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PBS Airing RW Sponsored School Privatization Propaganda

video 15:30

Thanks to an alert from the Thom Hartman radio program ( 11AM to 2PM daily) we were able to find an article at Media Matters that detailed the story of these privatization propaganda.

So let’s go to Media Matters for the story:

“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her department have pushed for an expansion of privatized school choice programs in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, particularly in the form of private school vouchers. Now a propagandistic three-part documentary series called School Inc. will help DeVos in her efforts to gain public support for expanded private school choice options. The series has already aired on PBS stations in some markets and will be shown on more this month.”

< < snip >>

In addition to School Inc.’s roots in the radical, libertarian Cato Institute, education historian and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch found that the film was funded by a number of arch-conservative foundations with ties to the “dark money ATM” DonorsTrust and the Ayn Rand Institute. Ravitch has prescreened School Inc. and provided this scathing review to The Washington Post:

This program is paid propaganda. It does not search for the truth. It does not present opposing points of view. It is an advertisement for the demolition of public education and for an unregulated free market in education. PBS might have aired a program that debates these issues, but “School Inc.” does not.

Why would a public broadcast channel air a documentary that is produced by a right-wing think tank and funded by ultra-conservative donors, and that presents a single point of view without meaningful critique, all the while denigrating public education? PBS responded in part with a statement to the Post, saying, “PBS and local member stations aim to offer programs that reflect diverse viewpoints and promote civic dialogue on important topics affecting local communities.”

However, as Ravitch notes, when a documentary fails to objectively present information about a topic that may not be well understood by the general public, the result is unlikely to “promote civic dialogue.” And when major media outlets uncritically provide a platform to right-wing ideologues, they further misinform and polarize the debate around important issues such as public education.”

editor comment:
PBS is looked to as a trusted brand. One of their calling cards is their supposed objectivity. Airing a series of programs that are little more than propaganda for a single point of view badly damages that trust with the public.

King Once Again Disgraces Iowa

hat tip to EarlG at democraticunderground:

The most covered story of the week is yet another mass shooting in America, but this one gets coverage because a congressman was shot. That wasn’t even the worst mass shooting of the day. America today is so awash in guns and gun violence that a mass shooting killing four people barely rates a mention anymore.

However, since the other mass shooting of the day involved a congressman it rated lots of stories and chatter. Suddenly the body that has spent decades with its head buried in the sand concerning gun violence had one of its chickens come home to roost and it didn’t like it. Actually we should half of congress has ignored the gun violence.

Of the millions of words that gushed forth Wednesday and beyond few were as rancorous and devoid of any scintilla of truth as Steve King’s statement that much of the blame for this shooting belong’s to {drumroll} Barack Obama.

You may wonder where Mr. King’s convoluted logic comes up with such a conclusion. Remember that President Obama worked his rear end off to do something, anything to stem in some way the gun violence in this country. Who can forget Barack Obama after the horrid, horrid Sandy Hook shootings?

So here is King’s logic if you can stomach it:

“I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama,” said King. “He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor.”

Conway didn’t exactly protest.

“Of course he also spent eight years telling us all how terrible we all are and what a garbage can America was and how unexceptional we all were,” said the British-born Conway. “I agree. I absolutely agree with what you said.”

Got to ask what world these people live in. Please join us in the real world where people who should never have had guns daily shoot other Americans over the smallest slights.

By the way, as you can see from graphic above, Joni Ernst had no problem using guns against the government at the NRA in 2012:

Meanwhile the senate continued to work on the health care bill as quietly as they would work on a top secret war project. That is because it is in its own way a top secret war project in their war on the poor and middle class and for their side, the rich and the corporations.
Based on the video above Ernst is ready to blow it away!

From what Americans can find out about this bill millions upon millions will lose their healthcare. Even if you get to keep health insurance, the premiums and deductibles will probably skyrocket. All this will lead to inevitable bankruptcies and early death. Not as quick as gun violence, but effective in its own way.

The wealthiest Americans including Donald Trump will expect a major windfall in lower taxes due to the repeal of the ACA.

Trump’s Missile Stunt in Syria Swallowed Whole by Gullible News Media

“It was a stunt and the media believed every stupid word.”


Grassley/Ernst Recess Schedule

Pope/Getty Images

Grassley and Ernst schedule for the recess:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Keokuk County Town Meeting
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Keokuk County Courthouse
101 South Main Street

 *Grassley will be available for 15 minutes after the meeting to answer questions from local reporters.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sac County Town Meeting
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Iowa State Bank Meeting Room
500 Audubon Street, Sac City

Joni Ernst

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sac County Town Meeting
1:00 PM CT
Wall Lake Community Center
108 Boyer Street
Wall Lake, IA

Video: Iowa Voting Trends In 2016

This is a must view for the Iowa #Trumpresistance.  Iowa Starting Line has put together a Visual Tour of Iowa’s voting trend changes in 2016. Click on the link to follow Iowa Starting Line.  Follow ISL on Facebook and Twitter


Trump Voters And The Democrats’ Dilemma

The question Democrats are struggling with in our new, surreal President (pussy-grabber-in-chief) Trump world comes down to, in its simplest form, should we (1) despise the Trump voters or (2) feel empathy for them?

It is not merely a political question; it also has moral and practical implications.  Should we do what Jesus would do,  forgive them because they know not what they do, and try to bring them back into the fold? Or should we see them as racist, misogynist, mean-spirited idiots who may just get us all killed? Or are they just unemployed, disaffected, otherwise decent, ordinary people who through no fault of their own have been brainwashed by the vast right-wing propaganda machine?  All of the above?  How do we solve this?  Perhaps some of us have already decided for ourselves; others may still be working it out. Maybe we don’t all have to do the same thing.

There are plenty of articles and books already out there on the subject. Here are some  thoughts by Frank Rich in an article for Sunday’s NYMagazine, No Sympathy for the Hillbilly: Democrats need to stop trying to feel everyone’s pain, and hold on to their own anger. 

I’ve chosen a few excerpts. You can read the entire article here.


No Sympathy for the Hillbilly

by Frank Rich

It is  a fool’s errand for Democrats to fudge or abandon their own values to cater to the white-identity politics of the hard-core, often self-sabotaging Trump voters who helped drive the country into a ditch on Election Day. They will stick with him even though the numbers say that they will take a bigger financial hit than Clinton voters under the Republican health-care plan. As Trump himself has said, in a rare instance of accuracy, they won’t waver even if he stands in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoots somebody. While you can’t blame our new president for loving ‘the poorly educated’ who gave him that blank check, the rest of us are entitled to abstain. If we are free to loathe Trump, we are free to loathe his most loyal voters, who have put the rest of us at risk.

Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, in her election-year best seller, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,  was inspired by Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas? She wanted “to scale the empathy wall” and “unlock the door to the Great Paradox” of why working-class voters cast ballots for politicians actively opposed to their interests…

In “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class,” a postelection postmortem published to much op-ed attention by the Harvard Business Review, the University of California law professor Joan C. Williams proposes that other liberals do in essence what Hochschild did…

“The best advice I’ve seen so far for Democrats is the recommendation that hipsters move to Iowa,” Williams writes — or to any other location in the American plains where “shockingly high numbers of working-class men are unemployed or on disability, fueling a wave of despair deaths in the form of the opioid epidemic.”

She further urges liberals to discard “the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite”  that leads them to condescend to disaffected working-class whites and “write off blue-collar resentment as racism…”

Read the entire article at


45: The Best Recruiter His Opponents Ever Had

Listening to the radio Thursday a radio host threw out a question to a guest: How long before Jeff Sessions puts the weight of the Justice Department behind enforcing federal marijuana law? The guest mused that they had to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid first, so she thought about 6 months or so.

Some questions popped into my head immediately. Will the administration go about this in their usual ham-handed way and announce one day that they are going to enforce the laws and then start rounding up elderly and disabled medical marijuana users within the hour, dragging them into lockup.

If they do this, once more the administration will make the object of their hate look extremely sympathetic in the public square. For an administration that is supposed to be so publicity savvy, these guys have been the greatest thing that has ever happened to their perceived enemies.

All during the campaign and then right out of the box Muslims were a major target based solely on their religion. They then enforced their rule by detaining any and all Muslims entering this country at airports. This creates huge sympathy among the American public for American Muslims and others who work or live in the US with green cards or as permanent residents.

What it also does is give anti-American jihadists the best recruiting posters ever. “See” they say, “It’s just like we told you – they hate Muslims and want to kill you.” Jihadists immediately labeled the Muslim ban by the administration as the “blessed ban.” Thus they can claim that the US is showing its true colors about Muslims.

Or how about the shutting down of Elizabeth Warren as she attempted to oppose the nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. When Republicans invoked some real ancient rule to gag her and then went on the news to explain it they gave Senator Warren much, much more publicity than she ever could have garnered any other way. Then when Mitch McConnell gave his explanation for gagging Warren he summed up the Republican attitude toward women – “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” McConnell also gave Warren a much better campaign slogan than any group of advertising brains could ever concoct.

The administration has picked cabinet secretaries based on their opposition to the department they have been picked to lead. Thus naming Betsy DeVos at Education has really helped highlight the problems of public education in this country while the administration will be trying to destroy public education.

Civil Rights has had some focus as anti-civil rights crusader Jeff Sessions takes the helm at the Justice Department. He is a stark reminder of the reasons why such legislation as the Voting Rights Act was needed. Once again as the administration seeks to really roll back civil rights, the public is given a reminder course on why such laws are so necessary.

Looking ahead we all know that healthcare (the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare) will soon be targets as will Social Security. My expectations are that their attacks on those programs will be so fumbled that all these programs will enjoy renewed popularity.

So what about cracking down on marijuana? For one thing, my guess is that it will come out that such a crackdown was pushed by a couple of industries like alcohol and privatized prisons. Neither of these industries elicit much sympathy. When law enforcement starts locking up granny or the kid that gets cannabis oil for epileptic seizures any sympathy falls totally to marijuana users.

One silver lining to the cloud that is 45’s administration is that when they start banging the drums of war against Iran, most Americans including the corporate media, will be extremely wary of anything that comes from the current White House.

The People Speak: Letters To The Editor

let them know you are mad!

Reminder: letters to the editor of our local newspapers are a free and great way to get our points out. And do not be shy. If you write a great letter share it with all the newspapers in the area. Most are looking for items to publish.

Letter to the editor from Don Paulson, Muscatine County Democratic chair

Not a smooth beginning to the Trump Era, is it? To those of you who voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all, you are going to get the kind of governing that no one deserves. Except the wealthy, of course. They’ll do just fine.

Do you want to know the first thing the Trump folks did? They canceled a cut in the mortgage fee that President Obama’s Administration set. So much for the blather about helping the American people. It will now be more expensive for Americans to buy a house.

And how about that wall? They still want to build it, but have finally admitted that American taxpayers will shell out about $20 billion to pay for it. No word yet on whether the Canadians are going to build their $200 billion wall and make us pay for it!

Over the weekend they fessed up and said Trump will not ever release his tax returns, federal audit or not. Where there is smoke there is fire- how many years did he not pay federal income tax, and what incriminating Russian evidence is in there?

His millionaire and billionaire cabinet picks are alarming. Some have no experience whatsoever in the departments he expects them to run. Examples-

* Secretary of State- Rex Tillerson- no government experience, CEO of ExxonMobil and pals with Vladimir Putin.
* Secretary of Education- Betsy DeVos- billionaire heiress to the Amway fortune, Republican mega donor, enemy of public education.
* Secretary of Housing and Urban Development- Ben Carson- no experience and no clue.
* Secretary of Energy- Rick Perry- former Texas Governor and dullard from “Dancing With the Stars”. He has said that until recently he thought the Dept. of Energy was a rah-rah club for the oil and gas industry.

These are disturbing choices from a disturbed President. No one who is serious about the decorum of the office of President of the United States would use tweets to talk about inconsequential things like the size of crowds at an Inauguration. Not to mention lie about it. There is no such thing as “alternate facts”- they are just lies. Trump and his Press Secretary getting into an argument with the press over this is nonsense.

We may get some clarity on Mr. Trump’s huge ethical challenges. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a lawsuit, claiming he is in violation of Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

I believe the American Civil Liberties Union is also planning a suit along similar lines. Trump has so many holdings all over the world that the corruption argument is certainly plausible.

This is going to be a wild and terrifying ride for ordinary Americans, and it’s only going to get worse.

Last Saturday You Learned That You Are Not Alone

image from #sistermarchic

The Women’s March On – well, Everywhere was an incredibly liberating experience. The most liberating aspect of this march was simply to see in real life that you are not alone! Your sense that something is very wrong in this country is not just a feeling that you and a few others have. There is no need to hide your feelings for fear of reprisal. Most of America feels the way you do.

Sitting in the parking lot at the English-Philosophy building at the University of Iowa we sat and watched as the crowd swelled and swelled. Few expected much of a turnout. It was simply inspiring.

What Iowa City saw on a small scale cities like Des Moines, Omaha, Denver and on up to the major cities such as LA, Boston, New York saw on a grand scale never before seen. Washington DC has seldom, maybe never, seen the likes of this march. It was confined to US shores. Sister marches were held across the world on all seven continents.

Nosiree, you are not alone.

One of the hallmark tactics of an abuser is to isolate the victim and make them think that they have no friends and no support network. The idea is to make them think that they are somehow so repugnant that no one wants to associate with them. It is an amazingly effective tactic that turns a victim from their friends and family and into isolation where the abuser can easily manipulate the victim and make them feel unable to manage on their own. The victim having no where to turn becomes nearly defenseless to the abuser.

Following the 2004 reinstatement of George W. Bush, a woman friend asked me how in the hell we could have put Bush back in office. I responded that it made me think of an abuse victim who can’t break away from an abuser because they are more afraid of the unknown that they they are afraid of the psychological and physical punishment handed out by the abuser. Our corporate media aids in this to a great degree by refusing to report what is actually happening but instead give republicans unquestioned coverage.

My friend started crying. I didn’t know that in her past she was the victim of an abusive relationship that she seldom spoke of. She said “that’s exactly right!” She then gave me the brief story of her abuse and said that she, too, was afraid to leave. She said that was just what that election had proved.

Flash forward to 2016 where the corporate media simply did not question Republicans. This followed decades of outrageous lies from that same media attacking Hillary Clinton and 8 years of attacking Barack Obama. They were aided by voter suppression laws in many states, the FBI interfering in the election and even interference by an enemy state on the side of the Republicans.

Interesting that the target of their abuse this time around was a woman.

Abusers are bullies and there is no better way to stop a bully than to stand up to them. Stand we did in numbers unheard of before.

And we all learned that not only are we not alone, we are the majority! What we need now is for politicians to follow the women’s marchers. It would be a smart move for any politician to do.

Now that you know you are not only not alone and that you are the majority – remember Hillary actually won by 3 million votes and Trump was opposed by 54% of those who did vote and probably most of those whose vote was suppressed – what will you do? Please don’t stay silent. Please be active.

There are a couple of groups just starting here in Iowa that could really fill the bill for someone just getting active. The first is Strong Women. This group is just starting in Iowa City. One can only assume they would love to have chapters across Iowa.

The other group is Action Iowa (formerly Pantsuit Iowa). Sorry, I do not have a contact for them. But what we do know is that there will be a meeting.

Strong Women will be having a meeting next Wednesday evening Feb. 1st from 7 to 8:30PM at the Coralville Library. A great way to channel your energy from the Women’s March!

Great March In Iowa City!

Iowa City Women’s march 01-21-2017

My guess was at least 2,000, maybe as high as 3,000. Just couldn’t believe the waves of people that just kept coming as noon approached. It was wonderful.

Lots of women of all ages of course, but also lots of men, many girls also. Some of the girls looked to be junior high age and seemed to be on their own. Way to go girls! Also a good number of boys. It was a well behaved crowd.

The local organizer said she was overwhelmed. She said she thought it would be her and a couple of her friends.

image from #sistermarchic

Yesterday was a giant step backward for the country and the world. Today was an inspiring first step in reverse, but only a tiny step. This was not a one and done rally, but no doubt the first of what will have to be constant actions on many fronts.

Leaving the march and listening to reports from around the world, I was heartened. Believe me a huge dose of hope has been much needed after what has transpired since Nov. 8th.

On a personal level, I was given a pussy hat which I will cherish until the end.

pussy hat