Archive for September 2010
Democracy for America National Day of Action Saturday 10.02.10
This Saturday, October 2, DFA members from across the country are coming together for our National Day of Action — a one-day event mobilizing thousands of activists to contact tens of thousands of voters across the country.
But we can't do it without your help. Join our National Day of Action and we'll connect you with DFA leaders in your area to help support local campaigns and elect candidates that work for the people and not corporations.
Join a National Day of Action event in Iowa and help elect a progressive majority.
We're kicking things off with Congressman Alan Grayson, DFA Chair Jim Dean and Grassroots All-Star Beth Krom as part of a national online rally and conference call at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.
Jim will be calling in live from the One Nation Working Together rally in Washington DC where attendees will take time to make calls to voters as part of the Day of Action.
After the call, we're going to work for progressive candidates like Tarryl Clark in Minnesota and Joe Garcia in Florida. Up here in Vermont, DFA staff members are volunteering for gubernatorial candidate Peter Shumlin.
No matter who you volunteer for this weekend, we need you to volunteer. Tea Party Republicans are working to destroy Social Security, make tax cuts for the rich permanent and empower corporate interests like never before. If they win, it will be like Bush-Cheney all over again. Maybe worse.
The only way to beat them is with people power, so sign up to join a Day of Action event today.
We're barely one month out from Election Day. Join us this weekend and help elect candidates who will fight for us.
Matt Blizek, Field Director
Democracy for America
Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.
President Obama Des Moines Iowa Event – Live-Blog
Waiting for Barack…here he is…
outstanding governor Chet Culver is here…
Not giving a long speech, want to hear from you –
Where I think the country's at, how to move forward…when I started running for pres back in 2007-08, the reason I was willing to do it even though Michelle was not crazy about politics and I had two young daughters…was a feeling that the country was at a crossroads, that we had fundamental decisions to make that we had been putting off for decades…education, energy, foreign policy…but what concerned me most was the nature of our economy and how the American Dream seemed as if twas slipping away from too many people. From 2001-20009 the average wage of middle class families in America declined by 5% – job growth was slower during that period than any time since WWII and costs were sky-rocketing…the very top was getting very wealthy but the middle class…was finding it harder and harder to get ahead….alot had to do with policies put in place the basic premise which was if we cut back on regulations, taxes, and cut everybody loose to fend for themselves that somehow the economy would automatically grow…and it didn't work…
…manufacturing companies were moving overseas…where we used to be #1 in college graduates, we now ranked #12…21st in science, 25th in math…all of the things that made us the most productive country on earth were slipping away…so I wanted to run for president to work on long term solutions to rebuild our economy…
…turns out we were in more trouble than I had imagined in 2008…in the six months before Ii was sworn in we lost 4 million jobs…450,000 were lost during the first month of my administration…we had already lost most of the jobs before any of my policies had a chance to take effect…we had to take emergency measures to stop the bleeding…
…I'm very proud of the fact that we've been able to help the economy from going into a second great depression…but 8 million jobs are a lot to make up…and previous foundational problems didn't go away…so we've had a challenge of dealing with a crisis but not taking our eye off of the ball of long term change…that's why health reform and financial reforms were so important…and that's why we've put so much emphasis on education reform…
…we've gotta make tough choices if we're going to solve these problems…we're in election…look at the chhoice we face in this election…the other side is offering the same policies that from 2001-2009 put off hard problems and didn't really speak honestly to the American people about how we're going to get on track in the long term…as an example, they want to borrow 700 billion dollars for the top 2% of Americans, people making over $250,000 per year. That's 700 billion dollars we don't have so we would have to borrow it, adding to the deficit, or we would have to cut for example 20% of the money for education…so we've got a choice to make…so I hope as you go forward…that you keep in mind that we won't be able to solve our big problems unless we honestly address them…we can't pretend that there are shortcuts…that we can cut our taxes, balance the budget, have what we want and not make any tough choices..
