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Charles Grassley

Grassley, Ernst Proudly Vote Stupid

Climate change? You got a campaign contribution?

Climate change? You got a campaign contribution?

Republicans vote to deny climate change caused by human activity.

In a little reported amendment offered by Sen. Brian Schatz (D- Hawaii) our nation’s senators voted on whether climate change was caused by human activity.

This has been settled science for a couple of decades with the exception of some highly bribed scientists. Seems like for most people in the US that deny climate change has any connection to human activity, you can find a paycheck written to them by one of the Koch brothers or someone else in the oil business.

So here are a couple of America’s top decision makers who occasionally have to make decisions based on some understanding of facts. Facts being things that are demonstrably true. In this case, facts that have been proven over and over and over. Scientific facts are facts which allow us to not only show how they were true based on experience, but can also be the basis for predictions of what will come.

Climate change science has allowed us to predict with some amount of accuracy the rise in temperatures on earth and the disruption it will cause. These predictions are currently starting to come true and the forecast for what is to come is frightening.

So Grassley and Ernst are 2% of one of the most powerful groups in the world that is tasked with, among other things, dealing with climate change and its effects. AND THEY DENY IT IS HAPPENING AND DENY THE SCIENCE. They proudly vote to deny the science, to deny facts. Their denial only serves to make consequences of climate change worse as the US continues to bury its head in the sand – pushed in there by Republicans who only serve their donors and ignore the general good.

We knew Joni Ernst was bought lock, stock and barrel by the Koch brothers. No one ever tried to hide that.

Whatever Grassley’s motivation for voting to loudly proclaim his stupidity it is a more than sufficient reason for Iowans to loudly proclaim that we need a senator who is grounded in reality. Climate change will soon enough claim the corn and soybean industries in Iowa as temperatures become to hot to grow those plants here. Now is the time to remove Grassley and get started on turning climate change around.

You don’t need to worry about Chuck by the way. He has done plenty of favors for his “campaign contributors” that they will make sure he is taken care of.

joni ernst the perfect Koch investment

The Big Short: A Warning

We were finally able to take a little time to see the recently released movie “The Big Short.” As most folks already know this film follows the few people that realized early on that the national and world economy was based on the very shaky grounds of mortgage based securities where the mortgages were often never based on sound loan practices. These were more commonly known as toxic mortgages. At that time this is what was undergirding the economy. The rare folks that realized the situation were then able to place a type of bet – known as a short – that the economy would fail.

The movie ends well before the full scope of the crash becomes apparent. But we all remember what happened. Who can forget the Bush administration essentially going absent even before the election of 2008? Who can forget that the very day following the election the nation almost as a whole looked to the president-elect, fully 2 months from taking office, to start fixing the problems? Who can forget the Bush administration putting whatever roadblocks they could in the path of the new president?

Who can forget the Republican obstruction in forging a stimulus? Due to that obstruction the stimulus that was finally passed was nowhere the size nor the scope that was needed for the crisis at hand. One of the leaders of that Republican obstruction was Chuck Grassley. Following their success in redirecting the stimulus, Republicans were able to then thwart any real legislation against the casino that Wall Street has become. Republicans were also able to take most of the teeth out of legislation controlling banking . The weakened Dodd-Frank bill that was meant control banks has then been further eviscerated by court decisions and resistance.

Thanks in great degree to Republican obstruction, while our economy looks strong on the outside cracks still exist that could let the dam burst

As for one of the stars of the Republican obstruction that has left our economy on shaky grounds, our own Chuck Grassley, he is still burnishing his reputation as Mr. Obstruction for the party of Obstruction. Chuck is now in the business of stopping the State Department from functioning and stopping as many nominees to federal courts. Appointments to the courts are at a 50 year low and show no signs of getting any better. In fact, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that week that even the trickle of confirmations is likely to totally dry up.

Grassley’s campaign slogan this year should be “I won’t do a damn thing and will wreck things that have been done.”

If you can, take a little time to see “The Big Short.” It may rekindle some bad memories, but America must never forget how Wall Street and the banksters were able to push the world to the brink of economic collapse over their greed!

Grassley, GOP Criticized Despite Restrepo Senate Confirmation

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

Justice delayed is justice denied.

People for the American Way (PFAW) Statement on Senate Confirmation of Luis Restrepo

Today, more than a year after being nominated by President Obama, Judge Luis Restrepo was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Today’s vote followed months of needless delays by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, assisted by Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley.

