Given that members of Congress, usually Republicans who do not want to answer questions about a far right agenda that does not mesh well with actual human beings back home, are reticent to schedule town halls for fear that they will look like schmucks maybe it is time for constituents to schedule their own town halls.
A group of progressives in Fort Collins has scheduled a town hall to talk about Senator Cory Gardner. The organizers invited Gardner and members of his staff to attend, but they do not expect any official attendance.
We should do the same thing in Iowa. Here in Iowa’s first district Representative Rod Blum has only scheduled some office hours in small towns and avoiding the larger, albeit more liberal, large cities of Cedar Rapids or Waterloo.
Senator Chuck Grassley is little better. After spending a career making a big deal of visiting all 99 Iowa counties in the so-called “full Grassley” he seems to be going out of his way to avoid constituents in his most recent town halls. Look at the list of towns: Hampton, Iowa Falls, Garner, Charles City, and Parkersburg. Really going out of your way to meet the people, eh Chuck?
Are members of Congress so embarrassed by their own legislative agenda and the behavior of the Trump administration that they are unwilling to meet with constituents? Looks like that is the case.
Posted in Politics, Uncategorized
Tagged Cedar Rapids, Chuck Grassley, Congress, Cory Gardner, Donald Trump, Indivisible, Iowa, Representative, Rod Blum, Senate
Idiocracy gets a lot of press lately and for good reason. I am starting to believe that there is a straight line between President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho:
And Donald Trump:
What do you think?
With all that is going on in Washington D.C.—cabinet confirmations, a Supreme Court nomination, leaks, Russia, whatever is up with Kellyanne Conway—Charles Grassley, the senior Senator from Iowa, recently sent out this “in case you missed it” email:
Do you see the headline? It reads “Grassley wise to push for farmers’ access to overseas markets.” Yep, the senior Senator from Iowa decides that the most important communication he can make with his constituents is about pushing for access to foreign markets for agricultural commodities.
Try and get him to comment on Trump’s potential conflicts of interest? No dice. Try to get him to comment on Trump’s potential ties to Russia? No dice.
Thanks for all the hard work Senator Grassley. When is your next open meeting with constituents happening? I think there are some people who want to ask you a few questions about issues other than access to foreign markets.
Wait, what? Nothing?
Yes, that is right, do nothing. I do not mean do nothing in a political or activist sense. Good lord no, please make sure that your elected representatives know very clearly what you think of their behavior in office and how that is going to make you vote in 2018. Make their lives unpleasant by actually showing up to their town hall meetings—assuming they actually schedule town halls in their districts unlike Rod Blum—and let them know how displeased you are with their proposed legislation and Donald Trump.
When I say do nothing I mean stop participating in the consumer driven shell game. Our consumption of stuff just feeds the beast. We can rail against the political machine in Washington D.C. as much as we want but as long as we are filling our shopping carts the wheel will keep on spinning.
Do you think Exxon Mobil really cares about protests? Not really. They would care however if a measurable percentage of their customers stopped buying gasoline because they were commuting by bike. How many? Enough to flatten their growth curve and cause investors to panic. Looking at the current state of oil markets a drop in demand of 5-10% is enough to cause major perturbations in price. Could you reduce your personal consumption of gasoline by 5-10%? Heck, all of us could probably do that without thinking. No one is saying that you need to stop driving entirely, just reduce it by 5-10%. The upside is that it costs nothing to do less driving.
Do you think WalMart really cares about anything other than its quarter versus quarter results? Not really. However, given that the counties that supported Hillary Clinton account for ~64% of the nation’s GDP if those voters were to stop patronizing WalMart the results would be staggering. Remember, the game is now about growth and if companies cannot show a path toward growth the market will punish them. Look at coal companies. Once these companies could no longer show a clear path to growth, never mind declines in demand, the market punished the companies by withholding capital and the coal companies began declaring bankruptcy. It costs nothing to not shop at WalMart.
Political activists constantly harp on us to “vote with our wallets,” but it is much more effective to vote by not opening our wallets. Just shifting our spending from one faceless corporation to another is not going to create any kind of meaningful change. If over a short period of time there was a measurable decline in consumer demand for stuff you would see some real change. Granted, Republicans would probably start trying to pass legislation that guaranteed WalMart a certain amount of income because they love welfare when it is for corporations.
Doing nothing when it comes to consumerism is subversive because it goes against the dominant paradigm in modern America. Heck, when we were facing the greatest existential threat to the United States in a generation George W. Bush implored us to go out and shop. A stirring call to action this was not, but it does represent what passes for action in the minds of modern politicians.
