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Getting Nuclear With Loebsack

Dr. Maureen McCue speaking to 55 people at Loebsack Office

Dr. Maureen McCue speaking for the Iran Deal at Rep. Dave Loebsack’s Office

IOWA CITY – A group of peace-loving constituents assembled Wednesday afternoon in front of U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack’s office to demonstrate support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the P5 +1 nations and the Islamic Republic of Iran, also known as the “Iran Deal.”

The Iran Deal is designed to prevent Iran from enriching uranium to develop a nuclear weapon. If Iran complies with the agreement, they will get relief from sanctions that brought them to the negotiating table during the Obama administration.

Congress is expected to vote on approval of the Iran Deal as early as Sept. 9. Congressman Loebsack has not made a public statement on the matter, hence a concern of those assembled.

The gathering began with Dawn Jones, Wellman, serving as master of ceremonies. Jones helped organize the demonstration, which is part of a nationwide series of similar events under the MoveOn.org umbrella. At one point 55 people were in attendance, as well as the local FOX News/CBS Channel and a couple of videographers.

Dr. Maureen McCue, Oxford, board member of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and chapter organizer for Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, enumerated the benefits of the Iran Deal and urged Loebsack to vote for the bill. (Details of the Iran Deal are linked at this July 27 post).

Tom Baldridge, advocated for the Iran Deal on behalf of the Eastern Iowa Chapter of Veterans for Peace, as did Ann Stromquist of PEACE Iowa, Nancy Porter, John Rachow, Dan Daly and others.

Demonstrators Filing into Rep. Dave Loebsack's Iowa City Office

Demonstrators Filing into Rep. Dave Loebsack’s Iowa City Office

After the speeches, Jones walked into the office and spoke to Dave Leshtz, district representative for Loebsack. The group was invited inside to present a petition calling for an aye vote on the Iran Deal.

“(Loebsack) has a strong concern that many of the people who are pushing for a ‘no’ vote are the same people that pushed us into a misguided war in Iraq,” Leshtz said. “He believes in diplomacy. It is better not to shoot first and ask questions later.”

The frustration of several in the group was that Loebsack had not taken a leadership position by speaking for the Iran Deal well in advance of the vote. Some hoped he could influence his colleagues in the lower chamber.

Dave Leshtz and Maureen McCue

Dave Leshtz and Maureen McCue

“What’s holding him back from taking a position,” asked Shelton Stromquist, emeritus professor, University of Iowa American, Social and Labor History. “I just don’t understand. There’s broad support for this agreement. He comes from a progressive constituency. He hasn’t provided leadership on this or many other issues. What’s holding him back?”

I don’t know, Shel,” Leshtz said. “A vote will come. He will cast his vote. He may say something before. This (petition and demonstration) is helpful I think.”

Dan Daly, Iowa City, stressed that many in the room had helped Loebsack get elected in 2006.

“We want to stay positive. Urgency. Take action. Soon and very vividly, so more congresspeople can take cover behind his leadership,” Daly said.

Leshtz deferred to the congressman, who knows many of the demonstrators personally.

Both Iowa U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are expected to vote “no” on the measure.

Nina Totenberg In Iowa City

Totenberg

The Public Policy Center is proud to co-sponsor the Fall 2015 Law Levitt Lecture with NPR Correspondent Nina Totenberg, Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m., Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge, Iowa City.

Totenberg is an award-winning legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio whose reports are heard on All Things Considered and Morning Edition.  A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in the New York Times Magazine, the Harvard Law Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Parade magazine, New York magazine, and others.

Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.

The event is free and open to the public.

Children’s Mental Heath Coalition

Green RibbonCoalition for a Children’s Mental Health Redesign in Iowa Releases Call for Action at Sept. 17 Press Conference

Thursday, Sept. 17, 3 p.m. in the Statehouse Rotunda, Des Moines – Followed by a public discussion in room 116.

The coalition is a group of individuals and organizations with expertise and lived experience in children’s mental health, education, law enforcement, safety, development and wellbeing. It was formed and organized by the NAMI Iowa Children’s Mental Health Committee in partnership with the Iowa Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council. This Call for Action is a guide for elected officials, community leaders, government departments and organizations working with and on behalf of Iowa’s children at the state, regional, county and local levels. It is a blueprint for positive and effective systems change that outlines a five-year plan for improving the lives of Iowa’s children.

Iowa’s Children’s Mental Health Crisis

• 50% of lifetime cases of severe mental illness begin by age 14, 75% before age 24.
• Early treatment dramatically reduces the disability of severe lifetime mental illness but the average delay between onset and treatment is 8-10 years and 64,000 Iowa children with Severe Emotional Disorder do not get help.

What this means for Iowa’s Future

High School Dropout
Half of students with mental illness drop out

Suicide
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24 and 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

Homelessness
26% of the homeless population lives with severe mental illness (4 times more than the general population)

Crime
70% of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have a mental illness.

Unemployment
60-80 % of those living with mental illness are unemployed2 90% in the case of the most severe mental illnesses

Poverty
33-50% of those with serious mental illness live at the federal poverty level.

For more information or to set up an interview please contact:
Tammy Nyden: 641-990-9974 or namiiowacmhc@mediacombb.net.

Loebsack Inaugural Brews & BBQ

Brews and BBQLoebsack Announces First Annual Loebsack Brews & BBQ Event

IOWA CITY – Representative Dave Loebsack announced today that he will be hosting the inaugural Loebsack Brews & BBQ event on Sunday, Sept. 27.

This grassroots fundraising event will feature BBQ from Mosley’s in Iowa City and take place at Celebration Farms in Iowa City. Doors open at 11 a.m. Featured guests and speakers will be announced at a later date.

“I am excited for folks to join me in enjoying some delicious BBQ, sipping on a cold one and talking politics with many of their friends,” Loebsack said. “Democrats have a huge opportunity in 2016 and now is the time to get together and make sure we are doing all we can to defeat the Tea Party that is running the Republican Party.”

Tickets are available online at http://loebsackforcongress.org/bbq/, can be reserved by phone at 319-804-9218, or by emailing nick@loebsackforcongress.org.

Loebsack Brews & BBQ
Celebration Farms
Double Round Barn
4696 Robin Woods Lane NE
Iowa City, IA 52240
Doors open at 11 a.m.

Everyone’s Becoming Fungible

Fairness for Temp Workers(Editor’s Note: Robert Reich has been a media pundit, lecturer and writer popular with progressives. From time to time he hits home as with this post on the lack of income predictability for a growing segment of Americans. It is now 40 percent, but soon to be a majority of workers, according to Reich. Here’s a snippet. Click through to read the entire post).

As Labor Day looms, more Americans than ever don’t know how much they’ll be earning next week or even tomorrow.

This varied group includes independent contractors, temporary workers, the self-employed, part-timers, freelancers, and free agents. Most file 1099s rather than W2s, for tax purposes.

On demand and on call – in the “share” economy, the “gig” economy, or, more prosaically, the “irregular” economy – the result is the same: no predictable earnings or hours.

It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightening speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us.

Click here to read the rest of this post.

Fallon Forum: Ostrich Society

Listen live Mondays at 11 am

Listen live Mondays at 11 am

Dear Friends,

The propensity of humans to pretend all is well when it’s not is hardly new. Look back 2,600 years, when Jeremiah warned Israel of impending doom at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, only to be ridiculed and ignored. Closer to home, look back 75 years, when millions of Americans resisted taking action against Hitler despite irrefutable evidence of the genocide of European Jews.

The human instinct to pretend all is right when it isn’t runs deep. With the announcement last week that July was Earth’s hottest month on record, now would be a great time for humanity to grapple with this instinct and move beyond the denial of climate change. Yet a passionate core of deniers remains vocal in its resistance despite the preponderance of evidence.

A sampling of comments on my Facebook page last week drives this point home:

Frank Allen writes: “BS that’s all this climate change is Its called weather you dweebs”

Steve Jensen writes: “Bahahahaha ! A true libtard. Straight from the public library – climate action news!”

Tim Henning writes: “Worry about something meaningful and knock off useless fear mongering about weather not being the way you want it. Dumb !!”

Kelly Harbeson writes: “Oh yeah! Who better to try to sell your climate alarmism the a pandering prostitute of a politician.”

All dudes, I might point out. It’s not just a so-called “pandering prostitute of a politician” these folks choose to ignore. It’s the US military. The insurance industry. Monsanto. Weather.com. Ninety-seven percent of all scientists. These are the Jeremiahs of the climate crisis. But instead of the tattered clothes of a Biblical prophet, they wear suits, uniforms and white lab coats. They are the establishment. They “get” climate change.

Still, the deniers persist.

But I take heart. What we’re seeing is the last flailing backlash of the Ostrich Society, of those who fear change and thus bury their heads deep in habits and ideologies that will soon be untenable as we struggle to adapt in the New Climate Era. Of course, we stand a better chance of adaptation – survival, even – if we get with the program sooner rather than later.

Time is not on our side. Action is needed – urgently, passionately, immediately.

