The Significance Of The Hemp Industry To Iowa Farmers

The Iowa Senate just passed a hemp farming bill for Iowa farmers unanimously. While it’s doubtful the Iowa House will take the bill up without popular support and pressure from the public, the educational opportunities for how low THC hemp products can provide pain relief for Iowa’s farmers abound…while also increasing their profit margins and restoring their soil nutrients.

In order to understand how important hemp is to Iowa you have to understand that hemp was one of Iowa’s top crops during World War II.

The US government used to require Iowa farmers to grow hemp, and if they refused they had to pay a fine. Under Linda Upmeyer’s tutelage our history in Iowa has fallen by the wayside regarding hemp, and as future articles will outline.

For now, representatives like Upmeyer avoid rational science based drug policy to avoid embarrassment over passed decisions. Please write Linda Upmeyer as well as your Iowa House representatives and encourage them to allow the hemp bill from the Senate to be brought to the House floor for debate. While you’re at it, tell them to research what hemp is. It would have been nice if the House had worked on this and sent it over to the Senate, but the two wings don’t always work well together. Linda Upmeyer’s fear is a big part of the House’s resistance to rational, compassionate, science based programs, and this fear has lead them to make a program so terrible, nobody wants to partake in it.

While hemp CBD may be illegal at the federal level – a lawsuit challenging this assertion is due for a ruling here soon against the DEA — hemp products are still legal at the state level. So while you can still buy legal hemp products at roughly 10,000 stores throughout Iowa, Iowa farmers cannot reap the tremendous profit windfalls that come from growing it until Upmeyer’s scandal riddled legislature decides that they will grant extremely limited permission from on “high” to Iowans to be healthier and more productive agriculturally while the rest of the nation skips ahead and lets farmers discuss this openly to resolve some current agricultural issues throughout the industry.

Tremendous thank you to each and every Iowa Senator who voted to approve agricultural hemp. I’ve been told recently that my dismay at the inability of the community to come together and address the lack of education, caring, and Christ-like concern around marijuana and other racially charged drug war issues is unfounded, and to have faith that Iowans will truly care here very shortly. My ten years as a marijuana activist says otherwise. When it comes to marijuana, Iowans seem to enjoy victimizing and terrorizing those who wish to medicate in peace, while hiding any embarrassments that are virtually universal and should be seen as health issues instead of being sanctioned criminally.


You can find your legislator’s email to email them to support hemp here:

Please also follow Iowa NORML and the Iowa Hemp Association on Facebook as they are taking the lead in lobbying for and promoting hemp education around the state.

Have a marijuana related news story? Write to Jason Karimi with any marijuana news related stories at

Carroll Police Breaking Laws To Seize Legal Hemp CBD

Carroll Police Breaking Laws To Seize Legal Hemp CBD 

Carrie Bluml has been slandered. Paperwork filed Friday, April 13th in court says she is in the right, and that the town of Carroll has some accounting to do.

People in Carroll have been saying Carrie’s shop, Nature Ammil, located at 820 West 8th Street, has been growing marijuana. Located right next to McDonald’s, Nature Ammil has been accused of having cannabis oil as a dispensary in violation of new laws (the store wasn’t). While at a firefighter fundraiser, Carrie was approached by multiple saying they heard she was selling marijuana out of her store.

Meanwhile, an 86 year old man with Parkinson’s has been going to the County Attorney’s office asking when he can use hemp CBD, without THC, so he can function.


This whole thing stems from Carroll Police and their unwillingness to cite any valid law for their warrantless seizure of non-THC hemp products since December 27th of 2017.



Denison police have confirmed that hemp CBD is fully legal. Ames Police have confirmed that hemp CBD is legal. While hemp CBD is legal, CBD sold through Iowa licensed medical marijuana dispensaries is not. That CBD, which unlike hemp derived CBD does contain THC, will be available for Iowans with a multitude of medical conditions from chronic back pain on the farm to clients with more severe medical patients, such as the 86 year old Carroll man who keeps asking for relief in a town that seems to have no compassion.


Carroll Police refuse to speak to reporters citing an ongoing investigation that is now nearly four months old. Carroll Police Sergeant Officer JJ Schreck told stated by phone that, in spite of the separate laws concerning hemp CBD, that “CBD is CBD is CBD” and that as experts on laws they cannot cite or explain, they do not submit to any authority other than themselves. That’s plain wrong.

