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Ernst Would Deny Minimum Wages To 1 Million Veterans

Classy Iowa GOP communications director admits to not caring about “solid facts.”

Progress Iowa:

1 million veterans across the country would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Joni Ernst wants to abolish the federal minimum wage, ignoring the needs of those veterans.

On Veterans Day, we decided to hold Ernst accountable for ignoring the needs of veterans. For that, we were called ‘classless’ by the Iowa Republican Party’s Director of Communications. The image we shared is below, along with the GOP response.

We will never back down from standing up for our veterans — especially those who, despite their service, make less than $10.10 an hour and deserve a raise.

And we will never back down from holding our elected officials accountable — especially those who ignore the needs of veterans and working families who just want a fair shot at the American dream.

You can help us fight back by spreading the word

Thanks for all you do,
Matt Sinovic
Progress Iowa

The Center For Media And Democracy Takes On The Carbon Kings

CMDMake friends with the Center for Media and Democracy because they are the #1 enemy of the Koch brothers and ALEC.   They have an amazing website that you will want to visit –  ALEC Exposed – where you can find ALEC model bills, ALEC politicians, ALEC state chairs, ALEC corporations, ALEC think tanks, boards, task forces, and much more.


“The biggest winners this election cycle are the billionaire Koch brothers who have now captured the Senate and the House in order to starve the state and cook the planet,” said NBC’s Brian Williams on election night.

Well, no. Williams didn’t say anything like that and neither did any other anchor in the main-stream media.

For honest reporting, for detailed tracking of the Carbon Kings and their minions, you need fiercely independent groups like CMD.

The day after the election, the incoming U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell declared that Republicans will use their new majority to bully the President into approving the Keystone XL pipeline and rolling back the EPA’s new rules limiting carbon releases from coal-fired power plants.

It is no accident that the entire U.S. Senate majority will now devote itself to the Koch agenda.

The Kochs are not just oligarchs; they are now a political party. Koch groups were projected to spend some $300 million this election cycle. For comparison, the DNC and RNC, combined spent $300 million.

To learn more, check out my colleague Mary Bottari’s article “The Koch Party Wins, Planet in Peril.” Check out Rebekah Wilce’s rundown of the pet politicians who will be working to implement the Koch agenda “ALEC Pols Moving Up in 2014 Midterms.” And let’s not forget Brendan Fischer’s in-depth work exposing money in politics and the criminal investigation of ALEC stalwart Scott Walker.

These are dark days, but the fight back is already underway. A few days ago CMD’s research director Nick Surgey discovered that ALEC’s corporate board chair is quitting the group over ALEC’s denial that climate change is happening and other issues, joining Google and a cluster of other tech firms, including AOL just this week. This brings to more than 90 the number of private sector firms that have stopped funding ALEC, since we launched ALECexposed and citizen groups across the country joined us in exposing ALEC and its funders..

ALEC will be doubling down on its reactionary agenda in 2015, but we will be hot on their trail.

Can you support our investigations with a generous donation today?

Thank you for all you do to help make the world a better place!


Lisa Graves
Executive Director
Center for Media and Democracy

Will Democrats Take Howard Dean’s Advice?

dean factorWe’re not really into slamming Democrats too much here on Blog for Iowa. But no one has earned the right to criticize Democrats more than Howard Dean, so let’s listen to the doctor!

Watch this video as Dean lets it all out and calls out the Democrats on their failures of campaign 2014 and other interesting topics.

And contrary to the disclaimer on the video, Dean says nothing to indicate that he accepts an “implicit coronation” of Hillary Clinton in 2016. He did say he is not running for president himself, and that he is supporting Hillary Clinton.

About the primary process, he said, “there definitely are going to be some other Democratic party leaders and some of them are going to come from the progressive end of the party and that is a good thing.”

The President Comes Out Swinging Today For Net Neutrality

President ObamaRead President Obama’s statement today on Net Neutrality:  (scroll down to watch video)

An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach.

The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:

No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.

No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.

Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.

No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness.

The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.

To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data.

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.

Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.

The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy — and our society — has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology’s promise for today, and future generations to come.

Dems Duped By The Caucus Room Conspiracy

the caucus roomI agree with what Thom Hartmann has to say here for the most part. At the same time, it’s not that easy for Democrats to point out what the Republicans are really doing because of the media’s double standard for Democrats and Republicans. Remember when Hillary tried to point out the “vast right wing conspiracy?” The media had a great time with that one.

Nevertheless, Thom Hartmann makes a good case that Democrats should have confronted the media for calling it “gridlock” instead of “obstructionism” and a host of other journalistic crimes. The Democrats  never went on offense he says,  in pointing out  that it was the Republicans who had caused the problems they were blaming Obama for.  He argues that the Democrats should have called out the Republicans for sabotaging the president in a way that the media could not ignore.

Tall order.  But they  have to start doing it.

“Back in January of 2009 – Republican leaders invested in a plan to sabotage the Obama presidency at every chance possible. On Tuesday – they got a pretty good return on that investment.”


Did The Iowa Electorate Know About Ernst’s Extreme Views?

joni with gunIn my view there is functionally no such thing as a moderate Republican today.  What I mean by that is, if it is a choice between a candidate that offers relatively sane policies, or a sure win with a Koch brothers funded, right wing crazy tea party candidate, the Republican “establishment” will go with the crazy tea party candidate because they value winning more than they value sane public policy.

The extremist candidate cannot usually win however, by touting their extreme policy positions in front of the general public.  They win by pretending to be moderate and lying about their positions on the issues.  GWB’s 2000 presidential campaign seems to have faded from our collective memory.  But I clearly remember Bush campaigned as a moderate (no nation building – nice, harmless guy you want to have a beer with – even Democrats were buying this) but the Bush administration obviously did not turn out to be one of moderation and they were certainly totally into nation building.  Ronald Reagan presented himself as a moderate too, but here we are in a post-Reagan society where it is considered cool to say that you hate government (Reagan: “government is the problem”) and the Republicans are still trying to drown it in the bathtub as Grover Norquist said.

Fast forward to Iowa, 2014.  Joni Ernst also had to pass herself off to the voters as a moderate.  She was told by her handlers to tone it down on the crazy talk about personhood, killing the EnvironmentalProtectionAgency, shooting up the government. I believe many Iowans who voted for her had no idea of her extremism, but just thought she was a nice lady who they assumed was qualified because she is a veteran and a state senator.  They liked her because she seemed familiar,  like any other typical Iowan.  They reacted to the hog ads as cute and very Iowa (okay that part I won’t pretend to understand).  When the Braley campaign had no choice but to point out her extremities, people became upset because they had already decided she was their friend, and the Braley camp was accused of negative campaigning.  I don’t blame the Braley camp for bad strategy although maybe it was.  But this is the kind of dilemma that the extremist liars and the complicit media create.

Joni’s moderate facade almost went down the tubes at one point as the campaign progressed. Ernst had a terrible interview with the SCJ where she was politely asked about personhood and some other things and she told the truth about her positions for the most part (although she did already have a sound byte available to minimize the personhood thing which was, “don’t worry, it’s never going to happen.”).  But all agreed that the interview still went badly, and after that the campaign wisely kept her away from the newspaper editorial boards.

When they successfully kept her away from the newspaper editorial boards, particularly the Des Moines Register,  with no consequence (although I give huge credit to Hillary Clinton for attempting to impose one) this was in my view when it was clear that they won the campaign. There was barely a peep in response to this clear f-you to the Iowa media and more importantly, to the citizens of Iowa, who deserved to know who she really is.

Apparently the newspapers decided that the only thing they could do in response was to endorse Braley based on his policy ideas, his voting record in Congress and on Ernst’s extremist views – wrong for Iowa –  which they should have done anyway.  Not coincidentally, voters seemed unaware that she had even done that or perhaps they didn’t care because they had already made up their minds about who they thought she was.

The polls before the election showed Braley clearly ahead with women and I didn’t see those numbers after the election but I believe women who were paying attention at that point were more likely to know where she actually stood on issues of importance to them). She kept saying in ads and on the campaign trail that she would always defend and protect women’s right to birth control, etc. We shall see, but her support of a personhood amendment and previous vote on that issue in the Iowa senate indicates otherwise.

So Joni is no moderate. I think it is more than fair to say that the Iowa press overall, failed to point this out enough. They kept hammering on Braley’s one gaffe and the chicken nontroversy — it was the Dean scream all over again.  In contrast,  Ernst’s extremist views,  being named in a sexual harassment suit,  handing out lucrative contracts to her father’s business, in a clear conflict of interest, while county auditor, got mentions, but they were not hammered upon to say the least.  By the time she made fools of all of them by telling them to f-off after they coddled her through the campaign, they seemed slightly offended but no one thinks they learned their lesson, anyway, I don’t.

The following is an excerpt from an article in Salon about how the national press simply makes up a narrative that they like and then they repeat it over and over and that narrative never changes, it is locked in, impervious to facts. Gaffes made by opponents are pounced upon and exaggerated by the media because they fit the narrative.  This year the chosen narrative was that the sane Republican “establishment” was taking back the party from the tea party crazies and they pointed to tea party candidates like Ernst as an example of a mainstream, moderate Republican — which of course, is completely the opposite of true.


The GOP establishment decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Rather than allow the Tea Party to challenge them, they went out and found Tea Partyers to groom and train to win statewide office. They smoothed out the rough edges, gave them talking points that successfully covered their more extreme views and otherwise ran “personality” campaigns designed to make the press deaf to the whistles of the Tea Kettles.

A Nexis search shows that the Post has had four references to Ernst and Agenda 21—all by Greg Sargent on his blog from the left, The Plum Line, and none on the news pages of the paper. But there have been dozens of references to Braley’s spat over the neighbor’s chickens, including a front-page story. The New York Times had zero references to Ernst and Agenda 21, but seven, including in a Gail Collins column, to Braley and chickens.

As Ornstein makes clear, it wasn’t ideological bias that created this narrative, it was a desire among the press (likely pushed pretty hard by the GOP establishment) to write that the “grown-ups” were back in charge. But the truth is that the GOP grown-ups decided that the best way to keep the kids in line is to give them what they want. After all, all the GOP grown-ups really want is to beat the Democrats. If all it takes is a little charm school for Tea Partyers, it’s a small price to pay.

The GOP did send a new “crown jewel” to the Senate this week but not for the reasons he thinks. They’ve realized the value of the Ted Cruz faction to their long-term plans and found some stealth Tea Partyers to join it. “Charisma” had nothing to do with it.

(click here to read the entire article at

Republicans Not Elected To Govern

All we can say is.. wow..




Dave Loebsack Will Be Lone Democrat From Iowa In Congress

dave loebsack updated
Democrats in Iowa’s 2nd District may gloat today because we have re-elected Dave Loebsack for a 5th term in Congrss. In a year of an unfathomable Republican coup brought on by corporate money and corporate media, Dave has been able to persevere because he has built a solid connection with his constituents through his hard work for Iowans week in and week out.

Dave is proof that Democracy still lives, even if it has had mud thrown all over it by the corporate media and corruption.

A Democratic activist I know commented that while she was knocking on doors yesterday she was shocked at how many young people said they were not voting because it didn’t matter because both sides are the same.  If you are guilty of repeating this defeatist, nonsensical attitude,  regardless of what prominent intellectual espouses it, please stop saying it out loud. Because it is not helpful and nothing could be further from the truth, as you can witness in Iowa’s 2nd District.

Another activist said, “if young people want things to be different, they’d better get their asses out there and get involved and vote.”

Yesterday, Iowans sent a person to represent us in the U.S. Senate who has stated publicly that she would use her personal weapon to defend herself against government; she would have anyone implementing the Affordaable Care Act, the law of the land,  arrested; she refused to answer questions by Iowa’s newspapers; she referred to the President of the United States as a tyrant.

Yep, Iowans gave Tom Harkin’s senate seat to that person.  Take a moment and let that sink in.

Today is a dark day – no doubt about it – as our own Mr. Smith in Washington, Dave Loebsack might say. But we should not give into despair. Representatives like Dave Loebsack are proof that Democracy still lives.

We have to press on with the fight.

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