Can it only be a year until we can finally say goodbye to Chuck? Once an actual senator, Chuck Grassley has turned into little more than a teabag tool as he uses his seniority and influence to stop anything and everything that would keep your government and mine functioning. Since Obama became president, it has been pretty apparent that Chuck sees his mission as an obstructor of the first order.
In short, Chuck allows little if anything to happen in his capacity as Senate Judiciary chair. Since the Senate Judiciary Committee is really important, Chuck can gum things up pretty damned good. Currently, Chuck is in a snit because he didn’t get in on the early Hillary Clinton email action. Chuck thinks the State Department isn’t giving him enough respect, so no more diplomats for them.
“I will object because the Department of State has failed to fully respond to almost a dozen outstanding letters dating back to 2013,” Grassley said. “In addition, on August 20, 2015, my staff met with Department officials in an effort to prioritize material for production. The Department has failed to comply with its commitments.”
Grassley has sent multiple request[s] to administration officials, including the State Department, over issues ranging from human trafficking to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. The Iowa Republican noted that his objections were partly tied to Congress’s probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server. […]
With Wednesday’s hold, Grassley is now blocking 22 State Department nominees. He added the decision to block on Egan’s nomination “is not intended to question the credentials of Mr. Egan in any way.”
This follows on the heels of his one man mission to stop all appointments to the federal judiciary. Chuck decided on his own it seems that there will be no more judges approved by his committee while Obama is president. Wouldn’t want that. He’ll no doubt wait for President Trump or President Carson to make any moves. Let’s see how bad it is. According to Matt Sinovic of “Why Courts Matter Iowa”:
“Senator Grassley is on pace to be the most obstructionist Judiciary Committee chair since 1953,” Sinovic says.
Grassley took over as Judiciary Committee chairman in January. The committee conducts hearings and votes on the people the president nominates to serve as federal judges. A handful of nominees have made it through that process so far this year.
“There are 67 vacancies across the country, including 31 that have been declared judicial emergencies and what that means is that these vacancies have been languishing so long that Americans are waiting for their day in court,” Sinovic says. “According to the Alliance for Justice, the total number of days for those 67 vacancies that have been open is for 28,533 days.”
When people say the government doesn’t do a damned thing, then that is our Chuck they are talking about.
He has taken time to vote to close Planned Parenthood however, showing that there is a pulse. No doubt as long as Chuck can he will work to put women in their place.
Stopping government at the bargain rate of only $175,000 a year. Can I get a refund?
Charles Pierce on the Lawrence O’Donnell Show Thursday night:
“We only allow ourselves two political parties in this country and one of our political parties is completely insane. It’s the party that when we have mine disasters blocks mine regulation. It’s the party that when we want to fix our roads we can’t have an infrastructure bill and you can’t raise gas tax. It’s the party that when we have floods like New Jersey, mark Chris Christie lousy because he accepted help from the federal government. And we have the same party which now has between three and six hundred candidates running for president none of whom will do anything about the mass shootings in America. So I mean, I am politicizing the hell out of this thing and I don’t care.”
http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word#!#full-episodes from 37:00 to 38:00 minutes
Couldn’t agree more.
Were you paying attention?
1) What Republican presidential candidate revealed their tax plan Monday that included a big slice for themselves?
2) Well we are finally in a month that has a Democratic debate. What day will this be held?
3) Can it be nearly a century? October 1, 1908 what rolled off the assembly lines of Detroit for the first time?
4) In a real surprise what oil company abandoned oil exploration in the Arctic Monday?
5) Pres. Obama met with world leaders Pope Francis and Xi Jinping last week. Who did he meet with at the beginning of this week?
6) Republican congressmen were embarrassed by what president of Planned Parenthood during hearings last week?
7) Kevin McCarthy volunteered on national TV that the Benghazi hearings were actually held just to take down what Democratic politician?
8) Tomorrow is the First Monday in October. What significance does this have for our government?
9) Iowa Republican big wigs led by Bruce Rastetter endorsed the nearly dead candidacy of what Republican presidential hopeful?
10) Government job numbers for September were what?
