That is the message I take away from Grassley’s vote against very weak tea gun control legislation Wednesday. I can almost hear him thinking “Let’s see which side can pony up the big bucks for my vote.”
And now Grassley is all over the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing
“Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley says the attacks raise questions like how to beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.”
Seriously, the suspects were kids when they came to the United States. People’s beliefs change over time and by influence. For instance, today’s Republican party would probably not let Ronald Reagan in the door. After all he did raise taxes and practiced Keynsian economics. Don’t believe me?
Look it up.
This Captures The NRA
Let me pass on a description I saw that truly captures the spirit of the NRA. Unfortunately the link where I saw it is no longer available, but here it is anyway:
The North American Man-Gun Love Association
In case you don’t recognize it this is a word play off of the the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), that most disgusting of organizations. In both cases they are out of the norm and alter perceptions.
Bradstad Doesn’t Understand How To Count Jobs
His administration once again can’t seem to understand the concept of subtracting jobs when they go away. Branstad claims another 1,600 jobs added whereas the true bean counters saw a decrease of 5,500 jobs. Since taking office, Branstad claims a stellar 70,000+ jobs created while the Iowa Workforce Development count a rather dismal 15,500. Maybe the state needs a ‘truth spokesperson.’
A Couple Of Observations On Boston
1) I am so glad there weren’t any self-appointed vigilantes ready to open up with their AR15 or even a shotgun. In a crowd like Boston had, some goofball popping out shots and hitting innocent bystanders would have turned a totally chaotic situation into a bloodbath of monumental proportions. In the real world the guy with the gun seldom stops the evil doer and usually just adds to the confusion and casualties.
2) Who pays the bills for those who do not have health insurance? I have asked around among friends and most seem to believe that if you get hurt and can’t pay, well good luck. So to add to the pain of injury or death, one can probably look forward to bankruptcy and a meager existence.
I know in some cases hospital bills have been forgiven. But I can’t imagine hospitals can do too much of that. They are businesses. Beyond that many victims are often disabled from their experience, so working may be out of the question.
I am less concerned about a Boston style incident, but more wondering about the one person shootings where an individual survives, but has no money to pay the bills and has been disabled for life. I wish someone could tell me that there is some victims fund that helps with this, but I am not holding my breath. And if there is a fund, I would bet it is woefully inadequate.
3) Late addition to say well done to the good citizens of the Boston area and their public servants. When Republicans start crying about how much public servants make and how bad it is that they have unions, remember these folks. Well done.
3rd ‘Storm Of The Century’ In 2 Decades.
“Storms of the century” seem to be coming around quite a bit more often than before. Actually what we had last Wednesday and Thursday was not termed by anyone a storm of the century. But it does seem the big flooding rains come much more frequently than before. It actually seems like some part of the country is under the gun every year. Starting to look like this may be our turn after a couple of very dry years. The weather is a-changin’.
This is an excerpt of Gabby Giffords’ Op-Ed in the NYTimes following today’s shameful vote in the U.S. Senate. She’s talking about every Senator who voted to block the background check and legislation that would help prevent mass gun murders in America. She’s speaking to our own Senator Grassley. Each of us should also be speaking to Senator Grassley about his cowardly vote against legislation that is supported by 90% of Americans. He’s taken chump change from the NRA in the past although according to Opensecrets.org, not in the last election cycle. So he may not be in the NRA’s pocket, but he still has some explaining to do about his irresponsible vote against common sense gun laws. Click here to contact Sen. Grassley
~ SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.
On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count.
Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.
I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.
Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.
I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences. (click here to read the entire article)
Last week, Grassley was one of just 22 senators—all Republican men—who voted against reauthorizing VAWA [Violence Against Women Act]. During a town hall meeting in Indianola on Wednesday, a woman asked him to explain his vote. Grassley responded that the legislation is unconstitutional, a belief shared by at least five of his colleagues.
Since the Constitution guarantees citizens the right to a trial among a jury of peers, Grassley reasoned that white men would be deprived of their rights if those who were accused of violence against Native American women had to appear in a tribal court. “On an Indian reservation, it’s going to be made up of Indians, right?” Grassley said. “So the non-Indian doesn’t get a fair trial.” Watch. (click here to read the entire story)
What an arrogant SOB. And callous, uncaring and inhuman. For my part here’s hoping that the “Connecticut effect” snowballs. Let us hope that every time America hears about yet another gun tragedy, the thought of those innocent children pops into their minds and we as a united citizenry vow once more to end the insane loss of life through gun violence. Here is hoping the “Connecticut effect” is the catalyst to end the slaughter of Americans at each other’s hands.
Why not Canada?