This is why I walk – across America in 2014, across Iowa along the proposed pipeline route earlier this year, and from Normandy to Paris this coming November.

This is why it’s important to repeatedly, persistently, politely “bird-dog” presidential candidates, until they understand that they MUST take climate change seriously if they are to have our support.

That is why we Pledge to Mobilize, so that the moral and political force of hundreds of thousands of Americans signing their names to the Pledge makes it impossible for our elected officials NOT to take action.

This is why what happens in Paris at the U.N. Climate Summit later this year is critical. Never has such an assembly been so timely . . . and ironically, so ignored by the mainstream media in the U.S.

Finally, this is why, to paraphrase Gandhi, every little thing we do toward creating a better world is important, even though it may seem insignificant. Writing a letter to the editor, speaking publicly, talking with friends and family, helping a candidate for public office. In normal times, we do these things on issues we care about. In times of crisis, such as this, we must do them with a deep sense of urgency . . . because our future depends on it.

Ed Fallon

EVENTS

Now-December – Utilities Board deliberations pipeline (ND, SD, IA, IL)
In Iowa, for details on the evolving schedule, visit https://iub.iowa.gov/. For questions on how you can have your voice heard in the process, contact Ed Fallon at fallonforum@gmail.com or the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Facebook Page.

August 29 – Immigration and New American Forum (Storm Lake)
This is a nonpartisan forum moderated by Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register, with 2016 candidates from both parties invited. Watch for more info including transportation options from several Iowa communities. At Buena Vista University. For more detail and to register: http://iowaimmigration.org/.

August 30 – Progress Iowa Corn Feed (Des Moines)
Join us for Iowa sweet corn and progressive ideas! Tom Harkin, Lincoln Chafee, Ben & Jerry, Dave Loebsack, and Joaquin Castro will all speak, along with every Democratic candidate for Congress and Senate across Iowa. At Simon Estes Amphitheater. For more detail and to buy tickets: http://progressiowa.org/cornfeed.

September – Just Faith Meetings (Des Moines metro)
The Center for Social Ministry regularly offers the Just Faith classes to anyone who is interested. It is an in-depth look at the call for social ministry, with both a Catholic and an ecumenical version:
– Mondays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at SS John & Paul Church, Altoona
– Tuesdays 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Episcopal, WDM
– Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal, 6th & High, DM
– Thursdays 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Catholic Pastoral Center, 6th & Locust
– Thursdays  6:00-8:00 p.m. at Friends House, 4211 Grand Ave, DM
– Sundays 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Windsor Heights Presbyterian Church
If you would like to register for a group, click here.  For more information about Just Faith, contact the Center for Social Ministry at (515) 782-3054 or centerforsocialministry@gmail.com.

September 17 – Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship
Do you know someone who works tirelessly in defense of their community against the oil and gas industry’s harms? Nominate them for the FracTracker and Halt the Harm Network Community Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship. Nominations open until August 17. To nominate someone visit: http://www.fractracker.org/get-involved/sentinel-award.

October 2-3 – Celebrate 40 Years with Iowa CCI (Des Moines)
Join Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement to celebrate 40 years of tackling tough issues and to lift up the People and Planet First agenda. There will be live music and dancing, food, and big-name doers and thinkers. For more information or to register, go to http://iowacci.org.

October 31 – ISIS & Waging Peace (Des Moines)
Methodist Federation for Social Action’s fall statewide gathering will be led by Jeffrey Weiss, Catholic Peace Ministry Peace Education Director. It’s at 10:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall at First United Methodist Church, 1001 Pleasant Street.

November 11-28 – Walk to Paris for Climate Action (Normandy-Paris)
On 11 November (Veterans Day in the U.S.), Ed Fallon and Steve Martin (who last year walked across the U.S. for action on climate change) will set-out from the coast of Normandy, France, walking over 350 kilometers to arrive in Paris on November 28 for the start of the United Nations Climate Summit. Contact Evelyn Davis at evelyn@climatemarch.org.

November 30-December 11 – U.N. Climate Summit (Paris, France)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders from government, finance, business, and civil society to galvanize and catalyze climate action. He has asked these leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement. Visit http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/.

Slavery And The Costco Halo

Slave Vessels Photo Credit AP

Slave Vessels – Photo Credit AP

On Thursday the Los Angeles Times reported a Costco member sued the retailer on allegations that it knowingly sold frozen prawns that were the product of slave labor.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, alleges that Costco was aware that the prawns it purchased from its Southeast Asian producers came from a supply chain dependent on human trafficking and other illegal labor abuses.

