The Iowa caucuses will be in full swing by the summer of 2015. In September we will attend what may be the last of the wonderful Harkin Steak Fry gatherings in Indianola. All the Democratic candidates will speak. Two of the contenders from 2007 may be there. One of them will have a large piece of baggage in tow, and I'm not talking about Bill Clinton.
Nobody can talk about the kitchen table conversations of American families the way Joe Biden can. But Joe Biden has a lot to answer for if he comes back to Iowa to talk to American families about why he may want to be President.
Iowa is one of the states where Michelle Rhee, ALEC, and a Republican Governor have joined forces in support of an agenda of education "reform" that is all about funneling public dollars to corporate welfare. Governor Terry Branstad announced Round #2 of the fight over education reform in a January 14th press conference. Round #1 ended in a compromise bill in May 2012, which scaled back the Governor's initial proposals. With the beginning of the legislative session, the battle resumes.
Today I read a blueprint for applying the Shock Doctrine to Social Security. It was published by the Cato Institute in 1983, and tweeted today by economist Stephanie Kelton (@deficitowl). It is really chilling. All the moves in the Pete Peterson playbook are in there. Private accounts, "calming existing [elderly] beneficiaries" so they don't galvanize a "vocal and powerful interest group," and "educating the public" that the system is in "serious trouble." You can read it here: http://www.cato.org/...
We need help here in northern Iowa, to elect Todd Prichard in House District 52. He is a real Democrat, a better Democrat, one of our own, a grass-roots activist who knows why he is a Democrat. No crawfishing, no triangulating, just a simple affirmation of the values of the Iowa Democratic Party, and commitment to important issues: the economy, education, veterans, and the environment. He is a lawyer, part-time county prosecutor, veteran of four deployments in the military, including 16 months as a company commander with the 1/133 Infantry Battalion in Iraq's Al Anbar Province, father of three adorable little kids, and a decent, smart person capable of standing up to the efforts to pass ALEC-sponsored legislation in the Iowa House. Throw him a few bucks if you can. I know this is not a great time to ask for help. Trust me when I say I was not hoping for another campaign in my Christmas stocking. But I will be doing GOTV in Iowa in January, because I believe that we need to expand the bench of progressives in our party, starting with state legislatures, and if Todd is elected he will take the seat of the only Democratic legislator in Iowa who was a member of ALEC. That is an upgrade worth door-knocking in subzero temperatures for. I know Todd will be door-knocking too, because I saw him doing it through the November election. He is one of the activists who always show up.
Can you help? If you are in Iowa, especially in the adjacent counties, the campaign needs volunteers to knock on doors and make calls. Like every other campaign, it needs money, and fast. More below the fold.
Merlin Bartz is an Iowa State Senator who carries around an unusual picture of his opponent, State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm. The photo is a life-size legless paper doll. At public events he sets his creepy companion in a chair next to him. If Senator Wilhelm arrives at the event, she has to move it so she can sit down.
What message do you think this sends to Iowans? To women? To Senator Wilhelm?
There is more below the orange flourish.
The Deer Czar is getting a lot of bad press and he is not happy about it. But he is not the real threat to public land in Wisconsin. The guy who hired him and is paying him $150,000 dollars in Wisconsin tax money is the real threat. The hoopla over the Deer Czar is just a cynical political dog and pony show designed to help Scott Walker survive the recall.
It is not as though Walker cares about Wisconsin's forests and rivers. He has demonstrated that conclusively already.
The Save Wisconsin Deer Campaign is picking up speed. We have been running ads on Facebook this week with the cash you kindly donated. If you would like to help keep that going, go here: https://savewideerhunting.nationbuilder.com/
Last night Ed Schultz showed his viewers the lugubrious mug of Walker's hand-picked Deer Czar, and explained what might be in store for hunters after the election is safely over. Video below.
I don't know if this has anything to do with the polls tightening, but I don't want to quit now. More below.
We need to get the word out to hunters. How would you like to pay $2000 for a deer license? Their right to hunt on public lands by paying an affordable price for a deer license is under attack in Wisconsin. There is no point in owning a deer rifle if you don't have a place to use it.
This is the state of hunting in Texas, thanks to Scott Walker's Deer Czar and the fencing lobby. The Deer Czar thinks that public game management is “the last bastion of communism." If you can't pay what a deer is worth, then shut up and hunt rabbits. People who call for more public lands are “cocktail conservationists,” and national parks are “wildlife ghettos.” The Deer Czar will do what he has already done in Texas--make hunting available to the well-heeled. Keep the peasants out and the deer fenced in. More below.
Have I mentioned that I love Tom Harkin? He is a tonic for when I have lost my optimism that Democrats stand for anything but bailing out banks and tacking to the right when someone says "boo."
This week Tom introduced the Rebuild America Act. I am not so optimistic that I think this would pass the House of Representatives. But I love seeing a Democrat lay down a marker for what Democrats should be advocating, and I look forward to telling the rest of the Iowa delegation that they should get off their haunches and support it. You are invited to do likewise next time you have an opportunity to communicate with your member of Congress.
More on this legislation below the orange thing.
Not when it comes to the banksters, anyway. While I would like to be optimistic on this topic, I think the claim of victory is premature, at best.
Last night I heard that Huffington Post was reporting that the White House has created a new unit to investigate the financial collapse and the mortgage crisis, and Eric Schneiderman would chair it. I got excited until I read the article, at which point hope mostly died.
Congressman Bruce Braley has a video up that responds to the threat of SOPA/PIPA. As he speaks, his words are beeped out and black strips keep appearing over his face.
Braley is trying to let us know that he gets it, and I let him know that I approve. If you are in Iowa, please do likewise. When we get what we want from a politician, we need to reward and reinforce the behavior. His Congressional site says over 800 people contacted him.
Yesterday the Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Republican Bill Northey, got an endorsement from a Democrat in his effort to get rehired by Iowans. Jerry Crawford is not just any Democrat. He is a close friend of Hillary Clinton, and Tom Vilsack, and has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns. So what is he doing on WHO TV talking about Bill Northey, instead of the Democratic candidate, Francis Thicke?
If blood is thicker than water, money in politics is thicker than that. When it comes to agricultural issues in Iowa, politics is a blood sport, played for keeps. If you think this is inside Iowa baseball, you should know that Iowa agriculture is the engine that brings GMO foods to your table, that is killing the Gulf of Mexico, and that can send contaminated eggs across the country and as far away as Guam.