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*Release* Iowans to Hold Sen. Grassley Accountable During Recess‏

Filling the vacancy on the Court should be a top priority

Filling the vacancy on the Court should be a top priority

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2016
Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0530

Iowans to Hold Sen. Grassley Accountable During Recess
Sen. Grassley to be followed by demonstrations, questions, and a mobile billboard criss-crossing the state

IOWA — Iowans will gather across the state this week, beginning this weekend in Creston and Sioux City, to hold Senator Grassley accountable for his unprecedented obstruction of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. A mobile billboard sponsored by Americans United for Change, demonstrations by Why Courts Matter Iowa, and Iowans attending Senator Grassley’s town hall meetings will question why he has refused to hold or schedule a hearing for Garland in the Judiciary Committee, where he serves as Chair.

Grassley’s obstruction is truly unprecedented, as it would be the first time a Supreme Court nominee has been denied a hearing, according to the Senate historian.

This week’s events will be the most recent actions taken by Grassley’s constituents to hold him accountable. During the past few months, Iowans have delivered more than 9,000 petition signatures, 36,000 copies of the U.S. Constitution, held more than 2 dozen events, and used online and social media to tell the Senator: #DoYourJob.

Here are additional details about each event this week:

WHAT: #DoYourJob Mobile Billboard
WHEN: Saturday, April 30, 12:00 PM
WHERE: Southwest Iowa Community College, 1501 W Townline St, Creston, Iowa

WHAT: #DoYourJob Mobile Billboard
WHEN: Sunday, May 1, 12:00 PM
WHERE: Outside Sen. Grassley’s Office, 320 6th St, Sioux City, Iowa

WHAT: #DoYourJob Mobile Billboard
WHEN: Monday, May 2, 12:00 PM
WHERE: Outside Sen. Grassley’s Office, 201 W 2nd St, Davenport, Iowa

WHAT: #DoYourJob Mobile Billboard
WHEN: Tuesday, May 3, 12:00 PM
WHERE: Outside Sen. Grassley’s Office, 531 Commercial St, Waterloo, Iowa

WHAT: #DoYourJob Demonstration! (featuring mobile billboard)
WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: Outside the federal building, 210 Walnut St, Des Moines, Iowa
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/263562540658270/

WHAT: Sen. Grassley Town Hall (featuring mobile billboard)
WHEN: Thursday, May 5, 3:45-4:45 p.m.
WHERE: Taylor County Farm Bureau Meeting Room, 607 Pollock Blvd, Bedford, Iowa
RSVP: http://bit.ly/grassleytownhalls

WHAT: Sen. Grassley Town Hall
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 8:00-9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Ringgold County Courthouse, 109 West Madison St, Mount Ayr, Iowa
RSVP: http://bit.ly/grassleytownhalls

WHAT: Sen. Grassley Town Hall
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Leon Community Center, 203 NE 2nd St, Leon, Iowa
RSVP: http://bit.ly/grassleytownhalls

The Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition is focused on ensuring that the federal judiciary is representative of America’s diverse population and ending the judicial vacancy crisis so that every American can have his or her day in court. Why Courts Matter Iowa is led by Iowa Citizen Action Network, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa, Progress Iowa, and One Iowa. For more information visit www.whycourtsmatteriowa.org.

Early Voting For Primaries Started April 28th

do it early so you don't forget

do it early so you don’t forget

We are reminded by the Robb Hogg campaign that early voting for the June 7th primary began last Thursday. The biggest and most important choice this year is picking out a candidate to oppose the quite vulnerable Senator Grassley.

Depending on where you live there may be races for state house seats and senate seats. Races for various county positions are also at stake.

It is very important that democrats vote to pick the best candidates we can. This election is extremely important to put people in office who will stop special interests from controlling our government and our lives.

In the crucial senate race Democrats include the aforementioned Robb Hogg, Patty Judge, Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause.

You can vote early at your county auditor’s office or by filling out an absentee ballot request here

Don’t forget that you must be a Democrat to vote in the Democratic Party primary.

By voting early you also eliminate the problem of forgetting to vote on primary day, June 7th.

