big lead against Michigan State. It even happened to me once in a racket ball game. I was behind 19 – 2 in a game to 21, win by 2. I saw my opponent let his heels down and thought to myself “He’s playing not to lose – I think I can get him.” Won the game 25 – 23.

What is the relation of athletic contests to things that really matter – selecting and electing people who make decisions that affect our lives greatly on a day to day basis? You can’t deny that the difference between a Republican and Democrats is the difference between decent paying jobs and jobs that pay well below a living wage. It is the difference between being able to access health care without going bankrupt or no. It is the difference between good public education and public money going to education privatizers. It is the difference between insured savings and banks that act like casinos with your money.

Yet, despite such stark differences voters chose to vote for candidates that expressly said they would vote against what voters truly wanted. Now we are facing two years of Republicans doing all they can to destroy all Democratic legacy from both 20th and 21st centuries. Won’t voters be surprised when they find out what Republicans are all about.

For some reason voters seemed to have no idea what the Republicans truly stand for. Thank the media and the advertising blitz that all that money bought. It so confused voters that they voted for liberal issues and against the politicians who could make them happen. Or for the most part they didn’t vote at all because they were so turned off by the process wishing a pox on both their houses. Unfortunately in a political race even if only one person votes, someone wins.

Democrats need to quit looking over their shoulders to see what Republicans are doing. Forget them. Go to the people. Tell them what your plans are and how they can be accomplished, and how citizen involvement is a major part of making it happen. Let Republicans scramble as Democrats forge ahead for with policies FOR people. PLAY TO WIN – do not play not to lose

No more support for Republican policies. Let them now be exposed for the charlatans they are. Don’t give them a chance to claim their legislation is bipartisan because one Democrat in either house voted for it. Believe me there will never be enough good in a Republican sponsored bill to outweigh the damage it will do. Let them compromise a before we give away the store.

Play to win. Get to the press. Demand a seat on the Sunday shows and put someone on there that speaks democratic. Someone who can articulate what Democrats can do and what real harm Republican legislation. Be forceful, be truthful and be fully prepared to confront and refute lies, not only from Republicans but also from the network talking heads.

Now is the time to go to battle and play the very best game you can. And play to win to the very end. The world – its economy, its climate, its peace – is literally depending on you.

And remember democratic policies worked well before and brought peace and prosperity and they will work again.

Progressives Analyze Steve King’s So-Called Freedom Summit

my favorite

my favorite


2016 Watch: National, Local Experts To Preview Steve King’s ‘Freedom Summit’ Today

Des Moines, Iowa — Today, national and local experts will preview the Freedom Summit being held on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. Potential [Republican] presidential candidates will attend and speak at the summit, in an attempt to gain favor with Congressman Steve King and Iowa’s extreme conservatives in advance of the 2016 Iowa caucus. The Summit is hosted by King and the group Citizens United.

“It’s terrifying that the Congressman who compared immigrants to dogs, doesn’t expect to find gay people in heaven, and believes God will use the next Republican President to ‘restore the soul of America’ will play the role of Presidential kingmaker this weekend,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa.

Local leaders from Iowa, California, Texas, New Hampshire, Georgia, Wisconsin, Utah, and Pennsylvania will provide background information and research about the speakers attending Saturday’s summit. Governors Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, and Senators Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, are all expected to attend, among others.

WHAT: Preview of Steve King’s Iowa ‘Freedom Summit’ by national and local experts
WHEN: Friday, January 23rd, 1:30 PM CST
WHERE: Mickle Center Conference Room, 1620 Pleasant St, Des Moines, IA

Via Teleconference:
Reply to to RSVP

WHO: Matt Sinovic, Executive Director, Progress Iowa
Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director, Iowa Citizen Action Network
Brad Woodhouse, President, American Bridge 21st Century
Eddie Kurtz, Executive Director, Courage Campaign
Ed Espinoza, Executive Director, Progress Texas
Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director, Granite State Progress
Bryan Long, Executive Director, Better Georgia
Scot Ross, Executive Director, One Wisconsin Now
Maryann Martindale, Executive Director, Alliance for a Better Utah
John Neurohr, Communications Director, Keystone Progress


Matt Sinovic
Executive Director | Progress Iowa

Notice Of Public Hearing On HF 80

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa Legislature
Public Hearings
Legislative Services Agency – Legislative Information Office –

HF 80 – A bill for an act establishing the state percent of growth and including effective date
provisions. (Formerly HSB 58)
Sponsored by the Education Committee –
Monday, January 26, 2015
7:00 PM (introductions begin)
After introductions, the hearing will be for two hours in the RM 103.

General Requirements:

Speaking time per individual for the public hearing on HF 80 will be 3 minutes (written testimony is encouraged but not required). Written testimony or comments maybe emailed to

The cut off time to sign up to speak is 5 p.m. on Monday the 26th.

Persons wishing to speak or leave comments available to the public via the legislative website may sign up electronically at Public Hearings.

You may also sign up at the Legislative Information Office (LIO), Room G16, located in the Iowa State Capitol or call 515-281-5129 if you have questions. Please do not leave a recorded message by telephone.

Meghan Nelson, MPA
Assistant Chief Clerk
Iowa House of Representatives

Iowa Superintendents Reject Branstad Education Budget


Loebsack Statement On The State Of The Union Address

dave loebsack updatedWashington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement this evening after President Obama delivered the State of the Union address.

“Since first being elected, my number one priority has been to fight to expand the middle class. As a nation, we must work to create jobs and grow the economy here at home so the middle class, and those working hard to join the middle class, have the tools necessary to pull themselves up and fulfill the American dream. I am pleased that the President laid out his plan and look forward to working with him to move our state and nation forward.

“As a former teacher, I am especially interested in the President’s proposal to provide two years of community college for free to all interested students. To truly succeed in this 21st century global economy, it will make more than just a high school degree. I have long said that community colleges are the principal intersection between education and workforce development and strongly believe that we need to ensure everyone who is qualified has access to a high-quality education.

“The future of economic development in Iowa and across the country depends, in large part, on access to the internet and specifically broadband. Just over the weekend, I met with local and economic development officials who stressed the importance of expanding high speed internet. Broadband would also provide small and rural schools the power to vastly expand their educational options, providing students with a cutting-edge 21st century education regardless of geography.”