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Great March In Iowa City!

Iowa City Women’s march 01-21-2017

My guess was at least 2,000, maybe as high as 3,000. Just couldn’t believe the waves of people that just kept coming as noon approached. It was wonderful.

Lots of women of all ages of course, but also lots of men, many girls also. Some of the girls looked to be junior high age and seemed to be on their own. Way to go girls! Also a good number of boys. It was a well behaved crowd.

The local organizer said she was overwhelmed. She said she thought it would be her and a couple of her friends.

image from #sistermarchic

Yesterday was a giant step backward for the country and the world. Today was an inspiring first step in reverse, but only a tiny step. This was not a one and done rally, but no doubt the first of what will have to be constant actions on many fronts.

Leaving the march and listening to reports from around the world, I was heartened. Believe me a huge dose of hope has been much needed after what has transpired since Nov. 8th.

On a personal level, I was given a pussy hat which I will cherish until the end.

pussy hat

Will Republicans Hide Because Of Healthcare?


Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers drowned out by chants of “Save Our Healthcare” at MLK Day Rally

Remember last year shortly after Antonin Scalia died and Chuck Grassley reinterpreted the constitution to read that he, as chair of the Judiciary Committee, had the right to decide whether or not a new Supreme Court justice would be nominated and approved? Then he took his newly imagined powers out around Iowa to see how they would play.

It didn’t play well. Not well at all. It especially didn’t play well in towns of any size.

So in the middle of an election year Grassley created a new version of hi 99 county tour where he avoided people except in carefully selected venues that were very friendly. My recollection was that he seldom met an audience in a town over 2000 east of Des Moines.

Even though this year is not an election year Republican politicians around the country are getting hounded by constituents scared of losing their healthcare. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was booed off the stage in Spokane Monday because of the ACA.

In Denver, Rep. Mike Coffman was also booed off the stage also on Monday as he called for the repeal of the ACA.

Closer to home constituents picketed the Cedar Rapids office of Rod Blum, Iowa’s 1st district radical Republican.

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/1/19/1622236/-Iowa-Republican-finds-himself-on-the-wrong-side-of-constituents-on-Obamacare

“Get used to it, Republicans. The angry crowds you’re going to be facing from now on are people whose lives you are jeopardizing, and they’re going to let you know about it. Like they did with Rep. Rob Blum, in Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — Sara Kissling owns The Sausage Foundry in Cedar Rapids with her husband. She has stage five kidney failure. The Affordable Care Act lets her get coverage with her pre-existing condition. It also helps her afford dialysis treatment and medical equipment.

People protest outside 1st District Rep. Rod Blum’s (R-Iowa) office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. The protesters do not want Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Phil Reed/KCRG-TV9)

She says, “Without it I would have met my cap within maybe six months. I’d be dead right now anyway, because who can afford $30,000 per month in expenses.”

Blum failed to materialize to address his constituents, but he probably saw this local news broadcast which you can see below the fold. As did most of his constituents. And let me tell you, Sara Kissling is a very sympathetic—and effective—spokesperson.

Keep it up, folks!”

Voters are awakening to the fact that they did not vote to take away their access to healthcare. They are becoming more aware that Republicans lied through their teeth about replacing the ACA with something better. They are now aware that Republicans are only interested in repealing the ACA so they can give the top .1% a huge tax cut.

Voters are also really pissed off that the radical Republicans are setting their sights on privatizing Medicare that will effectively end healthcare for the elderly. This is not what they voted for. In fact thanks to a docile media that only featured one story and that was about emails, this was not talked about at all.

Voters are really mad that medicaid – the only health care for many of the most vulnerable in our society – will be drastically cut.

Voters are really, really pissed that the Children’s health program (CHiP) is being used as a bargaining chip by the radical Republicans. None of this was discussed during a campaign that was almost devoid of any discussion of issues.

What is really galling is that the very basic reason that OUR healthcare is being cut is so that the richest in our country can be given a huge tax cut! If that doesn’t make your stomach turn you must be one of those getting a huge tax cut.

