GOP blocks equal pay for women, again

This week the GOP again blocked a bill by Democrats in Congress to require employers to pay women and men in an equitable manner.

Senate Republicans derailed a Democratic bill on Monday aimed at pressuring employers to pay women the same as men, a vote Democrats knew they would lose but scheduled in hopes of attracting support from female voters in November’s elections.

GOP senators blockaded the legislation in April and with the support of business groups like the Chamber of Commerce opposed it again Monday. They say that by making it easier for workers to successfully win legal damages in court, the bill would make it harder for employers to defend themselves against pay disparities that are justified — such as when a worker accepts lower pay in exchange for more flexible hours.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act would ban employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with each other, impose harsher penalties for pay discrimination and require employers to be able to show that wage gaps between men and women are based on factors other than gender.”

Maybe it is time to send people to Congress that would support all individuals in this country. Getting the vote this election is important to all Democrats. Everyone needs to step up and talk with their friends and family and encourage them to support candidates who support the middle and working class. Volunteer to help the local Democratic candidates become elected, and to help our Congressional candidates take our well being to Washington.

Another GOP chair person resigns over insensitive remarks

It must be in the water, or some other substance that Republicans embrace. Maybe it is hubris.We all stumble, make mistakes, say bad things, but really.

The Arizona GOP vice chair resigns after saying women on Medicaid should be sterilized. And this man probably has a wife, daughters and maybe granddaughters.

Of course, he was probably misunderstood and his statement was taken out of context. It always is.

As reported on Huffington Post, “Former Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce resigned as Arizona Republican Party’s first vice chair late Sunday after receiving criticism over recent comments he made about women on Medicaid.

“You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations,” Pearce said, according to the Phoenix New Times. “Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job.”

According to the  Washington Post, Pearce said the comments were “written by someone else” and said he “failed to attribute them to the author.”

There it is.  As Flip Wilson used to say, “The Devil made me do it.” It was someone else’s fault. But apparently the man has no brain, or at least a filter through which to temper remarks people might find offensive.

The Republicans Kansas experiment

Al Jazeera America recently reported on the governor’s race in the state of Kansas. Current Gov. Sam Brownback, a former Kansas U.S. Senator is trailing in polls behind a Democrat,  Paul Davis.

The reason is Brownback’s live conservative experiment in cutting the taxes for the rich, cutting services for the poor and generally not being responsible to the state’s citizens, but to special interests, those with money that want more of it.

As reported: “But the biggest thing going for the Democrat is what’s going against Brownback and the rest of Kansas: the condition of the state budget. For the past three years, Brownback has carried out an aggressive plan to remake the state economy. Under a plan co-designed and -promoted by the architect of the Reagan administration’s supply-side economic policy, Arthur Laffer, the Republican-controlled statehouse slashed the top income-tax rate by more than a quarter, from 6.45 percent to 4.8 percent. It also created enormous tax loopholes for businesses. By some readings, an executive could avoid paying any tax on profits or salaries by converting a corporation to a limited-liability company, or LLC.

Brownback told Kansans in 2012 that over five years the new tax policy would create more than 22,000 jobs beyond normal growth and attract more residents. The governor described the effort on MSNBC’s Morning Joe as a “real, live experiment”; given Brownback’s national ambitions, many wondered if his real goal was expanding his laboratory to include the other 49 states.

Then the results started coming in. Unemployment fell, along with the rest of the country’s, as the economy improved from the worst years of the recession — thanks in part to the federal stimulus. But contrary to Brownback’s promises, Kansas job growth has lagged behind every neighboring state’s except Nebraska’s, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its population has grown at half the national rate.

Rather, the most immediate effect of the tax cuts has been the more predictable one: less money for state services. Kansas collected $310 million less in revenue than planned during the April and May tax season. The state’s nonpartisan legislative-research division estimated when the tax cuts were passed that the state would collect $4.5 billion less through 2018. To make up for some of the losses, the state government targeted the pocketbooks of low-income consumers, reducing a planned sales tax cut and eliminating tax rebates for items like food, child care, access for the disabled and alternative-fuel equipment.”

So if the Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate and gain seats in the House, those conservatives will again push to take the state of Kansas’ to the other states if they can.

Democrats have to get out and vote to see that doesn’t happen. And they must get involved to see that their friends, relatives and other Democrats also get out and vote, and support those candidates that want to improve everyone’s lives, not just the rich, not just the special interests, but all Americans.

Voting early will be possible by the end of September with Vote By Mail ballots, as well as early polling stations that will be available in October. And then after voting, volunteer, get the vote out for this 2014 election, because a lot depends on it.

