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Grassley, Ernst Proudly Vote Stupid

Climate change? You got a campaign contribution?

Climate change? You got a campaign contribution?

Republicans vote to deny climate change caused by human activity.

In a little reported amendment offered by Sen. Brian Schatz (D- Hawaii) our nations senators voted on whether climate change was caused by human activity.

This has been settled science for a couple of decades with the exception of some highly bribed scientists. Seems like for most people in the US that deny human activity has any connection to human activity you can find a paycheck written to them by one of the Koch brothers or someone else in the oil business.

So here are a couple of America’s top decision makers who occasionally have to make decisions based on some understanding of facts. Facts being things that are demonstrably true. In this case facts that have been proven over and over and over. Scientific facts are facts which allow us to not only show how they were true based on experience, but can also be the basis for predictions of what will come.

Climate change science has allowed us to predict with some amount of accuracy the rise in temperatures on earth and the disruption it will cause. These predictions are currently starting to come true and the forecast for what is to come is frightening.

So Grassley and Ernst are 2% of one of the most powerful groups in the world that is tasked with, among other things, dealing with climate change and its effects. AND THEY DENY IT IS HAPPENING AND DENY THE SCIENCE. They proudly vote to deny the science, to deny facts. Their denial only serves to make consequences of climate change worse as the US continues to bury its head in the sand – pushed in there by Republicans who only serve their donors and ignore the general good.

We knew Joni Ernst was bought lock, stock and barrel by the Koch brothers. No one ever tried to hide that.

Whatever Grassley’s motivation for voting to loudly proclaim his stupidity it is a more than sufficient reason for Iowans to loudly proclaim that we need a senator who is grounded in reality. Climate change will soon enough claim the corn and soybean industries in Iowa as temperatures become to hot to grow those plants here. Now is the time to remove Grassley and get started on turning climate change around.

You don’t need to worry about Chuck by the way. He has done plenty of favors for his “campaign contributors” that they will make sure he is taken care of.

joni ernst the perfect Koch investment

Branstad, Snyder Typify Republican Party

branstad2

When I think of Republicans, especially Republicans in power I think of incompetence beyond anyone’s worst nightmare. In their drive to enrich their wealthy donors, they push hard for cuts to any programs that help the poor and help maintain the middle class so they can cut taxes for the rich. Seems like there are as many examples of Republican incompetence especially in the nation’s governorships as there are grains of sand on a beach.

This week we have a couple of shining examples of Republican incompetence at their worst.

Here in Iowa old bumbley, stumbley Terry Branstad is sticking with his brilliant idea to take money from a tax earmarked for school improvement and use it for something else. It almost makes no difference what the something else is. This is the 3rd time in only 7 months that Branstad has taken aims at cutting school funds in some form or another. This is a game plan that has been used over and over again across the country to force the privatization or profitization of public schools systems.

Starve the beast it is called. The beast in this case is government. One of the largest governmental outlays in most states, Iowa included, is for public schools. Republicans believe that if they slowly take the money away from the school systems, the systems will eventually turn to a profitized system as a solution. They do so in what has been described as the “boil the frog” method. As a frog is cooked the heat is slowly turned up in such a way that when the frog finally realizes he is being boiled alive he is incapable of escaping because he is too far gone. By slowly removing money from the schools, schools must change how they function and will continue to do so until they no longer function.

So late June, Branstad vetoed a compromise from the legislature that would have given a much needed shot of one time money claiming Iowa could not afford it. Just a couple of months later Branstad moved unilaterally to cut a long existing tax on consumables for businesses. As stated by state Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City at that time:

Today, however, after large corporations lobbied him for a $37 million, on-going tax cut that legislators had rejected, Governor Branstad says Iowa can afford it. Furthermore, he says he doesn’t need the Legislature’s approval to do it.

“The agenda for the October 13 meeting of the Administrative Rules Review Committee reveals that the Branstad-Reynolds Administration is proposing a rule change to exempt consumable supplies used in manufacturing from the Iowa sales tax. If the Branstad-Reynolds Administration does not withdraw this rule, it will take effect on January 1, 2016, even though this $37 million annual tax cut has never been approved by the Iowa Legislature.

“This rule would change more than 15 years of existing policy.”

Less taxes = less money for schools.

Now Branstad wants the one percent sales tax that was long ago approved as earmarked for schools to be split for what he deems as a crisis of water quality in Iowa. There has been a crisis in water quality in Iowa for a long time. Branstad sees this as yet another opportunity to cut into school funding. If this attempt fails, expect another assault on school funding from the governor claiming some other crisis next year. Cutting school funding is his mission. All while claiming to be a friend of Iowa schools.

Meanwhile in Michigan, a real crisis of monumental proportions with toxic lead in the drinking water of Flint is being met with perhaps the worst leadership possible. What Flint needed was a leader who would have stopped the poisonous water from flowing into homes in Flint immediately when the problem was found. Then the legislature should have been called into session and money and manpower should have been dedicated to fixing what is a huge public health problem immediately.

Since Governor Snyder was part of the problem his first move as state leader was to try to hide the problem. His next order of business was to try to slough the blame onto someone else. Such tactics never work and are not doing so in the Flint crisis. Now, even at this late date Snyder still refuses to deal with reality and deal with Flint as the emergency it is. Instead he is offering Flint residents a discount for the poison that flows into their homes in the guise of water.

The connecting theme between Branstad and Snyder is that both are dedicated to continuing to deliver tax cuts to the rich. Cutting taxes for the wealthy is the connecting theme for incompetence in the Republican governor’s chairs across the country. Brownback in Kansas has driven his state to near bankruptcy in pursuit of cutting taxes while ruining public schools. Christie in New Jersey diverts federal money to cover huge budget holes. Bevin in Kentucky has already embarked on a path to take away health care from the poor and no doubt will slash other programs for the holy grail of tax cuts.

Flint water sample (hat tip to wnem.com)

Flint water sample (hat tip to wnem.com)

Is Iowa On The Brink Of An Education Crisis?

Iowa Capitol

Iowa Capitol

Action alert from Progress Iowa:

The caucuses are over, but the legislature is still in session, and there’s a lot of work left to be done.

With the help of Public Policy Polling, we recently surveyed Iowans across the state, and the results were clear:

THE VAST MAJORITY OF IOWANS BELIEVE OUR CHILDREN DESERVE AT LEAST A 4% INCREASE IN EDUCATION FUNDING

We need your help, let your state lawmakers know they cannot run from this important issue and that our children deserve better funding.

Below is a list of upcoming legislative forums. Please attend a forum near you and tell GOP lawmakers to support at least a 4% increase in education funding!

UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE FORUMS/MEETINGS

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH 2016

Representative Linda Miller-District 94
9am
Devil’s Glen Hy-Vee
2900 Devils Glen Rd, Bettendorf, IA 52722

Senator Dan Zumbach-District 48
CLICK HERE to TWEET @DanZumbach to fund education today!
10am
Delaware County Farm Bureau
115 E Delaware St, Manchester, IA 52057

Senator Randy Feenstra-District 2
CLICK HERE to TWEET @RandyFeenstra to fund education today!
12pm
Danny’s Sports Spot
1013 S 2nd St, Cherokee, IA 51012

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6TH 2016

Senator Tim Kapucian-District 20
9am
First Presbyterian Church
1025 5th Ave, Grinnell 50112

11am
Farm Bureau Office
212 W State St.
Williamsburg, IA 52361

1:30pm
Keystone Library
93 Main St. Keystone, IA 52249

Representative Ralph Watts-District 19
9am
Redfield American Legion
612 N Main St. Redfield, IA 50233

Representative Sandy Salmon-District 53
9am
Community Room
723 Main St. Plainfield, IA 50666

Senator Ken Rozenboom-District 40 and Representative Tedd Gassman-District 7
9:30am
Bridge View Center
102 Church St, Ottumwa, IA 52501

Senator Tom Shipley-District 11
10am
Cumberland Fire Station
216 Main St. Cumberland, IA 50843

Representative Zach Nunn-District 30
CLICK HERE to TWEET @FriendsforZach to fund education today!
10am
Hy-Vee Club Room
108 8th St. SW Altoona, IA 50009

Senator Mark Segebart-District 60 and Representative Brian Best-District 12
10am
Carroll Dental Associates
1406 US-71, Carroll, IA 51401

Representative Sandy Salmon-District 63
11am
Community Room
113 3rd St. Frederika, IA 50631

Why We Should Say Yes To DC Statehood

And now for a refreshing change of topic!

 

Dave Loebsack Introduces Legislation To Reunite Deported Pastor And Family

Pastor Max and family

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – There’s a new push to bring Pastor Max Villatoro back to the United States – a bill in Washington, D.C.

Thursday U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack announced the bill “For the relief of Max Villatoro.” The bill would allow Villatoro to be issued “an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.”

Rep. Loebsack is with Iowa’s Second District which encompasses Iowa City. That’s where Villatoro lived for many years.

Villatoro was the pastor at First Mennonite Church of Iowa City. He was deported to his native country of Honduras in March 2015. It was part of a national sweep of more than 2,000 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions.

Federal paperwork showed Villatoro illegally migrated to the U.S. in 1995. He then pleaded guilty in 1999 to drunken driving and tampering with records charges. In 2006, Homeland Security pursued deportation.  Villatoro was arrested by immigration officials on his way to work March 3, 2015.