With that, open it up for questions…
Mary Stier: My son college grad, losing hope, could you speak to the young men and women who are struggling to find a job..could you speak to that message of hope…
Obama: In Madison yesterday, we had 26,000 young people…they still have so much enthusiasm but this generation is going through the toughest economy of any generation since the 1930's…most of us here don't remember the great depression…okay, maybe a couple…laughter… this recession had more impact on middle class families than the other 3 combined…an entire generation is worried about the future…
Here's the good news…I think your son's generation is smarter, more sophisticated, more passionate, has a broader world view, they don't take things for granted, they are willing to work hard for what they want to achieve, they think about the community, other people…when I meet young people these days I am very impressed with them, I think they are terrifically talented..
My mesage to them is that we're doing everything they can to make sure they get the best education possible… 60 billion dollars that will go to students via higher grants, reduced loan burdens…will make a difference…obviously, we're doing everything we can to grow the economy so if they have the skills they'll be able to find a job in this new economy…the economy is growing, just not as fast as we'd like it to…expectation is small business tax breaks, shoring up housing market that over the next couple of years the economy will improve…young people who are prepared will be able to find a good job…your son will be able to stay on your health insurance due to health reform until he is 26….we are making tough decisions now so that by the time he has a son or daughter we'll be back to #1 in terms of education, innovation, entrepreneurship…but it will take some time.. in some ways this generation may be less fixated on immediate gratification than our generation because they've seen some hardhip in their careers.
Next questioner: When can we look forward to reducing huge spending on wars? Would this help us square up our budget and give us resources to spend on our economy here at home?
Obama: I'm interested in nation-building here at home…was opposed to war in Iraq…we have now ended our combat mission in Iraq, have pulled out 100,000 troops (applause)…
Afghanistan: We had to go after those who killed 3,000 Americans and make sure they didn't have a safe haven to plan more attacks…the situation in Afghanistan had badly deteriorated and the Taliban had started to take over the government again…al quaeda still plotting to attack the U.S…I said during the campaign we needed to get Afghanistan right…said we're not going to do it in an open-ended way…the situation there is very tough…Afghanistan is the second poorest country in the world, 70% illiteracy rate, much less developed than Iraq, and no strong tradition of government or infrastructure…it is messy, hard, and the toughest job I have is deploying young people into a war…but I do think that we are seeing the possibility of training Afghan forces effectively, making sure the Taliban can't plan more attacks…and phasing down…
The impact on our budget: Costs include taking care of veterans – they've served us well, we've gotta serve them well, disability claims, ptsd, women veterans, all those things cost some money, so as we start winding down the war in Afghanistan, there may not be a huge peace dividend right away, but will be able to responsibly manage our military budget…can't say you want to balance the budget and not take on the Pentagon…we've eliminated some programs in the Pentagon budget that even the generals say we don't need, but shutting those programs down is difficult because these are based in congressional districts where there is investment in keeping those going…
Next question – boy-girl-boy-girl…
Jeanette McKenzie: health care bill…
Obama: Is your mom on Medicare?
Obama: Do you have health care?
Obama: There's nothing in your health care bill that would prevent your mom from getting coverage…there's nothing in the bill that says you have to change what you've got right now. What is it that you think might happen as a consequence of health care reform?
(she seems confused…)
Obama: If you already have health care, that doesn't change. Insurance can no longer drop your coverage when you get sick…we provided tax breaks for small businesses so they can provide health care, so now 4 million businesses get tax breaks for providing health care…also said if you don't have health insurance, (explained exchange…)…, etc. You are not going to be forced to buy a gov't health care plan..if you don't have health care and you get sick and have to go to the ER, everyone has to pay for it which isn't fair, so if you can afford it you have to have some basic coverage… [how is that people still don't know what was in the health care bill?]
Mckenzie: Just moved here a year ago from Las Vegas …immigrants here getting free health care right now…doctors can't afford to stay open because of the illegal immigrants…[watch, this questioner will be the only video clip you see on the media coverage of this event].
