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Bruce Braley

Joni Ernst And The Koch Brothers

joni ernst the perfect Koch investment

A true tale with foreboding for the 2016 election.

From comes the story of how Joni Ernst became the darling of the Koch brothers and how they disguise their involvement through layers of operatives:

Until now, little has been known about the secretive role played by the Kochs’ donors and operatives in boosting Ernst. The Koch network has focused primarily on policy fights, mostly leaving the spadework of recruiting and nurturing candidates to the party.

But the network’s financial support for Ernst ― detailed here for the first time ― offers the first signs of a move into GOP primaries. The Kochs and their allies are investing in a pipeline to identify, cultivate and finance business-oriented candidates from the local school board all the way to the White House, and Koch operatives are already looking for opportunities to challenge GOP incumbents deemed insufficiently hard-line in their opposition to government spending and corporate subsidies.

The ambitious effort, spearheaded partly by a for-profit consulting firm called Aegis Strategic that’s backed by the Koch network, is one of several ways in which the brothers and their allies are seeking to influence the types of candidates who carry the GOP banner. The network has taken on a vetting role in the GOP presidential primary, offering favored candidates access to its donors and activists. And some within the network have even advocated targeting from six to 12 GOP House members who have run afoul of the Koch orthodoxy on fiscal issues and who are facing 2016 primary challenges, sources told POLITICO.


In the Ernst race, the Koch support included hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of television ads funded by undisclosed donors and tens of thousands of dollars in direct campaign contributions. The spending would have been difficult to trace back to the Koch network during Ernst’s campaign, but details are expected to emerge this week when the central Koch nonprofit, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, files its tax disclosures.

Below is the youtube video of Ernst’s participation in a Koch sponsored senate candidates panel. The transcript is found here.

Throughout the story and the video, there is little doubt that the Koch brothers will use their money to change the USA from a democracy to a form of government controlled by those with the means to pump vast amounts of money into the process or an oligarchy. For them it is not a patriotic gesture, but an investment. They have already spent massive millions through various front organizations and have announced they intend now to spend billions. But though they will spend billions they can expect a return on investment of even more billions.

The Kochs are certainly not the only rich people with a desire to control the the most powerful nation in history through the investment in political candidates. Many pundits have noted that the current Republican debates have less to do with informing the public and much more to do with the individual candidates selling themselves to a rich backer such as the Kochs, Shelly Adelson or Peter Singer.

As noted by Iowa’s experience, even though a candidate holds truly anti-people positions, packaging and advertising and great television presence are much more important than policy. As our junior senator works on destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA and pensions, few Iowans will even notice because we will be treated to carefully choreographed public appearances and TV ads that will tout Ernst as an “All-American Girl.”

Let what happened to Bruce Braley be a guide to what could happen across the US next year from the county to the White House. There will be a huge amount of money to pave over the negative aspects of candidates while leaving any policy positions left unspoken. The constant barrage of meaningless ads will be hard to beat. The money from many billionaires will be combined with one goal: electing representatives, senators and a president that will deliver government for the rich.

If this happens, America will finally be totally divided into the haves and have-nots. All the work that went into slowly evolving a real democracy for all will have been squashed in less than a generation with a few people with lots of money and their willing stooges.

Just to hedge their bets because they can’t buy elections outright, the wealthy have had their stooges work on fixing elections for decades. Last week’s outcome in Kentucky was a fine example of that. If you can’t control elections through a simple purchase, then you make it really hard for your opposition to vote. When they do vote, the districts are so gerrymandered as to make their chances of winning slim. And of course when all else fails, the old standby of easily hackable electronic voting machines can still deliver an election in the pinch.

Braley: “Senator Grassley And I Have A Great Working Relationship”

go vote

Click on the image to confirm where to vote

Bruce Braley  is not afraid to face the Iowa press and answer tough questions. If you would like to know more details about where he stands on the issues and what was the deal with the (way overblown) “Grassleygaffe” from ages ago,  Ron Steele asks him about that and some other great questions. Bruce explains and says what he has done to amend and correct it – way more than his opponent Joni Ernst has done about things she has said (the president is a tyrant who should be impeached, for example… or  when she was caught on tape praising the billionaire oil barons for launching her career “trajectory”).  These things are way worse in our view, but received less media coverage and she has never apologized or illuminated voters on why exactly she would make these statements as far as we know.