So what do Republicans do when they stomp on their constituents? They hide. Refuse to make appearances or not announce them in advance the way Grassley didn’t last year. They also refuse to take questions on certain subjects or refuse to talk to the press.

We see that last strategy – refusing to talk to the press – as what will probably be one of the Trump approaches. The other approach for the Trumps will be to simply invent a new (and friendlier) “press” out of whole cloth.

So keep an eye on Iowa’s senators and representatives to see when their public appearances are. Be sure to confront them in public arenas about healthcare. Repeal of the ACA and privatizing Medicare and slashing medicaid and CHiP will affect every household in this country.

protest at Rep. David Young’s office – coutesy democraticunderground.com

Grassley, Integrity And Tom Price


Franken crushes Price on tobacco and corruption (8 minutes)

As one of the worst nominees in the worst cabinet ever proposed, Rep. Tom Price stands out. Not only because he opposes most of the programs his department is supposed to administer, but also because he may well have committed a criminal act for the purpose of making a big score in the stock market.

For lay people, what Price did was tantamount to insider trading. He bought a large amount of stock in a company that would be very positively affected by legislation before congress. Price then fought hard, one could almost say lobbied for this legislation to pass. When it did, Price saw his investment increase immensely.

Price’s actions are the very epitome of the kind of corruption that the average American finds so disgusting.

In 2012 a bill was passed in Congress known as the STOCK act to stop this very type of action. Congressmember Dave Loebsack of Iowa was one of the early sponsors in the House.

In the senate, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley was also an early supporter of a much stronger STOCK act. In the end, Grassley voted against it because the bill did not go far enough. Sounds good. Sounds like real integrity.

Senator Grassley now sits on the committee that is conducting the hearings on Rep. Price’s confirmation as the Secretary of Health and Human Service. This is where the rubber meets the road for Grassley.

Price may technically have not violated the STOCK act, but as the new saying goes, it doesn’t pass the smell test. In fact this one stinks to high heaven.

In the past couple of decades, Senator Grassley has been a nearly automatic vote for the Republican Party. However in this case, Grassley seems to be caught in a true Republican dilemma. Will he follow his previous course of action and vote not to advance Rep. Price? Or will Grassley once more talk integrity and act as a go-along vote for the Republicans?

Listen to a Bradcast segment on Grassley and the Price nomination. (start at ~ 27:00 Grassley mentioned at 32:30 ends at 35:00)

When we talk about Grassley and integrity we are talking about a tenuous link at best. Integrity has always been a malleable commodity for Grassley – one only need to look at his invention of the reasoning behind stopping Merrick Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court as an example. Or one could think back to the lies he told about the ACA as he worked to defeat it.

We will know shortly which side of Grassley we will see. In my mind I have no doubt we will see Grassley, the Republican go-along.


Elizabeth Warren Rips Tom Price (10 minutes)

Best Wishes For Iowa Marchers Today!

Getting Back To True American Roots

Our best wishes go out to all the women and the men who will be joining them in opposition to the takeover of our government by what appears to be a cabal that enters office under dark clouds of suspicion of an election that was interfered with by a foreign power among other things.

Yet this cabal will be taking the reigns of government with the most radical agenda ever.

The agenda includes ignoring climate change and allowing our air and water to become unbreathable and undrinkable.

Also included in the radical agenda is the reversal of all New Deal programs such as Social Security. Expect programs such as unemployment insurance and food programs for the needy to be on the chopping block.

Other safety net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA are major targets also.

Now people should be outraged as they find out what this cabal will be doing, so another of the major projects is to control the means of communication in this country. Sympathizers to this extreme right wing cabal already own most of the media outlets in this country. What real information that does filter out to the public will be delegitimized by the cabal using the media they already own.

The one news source they currently do not control is the internet. Expect net neutrality to be an early victim in the radical right’s quest to control news and public information.

Every home, every person in America will be affected and affected to a great degree by the changes which the radical right is seeking. For .1% of Americans it will be a grand and glorious change. For the other 99.9% of us the changes will most likely drastically change our lives for the worse.

