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Sunday Funday: Steve King Border Wall Designer Edition

Berlin Wall configuration thanks to

Berlin Wall configuration
thanks to

Funny thing last Thursday. Steve King grabbed that Des Moines Register soapbox at the Iowa State Fair to spread a little bit of his unvarnished hate for people not white. King made this statement Thursday:

“On the immigration issue, I don’t have any qualms with Donald Trump’s position on immigration,” King told the crowd of about 80 people. “The most effective way we can do that is to build a wall on the southern border. I’d add to that: first build a fence near the border, then go up about 100 feet, build a wall, then go another 100 feet, build another fence. Then you have two no-man lands there that you can enforce easily within and patrol and put the sensors on there.”

If I recall that is the basic configuration that the Soviets eventually ended up with for the Berlin Wall, one of the great symbols of hate and fear ever foisted on Mankind. Good job, Congressman, learn from the best. And as a bonus, the Soviets were very white. Oh and by the way, Steve, how about arresting those employers who enticed folks to come to the US with jobs meant to bust unions and lower wages?

Can we keep Trump out of the quiz this week?

1) Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all did what on the same day?

2) Evan McMullin had 15 minutes of fame last Monday. Do you know why?

3) Due to protests and lack of sales Monsanto will tear down a huge GMO seed corn plant in what South American country?

4) A small controversy erupted as the Iowa state fair opened concerning the ability to carry what into the fairgrounds?

5) 71 years ago today, Americans celebrated into the night as what was announced?

6) 81 years ago today, older Americans got some great news as President Roosevelt signed what into law?

7) Hillary Clinton once again reiterated her opposition to what trade pact in a speech in Detroit?

8) 50 Republican security officials signed a letter warning that who would put the country “at risk”?

9) Which highly regarded Republican senator joined the growing list of Republicans who have publicly stated they would not vote for Trump?

10) Salaries and bonuses for what board that controls Iowa’s institutions of higher learning came into question last week because they were so high?

11) What major airline experienced computer problems that resulted in thousands being stranded at airports last week?

12) After cutting state money for mosquito control, what governor is pleading with the federal government for money for mosquito control as the zika virus invades his state?

13) Tim Tebow bombed out in football, but is trying to bring his famous te-bow to what other major league sport?

14) The “scary” statue of what late comedian was replaced with a more normal statue in her hometown of Celoron, NY?

15) August 19 is 70th birthday for what left-handed, former democratic president?

16) What phrase used by Republicans did Trump employ to make a veiled threat on Hillary Clinton Monday?

17) In winning his 13th gold medal Michael Phelps broke the record for the most individual Olympic gold held by what ancient?

18) The DEA refused to reclassify what substance, thus ruling out its use as medicine or allowing its study as a medicine?

19) A 23rd lien has been filed against what Trump golf resort in Florida for non-payment for work done?

20) Who founded ISIS with an assist from who according to Donald Trump?

The Perseid meteor shower continues this week at a slower pace. Best time to catch it is very early morning.


1) closed with record highs. Thanks, Obama!

2) he has been picked to be the establishment Republicans alternative to Donald Trump

3) Argentina

4) guns

5) Victory over Japan (VJ day)

6) the Social Security act

7) the Trans Pacific Partnership

8) Donald Trump

9) Susan Collins of Maine

10) the Iowa Board of Regents

11) Delta

12) Governor Rick Scott of Florida

13) baseball – I can hardly wait to see the te-bow again

14) Lucille Ball

15) Bill Clinton. How many hints do you need?

16) “second amendment solutions”

17) Leonidas of Rhodes who won his last medal in 152 BCE

18) marijuana

19) Doral National Golf Course. Remember the PGA will no longer schedule events there either due to remarks Trump has made

20) Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton assisting. Amazing for a guy who is always on vacation

Back to school draws near, children!

When Did Iowa Join The Confederacy?

King with confederate flag on his desk

Based on Steve King’s prominent display of the confederate flag on his desk and his statements on racial equality, Iowans must wonder if they have been deceived by historians and geographists for decades. Maybe we really are part of the south.

Displaying the confederate flag by a congressman from a Union state? Good gravy, dude, did you forget where you live? Iowa was proudly part of the side that did not commit treason. Iowa stayed with the union and provided 76,000 troops of which 13,000 died and some 8,500 were wounded. What an absolute insult to those brave soldiers. And what an insult to their survivors or living relatives.