Here is Part 1 of the interview with Congressman Bruce Braley broadcast yesterday, November 2.  You can go to to see the entire interview. Watch then GO VOTE.

Let’s Send Obama Some Help!

GOP kills VA bill
Some of you may remember an approaching election day six years ago. Most Americans were in some state of trauma from an economic meltdown that only an elite group of global players had anything to do with. But on the whole we were a hurting country. We were in no mood to re-elect the party that had put us in this hole through bad policy and neglect of enforcing good policy. Stated simply, the Republican party and its president had taken the country and the world to the very precipice of a financial collapse potentially worse than any in recorded history.

All eyes turned to the young senator from Illinois to turn the economy around, to lead us away from the precipice, to restore America and the whole world to economic health. At that point it would have been foolish to put the candidate from the party that had plunged the country and the world to a near abyss. As soon as the election was over, Obama became the defacto president, since the administration in power at the time had no credibility in dealing with the crisis. America and the world looked to Obama for leadership in dealing with the financial crisis.

But a funny thing happened on the night of Obama’s official inauguration – Republican leaders and lawmakers met at the Caucus Room Restaurant in Washington DC to set their strategy to oppose anything and everything that Obama would do. Thus did the Republicans work to undermine any progress for the country and the world. They were betting that as they stopped sensible approaches to solving some of the most serious problems in a century, the blame would go to the young President. They needed the help of the media to pull it off. The corporate media – 92% corporate owned and led by Fox did all they possibly could to shift the blame from the Republican obstructionists to the President.

Despite all this, President Obama’ administration has quite a few accomplishments over the past six years. Enough accomplishments that Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman rates Obama among the great presidents for his ability to deal with the problems even with the Republicans intransigent and some say insane opposition. Hiring now continues at a pace not seen since the Clinton year; the stock market has recovered to new highs after plunging to the middle 6,000s at the depth of the crisis; we are withdrawing from foreign entanglements and show little desire to waste more lives and treasury again; rights have been extended to more citizens than ever; the deficit has been more than halved and continues downward; health care policy is more sane and covering more Americans than ever. The list could go on. This in spite of an opposition that is bent on destroying this presidency.

Considering what President Obama has accomplished for the American people with little help from congress, just imagine what could be accomplished if only he had a congress that would work with his administration even a little bit. Imagine if legislation were sent to congress and the immediate reaction was not immediate tabling by the Speaker of the House or immediate filibuster by the Minority Leader in the senate. Can you imagine what it would be like for Congress to actually propose legislation that worked FOR the majority of Americans, not just special interests? Can you imagine a Congress debating policy with the intent of making solid legislation that will work? Can you imagine Congress even passing a budget? It will not happen as long as those intent on literally ruining the Obama Presidency are given any power.

The election is Tuesday. Many of you have cast your ballots already. For those of who haven’t, take a few moments to think what it would be like to actually have a Congress that took their jobs seriously. Republicans abandoned that years ago. Their dreams of removing government as an effective entity are now being played out in Kansas on a major scale and it is a disaster. In many other states, including Iowa, there are partial tests on neutering government and these experiments are having very bad consequences. Infrastructure is failing daily in this country and it will only get worse.

So send good candidates to Congress who are willing to work FOR America, not against the American people.

In Iowa we have great candidates for congress:
Dave Loebsack has shown great skill in working for the people in his district. His opponent is a doctor hell bent on taking health care away from the constituents of the 2nd district.
– In the first district Pat Murphy has a stellar record of standing up for all citizens in the Iowa legislature. His opponent is another cookie cutter tea bagger whose goal is to stop government from doing anything.
– In the 3rd district Staci Appel also brings a stellar record to the race. Her opposition was part of the Grassley team that did all he could to keep health care from Americans.
– In the fourth, the poster child (and I do mean child) of the crazy right is facing off against young veteran Jim Mowrer. Mowrer is a young man of vision and empathy who knows the value and need for a functioning government.