Grassley Events In Iowa Week Of May 1 – 7

taking some time off from doing nothng in the senate

taking some time off from doing nothng in the senate

Senator Grassley will be making public appearances in three counties along the Iowa Missouri border next week.

If you can, get out and let him know that obstructing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland goes against Iowans sense of fair play.

Here is his schedule:

Taylor County
Thursday, May 5, 2016
3:45-4:45 p.m.
Taylor County Farm Bureau
Meeting Room
607 Pollock Boulevard
Bedford

Ringgold County
Friday, May 6, 2016
8:00-9:00 a.m.
Ringgold County Courthouse
109 West Madison Street
Mount Ayr

Decatur County
Friday, May 6, 2016
10:00-11:00 a.m.
Leon Community Center
203 NE 2nd Street
Leon

Sunday Funday: May Day! May Day! Edition

May 1 is also an international day in honor of workers

May 1 is also an international day in honor of workers

May Day! Republicans obstruct at state level!
May Day! Koch money will be big in state races!
May Day! Voting rights in danger across the country!
May Day! Money corrupts politics to the core!
May Day! Climate warming rapidly with no stopping in sight!
May Day! Gun Violence in America out of control!
May Day! Labor unions decline hurting all Americans!
May Day! Income inequality worst since 1929!

May Day used to be an international day to honor workers. Well, as Warren Buffet once said, there has been a class warfare and my class won.

Were you paying attention?

1) Stop Trump! What two campaigns aligned to do just that last week?

2) Which US retailer said their transgendered customers could use the bathroom of their choice, prompting immediate protests?

3) Former Pennsylvania senator Harris Wofford stunned many when he announced that he would be getting married (yesterday) to whom?

4) Prince’s death stunned the world last week. Unknown to most, Prince was a devout practitioner of what Christian sect?

5) What national restaurant chain announced it would close 27 restaurants and layoff 1100 workers?

6) What car maker joined Volkswagen in admitting it falsified test results, in this case on fuel consumption, for 25 years?

7) In the Republican party primary in the 4th congressional district, what major Iowa politician refuses to endorse incumbent Steve King?

8) What legendary Indiana athletic figure said he will campaign for Donald Trump prior to Tuesday’s primary?

9) What legendary labor leader was born on May 1st, 1830 in Cork Ireland? A national muckraking magazine in the US is named in this leader’s honor.

10) Republicans in the Iowa House chose to address the water crisis in Des Moines by doing what?
11) John Boehner insulted Lucifer by comparing what presidential candidate to him?

12) The city of Cleveland settled with the family of Tamir Rice for how much in Rice’s death?

13) Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced to how long in prison in his banking laws case?

14) A fraud case against what presidential candidate was allowed to proceed to trial Tuesday in New York? The case involved a fake “university.”

15) President Obama will be visiting what crisis stricken US city this Wednesday?

16) Prince’s studio in suburban Minneapolis is know as what?

17) Ted Cruz pulled out the woman card and named who as his running mate?

18) Five years ago tomorrow, President Obama came on TV in the evening to announce the death of what man?

19) Tennessee’s governor signed a bill into law that allows counselors to deny service based on what?

20) May 5th, 55 years ago – America stops and watches the launch and 15 minute flight of what man’s suborbital flight?

21) A report Friday highlighted a little known effect of climate change, the deoxygenation of what area of the earth?

22) Looks like a bill to legalize what July 4th favorite will not pass the Iowa legislature this year?

23) Marco Rubio finally dropped his 10 month hold on the nominee for ambassador to what country?

24) In Kenya Friday, officials burned what poached material to send a message that they will not tolerate poaching?

25) The Large Hadron Collider in Bern Switzerland was shut down overnight Thursday due to what?

Enough with the questions! We need answers!

1) Kasich and Cruz. Little late fellows.

2) Target

3) a man, Matthew Charlton, 50 years his junior. Wofford was previously married to a woman.

4) Jehovah’s Witnesses

5) Bob Evans

6) Mitsubishi

7) Gov. Branstad

8) Bobby Knight. Look for a ceremonial chair toss at their joint appearances

9) Mary Harris (Mother) Jones

10) reorganize the Des Moines Water Works Board to cut the urban influence on the board.