The message that King sends out with such a display is that first and foremost he does not honor Iowa’s contributions during the civil war. He also endorses what the south was fighting for – to keep people enslaved based on their color – and the racial divide that has followed. Finally of course is his endorsement of the treasonous actions of the south. These are Steve King’s values.

King claims this is part of the right to free speech in America. We grant him that. However, remember that other parties also have the right to free speech. Americans have many ways to express their speech. Hopefully, this year Americans in his district will make it plain just how disgusting they feel flying the flag of treason is.

But just in case you missed that message, King made it much clearer in an appearance on MSNBC with Chris Hayes a couple of days later. (see video below). The total message from King is simple – there is a superior race and many inferior races. Just in case you think these are flukey examples, let’s not forget King’s comment on ‘cantaloupe calves.’

Sadly, as far as I know, no one from the Iowa Republican congressional delegation nor Iowa’s Republican leadership has spoken out to condemn this behavior and rhetoric. The only reason I can think that they would be silent is that they know it gets votes. Based on Trump’s rise to power based on bullying and dog whistle racial politics this year, King is right in line with the party.

Iowa’s Republican delegation is a sad lot right now. With King and Grassley as the senior members we also have David Young who could not stand up for a vote that allowed LGBT citizens to be treated as regular citizens. No, he caved and changed his vote. Rod Blum is part of the tea party crazy group that rode John Boehner out of town on a rail. Shutting down government would be ok with him. And what can you say about Joni Ernst beyond “owned by the Kochs.”

The concept of ‘Iowa nice’ is sure laid to rest by these folks. They do not really represent Iowa.

There have been many lists generated already that show what a bigoted fool King is on this front. One thing I have yet to see on any of these lists is our form of government itself. King seems to admire our form of government a great deal. Will he give a nod to the Iroquois League for being at least part of the model for our government? When King finds this out it will blow his mind

Every time King appears in public Iowa once again is painted by his words. It is not a picture Iowans can be proud of. Iowans believe they are better than King’s representation of us.

Kim Weaver will return the image of what Iowa truly is to the nation. Help her out with a few bucks.

Where Is The Outrage, Steve King?

Interesting to note last week that Steve King made a big splash with an amendment to stop any funding for the Treasury that would be used to redesign the $20 bill. King claimed his amendment was concerned only with the waste of government money for a project that he deemed not worthwhile.

Most observers noted that King’s motivation was more likely due to the fact that the redesign will put a black woman on the face of US currency for the first time. Such motivation would be in line with King’s career. As noted by Congressman Dave Loebsack when King introduced his amendment:

Although the House Rules Committee isn’t allowing King’s amendment to be considered, Loebsack today issued a one-sentence statement saying, “Steve King and his history of racist and sexist comments is an embarrassment to Iowa.”

This past week King had another chance to show his fiscal concern. The House Select Committee on Benghazi abruptly finished their assignment, issued a biased report that in the bottom line said they found nothing, just as five previous committees investigating the very same thing had fond.

Now this committee spent $7 million. In total Republicans have wasted over $20 million of tax money chasing what they knew was nothing on Benghazi. Add in the valuable time wasted by congressional staff and other bureaucrats who had to spend time and money to produce documents for this committee. Add in money spent trying to tar and feather the Clintons during Bill’s presidency and the total comes to nearly $200 million.

This was congressional money and time that even Republican Party last year admitted was being used on a partisan witch hunt aimed at presidential contender Hillary Clinton:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy said. “Why? Cause she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen,”

Now, Mr. King it is time to show your true conservative chops. It is time to prove you are what you claim you are. Stand up and show some outrage at this arrogant and many would say illegal waste of money. Show us some outrage, Congressman!

< < crickets >>
< < crickets >>

What a surprise. Steve King is once again shown to be a phony. Congressman Loebsack’s statement is true.

Remember elections have their consequences. One of the consequences of electing Steve King for so many years is that he embarrasses Iowa and gives others a false impression of the good people that live here.

Kim Weaver can change that with your vote.

Kim Weaver, Democratic candidate in House district 4

Kim Weaver, Democratic candidate in House district 4

Weaver Calls Out King For His “Useless” Amendment

kim weaver

Iowa —

Steve King is at it again – putting his ego above his constituents. Yesterday he introduced another useless amendment. Useless, ridiculous, offensive. Who was his target this time? Harriet Tubman.

