“Elizabeth Warren is on the forefront of issues that are important to the working class..we’re running out of real leaders in Washington.”
Today, I had a guest column appear in the Des Moines Register explaining that education is at the heart of the legislative stalemate and overtime session. You can review it at this web site: desmoinesregister.com/iowa-view
The bottom line in my guest column: Iowa needs to invest in education and job training to support economic prosperity today and in the future. The House budget would result in cuts and additional student debt that would hurt our economy today and into the future.
I hope this information is helpful. Please continue to speak up for the issues you care about. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me at this email address.
15 KEY DIFFERENCES AT ISSUE IN LEGISLATIVE STALEMATE
My 600-word guest column focused on education, because it is the biggest difference between the parties, but it didn’t allow for as many issues and as much detail about what is truly at stake. Here are 15 key differences at issue in the 2015 legislative stalemate:
1. K-12 education funding – House is stuck at 1.25 percent, which would result in a loss of 1,000 teaching positions statewide; Senate has offered to compromise at 2.625 percent, still less than is needed, but it would allow most school districts to avoid cuts.
2. Community college funding – House has a status quo budget; Senate provides an $8 million increase so our community colleges can continue to provide job training skills and give students an affordable pathway to a four-year school.
3. University of Iowa funding – House proposes to cut the University of Iowa by $3.4 million; the Senate is supporting a 1.75 percent increase of $4 million, which will allow the Regents to freeze tuition for another year. That is a difference of $235 per student at the University of Iowa.
4. Iowa State University funding – House proposes to cut Iowa State University by $620,000, while the Senate is supporting a $5.2 million increase to allow a tuition freeze and meet ISU’s rapid growth in student enrollment. That $5.8 million difference is worth $166 per student.
5. University of Northern Iowa funding – House proposes a $4 million increase, but because of past cuts and shortfalls, it is far short of what UNI needs to maintain services and a tuition freeze. That is why the Senate supports a $7 million increase. The additional $3 million would allow a tuition freeze and is worth more than $250 per student at UNI.
6. Private college tuition grant program – House proposes to cut $1.175 million, while the Senate is supporting a $2.1 million increase, for this need-based program to help Iowa students attend Iowa’s private colleges.
7. Quality childcare for low-income working Iowans – House proposes no change, while the Senate would expand eligibility for childcare assistance to 160 percent of federal poverty levels.
8. Mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant – House proposes partial year funding and then privatization of the facilities, while the Senate is proposing ongoing funding and operation of the facilities as the law requires and as needed by so many vulnerable Iowans.
9. Tobacco prevention – House proposes to cut $675,000, while the Senate would maintain current funding for tobacco prevention.
10. Alzheimer’s Education – House removed this funding from the bill, while the Senate would add $100,000 for Alzheimer’s Education.
11. Office of Substitute Decision Maker – House would eliminate this program, while the Senate added $36,000 in funding. The Office of Substitute Decision Maker helps safeguard vulnerable people who do not have family members available to make decisions.
12. Funding to combat human trafficking – House directs the Attorney General to conduct human trafficking training out of existing resources; Senate would add $150,000 for human trafficking enforcement and use other funds to expand human trafficking training and enforcement.
13. Funding for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault – The House proposes to reduce funding by $1 million, while the Senate would maintain funding for programs like those offered by Waypoint.
14. Indigent defense and Legal Aid – House proposes to cut Legal Aid by $400,000 and indigent criminal defense by more than $2.7 million; Senate proposes to maintain current funding.
15. The courts – House proposes to maintain current funding for the courts, which would result in furloughs and court closures as the courts address rising costs; Senate would provide a $5.5 million increase to maintain current operations.
On Wednesday, May 27 at 12:45 p.m. on the south side of the Polk County Courthouse at 500 Mulberry Street in Des Moines, former Iowa lawmaker Ed Fallon and his attorney Joseph Glazebrook will announce how they intend to respond to the charge of trespass against Fallon for his refusal to leave Governor Branstad’s office last Monday while protesting the Bakken pipeline. Following the press conference, Fallon will appear with Glazebrook before a judge at 1:00 p.m. in Room 201 of the Courthouse.
On Monday, May 18 at 1:30 p.m., Fallon entered Governor Branstad’s office and informed staff that he would refuse to leave until the Governor met with him, heard the stories of the landowners in the path of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline, and agreed to support the eminent domain bill (SF 506 and HSB 249). The Governor was in his office that day, but declined to meet with Fallon.