Obama: Important to clear this up…talked about compassion…there's nothing in my health care plan that covers undocumented workers…illegal immigrants under-use the health care system…there's a lot more citizens who are not getting adequate health care so if we can provide them with basic checkups, basic health care, that will make the system more efficient overall… our health care reform will reduce the deficit…
Next questioner: I'm a Drake grad, thank you for coming…moved here from Chicago 30 years ago…the reason I stayed here was it's a wonderful place to start a business…been in business 28 years… [going on and on...] says $250,000 a year for a family isn't alot…
Obama: After a long time, Obama tries to start answering the question, the questioner tries to talk over the president… Obama says, I have signed 8 small business tax cuts..the pkg we signed this week cut taxes 8 more ways, so your taxes haven't gone up in this administration – your taxes have gone down in this administration (applause) , I want to be clear about this…taxes have gone down for the small business owner and 95% of Americans…with respect to the debate on the Bush tax cuts we've proposed to extend cuts for all persons up to $250,000. If you're making $300,000 you still get a tax cut on the first $250,000. 98% of small businesses have a profit of less than $250,000… folks say let's cut gov spending, but most gov spending is medicare, medicaid, veterans benefits… even if I eliminated every earmark by congress, that's 1% of the budget…I'd like to keep taxes low so that you can crfeate more jobs but I also have to make sure we're paying our bills and we're not putting off debt to future generations, which is what happened during the Bush years…it's not anything we did during emergency spending…the single biggest reason for the deficit had to do with Bush tax cuts because they weren't paid for and we didn't cut anything to match them up…so I think to say to the top 2% of businesses, which includes hedge funds managers who are pulling down a billion a year, to say to them you've gotta pay a modestly higher amount to help make sure that our budget over time gets balanced, I think that's a fair thing to do…
Next questioner a social worker: asking about the high poverty rate…[why do all the questioners sound so lecturing today...] What am I going to do, or more specifically, what are you going to do to get people out of poverty?
Obama:….everything we can do to make sure we are…improving economy, helping business, reducing unemployment rate….2nd most powerful thing to improve poverty rate is improve education…graduating from hs and 2ndary education is powerful poverty-reducer…set up Race to the Top…education dollars to help poorer schools….recruitment and training of teachers, tracking student progress, not just passing students from grade to grade…
One more question..
Father Michael, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Beaverdale…thank you for being here…thank you for your leadership…these are tough economic times…question from member of my congregation…lost job in manufacturing a year ago…what will your economic policies do for him within the next year and help him secure the American Dream again…
Obama: This story is duplicated all across the country…I get 40,000 letters every single day…I read ten a day…many of those letters talk about being 50 years old, worked hard all my life, plant closed or office shut down, hard to find work…sometimes get letters from kids concerned about their parents who they know feel bad…long term I've spoken generally…immediately, I mentioned how we're trying to improve the business climate…we think the clean energy sector hold a lot of promise…some of the mfg jobs won't come back…many think the reason mfg has gone down fast becaue jobs are shipped overseas which is a contributing factor…because their wages are much lower…and because our trade deals weren't enforced very well…
signing off…if you have high speed internet, you can watch the video at IPTV.org
One Nation Working Together – 03 Days To 10.02.10
On October 2, 2010, tens of thousands of people will march in solidarity at the Nation's Capitol in order to protect our jobs, our education and our economy. Sign up to become part of One Nation Working Together.
We are putting America back to work and pulling America back together.
Be a part of our march on October 2, 2010 in Washington, D.C. — one of the biggest progressive demonstrations in decades.
Whether you’ll be in Washington with us or not, add your voice to the movement for unity.
Rally with President Obama at Madison Live-Blog
Barack is fired up, ready to go.. used to visit friends in college back in the day…can't give all the details…but has good memories…talks football….Bears, Packers, Badgers…
Good to see you fired up….two years ago you defied conventional wisdom in Washington…the message was no you can't…can't overcome power of special interests…no you can't elect a skinny guy with a funny name Barack Hussein Obama, they said no you can't but what did you say Wisconsin?
YES WE CAN!
You went door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor and proved this was stronger than the status quo, makes more of a difference than advertising, is more powerful than PAC money.
You are all shareholders in that mission of rebuilding our country and reclaiming our future…back here today because on November 2 we face another test and the stakes could not be higher…
I hoped and expected that we could get beyond old political divides, red states v blue states, etc. because we are proud to be Democrats but we are prouder to be Americans…instead we found the rawest kind of politics, a party that was stuck in the failed policies of the past..their calculation was as simple as it was cynical..they knew it was going to take a long time to solve the economic challenges we faced..