In fact, the Quad City Times had this to say: “Rep. King has “relied on white anger and a lust for social exclusion to consolidate his base.”

That’s right. While Iowans are concerned about rising tuition costs and oppressive student debt, while we worry about stagnant wages and saving for retirement, Steve King is focused on what’s really important: Keeping Harriet Tubman off the $20 bill.

New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, moved on Tuesday to block the Treasury Department’s sweeping plan to represent women and civil rights leaders on American currency, including the placement of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Mr. King filed an amendment to an annual appropriations bill that would prevent any money from being spent to redesign American currency. It is unclear whether it will ultimately get a vote when the full spending bill, which covers financial services and general government appropriations, comes before the House this week.

What will this amendment do for residents of Iowa’s 4th District? Nothing. How will it make the lives of his constituents better? It won’t. And what chance does this meaningless and mean-spirited gesture have of actually passing? Just like most measures introduced by Steve King, none.

Tell Steve King you want a representative in Congress who will focus on the solutions WE deserve instead of useless, ego-driven, do-nothing, go-nowhere legislation. Click here to send a Tubman to our campaign and help us retire Steve King. (Or any amount. But we’re hearing that today a $20 feels especially good in a “Take that!” kind of way.)

One good thing has come out of all this, though. Twitter, never one to suffer fools lightly, started a mini-movement last night.

FollowRetweetSO: Having @SteveKingIA in office is the same as having Donald Trump in office. Send a Tubman to King’s opponent. @KimWeaverIA #NeverTrump

@nerdytraveler: Send @KimWeaverIA a Jackson (soon to be Tubman)! Help her beat @SteveKingIA.

Help us dethrone King in 2016!

If you would like to make a donation to our campaign you may contribute here.

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ and follow Kim Weaver for Congress on Facebook and Twitter!

Take Back Muscatine To Picket City Council Over Proposed Code Changes

Muscatine bridgeTake Muscatine Back to hold informational picket before city council meeting

June 20, 2016, Muscatine, IA – Take Back Muscatine, local citizens group, will hold an informational picket at 6PM before the June 23rd, 2016 Muscatine City Council meeting to demonstrate their concerns over proposed code changes that would strip the Mayor of appointment powers for city commissions as well as the fire and police chief (see current city code 1-11-2).

Informational Picket
Thursday, June 23 at 6PM
Muscatine City Hall 215 Sycamore St.

On June 23rd, the Muscatine City Council will hear a proposal for the city council to strip the Mayor of her ability to appoint anyone to boards and commissions as well as remove her power to appoint the city fire and police chief, with council approval.

Since the Mayor has taken office, many of her commission appointment have been denied by the council. As well, her request that the council open its meetings with an invocation delivered by the diverse faith and secular communities in Muscatine was also voted down by the council.

We at Take Muscatine Back see the council’s actions as not in the spirit of good government, based on shared powers, checks and balances. We ask that the residents of Muscatine who wish to have a continued voice in their government, as well as checks and balances, to come to the next city council meeting on June 23rd at 7pm. We will hold an informational picket in front of City Hall starting at 6PM.

If you are unable to make it, please call your councilman and ask them what is the reason for stripping the mayor of power, when just last year, they already updated the city charter. If the mayor’s appointment powers were not an issue then, why is it an issue now? We feel that the city council’s actions have nothing to do with good governance, but only with isolating a democratically elected mayor with whom they do not agree.

Under our Manager-Council form of government, the Mayor has traditionally had limited the power to name the fire department chief and police chief, and to make appointments to boards and commissions, with council approval, and preside at council meetings or break a tie (rare in a city with an odd number of council members).

We have not seen the proposed changes, as they will be shared at Thursday’s Special Session. But, we are also concerned that the public won’t be given ample opportunity to scrutinize the proposed changes before the council moves into a closed session to possibly vote on this matter (see agenda below).

The public, so far, is being left in the dark about why these changes are needed after more than 100 years of our charter. We ask the good people of Muscatine to join us on Thursday to seek answers.



1. Call to Order/Roll Call
2. Review and Discussion of City Attorney’s Opinion on Proposed Amendments to City Code
3. City Attorney Update
4. Request to enter Closed Session per Iowa Code 21.5.1.c to discuss strategy with Counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation
5. Request to enter Closed Session per Iowa Code 21.5.1.c to discuss strategy with Counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation
7. Adjournment


Take Muscatine Back

When Diana Broderson decided last year to run for Mayor Muscatine, she thought that her many years in the community and working in family programs at the YMCA would bring a unique perspective to the city, one mainly focused on reducing poverty and on creating a family-focused community. As it turned out, the majority of voters agreed. Mayor Broderson won by eight points over the incumbent mayor, garnering more votes than anyone else on the ballot in the City.

But as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. While the special charter form of government had reduced the powers of the mayor considerably, assigning most matters to the city administrator and council members, the mayor still does have the power to make appointments to commissions and to the city fire and police chief, with council approval, as well as preside over meetings, and to veto.

And since assuming office, Mayor Broderson has attempted to use those limited powers to make the city more inclusive. She proposed to have an invocation delivered at the start of the city council meetings, to be delivered by a member of the faith or secular community. It was her way to invite the public into the council chambers every week, rotating among different faith communities and secular voices so both the council could better know the diversity of the city, as well as so community leaders could participate in government. This proposal did not pass.
She then nominated a few people to serve on city commissions. It was her desire to bring new voices to the table, get better diversity among commission members. In no way could any of her commission appointments change the power dynamic on these commissions as he or she would be one vote among 4-5 others. However, the new commissioner would bring a different perspective and enrich the conversation.

Regardless of the Mayor’s intention, the city council has killed most of the mayor’s appointments saying they people were unqualified or that their association with striking workers somehow was not good. They accused her of appointing only Democrats or union members (not true). One council member suggested that a woman the mayor recommended for Power and Water would be better suited to Library Board or the Art Center. They accused the Mayor of being partisan in a “non partisan arena” and that she will earn respect if she “stop playing politics”. They made their recommendations for whom they thought were better suited, a CFO for instance.

In the six months since elected office, Mayor Broderson has only been able to get two council appointments approved by council.

I decided to do my own analysis of the composition of the commissions to see if indeed they are imbalanced. I make no promise my findings are completely accurate, but even if they are only ballpark, what I found is very imbalanced Below is a list of the commissioners’ names. I looked up their party identification, union status, and gender. I asked people in the community about the racial demographic to get a sense of that, important especially given that Muscatine has a large and growing Latino population (around 12%).

These are my rudimentary initial findings:
86 Commissioners total
28 are women (with 6 of those serving on multiple commissions); 58 are men, none are Latino or African American (if this is wrong, my apologies, please correct the record),40 are Republicans, 19 are Democrats, 19 are independents, and 4, I could not find data.

Age was more difficult to establish, though it is safe to say that few are younger than 35 years of age
It is clear that the Mayor’s intention to diversify the commissions would be long overdue. It would also appear that despite the council’s accusation that the mayor is acting in a partisan manner, the overwhelming representation of Republicans on commissions (in a city that is pretty evenly split among Democrats, Republicans and Independents) demonstrates that this accusation is more appropriately made at the past council and mayor.

Ultimately, the council would not stand for any attempt to democratize the city, so at their last meeting they voted to ask the city attoney to draft language that would strip the mayor of her remaining powers to make appointments.

They council is going to consider the code changes at this Thursday’s meeting (see press release below). The community group, Take Muscatine Back, is organizing an information picket beofe the meeting to call attendtion to the proposed code changes.

If you are available, please show your support for the Mayor. It’s not just the citizens group who noticed the apparent obstructionism of the council. The Muscatine Journal itself ran the following editorial cartoon. It’s really funny, and not funny at all.

City of Muscatine Council and Commissioners

City Council and Mayor
Broderson – Democrat
Fitzgerald – Democrat
Rehwaldt – Republican
Spread – Republican
Bynum – Republican
Harvey – Republican
Natvig – Republican
Saucedo – Independent

Civil Service Commission
Dan Olson – Republican
Christina Kelly – Independent
Brandy Olson – Independent, but she voted in the 2014 Republican primary. She is also staff attorney for Muscatine Power and Water – I view that as a conflict of interest for her to be both counsel and commissioner.