The suit, which seeks class-action status, named seafood producers Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co. in Thailand and C.P. Food Products Inc. in Maryland as defendants.

Based on claims of unfair competition and fraudulent practices, the lawsuit seeks a court order stopping Costco from selling prawns without a label describing its “tainted” supply chain and from buying, distributing and selling products they know or suspect to be derived from slave labor or human trafficking.

Read the rest of the article here.

If the allegations are true, the Costco halo with regard to labor relations should dim.

More than any other large retailer, Costco is in the good graces of members of the progressive community for its labor practices.

In January 2014, President Obama choose a Costco in Lanham, Maryland to advocate for an increase in the federal minimum wage because the retailer is “acting on its own to pay its workers a fair wage.”

“To help make that case, look no further than Costco,” said Thomas Perez, secretary of labor at the event. “Costco has been proving for years that you can be a profitable company while still paying your employees a fair wage. They’ve rejected the old false choice that you can serve the interests of your shareholders, or your workers, but not both.”

“Labor union officials and backers agree,” according to an article in USA Today, “saying other retailers, such as Walmart, could learn from the way Costco treats its workers and the results.”

Costco’s example is on the left end of the retail spectrum, and is set up to be taken down a notch. Slavery in its supply chain is nothing new as their shelves have long been stocked with canned tuna derived from a Thailand based fishing trade that sources from slave vessels. The Costco halo has protected it… perhaps until now.

When in high school I enjoyed having a tuna melt sandwich at Ross’ Restaurant in Bettendorf after working on the stage crew. The warm tuna salad, with a slice of melted cheese, served on toasted bread was sensually appealing and delicious. We are not in high school any more.

We live in a society where the mere mention of symbols of 19th century slavery creates cacophonous public debate. Just look at the recent news cycles regarding use of the Confederate battle flag in public places. It was a media firestorm with the defining act arguably being removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol grounds. Modern day slavery? Barely a word about it.

Whether Costco’s association with slaves in its supply chain will become an issue among its members is uncertain at best. As a society don’t like to take down the symbols in our hagiography, even if all large-scale retailers, including Costco, are far from saintly. We take comfort in developing patterns and relationships with our retailers, creating a refuge from a world that seems increasingly hostile. “I like this brand,” a consumer might say.

The argument comes down to the face of the farmer. When we discover the farmer is a slave, it requires action on our part. That is, unless we concede the world is so screwed up there is no hope.

I’ve never eaten a prawn, and don’t plan to start. If the lawsuit is successful, I’m not sure it will matter among prawn-eaters or other Costco members. However, progressives should care, and stop referring to Costco as a model for labor relations until it pledges, and lives up to the pledge, to take slavery out of its supply chain.

Looking To Donate Some Money?

Got a few extra coins in your pocket and you want to get some mileage out of you donation? Here are some groups you may not have heard of that could use some help cause they are doing good work

local radio now

First, locally in Iowa City, we will soon have a new low power FM radio station, KICI 105.3 FM. It will be locally owned with a bunch of locally originated programming. Local radio is a concept that mostly disappeared from the radio dial. Fund raising has just started and you can get in on the ground floor right here. In this case you will be able to see your dollars actually go to work.

From a Cedar Rapids Gazette article a couple of months back:
Holly Hart, who has 30 years of experience in the radio industry, most recently at KSUI/WSUI, said discussions are underway to potentially attach that transmitter to existing infrastructure on top of Old Brick Church and Community Center at 26 E. Market St. Hart said approval from a cellphone company will be needed to proceed, and if it is not granted, officials will build their own tower.

First, officials say they will need to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 to pay for the engineering and equipment necessary to get 105.3 FM on the air. A fundraising page was established earlier this week on gofundme.com.

Hart said programming still is coming together, but added that she hopes to have a structured format with a mix of original local content, national programming and music.

“I didn’t want to play into the old stereotype of community radio which has polka music one hour, French news the next, cooking show the third hour, but have something that’s actually like a real format because people who listen to radio, they listen to format,” Hart said.

Second: Free Speech TV.
fstv-logo_1_0Free Speech TV is the lonely liberal corner in the crap fest that is cable and satellite TV. Featuring shows such as simulcasts of Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann’s radio shows and Mike Pappantonio’s “Ring of Fire” and documentaries. FSTV is totally dependent on donations from viewers. FSTV can be seen on DISH channel 9415, Direct TV channel 348 and on some cable company stations. FSTV is also carried live online at www.freespeech.org. Donation information can be viewed there also.

rolling jubilee
Next is a group named Rolling Jubilee. Rolling Jubilee takes money from donations and the buys debt at auction for pennies on a dollar. This is what debt collectors do also. But where debt collectors pursue and badger debtors to get what money they can, Rolling Jubilee then abolishes the debt. Truly a great concept!. Read more on Rolling Jubilee here.

