The editorial page of your local newspaper is where conversations can occur about local issues and a place where information can be shared neighbor to neighbor. Local newspapers are (or should be) the remedy to information polluters like Fox News and the rest of the corporate owned media. The local newspaper is sacred ground that has been encroached upon by media consolidation and corporate ownership. From now up to the election BFIA will be helping give voice to the ordinary Iowan by posting letters to the editor from the brave warriors for democracy that dare to stand up to corporate power.
Most of us know how completely Big Ag dominates politics and policy in Iowa, but does it now dominate our small-town newspapers, too?
We’re used to our governor and state legislators putting the interests of industrial-scale pork producers before the interests of drinkers of tap water. We’re not surprised when Farm Bureau opposes efforts simply to measure the water quality in Iowa rivers.
But I was surprised to find my local newspapers have apparently closed ranks with Big Ag and chosen to help it gag the voice of ordinary citizens. I live three-fourths of a mile from a new 2,500-head hog confinement located just north of Woodward. Some of my neighbors and I got together to tell the owner of the confinement, Brodie Brelsford of Perry, about the harm we think it will do to the quality of our lives and the quality of water in the Des Moines River.
When Brodie wouldn’t meet with us, we decided to send him an open letter, but none of the area’s newspapers — neither the Perry Chief, Boone News-Republican, nor the Northeast Dallas County Record — would accept our letter for publication no matter how much we changed it. They wouldn’t even sell us space to run it as an ad. These three papers are all owned by Stephens Media LLC, a Las Vegas corporation, and they toe the same line. That line appears to be one that stifles discussion of an issue of great public importance.
— Ken and Jan Danilson, Wayde and Julie Burkhart, Janelle Hammarstedt, Danielle M. Wirth, Don A. Wirth, Frances Hamman, Deb Schutt, Dave and Shelly Morlan, Mark and Donna Burkhart, Don Burkhart, Stan Oviatt, Ed and Marcelle Knapp, Dennis and Rhonda Smeltzer and Chuck and Julie Smeltzer, Woodward
ICYMI: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made his first appearance ever on Meet The Press earlier this month. Sanders told the truth about Citizens United and the Koch brothers. Why after all these years did MTP finally decide to invite the Independent Democratic Socialist on the show? Do not think that the media is becoming more liberal. It is more likely that it is because, as Chuck Todd proclaimed, “he could cause Hillary Clinton some trouble.”
Senator Sanders will also be a guest at the Johnson County Democrats Annual Fall BBQ this Saturday. Click here for tickets.
Or thanking anyone other than corporate donors for “lifting up” his campaign?
Good citizens of Iowa’s 4th District, you, Iowa and the nation deserve better. Vote for this man, Jim Mowrer!
Find your early voting location here
More and more Iowans are voting early every election because it is the simplest and easiest way to make your voice heard. Iowans can vote early in person from September 25 to November 3, or they can vote by mail anytime between now and Election Day.
Iowans can find their early voting location or can request a ballot to vote by mail at vote.iowademocrats.org.
Thursday, September 25: Early Vote Kickoffs
Ames (canvass kick off) – 3:00pm
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
109 Kellog Ave
Boone – 7:30am
Office of Jim Robbins PC
1001 W. Mamie Eisenhower Ave
Cedar Rapids – 10:00am
Monica Vernon, Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, Sen. Wally Horn, Sen. Rob Hogg
The Flying Weenie
103 8th Ave SW
Council Bluffs – 8:00am
Sen. Mike Gronstal, Marti Nerenstone, Charlie McConkey
Dean Jennings Law Firm
523 6th Ave
Davenport – 3:30pm
Congressman Dave Loebsack
421 West River Drive
Des Moines – 7:30am
Staci Appel, Sen. Jack Hatch, IDP Chair Scott Brennan, Polk County Dems Chair Tom Henderson
214 4th Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Dubuque – 7:30am
Rep. Pat Murphy
Jitterz Coffee Shop
1073 Main Street
Iowa City – 7:30am
Congressman Dave Loebsack, Rep. Mary Mascher
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
623 S. Dubuque St
Marshalltown – 9:15am
Congressman Bruce Braley, Rep. Mark Smith
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
127 E. Main St
Mason City – 7:30am
Sen. Amanda Ragan
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
11 E. State St
Ottumwa – 8:00am
Lt Gov. Patty Judge
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
219 East Main Street
Sioux City – 7:30am
Rep. Dave Dawson, Rep. Chris Hall, Jim France
306 Virginia Street
Waterloo – 3:00pm
Rep. Pat Murphy and Jon “Bowzer” Bauman
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
512 Mulberry Street
Dave Loebsack has been able to overcome the Washington gridlock and advance many of his priorities that will benefit the people of Iowa.
