Certainly You have some questions for them
Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have town halls scheduled in Iowa next week. This may be one of the best ways to get questions directly to one of 100 people that run our country.
Tuesday, Feb. 21 1:30 PM
Maquoketa City Hall
201 east Pleasant Street
Tuesday Feb. 21 7:45 – 8:45 AM
Iowa Falls Fire Dep’t
218 South River St.
Tuesday Feb. 21 2:15 – 3:15 PM
Hancock County Courthouse
855 State Street
Thursday Feb. 24 10 – 11 AM
Floyd County Courthouse
101 South Main
Friday Feb. 24 8 – 9 AM
Parkersburg Civic Center
502 3rd Street
In what can best be described as a blitzkrieg by the new radical Republican congress, the senate is trying to fulfill the wet dreams of their wealthy donors in a lightning attack on our way of life. No doubt this is in hopes that by the time we realize what hit us our way of life will be in a shambles ready for them to rebuild to their liking.
Cabinet heads who despise what their departments stand for and ready to dismantle their effectiveness immediately. Repealing laws which have been passed and improved over time which have helped generations of American families weather some of the worst that life can throw at them because as Americans we look out for each other.
And of course at the center is an egomaniac who is much more worried about people laughing at him than about the good of 300 million citizens.
One of the most serious concerns of many Americans right now is what will happen to their health care and how quickly will it happen. Threats to end any form of public health care have emanated from the Republican Party back to prior to the passage of Medicare. Do you remember the Ronald Reagan videos warning of how public health care will collapse the system?
There is a guy that could lie with a straight face. You may be hearing some of this old crap again soon.
As many have done the last couple of weeks I called my senators to express my opinion. Grassley’s office simply took my name, claimed they recorded my opinion and that was that. When I asked what Grassley’s stance was on repealing the ACA they said they did not know and that was that.
We actually met with an Ernst staffer. He did answer some questions. When I asked if Ernst favored repeal the staffer told me that the staff had been advised that she would not vote for repeal until they had a replacement. The staffer also said that the senator said a replacement must have the provisions of keeping children on the parents policy until they are 26 and the provision not allowing pre-existing conditions.
As sometimes happens, life steps in to illustrate things. Wednesday night into Thursday morning the radical senate Republicans continued their blitzkrieg on health care. In order to repeal the ACA, they had to set it up so it is part of what is known as the budget reconciliation process. In other words this was the very first vote in the process to repeal the ACA.
There was no replacement. Thus there were no provisions for children up to age 26 staying on the parents policy and no provision striking down pre-existing conditions. That is to say Ernst’s conditions for her vote were not met. Based on what her staffer claims she said she should have voted NO. Instead she voted YES, thus betraying herself.
From an article on common dreams.org:
“Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Republican to join all Democrats in voting no.”
Ernst, despite her self-imposed criteria, still voted to repeal.
No one should be surprised. Ernst was one of the prize trophies for Charles and David Koch in 2014. Thinking that she would defy them on one of their most precious desires is almost unfathomable, despite what she may claim. The real crux of the vote is this: repealing the ACA will be a huge tax cut for the wealthy. From dailykos comes this analysis:
“Urged on by Trump, the Senate overnight adopted a budget resolution that clears a path for eliminating the tax-and-spending provisions of the Affordable Care Act by simple majority vote — no Democratic cooperation required. That means repeal of two provisions targeted at high-income households: a 0.9 percent hospital insurance tax on earnings above $250,000 for couples and a 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends and other nonlabor income above that same threshold.
That would provide a tax cut averaging $7 million for each of the 400 highest-earning taxpayers, according to new calculations by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities using Internal Revenue Service data. That cut, the center estimated, would amount to $2.8 billion annually overall — or approximately the value of Obamacare subsidies for those with modest incomes in the 20 smallest states and the District of Columbia.
Overall, eliminating those two levies would represent a tax cut of roughly $346 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Households with million-dollar-plus incomes — a much larger group than the top 400 — would receive an average tax cut of $49,000 a year, the center says.”
Of course you know how Grassley will vote. He has been one of the the extreme right’s most loyal votes for decades. He seldom misses a chance to inflict some pain into the lives of the poor.
Once the ACA is repealed the replacement will be a long time a-coming. Most likely with the next Democratic congress and president. And guess who will be hurt most by the repeal of the ACA? Those who voted for Trump. Nothing like kicking your constituents right in the face.
