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Manure Spills Causing Toxic Algae In More Iowa Lakes

email inboxThanks CCI (Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement) for sounding the alarm on toxic algae!

iowacci.org/

First it was Ohio, then Lake Red Rock in Iowa, and now it’s Big Creek Lake – toxic blue-green algae has struck again.

A reader sent us this photo that he took at Big Creek Lake last week with this comment: “Can see from the photo that water quality is one of Branstad and the DNRs’ top priorities…”

The toxic algae’s unpleasant odors and potentially dangerous health effects cannot be ignored.

blue-green toxic algae EMAIL(1)This toxic algae growth is caused by runoff from corporate ag, including factory farms.

When we look at the number of manure spills, just in the past year, the growth of this harmful algae is not surprising.

55 manure spills since Sept. 2013 when the DNR signed the Clean Water Act Work Plan – that’s over 1 manure spill per week. ​​​

The DNR must issue permits to these manure polluters – here is one action you take right now:

Share this photo on FB to keep the #cleanwaterfight in the public eye!

October is going to be a busy month for the #cleanwaterfight – stay tuned!

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

The Iowa CCI Crew

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
2001 Forest Ave
Des Moines, IA 50311-3229
515-282-0484 . www.iowacci.org

Medicare Still Working

save medicare
I am here to report that Medicare is still in full fettle. This month I joined up. What a feeling. I feel like I have just moved into a grand home with few worries. No more wondering if the landlord will toss us out on our ear because he can. In more practical terms it means I can go to see a medical person without the fear that we may lose our home and everything we worked for. For a cost way less than half of what some really bad “insurance” used to cost me, I can now get real medical care. Plus the system itself is doing well.

Even though the ACA was supposed to address problems with the health care system (or more accurately the health insurance system), insurance companies have done all and everything they can to subvert its mission. The policy I had for the past eight months was sold to me with one set of providers, but that was switched when I went to use it. Thus I was little better off than before. With Medicare that is not a worry.

Prior to the ACA, it was pretty much a given that if you were over 50 pretty much everything you would see a medical person for was a “pre-existing condition” and thus not covered by the insurance company. So for years I paid out big bucks for horrible coverage, just like most of the country. This is what led to health care being one of the central issues of 2008. Most people wanted and still want I believe a form of Medicare for everyone. What we got is protection for the health insurance industry with a few trinkets for the consumer.

Thus we are still the only major economy without universal health care and we still pay nearly twice what any other country pays per person while getting about half the results. Taking a chunk out for that middle man that adds nothing to the actual care of a patient really affects the system. Too bad a person has to wait to 65 to finally have access to decent health care in this country. Medicare is a great template for what this country should be aiming for.

No doubt Medicare is a popular program. So popular that Republican candidates for national and statewide offices have had to couch their once outspoken opposition to Medicare in phraseology that attempts to hide their real intent. Joni Ernst has a commercial that claims she favors Medicare when in reality she will be one pushing hard to voucherize Medicare. Her loyalty is not to get good medical access for Iowans young and old, but to deliver on what the Koch Brothers tell her to do. Lying about her position is not a problem when it may accomplish her goals.

We know how Steve King feels about medical care – it is just not for the poor and middle class. David Young is using the old and long debunked lie that Obama stole $700 billion from Medicare. Anyone who tells you that is an idiot, pure and simple. In the second district we see Mariannette Miller-Meeks lining up with libertarian tea bagger Rand Paul. Her policies have shifted way to the right of the years. Her views on Medicare have moved also. I really find it hard to believe that a doctor would work to restrict access to health care, but there she is to prove me wrong.

I must say I do not know where Rod Blum stands, but I could guess and I am sure I would be close. Most of the Republican candidates say they do not want to take Medicare away from those who have it. That is simple logic. That would be political suicide. But taking it away from a generation that Reaganomics has oppressed to the point where they have seen the middle class slowly disappear is fair game to them.

Just another in their war on the middle class. Now, I believe and I think most Iowans believe that Medicare and its companion programs Social Security, Medicaid and the current ACA, are social contracts between the government and the citizens. Remember we are the government and we do direct what our representatives do.

In case you have forgotten, Terry Branstad would have been ecstatic to dump the Medicaid portion of the ACA like all his Republican buddies. But he was forced to compromise and put in at least a form of the new Medicaid due to a gutsy stand by his now opponent Jack Hatch. Branstad would love to have a chance to roll back that decision. Electing Jack Hatch would give Iowa a chance to join those at the top tier of health care. We really owe it to ourselves to send Branstad packing and to put a man with vision for the common Iowan in the governor’s mansion.

If health care is still a concern of yours and your family, and it should be if you are human, there is little question that you should vote for Democrats this fall.

IA-04: The Alliance for Retired Americans Endorses Jim Mowrer

mowrer_kingIowalabornews.com/

Iraq War Veteran and congressional candidate Jim Mowrer has been endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans, an organization with more than 30,000 members in Iowa.

In a letter of endorsement, the organization wrote that Mowrer’s positions “demonstrate a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for older Americans,” and that “[his] leadership on issues such as preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare from privatization and benefit cuts ensures these programs will be around for current and future generations.”

