Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
September 2014
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Fight Media Bias

Iowa

Iowa Rapid Response Action

First responders to biased, imbalanced or factually inaccurate media coverage

Iowans for Better Local TV


National

FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

*FAIR is a national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship


Free Press

News Corpse

Prometheus Radio Project

Radio for People

Save the Internet

Save the News

Author Archive

I’ve Got A Thousand Million Questions

question
A line from that Moody Blues song “Question” –
“I’ve got a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war.”

And budgets and the wealth gap and the environment and health care and education and … well many more. Can I substitute for Dean Borg one week? Please?

1) Let’s start with the budget. Once again we appear to be moving to war with no talk of how we will pay for the bombs and the planes and the soldiers so on and so forth. Yet that will not stop us from going to war. However, we have bridges about to fall down, schools that are unsafe, sewer and water lines bursting around the country that are not being addressed. Why do we always have money for war, but no money for infrastructure needs?

2) An add on to the previous question, how will you pay for the next war? Please be specific on added taxes or program cuts and who will be affected.

3) Around the country we have seen corporations create major public damage to common goods like waterways, aquifers, land, health and more yet they walk away from responsibility for those damages. Tell me what you will do to relieve taxpayers of the burden of corporate irresponsibility?

4) As a country we have spent trillions to secure oil from the middle east through wars and standing armies and aid. It looks as though we will be in the middle east as long as we need oil. What are your proposals to get off the oil addiction?

5) who are you largest donors? What will they get for their investment in you?

6) When we go into war, the lives and bodies of soldiers are broken. We have been greatly negligent in repairing those broken lives and bodies. Would you favor a tax to pay for soldier maintenance throughout their lives before we send them into war?

7) Should there be a tax or cost added to products to pay for their impact on the environment?

8) Why do companies get tax breaks when they move jobs and facilities out of the US? What will you do to bring these jobs and facilities back? How will your approach work.

9) There is a new awareness of battered women in this country. What have you done in the past to address this problem and what do you propose that the government can do?

10) Finally – It has been nearly 2 years since the Sandy Hook massacre. We are killing each other as if we are in an internal war. What proposals will you advance to end this slaughter and tell us why they will work?

I could go on and I bet you could also. I really want to hear questions that affect our daily lives and see if the politicians understand what their platitudes mean.

“I’ve got a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war.”

Oktoberfest? It’s Time!

House district 91 candidate John Dabeet poses with Lt. Governor candidate Monica Vernon in Muscatine

House district 91 candidate John Dabeet poses with Lt. Governor candidate Monica Vernon in Muscatine

Muscatine County Democrats will be hosting their 10th annual Oktoberfest fundraiser at the Strawberry Bed and Breakfast next Saturday, September 27th from 1 to 5 PM. Strawberry Farm Bed and Breakfast is located at 3402 Tipton Road in Muscatine. This is in the north part of Muscatine just south of the Hwy. 61 bypass on Tipton Road.

Hosts Karl and Linda Reichert began this tradition when their son Nate was running for the state House in 2004. Unfortunately, Nate did not survive the 2010 election, but the Reicherts continued their fundraiser for the local party.

This year’s headliners are Monica Vernon, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor and Congressman Dave Loebsack from Iowa’s second district. Other local officeholders will also make an appearance. Donation levels from are suggested from $300 down to $25 are suggested. There is also a meal provided by A Guy and A Grill for a $10 donation.

The setting is bucolic and there will be lots of friendly Democrats around to trade stories with and some great candidates to listen to. If you are looking for a good time in a beautiful setting with some new and old friends next Saturday, come on down. And maybe you can persuade Karl to make you a root beer float!

Strawberry Farm

Strawberry Farm

Free Speech TV Covers People’s Climate March

peoples climate march
From 9:30 until 12:30 today Free Speech TV (Dish channel 9415, Direct TV channel 348 or online at https://www.freespeech.org/) will be carrying live coverage of the People’s March For Climate Change. This will be a Democracy Now presentation. The major part of the march will be in New York City ahead of the UN Summit on Climate Tuesday.

2500 marches are taking part in the event across the world. Already today 30,000 people showed up in Melbourne Australia – a country where Prime Minister Tony Abbot has rolled back much of his predecessor’s climate actions.

