Thursday, November 01, 2018

Grassley sings praises of economy under Trump

Iowa has demonstrated strong economic growth during the past year, with steady job gains in manufacturing, a declining unemployment rate and impressive gains in median income, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said this afternoon.

And he offered these points:

·         The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is estimated to lead to a 7.1 percent increase in wage and salary income for Iowa’s average household and increase median wages by $4,128.

·         The unemployment rate in Iowa has fallen one percentage point since the election of President Trump and is the second lowest unemployment rate in the United States at just 2.5 percent.

·         Monthly initial claims for unemployment insurance in Iowa have fallen by nearly 14 percent since President Trump was elected and recently reached their lowest level since 1999.

·         Real median household income in Iowa increased by 5.2 percent to reach $63,481—the highest level ever recorded.

·         Over a half a million customers have seen utility rates slashed in Iowa as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

·         Under President Trump, the percent of Iowans living below the poverty line decreased by 0.7 percentage points to 9.1 percent, reaching the lowest point since 2007.

·         Manufacturing is Iowa’s fastest growing sector, with total manufacturing employment increasing by 6.2 percent since the election. Year-over-year job growth in Iowa manufacturing recently reached its fastest pace since 1998.

Media Matters: Steve King twice promoted a white supremacist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying website on Twitter

Media Matters reports the following:

In previously unreported tweets, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) promoted a website that advocates for the “geographical separation of the races,” states that Jewish people are conspiring against Europe and the United States, and pushes Holocaust denialism. 

Read the full story here:

Vilsack says he sees himself in Peter Leo


Iowa Democrats Big 3 boost their candidate in Carroll

For months Peter Leo, a Democratic candidate for the Iowa House, has been telling Carroll-area voters his role model for government service is the low-ley, solutions-oriented former governor Tom Vilsack.

It turns out the thinking is reciprocated — from Vilsack who said Leo, 34, reminds him of a younger version of himself.

“I am struck by how many similarities there are between Peter’s efforts at becoming a state representative and my efforts about 25 years ago,” Vilsack, 67, said during a campaign event for Leo in Carroll Tuesday. “I campaigned in my Senate district on the theory that I was a lawyer practicing in a small town. I was married. I had two children. My wife worked in the school district, and I campaigned on better schools, better access to health care and better economic opportunities — and that’s exactly what Peter is saying.”

Vilsack, a former U.S. secretary of agriculture who also served in the Iowa Senate, called into the Leo campaign rally at Kerp’s Tavern. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald attended in person. About 20 people were at the event.

The Nov. 6 election is about restoring sanity and substance to government in Iowa and the nation, Vilsack said.

“Peter is the kind of guy you want in that Legislature,” Vilsack said. “He’s going to work with folks on the other side.”

Leo is challenging State Rep. Brian Best, R-Glidden, a two-term incumbent in House District 12, which includes all of Carroll and Audubon counties and the eastern part of Crawford County.

Vilsack said Leo, a Grinnell College-and-Drake University-educated lawyer who lives in Manning and practices law in Denison, is a change agent, and someone who brings an exceptionally strong resume to the race. Leo will be able to aggressively advocate for residents of west-central Iowa in a way few can, Vilsack said.

“I think you have a potentially great future ahead of you if your friends and neighbors give you the opportunity to serve in the House,” Vilsack said of Leo. “Every once in a while people are blessed with a person who steps forward who has exceptional credentials. And shame on us if we don’t do everything we possibly can to take full advantage of someone who can be an extraordinary leader for our community and our state.”

Fitzgerald urged people who are on IPERS, the government retirement system, to vote for Leo to ensure their pensions will be safe — security Fitzgerald said may not be in place under Republican leadership in Des Moines as interest groups — the Koch Brothers, the Polk County Taxpayers Association, the Iowa Taxpayers Association — are pushing to change IPERS from a defined-benefit retirement system.

There are 733 retired people in Carroll County in the IPERS system, Fitzgerald said, noting they draw almost $10 million annually.

