Below is a letter to the editor from Muscatine County Democratic chair, Don Paulsen
Forty-seven Republican U.S. Senators, including Iowa’s Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, have shamefully and illegally tried to sabotage negotiations between the United States and Iran. The New York Daily News goes so far as to call them traitors. It’s pretty clear they have violated the Logan Act, which reads as follows-
“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or any officer thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” (from Lestatdelc, Daily Kos, 3/10/15)
Indépendant U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders made this statement, “It appears that for most of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, a war if Afghanistan and a war in Iraq were not enough. They now apparently want a war in Iran as well. President Obama is working with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China to negotiate a peaceful means to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. These negotiations must be allowed to continue and, hopefully, will succeed. It is an outrage that my Republican colleagues are trying to sabotage that effort.”
No one wants Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Perhaps if the Israelis would allow international inspectors into their facility at Dimona the world would know how many nuclear bombs the Israelis have. That would certainly give any nation in the Middle East pause. Mutually Assured Destruction is still a valid point.
As for Grassley and Ernst, please resign immediately.
Ed. note – if you have never been outraged, you should be now. Will you do something?
Slightly over 60 days in office for one of our senators, a bit under half a century for our other senator. But there doesn’t seem to be a lick of sense between them at the moment.
Joni was never elected on her platform. As a matter of fact, you could easily say that most Iowans that voted for her probably had no idea where she stood on anything. She claimed she favored Social Security, but you had to dig down to find that what she favored was giving Social Security to the Wall Street gamblers. Outside of that she mouthed a few platitudes and avoided questioners like they had bubonic plague. She then sat back and let the Billionaire’s PACs negatively portray a very good man named Bruce Braley, and smiled all the way to the senate knowing full well that she had a huge debt to repay.
And Chuck? He is decades past being a reasonable senator. Chuck stuck his thumb up in the air around 1995 (probably earlier) and realized that doing whatever those with the money wanted would keep him well supplied with campaign cash. More importantly Chuck realized that taking orders kept away any challengers from his right. Thus in 2009 and 2010 when Americans of all stripe were begging, begging, begging their government to please let them have access to health care without having to go bankrupt, as if on orders, Chuck inserted himself smack in the middle doing all he could to deny medical care to Iowans and Americans. We elected him again anyway.
The supposed blank slate named Joni made sure to get her creeds up to snuff for her billionaire owners by coming out early to kill the ACA and replace it with some fanciful named Republican proposals that would send medical care in this country back to the 1800s. Her owners must be proud.
Then John Boehner sticks his nose into foreign policy by inviting the head of a foreign state, Bibi Netanyahu, to literally use the government of the United States as a token in his own re-election campaign. To say this was unprecedented and a total disrespect to the office of the president is being mild. Probably the worst single foreign policy insult in American history. But Joni and Chuck joined in because they know that their comfortable senate job depends on pleasing the billionaires. So, like every Republican in congress they fell right in line to be used like a harlot by Netanyahu.
Then Monday morning brings us the incredible letter signed by 47 Republicans that just supplanted the Netanyahu appearance as the greatest insult to a sitting president ever. Among the 47 signatures were those of our own potential teasers, Joni and Chuck.
How can we tell them just how proud we are? In 227 years as a republic we have never seen half of the senate sign a letter that borders on, or maybe crosses the line of treason. We have a new low in American politics and certainly in Iowa politics. Surely none here can remember any of our senators previously signing a treasonous letter.
There is just one reward for such actions. It is long past time for Iowans to stand up to Grassley and his disdain for Iowans and say with their vote in 2016 “Chuck, consorting with the enemy really crossed the line.” And we need to repeat it in 2020 with Joni.
Let’s add another major problem for Joni. As an active member of the military, she appears to have stepped way over the line that is allowed in the military. I know little of military law and will not pretend to. But the internet does have some very smart cookies out there. 8ackgr0und N015e at dailykos writes a rather intriguing diary about the hot water Joni may have gotten herself into. Please check the diary out yourselves, but here is the nut of the matter:
Chapter 29B.85 of the Iowa State Code of Military Justice.
29B.85 CONTEMPT TOWARD OFFICIALS.
Any person subject to this code who uses contemptuous words against the president, the governor, or the governor of any other state, territory, commonwealth, or possession in which that person may be serving, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Iowans deserve some very serious explanations. Now!
My eye caught the name “Grassley” in the title of this diary on dailykos.com by Joan McCarter. So I peeked in and was astonished to see a former Grassley staffer actually telling the truth about the effects of the SCOTUS case of King v Burwell. The case is expected to be heard next month with a decision announced in late June. There are some 70,000 fellow Iowans who could immediately lose health care if SCOTUS decides against the ACA. Many, many more will lose insurance or be priced out of the market in the after shocks.
Here is the diary. I recommend you go to the link to read the full article by Julie Appleby . We also recommend reading the 30 or so comments on the diary on dailykos.
“Sen. Chuck Grassley was at the heart of the development of Obamacare, and one of his key staff members from that time has a dire warning about what the Supreme Court might do to gut the law.
“The doomsday scenario could materialize, and it does impact everyone,” said lawyer Christopher Condeluci, who worked for Iowa Republican Charles Grassley on the Senate Finance Committee staff during the law’s drafting. Those affected would include individuals receiving subsidies and those paying the full cost of their plans in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey that use the federal exchange.
What’s that doomsday scenario, exactly:
Millions of consumers would likely be unable to afford their policies without subsidies.
Most insurers could not drop plans without giving one to three months’ notice. But the companies remaining in the market would likely seek sharp premium increases for the next year, anticipating that more of the sickest consumers would hold onto their plans. […]
“It’s not the subsidy market that will fall apart, it’s the whole market” for everyone who doesn’t get job-based insurance coverage, said Robert Laszewski, an insurance industry consultant who is no fan of the health law. “There will be millions of Republicans who are not subsidy-eligible who are also going to get screwed.”
Again, that’s another Republican who doesn’t like the law and sees impending doom for millions. Millions of Republicans. Who will be pissed at their elected Republican leaders for allowing this to happen.”
Remember that about a month ago when asked about King v Burwell, Senator Grassley said that the lawsuit was ridiculous.
During the run-up to the Nov. 18 vote on S-2280, a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, I messaged Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley, asking them to vote no. Harkin voted no, Grassley yes.
Senator Grassley sent along an explanation of his vote, which is pasted below. As he indicated, the motion failed to pass the Senate. What this letter doesn’t say is that I asked him to vote no, without any other comment. I have been around politics too long to believe that logic and rational thinking have much to do with why a U.S. Senator votes a certain way.
The framing of Grassley’s response points out the challenges opponents of the pipeline will have once the 114th Congress convenes. His arguments are rational in their way, if misguided.
It is hard to disagree with building a pipeline per se. There are many pipelines in the world, and they are a mode of transportation that serves the oil and natural gas industry, which in turn supports political stability. As Grassley pointed out, building pipelines creates jobs.
This is not a partisan issue. In Hillary Clinton’s secretary of state memoir, she mentions building pipelines several times, always as a solution to energy problems which in turn increases political stability around the globe. It will be hard to win the argument against Keystone XL because of the existential fact of it being a pipeline.
If oil prices continue to decline, the economic conditions which made the Tar Sands viable will erode. The reasons for declining oil prices are complex, but it boils down to a combination of increased U.S. shale oil production, lack of willingness by OPEC to curb production, and our society’s addiction to fossil fuels. It seems unlikely that the oil and gas industry will allow prices to get too low, and we are not in control here, except for our personal energy choices.
Something’s got to give to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Plugging an electric car into our household grid is not an answer if all we do is switch our energy source from gasoline to coal and nuclear, both of which have their own risks to human health. Grassley doesn’t directly mention decreasing reliance on fossil fuels as an issue in his response.
The argument about what happens to the oil in Texas is unresolved, despite Grassley’s assertion otherwise. The issue with refining, in light of increased U.S. oil production, is one of limited capacity. It has been a while since I was familiar with refining operations, but I suspect refineries are still running every minute they can to keep up with demand.
Could the refineries re-tool to handle Tar Sands oil? Yes, definitely. Is there an economic reason to do so when there is plenty of Middle East oil entering the Gulf of Mexico at a low price? Probably not in the short term, and there appears to be little interest in increasing refining capacity in light of the current regulatory environment. Going forward, one would expect the Tar Sands crude oil to be exported the way U.S. light sweet crude currently is—because the refineries are already doing all they can to keep up with imports.
Grassley’s right to say we should decrease our reliance on imported oil. The simple fact is there is not enough oil being produced in North America to meet U.S. needs, and as I mentioned, there are economic constraints to refining capacity. What is missing is affirmation of the need to decrease use of fossil fuels, and that’s more the problem with the response.
The trouble for opponents of Keystone XL is that Grassley takes apart many of their arguments in a way that will build political support for a likely re-consideration of the project in 2017, if not in 2015. It is important to read his response and learn from it… and hope the climate doesn’t reach the tipping point while we dance around what most needs doing: reducing and eliminating our reliance on fossil and nuclear fuels.