Oh and a note to you who voted for radical Republicans to get rid of Obamacare, thinking you would have a fallback position of the ACA. Are you feeling a little – uh – surprised to find out they are the same thing?
Dave Bradley and I met with a Joni Ernst staffer Wednesday. We expressed our concerns about what the senator was going to do as far as her vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We shared our concerns and fears about Trump in general and about what happens to people who will lose their health care.
He was a nice, intelligent young man. You could have mistaken him for an Iowa City liberal. He was very sympathetic and agreed with us that we are living in a terrifying time; he said everyone he knows is also terrified. But that didn’t stop him from relying on easy Republican cliches that weren’t exactly true, to put us off.
He said that we needed to understand that what we hear in the news is just polarizing politics, and that when Senator Ernst actually votes on actual policies that Senator Ernst will rely on a reasoned process. (Dave and I shared a sidelong glance here).
Politely pointing out that based on everything we’ve seen so far, reason seems to have a very small place in the process, we expressed our skepticism that all would be well, no need to worry.
The nice young man assured us that the Ernst team gets it, that they understand all of the complex issues. It would all be taken into consideration before she decides how to vote.
We said something like, well you sure could’ve fooled us, and Dave asked the staffer to ask Senator Ernst if she might make a public statement as to her intentions as far as voting to repeal ACA, raising the Medicare eligibility age, or cuts to Social Security.
He claimed that “no one” really knows what is going to happen or what the alleged replacement Obamacare bill was going to have in it, so she couldn’t really make a public statement.
Nevertheless, if as he claims, we had nothing to worry about, a public statement from Senator Ernst as to what her current thoughts are about Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare could certainly be helpful, we suggested. So he scribbled a note in a tiny notebook and said he would pass it on.
He was a Nice Young Man just doing his job, explaining to us How Things Work. He was practiced enough at handling constituents that I did start to wonder if we really knew what we were talking about.
Part of the answer came just hours after we met with the senator’s representative.
Senator Joni Ernst joined Grassley and their Republican colleagues Wednesday night in voting to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with no replacement on the horizon. See Midnight Health Care Massacre
Bernie speech on healthcare: (15 minutes)
A little trip down memory lane: The major issue in early 2008 was not the economy until Republicans broke the economy in the middle of the year. The state of access to healthcare in the richest country in the world was the hot issue.
Access to healthcare is one of those “kitchen table” issues that Democrats used to be so great at fixing. A kitchen table issue is simply an issue that Mom and Dad talk about at night when they hold their daily assessment meeting. The kinds of things Mom and Dad talk about are the cost of living, how much money they make and how can they stretch it, can they afford that new appliance, can we afford to send the kids to college and what if we have an emergency like a medical emergency?
These are hardly new kitchen table subjects. Moms and Dads have been discussing pretty much the same things over a meal for centuries – can we make it today? What about the future? What if we have an emergency?
Democrats have used the power of government – the pooling of resources of “we the people” – to help ameliorate some of life’s worst body blows. When people are down and out, democrats created programs to help them get fed, clothed and even learn a salable skill that could get them back into the workforce.
One of the most perplexing problems to solve has been that of healthcare. Healthcare is not a luxury item that only a few will be partaking of in a lifetime. Of course it isn’t. It is a basic necessity of every human being. Over the decades, Democrats have fought and fought and fought for some sort of universal form of healthcare. As Republicans stopped them at every turn, America slowly became, to its shame, the only major country that did not have universal healthcare for its citizens.
As health became more of a profit driven industry, the abuses to the citizens from all parts of the health system became more and more egregious. This was especially true for the insurance sector. Insureds were being denied coverage, being gouged on rates or were suddenly unable to get coverage. It was literally a nightmare.
When things get real bad, citizens turn to their government for help. Republicans were of little help in the healthcare arena. Their major concern was not the health of the citizens, but the profits of the insurance companies. Totally the wrong approach.
So in 2008 healthcare was the top issue until the Republican depression took hold. Then survival in an economic crisis was the top issue, but access to health care was not far behind. But the forces of money and control do not give up power easily. The battle to get the ACA in was monumental. The healthcare law was passed despite some new wrinkles in senate procedure that basically required a super majority to pass anything.
But the battle was far from over. As many observers have noted over the years – Power does not give up its power easily nor willingly. Despite the passage of the ACA, it seemed that the battle was only beginning. The Republican Party aligned in toto against the ACA or any form of universal health care. The media which is nearly 100% owned by corporations began a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year brainwashing campaign against the ACA. It was hard to watch TV or listen to a radio without getting at least a small blurb on the evils of the ACA.
Today there is much talk about fake news as if it is something new on the horizon. Since the inception of Fox News fake news has been their staple. One of their main targets has been universal access to healthcare. They have really ramped up the lies about universal healthcare since the 2008 election. They were the leaders in a mainstream media blitz of the evils of the ACA. Most of the coverage was fueled by lies, omissions and misleads.
So we have another election and Republicans actually run on a platform to end universal access to healthcare. Despite losing the popular vote, they are the government of record with a mission to take away access to healthcare. Since the corporate media favors this it is hard to find stories of the real ramifications of what losing the ACA will mean on a day-to-day basis for the average citizen.
Iowans along with other Americans are extremely scared of what Republicans will do to health care. Will we be back to the days of choosing between health care and bankruptcy? What about the kids- can they stay on our insurance? When I go to the hospital will the insurance cover me? Can I even afford insurance?
Americans can’t make plans in environments like this. Why should citizens of the richest country in the world live in terror because Republicans have more loyalty to the insurance companies than their own constituents?
And the kicker is that the real driver behind repealing Obamacare is so Republicans can give a HUGE tax cut to the wealthy! This while taking health care away from 20 to 30 million and raising costs for everyone.
Is that really what you voted for? I don’t know anyone who did. Call Grassley. Call Ernst. Call your representative and tell them to quit kissing corporate butts and work for the voters instead.
We also need to make sure that voters understand that the ACA is only one part of our health care system that the Republican Party plans to destroy. Medicare is a top target. Medicaid is also, of course. And as a real surprise the VA health system has come under attack with what appears to be plans to dismantle it also.
Let me leave you with the words of Rep. Keith Ellison from twitter:
Reminder: many problems with ACA are due to Republican legislatures refusing Medicaid expansion, hurting millions of Americans.
Mitch McConnell will hold vote to repeal Obamacare immediately after the new senate is sworn in.
Grassley and Ernst need to be contacted starting now to let them know how you feel. See previous post for a discussion of the ACA repeal.
McConnell expects people will put politics off for the holidays. Let’s make sure he is wrong!
111 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3254
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Phone: (515) 284-4574
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Phone: (319) 365-4504
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Phone: (712) 352-1167
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If we have learned nothing from this last campaign it is that when Republicans lie – which is a constant – their lies are often projecting what they are doing on to their opponents or they are giving hints about what they want to do. Most of us remember six years ago when Grassley made the insane charge that the ACA would “pull the plug on Grandma.” Just in case you don’t, in the digital age the videos stay around for a long time:
Grassley ran a ‘no campaign’ campaign this fall. Since the presidential campaign took most of the air out of the room, the Grassley-Judge race was little covered. Grassley’s opposition to the ACA was little covered.
It’s a damn shame that it wasn’t covered with loud shouting headlines. Based on the chart below some 23 million Americans will lose their insurance directly, including some 190,000 Iowans. There could be another several million who may no longer be able to afford insurance as the cost rises dramatically due to much smaller insurance pools.
Lack of insurance will lead to a couple of things that Iowans as a whole may not like. The first is faster and wider spread of contagious diseases. Some may scoff at this as being inconsequential because they can get antibiotics because they have insurance. But here’s a little surprise for them. Due to our overuse of antibiotics, bacteria and viruses have evolved into superbugs that may not be susceptible to antibiotics. SURPRISE!
Secondly, the uninsured will once more revert to using the very expensive emergency room in desperation. Most likely this will lead to hospitals having to eat the huge costs of emergency room care when folks without insurance are unable to pay. Hospitals which are most likely to be badly hurt by this reversion to emergency room care will be the small rural hospitals.
Some of these small rural hospitals will go out of business because of such losses. This is incredibly ironic since Grassley has made a big issue out of saving rural hospitals. Old Chuck. The right hand doesn’t know what the righter hand is doing. Can you say hypocrisy?
So once more Grassley turns to Iowans and raises his middle finger to you and your concerns.
I also called Joni Ernst’s office to see what her position on repealing the ACA is. The staffer I talked to said that Ernst hasn’t said yet. This is really hard to believe since Ernst is well known to be in the Koch brothers back pocket. But i guess I will take the staffer at her word and will be surprised when Ernst votes to repeal.
Expect Republicans to cobble together some of their think tank talking points into a bill to replace the ACA. Of course that bill will offer nothing to those losing their health insurance, but will give tax breaks in some form to their wealthy donors.
This will be comparable to what was once the Maytag company changing their formidable washing machines to junky machines and trying to tell the public it was the same thing. It wasn’t and the public knew immediately. Expect the same reaction by the public to this sham.
Most galling of all in the taking away of health insurance from those who can’t afford it is noted by Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com:
“One more thing to consider as these people are losing their health insurance. A bit part of the equation that very few people are talking about is that repealing the money part of the bill is a massive tax cut for the wealthy. That’s the part that Ryan wants to get his hands on first. That’s the real prize.”
It took a century to expand some form of universal healthcare to the poor. Republicans look to destroy it within 5 years.
When Republicans talk about freedom, they mean the freedom of the rich to be free of their obligations to society.
In FDR’s State of the Union address in 1944, Roosevelt laid out a second bill of rights which included these statements:
“We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. ‘Necessitous men are not free men.’” ……. “We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.” This Second Bill of Rights included, he proffered:
“The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;”
“The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;”
Grassley Demands Justice Department Investigation Of Justice Department, And Clinton Blockade Begins
Sometimes something pops up online that says just what you want to say. So here is a post from Thursday’s Dailykos by Joan McCarter that does a good job of what Iowans can expect if Grassley is re-elected.
Since Chuck Grassley isn’t going to use his Judiciary Committee for anything like Supreme Court hearings, he’s going to use it to kickstart the investigations into Hillary Clinton and whether President Obama’s administration had anything to do with the not-scandal of Clinton’s emails. No, really.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called on Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to “explore potential conflicts” around the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email, noting that “multiple officials had previous ties to [the] Clintons.”
“The American people deserve to know whether political considerations have improperly affected the handling of this inquiry and understand why key officials failed to recuse themselves to protect the public’s confidence in a fair and impartial inquiry based on merits and the evidence rather than on politics,” Grassley said in the Wednesday letter to Horowitz.
Topping Grassley’s list is a request that Horowitz look into whether Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s “involvement in the investigation creates the appearance of a conflict given that she was appointed to the role of U.S. Attorney by President Bill Clinton and she was a partner at a law firm that represented both President and Secretary Clinton.” The letter also specifically cites Lynch’s tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton just days before the FBI announced it would not recommend charges against the Democratic nominee.
So I think it’s safe to surmise that if Grassley retains control of the Judiciary Committee, he’s going to be encouraging those House maniacs in their investigation and impeachment plans.
Furthermore, that will give him the perfect excuse to blockade her nominees—and not just Supreme Court. If the president is “under investigation,” surely then the Senate can’t allow her to sully the courts with her nominees. Republicans are making this up as they go along, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a plan if they keep the majority. Let’s not allow that.
The fact that the Iowa Republican Party supports Donald Trump should not be a real surprise. We have a governor who wants to act like a king. Working within the system to do things like privatize Medicaid is a bridge too far for Branstad. He just rules by fiat and then declares everything is fine. This seems like a preview of a possible Trump administration. The philosophy is not “Let’s work together” but “Try and stop me.”
In the US Senate, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley has become a one man obstruction crew. His disdain for Obama and all Democrats is legendary, but this year he has made it into historic and constitutional status. From here on Grassley will be the gold standard of obstruction. He has personally brought the federal judiciary – an extremely important co-equal branch of government – to a judicial crisis of historic proportions. Take a bow, Chuck.
Joni Ernst has distinguished herself as the epitome of the for sale politician. The Koch brothers are buying.
These are the top examples of what Iowa’s Republican Party has become. So backing Trump as he continues to thumb his nose at laws and conventions should hardly be a surprise. It is merely an extension of the Iowa Republicans’ standard practices.
Party before country or anything else.
That is a quote from Donald Trump denying that he committed the dozen or so episodes of sexual assault on women that he is accused of.
Of course there weren’t, you dolt. Sexual assault is not usually something that you want to do in front of an audience. It is a crime and therefore something that is done in secrecy. It is also frequently done by someone who has some form of power to another person that the first person has that power over.
This pattern should be familiar to anyone who followed the stories of the boys and some girls who were abused by priests. As a victim of priestly abuse myself, when the stories started coming out I recognized the pattern as if it were taken from a textbook. Powerful person corners a victim in a situation where the powerful person can force their attention on the victim. Often the assaulter has created the situation to make sure that there is little chance of discovery yet looks to be a spur of the moment thing.
When the assault is done the victim is often warned that any attempt to report on this incident will be denied by the assaulter. Who do you think authorities will believe, a liar like you or someone with a pristine reputation like me? If you do anything I will destroy your life in some way. Thus the victim is silenced.
My incident occurred at the ripe old age of 12. The scenario was that I was asked to come to the rectory to help move some things on a Saturday morning in spring. Unbeknownst to me, all other members of the rectory were scheduled to be out of town that day. When I get to the rectory my assaulter quickly moved us to his bedroom. Then the assault began – hands all over me, unzipping me. It almost seems as if it were scripted. Luckily for me he let go of me to take his pants off. I was out the door like a rocket, never stopping until I reached a small woods where I would often go for quiet.
I tried to tell my parents but they shrieked in horror – accusing a priest of such things – I would burn in hell! So while I didn’t stick around to get the story on who had the power in my situation. My parents let me know how things stood very quickly however. I never brought it up again to my parents, nor would I ever say anything to anyone else. The priest spent the rest of that summer trying to get us alone again, literally stalking me He would stop by our home to ask my parents to send me down to the rectory for talks etc. It was, to use the term that is being used so much now – very creepy.
Much like Trump’s victims I said nothing for years – decades in my instance. As the stories of abuse trickled out of Boston at the start of the new century, my suppressed memories came flooding back. One night I could not sleep it bothered me so much. So I hand wrote a letter to the diocese explaining what happened. My abuser was long dead, but I explained that I felt the Catholic Church owed me an apology. That was all i wanted. An acknowledgment that I had been assaulted and there was some remorse on the part of the group that had provided the circumstances.
Instead of any apology, I received a formal letter that my name had been added to a lawsuit. I was livid!
That is about the point we are at in the story of Trump’s assault stories. The parallels between what I went through decades ago and what Trump’s accusers endured is almost like a repeat story. When Donald Trump looked at the camera during that Sunday debate and denied that he had ever accosted any women, I relived getting that formal letter.
Trump supporters claim it is suspicious that accusers seemed to come out of the woodwork all at once. But most humans do not want confrontation. When something very ugly has happened in their life, most of us just want to let it lie and forget about it. That is unless someone calls us liars and defies us. Then we get fighting mad. That is the response Trump has triggered. A dozen or so so far have come forward. They are courageous. Especially courageous is the the young woman who has sued Trump for rape. Also extra courageous is Jill Harth who came forward against Trump in 1997.
So of course there were no witnesses, Donald Trump. You set up the scenarios to be alone with your victims even if for only a few moments so you could exert your power over them. The very fact that there are so many from such diverse areas and backgrounds who have essentially the very same story lends credence to their accusations. The stories also seem to be textbook cases of sexual abuse.
Trump’s assaults are among the major issues of this election. His disregard for others – especially women – in conjunction with his disregard for our laws as shown by his business practices show us that putting ultimate power in his abusing hands would be a huge, huge mistake.
I have a very good idea how this will turn out. Look back at the priest abuse stories for guidance. America owes David Farenthold a big thanks for releasing the tape of Trump bragging about his assaults on that bus among his many contributions to journalism this election season.
What is sickening is that the Iowa Republican Party continues to support Trump and his behavior. There comes a time when leaders must stand up for what is right. In this case that time was several weeks back. The Iowa Republican Party from Grassley to King, Blum, Peters and Young and down to the statehouse and the courthouse deserve a rebuke for their support of Trump.
As I was told so many times as a youth, you make your bed, you lie in it.
Every time I drive by a political sign for Grassley that says “ Grassley Works” I have to laugh my butt off.
He works doing what exactly?
All he has done for the past 8 years is stop any progress that could be made.
Who can forget his crazy stand on the stimulus package as our country and the world stood at the bring of major depression.
How about his nutty blocking of any solution of to the health care crisis? Who can forget his “pull the plug on grandma” line during his last re-election.
Right now his work is to block any nominees to the federal bench just waiting for the glorious nominees of President Trump. Does anyone really think he won’t just move his obstruction game to vex another opponent if he is still in charge of the Judiary Committee.
Seriously, Grassley Works. What a joke.
He works about as well as the Corvair I had in college. I had to push it, then hop in and pop the clutch to get it started. I guess the analogy stops there. While my Corvair needed some special attention to get it running, there seems to be nothing that can get Grassley to do his job.
That would probably make a great Twitter meme “Grassley Works like” a broken watch; a Samsung Galaxy 7 phone; a sloth; a bat in the daytime.
Have fun, make up your own.
Remember he has a debate Wednesday night against Patty Judge. Even in running for re-election he has done little. This has been a non-run run.