Finally, what can we say about the senate race? Bruce Braley has a long and proud record of working for people and helping Obama accomplish what he could. His opponent is merely a stand in for the Koch brothers. Her votes will be based on what the Koch brothers tell her. I think one of the reasons she refused the interviews by the three major papers in Iowa was because she couldn’t wear a wire connected to the Koch offices so they could tell her the answers to the questions she was asked.

By the way! VOTE!

my favorite

my favorite

Bruce Braley Building Bridges

Joni Ernst Should Be Asked Who Exactly She Would Shoot

joni with gunby Will Jennings

When Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst stated she wouldn’t hesitate to use her personal firearm “if government tyranny threatened my rights” she MUST be called out for this declaration of INTENT.  The statement is NOT symbolic. She wants to campaign as if it IS symbolic by making “government” the alleged “target” of her “patriotic defiance.” But she’s talking trash and is absolutely gutless when she refuses to answer the sort of follow-up questions that would be posed by all of the Iowa newsprint editorial boards she’s openly decided to ignore (also a campaign pose.)

I would ask her exactly who she would be willing to shoot if and when she felt such tyranny arose? A law enforcement officer? An IRS accountant? The men and women who pick up her solid waste and recycling? A DMV clerk? A Housing Inspector? I’m serious. Who the Frick will she choose to shoot with that gun when she FEELS her government is acting as tyrant? Who?

I want specific examples so we know what her list of targets includes.

Otherwise, she’s totally off the rails and unhinged. How can someone who “led our troops in combat” openly state that she’d violate basic rules of engagement? You don’t carry a weapon unless you fully intend to use it. And you do not chamber a round and aim that weapon unless and until you are fully prepared to discharge it with extreme prejudice. If she thinks threatening the use of a firearm is a ‘symbolic’ statement, she can explain that symbolism to the families and friends of victims and all survivors of gun violence.

I don’t give a crap about semantics here. She’s made a clear statement of intent, one with potentially fatal consequences. That deserves a clear explanation from her about who, exactly, she’d shoot with that gun.

Local Democrat Schools Letter Writer on Braley’s Record Of Accomplishment

letters to the editorBFIA tries to practice George Lakoff’s messaging philosophy of never repeating GOP talking points. And if you’re paying attention you will already know what this letter is about without us having to give the GOP an additional forum. Suffice it to say that awhile back Bruce Braley made a comment to a group of trial lawyers to the effect that it would be better to have someone with a legal education on the Senate judiciary committee, which Grassley doesn’t have.  Big deal.  Simple fact.  So of course the GOP had to lie about it, take it out of context and pretend it was the biggest insult ever to farmers everywhere and feign outrage.  Because Sherry Toelle’s rebuttal to a letter to the editor bringing this non-troversy up again may not get published in the conservative Iowa paper where it appeared, we’re sharing it here.  Great job, Sherry!  [Update:  Sherry’s letter has been published in today’s Atlantic News-Telegraph.]

I am writing to rebut the 10-22-14 Atlantic Speak Up written by Dan and Jan Follmann. Here are the facts:

1. There have been at least nine big name Democrats campaigning in Iowa for Bruce Braley—Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Tom Harkin, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Senator Jim Webb. Only two of them slipped up on Bruce Braley’s surname. I do not know about you, Mr. & Mrs. Follmann, but people who have known me for years still say my surname incorrectly.

2. Bruce Braley has YET to serve in the US Senate. He is currently a Congressman in the US House of Representatives.

3. Bruce believes, as I do, that the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee should have a WORKING knowledge of the judicial system and of the law. His remarks regarding Senator Grassley were taken out of context. Bruce has worked hard for the agricultural community. He helped pass the Farm Bill which Joni Ernst has said that she would have voted AGAINST.

4. No record to stand on? He introduced and passed into law the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, wrote the New Era Act (creating a grant to train workers in the renewable energy industry), fought for a bipartisan Farm Bill, worked to make the Adoption Tax Credit permanent, passed the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act to expand the adaptive housing grants for disabled veterans, won back pay for members of the Iowa National Guard, opposed tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas….Need I go on?