Planning and Zoning Commission
Larry Wolf – Republican
John Sayles – Republican
Jodi Hansen – Democrat
Rochelle Conway – Democrat
3 vacancies

Muscatine Power and Water Board:
Steven Bradford – Republican, General Counsel of HNI
Susan Eversmeyer – Republican Co-owner, river rehabilitation.
Warren Heidbreder – Republican
Tracy McGinnis – Republican, VP Retail Banking, Central State Bank
Doyle Tubandt – Republican, President Kent Corporation

Airport Advisory Commission
Bill Leddy – Independent
Jerry Page – unregistered
Scott Natvig – Republican
Stacy Lewis – Republican
Steven Bradford – Republican

Electrical Licensing Advisory Board
Cliff Lanfier – unregistered
Steve Lemke – no data
Nick Nietzel – Republican
Tim Reed – unregistered
Joseph Hagerty – Republican

Art Center Board of Trustees
Kelly Rushford – Independent
Susan Freers – Republican
Rochele Conway – Democrat
Jon Moravec – Republican
Brian Wright – Democrat
Clair Penner – Democrat
Mary Shihadeh – Democrat
Melissa Snydacker – Democrat
James Burr – Independent

Historic Preservation Commission
Mark LaRette – Republican
Kyleigh Johnson – Democrat
Michael Maharry – Democrat
Paul Carroll – Republican
Rochelle Conway – Democrat (service on 3 boards)

Housing Advisory and Appeals Board
Alan Rusher – unregistered
Ed Hogan – Independent
Sam Curry – Democrat
Kyle Eller – Republican
Mike Allenbaugh – Republican

Administrative Review Panel
Nancy Lueck – Republican
Brett Talkington – Independent
Tina Boldt – Republican

Library Board of Trustees
Jane Daufeldt – Republican
Jon Moravec – Republican
Krista Regennitter – Democrat
Diana Gradert – Republican
Nancy Dew – Independent
Bret Olson – Independent
Travis Sheets – Republican
Peggy Gordon – Independent
Dr. Jarod Johnson – Independent

New Construction Appeal and Advisory
Rich Jones – Staff
Jim Noble Jr – Republican
Tom Bankhead – Democrat

Plumbers board of examiners
Joseph Hagerty – Republican
Phil Fitzerald – Democrat
Tim Kelly – unregistered
Ken Rogers – staff
Rich Jones – staff

Recreation Advisory Commission
Kim Warren – Democrat
Tim Riley – no data
Dana Kraft – Democrat
Greg Harper- Republican
Janell Kassel – Independent
Al Wagner-Democrat
Bradley Bark – Independent

Transportation Advisory Commission
Tom Curry – Independent
Pat Hagens- Republican
Tricia Honeyman- No data
Therese Finney – Independent
Kathy Moore – Independent

Water, Electric & Communication Trustees
Tracy McGinnis – Republican
Susan Eversmeyer – Republican
Warren Heidbreder – Republican
Doyle Tubandt – Republican
Steve Bradford – Republican

Zoning Board of Adjustment
Larry Wolf – Republican
Rochelle Conway – Democrat
Jodi Hansen – Democrat
Seth Munier – Independent

Convention and Visitors Board
Peg Heither – Republican
Greg Jenkins – Republican
Tina Boldt – Republican
Robert Bahn – Republican
Beth Johnson – Independent
Tony Lonconsole – no data
Mary Wildermuth – Republican

iowa afl-cio

Bakken Pipeline Fighters Needed On Monday


Des Moines, IA – With the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) meeting on Monday, June 6 to possibly decide to allow construction of the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa, Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition are set to rally on Monday, June 6 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the far west side of the west Capitol Terrace, on the large granite county map of Iowa, at E Locust and E 7th streets.

The groups will ask the IUB not to reverse its March 10 order requiring Dakota Access to secure all necessary permits and authorizations for the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline, set to cross 18 Iowa counties and all of Iowa’s major waterways. Participants will present a creative, visual representation of the potential impact of the pipeline on Iowa’s watersheds, with statements being shared by landowners in each of those watershed areas.

Since the March 10 ruling, Dakota Access has still not received the needed Army Corps of Engineers’ authorizations. On May 25, the US Fish & Wildlife Service revoked an Iowa DNR-issued Sovereign Lands permit after discovering a historic and culturally significant Native America site in the pipeline’s path in Lyon County.

Iowans remain concerned about the project’s impact on soil, water, property rights and economic interests.

Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition will continue building their “Summer of Resistance” against the Bakken Pipeline. At the granite county map of Iowa on the State Capitol grounds, seven Iowans will speak out about their ecosystems and communities that the pipeline imperils, against the backdrop of a huge patchwork heart in this “Broken Heartland” action.