It is a bleak picture that awaits us. However, we do know that rule by a small group is extremely fearful of popular uprisings. Beginning today, Americans of all persuasions, religions, backgrounds and philosophies need to join together to stall off the changes that the radical right and the top .1% want to force on us.

We thank you for standing up today and hope you plan on standing up as often as needed during the next four years.

Sister Marches Today:

Decorah
January 21, 2017•10:00 AM
Mary Christopher Park• East Water Street, Decorah, IA 52101
https://actionnetwork.org/events/womens-march-on-washington-driftless-style

Des Moines:
Sat, January 21, 2017
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM CST
Iowa State Capitol Building & Rotunda
1007 East Grand Avenue
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-iowa-sister-march-rally-iowa-state-capitol-tickets-29938261145?aff=eac2

Dubuque:
January 21, 2017• 1:00 PM
Town Clock Plaza• W 7th Street, Dubuque, IA 52001
https://actionnetwork.org/events/dubuque-march-for-women

Iowa City:
January 21, 2017•11:45 AM
English Philosophy Building lot• 251 West Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52242
https://actionnetwork.org/events/moment-of-silence-and-walk-up-the-hill-in-iowa-city

Omaha / Council Bluffs:
Start: January 21, 2017• 5:00 PM
End: January 21, 2017•11:45 PM
CenturyLink Center• 455 N. 10th Street, Omaha, NE 68102
https://actionnetwork.org/events/womens-march-on-omaha

Top 10 Iowa Legislative Threats from the Extreme Right

January 9th, 2017 Posted By: Progress Iowa

Iowa’s legislative session convened today, and Republicans have control of the state Senate, House, and the Governor’s office for the first time in 20 years. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Speaker Linda Upmeyer, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Dixhave made clear they will implement sweeping far-right reforms that threaten to turn Iowa into the next Kansas or Wisconsin.

What are the biggest threats to everyday Iowans on the agenda? Here are ten policies that Progress Iowa believes Republicans will target:

1. Gut worker’s rights – Republican leaders would like nothing more than to weaken the negotiating rights of public workers. That means our teachers, correction officers, police, firefighters, and many other public workers would have lower wages and fewer health benefits. http://iowastartingline.com/2017/01/09/collective-bargaining-bargain-iowa-taxpayers/

2. Defund Planned Parenthood – Senator Dix singled out defunding Planned Parenthood as one of the Senate Republicans’ top four priorities. This would mean reduced access to healthcare for women and the Iowans who need it most.

3. Private School Vouchers – They might call it ‘education savings accounts’ but don’t be mistaken – these are vouchers meant to divert resources away from public schools. Apparently it’s not enough that business tax cuts have grown nearly 6 times as fast as funding for public schools. Now the legislature wants to do even more damage to our children’s future.

4. Lower Iowans’ Wages – That’s right, instead of growing our state’s wages, Republicans appear to be set on decreasing the minimum wage. They plan on passing a “pre-emption” measure, which would remove the local Iowa communities’ minimum wage increases (passed in four counties already). That would mean workers who just got a raise thanks to local municipal changes will have their wages lowered.

5. Voter Suppression Legislation – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has proposed new voter suppression legislation that would require restrictive voter identification and signature verification. That will keep many students, lower-income residents and seniors who don’t drive anymore away from the ballot box.

6. Undermining Water Quality Efforts – Rather than fund the water quality improvement effort that voters approved years ago, Republicans look to stall meaningful investment until 2029. Their plan is to extend a 1-cent sales tax starting in that year and pull money away from public schools to pay for water quality efforts at that point. Meanwhile, thousands of Iowans have their drinking water at risk from lead contamination.

7. Legalizing Discrimination Against LGBTQ Iowans – Republicans may try to undercut Iowa’s anti-discrimination laws and make it legal for employers to fire employees simply because they’re gay. They may also go after the gender identity protections in the Iowa Civil Rights Act to hurt transgender Iowans. This legislation has been passed in other states, under the guise of so-called “religious freedom” proposals.

8. Wild West Gun Laws – Iowa may follow many other states and implement “Stand Your Ground” laws, or allow guns on college campuses.

9. Rising Tuition At Iowa Public Colleges – With a $100 million budget shortfall, Republicans could take aim at funding for Iowa’s three regent universities. Even keeping funding at their current levels could mean college is that less affordable for Iowa students.

10. Weaken Iowans’ Legal Rights – One of Majority Leader Dix’s top priorities is to pass a “Loser pays” bill which forces victims to pay more legal fees if they lose a case. That could deter many people from suing companies for fraud and abuse, an important legal right for all Iowans.

Iowa Capitol

Sunday Funday: Ironically Ironic Edition

unfortunately I lost the attribution of the poster of this cartoon on twitter

For those of us who have endured many trips around the sun, we find an interesting ironic situation that the party that built itself as the party that would stand up to the Russians now is the party whose leader is more than happy to crawl in bed with Russia. There is that old saying ‘whatever goes around, comes around.’ I have never really understood what that meant, but I think it describes this situation.

What is really odd is that had Bernie Sanders been the Democratic nominee the main thrust of the Republican attack machine would have been his socialism (it’s like communism they would say) and he visited Russia once!

BTW – I don’t find it strange that a filthy rich man who likes to surround himself with gold wouldn’t like a golden shower every now and then. Maybe I am missing something?

Were you paying attention?

1) The new president once more seems to be flaunting nepotism laws by naming who as a senior advisor?

2) Which extreme right wing fake news darling was caught trying to pay liberals to disrupt the inauguration so the left could be blamed for the disruption?

3) What actress used her acceptance speech time at the Golden Globes to denounce Trump’s mockery of a disabled man?

4) Trump appointee Monica Crowley has had her book “What The Bleep Just Happened” pulled by the publisher for what reason?

5) Trump cabinet nominees haves begun their Senate consent hearings. What nominee stated that water boarding is “absolutely” prohibited by law?

6) In a really strange move, the incoming administration dismissed the two people in charge of what strategic and sensitive stockpile without replacements as of noon Jan. 20?

7) What US auto company refuted claims by Donald Trump that he was instrumental in billion dollar expansion?

8) President Obama surprised what honoree with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Thursday?

9) Scientists at MIT revealed a 3D structural material that is 10X stronger than steel with 5% of the density. What is the major component of this structural material?

10) The Netherlands announce Monday that all of their trains were now being powered by what renewable energy?

11) The division I college championship game was played Monday night. Who won?

12) President Obama delivered his farewell speech to a crowd of 18,000 at what Chicago venue?

13) The last rejection of a cabinet nominee was John Tower as Secretary of Defense for what president?

14) In a bizarre news conference Donald Trump refused to take a question from a reporter from what company?

15) The midwest is expecting what major weather event today?

16) What cabinet nominee received a waiver so he could be confirmed for his cabinet post?

17) In a first, what sitting senator gave testimony in a cabinet confirmation hearing against another sitting senator?

18) What is the top priority of Republicans in the Iowa legislature this session?

19) What cable public affairs station had its feed taken over by Russian TV Thursday?

20) In another incident, legislators in what state were greeted with a screen in Russian when they attempted to change their passwords?

Repeat after me: Russia can not hack our elections!

Answers:

1) son-in-law Jared Kirschner who may have severe ethics problems of his own.

2) James O’Keefe

3) Meryl Streep

4) over 50 incidents of plagiarism in the book. Considering Melania’s convention speech, Crowley should fit right in.

5) Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for AG

6) the nuclear arsenal – this is scary, folks

7) Fiat Chrysler

8) VP Joe Biden

9) Graphene

10) wind generated electricity. Must be nice

11) Clemson

12) McCormick Place

13) George HW Bush in 1989

14) CNN claiming CNN was fake news

15) an ice storm!

16) Mad Dog Mattis for Defense. He has not legally been out of the military long enough

17) Corey Booker of New Jersey testified against Sen. Sessions of Alabama for AG

18) cutting taxes of course – they want us to be like Kansas

19) CSPAN

20) Arizona

Repeat after me: Russia can not hack our elections

City Council Votes Unanimously To Remove Muscatine Mayor

Muscatine City Council with Mayor Broderson

In what seems to be a party power trip in Muscatine, Thursday night the city council of Muscatine voted to begin the process of removing the mayor from office.

