— and you deserve better than that.
Over the last three years, Governor Branstad has engaged in a campaign of deception about job growth in Iowa. By only counting jobs gained – and not any that were lost – he falsely inflated the numbers to make his jobs record look better.
It started with a promise: Branstad said he would create 200,000 jobs.
But after taking office, Branstad and his political cronies realized they couldn’t get it done and directed the state agency responsible for tabulating job figures to cook the books. At their request, they started counting “gross jobs” instead of “net jobs”.
That means if you lose your job, you don’t count.
But if you’re hired to do two different jobs in the same year, you count twice!
They claim they’ve created 128,000 jobs, but in reality that number is far less, just 48,200. Barely 25% of his original promise three years ago. And Iowa now ranks 46 out of 50 states in job creation under Branstad, according to a study released last week by Arizona State University.
Any discussion about job creation must begin with an honest assessment of job growth. Since Governor Branstad won’t tell the truth, we’re taking the fight to him.
Thanks for all you do,
P.S. Governor Branstad directed a state agency to manipulate facts in order to cover up his failed promise. Three years later, we’re still waiting for him to tell the truth. Tell him to end the dishonesty today.
While we enjoy the holidays, have friends in and eat good food and drink good drink, America’s right wing and monied classes have been either stealing us blind or setting up the mechanisms to steal us blind. Merry Christmas.
First we have the recent ruling in the Detroit bankruptcy case. The city’s public employees did nothing to cause the bankruptcy. These folks went to work faithfully for decades. When they retired they received a modest (very modest) pension of around $19,000 a year on average basically as a deferred compensation. A study by Demos laid the blame for Detroit’s bankruptcy on Detroit’s joining many Americans in investing in the toxic assets being sold by Wall Street. Please read or listen to this DemocracyNow interview with Walter Tuberville on the Detroit situation.
Not one of the banksters responsible for the toxic assets have yet to be charged for anything to do with the collapse. Yet retirees from Detroit’s public sector will be paying for Wall Street’s gambling for the rest of their lives if the legalized theft of their pension is upheld.
To cover Detroit debts it looks like the city will need to sell off municipal assets. This will include treasures from their world known art museum. Now wealthy people with some cash in their pockets will probably be able to pick up masterpieces for pennies on the dollar. No doubt, valuable city land will also be on the auction block. Money raised from these and other endeavors will used to pay debts to, believe it or not, those who sold them the toxic assets.
At almost the same time, legislators assembled in Springfield, Illinois to go about the purpose of stealing the public workers pensions since the state had defaulted on payment into the fund for many, many years.
Right after Thanksgiving ALEC got their puppets together in Thanksgiving to tell them what they will work on in their states. As you know ALEC is essentially a lobbying group for corporations at the state level. Their legislative want list will load up up the pockets of their corporate owners. We here in Iowa have a couple legislators who have pledged to carry out their wishes.
Apparently, ALEC isn’t doing enough to create the ‘atmosphere’ to rob the poor and give it to the rich. Therefore uber-wealthy are sponsoring a think tank that will be working at the state level to attack any social policy in this country. Do yopu remember the part of the revolution where we were fighting to make a better life for the rich? Neither do I. Here from the Guardian is an excerpt concerning the State Policy Network (SPN) yet another group sponsored by the wealthy to steal your money, freedom and future.
“Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.
The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as “free-market thinktanks”, includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.
The documents contain 40 funding proposals from 34 states, providing a blueprint for the conservative agenda in 2014. In partnership with the Texas Observer and the Portland Press Herald in Maine, the Guardian is publishing SPN’s summary of all the proposals to give readers and news outlets full and fair access to state-by-state conservative plans that could have significant impact throughout the US, and to allow the public to reach its own conclusions about whether these activities comply with the spirit of non-profit tax-exempt charities.”
But the worst of the worst appears to be the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is a multi-national trade agreement that is being negotiated in private with special representation for corporations. Little about the TPP has leaked. What has leaked sounds like a corporate wet dream. President Obama is pushing for “fast-tracking” confirmation of this treaty. Anything this extensive needs a thorough going over by our representatives. Be sure to contact your representatives now and tell them that the TPP and its Trans-Atlantic brother need a full and PUBLIC hearing.