11) Following the Planned Parenthood hearings in the House Tuesday, a clinic was set on fire in what major US city?
12) It was reported this week that Pope Francis met with what now notorious low level Kentucky politician last week?
13) An Arizona family called police after their dog’s house was crushed by what that fell from the sky?
14) Rush Limbaugh called this discovery a “a technique to advance the leftist agenda.” What out of this world discovery was he talking about?
15) Money and politics. What presidential candidate became the first to surpass 1 million donations?
16) How many school shootings have occurred in the US in calendar 2015 so far?
17) What group called for the resignation of Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter last week?
18) A former police officer and lawyer was arrested in Waverly for selling what to undercover law enforcement agents last week?
19) Jeb! Bush once more stepped in it when a question about the Oregon tragedy drew what nonchalant response from him?
20) Mighty late in the season, but what hurricane gave the east coast fits this weekend?
I will try to think happy thoughts of Republicans someday facing up to reality and doing their duty
1) Donald Trump. Presidenting can be profitable
2) October 13th from Las Vegas
3) the Model T
4) Shell – at least for this year
5) Vladimir Putin and Raul Castro
6) Cecile Richards
7) Hillary Clinton (this is highly illegal folks)
8) The new session of the Supreme Court begins
9) Chris Christie
10) 142,000 new jobs. 67 consecutive months of job growth.
11) Thousand Oaks, California (far suburb of LA)
12) Kim Davis
13) twenty eight pounds of marijuana
14) water on Mars. No one understands what Rush was talking about.
15) Bernie Sanders
17) The Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty at the University of Iowa
18) fake money (aka counterfeit) that he had made
19) “Stuff happens”
20) Hurricane Joaquin
Enjoy the beautiful weather
Teabaggers dreams were quashed Wednesday afternoon when the US House passed the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for another 2 months. The bill was described as a “clean” bill – that is it had no amendments. That was not for want of trying.
Public Citizen published a letter signed by over 150 organizations listing some of the “inappropriate and ideological policy riders” and asking that congress members and the President reject these riders.
The list is rather amazing in the scope of what some members of congress tried to do on the back of a must pass piece of legislation. Below is the list they published. Remember this is only a partial list:
* Prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from updating one of our most important air quality standards-the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone (Senate EPA Interior).
• Prohibit the Department of Labor from finalizing or enforcing a rule that would ensure retirement savers are getting sound financial advice on their retirement savings (House Labor HHS).
• Force the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to redo a study on forced arbitration, a tactic increasingly used by corporations to deny consumers and or employees access to the courts to settle disputes (House Financial Services).
• Eliminate any funding for the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, created by Congress to provide federal agencies with scientific evidence to improve the safety, affordability and accessibility of health care to the American public (House Labor HHS).
• Bar the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from issuing a final rule, years in the making, to protect workers from toxic silica dust until it spends up to $800,000 on an unnecessary scientific study to provide “epidemiological justification” for imposing exposure limits, ensuring further delay and more diseases and deaths. When the new rule is established, it will prevent 700 deaths a year and 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually (Senate Labor HHS).
• Roll back rules by the National Labor Relations Board to modernize and streamline the election process, block the Board’s efforts to ensure that workers can negotiate with companies that control their wages and working conditions, and strip workers in commercial operations on tribal lands from the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (House Labor HHS).
• Weaken a pending Food and Drug Administration rule on liquid nicotine and flavored cigars by exempting these tobacco products currently on the market from any regulation; this will limit the agency’s ability to protect children and teens from these harmful products (House Agriculture FDA).
• Block the Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending; derail the IRS from defining political activity for nonprofits, and prevent the administration from requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending (House Financial Services).
• Continue to block rules that would place limits on the number of hours truckers could work without an adequate rest break despite safety concerns that trucker fatigue causes serious crashes and significantly increase truck size and weight limits. (House and Senate Transportation HUD).
• Eliminate the recently finalized Environmental Protection Agency rule defining which waters are subject to protections under the Clean Water Act (House and Senate Energy and Water).
• Block science-based protections under the Endangered Species Act for numerous species, including the iconic gray wolf (House Interior EPA).
• Roll back financial regulations in areas ranging from protections against irresponsible mortgage lending to limits on excessive borrowing by large banks, to undermining the effectiveness of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Senate Financial Services and General Government).
• Prevents the Food and Drug Administration from improving generic drug safety labeling so that it better protects patients (House Agriculture FDA).
• Prevent the administration from cracking down on contractors that don’t comply with workplace laws (House and Senate Labor HHS).
• Place arbitrary restrictions on evidence supporting a healthy diet from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and undermine nutritional standards for school foods provided to millions of American schoolchildren (House and Senate Labor HHS Agriculture FDA).
• Roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s strong Net Neutrality rules, or put barriers in place that prevent the FCC from enforcing these protections for Internet openness and affordability (House and Senate Financial Services).
• Zero-out funding for private fair housing enforcement grants; prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Justice from enforcing a rule that provides a unified standard for challenging discriminatory housing policies and practices; and prevent HUD from implementing a rule to empower local policymakers to create local solutions to address persistent barriers to fair housing choice (House CJS, Transportation HUD).
• Eliminate any funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, cutting the preventive care — including family planning services, well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections — that nearly 4.6 million people currently rely on (House Labor HHS).
My guess is most if not all of these are Republican proposed amendments. They are not working for the good of the country, are they?
Many Iowans are expressing concern about Governor Branstad’s unilateral decision to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid program. If fully implemented, the Governor’s decision would have negative impacts on Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens and Iowa’s healthcare providers.
I’m concerned that people in our communities will be denied critical medical services and that local providers will not be adequately reimbursed for the medical care of patients. The long-term care of severely disabled adults and children makes up the bulk of Medicaid services in Iowa. Medicaid also covers prenatal care to pregnant women, health insurance for low-income children, and health care for low-income seniors and others.
The Governor’s plan is to turn over the care of more than a half-million Iowans—one in five Iowans—to four managed care companies by January 1, 2016. With this change, we will see administrative costs jump from 3 to 15 percent, reaching $600 million. At the same time, the overall cost to the state is supposed to fall by $100 million a year.
The math doesn’t add up. The only way these companies can collect the multimillion dollar profits guaranteed them is by denying critical services to Iowans and by failing to fully pay local health care organizations for services they provide.
The managed care companies have yet to sign contracts with the state, so providers are being asked to sign contracts that don’t include reimbursement rates. Medicaid recipients and their families have good reason to be worried about the future.
Iowans who depend on Medicaid and the people and organizations that care for them need more time. That’s why I’m calling on the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reject the Governor’s plan to put Iowa’s Medicaid Program in private hands or make major changes to it.
The federal government invests a significant amount in Iowa Medicaid services. We have a responsibility to federal taxpayers and to Iowans who need these services. We need to make sure, for example, that patient outcomes continue to improve and that access to health care is not decreased.
We all need to work together to make sure quality health care services remain available to local seniors, people with physical and mental disabilities, and mothers and children.
Share your concerns
If you are concerned about the Governor’s reckless privatization of Iowa Medicaid, make your voice heard.
– I’ll be hosting a listening post. Please join me if the changes to Medicaid will impact you or your loved ones. The meeting will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 27, at the Burlington Public Library—Meeting Room A, 210 Court Street, Burlington.
– I also encourage you to share your views with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by writing to Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244.
Where you can learn more
To learn more about privatizing Medicaid in Iowa, go to www.dhs.iowa.gov/ime/about/initiatives/MedicaidModernization.
In addition, the Iowa Department of Human Services is hosting meetings to help local Iowans understand what the transition means for them. These include:
* For Medicaid recipients and their families:
– Wednesday, October 14, 5 to 7 p.m., Davenport Public Library, Meeting Room B (321 N. Main Street, Davenport).
– Monday, October 19, 4 to 6 p.m., Burlington Public Library, Meeting Rm A (210 Court Street, Burlington).
* For community partners, advocates and other stakeholders (to attend stakeholder meetings, you must register at www.dhs.iowa.gov/node/1049):
– Monday, October 12, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Scott Community College – Student Life Ctr. (500 Belmont Road, Riverdale).
– Tuesday, October 13, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Pzazz Event Center (3001 Winegard Drive, Burlington).
Get answers to your questions
Medicaid recipients with questions or concerns can call Members Services at 1-800-338-8366.
Questions from providers should be directed to the Provider Services Call Center at 1-800-338-7909.
With the Iowa caucuses approaching you can go to any Republican event and hear one of the mass of Republican candidates harp over and over on the theme of terrorism and the presidential “duty” to “keep America safe.”
Yet what they won’t tell you is that Americans are most at danger not from their comic book grasp of terrorists thousands of miles away but are more in danger from the guy next door who owns an arsenal and has an ax to grind. Often the perceived threat is some slight that has grown in their mind as a fire fanned by the flames of hate radio and television “news” cable channels, that use hate and fear to attract eyeballs for their sponsors.
The deaths for Americans in all our wars is about 1.5 million. The most costly war in terms of lives lost was our Civil War where just short of 650,000 died. Gun deaths in the United States average between 30,000 and 35,000 per year. That means that since 1990 Americans have killed more Americans than were killed in our Civil War. Since the dawning of the Peace movements of the 1960s we have killed enough others to surpass all our casualties in all of our wars. We are at war with ourselves.
As in all wars there are those who see the horrors of war as a great time to make money. Who can forget the specter of VP Cheney making millions on a war he helped start? We have a similar specter as gun merchants will see their sales and profits rise in the shadow of yet another high profile mass murder. We will also once more see the National Rifle Association profit as they protect the gun industry and fan the flames of fear to drive sales. These are the darkest angels of our democracy.
Every day lives are shattered in this country. People going about their normal day are shot and killed or maimed for life. These victims are left to fend for themselves often with only some form of public assistance for income as they can no longer work. Family’s lives are shattered beyond description and bills mount up for victims. We seldom hear of these consequences from our mostly worthless media. We hear of the deaths, we hear of the motives of the shooter and their background, but we never hear of the shattered lives left in the aftermath.
Once more we will hear the gun defenders telling us not to politicize this issue at this time. Do we politicize voting rights when a state passes a truly horrible bill disenfranchising minorities? Damn right we do. Did President Bush use 9/11 to politicized a vendetta against Iraq? Damn right he did. Now is the very best time to talk about guns in this country. We talk about issues when the issue is hot. Currently, Republicans continue to try to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the fake documentary videos and the lies blasted by Carly Fiorina at the Republican debate.
Daily we have Republicans fan the fear of terrorism in this country. Deaths from terrorism are practically nonexistent in this country. You can see that in the chart above. But the chances of your parents, your brothers or sisters, your child or some other loved one or friend being shot down going about their daily business or attending school are much greater. Imagine the lives of a family left with with burying a child and trying to put their lives back together. I think of it daily. That is true terror.
One of my criteria in choosing a presidential candidate will be not their stance on the current definition of terror, but what they will do restore America to a place where we can work, shop, play, attend school without the fear of some person with a gun out to settle a perceived wrong. In short I expect the next president and congress to secure the domestic peace.
While our focus is once more on the worst of gun tragedies, statistically there were 90 other gun deaths in America Thursday. No doubt several involved young children, no doubt some involved family discord. But no doubt all left shattered family and friends behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s hard to disagree with Bernie Sanders (I-VT): a political revolution is needed to make sustained, progressive change in the U.S. political system.
It takes more than a president.
“No president, not the best intentioned in the world can implement the changes we need in this country without a political revolution,” Sanders said at the University of Chicago on Sept. 28. “I am talking about the need to transform the political system.”
Unless Sanders can inspire more Americans to participate in the political process, any top-down plan for revolution is set to fail. He knows this.
“There is nothing that I am telling you today that is pie in the sky, that is Utopian. Nothing,” Sanders said. “We can accomplish all of that and more, but we will not accomplish that if 80 percent of young people do not vote. We will not accomplish that if 63 percent of the American people do not vote.”