This will be Fallon’s second appearance at the Polk County Courthouse in response to a principled act of conscience. The first was in March of 2012, following his arrest as part of the Occupy movement, when on October 9, 2011, Fallon and 35 others refused to leave the public space on the west side of the State Capitol to demand that all levels of government respond to corruption on Wall Street and the growing crisis of income inequality. In response to that arrest, Fallon pled “not-guilty.” He was defended by Joseph Glazebrook. After a trial that lasted one week, Fallon was found “not guilty” by a jury of his peers on March 9, 2012.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the best course of action to take in response to my arrest last week at the Governor’s office,” said Fallon. “I take the matter very seriously, and have consulted not just with my attorney, Joseph Glazebrook, but with coworkers and others opposed to the Bakken Oil Pipeline as well.”
“Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing, I reiterate my commitment to doing everything I can to continue the fight against this pipeline, which is not only an assault on the land and livelihood of farmers and landowners across Iowa, but an assault on our environment and planet as well,” concluded Fallon.
Fallon served 14 years in the Iowa House, from 1993-2006. He ran for Governor in 2006 and U.S. Congress in 2008. Since 2009, he has hosted the Fallon Forum, a public affairs talk show available on three Iowa radio stations and online at fallonforum.com.
George W. Bush’s presidency is among the most destructive and corrupt of any American Presidency. Beginning with the stolen election, Dubya led the country into two, practically unilateral and illegal wars while pulling out of the multi-nation Kyoto Protocol. Bush and his Republican Congress (along with some Corporate Democrats) cut taxes and deregulated Wall Street, a policy transformation that upended record surplus into a record deficit and culminated in the worst economic crash since the Great Depression. And then there was Katrina, Gitmo, Blackwater, Abu Ghraib, and of course, Alito and Roberts.
Lost in so much scandal is the memory of Bush’s 2004 Repatriation Tax Holiday, awarded to Corporations that had squirreled away profits in overseas bank accounts to avoid paying US income tax. In order to entice companies to “re-patriate” those profits, Bush allowed them to pay a discounted 5.25% tax instead of the typical 35% corporate tax rate, promising Americans that the discount would benefit them by stimulating the American economy, creating thousands of jobs. As a result of that holiday, 843 companies brought back $312 billion, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
But instead of going on a hiring binge, or investing in research and development, or perhaps paying their workers more, the companies used most of the repatriated profits to buy back stock shares and issue dividend payments that larded already bloated CEO salaries. In fact, according to economists Chuck Marr and Brian Highsmith, “many firms actually laid off large numbers of U.S. workers even as they reaped multi-billion dollar benefits from the tax holiday and passed them on to shareholders.” The Wall Street Journal reported that this tax holiday cost the government $3 billion in lost revenues in the ten years since it was implemented.
But at least this tax holiday stopped the flow of corporate profits overseas, because legislators had the foresight to close the loopholes that caused offshoring of profits to avoid taxes. Sorry, not true. There were no claw backs in the tax holiday to prevent this from occurring once again. Since then, companies have once again stowed away almost $2 trillion in profits overseas by some estimates New York Times.
So what do Libertarian Rand Paul and Liberal Lion Barbara Boxer propose we do on the ten year anniversary of The Bush Tax Holiday? Why, give corporations like GE, Apple, Google and others another Tax Holiday!
I’m referring here to Invest in Transportation Act of 2015. The Boxer/Paul plan is different from Bush’s in that it proposes to use the taxes raised from the repatriated money to fund the nearly bankrupt highway trust fund – which makes it appealing to both Democrats and Republicans alike (no new taxes, money for infrastructure and jobs). Barbara Boxer is not up for re-election, so this is no political stunt. This is all her. And Google, Apple, Qualcomm, and other corporations in her district who have lobbied hard for several years for another tax holiday (and have heavily donated to her campaigns)
The irony here is that corporations aren’t even making the argument that they need this in order to create jobs. US companies are so flush with capitol, they do not need these profits to re-invest, expand research or otherwise stimulate the economy. Quite simply, their only interest is lower taxes and greater profits.
The injustice here is folks like you and I do not get to negotiate a lowered tax rate for income we hide in a Swiss Bank account. Boxer, Paul, as well as Bill Clinton who has been lobbying for such a holiday repeat since 2011, are now capitalizing on the urgency of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure to justify another tax giveaway to the 1%.
