Can it only be a year until we can finally say goodbye to Chuck? Once an actual senator, Chuck Grassley has turned into little more than a teabag tool as he uses his seniority and influence to stop anything and everything that would keep your government and mine functioning. Since Obama became president, it has been pretty apparent that Chuck sees his mission as an obstructor of the first order.
In short, Chuck allows little if anything to happen in his capacity as Senate Judiciary chair. Since the Senate Judiciary Committee is really important, Chuck can gum things up pretty damned good. Currently, Chuck is in a snit because he didn’t get in on the early Hillary Clinton email action. Chuck thinks the State Department isn’t giving him enough respect, so no more diplomats for them.
“I will object because the Department of State has failed to fully respond to almost a dozen outstanding letters dating back to 2013,” Grassley said. “In addition, on August 20, 2015, my staff met with Department officials in an effort to prioritize material for production. The Department has failed to comply with its commitments.”
Grassley has sent multiple request[s] to administration officials, including the State Department, over issues ranging from human trafficking to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. The Iowa Republican noted that his objections were partly tied to Congress’s probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server. […]
With Wednesday’s hold, Grassley is now blocking 22 State Department nominees. He added the decision to block on Egan’s nomination “is not intended to question the credentials of Mr. Egan in any way.”
This follows on the heels of his one man mission to stop all appointments to the federal judiciary. Chuck decided on his own it seems that there will be no more judges approved by his committee while Obama is president. Wouldn’t want that. He’ll no doubt wait for President Trump or President Carson to make any moves. Let’s see how bad it is. According to Matt Sinovic of “Why Courts Matter Iowa”:
“Senator Grassley is on pace to be the most obstructionist Judiciary Committee chair since 1953,” Sinovic says.
Grassley took over as Judiciary Committee chairman in January. The committee conducts hearings and votes on the people the president nominates to serve as federal judges. A handful of nominees have made it through that process so far this year.
“There are 67 vacancies across the country, including 31 that have been declared judicial emergencies and what that means is that these vacancies have been languishing so long that Americans are waiting for their day in court,” Sinovic says. “According to the Alliance for Justice, the total number of days for those 67 vacancies that have been open is for 28,533 days.”
When people say the government doesn’t do a damned thing, then that is our Chuck they are talking about.
He has taken time to vote to close Planned Parenthood however, showing that there is a pulse. No doubt as long as Chuck can he will work to put women in their place.
Stopping government at the bargain rate of only $175,000 a year. Can I get a refund?
Charles Pierce on the Lawrence O’Donnell Show Thursday night:
“We only allow ourselves two political parties in this country and one of our political parties is completely insane. It’s the party that when we have mine disasters blocks mine regulation. It’s the party that when we want to fix our roads we can’t have an infrastructure bill and you can’t raise gas tax. It’s the party that when we have floods like New Jersey, mark Chris Christie lousy because he accepted help from the federal government. And we have the same party which now has between three and six hundred candidates running for president none of whom will do anything about the mass shootings in America. So I mean, I am politicizing the hell out of this thing and I don’t care.”
http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word#!#full-episodes from 37:00 to 38:00 minutes
Couldn’t agree more.
Were you paying attention?
1) What Republican presidential candidate revealed their tax plan Monday that included a big slice for themselves?
2) Well we are finally in a month that has a Democratic debate. What day will this be held?
3) Can it be nearly a century? October 1, 1908 what rolled off the assembly lines of Detroit for the first time?
4) In a real surprise what oil company abandoned oil exploration in the Arctic Monday?
5) Pres. Obama met with world leaders Pope Francis and Xi Jinping last week. Who did he meet with at the beginning of this week?
6) Republican congressmen were embarrassed by what president of Planned Parenthood during hearings last week?
7) Kevin McCarthy volunteered on national TV that the Benghazi hearings were actually held just to take down what Democratic politician?
8) Tomorrow is the First Monday in October. What significance does this have for our government?
