Follow BFIA on Twitter
Blog for Iowa Archives
Blog for Iowa Categories
Search BFIA by Date
January 2017
« Dec    

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

Iowa Legislature

Top 10 Iowa Legislative Threats from the Extreme Right

January 9th, 2017 Posted By: Progress Iowa

Iowa’s legislative session convened today, and Republicans have control of the state Senate, House, and the Governor’s office for the first time in 20 years. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Speaker Linda Upmeyer, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Dixhave made clear they will implement sweeping far-right reforms that threaten to turn Iowa into the next Kansas or Wisconsin.

What are the biggest threats to everyday Iowans on the agenda? Here are ten policies that Progress Iowa believes Republicans will target:

1. Gut worker’s rights – Republican leaders would like nothing more than to weaken the negotiating rights of public workers. That means our teachers, correction officers, police, firefighters, and many other public workers would have lower wages and fewer health benefits.

2. Defund Planned Parenthood – Senator Dix singled out defunding Planned Parenthood as one of the Senate Republicans’ top four priorities. This would mean reduced access to healthcare for women and the Iowans who need it most.

3. Private School Vouchers – They might call it ‘education savings accounts’ but don’t be mistaken – these are vouchers meant to divert resources away from public schools. Apparently it’s not enough that business tax cuts have grown nearly 6 times as fast as funding for public schools. Now the legislature wants to do even more damage to our children’s future.

4. Lower Iowans’ Wages – That’s right, instead of growing our state’s wages, Republicans appear to be set on decreasing the minimum wage. They plan on passing a “pre-emption” measure, which would remove the local Iowa communities’ minimum wage increases (passed in four counties already). That would mean workers who just got a raise thanks to local municipal changes will have their wages lowered.

5. Voter Suppression Legislation – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has proposed new voter suppression legislation that would require restrictive voter identification and signature verification. That will keep many students, lower-income residents and seniors who don’t drive anymore away from the ballot box.

6. Undermining Water Quality Efforts – Rather than fund the water quality improvement effort that voters approved years ago, Republicans look to stall meaningful investment until 2029. Their plan is to extend a 1-cent sales tax starting in that year and pull money away from public schools to pay for water quality efforts at that point. Meanwhile, thousands of Iowans have their drinking water at risk from lead contamination.

7. Legalizing Discrimination Against LGBTQ Iowans – Republicans may try to undercut Iowa’s anti-discrimination laws and make it legal for employers to fire employees simply because they’re gay. They may also go after the gender identity protections in the Iowa Civil Rights Act to hurt transgender Iowans. This legislation has been passed in other states, under the guise of so-called “religious freedom” proposals.

8. Wild West Gun Laws – Iowa may follow many other states and implement “Stand Your Ground” laws, or allow guns on college campuses.

9. Rising Tuition At Iowa Public Colleges – With a $100 million budget shortfall, Republicans could take aim at funding for Iowa’s three regent universities. Even keeping funding at their current levels could mean college is that less affordable for Iowa students.

10. Weaken Iowans’ Legal Rights – One of Majority Leader Dix’s top priorities is to pass a “Loser pays” bill which forces victims to pay more legal fees if they lose a case. That could deter many people from suing companies for fraud and abuse, an important legal right for all Iowans.

Iowa Capitol


Donald Kaul

Iowa Needs You, Donald Kaul!

Considering the coming of what promises to be a MEMORABLE Iowa legislative session this spring, my mind wandered to days of yore when a young writer for the Des Moines Register would annually make fun of the folly that was the Iowa legislature. Iowa needs you Donald Kaul!

We await a legislature that will be doing the will of the people of ALEC and making grandstanding speeches on how every Iowan should be locked and loaded and ready to shoot their fellow Iowan. No more Iowa nice! What would Donald Kaul have to say to such grandstanding?

What prompted my sudden thirst for a witticism from the pen of the master was a comment from a listener on the Thom Hartmann show the other day. He was commenting on the minimum wage laws. As of January 1st a majority of the states have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum. The caller said that those wit lower minimums should have “stan” tacked on to their state names.

Yep, Iowa-stan. Proudly and loudly refusing to pay workers for decades. Once again trying to cement our standing in the deep south.

For some reason the thought of Iowa-stan made me think that that was the kind of comment we would see in the Register from Kaul. This was back in the day when reading the Register while you grabbed a coke between classes with some friends. “Hey, did you read Kaul today? He really nails it!”

Sometimes the very best and most effective commentary especially on the inflated ego world of politics is the sharp humorous barb. That was Kaul’s weapon of choice adoring his days covering the Iowa legislature.

Taking away healthcare from Americans seems to be the theme of the day for Washington Republicans. But here in Iowa we have what should be a scandal of major proportions as King Terry soon-to-be-of-China decided unilaterally to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid system.

Now this poorly hatched scheme is crumbling. The clients of the system are getting shorted on their health care, the providers are not getting paid and those for whom the system was set up to benefit – the management companies – are crying because they aren’t making enough money. On top of that you have government leaders, the governor and lieutenant governor, refusing to admit there is a problem. Man if ever there was a situation that could use a few ego crumbling barbs from the pen of a Donald Kaul, this is it.

Hopefully another Kaul will emerge someday. Heaven knows Iowa will continue to have more than its share of bloated egos and politicians who dance to the tune of a dollar sign ($$$$$) being plucked in their direction.

We could use this guy today also!

TODAY! Statewide Press Conferences Celebrating Minimum Wage Increases



Johnson County: Rafael Morataya, 319-499-8363,

Linn County: Devin Mehaffey, 319-573-0701,

Polk County: Mark Cooper, 515-975-5627,

Wapello County: Steve Siegel, 641-799-2569,

Workers Celebrate Wage Increases in Four Counties

Residents Vow to Defend Local Progress against State Threats

Workers and community leaders will convene press conferences Saturday to celebrate 2017 minimum wage increases taking effect in Johnson, Linn, Polk, and Wapello counties. Local officials in the four counties, home to one third of the state’s private sector jobs and several of its fastest-growing communities, have enacted increases in response to vocal support for a higher minimum wage after nearly a decade of state inaction on the issue.

Speakers will respond to clear signs that incoming Iowa legislators are being pushed by out-of-state corporate groups to pass legislation rolling back the minimum wage increases as part of a wholesale attack on workers’ rights and wages. Speakers will call on legislators to drop threats to lower wages, and to adopt a statewide minimum wage that meets or exceeds increases already passed at the county level.

WHAT: “Celebrate Local Progress & Defend Workers’ Rights” Press Conferences

WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, January 7 at times and locations below

Johnson County

2:00 pm, Center for Worker Justice, 940 S. Gilbert Court, Iowa City

Linn County

2:00 pm, Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW, Cedar Rapids

Polk County

12:00 pm, I Work and Play, 1308 8th St., Suite 1, West Des Moines

Wapello County

12:00 pm, UFCW Local 230, 1305 E. Mary St., Ottumwa

Press conferences will include perspectives of local workers, small business owners, elected officials, and members of faith, labor, and community groups who will address the significance of wage increases for families, local businesses, social safety nets, and Iowa’s economy.

Iowa’s current state minimum of $7.25 translates to $15,080 for a full-time, year-round worker, not enough for any resident to meet basic needs. Iowa’s minimum wage was last increased on January 1, 2008, meaning low-wage workers have not had a raise in over nine years. In the meantime, 29 states (including four bordering Iowa) have increased their minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25, and a 2016 Iowa Poll showed 70% of Iowans favor a minimum wage increase.

Where To Turn For Real News

corporate media made this happen

With the coming of an administration hell bent on controlling news and especially analysis of said administration’s doings we need to make sure that we become informed and stay informed on a daily basis.

As noted in a blogforiowa posting last week Iowa does not have much of a spread across the spectrum of thought when it comes to radio. As noted in the article by Trish Nelson:

“This massive amount of false information being pumped into our communities, solely for profit, divides us and makes democracy unsustainable. Climate change, health care, social justice issues, and the economy cannot be even talked about when citizens hold two opposite versions of reality. The unions going away and the onslaught of right-wing radio are two things that have done devastating harm to our political discourse.

Unless we take time to more fully understand the enormity of the loss for rural Iowans caused by the destruction of unions, coupled with the daily tsunami of right-wing radio delivering a fictional version of reality, we are not going to be able to re-connect with rural voters in Iowa or throughout America.”

We are headed into 2017 and the beginning of the most radical administration ever elected. Unless the public is well informed, the next administration is well poised to get away with theft of our wages, our retirements, our health care, our schools and nearly everything else that isn’t nailed down. Just looking at the cabinet it is easy to see that it is loaded with a group of vulture billionaires ready to swoop down at the very first sign of weakness. We better be ready.

That is on the national level. At the state level we have a legislature well versed in ALEC’s methods of handing our state treasuries, our schools and the retirements of state employees over to the likes of the Koch brothers and their minions.

Many of us are getting tired. We are either getting older or we are working two or possibly even more jobs and trying to survive on many hours less sleep a night than a human really needs. We work multiple jobs because government policies have created inequities where those who do the work get little for it and the investors get a large chunk of the rewards for the work of others.

We have spent nearly 20 years fighting the policies that Republicans are poised to impose on this country. While the vast majority of America voted against Trump (46% for, 54% against and he lost to Clinton by 3 million votes) the country is about to make an almost 180 degree turn backwards.

Every American that voted against Trump should be outraged right now, but obviously they are not. Don’t you wonder why? Perhaps one of the main reasons is that the corporate media, including NPR, is doing such a good job of covering for what many mainstream politicos and the average guy on the street believes will be a wholesale looting of the poor and middle class.

Radio, TV, newspapers and magazines pretend that nothing unusual is happening. Guess who owns 90+% of those media? Well, you can safely guess it ain’t us. Nor do we own the internet, but so far neither do the corporations that own the other media. When it comes to the one media that has been on top of letting the state, country and world know what Republicans have in store for us, it has been the internet.

If you are looking for good sources of reality based news, the internet is right now, hands down, the best source. A few of the sources I use on at least a weekly basis include dailykos, democraticunderground, talkingpointsmemo. That is a good start for national news.

At the state level, I usually check the Iowa Daily Democrat and bleeding heartland. Both of these are excellent for behind the scenes looks at politics in the state. Radio Iowa News gives good synopsis stories on what is happening in the state.

In our attempt to find programming based in reality we purchased an internet radio. Having breakfast while listening to the likes of Tucker Carlson on something that identified itself as NPR but was nothing like the NPR I grew up with was getting impossible. Stories missing the main point, stories about irrelevant stuff while really important stories were ignored and flat out untruths repeated from campaigns without comment. Enough is enough.

So we have spent many a morning searching for radio that is not kowtowing to the powers that be. We have set KTNF out of Minneapolis on one button, a CBC station from Winnipeg on another, a private Canadian station from Toronto on another. This morning we stumbled across a Pacifica radio station from Houston that warned of “the coming Trumpification of America” within a few seconds after we turned it on.

This weekend we need to set KHOI, community radio for Story county, on a button. Can’t forget KICI, real community radio for Iowa City when they get on the air.

Until the Republicans end internet neutrality, and I suspect they will do so soon, we intend to get some great, great mileage out of our new toy.

More Republicans In Legislature Could Mean Guns In Iowa’s Schools

Peace on earth, good will toward men and women and children! Christmas is at root a hopeful time for all, whatever a person’s religious preference may be.

Help Iowans for Gun Safety work toward the goals of peace on earth and good will toward all with a generous contribution!

Iowans for Gun Safety is uniquely focused on legislation in Iowa and is ready to work with coalitions in communities across the state to reduce violence. Iowans for Gun Safety is working with local groups in Clinton, Decorah, Dubuque, and Des Moines, and seeking to develop partnerships with groups in Waterloo and Davenport. We have and can identify and contact supporters in all of Iowa’s 50 state senatorial districts.

Iowans for Gun Safety expects to see legislation in Iowa allowing the carrying of guns in schools, permitless carry, reciprocity with states that have very weak laws regarding pemits, and in general, legislation moving toward the goal of allowing anyone to carry guns anywhere, [italics BFIA’s] legislation which has passed in other states, most recently in Ohio. To combat this, Iowans for Gun Safety needs your financial help as well as your willingness to contact your state senators and representatives to express your support for strong laws regulating traffic in guns.

Iowans for Gun Safety is already planning for the 2017 Concert Across America, scheduled nationally for Sunday, September 24. The board members in Cedar Rapids are planning a matinee format (2-4:30 pm) with a few musical or performing persons or groups and local speakers who are concerned about gun violence and gun safety. Iowans for Gun Safety encourages our supporters across the state to begin planning their own Concerts. In 2016 there were 350 such concerts across the country, several of them in Iowa.

Iowans for Gun Safety is also working with the University of Iowa College of Public Health’s Center for Injury Prevention. They are developing a series of programs to address violence, and supporting a study of the roots of violence in Cedar Rapids, which should be a model for such studies in other cities in Iowa.

Iowans for Gun Safety is coordinating with the Linn Co. Dept. of Public Health on suicide prevention, and will be talking with gun store owners and gun owner organizations about their promotion of gun safety, including safe storage as well as protecting waiting periods for the purchase of guns. The findings of these meetings will be shared with people across the state, as these conversations need to occur everywhere. The suicide numbers and rate has been increasing dramatically in Iowa over the past few years, affecting people of all ages from adolescents to seniors, with a new focus on men between 35 and 65. There are from year to year six times as many suicides by gun as there are homicides by gun. Nearly half of all suicides are by gun. Iowans for Gun Safety needs your support to carry out and promote this project with the state and county Board of Health.

As you can see, there is much Iowans for Gun Safety is doing, and much you can help with in terms of programming, contacting legislators, working with County Depts. of Public Health and other organizations in your community. Your financial support is just one part, but an important part, of the many steps needed to keep Iowans safe.

If you have already contributed recently, thank you very much. So far, of our goal of $3000, we have received $500. Iowans for Gun Safety is grateful for your support. If you have not yet contributed, now would be a good time as Iowans for Gun Safety approaches the end of the year. Iowans for Gun Safety is a non-profit, 501.c.3, organization, so your contribution is tax deductible.

Iowans for Gun Safety


100 Funders Have Left ALEC

(Ed. note) The following is a fund raising email from the Center for Media and Democracy.

About CMD

CMD is a national watchdog and media group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy. Our work aids grassroots action to make our world a better place. CMD is reader-supported. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.

Over 100 funders of the American Legislative Exchange Council have cut ties since we launched in 2011, making our joint efforts one of the most successful corporate campaigns in American history.

Will you help us keep up the fight?

This summer the Center for Media and Democracy exposed that the largest car rental company in the world — Enterprise — was funding ALEC, where special interests sit on task forces and vote as equals with legislators on “model” bills to change people’s rights and advance corporation’s legislative wish lists. Consumer pressure convinced Enterprise to change its mind.

Enterprise was just the latest corporate funder to cut ties with ALEC in recent years due to its extreme lobbying agenda, including anti-worker and anti-environmental bills. Enterprise followed Ford Motor Company and Expedia out the door.

We also broke the story of AARP’s funding of ALEC and gave our readers tools to speak up to the seniors’ group.

You and your friends and neighbors joined tens of thousands of Americans making calls and sending emails successfully demanding that these organizations stop funding ALEC’s extreme agenda.

You spoke out, and your voices made a real difference!

AARP was just the latest nonprofit organization that got the message and cut ties.

This news was covered in the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, and in other outlets. Your voice is helping protect our democracy.

Will you help us continue to expose ALEC’s corrupt pay-to-play politics in the coming months by supporting our work today?

ALEC claims that when CMD and people speak out about ALEC we are trampling on the “free speech” rights of its corporate backers to secretly bankroll what ALEC calls the largest voluntary group of legislators in the country.

But you know the Bill of Rights was written to protect the sovereign people in our democracy, not kings or corporations.

Unlike ALEC, CMD relies on ordinary people like you to fund our investigations, which help real families with a real stake in the future of our country–not CEOs and their narrow agenda to increase profits at public expense.

Lisa Graves for the ALECexposed Team
at the Center for Media and Democracy

(Ed. Note: As noted here before, Iowa’s legislative leaders, House Speaker Linda Upmeyer and Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix are both deeply embedded in ALEC. Governor Branstad is a founding member of ALEC.

Expect much ALEC written and approved legislation to be introduced and passed in the coming legislature. This legislation will be very profitable for corporations and very bad for small businesses and the public. We will need extra awareness this legislative session, since Democrats will have no way to stop such legislation after the last election).

Mr. Kaufmann, That’s Bullying

Prairie Dog

Reprinted with permission from the January 2017 issue of  The Prairie Progressive.

 – Prairie Dog

Much has been written about Bobby Kaufmann’s latest foray into school-yard bullying. The State Representative for Iowa House District 73, is ‘annoyed’ by high school and college students who feel vulnerable, threatened, and fearful following the November election (known in Prairie Progressive dens as The Night of the Living Dread).

Casual observers may not know that Bobby’s ‘Suck it Up, Buttercup’ proposal is classic Kaufmann. It’s not the first time that he’s been annoyed by young people who don’t have the platform bequeathed to him by his father, former state representative and current Iowa Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufmann.

What most distinguishes Bobby as a legislator is that he, like all bullies, tends to punch down. Bobby the Bully is Bobby the Brave when he goes after the Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, or the tiny and universally scorned Westboro Baptist Church.

That LGBT Youth conference, funded privately (despite the word Governor in its title) and coordinated by Iowa Safe Schools, drew over 1000 people in 2015 to listen and talk to local and nationally-known speakers. Bobby, hearing rumors of ‘X-rated’ content, sought to investigate the conference with subpoenas by the House Oversight Committee, which he chairs.
Attempting to use the power of a government committee to intimidate private citizens not involved in a government activity? Mr. Kaufmann, that’s bullying.

We all abhor Westboro’s publicity seeking strategy of desecrating the American flag outside of funerals for veterans. Burning and otherwise defacing the flag are legal acts fully protected by the US Constitution, but once again, Bobby puffed out his chest over a straw man (even the pro-constitutional amendment group Citizens Flag Alliance can count only a handful of flag burnings every year). Seizing another chance for his own publicity, Kaufmann the Younger announced in Letters to the Editor in small-town newspapers that he wasn’t sure what he could do specifically, ‘but count on me to fight with a fiery passion to defend the honor or our flag and our fallen soldiers.’ Those of us who have been targets of Westboro thuggery over the years have learned that they revel in attempts to censor them. Thanks, Bobby, for giving them exactly what they want.

Bobby’s claim that he “value[s] our First Amendment rights” is a joke. Freedom of speech is the same in Washington, DC, in Ferguson, Ohio, and in Bobby’s home town of Wilton, Iowa. Without the freedom to be offensive, it ceases to exist. A protest that fails to annoy or inconvenience may as well not occur. Bobby doesn’t understand our Constitution, or he willfully exploits it for his own self-aggrandizement. Worst of all, Bobby’s faux patriotism is insulting to ‘our flag and our fallen soldiers’ that he pretends to defend ‘with a fiery passion.’ Maybe he is unaware that American soldiers take an oath to protect the Constitution, not the flag.

What also distinguishes Bobby as a legislator is that he, like all bullies, slinks away when he loses control of a situation. Recently Bobby bragged about how many “buttercup” interviews he had done, until he appeared by phone on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s As it Happens (similar to NPR’s All Things Considered). Bobby obviously relished the attention, talking confidently about a school that had brought in a ‘therapy pony’ to ease students’ anxieties, until host Carol Off politely but firmly pressed him to tell her listeners where the therapy pony had appeared. [Editor’s note: this question is an example of what was once known as ‘journalism.’] After three squirming attempts to not answer, Bobby simply hung up, like a buttercup.

All of this punching down on weaker targets by a privileged son could be excused if he occasionally showed the courage to go after people or groups with genuine power. Bobby’s silence is deafening on the abuse of power by the Board of Regents, the Governor’s trial balloon of cutting IPERS benefits to thousands of working Iowans, the payday loan companies, the nursing home industry, the pharmaceutical lobby, and the countless corporate interests that align themselves against our most defenseless citizens.

Bobby ran unopposed in the last election, in a district that includes a chunk of the People’s Republic of Johnson County. It’s time we challenge Bobby to be a big boy, not a bully, or find someone to take his place.

–Prairie Dog

The Prairie Progressive is Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter, available only in hard copy for $12/yr.!!  Send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244.

ALEC Convention Ends; As Usual No Reports

Rest assured that most of us are screwed.

A Legislator for Every Corp.

A Legislator for Every Corp.

ALEC ended what should be by any measure an illegal gathering of businesses and state legislators in Washington DC Friday. Even though this is a meeting where legislators are conducting business of the states, there are no outsiders allowed in. No reports of what transpires is allowed. There is a better chance of light escaping a black hole than information escaping ALEC meetings.

From what has resulted from past meetings we can take an educated guess what it may mean for an Iowa where there is no way to stop Iowa Republicans control of all branches of government. The insane tax breaks for business, the handing over of taxpayer money to private businesses for questionable reasons, the gutting of our public education system and of course the disempowering of unions will be big on the agenda. All these are ALEC’s wish list items.

Not to say everything will be bad. Most likely we will get the ability to shoot our neighbors for no good reason. Or be shot by a neighbor with a gun and an attitude.

Oh, and some of us will lose our vote based on our heritage. Expect some attempt to take the vote away from college students in the cities where they go to school.

If you want to see what Iowa will look like in a couple of years just look at the mess called Kansas to our south and west. Just google “Kansas failed government” and there are a slew of hits. One from last May from Mother Jones magazine tells of government budgets wrecked, jobs fleeing the state and schools way underfunded. This will be Iowa if ALEC and legislative leaders get their way.

Now we find out that ALEC is not only creating legislation for government bodies below the federal level, thanks to Jim Hightower and that ALEC is also working diligently to have a constitutional convention called. The purpose of this convention will be to install the vision of the Koch Brothers as the basic laws of the United States.

From inthesetimes:

A balanced budget amendment has long been a holy grail for the Right since the 1930s. In the 1980s, conservatives made a push for a balanced budget constitutional convention and, 20 years later, the idea was resurrected as part of the Tea Party platform. That’s when BBATF was formed (ed. note Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force) to carry the movement forward. With 16 resolutions held over from the previous wave of conservative activism, BBATF has since passed resolutions in Alabama (2011), New Hampshire (2012), Ohio (2013), Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Louisiana (2014), South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah (2015) and West Virginia (2016), bringing the total to 28. This year, BBATF is targeting 13 states: Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In six of these states Republicans control both legislative bodies and the governorship, making passage a real possibility and leaving BBATF one state shy of the magic 34.

A balanced budget amendment would greatly tie the federal government’s hands in times of crisis, especially depressions and recessions.

From Jim Hightower:

Last January, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott revealed that he has penned NINE new amendments to the US Constitution. Abbott is proposing a Bill of Sale, effectively transferring our national government from The People to The Plutocrats. His “tweaks” would outlaw government actions that restrain corporate abuse of workers and consumers, while also preventing future Congresses from meeting crucial public needs such as health care, voter rights, and restoration of our national infrastructure.

However, Abbott is not the force behind this tampering with our Constitution. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – at the direction of the Koch brothers and their corporate cohorts wrote Abboty’s Bill of Sale. Back in 2010, ALEC’s board of directors approved a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention to enact Abbott’s corporate humbuggery Abbott is now pushing.

Convening a convention, permitted under Article V of the Constitution, is a dream of those seeking an American Kochistan, and ALEC is spearheading a hodgepodge of right-wing groups that are close to succeeding. At the convention, they would attempt to rewrite our nation’s fundamental governing document. The changes would enthrone the “moneyed corporations” that Jefferson and other founders abhorred as destroyers of America’s democratic possibilities.

We actually believe that our government works in at least a shimmer of light. Now we find out that behind the scenes a private lobbying group (ALEC) has been working for years with legislators to bring about very fundamental change in our government without hearing anything about it.

If that doesn’t frighten you I don’t know what will.

Feeling Very Nervous

Just can’t help it. I am feeling very nervous about Tuesday.

My concern is mostly due to the Republican party’s blatant voter suppression activities. From the legalized theft of votes from citizens through voter id laws that are targeted at the poor, people of color and college students. States like North Carolina passed laws that seemed fit for the old Jim Crow South. If Republicans had policies that worked for the public they wouldn’t have to resort to suppression tactics like that.

Research has shown that infrequent voters tend not to vote when the campaigns are nasty. Being nasty as can be has been a common thread for Republican campaigns for a long time. No doubt you have heard many folks say “Maybe I just won’t vote.” Score that as a win for Republicans.

Then there is still the looming question of whether our voting machines can be hacked. There has never been a definitive study. We have already had reports of votes being flipped from Democratic candidate to Republican in North Carolina. There has been little investigation of these incidents. The voting machines are by electronic standards ancient. But our governments are starved for money so the old machines are put out to work yet again. As far as I know there are still no auditing procedures in any state. We are fortunate in Iowa to have a paper trail, but we still need some audit process.

Our radio and TV media have been incredible in not covering issues. Climate change, perhaps the single most overriding issue of our time, has simply disappeared from the radar screen. Donald Trump’s character, which is evidenced through the lawsuits and accusations against him, by stories from his employees, partners and small business contractors, should be enough to stop most Americans from voting for him. Yet this aspect of Trump is only touched on and then buried beneath bogus stories on Clinton’s emails.

Print media has been somewhat better. It is telling though that we can only name a few writers who have really stepped up to expose reality. David Farenthold, Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek, David Cay Johnston and the good folks at the Guardian. Fortunately, today’s version of the back room press of Revolutionary days – blogs – have filled in where TV and radio have failed so miserably. Hats off to Dailykos, Talking Points Memo, Salon, Huffington Post and so many others.

What has me especially nervous is what happens after the election. Despite all the blockades that Republicans have thrown up it looks like Hillary Clinton should have a decisive and clear cut victory. The US senate may also see a major shift. Due to the Republican gerrymandering of 2012 the House looks like it might remain in Republican hands.

Clear cut victory or not, Republicans will not give up their power easily or willingly. They will continue to use whatever tools they have and will create new ones to stop any progress. We already know that Republicans in the senate will do what they can to stop any Democratic nominees to the Supreme Court. We know also that if Republicans retain control of the House, impeachment will be among their first orders of business.

There is also the concern of post election violence. Trump has already proclaimed loudly that if he doesn’t win, then the election was stolen from him. At a rally in North Carolina in August he suggested that the “second amendment people” would know what to do. This was a thinly veiled call for taking up arms. In a recent incident Trump supporter Sen. Richard Burr said a picture of Hillary Clinton should have a bullseye on it.

The FBI’s insertion of itself into the election process is very troubling. Having non-political agencies inserting itself into the election suggests that other governmental agencies may not work depending who wins the election. It also sends a signal that investigations may be based on political stands.

Should Donald Trump win, heaven forbid, then we have many unknowns to deal with. Expect economic ramifications due to these uncertainties almost immediately. By that I mean world markets will be very volatile. That is only the immediate fallout. Expect real uncertainty as we learn what Trump ties to Russia mean, what kind of foreign policy his administration will actually have. We have been given no real idea what a Trump presidency may be like. Markets hate uncertainty and will over react on nearly every move. Retirement savings may be among the first affected.

At a state level, will Iowa voters turn the state over to Republicans totally? Considering how much damage Terry Branstad has done with only one house of the legislature, just think what he could do if Democrats were not able to exert some small amount of opposition to his power grabs. Have you seen what a mess Kansas is? Kansas is Republican nirvana. If the legislature is Republican it could be “Kansas here we come!”

Vote, vote, vote. And if you have time, join us in helping to turn out the vote. Give the local chair a call or join a national call effort.

After You Vote Where To Help Iowa Democrats In The Final Two Weeks

for state and nation vote democratIowa Starting Line identified the most important races to focus on during the final weeks of the campaign.  Click here to see the status of other key races in Northeast Iowa, Marion, and Polk County.   Click on the links below to find out how to volunteer to help these candidates or donate to their campaign.

Many of these races will come down to just several dozen or a few hundred votes. In 2012, one senate race was lost by 17 votes. One was won by 126. A combined difference of just 247 votes in three districts denied Democrats a tie in the House in 2012. Had 200 votes in a fourth district gone the other way, Democrats would have won the House outright.  – ISL


“You get the biggest bang-for-you-buck here. Senator Chris Brase and House candidates Ken Krumweide and Phil Wiese could all have the closest races in the state on Election Day. Krumweide is on the Scott County side of Brase’s district, while Wiese is on the Muscatine side. Brase was Republicans’ early top target and they recruited a well-liked former legislator to challenge him. Brase is also a firefighter and has some of this year’s best Iowa ads.”