What's wrong with us?

Ira Lacher reflects on the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. -promoted by Laura Belin

It was jarring but not surprising: The Washington Post reported this week that politicians and the military lied to Americans about the prospects of success for the war in Afghanistan and that actually, we had no idea of what we were doing there, militarily or politically.

Sound familiar?

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The Board of Regents neglected its duty to Iowans

With virtually no public discussion and no opportunity for independent analysis of the complicated financials, the Iowa Board of Regents on December 10 approved a plan to lease the University of Iowa’s utilities for 50 years in exchange for an up-front payment of $1.165 billion.

Governor Kim Reynolds hailed the “historic day for higher education in Iowa.” In an official news release, Regents President Michael Richards praised what he called an “open, inclusive process leading to this agreement.”

Orwellian spin won’t fool anyone. A government board charged with managing public institutions should not have committed the university to such a far-reaching and costly deal without a full airing of the risks and benefits.

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Yes, the Iowa caucuses really matter

Dan Guild examines what presidential contests since 1980 tell us about the impact of the Iowa caucus results on the New Hampshire primary. -promoted by Laura Belin

Candidates are spending millions of dollars in Iowa right now. But do the Iowa caucuses matter? The state doesn’t have many Democratic National Committee delegates and is not that representative of the larger Democratic electorate.

My prediction: if the Iowa caucus results are in line with what current polling suggests, Iowa will matter a lot.

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Interview: Tom Steyer on term limits, a national referendum, and impeachment

It’s hard to stand out in a historically crowded presidential field, especially when the candidates largely agree on on many issues that matter to Democratic voters.

Tom Steyer is the only candidate seeking to establish a “national referendum” to enact some federal policies through 50-state ballot initiatives.

He has made term limits for members of Congress–twelve years total in the U.S. House and Senate–a central part of his political reform agenda. (Andrew Yang also supports term limits but has focused his campaign message elsewhere.)

While several candidates seeking the Democratic nomination have expressed support for impeaching President Donald Trump, no one has highlighted impeachment in more stump speeches and campaign advertisements than Steyer.

Bleeding Heartland interviewed Steyer about those proposals in Des Moines on December 6.

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University of Iowa utility secrecy: A blow to public accountability

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He can be reached at IowaFOICouncil@gmail.com. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Iowa Board of Regents is being asked this week to consider a complex proposal to turn the operation of the University of Iowa’s utility system over to an unnamed a business that will be paid to operate it for the next 50 years.

The business will make a cash payment of undisclosed size to the university up front in return for the privilege of managing the coal-burning power plant, water treatment plant and the infrastructure for distributing electricity, steam and water across the sprawling campus and hospital complex. In return, the business is guaranteed a 50-year stream of revenue from its one customer.

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Iowa governor, Republicans wrong to back billion-dollar borrowing scheme

State Senator Joe Bolkcom makes the case against a deal to lease the University of Iowa utility system for 50 years. The Iowa Board of Regents are scheduled to vote on the plan on December 10, but important details have been kept from the public. -promoted by Laura Belin

Governor Kim Reynolds’ support of an exotic and risky funding scheme is an admission of her failure to support our public universities. GOP tax cuts for wealthy Iowans have led to a dramatic decline in support for our public universities.

It’s hard to believe that Governor Reynolds and legislative Republicans think it makes sense to borrow more than $1 billion dollars to pay for on-going programs at the University of Iowa over the next 50 years.

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