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.
Most people today refer to Congress as dysfunctional and give it low ratings on trust. The disruption in government operations last month showed just how far a minority of elected representatives would go to get their way.
Nothing has aroused more Republican vitriol than the Affordable Care Act (ACA) even after it was passed by Congress, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. The recent crisis came when the Republican Party’s tea party wing led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz demanded repeal of the ACA as the price for funding the government and raising the national debt limit. President Obama refused to buckle to the extortion.
But Cruz’s strident take-no-prisoners campaign to eliminate the ACA split the ranks of the GOP, leading to something akin to a full-blown civil war among party conservatives. Cruz and his followers trashed all those who challenged him, labeling them as traitors to the cause of conservatism.
House Republicans used another tactic to achieve their goal. House rules allow any member, regardless of party, to call up a Senate-passed bill for a vote. But on September 30, the eve of the government shutdown, Republicans, who outnumber Democrats two to one on the House Rules Committee, changed the rule so only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor could call up a Senate-passed clean funding bill. The move was another part of a failed strategy to extract concessions from Democrats in exchange for reopening the government.
Congress finally agreed to a temporary fix: reopen the government through January 15 and raise the nation’s borrowing limit effective February 7. The need for this bipartisan breakthrough came because of the economic costs in the wake of the 16-day government shutdown and near-default on government obligations. Such stoppages have occurred before, but not with a looming debt ceiling that threatened to drive the American economy back into recession, roil global financial markets, and damage America’s fiscal reputation.
Domestically, the shutdown resulted in at least 800,000 employees furloughed. And it cost an estimated $24 billion. The economic damage hurt consumer confidence, slowed small business and agriculture loans, and cut tourism revenue.
Sinking Republican poll numbers also played a role in ending the standoff. One poll showed the public blamed the GOP rather than Obama for the shutdown by a stunning 22-point margin.
This crisis raised profound constitutional questions. It appears that Republicans shirked their sworn duty to pay bills and borrow money by both shutting down the government and threatening to default on its bills. The Constitution, moreover, does not allow a majority of the House of Representatives to repeal the law of the land by defunding it without the approval of the Senate and the President.
The U.S. Congress’ enactment of legislation related to Social Security, health care, and civil rights has been accompanied by intense ideological and partisan conflicts. There is a huge difference, however, between spirited arguments over the role of government in general and shutting down services that millions of everyday Americans depend on.
A number of politicians have offered suggestions to avert another credit ceiling debacle. One procedural measure would extend the debt limit through all of 2014. Another involves reducing congressional pay for each day the government is shut down. A third would implement a budget default policy which provides automatic continuing appropriations until an agreement is reached.
We need a sharp course correction to address the most pressing problems our nation faces. These include employment, education, infrastructure, research, and energy. While unprecedented polarization offers little hope for congressional action on these matters, we may at least see some movement on immigration and farm issues.
Ralph Scharnau teaches U. S. history at Northeast Iowa Community College, Peosta. He holds a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. His publications include articles on labor history in Iowa and Dubuque. Scharnau, a peace and justice activist, writes monthly op-ed columns for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.
Van Jones: Let’s Stop Trying To Please Republicans
The GOP were smart when they made the decision to swiftboat Van Jones out of the Obama administration in 2009, because Van Jones is a tremendously powerful force for good.
Individuals like Van Jones and Howard Dean are trouble for the GOP because they care more about the country than they do about political expediency or personal interest, which makes them unpredictable and therefore hard to control and manipulate. So they have to be killed – in the political sense – through the creation of some type of media smear that not only stops the threatening person in their current tracks, but makes it so they will never have any political viability ever again.
I remember when the Van Jones smear happened in 2009. It felt exactly the same as when they swift-boated John Kerry in 2004 and exactly the same as when paid GOP operatives pounded on the doors stopping the Florida recount in 2000. It felt as though you were under assault. You felt like a deer in headlights. They were so hell-bent it seemed as if nothing could stop them, that resistance was futile. And in those instances, they were not stopped. Democratic activists wanted John Kerry and Al Gore to have put up a better fight. It seems that Van Jones has since realized that he probably should have too.
If you’re not familiar with Van Jones, here’s a bit of background from Wiki:
Environmental advocate, civil rights activist, and attorney. He is a co-founder of four non-profit organizations including Rebuild the Dream, Center for Human Rights, a California non-governmental organization (NGO) working for alternatives to violence, Color of Change, an advocacy group for African Americans, Green for All, a national NGO dedicated to “building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, and Rebuild the Dream, a national advocacy organization working towards a fairer economy. He is author of The Green Collar Economy which won the Nautilus Book Award and reached number 12 on the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2008, Time magazine named Jones one of its “Heroes of the Environment.
In March 2009 Jones was appointed by President Barack Obama to the newly created position of Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he worked with various “agencies and departments to advance the administration’s climate and energy initiatives, with a special focus on improving vulnerable communities.”
In 2009 the Republicans duped the gullible media by way of Glenn Beck into reporting a trumped up controversy that Van Jones was actually a peasant sympathizer (in GOP eyes this is a bad thing), and therefore a Marxist. Predictably, the GOP were able to make enough noise and clamor in the moral-less media to cause the selfless Van Jones to resign from his position. Does this sound familiar? Yes, we’ve seen this low budget summer horror movie before. Purely for political gain with no redeeming social value, the blockbuster nontroversy is a common GOP tactic that works so effortlessly and perfectly every time that you wonder why they don’t use it more often. It makes sense that they are bringing it out now in an attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act once and for all. Are we the people going to let it work this time?
Please watch and share this powerful and deeply astute three-and-a-half minute video because Jones’ analysis of the pathology of the GOP, authentically arrived at through personal experience of their vile tactics, is both brilliant and 100% correct. In it he says that the GOP must be dealt with – not by appeasement because they are unappeasable, but by standing up strong for progressive values and not backing down. The sooner we all figure this out and help our Democratic leaders figure it out, the better our chances for political and actual survival will be.
If you are just now starting to pay attention, here is the simple explanation about the new health care law, disparagingly referred to as Obamacare, a term which President Obama himself and Democrats have adopted as a tag for the Affordable Care Act because we feel it is correct to say that Obama does care, which is better than the opposition can claim. Apparently, some are understandably confused as to what is what because of the efforts to obfuscate and spread disinformation about the new health care law by the opposition.
1 – We are now finding out that many do not know that Obamacare = The Affordable Care Act. Yes, they are one and the same and these terms can be used interchangeably. Please tell your friends.
2 – Obamacare/ACA is not something provided by the government that you sign up for. We repeat: It is not something provided by government that you sign up for. Obamacare/ACA refers to a set of policy changes that means that insurance companies can no longer do things that are harmful to people just so they can profit more. What you sign up for is to purchase an individual health care plan provided by a private insurance company. Obamacare/ACA makes this affordable for people where it used to be that purchasing an individual health plan bought you bad coverage at an unaffordable price.
3 - Obamacare/ACA now prevents insurance companies from denying you coverage because you have a health condition (pre-existing condition).
4 – Obamacare/ACA makes it so insurance companies cannot drop you from coverage because you get sick.
5 – Obamacare/ACA requires insurance companies to allow your kids to stay on your policy until age 26 even if they are not in college.
6 – Obamacare/ACA means preventive care such as mammograms are provided at no extra cost.
7 – Obamacare/ACA attempts to expand Medicaid eligibility but this is up to individual states.
8 – Obamacare/ACA provides for a one-stop shopping exchange where people can go and compare plans at healthcare.gov.
9 – Obamacare/ACA does a whole bunch of other stuff that is good for Americans. Watch the video. Visit healthcare.gov. Check it out. Get the facts.
Don’t know about you but I sure am tired of the constant lies from the Republican side of the aisle. These past few weeks have shown a bright spotlight on their propensity for lying their asses off almost no matter what the subject is. And not only is the lying endemic to them, they seem to rely on a chief of lies to create what we now call a right wing talking point. It is not really a talking point but a piece of propagandistic lie that seems to emanate from the belly of Fox News.
Once the propaganda has been released it doesn’t make any difference how true it is. Because of the infamous right wing echo chamber any propaganda release is stated and restated thousands of times within a few hours. Thus the propaganda reaches the status of a news story within a short time. The media in America has often been little but a stenographer for the right wing in recent years. For one thing, no media wants to be caught NOT covering what all the other media is covering. Second it is easier and cheaper to do. The news division is no longer a source of pride for a network; they are a profit center and must create revenue and cut costs.
All that said to ask a simple question – do you want to vote for proven liars for public office? I don’t. If someone lies to me they have lost my trust pretty much forever. I have and will question those who lie to me. But once they lie to me, they have lost my trust. My question to those reading this is – do you want to be governed by those who lie every time they open their mouths? It certainly shows they have little respect for you, your family or for our country. Americans are tough. They can handle the truth. To lie to them is to say “we do not care what you think.”
Beyond the fact that they are lying, they are almost always using someone else’s words. They are not even honest enough to lie to us using their own words. They can’t even look us in the eye. So if they are elected, how should we expect them to govern? They already lie to us repeatedly. Can we expect them to quit their lying once they get in office? Can we expect them to honor their promises or were those lies also. If you are like me, you know that if a person lacks integrity in communication with us, little he or she says is sincere.
Mitt Romney lied at every turn while running for office often lying to cover other lies. Nearly half the country voted for him. This simply shows that half the country does not care if they are lied to.
Chris Hayes had a good segment on Republican lying on his show All In Wednesday evening. Hayes took on the lies that the ACA have led to more and more part-time work in this country. The message is the same no matter what the right wing talking point is – take it apart and you will see it is nothing but a lie. If you vote for those who lie to us, we get an unresponsive government that acts for the good of those who buy the politician.
I always want to hear your ideas for improving state government. After all, I work for you. You can e-mail or call me any time.
You may also want to check out “Public Input: Improving State Government” on the Iowa Legislature’s website: www.legis.iowa.gov. This public comment page was set up in 2009 for Iowans to submit ideas or view the suggestions of others.
Every two years, a State Government Efficiency Review Committee, made up of 10 legislators, meets to review state government operations and consider ways to modernize processes, eliminate unnecessary work, reduce costs and increase accountability.
The public comment page is one of the resources legislators use to come up with recommendations for making state government more efficient and responsive to Iowans’ needs.
STATE GOVERNMENT IS WORKING FOR YOU
During the federal government shutdown, I get many questions about how things are working at the state level. I’m proud to say the state of Iowa is open for business.
Legislators are focused on making state government work for Iowa citizens. We’re always looking for ways to ensure government runs efficiently and offers good service to Iowans.
In fact, Iowa is considered the fifth best run state in the country, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Our strong agricultural economy, falling unemployment, excellent credit rating and well-managed budget give Iowa its good financial health, standard of living and government services.
This year, legislators continued our push for a leaner, more transparent government that is responsive to Iowans’ needs by:
1. Balancing the state budget without raising taxes. Iowa has a budget surplus of about $721 million. We also have $649 million in our reserve funds. That’s the largest amount in state history and the eighth best in the country, according to a national report by the Tax Foundation.
2. Cutting taxes to create jobs and spur economic growth. The tax reforms we approved this year include reducing commercial property taxes for all Iowa businesses while helping small businesses the most. We also voted to put some of our budget surplus back into the pockets of Iowa taxpayer and help low-income Iowans work their way out of poverty by boosting the state Earned Income Tax Credit.
3. Standing up for citizens’ right to know. Iowans now have a free, efficient method to ensure government officials comply with Iowa’s open meetings and records laws. The newly formed Iowa Public Information Board helps citizens with questions and concerns about their rights to information. In addition, we’re developing an online database that will allow Iowans to search the state’s budget expenditures and tax revenue to see how their tax dollars are spent.
4. Improving customer service and saving money through efficiencies. New initiatives include an online driver’s license renewal system and giving Iowans the option to show proof of insurance on their electronic driving record rather than carrying the documentation. These and other cost-saving efforts at the Iowa Department of Transportation are freeing up more of your tax dollars to fix our roads.
GROW MIDDLE CLASS BY KEEPING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE
One of the best ways we can expand Iowa’s middle class is by making higher education more affordable.
That’s why the Legislature approved funding to freeze tuition this fall. It was the first time in more than 30 years that tuition didn’t increase for Iowa undergrads at our state universities—University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University. In September, the Iowa Board of Regents agreed to continue the tuition freeze next year if state support increased significantly. I’m also keeping my eye on community college tuition and fees, which increased by an average of 2.8 percent this fall.
During the recession, tuition costs and student debt both skyrocketed in Iowa while the state’s investment in higher education fell by almost 25 percent. Iowa ranks sixth in the nation when it comes to the debt load of our college graduates, according to new data from College InSight. Today, 72 percent of college students in Iowa borrow to finance their education. By the time they graduate, they’ve racked up an average of $28,753 in debt.
Freezing tuition by controlling costs and increasing state investment is much better than asking struggling families to take out even more student loans. For the last three years, Senate Democrats have led the push to invest more in our state universities and community colleges. I hope we can again reach a compromise that will allow us to extend the tuition freeze at our state universities and keep our community colleges affordable.
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Apply for Rural Arts Grants
Through November 1, the Iowa Arts Council is accepting applications for Rural Arts Development Grants, which provide up to $5,000 to arts projects in rural Iowa. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, schools, tribal councils, and local, county, state and federal government agencies. Complete details and an application are available at www.iowaartscouncil.org.
Apply for health care coverage
You can now explore your new health care options and apply for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Coverage starts as early as January 1, 2014. The Marketplace will automatically tell you if you qualify for discounts or state programs based on your income.
You can choose the health plan that’s right for you through the online plan comparison tool. If you don’t have access to a computer or need assistance, dial the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596.
Tips for staying safe online
Throughout October, Iowans are encouraged to increase their cyber security. Cyber Security Awareness Month is a national campaign to educate the public, businesses, schools and government agencies about avoiding cyber security threats, as well as ways to secure their part of cyber space, computers and our nation’s critical infrastructure.
At www.us-cert.gov/home-and-business, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team offers helpful ideas and resources for keeping your home and work computers safe. You’ll get the information you need to:
• Stay safe on social networking sites
• Choose and protect passwords
• Prevent and respond to identity theft
• Effectively erase files
Need help with your heating bill?
As the weather turns colder, low-income Iowa homeowners and renters can get help paying their heating costs. The 2013-14 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance based on household income, household size, type of fuel and type of housing. For complete details, call 515-281-0859 or go to www.dcaa.iowa.gov/bureau_EA/app_acceptance.html.
State parks are open for fall fun
Good news: State parks are OPEN during the federal government shutdown!
Fall in Iowa is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Take advantage of the beautiful days by heading to one of our state parks. For a listing of state parks, go to www.iowadnr.gov/parks.
Keep in mind, anything under federal control—facilities run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Monuments, Federal Refuges and other federal areas—are closed during the federal shutdown.
Des Moines, IA 50319
2609 Clearview Drive
Burlington, IA 52601
Today we have a treat we haven’t had for a while. A guest post by Larry Hodgden from Tipton.
Larry is a retired Viet Nam era veteran of the USAF. He and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, have three children and seven grandchildren who keep him very busy. Family, education, church and politics have been a lifelong passion.
Today millions of our fellow citizens have, for the first time, an opportunity to purchase the insurance protection most of us have always taken for granted. Many of them were shut out of the market because of cost and/or pre-existing conditions. People just like you but unable to protect their family from financial ruin by an illness or to get the routine care many of us take for granted.
They now have access to a competitive insurance market which cannot deny coverage and offers affordable policies for everyone. In addition, adult children under 26 can remain on family policies, your insurance cannot be dropped because of a major illness or because you have reached an arbitrary lifetime maximum. There are also many preventative health care services available at no charge and if your insurer does not spend a reasonable amount on health care, you will get a refund. These are only a few of the many benefits available under the Affordable Care Act.
This law was debated, passed by Congress and was signed into law by the President in 2010. The Supreme Court ruled it to be constitutional and a referendum on the law was held during the Presidential election in 2012. It is the law of the land.
Yet the Republicans insist on overturning this law as a ransom for them to allow our government to function. This shows a great deal of ignorance about how our democracy is supposed to work under our Constitution. Any high school student would know better. These Republicans are the same people who have never produced a plan of their own nor are they working on a plan.
One must assume they like the double digit increases in health care costs we’ve had for over 30 years, or maybe they like having 30 million Americans without access to affordable health insurance, or could it be they like families with a child or other family member with a serious illness being unable to qualify for insurance.
Are these Republicans really so callous as to not care about anyone but themselves? And how about those who are so negative toward this plan, yet, have good health insurance through their government job or provided by their private employer or worse yet, are on Medicare.
One of the purposes of our Union as clearly stated in the preamble to our Constitution calls for us to “Promote the general welfare”. Republicans promote the welfare of the wealthy and the comfortable while ignoring the needs of women, children and the least fortunate, actions which more closely represent a philosophy of “I’ve got mine, to hell with you”.
For those with questions on the new ACA Cedar County will be holding an open forum Tuesday night at the Cedar County Courthouse:
Confused about the changes in health care?
Attend the Health Care Exchange Information and Signup
Tuesday October 15 at 6:30pm
in the Cedar County Courthouse
Karen Metcalf, a Facilitator for Health Care
Reform and Michele Cullen, the Navigation
coordinator from Genesis along with Kimberly
Kim, a trained Navigator will be on hand to assist
anyone interested in and/or needing assistance
signing up. With the subsidies available there are
many people currently insured who may find a
lower cost policy with the same coverage.
The Obama administration’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010 and launched a massive, multiyear phase in process of policies and plans. This is the biggest change in the nation’s health insurance system since the establishment of Medicare nearly a half-century ago. Finally Americans can buy insurance regardless of their health history or employment status.
As a result of the 2010 elections, the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives. Since then the party has obsessively concentrated on repealing, defunding, or delaying ACA. House Republicans have voted more than 40 times to obstruct the law, only to be blocked by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The Republicans’ most recent assaults amount to extortion. The party ties the continuing funding of the government to eliminating funding for or postponing implementation of the ACA. Meanwhile, President Obama and Senate Democrats call for a straight forward vote on government funding free of any entangling stipulations.
The bitter budget impasse has resulted in a partial government shutdown that began on October 1. Social Security checks will still go out, and many transportation and security personnel remain at their posts. On the other hand, the damage includes shuttered national parks, unpaid furloughs for 800,000 federal employees, and a range of government services no longer available. Ironically, the shutdown has virtually no impact on ACA.
Even with the government now in partial shutdown, a much more catastrophic event looms. By not lifting the debt ceiling, the government would, for the first time, be unable to pay its bills beginning on October 17. A debt default would likely drive the national economy back into a recession and roil the global economy.
The ACA requires the creation in every state of new health insurance exchanges where people can shop for health plans. Misinformation about the law and its sheer complexity has caused confusion and skepticism. But trained “navigators” help people understand it.
Open enrollment in the exchanges which also began on October l makes it possible for millions of uninsured people who can’t get or can’t afford health insurance to obtain coverage with the aid of government subsidies. There will also be tax incentives for small businesses to offer employees insurance.
The ACA intends to help low income people by dramatically expanding Medicaid eligibility to all people up to 138 percent of the poverty line. But about half of the states largely controlled by Republicans declined to participate in the expansion leaving millions of poor people uncovered.
The Act makes it illegal to deny coverage because of pre-existing health conditions. It allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy until age 26. It prevents insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits on coverage and phases out annual limits on coverage.
The law requires insurance companies to provide free preventive care and annual health exams. Under the act, health care plans will include coverage for prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health care. And insurers must spend it least 80 percent of premiums on medical care.
Some of us wanted Medicare for all or at least a public option. Still the ACA significantly expands the existing health care system. It represents a truly historic journey toward near-universal health care. It is modeled on the one in Massachusetts which covers 97 percent of the population and receives an 84 percent approval rating.
The ACA clearly is imperfect; it has dozens of complicated, interlocking parts; and there have been glitches and problems. Yet subsidized coverage expansion and restrictions on insurance company abuses constitute a great achievement. In the end, the ACA reforms represent a much fairer way of delivering health care.