“Think about that, that’s like taking a major employer out of the county,” Fitzgerald said of IPERS role in the economy of Carroll County.

“There are threats,” Fizgerald said of IPERS. “It needs to be protected.”

Miller, who has made Democratic outreach into rural Iowa priority in recent years, said Leo can help rebuild the party in western Iowa.

“He’s a guy who is smart and capable,” Miller said.

Tom Vilsack

Monday, July 03, 2017

Boulton releases statement regarding continued state budget shortfall

In the wake of the Department of Management releasing information showing the state being over $100 million short for the last fiscal year's budget, State Senator Nate Boulton, Democratic candidate for Governor, released the following statement:

"With our state's economy growing and an increases in revenue from the previous year, it is beyond comprehension why after one round of mid-year budget cuts and then dipping into more reserve funds that Iowa still in a budget crisis," said Boulton. "It is time for Governor Reynolds and her Republican allies in the legislature to pull their head out of the sand and deal with the underlying problem: an explosion of unchecked corporate giveaways."

"We are over $500 million and growing in corporate handouts at the expense of the critical services Iowans depend on. In this next legislative session, our state must take action to deal with this problem rather than letting it continue to sink our state's finances."

Today the Department of Management released tax receipts for FY 2017 that showed state revenues would fall below projections and the state budget faces over a $100 million deficit.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

In round after round Bertrand pounds King back on heels

Carroll Daily Times Herald Columnist
Rick Bertrand, in a furious challenge to incumbency’s isolating and ego-inflating effects, landed bruising rhetorical punches on veteran U.S. Rep. Steve King during a GOP Congressional primary debate in Sioux City Friday.

Boxing from the same corner of the ideological ring as cultural and economic conservatives, Bertrand and King agreed on foundational issues for western Iowa Republicans.

“He’s good on life, he’s good on guns,” Bertrand said of King on abortion and the Second Amendment. Both men oppose abortion in virtually all circumstances and tout voting records in line with leading gun-rights groups. They also both defend construction of a wall on the Mexican border.

The defining question, Bertrand contended in Eppley Auditorium on Morningside College’s campus, boils down to a bread-aisle or bakery choice: fresh or stale?
State Sen. Rick Bertrand talks about the Sioux City debate with supporters.

“This congressman has run his course,” Bertrand said. “That’s why he runs to microphones.”

King, 67, a firebrand of the right with a national talk-radio and cable-TV profile and a catalog of incendiary remarks, is seeking an eighth, two-year term in Congress. Bertrand, 46, says all those years in Washington have made King tone deaf to the basics of representing one of the nation’s leading agricultural districts.

“Why do we think if we send the same people back, we’re going to get a different result?” Bertrand said.

A state legislator from Sioux City, Bertrand has limited himself to two terms in the Iowa Senate.

Members of Congress should serve no longer than five, two-year terms, he says, pledging to go to Washington and come home after a decade or less.

“Politically, I ran on term limits,” Bertrand said. “I believe in term limits.”

King’s response: to compare himself to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

“We should look at Chuck Grassley and see how he’s doing,” King said.

Grassley, 82, first elected to the Iowa Legislature during the Eisenhower Administration (1958), has served in the U.S. Senate since 1981. That’s an active political life of nearly 60 years collecting government paychecks and benefits.

“The difference is Chuck Grassley is relevant,” Bertrand observed, noting that Grassley is an effective champion for agriculture.

Congressman Steve King speaks with supporters following the debate.

Here’s one of thickest strands in Bertrand’s case against King: Why is the congressman not the chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee? That job is now held by Texas Republican Mike Conaway, who came to Congress after King.

King explained that the Texan leapfrogged him to the influential post because King lost favor with former House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican. Those “disagreements” with Boehner, King says, prevented as ascent that would have been a boon for Iowa’s small towns and farms.

Only minutes before criticizing Boehner, a fellow Republican, King bragged of being buddies with a well-known liberal gadfly in Congress.

“Dennis Kucinich was my best Democratic friend,” King said of the former Ohio liberal congressman.