Charles E. Grassley
December 4, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. As your Senator, it is important for me to hear from you.
I appreciate knowing your concerns regarding the crude oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska called the Keystone XL pipeline. On November 18, 2014, the Senate held debate and voted on S. 2280, a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. I was an original cosponsor of this bill and supported its passage. However, the bill failed by a final vote of 59-41, one vote short of the 60 votes necessary for it to pass the Senate.
The pipeline would supply more than 800,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude oil to U.S. refineries and help to counteract both insufficient domestic oil supplies in the United States and reduce dependence on less reliable foreign sources. The Keystone XL pipeline is a $7 billion, 1,700 mile pipeline that would create thousands of private-sector jobs at no cost to American taxpayers.
In 2008, TransCanada applied for a presidential permit from the State Department to construct and operate the pipeline. Due to environmental concerns, the State of Nebraska approved a modified route in January, 2013. Following this modification, the State Department released a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the new presidential permit application. The State Department noted that oil sands development would go ahead regardless of the production of the pipeline by using different pipelines or rail to get to market. The report essentially found that the pipeline would not accelerate greenhouse gas emissions or significantly harm the environment along its route.
After nearly six years of rigorous regulatory review, the State Department issued its fifth environmental review on January 31, 2014. This fifth review reached the same conclusion as earlier reviews. It found that the pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment and is the safest way to transport the oil. It also found that rejection of the pipeline will not affect Canada’s decision to develop these oil resources. The administration had been in the middle of a 90-day review period for federal agencies assessing the State Department’s environmental study when, on April 18, 2014, the State Department announced an indefinite extension of the agency comment period.
Opponents of the Keystone pipeline argue that the pipeline will not increase oil and gas supplies in the United States, rather, that all of the Canadian crude would be sold to world markets. Even President Obama reiterated this claim when he said the pipeline would allow the Canadians to “pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.” However, the Washington Post “Fact Checker” disproved this claim. It noted that the State Department’s final environmental impact statement specifically disputed claims that the oil would pass through the United States and be loaded onto vessels for ultimate sale in foreign markets. It found that the crude oil would almost certainly be refined in the United States, with at least 50 percent of the refined products remaining in the U.S. market. It stated, “market conditions could change, of course, but there is little basis to claim that virtually all of the product, or even a majority, would be exported.”
The energy and economic development benefits of this pipeline are too important to delay any longer. We need an all-of-the-above approach to meet the country’s energy needs and give consumers choice. That means oil, ethanol, electricity from wind, and nuclear power. A pipeline would be safer than transporting oil by rail. Canada will produce this oil with or without U.S. involvement in the shipment. I’d rather work with one of our strongest allies than continue to get oil from the volatile Middle East or Venezuela.
What is needed now in the United States is an increased supply of oil. It is simple economics. If you increase the supply, you decrease the price. We are still relying on a very finite amount of oil. We must increase our own domestic supply of energy while promoting the use of alternative sources of energy at the same time. I will continue to support these goals with your thoughts in mind.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate receiving your comments and urge you to keep in touch.
It is beginning to look like Joni Ernst just wants to be another Sara Palin. In case you forget who Palin is, she is the huge mistake John McCain nearly foisted on the US. Mostly known for being a real buffoon on the campaign trail, Palin is mostly forgotten now except when she says something so outrageous she can’t be ignored.
From Palin we have such golden moments as “mama grizzly”, “lipstick on a pig” and of course who could forget “I read them all” in response to a Katy Couric question on what newspaper she reads. She is constantly calling for the impeachment of President Obama, because, well he must have done something.
In only a few months on the old campaign trail Joni Ernst left her mark big time with her pig castration video. Beyond that some of her campaign ads have a “do you really want to go there?” feel. In one she shows her opponent Bruce Braley saying that Senator Chuck Grassley is a farmer. This may come as a surprise to Joni, but Grassley IS a farmer. Or at least claims he is. In reality Grassley is all politician. But I digress. Saying that calling a man who claims he is a farmer, a farmer is an insult how? Braley did not use “farmer” in a disparaging way, but Ernst surely does. And she is a farmer.
In another ad, she claims Braley missed several committee meetings. This from an elected state senator who could barely find her way to Des Moines last session. Only a small portion of her absences were due to Guard duty; most were due to campaigning. By the way has she ever seen a US House committee meeting? Committees with 50 members may be lucky to have 10 in attendance. If you can’t make it to Des Moines for you state senate job, could we expect any different from her if she is elected to the US senate? Even Republicans have their doubts.
