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Hillary Clinton Says Joni Ernst Has Disqualified Herself

In Iowa today, Hillary Clinton claimed that Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has disqualified herself from office by refusing to answer questions.

“I have concluded that Iowans take politics really seriously,” Clinton said. “You test your candidates, you actually force them to be the best they can be and they have to be willing to answer the tough questions.”   Democrat Bruce Braley “has been willing to do and his opponent has not,” she said.

“It truly seems like it should be in disqualifying in Iowa of all states to avoid answering questions,” Clinton added to a sustained round of applause.

Clinton’s remarks in Iowa struck on a latent hypocrisy. Republicans and Beltway media insiders like NBC’s Chuck Todd claimed that Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes disqualified herself from office by refusing to say who she voted for in 2012. The same media and talking heads have had nothing to say about Republican Senate Joni Ernst canceling several meeting with newspaper editorial boards in Iowa.

Grimes may not want to discuss who she voted for as a private citizen, but Ernst is refusing to tell the voters what she stands for and what she will do if she gets elected.

Republicans opened the door to the disqualification questions. Hillary Clinton walked right in and knocked them on their backsides. The Iowa Senate race is very close. Ernst’s refusal to tell the voters what she will do if she wins is a way for her to try to run out the clock and backdoor her way into the United States Senate.

It may not matter to voters in Kentucky who Grimes voted for, but the folks in Iowa deserve to know what they are getting themselves into if they elect Joni Ernst.

Hillary Clinton called out a giant hypocrisy, and with less than a week to go, Democrats are sending a loud message that Joni Ernst won’t be allowed to keep her positions to herself.

Hatch-Vernon Campaign Launches #IowasFreshStart Tour

Check out the Fresh Start Tour schedule.  Today’s stops:  Mason City, Algona, Ft. Dodge, Webster City, Iowa Falls, Waverly.  #IowasFreshStart


Click on the image for details.

Confirm Where To Vote Early For Climate Change Action


Ernst Disrespects Iowa By Refusing Local Newspaper Interviews

joni ernst on faux news

Ernst avoids Iowa newspapers preferring face time with Fox News.

According to Republican Joe Scarborough, Joni Ernst wasn’t smart to avoid the Iowa print media.  “You can’t run from editorial boards,” he said.  Scarborough bragged on Morning Joe yesterday that when he served in congress, even though everyone considered his right wing libertarian views to be, in his words, “crazy,” he still benefited by speaking to the press.  He asserted that it is smart for a candidate to grant interviews with the media in their state and therefore, Ernst should have done it.

But the point is not just that it wasn’t smart of Ernst to evade the editorial boards of the Des Moines Register, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald or the Quad City Times, the state’s largest  newspapers. The point is that in doing so she denied the citizens of Iowa who she claims to want to represent, a thorough vetting of her views.

Sorry Joni, but sound bytes in debates and cutesy pig ads that someone else dreamed up for you do not count as much as having to provide thorough answers and explanations of your policy ideas.  Your opponent Bruce Braley faced the media and had to answer tough questions and subject himself to scrutiny. What makes you so privileged that you do not feel obligated to give the voters of Iowa complete information about where you stand on the issues?  If you are going to be so touchy about criticism, perhaps you should not be our senator.

Here’s what the Gazette had to say about it.

Joni Ernst seems to be disrespecting quite a few folks.

You may have read in our U.S. Senate endorsement that Ernst, Republican candidate for the office, “failed to make time in her schedule” to meet with the Editorial Board at The Gazette.

But while Ernst staffers merely strung us along, never agreeing to a meeting time or openly refusing the invitation, we learned Thursday morning Ernst reneged on her promise to The Des Moines Register. She also snubbed The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, the Quad-City Times and the CBS television affiliate in Sioux City. Even more await an answer.

She did meet with the board of the Sioux City Journal and, according to Bloomberg Politics reporter David Weigel, the Omaha, Neb. World-Herald as well. I’ve not heard chatter from the Nebraska interview, but there was noise following Sioux City when Ernst doubled-down on support of “personhood,” saying she would support a national push.

“I am a pro-life candidate,” she told the SCJ Board. “I support that. However, if you look at any sort of amendment at the federal level — amendments … come together through consensus. And, honestly, we don’t have a consensus.”