They knew we had lost hundreds of thousands of jobs before our policies would be in place.. they knew people would be frustrated and they figured if they sit on the sidelines and just say no and just throw bombs and let Obama and the Democrats deal with everything, they would be able to prosper at the polls…and that's what they've done..opposed all of my ideas, even the ones they used to agree with..
The prediction among the pundits is that it will be a blood-letting for Dems (boos…)…and they're saying that all of you aren't going to be as energized or engaged, enthusiasm gap, etc. That's what they're saying that you're apathetic, disappointed, not sure you're going to turn out…we cannot sit this one out…we can't let this country fall backwards because the rest of us didn't care enough to fight…and I'm going to get out there and fight as hard as I can and I'm sure you are too and we'll move this country forward…
Make no mistake…this election is a choice and the choice could not be clearer. Understand for the last decade, the GOP in Washington wanted to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, cut regulations for special interests, cut back on investments and education and clean energy, and research and technology, and put blind faith in the market, let corporations play by their own rules, America would grow and prosper and that philosophy failed. While they were in office, 2001-2009, job growth was slower than any decade since WWII. The cost of everything just kept going up and a free-for-all on Wall Street led to what we have now. They were in charge. We saw what happened.
I've had 2 main jobs since I've been Pres… to clean up after their mess and to rebuild the economy as it was before..we no longer are facing the possibility of a second depression. I emphasize the facts because the other side is not always interested in facts.
We passed Wall St. reform. These reforms will end bail-outs… We invested in American research and American technology…
We cut taxes for 95% of working families, tax cuts for small bus. owners, passed health care reform (cheers). How many are under age of 26 in this crowd? cheers…
We fixed the student loan system so that subsidies that were going to big banks, the middle men, are going to students.
We have removed combat troops from Iraq…expansion of national service…
We have made progress over the last 20 months…the hole we're digging out of is a deep one.. this recession was worst than the last three combined…I understand people are frustrated and impatient with the pace of change…I'm impatient…but now is not the time to lose heart, now is not the time to quit, every time we have been challenged, we come out stronger. We do not quit!
In every instance, progress took time. In every instance, progress took sacrifice, when workers were organizing they weren't sure when change was going to come but they knew it was going to come, when women were fighting for the vote they didn't know when it was going to come but they knew it was gonna come…I'm telling you change is going to come but you've gotta stick with me. You can't lose heart. Change is gonna come. Change is gonna come for this generation…if we work for it..if we fight for it…if we believe in it…the biggest mistake we could make right now is to let disappointment and frustration lead to apathy and indifference. If you let the other side win, it will lead to the very same policies that got us here in the first place.
The centerpiece of their pledge, their main idea, for growing the economy and dealing with the 8 million lost jobs because of their earlier policies, is a tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans…so 98% of Americans would never see a dime of the 700 billion dollar tax cut..which we would have to borrow….the party that lectures us on fiscal responsibility wants us to borrow billions to give tax cuts to billionaires…
Education: Do you think China and Korea are cutting back on education? Well let me tell you, America plays for first place! I will not allow politicians in Washington to sacrifice your future with another round of tax cuts that they don't need and that we can't afford.
We know that gov't doesn't have all the answers to all the problems. The other side has been able to hoodwink folks across the country…. We had to make sure the auto industry and the financial industry didn't go down the tubes because they (GOP) weren't minding the store..it's not because I came in with a big government agenda. I believe government should do for the people what they can't do for themselves…a country that believes I'm my brother's keeper and my sister's keeper…I believe in an America that gave my grandfather a chance to go to college because of the GI bill..that's the America I know. That's the choice in this election. Instead of tax cuts for billionaires, we want tax cuts for the middle class. No young American should have to sacrifice the dream of a college education just because they can't afford it…that's what we believe.
We want to give tax breaks to small businesses, entrepreneurs, clean energy, that's the choice in this election. If the other side takes back congress they have promised to help the same special interests we've been fighting for months. I refuse to let that happen.
