Tag Archives: Congress

Friday Linkage 8/3/2018

Election Day is 95 days away.  On November 6, 2018 the people of the United States have the best chance to show the world that Donald Trump and his coterie of right wing, e.g. Republican, enablers do not represent America.

Here in the 1st district of Iowa we have a chance to eliminate the stain of representation that is Rod Blum, a parody of late stage capitalist politician if ever there was one.  He has the benefit of being from the same state as Steve King so no one ever calls him the worst politician from the state of Iowa.

On to the links…

Friendly Policies Keep US Oil and Coal Afloat Far More than We Thought—This is where the fight needs to be in the near future.  Eliminate all subsidies for energy sources that contribute to climate change.  Seriously, do we need to spend public money to subsidize energy companies that have made more money than any other type of company in the history of mankind?

Congress Tries, Fails, to Destroy ANOTHER National Monument—Remember, this is a Congress led by Republicans in both chambers and they still cannot get anything done.  Government is not inherently incompetent, it is just incompetent when run by right wingers.

Dozens Of Lion Trophy Permits Issued To Hunters As Trump Rolls Back Import Hurdles—Donny Two Scoops is really looking out for the interests of the American people with this one.  How soon before Don Jr. or the goblin shark Eric come back from Africa with a mounted lion?

The EPA Just Undid Scott Pruitt’s Final Act in Office—This is why the election in November is so important.  Without a compliant Congress, any changes made by the corrupt Trump administration will be swept away with a change in the Oval Office.

Andrew Wheeler is Afraid to Revoke California’s Fuel Waiver. He Should Be.—The Trump administration is itching to fight over anything that even hints at the previous administration.  They should be careful about what they wish for when it comes to legal cases.

Coal Mining Has Destroyed 1.5 Million Acres of Appalachian Forest—Imagine if someone came up with a plan to restore these 1.5 million acres to something resembling a forest?  Imagine hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into a region for the largest environmental restoration project in the history of mankind?  I can imagine it being possible, can you?

From Coal Mines To Solar Farms: It’s Complicated, But Doable—The landscapes of coal country have been scarred by an extractive industry, see above, that has no interest in the long term viability of the communities or the health of the people left behind.

US Wind Installations To Surge Before PTC Phase-Out In 2021—We can all hope that by 2020 or so there is a more visionary government installed in the U.S. that extends these tax credits to continue one of the few positive developments in our energy infrastructure.

The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery—The era of “big” public works seems to be over, but what if we could use all of that infrastructure to help the transition to a 100% renewable economy?

‘Peak Coal’ is Getting Closer, Latest Figures Show—This is why the deployment of renewables, energy efficiency, and demand destruction are so important.  Coal is teetering on the edge of economic relevance and we can topple the beast with a concerted effort.

Energy Dept. Coal and Nuclear Subsidy could Cost Average US Household $160 to $500 Per Year—As coal and nuclear are no longer competitive in the electricity generation marketplace it is now the responsibility of the American people to ensure that these companies make money.  Why?  Because they donate a lot of money to people like Donald Trump.  This is not about national security, it is about keeping coal companies humming along.

UPS Partners with L.A.-Based Startup Thor on Electric Delivery Truck—Electrification of the heavy and medium duty truck market would be a more cost effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than trying to goose adoption through personal automobile electrification.  These commercial vehicles are driven a lot more, bought in large quantities by a single user, and can make an economic case better than personal automobiles.

Have We Reached Peak Storage?—I truly hope we have reached a point where we no longer need to build storage units external to our home to store stuff that we use so infrequently that it can be stored at a remote location.

Marie Kondo Wants You to Buy More Boxes—What the shit?  Is this when you know a trend has really “jumped the shark?”  I thought the idea behind this was to buy less stuff?  We’re all just pimps for something.

Why Your Kid Needs Time Just to Be—As parents we are a seriously neurotic bunch worrying about our kids future.  Maybe, just maybe, the key to raising a happy child is to let them be a kid once in a while.  Or, letting them just be a kid a whole lot.

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Is Rod Blum America’s Most Useless Congressman?

Some people would write the headline “Is Rod Blum America’s Worst Congressman?”  However, that is not possible because he cannot even be the worst Congressman from Iowa.  Steve King takes that title every day running away.

Rod Blum is fairly useless.  Take this mailer that I get for some inexplicable reason:

IMG_1486

As a registered Democrat who participates in most primary elections I would have thought my name was crossed off of any mailing list promoting Rod Blum’s “accomplishments.”  Alas, that is not the case.

Rod Blum is “draining the swamp?”  Did Rob Blum call for the resignation of a single member of Trump’s cabinet who has been shown to have misspent the public’s money and abused our public trust?  Nope.  Did Rod Blum ever once call for Scott Pruitt, the single most corrupt member of a cabinet in a hundred years, to resign?  Nope.  Everything on the list above is a load of crap.