As far as we know, no corporate broadcasting entity in the US will have any coverage.

Sunday Funday – The Divorce Didn’t Happen Edition

dinna cheatAnglophiles everywhere can sleep better tonight. The rumored breakup with their rascally little partner, Scotland, did not come to pass. That doesn’t mean all is bliss. England made lots of promises to keep the marriage together. We will see how well those promises are kept in the near future. But for now we can visit their home without having to duck flying dishes and nasty name calling. Peace – isn’t it wonderful?

Were you paying attention last week?

1) President Obama committed troops and money to combat what potential major threat in Africa?

2) What independent senator made his very first appearance on Meet The Press, saying issues are pushing him to run for president?

3) Claiming he was “too busy” what official was able to get his scheduled deposition delayed until after the election?

4) A vintage Kent State sweatshirt with what looked like bullet holes and blood was marketed last week by what company?

5) What Chinese company attracted major publicity for its initial public offering Friday on the New York Stock Exchange?

6) Is this a sign that things are getting better? The number of gamblers in Iowa increased by what percent in 2013?

7) Let no man out asunder. England and Scotland are still together. When were they put together under one parliament?

8) Who was the leader of the of the “YES” position in the vote to split Scotland from England?

9) The No Child Left Behind law has listed more or less than half of Iowa’s schools in need of help?

10) September 24 1957. President Eisenhower sends federal troops to Arkansas for what purpose?

11) While many major corporations have threatened to uncouple from the NFL over the domestic abuse issue, what corporation has actually pulled its campaign against breast cancer from the NFL?

12) In the run up to the independence vote in Scotland, what major financial company threatened to move its headquarters out of Scotland?

13) What politician joined the Nuns on the Bus as they kicked off another national tour this time promoting voter registration?

14) In a horrific crime Thursday in Belle Florida, a man killed who?

15) In Florida, a bill that gives students “sole discretion in determining whether an inspirational message is to be delivered” at a student assembly has been embraced by what religious sect?

Well I guess I won’t have to get my kilts out and press them. Never did look good in them anyway.

Answers:

1) Ebola

2) Bernie Sanders

3) Gov. Branstad. – Hey,guv, we all get busy.

4) Urban Outfitters

5) Ali Baba – already worth more than Amazon

6) 9%

7) 1707

8) Alex Salmond

9) more than half – 54.4%

10) to desegregate Little Rock’s Central HS

11) P&G

12) RBS or Royal Bank of Scotland

13) VP Joe Biden

14) his daughter and his six grandchildren before killing himself

15) The Satanic Temple which in turn is rallying for Florida governor Rick Scott.

Special Treatment For Branstad

Branstad raise
A story that sort of went under the radar at the end of last week was one about how once again our Governor stretches the limits of equal treatment under the law. Branstad is the defendant in a lawsuit concerning discrimination and illegal tactics in forcing an employee to resign. The plaintiff, Christopher Godfrey, had sought a deposition from Branstad during September or October.

But Branstad claimed he could not carve out a few hours until after the election. Seems to me if Branstad were an ordinary citizen like you and I then he would have been told “No you have to give this deposition.” But once more he pulls rank, claims he is too busy and mocks the justice system.

It is just one thing after another with this guy. He puts himself above the law time after time. Should we list a few? Let’s start with the hush money paid to employees that were let go under suspicious circumstances by the Branstad Administration. Then how about the illegal closing of the state home for juveniles in Toledo? Or maybe taking his governor’s pension while he is governor? We can go on with his ignoring traffic laws and the subsequent firing of a highly respected Highway patrol officer. Then there is the unilateral changing of the administrative law judge’s position to an at-will position.

Let us not forget his total disdain for people – how he line item vetoed a unanimous funding for food banks, how he fought like the devil to stop the Medicaid upgrade, how he continues to bust unions at every turn, or how he passes out our economic development money like its his pocket change. It is our money.

Just like it is our money that is defending Branstad in this lawsuit and will be our money in lawsuits that will no doubt be coming. Like so many Republican governors across the country – Christie, Perry, McDonnell etc. – Branstad just seems to set himself above the law.

