Many of us have been involved in fund raising for various projects around our communities. One of the frequently used fund raising ideas is to sell bricks that will be put into a memorial wall. The bricks are emblazoned with the name of the donor and the amount of the donation. That way the donor can bring their family and friends around to show them what that have helped build.
What could be more natural for Steve King than selling bricks to be put in the Great Wall of Hate between the United States and Mexico. What could be better for a King backer than to have their name emblazoned in perpetuity on a wall that just screams out what King backers stand for – hate and racism.
Put your name out there for all to see! There will be millions of bricks so buy more than one. If they run out of bricks to sell, maybe they can sell grains of sand for the two no man’s lands that Steve King proposed.
Let me say at this point that this is satire. This is a bit of pointed comment to show how Steve King is fostering hate and racism. I would certainly hope that no one would take this in any way seriously. I would especially hate to think that such a sarcastic proposal (much more really sarcastic that saying Obama and Clinton started ISIS) helped elect King in any way.
BTW, King does have a level headed opponent who would no longer embarrass Iowa with outrageous statements that make Iowa look simply bad.
You can learn about issues in Iowa’s fourth congressional district here.
If you are out in that area, sign up to help Ms. Weaver, the state and the country here.
And of course like every candidate Kim Weaver needs money. You can help out here
Watching what little media we do along with what little radio we consume – mostly NPR – there seems to be a decided lack of coverage of the Democratic side of presidential contest. The old axiom in the news business is that if it bleeds it leads. There is certainly no denying where the bleeding is happening right now.
The bleeding is being caused by the train wreck of a campaign on the Republican side. It is actually not just a train wreck, it is more like the movie “Groundhog” was about a train wreck and this guy keeps waking up and it is train wreck day again. And it happens over and over and over and over, just like in “Groundhog.” Only this is a presidential campaign and it is time to focus on serious issues rather than just covering the endless train wreck.
I do have a feeling that this Republican campaign will be immortalized in book and film, mostly comedies. too bad the title “Trainwreck” has already been used.
Were you paying attention? Pretty busy for a quiet August.
1) Wow! Feet of rain fell particularly in what state last week?
2) Ivanka Trump was seen hanging out in Croatia last weekend with the girlfriend of what international leader?
3) Conservative website Breitbart conducted a poll to show that other polls were wrong. How much did they show Trump leading by?
4) In a huge story last Sunday, the New York Times uncovered payments made by a pro-Russian Ukranian political party to what major republican campaign operative?
5) Iowa got a visit from what major Democratic politician Wednesday?
6) Despite his well known obstruction what Iowa politician ironically touted his bipartisanship in a weekly Republican radio address last weekend?
7) Fifty-seven years ago today we sewed that 50th star on the flag for what state?
8) Two House Republicans, Jason Chaffetz and Bob Goodlatte, announced yet another investigation of who?
9) “The Nightly Show” was cancelled by Comedy Central last week. Who was the host of “The Nightly Show”?
10) It appears that Donald Trump may participate in the presidential debates. He hired who as a debate coach last week?
11) The Obama Administration set new standards for fuel efficiency for what class of vehicles last week?
12) What long standing political show host passed away last week at the age of 89?
13) What old disease once thought well under control seems poised for a comeback as stockpiles of vaccines dwindle in Central Africa?
14) What major Trump supporter claimed last week that “there were no terrorist attacks in the US until Obama became President”?
15) Which presidential candidate received their first security briefing last week?
16) Secretary Clinton stopped to visit what pop idol of her youth as both happened to be in Cleveland at the same time?
17) Russia launched air strikes into Syria from what unexpected location last week?
18) Aetna’s withdrawal from much of the ACA seems to have been triggered by the Dep’t of Justice’s attempt to stop their merger with what other insurance company?
19) The Drug Enforcement Agency refused to reschedule what drug, thus delaying research for possible medicinal applications?
20) To show her support of the nation’s police, Hillary Clinton met with what group Thursday?
Tweet from Keith Olbermann: But Conway and Bannon, @RealDonaldTrump? Because George Zimmerman and David Duke weren’t available?
2) Vladimir Putin. His current squeeze is former Rupert Murdoch wife Wendy Deng
3) 0, more specifically they had him trailing by only 5 points.
4) Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort
5) Democratic VP candidate Tim Kaine
6) Chuck Grassley
7) Hawaii. After that Obama was born there – really.
8) Hillary Clinton.
9) Larry Wilmore
10) Roger Ailes, formerly of Fox News
11) trucks, buses and vans
12) John McLaughlin
13) yellow fever
14) Rudy Guilliani – seems he forgot what happened in his own city while he was mayor
16) Paul McCartney the former Beatle
20) the nation’s top law enforcement officials
School is back in session next week, just in case you notice the kids are gone.
For the second time in two years one of Iowa’s major universities is looking for a new president. After last year’s fiasco in the hiring of businessman Bruce Herrald to head the University of Iowa three Democratic state senators have stepped up to try to step in before the Board of Regents derails the normal process as they did last year.
UNI President Bill Ruud announced he was leaving speculation immediately began on whether filling his post would be another adventure in railroading in a hand picked replacement rather than going through the normal competitive process for picking a replacement. Iowa deserves to have the best leaders it can get for its major colleges. That can only happen through a true competitive process that the Board of regents short circuited in last year’s hiring.
State senators Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, where UNI is located, Brian Schoenjahn of Arlington and Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids have stepped up to remind the Board of Regents that the process is supposed to be conducted in the open and is to be competitive.
Once again we have a Branstad set of appointees ignoring the rules and going off their own way. What’s to stop them? There seems to be little if any consequence to ignoring rules and laws if you’re a member of the Branstad administration. Total lack of accountability. Anybody remember when Republicans preached accountability from sunrise to sunset? That wasn’t meant for them just you and I average folks.
Over at the Des Moines Register, Christopher Martin penned a scathing editorial on the Board of Regents lack of accountability. Martin lays out the cronyism involved in the current Board of regents in a very clear way:
* According to Politico, Rastetter recruited Terry Branstad for his return run for governor in 2010 and was his top donor at more than $160,000. The year after Branstad’s election, Rastetter got his six-year appointment to the board.
* State law requires that not more than five of the nine members of the Iowa Board of Regents be from the same political party. The board’s “current mix of five Republicans, three independents, and one Democrat on the board,” meets the legal requirements, but does little to dispel the appearance of intentional partisanship.
* As a regent, Rastetter partnered with ISU to develop land in Tanzania that would have benefited his company. ISU dropped out of the project in 2012 “in the face of mounting criticism,” the AP reported.
* The board hired Bruce Harreld, the least qualified of University of Iowa presidential candidates. The hiring process, which favored Harreld and lacked transparency, is now subject to at least two lawsuits.
This whole article is well worth a couple of readings to fully digest the crap and corruption going on in the Board of Regents.
Unfortunately this is only another log on the fire of corruption and usurpation of power that has come to be the cornerstone of the current Branstad stint in office. Cutting budgets for our (yes our) public school system; cutting money to feed the needy; closing the juvenile school at Tama without following rules and then doing the same with Iowa’s mental health facilities at Mount Pleasant and Clarinda; privatizing our Medicaid system and doing so in such a hurry that it is creating a crisis of health care for its clients and suppliers.
Speaking of the privatization – let us say rather profitization – of Medicaid, once again Democratic state senators are trying to jump in to mitigate the damage being done by Branstad’s out of control administration.
Another hearing is scheduled for next Monday, August 29th. If you know anyone who has been involved in the medicaid transition mess, please contact the senate committee conducting the hearing using the form on this web page.
We will publish a reminder next week of this committee meeting.
When you hear politicians talking about corruption and cronyism one need only cast their eyes to Des Moines. Iowa was once the very epitome of what good government meant. Today we are just one of many states run by Republican governors whose goal seems to be to funnel as much money and power to his buddies as he can while in office. We are fortunate that Iowa has a Democratic senate or it would be much worse. One only need cast their eyes to Wisconsin or Kansas to get an idea what damage can be doe with both houses of the legislature controlled by Republicans coupled with a Republican governor.
There is only one way to stop Branstad’s power grab – that is by voting. Vote out those who support such corruption, vote in those who oppose it. In this year’s election that is as easy as red and blue. Republicans support Branstad in these endeavors whereas Democrats will oppose him as noted in the two instances above.