Below is a list of the many achievements that the Congressman has had during this 113th Congress.
Growing Iowa’s Economy
Dave secured the passage of large portions of his SECTORS Act as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The SECTORS Act will ensure workers have the training they need to secure good jobs and employers have access to a workforce with the skills that are needed for them to expand, boost our economy, and out-compete the global competition. It uses Iowa community colleges and local industry as models for how to create and retain good-paying jobs in rural areas while growing local industry. This is part of Dave’s strong focus on growing Iowa’s and our country’s manufacturing sector to create good jobs and grow the economy.
Improving Child Care for Working Families
As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, Dave helped author and pass the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization. CCDBG provides funds to states to help low-income families pay for child care while a parent works or is in an educational or job training program. As the son of a single mother, Dave knows firsthand how important affordable, quality child care is for working families. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation makes long needed updates and improvements to CCDBG that will promote healthy child development and enhance quality and safety. It will allow parents and guardians to work or attend school with the peace of mind of knowing their children are safe and well cared for.
Supporting Our Seniors
Dave was successful in restoring funding to Meals on Wheels and other senior nutrition programs when they endured huge cuts during sequestration. Having been raised in part by his grandmother, Dave knows how critical supports like Meals on Wheels are to seniors struggling to make ends meet on fixed incomes. Dave led a group of nearly 50 bipartisan members in this effort, and was able to secure the restored funding.
Cleaning Up Congress
There is no doubt that the American people have lost faith in those who were elected to represent them. That is why Dave has fought to hold Congress accountable for its actions. Dave introduced a bipartisan House Resolution that would have reversed a decision made by the Ethics Committee to eliminate the requirement for Members to disclose privately funded travel on their yearly Financial Disclosure Statements. Because of Dave’s efforts, the Ethics Committee reversed their initial proposal and maintained the original reporting requirements. Dave has also introduced legislation to cut Member’s pay for the first time since the Great Depression and permanently ban all Member’s from becoming lobbyists.
Strengthening Rock Island Arsenal
Dave introduced, and passed through the House of Representatives, the Installation Arsenal Reutilization Act. This bill provides the Arsenal with another necessary tool to partner with the private sector to more efficiently utilize the Arsenal’s resources and workforce, and to attract more private industry to the Quad Cities area. As Co-Chair of the Depot, Arsenal and Industrial Facilities Caucus, Dave has fought to ensure that Rock Island Arsenal maintains the workloads necessary to be productive. In the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, Dave included an amendment that would push the Department of Defense to consider arsenals when deciding how to fulfill a manufacturing requirement. This effort has already resulted in additional projects coming to Rock Island Arsenal.
Protecting Rock Island Arsenal’s Workforce
Dave successfully inserted language into the 2014 and 2015 National Defense Authorization Act to push the Department of Defense to streamline how they award work between the civilian workforce and private sector companies. Dave pushed to ensure that jobs that are inherently governmental are going to the civilian workforce at Rock Island Arsenal, and are not being outsourced to the private sector.
For over two years, Dave fought tooth and nail to get the Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the Farm Bill, signed into law. This long-term farm bill is essential for farmers and rural communities to be able to invest and plan for the future. The new farm bill makes important reforms, gives our farmers strong risk management tools, strengthens our rural communities, and creates job well beyond the farm.
Renewable Fuels Standard
We all know the importance of biofuels to Iowa’s economy, which is why Dave has been leading the fight in Congress against the EPA to reverse its announced Renewable Fuels Standard proposal. The proposal that the EPA announced last fall is flat-out unacceptable and would have dire consequences to Iowa’s economy. As part of his efforts to overturn the proposal, Dave led the first meeting of Members of Congress with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and also took his opposition directly to the White House in meetings with Senior White House officials.
Production Tax Credit
As a longtime supporter of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), Dave has led the way in Congress to ensure it is renewed to give the wind energy sector the stability it needs. The PTC has helped the still growing wind energy industry employ 80,000 Americans, including thousands of Iowans. Just recently Dave introduced HR 5559 – the Bridge to a Clean Energy Future Act. This legislation would extend the Production Tax Credit for wind energy through 2016. Living in Iowa, Dave understands how important renewable energy is to our state, to our country’s future, and to our economy.
Dave worked in a bipartisan manner to protect the Iowa National Guard from experiencing severe budget cuts and force structure reductions. As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Dave worked with Congressman Joe Wilson to stave off these cuts by creating an independent commission that is tasked to look at the total force structure of the Army. Without this Commission, the Iowa National Guard would have lost over 100 Guardsmen and Reservists, and would have lost helicopters that have been vital in responding to natural disasters and emergencies.
Fighting for Our Troops
As a parent of two children in the military, Dave knows firsthand the strain put on military families. Dave worked with his Republican colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee to reverse the President’s 2015 budget submission which called for a reduction of Earned Housing Benefits for military families, forcing them to pay an additional 5% out of pocket. Dave also inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would expand person-to-person mental health screenings to at least one screening during each 180-day period a servicemember is deployed.
Water Resources Reform and Development Act
While it took are too long, Dave’s work to strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure was finally signed into law. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) authorizes Corps of Engineers funding for improvements to ports, waterways and projects tied to flood protection, drinking water, dams and levees and environmental restoration. This bill also contained Dave’s legislation to protect Cedar Rapids from future flooding.
Introduced the Re-Fuel Act
In order to give American’s more choice at the gas pump, Dave introduced legislation that would establish a grant program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invest in renewable and alternative fuel infrastructure. The Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion and Leadership (Re-FUEL) Act (HR 4051) will help create new and retrofit existing infrastructure, including pumps for biofuels and hydrogen, tanks, piping and electric vehicle chargers.
An armed militia group in Wisconsin plans to confront people who signed the petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) at the polls on Nov. 4.
The “Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia” will check the names of those on the petition and will then seek out the Democrats on that list, according to Facebook exchanges viewed by Politicus USA.
The Facebook page for the militia has since been scrubbed.
The group plans to follow people from polling locations to their homes, according to a Facebook post viewed by The Capital Times.
“Please private message us names of people you know are active voters and wanted on warrants. We can get our agents to watch their polling location, identify the individual, and then follow them to their residence. A call the police and they will be picked up for processing,” the Facebook message read.
The group is using the website Put Wisconsin First to identify petition signers who have outstanding arrest warrants and those with tax defaults.
According to Politicus USA, the Facebook page for the group featured pictures of African-Americans, but the group denied that they are targeting blacks.
“We can assure you that we will be targeting all democrats, not just black ones,” a Facebook message read, according to the Capital Times. “If you think we meant blacks only it is because you are a racist who thinks the only people with warrants are black. We know better because we have a nice list of people who are wanted democrat activist types. Most are actually white. We will target everyone.”
Democrat Jack Hatch is gaining on Branstad. New polling by Rasmussen who many consider Republican-leaning has the race at 46% for Branstad to 40% for Hatch. Hatch has significantly narrowed Branstad’s August lead of 52% – 35%. A 17-point lead of a month ago for Branstad is now a mere 6 point lead with 10% undecided.
ICYMI: This is the 2nd of 3 gubernatorial debates.
Clive: Reception with Dave Loebsack
6 PM. Clive. IA. RSVP 319-804-9218 or email@example.com.
Clinton Labor Walk 5 PM. 309-738-3196 224 22nd Place, Clinton, Iowa
Mason City Labor Walk. 9 am, Mason City Labor Temple, 510 S Pennsylvania, Mason City. contact Matt Marchese at firstname.lastname@example.org 515-243-1924 or 917-757-8788
Davenport – Quad Cities. Labor Walk 11 Am to 7 PM. UFCW 431 2411 W Central Park Avenue, Davenport. Tracy Leone at 309-738-3196
September 24: Performance and Reception for Staci Appel
Des Moines: 4 – 6 PM Java Joe’s 214 4th Street, Des Moines, IA. 50309. Performance by Jon “Bowzer” Bauman from Sha NA NA. RSVP 515-957-1391 or email@example.com.
September 25-26 New Stewards School.
Coralville: Labor Center. University of Iowa BioVentures Center, Coralville. $150 per person. Includes materials, parking and lunch both days. Registration deadline is September 10. 319-335-4144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iowa City: Winning better laws: How can ordinary people be heard
Center for Worker Justice. 940 S Gilbert Court, Iowa City. 319-594-7593. All workshops take place at 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm at the Center for Worker Justice, 940 S. Gilbert Court, Iowa City. Call 319-594-7593 for more information. Interpretation is available upon request.
Des Moines: Labor Jam – Labor Park. Noon to 10 PM. $5 per person. Bring you own beer, chairs and blankets. Food, pop and water will be for sale. 515-265-1862 or email@example.com
Burlington: Labor History. Saturday, Sept. 27, 8:00 am-12:00 noon, 16452 US Hwy 34, West Burlington (Machinists Hall)
Learn more about key struggles and dramatic turning points in U.S. and Iowa labor history, and what labor history tells us about the challenges workers continue to face today. Sponsored by Des Moines-Henry County Labor Council with support from the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Contact Ryan Drew to RSVP or for more information: 319-759-3188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walker. Labor Walk – 2000 Walker
Quad Cities Sat. Sept 27: Labor to Labor Walk – 10 – 1pm @ UFCW 431
Quad Cities: Monday Phone Bank @ UA Hall 5-8PM Tracy Leone at 309-738-3196
West Des Moines
Citizen Koch Screening –
Citizen Koch: A Film About Money, Power and Democracy
Century 20 Theatres at Jordan Creek
West Des Moines, Iowa
September 29, 2014 @ 7:30 PM
Netflix is relishing its role as the corporate leader in the fight for net neutrality, and why wouldn’t it? By fighting for an open Internet, the video-streaming site is not only advocating a position that would protect its profits, it’s also earning goodwill from Web activists and liberals.
But by taking a high-profile role, Netflix risks learning painful political lesson: In Washington, friends are fickle, and enemies have long memories.
That was the fate that befell Google after it carried the net-neutrality mantle in 2010, pushing for an open Internet at the same time President Obama was making it a policy priority. The position alienated Republicans, and in the end, it won Google precious little goodwill on the left—the company was accused of selling out the cause when it compromised on a final deal.
In this year’s fight, Google has kept largely quiet. The switch in roles comes as the Federal Communications Commission is trying to craft new net-neutrality regulations after a federal court struck down the old ones earlier this year. The agency’s new proposal has sparked a massive backlash from liberals because it could allow broadband providers like Comcast to charge websites for access to special Internet “fast lanes.”
