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September Climate Advocacy Update For Iowa

rob hoggSenator Rob Hogg’s Climate Advocacy Update:

This is the only climate advocacy update I plan to prepare for the month of September because of other commitments I have. Here are some key action items for the month:

August Recess for Congress Through September 7 – It is not too late to call our Congressional representatives and Senators to urge their support for climate action during the August recess. Here are local in-state phone numbers where you can leave a comment or arrange a meeting:

Rep. Bruce Braley, Cedar Rapids Office, 319-364-2288
Rep. Dave Loebsack, Iowa City Office, 319-351-0789
Rep. Tom Latham, Des Moines Office, 515-282-1909
Rep. Steve King, Sioux City Office, 712-224-4692
Senator Chuck Grassley, Des Moines Office, 515-288-1145
Senator Tom Harkin, Des Moines Office, 515-284-4574

Please report your calls and meetings back to me so I can track them.

Citizens Climate Lobby Monthly Meetings – Citizens Climate Lobby chapters will be having monthly meetings around the state, including Des Moines on Saturday, September 6, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the North Side Library, 3516 Fifth Avenue, in Des Moines. CCL in Cedar Rapids will be meeting Tuesday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the second floor un-conference room of the downtown library. Check to join an introductory call or for details about meetings in other communities in Iowa.

“Future of Energy” Film Showing Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 – On Saturday, September 13, this movie will be shown in Sussman Theater in the Olmsted Center at Drake University at 7:00 p.m. It will be shown again at First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Avenue, in Des Moines on Sunday, September 14, at 6:00 p.m.

Iowa Interfaith Power & Light Conference Featuring Sally Bingham, Sept. 18 – Iowa IPL is holding its annual conference on Thursday, September 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Tiferath Israel Synagogue, 924 Polk Blvd, in Des Moines. Registration is $40. The conference will feature the Rev. Sally Bingham, the founder and president of the Regeneration Project, which founded the Interfaith Power & Light movement. Isaac Luria of Auburn Seminary in New York City will also be speaking. To register, or for more information, visit

Iowa IPL is also sponsoring workshops on Food, Faith, and Climate in Waterloo on Saturday, September 20, and in Decorah on Saturday, September 27. Cost is $35 each. Check the website for more details or to register in advance.

Train to People’s Climate March, Sept. 20-21 – Multiple organizations have come together to organize the People’s Climate March in New York City, September 20-21. Trains to New York City are available from Iowa. Contact Jennifer K. at 415-766-7728 or by email at, or visit:

#B4UMarch Campaign – Call Congress Sept. 15-19 – Regardless of whether you are able to attend the People’s Climate March, it is critical that Congress hear from Americans that we support climate action. Using the hash tag, #B4UMarch, I am encouraging people to take a few minutes and call their state’s Congressional representatives and Senators at their Washington, DC offices the week before the People’s Climate March. In Iowa, we can reach them at the following numbers:

Congressman Tom Latham, 202-225-5476
Congressman Bruce Braley, 202-225-2911
Congressman Dave Loebsack, 202-225-6576
Congressman Steve King, 202-225-4426
Senator Chuck Grassley, 202-224-3744
Senator Tom Harkin, 202-224-3254

Please encourage your friends, family, and colleagues across Iowa and around the country to call their Congressional representatives and Senators, too.

Again, please report your calls back to me so I can track them – there is nothing wrong with calling twice a month to urge action.

EPA Carbon Pollution Rules – Comments Due October 16 – On Twitter, I am using the hash tag, #StopCarbonPollution, to support the carbon pollution rules. Comments are due October 16. You can share comments through Iowa IPL or the League of Conservation Voters, or you can send comments directly to the EPA at this web address:

The bottom line: Let the EPA know you support the rules as an important next step, and share your comments with our Congressional delegation, too.

Organize A Remembrance of Hurricane Sandy October 29 – October 29 marks the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that brought an unprecedented storm surge to New York City, New Jersey, and much of the East Coast, killed 118 Americans, and caused over $70 billion in damage – more than $200 per American. Iowa, like other states, has suffered from climate-related disasters, especially floods, drought, and ecological disruptions. Several national groups are planning to remember the victims of these climate-related disasters on October 29. Let me know if you would like to help coordinate efforts around the state to remember Hurricane Sandy or just start making your plans for a local remembrance today.

Be A Climate Voter November 4 – You can sign up to be a “climate voter” through NextGen Climate at the following web address:

Citizens Climate Lobby Regional Conference, Des Moines, November 7 to 9 – Mark your calendars now for the CCL regional conference in Des Moines Nov. 7 to 9.

I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for your advocacy in support of the climate action we so urgently need.


Senator Rob Hogg
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


U.S. Senate To Vote Sept. 8 On Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United

AlecNote from BFIA:  Sign the petition to get money out of politics.  But don’t just sign the petition. Be sure and contact Senators Harkin and Grassley.

CREDO Action

On September 8, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and other toxic Supreme Court decisions that have opened the floodgates to unlimited political spending by corporations.1

We expect stiff opposition from Republicans. But with control of the Senate hanging in the balance in November, this is an important moment to force each senator to go on record in support of overturning Citizens United — or publicly sell out to their corporate backers. We need to speak out now to make it clear that millions of us across the country will be watching as the Senate votes next week.

Tell the Senate: Overturn Citizens United

The proposed amendment is a crucial chance to get our senators on record before the midterm election either supporting an amendment to kick big money out of politics or shilling for their corporate donors.

We have enormous momentum in this fight. Sixteen states and roughly 600 communities have formally demanded that Congress vote to pass a constitutional amendment making it clear that corporations are not people and money is not speech. 2

Amending the Constitution is not easy, nor is it a decision that should be made lightly. But it’s clear that if we don’t organize to amend the Constitution, the Supreme Court will go even further in allowing unlimited spending by corporations and rich donors.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to unlimited spending on elections by corporations. And in McCutcheon v. FEC, the court struck down limits on how money much individual mega-donors can give to candidates during a single election cycle. Worse, the court’s conservatives aren’t likely to stop there, but will continue tearing down campaign finance protections that prevent corporations from drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans.

The Senate’s vote on the amendment will make it clear which side our senators are on: Ours or our would-be corporate overlords. We need to raise our voices now and urge the Senate to do the right thing.

Tell the Senate: Overturn Citizens United

Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

1. Ramsey Cox, “Reid schedules vote in September on amending the Constitution,” The Hill, August 1, 2014
2. John Nichols, “The Senate Judiciary Committee Just Backed an Amendment to Overturn ‘*Citizens United*’” The Nation, July 10, 2014

Iowa Water Quality Public Hearings This Week

cciHere’s a note from CCI:

The rule passed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) two weeks ago brings Iowa closer into compliance with the Clean Water Act for the first time ever. But, it can be stronger, and the DNR must enforce it. That’s where your voice comes in!

The DNR is gathering Iowans’ thoughts on improving the state’s water quality goals as part of its three-year review of water quality standards and goals.

Can you attend a water quality hearing and remind the DNR what must be done for a Clean Water Iowa?

These public meetings are being held in the following places:

Today! Sept. 3, 4 to 6 p.m.
Spencer Public Library (Round Room), 21 East Third St.

Thursday, Sept. 4, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Washington Public Library (Nicholas Stoufer Room), 115 West Washington

West Des Moines
Monday, Sept. 8, 10 to 12 p.m.
West Des Moines Public Library (Community Room), 4000 Mills Civic Parkway

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Falcon Civic Center, 1305 Fifth Ave. NE

Clear Lake
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 4 to 6 p.m.
Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce Lakeview Room, 10 North Lakeview Drive

Here is what we need to make sure the DNR doesn’t forget:

You must ramp up the inspections to find and fix problems at factory farms.
You must issue clean water act permits to all factory farms.
There must be tough fines and penalties for polluters.
Of course, tell the DNR why clean water is important to you personally!

They DUMP it, you DRINK it, we won’t stop ’til they clean it up,

The Iowa CCI Crew

P.S. Can’t make one of the hearings? Submit written comments by Oct. 15 to: Rochelle Weiss, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 East Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319, or by e-mailing

Jim Mowrer Calls Out Steve King On His Obstructionist Tactics

jim mowrerExcellent interview with Jim Mowrer at   Here is an excerpt.

Could you talk a bit more about what you saw at the Pentagon? What’s an example of the kind of dysfunction you’re thinking of when you talk about your front-row seat?

The work I did at the Pentagon was to establish the Army Office of Business Transformation, and what we did there was to reform some of the Army’s business operations and make them more efficient and effective. So I had to work with Congress — the House and the Senate and the Armed Services Committee — and saw many times when we could not take action that was needed because of extreme partisan differences or parochial interests.

We had in many cases even generals saying, “We don’t need this program” or “We don’t need this machine any longer” yet Congress continued to fund those things, and we couldn’t get the job done.

Do you think your opponent, congressman King, deserves any special credit (or blame) for the level of stasis in Congress right now? Or is he just one among many, someone without any particular influence?

He is someone who pushed for the government shutdown last fall. When it ended, he said he wanted it to keep going. I think he’s someone who’s not interested in finding any kind of solutions or making Congress work. He’s much more interested in driving a partisan divide. His answer to everything is no. He does not want to get anything done. He wants to be an obstructionist. He’s said he wants to be a better obstructionist and he wishes there were more obstructionists like him in Congress; and that’s exactly what the people of Iowa don’t want right now.

I’m sure there are plenty of issues about which you and Rep. King differ, but what comes to mind when you think of areas where the difference between you two is the most pronounced?

Well, again, there is a stark contrast between us on almost every major issue and, frankly, almost every single issue.

But the biggest contrasts are probably when it comes to Social Security. When I was 7, my father was killed in a farming accident, and Social Security is the only thing that kept my family from falling so far down that we couldn’t get back up. So I believe in strengthening and protecting Social Security, while he voted to raise the retirement age to 70, and has said he wants to actually raise it to as high as 75 (because Wal-Mart will hire people until the age of 74). That’s a stark contrast.

On minimum wage, he’s said he doesn’t believe there should be a federal minimum wage, that it should drift away. I want to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, as Sen. Harkin has proposed. But I think the biggest difference between him and me is that I want this country to be successful no matter who gets the credit, no matter who the president is. I’ve served under a Republican president and I’ve served under a Democratic president; I just want this country to be successful.

When you say you want to strengthen and support Social Security, does that mean you won’t support any reform that ultimately leads to lower benefits? I ask because what we’ve often heard from activists who are worried about the federal budget is that they, too, want to protect Social Security — but their version of protection can end up meaning cuts. So, just for my clarification, you’re saying you would not support any plan that led to lower benefits?

If you’re referring to plans like chained CPI or raising the retirement age, I am dead-set against those. I would not support either under any circumstances — and that’s where the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District are on this.

Social Security is one of the most successful government programs that’s ever existed. It is overwhelmingly popular. It provides income security for 58 millions seniors, as well as people with disabilities and people who receive survivor benefits. Half of the seniors in this country would live in poverty without it. So we need to protect Social Security, which needs to be maintained at its current level and needs to be fully funded.

Right now we have a cap on the amount [of income that's taxed for Social Security]. It stops at $117,000; so you have millionaires and billionaires who are not paying into Social Security beyond that cap … When I make my case to voters, a lot of people aren’t even aware that the cap exists — so [lifting the cap] is a very, very good first step.

(click here to read the entire interview at

America, You Know Not What You Have

First FamilyI could not agree more with this Canadian’s observation of  how America has treated our President.  In my view, it is not just the conservative right (although they have taken disrespect to new lows), but I feel that some on the left have been hyper-critical as well.  This article is an observation of America by a Canadian.

by William Thomas

There was a time not so long ago when Americans, regardless of their political stripes, rallied round their president. Once elected, the man who won the White House was no longer viewed as a republican or democrat, but the President of the United States. The oath of office was taken, the wagons were circled around the country’s borders and it was America versus the rest of the world with the president of all the people at the helm.

Suddenly President Barack Obama, with the potential to become an exceptional president has become the glaring exception to that unwritten, patriotic rule.

Four days before President Obama’s inauguration, before he officially took charge of the American government, Rush Limbaugh boasted publicly that he hoped the president would fail. Of course, when the president fails the country flounders. Wishing harm upon your country in order to further your own narrow political views is selfish, sinister and a tad treasonous as well.

Subsequently, during his State of the Union address, which is pretty much a pep rally for America, an unknown congressional representative from South Carolina, later identified as Joe Wilson, stopped the show when he called the President of the United States a liar. The president showed great restraint in ignoring this unprecedented insult and carried on with his speech. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was so stunned by the slur, she forgot to jump to her feet while clapping wildly, 30 or 40 times after that.

Last spring, President Obama took his wife Michelle to see a play in New York City and republicans attacked him over the cost of security for the excursion. The president can’t take his wife out to dinner and a show without being scrutinized by the political opposition? As history has proven, a president in a theatre without adequate security is a tragically bad idea.

Remember: “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

At some point, the treatment of President Obama went from offensive to ugly and then to downright dangerous.

The health-care debate, which looked more like extreme fighting in a mud pit than a national dialogue, revealed a very vulgar side of America. President Obama’s face appeared on protest signs white-faced and blood-mouthed in a satanic clown image. In other tasteless portrayals, people who disagreed with his position distorted his face to look like Hitler complete with mustache and swastika.

Odd, that burning the flag makes Americans crazy, but depicting the president as a clown and a maniacal fascist is accepted as part of the new rude America.

Maligning the image of the leader of the free world is one thing, putting the president’s life in peril is quite another. More than once, men with guns were videotaped at the health-care rallies where the president spoke. Again, history shows that letting men with guns get within range of a president has not served America well in the past.

And still the “birthers” are out there claiming Barack Obama was not born in the United States, although public documentation proves otherwise. Hawaii is definitely part of the United States, but the Panama Canal Zone where his electoral opponent Senator John McCain was born? Nobody’s sure.

Last month, a 44-year-old woman in Buffalo was quite taken by President Obama when she met him in a chicken wing restaurant called Duff’s. Did she say something about a pleasure and an honour to meet the man or utter encouraging words for the difficult job he is doing? No. Quote: “You’re a hottie with a smokin’ little body.”

Lady, that was the President of the United States you were addressing, not one of the Jonas Brothers! He’s your president for goodness sakes, not the guy driving the Zamboni at “Monster Trucks On Ice.” Maybe next it’ll be, “Take Your President To A Topless Bar Day.”

In President Barack Obama, Americans have a charismatic leader with a good and honest heart. Unlike his predecessor, he’s a very intelligent leader. And unlike that president’s predecessor, he’s a highly moral man.

In President Obama, Americans have the real deal, the whole package and a leader that citizens of almost every country around the world look to with great envy. Given the opportunity, Canadians would trade our leader, hell, most of our leaders for Obama in a heartbeat.

What America has in Obama is a head of state with vitality and insight and youth. Think about it, Barack Obama is a young Nelson Mandela. Mandela was the face of change and charity for all of Africa but he was too old to make it happen. The great things Obama might do for America and the world could go on for decades after he’s out of office.

America, you know not what you have.

The man is being challenged unfairly, characterized with vulgarity and treated with the kind of deep disrespect to which no previous president was subjected. It’s like the day after electing the first black man to be president, thereby electrifying the world with hope and joy, Americans sobered up and decided the bad old days were better.

President Obama may fail but it will not be a Richard Nixon default fraught with larceny and lies. President Obama, given a fair chance, will surely succeed but his triumph will never come with a Bill Clinton caveat – “if only he’d got control of that zipper.”

Please. Give the man a fair, fighting chance. This incivility toward the leader who won over Americans and gave hope to billions of people around the world that their lives could be enhanced by his example, just naturally has to stop.

(click here to read the entire article)


Labor Update: Wages In Iowa

Iowa Policy Project

Iowa Policy Project

By Colin Gordon
Senior Research Consultant — Iowa Policy Project

Each year at Labor Day, we survey the “State of Working Iowa.” This annual report card examines trends in wages, job growth, and job quality in Iowa. This fall, when the Census Bureau updates its numbers on incomes and health insurance coverage, we will offer a follow-up report on those trends — and their meaning for Iowa’s working families. As in the past, we have devoted close attention through the year (see our monthly “Iowa JobWatch” release) to trends in nonfarm employment because it is an important index of economic progress and particularly of the pace of recovery from the Great Recession. Importantly as well to a public grasp of the meaning of this measure, we have had to deal with manipulation of these numbers by the Governor’s office, which minimizes losses and exaggerates gains. (We have written on the economics and politics of counting jobs, HERE and HERE).

For these reasons, we turn our Labor Day focus on wages in Iowa. What are the long-term trends? What was the impact of the recession (and recovery) on the paychecks of working Iowans? Do age, education, or gender determine whether you gained or lost ground? What are the causes of persistent wage stagnation, and growing wage inequality?

(click here to read the entire article)

DFA Night School: Online Organizing Training June 23-26

Dean crowd 2004When Howard Dean, DFA‘s founder, first began using online organizing to build his 2004 presidential campaign, his campaign’s tactics were initially written off by pundits as a waste of time.

By 2008, when a long-shot candidate named Barack Obama fully embraced online organizing and social media, every presidential campaign — and congressional campaign — was on board this digital bandwagon.

And now, ten years after Gov. Dean revolutionized politics by empowering people to participate through the internet, candidates and campaigns at every level are organizing online. And DFA is continuing to help build progressive infrastructure by using the internet to train our members across the country on campaign strategy and tactics.

Our June Night School training series is dedicated to principles and strategies for developing a compelling online presence that will engage voters and supporters. We will cover topics ranging from writing emails and online fundraising to mobilizing volunteers.

Spots are limited — and June’s DFA Night School is coming up quickly. Click here to register now for various free trainings on online organizing from June 23-26.

Sessions begin at 8pm Central and run for one hour.

Monday, June 23rd — Writing KickA Emails
Successful email campaigns will build your online community, increase activism, and raise you money. Compared to the other online strategies, email is by far the most effective tactic to inspire action and raise money. This session focuses on how to get your supporters to open your email and engage in your action.