It is way past time for Iowa to look forward once more. It is way past time to put someone in the governor’s mansion that will be looking out for the common Iowan, not his donors and rich buddies. Hopefully on Wednesday November 5th we can all look to Des Moines and wave a final farewell to Terry.

Medicare Still Working

save medicare
I am here to report that Medicare is still in full fettle. This month I joined up. What a feeling. I feel like I have just moved into a grand home with few worries. No more wondering if the landlord will toss us out on our ear because he can. In more practical terms it means I can go to see a medical person without the fear that we may lose our home and everything we worked for. For a cost way less than half of what some really bad “insurance” used to cost me, I can now get real medical care. Plus the system itself is doing well.

Even though the ACA was supposed to address problems with the health care system (or more accurately the health insurance system), insurance companies have done all and everything they can to subvert its mission. The policy I had for the past eight months was sold to me with one set of providers, but that was switched when I went to use it. Thus I was little better off than before. With Medicare that is not a worry.

Prior to the ACA, it was pretty much a given that if you were over 50 pretty much everything you would see a medical person for was a “pre-existing condition” and thus not covered by the insurance company. So for years I paid out big bucks for horrible coverage, just like most of the country. This is what led to health care being one of the central issues of 2008. Most people wanted and still want I believe a form of Medicare for everyone. What we got is protection for the health insurance industry with a few trinkets for the consumer.

Thus we are still the only major economy without universal health care and we still pay nearly twice what any other country pays per person while getting about half the results. Taking a chunk out for that middle man that adds nothing to the actual care of a patient really affects the system. Too bad a person has to wait to 65 to finally have access to decent health care in this country. Medicare is a great template for what this country should be aiming for.

No doubt Medicare is a popular program. So popular that Republican candidates for national and statewide offices have had to couch their once outspoken opposition to Medicare in phraseology that attempts to hide their real intent. Joni Ernst has a commercial that claims she favors Medicare when in reality she will be one pushing hard to voucherize Medicare. Her loyalty is not to get good medical access for Iowans young and old, but to deliver on what the Koch Brothers tell her to do. Lying about her position is not a problem when it may accomplish her goals.

We know how Steve King feels about medical care – it is just not for the poor and middle class. David Young is using the old and long debunked lie that Obama stole $700 billion from Medicare. Anyone who tells you that is an idiot, pure and simple. In the second district we see Mariannette Miller-Meeks lining up with libertarian tea bagger Rand Paul. Her policies have shifted way to the right of the years. Her views on Medicare have moved also. I really find it hard to believe that a doctor would work to restrict access to health care, but there she is to prove me wrong.

I must say I do not know where Rod Blum stands, but I could guess and I am sure I would be close. Most of the Republican candidates say they do not want to take Medicare away from those who have it. That is simple logic. That would be political suicide. But taking it away from a generation that Reaganomics has oppressed to the point where they have seen the middle class slowly disappear is fair game to them.

Just another in their war on the middle class. Now, I believe and I think most Iowans believe that Medicare and its companion programs Social Security, Medicaid and the current ACA, are social contracts between the government and the citizens. Remember we are the government and we do direct what our representatives do.

In case you have forgotten, Terry Branstad would have been ecstatic to dump the Medicaid portion of the ACA like all his Republican buddies. But he was forced to compromise and put in at least a form of the new Medicaid due to a gutsy stand by his now opponent Jack Hatch. Branstad would love to have a chance to roll back that decision. Electing Jack Hatch would give Iowa a chance to join those at the top tier of health care. We really owe it to ourselves to send Branstad packing and to put a man with vision for the common Iowan in the governor’s mansion.

If health care is still a concern of yours and your family, and it should be if you are human, there is little question that you should vote for Democrats this fall.

Sunday Funday – Oops About That Harkin Steak Fry

harkin_braleyIf I am not wrong I wrote last week’s quiz as if the last Harkin Steak Fry was last week. I am a total Bozo, but I am not telling you anything you already didn’t know. If you did go to the event last week you no doubt secured an excellent seat. Hopefully you get squatter’s rights for this week.

Thirty-seven years is a long time. I think phones were still connected to the wall 37 years ago. Thank you Senator and a long life to you. By the way, I certainly hope we don’t see you as a lobbyist for any corporation.

And now: the quiz!