Yet Another Reason To Vote Straight Democratic Ticket
While we don’t hear nearly as much from Republicans about destroying the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) as we used to, make no mistake that destroying the ACA is still at the top of their ‘must do’ list. At a recent Chuck Grassley town hall meeting in Columbus Junction a member of the audience urged congress to pass a bill to defund the ACA on a daily basis. Grassley did not respond.
Republicans in congress generally are no longer talking out loud about ending the ACA. That does not mean they are no longer at war with the ACA and by extension those who get their insurance through the ACA. This year there are around 13 million Americans who get their health care through the exchanges. This does not include others who do not use the exchanges, but would have been denied health care under previous rules who are now able to get insurance because of the ACA. Nor does this include many new Americans now covered by new Medicaid rules.
Yet there still exists a huge gap of people who are not covered by any insurance in this country, a true shame for the richest country on earth.
Plus the whole system of having private insurance companies whose main focus and goal is profit, profit, profit as one of the main substructures of this system that resembles a Rube Goldberg machine could easily lead to collapse. The private insurance companies know this well. They understand that if they pull their substructure from this system the system collapses.
Thus when Aetna announced it would be pulling out of most of the states where it currently offers coverage under the ACA you could hear the structure creaking and see it swaying. Aetna isn’t the first. They are joining United Health and Humana who also announced previous cutbacks. Since the ACA passed there has been major consolidation in the health insurance business and those three are the big players. Therefore when they announce they would be leaving many exchanges the system really creaked.
But for many, the real kick in the ass was the reason Aetna left. While they claimed major losses the truth came to light Tuesday when an internal memo within Aetna came to light thanks to the Huffington Post:
Bertolini responded bluntly. Aetna supported the law’s goal to expand coverage and planned to increase its exchange offerings next year, in the hopes that the exchanges would stabilize as enrollment grew, he wrote.
But if the Justice Department were to block the merger, Bertolini warned, Aetna could no longer sustain the losses from its exchange business, forcing it to sharply change direction:
[I]f the deal were challenged and/or blocked we would need to take immediate actions to mitigate public exchange and ACA small group losses. Specifically, if the DOJ sues to enjoin the transaction, we will immediately take action to reduce our 2017 exchange footprint …. [I]nstead of expanding to 20 states next year, we would reduce our presence to no more than 10 states .… [I]t is very likely that we would need to leave the public exchange business entirely and plan for additional business efficiencies should our deal ultimately be blocked. By contrast, if the deal proceeds without the diverted time and energy associated with litigation, we would explore how to devote a portion of the additional synergies … to supporting even more public exchange coverage over the next few years.
To Obamacare critics, Aetna’s retreat is proof the law is failing. To supporters, it shows the company was using its participation in Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative as a bargaining chip in order to secure approval of a controversial business deal.
Given that due to consolidation in the health insurance industry insurance companies now have an out of proportion determination on whether Americans will be able to access health care or not, it is once more time for access to health care for all Americans to once more come to the forefront as an issue.
It is time that at a minimum a public option become part of the ACA so that insurance companies can not ruin health care for millions on the whim of their CEOs.
A Public Option should be the minimal response to this outrage. Moving into the modern world and creating a single payer health care system like every other major country on this earth has is the right answer.
The only way to make that happen is elect Democrats. If you vote for republican candidates at any level there is a risk that they may be part of a movement to destroy or chip away at the fragile ACA. That includes from the state house to the White House.
If you remember the role Chuck Grassley had in attempting to stop the ACA from ever getting passed it should be hard to vote for him today knowing that destroying the ACA is always on his mind.
Need a reason to vote for Democrats? How does being able to still access health are sound? Think it won’t happen to you. Millions have thought that and been wrong.
Sac County Meeting
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
Sac County Courthouse, Courtroom
100 North West State Street
That’s it folks.
Grassley continues to avoid Iowans. He continues especially to avoid open meetings in larger counties and cities.
Draw your own conclusions
If your in the Sac County area stop in and ask him about his judicial obstruction, his signature on the letter to Iran, his support of a man who called for the “second amendment solutions” be used on Hillary Clinton, or if he believes, like Donald Trump says, that Obama and Clinton founded ISIS.