Obama is on the record of supporting similar proposals in the past, and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) is touting this as a solution to the lack of funds for infrastructure – which will certainly be appealing in her heavily union district as infrastructure investments means jobs. But this formula is penny-wise and dollar-foolish. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the holiday would boost tax revenue by an estimated $20b to $30b in the first two years it’s implemented. But after that, it would lose as much as $118 billion over the next decade.
But as with Bush’s holiday, there is no provision in the current bill that would prevent corporations from off shoring their profits yet again. Nor is there any companion bill to increase the federal gas tax (which hasn’t been raised in over 23 years) to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from future insolvency.
With Federal highway program set to expire May 31, both neoliberal Democrats and deficit hawk Republicans will continue to suggest the tax holiday as a solution. But to continue to reward unpatriotic companies with another tax holiday will do nothing to stop them from once again off-shoring their profits as they anticipate another, future Congress to repeat this same sad cynical cycle. It’s highway robbery this time. Perhaps next time, they can tie it to Veteran’s healthcare funding, education funding or another essential underfunded program.
Fool me once…
Of Course Jeb Bush Would Have Invaded Iraq
The former Florida governor gets too much credit for being smarter than his brother.
By Donald Kaul
Jeb Bush must have set some kind of record for political flip-flopping this month.
“Knowing what we know now,” he was asked — that Saddam Hussein didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction, for example — “would you have authorized the invasion” of Iraq?
“I would’ve,” he said.
Almost immediately, the oatmeal hit the fan. Supporters and critics alike jumped up out of the weeds protesting his embrace of what many consider the greatest foreign policy blunder since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union.
Before nightfall that day, he was backing crab-like away from that position. He had “misinterpreted” the question, he said. In any case, it was futile to take up “hypotheticals” like that.
But back he tracked until it seemed as though the former Florida governor would’ve been marching in front of the White House, occupied at the time by his own brother, with a “Hell No! I won’t go” placard.
The kindest interpretation friendly critics offered was that Jeb Bush was reluctant to take issue with George W., who, after all, ordered the Iraq invasion. It was filial affection, not foreign policy naiveté, that informed his first response.
Are you kidding me?
Of course Jeb Bush would have done the same thing as George W. Bush. There’s hardly the thickness of a sheet of paper between them on Middle East policy.
Don’t believe me? The man who would like to lead the third Bush administration in three decades named Paul Wolfowitz, the Iraq invasion’s architect, to his team of advisers. That’s like taking navigation lessons from the captain of the Titanic.
Wolfowitz, you’ll remember, is the guy who promised a speedy end to the Iraq War and predicted it would pay for itself with rising oil revenue. That was a trillion dollars — and many thousands of lives — ago. And we’re still waiting for our first payment.
I’ve always thought Jeb got too much credit for being smarter than his brother. That was largely a function of the fact that even though he smoked a lot of pot in high school, he didn’t spend his youthful years drunk, unlike George W.
In reality, neither of them has shown much in the way of smarts. They’ve gone a long way on family money and friends in high places.
The best of the Bush bunch, to my thinking, is the old man, George H. W. Bush. Not a brilliant intellectual, perhaps, but he was smart enough to know that Iraq’s not a place where you want to hang out very long. As bad a guy as Saddam Hussein was, the elder Bush had the sense not to dabble in regime change when he went to war with Iraq.
Perhaps the most astonishing piece of information to come out of this latest Bush flap was a Quinnipiac University poll that showed George W. Bush’s favorability rating with likely voters in the Iowa caucus stands at 81 percent.
Eighty-one percent! Chocolate ice cream doesn’t have an 81 percent favorability rating among Iowa Republicans.
What can they be thinking of? Certainly they can’t be thinking very seriously about the Iraq invasion. Did I mention that it’s cost us a trillion dollars and counting?
Perhaps I failed to inform you that our conduct of that war and the other conflicts that seem to have unstoppably flowed from it, with our waterboarding and our drone attacks, have squandered any moral advantage that we claimed over our enemies.
Jeb Bush was the great hope of rational Republicans in the upcoming race. He was the sensible one.
Now we find he hopes to ride his brother’s tattered coat tails to victory.
Who’s his model for economic policy, Herbert Hoover?
