Jan’s progressive platform

Education: Education is key to creating a healthy society that is based in humanitarian values. It transforms lives and creates capable adult citizens. Far from being an expense, education is an investment in the future of our economy in particular, and our society in general. Education, especially public education, has been under attack by Republican lawmakers for years, because they know an ignorant community is easier to lead by fear.

Worker protection: Unions level the playing field between workers and employers. FDR knew that protection of worker safety, benefits, and livable wages were essential. Our middle class developed and flourished over the objections of Republicans to labor unions. The decades of Republican leadership have given us stagnant real wages even as we increase our productivity. We are now seeing the middle class squeezed into nonexistence, and it has to stop. Right to work for less laws need to be repealed, along with all the other laws designed to break labor unions, in both the public and private sectors.

Health care is a right, not a privilege for the wealthy. We shouldn’t have to choose between health care and making the rent. Iowa’s privatization of Medicaid benefits the cronies of Republicans, on the backs of our children, elderly, persons with disabilities, and those battling mental health issues. It is a disgrace. It’s time for Iowans to be represented by people who are not interested in lining their own pockets with taxpayer dollars.

Environment: Iowa waterways need to be cleaned up. They continue to be polluted while Republican lawmakers continue ignore the long term health of the environment.

Voting is a right, but your right to vote has little meaningful protection. Over and over again—with voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting, and deliberate purging of voter rolls—Republican lawmakers have shown that they don’t want voters to participate in elections. Low turnout elections benefit Republicans, so they are willing to intimidate voters into staying home on election day. Nothing could be more un-American. I think it is the duty of county and state government to make sure every eligible voter is registered and encouraged to vote.

Common sense gun regulation: Republican lawmaker keep telling us the government can’t do anything about mass shootings. They’re wrong. We have the example of Australia, which decided 22 years ago that they would do something about mass shootings. The result: no mass shootings at all in Australia from 1996 to May 2018. There’s plenty we can do, and Republican lawmakers are the obstacle.

Tormenting children is un-American

I have been a social worker for 41 years.  For most of that time, my mission was to ensure the safety of children, many of whom needed protection from the worst kinds of abuse.  What is happening to children on our southern border, to be plain, is the worst kind of child abuse.

We know that tearing children away from their families is a deliberate Republican policy.  We know that the policy is so awful that the Trump administration has been lying about the policy they announce on the record, claiming that it doesn’t exist.  We know the children are being held in horrible conditions, in cages.  We know that every Democratic U.S. Senator has cosponsored a bill to end the practice, and that no Republican Senator has endorsed it.  And we know that a solid majority of rank and file Republicans are behind the policy.

It is shameful that in the 21st Century, we have sunk so low that we have to even discuss this:  harming children is wrong.  Doing it for political gain is even more wrong.  A political party that doesn’t reject this practice wholeheartedly, and impeach its authors, is more than just wrong.  They are permanently disqualified from serving in government.

Our opponents are the party of shameless corruption

We’ve said before that the Republican Party is the party of Trump.  Is that unfair, or painting with too broad a brush?  Nope.  That’s what Republicans themselves are saying.  Katie Arrington, who just defeated Mark Sanford in a Republican primary in South Carolina:

We are the party of Donald J. Trump….

John Boehner, former Speaker of the House:

There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party.

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN):

It’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cultlike situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of, purportedly, of the same party.

Corker talks about a cult of personality like it’s a bad thing.  Not that he’s done anything substantial to stop it, like, oh, vote against Trump’s policies.

So it’s Trump and Trump supporterrs all the way down, and if there’s shameless corruption at the top, the stink of it is on every Republican from Congress down to the Iowa statehouse.

So how about it, Iowa Republican Party?  Care to comment on the latest scandal from the White House, the flagrant self-dealing by Donald Trump’s fake charitable foundation?

[T]here’s quite a bit of evidence that the foundation was used as a piggy bank for Trump’s campaign – with Trump’s direct involvement – to the tune of $2.8 million.

“People have gone to prison for stuff like this, and if I were representing someone with facts like this, assuming the facts described in this petition are true, I would be very worried about an indictment,” Jenny Johnson Ware, a criminal tax attorney in Chicago, told the Times.

Anyone?  Any objection to tax evasion, or is that OK if Republicans do it?

Reynolds administration playing fast and loose with Medicaid numbers

Iowa’s disastrous Medicaid privatization program was supposed to save money.  If it doesn’t save money, Republicans would be exposed as wrong about it from the start.  So you can imagine that Iowa Medicaid Director Mike Randol has a motive to spin the numbers in favor of privatization.  You might not expect him to deliberately mislead:

Medicaid Director Mike Randol said the state is projected to save $140.9 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30, compared to what the state would have spent before its health care program for low income and disabled people was turned over to for-profit companies.

He did not explain why the state’s savings estimate for this year tripled after Gov. Kim Reynolds hired him to run the Medicaid program late last year. Randol also did not offer a cumulative number showing savings since the privatized Medicaid program started in April 2016.

That’s right.  The savings estimate miraculously tripled when Randol was hired, apparently because the Governor needed a bigger number.  We can’t get actual savings figures, not yet at least, perhaps because they wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny in the light of day.

After the meeting, Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, said Randol’s presentation was incomplete.

“He looked back at pre-managed care and then compared it to a projection of 2018, rather than comparing it to some actual real numbers from 2017,” Jochum said.

Yeah, that has a funny smell to it, doesn’t it?

Texas man robs bank so he can get healthcare in prison

What happens when health care isn’t accessible for all?  People get desperate.  It’s not really a funny story, it’s a story that should make us all hang our heads in shame.

We know who stands for universal health care, and we know who wants to repeal it.  This year, you have a chance to vote for the people who think health care is a right, and against the people who think it’s a privilege.

Ted Nugent, Republican spokesperson, calls Parkland survivors “soulless”

Of course Republicans are attacking the articulate survivors of a mass shooting.  What choice do they have, an open debate based on facts?  Here’s a recent comment from Ted Nugent, NRA board member, Republican booster, and sexual predator:

The dumbing down of America is manifested in the culture deprivation of our academia that have taught these kids the lies, media that have prodded and encouraged and provided these kids lies. I really feel sorry for them because it’s not only ignorant and dangerously stupid, but it’s soulless. To attack the good law-abiding families of America when well known predictable murderers commit these horrors is deep in the category of soulless. These poor children, I’m afraid to say this and it hurts me to say this, but the evidence is irrefutable, they have no soul.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Republican Party.  When Ted Nugent is denounced by other Republicans for literally discounting the humanity of people who disagree with him, post the evidence here in the comments.  I won’t be holding my breath.

Marching for our lives

Today the March for Our Lives is taking place in cities all across the country.  Hundreds of thousands attended the Washington DC event to demand common sense reform of gun laws.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24:  Gun reform advocates line Pennsylvania Avenue while attending the March for Our Lives rally March 24,

And this is incumbent Iowa Representative Matt Windschitl, whom you will not be surprised to learn is Republican, in a not at all creepy family portrait.  It would be entirely fair to say his legislative record represents the opposite idea.

 

Every Iowa Republican official supports Trump

I’ve said various mean things about Donald Trump on this blog, and you might think I’m painting his party with too broad a brush, saying the Republican Party totally backs him and no Republican can claim to be free of the stink.  You would be mistaken to think that.

Why is this so important to what Iowa Republican leaders decide to do next? Because you are nationally recognized as the staunchest group of Republican defenders of Donald Trump in the entire country. There were no major holdouts from Iowa elected officials, Terry Branstad’s son is running Trump’s state operation, Joni Ernst embraced him as her headline speaker at her Roast and Ride and Chuck Grassley is holding open a Supreme Court seat just for him. The Republican Party of Iowa is the Trump Party of Iowa, now and forever, if you do not move to immediately denounce Trump and withdraw your support. (And, yes, you should have done this for any number of his previous comments, but hey, here we are.)

His denials don’t pass the giggle test

The Trump campaign says this proves he’s innocent.

The “evidence” concerned the charge of Jessica Leeds that Trump had groped her – putting his hand up her skirt –  on a flight from Dallas to New York in 1980. Trump has denied even knowing her. The Trump campaign put forward an Englishman named Anthony Gilberthorpe, now 54, to say that he was on the same flight, sitting nearby, saw the whole transaction, remembers it with “photographic memory,” and observed Leeds flirting with Trump rather than Trump assaulting Leeds. Pretty convincing, right?

Yes, but.

  • If Gilberthorpe is now 54, he must have been 18 in 1980. I suppose it’s possible that an English eighteen-year-old was flying first class from Dallas to New York, but it’s not especially plausible, and he doesn’t seem to have provided any explanation.
  • Trump flatly denied that he’d ever met Leeds. So if Gilberthorpe is telling the truth, Trump isn’t. He also contradicts the narrative of Trump surrogates that the incident couldn’t have happened because Trump is and always has been too precious to fly commercial.

So he either thinks you don’t care whether he sexually assaulted a woman, or he thinks you’re too stupid to see through his lies.

 

Trump vows to abuse power to throw Clinton in jail

The President of the United States can’t throw his political opponents in jail.  A threat to do so is an affront to the Constitution.  And yet we now have the spectacle of the Republican nominee pushing for throwing Hillary Clinton in jail, and her attorneys too.  It wasn’t a “debate quip,” it’s become a central part of his campaign, repeated in his stump speech and on social media over and over.

“It’s a chilling thought,” said Michael Chertoff, a former federal appeals court judge who also served as the secretary of Homeland Security and head of the Justice Department’s criminal division in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Chertoff, who has announced that he will vote for Mrs. Clinton, added, “It smacks of what we read about tin-pot dictators in other parts of the world, where when they win an election their first move is to imprison opponents.”

Let’s hear from the Iowa Republican Party on this.  Where do they stand on the whole dictatorship thing?  You can guess the answer.  If you’re voting Republican, campaigning as a Republican, refusing to denounce the Republican Party all the way up and down the ballot, history will record that you were willing to let a fascist take the Presidency.