Ernst used the same flawed reasoning regarding a federal amendment that she applied to sponsorship of a state “personhood” amendment. Her answer was essentially, “Yes, I’ll support this ban on all abortions and most forms of birth control, like the pill, but no one needs to worry about it because it won’t become law.” And no one in that particular room questioned it, just like none of the moderators of the debate questioned it.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I believe Ernst is cherry picking who she will engage in real conversation.

I’m already on the record in relation to the “personhood” amendment and Ernst’s steadfast refusal to answer the basic questions at its root: A “personhood” amendment provides fertilized human eggs, before implantation, the same legal rights as people, so doesn’t it ban procedures, devices and chemicals that can result in their demise?

Since this would be the legal reality of your amendment, are you being disingenuous when you say that you will protect a woman’s access to birth control, or does your definition of what you’ve termed “reliable and affordable birth control” already exclude the pill and other methods that would come under legal scrutiny?

Similar questions need to be asked about Ernst’s position on abolishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in favor of state-run systems. Ernst says states know best how to use resources, but hasn’t explained what will or should happen when one state decides its resources are best spent on Problem A while Problem B runs amok and impacts neighboring states. In the simplest terms, if my neighbor neglects a tree that later falls on my house, who do I turn to if higher governing authorities have washed their hands of oversight?

Maybe Ernst knows. Maybe she has a plan. But it’s difficult to have confidence in her when it does not appear she has enough confidence in herself or her ideas to sit down for a conversation.

(click here to read the entire article at

Joni Ernst Should Be Asked Who Exactly She Would Shoot

joni with gunby Will Jennings

When Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst stated she wouldn’t hesitate to use her personal firearm “if government tyranny threatened my rights” she MUST be called out for this declaration of INTENT.  The statement is NOT symbolic. She wants to campaign as if it IS symbolic by making “government” the alleged “target” of her “patriotic defiance.” But she’s talking trash and is absolutely gutless when she refuses to answer the sort of follow-up questions that would be posed by all of the Iowa newsprint editorial boards she’s openly decided to ignore (also a campaign pose.)

I would ask her exactly who she would be willing to shoot if and when she felt such tyranny arose? A law enforcement officer? An IRS accountant? The men and women who pick up her solid waste and recycling? A DMV clerk? A Housing Inspector? I’m serious. Who the Frick will she choose to shoot with that gun when she FEELS her government is acting as tyrant? Who?

I want specific examples so we know what her list of targets includes.

Otherwise, she’s totally off the rails and unhinged. How can someone who “led our troops in combat” openly state that she’d violate basic rules of engagement? You don’t carry a weapon unless you fully intend to use it. And you do not chamber a round and aim that weapon unless and until you are fully prepared to discharge it with extreme prejudice. If she thinks threatening the use of a firearm is a ‘symbolic’ statement, she can explain that symbolism to the families and friends of victims and all survivors of gun violence.

I don’t give a crap about semantics here. She’s made a clear statement of intent, one with potentially fatal consequences. That deserves a clear explanation from her about who, exactly, she’d shoot with that gun.

Local Democrat Schools Letter Writer on Braley’s Record Of Accomplishment

letters to the editorBFIA tries to practice George Lakoff’s messaging philosophy of never repeating GOP talking points. And if you’re paying attention you will already know what this letter is about without us having to give the GOP an additional forum. Suffice it to say that awhile back Bruce Braley made a comment to a group of trial lawyers to the effect that it would be better to have someone with a legal education on the Senate judiciary committee, which Grassley doesn’t have.  Big deal.  Simple fact.  So of course the GOP had to lie about it, take it out of context and pretend it was the biggest insult ever to farmers everywhere and feign outrage.  Because Sherry Toelle’s rebuttal to a letter to the editor bringing this non-troversy up again may not get published in the conservative Iowa paper where it appeared, we’re sharing it here.  Great job, Sherry!  [Update:  Sherry's letter has been published in today's Atlantic News-Telegraph.]

I am writing to rebut the 10-22-14 Atlantic Speak Up written by Dan and Jan Follmann. Here are the facts:

1. There have been at least nine big name Democrats campaigning in Iowa for Bruce Braley—Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Tom Harkin, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Senator Jim Webb. Only two of them slipped up on Bruce Braley’s surname. I do not know about you, Mr. & Mrs. Follmann, but people who have known me for years still say my surname incorrectly.