Being friendly with which one of those Ohioans would have been better for Iowa?

Bertrand said conservatives can stick to their principles while still fighting for their districts. He says he’ll vote like King on key issues, but spend more time on jobs and business issues, and in developing personal and professional connections that lead to the chairmanship or ranking positions on the agriculture committee.

“Be nice, be personable, go out there and hang out with people,” Bertrand said.

Making the case for his effectiveness, King highlighted an earmark (specifically directed federal funding) he says he obtained for regulatory and planning work that led to the four-laning of part of Highway 20 in western Iowa.

“My name is on the earmark,” King said.

Fair enough. But conservatives like King killed earmarks and the projects they bring to rural America.

In one of his more stinging lines of the night, Bertrand said that while campaigning in the 39-county sweep of geography that is Iowa’s 4th District, he’s learned that many people on the eastern side of the King-represented territory, in places like Mason City and Chickasaw County, still think Tom Latham (a former congressman) is representing them.

King’s been more concerned about a “personal agenda” that includes the backing of Renewable Fuel Standard detractor Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, than learning what’s happening on Main Streets and farms, Bertrand said.

Cruz sponsored legislation as a senator from oil-rich Texas that would have killed the Iowa-commodity-boosting Renewable Fuel Standard. But King supported Cruz’s White House ambitions over the objections of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and a roll call of key farm interests.

“Ted Cruz and I disagree on the RFS,” King said, insisting that his plan all along has been to talk Cruz out of deep-sixing the RFS if the Texan were to win the presidency.

King’s support of Cruz led to one of the better closing arguments you’ll hear in a debate.

On the night of the Iowa caucuses, King falsely told his social-media followers Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson — a popular figure who had advertised heavily in slices of western Iowa, including Carroll and Greene counties — was dropping out of the race.

“I’ve learned from the Ben Carson people … If anyone on Tuesday gets a text or a tweet from the congressman that says I’m dropping out on Tuesday, please disregard it,” Bertrand said.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Curtis: Oscars not racist, but Republicans are


Carroll Daily Times Herald
Jamie Lee Curtis, a Golden Globe-winning actress, said that had she been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards she’d attend rather than joining the boycott of some in the film industry protesting the total absence of minorities in acting categories.

“Of course I would,” she said. “It is not a racist organization. I would have much more difficulty showing up to a Republican event, which I think have either overt or covert racist ideologies. I don’t believe that the Academy of Arts and Sciences is a racist group of people.”

Curtis, a lifelong Democrat whose parents, actresses Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh performed at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, made the remarks in response to questions from The Daily Times Herald following her appearance in Carroll Sunday on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Curtis, a member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, says she supports efforts to broaden the membership reach of the organization that determines the Oscars.

“I think that the rules of membership should reflect the diversity of our industry, and they don’t,” Curtis said. “Having said that, it is a subjective art form. You are voting for who you think the best is, and I don’t believe that there’s a racist overlay to people’s choice.”

The issue is a lack of career opportunities, which Curtis said has to do more with the production end of show business.

Only white actors and actresses were chosen in the top four acting categories for the second year in a row.

Alejandro González Iñárritu, a Latino, is nominated for best director for “The Revenant,” which is positioned to be a major winner on Oscar night after doing well at the Golden Globes. Curtis described “The Revenant” as outstanding.

Monday, December 07, 2015

America’s Renewable Future rips Cruz for not touring a biofuels plant

Eric Branstad
DES MOINES—America’s Renewable Future (ARF) is publicizing that 15 out of 16 candidates for president have either toured a biofuel plant or met with ARF leadership over the course of the election. The only candidate missing from the roster is Sen. Ted Cruz, whose staunch opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in favor of the oil industry has made him a target for ARF.

Just last week Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Chris Christie, and Carly Fiorina toured ethanol biorefineries across the state. Tomorrow Sen. Rick Santorum is touring Lincolnway Energy in Nevada, IA. Those candidates join Donald Trump and Gov. Martin O’Malley in seeing firsthand the benefits of the RFS at a plant.