It has taken many decades to get the ingredients right to make a full scale attack on public workers. They are about the last guard in the rights assault on America and its workers. Being able to plunder the wealth of the commons for pennies on a dollar is an added plus.
WASHINGTON – The National Labor Relations Board General Counsel is issuing a decision today to prosecute Walmart for its widespread violations of its workers’ rights. The decision will provide additional protection for Walmart’s 1.3 million employees when they are speaking out for better jobs at the country’s largest employer.
The Board will prosecute Walmart’s illegal firings and disciplinary actions involving more than 117 workers, including those who went on strike last June, according to the decision.
The decision addresses threats by managers and the company’s national spokesperson for discouraging workers from striking and for taking illegal disciplinary actions against workers who were on legally protected strikes. Workers could be awarded back pay, reinstatement and the reversal of disciplinary actions through the decision; and Walmart could be required to inform and educate all employees of their legally protected rights.
“The Board’s decision confirms what Walmart workers have long known: the company is illegally trying to silence employees who speak out for better jobs,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice and American Rights at Work. “Americans believe that we have the responsibility – and the right – to speak out against corporate abuses of workers, and this proves we’re finally being heard, and making kinks in Walmart’s armor. Customers, clergy and community members from across the country are standing with Walmart workers bravely calling for better jobs and a stronger economy for all of us.”
Today’s decision addresses charges filed one year ago in advance of Black Friday 2012, when Walmart managers escalated their efforts to threaten and discourage workers from going on legally protected strikes. David Tovar, spokesperson for the company, even went so far as to threaten workers on national television, saying “there would be consequences” for workers who did not come in for scheduled shifts on Black Friday.
Additionally, the decisional covers the illegal firings and disciplinary actions that occurred after 100 striking Walmart workers took their concerns to the company’s June shareholder meeting in Bentonville. Support from investors, Walmart workers and the general public continued to grow after tens of thousands of shareholders heard from OUR Walmart members at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
When these workers returned to work, Walmart systematically fired and disciplined them despite their legally recognized, protected absences. This included disciplinary action against at least 43 workers and the firing of at least another 23 worker-leaders.
“Working at the largest employer in the country should mean making a decent living. Those days are long gone,” said Tiffany Beroid, a Walmart worker from Laurel, MD. “Walmart continues to show that it’s afraid to have real conversations about creating better jobs, but would rather scare us into silence. But change at Walmart is too important to our economy and for our families for us to stop speaking out.”
Protesters gathered at the turn off to Walmart from Hwy. 1 in south Iowa City yesterday. They held signs to passing motorists and got many approving thumbs up and honks. One young man told one protester to go back to Russia. He was informed Russia does not allow protests.
They began with an informational protest in front of the store. Police then had them move. When they stood near the car wash on the same lot, the owner of the car wash had the police move them. The protesters then positioned themselves at the entrance and the police sat in a squad car in the Walmart parking lot.
Thank you to those who joined in to make the Black Friday protest against Walmart’s wage and benefit policy a success. Remember that Walmart is using multiple government tax breaks and using government subsidies to keep their workers going. In other words we are paying Walmart a lot of money to come in and drive our small businesses out.
Walmart is plenty rich enough to pay their workers living wages and decent benefits.
From what I understand there will be an action at the Iowa City Walmart on Hwy. 1 west at noon on Nov. 29. If you can take an hour or two to support these brave folk in their struggle for fair pay and decent benefits. What Walmart does to its own employees is a crying shame. You must realize that when they screw their employees they are passing the cost of their employees ability to live on to you and I. It is you and I who must subsidize their food and healthcare because Walmart refuses to pay living wages.
The big trend with retailers is to stay open on Thanksgiving this year. This will give people like the 4 Walton children, who already have as much money as the bottom 125,000,000 Americans, a little wealthier while they force workers to work on a national holiday at poverty wages. As their workers get poorer, the Waltons get richer because the money they don’t pay their employees which we subsidize ends up in the Walton children’s pockets.
Is her real name Lizard? Holy cow, this woman is a disaster. It appears she has even lost Mom and Dad’s vote by saying her gay sister is wrong, wrong, wrong. But don’t forget she is probably one of the most politically correct tea baggers out there. I would like to be a fly on the wall at the Cheney family Christmas. However, maybe it won’t be as much fun as I would hope. Daughter Mary and wife have decided to do Christmas elsewhere. And Dad may ask her to go out hunting with him.
Look Like Something From Today?
This looks like some of the crap the right is floating about Obama today.
Posted around Dallas before his fateful trip.
Do Not Forget SNAP
As you gather family and friends together this year, remember that the poor in this country have had a huge cut in their food budget courtesy of congress. America has more than enough for all, yet millions have nothing while a few have more than any kings or emperors of yore.
Finally For Today
Despite the fact that insurance companies had years to prepare for the ACA, they did nothing to remove the junk policies they knew would be a problem. They also gave assurances in the beginning that they would work to implement the ACA since it would bring them millions of new and paying customers.
According to the Terry Branstad method of accounting for jobs he will be happy to know that when he loses his next year it will not count against him. Plus when the Democrat takes his place, that will count as another job created by Branstad!
Gay Marriage In Illinois?
They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere! What’s that? Oh, there really are gays everywhere. I’ll be darned. They are getting married and raising kids and your marriage has not been ruined. Somebody been lying to us!
Scott Walker is starting to make noises like a presidential candidate. Sorry, Mr. Walker but many of us will ever see you as anything more than a Koch sucker.
Did You Ever Hear?
Have you heard someone say “I don’t have kids in school, why should I pay taxes for schools?” Well look at this chart and see if there aren’t a few things YOU would like to cut out.
Note To Ken Cuccinelli
Couldn’t have happened to a better person, Cooch. The loss, I mean. Maybe TMAC will really turn Virginia into a place for lovers – of all stripe. On your way out the door, take one more read of this.
Hi To All The New Worlds Out There
The Keppler telescope has allowed scientists to estimate that there are possibly some 20 billion planets in “Goldolocks” zones just in our galaxy, with potentially billions more throughout the universe. I can hardly wait until we make contact and can start fighting a war over whose God is the one and true God.
“Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.”
See you soon?
Campaign to Save the West Burlington Plant
Southeast Iowa Townhall Forum
Wednesday, October 23rd 6:30 PM
Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, Iowa
200 North Front Street (Banquet Room A)
In order to call attention to how corporate tax deals are hurting our economy, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Des Moines, Henry County Labor Council, and others are holding a forum this Wednesday, October 23 to learn more. They are asking GE to:
- Keep your promise to the community – Don’t take our money and run
- Understand that everyday Iowans want good jobs and livable wages, job security and stability, respect and dignity for workers, and companies to reinvestment in the community.
- Make a long-term/long-haul commitment to stay in West Burlington and provide good-paying jobs with decent benefits. And treat its employees with dignity and respect.
This is part of a larger campaign for community/worker justice and corporate accountability.
David Osterberg, Iowa Policy Project
Cherie Mortice, Iowa CCI Action Fund
Local and state elected officials
Community forum co-sponsored by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund, Iowa Federation of Labor, Iowa Policy Project, Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, Des Moines/Henry County Labor Council, Iowa State Council—Communications Workers of America, and Iowa Citizen Action Network. For more information, contact Iowa CCI Action Fund at 515.255.0800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the tax giveaways to corporations to the decimation of city, county, state and federal government budgets.
Rather than recoup some of these lost tax revenues to a shadow of what they were in the heyday of American prosperity in the 1950s, the causal narrative of government budget woes at every level is that public spending is out control.
Public services are unaffordable, we are told, because we overpay public sector workers like librarians, janitors, garbage men and filing clerks more than they are worth. “Generous” benefits like health care and pensions are simply unsustainable in the new economy.
Mayors, city administrators, county board members and Senators explain that the only way out is for us to give more corporate tax abatements, TIFs, forgivable loans, and other tools of “economic development” that pit city against city, state against state, in a “race to the bottom”.
Cities can’t afford to fix sewers and potholes until they have given a ten, twenty, thirty-year tax vacation to a real estate developers who want to build another shopping complex or hotel.
Public nursing homes are being privatized at the same time that casinos are subsidized.
And when States like Illinois raise income taxes to pay decades-old bills and neglected infrastructure, Corporations like Caterpillar threaten to move out of state.
We cannot fully staff the library or parks department because we are subsidizing the development of yet another Walmart who will inevitably close the nearby local, smaller stores. And instead of collecting the increased property tax as we had from those smaller, often locally-owned stores, governments are put on a pay freeze by the TIF that was demanded as a trade-off for the “development.”
One of the beneficiaries of this these policies is General Electric. GE made profits of more than 8 billion dollars over the past 11 years but paid a tax rate less than most working families. The Institute for Policy Studies details it this way:
“Over the last 11 years (2002-2012), GE reported more than $88 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits and yet paid just $2.1 billion in federal income taxes, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). GE paid a paltry tax rate of just 2.4% compared to the official corporate tax rate of 35%. This huge tax subsidy cut GE’s taxes by $28.9 billion over the 11 years.”
These profits are certainly a result of the hard labor of its workers and creativity of its engineers, but it is also due to the 975 people in GE’s accounting department who have turned “tax avoidance into an art form” according to Americans for Tax Fairness. In 2011 this resulted in a tax return more than 57,000 pages long (compare that to the Tea-Party complaint about Obamacare being 906 pages long.)
Some of this wealth could also be attributed to the sweet deal GE received here in Iowa at its West Burlington Plant. Three years ago, GE threatened to close its West Burlington manufacturing plant if workers didn’t agree to nearly $8 million in cuts to wages and benefits. Local and state government (city of West Burlington, state of Iowa, and Des Moines County) also threw in $2.4 million in tax incentives. After the state, county, and city agreed to those tax abatements, and the workers agreed to the severe paycuts, GE agreed to stay in Southeast Iowa for 3 more years.
It’s been 3 years now, and there has been no public report on the company’s progress.
So, join us to ask GE to “Keep your promise to our community”
Southeast Iowa Townhall Forum
Wednesday, October 23rd 6:30 PM
Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, Iowa
200 North Front Street (Banquet Room A)
Last week a report came out that the income gap between the richest 1% and those at the other end has not been wider since 1928. This was of course right before the crash. This and many other indicators suggest that despite just coming through the near collapse of the global economy, we seem to be headed in the same direction once again.
We have had various reports over the past 5 years most of which pointed to an out of control financial sector that played fast and loose with the laws concerning them. Certainly laws were broken, but so far there has been not even one charge leveled. During the last 5 years there has not even been a reprimand or a hand slap. Instead the financial and banking sector have spent the time consolidating their position, becoming more concentrated and becoming even more deeply burrowed in the government that is supposed to have oversight over them. The recent list of treasury secretaries reads like the executive suite of Goldmann-Sachs.
Hard to believe that in five years no one could find the time to charge somebody with at least one instance of lawbreaking in the financial collapse. So from what I understand about our legal system, the statute of limitations is about to run out. Thus one of the greatest crimes in history goes by the board with a whimper.
The reason such a crime was treated so lightly was that the people who were hurt the most were the poor and middle class. Many people in both these classes (yes America has a class system) lost jobs, homes, life savings, pensions and saw their personal lives dissolve in divorces and suicides.
Yet there is still a glimmer of light. We do have some real champions that are speaking out and challenging what has become a government-financial system cohabitation. It is up to us to let our leadership know that the status quo is not acceptable.
We start with Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Bernie has been often the lone voice in the wilderness for fair treatment of all citizens. Bernie speaks to the common man, speaks with the common man and speaks for the common man. He is probably the last of the true New Dealers left.
Next is Alan Grayson from Florida. A very well spoken congressman with a sharp needle, Grayson is one of the few in congress willing to speak loudly for the poor and middle class. He is willing to take on anybody always fighting for the worker.
But the one I have great hope for bringing back the worker to the status they deserve is Elizabeth Warren, the rookie senator from Massachusetts. Rookie or not she seems to have the ability to feel the pain that the working class is going through. She also understands how the system has been twisted in favor of the rich and how it needs to be fixed. She is a strong voice for the unions and making them strong again.