Who: Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI and Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition
What: Rally and creative political theater against the pipeline
Where: Map on the West Capitol Terrace, E Locust & E 7th, Des Moines
When: Monday June 6, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI are part of a growing number of organizations, landowners and everyday Iowans across the state committed to stopping the proposed Bakken Pipeline. Both groups work closely with and are members of the 30-member Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. Visit

Bold Iowa is part of the national Bold Alliance, now in five states and building unlikely alliances to fight fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion projects and promote renewable energy. Visit

Iowa CCI is a statewide, grassroots people’s-action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has fought to put people first for 40 years. Visit

Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa, (515) 238-6404
Adam Mason, Iowa CCI, (515) 282-0484


Getting Serious – Iowa Primary Next Week

June 7th, 2016

June 7th, 2016

One more reminder that the Iowa primary is next Tuesday, June 7th from 7AM to 9PM.

The big draw for democratic primary voters across the state this year is the opportunity to choose an opponent for Chuck Grassley for this falls election.

Even before Grassley’s strange behavior concerning filling the SCOTUS vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia four or five months ago, Grassley’s behavior during this term has been that of the ultimate party insider whose first concern is how any move will affect the party. With the death of Scalia Grassley who has been obstructor-in-chief behind the scenes for senate Republicans has deservedly become the national face of Republican obstruction and the face of a do nothing Congress.

As I write this the Republicans are once again on recess while a critical health situation with the zika virus looms. Returning Republicans to power in the senate and Grassley to his role as obstructor-in-chief would seem to be the height of irresponsibility.

But who will Iowans choose to take Grassley’s place? The race seems to be between current state senator from Cedar Rapids, Rob Hogg and former state senator, agricultural secretary and Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge. Judge stirred up some excitement when she entered the race in February as Grassley stumbled and bumbled in his attempts to make his obstruction look acceptable. Grassley’s obstruction is still not acceptable.

Hogg has been in the race for the long haul having entered last fall. While Judge’s entry has stirred much press around the country and some contributions from everywhere, buzz on the ground feels light. I have seen no polls for Tuesday’s vote but my guess is that it will be close. If you want to see Grassley back on the farm as much as most of us do, be sure to vote. Former state senators and good solid democrats Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen are also vying for the nomination.

Besides the senate primary across the state, 3 of our 4 congressional districts will see primaries to choose opponents to face Iowa’s three really bad Republican congress persons.

In the 4th district the Democrats candidate Kim Weaver doesn’t have a challenger. Republican Steve King does, however. In a intra-party fight at the upper levels that seems to have spilled down to this level state senator Rick Bertrand is running against the long time incumbent King. Whatever the results of that race, look for Kim Weaver to give her opponent a tough race. This year I wouldn’t count any district as a “safe Republican” even Iowa’s 4th. King is a known whacko in a party that will be lead by a reality TV personality this year. Maybe his luck has run out.

In the southwest corner of Iowa, three democrats are looking to take on one term incumbent David Young. Young is very vulnerable, especially after his embarrassingly being forced to change his vote to oppose an LGBT amendment last week. Vying to oppose Young are:

– Veteran Jim Mowrer
– Businessman Desmund Adams
Michael Sherzan

In Iowa’s northeast corner incumbent Rod Blum seems very, very vulnerable. Blum is a tea partier and doesn’t seem to quite fit in this more progressive district. The Democrats have a couple of good candidates, either of which should give Mr. Blum a good tussle. The Democrats:

Monica Vernon who ran for Lieutenant Governor with Jack Hatch in 2014
– Former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy

Finally those who live in Iowa southeast corner have the pleasure of putting forth Congressmember Dave Loebsack for another couple of years. But just because Loebsack is an incumbent by no means means that this election is to be taken lightly. We need to keep Loebsack’s vote in Washington. This has been a really crazy year, so those in the southeast need to nominate Loebsack for another term and then work like hell to make sure he is re-elected.

We shouldn’t need to remind you that races at the state and county levels will probably have more effect on your day to day life than votes for national representatives, so pay attention and be sure to choose good candidates for state House, state senate and of course for county officials such as auditors, sheriffs and supervisors.

This primary is very important. democrats need to put their best candidates forward. Be sure to set your smart phones to remind you to vote Tuesday.