2. Bruce Braley has YET to serve in the US Senate. He is currently a Congressman in the US House of Representatives.

3. Bruce believes, as I do, that the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee should have a WORKING knowledge of the judicial system and of the law. His remarks regarding Senator Grassley were taken out of context. Bruce has worked hard for the agricultural community. He helped pass the Farm Bill which Joni Ernst has said that she would have voted AGAINST.

4. No record to stand on? He introduced and passed into law the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, wrote the New Era Act (creating a grant to train workers in the renewable energy industry), fought for a bipartisan Farm Bill, worked to make the Adoption Tax Credit permanent, passed the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act to expand the adaptive housing grants for disabled veterans, won back pay for members of the Iowa National Guard, opposed tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas….Need I go on?

5. As to negative advertising, it is not negative advertising to tell the facts about the opponent.

If you support Joni Ernst or Senator Grassley, that is your decision. But, when you express your opinions as facts, please ensure that those facts are correct and not the result of your party’s spin or a 30 or 60 second sound bite.

Sherry Toelle, Atlantic, Iowa

Big Oil Polluting Iowa Airwaves On Behalf Of Tea Party Candidate Joni Ernst

joni ernst the perfect Koch investment

Records Show Joni Ernst’s ‘Trajectory’-Launching Koch Brother Friends Have Spent Millions Lobbying Against Renewable Fuels and Iowa Jobs This Year

Now the Oil Barons are Polluting Iowa’s Airwaves with a Million Dollar Attack Ad on Ernst’s Behalf

Topping the Koch Industry’s Lobbying Priority List:

  • ü S.1195 Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act
  • ü S. 1807 Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013

Washington DC – Iowa has become the latest victim of an oil spill — a Big Oil money spill.

It was reported this week that a Koch brothers-affiliated Super PAC is saturating the Hawkeye State’s airwaves with a dishonest attack ad on Joni Ernst’s behalf. Call it a friend doing a friend a favor, and expecting a big favor in return.

Remember when Ernst was caught on tape praising the billionaire oil barons for launching her career “trajectory” beyond “a little known State Senator”? Indeed, the anti-ethanol Koch family and donor network has funneled tens of thousands of dollars into her campaign, especially after Ernst professed her ‘philosophical opposition’ to the Renewable Fuel Standard despite the fact it supports nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs.

That was music to the ears of the entire oil industry which is trying to put their cleaner, cheaper ethanol competition out of business – as was Ernst’s campaign declaration that: “Joni actually believes that when you spend money, you should get something in return.”

So what do the Koch brothers expect in return for their ‘trajectory’ launching investment in Ernst’s political future? According to new report from Environment & Energy Publishing, Koch Industries has spent nearly $9.5 million on its advocacy operations so far this year …That’s a significant hike from the almost $8 million that the oil and gas giant spent on lobbying at this point last year.”

And according to the latest U.S. Senate lobbying reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, two of the top legislative priorities that the Koch Industries lobbied for included the Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act (S.1195) and the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013 (S.1807).

Jeremy Funk, Comm. Dir. Americans United for Change:

“The anti-ethanol Koch brothers are counting up all the favors they’ve done for their friend Joni Ernst, and it’s approaching the million mark. And they’re not the type of guys who forget about it. Would Exxon Ernst be able to say ‘no’ to her big oil friends when they call in a favor that runs counter to Iowa’s economic interests? Would she look the other way when the Kochs spend another $10 million lobbying the Senate to kill the RFS and Iowa jobs? With stakes so high for Iowa’s future, Ernst’s loyalties shouldn’t be this big of a question mark – but unfortunately they are.”


GOP Spending $900,000 In Final Weeks To Distort Dave Loebsack’s Record

dave loebsack updatedJohn Boehner’s campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee – just earmarked $900,000 (yes, you read that right) of Iowa TV airtime to distort Dave Loebsack’s record of fighting for working class families.

They are hoping this huge money dump could sway the outcome of the election.

But this is a grassroots campaign and our congressman has a proven record of working for Iowans, not corporations. That’s why they’re after him.

Don’t let them win.

#1 First order of business, if you haven’t voted yet, go vote now.

#2 Next, sign up to volunteer for Dave’s campaign or for your local GOTV effort with your county Democratic party.  Click here to find your local field office:

#3 Donate to Dave’s campaign here.