Over the past year, Ernst has called for the impeachment of President Obama. This is now a sentiment that is sending shivers through the spines of Republicans. Ernst has also called for states to nullify federal laws. Maybe she missed it, but that was a settled issue back shortly after the Civil War.
Then last week when she was criticized for going to a fundraiser given by major oil interests said she “didn’t see a problem.” Well, at least we know who she will be working for. I think most Iowans can see a problem.
Just to add to the fun, playing the role of Todd Palin is Ernst’s husband Gail. In June Gail became a news item when his facebook posts concerning quite sexist remarks he made about Hillary Clinton. But other facebook entries make it plain he is on the very extreme right of this country. Makes you wonder if a husband ever influences his wife’s opinions doesn’t it?
Iowa is more than embarrassed enough by the likes of Steve King. Bruce Braley has proven over and over again his concern is about the country as a whole and Iowa in particular. He is beholden to no special interests. Braley’s views are those that most Iowans share.
Clearly his opponent hangs out in the very far right wing of a right wing party. Neither Iowa nor the country needs any more of those who wish to choke government from the inside. Much like Palin, Ernst has already proven we would be much better with her on the outside.
Since I had written a post telling of my fun with the insurance company I was trying to sign up with through the ACA, I thought I would follow up with a short update.
I now have a card and have actually been to a health care provider a couple of times. Like many I have some blood pressure problems. Nothing too dire, but needs attention. Since I will soon be eligible for Medicare, other tests and treatments can be delayed for a bit.
While the ACA has been a tremendous positive for America, based on my recent experience it is still a bit early to trust insurance companies to fully comply with the ACA. I have an option that others don’t have which is to wait for Medicare.
The ACA is definitely a step in the right direction. I remember full well the nights I would lay in bed trying to decide if that pain or this sensation was worth a trip to the doctor. Since my “insurance” at the time had a high deductible plus the old “pre-existing condition” clause, I could pretty much figure that every visit would be on my nickel. Since doctors post no fee schedules, I may as well as just given them my checkbook. It is not as if I could make a guess as to what the fees and other services might cost.
For five years or more I had to endure what may have been warning signs of a heart attack, sprained ankles, a shoulder that was so painful that I would cry and many various ailments just hoping and hoping it was nothing really serious. I am out of that hell now. Now thanks to President Obama, I do not have to lie in bed wondering if I am dying – wondering if I take a chance at bankruptcy to get treatment. I know I am far from alone with what I went through.
Of course I blame the Republican congress and Charles Grassley for the hell I went through unnecessarily. I saw the hearings and I read the stories.
Republicans and in particular Grassley were resolute in stopping bringing our health care system into the modern age. Not just during Obama’s presidency but since the presidency of FDR. For that reason alone I would never vote for any Republican.
What is really sad is that the power behind the Republican party is still fighting hard to return us to those dark days. And they are fighting hard to end Medicare and Medicaid. Why would I ever want someone who hates America’s citizens so much that they would bring back this form of personalized terror to our country.
I truly thank President Obama and Congressmen Loebsack and Braley and Senator Harkin for standing up for us. You can not imagine how much relief I feel every day knowing that if I have a medical problem I do not have to sit in fear and try to decide between dying or going bankrupt. It wasn’t funny folks, it was reality in my life and many, many others for a long time.
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Congressman Loebsack. Thank You, Congressman Braley. Thank you, Senator Harkin. Believe me, it almost makes me cry to be covered for medical finally.
BUT – now we need to improve the ACA. Really, we need single payer. And we need the citizens to call for it. Loudly
* I am feeling in a somewhat snarky mood after spending the best part of the past two weeks trying to get my new health insurance in place. You know if we had single payer and everyone was enrolled then I wouldn’t be going through this. Let me once more thank the insurance industry for putting forth the best arguments to put single payer in and closing the insurance industry.
* Robert Reich: How to deal with low-wage employers (from Facebook) (then stolen from democraticundergroud)
HOW TO DEAL WITH LOW-WAGE EMPLOYERS. I met yesterday with a former executive of a big corporation who had a good idea. Taxpayers spend at least $55 billion a year on benefits (Medicaid, food stamps, etc.) to working people whose employers don’t pay enough to provide them and their families a decent standard of living. So in effect we’re subsidizing these employers – many of which (like Walmart) are large and profitable. His idea was to tax these employers by that amount. It would be easy enough to do since the IRS and the states have the Social Security numbers of all employees who receive these benefits, and can connect them to their employers. Not only would this “lousy-pay” tax be fair to other companies that pay higher wages and don’t get the subsidy. It would also help replenish federal and state budgets. And it would prod these low-paying corporations to raise wages so their employees don’t have to rely on taxpayer-financed benefits.