Sec. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Rand Paul, and Ben Carson or their campaigns have all met with ARF co-chairs or the organization’s leadership on the RFS.

“Every candidate, good or bad, has respected Iowans and the caucus process by sitting down with us and learning about the RFS, except for Ted Cruz,” said ARF State Director, Eric Branstad, “Cruz has ignored invitation after invitation to discuss the issue. He came to Iowa with his allegiance already established to the oil industry, not Iowans and not our caucus process.”

“We’re thankful to the rest of the candidates for taking this issue seriously and listening to Iowans,” Branstad added, “and we hope to hear more from them on the RFS, which is decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, providing 73,000 jobs to Iowans, and providing consumers a choice at the pump.”

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

America’s Renewable Future: Cruz caught deceiving Iowans again

 DES MOINES—America’s Renewable Future (ARF) newest radio ad highlights Sen. Ted Cruz’s hypocritical position on oil subsidies support at the expense of the unsubsidized Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ad has drawn a plea from the Cruz campaign to be taken down, but the campaign’s letter provides further example of Cruz’s efforts to deceive Iowans about his support of oil subsidies.

 Cruz is claiming that subsidies exclusive to the oil industry, like intangible drilling costs, “are analogous to ordinary business expensing that every other industry gets”. He is calling subsidies by another name and hoping Iowans don’t catch on. And now that he’s been caught, he’s claiming that he wants to get rid of oil subsidies, but he’s repeatedly told Iowa farmers and plant managers that those subsidies don’t exist. Cruz is trying to have it both ways, acting like a typical politician, and it’s Iowa farmers who will suffer.

The speech in which Cruz mentions his support of ending “enhanced oil recovery credits for producing oil and gas from marginal wells” is meaningless considering that those provisions are inconsequential and taxpayers would see “no revenue effect” from them according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

 “This attempt is yet another example of Cruz lying to Iowans, only this time he’s been caught,” said ARF State Director, Eric Branstad, “He has personally introduced legislation to repeal the RFS, but none to repeal the billions in subsidies to the oil industry. In fact, he’s voted repeatedly against measures to close tax loopholes for oil and gas.”

Cruz has close to a million dollars personally invested in oil companies, which is roughly equivalent to the over $1 million in campaign contributions he has received from the oil industry. The Super PACS propping up his campaign have received over $25 million from oil interests.

 “Cruz is in the pocket of the oil industry and he’s doing its dirty work by trying to kill Iowa’s farm economy to line his own pockets,” Branstad added, “He’s oil’s attack dog and it’s time that Cruz came clean. We stand by our ad and so do the facts.”

Friday, November 27, 2015

New Scientific Poll of Iowa Caucuses

By Steffen Schmidt

Ben Carson and Hillary Clinton lead in the race for president in Iowa, according to a new poll from Iowa State University and WHO-HD. Some of the other results are more surprising.

Of likely Democratic caucus goers Clinton has support from 49.5 percent, Bernie Sanders 27.8, 13.7 percent are undecided, and 6.3 percent said they would vote for someone else ("other.") Martin O'Malley came in with a surprisingly low 2.7 percent.

Of likely Republican caucus goers Ben Carson has support from 27.2 percent, Marco Rubio is second with 16.7 percent; undecided voters are third, making up 16.2 percent; and Donald Trump is fourth with 14.7 percent. This is the first major scientific poll showing Trump so far behind. The rest of the Republican field came in as follows:

· Ted Cruz - 8.9 percent
· Jeb Bush - 4.9 percent
· Rand Paul - 3.3 percent
· Carly Fiorina - 1.8 percent
· John Kasich - 1.1 percent
· Mike Huckabee - 0.9 percent
· Chris Christie - 0.4 percent
· Lindsey Graham - 0.4 percent
· Rick Santorum - 0.2 percent

These numbers suggest that many of the GOP contenders need to consider dropping out unless their numbers pick up soon.

Attention to the 2016 caucuses is very high with 81 percent of those polled saying they are following the race in Iowa either "very closely" or "somewhat closely."

