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Archive for March 1, 2011

Taking a Koch Break – Boycott Koch Products

Taking a Koch Break

by Dave Bradley

About a month or so ago someone wrote and asked me about boycotts. I had been trying to formulate a response that didn’t seem all muddled when the Koch brothers started their democracy destroying shenanigans.

I am not always convinced that boycotts work, but in the case of the Koch brothers let us see if we can make it work. If the 67% of Americans who support the unions in their (and our) struggle in Wisconsin make an effort to quit buying anything Koch maybe we can send them a message.

Here is a list of Koch Industry products to avoid

Unfortunately their big products are gas and oil. I can’t find a specific company that they retail to. This is fairly common in the oil industry if I recall correctly.

While many of us may not be able to travel to Madison or Des Moines or other sites of major protest, one thing I think we can all do is to go to our local legislative forums and let  your local elected rep know that you support the unions in their fight for fair wages and benefits. There is usually a big business contingent at these, so it would be nice to have a show of strength. 

There is no shortage of things to question our law makers on. Such items as Iowa’s shot at cutting collective bargaining,  or maybe jobs and taxes  and here at
My question is, what do we need to do to get recall in Iowa? I am sure Branstad needs help to retire.

 – Shephard Smith should get some kind of an award for accidently (?) speaking the truth on Fox the other day.  The video is at the bottom.  

 – An international item that may come into big play soon is the elections that took place in Ireland over the weekend. The party that had been in charge during their crash and negotiated settlement have been shown the door big time. The new sheriffs in town are not too happy about the deal they inherited and are threatening to default. This could send shockwaves around Europe and the world.

But the new expected PM does not feel that the Irish people should lose services and pay more taxes to bail out the banksters. My guess is, that is a position that will get much sympathy here (and in Wisconsin). 

 – Goldman Sachs issued a study stating that GOP proposed tax cuts will hurt the economy. This should be no surprise to anyone. The GOP has been actively pursuing economy damaging strategies since Obama was sworn in. A bad economy is their best hope for election victory. Seriously, did you think they really cared about deficits? After what Reagan, Bush and Bush did? 

 – Finally, I would like to give a shout out to Gov. Walker’s baby sitters up there in Madison.  The Kochs paid a lot for this office holder and they want to make sure he does just what he is told. It’s not just busting the unions or stealing the power plants for nothing, no there are environmental laws to lay havoc to, also. Have you ever seen corruption so blatant?
And most of the corporate media refuses to cover it. CNN had 10 minutes on cell phones and brain damage, but no time for the biggest story in a long time.

Homework:  Memorize this list

E-mail Dave here

Dave Bradley is a self-described
retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got
so screwed up.” 
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.

Labor Update: When Democrats Don't Vote

Labor Update: When Democrats Don't Vote

Photo by BFIA contributor Tracy Kurowski, who was in Madison this weekend helping the cause. 

Kurowski is currently AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison at the United
Way of the Quad City Area. She has been active in the labor movement
for ten years, first as a member of AFSCME 3506, when she taught adult
education classes at the City Colleges of Chicago. She moved to the
Quad Cities in 2007 where she worked as political coordinator with the
Quad City Federation of Labor, and as a caseworker for Congressman
Bruce Braley from 2007 – 2009.

Iowa's First Nuclear CWIP: FL to NC “Don't Do it”

Iowa's First Nuclear CWIP: FL to NC “Don't Do it”

[Editor's note: The Iowa Legislature is currently considering HSB 124 and SSB 1144 which are study bills that propose Iowa public utilities are enabled to charge customers for the capital expense of building a nuclear power generating station before it is built, even if it is not built. See our post from Sunday for more information about CWIP.

“Senator Fasano warns NC governor and legislature not to make same nuke power mistake,” according to the Miami Herald Blog.

“Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey (FL), still so regrets his decision to allow Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light to charge customers for nuclear power plants before they're even built that he's sent a letter today to the governor of North Carolina and the North Carolina legislature, urging them not to make the same mistake.”
Click here to read the article from the Miami Herald Blog.
In a letter dated February 17, 2011, Senator Fasano wrote North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue to say that as a self described “conservative, pro business legislator,” he voted for a CWIP “based on the information available and analysis provided at the time.” He now regrets his decision and is co-sponsoring a bill to repeal the law allowing for the CWIP.

He wrote, “Allowing utilities to charge customers for new power plant construction work in progress will hurt already strapped customers with possibly large increases in their electricity bills. According to Progress Energy filings with the Florida Public Service Commission, the average Progress customer could see an estimated increase of nearly $50 per month by 2020 from the Levy capital additions.”

Click here to download a copy of Senator Fasano's letter.

We don't know the cost to customers for MidAmerican Energy's proposal yet. However, using the Florida example, a $50 per month increase for a CWIP could raise Iowa customer rates as much as 75%. Our point is that there is a lot to consider before the Iowa legislature enacts its own CWIP.

A MidAmerican Energy representative said yesterday that future compliance costs would raise rates, and it may be true that carbon regulation will increase current electricity costs. If a person has been following the 112th Congress, nothing seems likely to happen on an energy bill anytime soon. While we wait for Congress to act, and it could be a while, there are other ways to make and use energy that eliminate the need for either carbon or nuclear fuels entirely. One example to consider is Arjun Makhijani's Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for US Energy Policy which can be downloaded here. While Makhijani's policy proposal is not a panacea, it is innovative, and what Iowa needs to meet its energy needs is innovation, something lacking in a proposal for nuclear power.

More importantly, the lesson Iowa should learn from Florida about our potential nuclear CWIP is that not doing one's homework can cause trouble for constituents and get legislators changing their mind. There are lessons to be learned from other states that considered and enacted or rejected CWIP for nuclear power generating facilities. This is not trivial and it takes time.

Let's encourage Iowa state legislators to make the right decision for Iowa by doing their homework on CWIP before voting on HSB 124 and SSB 1144. If it takes until the 2012 legislative session to get it right, Iowans will be glad they did.

~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul Deaton


Click here to find your legislator. Ask them to vote no on HSB 124/SSB 1144.

Iowa Progressive Radio: This Week On The Fallon Forum

Iowa Progressive Radio:  This Week On The Fallon Forum

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Dear Friends,

Monday, we talk proposed gun law changes with Charles Goldman.

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Ed Fallon