“During the long wait for Judge Restrepo’s confirmation, yet another vacancy has opened up on the Third Circuit,” said Baker. “If Republicans decide to start caring about the ordinary people they purport to represent, moving expeditiously to fill that vacancy, among others, would be a reasonable place to start.”

“Americans of every stripe should be glad that Judge Restrepo was confirmed today. He will be a true asset to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. But Senate Republicans should be embarrassed about how they’ve played politics with the courts for months on end,” said People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker.

Judge Restrepo was nominated with bipartisan support from his home state senators, but at every turn Republicans delayed and dragged their feet, saying one thing and doing another. Not a single senator raised any concerns about Judge Restrepo’s fitness for the bench—this was anti-Obama politics plain and simple. If Americans need another example of who’s causing gridlock in Washington, the expanse of time that it took us to get to this vote is a perfect example.

Upon today’s vote, Restrepo becomes the second Latino judge ever to serve on the Third Circuit and the first from Pennsylvania.

Today’s vote comes during a period of historic obstruction of judicial nominees in the Senate. Since Mitch McConnell became majority leader in January 2014, the number of current circuit and district court vacancies has climbed from 40 to 71 today, a nearly 80% increase. Despite Restrepo’s confirmation, the current Senate’s confirmation rate remains far behind that of Democrats who controlled the body during the last two years of President Bush’s term eight years ago.

Grassley Playing Politics With Federal Judge Confirmations

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

Action Alert from Credo and Daily Kos

In 2014, Republicans in the Senate blocked confirmation votes on 22 judicial nominations that they later voted unanimously to confirm, wasting days of legislative time. This year alone, the Senate has confirmed just six judges — the slowest pace in over 60 years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to prove that he can run a functional Senate, but it looks like obstructionism as usual. Republican Senators are not recommending nominees to President Obama for vacancies in their states. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley, known for his obstructionism when he was in the minority, is slow-walking current nominees through his committee. And McConnell is not scheduling votes for nominees who do finally make it through Grassley’s committee.

Sign the petition from CREDO and Daily Kos to Republican Senators: Stop playing politics and get federal judges confirmed.

We depend on the federal courts to protect civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights, and the environment. But right now the courts can’t do their job because Senate Republicans are stalling, obstructing, and running down the clock until 2017, when they hope a Republican president will appoint more conservative judges.

Filling vacancies while President Obama is in office is our best chance of getting judges who will stand up for progressive values on the federal bench.

Sign the petition from CREDO and Daily Kos

It’s time for the Senate to nominate and confirm judges in a timely manner, not play politics with the justice system. Sign today to urge them to act.

McConnell: We Will Do Nothing Next Year

not working for most Iowans

not working for most Iowans

Grassley Expected To Do Nothing Next Year Either

From Dailykos:

“Don’t expect much from Congress in 2016. Don’t take it from me. Take it from the Republicans who control what Congress does: Don’t expect much. They have
their reasons:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) says he wants to continue finding agreements where he can, but he is making clear the chamber’s agenda will be driven partly by his members’ political needs.

“What we decide to allocate floor time to in the Senate, to be quite candid with you, is going to be to some extent…dictated by concerns I have about places like New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and Ohio and Wisconsin and Illinois,” Mr. McConnell said in an interview Thursday, referring to states with competitive Senate races.

At least he’s honest. Not that we can expect most reporters to remember this quote when McConnell and the Senate Republicans bring up nakedly partisan bills intended to boost the chances of those Republican senators facing tough races, or when talking about why Congress is so useless.

Of course, if you were expecting a lot from Congress in 2016, I have some bad news about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.”

With Chuck Grassley up for re-election next year Iowans should look forward to Grassley’s office sending out a few press releases on how vigorous Grassley is at 83. We can expected some time around the beginning of the campaign next summer that Grassley will go after some charity or other hobgoblin that he will accuse of bilking the public. This will be good for a couple weeks of fawning headlines in Iowa’s compliant press.

We can also expect Grassley to continue clogging up the judicial system by using his position as chair of the Senate Judicial Committee to continue his refusal to schedule any hearings for Obama appointees. Why? Because Obama, dammit. Can’t let Obama win anything! He will also do nothing to schedule hearings for key personnel at the State Department at a time when diplomacy is critical to world peace.

Thus our Chuck will look statesman like as he does nothing and we pay him $174,000 a year.

Always remember, in this age of electronic media perception is reality and the appearance of doing something often trumps actually doing work.