For a slightly outsider this looks to be power politics on a small scale that makes those exercising this power grab look foolish and certainly makes the city look moronic.

Based on the report and video that accompanies WQAD’s report Thursday night, the council as yet seems to have no actual reason for the removal.

Or perhaps they are recreating “Animal House” and using “super-secret probation.”

Again as an outsider but someone who lives in the same county it sure looks as if the 7 male members of the council are in a snit about three things:

First, the mayor is not a male. Strike one

Secondly, the mayor seems to be a democrat which it appears the council is not. Strike two

Third, the mayor wanted to open boards and commissions to under-represented members of the community such as women and Latinos. This apparently caused the original council power grab in which the mayor was stripped of her powers to make appointments to boards and commissions. this had been a power Muscatine mayors had had forever. Most likely that reaction was caused by points 1 and 2.

This looks like the same crap that the North Carolina legislature is trying to do on a much smaller scale. Think of how foolish they look.

If the council removes the mayor for what seems to be weak or no cause, they will really damage the image of a city which is really in need of some image enhancement.

Can’t wait to hear the councilors reasons for this silliness. Perhaps I will be the one who looks foolish once the councilors can come up with the reasons they are taking this action. But from out here it looks like the opposite of what America stands for.

Ernst, Grassley Vote To Begin Repeal Of The ACA

Returning some money on the Koch investment?

In what can best be described as a blitzkrieg by the new radical Republican congress, the senate is trying to fulfill the wet dreams of their wealthy donors in a lightning attack on our way of life. No doubt this is in hopes that by the time we realize what hit us our way of life will be in a shambles ready for them to rebuild to their liking.

Cabinet heads who despise what their departments stand for and ready to dismantle their effectiveness immediately. Repealing laws which have been passed and improved over time which have helped generations of American families weather some of the worst that life can throw at them because as Americans we look out for each other.

And of course at the center is an egomaniac who is much more worried about people laughing at him than about the good of 300 million citizens.

One of the most serious concerns of many Americans right now is what will happen to their health care and how quickly will it happen. Threats to end any form of public health care have emanated from the Republican Party back to prior to the passage of Medicare. Do you remember the Ronald Reagan videos warning of how public health care will collapse the system?


There is a guy that could lie with a straight face. You may be hearing some of this old crap again soon.

As many have done the last couple of weeks I called my senators to express my opinion. Grassley’s office simply took my name, claimed they recorded my opinion and that was that. When I asked what Grassley’s stance was on repealing the ACA they said they did not know and that was that.

We actually met with an Ernst staffer. He did answer some questions. When I asked if Ernst favored repeal the staffer told me that the staff had been advised that she would not vote for repeal until they had a replacement. The staffer also said that the senator said a replacement must have the provisions of keeping children on the parents policy until they are 26 and the provision not allowing pre-existing conditions.

As sometimes happens, life steps in to illustrate things. Wednesday night into Thursday morning the radical senate Republicans continued their blitzkrieg on health care. In order to repeal the ACA, they had to set it up so it is part of what is known as the budget reconciliation process. In other words this was the very first vote in the process to repeal the ACA.

There was no replacement. Thus there were no provisions for children up to age 26 staying on the parents policy and no provision striking down pre-existing conditions. That is to say Ernst’s conditions for her vote were not met. Based on what her staffer claims she said she should have voted NO. Instead she voted YES, thus betraying herself.
From an article on common dreams.org:

“Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Republican to join all Democrats in voting no.”

Ernst, despite her self-imposed criteria, still voted to repeal.