About half of those polled also said they "definitely" have decided or are "leaning" towards supporting a specific candidate in the race. When asked what traits they found most important from candidates "honest and trustworthy" was first at 38 percent, while "takes strong stands" came in second at 20.8 percent.

"The economy in general" was cited by 22.2 percent as the most important issue for 2016. The other issues ranked as follows:

· Dissatisfaction with government, Congress - 10.9 percent
· Federal budget defect, federal debt - 10.0 percent
· Gap between rich and poor - 6.3 percent
· Terrorism - 6.2 percent
· Morality, ethics, religious issues family decline, dishonesty - 5.5 percent
· Health care, health insurance - 4.6 percent
· Foreign policy, foreign aid, focus overseas - 4.1 percent
· Immigration, illegal aliens - 4.1 percent
· Unemployment, jobs - 3.2 percent
· Education - 2.3 percent
· The Environment, pollution - 2.2 percent
· Poverty, hunger, homelessness - 1.1 percent
· Crime, violence - 0.7 percent
· Race relations, racism - 0.6 percent
· Judicial system, courts, laws - 0.1 percent

We expect terrorism to rise as an issue of concern in the coming days.

The most surprising response was the low ranking of illegal immigration, which has been featured so prominently in the media and the emphasis of the Republican candidates.

The poll was conducted by phone with 1,074 registered voters between November 2-15. Margin of error is approximately 3 percent. For more information please contact the ISU Political Science Department, 515-294-7256 Prof. Mack Shelley.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ernst says never to presidential run

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst tells the Sioux City Journal that she will never run for president.

Congressman Young statement on terrorism and refugees

Congressman David Young, a Republican representing the Third District, released the following statement on terrorism and refugees:

Congressman David Young
What happened in Paris is devastating and an act of pure evil. I know all across Iowa and America our hearts and prayers go out to France and her people.

Our hearts also go out to those refugees fleeing from the violence and terror in Syria. We are a generous nation and have always welcomed those from abroad who are escaping war and oppression. We will continue to be involved in providing assistance to these children, women and men.

However, we are in a very dangerous position as we consider opening our doors to those escaping violence in Syria and Iraq. It didn't have to be this way. From the beginning, President Obama has not taken the threat of ISIS as serious as a commander-in-chief should. On the morning of the Paris terrorist attacks, the president said ISIS was "contained" - just hours before they carried out one of the most deadly and sophisticated attacks since 9/11. The disconnect is alarming to Congress and to the American people.

Now the Obama administration is charging full speed ahead on a plan to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States with no reliable way to vet whether these individuals are members of ISIS or have ties to other terrorist organizations. This makes me think back to 2009, when a flaw in the screening of Iraqi refugees allowed two al Qaeda-linked terrorists to enter the United States and settle in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In the aftermath of this case the Obama administration halted the refugee program for Iraqis for six months.

It is clear, we need to press the pause button on the Syria refugee process. The most solemn and consequential responsibility of the federal government is to protect the American people. ISIS has publicly threatened to launch terror attacks on American soil, just like the threats they made to France before this attack and to Russia before downing a Russian passenger plane two weeks ago.

Department of Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson said, "It is true that we are not going to know a whole lot about the Syrians that come forth in this process."

FBI Director James Comey stated, "My concern there is that there are certain gaps I don't want to talk about publicly in the data available to us."

It would be reckless for the Administration and Congress to not take ISIS threats seriously. We have an obligation to implement a well-thought-out process ensuring - without question - any refugee admitted to the United States has been extensively vetted.

That is why I joined an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 289 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act. This bill would require the Homeland Security Secretary, FBI Director, and Director of National Intelligence to certify refugees from countries with ISIS strongholds are properly vetted to ensure they are not affiliated with this terrorist organization. This is a commonsense step the federal government is required to take to fulfill its duty to protect Americans.

The refugee crisis is a symptom to the broader problem: the lack of a coherent strategy to combat ISIS. The refugee crisis will persist and the very real threat of terrorist attacks on American soil will loom until these terrorists are defeated.