We can't give the reins back to the special interests. Many of the folks in the other party spent their time in power driving the car into the ditch. Finally, we get the car up on level ground…a little dented…a little busted…needs paint job…suddenly we get a tap on the shoulder and it's the Republicans asking for the keys back! And we've gotta tell them, you can't have the keys back, you don't know how to drive! We've gotta go forward by putting it in D, not backward by putting it in R…
Whether they get the keys back it's up to you…the other side have been pumped up to think that Obama is a socialist, and they've been fed…they're not hearing the other side of the argument…they are being helped by special interest groups that are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money…and they don't have to reveal who they are…this is why we've got to work even harder in this election…we've got to fight their millions of dollars with our millions of voices… because if everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010 we will win. We will win. The polls say the same thing. We will win.
The other side is counting on your apathy, they're counting on you staying home. Let's show Washington.
Change happens because of you.
Change happens because of you.
Change happens because of you.
I know times are tough…I know sometimes it feels a long way from the hope and excitement we felt on election day and inauguration day…but we always knew this was going to be hard…I said it was going to be hard…I said not everyone was going to be happy with everything I did…you didn't elect me to do what was easy…
you didn't elect me to look at the polls, you elected me to do what was right, not what was expedient, not what was convenient.
In the United States of America the future lies in our hands but only if we keep working for it, keep believing that change is possible.
So, that is what is being tested right now. The question is, are we going to have the courage to keep moving forward even in the face of uncertainty..It's about your future. So get out there and shape it. Get out there and fight for it. We need you to commit to vote. We need you to pledge to vote. We need you to get out there and knock on doors and bring energy and passion, we will not just win this election, we are going to restore our economy, rebuild the middle class and we will reclaim the American Dream for all Americans.
Iowans Can't Let Republicans Back in Power
by Dave Bradley
Are you tired? I know I am.
Are you burned out yet? I think I am close.
Are you going to quit? You damn well better not! I know I won’t! And most importantly I know Roxanne and Chet and Dave and Bruce and Leonard and Matt Campbell and Bill Maske and Michael Mauro and Tom Miller and Francis Thicke and Jon Murphy will not quit.
And all the Democratic state senate and state representative candidates will not quit. And those running for county courthouse positions will not quit.
We only have a month to go. Voters have not really seemed to have become engaged as yet. As one candidate told me, they don’t care until the baseball playoffs start. I think that is more true this year than it has ever been. So now is the time to take on a little more energy and hit it harder.
It is much like we are going into our own playoffs starting now. Republicans claim that they will be the beneficiary of a “throw the bums out” cycle.
But I know a secret that they don’t. Voters like Republicans much less than Democrats. And when it comes to issues such as health care, jobs, education, the environment and on down the line voters side with us usually with a 55% majority or better.
So why would this be such a tough election? Two simple things: Media ownership and corporate money.
Fox “News” is a 24X7X365 Republican organ. Gee, I wonder how much that is in dollars of free advertisement? If they were the only one we could battle it, but they are just the loudest and most obnoxious. Rather than list television media that is sympathetic to right wing causes, it is much easier to list television that is liberal: 3 shows on MSNBC and FreeSpeechTV and LinkTV – the last two of which most have never even heard of.
Radio has been estimated as 90% right wing leaning. No argument here. Framing and language in a story can often create a picture in a listener’s mind that then becomes the prism through which other stories are viewed. The AP, CNN and even NPR often use the language that Fox News has made the common terms for many issues.
But here is the beauty. Despite being nearly frozen out of television and radio, we still win on issues. If TV and radio ever approached anything resembling balance, I would like to think it would kill the Republicans.
And the money in campaigns is certainly going to favor Republicans this year, especially after Republicans killed the DISCLOSE Act that was meant to fix the second worst Supreme Court decision ever. But I firmly believe that especially in Iowa the smell of all that money will actually create a stench that Republicans won’t be able to shake.
So get a good night’s rest. And then tomorrow think of what is at stake – things like keeping Republican hands off our treasury, keeping public schools open and Social Security and Medicare alive, bringing jobs back home from overseas, making sure the recovery continues and sustains. You know what I am saying.
Republicans damn near destroyed this country just a couple of years ago, we owe it to our friends, neighbors, children, grandchildren and even more, future generations to not let Republicans back in power to finish what they started.
Consult your county auditor for details or
Go to IowaDemocrats.org to find out where and how to vote early in your county.
Then head down to your county Dem HQ and volunteer some time to help elect Democrats. You can find contact information for your Democratic county chair here.
~Dave Bradley is a self-described
retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got
so screwed up.” An
Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty, Dave and his wife
Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find
decent paying jobs.”
