Iowa Republicans go quiet on Trump search

Iowa’s Republican members of Congress were quick to cast doubt on the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Representatives Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra demanded more information from the Justice Department about the reasons for the “unprecedented” action. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks suggested that investigating Trump was a waste of taxpayer money.

But those GOP officials had nothing to say publicly after an inventory released on August 12 showed the former president had been keeping classified, secret, and top secret documents at the Mar-a-Lago resort.

Multiple news outlets published the search and seizure warrant for Trump’s residence, as well as the receipt listing property FBI agents took on August 8. Four items were described as “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents,” and one was listed as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.” Those are high levels of classification, used for material that “could cause ‘exceptionally grave danger’ to national security.”

SCI stands for Sensitive Compartmented Information, which “may be an electronic intercept or information provided by a human informant in a foreign country.” The Washington Post reported on August 11 that “Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought” in the search.

Continue Reading...

Legal analysis: The state's case for reinstating Iowa's abortion ban

Bill from White Plains is an Iowa attorney with a specific interest in constitutional law and civil liberties.

Who’s more important: 51 percent of the populace of Iowa or, Iowa’s Republican-controlled government?

That is the question raised by the motion a partisan think tank filed in Polk County District Court on August 11. The Kirkwood Institute and the Alliance Defending Freedom are representing Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine, after Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller declined to lead the state’s effort to reinstate a near-total abortion ban.

Continue Reading...

Who can save the rule of law?

Jim Chrisinger is a retired public servant living in Ankeny. He served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, in Iowa and elsewhere. 

As if their strings had been yanked, Donald Trump’s enablers and minions leap to trash the FBI and Department of Justice after the court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago. They say DOJ and the FBI have been “weaponized,” maybe the searchers “planted evidence,” the FBI is “the enemy of the people” and should be defunded, this may lead to civil war, and we will sic the FBI and DOJ on them when we’re back in power.    

This is a full-on assault on the rule of law.  

Continue Reading...

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: A visit to the Hansen Wildlife Area

Katie Byerly shares photos of more than a dozen plants flowering in Cerro Gordo County’s Hansen Wildlife Area. Katie is also known as Iowa Prairie Girl on YouTube.

Thanks to Dave and Patty Hansen, Cerro Gordo County has a new beautiful community prairie! This spring the Hansen Wildlife Area was opened to the public, and as part of the celebration the North Iowa Nature Club toured the prairie with Dave and Patty has our guides.

The Hansen Wildlife Area is located on B20 north of Clear Lake, Iowa between Cardinal and Dogwood. It is already well marked with the usual brown sign and right away to a small parking area.

Continue Reading...

Iowa environmentalists react to Inflation Reduction Act

Meaningful Congressional action on climate change seemed doomed in the 50-50 U.S. Senate after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia tanked President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better proposal earlier this year. But on August 7, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking 51st vote to approve the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. All Republicans, including Iowa’s Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, voted against final passage.

Assuming the U.S. House approves the bill (a vote is scheduled for August 12), Biden is poised to sign into law “the single biggest climate investment in U.S. history, by far.” In addition to significant changes to the tax system and health care policy, the massive package includes $369 billion in spending aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting clean energy.

According to summaries of the bill’s energy and climate provisions, enclosed in full below, the bill could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. However, the bill’s incentives for the fossil fuels industry—which were necessary to get Manchin on board—are troubling for many environmental advocates.

Bleeding Heartland sought comment from some Iowans who have been engaged in policy battles related to climate change and the environment.

Continue Reading...

Iowa gives too little attention to elder care

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com.

People in the health care field have worked their tails off since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Iowa with a vengeance in 2020.

Doctors, nurses, and all manner of technicians and support staff have performed heroically under circumstances that often were trying.

But the death this year of a patient at a Centerville care center has struck a chord with many Iowans — and not just because COVID claimed another life. The reaction has ranged from sadness to anger because the person’s treatment was unprofessional, uncaring and incompetent, if not bordering on criminal.