Deaniacs, here is a an important message from Howard Dean.
If you’re as heavily invested in politics as I am (and I have a feeling you are), you also tend to spend a lot of time fixating on what’s happening in Washington. But in recent years, perpetual gridlock has kept Congress from even functioning properly, let alone taking innovative steps to rebuild our middle class.
In the meantime, the true battleground for the heart and soul of our country has shifted to the states, where we now face an uphill battle. Republicans — with the help of a massive, well-funded network of corporate-backed, radical right-wing organizations — have staged an unprecedented coup of state legislatures.
Right now, the GOP controls 68 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers, more than they have in the history of their party. And they’re using that power to pass unpopular legislation that actively undermines the ability of middle-class families to make ends meet.
Democrats need to make a concerted effort to win in 2016 — and that’s where Democracy for America comes in. Since 2004, DFA has been focused on making the 50 State Strategy a reality, supporting Democratic candidates in every state running for every level of office. We have successfully helped elect 831 DFA-endorsed candidates running for everything from the local school board to the U.S. Senate — and we are setting ambitious goals again for the 2016 electoral cycle.
DFA wants to train and empower 25,000 volunteers by 2016 — the kind of grassroots army that could tip the balance for Democrats in hundreds of close elections nationwide. Will you help us make that goal a reality by chipping in $3 or more a month from now until Election Day?
It could get much worse if we don’t fight back now.
In 2020, voters will elect state lawmakers who will be responsible for redrawing districts all over the country — a fundamental driver of who will control Congress and state legislatures for the next decade.
That’s why we cannot let Republicans continue to out-organize us on the state level. Not only are we losing important policy battles that are moving these states backwards, but we are also missing out on the opportunity to build the bench of future leaders necessary if we are going to grow our power in Washington in the years to come.
Through the Purple to Blue Project, DFA is intentionally working to counteract the Republican takeover of state legislatures by identifying winnable states and pro-actively recruiting and endorsing candidates in those states who can help to tip the balance. In 2015, we’re working with candidates on the ground in places like New York, New Hampshire and Virginia to run winning campaigns and build progressive power — and we will expand the program again to include more states in 2016.
It’s no longer enough for Democrats to sit back and complain about Republican dominance in the states. It is time for us to take action — and I am proud to say that DFA is and will continue to be a trailblazer when it comes to implementing the 50 State Strategy.
We have ambitious plans to build progressive power in 2016 and beyond — but we need your support to do it. To help us, I hope will you consider making a monthly donation to DFA of $3 or more today.
Thank you for all that you do,
Gov. Howard Dean, Founder
Democracy for America
Free and open to the public
Saturday May 23, Iowa City Public Library, Room A
Sign In : 9:30 a.m.
Program Starts : 10:00 a.m.
Democracy is being silenced. We shout; but we are not being heard over the massive contributions of corporations and the 1%.
During our nation’s history, movements have achieved amendments to the U.S. Constitution to gain recognition of groups of people as citizens and voters. Abolition of slavery was the 13th Amendment; then the equal treatment amendments for newly freed black men (14th & 15th), and the 19th amendment that grants women the right to vote. During the time of rapid industrial growth, progressive and populist groups worked to achieve legislation limiting child labor and prohibiting waste products being incorporated in food.
On the dark side of our history are the actions taken to turn corporations from servants chartered by states for a limited purpose — which had to benefit the residents of the state — into the powerful behemoths that they are today. They have achieved this massive increase in power through rulings of the Supreme Court which first declared the corporation a partner in a business contract, which states had no right to regulate. Then corporations were allowed to claim the rights of natural, human beings as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights. Because corporations now have more rights than we humans, it is very difficult for us to protect ourselves from them.
One situation not widely recognized in the progressive community is the loss of the U.S. Government’s right to create money which Congress bestowed on the Federal Reserve. The difference in the two situations is that with the Federal Reserve, interest is owned on the money the Federal Reserve creates.
It is more widely recognized that when corporations use the water, land, and air as a dump for their toxic waste products, they are removing the possibility of a healthy life for us and our children’s children. When governments sell off highways, parking ramps, public buildings and lands (like the Post Offices throughout the country), they are appropriating the value of those assets. When governments privatize social services (public schools, the military, Medicaid, Social Security, prisons) they are hollowing out the nation’s resources. Possibly the most direct examples of hijacking are our government’s permitting gambling on derivatives and legislating that the gamblers will be able to shift their losses to bank patrons and taxpayers.
