And, Good Sunday Morning to you... Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee my weekly look at some of the news you might have seen, or missed, all laced with my commentary. It's what I get to do each Sunday now for well over a decade. BTW if you use Twitter you can find me @MichaelLibbie and on Facebook I'm here.
It's Just Economics...
Here is why we're totally confused. Last week Fed Chair Jerome Powell (who was hand-picked by "45") told the nation we're in for a helluva ride. In a speech Tuesday, Powell urged lawmakers to set aside concerns about the mounting national debt and provide the fiscal support necessary to keep the economy from spiraling deeper into the worst downturn since the Great Recession. And urged congress to move forward on more economic stimulus.
Meanwhile "45" said if the House $3 trillion package gets through congress he would veto it. And this morning Stephen Moore, a member of the White House coronavirus economic task force, said he thinks the “worst economic news” has passed and urged Democratic governors and mayors to expedite the reopening of their respective states and cities amid the pandemic. (Image: CNBC)
Obama Is Back
And it's about time. The former president gave a stirring virtual graduation speech yesterday to more than 27,000 graduates from 78 "Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBUC). Here is just a small bit of how President Obama started: (Image: CNN)
"...these aren’t normal times. You’re being asked to find your way in a world in the middle of a devastating pandemic and a terrible recession. The timing is not ideal. And let’s be honest — a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country. We see it in the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on our communities, just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog, and some folks feel like they can stop and question and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questioning."
"Injustice like this isn’t new. What is new is that so much of your generation has woken up to the fact that the status quo needs fixing; that the old ways of doing things don’t work; and that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick; that our society and democracy only works when we think not just about ourselves, but about each other."
And Guess Who's Pissed...
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said this morning that he was, “glad Mr. Obama has a new job as Joe Biden's press secretary.”
The comment came after ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Navarro to respond to the former president saying during a commencement address that things are “screwed up” because leaders are doing “what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy.”
The former president also lit up social media last week with a one word Tweet: "Vote" Suspect you can figure out what he was telling America. Meanwhile "45" is out there spewing conspiracy theories about stuff. Weary.
It's sorta sad when the leader of the free world says stuff like, "We've got a super-dooper missile..." He was out promoting his non-existent "Space Force", complete with a fancy new flag that, frankly we thought would have a phallic image on it, but doesn't...dang it. No doubt too...small.
We Vote No
Yesterday the U.S. House voted to move forward a massive $3 trillion stimulus bill. There were 14 Democrats that broke with their party and voted no. Among them were first term Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (D-IA). Both said they could not support the bill because the bill did not focus on working families and Axne said, "I am deeply troubled by numerous provisions in this bill that could see large amounts of taxpayer dollars allocated to helping those who are not hurting at all."
It should be noted that both consider themselves "Moderate Democrats". But it was interesting that "Progressive Democrat" Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) also voted no. In her remarks she said, "At the core, our response from Congress must match the true scale of this devastating crisis. The Heroes Act—while it contains many important provisions—simply fails to do that," she said, adding that the bill "does not keep workers in their jobs and guarantee the certainty of paychecks." Jayapal was the only member of the Progressive Congressional Caucus (PCC) to vote "no". However nine other PPC members did not vote.
Well, Iowa is "Open for Business" as the governor mandated that a whole slew of businesses could resume getting back to work. Malls are open, restaurants are open but restricted at 50% of occupancy, gyms, barbers, hair salons and more have been told to get our economy going. That's nice. Meanwhile Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) who has been the official lap dog of "45" is semi, sorta self quarantining because she was in contact with staff from Vice President Mike Pence who visited Iowa to proclaim what a success we have here. (Image: Des Moines Register)
Governor, I know you really, really want to lead the way so here's the deal...you first.
Kim's Covid Casino
If you've not heard Todd Dorman of The Gazette you should. Three days ago he penned this article about how all Iowans are gamblers in Kim's Covid Casino. It's spot on.
And, as an interesting aside...the board of Prairie Meadows Casino voted not to re-open. Seems like the gamblers know better.
Meanwhile in Manufacturing
The news has all been about how COVID-19 has invaded meat packing facilities causing a major disruption in the meat supply chain. But, we've not heard as much about how the pandemic has also invaded manufacturing facilities in the U. S. And the tragic story that centers around the death of Kyle Brown, 54, who worked at TPI Composites, a manufacturer of wind turbine blades in Newton, Iowa.(Image: Newton Daily News)
Brown, who began to feel ill on 17 April and went to an urgent care clinic and requested a test. He was told he did not qualify because he did not work at a meatpacking facility and was not over the age of 65. (You can't make this stuff up!) But, of course, because nobody seems to know what's up the clinic, it seems was unaware of the Iowa Testing Framework, which was released on that same day, did not require employment at a meatpacking plant to be tested for the virus. Essential services personnel with fever or respiratory illness were among those who fit the criteria for testing.
He finally did get tested and tested positive but was refused hospital admission. He was granted admission to a Marshalltown hospital on 24 April and flown to a hospital in Des Moines days later where he...died.
And this is playing out all across the United States...not just here in Iowa.
Last week the Iowa AFL/CIO put out a statement and a petition that Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) put into place state mandated OSHA protections for Iowa workers. You can imagine that landed like a brick. I interviewed Iowa AFL/CIO President Charlie Wishman about that and more. If you would like to listen, click the player.
And, if you are so moved to sign the petition here is that link.
Whew...sorry, a bit long today. So much stuff going on...right? Last week our crew was out placing a bunch of yard signs that make for an excellent lawn upgrade. If you live in Clive, Waukee, West Des Moines or Windsor Heights (Senate District 22) and would also like to show your colors. You can connect on my website Libbie for Iowa and we'll make sure we get you on. I think we've got about five or six left. If you would rather shoot me a private message on Facebook you can do that...too.
I get tons of calls and emails asking me to support various issues and make them part of the campaign. Last week I got a call from "Jeff" who lives in Michigan who supports federal congressional term limits and wanted to learn my position. Well, besides the fact that I'm running for the Iowa State Senate, I wanted to learn more about his position. Here is that conversation:
Me: "So, tell me Jeff why are you doing this?"
Jeff: "Well, our governor has us locked out of work (red flag) so I've got to do something with my time."
Me: "I see, it is tough for folks. What is it that you do?"
Jeff: "I move pastors when they are going to a new church."
Me: "Got it. Tell me why I should support term limits."
Jeff: "Because once these people get into office they are bought by lobbyists and they do their bidding and not ours. That's why our federal budget is out of control The deficit is killing America. These career politicians vote the way their buddies who are buying their vote want them to. Government should work like a business and only spend what they take in." (There is so much wrong with that statement and if you want my take...let me know.)
Me: "Well, Jeff, I suspect you were not in favor of the $1.7 trillion tax cut that the president pushed through congress in December of 2017 which added billions and billions to the federal deficit. Would that be accurate?"
Jeff: "Well, not exactly. The free market needs to be free and that tax cut is exactly what we need to be strong..."
You can guess where it went from there.
Have a great Sunday...and thanks for reading!