My favorite is “End the use of taxpayer funded ‘slush-fund’ that was being used to settle accusations of misconduct by Members of Congress.”  You mean like former Representative Blake Farenthold?  The same Blake Farenthold who eventually resigned from Congress and promised to return the $84,000 payment made to settle a sexual harassment complaint?  The same Blake Farenthold who, after leaving Congress, finally admitted he has no intention actually repaying that money?  If Rod Blum cannot keep a member of his own political party in line how is he ever going to “drain the swamp?”

Here’s the thing: Rod Blum is a swamp creature himself.  He “failed to disclose” his position or financial interest with an internet company, Tin Moon Corp, that promised, among other things, to ensure negative search results for things like FDA warning letters were buried below more positive search results.  Disregarding the weak excuse of “failing to disclose” his interest, Tin Moon Corp is literally offering to manipulate search results to bury health and safety information.  I know that companies are engaged in this practice all the time, but not with a sitting member of Congress as a board member.  Drain the swamp, huh?

Remember, Rod Blum is the same man who could not handle being asked questions about holding an actual town hall meeting, threw a hissy fit, and stormed out of an interview.  Thankfully, the internet remembers everything for posterity’s sake.

Apparently the House of Representatives has passed 973 bills this session.  Now, the caveat is that a lot of those will not become law because it requires passage by the Senate, a conference committee if there are differences in the bills, and eventual signature by the head cheese puff.  So, Rod Blum is taking credit for passing bills that will probably not become law.  Does he also take credit for repealing the Affordable Care Act multiple times?  The House of Representatives loved to pass repeal bills all the time to burnish their right wing bona fides.

Hey, what about that “historic tax cut” that Congress passed:

IMG_1487

Yeah, how is that playing out back home in the district?  Never mind that certified rich person and corrupt member of Congress Rod Blum probably made out like a bandit.  You might get an extra $1.50 in your paycheck. 

Rod Blum is the perfect illustration of what is wrong with the government as run by Republicans.  There are little if any accomplishments, save for tax cuts, because there is no ideology beyond making sure that rich donors pay less in taxes.  Everything else is a battle royale between special interests and the Republicans love them some special interests.

This mailer is a piece of propaganda meant to gin up a declining base in a competitive district this fall.  He needs every Trump supporter to pull the lever for Rod Blum because that is his only hope of winning.

Rod Blum is useless as a representative for the 1st district of Iowa.  He knows it and I am guessing that a majority of the electorate in the district knows it.  In November Rod Blum needs to go.

Friday Linkage 9/29/2017

A little late and a little light on the links.  Is there anything less productive in corporate America than a training class that lasts for a day and a half?  It combines the worst productivity killing aspects of meetings with a long duration.  Why?

On to the links…

These 90s are Happening Weeks Later than Average—Climate change is real and it is here in eastern Iowa.

World’s Largest Miner BHP says 2017 is ‘Tipping Point’ for EV Boom—This is a commodities giant making this claim.  Not Tesla.  Not Nissan.  Not General Motors.

Colorado Landfills are Illegally Burying Low-Level Radioactive Waste from Oil and Gas Industry—If you doubt the need for good regulation and tight enforcement just imagine living near a landfill that accepted illegal radioactive waste.  Who wants to bet me that there will be no fines levied by the EPA for this egregious violation of law?

The Most Effective Clean Energy Policy Gets the Least Love—These mandates work because it allows for tailored solutions to a goal.  If you are in Arizona or Nevada install some solar.  If you are in Iowa build some wind turbines.

Coal. Guns. Freedom?—Somewhere along the line coal came to symbolize something among the far right wing in the United States.  It went from being a fuel for making steel or electricity into a potent political symbol.  Too bad it’s all a myth.

Congress Is Broken. Bring Back Pork.—It’s a simple idea and it might do some good to breaking down the partisan gridlock in Washington.  But what would Ted Cruz bitch about when the camera were rolling?

Elon Musk’s Solar Partnership Strategy Doesn’t Look So Crazy Anymore—Maybe Elon Musk was on to something with his idea of combining solar, batteries, electric cars, and the service all in one place.

Assumed Safety of Pesticide Use is False—Fake news!  Fake statistics!  Lies!  Where is Trump’s outrage over falsity?  Oh wait, Scott Pruitt told him to like these guys.

Sea Turtles Appear to be “Bouncing Back” from the Brink of Extinction—It’s not all bad news all the time.  People like turtles and conservation efforts seem to be working.  It feels like a breath of fresh air to be talking about something positive.

The History of Sears Predicts Nearly Everything Amazon Is Doing—What goes up, must come down.  Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.  Shall we continue?  Amazon is a high flier right now, but give it a decade or two.

Running Rod Has Got to Go

The past week or so has made it abundantly clear that “Running” Rod Blum has got to go.

First, Rod Blum voted to pass the House’s American Health Care Act.  It is bad enough that he voted for a bill which will lead to tens of millions of people in the United States being denied affordable health insurance.  It is even worse that he basically said he voted for the bill even though he disagreed with the process and the content.  Rod Blum is such a shill for Paul Ryan and Donald Trump that even when he knows a bill is bad for Iowans he will still vote for its passage.