Progressive Radio: This Week On The Fallon Forum
Thursday from 7:00-800 pm, join us for the fusion of politics
and civility at 98.3 WOW-FM and
on-line at 983wowfm.com.
Call (515) 312-0983 or (866) 908-TALK to participate in the
conversation. If you miss the show, you can hear it as a podcast and please
help support local progressive talk radio with a donation through Pay
Pal or by check to PO Box 13421, Des Moines, IA 50310.
Monday on The Fallon Forum we talk with Dr. Charles Goldman about Net Neutrality. This is arguably one of the most important issues facing America when it comes to freedom of speech and the democratic process. We'll share a clip from Glenn Beck, who never met a lie he couldn't deliver with a straight face.
Tuesday, as President Obama lands in Des Moines, we discuss his recent Q & A session before a live MSNBC audience.
Wednesday, we'll talk either about the Republicans' Pledge to America, or the Governor's race in Iowa, or the battle over whether to retain the three Iowa Supreme Court judges on the ballot. Yeah, I just think it's fun sometimes to keep our audience guessing.
Thursday, Donna Buell, an attorney and board member of both the local and national Sierra Club, joins us to discuss environmental concerns in advance of the Sierra Club's annual meeting in Des Moines on October 1st.
Consult your county auditor for details at sos.state.ia.us/elections/auditors/auditorslist.html
Culver To Johnson County Dems: “We're gonna win… I don't care what the pollsters say”
by Trish Nelson
Today the Johnson County Democrats held their annual fall fundraiser and Governor Culver, Dave Loebsack, Michael Mauro, Sue Dvorsky, Tom Miller, Francis Thicke, and the full slate of Johnson County electeds were fired up and ready to go.
Deeth's blog: “'In
35 days we're gonna win this election,' he told Johnson County
Democrats gathered for the county party's annual fall barbecue. 'I don't
care what the pollsters say, I believe in you, the voters.' (These
particular voters, perhaps; the state's Democratic stronghold gave
Culver 68 percent support four years ago.)“
Blog for Iowa was there enjoying the day before hunkering down and spending October in campaign mode. Here we are with the Guv!
Dick Meyers was there to take no prisoners and pass the hat. He recalled when Governor Vilsack was 20 points behind Lightfoot at the 32-day mark.
Sue Dvorsky, Iowa Democratic Party chair, delivered one of the finest fired-up-ready-to-go speeches I've heard.
All of the speakers emphasized that the stakes are high in this
election, and much will depend on Johnson County getting out the
My representative, Mary Mascher spoke of the importance of voting early. She asked everyone present who had voted already to raise hands, and it seemed like about a third of the crowd had already voted.
Here's the Johnson County electeds.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller's message was simple: “Elections matter.” Indeed.
Politicizing Retention of Iowa Judges
by Paul Deaton
“The campaign to ouster three Iowa Supreme Court Justices to protect what some call “traditional family” is based on a Rube Goldberg contraption of logic that defies common sense.“
Who heard of most of the judges listed in the back side of this year's ballots? On our local ballot there were fourteen of them and for everyday citizens who work hard and play by the rules, rarely are they familiar names. In fact, more than a third of people who fill out a ballot do not cast a vote in the judicial retention section.
This year, a conservative group intends to politicize the process and make the three supreme court justices up for retention in the general election better known. The justices, David Baker, Michael Streit and Marsha Ternus woke conservatives by joining the unanimous opinion in Varnum v. Brien in 2009. Some conservatives say say they should not be retained in this year's general election. The three judges have decided to refrain from campaigning.
Iowa for Freedom, headed by three time unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, recently televised an advertisement that begins, “Activist Judges on Iowa's Supreme Court have become political, ignoring the will of voters…” Last time we checked, what Iowans want is supreme court justices who interpret the law and keep the politics suggested by the “will of voters” out of judicial opinions as much as possible. There is no indication that Baker, Streit and Ternus have done anything but that.
The catalyst for this surge in interest in the supreme court justice election was Varnum v. Brien. The decision affirmed a ruling by a lower court that the Defense of Marriage Act signed by Governor Branstad limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. If one reads the 69 page opinion, what we find is that the justices considered almost every aspect of law related to marriage. That some are unhappy about the decision is not surprising, but no injustice appears to have been done.