9) Iowa Republican big wigs led by Bruce Rastetter endorsed the nearly dead candidacy of what Republican presidential hopeful?
10) Government job numbers for September were what?
11) Following the Planned Parenthood hearings in the House Tuesday, a clinic was set on fire in what major US city?
12) It was reported this week that Pope Francis met with what now notorious low level Kentucky politician last week?
13) An Arizona family called police after their dog’s house was crushed by what that fell from the sky?
14) Rush Limbaugh called this discovery a “a technique to advance the leftist agenda.” What out of this world discovery was he talking about?
15) Money and politics. What presidential candidate became the first to surpass 1 million donations?
16) How many school shootings have occurred in the US in calendar 2015 so far?
17) What group called for the resignation of Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter last week?
18) A former police officer and lawyer was arrested in Waverly for selling what to undercover law enforcement agents last week?
19) Jeb! Bush once more stepped in it when a question about the Oregon tragedy drew what nonchalant response from him?
20) Mighty late in the season, but what hurricane gave the east coast fits this weekend?
I will try to think happy thoughts of Republicans someday facing up to reality and doing their duty
1) Donald Trump. Presidenting can be profitable
2) October 13th from Las Vegas
3) the Model T
4) Shell – at least for this year
5) Vladimir Putin and Raul Castro
6) Cecile Richards
7) Hillary Clinton (this is highly illegal folks)
8) The new session of the Supreme Court begins
9) Chris Christie
10) 142,000 new jobs. 67 consecutive months of job growth.
11) Thousand Oaks, California (far suburb of LA)
12) Kim Davis
13) twenty eight pounds of marijuana
14) water on Mars. No one understands what Rush was talking about.
15) Bernie Sanders
17) The Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty at the University of Iowa
18) fake money (aka counterfeit) that he had made
19) “Stuff happens”
20) Hurricane Joaquin
Enjoy the beautiful weather
Teabaggers dreams were quashed Wednesday afternoon when the US House passed the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for another 2 months. The bill was described as a “clean” bill – that is it had no amendments. That was not for want of trying.
Public Citizen published a letter signed by over 150 organizations listing some of the “inappropriate and ideological policy riders” and asking that congress members and the President reject these riders.
The list is rather amazing in the scope of what some members of congress tried to do on the back of a must pass piece of legislation. Below is the list they published. Remember this is only a partial list:
* Prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from updating one of our most important air quality standards-the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone (Senate EPA Interior).
• Prohibit the Department of Labor from finalizing or enforcing a rule that would ensure retirement savers are getting sound financial advice on their retirement savings (House Labor HHS).
• Force the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to redo a study on forced arbitration, a tactic increasingly used by corporations to deny consumers and or employees access to the courts to settle disputes (House Financial Services).
• Eliminate any funding for the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, created by Congress to provide federal agencies with scientific evidence to improve the safety, affordability and accessibility of health care to the American public (House Labor HHS).
• Bar the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from issuing a final rule, years in the making, to protect workers from toxic silica dust until it spends up to $800,000 on an unnecessary scientific study to provide “epidemiological justification” for imposing exposure limits, ensuring further delay and more diseases and deaths. When the new rule is established, it will prevent 700 deaths a year and 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually (Senate Labor HHS).
• Roll back rules by the National Labor Relations Board to modernize and streamline the election process, block the Board’s efforts to ensure that workers can negotiate with companies that control their wages and working conditions, and strip workers in commercial operations on tribal lands from the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (House Labor HHS).
• Weaken a pending Food and Drug Administration rule on liquid nicotine and flavored cigars by exempting these tobacco products currently on the market from any regulation; this will limit the agency’s ability to protect children and teens from these harmful products (House Agriculture FDA).
• Block the Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending; derail the IRS from defining political activity for nonprofits, and prevent the administration from requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending (House Financial Services).
• Continue to block rules that would place limits on the number of hours truckers could work without an adequate rest break despite safety concerns that trucker fatigue causes serious crashes and significantly increase truck size and weight limits. (House and Senate Transportation HUD).
• Eliminate the recently finalized Environmental Protection Agency rule defining which waters are subject to protections under the Clean Water Act (House and Senate Energy and Water).
• Block science-based protections under the Endangered Species Act for numerous species, including the iconic gray wolf (House Interior EPA).
• Roll back financial regulations in areas ranging from protections against irresponsible mortgage lending to limits on excessive borrowing by large banks, to undermining the effectiveness of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Senate Financial Services and General Government).
• Prevents the Food and Drug Administration from improving generic drug safety labeling so that it better protects patients (House Agriculture FDA).
• Prevent the administration from cracking down on contractors that don’t comply with workplace laws (House and Senate Labor HHS).
• Place arbitrary restrictions on evidence supporting a healthy diet from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and undermine nutritional standards for school foods provided to millions of American schoolchildren (House and Senate Labor HHS Agriculture FDA).
• Roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s strong Net Neutrality rules, or put barriers in place that prevent the FCC from enforcing these protections for Internet openness and affordability (House and Senate Financial Services).
• Zero-out funding for private fair housing enforcement grants; prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Justice from enforcing a rule that provides a unified standard for challenging discriminatory housing policies and practices; and prevent HUD from implementing a rule to empower local policymakers to create local solutions to address persistent barriers to fair housing choice (House CJS, Transportation HUD).
• Eliminate any funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, cutting the preventive care — including family planning services, well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections — that nearly 4.6 million people currently rely on (House Labor HHS).
My guess is most if not all of these are Republican proposed amendments. They are not working for the good of the country, are they?
Many Iowans are expressing concern about Governor Branstad’s unilateral decision to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid program. If fully implemented, the Governor’s decision would have negative impacts on Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens and Iowa’s healthcare providers.
I’m concerned that people in our communities will be denied critical medical services and that local providers will not be adequately reimbursed for the medical care of patients. The long-term care of severely disabled adults and children makes up the bulk of Medicaid services in Iowa. Medicaid also covers prenatal care to pregnant women, health insurance for low-income children, and health care for low-income seniors and others.
The Governor’s plan is to turn over the care of more than a half-million Iowans—one in five Iowans—to four managed care companies by January 1, 2016. With this change, we will see administrative costs jump from 3 to 15 percent, reaching $600 million. At the same time, the overall cost to the state is supposed to fall by $100 million a year.
The math doesn’t add up. The only way these companies can collect the multimillion dollar profits guaranteed them is by denying critical services to Iowans and by failing to fully pay local health care organizations for services they provide.
The managed care companies have yet to sign contracts with the state, so providers are being asked to sign contracts that don’t include reimbursement rates. Medicaid recipients and their families have good reason to be worried about the future.
Iowans who depend on Medicaid and the people and organizations that care for them need more time. That’s why I’m calling on the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reject the Governor’s plan to put Iowa’s Medicaid Program in private hands or make major changes to it.
The federal government invests a significant amount in Iowa Medicaid services. We have a responsibility to federal taxpayers and to Iowans who need these services. We need to make sure, for example, that patient outcomes continue to improve and that access to health care is not decreased.
We all need to work together to make sure quality health care services remain available to local seniors, people with physical and mental disabilities, and mothers and children.
Share your concerns
If you are concerned about the Governor’s reckless privatization of Iowa Medicaid, make your voice heard.
– I’ll be hosting a listening post. Please join me if the changes to Medicaid will impact you or your loved ones. The meeting will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 27, at the Burlington Public Library—Meeting Room A, 210 Court Street, Burlington.
– I also encourage you to share your views with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by writing to Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at email@example.com or 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244.
Where you can learn more
To learn more about privatizing Medicaid in Iowa, go to www.dhs.iowa.gov/ime/about/initiatives/MedicaidModernization.