Ernst, Grassley Vote To Take Away Health Care

joni ernst the perfect Koch investment

not working for most Iowans

not working for most Iowans

Also vote to gut Planned Parenthood

On a Senate vote using the reconciliation process to push a very bad Republican budget bill with amendments to dismantle the ACA (aka Obamacare) and to defund Planned Parenthood, Iowa’s two current Republican senators stood four square with their party and against the wishes of Iowans as they voted for the bill.

Were the President to sign this bill (very unlikely) some 17 million Americans could lose their health care and some 10 million women would be without affordable health services from Planned Parenthood.

Once again our Republican senators ignore the will of Iowans and vote for the interests of their wealthy donors and the extremist fringe elements of their party.

No Republican has yet to offer any replacement for the ACA nor has any offered any realistic alternatives for the services that Planned Parenthood offers women.

planned parentood attack

Random Thoughts At Thanksgiving

Reigning turkey of the year

Reigning turkey of the year

Letting the old mind idle for the holiday:

Terry Branstad panders once again
Let’s face it Iowans, this guy is a far right winger; he just sounds better than most when he does things like this: After joining in the hate and fear crowd last week, Branstad Monday said maybe he’d let some Syrian refugees into Iowa if that gawd awful US House SAFE Act became law knowing full well it never will. See, Branstad once again sounds almost rational tying his pretense at being rational to something that he know will never happen. Refugees from previous disasters should be giving thanks that today’s Republicans weren’t in charge when their families were in need of help.

Grassley is about the ultimate in partisan politics
Good Old Chuck (and I do mean old) is doing everything he can to stop our government from functioning by stalling any appointments to both the State Department and the federal judiciary. That is in using his capacity as as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee for politics to keep Hillary Clinton from being president. Who can forget his role in the Affordable Care Act where he fought hard to keep poor Americans from getting health care. Republicans love their phrase “run the government like a business.” If you were a share holder in a business where a group of vice presidents is working hard to undermine the business and set it up for a hostile takeover rather than making the business healthy, what would you do? As a citizen, you are the Board of Directors for the government. Will you vote to retain a vice-president (Senator) who at every turn tries to undermine the operation and cause the business of the people to be done?

Racism: Trump forges back to the 50s?
America’s original sin is slavery. The enslavement of people of color needed justification by proving that the enslaved were not human in any aspect. This is the basis of racism. Legally, enslavement ended following the Civil War and the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. In reality enslavement through racism has been a part of the American social structure since the Civil War. America was making some strides to combat racism, but the election of a black president and the campaign to delegitimize him as a “real” president once again unleashed the worst demons of racism.

Now Donald Trump’s campaign seems to be capitalizing on racism’s re-emergence as he demagogues, and violent incidents against minorities are linked to his campaign. Over the weekend a person from Black Lives Matter was assaulted as Trump railed against Muslims. Another in a growing list of incidents that follow the Trump campaign.

Somehow, Trump leads and has led Iowa polls from the start. Says buckets full about today’s Iowa Republican Party.

Is it a conspiracy to make Rubio look good?
Trump’s racist demogoguery, Carson’s goofiness, Fiorina’s lies, Bush’s total incompetence, Cruz’s extremism, Kasich’s blandness – are the Republican candidates each in their own way trying to look so bad that eventually the only one that looks rational by comparison will be Marco Rubio? Is it some kind of a conspiracy to make a really bad candidate in Rubio look good because he isn’t as totally obnoxious as the others? The corporate media then can build a myth around Rubio not being nuts and therefore presidential material. This very low standard for a presidential candidate that is Republican will still get that candidate 45% minimum of the vote in 2016.

Charlie Pierce: The Family Leader picks a candidate
Charlie Pierce should be required reading. For everyone. Last week he attended the public portion of the right wing religious group that seems to think it is God’s political representative in Iowa. Republican candidate of course since as we all know Democrats all worship Satan. Here is an excerpt:

There was unction in the extreme, and no little sanctimony, and the now very familiar recitation of the dystopian landscape created by eight years of the Obama Administration and of the nearly unstoppable acceleration of the handbasket taking the country to hell. The Savior was summoned on a number of occasions, not all of them relevant to his gospel mission on Earth. But the real meat on the Thanksgiving table got served up when Luntz wrenched the discussion away from sacred platitudes and into the realm of national security and foreign affairs. The clouds of incense were dispersed. The preacher masks all dropped. To a person, the seven Republican candidates came right up to the edge of accusing the president of the United States of treason and of being in sympathy with the murderers in France and in Mali. Right up to the edge, they all walked. Then they winked and took baby steps back, but everybody in the hall, all of the good Christians who’d come out in the snow, got the message.