What The Koch Brothers Want Joni To Do

“Joni Ernst is the perfect mental and moral blank slate kind of candidate that attracts billionaires like the Koch brothers, and ALEC and big money.”    Watch and wonder no more about exactly what the Kochs expect in return for their investment.

Leading Iowa Scientists Say Climate Change Is Hurting Iowans’ Health

Cedar Rapids Flood

Cedar Rapids Flood

Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research

owans are experiencing real impacts from climate change, including heavier rains and increased flooding. Human health effects from climate change are just as real and are already being felt in Iowa, according to a statement released today by statewide group of 180 Iowa scientists.

“Climate change is negatively impacting our water quality, increasing exposures to allergens and air pollutants, introducing new infectious diseases, and imposing increased stress on Iowa families,” said Peter Thorne, Professor and Head of the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa

The scientists say the health related effects of extreme weather events are the most obvious, immediate, and direct. These events are increasing in frequency and severity as our atmosphere warms and holds more moisture.

“Repeated heavy rains increase human exposure to toxic chemicals and raw sewage that are spread by flood waters,” said David Osterberg, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa.

Degraded water quality is also directly associated with climate change. “In farm states like Iowa, higher water temperatures combine with high nutrient levels to create large harmful algal blooms which make water unsuitable for human and animal consumption and for recreation,” stated Osterberg.

“The Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans,” which was released last week, was signed by 180 science faculty and research staff from 38 Iowa colleges and universities. The statement is the 4th Annual Iowa Climate Statement issued by Iowa scientists and researchers.

“The strong support for the statement reflects the consensus among Iowa science faculty and research staff that action is needed now to lower emissions and find new ways to adapt to climate changes in order to reduce the risks of new health problems,” stated Dave Courard-Hauri, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University.

Climate change is also making it more difficult for many Iowans to breathe. Plants produce more pollen, pollen that is increasingly potent in response to warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels in the air.

“The number of Iowans with respiratory problems such as childhood asthma has increased dramatically since the 1980s. In many cases, this is linked to increased exposures to flood molds and to higher indoor moisture, as well as to lung-damaging ozone and fine particulate matter from burning fossil fuels,” said Thorne.

“New infectious diseases are becoming more common in the Midwest as the organisms that carry them move north due to rising temperatures. Disease carrying mosquitos and ticks are living longer and expanding their range due to increasing temperatures, more rainfall, and longer summers,” said Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean, Department of Global Health, Des Moines University.

“Our changing climate’s influence on mental health is less obvious, but it is well established that thousands of Iowans have been impacted by stress from the loss of homes and income due to climate-related flooding and drought,” Mary Mincer Hansen, Adjunct Professor, College of Health Sciences MPH Program, Des Moines University.

“As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, climate related health problems will continue to grow,” said Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University. The scientists agree that adopting strong climate change policies will play a vital role in diminishing human suffering and illness now and for generations to come.

“It is clear that expanding energy efficiency and clean renewable energy efforts will have the co-benefits of reducing air pollution and the creation of additional jobs and economic opportunities for Iowans,” stated Bernstein.

The lead authors of the “Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans” include:

  • Peter S. Thorne, Professor and Head Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, Director, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean , Department of Global Health, Des Moines University
  • David Osterberg, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Mary Mincer Hansen, Adjunct Professor, College of Health Sciences MPH Program, Des Moines University
  • David Courard-Hauri, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University
  • Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University
  • Editing assistance by Connie Mutel, Senior Science Writer, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa.

The 38 Colleges and Universities of statement endorsers:

Buena Vista University
Central College
Clarke University
Coe College
Cornell College
Des Moines Area Community College
Des Moines University
Dordt College
Drake University
Eastern Iowa Community College
Ellsworth Community College
Grinnell College
Indian Hills Community College
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa State University
Iowa Western Community College
Kirkwood Community College
Loras College
Luther College
Maharishi University of Management
Morningside College
Mount Mercy University
Northeast Iowa Community College
Northwestern College
Scott Community College
Simpson College
Southeastern Community College
Southwestern Community College
Saint Ambrose University
University of Dubuque
University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Upper Iowa University
Waldorf College
Wartburg College
Western Iowa Tech Community College
William Penn University

Endorser affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not reflect views of their academic institutions.

The statement can be found at