In addition, the Iowa Department of Human Services is hosting meetings to help local Iowans understand what the transition means for them. These include:
* For Medicaid recipients and their families:
– Wednesday, October 14, 5 to 7 p.m., Davenport Public Library, Meeting Room B (321 N. Main Street, Davenport).
– Monday, October 19, 4 to 6 p.m., Burlington Public Library, Meeting Rm A (210 Court Street, Burlington).
* For community partners, advocates and other stakeholders (to attend stakeholder meetings, you must register at www.dhs.iowa.gov/node/1049):
– Monday, October 12, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Scott Community College – Student Life Ctr. (500 Belmont Road, Riverdale).
– Tuesday, October 13, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Pzazz Event Center (3001 Winegard Drive, Burlington).
Get answers to your questions
Medicaid recipients with questions or concerns can call Members Services at 1-800-338-8366.
Questions from providers should be directed to the Provider Services Call Center at 1-800-338-7909.
With the Iowa caucuses approaching you can go to any Republican event and hear one of the mass of Republican candidates harp over and over on the theme of terrorism and the presidential “duty” to “keep America safe.”
Yet what they won’t tell you is that Americans are most at danger not from their comic book grasp of terrorists thousands of miles away but are more in danger from the guy next door who owns an arsenal and has an ax to grind. Often the perceived threat is some slight that has grown in their mind as a fire fanned by the flames of hate radio and television “news” cable channels, that use hate and fear to attract eyeballs for their sponsors.
The deaths for Americans in all our wars is about 1.5 million. The most costly war in terms of lives lost was our Civil War where just short of 650,000 died. Gun deaths in the United States average between 30,000 and 35,000 per year. That means that since 1990 Americans have killed more Americans than were killed in our Civil War. Since the dawning of the Peace movements of the 1960s we have killed enough others to surpass all our casualties in all of our wars. We are at war with ourselves.
As in all wars there are those who see the horrors of war as a great time to make money. Who can forget the specter of VP Cheney making millions on a war he helped start? We have a similar specter as gun merchants will see their sales and profits rise in the shadow of yet another high profile mass murder. We will also once more see the National Rifle Association profit as they protect the gun industry and fan the flames of fear to drive sales. These are the darkest angels of our democracy.
Every day lives are shattered in this country. People going about their normal day are shot and killed or maimed for life. These victims are left to fend for themselves often with only some form of public assistance for income as they can no longer work. Family’s lives are shattered beyond description and bills mount up for victims. We seldom hear of these consequences from our mostly worthless media. We hear of the deaths, we hear of the motives of the shooter and their background, but we never hear of the shattered lives left in the aftermath.
Once more we will hear the gun defenders telling us not to politicize this issue at this time. Do we politicize voting rights when a state passes a truly horrible bill disenfranchising minorities? Damn right we do. Did President Bush use 9/11 to politicized a vendetta against Iraq? Damn right he did. Now is the very best time to talk about guns in this country. We talk about issues when the issue is hot. Currently, Republicans continue to try to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the fake documentary videos and the lies blasted by Carly Fiorina at the Republican debate.
Daily we have Republicans fan the fear of terrorism in this country. Deaths from terrorism are practically nonexistent in this country. You can see that in the chart above. But the chances of your parents, your brothers or sisters, your child or some other loved one or friend being shot down going about their daily business or attending school are much greater. Imagine the lives of a family left with with burying a child and trying to put their lives back together. I think of it daily. That is true terror.
One of my criteria in choosing a presidential candidate will be not their stance on the current definition of terror, but what they will do restore America to a place where we can work, shop, play, attend school without the fear of some person with a gun out to settle a perceived wrong. In short I expect the next president and congress to secure the domestic peace.
While our focus is once more on the worst of gun tragedies, statistically there were 90 other gun deaths in America Thursday. No doubt several involved young children, no doubt some involved family discord. But no doubt all left shattered family and friends behind to pick up the pieces.
In case you missed the vote taken Thursday, the senate failed to pass the short term spending bill that would keep the government open past Oct. 1st. A key provision of that spending bill was defunding Planned Parenthood. Thus a yes vote for the bill would at the same time be a vote to defund PP. This would be a major blow to the health care of women, especially poor women, in this country.
As expected, Iowa’s Republican senators both voted to defund PP.
With an election campaign coming up next fall it seems rather arrogant of Grassley to tell half of the voters of Iowa that he doesn’t support one of Iowa’s mainstay healthcare institutions for women’s health. However, most can remember Grassley’s “standing in the schoolhouse door” approach to the PPACA and his “pull the plug on Grandma” moment as part of his attempt to stop that bill.
Grassley stands for the wealthy. He has opposed any attempt to make health care more accessible for everyone throughout his career.
Grassley is so out of touch with Iowa. Next year will be a good time for him to be retired.
Rob Hogg, Tom Fiegen or Bob Krause will be happy to help him retire.
The following is an email sent from the Bernie Sanders campaign:
“If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.” – Pope Francis addressing Congress today. (Thursday Sept. 24th)
Brothers and Sisters: I am not a theologian, an expert on the Bible, or a Catholic. I am just a U.S. senator from the small state of Vermont.
But I am emailing you today to discuss Pope Francis in the hope that we can examine the very profound lessons that he is teaching people all over this world and some of the issues for which he is advocating.
Now, there are issues on which the pope and I disagree — like choice and marriage equality — but from the moment he was elected, Pope Francis immediately let it be known that he would be a different kind of pope, a different kind of religious leader. He forces us to address some of the major issues facing humanity: war, income and wealth inequality, poverty, unemployment, greed, the death penalty and other issues that too many prefer to ignore.
He is reaching out not just to the Catholic Church. He’s reaching out to people all over the world with an incredibly strong message of social justice talking about the grotesque levels of wealth and income inequality.
Pope Francis is looking in the eyes of the wealthiest people around the world who make billions of dollars, and he is saying we cannot continue to ignore the needs of the poor, the needs of the sick, the dispossessed, the elderly people who are living alone, the young people who can’t find jobs. He is saying that the accumulation of money, that the worship of money, is not what life should be about. We cannot turn our backs on our fellow human beings.
He is asking us to create a new society where the economy works for all, and not just the wealthy and the powerful. He is asking us to be the kind of people whose happiness and well-being comes from serving others and being part of a human community, not spending our lives accumulating more and more wealth and power while oppressing others. He is saying that as a planet and as a people we have got to do better.
That’s why I was so pleased that in his address to Congress today, Pope Francis spoke of Dorothy Day, who was a tireless advocate for the impoverished and working people in America. I think it was extraordinary that he cited her as one of the most important people in recent American history.
As the founder of the Catholic Worker newspaper, Dorothy Day organized workers to stand up against the wealthy and powerful. Pope Francis said of her today in Congress:
In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.
How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.
The fact that the pope singled out Dorothy Day — a fierce advocate in the fight for economic justice — as one of the leaders he admires most is quite remarkable. We are living in a nation which worships the acquisition of money and great wealth, but turns its back on those in need. We are admiring people with billions of dollars, while we ignore people who sleep out on the streets. That must end.
Dorothy Day fought this fight, and as Pope Francis says, we must continue it. We need to move toward an economy which works for all, and not just the few.
We have so much poverty in a land of plenty. Together, we can work to make our country more fair for everybody.
I am glad that you are with me in this fight.
When it comes to blockbusters dropping from nowhere, few things can top the announcement that Speaker of the House John Boehner would resign from the House in a month.
