So the Iran Deal was bad but North Korea was good?

Ben Cobley: If Senator Joni Ernst is “excited about the opportunity” of a denuclearized North Korea, why does she not feel the same way about a denuclearized Iran? -promoted by desmoinesdem

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” – Nelson Mandela

In my previous writing about the Iran Deal, I called out Senator Joni Ernst on her hypocrisy regarding President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal. I also called into question her understanding of diplomatic affairs and the consequences they have on the people of Iowa, the safety of our troops around the world and the future of a G-Zero world under President Trump.

Whether or not Ernst read my piece is unclear, but she seems to have doubled down on her ignorance with her comments on the Singapore Summit.

Continue Reading...

A reasoned take on the Iran Deal and Senator Ernst's failure to lead

Ben Cobley is a Senior Digital Strategist at GPS Impact in Des Moines. He studied international relations at the University of Iowa and served as part of the First Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Before I go too far down the rabbit hole that is Middle Eastern foreign policy, let me explain how this post started.

A recent interaction on Twitter reminded me that when it comes to the public’s understanding of foreign policy decisions, simplicity isn’t always best. Such is the case with many of our media’s attempts at discussing the intricacies of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as “The Iran Deal.”

I don’t blame the media for this oversimplification. Their job isn’t to teach – it’s to inform. And while many outlets try to toe that line to give an unbiased report on political findings, they also have to deal with countless variables that push them towards oversimplifying topics to keep a reader engaged.

I don’t have to face quite as many variables, and thus this post will be longer and more detail oriented. I’ll do my best to limit myself when needed.

Still with me? Okay – let’s talk about Iran and President Trump.

Continue Reading...

When Iowa's Republicans overturned rule on gun checks for mentally ill

After yet another mass murder involving an assault weapon made national news, Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters on February 15, “we have not done a very good job of making sure that people that have mental reasons for not being able to handle a gun getting their name into the FBI files and we need to concentrate on that.” Similarly, Senator Joni Ernst said today that the U.S. needs more “focus” on mental illness, not gun control. (Not that she has any ideas on how to address that problem.)

The talking point is bogus, because people with mental illness aren’t more likely than others to commit violent crimes, and mental illness isn’t any more prevalent in the U.S. than in other countries that experience far fewer mass shootings.

But let’s leave that aside for the moment. A year ago, all of Iowa’s Republicans in Congress voted with their GOP colleagues to overturn “a sensible Obama administration rule designed to stop people with severe mental problems from buying guns.”

Continue Reading...

Four Senate immigration bills fail: How Grassley and Ernst voted

With less that three weeks remaining until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expires, the U.S. Senate voted today on four immigration proposals. Three of them contained language to protect “DREAMers,” who were brought to this country without authorization as children. No proposal received the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. The only bill to fall short of 50 votes was Senator Chuck Grassley’s legislation, modeled on President Donald Trump’s demands.

Iowa’s senators have talked a good game about the DREAMers, but today Grassley and Joni Ernst rejected bipartisan plans in order to be rubber stamps for the president and immigration hard-liners.

Continue Reading...

Weekend thread: Big Iowa problems

A majority of Iowans think mental health services, student loan debt, child welfare services, state university tuition, and the state budget are either a “crisis” or a “big problem” for Iowa, according to the latest Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. Among nine issues tested in the survey of 801 Iowa adults in late January, mental health services registered as the top concern: 35 percent of respondents described the situation as a crisis, 38 percent as a big problem. No other topic registered above 20 percent for “crisis.”

Continue Reading...
View More...