Let’s say Sanders overtakes Hillary Clinton’s double-digit lead for the Democratic nomination for president. There is time for him to do that, and key Clinton endorsers acknowledge privately it is possible.
Much of the Democratic establishment in Iowa, including former senator Tom Harkin, has endorsed Clinton. Journeyman blogger Pat Rynard details some of them here. If Clinton secures the endorsement of Democratic politicos and Sanders wins the Iowa caucuses, what then?
What we know, or should, is once the nomination is finalized the party needs a kumbaya moment to elect the nominee. Mine is a history of picking losers when I have caucused in Iowa. Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, John Kerry (won caucus, lost presidential election), and John Edwards. I’m well familiar with having to settle for someone who was not my first choice.
Some, like aficionado of the sport of kings Jerry Crawford, will pivot or lose what credibility they have left. The rest will go along with mixed levels of enthusiasm. That’s not the core issue.
Without legislative support any president’s agenda is reduced to a small number of victories combined with executive actions. The power of the presidency is not insignificant, however, implementing the proposals evident in almost every Sanders speech will prove impossible if the Congress continues to be dominated by money, corruption and the influence of corporations. To be effective, the new president will need congressional support in the form of an Iowa congressional delegation consisting of more than Dave Loebsack (IA-02).
We each have some take-away from Pope Francis’ visit to the United States last week. Mine was his pointing to the bas-relief portrait of Moses by Jean de Marco hanging in the House chamber. It may take a Moses figure to lead us out of the political quagmire where we find ourselves in exile from the democracy created by the founders.
“You are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face,” Pope Francis said on role of Congress. We are a long way from that, and both Sanders and Clinton know it.
My bet is on Clinton winning the nomination, but a focus solely on the presidential horse race misses Sanders’ point. Winning the general election is by no means a slam dunk for Democrats. Key to Democratic success in 2016 is organizing now to bring more people into the process. This is where the use of corporate money, control of the media, and emphasis on religion is serving Republicans.
While voter registration matters to the party, its importance is eroded by the clear expression of more than a third of the electorate that “No Party” is better than any party. The focus on the Iowa caucuses and the presidential pick is a distraction from what we need to do to accomplish Sanders’ revolution.
There are no easy answers to Sanders’ call for a revolution. As long as Democrats focus on the horse race, revolutions will remain a part of history — something to distract us from today’s problems, the ones many avoid confronting.
We’ve been saying this all along.
With Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the media giveth and the media taketh away.
That’s the basic argument outlined in The Washington Post by political scientist John Sides, who attributed Trump’s recent decline in the polls to a sudden dropoff in media coverage.
After Trump announced his candidacy earlier this year, Sides noted that he rode a media blitz to a zenith of polling popularity near the end of the summer. But that wave of publicity has since crested, more or less correlating with waning poll numbers:
Sides dismisses the notion, raised earlier this month by Politico’s Jack Shafer, that Trump has been adversely affected by negative coverage. All in all, Sides says, coverage of Trump hasn’t been so unfavorable as to jeopardize his standing with potential voters. And the polls seem to reflect a disregard for the tenor of the coverage in general.
During this time period, the tone of coverage appears to matter much less than the volume. Statistical models that try to account for the potential inter-relationships between media coverage and polls show that the volume of Trump’s coverage is helping to drive his poll numbers, and vice versa.
Ever wonder why you rarely see Robert Kennedy, Jr. on the TV? Possibly because he is the most knowledgeable and articulate spokesman for the environment there is, and he is unafraid to tell the truth about corporate greed. Prepare to be blown away when you read this.
Excerpts from an article that originally appeared on EcoWatch.
by Stefanie Spear
At this year’s Waterkeeper Alliance conference in Boulder, Colorado, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. delivered a provocative unscripted keynote that lambasted the carbon lobby for undermining democracy and subverting the common right to a healthy environment.