We had just finished a breakfast where my wife said of a Boehner story “I wish he’d just quit!” This was hardly the first time she said that. We then went to watch about a half hour of the Stephanie Miller show on Free Speech TV. About 15 minutes into our watching some woman called in to say the NY Times said Boehner was quitting. We were stunned and disbelieving. Just to show where I do put my trust these days, I went to the internet (we must keep the internet open, folks) to verify. Dailykos, democraticunderground, talkinpointsmemo – yep they all had the story and it looked to be true. A medium earthquake in the political landscape.
There will now be as much speculation on the why as there will be on what comes next. No idea why he quit, but I truly hope the Republicans will look for a moderate voice to replace Boehner. Those are few and far between in the Republican House these days, unfortunately.
Well, lots of other stuff did happen last week. Were you paying attention?
1) Pope Francis began his 10 day trip with a stop at what other Western hemisphere nation before coming to the US?
2) Martin Winterkorn resigned his job under fire this week. What job did he hold?
3) News of Boehner’s resignation brought a standing ovation at what meeting of religious conservatives in DC Friday?
4) Here is a memory from a September some 63 years back. VP candidate Richard Nixon took to the airwaves to defend himself. During the speech he invoked the name of what cocker spaniel puppy?
5) Martin Shrkeli saw his name become a curse word to the American public for doing what?
6) Approximately how many VW cars worldwide will be affected by the emissions scandal?
7) 55 years ago yesterday, Americans young and old were glued to their TVs and radios to watch or listen to what?
8) Earlier this week another Republican quitting was big news until Boehner resigned. Who quit and what did he quit Monday?
9) A major decision by the Interior Department this week said that what species does not need federal endangered species protection in the western US?
10) In some other major environmental news, what country announced it will use a cap and trade system to slow down their pollution?
11) What Iowa state senator announced he will make a run for Senator Grassley’s seat next fall?
12) Hillary Clinton announced at a forum in Des Moines that she opposes the construction of what controversial project?
13) Warring sides in what South American country announced they would have a pact within 6 months ending a 50 year conflict?
14) The nominee for Secretary of the Army is stirring controversy because he is what?
15) Finally a CEO is going to jail. Stewart Parnell was sentenced to 28 years in prison after his company knowingly sold what salmonella tainted product?
16) Sing it out! A judge in Los Angeles ruled that the 80 year old copyright on what ubiquitous song was illegal?
17) What Republican presidential hopeful rode reaction to the “debate” last week to a current #2 rank among the hopefuls?
18) Ignoring that clause in the constitution about religious tests for public office, which republican hopeful declared Muslims were not fit for the presidency?
19) The Pope eschewed a limo to travel in, instead opting for a what?
20) Following the Pope into DC was a leader with about the same number of people in his sphere at @ 1.25 billion people?
You may notice that there was no question on the passing of one of America’s favorite baseball players and a champion of the unexpected quote. May you rest in peace, Yogi. Son of an immigrant and all American through and through, Berra seemed like a guy down the street who just happened to play America’s favorite game very well. In Yogi’s own words, folks – It ain’t over til it’s over.
2) CEO of Volkswagen – he resigned amid the emissions scandal
3) Values Voters Summit 2015
4) Checkers – a puppy given to his daughters by a Texas backer.
5) raising the price of an AIDS drug by 5000% overnight.
6) 11 million
7) the first Kennedy – Nixon debate in 1960
8) Scott Walker quit his presidential bid.
9) the greater sage grouse
11) Rob Hogg
14) Eric Fanning is openly gay
15) peanut butter
16) Happy Birthday
17) Carly Fiorina. Her lies about Planned Parenthood seems to play some followers in the GOP
18) Ben Carson
19) a Fiat
20) Xi Jinping, head of the Communist Party in China.
Here is hoping for a little less drama next week.
So asks Shepard Smith on Fox so-called News.
An addendum to that question is – why are these issues among people who share a religion that was built on love and compassion for fellow humans?
Believe not what they say, but what they do. By that you will know them.
It amazes me Shep Smith still has a job.