Funny thing last Thursday. Steve King grabbed that Des Moines Register soapbox at the Iowa State Fair to spread a little bit of his unvarnished hate for people not white. King made this statement Thursday:
“On the immigration issue, I don’t have any qualms with Donald Trump’s position on immigration,” King told the crowd of about 80 people. “The most effective way we can do that is to build a wall on the southern border. I’d add to that: first build a fence near the border, then go up about 100 feet, build a wall, then go another 100 feet, build another fence. Then you have two no-man lands there that you can enforce easily within and patrol and put the sensors on there.”
If I recall that is the basic configuration that the Soviets eventually ended up with for the Berlin Wall, one of the great symbols of hate and fear ever foisted on Mankind. Good job, Congressman, learn from the best. And as a bonus, the Soviets were very white. Oh and by the way, Steve, how about arresting those employers who enticed folks to come to the US with jobs meant to bust unions and lower wages?
Can we keep Trump out of the quiz this week?
1) Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all did what on the same day?
2) Evan McMullin had 15 minutes of fame last Monday. Do you know why?
3) Due to protests and lack of sales Monsanto will tear down a huge GMO seed corn plant in what South American country?
4) A small controversy erupted as the Iowa state fair opened concerning the ability to carry what into the fairgrounds?
5) 71 years ago today, Americans celebrated into the night as what was announced?
6) 81 years ago today, older Americans got some great news as President Roosevelt signed what into law?
7) Hillary Clinton once again reiterated her opposition to what trade pact in a speech in Detroit?
8) 50 Republican security officials signed a letter warning that who would put the country “at risk”?
9) Which highly regarded Republican senator joined the growing list of Republicans who have publicly stated they would not vote for Trump?
10) Salaries and bonuses for what board that controls Iowa’s institutions of higher learning came into question last week because they were so high?
11) What major airline experienced computer problems that resulted in thousands being stranded at airports last week?
12) After cutting state money for mosquito control, what governor is pleading with the federal government for money for mosquito control as the zika virus invades his state?
13) Tim Tebow bombed out in football, but is trying to bring his famous te-bow to what other major league sport?
14) The “scary” statue of what late comedian was replaced with a more normal statue in her hometown of Celoron, NY?
15) August 19 is 70th birthday for what left-handed, former democratic president?
16) What phrase used by Republicans did Trump employ to make a veiled threat on Hillary Clinton Monday?
17) In winning his 13th gold medal Michael Phelps broke the record for the most individual Olympic gold held by what ancient?
18) The DEA refused to reclassify what substance, thus ruling out its use as medicine or allowing its study as a medicine?
19) A 23rd lien has been filed against what Trump golf resort in Florida for non-payment for work done?
20) Who founded ISIS with an assist from who according to Donald Trump?
The Perseid meteor shower continues this week at a slower pace. Best time to catch it is very early morning.
1) closed with record highs. Thanks, Obama!
2) he has been picked to be the establishment Republicans alternative to Donald Trump
5) Victory over Japan (VJ day)
6) the Social Security act
7) the Trans Pacific Partnership
8) Donald Trump
9) Susan Collins of Maine
10) the Iowa Board of Regents
12) Governor Rick Scott of Florida
13) baseball – I can hardly wait to see the te-bow again
14) Lucille Ball
15) Bill Clinton. How many hints do you need?
16) “second amendment solutions”
17) Leonidas of Rhodes who won his last medal in 152 BCE
19) Doral National Golf Course. Remember the PGA will no longer schedule events there either due to remarks Trump has made
20) Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton assisting. Amazing for a guy who is always on vacation
Back to school draws near, children!
How about continuing Net Neutrality?
Just below the Supreme Court justice issue in the senate, the internet is the best reason to vote for all Iowa democratic national candidates: Patty Judge for senate, Monica Vernon in the first district, Jim Mowrer in the third district, Kim Weaver to bounce Steve King in the fourth and of course Dave Loebsack in the second district.
Any discussion of issues has been pretty much abandoned on our main stream media. Any attempt to discuss actual issues usually ends up in a shouting match or has false accusations flying all over the place. Such scenes are the hallmark of cable television.
Unfortunately, we can’t pick and choose what news stations we get on cable. We get what the cable company will give us and that is it. As the old line networks became cogs in corporate machines, news departments became profit centers. Less resources were put into the quality of the news and more into whatever would attract eyeballs – glitz and confrontation. Their cable only spawns put that formula on steroids. Fox News – low quality, high glitz and confrontation – is the very epitome of the new norm.