And as Netflix wades into the fray, it has drawn the ire of the same forces that went after Google in 2010. Conservatives and industry groups are already beginning to target Netflix, claiming it wants all Internet users to bear the costs of its data-heavy videos.
“Now that Google has stepped back, the fire is going to be directed at Netflix,” said Harold Feld, the senior vice president of consumer group Public Knowledge and a supporter of net neutrality. “You can tell the people who haven’t updated their talking points from 2010 to 2014 by the fact that they still say ‘Google’ instead of ‘Netflix.’ ”
WHY GOOGLE WENT QUIET
Google paid a price for its support of net neutrality in 2010. Siding with Democrats in a partisan fight helped to cement Google’s reputation in Washington as a Democratic company.
Liberals argue that net neutrality is crucial for protecting online freedom, and that without it, giant corporations could distort the Internet for their own purposes. Republicans, however, see it as a government power grab. Regulating Internet traffic unnecessarily restricts the business choices of broadband providers, slowing economic growth, Republicans claim.
After the Federal Trade Commission hit Google with an antitrust investigation in 2011, that Democratic affiliation was a millstone when the company came to Congress for protection. Republicans largely turned their backs or even cheered the FTC on.
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah—the top Republican on the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee and rarely a proponent of government intervention—praised regulators at a 2011 hearing for probing Google, warning that the company had become so massive that it could “help determine who will succeed and who will fail on the Internet.”
Google ultimately escaped the antitrust investigation without too much damage. But the company learned its lesson. It now employs teams of Republican lobbyists, and its head lobbyist, Susan Molinari, is a former GOP congresswoman.
Although it hurt the company’s reputation with Republicans, Google’s stand for net neutrality did little to win it friends on the left.
In August 2010, Google worked with Verizon to develop a framework for what net-neutrality regulations should look like. It’s not unusual for leading stakeholders to sit down and hammer out an agreement that everyone can live with.
But liberal advocates were outraged that Google had agreed to a weak proposal that wouldn’t even cover Internet service on cell phones. Google and Verizon were “attacking the Internet while claiming to preserve it,” a coalition of advocacy groups said in a statement.
Later that year, the FCC enacted net-neutrality regulations that largely mirrored the Google-Verizon agreement. It was hard for liberals to press the FCC for anything stronger when the lead corporate supporter for net neutrality had already signed on to a weaker proposal. Google had violated its own “Don’t Be Evil” motto, activists felt.
Another reason that Google is quieter on net neutrality this time might be that the issue is just less important to its business. It’s no longer as vulnerable to broadband providers manipulating Internet traffic because it’s involved in more than just online services. Google now makes phones, tablets, smoke detectors, and—eventually—self-driving cars and computerized glasses. The company has even become its own broadband provider in a few areas with Google Fiber.
The company is also so large that paying off a broadband provider for faster service would probably not make much of a dent in its bottom line.
Google still supports net neutrality—just not as loudly as it did in 2010. It was one of dozens of companies to sign a letter in May warning that the FCC’s new proposal posed “a grave threat to the Internet.” It’s a member of the Internet Association, a lobbying group that filed comments urging the FCC to adopt strong rules.
When activists and websites (including Netflix) launched a protest last week over the issue, Google offered tepid support. The company sent an email emphasizing the importance of net neutrality to people who had signed up for its advocacy alerts. But while other websites directed users to a central protest page to help them contact the FCC and members of Congress, Google just directed users to its own Facebook page.
NETFLIX TAKES UP THE MANTLE
This year, Netflix has replaced Google as the leading corporate voice on net neutrality.
Unlike Google, Netflix is entirely dependent on its online videos. If a broadband provider carried Netflix content at less-than-optimum speeds, videos would become grainy and unwatchable, and the company would lose subscribers in droves.
According to FCC officials who have met with Netflix’s lobbyists, the company has been among the most aggressive advocates for expansive net-neutrality rules. “They’re screaming their heads off,” one official said.
Google, however, has rarely discussed the issue at the agency, according to a review of public records.
Netflix is also trying to mobilize its massive user base to push the issue. As part of last week’s protest, the company displayed a symbolic loading icon on its site to warn users what the Internet would be like without net neutrality.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been particularly outspoken on the issue. “To ensure the Internet remains humanity’s most important platform for progress, net neutrality must be defended and strengthened,” Hastings wrote in a blog post earlier this year.
While Google and other companies support net neutrality rules, Netflix is one of the few that is actually pushing the FCC to regulate broadband providers using the same legal classification it uses for phone companies. The FCC needs to rely on a different legal authority if it wants to ensure the rules don’t just get struck down in court again, Netflix and the Internet activists argue. Republicans and broadband providers, however, fear that utility-style regulation would stifle the industry.
Netflix also wants the FCC to expand the definition of net neutrality to include a requirement that broadband providers allow it to connect directly to their networks for free. Websites have traditionally relied on third parties to carry their traffic to Internet providers, but Netflix has begun asking providers for direct access to their networks to ensure the smoothest video streaming possible for its customers.
The old net-neutrality rules only restricted how broadband providers could handle traffic once it was on their networks, but Netflix is outraged that some broadband providers are forcing it to pay for the right to deliver its traffic to their wires.
Hastings has bashed Comcast, Verizon, and other providers for demanding an “arbitrary tax” to reach subscribers. The Netflix executive’s attacks have irked the providers, who resent being accused of hurting online freedom. There’s nothing wrong with interconnection fees under the traditional understanding of net neutrality, the Internet providers argue.
Netflix is estimated to account for a third of all Internet traffic, and broadband providers grumble that the company should pay for some of their infrastructure costs.
WHY CORPORATE ADVOCACY MATTERS
More than 3 million people have sent comments to the FCC, the vast majority of them calling for stricter net-neutrality regulations. So why does it matter what Google or Netflix says?
“Being right is not enough,” said Feld, a net-neutrality advocate. “If there were no companies that were willing to stand up prominently, it would be a lot harder to get folks in Washington to pay attention.”
Netflix is the biggest company to come out in support of using a stronger legal authority to enact net-neutrality rules. Mozilla, Reddit, Etsy, Spotify, and other smaller companies have also endorsed the controversial option, but Netflix’s support provides a major boost to the effort.
But Netflix’s lobbying team is tiny compared with Google’s Washington army. Netflix only has two registered lobbyists and spent $600,000 on lobbying in the first half of this year, according to public records. Even in the first half of 2010, Google spent $2.72 million.
So while Netflix’s support is crucial to the net-neutrality advocates, they still miss Google’s leadership on the issue.
THE NETFLIX BACKLASH BEGINS
Netflix’s aggressive advocacy for net neutrality has already made it a target for conservatives.
TechFreedom, a libertarian group funded by telecom companies and others, singled out Netflix on a website it created to counter the push for net neutrality. “Netflix is trying to game the system to lower its costs,” the group wrote. “That means all broadband subscribers would have to pay, whether they use Netflix or not.”
Berin Szoka, the president of TechFreedom, said Netflix is making a strategic error by trying to force utility-style regulations on broadband providers.
“They’ve poisoned all of their relationships with Republicans and moderate Democrats,” Szoka claimed.
For now, Netflix isn’t showing any signs of regretting its position. It’s become a favorite company of many Internet activists, and it’s trying to use public pressure to shame broadband providers into offering direct access to their networks for free.
Feld said he doesn’t begrudge Google for making a strategic decision not to become a lightning rod in the net-neutrality battle again. And Netflix may one day make the same calculation itself.
“It invariably happens that when successful companies get bigger, they get more cautious,” Feld said. “It’s all part of the natural life cycle.”
Not sure if I’m entirely ready for Hillary and she is apparently not sure she’s ready either, but she did give a very good speech.
Hillary part 1