Nuns on the Bus coming to Sioux City

The Network Nuns on the Bus is coming to Sioux City Thursday, Sept. 18 and will have a rally at 3 p.m. at the Sanford Community Center, 1700 Geneva Street.

The nuns message is a strong voter turnout without the influence of big dollars, encourage other to vote for 100% participation of the populace and hold candidates responsible to policies that benefits everyone.

Appellate court permits Wisconsin’s voter ID law

A Washington Post story reports that a three-judge appellate court reinstates Wisconsin’s Draconian voter ID law. All three judges were Republican appointees.

The story states: “In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said, “The State of Wisconsin may, if it wishes … enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections.”

Wisconsin officials wasted no time in saying they would do just that.

“We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election,” said Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official. “We are now focused on communicating with local election officials and voters, and will have more information about the details next week.”

Which makes it all the more imperative to see that Brad Anderson is elected as Iowa’s Secretary of State. Mr. Anderson wants to ensure that all Iowans have the opportunity to vote without harsh voter ID regulations.

A recent story about the GOP’s secretary of state candidate said: “Republican candidate for Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has released his plan to encourage voter participation, strengthen election integrity with verifiable voter identification and embrace technology to make voter registration easier.”

Notice the Republican safe words, strengthen election integrity with verifiable voter identification. In other words, create some way of disenfranchising some Iowan voters. It is a sure bet that the Republicans will not fund an organization to canvas and make certain that all eligible Iowans can afford and are given a verifiable voter identification.

Talk with your friends and relatives, and encourage them to support the candidate that will allow all Iowan citizens to vote without harsh regulations to overcome to exercise a right that conservatives believe is reserved for themselves and their voter ID friends.

Republican political action group targets Iowa farmers supporting Braley

The Huffington Post reported a story today that an Iowa Senator, Republican Sandy Greiner of  Washington, Iowa, is going after Iowa farmers who support Bruce Braley. Greiner is also a farmer herself.

HuffPost reported: “Greiner is president of the American Future Fund, a group that spent some $30 million last election cycle – nearly all raised from the network built by the billionaire Koch brothers — attacking Democrats or backing Republicans.

The group been mostly quiet since it was accused of funneling $4 million to an anti-labor ballot initiative in California.

But Greiner, who is a farmer herself, seems to be going after the corn growers.

According to screen grab provided to HuffPost by a Braley backer, Greiner posted a message on Facebook the day after the Sept. 2 endorsement, saying that farm families who disagree with the selection should consider “requesting a refund of your Corn Checkoff assessment,” money that goes to the association.”

This is the screen grab:

It also reported: “Then, the political action committee of the American Future Fund upped the ante, commissioning a string of robo-calls to members of the Iowa Corn Growers Association that instructed them to call a specific official at the group to complain of the endorsement and ask for their money back.

“This is Brenda with American Future Fund PAC,” said the Sept. 5 call, according to a transcript provided to HuffPost. “As you may have heard, the Iowa Corn Growers PAC just announced their endorsement of Bruce Braley for U.S. Senate. That’s right –- Bruce Braley, the very same man who slammed Senator Chuck Grassley for being a farmer. Farmers are the lifeblood of Iowa’s economy. And we think it’s important you know that the Iowa Corn Growers are using money raised from their donors –- hardworking farmers like you –- to support the liberal Braley, who voted for cap-and-trade legislation that would devastate Iowa farms. This cannot stand.”

“Tell them that they should be supporting farmers, not trial lawyers. And if you remember, request a refund of your checkoff dollars,” the spot continues. It concludes, “This call is paid for by American Future Fund PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

If anyone doesn’t agree with what Sen. Greiner they can contact her and ask why she is using outside money to target fellow Iowan farmers. This information is available online from the Iowa Legislature General Assembly website.

E-mail: sandra.greiner@legis.iowa.gov

Home address: PO Box 471, Washington, IA, 52353

Home telephone: 641-636-2293

Vice Presidential candidates and dignity

When a person aspires to one of the highest offices in the U.S. its citizens have a right to expect them to behave in a dignified way, both while in office and then, after leaving that office.

Former Vice President Al Gore stretched credulity when he said he created the internet. He was also lambasted about climate change, but there proved he was credible.

Recently some other former candidates, both elected and not, have have raised the bar about how to behave honorably in relation to the office of Vice President.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family were allegedly involved in a good old-fashioned brawl. A drunken brawl. Well, how is that working out for you vice-presidential elect Palin?

A story states no charges were filed, but wow, not since the days of Andrew Jackson were such shenanigans perpetrated by persons of higher office. But then, many of these GOP individuals have always wanted to return this country to its former days.