5. As to negative advertising, it is not negative advertising to tell the facts about the opponent.

If you support Joni Ernst or Senator Grassley, that is your decision. But, when you express your opinions as facts, please ensure that those facts are correct and not the result of your party’s spin or a 30 or 60 second sound bite.

Sherry Toelle, Atlantic, Iowa

Three Things – Iowa Senate Race

Harkin and Braley

Harkin and Braley

Partisan politics, and the manner in which the founders set up the federal government with its bicameral legislature, yielded an inability to deal with problems much beyond our noses. The founders planned it that way.

“A government of representatives, elected by the people at short periods, was our object; and our maxim at that day was, ‘where annual election ends, tyranny begins;’ nor have our departures from it been sanctioned by the happiness of their effects,” wrote Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Adams in February 1800.

With due respect to a fellow Virginian, the Congress seems unable to solve the most pressing issues of our time and that is becoming problematic. In a choice between Congressman Bruce Braley and State Senator Joni Ernst, Braley is the only choice to meet today’s needs. He isn’t perfect, but who is?

The constant reference to getting things done through bipartisanship by both candidates indicates a failure to understand the nature of what the founders intended in favor of politics of the day. That is not all bad, but it misses the point.

What has changed since the 18th century is humanity’s increasingly global perspective and interconnectedness. I’m not only talking about the Internet, although that is part of it. On any given day, I run into people from most inhabited continents, but from China especially. They are in Iowa to study at the university, but they have an opportunity to make connections that was unlike anything the 1700s. These travelers will take home what’s best about Iowa, and I don’t mean corn, soybeans and pork.

Additionally, business has gone global. When I worked for the oil company, we did business in 89 countries. With their merger with BP, the footprint grew even broader.But that is not all of what is different.

A global perspective on business was evident in the 18th century, and one might say the “discovery” of the Americas was part of business growth. At the same time, the need and desire to comprehend laws and culture throughout the globe and leverage that information for profit has grown to a scale unimaginable three hundred years ago. The U.S. is not isolated from the rest of the world, and it is unbecoming for politicians to assert that we can do what’s best for Iowa without examining a global context.

That said, there are three things I would like to hear from the Republican contender to be Iowa’s junior U.S. Senator, but likely won’t.

I would like to hear something other than that there is a problem with Social Security. Ernst is a parrot of the Congressman Paul Ryan plan for Social Security. In a cynical ploy to retain votes, she asserts keeping the sacred trust to seniors and those approaching retirement, but advocates doing something else, although she hasn’t decided what, for younger people. She indicated privatizing Social Security is on the table, but what she really means is that future retirees will have to fend for themselves.

She recently criticized Braley for not solving the problems with Social Security during his eight years in Washington, but the truth is that Republicans have never been fans of Social Security and have worked to chip away at its benefits since its inception. Ernst is no different, and Braley has defended Social Security.

I would like to hear how Ernst would address our nuclear complex. The late Robin Williams pointed out, “remember the big weapons− huge weapons− the ones that really can do us in− are not in the hands of us. Something much bigger. Whether you believe in intelligent design or just a guy named Phil who’s pissed.” The threat of nuclear annihilation is not funny, even if Williams was. Would Ernst have the U.S. join the international humanitarian campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, or is she already under the spell of John Bolton and other conservative hawks that continue to assert U.S. hegemony through a weapon that could end or change permanently civilization as we know it without solving any of our most pressing problems?

Finally, I would like to hear what Ernst will do about the tangible impact on business and society of our changing climate. I heard and previously wrote about her lack of understanding about climate change as stated in the debate with Braley. Either she is incompetent to be a U.S. Senator, or she can learn. If she can learn about climate change, what is she willing to do to protect our common interests in air, water and the conditions that currently nurture life in Iowa and throughout the globe? Bet we don’t hear from her on that either.

The challenge this election cycle is the media and its corporate backers have created such a firestorm of disbelief among voters, that many are expected to skip this cycle. There are more than three things I’d like to hear from Ernst, but I am already confident of where Bruce Braley stands, so why should I insist. That would be time taken away from convincing people to vote for Bruce Braley.

Click here to get involved with the Braley campaign.

With Ernst It Will Be Government Of The Koch Brothers

Sam Osborne

Sam Osborne

by Sam Osborne

What did the Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst debate demonstrate?

Beyond Ernst insisting it’s fine for her and anyone else’s chickens to come home to roost in destruction of your garden and poop all over you doorstep, it is the fox in the chicken house of the life of the American people that comes with Ernst sneaking into the halls of Congress in the pay of government of the Koch brothers, by the Koch brothers and for the Koch brothers.

The Kochs are the boys footing the big bills for those character assassination ads on TV that deflect disgrace from an entire Republican controlled House and do-nothing-congress to no-show-for-veterans Veteran Affairs Committee, and in place attempt to pour twisted distortion and feted innuendo on the person who stands alone in keeping the Koch brothers from putting puppet-predator Ernst into Iowa’s seat in the Senate in service to government of the Kochs, by the Kochs and for the Kochs at the further expense of you and me and friends and family.

Koch governance via predator-puppet Ernst would be a tragic mistake that leaves you and yours as much on your own as veterans have been by a Republican controlled house committee that met with no productive purpose when it even bothered, did nothing of importance, and left Bruce Braley like the veterans he has been helping to heroically get it done alone.

You can watch the debate here


Braley – Ernst Debate At 5PM Today

Rep. Bruce Braley

Rep. Bruce Braley

Just a reminder that the first of 3 debates between senate candidates Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst will take place this afternoon from Simpson College in Indianola. There seems to be no statewide coverage of this event. However, there are some ways interested voters may get the debate live:

How to watch tonight’s debate

Watch the live broadcast from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at KCCI-TV or the live stream at or

C-SPAN also will carry the debate live.

It will be most interesting to see Ms. Ernst back up the claims made by her outrageous ads.
Ernst Msg on Braley Website

Iowa Early Vote Kickoff Events Today

early voting begins todayMore and more Iowans are voting early every election because it is the simplest and easiest way to make your voice heard. Iowans can vote early in person from September 25 to November 3, or they can vote by mail anytime between now and Election Day.

Iowans can find their early voting location or can request a ballot to vote by mail at

Thursday, September 25: Early Vote Kickoffs

Ames (canvass kick off) – 3:00pm
Jim Mowrer
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
109 Kellog Ave

Boone – 7:30am
Jim Mowrer
Office of Jim Robbins PC
1001 W. Mamie Eisenhower Ave

Cedar Rapids – 10:00am
Monica Vernon, Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, Sen. Wally Horn, Sen. Rob Hogg
The Flying Weenie
103 8th Ave SW

Council Bluffs – 8:00am
Sen. Mike Gronstal, Marti Nerenstone, Charlie McConkey
Dean Jennings Law Firm
523 6th Ave

Davenport – 3:30pm
Congressman Dave Loebsack
Fresh Deli
421 West River Drive

Des Moines – 7:30am
Staci Appel, Sen. Jack Hatch, IDP Chair Scott Brennan, Polk County Dems Chair Tom Henderson
Java Joe’s
214 4th Street
Des Moines, IA 50309

Dubuque – 7:30am
Rep. Pat Murphy
Jitterz Coffee Shop
1073 Main Street

Iowa City – 7:30am
Congressman Dave Loebsack, Rep. Mary Mascher
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
623 S. Dubuque St

Marshalltown – 9:15am
Congressman Bruce Braley, Rep. Mark Smith
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
127 E. Main St

Mason City – 7:30am
Sen. Amanda Ragan
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
11 E. State St

Ottumwa – 8:00am
Lt Gov. Patty Judge
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
219 East Main Street

Sioux City – 7:30am
Rep. Dave Dawson, Rep. Chris Hall, Jim France
306 Virginia Street

Waterloo – 3:00pm
Rep. Pat Murphy and Jon “Bowzer” Bauman
Iowa Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Office
512 Mulberry Street