* I am rather amazed that Chuck Grassley would invoke BIG GOVERNMENT into the propane gas situation. Has he not learned that the invisible hand of the free market will answer the problems? If people die or go broke, then they must not be working hard enough or it was meant to be by God. Chuck is trying real hard to be a Tea Bagger, but just doesn’t seem to quite grasp the concept. Republicans, it is time to primary old Chuck. Heck, they are doing it in Kentucky to old Mitch because he isn’t pure enough.
* OK Canada has gone too far. Yet another direct assault from their weather systems are set to attack the US again this week. We have evidence that they are sending their Alberta Clippers and Canadian Highs across the border to weaken our defenses and soften us up for the eventual invasion. If we can threaten to go to war over some slap in the face 10000 miles away, we cn surely seal our borders against these destructive weather systems. I propose we line our northern border with patriots about 1/4 mile apart from Maine to the Puget Sound to stop these incursions. Republicans, this will be a great chance to serve your country and laugh at those who believe in “climate change.” You get summers off, but winters starting September and last until May.
* My pick for Republican Presidential nominee in 2016
* From bluntandcranky:
“When I was hungry, you cut my food stamps; when thirsty, you allowed my water to be polluted for corporate profit; when I was a stranger, you detained and deported me. When I was naked and vulnerable, without a job or income, you denied me extended unemployment compensation, holding it hostage to a political agenda. When I was ill, you refused to extend Medicaid; when I was in prison, you denied me justice in favor of revenge, and executed me.”
And the righteous replied,”When was it that we saw You hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, ill or in prison?” And He said, “Anything you did to one of these–however humble, poor and powerless–you did to me.”
This was submitted to the Cleveland Plain Dealer by Chester E. Ramey, and was published in their LTTE section on 1/19/14. And a better case against the Republicans cannot be made, in this blogger’s humble opinion.
* Ever wonder how Republicans reproduce? Every time I hear yet another Republican denigrating women and making it sound like sex is by far the worst sin in the world, I just kind of drop my jaw and wonder how do they ever screw up the courage to submit themselves to such an evil action. My best guess is that it must involve much prayer and perhaps some self-flagellation. Even thinking about it gives me the willies.
* The Bieb was all over the news this week. Thus such news had to take some time away from other subjects:
* Snark off and thank you for putting up with me.
KRAUSE: GRASSLEY SPENDS BILLIONS TO SHUT DOWN GOVERNMENT BUT ZERO FOR UNEMPLOYED
Bob Krause, announced candidate for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in 2016, today said that Senator Charles Grassley showed misplaced priorities, when he voted today against the extension of Unemployment Compensation benefits. “Grassley happily spent $24+ billion to shut down the government, but would not pay $6.4 billion to extend unemployment benefits to the insured unemployed that are seeking work,” said Krause.
“Many people say they like Grassley because he does have an “Iowa folksy” gift, but that does not mean that his votes are right for the needs of America,” added Krause.
Krause pointed to the 200,000 veterans across the US that are hurt by this loss of extended unemployment benefits. “In fact,” said Krause, “veterans are 15% of the extended unemployment benefit eligibility pool. Post 9-11 veterans are hit especially hard, and have a 10 percent unemployment rate nationally.
“I predict that there will be an upsurge in homeless veterans and others if this extension is not passed. If that does happen, I hope that you contact Senator Grassley and tell him of the consequences of his vote,” stated Krause.
Krause also projected that another group that will be hurt by this will be older workers that tend to be discriminated against in the hiring process. In fact, here in Iowa, we are well above the national average in people over 45 that are on unemployment compensation.
Paid For by Krause For Iowa, Labor Donated.
PRESS RELEASE: For Release, Tuesday, January 7, 2013
For Particulars, Contact Bob Krause at Krause For Iowa, 515-657-0069, 2127 High Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50312
Email email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
For those who have not heard, Bob Krause has dropped from the governor’s race and become the first announced candidate to oppose current Senator Charles Grassley.
Over the years I have found Bob Krause to be one of the most articulate politicians I have ever met. He can make a very succinct and understandable statement. I run this today not as an endorsement of Krause, but as a fine example of the kind of criticism Grassley richly deserves. We need much more of this. Grassley’s priorities are definitely skewed.