After nearly fifteen years of Sunday Morning Coffee I had been considering putting it to bed. The reasons are many but the bottom line is that I have so much going on that it's nice to spend Sunday Morning away from the keyboard. However stuff needs to be said and the stories are many. So, let's get on with it.
Clearly the number one topic is the invasion of Ukraine by the despot and criminal Vladimir Putin. The United States and our allies have, for too long, been playing footsie with this evil man. And, when you consider the actions of the prior administration, who slavishly lavished praise on the dictator, you can see why he thought invading Ukraine would bring no condemnation.
But he was wrong as now the world is seeing what a small and evil person Putin is and has been.
However, we should have done more sooner. Not just about Ukraine but because of the evils this man has wrought among the Russian people. Poisoning people who don't agree with him. Casting aside freedoms of assembly. Making a mockery out of elections. Tearing down a free and independent press. Prisoning his adversaries. This is what despots do and he should have been called out and sanctioned years ago. (Image CNN)
Last week a friend of mine, who makes no bones about the fact that he is a solid member of the Republican Party, shot me a note saying, "Your president is weak." He went on to quote several "sources" who are solid Fox News operatives. If he would change the channel he would know that his call to isolate Russia via removing them from SWIFT, an international payment system that facilitates cross-border transactions, takes agreements between many allied nations. In other words, it takes time to get everybody on board. And, just yesterday, two days after President Biden said invoking a ban from SWIFT was not yet on the table he had convinced our allies to make it happen. What my friend seems to forget is that the U.S. has interests that go well beyond the laser focused right-wing propaganda spewed by Fox News.
Perhaps he might wish to take up arms against the Russians? Just yesterday Ukrainian president Zelensky announced the creation of a new International Legion of the Ukrainian army. That means that existing legislation in Ukraine allows foreign citizens to join the Ukrainian military. President Zelensky has urged those who wish to fight the Russian aggression to contact military attaches of Ukraine's embassies and volunteer. He added, "It's not just a Russian invasion of Ukraine, it's the beginning of a war against Europe. Against the unity of Europe. Against the basic human rights in Europe."
The leadership that is coming out of Ukraine is pretty amazing as is the awful rhetoric from the Russian criminal Putin. The Russian dictator told the world that he is out to "de-nazify" Ukraine. That's pretty wild considering that the president of Ukraine is Jewish as is the prime minister and that Ukraine is home to hundreds of thousands of Jews who are being assisted by Israel and other nations.
Germany, long concerned of engaging in any armed support, has sent tons of lethal equipment to Ukraine. The same with Poland. The U.S. has committed hundreds of troops to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. President Biden has authorized millions of dollars in military aid for Ukraine and has asked congress to approve millions more.
Finally this all could end very badly for Putin. Already thousands of Russians have taken to the streets protesting the invasion. They understand what is at stake. And soon they will feel the economic pressure that will force them back into the streets and, perhaps, take down the criminal. And, just this morning, two powerful and wealthy Russians urged Putin to end the war. Watch this space...
The madness in the Iowa Legislature continues and now the GOP has picked Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) to give the rebuttal to President Biden's State of the Union message on Tuesday. She better bone up on her international affairs rather than being the beacon of hate for anybody that does not conform to her idea of Christian superiority. But, if anything she is a perfect match for Vice President on a ticket with "45" who continues to hold sway over the Republican Party. She would then become the "Sarah Palin of Iowa". Good riddance.
Everywhere you look Iowa businesses are consumed with the fact that they can not hire workers. Especially workers who are well educated. Why would they want to come to a place that ranks in the middle of all the states when it comes to public education? Why would they wish to come to a state that degrades people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folk and others?
Ah, but the salve that will heal our rural population decline and lack of employees will come from another failed idea that "trickle-down economics" will work. As Kansas proved...it doesn't. Last week the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency (LSA) estimates the bill, which creates a flat tax of 3.9%, would result in a reduction of $1.9 billion per year in tax revenues going to the state’s general fund. It would mean a $1.7 billion income tax cut for Iowans and a $230 million reduction in the corporate tax rate when changes are fully implemented in fiscal year 2028.
Reynolds and the Iowa GOP are fixated on cutting taxes which will result in further cuts in government funding. But, my friends, that is the goal. Government is bad and big business is good. And the Iowa Legislature rushed the bill through so that Reynolds could crow about it during her rebuttal to President Biden.
But, we all know that. So let us turn to the math. Something that they really don't have to teach in private schools but can get paid for...anyway. While there are many "average wage numbers" for Iowa workers let's pick one that is in the middle say, $68,000 a year. The new flat tax will save this person $563 a year. Meanwhile those who make one-million dollars a year would see a tax savings of $1,286 each week. Democrats in the legislature attempted to pass an amendment to lower the income threshold to $250,000 before higher taxes kicked in but the Republicans who control the legislature defeated the measure. Trickle down kids...trickle down.
I keep hearing the talking heads saying that the Iowa Democrats are tired and not up for a fight. I do not get that sense. As a person deeply involved in the politics of the Democratic Party I see it just the opposite. We that work in the trenches are witness to a population that is growing weary of legislation that marginalizes others. Weary of failed policies that are hollowing out our rural counties. Weary of picking big business over main street. Weary of passing laws that make our state less safe and less attractive. Weary of a government that calls those who teach our children "sinister". I ain't buying it that Democrats are demoralized. And, what had been suburban safe havens for Republicans are growing increasingly blue. We keep fighting.
My friend and fellow broadcaster Bob Leonard penned something that hit home. He was talking about how Iowa Democrats were scrambling to find a "great white hope" to lead the Iowa ticket in November. Suggesting that Diedre DeJear was too weak to take on the war chest that belongs to Governor Kim. Reynolds.
What should be national news has been set aside. Here in Iowa a state that is 93% white has a serious black woman running for governor is amazing in itself. But when you combine the reality that DeJear is and always has been unwavering in her support of solid Democratic ideals and is able to, without notes, tick off exactly what she will do to make the lives of every Iowan better...you must support her.
What the hell are you waiting for? You can join me and chip in right here.
Sorry this has gotten so long. I should make it into a podcast each week so you could listen...right? However, let me say "Thank You!" to so many of you who have written and hit me up in social media asking about Sunday Morning Coffee. That you missed my weekly rant was touching.
We have work to do...and this nation is counting on you.
Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday.