BFIA tries to practice George Lakoff’s messaging philosophy of never repeating GOP talking points. And if you’re paying attention you will already know what this letter is about without us having to give the GOP an additional forum. Suffice it to say that awhile back Bruce Braley made a comment to a group of trial lawyers to the effect that it would be better to have someone with a legal education on the Senate judiciary committee, which Grassley doesn’t have. Big deal. Simple fact. So of course the GOP had to lie about it, take it out of context and pretend it was the biggest insult ever to farmers everywhere and feign outrage. Because Sherry Toelle’s rebuttal to a letter to the editor bringing this non-troversy up again may not get published in the conservative Iowa paper where it appeared, we’re sharing it here. Great job, Sherry! [Update: Sherry's letter has been published in today's Atlantic News-Telegraph.]
I am writing to rebut the 10-22-14 Atlantic Speak Up written by Dan and Jan Follmann. Here are the facts:
1. There have been at least nine big name Democrats campaigning in Iowa for Bruce Braley—Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Tom Harkin, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Senator Jim Webb. Only two of them slipped up on Bruce Braley’s surname. I do not know about you, Mr. & Mrs. Follmann, but people who have known me for years still say my surname incorrectly.
2. Bruce Braley has YET to serve in the US Senate. He is currently a Congressman in the US House of Representatives.
3. Bruce believes, as I do, that the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee should have a WORKING knowledge of the judicial system and of the law. His remarks regarding Senator Grassley were taken out of context. Bruce has worked hard for the agricultural community. He helped pass the Farm Bill which Joni Ernst has said that she would have voted AGAINST.
4. No record to stand on? He introduced and passed into law the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, wrote the New Era Act (creating a grant to train workers in the renewable energy industry), fought for a bipartisan Farm Bill, worked to make the Adoption Tax Credit permanent, passed the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act to expand the adaptive housing grants for disabled veterans, won back pay for members of the Iowa National Guard, opposed tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas….Need I go on?
5. As to negative advertising, it is not negative advertising to tell the facts about the opponent.
If you support Joni Ernst or Senator Grassley, that is your decision. But, when you express your opinions as facts, please ensure that those facts are correct and not the result of your party’s spin or a 30 or 60 second sound bite.
Sherry Toelle, Atlantic, Iowa
Records Show Joni Ernst’s ‘Trajectory’-Launching Koch Brother Friends Have Spent Millions Lobbying Against Renewable Fuels and Iowa Jobs This Year
Now the Oil Barons are Polluting Iowa’s Airwaves with a Million Dollar Attack Ad on Ernst’s Behalf
Topping the Koch Industry’s Lobbying Priority List:
- ü S.1195 Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act
- ü S. 1807 Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013
Washington DC – Iowa has become the latest victim of an oil spill — a Big Oil money spill.
It was reported this week that a Koch brothers-affiliated Super PAC is saturating the Hawkeye State’s airwaves with a dishonest attack ad on Joni Ernst’s behalf. Call it a friend doing a friend a favor, and expecting a big favor in return.
Remember when Ernst was caught on tape praising the billionaire oil barons for launching her career “trajectory” beyond “a little known State Senator”? Indeed, the anti-ethanol Koch family and donor network has funneled tens of thousands of dollars into her campaign, especially after Ernst professed her ‘philosophical opposition’ to the Renewable Fuel Standard despite the fact it supports nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs.
That was music to the ears of the entire oil industry which is trying to put their cleaner, cheaper ethanol competition out of business – as was Ernst’s campaign declaration that: “Joni actually believes that when you spend money, you should get something in return.”
So what do the Koch brothers expect in return for their ‘trajectory’ launching investment in Ernst’s political future? According to new report from Environment & Energy Publishing, Koch Industries has spent nearly $9.5 million on its advocacy operations so far this year …That’s a significant hike from the almost $8 million that the oil and gas giant spent on lobbying at this point last year.”
And according to the latest U.S. Senate lobbying reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, two of the top legislative priorities that the Koch Industries lobbied for included the Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act (S.1195) and the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013 (S.1807).
Jeremy Funk, Comm. Dir. Americans United for Change:
“The anti-ethanol Koch brothers are counting up all the favors they’ve done for their friend Joni Ernst, and it’s approaching the million mark. And they’re not the type of guys who forget about it. Would Exxon Ernst be able to say ‘no’ to her big oil friends when they call in a favor that runs counter to Iowa’s economic interests? Would she look the other way when the Kochs spend another $10 million lobbying the Senate to kill the RFS and Iowa jobs? With stakes so high for Iowa’s future, Ernst’s loyalties shouldn’t be this big of a question mark – but unfortunately they are.”
John Boehner’s campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee – just earmarked $900,000 (yes, you read that right) of Iowa TV airtime to distort Dave Loebsack’s record of fighting for working class families.
They are hoping this huge money dump could sway the outcome of the election.
But this is a grassroots campaign and our congressman has a proven record of working for Iowans, not corporations. That’s why they’re after him.
Don’t let them win.
#1 First order of business, if you haven’t voted yet, go vote now.
#2 Next, sign up to volunteer for Dave’s campaign or for your local GOTV effort with your county Democratic party. Click here to find your local field office: http://www.iowademocrats.org/find-your-field-office/
#3 Donate to Dave’s campaign here.
“Joni Ernst is the perfect mental and moral blank slate kind of candidate that attracts billionaires like the Koch brothers, and ALEC and big money.” Watch and wonder no more about exactly what the Kochs expect in return for their investment.
“Because I grew up in an America that was investing in education for all of our kids.”
owans are experiencing real impacts from climate change, including heavier rains and increased flooding. Human health effects from climate change are just as real and are already being felt in Iowa, according to a statement released today by statewide group of 180 Iowa scientists.
“Climate change is negatively impacting our water quality, increasing exposures to allergens and air pollutants, introducing new infectious diseases, and imposing increased stress on Iowa families,” said Peter Thorne, Professor and Head of the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
The scientists say the health related effects of extreme weather events are the most obvious, immediate, and direct. These events are increasing in frequency and severity as our atmosphere warms and holds more moisture.
“Repeated heavy rains increase human exposure to toxic chemicals and raw sewage that are spread by flood waters,” said David Osterberg, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa.
Degraded water quality is also directly associated with climate change. “In farm states like Iowa, higher water temperatures combine with high nutrient levels to create large harmful algal blooms which make water unsuitable for human and animal consumption and for recreation,” stated Osterberg.
“The Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans,” which was released last week, was signed by 180 science faculty and research staff from 38 Iowa colleges and universities. The statement is the 4th Annual Iowa Climate Statement issued by Iowa scientists and researchers.
“The strong support for the statement reflects the consensus among Iowa science faculty and research staff that action is needed now to lower emissions and find new ways to adapt to climate changes in order to reduce the risks of new health problems,” stated Dave Courard-Hauri, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University.
Climate change is also making it more difficult for many Iowans to breathe. Plants produce more pollen, pollen that is increasingly potent in response to warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels in the air.
“The number of Iowans with respiratory problems such as childhood asthma has increased dramatically since the 1980s. In many cases, this is linked to increased exposures to flood molds and to higher indoor moisture, as well as to lung-damaging ozone and fine particulate matter from burning fossil fuels,” said Thorne.
“New infectious diseases are becoming more common in the Midwest as the organisms that carry them move north due to rising temperatures. Disease carrying mosquitos and ticks are living longer and expanding their range due to increasing temperatures, more rainfall, and longer summers,” said Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean, Department of Global Health, Des Moines University.
“Our changing climate’s influence on mental health is less obvious, but it is well established that thousands of Iowans have been impacted by stress from the loss of homes and income due to climate-related flooding and drought,” Mary Mincer Hansen, Adjunct Professor, College of Health Sciences MPH Program, Des Moines University.
“As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, climate related health problems will continue to grow,” said Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University. The scientists agree that adopting strong climate change policies will play a vital role in diminishing human suffering and illness now and for generations to come.
“It is clear that expanding energy efficiency and clean renewable energy efforts will have the co-benefits of reducing air pollution and the creation of additional jobs and economic opportunities for Iowans,” stated Bernstein.
The lead authors of the “Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans” include:
- Peter S. Thorne, Professor and Head Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, Director, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
- Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean , Department of Global Health, Des Moines University
- David Osterberg, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
- Mary Mincer Hansen, Adjunct Professor, College of Health Sciences MPH Program, Des Moines University
- David Courard-Hauri, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University
- Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University
- Editing assistance by Connie Mutel, Senior Science Writer, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa.
The 38 Colleges and Universities of statement endorsers:
Buena Vista University
Des Moines Area Community College
Des Moines University
Eastern Iowa Community College
Ellsworth Community College
Indian Hills Community College
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa State University
Iowa Western Community College
Kirkwood Community College
Maharishi University of Management
Mount Mercy University
Northeast Iowa Community College
Scott Community College
Southeastern Community College
Southwestern Community College
Saint Ambrose University
University of Dubuque
University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Upper Iowa University
Western Iowa Tech Community College
William Penn University
Endorser affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not reflect views of their academic institutions.
The statement can be found at www.cgrer.uiowa.edu
What can we say? It is sure pretty out. Beautiful weather too. Wish we could bottle it. Be sure to enjoy it during its brief time.
Take some time this week to get that absentee ballot or to take a trip to your local auditor’s office to vote. Then enjoy the fact that on election day you have already done your duty. Or maybe you could help get the vote out for our great Democratic candidates.
Were you paying attention?
1) The fear of ebola spreading in the US were heightened when a nurse who tested positive for ebola said she had done what?
2) In the Florida gubernatorial debate Republican Rick Scott at first refused to debate because his opponent had what?
3) According to one tweet, Republicans that fear the ebola virus may mutate into a virus that could be caught via the air admitted to what?
4) In Fort Dodge Thursday morning an Iowa couple was stopped for speeding and held at gunpoint by police. Why were they speeding?
5) In a real surprise in baseball the Kansas City Royals swept to the world series by winning how many straight games?
6) Republicans called for an “ebola czar” while at the same time blocking the nomination for what post?
7) Joni Ernst had a major hitter come in to campaign for her last weekend. Can you name the former presidential candidate who campaigned for Ernst?
8) September 2014 ranked as what in the recorded history of world temperatures for September?
9) In Orange City, a baby sitter was given what sentence in the death of a toddler she was watching?
10) Is the harvest in Iowa ahead of or behind schedule this year?
11) Which state in West Africa has been declared free from ebola, according to the WHO?
12) A candidate for US senate from Iowa died in a small airplane crash this week. Can you name him?
13) In Bakersfield, California there have been 20 incidents of people being terrorized by what in recent weeks?
14) With the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize last week, 5 of the last 12 winners have what in common?
15) Tired of online shopping? What cyber giant will open a brick and mortar store in downtown Manhattan before Christmas?
The early evenings and the cool temps really set the stage for a warming fire and a good movie. Oh and another Hawkeye win!
1) Taken a flight to Cleveland or taken a cruise
2) a fan placed under his podium
3) evolution – that the virus would have evolved from it contact form of spreading
4) They were on the way to the hospital for a birth. However, the police were not notified
6) Surgeon General – Republicans have blocked the nomination of Vivek Murthy because of guns. The NRA(via Republicans) are blocking it.
7) Mitt Romney (who? many may ask)
8) #1 – following a string of hottest months this summer.
9) 100 years in prison
11) Senegal – no new cases for 42 days as of Friday.
12) Doug Bustier, Libertarian
15) Amazon. Yes Amazon
RELEASE: Joni Ernst’s Role in Sexual Harassment Suit Raises Questions About Her Leadership, Priorities
Des Moines, Iowa — A lawsuit filed today by a former Iowa Republican Senate caucus employee alleges she was fired last year after she repeatedly complained of sexual harassment by her male colleagues against female Senate staff members.
The suit includes an allegation that Republican state Sens. Joni Ernst of Red Oak and Sandra Greiner of Keota witnessed sexual innuendo and inappropriate behavior exhibited by their male colleagues, but said nothing while female staffers stood by unable object.
Bonnie Campbell, former Iowa Attorney General, issued the following statement questioning Ernst’s judgment and criticizing her failure to act:
“Joni Ernst and her campaign should stop trying to impugn the motives of the victim and come forward with the details of what she saw, and why she didn’t stop it if she saw something. The facts are clear — either Joni Ernst is accusing the victim of lying, or Joni Ernst is refusing to tell us the truth about the facts of this case. If true, this is an outrageous and troubling fact we have just learned about Ernst.”
“The more we know about Joni Ernst, the more it raises serious questions about who she is, and who she will stand up for in the U.S. Senate. This puts into question her judgment, her background, and who she would actually fight for in the Senate — because if it is anything like we have learned today, it won’t be the everyday Iowans who sometimes need a voice to speak up for them.”
“The suit includes an allegation that Republican state Sens. Joni Ernst of Red Oak and Sandra Greiner of Keota witnessed sexual innuendo and inappropriate behavior exhibited by their male colleagues but said nothing while female staffers stood by unable object.”
It is easy to write a screed against Terry Branstad. He has been around a long time. As governor he has hardly been stellar and his current term has seen him move from right wing to tea party extremist. During this term he has done many things that most Iowans would be shocked by. Branstad has gone against true Iowa values by doing things like using his line item veto to cut off food for the poor. His administration tried its hardest to deny health care for the poor under the ACA. Thus he was in the forefront of the Republican obstruction of the expansion of health care. And what can we say about the scandals that rock this administration with revelations every week? Remember one thing – it is your money that is being wasted with his shenanigans.
But why should we elect Jack Hatch? How will he be better? Well to start with we will be treated to a more open and transparent government under Jack Hatch. Government secrecy can’t get much worse than it currently is. Hatch believes and practices open government. The founders of this country expected the affairs of state to be conducted in the open. That alone would be a refreshing change for Iowa.
This is a great start, but on what specific issues would we be better off with Jack Hatch? Let’s start with Iowa’s once heralded education system. Under Branstad our standards have fallen and the best teachers are being moved out of the classroom. Hatch has plans to reinvigorate our education system. This at a time when we are facing some of the biggest challenges ever. Hatch and Vernon are also looking for solutions to the massive debt that is now incurred by Iowa’s college students. In their own words:
“My goal is to make Iowa’s colleges affordable again. Let’s cut college debt significantly with flexible, affordable options including an accelerated BA degree. Let’s keep the doors open so students who want to work for a college degree can still afford it.”
Jack Hatch has been a leader in the area of health care in Iowa. Rather than trying to screw Iowans out of health care, Hatch and Vernon will be looking for ways to include all Iowans in the health care system. Don’t forget that when some of us can’t access the health care system, that puts us all at risk:
“Perhaps the most important step we can take is the creation of a new, integrated, patient-centered health care delivery system that combines Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance into an integrated provider payment system within the current private market. This will include integrating mental health into our current primary health system; ensuring rural Iowa participates fully in access to health care (which is currently not happening), and that consumers have full access to their medical records while maintaining full and complete choice in how their health care is received and managed.”
Possibly the biggest failure of the Branstad is jobs. Branstad brags about jobs he has created, but a quick look at any independent chart shows that Iowa has fallen short of not only the lofty goals Branstad promised, but the country as a whole and what Iowa needs to keep up with growth. Once more Hatch and Vernon will address jobs not with the ideological bent of Branstad, but with some practical real world ideas.
“My goal is reversing our state’s slide towards an economy with more low wage jobs and fewer middle class jobs. We can start by increasing the minimum wage. Let’s develop our economy from the community level up in our city neighborhoods and our small towns instead of the top-down, whether its for business, culture, tourism or infrastructure.
My goal is growing more thriving small businesses in Iowa and many fewer, much smaller tax handouts to corporate giants outside of Iowa. My goal is to invest in our Iowa entrepreneurs and grow the next generation of high-tech businesses right here.”
These are just a few of the areas where we will see dramatic positive change from the Branstad administration. Please go to to the Hatch – Vernon website to learn much more.
There is one other very major difference between the two candidates. That is in their choice of running mates. Monica Vernon could step in and do a bang up job as governor today. She has experience at a lower level and in business leading. Vernon is competent and savvy. Choosing Monica Vernon as a running mate immediately showed that Jack Hatch has concern about making sure that leadership doesn’t fail in his absence.
We can’t say that about Terry Branstad’s choice of Kim Reynolds. She was a political choice from the get-go. Her purpose was to assuage the tea party element that has grown so strong in Iowa’s Republican Party. Her experience is meager and her on-the-job training has been scant. With Branstad’s apparently failing health and rumors that he plans to resign and turn the state over to Reynolds in his next term should scare most Iowans. Iowans do not need to be part of a right wing experiment on ideological government. One need only look at Kansas to see how well that works.