Last week Congress passed a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act - the annual bill to set defense policies for the upcoming year. The bill would require the president to finally put together a strategy to end ISIS' occupation of the Middle East. President Obama has threatened to veto it. It's time for America to lead. The president needs to sign this bill and put together a strategy to protect America, aid Syrian refugees, and work with our allies to defeat ISIS. 

We must all work together to combat this international threat against our way of life. I will work with anyone willing to achieve the goal of peace and respect for all.

Older voters owned Carroll County, Iowa elections

73.6% of voters were 50 and older; and only 17 people under 25 voted in City of Carroll

Carroll Daily Times Herald

Just 39 people under age 25 voted in municipal elections throughout all cities in Carroll County Nov. 3, according to the Auditor’s Office.

That’s just 1.5 percent of the total voters who cast ballots in those elections. On Election Day, there were 1,105 eligible voters in Carroll County between the ages of 18 and 24.

“Without voting, they’re not really securing that representation,” said Carroll County Auditor Kourtney Irlbeck.

Meanwhile, continuing a trend the Daily Times Herald has reported over the last decade, older voters showed in up in relatively large numbers. Factoring in all city elections this November in Carroll County, 73.6 percent of the voters were 50 and older — and 42.3 percent were 65 and older.

Comparing U.S. Census and election data reveals that seniors in Carroll County dramatically increased the influence of their actual population in the local elections.

According to the 2014 Census estimate, 19.2 percent of Carroll County’s population of 20,562 is 65 and older.

Seniors also posted the highest turnout with 1,054 of the 3,106 registered voters over 64 — or 33.9 percent turning casting ballots.

Countywide, voter turnout for all ages stood at 21.4 percent.

The 440 voters between the ages of 35 and 49 made up 17.6 percent of the voters, and the 178 voters between the ages of 25 and 34 accounted for 7.1 percent of the total vote in the county.

The balance of power in local elections for seniors holds for the City of Carroll, too.

According to election data, of the 1,810 voters in the Carroll city election — in which there were three contested City Council seats — 75 percent of the voters were 50 and older. People 65 and older made up 44.3 percent of the total vote Nov. 3 in the City of Carroll.

There were only 17 people under age 25 who cast ballots in the City of Carroll in this last local election.

In the City of Carroll, the 115 voters between the ages of 35 and 49 represented 17.7 percent of the total vote in the city. And the 115 people ages 25-34 represented 6.4 percent of the total vote.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sanders statement on Trump Muslim comments

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders issued the following statement today on Donald Trump's call for the creation of a database system to register Muslims:

"This is an outrageous and bigoted statement. Mr. Trump should be ashamed of himself. We will not destroy ISIS by undermining the Constitution and our religious freedoms."

Friday, November 20, 2015

What would Opa Trump say?


Immigration was the centerpiece of Donald Trump’s campaign kickoff, and it was again at center stage at the recent GOP Fox Business debate. 

At his kickoff, Trump famously said of Mexican immigrants, “...they’re sending (immigrants) that have lots of problems. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

And there’s the supreme irony of Donald Trump’s crusade against immigrants:

He is one of them.

That’s right. Trump is the grandson of Friedrich Drumpf, a German immigrant.

So are over one-third of all Iowans.

That German heritage makes Trump’s scapegoating of Mexican immigrants especially ironic, since Iowans’ German forebears were similarly scapegoated for much of Iowa’s history.

Researching our documentary “Whiskey Cookers: The Amazing True Story of the Templeton Bootleggers,” we discovered that the German-American ethnic identity was an essential part of the bootlegging story in western Iowa.  It helped explain the socio-ethnic cohesion — especially in the face of the anti-German xenophobia — that created an environment where bootlegging was not only tolerated, but a pathway to express ethnic pride.

What does that have to do with Donald Trump and immigration? 


German immigrants settled Iowa from territorial days.  But in the years immediately following the 1848 German Revolution, when the United States had a population of 23 million, 1.5 million Germans emigrated to America, increasing the population by 6.5 percent.  In 1880, there were 261,650 foreign-born immigrants living in Iowa — fully 16 percent of the population.  Today’s immigrants in Iowa are a blip by comparison — just 97,000, or 3.2 percent.

Iowa’s German immigrants had a reputation for hard work.  They were also stereotyped and resented for speaking German, drinking too much beer, fighting too much, and their religion. 

In the 1850s, the anti-immigrant “Know Nothing” Party accused newly arrived Germans of stealing elections by buying the votes of their fellow immigrants with steins of beer or bottles of whiskey — the 19th century version of today’s ballot-security controversies.

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union attributed much of the nation’s social ills to immigrants and their peculiar addiction — alcoholism.  The WCTU even set up a pavilion on Ellis Island to educate immigrants on the error of their ways before they set foot on the American mainland.
When World War I came, all hell broke loose.

Thousands of Iowans marched against the German Kaiser — including the German-American boys whose families had just emigrated from Germany.

Yet on the home front, another war was being waged — against many of those same German immigrants families.  In Denison, German-language books were burned.  In Manning, the offices of the German-language newspaper, Das Manning Herold, were vandalized.  In Audubon, a German-immigrant farmer was dragged around the square by a noose until he agreed to buy Liberty Bonds.  In Gray, a minister was nearly lynched for preaching in German. 

Throughout the state, and the nation, extra-judicial Citizen Defense Councils held kangaroo courts to determine if citizens were being sufficiently patriotic — with German-Americans frequently targeted. 

Iowa Gov. William Harding issued an executive order — the infamous Babel Proclamation — forbidding citizens from communicating in any language except English in any public place — including churches. 

Nor did World War I’s conclusion end the anti-German hatred and discrimination in Iowa.
In the 1920s, Iowa’s German immigrants faced discrimination and hate from a group new to the Hawkeye state: the Ku Klux Klan.  The 1920s Klan was very active in the Midwest, and chose new targets: bootleggers, immigrants and Catholics — three groups they saw, not without reason, as overlapping.  The 1920s Klan in Iowa  burned crosses to intimidate immigrants, and trafficked in hysterical anti-Catholicism, circulating pamphlets claiming that the Catholic Knights of Columbus required their members to take an oath to, upon orders from Rome, murder their Protestant neighbors.
Western Iowa’s German-Catholics circled the wagons, organizing new Knights of Columbus chapters — a group founded on outreach to immigrants.  They continued to hold their German Saints Day feast, but added a new secular character: Uncle Sam.

And Opa Trump?

A recent book, “The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire,” lays out the fascinating immigrant history — and paradoxes — of the Trump family.

Friedrich Drumpf arrived in the U.S. in 1885 — ironically, three years after passage of America’s first anti-immigrant law, the Chinese Exclusion Act — and promptly Americanized his name to Frederick Trump.  Trump came from Kallstadt in northern Bavaria, the same exact region from which many western Iowans emigrated. 

Once in America, Trump headed west, settling in Seattle and then the Yukon, where he ran saloons that rented “private rooms” — the sort of activity that sparked deep protest from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

One parallel between grandfather and grandson: they both prefer European brides.  Frederick Trump returned to the Old Country to court the “fräulein” next door — Donald Trump’s grandmother.
But like the immigrants of today, Opa Trump was incredibly hardworking, laying the foundation for the family dynasty that created the success that is Donald Trump.

Some may protest that Frederick Trump and his fellow German immigrants can’t be compared to today’s immigrants — while they were technically “undocumented” immigrants with no visa, they weren’t illegal immigrants. True.  But they were accused of being impossibly un-American, and incapable of being assimilated into America’s mainstream.  Political cartoons of the era portray German immigrants as subhuman and backward drunkards, unable to speak English and stealing ballot boxes at election time.

Given the Trump family history, and given the history of German-American Iowans being on the receiving end of anti-immigrant hatred, prejudice and violence, the anti-immigrant chords being struck in Iowa by Trump and others show shocking ignorance of our shared history.
It also shows a shameful insensitivity not just to today’s immigrants, but to the memory of Iowa’s own German immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents — and to Opa Trump.