No substance, loads of misleads, loads of adults acting like children. Lousy way to become an informed citizens isn’t it?
So what do most of us do to become informed without the distractions of the cable media circus? Most of us will probably answer that they will go to the internet where they can find in depth articles and discussion concerning issues. Of course there is plenty of crap, but we develop our own tools and screening processes to ferret out stories that are truthful and well sourced. We look stories based in logic and reality.
Unlike cable TV, on the internet we are not handed specific news sources, but instead we have at our fingertips tons of news sources from across the ideological spectrum and from across the world. We also have access to a plethora of entertainment and sports choices not just the few provided by the cable companies. All this because access on the internet is neutral. Access to a small site about some minute issue is just as easy as going to a major corporate site. This is how it should be in a democracy.
What if internet access became just as closed as it is on cable TV. What if there were various levels of access based on what you can pay just like cable? That would really suck, wouldn’t it?
Well, that is the Republican dream for the internet. Controlling access to websites in a manner similar to cable or satellite provider.
With a basic pack are you get a couple of sports websites, maybe youtube, many Christian sites, news and opinion sources that lean very right like Red States, Fox News, Breitbart and so on. You may have to move up 2 or 3 packages to get to sites like dailykos or Talking Points Memo.
Think this won’t happen? This is the very model that Republicans are pushing through legislation that will override the FCC rulings and put the internet into the hands of corporations like Verizon, AT&T and others.
Vote Republican and this is what you will be voting for. If the House, Senate and president are Republican, this will be one of the first bills that will get passed. Then you can kiss the open access you have now goodbye.
If you like the open access to the internet that you have now, vote for Democrats across the board.
Dave Loebsack, Monica Vernon, Jim Mowrer and Kim Weaver will work to keep our internet access open. Patty Judge is a huge supporter of open internet access.
While you turn on your TV and stare blankly at the lousy choices, look at news sources on your cable and realize there is little difference between the lot of them remember that Republicans would love to make your internet experience just as vapid as cable.
Vote in your own interest – vote Democratic.
On Monday, August 29, Iowans can share their experiences with Medicaid privatization with legislators from 9:30 to 11:30 AM in Room 103 at the Iowa Statehouse.
To participate, sign up using this online form: http://interspire.iowasdc.info/surveys.php?id=31
Speakers will have three minutes to tell legislators and the public about their experiences. The meeting will be livestreamed at http://bit.ly/IowaSenateLive.
The listening post is sponsored by the Democratic members of the Legislature’s Health Policy Oversight Committee. The entire committee will meet later that day from 12:30 to 4:30 PM in that same room.
Health Policy Oversight Committee meets Aug. 29
During the 2015 session of the Iowa Legislature, a compromise between the House and Senate created the “Health Policy Oversight Committee.” On Monday, August 29, this committee will meet in Room 103 at the Iowa Statehouse from 12:30 to 4:30 PM.
Here’s the agenda: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/meetings/agenda?meetingID=20356
The meeting will be livestreamed at http://bit.ly/IowaSenateLive.
Health care providers say Medicaid privatization means fewer services, higher costs
A new survey has found Iowa Medicaid providers are still struggling with Governor Branstad’s privatization plan, which began earlier this year.
Providers say the privatization plan has led to increased costs, has reduced services for clients, and has even forced them to borrow money because they are not being paid on time.
Read more at: http://iowahouse.org/provider-survey/
Video of the July 26 meeting of the Senate Human Resources Committee
Complete morning session: https://youtu.be/EZdFJm_xZlA
Complete afternoon session: https://youtu.be/zRyvv3gRcY8
Documents mentioned in this meeting can be found at: http://bit.ly/Iowa-Senate-Youtube-Documents
The information for each video includes a list of speakers and direct links to their comments.
Grab an opportunity to ask Senator Grassley a question or two next week:
Shelby County Meeting
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Shelby County Farm Bureau
908 6th Street
Harrison County Meeting
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m.
Main Street Station
303 Walker Street
Guthrie County Meeting
Thursday, August 11, 2016
10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Guthrie County Hospital
Conference Room 710
North 12th Street