Step back from the cash register and do nothing. Put that book down and check out something from your public library. Avoid that trip to the mall and see what unused items lurk in your closet that would be better served as a donation to the Salvation Army. Resist the urge to go out for dinner and be truly revolutionary by cooking dinner for a group of people. Heck, that may be the most revolutionary thing you could do because nothing smacks of “commie socialism” like sharing a meal with a group of people and expecting nothing return save for good conversation. I can read the tweets from Donald Trump already “Sad. Dinner without tableside service so un-American. Mar-a-Lago will always be tremendous.”
Posted in Household, Politics
Tagged capitalism, consumer, Donald Trump, economics, growth, money, oil, politics, savings, subversive, Walmart
The answer is that he probably curls up with a nice bedtime story like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, kisses the picture of Grover Norquist on his nightstand, and counts email servers until e fades into blissful slumber.
Unfortunately, for the rest of the United States this no-talent a$$ clown of an elected representative is one of the primary oversight authorities as the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. This committee is normally tasked with conducting hearings and investigations into the behavior of government officials. You know, like someone using an unauthorized email server. Where have I heard about that before?
You would be led to believe that given the current presidential administration’s inability to conduct itself within any reasonable standard that the cries of “foul!” from this committee would be heard loud and clear. You would be guessing wrong.
Does Jason Chaffetz feel there is a need to investigate the disturbing ties between former Trump administration member Michael Flynn and Russia? Nope. Michael Flynn had contact with agents of the Russian government as a private citizen to discuss diplomatic matters, which is against the law, but Jason Chaffetz has decided “no blood, no foul” because there is no political hay to make. Actually doing the job you were elected to do conflicts with marching orders from the Koch Brothers or whatever organization is paying your way these days.
This is the same member of Congress who thinks that the constituents showing up to his town hall are paid protesters because they disagree with his right wing whack-a-doo agenda.
I would hope that the larger voting public would see that their elected representatives have no interest in serving their interests as long as they will vote on single issues or party lines out of a dogged loyalty that does not align with current reality.
On the bright side this is the same member of Congress who got owned by a ten year old when she asked if he believed in science.
Posted in Politics, Uncategorized
Tagged conflict of interest, Congress, corruption, diplomacy, Donald J. Trump, email server, espionage, House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, Jason Chaffetz, Michael Flynn, Russia
A while back I called Rod Blum a coward. I stand by that assertion because as the current presidential administration has shown itself to be nothing more than a totalitarian farce masquerading as a modern democracy he has remained silent.
How quiet? Just try and find something that Rod Blum has said about anything that has transpired over the past couple of weeks.
His Twitter account is basically a bunch of motherhood, apple pie, and America content for the right wing set. About the only topical tweet was a comment on the March for Life.
His Facebook page is more of the same minus a recent comment about the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to take the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
I think it is high time that we up the pressure on the Congressman from the 1st District of Iowa to start answering where he stands on positions taken by the leader of his party—Donald Trump—and actions taken by his party.
I will call his office in Washington D.C. and Cedar Rapids, IA every day until I receive adequate answers to the following questions:
- When will Rod Blum hold a public forum in Cedar Rapids—the largest city in his district—to answer constituent questions?
- Does Rod Blum support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act?
- Does Rod Blum support proposed changes to Medicare?
- Does Rod Blum support proposed changes to Social Security?
- Does Rod Blum support the recent restrictions on entry into the United States put in place by executive order?
- Does Rod Blum support a congressional investigation into the Russian hacking that may have influenced the U.S. electoral process?
- Does Rod Blum support a congressional investigation into Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest?
I will provide updates, including the most recent comments from staff and additional questions, on the following linked page.
If you want to make calls yourself use this handy website to assist you. Let me know where your representative stands on these issues.
Rod Blum is scared of his constituents. According to his website he has zero events scheduled. None. The last event that is listed occurred in October. Not one town hall. Not one silly tele-town hall or Facebook event or “ask me anything” digital event. Nothing.
Recently, constituents in Cedar Rapids—which is the largest city in Rod Blum’s district—protested in front of his office downtown. Naturally, Rod Blum was not available for comment or anything really. Why? He is a coward.
What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask when his next face-to-face with constituents will occur? Nothing.
What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask if he supports a Congressional investigation into Russian interference in our nation’s electoral process? Nothing.
What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask if he supports a Congressional investigation into the current President’s potential conflicts of interest? Nothing.
What do you get when you contact Rod Blum’s office and ask if he supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act? Oh, he supports that one but his office is fuzzy on the details of what to do about the millions of people who will lose health insurance coverage. I am sure it is going to be “beautiful coverage” like our new orange overlord has said. Too bad he is on the wrong side of his constituents on that issue.
You get the idea. Rod Blum is afraid to actually tell his constituents where he stands on issues because he is afraid that people will realize that he does not represent their interests. He represents Rod Blum getting elected to future terms as a member of Congress.