So, you want a war? Well, congratulations America we've got one and as usual the wealthy in the United States will worm their way out of the ruckus while the rest of us pay the toll. Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee my look at some of the stories you've seen and some, perhaps, you have not; all laced with my opinion. Why? It's what I do early in the morning on a Sunday. We've got lots to cover so let us get started...
China & The Economy
There is a cost to the ultra-nationalist response to "America First" and it will be keenly felt by those of you who consume goods in this country. Now, if your store of choice is Nordstrom (Where the family ended talks to take the company private and its stock fell...) or Von Maur you may not notice that you're going to pay a bunch more for the kids clothing or toys but look out if you're a Target or Walmart shopper. Prices are going up. Meanwhile wages in Rural America are headed down as commodity prices are, once again, targeted. Oh, wanna buy a truck? Prepare for sticker shock. When a nation enters a trade war, as the United States has decided it must wage, prices go up. The nations retailers have said it will be a $50 billion tax on Americans. Feeling good about your 2016 choice? Your "Deal-Maker in Chief" is an economic idiot. Need proof? Read on my friends...
Oh And The Debt
One other small detail. China current holds $1.8 trillion in U.S. bonds, notes and bills. More than any other nation on the planet. Now, in light of the Trade War "45" has decided to launch China has indicated it will slow down it's purchases because they don't see the value. What does that mean? It means the United States will have to find somebody else to fund our ever widening budget deficit. That could be problematic given our current standing in the world. (I know...all the economic talk is boring right?) But, what if things get really sticky and China decides to as for it's money? You know..."Hey U.S. time to call our notes!" You think the recession was bad? Strap in.
Remember Terry "Governor for Life" Branstad?
Who would have thought that one of the biggest supporters of "45" would be thrust back into center stage for Iowa? He is, as you know, the U.S. Ambassador to China. He and the dictator there are best buddies...and he is also BFF with "45" oh...and he is from Iowa one of the states that will be hard hit by a reduction by the Chinese in the purchase of soybeans, ethanol and pork. If nothing else this will be an interesting tight-rope walk.
That's enough of the boring shit about money and the economy. Nobody really cares...until you have to make a choice between health care insurance and eating. So...we'll move on. Breathing life back into the persona of John Bolton should shake you to your bones. This is not a well man. He eats up and spits out conspiracy theories like a person hooked on sunflower seeds. He is now the National Security Adviser to "45". What could go wrong? Here is a guy who is itching for a war with North Korea, Iran, China....hell maybe even Australia for all we know. He is big on nation building and gives little thought to diplomacy. Meanwhile our newly nominated Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo another hardliner who loves crazy conspiracy theories. While you're in line thinking about what flavor you want in your Starbucks you might pause for just a moment and let this crap sink in. Scary times....
I have to be honest with you...I had to look some stuff up. The dizzying speed at which high-level people come and go in this administration takes some focus. What an uncontrolled mess.
Meanwhile The Pope
Yesterday was the March for Our Lives. Many of you on the right and other "old coots" dismissed the event and have suggested "the kids need to shut up and go back to school"...where, of course their lives are in constant danger. But, hold that thought for a moment. Today, for those of you who are Christian, it is Palm Sunday. So, what do you think the Pope said in his Palm Sunday Message? I know, you don't give a damn but stay with me for a moment... His Holiness said, "The temptation to silence young people has always existed. There are many ways to make them invisible. Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive." The Pope then said this: “Dear young people, you have it in you to shout," he continued. "It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?"
That after thousand marched and spoke yesterday. And, yes, there were more people in D.C. at the March for Our Lives event than there were at the 2017 inauguration for "45". And while some of you dismiss the effort regarding our national passion for inflicting casualties among our citizens because of our lack of restraint for firearms...get ready because these young people are going to remember your silence and they will be voting soon...very soon.
Iowa + Democrats = Fun Times
Yesterday Iowa Democrats took their hopes and ideas to county conventions across the state. Some events were tiny. In others, like here in Polk County, the registered delegates swarmed the convention center. Bill Brauch, who served as the convention parliamentarian and was the chair of the Platform Committee told me it was the first time, that he could remember, where the turnout of registered delegates was so large that many alternate delegates were not seated.
For those of you who were not there let me highlight a couple of interesting moments from the largest gathering in the state:
Shut Up and Sit Down!