Now, anyone who Googles my name could counter argue that (1) I’m not an Iowan; and (2) I’m a former Democrat political consultant.  Guilty as charged.  That said (1) my family came to Iowa in 1848, and I maintain deep ties to the state. (2) My great-grandfather John Klinkefus from Shelby County used to get bullied for speaking German; so this issue is personal for me. (3) As to partisanship, while I am former Democratic consultant, my bipartisan bona fides are equally strong — I have worked for several Republicans, including men who worked for Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger and George H.W. Bush. 

I can absolutely see why voters are drawn to Donald Trump.  I just want them to be honest about Iowa’s own immigrant past.

For the grandchildren of Iowa’s German immigrants to ignore our common immigrant history and to feel no empathy when dealing with today’s Latino immigrants is unconscionable. 

The starting point for Iowans when debating immigration surely has to be to acknowledge that we are the grandchildren of immigrants — and that our families have also suffered discrimination. 

Iowans should remember their own immigrant heritage, and their own immigrant history, and in so doing act with a bit more empathy on immigration.

(Editor’s Note: Dan Manatt is director of Democracy Films and of the documentary “Whiskey Cookers: The Amazing True Story of Templeton’s Bootleggers.”)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Breaking news from Carroll Daily Times Herald

Friday, November 13, 2015

Rubio campaigning in Carroll

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican candidate for the presidency, will be hosting a town hall in Carroll on Monday, Nov. 23 at Greasewood Flats Ranch located at 1607 Griffith Road.
Sen. Marco Rubio

Doors will open at 8 a.m. with the town hall starting at 8:30 a.m. The event is open to the full public.

Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers, an active Republican, and State Rep. Brian Best, R-Glidden, have endorsed Rubio.

The latest Real Clear Politics average of major national polls among Republican voters has real-estate mogul Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential field with 24.8 support compared with 24.4 percent for Dr. Ben Carson, a surgeon and author. Rubio is in third at 11.8 percent. The polling is an average running from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

U.S. Senate leader gives Jefferson Dairy Queen a shout out

Who needs sprinkles and nuts when you get glowing Congressional floor speech topping your ice cream.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky Tuesday talked about Jefferson’s Dairy Queen while spinning anecdotes about colleague Charles Grassley, the Iowa lawmaker who just passed the 12,000-vote milestone — the last 7,474 of them consecutive.

McConnell recognized Grassley’s work ethic, noting that besides not missing a Senate vote since 1993, the Iowan visits all 99 counties in his state every year — a feat known nationally — and generally spoken with great fondness and affection — as “The Full Grassley.”

Recently, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, completed another Full Grassley. And McConnell delighted in telling his Senate colleagues about Grassley’s way of treating himself after the town-hall, school-visit, business-tour endurance test.

“He gets a blizzard from Dairy Queen,” McConnell said in his Leader’s remarks to open Senate business. “Sometimes chocolate. Sometimes vanilla. But always swirled with Snickers. This year, he got to DQ so early he had to wait in the parking lot.”

And where was the Dairy Queen?

“He Tweeted about it,” McConnell said. “Here’s what he said: ‘I’m at the Jefferson Iowa Dairy Queen doing you know what.’”

Monday, November 02, 2015

Huckabee: If abortion is made illegal, women shouldn't be punished for having one

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is pro-life. He’s opposed to abortion and believes life begins at conception.

So what if his position prevails, and abortion is again illegal in the United States? In that case, what should the penalty be for a woman who has an abortion or a physician who performs one?
Mike Huckabee

The Carroll (Iowa) Daily Times Herald put the question to Huckabee Friday during an interview on the sidewalk outside of Sam’s Sodas and Sandwiches in downtown Carroll.

Here’s Huckabee’s answer:

“The penalty shouldn’t be upon the woman,” Huckabee said. “In most every case, the woman having an abortion is also a victim. She’s either been talked into it by her friend, her boyfriend, her mother, her grandmother.”