Speaking to a group of activists, including more than 200 Waterkeepers from 30 nations, Kennedy declared, “We are engaged, as Abraham Lincoln said, ‘in a great Civil War.’” This time, he said, “the conflict involves all the Earth’s peoples. It’s not just a battle to protect our waterways, our livelihoods, our property and our backyards. It’s a struggle for our sovereignty, our values, our health and our lives. It’s a battle for dignified humane and wholesome communities. It’s a defensive war against toxic and economic aggression by Big Oil and King Coal. It’s a struggle to break free of the ‘soft colonialism’ of carbon’s corporate tyranny and create an economic and energy system that is fair, rooted in justice, economic independence and freedom.”
“Polluters,” he explained, “assault soft targets first—and that means the poor.” He recounted how the majority of toxic industrial sites and noxious facilities are in lower income communities where residents lack political power or connections to protect themselves. He gave examples of these environmental injustices including, Emelle, Alabama, which is home to the largest toxic waste dump in America—one of the country’s most impoverished regions where one-third of the residents live below the poverty line and more than 65 percent of the residents are black—Chicago’s south side, which has more toxic waste sites than any other American community and East Los Angeles, a primarily black and Hispanic community, which is the most contaminated zip code in America.
“In these communities,” he said, “Not just the land and water, but the people have been commoditized—and everything becomes expendable in the drive for corporate profits.”
But he added, “It’s not just the poor who are under assault. The corporate hunger for profit is threatening all people with loss of their natural world and the other assets of their patrimony.”
Kennedy said that corporate efforts to privatize the commons are occurring in all parts of the world and that “environmental injury correlates almost perfectly with political tyranny.”
“In China, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, environmental destruction went hand in hand with political despotism and corruption,” he continued. “Thanks to the Pinochet regime, the forests and waters of Chile are no longer owned by the Chilean people. Every single river in Chile is now owned by a Spanish company, Endessa which plans to dam all of them for private profit. So the people of that nation no longer own their rivers, they don’t own their forests. Even the highways, railroads, utilities, airports, stadiums and prisons—all the public spaces that once formed our civic lives are being occupied by private and corporate wealth.”
To give context to the history, Kennedy talked about the many environmental insults in the 1960’s that spurred the modern-day environmental movement, including the 1963 extinction of the Eastern Peregrine Falcon from DDT poisoning, the burning of the Cuyahoga River, the Santa Barbara oil spill and the declaration that Lake Erie was dead, which all occurred in 1969. The Santa Barbara spill held the record for the largest oil spill until Exxon Valdez and the BP Deepwater Horizon. In those three examples, polluters had effectively privatized a major American river, one of the Great Lakes and all the beaches in Southern California.
In response to such insults, in 1970, 20 million Americans, 10 percent of our population, came out on the streets for the first Earth Day in “a democratic reassertion of popular sovereignty over the common’s, those crowds demanded that our political leaders return to the American people the ancient environmental rights that had been stolen from our citizens since the Industrial Revolution,” Kennedy said.
In response to this massive public outpouring, Republicans and Democrats working together passed, over the next 10 years, 28 major environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, RCRA, TSCA, FIFRA, The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act and Superfund. All of these statutes were intended to restore our rights to the public commons. What happened next? “These new prohibitions against corporate pollution hurt the industry’s bottom line. So the polluters fought back,” he declared.
Throughout the next three decades, polluters funded politicians including Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan, their appointed judges and various Republican Congresses chipped away at the new environmental laws. But then, according to Kennedy, the industry achieved its most brazen and stunning victory. Kennedy said, “In the year of the millennium, the most corporate friendly Supreme Court since 1933 stopped the 2000 election vote count in Florida and stole the presidency from Senator Al Gore, the greenest presidential candidate in our history. That decision turned the White House over to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, two Texas oilmen.”
Even as they dismantled America’s environmental laws by statute, Bush and Cheney stocked the regulatory agencies with industry lackeys and profiteering cronies who weakened and auctioned off America’s public lands and forests to the campaign contributors at fire sale prices, according to Kennedy.
But George W. Bush wasn’t done. He next appointed two ultra-corporatist U.S. Supreme Court Justices—John G. Roberts in 2005 and Samuel Alito in 2006. Kennedy said that it is wrong to think of these judges as traditional conservatives. “They are not. They are corporatists. If you analyze their decisions, there is no coherent conservative political philosophy. They have taken the ‘conserve’ out of conservatism. The only predictable outcome of their rulings is that ‘the corporation always wins.’”
