Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
November 2015
« Oct    

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Fight Media Bias


Iowa Rapid Response Action

First responders to biased, imbalanced or factually inaccurate media coverage

Iowans for Better Local TV


FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
FAIR is a national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship

Free Press

News Corpse

Prometheus Radio Project

Radio for People

Save the Internet

Save the News

Charles Grassley

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

Will Grassley And Ernst Dig In Against Sensible Gun Control Measures?

iowans-guns-web-version-jpeg300X300ACTION ALERT from Iowans for Gun Safety.

The Gun Violence Prevention Package introduced in the US Senate on October 8 seeks to close background check loopholes, make background checks better, and shut down the pipeline of illegal guns.

You can bet our US Senators are hearing from pro-gun activists about this legislation. Make sure your voice is heard too. Call on Senator Grassley and Senator Ernst to support the gun safety measures introduced in the Senate on October 8 by fellow Senators.

Contact Senators Ernst and Grassley today and challenge them to #actwithcourage to #stopgunviolence!

The shooting in Roseburg was the 142nd school shooting since 20131 and the 294th mass shooting so far this year in America.2 88 people die from guns3 and 210 people are shot and injured every day in this country.4

Despite this staggering amount of violence, Congress has done nothing to pass a single sensible gun law since the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012.

Make sure your voice is heard.  Contact Senators Ernst and Grassley today and challenge them to #actwithcourage to #stopgunviolence!


Dr. Jeremy Brigham
Iowans for Gun Safety


What IS Chuck G. Up To? Obstructin’!

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

May as well be in Iowa cutting grass

Can it only be a year until we can finally say goodbye to Chuck? Once an actual senator, Chuck Grassley has turned into little more than a teabag tool as he uses his seniority and influence to stop anything and everything that would keep your government and mine functioning. Since Obama became president, it has been pretty apparent that Chuck sees his mission as an obstructor of the first order.

In short, Chuck allows little if anything to happen in his capacity as Senate Judiciary chair. Since the Senate Judiciary Committee is really important, Chuck can gum things up pretty damned good. Currently, Chuck is in a snit because he didn’t get in on the early Hillary Clinton email action. Chuck thinks the State Department isn’t giving him enough respect, so no more diplomats for them.

“I will object because the Department of State has failed to fully respond to almost a dozen outstanding letters dating back to 2013,” Grassley said. “In addition, on August 20, 2015, my staff met with Department officials in an effort to prioritize material for production. The Department has failed to comply with its commitments.”

Grassley has sent multiple request[s] to administration officials, including the State Department, over issues ranging from human trafficking to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. The Iowa Republican noted that his objections were partly tied to Congress’s probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server. […]

With Wednesday’s hold, Grassley is now blocking 22 State Department nominees. He added the decision to block on Egan’s nomination “is not intended to question the credentials of Mr. Egan in any way.”

This follows on the heels of his one man mission to stop all appointments to the federal judiciary. Chuck decided on his own it seems that there will be no more judges approved by his committee while Obama is president. Wouldn’t want that. He’ll no doubt wait for President Trump or President Carson to make any moves. Let’s see how bad it is. According to Matt Sinovic of “Why Courts Matter Iowa”:

“Senator Grassley is on pace to be the most obstructionist Judiciary Committee chair since 1953,” Sinovic says.

Grassley took over as Judiciary Committee chairman in January. The committee conducts hearings and votes on the people the president nominates to serve as federal judges. A handful of nominees have made it through that process so far this year.

“There are 67 vacancies across the country, including 31 that have been declared judicial emergencies and what that means is that these vacancies have been languishing so long that Americans are waiting for their day in court,” Sinovic says. “According to the Alliance for Justice, the total number of days for those 67 vacancies that have been open is for 28,533 days.”

When people say the government doesn’t do a damned thing, then that is our Chuck they are talking about.

He has taken time to vote to close Planned Parenthood however, showing that there is a pulse. No doubt as long as Chuck can he will work to put women in their place.
Stopping government at the bargain rate of only $175,000 a year. Can I get a refund?

Grassley, Ernst Vote To Defund Planned Parenthood Again


In case you missed the vote taken Thursday, the senate failed to pass the short term spending bill that would keep the government open past Oct. 1st. A key provision of that spending bill was defunding Planned Parenthood. Thus a yes vote for the bill would at the same time be a vote to defund PP. This would be a major blow to the health care of women, especially poor women, in this country.

As expected, Iowa’s Republican senators both voted to defund PP.