1) In recent years Harkin has invited 3 folks who have made noises about running for the Democratic nomination in 2016 besides Hillary. Can you name them (hint: 2008,2011, 2012)

2) Which state has had its bond rating downgraded for the seventh time and second this year under their governor who wants to be president?

3) The eyes of the world will be on what want-to-be nation next week as it votes for its independence?

4) At a Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Maquoketa, a gunman died while apparently trying to kill what county official?

5) Experimental vaccines have kept a group of macaque monkeys free from what disease for 10 months?

6) Two Minnesota senators have addressed the crowd at the Harkin steak fries over the years. Can you name them?

7) Multitudes of female Ravens fans attended Thursday night’s game wearing the jersey of what Ravens player?

8) The National Organization for Women (NOW) called for the resignation of what business leader this week?

9) On Wednesday, President Obama announced what strategy for the Middle East?

10) The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for the first time ever fewer than half of American adults were what?

11) DNA tests revealed Aaron Kosminski as one of history’s most sought after mystery men. Who was Aaron Kominsky revealed to be?

12) Yet another major retailer announced that its credit customers may have been compromised. What retailer announced it was hacked this time?

13) What major world economy contracted at an annual rate of 7.1% in the second (April – June) quarter?

14) The Apple watch was introduced this week. The screen of the Apple watch will be made of what ultra-hard substance?

15) The sheriff of Rock Island County, Illinois resigned this week when he pled guilty to official misconduct for what actions?

It was a busy week. Bet Senator Harkin won’t miss the foofahrah all that much.

Answers:

1) 2008 – Brian Schweitzer, 2011 – Bernie Sanders and 2012 – Martin O’Malley

2) New Jersey

3) Scotland

4) the county assessor – he had a tax complaint.

5) Ebola

6) Paul Wellstone and Al Franken

7) the suspended for domestic violence Ray Rice

8) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of the Rice affair.

9) air strikes on ISIL

10) married – maybe we need more marriage equality.

11) Jack the Ripper

12) Home Depot

13) Japan

14) sapphire glass

15) cyber stalking a woman.

Ernst Proud To Have Her Support

sarah-palin-rant
Palin Family Involved In Brawl

America averted a disaster by rejecting John McCain and his craven pick of Sarah Palin for vice president in 2008. The very thought of what a Vice-President Palin would have unleashed on this country is only less scary that the thought of what could have happened if Palin had somehow succeeded to the presidency.

Unlike other VP candidates, Palin has not just faded into the background. With all sorts of strange appearances and even stranger utterances, Palin has managed to keep herself in the news and keep the money rolling in. Much like the folks who would pay good money to flock to PT Barnum’s freak show, people still have a morbid fascination with Sarah Palin.

Once more last weekend Sarah and her family thrust themselves into the spotlight by mixing it up with their neighbors at a birthday party. Fueled by alcohol, things got out of hand when son Track ran into someone he didn’t like.

For the report of the incident we turn to the blog of Amanda Coyne:

“Hell hath no fury like a Palin family visit: Just when I was about to give up on them, the Gods of gossip came visiting this week, and as they’ve done in the past, they beckoned me to look towards Wasilla, towards the fortress of Our Lady of the North, the woman who was almost a heartbeat away from the presidency, whose family had a dramatic weekend, Wasilla style! As many of us have read, Bristol Palin was visited by a Floridian stalker on Sunday who somehow ended up on the family’s balcony. The stalker currently sits in jail. That’s pretty dramatic. But that’s the least of it. The night before, Saturday, was a doozy. The details are a little sketchy, but there’s enough of them, from enough different sources, that a story emerges, a story that according to the gossip Gods, looks kind of like this: There’s some sort of unofficial birthday/Iron Dog-type/snowmachine party in Anchorage. A nice, mellow party, until the Palin’s show up. There’s beer, of course, and maybe other things. Which is all fine, but just about the time when some people might have had one too many, a Track Palin stumbles out of a stretch Hummer, and immediately spots an ex-boyfriend of Willow’s. Track isn’t happy with this guy, the story goes. There’s words, and more. The owner of the house gets involved, and he probably wished he hadn’t. At this point, he’s up against nearly the whole Palin tribe: Palin women screaming. Palin men thumping their chests. Word is that Bristol has a particularly strong right hook, which she employed repeatedly, and it’s something to hear when Sarah screams, “Don’t you know who I am!” And it was particularly wonderful when someone in the crowd screamed back, “This isn’t some damned Hillbilly reality show!” No, it’s what happens when the former First Family of Alaska comes knocking. As people were leaving in a cab, Track was seen on the street, shirtless, flipping people off, with Sarah right behind him, and Todd somewhere in the foreground, tending to his bloody nose.”

