Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
April 2014
« Mar    

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Fight Media Bias


Iowa Rapid Response Action

First responders to biased, imbalanced or factually inaccurate media coverage

Iowans for Better Local TV


FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

*FAIR is a national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship

Free Press

News Corpse

Prometheus Radio Project

Radio for People

Save the Internet

Save the News

Author Archive

Move To Amend’s Barnstorming Tour Coming To Iowa City

On Thursday April 17, David Cobb will be making a stop in Iowa City as part of Move To Amend’s spring barnstorming tour.

The event will be at noon at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A.  This event will be open to the public, and is especially intended to give elected officials and others interested in the legislative process an opportunity to meet David Cobb, hear about Move To Amend’s work and progress around the country, and hear a summary of what has developed in Iowa’s legislature and several cities and towns.  We think this will be a great opportunity to hear about Move To Amend’s work and for Move To Amend to learn about what is developing in Iowa.

If you plan to attend, an RSVP would be helpful, so we know how much pizza we should order, but definitely not needed:  we’d like anyone interested to stop in!

Move to Amend is the organization that originated the drive for a constitutional amendment to address out-of-control corporate spending and influence in our elections – the result of the US Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United” ruling among others.  The organization is working for the adoption of an amendment that will clarify that corporations are not people; and money is not speech.

The goal of Move to Amend’s Barnstorming Tours is to educate, inspire action, and assist local organizers with Move to Amend affiliate groups.

Originally from Houston, Texas, David Cobb began his legal  career after working as a waiter and shrimper.  He has worked with the Project on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD), the Sierra Club and, more recently, with Move To Amend as one of their chief speakers and educators.  As part of his commitment to democracy and human rights, he also works with a team facilitating anti-racism workshops throughout the country.

For more information about Move To Amend:

Can’t We Just Say The Branstad Administration Is Corrupt?

branstadIt’s not mismanagement. It’s not incompetence.  It’s corruption.  Iowans need to wise up about Governor Branstad.

Listen to Senator Hogg explain how things are.

“Why is the Assistant Director of the Iowa law Enforcement Academy, Mike Quinn, who has committed and and been confirmed to have committed repeated sexual harassment, and threatened to slit the throat of a female worker who exposed it, why is he still working at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy?  …Why have you done nothing, Governor?”  

This and more:  Watch.

Branstad Using Religion To Get Votes

This is just plain weird.

How The Money & Media Complex Is Sabotaging Our Elections

DFA Night School: April 2014 Training Dates

dfa night

DFA Night School is our free online training program that allows anyone to learn the skills to win from their own home.

At the end of the day, winning comes down to our ability to turnout more supporters than our opponents do. On a grassroots campaign or for any grassroots organization, people are the key to building capacity and data can help us leverage our resources strategically. The sessions will cover the key skills and strategies to effectively IDing  voters, empowering your volunteers and harnessing widely available data.

Sessions begin at 9pm ET /8pm CT and run for one hour.

Monday, April 14th — Targeting your Voter Universe
Months before Election Day, a campaign should know how many votes the winner will need to receive on Election Day. This session will walk through how to find your win number, identify base and persuasion precincts and prioritize GOTV universes.

Tuesday, April 15th — Running an Effective Volunteer Program
A grassroots campaign is never run on staff alone, nor can any campaign be run entirely by an irregular volunteer force. Campaigns and grassroots organizations depend on well-developed volunteers. We’ll focus on showing participants how to develop and maintain a solid volunteer program.

Wednesday, April 16th — Precinct Organizing
Organizing from the ground up, starting at the grassroots, begins at the most basic of all electoral units, usually called a “precinct.” This session focuses on strategy and best practices for neighbor-to-neighbor organizing.

Thursday, April 17th — Putting the Voterfile to Work
In addition to the publicly available voter rolls, your local party may have access to a Voter File. A Voter File combines the publicly available data with information gathered through voter contact. This session will walk through pulling lists, cutting turf, managing volunteers and more.

Click here to register

Taking The Supreme Court Back

DFA-dean-mccutcheon-calloutWe already know that holding the Senate this November matters. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Wednesday underscores just how crucial holding our majority in the Senate is — and how the fate of our democracy could depend on who wins just a handful of seats in November.

The extreme right-wing justices on our current Supreme Court have made it clear that they want to eliminate every barrier restricting corporate shills like the Koch Brothers from controlling our political process. First, there was Citizens United. Now, the McCutcheon decision, which eliminated all aggregate caps on campaign donations. And in his opinion this week, Chief Justice Roberts set the stage for successful challenges of every single remaining element of campaign finance reform.

Fortunately, we have a stronghold that we can use to turn the Supreme Court around for good: the U.S. Senate, which single-handedly decides the fate of nominees to our nation’s highest court.

Turnover in the Supreme Court can happen without warning. Republicans have used these openings over the past several decades to build a court that tows the line for special interests and makes decisions based on ideology, not legal precedent. Now, we need to take the court back. But we can’t do it if we lose our majority in the Senate now.

The Supreme Court couldn’t have made the stakes more clear: If we are ever going to get our democracy back, we need to hold the Senate NOW. Pitch in $3 now so DFA can double our efforts in tight Senate races.

The debate over big business money in politics couldn’t be more personal to me. In 2004, my campaign was able to beat the odds and gain national prominence by ditching the special interests and focusing on the grassroots. Small-dollar donations and on-the-ground volunteers — not piles of corporate cash — made our organization as formidable as it was.

But that was before Citizens United. It was before McCutcheon. This new flood of special interest money makes it harder than ever to run people-powered campaigns that give working Americans a say the way mine did. And with every bad ruling, it will become more and more difficult for progressives to avoid turning to corporate cash to get their point across.

We deserve an America where every single person’s voice is heard — not one where the 1% get all the “speech” their billions can buy them. Together, we can turn these precedents around and give our government back to the people. The fight for our democracy starts now, with DFA’s support for progressive champions in the Senate up for reelection like Jeff Merkley and rising stars like Rick Weiland — who is running an inspiring Senate campaign in South Dakota driven by his opposition to Citizens United.

If we can help people like Jeff Merkley and Rick Weiland win in November, they will help us get the Supreme Court — and our democracy — back on track.

We know the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson won’t be sitting on the sidelines this year. We can hold the Senate — but only if we go all in right now. Donate $3 today to help our endorsed candidates keep the Senate securely in Democratic hands.

Thank you for fighting with us when the stakes are highest,

- Howard

Gov. Howard Dean, Founder
Democracy for America

Net Neutrality: Why It Matters To You

al franken on net neutralityThe January 2014 court decision by the D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals that gutted the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules has given internet service providers (ISPs) the ability to not only slow, but also to legally block websites, content, and applications however they see fit.

Think of it. ISPs can now – legally – slow down or block Daily Kos, Huffingtonpost, and Blog for Iowa. They can make deals to chop it all up and divvy it back out in packages that they own and that you pay extra for, like cable TV. More people see Fox News than MSNBC because Fox is included in everyone’s basic cable package, while MSNBC is not. It’s not because Fox is so popular on its own. It’s the rigged delivery system.   Same with talk radio. Clear Channel ensures that every community in Iowa and beyond gets multiple hours every day of conservative talk radio, whether they want it or not. And virtually no progressive programming.

Can you imagine the internet like this? Not having access to everything on the web? It seems unthinkable because we’ve come to take for granted the free and open nature of the internet where you can go to any website, anywhere, any time, and so can everyone else. How amazing is that? The free and open internet is truly a wonderful thing.

Since the January court decision, that could go away. ISPs are now in charge. They have been lobbying hard for this moment. They are not going to waste time before they start parsing out the internet to those who can pay.

This issue is important to Iowans, particularly in rural areas, because the telecom giants are already backing away from their promise to provide nationwide broadband service. This makes the loss of a free and open internet a double whammy for Iowa and rural citizens everywhere who will have fewer choices than everyone else, if they have internet at all.

Being blocked from websites that you haven’t purchased in your internet package – and other horrors – are a very real possibility if net neutrality is not restored. I’m not worried about myself and my inconveniences. I’m worried about the consequences to democracy when millions of people soon have better, advantaged access to right-wing propaganda online, with less and less access to reality being available anywhere.

The free and open internet is where progressive political activism occurs:  Howard Dean’s ground-breaking grassroots presidential campaign, the Occupy movement,,, The Arab Spring. These are only a few examples of movements that were internet-based.  We need the internet, and we need every last website on the internet to remain equally accessible to everyone.

Marv Ammori, a respected authority on internet issues, said, “The internet is now, and will likely remain for some time, a free-fire zone for AT&T, Verizon, and others to block blogs, superimpose any content (including ads) over the existing content on any webpage, cut deals making Bing or Google the ‘exclusive’ search provider in our homes, and much more.”

This is what can be expected to occur unless informed people get involved and make sure it doesn’t.

How do we restore net neutrality?

According to Ammori, “At the time, those of us involved in fighting for net neutrality knew two things when we read the court’s decision.

(1) The FCC needed to adopt rules, rather than accept legal complaints based merely on an Open Internet press statement; and (2) Those rules needed a solid jurisdictional theory that was not Title I. We even knew what that jurisdictional theory was:  Title II, or reclassification.”

“Reclassification means that the FCC can put AT&T and Comcast in the same regulatory bucket that landline and mobile phone companies have been in since 1910, that dial-up internet access is in, and that DSL Internet access was in until 2005. This bucket is Title II of the Communications Act, a legal category that has forbidden blocking of phone calls and discriminating amongst users for a century. By classifying the carriers as subject to Title II for internet access, the FCC would have clear jurisdiction to stop blocking and discriminating, instead of merely requiring cable and phone companies to disclose when they are doing so. The FCC has the power to do this.”

In Iowa, Congressmen Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley both are on record as supporting a free and open internet. That is no longer enough. We all need to ask our representatives, even if we know they already support net neutrality, to go one step further. We need to ask them specifically to go on record in support of directing the FCC to reclassify ISPs (internet service providers) as common carriers, allowing them to be regulated. If the FCC does this, which is in its power to do, it will save the free and open internet. Contact your member of Congress today!

prairie-dog-logoReprinted with permission from the April 2014 issue of  The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter, available only in hard copy for $12/yr.!!  Send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244.

How We Can Win The War On The Free And Open Internet

net neutralityRSVP for a Free Press Member Call on Comcast, Media Ownership and Net Neutrality today, Thursday, April 3rd at 1:00 pm CST

Not a member? Click here to join Free Press

The Internet we love is under attack like never before. A federal court overturned the Net Neutrality rules and the nation’s #1 cable and Internet company — a longtime Net Neutrality violator — wants to buy its chief rival.
But it’s not all gloom and doom out there: The Federal Communications Commission just moved to curb media consolidation for the first time in three decades.

We’d love to talk with you about how all these developments are intertwined and what you can do to fight for your rights to connect and communicate.

Please Join Us on April 3 @ 1:00  for a Conversation About Comcast, Media Ownership and Net Neutrality.

Thanks for all that you do—
Mary Alice, Candace, Josh and the rest of the Free Press team

RSVP here!

P.P.S. If you haven’t already, please share our Comcast-Time Warner Cable action and these resources with anyone who doesn’t want the Internet to turn into a corporate playground.

Can’t make the call today?  You can still do something.  There is a bill, H.R. 3982, the Open Internet Preservation Act, that you can ask your representative to support.  Click here to find contact info. for Harkin, Grassley, Loebsack, Braley, King and Latham all in one spot.