And former Vice President Dick Cheney is again beating the drums of war. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank writes: “ Cheney One-Note delivered much the same Be Very Afraid speech: “Al-Qaeda is not diminished, nor is the tide of war receding . . . a doubling of jihadist fighters and a tripling of attacks by al-Qaeda affiliates . . . a defense secretary in a serious state of alarm. ‘The world,’ as Secretary Hagel said a few weeks ago, ‘is exploding all over.’ ”

Actually, the “world is exploding” line was part of a question Chuck Hagel said he’s often asked — but accuracy has never been a priority for Cheney. His priority Wednesday was to tell Americans that Obama has put their safety in jeopardy.”

And Cheney said: “We should immediately hit them in their sanctuaries, staging areas, command centers and lines of communication wherever we find them,” Cheney told the audience at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

“We are at war,” he said, and “we must do what it takes, for as long as it takes, to win.” This means “we should halt the drawdown of our troops in Afghanistan,” that we should “take military action if necessary” in Iran, and give “full backing and support” of those fighting the Muslim Brotherhood.”

War, war and more war. Milbank wrote that Cheney prefers war all the time. Makes one wonder how his stocks are divided, oil and military complex investments? Surely he never listened to John Lennon’s song about giving peace a chance. War is a necessary evil but through his and others lies, he helped stir a hornet’s  nest without nary a thought in how such a move would finish. But now we know how it finished, or rather, how it will be ongoing for years and maybe decades.

Sioux City debate between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst

U.S. Senate candidate and Congr. Bruce Braley will debate Republican candidate Jone Ernst in Sioux City this fall on Thursday, Oct. 16.Details are being worked out or haven’t been announced yet.

It would be good to see a large turnout in support of Congr. Braley and his effort to continue the work that Sen. Tom Harkin has done over the years. As information is learned it will be posted and Democrats are encouraged to attend.

GOP and minimum wage doom. Not here.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank recently wrote about a community in Washington State that raised the minimum wage. Many a local business wailed and thrashed and said the sky was falling. Pleading for community leaders not to raise wages. It was going to be the end for that community.

Milbank writes:

“In July 2013, hotelier Scott Ostrander stood before the city council in SeaTac, Wash., pleading with the town not to adopt a $15 minimum wage.

“I am shaking here tonight because I am going to be forced to lay people off,” he said, according to an account in the Washington State Wire. “I’m going to take away their livelihood. That hurts. It really, really hurts. . . . And what I am going to have to do on Jan. 1 is to eliminate jobs, reduce hours — and as soon as hours are reduced, benefits are reduced.”

SeaTac, a community around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, went ahead with its plan, becoming, on Jan. 1, the first jurisdiction in the nation to set a $15 minimum wage, according to the labor movement. And Ostrander’s hotel, the Cedarbrook Lodge? It went ahead with a $16 million expansion that adds 63 rooms, a spa — and jobs.”

And an official with the Service Employees International Union was quoted in the column, “SeaTac is proving trickle-down economics wrong,” says David Rolf, the Service Employees International Union official who helped lead the $15 effort in SeaTac and Seattle, “because when workers prosper, so do communities and businesses.”

Those who opposed the $15 wage in SeaTac and Seattle admit there has been no calamity so far. Paul Guppy, vice president for research at the free-market Washington Policy Center, said SeaTac is a “boutique” case because of its size. Airport workers have been left out for now because of a lawsuit, and union workplaces are exempt, so only about 1,600 got raises.”

Milbank continues in his column with more doom and gloom from those who speak the Republican line about raising the wage and how it hurts business.

“In Seattle last week, I (Milbank) stopped in at the jammed Palace Kitchen, flagship of Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, who runs upward of 15 establishments. He warned in April that the $15 wage could “be the most serious threat to our ability to compete,” and he predicted that “we would lose maybe a quarter of the restaurants in town.” Yet Douglas has opened, or announced, five new restaurants this year.

Likewise, the International Franchise Association has sued to block implementation of the law, arguing that nobody “in their right mind” would become a franchisee in Seattle. Yet Togo’s sandwiches, a franchise chain, is expanding into Seattle, saying the $15 wage isn’t a deterrent.

So maybe the GOP needs to rethink this theory and actually look at how raising employees’ wages benefits everyone, just not the 1%’ers. However, as local Democrats may have noticed, Democrat candidates ask for financial support from locals, requesting maybe $5 or $10 donations. Are Republicans afraid that the small change the minimum wage will give employees might find its way to Democratic candidates?

Many a President has used a term coined by President Harry S. Truman, “The buck stops here.”

That statement is surely true of all Republicans. Because once the money is in their hands, they surely do not want to share it with those who are also looking to achieve the American dream.

Woodbury County Democrats, promoting democratic ideals and greater participation.