The apogee of their unctuous worship of unsheathed corporate power was the Supreme Court’s 2010 5 to 4 decision in favor of Citizens United, which, as Kennedy proclaimed, “turned American democracy over to large corporations.”
The so called “Citizens United” decision is the “most sweeping expansion of corporate power this century. In an acrimonious split decision, the five ‘conservative’ justices declared that, in the eyes of the Constitution, corporations were people and money is speech,” continued Kennedy.
“And today it’s hard to argue that we still have a democracy in this country when you have the Koch brothers, the two richest people in America, who have pledged already to put nearly $900 million into this presidential election, which is comparable to the amount spent by either political party,” said Kennedy. “This year’s presidential election is going to cost $10 billion with half of that coming from 100 wealthy families. Nearly $1 billion is coming from two brothers.”
And, said Kennedy, “You will hear no criticism from the press, the supposed guardians of our democracy. And that’s because most of that money will go to media advertising—the 4th estate has been bought off.”
“Whether we recognize it or not, we are all locked in a life and death struggle with these corporations over control of our landscapes and political sovereignty,” Kennedy said. “If a foreign nation did to our country what the coal and oil barons do every day, we would consider it an act of war! They poison our rivers and aquifers, steal our fish, flood our cities and trample our democracy. They are pilfering our values, robbing our culture, impoverishing our lives, sickening our children and stupefying our minds with pollution. They subvert our heritage by privatizing our patrimony. They are turning America into a colonial economy.
“Under the colonial model multinational corporations exploit weak political systems to commoditize and privatize a nation’s resources. A robust democracy would never allow a foreign company to plunder the nation’s natural resources, poison her landscapes and subjugate her people. So colonialism requires the multinationals to weaken and capture the indigenous political system of the target nation. They do so by making alliances with local oligarchs with military and intelligence apparatus and conservative religious organizations and buying off the media. All these indigenous elites get a share of the profits in exchange for allowing the theft of their country’s resources. Pollution is not just theft—it is treason. The Koch brothers are not just America’s biggest polluters—they are thieves and they are traitors to our country and their crimes against America and humanity have made them the richest men on Earth.
Corporations are a useful economic tool. However, “corporations should not be running our government because they don’t want the same thing for America as Americans want,” he continued. “They don’t want democracy. They want profits. They want no competition. They are corrupting our democracy. They are stealing everything that we care about in this country.
“I believe in a true free market where you can’t make yourself rich without making your neighbors rich and without enriching your community, where we properly value our national resources and where we reward efficiency. But polluters make themselves rich by making everybody else poor. They raise standards of living for themselves while lowering quality of life for everybody else. They undervalue natural resources or take them for free. And they do it all by escaping the discipline of the free market. Polluters externalize their costs to artificially lower the price of their product. The 28 environmental laws that we passed after the first Earth Day in 1970 were intended to restore true free market capitalism by forcing actors in the marketplace to pay the true cost to bring their product to market. There is a huge difference between true free market capitalism—which makes a nation more efficient, more prosperous and more democratic—and the kind of corporate crony capitalism which we have today.”
After 45-minutes of some of the most powerful comments about the reality of the world today, Kennedy finished by telling the crowd, “But we are not going quietly. We’ve heard the summons to the barricades and we are filling the streets. We are the soldiers in a revolution against carbon. And this is an industry that no longer has a justifiable economic model.”
Pointing at the roaring crowd, he said, “Every single person here is willing to die with their boots on. That commitment is what brought you the Waterkeeper movement. We are going to keep fighting for these landscapes, for these rights, for these rivers and for all the values that we care for as a people and as a society.”
…and it all started in Iowa!
by Linda Thieman, Sioux City
The founding of chiropractic as a healing art has almost taken on the proportions of legend or myth. According to Daniel David Palmer, the late founder of chiropractic, this combination of art and science originated in 1895. Palmer had encountered a janitor who had been deaf for 17 years, claiming that the deafness had started when something in his back popped out. Already a proponent of natural healing and the science connected with it, Palmer explained his theory of spinal alignment to the janitor and was allowed to do an adjustment. The man’s hearing was immediately restored and chiropractic was born. Two years later, the Palmer School of Chiropractic was founded, and Palmer’s son, Dr. B.J. Palmer, developed it into the prestigious college that is it today.