RIP medical debtFinally another group very similar to Rolling Jubilee is RIP Medical Debt. This group was founded by a couple of former debt collectors who now buy up medical debt to then forgive it. Considering how crushing and unexpected medical can be, RIP Medical Debt has been a godsend for many. Their home page is here. This will lead you to their donation page.

ALEC Chosen As Iowa’s New House Speaker

A Legislator for Every Corp.

A Legislator for Every Corp.

Oops – that is, former ALEC chair Linda Upmeyer chosen as new Iowa House Speaker. But they are pretty much interchangeable.  She and ALEC founding father Terry Branstad will make a formidable team that will work hard for corporations, privatization of public services, and more.

Look for Republicans to continue to cut school funds, bust unions, defund public services and push guns – guns on campus maybe? Guns on campus is the new market the NRA and ALEC want to exploit.

Next session will be a long session for anyone who believes that we band together in a government to solve mutual problems for the good of the whole.

Alec

Sunday Funday – House On Fire Edition

hey, kids - almost time for those delicious school lunches again

hey, kids – almost time for those delicious school lunches again

{name of month}, 2015 was the hottest {name of month} on record. This is a headline we have seen seven times so far this year. Pretty sure we can expect to see it five more times this year. The west is on fire like never before and land is sinking in California as aquifers are drained.

But the climate deniers, or better stated the oil company puppets, seem to be concentrated in the Republican Party at the highest echelons of government and continually block any action to halt this trend. They also block anything that will help mitigate it like moving to solar and wind power.

I always wonder if Venus was like the earth before Republicans were put in charge?

Were you paying attention?

1) The bulls are in the game at Pamplona this year. How many kills have they scored on the humans so far?

2) With school starting at the state’s universities tomorrow, what contagious childhood disease is having a small outbreak at the U of Iowa?

3) Which venue at the Iowa State fair has been lousy with politicians and reporters all week?

4) US Troops are being deployed and Canada is loaning us personnel to fight what?

5) Former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle was back on TV this week. Why?

6) The NLRB said what group at a university had no right to join a union?

7) Mitch McConnell conceded that he did not have the votes to stop what?

8) The generic name is filbanserin. The brand name name is Addyi. The FDA approved this medication this week and most people call it “female “ what?

9) Kristen Freist and Shaye Haver this week became the first two women to do what?

10) Republican presidential candidate John Kasich recommended that what be removed from school buildings?

11) The Dow Jones average had a major drop last week. Wall Streeters labelled this a what?

12) August 28, 1963. Hot and miserable but that didn’t stop people from assembling in what city to march for civil rights for all?

13) OK – why are the gas prices going up according to the industry?

14) What Iowa city had one employer announce a 400 person cut in employees while another employer announced they would be adding 500 new employees?

15) Not just a football factory anymore. Scientists at Ohio State U. grew what nearly complete human organ in a lab setting?

16) Jimmy Carter at a press conference to announce his cancer status, said “I would like to see the last ____________ die before I do.” What does Carter want to see exterminated?

17) What scion of a well known Christian family was back in the news when it was revealed he had an Ashley Madison account?

18) Missouri has a problem with male legislators sexually harassing female interns. What did the legislators propose to fix this problem?

19) The price of a barrel of crude oil dipped below what barrier for the first time in 6.5 years Friday?

20) In a hearing on company policies on employees and dodging taxes, the Brazilian senate grilled officials from what company?

When will some five star reporter ask Hillary Clinton about Bernie Sanders hair? Why is it always the other way around?

Answers:

1) 10 last count I saw.

2) mumps

3) the Des Moines register’s soap box

4) western wild fires

5) He was arrested on child porn charges

6) football players – they are not university employees the NLRB said.

7) The Iran deal

8) viagra

9) pass the Army Rangers school

10) teachers’ lounges. He said that is where teachers’ share job complaints and join unions.

11) a correction

12) Washington DC – they heard the “I Have A Dream” speech

13) equipment malfunctions at a refinery near Chicago caused tight supplies

14) Denison

15) a brain

16) guinea worm. Read about it here

17) Josh Duggar

18) a dress code for the interns. Yep you read that right. It is the interns fault

19) $40/ barrel

20) McDonald’s – witnesses have been brought in from around the world

Teachers, please stay out of the Teachers’ Lounge. Thank you