Jim Mowrer: “I am humbled that the Alliance for Retired Americans believes that my election to the House of Representatives will enhance the quality of life for older Americans. While Congressman Steve King continues to vote to cut Social Security benefits and end Medicare as we know it, I’m committed to preserving and strengthening Social Security programs for years to come.”

To view a copy of the letter, click here.

Jim Mowrer grew up on a farm in Boone, Iowa. He is a life-long resident of the 4th district.

When Jim was seven, he lost his father in a farming accident. Thanks to his father’s Social Security survivor benefits, Jim’s family was able to get back on its feet. Jim worked hard and graduated from Boone High School and married his high school sweetheart, Chelsey. Today they have two boys, Carter (6) and Jack (3).

A month after the Iraq war started, Jim joined the Iowa National Guard, eventually serving in Iraq with the 1-133 Infantry Battalion.

In 2010, Jim was asked to serve as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Army. At the Pentagon, Jim helped start and oversee the Army’s Office of Business Transformation – tasked with making the Army more effective, while saving tax dollars.

Jim Mowrer’s whole life has been about service to our country and protecting what makes America and Iowa great.

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:

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

Washington
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

Independence
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 Rochelle.Weiss@dnr.iowa.gov.

Jim Mowrer Calls Out Steve King On His Obstructionist Tactics

jim mowrerExcellent interview with Jim Mowrer at Salon.com.   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 Salon.com)

Climate March Supports “Reject and Protect”

Climate March Supports “Reject and Protect” with a 5-Day Week Of Actions

Tuesday:   Send a video to info@climatemarch.org why you oppose Keystone XL Pipeline.
Wednesday: Sign Credo’s Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance.
Thursday:  Write a letter urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Friday:  Day of Silence
Saturday: Day of Fasting.  RejectAndProtect.org action in Washington, DC

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

Trans Pacific Partnership Teach-In To Be Held In Ames

Happy Monday from BFIA!  Before you do anything, please read everything Dave posted over the weekend, especially Thank You, Obamacare! and What Would The Greatest Generation Do?   And don’t miss Dave’s Sunday Funday Quiz – Holy Daylight Edition.  Click on the links or scroll down when you get to the bottom of this post. Thanks for reading Blog for Iowa and have a great week!

tpp

TPP Teach-in Ames March 13

Steve Abbott, President of the CWA Iowa State Council:

Join us on Thursday, March 13th 6:30 pm at the Ames City Council Chambers for a Trans Pacific Partnership Teach-In!

Teach-in on how trade agreements affect jobs, the environment, social justice and the ability of local governments to govern.  Detailed talk on the Trans Pacific Partnership and what happens if “Fast Track” is enacted.

If you remember NAFTA, you will want to hear about the TPP.

Additional sponsors include Americans for Democratic Action, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Iowa Citizens Action Network, Progress Iowa, Iowa Federation of Labor, Iowa Alliance of Retired Americans, UAW Region 4 and Teamsters.

RSVP here

Be there to learn about the proposed policies that would send jobs overseas, take away the rights of workers, and destroy the environment — and how we can work together to fight for alternatives that create an economy that works for everyone, not just the Wall Street 1%.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who: open to the public — everyone!

What: community teach-in on the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that continues NAFTA’s global race to the bottom, and how we can fight back. Light refreshments provided.

When: Thursday, March 13th, 6:30PM

Where: Ames City Council Chambers, 515 Clark Ave, Ames, IA

Let us know you’ll be there by clicking here.

See you on March 13th!

 

How To Lobby For Animals – Upcoming Local Events

iowa federation of humane societies logoThe Humane Society of the United States invites members and supporters to join your Iowa state director and the Iowa Federation of Humane Societies to discuss current issues and get practical tips on how you can effectively advocate for Iowa’s animals.

If you’re concerned with horse slaughter for human consumption, strengthening animal abuse laws, or establishing an Iowa spay/neuter fund to provide subsidized spay/neuter, please attend a free meeting and find out what you can do to help.

Iowa’s animals need your voice!

Lobbying for Animals : Cedar Falls     RSVP
Tuesday December 3rd at 6:00pm
Cedar Falls Public Library in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Lobbying for Animals : Iowa City     RSVP
Tuesday, December 10 at 6:00pm
Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City, Iowa

Advocating for Horses : Mason City     RSVP
Wednesday, December 11 at 6:30pm
Mason City Public Library in Mason City, Iowa

Lobbying for Animals : Des Moines     RSVP
Friday, December 13 at 6:30pm
Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa

Lobbying for Animals : Davenport     RSVP
Saturday, December 14 at 10:00am
Davenport Public Library in Davenport, Iowa

Contact Carol Griglione at cgriglione@humanesociety.org if you have any additional questions.

facebook.com/iowafederationofhumanesocieties

facebook.com/events/

How You Can Help Counter Obamacare Disinformation

obamacare approvedWatching the Koch Brothers’ Teapublicans reveal their true greedy, ruthless natures during the shutdown has made it even more amazing that President Obama managed to pull off passage of health care reform, and The Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land.  The president is asking for all of our help in getting the facts out about the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.  There has been so much disinformation spread primarily through right wing media that it will take all of us talking to our friends and neighbors for everyone to find out about the affordable coverage that is now available.

As we speak, Iowans are getting through and signing up at healthcare.gov.

Please watch this and share.