Make no mistake, the AHCA is horrible for Iowa.  The AHCA slashes hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  Rod Blum could care less about the approximately 680,000 people in Iowa that Medicaid serves. [1]

Furthermore, the cuts in Medicaid and the changes to our nation’s health care system proposed in the AHCA are just the first step in Paul Ryan’s master plan to gut our safety net.   Paul Ryan has is eyes on Medicare and Social Security as ways to pay for his vision of tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  [2]  The game plan is to cut taxes to such a degree as to precipitate a budget crisis.  As the party of fiscal discipline the Republicans will demand “shared sacrifice,” which is right wing speak for screwing anyone no capable of paying membership fees at Mar a Lago, that will come in the form of draconian cuts to Medicare and Social Security.  Rod Blum has proven that he is little more than a toady for Paul Ryan so he has got to go.

Second, Rod Blum finally decided to hold some town hall meetings and it did not go so well for him.  Instead of actually answering people’s questions he regurgitated bland politician speak carefully calibrated to not say anything of importance.

Third, Rod Blum refuses to answer questions about why he is unwilling to answer questions from Iowans that he does not represent yet he is more than willing to accept money from organizations that are not in his district.  In a show of complete political farce Blum stormed out of an interview with KCRG’s Josh Scheinblum when asked that exact question. [3]  It was made even more farcical by the presence of school children brought to the interview by Blum as some sort of junior human shield.

Rod Blum has shown that he does not represent his district, he is a shill for his Republican boss from Janesville, and that he is incapable of answering questions about the way he conducts his political business without getting all huffy.

I do not know who will eventually run in opposition to Rod Blum in 2018, but short of the literal Prince of Darkness I am voting for the person.  Running Rod Blum has got to go.

 

References
  1. http://dhs.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/15-6_Improve_Health_Status.pdf
  2. https://thinkprogress.org/paul-ryans-next-move-is-an-attempt-to-privatize-medicare-a96eb9ac0a23
  3. http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Blum-walks-out-of-exclusive-interview-with-TV9-421676713.html

Rod Blum is a No Talent Clown

No he is not Michael Bolton.  Not Michael Bolton the computer programmer.  You know, the other Michael Bolton.  I digress.

Rod Blum is apparently a think skinned, no talent clown who happens to represent the 1st district of Iowa.  During an interview, which he requested, KCRG’s Josh Scheinblum wasted no time and had zero chill for Blum’s bullshit.  Check out the full exchange here.

With a group of school children watching Rod Blum got to question two before going all “boom, outta here.”  The question that got him was about his willingness to accept donations from out of his district while claiming to not represent anyone outside of his district.  These are some real tough questions Rod.  The problem, as many Iowans in the district see it now, is that Rod Blum represents moneyed interests with names like Adelson and Koch.  We will never know because the groups that give Rod Blum his campaign cash do not have to disclose their donors.

Things did not get any better for Rod during his scheduled town hall in Dubuque when he was asked to defend his slavish adherence to the Trump-Ryan agenda.

How do people think things are going to go in Cedar Rapids tonight?  The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last!

Finally, Rod Blum Will Hold Town Halls

After months of wondering and wishing Rod Blum finally announced that he is going to hold town hall meetings that will be open to the public.  The schedule is as follows:

  • May 8th in Cedar Rapids
  • May 9th in Cedar Valley
  • May 10th in Dubuque
  • May 11th in Marshalltown

There is no mention of the events on Rod Blum’s website—surprise, surprise—so take the announcement with a grain of salt.  Also, expect last minute changes and strange attendance requirements.  At the rate Republican members of Congress are going I am expecting loyalty oaths and polygraph test as a condition of admittance.

My favorite part from a recent Cedar Rapids Gazette article on the town hall announcement was this logic from Rod Blum’s staff:

…staff said it had not received requests for town hall forums until after other events had happened. Staff also said Blum was too busy during a recess in February to host forums and has no forums scheduled for the current two-week break that started this week.

Sure, we all believe that line of bull.

Did Rod Blum Get a Spine?

Thursday is apparently the day when Paul Ryan, the anointed intellectual godfather of the right wing in Congress, and Donald Trump, otherwise known as a Russian stooge at this point, are going to put the American Health Care Act to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

According to members of the Freedom Caucus, a right wing group of Tea Party conservatives, the bill does not have the votes.  According to Donald Trump, the self-styled ultimate closer and dealmaker who somehow went bankrupt in the casino business, the bill is going to pass because…um, Obamacare bad.  Seriously, that is the logic at this point.

What about Iowa’s first district Congressman Rod Blum?  Normally, his vote is in line with Paul Ryan and the stooges because Rod Blum is a nothing member of the House.  Really, take a moment and try and find any legislation the guy has authored or fought for in any way that is substantive.  Take a moment and try to find a hearing where he was a forceful contributor.  I will be here waiting for your reply.

The guy will not meet with his constituents, but according to his own Twitter account he is not going to support the bill.  Blum adds the important caveat “in its current form” which allows him the wiggle room to vote yes if some inconsequential change is made and he can go home without being called a spineless liar.

I will not hold my breath expecting him to be an actual no vote when the arm twisting is done, but stranger things have happened.