Tag Archives: Congress

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.

The Right Wing Health Care Shell Game

Republicans in Congress, with the House leading the charge under the guidance of Paul Ryan, are conducting a great game of three card Monte with the American public.

The proposed American Health Care Act is a joke.  It’s like Diet Obamacare and everyone with half a brain understands that fact.  It is also the type of bill that is so neutered yet destructive enough that it is finding strange bedfellows in opposition like the entirety of the Democrats in Congress and Rand Paul.  If you ever thought Rand Paul would be a dissenting vote on Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act raise your hand?

Now the spin begins.  Republicans and Donald Trump are trying to sell the idea that the goal is cheaper health insurance.  This is a farce because cheaper health insurance generally does not cover any health care.  If something is cheaper it usually means one of two things: someone else is picking up the tab or you are getting less coverage.  It is a zero sum game.

Under the Affordable Care Act the federal government was subsidizing your health insurance if you were so qualified to receive subsidies on the individual market.  Under the American Health Care Act you will just receive less coverage.  “But it is cheaper!” Paul Ryan will scream with Ayn Rand-esque shrillness.  Yes, just like a regular cab rear wheel drive F-150 is less expensive than a crew cab four wheel drive F-150.  Both trucks are F-150s, but one is cheaper because it has less content.  Everyone understands why those two trucks are priced differently and people will understand why health insurance is cheaper under Paul Ryan’s plan when they discover it covers no actual health care.

Thankfully, after seven years of claiming to work on a replacement for Obamacare and despite Donald Trump’s promise of amazing coverage for everyone Republicans have shown their utter lack of vision and leadership on the issue by producing a piece of crap bill.  Furthermore, provisions in the bill that would be windfalls to multi-millionaire CEOs and other rich people just show who the paymaster of the Republican Party really is in 2017.

Paul Ryan is Coming for Your Health Care

Paul Ryan, the wunderkind of the right wing, finally saw fit to release his proposed “replacement” for the Affordable Care Act.  Let me sum it up for you:

  1. If you relied on the individual market or Medicaid for health coverage you will get less. According to Paul Ryan you will like it because the free market will warm your insides with the fiery glow of Ayn Rand’s ridiculous ideology.
  2. If you relied on Planned Parenthood for any health services you are screwed because Paul Ryan hates Planned Parenthood. This is red meat thrown to a conservative base that might have a hard time supporting the bill, but can now hide behind the fact that it defunds Planned Parenthood.  Imagine the member of Congress going back to angry constituents, “I realize you are getting less health care, paying more, and even being denied coverage but we defunded evil Planned Parenthood.”  Look for this to be Ted Cruz’s defense when the human blobfish eventually goes along with passage.
  3. If you are wealthy you like this bill. Why?  You will pay less in taxes.  It is the right wing salve for the soul.  Got an HAS?  You will get to sock away more money under this plan.  The problem with this part of the plan is that poor people are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to fund an HAS for future health obligations.
  4. The bill keeps the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act that deal with keeping your children on your insurance until age 26 among others, but I suspect that these provisions will be weakened or removed entirely as the bill works its way through committee and reconciliation assuming it gets that far in the process.

Republicans do not understand how people actually live.  Asshats like Jason Chaffetz subscribe to the old Ronald Reagan “Cadillac driving welfare queen” when saying bullshit like this:

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.

This is the first shot in a war that Paul Ryan intends to fight over the government providing any sort of assistance to anyone other than the rich and corporations.  Remember, Paul Ryan only has eyes for…

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Is it Time for “No Show” Town Halls?

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.

How Does Jason Chaffetz Sleep at Night?

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.

What is Rod Blum Hiding?

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:

  1. When will Rod Blum hold a public forum in Cedar Rapids—the largest city in his district—to answer constituent questions?
  2. Does Rod Blum support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act?
  3. Does Rod Blum support proposed changes to Medicare?
  4. Does Rod Blum support proposed changes to Social Security?
  5. Does Rod Blum support the recent restrictions on entry into the United States put in place by executive order?
  6. Does Rod Blum support a congressional investigation into the Russian hacking that may have influenced the U.S. electoral process?
  7. 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.