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Can’t We Just Say The Branstad Administration Is Corrupt?

branstadIt’s not mismanagement. It’s not incompetence.  It’s corruption.  Iowans need to wise up about Governor Branstad.

Listen to Senator Hogg explain how things are.

“Why is the Assistant Director of the Iowa law Enforcement Academy, Mike Quinn, who has committed and and been confirmed to have committed repeated sexual harassment, and threatened to slit the throat of a female worker who exposed it, why is he still working at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy?  …Why have you done nothing, Governor?”  

This and more:  Watch.

Branstad Using Religion To Get Votes

This is just plain weird.

Weekend Hodgepodge

Congressman Dave Loebsack

Congressman Dave Loebsack

Congratulations to Congressman Dave Loebsack on being named the ranking member on the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. Maybe not a flashy position, but one where he can have an effect on Iowans lives in a good way. We know there is work that needs to be done due to the way that that education has been treated under the last Republican administration and with the obstruction of the Republicans in the Senate and the House. Good Luck, Congressman.

Branstad Doesn’t Seem To Know Much
Our Governor just doesn’t seem to quite have a handle on what is going on around him these days. His drivers driving too fast, not knowing he just can’t shut down a state facility, not knowing what is going on with personnel within his administration. I think Terry is suffering from burnout from being too long in the job. I know I am suffering burnout from him being in the job too long.

Civil Rights Act 50 Years Old.
Last Thursday the Civil Rights Act turned 50 years old. Probably one of the most reviled laws in our history. Probably directly responsible for the Republican Patry’s infamous Southern Strategy and all the consequence of that including today’s Tea Party. This is one Act that has tried to reconcile the gap between the promise of America (“all men created equal”) and its reality of racism and vast inequality of resource distribution. It has worked well at times, but is now under direct attack from the Roberts Court. May it re-emerge to be a guiding light to the good that is in men and women, rather than a magnet for the hate.

Paul Ryan Visits Iowa
No report here, but we know what he stands for:
(from democraticunderground)
paul ryans budget

Succession Matters
This fall before you vote, remember that succession is a factor to consider. Before voting for Terry Branstad, remember that Kim Reynolds is his chosen successor. Ms. Reynolds is very right wing.

Before voting for a republican for the US House, remember that is a vote for Boehner (or worse) as the second in line to succeed the President. That is a scary thought. Think about the consequences of your votes.

Bernie Sanders:
Reminding us what counts in elections, people.

bernie sanders on money in politics

Limbaugh Upset About Colbert
Apparently no one has told Limbaugh there are buttons that turn the TV off and that also change the channel.

Sunday Funday – Happy Birthday, Part Deux

just not sure

just not sure

I think we all had a bit of fun bouncing all over in the time machine last week. The bruises on my head have recovered and I am ready to go again. And no, I will not wear a helmet nor ask directions for I am a man.

Buckle up and let’s hop in the old time machine once again.

1) Just this week we had one noted person quit a job and a replacement hired. Who will replace David Letterman on CBS’ late night show?

2) On April 10, 2004 a Presidential Daily Briefing from August 2001 is declassified. What is the headline for the Briefing?

3) One day you are nobody, next day you are in the news. This week Mike Carroll became well known to Iowans. Why?

4) In April of 2004, fighting continued in this city that had started when a convoy of American contractors was ambushed coming into the city. What city had this siege?

5) The Party Is Over! What came to a crashing end Wednesday night up in Ames?

6) On April 14, 2004 then Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft put the blame on who for the 9/11 attacks? (before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks)

7) 2004. The US is still using a color coded advisory system of terrorist activity. Can you name the colors in order from least to worst terrorist potential?

8) What European nation pulled its troops from Iraq in April 2004 following the election of a leftist government?

9) Back to Iowa this week. During an interview on IPR Governor Branstad said he might consider signing a bill making limited used of what legal?

10) Making a bid to be the first man to lose to two different women in two different states (in two years might I add), who threw his hat into the New Hampshire Senate race Thursday?

11) Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Home Run no. 715, what baseball great compared Obama’s critics to the KKK that threatened him in 1974?

12) In sports this week the starting guard for what division I school came out as gay?

13) In another step backwards for the women’s vote this fall, Republicans blocked what legislation this week?

14) Kiss and Tell. A Republican representative from Louisiana was caught on tape kissing an aid. What happened to the Aid?

15) Ten years later they did it again. What school won both the Men’s and Women’s college basketball tournaments?

16) Authenticated as ancient papyrus, this document indicates who was married?

17) You can’t go back to Kansas, Toto. What did Kathleen Sebelius do before she became the secretary of HHS?

18) Worldwide carbon dioxide levels average 400 PPM last week. This is the highest levels in how many years?

19) April 29th of 2004 what car company made its final car, ending over a century in business?

20) April 1st of 2004 what email service is launched?

Whew – It was a busy week. Well how about some answers?

1) David Letterman announced he would retire and CBS picked Stephen Colbert to replace him

2) “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”

3) He was the head of the Department of Administrative Services in Iowa and was fired by Branstad over the secret payoff scandal.

4) Fallujah

5) Veishea

6) President Clinton and Jamie Gorelick

7) Blue, least concern then green, yellow, orange and red.

8) Spain

9) medical marijuana

10) Scott Brown

11) Hank Aaron

12) University of Massachusetts

13) Equal pay for equal worth

14) She was fired by the representative

15) Connecticut

16) Jesus

17) Governor of Kansas

18) 800,000

19) Oldsmobile

20) gmail

See you next week!

Happy Birthday, Blogforiowa

birthday cake
Just a brief note on how blogforiowa and I crossed paths. I think the process I went through may be a process that many have gone through in the recent years. I have not been a highly political person all my life. I have been someone who tries to listen to arguments, evaluate them with what I know to be true and thus evaluate their validity.

Briefly , I was quite active on the college campus during the late ’60s and early ’70s against the Viet Nam War and for equal rights for all. Following the end of the War and what looked like real advancements in rights for all, I dropped out of politics and did what many others did. It was time for a job, a home and a family. We had some severe health adversity in our lives, so we did not in any way have a nice normal life. But we endured and raised a couple of fine young women.

Our kids finished college about the time that George W. Bush was given the presidency. It was not as though I was looking for something to do. I was quite happy to have an empty nest and some time of my own to work with. However, while we struggled through the ’80s with our problems, I could not help but notice a change in the attitudes of my fellow workers and the company I worked for. Things were less friendly. People all around seemed less giving, especially toward those who were poorer.

I must interject here that I spent 12 years in Catholic schools. One thing that stuck with me throughout all those years were the Church’s teachings on social justice. While the Church and I have long since parted ways, teachings on social justice have been my constant companion. At the base of these teachings is the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We rolled into the 2000s and like many I was not closely following politics day to day, but the trumped up impeachment had piqued my interest. The whole idea of impeaching a president on a personal matter was out of bounds. This was a signal that things were way out of whack in Washington. Folks I was working with couldn’t see a problem. They were mostly mouthing what they had heard on the TV or radio.

This was the beginning of the feeling of isolation that I would feel for the next several years. The internet was new, but we were not yet connected. Thus I was unable to see that the feelings that we were going through were shared by millions. As the Bush presidency proceeded we became more and more uncomfortable with our political situation. The direction that our country took after 9/11 had us truly puzzled.

Then one day I was substitute teaching and the regular teacher had left his computer up on the internet. He had left a site up called I found kindred spirits. One of the links was to, AKA the orange Satan. Once more I found thousands of kindred spirits. I also began reading material I had seen nowhere else. One of my real problems was that I knew as the Bush group led us to war that we were being lied to, I just didn’t know what the truth was.

From there we actively sought out those of our persuasion. The first place I looked was the Democratic Party in our county. Our county was quite red at the time, which had enhanced our isolation. I rather pushed my way in. Later I would attend candidate meet and greets and other gatherings. One of my personal concerns was that the almost total control of the media by right wing groups be broken up. The fact that we could not find information on what was really happening in the world was evidence to me that access to information in the United States was sorely lacking.

At one meet and greet there was an appearance by a group called Iowans for Better Local Television. Folks that were almost on my wavelength. We made friends with these folks and remain close today. 2004 was coming and I had decided that it was time to get back into the political saddle. When I heard Howard Dean enumerating the sins of Bushco that we had learned the hard way, we hooked on to his campaign and stayed on to the end and beyond.

We worked for Kerry that year, but Dr. Dean was still the one who had our hearts. Since those days we continued to run into various friends we made through the Dean campaign. Trish Nelson asked me to write an article or two for blogforiowa. There was no reason to be a shrinking violet anymore. We have kids, and we wanted to do what we could to change the direction of the country. This seemed like a good place to start.

I am learning so much every week doing this. Like most bloggers, it is a labor of love. Plus I get to run a weekly trivia page which I so enjoy.

Iowa Families Struggle to Meet Basic Needs‏


Today we put out the second installment of our Cost of Living in Iowa report, which found 1 in 6 Iowa households do not make what is needed for a basic-needs household budget (3 out of 5 single-parent households).

Basic RGB

As co-author Peter Fisher noted in our news release:
“No one discussing issues such as the minimum wage, and eligibility for child-care assistance, can reasonably ignore the economic realities facing these families.”

Find the report here:

Kind regards,
The IPP Staff

Mike Owen
Executive Director

The Stink In The Air? Koch Money In Iowa Politics!

It seems like it is almost impossible to turn on the TV in Eastern Iowa right now without hearing what a supposedly bad man Bruce Braley is. Night and day, day and night the spots play endlessly pounding the message over and over. Welcome to the world where those with too much money have been given a green light to spend as much money as they want thanks to two horrible Supreme Court decisions, Citizens United and McCutcheon.

Through various think tanks, action committees, 501c4 committees and who knows what other venues, Charles and David Koch are able to use their money to constantly drive their message into our homes. To me it is like them coming into my house and farting over and over and over. They expect me to love the smell of their stink because they are so rich that whatever they do is beatiful because of their money. They also seem to believe they can put a mask over their faces in the form of a front organization and we won’t figure out that it is Charles and David who are actually doing the farting.

But the masks have been pulled back and there are Charles and David bald faced, stinking up the air. I do not want them im my house anymore and I am betting that they have stunk up the air so badly in Iowa that most Iowans want them to take their stink somewhere else. Bruce Braley is not the only one the Kochs are trying to harm with their stinking money. Braley is only the best known one they are going after. Remember last fall when Koch money tried to buy some seats in the Coralville municipal election? That sure stunk when it was uncovered.

No doubt whoever is Braley’s Republican opponent this fall will have the weight of the Koch brother’s stinky money to run with. Sure many may think that having the constant drumbeat of smelly “educational” PAC advertisements is a good thing. But it will be a two edged sword. Iowa voters will know that there will be some expected payback for all the money the Kochs will spend. It makes no difference which of the Tea Party candidates is picked to run against Braley, they will dance to the Koch Brother’s tune.

The Tea Party candidate will avoid issues so that should they win, they will be able to be manipulated by the Kochs while claiming they are not breaking campaign promises. It makes no difference who the candidate is, they will be owned by the Koch Brothers and will be totally beholden to them.

The Koch Brothers’ money stinks, their front groups stink, their PACs stink, their attempts to buy politicians in Iowa stink. Iowans proudly have a fiercely independent streak. To think that the Koch brothers feel they could ‘sneak’ into Iowa behind patriotic sounding front groups to buy an election from a bunch of rubes stinks big time.

Go away Koch brothers, take your money and your anti-middle-class attitudes back where you came from. Iowans do not want it. And, yes we will be watching.

Happy 10th Birthday Blog For Iowa

BFIA: Trish Nelson, Caroline Vernon, Dr. Alta Price, Paul Deaton, Dave Bradley. Photo by Dan DeShane

BFIA: Trish Nelson, Caroline Vernon, Dr. Alta Price, Paul Deaton, Dave Bradley. Photo by Dan DeShane

Why Philadelphia Made Me a Deaniac

The 2000 election was supposed to have elected Al Gore as the first environmentalist president. He was a shoe-in after a popular Bill Clinton, or so some of us thought. What happened after the U.S. Supreme Court gave the election to Bush was people I know, from the whole political spectrum, launched into activism unlike any in my experience. Howard Dean was at the center of this. Who had even heard of the 79th governor of Vermont as votes were counted, and then the counting was stopped in the election of the hanging chad?

When the 2000 election wasn’t settled on Nov. 7, we were enthralled. I listened to the returns on the radio as I drove to Chicago for a meeting on the 8th. When I reached the motel, I stayed up late watching the early morning coverage on television. I followed the Supreme Court action at home and downloaded a ream of briefs to read. It was a unique time. It was a cursed time. I felt sitting on the sidelines was no longer an option.

The turning point came shortly after the Al-Qaeda attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and not for reasons one might think. My flight was scheduled to depart Moline, Ill. that day for Philadelphia. After our staff meeting in Eldridge, the televisions in the operations room were turned on with live images of smoke emitting from the World Trade Center. Air travel would not be an option that afternoon.

When I did fly to Philadelphia several days later, the aircraft was almost empty. Enroute to the Eastern Iowa Airport, the car radio informed me that President Bush was also heading to Philadelphia to fulfill a campaign promise at a battered women’s shelter. It meant a possible delay getting to my work site at the former U.S. Steel facility in Bucks County. As we approached, Air Force One had already landed, so we circled for 20 minutes— the delay was minimal.

After getting a rental car and leaving the airport, there were law enforcement officers on every corner, thousands of them. As I headed to work, I passed the presidential motorcade on I-95, heading back to the airport. It was only 10:30 a.m. All that public money on the flight, and law enforcement for a political event? The seed was planted: Bush had to go.

The rest is the history of Bush 43. Things rubbed the wrong way. The television address on the invasion of Iraq seemed similar to Nixon’s explanation of the invasion of Cambodia— both presidents appeared to be deceiving us. There were Cheney’s secret energy meetings, Christine Todd Whitman’s brief tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency, and a thousands cuts against everything I held dear. We were ready for change in 2004.

From the beginning of the 2004 campaign, I didn’t care for Howard Dean. He had the endorsement of Democratic leaders, including Al Gore, and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, but no one I knew was supporting him. Our small family caucused for John Kerry, who won the nomination, and we lost the November election.

Vindication of Dean’s new campaign style came in the form of Democracy for America (DFA), which I heard about from the current Blog for Iowa editor, Trish Nelson and her friend Ellen Ballas at a DFA training at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

At the training, I met Arshad Hasan, Dorie Clark, Dave Leshtz and others who provided training in the mechanics of winning elections. Things like estimating voter turnout, fund raising, and setting a timeline for the canvass, were all important lessons. Thing is, the DFA techniques worked.

We experienced some success in 2006, and the culmination was in the ultimate grass roots campaign of Barack Obama, with Howard Dean as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. To say Howard Dean wasn’t a part of the transformation of electoral politics would be a lie. Unlike certain politicians, I’m not willing to tell a lie.

My first mention on Blog for Iowa was by Ed Fallon on Nov. 17, 2007, in a post titled Action on Coal Plants. What cemented my Deaniac status and my relationship with the group at Democracy for Iowa,  was when Trish Nelson asked me to start writing for Blog for Iowa. My first post was on Feb. 25, 2009 with an open letter to the Iowa Department of Natural resources on the then proposed Marshalltown coal-fired power plant. At some point along the way I got less formal, trading my suit for a T-shirt, but I have been writing ever since. And we can thank Philadelphia for that.

Congratulations Blog for Iowa! May you experience many new writers and another ten years.


How The Money & Media Complex Is Sabotaging Our Elections

Eastern Iowa Sustainability Lectures

the-climate-reality-project-logoPaul Deaton of Blog for Iowa will give a series of four public lectures about personal finance, the environment and nuclear abolition between April 19 and 24. If you are nearby, please consider attending one of these events:

April 19, 11 a.m.: “Alternative Living: Focus on Finances” with Solon resident and writer Paul Deaton. Paul gave up his 9 to 5 job to focus on his writing. He will describe his creative methods of putting food on the table and how he covers his expenses to survive and thrive. Part of the American Library Association Money Smart Week, Solon Public Library, 320 W. Main St., Solon, Iowa.

April 19, 1 until 3 p.m.: Soap Box Speech on the environment: “Mount Tambora, Mount St. Helens and Nuclear Famine” at the Celebration of Life at Old Brick, 20 East Market St., Iowa City, Iowa.

April 23, 6:30 p.m.: “Earth Week: Climate Reality in Iowa” at 220East, 220 East Fourth St., Waterloo, Iowa.

April 24, 6:30 p.m.: “Earth Week: Climate Reality in Iowa” at the Independence Public Library, 805 1st St. East, Independence, Iowa.

For more information email Paul Deaton here.