Continue Reading...

Monarchs merit royal care

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

Who doesn’t love butterflies, especially monarch butterflies?

Let me share several verbal bouquets I encountered in reading articles about monarchs. “Showy looks.” “Extraordinary migration.” “One of the natural world’s wonders,” and, “one of the continent’s most beloved insects.” Unfortunately, I also came across some very troubling terms, like “endangered,” “vulnerable populations,” “declining precipitously” and “teeter(ing) on the edge of collapse.” Suffice to say, it all captured my attention.

Monarchs have been in the news a great deal lately. Appropriately so.

Continue Reading...

Railroad bridge to Iowa

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

This is column 19 of a series about people and events related to 19th-century equal-rights champion Alexander Clark. What started as a single column for Black History Month has turned into a weekly project I will continue until I run out of steam, or the editor pulls the plug.

If you’re following along, you know we’re headed toward Iowa’s desegregation drama of 1867-1868, and then on to Clark’s time as U.S. minister to Liberia. As the project grows, I tell more of the “back story”—connecting more dots.

Continue Reading...

Tactical retreat on Iowa's abortion waiting period averts strategic loss

The ACLU of Iowa and Planned Parenthood North Central States announced on August 5 that they will not pursue litigation challenging Iowa’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period before all abortions. The Iowa Supreme Court allowed that 2020 law to go into effect in June, when a 5-2 majority reversed the court’s abortion rights precedent and sent Planned Parenthood’s case back to District Court.

In a written statement, ACLU of Iowa legal director Rita Bettis Austen described the decision to dismiss the case as “extremely difficult.”

But the move was wise in light of Iowa’s current legal landscape. Dropping this challenge could push back by years any ruling by the conservative-dominated Iowa Supreme Court to establish a new legal standard for reviewing abortion restrictions. That could strengthen the position of Planned Parenthood and the ACLU as they fight grave threats to Iowans’ bodily autonomy.

Continue Reading...

Iowa campaign regulator may require attribution for political texts

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board may soon clarify whether state laws on attribution statements apply to some kinds of political text messages, the board’s executive director Zach Goodrich told Bleeding Heartland.

Goodrich plans to draft an advisory opinion that would confirm when text messages are “electronic general public political advertising” subject to Iowa’s law requiring disclosure of who is responsible for express campaign advocacy.

Continue Reading...

The not-so-hidden costs of paid obituaries

Herb Strentz: Treating obituaries as news cemented ties between the newspaper and the community, and was great training for young reporters.

People may pay from hundreds to thousands of dollars these days to have loved ones’ obituaries published in local newspapers. But few if any ponder the impact “paid obits” have had on the newsroom.

As an old man (83) who grew up in a newsroom that routinely ran an obit as a news story, and published obits on everyone who died in town, I want to share some costs of today’s approach to obituaries.

Continue Reading...

Long-term attacks on public schools

Bruce Lear reviews a new worrying line of attack on educators coming out of Republican-controlled states.

As a kid, I loved fishing off the dock because it assured immediate action, since I could catch tiny fish as fast as my worm hit the water.

But my dad practiced real fishing. He’d pack a lunch and fish in a small boat all day, even if nothing but mosquitoes were biting. He was in it for the long term, and it paid off with big catches. If he didn’t catch anything one day, he’d try again the next. He understood big catches took patience.

Like my dad’s long-term fishing, Republicans understand culture wars aren’t about instant gratification. The best example is their 49-year battle against Roe v Wade. They eventually found a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court brazen enough to overturn settled law and rob women of privacy and thus choice.

But the new front in the culture war is clearly public education. The hard right seems determined to chip away through multiple avenues of attack. 

Continue Reading...

Aleck's prize squash

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

Did you know the Iowa State Fair was held on “the island” south of town in 1856 and 1857?