One thing that continues to gnaw at my curiosity is why we have two nearly parallel societies – Canada and the US – and one is hyper-violent and the other is quite genteel. Canadians have as many guns as people in the US on a per person basis, but they don’t kill each other. So what is the difference between the two?
I am going to speculate briefly, however figuring out why seems like a worthwhile project for some aspiring PhD candidate. My guess is that Canadian society has been based more on co-operation between individuals for success of the whole, while people in the US have been inculcated on the idea that individual achievement is the most important thing.
Swimming Against The Tide: Will They Drown?
One has to wonder how long the Republican party can swim against a rather tough tide of public opinion on nearly every issue and still get elected. Name the issue and look at the polling on that individual issue. In nearly every instance the public favors the democratic position by at least a 60/40 split, often higher. A recent one that surprised me is that even Republicans favor raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
Republicans are to the point of openly cheating to win elections. Forcing long lines in democratic neighborhood polling places, purging voter roles based on surname, gerrymandering to create districts that look like mutant animals, and of course now re-interpreting the constitution on the electoral college to change how they are distributed. But despite all this, they continue to doom themselves to a future as a minor party with a constituency of old white guys based in the south. And if they try to change they will blow apart. Those with the money that keeps the party together will not countenance change when they have worked so hard to oppress the country.
One thing that has truly aided this odd coalition of religious, money and lack of conscience is a fully compliant media that is owned mostly by the right. By reporting politics as a sporting event, by not reporting the full stories and by simply reporting false stories or by giving diversionary stories much more time than they deserve, the media has gone a long ways to help Republicans maintain their standing.
Grassley Scores Again!
Wow – you would never have known that women actually voted for old Chuck in 2010 the way he shows his disdain for them. They could have voted for a woman – Roxanne Conlin – and been well represented by her. But many voted for Chuck. In return he ignores them and appears to long once more for the 19th century. I am having a hard time expressing my feelings at this most out of touch, misogynistic, sexist, senator so I will quit trying. Glad my daughters aren’t here to witness this. Sadly, one is in Mississippi a state much more suited to people like Grassley.
Oh – this rant was brought on by his vote against the Violence Against Women Act. Hope a woman runs against him and beats him in 2016.
And on Thursday, Chuck joins 39 of his Republican buddies in bringing yet one more filibuster to the Senate. For the first time, Grassley and his buddies filibuster a cabinet appointment and once more the minority stands directly in the way of what the majority of America wants. Really, Iowa, is this what you want from a Senator?
Why The Minimum Wage Matters
(from the Iowa Policy Project)
FRIENDS: With much attention today to the President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage, we believe the statement below — a post on our Iowa Policy Points blog by Research Associate Heather Gibney — provides important context to the issues that will be discussed in this coming debate.
It doesn’t take long after someone proposes an increase in the minimum wage — as President Obama did in his State of the Union message — to hear the same, tired arguments against it.
Rather than repeat them, and the bad economics behind them, it’s important to put the minimum wage in the context of the cost of making ends meet. It doesn’t come close — which means two things: (1) the wage itself needs to keep pace with increases in typical household costs, and (2) to fill gaps between the wage and the cost of basic needs, and to encourage people to work, we can through public policy offer work supports, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as assistance with the costs of food, health care and child care.
The Cost of Living in Iowa analysis by the Iowa Policy Project last year provides a look at just how far short a $7.25 hourly wage would fall for a single parent even working two full-time jobs. It would not come close to paying the bills without work-support programs. Note these estimates in the accompanying table (Table 3 from that May 2012 report) of a basic-needs, no-frills household budget for a single-parent family of two or three.
The national minimum wage of $7.25 has not been increased in almost four years — and in Iowa it’s already been over five years, as the state’s $7.25 minimum took effect in January 2008. Prices are higher than they were then, and employers cannot be counted upon to raise pay for minimum-wage workers without the stick of wage-and-hour laws. That is why there’s a minimum.
Thanks to Heather Gibney, Research Associate at Iowa Policy Project
After hearing the totally unexpected retirement of Sen. Tom Harkin following the end of his term, my first thought was that I hope our senior (quite senior) senator would take a hint and announce his retirement also. While Tom Harkin is one of the good guys who helps the poor, the downtrodden and especially the middle class, Grassley has degenerated into one of the biggest obstacles to getting anything done in the senate.
Once more earlier this week, Chuck showed once more why he is an anchor on America and a continuing embarrassment to Iowa. The bill to help the northeast recover from the debilitating blow dealt them by Sandy came before the Senate and Grassley to his shame voted no. This is the same Senator who back in November 2011 was using his influence in Washington to restore some $66 million from FEMA after FEMA had decided that money would be better spent elsewhere:
“CEDAR RAPIDS — City Hall has an ally in Sen. Chuck Grassley as it works to convince the Federal Emergency Management Agency to restore about $66 million in disaster funds.