No one should be surprised. Ernst was one of the prize trophies for Charles and David Koch in 2014. Thinking that she would defy them on one of their most precious desires is almost unfathomable, despite what she may claim. The real crux of the vote is this: repealing the ACA will be a huge tax cut for the wealthy. From dailykos comes this analysis:

“Urged on by Trump, the Senate overnight adopted a budget resolution that clears a path for eliminating the tax-and-spending provisions of the Affordable Care Act by simple majority vote — no Democratic cooperation required. That means repeal of two provisions targeted at high-income households: a 0.9 percent hospital insurance tax on earnings above $250,000 for couples and a 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends and other nonlabor income above that same threshold.

That would provide a tax cut averaging $7 million for each of the 400 highest-earning taxpayers, according to new calculations by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities using Internal Revenue Service data. That cut, the center estimated, would amount to $2.8 billion annually overall — or approximately the value of Obamacare subsidies for those with modest incomes in the 20 smallest states and the District of Columbia.

Overall, eliminating those two levies would represent a tax cut of roughly $346 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Households with million-dollar-plus incomes — a much larger group than the top 400 — would receive an average tax cut of $49,000 a year, the center says.”

Of course you know how Grassley will vote. He has been one of the the extreme right’s most loyal votes for decades. He seldom misses a chance to inflict some pain into the lives of the poor.

Once the ACA is repealed the replacement will be a long time a-coming. Most likely with the next Democratic congress and president. And guess who will be hurt most by the repeal of the ACA? Those who voted for Trump. Nothing like kicking your constituents right in the face.

Oh and a note to you who voted for radical Republicans to get rid of Obamacare, thinking you would have a fallback position of the ACA. Are you feeling a little – uh – surprised to find out they are the same thing?

January 15th Action Alert

Action Alert

Donald Trump hasn’t even taken office yet and Republicans are already winding up to dismantle life-saving health care access for Millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iowans.

That is why National Congressional Democratic Leaders, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Sanders have called for a national day of action to stand up against Republican attacks to privatize Medicare, cut Medicaid and dismantle health care across the country.

Supporters will gather across the state to speak out in defense of Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Iowans will provide personal stories and testimonials to let our representatives know that we won’t stand for privatized Medicaid and the dismantling of health care options that would kick hundreds of thousands of Iowans off their health care coverage. Hear from members of the community as they talk about their health care options and why it is so important we don’t destroy the health care that is depended on by our neighbors.

Sign up below to join an event near you!

Des Moines
https://www.facebook.com/events/280104389071627/

Cedar Rapids
https://www.facebook.com/events/402019976804205/

Council Bluffs
https://www.facebook.com/events/726944724147767/

Sioux City
https://www.facebook.com/events/752608351555818/

Fort Dodge:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1840158792866550/

Manchester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/391124577900500/

Thanks,

Iowa Democrats

Gender Roles Before Birth

sexism starts early

A friend of mine who is about halfway through a pregnancy posted that she is tired of the “appallingly sexist things people have said to me (and will likely continue to say) since we found out we’re having a boy. No wonder kids have so many confidence issues.”

Really got me to thinking. I guess friends and acquaintances feel a need to comment on big events such as an impending birth. No doubt they feel that comments like “(husband) will get the boy he wants” or “boys are easier (or harder) to raise than girls” or any one of a number of little offhand remarks that make the sex of the child an issue and makes it seem like that sex is either right or wrong for some reason.

And thus we have introduced sexism into the world of the child and its family. Until she said this it never occurred to me just how pervasive sexism and no doubt racism is in our society.

When she mentioned this I had this picture in my mind of people stabbing a little pin into the future mother with their little sexist comments.

We are far removed from child bearing age. Back then we found out the sex of the baby about five minutes after the birth. The conversation reminded me of the little shots I would get. Things like “are you hoping for a boy” or “boys are so much easier than girls” and so many other little comments. If I can recall it seemed like most favored the male child.

I would usually meet such comments with a wilting look and tell the person that we both wanted a healthy baby. That was all.

Even after our girls were born for several years I would get the comments such as “don’t you wish you had a boy?” The answer was once more a wilting look followed by “I am very happy with my girls.”

So the conversation once more reminded me of what we went through. And it once more reminded me of how far this country has to go to reach one of its basic tenets that “all {men} are created equal.”