11) Ted Cruz

12) $6,000,000

13) 15 months

14) Donald Trump for his Trump University

15) Flint, Michigan

16) Paisley Park

17) Carly Fiorina

18) Osama Bin Laden

19) religious grounds

20) Alan Shepard

21) the oceans

22) fireworks

23) Mexico. Yep, another aspect of Republican obstruction.

24) ivory – some 100 tons (200,000 pounds)

25) a small animal (possibly a weasel) chewed through a power cable.

Cooked weasel for supper again?

And Now, The Media Must Create A Horse Race!

Another president from New York. How did that work out?

Another president from New York. How did that work out?

Well, it looks to be all over but the shouting. Unless Calgary Ted Cruz actually has some real clout with a god that can actually do something, we can expect to see Donald Trump add Republican Presidential Nominee to his resume of playboy, bully, braggart, heir to a fortune, reality TV star, businessman and litigant in innumerable law suits.

On the other side of the coin Democrats are close to spurning the assault from the left by Senator Sanders. Therefore it looks like in about three months Hillary Clinton will add Democratic Party Presidential Nominee to her resume of First Lady, Senator from New York and Secretary of State.

On paper this looks like a real mismatch. Trump’s resume is really light, but seems to be an accurate reflection of his intellectual ability. In comparison, Clinton’s resume is truly heavy with experience and accomplishments. On paper this is shaping up to be a landslide.

This is not a situation that bodes well for the cable news networks and the echo chamber of Fox News and right-wing radio. News is a profit center for media these days. Nothing brings in eyeballs like close elections especially at the presidential level. Therefore, the closer a Clinton-Trump contest is, the more eyeballs will be looking at the cable news networks. The more eyeballs, the more a network can charge for an ad. Especially all those god-awful “issue oriented” PAC ads that we will be seeing until hell freezes over in November.

When the ends justify the means, we can expect news to be slanted to favor Trump as the cable newsers do whatever they can to nudge the race into a very competitive race. Morality means nothing here. Like in the Godfather “it’s business.” This is yet beyond the vested interest that corporate parents have in trying to get special interest Republicans elected.

We can also expect Republicans in congress to do anything and everything to bring charges against Hillary during the campaign. This will play right into the cable news need to create a a spectacle so they can sell their various potions and attack ads.

Strap yourselves in folks, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Get Your Woman Card.

credit: @SocialTerri on Twitter. Not the "woman's card" being issued by the  Clinton campaign

credit: @SocialTerri on Twitter. Not the “woman’s card” being issued by the Clinton campaign

Elections have been known to turn on the slip of a tongue. Few presidential candidates have had a tongue as slippery as Donald Trump. He may have already sewn up the championship for loosest tongue ever long ago. But Trump’s dig at Hillary Clinton last week claiming that the only thing she had going for her was that she was a woman:

Toward the end of a news conference that capped off Donald Trump’s dominant Tuesday night, the self-proclaimed presumptive Republican presidential nominee uncorked a sexist and self-contradictory argument against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Asked by a reporter about an earlier remark he made about Clinton playing “the women’s card,” Trump said, “Well, I think the only card she has is the women’s card — she’s got nothing else going.

“And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote,” Trump continued. “The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her, okay, and look how well I did with women tonight.”

Trump’s mouth has previously let it be known that Latinos were not welcome in his party, nor were blacks. He has done little to hide his disdain for women before especially with his statement that when (under his administration) abortion were illegal, women would be the only ones to be punished. But the statement against Hillary hit a new low for any political party.

Provided Trump is the Republican nominee – and it is looking like he can’t be stopped – his mouth should make it hard for anyone up and down the ticket to wear the label “Republican” without also garnering the baggage Trump has already put on that label.

Truth be known, Donald Trump’s biggest problem is that he is saying out loud what many Republicans have been saying in whispers for years. So the baggage is truly deserved.

Trump’s disparagement of Clinton has also being used as another great opportunity to point up how women are often treated as second class citizens in this country.

According to reports, the Clinton campaign has begun issuing “woman cards” to donors. Nothing like turning a gaffe by your opponent into a very positive campaign buzz and money generator for your campaign. Also nothing like having your opponent tell half the voting public that he doesn’t want their vote early in the campaign.

