Back from vacation and back to brewing up Sunday Morning Coffee! If you've come by before you know this is a post about some news stories you may have seen and some you might have missed. Some of the stuff that has gone on over the past week is funny some of it is sad and disturbing but it's all worth a quick review. Grab a cup and welcome back!
Montana Doesn't Care Either
Back in the "old days" if you grabbed a woman by the pussy, incited violence in public or assaulted another person while running for public office the political party would throw you under the bus. That is no longer the case. The majority of voters in Montana proved that "nothing really matters" this past week. 377,465 people voted and Republican Greg Gianforte (R-MT), who body-slammed a reporter the day before the election is being sent to congress winning 50.2% of the vote. It should be noted that before he takes his seat in the United States House of Representatives he has a court date in Bozeman. It was also the most expensive political race in Montana. And the wealthy businessman Gianforte had plenty of help: In the final days of the campaign, outside spending rose to $7.2 million, with more than $1 million coming right at the end. Outside Republican groups spent significantly more than their Democratic counterparts -- $5.6 million to about $1 million. Oh, and Greg said he was sorry.
The Art of the Saudi Deal
Last week President Trump made good on his promise to put America first by agreeing to supply the progressive nation of Saudi Arabia $110 billion of U.S. arms with options running as high as $350 billion over ten years. Of course the arms dealers and manufacturers are cheering...hell it will save hundreds of jobs so who cares if one of the most regressive nations on the planet and the mother country of the majority of terrorists from 9/11 is the buyer. Cash is king. But, there could be an issue in congress as Republican Rand Paul (R-KY) and Democrats Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a resolution of disapproval in the Senate to force a vote on whether to block part of the sale.
You don't know how lucky you are...boy. President Trump invaded Europe and lectured there on behalf of the 36% of you that think he is doing a great job as the leader of the free world. Here is an overview: Germany - Bad, France - Weak, Great Britain - Courageous and Montenegro - Don't Give a Damn, Get Out of the Way!
Oh, and climate change...it's a hoax.
Meanwhile back in Trumpland there are even more troubling issues between the Jews (Kushner & Ivanka) and Russia. The Washington Post has reported that Mr. Kushner had attempted to open up some back-office communication with Vlad and the gang at the Kremlin. For this Jew it's odd how some forget the history. Mother Russia has not always been kind to our people but maybe by sucking up we hope it gets better?
And then there is the Trump Budget which kicks thousands out of jobs, reduces health benefits for millions and offers the wealthy more money. So, how is that working out for you? (Cartoon - Tim Lloyd)
Speaking of getting screwed our "Great Leader" has left the corn and cows for rice and tea...and just in time. Stuff is sort of closing in on Mr. Branstad and it's a great idea to take that slow boat to China and leave the cleanup for our first female "Great Leader" Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA)! At her first press event she called out for lots of things like, " "I won't stop working until every Iowan ... has the same opportunity to succeed, have a satisfying career, raise a family and have a great quality of life." OK, we're in. So, how are we going to do that? Here is a list:
- Reduce funding for public education;
- Funnel public money to private religious and charter schools;
- Reduce access to mental health care;
- Stop paying medicaid health-care providers;
- Send millions of dollars to already wildly successful corporations;
- Cut taxes for corporations and shift that burden to Iowa families;
- Make sure every woman carries every fetus to birth no matter what;
- Reduce efforts to curb water pollution and expand contamination levels of our rivers and lakes;
- Build one, maybe two, private for profit prisons...heck Iowans have to live SOMEWHERE...
Welcome to Terrace Hill.
He'll Be Back...
No doubt Ambassador Branstad will return...soon...to Iowa so he can take part in the Trump Rally in Cedar Rapids. It was to have been held later this week but there's stuff going on on in D.C....some tiny little things...that will keep the president busy for a bit. So, they have "rescheduled" the "love fest" for later in June. That's nice...
Iowa's second female Lt. Governor died last week and many in the Democratic Party mourned her passing. True, Joy Corning was a Republican but, and you know it is true, she would never make it on a slate of GOP candidates under this group of "socially responsible holy rollers". She was a champion of choice and women's health care so she supported and was on the Board of Planned Parenthood. She worked in the immigrant community for social justice and she truly cared about the LGBT Community and worked for inclusion in all manner of public and private life. I saw her not long ago and she was in a unique "sisterhood" with former Lt. Governor Jo Ann Zimmerman and Lt. Governor Sally Pederson. Sad...truly but...there is more.
He was called "Big Don" and he truly was an impressive figure in Iowa politics. Rep. Avenson (D-Oelwein) was the Speaker of the House from 1982 to 1990. I first met him in Oelwein shortly after I moved to Iowa. A co-worker had moved there to join a radio station and when I followed in 1979 Don was in the Iowa Legislature. His booming voice and ready smile was captivating. In later years he moved into public policy and remained a close friend of another giant of the time Jerry Fitzgerald of Fort Dodge whom he was with on the night he died of a heart attack in Nebraska. It was during those years I became involved in Iowa politics and it was truly...fun on both sides of the aisle and things got done. But...we're not done.
The Vilsack Family
The pain of losing a child and grand-child is so great that even trying to understand and comfort those left behind is difficult if not impossible. We all love our children and our children's children and to have them snatched from our life is cruel and mystifying. There are no words other than...strength.
I don't want to leave the impression that I am/was super tight with all of the family members above. However, in Iowa and if you are even just a little involved, you spend time and conversation with folks like them. When tragedy strikes those good times and conversation come rushing back...even if we've not thought of them in years.
This is Memorial Day Weekend and if we go about our business without remembering why we get a three-day holiday it does a disservice to those who served and serve today. This was always a "big day" for our family. My Father z"l and Mother z"l made it a point to be at the VFW a couple of times during the weekend. Dad and I would be out washing and waxing the car while listening to the Indy 500. In the warm weather of Michigan he would be shirtless but never talked about the scars on his body that came from blistering shell casings that hit his chest in those Navy gun turrets. Every once in a while I'd reach for the scrapbook of black and white photos from his three years of service in the South Pacific and wonder what it was like just 15 years prior when the entire world was aflame. Fifteen years...it was...fresh but we never spoke of it. Ever. I sort of wish we had but it seems to me now that there was honor in remaining silent and going about building a successful life for your family. Thank you...
And, thank you for coming by...have a memorable Memorial Day.