Since 1999, Villatoro married, had four kids and became a Mennonite pastor in Iowa City.

Villatoro’s impending deportation sparked several protests in Iowa City.  Protestors said his case showed a flaw in the immigration system. They even delivered petitions to the Omaha Immigrations and Customs Enforcement offices calling for his release.

The Iowa City Federation of Labor passed a resolution Thursday commending Congressman Loebsack for sponsoring the bill.

Federation president Jesse Case said “Max contributed greatly to the local community, his church and his family. Ripping him from his family and community was wrong and it’s a breath of fresh air to have Congressman Loebsack work to keep the plight of Max alive and work for his return.”

At jgmimmigration.com, Gabe Ortiz writes: “As beloved faith leader in his Iowa City community for two decades, Pastor Max should not have been considered a high priority for removal under the immigration enforcement policies outlined in a November 2014 memo from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Johnson.

(click here to read more)

Iowa Democrats Should Be Proud Today

democrats hillary and bernieStatement from IDP Chair on Tonight’s Historically Close Caucus Results

More Than 170,000 Iowa Democrats Come Out to Support Our Outstanding, Pro-Middle Class Candidates

DES MOINES—IDP Chair Dr. Andy McGuire released the following statement on tonight’s 2016 Iowa Democratic Precinct Caucuses:

“Tonight we saw an historically close Iowa Democratic Caucus that featured one of our strongest turnouts ever and passion and energy from Democrats all across our state.

“After a year where Iowans took the time to see candidates, ask them thoughtful questions, and became volunteers and leaders themselves, tonight 171,109 Iowa Democrats came together with their neighbors to engage in a spirited discussion on the future of our country. We saw passionate, engaged Iowans turn out in all 99 counties, and for the first time ever, the IDP ran both a Tele-Caucus and satellite caucus locations, fulfilling our promise to expand participation and improve on an already incredible process.

“The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history. Hillary Clinton has been awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, Bernie Sanders has been awarded 695.49 state delegate equivalents, Martin O’Malley has been awarded 7.68 state delegate equivalents and uncommitted has been awarded .46 state delegate equivalents. We still have outstanding results in one precinct (Des Moines—42), which is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents. We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair.

“I want to congratulate all of our candidates for running terrific campaigns and thank them for taking the time to travel across our great state to share their visions for the country. In particular, I want to thank Governor Martin O’Malley for the time he devoted to meeting with Iowans and for sharing his vision of continued progress all across our state. His distinguished record as a mayor and governor as well as his plans for continued progress inspired the people of our state, and I look forward to his continued service to the nation and our working families.

“Finally, I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who helped run our precinct caucus locations all across the state. And most of all, I want to thank all of the Iowa Democrats who came out tonight to caucus and make their voice heard.”

Caucusing: As Easy As Voting, Just Takes Longer And Is Way More Fun

Iowa-Dem-Caucus-Logo_F

Democrats, progressives, here is your to-do list for today:

  1. Find my caucus location.
  2. Go to my caucus.

That is all.  Go to your caucus. Your caucus is in your neighborhood so weather should not deter you. You may register to vote at your caucus. You don’t have to do any math. Someone else will do the math.  You don’t have to answer any questions. You don’t even have to speak. Just show up and vote.  Thank you and Democracy thanks you.

Click here to find your caucus location:

Whereinthehellismycaucus?

For more info., caucus start times and Q & A, go to http://iowademocrats.org/about-iowa-caucuses/

Official start time is 7:00 but you should arrive early for sign-in.

 

Caucusing Made Easy

While this is a video from the Sanders campaign the mechanics of caucusing are standard and well illustrated here.

Please pay close attention to your caucus leader. He or she only does this once every 4 years. While we (yes, I am one) have been trained, there are many little rules to follow closely to make the caucus work. So we will take our time to make sure we follow the rules.

The eyes of America are on Iowa. We are all Democrats and we all have nearly the exact same goals in mind. We vary mostly in approach. Democrats in, Democrats coming out. And for the sake of the country may we win in the fall.

Sunday Funday: Happy Caucus Eve

Who will emerge tomorrow night?

Who will emerge tomorrow night?

Well I guess this is Iowa’s version of the Super Bowl. The eyes of the nation, and some around the world will be watching to see what the farmers, factory workers, clerks, small business owners, students and professionals that call Iowa home will do as they gather in community centers across the state tomorrow. Then at 9PM as if ordered by some supreme master people and equipment will be leaving Iowa en masse to swarm on the next step in the process.

While Tuesday morning may feel like the day after Christmas to many here in Iowa – you know the “is the magic really over?” feeling – Mother Nature has already chosen an activity for us. Snow removal. One of Iowa’s favorite wintertime activities will be there waiting for us the next morning. Isn’t Mother Nature wonderful?

Were you paying attention?

1) When the clown bus unloaded in Des Moines Thursday night and attendance was taken before the Republican debate one was missing. Which one?

2) Friday (Jan. 29) was the seventh anniversary of the Fair Pay Act being signed into law. This law is better known by what person’s name?

3) Iowa’s caucus system was forced to move to much earlier in the process following new rules for selecting Democratic delegates following what tumultuous convention?

4) As the biggest newspaper in the first state test of presidential politics, the Des Moines Register endorsed what two candidates last week?

5) Super Bowl next week. Who’s playing?

6) In Des Moines what Republican presidential candidate hijacked a pre-school field trip to the botanical gardens to use the kids as props for an anti-abortion rally?

7) The owner of what major league baseball team is running ads against Bernie Sanders in Iowa prior to the caucuses?

8) Last Sunday in Muscatine Donald Trump added what religious group to the long list of groups he hates?

9) Feb. 1, 1960 in Greensboro, NC, 4 black students were refused service at a Woolworth lunch counter but stayed at the counter starting what form of protest?

10) Texas tried to prosecute Planned Parenthood, but last week the prosecution had some surprise results when the grand jury instead indicted who?

11) When federal officials arrested protesters near Burns, Oregon one protester was shot and killed. This man was best known for pictures of him covered by what?

12) Canada announced they will screen travelers to Central and South America from blood donations in an attempt to slow the spread of what virus?

13) President Obama banned what for juveniles in federal prisons Monday?

14) Prior to the Republican debates in Iowa Thursday fast food workers picketed the venue with what demand?

15) A $25 repair fee seemed to be the cause of a gunfight between the owner of what kind of store, his son and two customers in Mississippi last week?

16) Iowa’s caucuses got big media attention when what democratic candidate was propelled to an eventual gig in the White House with a good showing in Iowa?

17) Now here’s endorsements that might mean something. Donald Trump was endorsed by what two U of Iowa groups at a rally at the U of Iowa Fieldhouse Tuesday?

18) What evangelical ran second to Bob Dole in Iowa’s Republican caucus in 1988?

19) McDonald’s latest offering, mozzarella sticks, is facing a hard introduction due to what problem?

20) In 2008, Hillary Clinton finished in what position in the Iowa caucuses?

Now don’t forget we are all democrats, so play well together.

Answers:

1) Donald Trump. They lost the Donald

2) Lilly Ledbetter

3) Chicago 1968

4) Hillary Clinton (dem) and Marco Rubio (rep)

5) Denver and Carolina. The game will be played in San Francisco a city that now seems to located in Santa Clara

6) Carly Fiorina

7) Chicago Cubs

8) Sikhs – Trump had a Sikh man removed who was silently holding a sign that said “Stop Hate”

9) sit-ins

10) the pair that filmed the bogus”documentary” that led to the investigation for falsifying records.

11) a blue tarp

12) The zika virus that may be the cause of microcephalic babies

13) solitary confinement

14) $15/hr. minimum wage

15) a gun store. The shop owner and his son were killed and the cutovers, also father and son, were gravely injured. Not sure who the good guy with the gun was here.

16) Jimmy Carter

17) members of the U of Iowa football and wrestling teams

18) Pat Robertson. Just imagine him as president

19) the mozzarella cheese is often missing from the sticks

20) 3rd behind Obama and Edwards

Will The Legislature Let Medical Marijuana Happen This Year?

medical marijuana

Two years ago, Iowa seemingly became the latest in a string of states to allow marijuana to be used in limited medical situations. In Iowa, the situations were centered around epilepsy. All agreed this was very necessary and very good policy.

What was missed in allowing the use of medical marijuana in Iowa was that the possession of marijuana continued to be illegal. In order to legally use marijuana a person had to possess it first which is illegal.

Last year Republicans in the Iowa legislature refused to even discuss legalizing possession of marijuana by those who needed to use it medically.

Republicans need not wonder too long why Iowans think their legislators are a joke. They won’t fund schools, they keep women’s wages stuck in the 1950s and when they do try to take a step forward it appears they can move only leg.

This is not rocket science. In order to use the marijuana that will alleviate a terrible medical problem a person must first be able to possess the marijuana. This will be a huge step forward for those who need it. To the Republicans in the Iowa legislature, please do the right thing and make it possible for those who need this drug to be able to get it.

If I was cynical I might think that their opposition was based on getting “campaign contributions” from drug companies that are working across the country to halt the use of medical marijuana. But surely that couldn’t be it.