As chiropractic took off and became popular with Americans who experienced its healing effects, the American Medical Association and Big Pharma saw the growth of this non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical treatment as a threat and started a smear campaign, according to New York Times best-selling author Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO.
In fact, the anti-chiropractic smear campaign was much more severe than the AMA “merely” setting out to destroy the reputation of the chiropractic profession by calling them “quacks” and any number of other derogatory terms. In 1976, finally completely fed up with the deliberate maligning of his life’s work in chiropractic, Dr. Chester Wilk, DC, and four other licensed chiropractors filed suit against the AMA and several other medical organizations and later won their case. During arguments, the AMA et al. had been shown to manipulate insurers so that they would not pay for chiropractic treatment, disparage chiropractic colleges, prevent the government from learning about the effectiveness of chiropractic care, hide evidence of that same effectiveness, and take part in additional activities that would allow the AMA to maintain its health-care monopoly.
Enter Dr. Jay Holder, DC. Not long after the 7th United States Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Wilk’s ruling in favor of chiropractic in 1987, Dr. Holder, a Miami Beach-based chiropractor, enlisted the aid of researcher and biostatistician, Dr. Robert Duncan, PhD, at the University of Miami Medical School. Dr. Duncan helped set up a scientific study on the effectiveness of chiropractic in terms of a patient’s overall sense of well-being, and in particular, how it would affect those dealing with addiction. But before such a study could be implemented, it would be necessary for the premise to be in a format that could be measured and reproduced. In other words, how would one account for the difference in level of pressure or technique used by chiropractors of varying sizes and strength?
Dr. Holder came up with a solution. Over a period of years, Holder both created and patented a toggle recoil instrument, called the Integrator™, and the Torque Release Technique™, which combines the best of traditional chiropractic with quantum physics. The emphasis is not linear, as in traditional chiropractic, meaning that using force to adjust the entire spine at once is abandoned in order to adjust just the primary subluxation, or misalignment. This then allows the body to adjust secondary and tertiary subluxations itself, which tends to be a much more gentle process. As Holder himself says, this substantial difference makes the TRT™ “the first technique of chiropractic’s second century.”
Because of the effectiveness of the Torque Release Technique™, the high-tech diagnostics used and the number of scientific studies backing these claims of efficacy, the TRT™ has taken the chiropractic world by storm. The Holder Research Institute in Miami Beach offers two-day trainings with a half-day refresher course to practicing chiropractors. Today, there are close to 30,000 licensed chiropractors working in the United States alone, with 5-6,000 of them officially trained in the Torque Release Technique™. What’s more, in the last few years, the TRT™ has been offered as part of the curriculum at chiropractic colleges around the country, which is one of the main reasons that the use of the TRT™ has exploded onto the American health care scene.
One of these enthusiastic, young chiropractors who is successfully using the TRT™ is Dr. Juan Muñoz, DC, of Inside-Out Family Chiropractic in Sioux City, Iowa (pictured above). Dr. Muñoz was instrumental in actually bringing the TRT to the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, when he was a student there, and finds that due to the nature of the TRT™, his practice is thriving. After just five months in business, Dr. Muñoz is looking to expand his office with another chiropractor and possibly another location.
The reason, he says, that he and the members of his chiropractic practice are so excited about this innovative chiropractic technique is that “it is getting better results in a shorter amount of time with longer lasting effects. The hardest thing about being a chiropractor is finding the area that is causing all the issues. With TRT™, you always know that you are adjusting the [root] cause of people’s health concerns.”
Dr. Juan Muñoz will be speaking at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, this week, at 1000 Brady Street. October 2, 2015, 7pm-9pm, and October 3, 8am-10am. The general public is welcome.
Linda Thieman is co-founder of Blog for Iowa and the original editor.