Inequality

pay your taxes

The past two weeks have been simply startling at how those with wealth have been both evading taxes while hoarding money in almost unimaginable amounts in offshore tax havens. At the same time we have corporations doing all sorts of accounting and legal maneuvers to avoid taxes.

Paying your share of taxes was once considered to be a patriotic duty that one did proudly. Now as Leona Helmsley once stated “only little people pay taxes.” In the past at least 35 years since Ronald Reagan began his ‘me first and screw everybody else’ society paying taxes and doing the right thing by your country is looked down on as if only fools do that.

Buying politicians from county supervisors on up to presidents is one hell of a good investment. A few bucks invested reaps hundreds in taxes and fees avoided.

Recently we have had revelations from three sources giving us a glimpse of just how much in taxes are being evaded and avoided:
The Panama Papers are slowly leaking and have already taken down a couple of world leaders
.
Bernie Sanders who we must credit with making various aspects of inequality the central theme to this year’s campaign asked the GAO what percentage of corporations don’t pay taxes in this country.

Finally Oxfam released a report on US companies tax scams evading taxes.

The numbers are simply boggling and overwhelming. The imagination also boggles at what good the taxes from such money could do throughout the world. Schools, food, environmental projects and so much more. Estimates I have heard go from $7 Trillion (with a T) up to $32 Trillion.

To be honest, I am confused by the numbers and the various avoiding and evading tactics that my figures and descriptions may not be fully accurate. But the central message is this: We have be massively ripped off by the wealthy and the corporations. We are just now getting a glimpse of the iceberg. If we had a real press this would be story #1 day in and day out until it was resolved.

From Michelle Chen at the Nation magazine on tax day last Tuesday:

“If that $100 billion showed up on the government’s books, we could fund essential healthcare for more than 2 billion people worldwide, “quadruple spending on education in the world’s 47 poorest countries,” or basically finance the annual budgets for federal social security, labor and unemployment, and education program spending in the United States.

According to Oxfam, during 2008 through 2014, while the economy reeled and then hobbled forward, “the 50 largest US companies collectively received $27 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts for every $1 they paid in federal taxes.” It’s not that they were exactly ungenerous to Washington; they were just savvy in terms of where they deposited their assets. The same companies collectively sank $2.6 billion into lobbying federal officials, and got a return on investment of “nearly $11.2 trillion in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.” Overall, 45 of the 50 companies scored major tax discounts, whittling down the statutory 35 percent corporate rate to just 27 percent, Oxfam reports. Since all this happened while state and local budgets were gutted so communities could supposedly “live within their means,” it’s no wonder people are outraged that companies have funneled away billions that might otherwise help repair the damage of the financial crisis.

Corporations have perfected elaborate accounting schemes to maximize loopholes, such as “inversion”—recently thwarted by the Obama administration in an attempted Pfizer merger—in which triangulation between different tax authorities enables mega-multinationals like Apple and General Electric to restructure their internal accounting and siphon revenues toward lower-tax jurisdictions, while the rest of the company’s operations remain essentially unchanged. Another shell game known as “earnings stripping” involves recycling revenues through internal loans, which enables “the parent company to essentially pay artificially high interest rates to itself” without actually producing anything.

David Cay Johnston noted in The American Prospect that “Apple and General Electric owe at least $36 billion in taxes on profits being held tax-free offshore, Microsoft nearly $27 billion, and Pfizer $24 billion.” Separately, such multinational brands also help fuel job offshoring, contributing to a hemorrhaging of the country’s human and fiscal capital through both financial manipulation and the “real” economy of labor.

And once more we have one of the best examples of why the internet in the United States must remain free and neutral. Once it falls into corporate control, stories like these will never see the light of day.

Sorry, No Quiz Today

republicans refuse to work

The old quizmaster has some family issues to deal with. He will be back on the job next week with a few extra questions to make up for his absence.

“Til we meet again!

Disenfranchised Voters During Primaries Bode Trouble For The GE

earlyvoting

In what is supposed to be a democracy – heck, this is supposed to be THE democracy – we are once again witnessing troubling signs that the very essence of that democracy, the vote, is rotten.