With an election campaign coming up next fall it seems rather arrogant of Grassley to tell half of the voters of Iowa that he doesn’t support one of Iowa’s mainstay healthcare institutions for women’s health. However, most can remember Grassley’s “standing in the schoolhouse door” approach to the PPACA and his “pull the plug on Grandma” moment as part of his attempt to stop that bill.

Grassley stands for the wealthy. He has opposed any attempt to make health care more accessible for everyone throughout his career.

Grassley is so out of touch with Iowa. Next year will be a good time for him to be retired.

Rob Hogg, Tom Fiegen or Bob Krause will be happy to help him retire.

Iowa Republicans Thumb Their Noses At Iowans

Three fine examples of Republican leaders in Iowa and what they really think of the average Iowan.

First is not an elected official, but WHO radio personality Jan Mickelson whose program is essentially Republican propaganda.

attribution: earlG at democraticunderground

attribution: earlG at democraticunderground

Second we have a story about a Grassley appearance in Clarinda with a very insightful comment by a reader:

From the story:
Regarding the economy, you would think that the area’s struggling agriculture would be a major concern for Grassley’s audiences.

“Surprisingly, that’s not coming up,” he said. “And, you’d expect that come up when you’re losing a dollar for every bushel of corn you grow. I think it comes up through trade issues. But, people aren’t saying you’ve got to do something to get corn back up to seven-and-a-half dollars, because they probably realize you’d be better off making five dollars for six dollars on a bushel of corn, rather than seven or eight dollars.”

The senator says the recent fluctuation in commodities demonstrates the need for free trade agreements.

The comment:
Tom Klemesrud · Retired Hollywood editor at Self Employed Investor
Senator Grassley, when you were down to Palm Beach, Florida weeks ago at that swank hotel at the $10,400 a plate dinner that Marco Rubio arranged for you, (in return for showing him around at the Iowa State fair yesterday), did the people in Clarinda seem concerned about why Cuban-Americans are giving you all that money?

I’ll bet it has something to do with you opposing the normalization of trade with Cuba that so many Iowa farmers wants to have happen. Don’t you, Senator Grassley, consider this a betrayal of the farmers’ interests?

Third from our friends at Progress Iowa a story about Governor Branstad working hard to make his mansion more luxurious after cutting school funds and other monies for public services. Hey, Terry, how about sharing the pain a little? You know, we are all in this together?

Join us on Tuesday, August 25th to protest Governor Terry Branstad installing a reflecting pool at the Governor’s mansion while cutting education and mental health services!

While the Governor was vetoing money for K-12 education, mental health institutes, and our universities, he was busy raising money behind the scenes for a private foundation to put in and restore a reflecting pool at his Terrace Hill mansion.

Those are Branstad’s shameful priorities — a reflecting pool at his mansion, not Iowa’s public services.

On Tuesday, August 25th there will be a public meeting at 9:00 AM held at the Terrace Hill gift shop, where Iowans can give input about the pool. Will you join us?

Our request is simple: every dollar the Governor has raised should be put toward restoring his harmful vetoes — not his new pool.

If you agree that schools and mental health services are more important than a pool at the Governor’s mansion, sign here and join us on Tuesday.

Thanks for all you do,
Matt Sinovic
Progress Iowa

Grassley Causes Judicial Emergency

not working for most Iowans

not working for most Iowans

Action Alert from Progress Iowa:

For the past six months, Senator Grassley has refused to schedule a nomination hearing for Judge Felipe Restrepo in the Judiciary Committee. He is obstructing the Restrepo nomination despite the Judge’s extensive qualifications, past support in the U.S. Senate, and despite the support he has received from his home-state Senators – one Republican, one Democrat.

Judge Restrepo’s vacancy has now been declared a state of ‘judicial emergency’ — with people needlessly awaiting their day in court because of Senator Grassley’s obstruction.

Senator Grassley promised not to play politics with our courts when taking over chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee; it’s time for him to live up to that promise.

Will you call today and ask Senator Grassley to stop obstructing the Restrepo nomination?

Thanks for all you do,
Matt Sinovic
Progress Iowa

P.S. Sen. Grassley doesn’t get it, that justice delayed is justice denied. Tell him to stop obstructing the Restrepo nomination today.

A Few Words On Dennis Hastert

Bribery by ALEC in Georgia uncovered by the press last week. (starts at 0:18)

The story is just beginning to emerge from the Justice Department of the corruption that J. Dennis Hastert undertook as Speaker of the House from 1999 to his ouster in 2007 and beyond. Our readers are plenty able to follow the story on their own. I just want to comment on a couple of aspects.

First, corruption by public officials to me is among the worst crimes that can be committed. Using an office of power and steering public funds to cronies for a bribe is bad enough, but it also means that some other public good will not receive budget considerations they deserve. In many cases this could be money that may make life and death differences to poor people.

Second, is there any better example of why money should be as well separated from politics as possible. There should also be a separation of lobbyists from the corridors of power. Any meeting between a lobbyist and any decision maker or someone who has access to a decision maker should be scheduled, made public, and be open to anyone to attend, especially the press. Sunshine is the best disinfectant for corruption.

Third, have you given much thought to how thoroughly corrupt the Bush II administration was? From Cheney steering the country to war and making HUGE amounts of money on his Halliburton stock to Abramoff, and now to Hastert. We will be finding out soon that Sibel Edmonds tried to turn Hastert in, but John Ashcroft put her under a gag order.

Fourth, the case of Sibel Edmonds who tried to tell the Hastert story 10 years or more back shows how valuable whistle blowers are. Along with Edward Snowden and Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, like what they did or not, they exposed some deep and very harmful corruption in our government. No wonder the powers that be are so afraid of them. We are a democracy folks. We need the truth to keep this democracy functioning.

Finally, are we starting to understand why Republicans were so afraid of Loretta Lynch. In the month or so of her tenure, high profile cases are getting the attention they deserve. Baltimore, FIFA and now Hastert. I hope she is just warming up. Wall Street and the banksters need her attention.

So now we know it wasn’t because of her skin color or her gender that Republicans feared her. It was because she might actually be competent and honest. Bad traits to Republicans. No doubt that is why Grassley and Ernst voted against her.

Last words on Hastert. I hope he is convicted and they lock the cell door behind him and lose the key.

Is Grassley Playing Politics With The Courts?

not working for most Iowans

not working for most Iowans

Iowa Leaders Call on Senator Grassley to Hold a Confirmation Hearing for Judge Restrepo

DES MOINES & WATERLOO, IOWA – Iowa leaders today met with Senator Chuck Grassley’s staff in Des Moines and Waterloo to stress the need to hold a confirmation hearing for Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo, and inquired why he is not among those being considered during Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee meeting.

After meeting with Senator Grassley’s staff, a number of local leaders issued statements in advance of tomorrow’s committee hearing:

Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director, Iowa Citizen Action Network:

“When he took over the judiciary committee, Senator Grassley led us all to believe he would not play politics with our courts. Unfortunately, the Senator has let down Iowans and Americans by blocking a number of judicial appointments, including even holding a hearing for Judge Restrepo. We can’t afford to wait any longer while Senator Grassley delays, delays, and delays.”

Matt Sinovic, Executive Director, Progress Iowa:

“If justice delayed is justice denied, then Senator Grassley is responsible for denying justice to far too many across the country. Our courts should be free from political influence, and the kind of petty gamesmanship being shown by Grassley with his refusal to even hold a hearing for Judge Restrepo.”

Chris Schwartz, Director, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa:

“Senator Grassley is building a legacy of obstruction, if he doesn’t hold hearings soon his legacy as an obstructionist will be written in stone.”

Joe Henry, State Director, League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa:

“It’s time for Senator Chuck Grassley to stop holding up the appointment of Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo. This vacancy on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals is considered a judicial emergency. Yet Senator Grassley who heads the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has refused to hold a hearing on Judge Restrepo’s appointment even though the judge has the support of the senators from his home state and was unanimously appointed to his current position as a U.S. District judge by the U.S. Senate. Judge Restrepo has provided Senator Grassley with detailed responses to a long list of his questions, and has made many efforts to address any alleged concerns our senator may have. Our court system needs to be adequately staffed, and our government has an opportunity to do that with Judge Restrepo’s appointment. Senator Grassley has only let two of the seven people President Obama nominated to fill judgeships have hearings. Our senator needs to stop playing politics with our judicial branch and let these qualified individuals have their chance before the committee.”

Donna Red Wing, Executive Director, One Iowa:

“Senator Grassley would do well to remember that Judge Restrepo is a respected veteran attorney and judge. Before his appointment to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he served as a state and federal public defender, a civil rights attorney, and a federal magistrate judge, among other accomplishments. Only two years ago, Judge Restrepo was unanimously confirmed for his seat on the District Court by both the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. We respectfully ask that Senator Grassley immediately schedule a hearing for Judge Restrepo, and all the other judicial nominees languishing on his watch.”

It has been more than six months since President Obama nominated U.S. District Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Restrepo was born in Columbia, became a citizen in 1993, and earned his degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate to his current post as a judge in the Eastern District just two years ago.

Despite past public statements of support from home state Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, Senator Grassley has refused to hold a confirmation hearing for Restrepo.


Why the holdup on Third Circuit judge nominee?

Long past time to let 3rd circuit nominee Restrepo have his hearing