The city had expected the funds for incinerator repair and replacement at the city’s wastewater-treatment plant and for demolition at the former Sinclair meatpacking plant.
Grassley’s office on Wednesday released a copy of a letter the senator has sent to Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator, asking Fugate to reconsider FEMA’s decision to shift gears and de-obligate funds to the city after FEMA earlier had said it would pay them. The city has spent its own money for some of the work, the senator’s letter states.
“Three years later, the city of Cedar Rapids is still recovering from the floods, and FEMA’s change of position midstream is resulting in delays and possible elimination of millions of dollars, (which) is threatening the city’s finances,” the senator’s letter says.”
One of the reason that people form a government is so that their moneys can be pooled to help in times of disaster. Voting against that is just a slap in the face to the concept of the union.
Grassley will be 80 in September, an age that Harkin cited as a reason to retire. In 2009, Grassley celebrated his 50th year of (as he calls it) “sucking off the government teat” having been first elected to a government body in 1959 and continuosly since then. The $1.25 million his family has brought in through farming subsidies has been a good haul also. Why would he begrudge the northeast money they desperately need rebuilding just like Iowa did a few years ago following the floods?
Senator Grassley no longer represents the best interests of Iowa or the country. Follow Mr. Harkin’s lead, Senator and announce your retirement.
Sir, your party is on the verge of blocking the rise in the debt limit. Members of the House, the Senate and I believe even you yourself have said loudly that stopping the debt limit would be a huge mistake. Yet it appears that the Republican Party is ready to chuck it all in a chicken fight that is simply insane.
And if you have paid attention, you will note that the debt has grown so large simply because of Republican policies during the George W. Bush administration when taxes were slashed and expenditures were greatly increased with two wars and a policy to pay the highest possible prices for drugs for seniors. There were other similar policies but these were the biggest. The current administartion does not have the votes to turn these policies back since the minority party in the Senate has made 60 votes (or a 3/5ths majority) the rule. This has stymied any kind passage of legislation, good or bad.
Senator, you are over 80 years old. You are quite knowledgeable of politics and fiscal policies. I am sure you are fully aware that to stop payments on bills already accrued will cause a financial disaster of unknown proportions. Such a disaster, caused by political decisions of the Republican Party, will dwarf the the Great Depression. And a long term effect will be that the one stabilizing force in the monetary world – the full faith and credit of the United States – will be destroyed. Destroyed by politicians in what appears to be a tantrum thrown by a two year old.
Finally, you must know that immediately after the debt ceiling is stopped, every American will be hurt. Most will be hurt badly. Business will grind to a halt when government money is removed from the system, stock markets will crash big time, many Americans who live on a week to week basis will be facing starvation in short order. One can easily envisage that mob rule will soon take hold. Your Party seems not only willing, but bent on making this disaster happen.
A recovery from such a politically made disaster will not be easy because our credit will be ruined, so who will back our currency. Interest rates will be sky high and commerce as we once knew it will be destroyed. One might even consider the choice to not raise the debt limit as an act of treason .
Every Iowan will be hurt greatly. The very core of Republican voters will be crushed in such a scenario. This is no longer an esoteric exercise. As we get closer and closer to the deadline impacts such as markets crashing will begin to start. This is not a game. You are dealing with the very life of every American and maybe every life in the world.
Social security does not add to the debt and the major problem with Medicare could be easily fixed by ending the giveaway to the drug companies on senior drugs. These items should not be bargaining chips.
It is as if your party has forgotten that your job is to govern, not impose ideology.
Senator, you have the power to make a huge difference in this debate. You have a duty to the citizens of Iowa and the United States to stop the ravages of what a failure to raise the debt limit would do long before they begin. Now is the time to use your power and wisdom and avert disaster. You owe it to your country and your progeny. You are one of the few in position to make such a huge difference. Please, please, sir, do what you can to avoid this avoidable disaster.
Shameful, disgraceful, sad. Whatever you want to call it, the senators on this list need to be thrown out of office for being the corporate-owned scammers they are, masquerading as representatives of the people.
As Iowans, we are responsible for the way our representatives in congress vote. We elect them and send them to Washington to cast votes for and against policies that have an effect on people’s lives. Grassley (and his fellow Republicans– not a single Democrat) voted against the United Nations adopting global guideline recommendations for treatment of people with disabilities.
See Paul Deaton’s post yesterday for Grassley’s statement.
Here are the 7 Republicans who voted Yea
“Don’t speak to me about your religion; 1st show it to me in how you treat other people. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all her children. Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live & give.”