Action Alert: DNR Factory Farm Rules Review

Factory farms poisoning IowaAction Alert from Iowa Citizens for Commuinity Improvement (CCI)

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reviews factory farm rules once every five years. This is our chance to strengthen the rules and hold factory farms accountable!

We need YOU at the DNR hearing in Ainsworth to stand up for a Clean Water Iowa. Our strength is in numbers—in people power.

Register to join us here! 

Here is what you need to know:

When: Tuesday, May 31 at 10 am | Please join us for a prep session at 9:30 am at the location below!

Where: Washington County Conservation Board, Education Center, Marr Park, 2943 Highway 92,  Ainsworth

We would love for you to share your story about why we have to stop factory farms.

We’re fighting for rules that include:

  • Tough regulations to protect our water, air, and communities
  • Accountability by closing corporate factory farm loopholes
  • Transparency of manure application records and from factory farm stakeholders
  • A moratorium on new and expanding factory farms!

We’re in a water crisis because of factory farm manure pollution. Voluntary compliance isn’t working. It’s time to close factory farm loopholes in order to protect People and Planet!

I hope you can join us: register here!

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

Executive Director

P.S. Can’t join us in-person? Submit your comment online demanding stronger rules to hold factory farms accountable here. We need 1,000 comments by June: help us get there!

We’re currently at 4,72 Facebook followers. Help us get to 5,000 fans!

Did Mason City Councilors Conceal Information From Citizens Re: Prestage Slaughterhouse Project?

cciAction Alert From CCI:

CCI members reviewed and released 218 documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act request regarding proposed Prestage slaughterhouse

Des Moines, IA. Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) are demanding that the Mason City City Councilors vote no on the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse after leaving citizens in the dark.

Following an initial review of public records regarding the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse, which were obtained from the City of Mason City through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, it is clear that city officials went to great lengths to keep the public out of the decision-making process.

Based on this initial review, it is clear to CCI that:

The city intended to rush this project because Prestage is “on a fast track” and the “sooner we get it done the better,” according to an email string between Governor Branstad’s Economic Development Authority and city officials, as well as a handwritten note from an internal city meeting. While city leaders discussed the project for months, the public was deliberately kept in the dark due to concerns about opposition.

The rezoning of the new Southside Gateway Urban Renewal Area was quietly initiated just 12 days after the city was approached about the Prestage slaughterhouse for the purpose of “[providing] TIF incentives for the new pork production plant.” Yet, the city made no mention of Prestage, making it impossible for the public to truly weigh in on the rezoning process.

City councilors are aware of the potential explosion of factory farm construction in North Central Iowa and the problems associated with the factory farm industry. In an email to city councilors, Chad Shrek, President and CEO of the North Iowa Corridor, glossed over the impact of the Prestage slaughterhouse. Yet the same email cites industry analyst Steve Meyer, saying, “filling the five plants (Mason City, Iowa; Coldwater, Mich.; Sioux City, Iowa; Windom, Minn.; and Pleasant Hope, Mo.) being built or remodeled at present would take roughly 9.625 million head of hogs or 8.3 percent more than last year’s slaughter.” This shows that the city knows the implications of the Prestage slaughterhouse to the area.

CCI invites the public to review the 218 FOIA documents, which includes email correspondences, handwritten notes, site plans, project documents, meeting notes, etc. Documents can be viewed online by clicking here.

“This shows that we can’t trust the city councilors. They’ve already made their decision before listening to what the public has to say,” said Dillion Daniels, a Mason City resident. “We’re still calling on them to do the right thing.”

Prestage Farms is a privately held, out-of-state corporation and the nation’s 5th largest pork producer. It currently operates 142 factory farms in Iowa. Its proposed slaughterhouse in Mason City, which would kill up to 22,000 hogs per day, will mean more factory farms and more pollution in Iowa at the expense of independent family farmers, taxpayers, and quality of life.

The Mason City City Council will take its final vote on the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse at its meeting on Tuesday, May 3. CCI members and community members will attend this final hearing to demand that the City Council vote against approving this project.

McChesney, Nichols: Billionaires Do Not Care About Us

nichols and mcchesneyTry not to get too depressed by the bummer title of Robert McChesney and John Nichols’ new book, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy. They say we just have to do two things:  (1) know what is coming and (2) get organized.

“Humanity is on the verge of its darkest hour or its greatest moment.”

“The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.

“The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, authors of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy, argue that the United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, they propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny before it’s too late and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.”