Tag: Joni Ernst

The Resistance comes to GOP town halls in Iowa

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The topic of this blog post was chosen in a Twitter poll, although only one person voted in the poll.


Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst (both Republicans), held town hall events in their home states yesterday. Needless to say, the people of Iowa were not impressed with Grassley and Ernst siding with the Donald Trump agenda to destroy America, and they had serious concerns about a wide range of issues, including immigration and foreign influence in U.S. elections.

During Grassley’s town hall in Iowa Falls, Grassley was asked by Zalmay Niazy, an Afgan man who assisted U.S. forces as a translator and is now in the U.S., about Trump’s Muslim ban:

At a town hall in Iowa Falls, Iowa, Tuesday, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley received a question from an Afghan man who asked him for help to stay in the US in the face of the Trump administration’s immigration executive order.

Multiple federal courts across the country have granted requests to temporarily halt enforcement of the order, which bars foreign nationals from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and all refugees from Syria indefinitely.

[…]

“Who is going to save me?” he asked Grassley. “I am a person from a Muslim country and I am a Muslim. Who is going to save me here? Who is going to stand behind me?”

In Maquoketa, Ernst was asked a question by a U.S. Army Reserves veteran about Donald Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government:

Trinity Ray, a 41-year-old veteran from Iowa City who spent eight years in the Army Reserves, pressed Ernst to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia and alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 American election.

“I appreciate that a lot, because I have said repeatedly that Russia is not our friend,” Ernst said, as Ray yelled that she should “say it louder.” She added that Trump “needs to stand up against Vladimir Putin.”

Ray wasn’t satisfied.

“If you were serious about this situation, you wouldn’t rest until you had an answer,” he said afterward. “We swore to defend against enemies domestic and foreign.”

Ernst refused to support a special congressional committee to investigate Russian influence in the November 2016 U.S. elections.

Rural America is beginning to realize that Trump and his Republican cohorts are not acting in the best interests of Greater America. People who are attending town halls in an attempt to let their voices be heard are not paid protesters. They’re ordinary people.

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Joni Ernst sends virtually blank response to constituent’s request not to block SCOTUS appointment

Sometime in the immediate future, President Barack Obama will appoint someone to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) created by the death of Antonin Scalia.

One of the many Republican U.S. Senators who support obstructing anyone that the president appoints to the Supreme Court is Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). Many of Ernst’s constituents in Iowa are not happy at all that Ernst wants the U.S. Senate to neglect its duty to either confirm or reject whoever the president appoints to SCOTUS, and one of them is Maggie White, who is a civil rights attorney from Iowa’s largest city, Des Moines. When White emailed Ernst’s office about Ernst and her fellow Senate Republicans wanting to do absolutely nothing in regards to the president’s SCOTUS pick, White did a very important civic duty by contacting Ernst’s office about the matter. Here’s how Ernst responded to White:

Joni Ernst sent one of her constituents a virtually blank response to a message that one of her constituents sent to her! By “virtually blank response”, I mean that Ernst’s response to Maggie White’s message contained a letterhead, a salutation, and a closing, not a body. The body of the email, which there is none in this particular email, is where Ernst’s response to White’s message would have been.

The U.S. Constitution is clear. The president must appoint a new SCOTUS justice, the Senate must either confirm or reject that appointment. For the Senate to not even conduct a confirmation process amounts to the Senate neglecting its Constitutional duty of advice and consent. It doesn’t take a lawyer to figure that out.

Scott Walker: Intimidated by Barbecue Sauce

Here is a picture of Wisconsin Governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker eating ribs covered in barbecue sauce with latex gloves on his hands at a Republican motorcycle rally held in Iowa by far-right U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA):

Scott Walker: Intimidated by Barbecue Sauce

The picture has been posted to the Wisconsin progressive blog Democurmudgeon, although I’m not sure who took the picture. If anyone can provide me the name of the photographer who took the picture above, I’ll add a caption giving credit to him or her.

I don’t eat barbecue ribs, but I do eat chicken strips from time to time, and I prefer to dip chicken strips in barbecue sauce. I never wear gloves or a bib while eating chicken strips, and I don’t have a problem at all if some of the barbecue sauce gets on my hands or clothing. After all, I can always wash my hands, and every article of clothing I have can be machine-washed.

Remember, this is the same Scott Walker who bizarrely claimed that his experience taking on teachers’ unions (in reality, he hid from teachers, public employees, and other hard-working Wisconsinites while he took away rights from Wisconsin’s public employees nearly four and a half years ago) means that he can take on ISIS and other terrorist groups, which was an absolutely absurd and offensive comparison. If Walker thinks that barbecue sauce is a mortal enemy to his hands, then how the hell is he supposed to take on ISIS and Vladimir Putin?

My thoughts about the 47 Republican Senators who signed the traitorous letter in an attempt to undermine U.S. diplomacy with Iran

I find it highly outrageous that 47 members of the United States Senate, all Republicans, signed a letter in a blatant attempt to undermine attempts at negotiating a deal with Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, apparently violating the federal Logan Act in signing the letter.

The 47 Senators who signed the Cotton Letter are as follows:

  • Richard Shelby of Alabama
  • Jeff Sessions of Alabama
  • Dan Sullivan of Alaska
  • John McCain of Arizona
  • John Boozman of Arkansas
  • Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the ringleader of the effort to undermine diplomacy with Iran
  • Cory Gardner of Colorado
  • Marco Rubio of Florida
  • Johnny Isakson of Georgia
  • David Perdue of Georgia
  • Mike Crapo of Idaho
  • Jim Risch of Idaho
  • Mark Kirk of Illinois
  • Chuck Grassley of Iowa
  • Joni Ernst of Iowa
  • Pat Roberts of Kansas
  • Jerry Moran of Kansas
  • Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader
  • Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • David Vitter of Louisiana
  • Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
  • Roger Wicker of Mississippi
  • Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • Steve Daines of Montana
  • Deb Fischer of Nebraska
  • Ben Sasse of Nebraska
  • Dean Heller of Nevada
  • Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
  • Richard Burr of North Carolina
  • Thom Tillis of North Carolina
  • John Hoeven of North Dakota
  • Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
  • James Lankford of Oklahoma
  • Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
  • Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Tim Scott of South Carolina
  • John Thune of South Dakota
  • Mike Rounds of South Dakota
  • John Cornyn of Texas
  • Ted Cruz of Texas
  • Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Senate President Pro Tempore
  • Mike Lee of Utah
  • Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
  • Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
  • Mike Enzi of Wyoming
  • John Barrasso of Wyoming

All 47 of those individuals who I named are traitors to this country who are more interested in starting World War III by undermining the sitting President of the United States and allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons that they could use to bomb the United States and our allies than doing anything that would actually be productive, such as fixing crumbling roads and bridges, making it easier for Americans to go to college, helping the private sector create more good-paying jobs, and so on.

Also, regarding the so-called “pro-Israel” lobby’s support for the Cotton Letter, the Cotton Letter puts Israel, as well as other U.S. allies and the U.S. itself, of even greater danger of an attack by Iranian forces, since the Cotton Letter is designed to undermine efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons that could be used by Iran in an attack on the United States and its allies.

I’m calling for the U.S. Justice Department to bring up all 47 of the senators who signed the Cotton Letter on federal criminal charges for violating the Logan Act, which legally prohibits U.S. citizens who are not authorized diplomats from negotiating with a foreign government.

Joni Ernst likely wore bread bags over her shoes when Ronald Reagan was president

Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa gave a vague response to the State of the Union Address last night, in which Ernst talked about her life story for nearly half of her short speech, and then used typical GOP talking points about a handful of issues without going into much detail about the issues she did talk about (which there weren’t many of). It’s worth noting that, immediately after Ernst’s speech, Ernst was not trending on Twitter in my neck of the woods, which gives you a general idea of how her speech was viewed by the American people (i.e., they didn’t care).

One remark that Ernst made in her speech that did get quite a bit of attention, however, was her story of wearing bread bags on her shoes while going to school as a child. However, what Ernst didn’t mention is that Republican policies likely played a role in Ernst’s family being poor. Ernst was born in 1970, which meant that Ronald Reagan, whose trickle-down economic policies, which Ernst and the rest of the far-right Republicans support, led to rampant income inequality in this country, was president for much of her childhood. In fact, for much of the 1980’s, rural America was in the midst of a farm crisis caused by, among other factors, Reagan’s economic policies, and Iowa was one of the states that was greatly affected by the farm crisis.

You can watch my own response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address here.

NARAL and Planned Parenthood send out joint press release praising Republicans who oppose reproductive rights

Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Democratic Texas Governor Ann Richards and the national head of the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood, praised Republican U.S. Senators-elect Cory Gardner (CO), Joni Ernst (IA) and Thom Tillis (NC) in a press release issued by the reproductive rights organization NARAL Pro-Choice America, despite the fact that Gardner, Ernst, and Tillis are all strongly opposed to reproductive rights:

“If you remember one thing about election night, it should be this: Far from women’s health and rights being a losing issue, it was an issue that helped both Democrats and Republicans win. That’s a huge shift,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Politicians like Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis and Joni Ernst won by moderating their positions on access to birth control and abortion. This data clearly shows that voters didn’t elect them to restrict women’s access to health care, and voters will hold them accountable to what they promised.”

Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, and Thom Tillis did absolutely nothing to moderate their far-right opposition to reproductive rights. All three of them ran away from and/or outright lied about their opposition to allowing women to control their own health care decisions and their support for extreme anti-women’s rights measures like the Personhood Amendment. That’s not being moderate, that’s being afraid to admit their real anti-woman agenda, which would, among other things, result in more unsafe, backalley abortions and women being legally unable to obtain birth control.

What Cecile Richards said about Gardner, Ernst, and Tillis (doesn’t that sound like a shady law firm to you?) amounts to Richards giving political cover to Republicans by allowing them to lie about their medieval views on women’s issues and get away with it. What Richards said in that press release would make her mother roll over in her grave.

An Autopsy of the Democratic Party

Since being re-elected in 2012, President Barack Obama has declared war on Social Security by threatening to cut benefits, has presided over a Bush-Obama surveillance state that has violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the American people, refused to issue an executive order on immigration, and has spent more time trying to compromise with far-right Republicans that are completely unwilling to compromise with anybody.

Then throw in Democratic U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and gubernatorial candidates who have run awful campaigns, antagonized progressives, and have flatly refused to fight for anything, and we now have a Democratic Party that is, for all intents and purposes, effectively dead. Republicans are going to gain upwards of two dozen seats in the U.S. House, take control of the U.S. Senate, and score a net gain of state governorships. Even in states like Illinois, Michigan, and Maryland, which are usually thought of as Democratic strongholds, Republican candidates won gubernatorial races in each of those states.

Although reasons for Democratic losses vary widely by race to race, the #1 reason why the Democratic Party has been handed massive defeats tonight is the party leadership effectively treating progressives as if they don’t exist, even though they are the core of support for the party. Democratic governors, U.S. Representatives, U.S. Senators, and candidates for those offices have, among other things supported fracking, pension theft, free trade agreements, privatizing public education, the Keystone XL pipeline, tax breaks for businesses, and Republican witchhunts against Democrats, as well as opposed environmental regulations, common-sense gun control measures like background checks, and even health insurance for millions of Americans. In many states/areas of the country, progressive ideals like raising the minimum wage, protecting reproductive rights, legalizing marijuana, and expanding Medicaid got significantly more votes in many parts of the country than most or all Democratic candidates did in those states/areas, indicating that there are people who are politically left-wing but, for whatever reason, vote for Republican candidates.

Pat Quinn, who lost re-election in the Illinois gubernatorial race, is probably the single-best example of someone who has alienated nearly every political ally and lost re-election because of it. In the past four years, Quinn gave out special tax breaks to two of the largest corporations in Illinois (Sears and CME Group), gerrymandered Illinois’s congressional and state legislative districts, opened up Illinois to fracking, and enacted a pension theft scheme that was partially struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court. Additionally, Quinn picking Paul Vallas, a supporter of Michelle Rhee’s anti-public education ideology, further alienated progressives, making his problems with Illinois progressives even worse. Because of all of that, Illinois will have a far-right Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, who wants to run Illinois like his venture capital company that did more to destroy jobs than create jobs, screw the poor in every way possible, and destroy the public education system in Illinois.

However, Democrats alienating progressives wasn’t the only reason why Democrats lost big time in this year’s midterm elections. The gutlessness of many Democratic candidates was one reason why Democrats lost big time. One of the best examples of this is Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic opponent to presumptive Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. During her Senate campaign, Grimes largely distanced herself from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whose Kentucky state health insurance exchange is known as Kynect. Grimes could have centered her campaign around McConnell wanting to repeal the ACA (which would result in the repeal of Kynect) if she wanted to. Instead, she tried to make the race a referendum on McConnell, and it didn’t work. Another reason why some Democrats lost their races was the candidates themselves running flat-footed or even completely out-of-touch campaigns. Bruce Braley and Mark Udall are two examples of this. Braley, who lost the Iowa U.S. Senate race to Republican whacko Joni Ernst, came across to Iowa voters as an elitist and focused largely on issues that aren’t top priorities among Iowa voters (although they are very important issues), such as reproductive rights and student debt. Had Braley focused his campaign on issues like the minimum wage and wind energy, he might have won the election. Udall, who lost the Colorado U.S. Senate race to Republican extremist Cory Gardner, seemed to have all sorts of trouble trying to getting Democratic voters to mail their ballots in under Colorado’s new vote-by-mail system for whatever reason and didn’t really take his Republican challenger seriously for much of the campaign, and that’s the two primary reasons why Udall lost.

You add all of those reasons up and more and you get the atrocious campaign of Mary Burke, the Democrat who lost the Wisconsin gubernatorial election to far-right Republican incumbent Scott Walker, who will likely be the Republican presidential nominee two years from now. Not only did Burke alienate progressives in numerous ways (such as supporting parts of Scott Walker’s union-busting law that dealt with public employees being forced to overpay into pension and health care plans, supporting Common Core State Standards, refusing to support marijuana legalization, emphasizing “bipartisanship” with far-right Republicans at every opportunity, etc.), act like a gutless wimp for the entire campaign (such as largely refusing to call out Walker for the corruption in his administration until late in the campaign) and run a flat-footed and out-of-touch campaign (such as having an inner circle mentality throughout the campaign and running TV ads praising Ronald Reagan and trying to pass off someone working 60+ hours per week as a success story), she also had Democratic party bosses and political operatives bully any other Democrat who tried to run against her, fueling a negative perception that Burke was only interested in serving the powers to be of the Democratic Party and nobody else.

Another factor as to why 2014 has been a terrible year for Democrats is the lack of an unified party message, largely due to the Democratic Party being too big of a tent for its own good. The fact that Democrats range anywhere from left-wing to center-right on the ideological spectrum makes a unified party message of any kind practically impossible, and, when there is a unified party message, it’s in the form of calling for bipartisanship and compromise at virtually every opportunity. What most Democrats who run for public office don’t understand is that, while “bipartisanship” and “compromise” are approved of by most Americans, “bipartisanship” and “compromise” doesn’t motivate a single person to vote, and it’s virtually impossible to compromise with the far-right Republicans in this country.

In short, as a result of, among other things, Democrats alienating the progressive base of the party, Scott Walker will likely be the Republican presidential nominee two years from now, far-right Republicans will be running state governments in Democratic-leaning states, Republicans will have an even larger majority in the U.S. House than previously, and Republicans will control the U.S. Senate. The Democratic Party will only be consistently successful if and only if the party truly becomes a progressive, pro-middle class, pro-woman, pro-worker, pro-public education, pro-democracy, pro-environment, pro-peace, and pro-human rights party, the party and its candidates deliver a unified progressive message that can be used to drive progressives to the p0lls in large numbers and effectively attack Republican opponents, and Democratic elected officials and candidates actually fight to make America a better, more progressive place to live.

Chuck Todd gives anti-abortion zealots like Joni Ernst political cover

Chuck Todd, the right-wing beltway media hack who is the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, gave supporters of the proposed personhood amendment political cover in a piece about Iowa Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst:

In a profile of Iowa Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Joni Ernst, NBC host Chuck Todd asserted over the weekend that a so-called “personhood” amendment that she supported would protect “unborn human beings.”

On Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Todd visited Iowa and noted that the winner of the race would likely decide control of the U.S. Senate.

“Ernst hopes to benefit from the fact that her first name isn’t congressman,” Todd explained. “But what could be holding her back—in what is clearly an anti-Washington year—is some of her very conservative positions, including something called personhood which in some cases would grant all unborn human beings with equal protections.”

The personhood amendment is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions that would legally define human life as beginning at conception. What the personhood amendment would do is take away a woman’s right to make many reproductive health decisions, including whether or not to terminate a pregnancy and whether or not to use birth control. The personhood amendment would force pregnant women to carry fetuses to term, even if an abortion were necessary to save the life of the mother. That is a downright barbaric idea.

Chuck Todd giving political cover to far-right anti-abortion zealots like Joni Ernst is yet another example of the corporate media in this country being completely in the tank for the far-right Republicans. Iowans should vote for Bruce Braley on November 4 in order to send a message to the corporate media that they’re tired of them giving political cover to far-right extremists like Joni Ernst.