The saga that surrounds Theresa Greenfield got ugly yesterday. For the three of you who are unaware Theresa has been campaigning for months to take on Rep. David Young (R-IA) in November. What started out as a crowded field narrowed over the past few weeks to four individuals. Theresa submitted her nomination papers on Wednesday the 14th of March. On Thursday the 15th Noah Wasserman, her campaign manager, admitted to forging a significant number of signatures on those petitions. That led Theresa to "do the right thing" and withdraw her petitions because of the fraudulent act and attempt to get the 1,790 signatures in less than 24 hours. When the count was complete on Monday the 19th the Secretary of State said she fell short by 198 signatures.
Then, following an inquiry, she appealed to the Third District Democratic Central Committee, headed by Bill Brauch, to consider placing her on the ballot. That committee will take up the issue tomorrow (Monday 26 March) in a noon telephone conference. Clouding the issue even further was a letter sent out by Cindy Axne (another contender) that suggested all of this was bad policy urged the Third District Democratic Central Committee to "...join me in doing what's right and upholding the law and vote down this request."
Yesterday at the Polk County Democratic Convention there was a motion on the floor to allow Theresa Greenfield the opportunity to address the group...for two minutes. The body turned aside that request with some getting ugly and personal in their vote to block her from speaking. One shouted to my friend Sarah who was in support of letting Theresa speak said, "Shut up and sit down!". So much for playing nice.
I am, and have been, a supporter of Theresa. If she is not allowed on the ballot I will have to reconsider my next choice. The letter sent out by Cindy Axne in the heat of this battle did not sit well with me...or others. Sometimes it is in the best interest of a campaign to let the process move forward. It will be an interesting time. Stay tuned.
Polk County is home to my friend Dr. Andy McGuire who is in the race to take on Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) in November. She is a solid Democrat with lots of credibility. She is well known across the state because of her time as the Chairperson of the Iowa Democrats. That is why it was so shocking that she failed to garner more than one vote in the alignment process yesterday. One vote... To be sure, on the surface it is shocking...but I'm thinking that many of her supporters went into the convention knowing this and decided to remain uncommitted. Which, by the way, according to the Iowa Starting Line led in the delegate count state-wide.
Here in Polk County supporters for Cathy Glasson and John Norris joined forces rather than join the uncommitted group. The deal, which went down in a hurried conversation, said that if Norris supporters joined Glasson supporters (both camps did not have enough delegates in the first round of voting) that Glasson would split the District Convention delegates 50/50 with Norris. That happened and each camp will take 17 delegates to district. I have been a supporter of John Norris for many, many reasons and I'm pleased to take that to Greenfield on 28 April.
It ain't gonna work. Supply side economics has never worked and the Iowa Senate the Iowa House and the Governor are deluding themselves. We tried this back in 1997/1998 and cut taxes for business and the top earners and, according to a great article in The Business Record by Dave Elbert Iowa's economy, over the next five years, fell behind and suffered a 1.8% decline and the state lost 47,000 non-farm jobs. If you want to check that out here is a link to the online edition.
Power, Privilege and Business
Early this month I sat down with Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. from America & Moore. Dr. Moore was speaking at the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Symposium. He is a national leader on the subject of White Privilege. You know...that stuff that you know about but do not wish to confront. Here is the interview that was broadcast last week with Dr. Moore. While we do not do politics on The Business News Hour I thought this topic, because it does impact business...important for you to consider.
And, Eddie is one cool guy! Go on, listen in...but come back???
This is the week! Passover starts on Friday evening the 30th. That means our home will be a flurry of activity getting things ready for the First Seder here and then the Second Seder in Mason City on the evening of the 31st at Adas Israel the tiny congregation I've led for the past 30 years. If you live in the Mason City area and would like to experience a traditional Jewish Passover here is a link to their Facebook Event. But, hurry...space is limited. BTW, I understand my friends there got 17.5 inches of snow. Not to worry...it will melt. Stay warm!
BIG SHOUT OUT to the Windsor Heights HyVee for the great selection of Passover foods. Jeff Osborn and his crew really upped their game and that meant I could shop local rather than head out of town. Well done friends and thank you!
Thanks so much for reading...sorry this got so long but so much going on. It truly is the season of wild and sometimes wonderful. If you are celebrating...may you have a blessed Passover. Let's check back in next week following the first two days of "Lotsa Matzah"!