What a week. And when you live in Iowa it feels like you are in the epicenter of politics. Some good some...not so much. Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee a look at some of the political events you've seen or perhaps missed but all laced with my commentary. This isn't so much "news" as it is an opportunity for me to call out some odd realities of our time. OK, enough with the hype...let's go!
Feel Better Now?
On Friday we sent "fire and fury" (great name for a book...no?) to military targets in Syria. It was to be in response to an alleged chemical attack on his own people by Bashar "The Animal" al-Assad who has been the president of that country since 2000. While the entire event was carried out with pinpoint accuracy and the U.S., Britain and France did not suffer any causalities it also came on the day that "45" was a bit preoccupied. But, make no mistake, this had nothing at all to do with Russia, 2016, money laundering, strippers, peeing on a bed, James Comey or grabbing pussy. Absolutely nothing. This had everything to do with...uhm...ahhh... Let me get back to you on that?
Odd, isn't it, that "45" is beside himself because the FBI raided the offices and two homes of his personal attorney Michael Cohen? He clearly is worried. Why? Oh, let's see...just what could Robert Mueller find there? More money exchanged between "45" and Russia? More payouts to strippers or Playboy Bunnies? Details of communication with Russia? Pee tapes? Evidence that Vlad has something big on "45"? Tax reports that have been denied to the American people? What is astounding about all of this is that Republican elected officials are also up in arms in defense of "45" rather than scattering like bugs in the Raid commercial...(Cartoon - Tim Lloyd)
Go on, play the ad...it will make you smile.
The fact is that nobody would have done this raid until they had some far-reaching reason and I'm betting the Mueller probe is now in very dangerous territory and this could have a grave impact on those folks like Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and State Senator Charles Schneider (R-Clive) who are lock-step with the person, currently, occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. At least Sen. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) had the guts to, this morning, uphold the fact that Mueller has every right and responsibility to get to the truth. Good for him...somebody in the GOP has the intestinal fortitude.
One more juicy tidbit: Stormy Daniels will attend the court hearing tomorrow afternoon in New York where Michael Cohen will be asked about his business dealings. I'd buy a ticket to that...
This all happened so long ago that I'll bet many of you had to go look it up. But that name came forward this past week as "45" pardoned Mr. Libby for charges related to his leaking of the covert identity of a CIA officer, Valerie Plame. Now you remember? It was, as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said this morning, “I think the president is sending a message, basically I will use the pardon power to pardon people even that have been convicted of leaking or obstruction of justice,” Schiff said. “If you’re with me, I have your back.” Setting the stage. Brilliant but also it sets us up for a crisis like we have not seen since President Richard Nixon. Watch and wait.
The book doesn't come out until tomorrow but advance copies have been widely circulated. On Sunday James Comey hit the news/talk shows with his story. Clearly, Mr. Comey has no love-loss for "45" and based on how savage the attacks from the president have been toward the former FBI chief might give us pause.
Meanwhile, and I'm not sure I've ever been witness to something like this. All but forgotten are the attacks this sitting president has been doing to Amazon and Jeff Bezos. Astounding isn't it that this guy will stop at nothing. How embarrassing for our nation.
Hey, Welfare Queen!
Your time is just about up. No more driving around in a tricked out Escalade, wearing cubic zarconia bling, sitting on your ass watching the tube, talking on your "Obama Phone" while eating chocolate purchased with your food stamps. The president has something in store for you it's called "Work to Eat" and he is done with your lazy booty. We also gonna drug test your ass!
What? Hold on...I'm getting a message in my ear. You mean you have to prove you are poor to be on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)? Yeah but you're still eating steak and lobster! What? You are telling me that every $5 spend on food stamps gets doubled in economic benefit to the community? What? Over 83% of SNAP/Food Stamp benefits go to households with a child, senior, or disabled person. And that most food stamp recipients are children and the elderly...
What? The average food stamp benefit is $133 a month per person? And that SNAP spending accounts for 2% of our national spending yet we spend over 19% of our national budget on defense?
And...because in places like Iowa where the GOP controlled legislature has made it illegal for communities and counties to increase the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour many people have to work two and three jobs and yet they qualify for food stamps because they are paying over 45% of their income on rent?
Never mind...let me get back to you on this.
Speaking of...living. Last week Des Moines was ranked as the 4th best city in which to live by US News and World Report. Pretty keen huh? You can bet the folks at the Greater Des Moines Partnership were doing "high-fives" all around the table. Yet here in Polk County many of our citizens...too many...are on the "low down" of the economy. And, to make matters worse we're, mostly, ignoring the facts and taking little action.
From The Des Moines Register report of last year:
The challenge is what a report calls “the tale of two cities”: white and black Des Moines. A yawning racial gap persists in education, employment, finances, business ownership, housing, leadership, health, criminal justice and other areas. For example:
- Iowa had the worst unemployment rate in the nation for African-Americans in 2015 — 14.8 percent — compared with the statewide unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The median income for African-American households in Polk County was less than half of the county as a whole in 2014: $26,725, compared with $59,844.
- Twenty-five percent of black Des Moines residents are unbanked, compared with a rate of 4.5 percent statewide.
- African-Americans make up 65 percent of the “cost-burdened” renters (defined as spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing) in Des Moines.
- In 2005, 12.9 percent of black Polk County residents had less than a high school education. In 2014, that had risen to 17.1 percent.
If you want to read the entire piece...here you go. The statistics are not that much different if you are a Latino.
Speaking of Latinos
They, our Asian friends and all people of color are flexing their collective muscle. Last week the Asian/Latino Coalition of Iowa played host to three national figures Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti were all in Des Moines. I was at two of the three events. Make no mistake this group is powerful and getting more so. And, no, you do not have to be a "person of color" to engage in the push-back of division that the GOP continues to mount. Mitch Henry and all the board there is doing a great job! And the Polk County Democrats are on FIRE!
I've gotta tell you, the conversation I had with Mayor Garcetti was all about inclusion, economic justice, small business and opportunity. If you would like to listen in...here you go:
Last week I celebrated a birthday...number 68. Yeah...I know. I should be retired by now but still working...every day. I want to thank each of you for the kind and warm wishes directed my way last week. It was very nice and I was so overwhelmed. Thank you, again.
As you know we've recently launched the Business News Hour -Week in Review on News/Talk 1540 KXEL each Sunday afternoon starting at 2PM Central. And, if you want...you can listen to the stream. It's mostly business news but this week we're also visiting with Rob Sand who is running for Iowa State Auditor. Rob is from Decorah but his story about "being different" in St. Louis is striking....and an important part of why he is seeking this office. Here is that interview.
This week we welcomed another "voice" on the Business News Hour - Week in Review. Our daughter Hunter Pease opens the broadcast. It's her first "gig" as a voice talent. I may be partial but I think she's got a future.
Of course you can hear all the reports from Insight on Business the News Hour our daily program on our Radio Blog which is right here.
Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!