Iowa’s connection to this is that Joni Ernst proudly accepted the Palin endorsement back in March. I would assume that endorsement and acceptance are still in place. Sarah Palin is a national embarrassment. Joni Ernst is cut from the same cloth. My feeling is that if Ernst is elected she will be an embarrassment to Iowa, not in the exact same ways as Palin, but in her own way.

Back in March Ernst accepted the Palin support:
“I’m proud to stand with the Mama Grizzly against big spenders in Washington like Bruce Braley and Nancy Pelosi. Sarah Palin is an inspiration to those of us who want to protect life, defend the Second Amendment, and get Washington out of our wallets. As our campaign builds energy toward a primary win in June, Sarah Palin’s roaring support will help me to victory, and as a result, make ‘em squeal in Washington,” said Ernst.

One thing is for sure. Just like Palin, Ernst wants to end Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA. Ernst has let it be known that she will not work for Iowans – all the programs listed have major approval in Iowa polls. Instead she will be a tool of the Kochs and their ilk.

We need a senator that will work for Iowans.

Krugman: Medicare Spending Is Down!

save medicare
Major news that barely registered a tinkle in what passes for news media last week. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised since it was a holiday weekend and when the administration has good news it seldom makes the front section, let alone the front page. Considering the shambles that Republicans left our fiscal house in and the flat out total opposition they have shown to any attempt to fix the mess makes this news remarkable. Here is the beginning of Krugman’s column from August 31st:

So, what do you think about those Medicare numbers? What, you haven’t heard about them? Well, they haven’t been front-page news. But something remarkable has been happening on the health-spending front, and it should (but probably won’t) transform a lot of our political debate.

The story so far: We’ve all seen projections of giant federal deficits over the next few decades, and there’s a whole industry devoted to issuing dire warnings about the budget and demanding cuts in Socialsecuritymedicareandmedicaid. Policy wonks have long known, however, that there’s no such program, and that health care, rather than retirement, was driving those scary projections. Why? Because, historically, health spending has grown much faster than G.D.P., and it was assumed that this trend would continue.

But a funny thing has happened: Health spending has slowed sharply, and it’s already well below projections made just a few years ago. The falloff has been especially pronounced in Medicare, which is spending $1,000 less per beneficiary than the Congressional Budget Office projected just four years ago.

This is a really big deal, in at least three ways.

Krugman then goes on to explain why the Medicare miracle is such a big deal here.

Don’t forget that about six months ago the main stream media all but ignored the major story that the budget deficit has been shrinking at an incredible rate, the fastest ever since WWII. When the Bush cronies were done destroying things they left an annual shortfall of nearly $1.5 trillion with an annual trillion dollar deficit expected every year. The Obama Administration has cut this down to under half a trillion deficit and cut the deficit to GDP ratio from nearly 10% coming in to office to under 3% for this year.

By the way, don’t forget that as President Clinton was leaving office, his administration had cut the then massive debt left by Republican administrations to the point where projections had the United States out of debt within a decade.

You may also recall that President Clinton presided over a roaring economy that was struggling badly under Bush the Elder – remember the phrase “it’s the economy, stupid.” We have seen the stock market come back from a major setback at the end of the Bush II administration to soar to new heights.

In short, given the outright entrenched opposition of Republicans who have tried to stop Obama at every turn, the Obama administration has produced some remarkable economic numbers.

Can you just imagine what could happen if Republicans were working for the good of all Americans instead of only working for the corporations and the rich 1%? If Republicans do not wish to work for the good of the majority of Americans, why don’t we just leave them behind to wallow in their stew while Democrats take the country to new heights. It can be done. It should be done.

If I had an employee who worked against my company as hard as the Republicans work against their employers (you and I), I would fire them in a second. You have the power to do that.

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman