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Grassley #Doyourjob Rallies At Six Locations In Iowa

Grassley do your job
Action Alert from Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO: 

Rallies on Tuesday, July 19 – the 125th day of obstruction for Merrick Garland, longer than any Supreme Court nominee in U.S. history. 6 locations, some details still to be confirmed:

WHERE: 210 Walnut St, Des Moines, Iowa
WHEN: Tues, July 19 at 5:30 PM
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/
CONTACT: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0530

WHERE: 531 Commercial St, Waterloo, Iowa
WHEN: Tues, July 19 at 5:30 PM
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/
CONTACT: Chris Schwartz, (319) 429-0133

WHERE: 131 E 4th St, Davenport, Iowa
WHEN: Tues, July 19 at 5:00 PM
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/
CONTACT: Sheri Carnahan or Tracy Leone

WHERE: 111 7th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
WHEN: Tues, July 19 at 5:30 PM
CONTACT: Christian Noyce

WHERE: 320 6th St, Sioux City, Iowa
WHEN: Tues, July 19 at 5:30 PM
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/
CONTACT: Jeremy Dumkrieger

WHERE: 8 South 6th St, Council Bluffs, Iowa
WHEN: Tues, July 19 at 6:00 PM
CONTACT: Bill Biede, (402) 250-0943, yankeesfan47@cox.net

Bold Iowa #nobakken Pipeline Action

Bakken Pipeline Proposed RouteNew Action Alert from Ed Fallon and the Bold Iowa Team

Thanks again for signing the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance.

We are closing in on 1,000 signers! Many thanks to our partners at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and CREDO Action for helping to circulate the pledge.

This is incredible and unprecedented, and I thank you for choosing to be part of what could be a truly historic moment.

While it’s impossible to say exactly when or where direct action will occur, it could be soon — we just heard from allies in both Lee and Jefferson counties that construction on the Bakken pipeline has begun in Iowa.

We knew this was coming, and I’m not the least bit discouraged. Construction was initiated on other pipelines (Keystone, Constitution, Palmetto) and they were defeated. We can stop this! But it will involve all hands on deck.

We are currently organizing several actions for everyone who signed the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance. We will have details to share with you soon, but we need a little more information from you.

Click here to complete our short 3-question Next Steps survey, and confirm your pledge.

We have also assembled a Bakken Pledge “Next Steps” FAQ, which you will be directed to after you complete the survey.

Click here to chip in $10 or whatever you can to support the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance.

One more thing: Native American youth are on a 1,500-mile relay run from North Dakota to Washington, D.C. to protest the pipeline. They’ll cross Iowa from July 19 – 25, and they invite people to run with them, meet them, share a meal with them, hear their stories. They also need to borrow a couple of vans.

For more information on the “Run For Our Water” visit the Oceti Sakowin Youth + Allies Facebook Page or contact Bobbi Jean Three Legs at bobbi.jean@ocetisakowinyouth.com or Joseph White Eyes at joseph@ocetisakowinyouth.com.

There have been many critical moments in this fight to stop the Bakken Pipeline. This one may be the most critical yet, and I am honored to have you as an ally.

Thank you for standing with us.

Ed Fallon and the Bold Iowa team

P.S. Chip in $10 here to support the Bakken Pledge of Resistance.

Hillary Clinton “And So Are We”

hillary Beijing speech

Click on the image to view Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Fourth Women’s Conference in Beijing, China. 1995.

Everyone assumes they know all there is to know about Hillary Clinton. The right hates her because she is a free thinking woman. They continually call her a liar because that is what they do to try and neutralize their opponents. Some on the left have picked up on this, but the left also thinks she is “cozy with Wall St.” and “in bed with Monsanto,” (which I think is sexist) and a “hawk.” How much truth these characterizations of her contain is debatable.  There is information to the contrary, and ultimately, to the extent that there may be some truth in these handy Facebook memes,  it is not the whole truth. She is not just one way. She doesn’t fit neatly into a political box.

She is also the person who put the phrase “vast right wing conspiracy” into the media.  She should  get some respect from the left for that much. Her defiance of convention and advice when she decided to go to China and deliver her historic speech on behalf of the world’s women when she was first lady is another example of many, of her independent and multi-faceted character.

The person who can stand up to the bullying Republicans so elegantly and effectively as she does in this 2009 exchange (see video below), is also part of who Hillary Clinton is. When I first saw this video is when I realized Hillary Clinton was much more than the caricature the media – mainstream, left and right – have portrayed her to be.  In response to a Republican congressman’s question that sounded more like an accusation of the Obama administration’s intentions and policies regarding “right to life,” she said,

“You are entitled to advocate, and everyone who agrees with you should be free to do so anywhere in the world.

And so are we.

We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health. We are an administration that will protect the rights of women – including their rights to reproductive health care.”

If  you know Hillary Clinton only as a liar or a hawk or in bed with Monsanto, watch the rest of her answer that leaves the congressman speechless and gets a round of applause at the end.  Check out her Beijing speech.   You may not only realize you’ve been wrong about her, you may be inspired.

The Republican Plan To Take Down Your Government

Reagan on governmentThis is an excellent must read article by Matt Sinovic, Director of ProgressIowa, originally published in the Des Moines Register.

When did we stop trusting in our government? The government isn’t some distant, unknown group. It’s “us, you and I” as Teddy Roosevelt once said. But we certainly don’t feel like it. Public trust in government is lower than it has been in years, with roughly 1 out of 4 Americans saying they trust the government, according to Pew Research.

This lack of trust exists, despite the work done in the past by the government to make our lives better. The government built our highways and roads, makes sure our drinking water is clean, cured diseases with medical research, explored our solar system, and even created the internet. Yes, the internet — it started as a military project in the Defense Department before being made open and available to the public.

And our lack of trust exists despite the fact that we are faced with the good work of our government nearly every day. The government is our public schools, educators and teachers who take care of the next generation of leaders. The government is the military that keeps us safe, the police officers and firefighters who guard our communities, and the prosecutors and judges who uphold the law. These are our friends, our neighbors and all of them are hired or appointed by the officials we choose during elections.

That’s why at its most basic level, we are the government. You, and me. If we disagree with decisions our elected officials make, we can fire them. And we can hire the people we agree with about the direction they want to take our country.

How have we forgotten this most basic civics lesson?

We didn’t always disparage our government. During his first State of the Union address, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower referred to the government dozens of times, in a positive way. In the decades that followed, conservatives decided to wage a campaign against the government, in an effort to privatize our tax dollars to fatten corporate profits. Programs such as Social Security and Medicare were decried as socialist takeovers. By the 1980s, Ronald Reagan famously slandered government by claiming to be terrified at the utterance of the phrase “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Reagan spent his time in office undercutting the ability of every government agency to do its job, through decreased funding and eliminating the enforcement mechanisms that allowed them to be effective.

During the past several decades, conservative leaders and candidates have built an industry focused on getting us to lose faith in our government, and each other. They campaign on the idea that the government just can’t do anything right. Then when elected, they work every day to make sure they prove their point.

During the last eight years, it has only worsened. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wanted to be majority leader, not to pass groundbreaking new policy, but to try and make President Barack Obama a “one-term president.” Sen. Chuck Grassley is blocking a Supreme Court nominee from even receiving a hearing, which is unprecedented obstruction of government. These recent government shutdowns and political gamesmanship would have been unthinkable in the past. But now they are commonplace, with disastrous consequences for our economy and access to justice.

None of this should suggest that the government can — or should — do everything for our society. But our government must be supported and effective in order for our country to reach its full potential. There are too many needs that the free market wouldn’t otherwise provide for. We have seen some progress made in access to health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which is growing more popular each year. And even more recent pushes to increase the minimum wage, ensure college affordability and student debt relief, that women earn equal pay for equal work, and that workers receive paid sick days as well as family leave, all of those ideas, among others, are opportunities for the government to make our lives just a little bit better, if we can trust in our ability to accomplish them together.

We can continue to denigrate ourselves and our potential, or we can understand that we’re much stronger when we work together. On the day when we celebrate our joining together as a nation, what could be more patriotic than beginning to trust our government, and each other, to solve our collective problems and improve the lives of our families?

MATT SINOVIC is the executive director of Progress Iowa. Contact: matt@progressiowa.org.

***

Save the date: Progress Iowa Corn Feed!

Join us for Iowa sweet corn and a discussion about progressive ideas!

SPEAKERS: Congressman Dave Loebsack, Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum, Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith, Candidate for U.S. Senate Patty Judge, Candidates for Congress Jim Mowrer, Monica Vernon, and Kim Weaver (along with more to be announced soon!).

WHEN/WHERE: Sunday, August 28; Doors Open at 2:00 PM
Simon Estes Amphitheater, 75 E Locust St, Des Moines, Iowa

Steve King Do-Nothing Confederate Flag-Waving Congressman From Iowa

doubt he cares muchDemocrats, independents, and sane Republicans in Iowa’s 4th District need to rise up, do what is right and un-elect Steve King.  Iowa can certainly do better than a congress person who specializes in racial slurs and propagandistic, inflammatory comments.  King would be better suited as a right-wing talk radio host, but he is not suited to be a part of government that is supposed to represent everyone. 

Check out King challenger Kim Weaver’s campaign website and Facebook page.  Donate to her campaign here.  Follow her on Twitter.  Click here to sign up to volunteer.

siouxcityjournal.com/news/opinion/letter-it-s-time-for-steve-king-to-go/

In a June 30 Letter to the Editor, headlined “In Defense of Steve King,” the author suggests that we should dismiss Mr. King’s record of do nothing, no legislation to his credit, stick-his-foot-in-his-mouth rhetoric and his recent amendment to a bill to stop the removal of bigot Indian hater Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill because he is a hard worker.

Just because King was voted as a hard worker by Newsmax doesn’t mean he is an effective representative. It is sad that hard work didn’t in Steve King’s case produce anything meaningful. It is also sad that the people of the congressional 4th District in Iowa continue to turn the other cheek and discount his dismal record.

It is time to vote Steve King out of office and get a real, effective representative who will make a difference in Washington. – Carl Hardy, Sioux City

King with confederate flag on his desk

Steve King with a confederate flag on his desk in his tax payer funded office.

Iowa Democrats Open Eight New Campaign Offices

andy mcguireNote from the Chair

The Iowa Democratic Party’s general election efforts are in full-swing, and I would like to thank all of our hardworking organizers and volunteers who are going to make a real difference in November.

We are wrapping up our first weekend of action and opened up eight new offices throughout the state. We’re making phone calls and knocking on doors to make sure we elect Democrats from the Courthouse to the White House. Activists are energized, excited and ready to turn out the vote.

Every vote will matter in November, and we will need a strong voter turnout. Please make sure all of your friends and family are registered to vote at their current voting address. Check here to make sure your current voting address and information is up to date.

Here in Iowa, we want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to vote which is why we have a vote by mail option. Anyone can vote by mail. It is easy, convenient and as simple as filling out this form.

Our United States Senate race is heating up, and polls are showing that Senator Grassley is in “the race of his life.”  We are now in the 116th day of Grassley’s obstruction of President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. As a recent letter to the editor pointed out, Grassley’s refusal to hold a hearing sets a “dangerous precedent” for defining of Presidential duties during a second term. Sen. Grassley and Sen. McConnell are attempting to define midterm elections as the kick-off for a lame duck presidency. Unfortunately for Grassley, Iowans aren’t buying it, and they are furious with his partisan tactics and his refusal to do his job.

For the first time since the 1980s, Grassley is polling under 50%, and a recent Loras poll has former Lieutenant Governor, Patty Judge, in a tight race and well within striking distance of Iowa’s five-term Senator. Let’s make 2016 the year that we don’t send Chuck Grassley back to Washington, D.C. Let’s elect a Democrat who will listen to her constituents and not Washington insiders or special interests.

Andy

###

Leave a comment for Sen, Grassley, and tell him you are tired of his irresponsible political posturing, www. haschuckgrassleydonehisjob.com !

We are now 121 days away from General Election, and Iowans are showing absolutely no signs of letting Grassley slide on his obstruction of the Supreme Court. The Iowa Democratic Party launched a new website tracking every second of Grassley’s Supreme Court obstruction. We encourage you to leave comments, and here’s what we’ve heard so far:

“I am so disgusted with your lack of doing your job. Hope that you lose your job.” Woodbury County

“ The time for partisan obstructionism has passed.  The work of the nation needs to resume.”  Scott County

“You work the people, not the Republican Party.  I find what you are doing irresponsible.  At one time I  voted for you. That will never happen again” Polk County

We’re waiting to hear from YOU on why Sen. Grassley needs to hold a hearing for Merrick Garland!

TWEET OF THE WEEK

 

Follow the IDP on Social Media

·      Like the Iowa Democratic Party on Facebook

·      Follow the Iowa Democratic Party on Twitter

From the IDP

July 6–IDP Statement on Trump’s Saddam Hussein comments

June 30–IDP Statement on the Iowa Supreme Court’s Griffin v. Pate ruling

June 27– IDP Statement on Supreme Court decision on Texas reproductive rights[=\

Let’s Leave The 4th Of July On The 4th Of July

dog with ears covered 2July 4th has always been my favorite holiday – parades, music festivals, picnics, the feeling of patriotism, community fireworks displays that everyone comes out for; it’s the highlight of summer.