They all signed onto the conservative talking point with the dumbest ass of all–that the president refuses to say the magic words, “radical Islamic extremism.” (All of them were unanimous that “political correctness” was now not merely a nuisance, but a clear and present danger to national security.) Asked if Secretary of State John Kerry should resign over remarks he had made the other day comparing the attacks in Paris to the murders at Charlie Hebdo, Mike Huckabee replied, “I’d like Barack Obama to resign if he’s not going to protect Americans, but rather respect Islam.” Carson called the president an “armchair quarterback who is interfering tremendously” with the military in its efforts to roll back Daesh. After warning us of the rising Islamic caliphate, Santorum said, “We have a president who won’t even call ISIS ‘Islamic.’ Nor will he even identify them as a state. This is delusional, and it’s costing lives.”

This is gamey, awful stuff, reminiscent of the charges back in the 1950s that Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist dupe. But this kind of thing is thoroughly mainstreamed now, so much so that they don’t even have to say it outright any more. It’s been a long time since it was considered cricket to discuss a sitting president in terms like this in a political campaign but, as has been the case since 2009, the usual rules do not apply to this president, and this campaign is nowhere near as ugly as it’s going to get. It changed over the last two weeks, and all of the well-dressed friends of Jesus at the Thanksgiving table there on stage have declared themselves along for the whole damn ride.

My thought for this week.
I would echo what Bernie Sanders called for many months ago. Early debates should not be separated by parties. All candidates should be put on a stage together so we could see early on the differences between the parties and the issues. Right now the stench coming from the Republican Party as it reaches out for the most extreme voters and the richest billionaires is overwhelming.

Grassley: Blocking Foreign Service Nominees In Time Of Crisis

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

As the Republican Party once again reacts to terrorist bombings with loud proclamations of love of country and calls to do nearly anything to protest the citizens when we turn the rock over we see what Republicans are really doing beneath the surface. And what they are really doing is everything they can to undermine the Obama administration. This should hardly be news since this has been their only basic mission since a secret meeting declared congressional war on the Obama administration on Jan. 20th, 2009.

Who can forget Mitch McConnell’s statement that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

So while declaring themselves patriotic to the hilt, the congressional Republican Party true priorities continue to be opposing Obama at every turn. One of the leaders in this war on Obama has been our own Chuck Grassley. Yep old fumbling, bumbling Chuck with his Iowa twang has been a one man wrecking ball on Obama nominees. We have chronicled Grassley’s obstruction on blogforiowa many times including this recent post

Now with the world on heightened alert and diplomacy at a premium with friend and foe alike, Chuck Grassley uses his lofty seniority and committee assignments to block high ranking nominees to the State Department.

But the Iowa Republican also added a hold on a top State Department nominee, telling leadership that he intends to block Thomas Shannon’s nomination to be the under secretary of political affairs.

Grassley is also continuing his hold on Brian James Egan’s nomination to be a legal adviser for the department, as well as David Malcolm Robinson’s nomination to be assistant secretary for conflict and stabilization operations and coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization.

Grassley has also come under fire from Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who accused the Iowa Republican of wasting taxpayer money trying to bring down Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Why are nonpartisan public service positions being used as political pawns, especially if they are being blocked just because Senator Grassley doesn’t want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States?” the Nevada Democrat asked from the Senate floor. “How much money will Republicans in Congress waste to try to bring down Hillary Clinton? We don’t know all the numbers.”

Duly note that Grassley had 22 nominees under hold, but he lifted 20 when the light was shined on his obstruction by the Paris bombings. It is a true shame that tragedies such as that are what it takes to make Grassley do his job.

Well, priorities are priorities and playing politics with the State Department to make a Democratic administration look bad and to thwart the election of another Democrat is all in a day’s work for Grassley.

Will Iowans remember Grassley’s obstruction a year from now and elect a senator with the good of the state and the country in mind?

Real Scares For Halloween

happy halloween

Who could pass up the opportunity to post a column on things to be truly scared of Halloween? Not me for sure!

stop climate change denial
Earth’s survival
We are crapping badly in the only nest we have and refuse to clean it up! Also known as climate change. Reality is hard for those who believe that some magic man in the sky is going to save us from our own filthy habits. We only have so much water, so much oxygen, so much diversity of life and so much of a shield from our own sun. We are in the process of destroying all those yet many among us think nothing is wrong. Humans have some choices – they can start cleaning up their mess, find a new planet to move to really quickly or evolve as no species has before them.

Income and wealth inequality.
So what if all the earth’s wealth ends up in a few hands? Something like 80 individuals own over half of the earth’s wealth. But humans have an innate sense of fair play and at some point there will be a cataclysmic change to bring things back into line. Or we could do it through processes we have set up already, peacefully.

reagan on guns
Gun violence
Did you ever think that your neighbor may be the guy with a cache of guns and an axe to grind? Or maybe even closer to home maybe it is your spouse. But mechanisms for helping to defuse the stresses that could cause someone to go over the edge and use their guns have been pretty much destroyed in our society. Mental health screenings, gun registrations, counseling and other societal interventions have been defunded and destroyed leaving individuals on their own to act out on their problems. Add the NRA in its capacity as dealer of weapons and it is a toxic soup.

fox socialist threat
Destroying Social Safety Nets
Republicans are set to vote to destroy Obamacare once more next week or so. Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance are all in their sights. Since they currently own two houses of congress all they need is to add the presidency and the long held wish of destroying these programs can be achieved. Sure it may end of killing lots of people but that is the price of regressing to a fantasy world that never existed. Republicans have greatly damaged the safety net over the past 3 decades. One more chance and they may be able to finally do it in.

protect voting rights
Rigged elections
But wait you say, Republicans could lose congress next year. They could, but not without doing everything they could to rig the elections in their favor. Throwing voters off the rolls who are valid voters across the country, setting up electronic voting machines across the country that can be easily hacked and gerrymandering districts such that Democrats can never win a majority in the US House nor many state houses. Perverting the system like this has led to some strange election results such as in Kansas and Kentucky last year.

Cheaper to fix while they are still up

Cheaper to fix while they are still up

Failing infrastructure
Ever drive over a bridge and wonder if it could collapse underneath you? If you don’t you may want to start thinking about it. Our predecessors built some great cities with sewer and water and electric and transportation systems. They also built in the necessary funding to keep it maintained at that time. But they did think that we would be smart enough to also follow their lead and maintain and replace as needed as a society. However our personal greed and prejudices have let that great work descend into a pit of problems that actually poses daily danger to Americans. Or maybe you have worried about our way overtaxed air traffic system might just fail someday when you are on a trip?

go vote
At the base of all the scary stuff in our country is the apathy of our citizens. By not showing up to vote they allow the wealthy to buy politicians, they allow officials to be elected that will hand the running of our local state and national governments over to those who work only to better the lives of those who fund their campaigns. Apathy gives us politicians like Joni Ernst who owes much of her campaign funds to the Koch Brothers and their subsidiaries. We get politicians like Chuck Grassley who is owned by finance and insurance companies. He did all he could to kill Obamacare and now is stalling all judicial appointments. We get politicians like Terry Branstad who has singlehandedly given away our tax dollars to Orascom and paid off political donors with huge contracts to run our Medicaid program.

Apathy, it’s the worst.

There are lots of monsters in our current political system and society. We can ignore them and they will eat us. or we can put up a fight.

Grassley’s Obstruction Of Judicial Nominees Draws Criticism

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

Action Alert from Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa

TODAY: Why Courts Matter Iowa to hold weekly demonstrations highlighting Senator Grassley’s obstruction of judicial nominees

#Freethe21 will focus on the 21 judicial nominees held up by Senator Grassley in the Judiciary Committee

Des Moines, Iowa — Today at 12:00 PM the Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition will hold the first in a series of demonstrations outside Senator Grassley’s office in downtown Des Moines, to oppose his historic levels of obstruction as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Twenty one nominees are being held up by Senator Grassley in the Judiciary Committee, and he has the authority to stop the obstruction and move them forward. Why Courts Matter Iowa will hold demonstrations every Wednesday at Noon until Thanksgiving in order to highlight the importance of moving these nominations forward.

WHO: Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition

Chris Schwartz, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa

Keenan Crow, One Iowa

Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa

WHAT: Demonstration opposing Senator Grassley’s obstruction of judicial nominees

Today’s demonstration: ‘No Budging in Line’ — Senator Grassley promised to hear nominees by the order in which they were submitted. His committee hearing today for two Iowa nominees breaks that promise.

WHEN: TODAY, Wednesday, October 21, at 12:00 PM

WHERE: Outside the office of Senator Chuck Grassley, 210 Walnut Street, Des Moines, Iowa

The Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition is focused on ensuring that the federal judiciary is representative of America’s diverse population and ending the judicial vacancy crisis so that every American can have his or her day in court. Why Courts Matter Iowa is affiliated with the Why Courts Matter coalition, and is led by Iowa Citizen Action Network, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa, Progress Iowa, and One Iowa. For more information visit