Iowa, like 15 other states, uses what is called the “merit system” to select judges. The intent of the “merit system” is to remove judges from politics as much as is possible. Candidate for Governor Terry Branstad has indicated that he would eliminate the merit system and move to the Governor appointing justices and then seeking confirmation in the Iowa State Senate. If Branstad wins in November, it would add another layer of politicization to the judicial appointment process. It is ironic that Branstad appointed two of the three supreme court justices Vander Plaats would ouster.
Iowa for Freedom supports “traditional families.” Current social trends have all families under pressure. The divorce rate for first marriages in the United States is running at about 50%, with divorce rates for second marriages at 67% and for third marriages at 74%. In April 2009, the National Center for Health Statistics announced that nearly 40% of the babies born in the United States in 2007 were born out of wedlock. In the post-Reagan era, there has been a continual assault on the middle class with outsourcing of jobs, low cost manufacturing in Southeast Asia and a government that supports the profitability of corporations, who have an increasingly global footprint, more than citizens. Family life as we may remember it has changed and the change is permanent whether they are “traditional” or normal.
The campaign to ouster three Iowa Supreme Court Justices to protect what some call “traditional family” is based on a Rube Goldberg contraption of logic that defies common sense. Ouster judges we don't like, elect a Governor who will change the rules and appoint conservative activist judges, stack the Senate so conservative activist judges will be confirmed, do this until there are enough conservative activist judges for a majority and have the majority of conservative activist judges make rulings to match the “will of the people.” This process is the essence of making simple tasks overly complex and seems destined to crash and burn.
The Blog for Iowa view: vote to retain the three judges and elect Democrats. Progressives have a better chance of success with this nine word goal than do adherents to the convoluted logic of Vander Plaats. If we retain these judges and elect Democrats, life in society will be better for a middle class that includes progressives and conservatives alike.
Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul
Is IPTV Cable News Lite? Iowa Press Fails 2nd District Voters in Loebsack/Miller-Meeks Interview
by Trish Nelson
Last night on IPTV's Iowa Press, 2nd District Congressman Dave Loebsack and challenger Mariannette Miller-Meeks were guests.
Watching it, I was dismayed and frustrated by the interviewers' opening series of questions about the race instead of the issues. Using corporate media talking points and reiterating invented media narratives, they tried (unsuccessfully) to press Congressman Loebsack about the so-called alleged “enthusiasm gap” and wanted to know if he had a fear of being identified as part of the “establishment” that “people are tired of” – as if this is a proven fact. Not mentioning the actual fact that Democrats are beating the GOP in absentee ballot requests, the interviewers O. Kay Henderson, Dean Borg, and James Lynch, seemed intent upon sticking with cliches rather than asking questions that would enlighten and inform the public about the issues at stake in the election.
To illustrate, check out this question from O. Kay Henderson re: health care reform:
Using the word “unpopular” four times for one question, Henderson claims this is a “proven fact” twice, and adds in the buzzword “enthusiastic” just in case she didn't use enough media cliches in one sentence. [Editor's note: According to Pew Research, the more media coverage the health care bill got, the more confused about its benefits people became...see Pew Research on Health Care Reform Coverage Validates Need for Media Reform].
Borg picks up the bogus theme and Loebsack displays his talent (probably after years of teaching undergrads) for finding positive, sensible responses to lame questions.
Loebsack: As a matter of fact, I have talked about my vote for the healthcare bill. We had a forum in Coralville and I'm proud of the vote that I took on the healthcare bill because of the reasons I've cited and many other reasons. So, clearly this is something that I think was the right thing to do for Iowa, for Iowans in the second district and indeed for the country.
This next exchange between Dean Borg and Loebsack, is another great example, in my view, of how even neutral journalists adopt assumptions that are repeated throughout the media, with no basis. Congressman Loebsack declines to try and answer an unanswerable question here, and instead appropriately points out his priorities as a congressman. Not to be denied though, Borg makes a second, failed, attempt to talk about this “anti-establishment” idea. Why the interviewers think these are necessary or even interesting questions, is completely beyond me.
