BFIA 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
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.”
John 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: http://www.iowademocrats.org/find-your-field-office/
#3 Donate to Dave’s campaign here.
“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.
“Because I grew up in an America that was investing in education for all of our kids.”
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
Des Moines Area Community College
Des Moines University
Eastern Iowa Community College
Ellsworth Community College
Indian Hills Community College
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa State University
Iowa Western Community College
Kirkwood Community College
Maharishi University of Management
Mount Mercy University
Northeast Iowa Community College
Scott Community College
Southeastern Community College
Southwestern Community College
Saint Ambrose University
University of Dubuque
University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Upper Iowa University
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 www.cgrer.uiowa.edu
Joni Ernst Cites Her Religion As Reason She Would Vote For A “Personhood” Amendment to U.S. Constitution
Ernst told the Sioux City Journal editorial board on Wednesday that she would support a federal “personhood” measure if she were elected to the U.S. Senate. “I will continue to stand by that. I am a pro-life candidate, and this has been shaped by my religious beliefs through the years,” she said. “So I support that.”
A “personhood” amendment to the U.S. constitution would give not just a late term fetus “personhood” rights, but also would bestow “personhood” upon a moment-after-conception fertilized egg.
Ernst awkwardly attempted to downplay it to the SCJ editorial board saying, “we don’t have consensus” (like don’t worry, it’s not gonna happen!). But if she were to be elected, there is little doubt that she would be voting yes on a “personhood” amendment as soon as Republicans bring it up in congress which you can bet will be immediately. She did already cast a vote for a fetal “personhood” amendment in the Iowa legislature in 2013. In any event, how much sense does it make for a candidate to defend her position on an issue by arguing that it’s never going to happen anyway?
There is a wide range of implications to “personhood” that frequently go unmentioned. A “personhood” amendment would not just make safe, legal abortions unavailable in the U.S. – with no exception for rape and incest – it could also affect the legality of birth control, such as emergency contraception and the IUD. And the implications of this potentially go beyond making some common convenient forms of birth control illegal, to a woman potentially being charged with manslaughter for having a miscarriage. Yes, I agree, that sounds crazy, but has that stopped Republicans, the Kochs, ALEC, yet? The “stand your ground” laws seem crazy too, but a kid carrying Skittles was deemed enough of a threat that a gun-toting man got away with murder. The voter ID laws seem crazy too but they are happening.
Ernst herself has admitted that she owes everything to the Kochs so let’s not pretend she would represent anyone other than herself if, God forbid, she ever made it to Congress. This is a short but very interesting video.
Staci Appel has been out fund-raising and out-polling her tea party opponent David Young. “The support we’ve received has been humbling and ensures we’ll have the resources to continue talking to voters about keeping the promise of retirement security, investing in education, raising the minimum wage and putting Iowa families first.”
Vote for Staci Appel if you live in the 3rd. Volunteer to help her campaign.
“…When Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst flirted with the “Agenda 21″ conspiracy theory — a favorite of Glenn Beck, in which the U.S. government and the United Nations are supposedly conspiring to force rural people in Iowa and elsewhere to leave their homes and be relocated to urban centers — national pundits didn’t see it as disqualifying. Nor did they when it was revealed that Ernst believes not only that states can “nullify” federal laws they don’t like (they can’t); and, even crazier, that local sheriffs ought to arrest federal officials implementing the Affordable Care Act, which is quite literally a call for insurrection against the federal government. I guess those are just colorful ideas.
And in the last few years, there’s a baseline of crazy from the right that the press has simply come to expect and accept, so the latest conspiracy theorizing or far-out idea from a candidate no longer strikes them as exceptional. Sure, there are exceptions: For instance, Republicans Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell both saw their candidacies derailed by their crazy or outsized statements.
But during this cycle, Republican crazy just hasn’t broken through at all. It’s almost as if the national press has just come to accept as normal the degree to which the GOP has moved dramatically to the right. At this point so many prominent Republicans have said insane things that after a while they go by with barely a notice.
This is an era when a prominent Republican governor who wants to be president can muse about the possibility that his state might secede from the union, when the most popular radio host in the country suggests that liberals like Barack Obama want Ebola to come to America to punish us for slavery, and when the President of the United States had to show his birth certificate to prove that he isn’t a foreigner.
So ideological extremism and insane conspiracy theories from the right have been normalized. Which means that when another Republican candidate says something deranged, as long as it doesn’t offend a key swing constituency, reporters don’t think it’s disqualifying. And so it isn’t.