Throughout the primary and caucus season there have been examples of an individual vote being undermined by such instances as voters showing up at the polls only to find out they are no longer registered or their registration was changed by someone other than themselves; voters reporting that touch screen machines changed their votes; lines long enough to wear out the proverbial patience of Job.

The primaries have been more than a time to choose a candidate and have a say. For those who have been bent on voter suppression and stealing elections this has been a time to tune up their strategies for November. From reports from such far flung primaries as New York, Massachusetts and Arizona we can already see what may be a portent for this November.

Voters knocked off the rolls for no reasons, registrations changed, registrations not exactly matching driver’s licenses or other identification will all be part of the mix. We can also expect that precincts in urban areas will have long lines and not enough workers or materials.

The infamous voting machines themselves will be causing their own havoc, most of it unseen. Along with all the other problems they have such as vote flipping or changing vote totals internally, there may well be many starting to break down as they show the signs of age.

America never seems to have the time or money to study and determine an easily validated voting system. Of course this is by design. Add that to the myriad of purposely confusing state laws and voting machines that are extremely suspect and it looks like we will be staring down a general election in November that is ripe for the stealing.

Republicans Vote To Defund Planned Parenthood

planned parentood attack

They Take a Stand Opposed By 75% of Iowa

Iowa House Republicans again this year inserted an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood from any state funding.

This is a truly unpopular issue with Iowans. As Beth Wessel-Kroeschell is quoted in the Mason City Globe-Gazette:

Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, cited a public opinion poll published by the Des Moines Register that showed 3 out of 4 Iowans support state funding for health care providers like Planned Parenthood.

“We have a mandate. This is simple,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “Not only do Iowans overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood funding, family planning dollars, but it’s a program that works. It’s a program that gives people power and choice over their health care.”

It is very hard to grasp why Republicans are pushing so hard for this unpopular amendment, so let’s see if we can understand their impetus for bringing this up and voting for it.

The first reason to vote for such an unpopular measure is that it plays well back home. Even though a measure is unpopular statewide doesn’t mean it is unpopular in individual districts. Measures like this are geared to the religious voter. Supporting anti-abortion measures in any form is a sure way to keep the religious coming out to vote.

A second reason to vote for such an unpopular measure is that it punishes those who violate an unwritten moral code that frowns on sexual acts especially by women. While that may seem odd, men are not punished for sexual acts resulting in a pregnancy, only the women. If a woman becomes pregnant she should therefore accept the result of that sin, the sex act, by carrying the child to term and raising said child to adulthood. To follow this punishment even further, Republicans at all levels make it hard to get state aid to feed, clothe and educate this child.

A third reason to vote for such an unpopular measure is that it most frequently punishes the poor. Planned Parenthood is not used exclusively by poor women, but often for the poor it is often their only choice. We know how Republicans feel about poor people. It is their fault and they should suffer the consequences. If not having access to health care is part of that so be it.

One of the most overarching reasons for voting for any anti-abortion measure at a state level is to be part of the “movement conservative” across the US. The movement realized it could change more policy in the country working at a state level than trying to push a big rock uphill in Washington. Thus every little legislator in the smallest state is but a cog in the bigger movement. Note that in being part of the larger movement the individual legislator often does not represent his or her district.

Finally there is the desire to legislate one’s own moral and religious code into secular law. Such religious code in this country is usually found in some interpretation of one of the many variations of the bible. Stated in another way, Christians have been known to enact their religious code into law to punish those that are seen as morally weak in their eyes. As proof let us just consider all the so-called “religious freedom” bills that are rushing through various state legislatures.

Iowa is but one vote in the senate from being yet another state with a movement conservative legislature and governor all set to enact religious beliefs into law. Elections are extremely important.

This is just one of a number very unpopular measures that Republicans have been responsible for in the past couple of years. Many were solo jobs by the governor. But the governor is the head of the party in this state and not someone apart from the party. Who can forget closing the mental health facilities at Mount Pleasant and Clarinda? How about the line item veto of school funding last July? May pumping multi millions into fertilizer plants with few jibs to show for it got your blood boiling? Of course the big one was the governor’s unilateral privatizing of Iowa’s Medicaid system so the administrative companies could take a big cut of our tax dollars.

Really makes you wonder why anyone would vote for such scoundrels. But they do.