But I also recognize that the holiday is not pure delight for everyone.  It is in fact a nightmare for many. Veterans with PTSD can suffer, as random booms often re-activate memories of combat trauma. Even non-veterans can find it hard to endure the intrusiveness of the sounds of explosions as nearby as next door. Many dog owners are stressed and dread the holiday because some dogs shake with fear, hide in bathtubs, or under beds for the duration. More dogs go missing on July 4th than any other time of year. One person I know spent the weekend in a motel to get away from the noise. Many people I talked to suffered through the weekend and spoke of the fireworks getting more out of control every year.

Because it is just one weekend a year, it is more or less tolerable. But what if we had fireworks stores on every corner, resulting in random pops and booms in our neighborhoods any time of day or night, any day of the week, all year round? What about losing the ability to count on peace and quiet in our own homes?  Some like to pass this off as a minor issue, but quality of life would be negatively affected in addition to the safety issues involved.

If the Iowa legislature legalizes fireworks, we will not simply be able to un-do the law later. Mom and Pop stores would spring up in every town across the state and soon there would be people whose livelihoods depend on selling these useless, dangerous explosives of no value to anyone. If we need to establish a new economic industry, couldn’t it be something of actual value that contributes to the common good, instead of an obnoxious activity that is (coincidentally) compatible with excessive alcohol consumption?

One link in the DMReg. story below is to an article in which a person said they buy the explosives basically to terrify birds. Let’s not invite more ugliness to the state of Iowa. If you really, really need to have personal explosive devices, make the trip to Missouri. It’s probably a fun tradition. Or have a friend bring some back for you. Have fun on the 4th of July. But let’s save the fireworks for once a year.

The point is, we need to make sure we elect Democrats to the Iowa legislature this fall or Iowa could soon become an intolerable place to live. We narrowly avoided this potential nightmare last session. The Republicans will certainly introduce a bill again this session.

The DMReg. article claims 60% of Iowans approve of legalizing fireworks, but I would argue that most of those surveyed probably haven’t really thought through what life would be like with explosives potentially going off in their neighborhoods 24-7-365.  And I suspect that if they were asked, “Are you good with Iowa’s fireworks laws as they now stand?” 60% would probably shrug and say “sure.”  As of now, if your neighbors get really reckless with the explosives, there is recourse.  If they become legal, you’ll just have to cope.

So vote for Democrats this fall, but if fireworks legalization comes up this session, if we still have Republican rule in the legislature, it will be imperative that we all contact our senators and reps.  They will be under a lot of pressure to vote yes because that is who they are hearing from. The quality of life in Iowa, which is rapidly diminishing due to poor water quality and other Republican initiated consequences, is in danger of taking another sharp turn for worse.

Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Des Moines Register:

The Iowa Senate appeared on the verge of approving a fireworks legalization proposal late in this year’s session, but it was declared dead after two Democrats abruptly switched their votes before a key committee meeting. Further debate appears likely when lawmakers return to the Iowa Capitol in January.

State Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, said he is convinced that if the Iowa House and Senate have a floor vote on a bill to legalize fireworks, it will be approved and sent to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature.

“If I am there in the Senate in January, you can bet your bottom dollar” that another fireworks bill will be proposed, Chapman said.

“..legalizing the product in Iowa would increase injuries and deaths in fireworks accidents, including situations that involve innocent bystanders. Nationally, about 10,500 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks in 2014, federal statistics show. In addition, some veterans’ advocates have cited growing concerns that legalizing fireworks would be a hardship for Iowa combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

(click here to read the entire article)

Bakken Fight Not Over Yet

Bakken Pipeline Proposed RouteAction alert from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI)

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) is about to decide the fate of the Bakken Pipeline. The ACE has to sign off on 65 water crossings in the state of Iowa, including the Des Moines River, which supplies drinking water to over half a million Iowans.

Iowans should have a voice in this process! That’s why we’ve invited ACE personnel to come to central Iowa, see the people and places that would be gravely impacted by the pipeline, and have a meeting with tribal groups, farmers, and citizens concerned about this hazardous project.

Here’s what we need you to do:

– Call Mike Hayes, a staffer at the Army Corps, at (309)-794-5367

– Tell him that we want to meet with him, Colonel Baumgartner, and other personnel involved in permitting for the pipeline in central Iowa

– Tell him to call Josh Kublie at (515)-282-0484 to schedule the meeting

– Email me at JoshK@iowacci.org to let me know how the call went

As long as we need clean water and a habitable planet, we are all stakeholders in this process, and we have the right to make our voices heard.

Stay tuned for next steps!

Follow CCI on Facebook

Bottled Water: How Gullible Are We?

“Why do we buy bottled water when it is free from the tap?   Scaring us, seducing us, misleading us – strategies that are all core parts of manufacturing demand. What we should be demanding is clean, safe water for all.”

Dark Money Is Warping Democracy But Not How You Think

AlecThe Brennan Center for Justice published a report on the impact of “dark money” and “gray money on democracy.  They say “gray money” is a new phenomenon they have identified which has surged in state and local elections.  Click on the link below to download the report.

https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/secret-spending-states

Dark money spending — together with a new phenomenon we’ve identified as “gray money” — have surged in state and local elections. This report, the most comprehensive empirical look yet at the impact of secret spending beyond the federal level, finds that fully transparent spending has declined from 76 percent in 2006 to just 29 percent in 2014 in six states where data was available.

But it is at the state and local levels that secret spending is arguably at its most damaging. For a clear understanding of the degree to which dark money is warping American democracy, state ballot referenda and local school board contests may be a better starting point than the presidential campaign or even congressional races…”

State super PACs, which are legally required to disclose their donors and thus hold themselves out to be transparent, increasingly reported donations from nonprofit groups that are not, themselves, required to disclose their donors. Donations from dark groups to super PACs increased by 49 times in these states between 2006 and 2014, from less than $190,000 to over $9.2 million.

Measuring dark money alone understates the extent of the transparency problem. We found a sharp rise in what we term “gray money”: spending by state super PACs that reported other PACs as donors, making it impossible to identify original donors without sifting through multiple layers of PAC disclosures.

Dark money at the state and local levels frequently flows from special interests with a direct and immediate economic stake in the outcome of the contest in which they are spending, in contrast to what is often portrayed as the more broadly ideological outside spending at the federal level. When uncovered, secret money at this level has traced back to such sources as a mining company targeting a state legislator who held a key role opposing quicker mining permits, payday lenders supporting an attorney general who promised to shield them from regulation, and food companies battling a ballot measure to add labeling requirements.

Lower costs make it relatively easy for dark money to dominate state and local elections. For many of the contests we looked at, dark money groups outspent candidates themselves with amounts in the low $100,000’s or even $10,000’s — a modest business expense for special interests, but a major hurdle for many candidates and community groups. At the federal level that degree of dominance can easily cost in the $10 millions.

Strong disclosure laws and enforcement can make a real difference. California, which saw many times more outside spending than any of the other states we examined, nevertheless saw a remarkably low amount of dark money in each cycle. It seems that the state’s exceptionally tough disclosure requirements and active enforcement culture have helped to keep secretive spending at a relative minimum.

There are several reasons to be particularly concerned about the corrosive effects of dark and gray money at the state and local levels. First, regulatory power at these levels is more concentrated, and more often subject to direct election, than at the federal level. From attorney general to comptroller to water district director, numerous state and local elected offices are capable of directly impacting special interests’ bottom lines. Also distinct from the federal level, voters in every state and innumerable counties and towns face ballot measures where they directly decide policy questions — education spending, collective bargaining, taxes — often with major financial consequences for a relatively small but economically powerful constituency.

Second, these are often low-information elections, where it may not take much advertising to sway voters. This is particularly true in nonpartisan contests, such as ballot measure elections and many local races, where voters do not have party affiliations as a signal. In such cases, special interest spenders can hope to have a greater influence on voters than in high-profile elections featuring many voices.

Finally, lower costs make it relatively easy for dark and gray money to flood state and local elections with unaccountable messages. Entities with deceptively community-minded names — Californians for Good Schools and Good Jobs, shielding a Texas oil company; Proper Role of Government Education Association, shielding payday lenders — can invest relatively modest amounts but still saturate the airwaves and mailboxes.

How can this problem be fixed? One way would be to persuade the Supreme Court to overturn misguided decisions such as Citizens United, which empowered donors to funnel unlimited amounts of spending through opaque entities such as social welfare nonprofits and shell companies. Short of that, this report offers a set of practical reforms to improve electoral transparency while protecting truly vulnerable speakers. Though reform at the federal level has stagnated because of inaction at the Federal Election Commission, Internal Revenue Service, and Congress, a number of states and cities have been more eager and able to respond to recent onslaughts of dark money.

Click here to download the report.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that
seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.