Loebsack: Well, I have to tell you, Dean, I'm far less concerned about sort of the dynamics of the race, if you will, than I am about making sure that I'm back home every single weekend for the extended district work periods, making sure I'm talking to as many people in the district as I possibly can.
Borg: But do you have a fear against being identified as being part of the establishment that people are tired of?
Loebsack: Well, I wouldn't be surprised if some people feel that way but, again, my concern is to make sure that I'm in the district every single weekend, that I'm doing the right things for the people of the second district and I’m representing the people of the second district and that is my focus.
BFIA to IPTV: What defines an “establishment” candidate is that candidate being supportive of the status-quo. You're not an “establishment” candidate just because you happen to already hold office. But I guess there is just no place for nuance in today's journalism.
Speaking of no place for nuance, there also is apparently no place for details:
No details! Because we would not want to add any depth of understanding to a discussion of the issues! It must've been a slip, that she actually said it out loud.
Here's another one: James Lynch uses “enthusiasm gap” or “lack of enthusiasm” three times in one question, and is also able to slip in “anti-incumbent.”
It is understandable that candidates try to stay on message, repeating the same point that they want to emphasize, but why would reporters need to do this?
The interviewers made repeated attempts to get Loebsack to be apologetic about the health care bill. Congressman Loebsack had to say more than once that he was proud of passing health care reform.
But it wasn't all one-sided. Miller-Meeks was asked what made her a legitimate candidate, seeing as how she lacks money. While she may not be favored to win, or perhaps has no chance to win, not having as much money as your challenger does not de-legitimize your candidacy, and I really wish they would quit that line of questioning. How much sense does it make to invite a candidate on the program and then ask questions implying that that same candidate is not legitimate?
After wasting about half of the show pushing corporate media sound bytes, they gave it up, as Loebsack diligently stayed on message, declining to waste precious air time being silly. His response to every cable-news style question put to him was essentially, “I'm most concerned about doing the right thing for the people of the second District and making decisions that will benefit the people of Iowa. That is what they want me to do, and that is what I care most about.” Eventually, the ace reporters moved on.
To give credit where credit is due, the interviewers did get around to asking questions about issues, touching on don't ask-don't tell, the GOP's Pledge to America, floods, earmarks, and eggs, but there was very little time left. When Miller-Meeks tried to accuse the congressman of being disingenous about the war in Afghanistan, saying he had said he was “completely against the war in Afghanistan,” Borg didn't let her get away with it, pointing out that the Congressman never said that. He appropriately asked Loebsack if what she said was true, and Loebsack simply responded, “No, it is not.” No defensiveness, no explaining, the message being, her transparent attempt to mislead deserves no more of a response than that, and voters can decide for themselves or look it up.
For her part, Miller-Meeks seemed to be pandering to the independent vote and yes, even the left. She tried to act like the health care bill was faulty because it didn't achieve universal coverage! As if she would have been for universal coverage and would have gone against the rest of the GOP to work for it? Seems unlikely.
She also tried to blame Loebsack for the recession, pointing out that when he took office the unemployment figures were lower than they are now, two completely unrelated facts.
Congressman Loebsack, true to form, wisely used his time to say as much as he could (as fast as he could because there was virtually no time), about what he has done for the people of the second District while in office. Here are some of his remarks.
…While earmarks constitute only about one percent of the budget so long as we have earmarks I'm going to do everything I can, as Senator Grassley does, to make sure that Iowa gets its fair share. If I had not done that we wouldn't have had the $182 million committed to the new federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids and if I had not done that we wouldn't be doing any number of other projects around the district. Rockwell, for example, wouldn't be developing a new generation of handheld GPS receivers for the war fighter in the field. I'm proud of the investments that I have been able to obtain for the second district of Iowa.
When it comes to flood recovery obviously we can do much better than what has happened up until this point, especially getting the money that has been allocated to the people who need it. Now, when the flood happened in 2008 and the second district of Iowa suffered over half of the damage of the whole state of Iowa I felt that I had to be a leader in the house delegation on a bipartisan basis to make sure that we got the money that we need in the state of Iowa and that is something that I have done since the June 13th crest, obviously, and I've worked as hard as I can to bring as much of that funding here to the state of Iowa and to make sure it gets to where it is supposed to go.”