No, this isn't the "Christmas Edition" that was yesterday. Hey, thanks for clicking through for a bit of politics and opinion laced with a smattering of religion just to keep it all interesting. Sunday Morning Coffee is now served and when are you gonna take down those lights? But, seriously...I hope you had a truly meaningful Christmas. Oh, one other thing: If you remember last week you just got half-a-cup. This week you're going to get a full pot. Let's go!
This was the first Christmas with President Biden and what a refreshing holiday it was now that we have a human as president. The lead up to the holiday wasn't all about him but about us. The White House Christmas airing was masterfully done but more than anything it was about compassion. Yep, it's pretty neat to have a human as president and First Lady again.
Then there was this bit that was so very cool: During a White House NORAD Santa-tracking call, a MAGA father says “Let’s go Brandon” to the president, code for “F*ck Joe Biden.” Without missing a beat, Biden jokes “Let’s go Brandon, I agree.” Refreshing that we have a president that is so secure rather than thin-skinned like "45". Ya gotta love it. (Photo: Yahoo News)
Over at the Supreme Court the former president is taking his cover-up case to his hand-picked court to block congress from getting to his communication about the insurrection. So far the lower courts have sided with our human president and said there is no "presidential privilege". So, you've got to know this crook has something to hide but it won't stay hidden forever. Also, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) it's time to come clean. I realize that will be difficult for you. "Clean" is not a word you are accustomed to utter.
Back to humans. The cleric that stood in opposition to apartheid in South Africa has died. He was 90. He was the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position. Looking up to real hero's is something we can all do. (Photo: The Guardian)
Build Back Better
My friends in the GOP got what they wanted for Christmas. No passage of the proposal that would massively and positively impact the working stiffs of this nation. It's really something when people campaign against kids, education, health care, jobs, rural development, urban development and a host of programs that would create real wealth for the Middle Class. Even the mine workers in West Virginia came out to implore their senator to get on board. But to no avail. Massive tax cuts for the wealthy get a pass but taking care of people? Nah, it's just not what moves Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). That a senator who represents just 1.7 million people holds up what millions of people in the rest of the nation are crying out for just does not make sense. And...just so you know the population of West Virginia has dwindled by over 5,000 people in the past year.
Well now...let's consider Iowa. You know, the state that has been run by Republicans for years. Economist Dave Swenson from Iowa State University posted this bit of news last week: "IA had a mere 233 more births than deaths last year. 89% of population growth was driven by migration, the bulk of which was international migration." And then posted the details in this photo from U.S. Census documents. Go ahead and click on it...to enlarge.
If you dig a bit deeper you'll find that 80 percent of the growth is happening in the state's four largest counties — while 68 counties posted population losses. That means your GOP leaders are squeezing you to death. Now you have to drive further for medical care as rural hospitals shut down services. Schools must do even more consolidation to stay in business. Longer bus rides, less time with family. It's awful and it's about to get worse.
Des Moines Register
I realize that many of you do not get the Des Moines Register and if you do you might have been more tempted by the Christmas ads than what was written recently by Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D- Iowa City). So, giving him and the Register credit read...this complete with links. (Photo: The Daily Iowan)
Are rural Iowa communities better off today then they were 5 years ago?
Iowa Republicans' tax and economic policies have hollowed out Iowa’s small communities and rural landscape. Their big-business approach to every problem has resulted in everything getting bigger: worker shortages, farms, packing plants, chemical and fertilizer companies, tractors, consolidated schools, convenience store chains, food and child care deserts, water quality problems, floods, wind storms, COVID-19 deaths, and agricultural subsidy payments.
The global corporations that have bankrolled their campaigns have sucked the money and jobs out of small towns and turned Iowa farmland into an expensive out-of-state investment. The “run government like a business,” “tax cut” party has made it much harder for rural Iowans and farmers to live and prosper.
The new 2020 census data highlights the problem. Sixty-eight rural counties continued to lose population over the past decade.
Since Republicans control state government and represent virtually all rural Iowans, they have had a front-row seat to rural decline. They have failed to adequately support their local schools and health care workers and services, the backbone of life in every community.
Gov. Kim Reynolds and legislative Republicans created teacher shortages in rural communities by habitually underfunding local schools and gutting collective bargaining and stable good jobs for educators, state, city and county public servants in every school district, city and town in all 99 counties. Plans to send public money to private schools will only make the teacher shortage worse and consolidate more rural public schools.
Reynolds and legislators hurt rural health care jobs and hospitals when they turned the management of Iowa’s $6.2 billion Medicaid program over to large out-of-state insurance companies. Medicaid privatization, another corporate-get-rich scheme, has not saved money or made people healthier. That sucking sound is the tens of millions dollars annually (that used to provide good jobs for people taking care of Iowans with mental health and medical problems) funneled to fat-cat CEOs and shareholders.
Climate change is a major threat to all of us and has really hurt Iowa rural communities and farmers. Virtually every county in Iowa has had multiple floods or droughts or extreme weather disasters resulting in more than 1,000 presidential disaster declarations in the past 30 years. Iowans have suffered billions in damages to homes, businesses and farms. Reynolds and legislative Republicans have made things worse by denying and delaying action.
Just recently, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and U.S. Reps. Randy Feenstra, Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks all voted against rural Iowa communities and farmers when they voted "no" on generational funding for rural internet, roads, bridges and water systems. Democrats passed the infrastructure bill that will bring blue-state money to fix our dilapidated red-state infrastructure. What are they thinking?
Reynolds and legislative Republicans have controlled all of Iowa government for the past five years. Every decision. Are rural communities better off today than they were five years ago? More consolidated schools? Longer bus rides? More closed businesses? More low wage jobs? Poor internet services? Population decline? More COVID deaths? More anger. Massive tax cuts for Des Moines millionaires and big corporations time and time again have only made things worse for the average rural Iowan.
If their policies were working, why are they not telling rural Iowans how great they have it? Instead, they peddle rage, grievance and victimhood to Iowans with racial fear, anti-immigrant, anti-government slogans and constant name-calling.
In 2022, Kim Reynolds and legislative Republicans are proposing more tax cuts and more rural austerity. Tax cuts have failed to grow jobs or quality of life in rural Iowa. Tax cuts will not educate our kids or keep them from leaving, create higher wage jobs, solve the teacher or workforce shortage, create more health care services for rural Iowans, improve internet services or clean up our filthy rivers and lakes.
How much longer will Iowans tolerate Republicans' rhetoric and record of failure?
We must rescue this state and it starts by defeating these people...we've got work to do friends.
Last week I went to church. It's not something I'm fond of doing especially when "church" is one of these new types that is heavy on entertainment and light on critical thinking. But, I'll admit it was quite the show complete with a rockin' band, video, a light show...it was a great production.
Yes, there was preaching. Oh...my. The engaging young preacher was able to mix religion, politics and health care in his twenty minute speech. There was the oblique denial of COVID and vaccinations and face coverings. (Of the 175 people there I saw five or six people with masks.) But what really struck me was his constant demand that we've got to have "more Jesus" in our lives. "When you have more Jesus all the darkness of the world will be conquered by His light" was the over-arching theme. He, and his congregation, really, really want "more Jesus" in the public schools. Jesus...not teachers I guess.
But, which Jesus?
The Jesus that cared for widows and orphans and the downtrodden? The Jesus that knew nothing of the faith we, today, say is Christian? The Jesus that pointed to the Torah for truth? The Jesus that demanded religion and state be separate?
Or is it the Jesus that sees science as evil? The Jesus that believes paying low wages is essential for corporate profit? The Jesus that preaches prosperity over equality? The Jesus that sees sin in who you love? The Jesus that demands more births but then abandons the children once born?
I listened to every word that this gifted preacher said and I came away from that experience with a better understanding of how out of touch with reality so many people are. And, it's pretty scary.
We have work to do....
Have a great Sunday and thanks for reading!