Robert Latta

Hunger in the heartland: Iowans struggle with food insecurity

Oct 24, 2017

Two Points

In relation to the first comment – it is very difficult to sort out the causes of chronic disease but you have to start out with the fact that rapidly increasing rates of metabolic syndrome (“the cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”) is historically a recent phenomenon. That is correlated (but yet to be proven as a cause) with the amount of processed corn and soy content in our food system. And that is correlated to the subsidization of those crops in our ag policy so simple healthy food is much more expensive per calorie than unhealthy processed food. If you read Robert Lustig and Michael Pollan it is difficult to escape the conclusion that our current food policy dictated by Ag conglomerates is killing millions, mostly the poor.

Secondly, Why are the words hunger, poverty and homelessness almost completely absent from political discourse in this politically astute land of First In The Nation? If Iowa choose to it could demand answers from politicians to these problems and bring all Iowans into the democratic process and change the political landscape of the nation. We consistently choose not to.

We are not the ones we were waiting for

Oct 09, 2017

very interesting

Laura brings up two connected factors that I noticed in in Johnson County in “08 and ’12, long before “the split” was evident statewide–

1.”So many young people were involved. Tech-savvy and invested…. People who had been involved for a long time took this to be an “invasion” of the party.”

2.”Our state party is the first in the nation. First on the list of committees that get attention from the powers that be at the Democratic National Committee. They don’t live here, but yet we take marching orders from them.”

Even as Obama brought many new people into Democratic party politics the party committees seemed to view that as a problem to be managed and not as an opportunity to grow the base of the party and make policy. Lots of phone calls and door knocking in October of Presidential years but no effective connections made to popular issues and legislation between elections beyond a mind numbing avalanche of defensive emails that continues to grow exponentially in seemingly reverse proportion to party success.

I won’t belabor my opinion why activist passivity in the face of political calamity persists (FITN and the belief that demographic change will inevitably lead to Dem rule) but I hope Laura continues to make her voice heard about these issues.

Great work, Iowa Republicans

Oct 06, 2017

Easy prediction

Iowa Republicans will run against Democrats in ’18 in part on how Obamacare has deprived thousands of Iowans of medical insurance. Republican politicians and activists will know that is a lie but they also know it doesn’t matter because their base will love it. Many people will die because Trump and his base will literally do anything and everything they can to repudiate Obama’s legacy.

Reminder: State employees can’t boost the Reynolds/Gregg campaign at work

Oct 02, 2017

Thank you

Thank you for your focus on these state level issues. As local news outlets shrink their reporting staff or get bought out by right leaning corporations like Sinclair it is obvious that Republican leaders assume they won’t be held accountable for their actions. It is very instructive how a simple request for public information can force accountability. We need more citizens doing this as a matter of civic responsibility. You are an example for us all.

Bernie v. Hillary

Jul 18, 2017

Policy not Personalities

FYI I also caucused for Bernie and voted for Hillary.

I completely agree that fights and name calling are counter productive but discussions about policies and goals are necessary for parties to hash out differences and form broad coalitions that win elections. I am going to outline what I think are the broad ideological goals of each wing in context to the opposition, a GOP led by Trump and Pence, in order to see how each wing might find common ground.

The key to that is the short term and long term context; for Iowans in the short term the power lies in the hands of Republicans on both the state and federal level. In that sense Democrats have become the conservative party for both wings, we want to maintain the economic and cultural status quo from radical changes proposed by the GOP, repeal of Obamacare, rolling back voting rights, deregulating business, rolling back environmental regulations, etc. Both wings can agree on that but as we have seen opposition to Trump and the GOP is not enough to engage voters and keep them engaged. Republicans have succeeded in generating enough cynicism about politics in those who don’t follow the specifics of policy making that it is not enough to just define what we are against. Democrats won’t expand the base and win elections by just defending the status quo because the status quo stinks for many people and it is getting worse.

So Democrats have to define ourselves in the long term (the vision thing) as the party of change at the same time that we defend the status quo against radical change from the far right. Both wings of the party generally agree about cultural issues in the long term, civil rights for all groups must be defended and and advanced, reproductive rights protected, etc. The primary differences appear to be about economic policy. I say “appears” because I wonder if those differences could be bridged by the way economic policy is framed.

The Sanders/Warren wing wants to confront economic inequality directly by expanding social programs, regulating monopolies and tax reform. The established Clinton wing finds that approach too confrontational for what it considers to be the base of the party, the urban and suburban upper middle class. In other words for most middle and working class Americans the Democratic Party represents a cultural status quo they support but an economic status quo that is making their lives worse.

I think the key to bridging the gap is reframing the terms of economic reform. Over the past thirty years Republicans have succeeded in framing any policy proposal for addressing “poverty”, “the homeless” and “inequality” as explicitly and exclusively “redistribution” (Democrats want to take your hard earned money and give it to those lazy people) at the very same time that economic policy was redistributing wealth upwards. For the last 15 years or so Democrats for the most part have accepted that framing!

Let’s agree to make economic reform a matter economic justice, not redistribution. Let’s focus policy on the recent history of wage theft and shifting wealth up the ladder, of the economic injustice of monopolies concentrating power and wealth in the hands of an unproductive few and out of the hands of those who work and produce.

View More...