Pat Robertson maybe? How about Mitt Romney? Or someone from the evangelical community such as Tony Perkins? No, the answer is Newark Mayor Cory Booker, most recently noted for literally risking his life to save his neighbor from a fire.
On the other Hand:
“A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private. So to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person?
To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society of the principal of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good. By not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities.
Those principles are very very important, and the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life. Help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, twisting Catholic social doctrine to justify shredding the safety net for the poor and eliminate things like food stamps.
Once Republicans did care:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road. the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
Spoken by President Eisenhower in 1953.
Note that Ryan’s budget also expands military spending while cutting aid for the poor.
Austerity drives the UK to round 2 recession
Keynesian economics was once considered to be the go to concept to deal with recessions and depressions. The concepts are fairly simple. When the economy slides into a recession, governments make up for declining jobs by employing people and getting money into circulation. Now the go to concept is AUSTERITY! Keynesian economics worked well for decades. Just out of the chute, Austerity doesn’t seem to be working very well. PM David Cameron appears to be married to Austerity to end the recession in Britain. So far, Austerity is doing what most people thought it would do – making the recession worse.
Who would have thought it?
Grassley once again shows he hates women. (VAWA re-authorization)
Two years ago Iowans had the choice to send a liberal woman to the senate or return Chuck Grassley. One of the issues that Roxanne Conlin brought up was Grassley’s voting record on women. Well she wasn’t lying. Grassley once again put Iowa on the map of backward states with his opposition to the re-authorization Violence Against Women Act.
This is a bill that was near unanimous when first passed and also near unanimous when it was reauthorized twice. Now Grassley is leading the opposition as once again the Republican Party declares women not to be full citizens of the United States.
Can we fire Senators? Maybe Romney could fire him? Romney likes to fire people.
I hate it when Republican insane talking points become all a person hears about on radio and TV. But like many who will read this, I have several relationships with women – my wife, my daughters, many friends and relatives are women. This most recent controversy is truly, truly insane. But it does fold in nicely with the Republican War On Women. This war has been going on for a long while, but as the move to the fringe increases, the intensity of the war also increases.
Among the many things that make me want to puke over the whole controversy on birth control pills being covered by health insurance through a person’s place of employment is that the Catholic Church is carrying the water for the Republican Party. For some stupid reason, I was taught that churches were to keep their noses out of secular business and in turn they would not be taxed. They have never been taxed, but damn near every church in this country sticks its nose into secular business.
Considering that the Catholic Church already offers reproductive services, including pills, through health care benefits at most of their businesses (hospitals, schools, universities) and considering that most Catholic women already use or have used the pill, isn’t the Catholic Church a huge hypocrite? It is too bad that no one will even speak of repealing their tax exemptions that they seem to want to forfeit.
This week has been quite the eye opener in the Republican Party’s War On Women. The week started with the attack on Planned Parenthood by the board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation led by Republican activist Karen Handel and Nancy Brinker. Attacking Planned Parenthood also attacks millions of women, especially poor women, for whom Planned Parenthood is their reproductive health provider.
Then, of course, this attack on birth control came out of the blue. Using the Catholic Church as a surrogate, which is shameful, Republicans are trying to once more control women’s reproductive health and thus keep women “under control.” Claiming this is a religious freedom question is obviously bogus, as the Catholic Church already defies that logic.
Here are the lessons I have learned from this situation:
1) Settling for the odd compromise of a health care bill is going to come back and haunt Democrats. We still need to work toward Universal Health Care and nothing less. Health Care must be severed from the work place and from insurance companies, else there will never be consistent health care in this country and it will always be open for judicial interpretation and games played by doctors, insurance companies and workplaces
2) It is about time that some politicians with guts stand up to say to the churches of this country “If you want to keep your tax exemptions keep your nose out of state affairs.” And then back it up with laws that will actually tax churches if they cross lines. Ever since the Reagan revolution decided that they could get evangelical votes by playing to the religious, the lines have become more and more blurred between church and state. If they want a voice in policy, pony up for the upkeep.
3) It is time for women, especially Republican women to stand up and say “Stop this insane war on women.” Through the years of the alliance of evangelicals and Republicans, they have shrunk available reproductive health care in state after state to the point where poor women have no access to reproductive care. This is wrong. Believe it or not, women are humans also and as such deserve to have medical services available to them and for them in a “free” country. For those who believe in “market” economics, I think one can make the case that there is a huge market for women’s reproductive services.
One thing I have fought for all my life is that my daughters be treated equally with men. For a long time the fight was for economic equality. Now that is still an issue and access to all medical care has been added.
Meanwhile, Chuck Grassley does his part in the War on Women as he helps cut funds for the Violence Against Women Act Reathorization. This act has been reauthorized by voice vote for 2 decades. But our Chuck says “No!”