From the Muscatine Journal, October 9, 1857: “A squash raised by Alexander Clark weighed 177 pounds, but as Aleck is a colored man, we presume the committee could not, according to the Dred Scott decision, award the premium to him in preference to his mule. It would be ‘unconstitutional.’”

Continue Reading...

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Rattlesnake master

Learning to identify some native plants can be challenging even for experts. But today’s featured species is, in the words of the Minnesota Wildflowers website, “a no-brainer,” since rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) is “a unique plant” and “startlingly different than most native plant forms.”

I’ve mostly seen rattlesnake master in prairie plantings, but according to Illinois Wildflowers, it’s “easy to grow” in sunny areas and “isn’t bothered by foliar disease nor many insect pests.” The species is native to about two dozen states east of the Rocky Mountains.

Continue Reading...

Four takeaways for Iowa from the pro-choice vote in Kansas

In a huge victory for bodily autonomy, Kansas voters on August 2 overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have cleared a path for Republican lawmakers to ban abortion. With about 95 percent of votes counted, the “no” vote (against removing abortion protections from the Kansas constitution) led the “yes” vote by 58.8 percent to 41.2 percent.

Iowa Democrats and Republicans should pay attention to the results.

Continue Reading...

Contraception is also health care

Shawna Anderson: Birth control pills may have saved my life and also helped me to conceive.

When the U.S. House approved a bill in July to protect Americans’ access to birth control, 195 Republicans voted no. Those House members, including Iowa’s Representatives Ashley Hinson, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and Randy Feenstra, opposed codifying not only my right to access family planning, but also my health care.

As a 43-year-old married mother of two and grandmother, I never thought I would see the day that I needed to defend access to any reproductive care, but here we are. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned what I grew up hearing was the law of the land, Democrats are trying to ensure that people like me will have access to the health care we need.

A friend once told me we should call birth control hormone therapy, because that’s really what it is. Not only does it aid in family planning, but it can treat some medical issues. Let me tell you how birth control/hormone therapy may have saved my life and helped me to conceive.

Continue Reading...

Two wake-up calls on police abuses of power in Iowa

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com.

Many of us have trouble mustering empathy for people who have complaints about the way police treated them.

This lack of empathy probably occurs because many ordinary folks do not think they will be in situations like people accused of crimes.

If that description applies to you, allow me to introduce you to Anthony Watson, 43, of Coralville, and Jennifer Pritchard, also 43, of Fort Dodge.

Continue Reading...

A science-based case against carbon dioxide pipelines across Iowa

Seventeen academics, farmland owners, and environmental advocates have urged the Iowa Utilities Board to reject permit applications for a carbon dioxide pipeline that would run across Iowa. A July 29 letter to the board laid out four science-based objections to the projects proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator CO2 Ventures, and Archer Daniels Midland partnered with Wolf Carbon Solutions.

Matt Liebman, Iowa State University professor emeritus of agronomy, took the lead in writing the document. Citing “relevant scientific and engineering studies,” the letter explained how the pipelines would damage soil and crop yields without significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Allowing the use of eminent domain for this project would be “a betrayal of public trust and a corruption of the ideal of private sacrifice for public good,” the letter argued.

Those who wrote to the Iowa Utilities Board include six retired professors from Iowa colleges or universities and several Iowans with professional conservation experience at the federal or county level. I also signed, having been an environmental advocate for the past 20 years. I did not draft the letter or make editorial changes to it.

Continue Reading...

America Strong

This column by Rick Morain first appeared in the Jefferson Herald.

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

—President Donald Trump, in his speech to supporters on the Ellipse on January 6, 2021, before the attack on the Capitol later that day

Let’s talk about “America Strong.”

For Trump, “strong” means supporting his Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Trump-strong means doing whatever it takes, legal or illegal, to help him remain in power after the January 20, 2021 presidential inauguration date.

Continue Reading...
View More...