Howard Dean: More Than Just A Scream

Elizabeth_Warren_10yearsApril is the ten year anniversary of Blog for Iowa, the original weblog of Democracy for Iowa, a state chapter of Democracy for America (DFA), Howard Dean’s grassroots organization that he formed following his presidential run in 2004.  BFIA’s first post, WELCOME TO BLOG FOR IOWA, by Linda Thieman, the original editor, went up on April 2, 2004.

This was pre-Facebook and Twitter when blogs and group list-serves were the online community and action centers of progressive organizing.  An entire nation of Deaniacs carried on a 24-7 conversation on the DFA blog. Back in the day,  Blog for America and Dailykos were the two best sources of information.

Some things just never die.  If you visit the DFA website today, you can still click to join two groups in Iowa, DFIA and DFA-Quad Cities.  You will also find the names of the group members and photos.

We at Blog for Iowa have been proud to continue Howard Dean’s tradition of people-powered Democracy. We will be celebrating the past decade of grassroots activism throughout the month of April, highlighting the Democracy-saving work of Howard Dean and DFA, and looking forward to another decade of progressive activism.

DFA-10 is gathering stories from members and supporters, and BFIA would also like to invite Iowa Deaniacs to feel free to share any special memories, photos and stories of what the Dean campaign and DFA has meant to you. Contact us at

And if you don’t believe us, maybe you’ll believe Elizabeth Warren.

What Howard Dean Did

Elizabeth Warren, a “Dean Dozen” candidate, describes what Democracy for America means to her.

I never expected to run for office. Ask around Washington, and nobody will tell you that the best way to get elected is by spending your career picking a fight with Wall Street.

So when I decided to run against Scott Brown for the Senate seat in Massachusetts, I knew I wanted to run a grassroots campaign powered by people, not by powerful interests. The same sort of campaign that my friend Howard Dean ran in 2004.

But I needed some help getting started. I was so grateful when DFA got behind our campaign early on, not only endorsing me but making me one of their “Dean Dozen” candidates. DFA members across Massachusetts and around the country donated more than $300,000 of their hard-earned money and volunteered hundreds of hours to make sure I could continue our fight for the middle class in the Senate.

The incredible support of DFA members and so many others is the reason I am where I am today — and it’s why I want to take a moment to celebrate DFA’s work after 10 years of amazing activism.

Over the last decade, DFA has played a critical role in getting 802 game-changing progressive candidates elected — including candidates in every single state. I don’t know how many progressive champions will run for office this year or in the years to come, but I know that I want them to have the same kind of hands-on, grassroots support that DFA members have given me.

Join me in saying “Happy Birthday” to DFA by donating $10 — one dollar for every year DFA has spent recruiting and supporting progressives like me to run for office.

DFA fought shoulder-to-shoulder with me to defeat Scott Brown in 2012, but that’s not the only way they’ve had my back. Over the past year, they’ve made my fight for the middle class their fight — and they have doubled down on leveling the playing field for working Americans, fighting with energy and passion.

When I introduced my very first bill, the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, more than 50,000 DFA members signed a petition supporting it. Together, we fought back against cuts to Social Security, helping President Obama decide to drop “chained CPI” from his budget completely.

And just a few weeks ago, I joined with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on a “DFA Live” national conference call. Together, we asked thousands of people gathered at 746 DFA “Inequality for All” Watch Parties to start local petitions to raise the minimum wage in communities across America. DFA members launched more than 500 YouPower petition campaigns in just 24 hours.

Real reform in Washington is tough, and making change is always an uphill battle. But when we fight, we can win. And that’s why we need strong organizations like DFA that will boldly advocate for progressive solutions today while training up young talent to fight for what we believe in tomorrow.

Let’s wish DFA a very “Happy Birthday” together. Please give DFA a $10 birthday gift today — $1 for every year DFA has been changing the country — and say thanks for a ground-breaking decade of activism.

Thanks for helping us build a better future together,

Sen. Elizabeth Warren