Today we are exploring some of these cases and sharing ways some groups are working toward justice.
Click here for more information including schedule and speakers.
This bunch from the pipeline cartel — what I call ’em — is just a bucket of snakes and you can’t tell which head belongs to which tail.”
There’s nothing like courage to inspire principled acts of conscience. Perhaps the gutsy actions last week of two landowners fighting to stop the pipeline has inspired you to step forward, speak out, take action. I can assure you that Hughie Tweedy and Vern Johnson have further deepened my own commitment to stopping the Bakken Oil Pipeline. (Stay tuned for news about that later today.)
It took a lot of guts for Hughie Tweedy to go public about the conversations he recorded with a representative of the pipeline company. In interviews that have been published in media across the country and beyond, Hughie recounts how in exchange for his land, the rep “offered me women . . . not once, not twice, but three times.”
Hughie’s life has been taken over with an endless string of media inquiries. He’s even had to learn to use Facebook and a cell phone! Hughie poked the giant — and a poked giant is likely to poke back. News that Dakota Access offered prostitutes for access to land is really, really bad public relations for the company. Add this to all the other stories circulating about pipeline representatives lying and bullying, and more and more Iowans are realizing that Dakota Access is a company that can’t be trusted.
Or in the more blunt words of Hughie, “This bunch from the pipeline cartel — what I call ’em — is just a bucket of snakes and you can’t tell which head belongs to which tail. Their damage control will be all deniability. They’ll say, well, that’s not our contractor . . . that’s not our this, not our that.”
Another courageous landowner is Vern Johnson, a quiet guy and polite to a fault. Vern also is persistent to the point of having said “no” forty times to pipeline representatives wanting access to his land.
“I saw that most of them were from Louisiana,” said Vern, who caught surveyors placing stakes on his property. Without a hint of anger or malice, Vern “offered to go down to Louisiana and drive a steel post into their land. Well, after they thought about that a bit, they came back and said they’d just pull out all the stakes they’d put on my land.”
One of the surveyors told Vern they were going to follow an existing pipeline easement on his property. “The only problem with that,” says Vern, “is I don’t have an easement for another pipeline on my property.” He even went to the county courthouse to verify that such was the case — another example of Dakota Access not being trustworthy.
Unfortunately, the pipeline company got its way. Vern was slapped with an injunction that allowed the surveyors to force themselves onto his land. Despite his gutsy persistence, Vern lost that battle.
And we may lose other battles. But we can and will win the war. Nebraskans have stopped the Keystone Pipeline. And it was just a couple years ago that a coalition of Iowa seniors, landowners and environmentalists stopped a nuclear power plant that would have been built with millions of dollars of rate-payer money. A few years earlier, we stopped two ill-conceived coal-fired power plants. A decade ago, I worked with landowners in several counties who banded together to stop their land from being taken for recreational lakes and essentially private airports.
Over and over again, when we stand strong and stand together, people can prevail against corporate and government power. I believe that will be the case with this pipeline – but it will take commitment, sacrifice and courage. I am willing to continue to push my own comfort zone in that regard (again, stay tuned for news on that later today), and I ask each of you to ponder what more you can do as well.
And please take a moment to call or write your state senator and ask him or her to support SF 506, the eminent domain bill now eligible for debate by the full Senate. Please call or write your state representative as well. And if you are not certain who represents you at the statehouse, go to find your legislator.
Catch the Fallon Forum live on Monday from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) Or you can listen online. Join the conversation by calling in at (515) 528-8122. Podcasts available after the show. And you can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 pm on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday.
If you missed Bernie on his previous visits to Iowa, it’s not too late to take advantage of these opportunities to hear a politician tell the truth and still have a positive message. Check back for updates.
Town hall meeting, 7 p.m., Rogalski Center, St. Ambrose University, 518 W. Locust St., Davenport
Town hall meeting, 3 p.m., Muscatine Community College, 152 Colorado St., Muscatine
House party at the home of David Johnson and Jenny Embree, 7 p.m. , 326 N. 4th St., West Branch
Town hall meeting, 10 a.m., Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City
Meeting with Worth County Democrats, 5 p.m., Kensett Community Center, 300 Willow St., Kensett
Donate at berniesanders.com/
#Sanders2016 #BernieSanders #Bernie2016