# Politics

Scott County deserves honesty and transparency, not John Maxwell

Lorraine Meriner explains why Scott County Supervisor John Maxwell’s possible violation of Iowa’s open meeting law must be formally investigated. -promoted by Laura Belin

On the morning of May 25, the Scott County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to appoint a new county auditor to succeed Roxanna Moritz, who stepped down last month. According to Iowa’s open meetings law, if a majority of a governmental body’s members meet, their meeting must be publicly announced at least 24 hours in advance and must be held in “open session,” accessible to the public. In addition, meeting minutes must be made publicly available.

The law allows for closed sessions in some extenuating circumstances. Although the five supervisors met in open session on Tuesday, board vice chair John Maxwell’s contradictory recent comments to local reporters suggest that the board’s three Republican members violated open meeting law just days prior.

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Congresswoman: Feds Could Shut Down Facebook

Did you know that last week during a House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Intellectual Property, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), asserted that DHS and ICE are claiming powers that could shut down Facebook?  

Demand Progress, a Political Action Committee and activist group of nearly 400,000 members, concur: The government is claiming powers that could seize Facebook and prosecute its users just for linking to things.

Check out these key clips of the hearing in our new video: http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/facebook_sign/?source=campaigns

Last month DHS and ICE accidentally seized 84,000 innocent sites.  Over the last several months, DHS has seized at least two dozen domain names on copyright infringement grounds. Earlier this month, DHS and ICE arrested Brian McCarthy for channelsurfing.net, which simply linked to infringing content, but which housed none of its own.  In all these cases, the sites owners weren’t given any prior notice and except for Brian McCarthy, these owners weren’t even given the chance to defend the accusations against them– infringing upon their due process and free speech rights.

Watch the hearing clips and sign our petition to Janet Napolitano, Director of DHS and John Morton, Director of ICE.

Tell them there’s nothing wrong or illegal about posting a link to a website and that it’s obscene to interpret the law in a way that would give them authority to shut down Facebook and sites like it: http://act.demandprogress.org/…

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DMR Blog: Scene From A Party

I don’t flog my postings on politics at the Des Moines Register as much as I probably should considering that it amounts to most of my more substantial political blogging nowadays. But, I’m pretty proud of this one from a pure gonzo/literary standpoint.

Now, I wonder if Katie Koberg will take the bait?

I also wonder if my editor will call me out for using the term, “circle jerk,” in the Register’s blog.

It also occurrs to me that I never properly thanked desmoinesdem in public for tipping me for that position.

Thanks [desmoinesdem]! Drinks on me when I’m next in DM.

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Bleeding Heartland Year in Review: Iowa politics in 2008

Last year at this time I was scrambling to make as many phone calls and knock on as many doors as I could before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

This week I had a little more time to reflect on the year that just ended.

After the jump I’ve linked to Bleeding Heartland highlights in 2008. Most of the links relate to Iowa politics, but some also covered issues or strategy of national importance.

I only linked to a few posts about the presidential race. I’ll do a review of Bleeding Heartland’s 2008 presidential election coverage later this month.

You can use the search engine on the left side of the screen to look for past Bleeding Heartland diaries about any person or issue.

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The Iraq War is a Sickness

The Iraq war is a sickness in American politics. Four years ago, we reelected a President who had misled us into a tragic war that cost thousands of lives, well after the justification for it had proven false. The American people were distracted from this paramount fact by fear and political diversions like John Kerry’s purple hearts. The democratic nominee was caricatured as a flip-flopping coward. Four more years of war have followed.

In 2008, Americans face a grimly similar choice. The same Republicans who smeared Kerry on behalf of Bush are back; only the name of their candidate has changed. McCain’s campaign has been based on prolonging the Iraq war, claiming Democrats want nothing less than surrender.

But this past weekend, the justification for war effectively died. Iraq’s freely-elected leader, Nouri al-Maliki, bluntly said he wants the US to leave his country. All agree the security situation has improved, and now a democratic Iraq is declaring its sovereignty. In other words, our troops have completed their mission. So why haven’t we left yet?

The President knows that if we started bringing our troops home tomorrow, John McCain would have no argument for his candidacy.

But the war can be over. I only hope the American people will see through the dizzying spin.

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Time's "Person of the Year"

Time's annual "Person of the Year" issue is coming out soon, and I thought I'd offer my thoughts on who it could be. They have a nine-person pool up for "your vote", but I thought I'd go beyond that.  And I do think it'll be an actual person this time. Here are my odds for who will be named Time's "Person of the Year":

1-1 Al Gore: It's been a great year for Al. Between Live Earth, the Oscar, and the Nobel, he's been everywhere. Not to mention that giving him the honor on would be a snub to President Bush…(who's been awarded twice). Gore would seem the obvious choice.

3-1 Barack Obama Considering his meteoric rise, he's the big story out of American politics this year. His very candidacy has forced America to ask some very profound questions about ourselves as a country and a people. Could he be the new face of America? Yet he still trails in the polls, and Time may want to wait and see what he does in the future.

5-1 Hillary Clinton Like it or not, she's set the tone of the 2008 Election so far. She's the leader of the pack, for now and is a global figure. Yet Time may want to wait. Just like Obama though, if she wins the presidency she'll get the award for sure. And if she does turn out to be the Howard Dean of 2008…they'd look pretty foolish.

10-1 Nicolas Sarkozy The figurehead of Europe's swing to the right, he singlehandedly rebuilt the trans-Atlantic alliance. Time might like to select a world leader and Sarkozy certainly stands out in that area. However, has he had enough global impact to make the cut?

15-1 Steve Jobs As the Time page says, the iPhone was a hit, the iPod has changed the way we live, and Apple stock is up 100% for the year. The Mac Attack is back, but with business in general in a slump, will Time want to celebrate a captain of industry?

25-1 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad This dastardly dictator has certainly made waves in the world this year, and it's worth remembering that Stalin and Hitler both made the cut. But scowling Iranians don't sell magazines. (Or as Stephen Colbert would say Mahmoud Ahmagonnagetajob.

100-1 J.K. Rowling Seriously. Wars across the world, political battles at home, the Al Gore behemoth, and she gets the nod?! Still, Time has made some off the wall choices before. 

Who do you think it will be? Is there some figure I've overlooked? Let's hear your thoughts!

Democrats: Stop Playing at Being "Good Christianists"

Like any true-blue American, I don't really concern myself with religion much — literally, but that's another post — until it starts insinuating itself into politics and public policy.  That's when I start to get downright obstinate and feisty.  One thing I have observed over the years: being a Christianist zealot politician is like having jazz chops.  You've either got it or you don't.  Someone needs to tell Nancy Pelosi that she don't got it.

“Science is a gift of God to all of us and science has taken us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, arguing for the bill’s passage. “And that is the embryonic stem cell research.”

Personally, I'd rather see my Democratic leaders putting forward this theme:

XKCD: Science. It works, bitches







But seriously, when Pelosi and other democrats try to ape the religious right in order to “triangulate” with the vast middle, they just make themselves look like insincere whores.  And besides, I think that — as ususal — most of the strategists who are urging their candidates to do this vastly underestimate the level of the backlash going on against the Christianist right, even among non-secularists.  Everyone is tired of these hand-clapping, if-you-beleive-hard-enough-it-will-be-true idiots.  Message to strategists: Doing what makes the other side successful is NOT automatically the right thing.  Sometimes you have to do the OPPOSITE thing really well.

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Should I duplicate my posts here?

I’m curious for your thoughts.  As you know, I blog over at Political Forecast, treating it as my home blog.  But I also want to make Bleeding Heartland be the best political and community blog in Iowa.  My question for you then is whether or not I should haul over my posts from Political Forecast over here, or should I write other unique stuff here and kind of go back and forth?  Or should I theme my writing here?

Let me know your thoughts and ideas.  Thanks.