Tuesday, June 24th — Developing an online strategy
Online organizing isn’t like throwing spaghetti on a wall and seeing what sticks. The best campaigns know their audience, develop a strategy, and execute an integrated approach that best serves both the needs of the campaign as well as the community. This session will walk through core components of building a successful online strategy.

Wednesday, June 25th — Online fundraising
A little over a decade ago, fundraising was still dependent on how many people you could get to buy your stuff at your yard sale. But by harnessing the power of the web, online fundraising has streamlined the fundraising process, making it easier than ever for individuals to raise money. As technology gets more sophisticated, the future of fundraising is bright. This session highlights best practices for maximizing online contributions.

Thursday, June 26th — Online to offline mobilization
The netroots have been critical in turning a number of races from unlikely to viable — proving that sometimes our best volunteers are behind a computer screen. This session identifies strategy, tools and best practices for successful volunteer engagement.

Since 2006, DFA has trained more than 43,000 people to build their grassroots campaign skills, strategy, and tactics through our Night School program. This training is free, interactive, and online. You can sign up for one session or all of them.

Based on Night School participation from this year, DFA members are clearly engaged and ready to win in 2014. More than 2,600 DFA members have been trained so far this year and we’re not done yet. DFA’s Night School exists to help people like Raye, Jenny, and Deb — or possibly even you — gain the skills and confidence to run for office and support other progressives running for office.

We began with fundraising, then we covered field organizing and communications, and now we are kicking off the summer with online organizing. Every month is focused on a key skill area because to win in 2014, we need well-trained Democrats who will stand up and fight for what’s right.

If you plan on being involved in a progressive campaign this year, click here to sign up for one or more of DFA’s free online trainings from June 23-26.

With trained candidates and strong campaigns, progressives can win across America in November.

Now let’s get to work.

– Monique

Monique Teal, Campaign Manager
Democracy for America


Loebsack Works For The Second District

Dave Loebsack

James Q. Lynch

It can be tough building a case for re-election when you’re a member of the minority party, but 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack thinks his work on economic development and infrastructure issues — and his promise to continue his dogged work to hold Congress accountable — make a pretty good case for another term in the U.S. House.

What success he has, the fourth-term Democrat said, often come from working with majority Republicans.

A recent example, he said while traveling from a tour of the VA hospital in Des Moines to his Iowa City home, came during the debate on the defense authorization bill. Loebsack was successful in turning back an amendment by a Kansas Republican that would have taken work away from the Rock Island Arsenal, a major employer in the district, and have it done by private contractors.

Working with Republicans, Loebsack organized an effort to defeat the amendment. Using the five minutes allotted to opposition during the debate, Loebsack spoke for two minutes and three Republicans each spoke for a minute. It worked. Fifty-one Republicans joined Democrats to reject the amendment.

That was typical, Loebsack said, of his approach to representing the interests of the district where 30 percent of voters are registered as Democrats, 25 percent are Republicans and the remaining 45 percent have no party affiliation.

Loebsack also points to his success — as a minority party member — in leading the charge in the House to get funding for Meals-on-Wheels included in budget deals.

“You can call that a minor victory, but if you’re out there delivering meals, seniors are extremely appreciative,” he said. “That doesn’t distinguish between Democrats and Republicans.”

When not in Washington, Loebsack said he spends “a heck of a lot of time out on the road … meeting as many people in the district as often as possible to hear what’s on their minds.”

Mostly, he said, it’s the economy.

So he was pleased that “a major part of my SECTORS bill have been included in the Workforce Investment Act reauthorization.”

His proposal links businesses, labor unions, local stakeholders, and education and training providers to develop and implement a strategy to grow or save a targeted industry.

The Interstate 74 bridge across the Mississippi River to Illinois also is a priority for Loebsack. Illinois and Iowa have approved funding, he said, but federal funds have yet to be authorized. Loebsack recently hosted Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for a visit to the area to impress on him the need for a new bridge.

Another triumph for Loebsack was having his efforts on the farm bill recognized with a White House invitation to the bill signing even though he’s not on the House Agriculture Committee.

“I think that’s an indication of how hard I worked on that,” he said.

Read more


Spend Your Summer Vacation With Paul

SquareBFIA readers,  Paul Deaton will be taking over summer weekday editorship of Blog for Iowa starting on Monday through Labor Day.  Paul is wonky on just about every topic, but particularly food, climate change, energy policy, and progressive politics.  He has a lot to say about the upcoming campaign season that you won’t want to miss.  So stay informed and stay tuned to Blog for Iowa this summer.


What Dave O’Brien Won’t Do

Dave O’Brien is making some great ads.