Without adequate police oversight, communities suffer. While Carroll Police have gone undercover against local newspapers to attack freedom of speech, failing to follow proper police procedure seems to be a regular problem at the PD. While other police departments executed search warrants and followed due process requirements in other towns throughout Iowa before confirming the products sold at Nature Ammil are legal as long as there’s no THC, no warrant was served on Nature Ammil when Nature Ammil’s products were taken.

To compound the situation, the supposed drug tests cited on the December 27th police report don’t seem to have ever happened. Worse yet, the products were not properly catalogued. It appears the police are telling newspapers different stories that don’t add up.

Other town citizens have advised Nature Ammil to just let the cops abuse them. Reports of citizens saying that Carroll PD has been like this for years, and “this is just the way it is” have been frequent.

That’s why I’m writing this editorial.

As Executive Director of Iowa’s largest medical marijuana lobbying group it is my job to make sure that good hearted, value driven Iowans are defended from bullies. When 86-year old men with Parkinson’s are asking for help, someone needs to listen and respond accordingly.

CBD is a miracle. Children with epilepsy have had their lives saved when everything else failed. Older people with arthritis have found relief from the products that will likely continue to be sold at Nature Ammil post investigation with no side effects and no “high.” Opiates, which cause drowsiness and make people uncomfortable, have been replaced with CBD in many states. Iowa will be one of them in December.

But before state authorized CBD is available – for details, see Iowa Code Chapter 124 as well as House File 524 from the 2017 legislative calendar – unauthorized, non-medical CBD is available throughout the state. This legal product has always been legal. Carroll Police mistakenly thought that the new CBD law outlawed the legal hemp products. That is simply not the case.

In order for a community to be protected and well served it’s citizens must demand accountability. Before any more rumors about illegal marijuana activity are permitted to percolate, please be aware that hemp CBD is not the same plant source as marijuana CBD, and that there are two different statutes governing the substances. For further questions feel free to email me at I have recently gotten word that COMPLETELY LEGAL FEDERALLY, STATE, AND LOCALLY, CBD OIL was seized from a number of businesses in Des Moines in the last few months as well. Please let me know if this can be confirmed.

Jason Karimi

Executive Director

Iowa Patients for Medical Marijuana

Democrats Should Not Abandon Their Populist Roots

Trump supporters love their country. They care about whether people are getting a reasonable wage from their employer. Trump supporters are skeptical about corporate America. Fear is struck in the heart of rural America because of the corporate policies and advocacy of the World Trade Organization.

The people of West Virginia, Kentucky do not hate people of different races. They believe in the words of Jesus Christ and simply would give anyone their last dime if they know someone that happened to be their neighbor needed it.

I will always have more love in my heart for Trump supporters than I will Jeff Flake, Jeb Bush or Ben Sasse because I understand that the Trump supporters are misunderstood. The Flakes, Bushes of the world are certainly more polished and diplomatic. There is no doubt that their style is more “acceptable” on a world stage. It is difficult to be civil with people like Sasse who do not fear the loss of their own income due to an industrial revolution. I would ask Ben Sasse to go to the most rural parts of Nebraska and ask himself again whether humanity has truly dealt with the concept of an industrial
revolution in a humane fashion.

Patriotism has been confused with statism, and economic nationalism has been tied to racism or tribalism. Capitalism is a beautiful thing, but you have to realize that capitalism can and does put communities at war with each other. That competition is a great thing, but to call someone a statist due to the fact that they seek economic development for their community is not statist, it is nowhere close to the concept of statist thought.

Political consultants like Rick Wilson can call people statists until he’s blue in the face because it is always safe to presume that Rick will have the skill set to survive in this economy.

There is no doubt that the free market strategy pushed by Flake, Sasse, and Bush looks better on a chart and makes a lot of practical sense. Their approach to economics simply takes profits into account and does not factor in people.

Let me be straight with the immigrants that are coming to this country and seeking new opportunities. Ben Sasse and others may make it easier for you to get into the country originally, but they DO NOT care about you. They care about companies making money on the global stage. They care about shareholders, and truly a concentration of opportunity the likes of which we have never seen before.

Why in the world do you think some of these groups on the left and the right are so against a merit-based immigration system? Sure. Many of them are very concerned about human rights violations, genocide, etc. The truth is though that there are others who just do not care about the living situation for immigrants here in the United States. Some people will make it harder for immigrants to work in the energy sector.

So the reason that I am writing this is to offer an olive branch to Trump supporters. To urge them to stay away from the party of corporate profits, and to come back to the party of the people. We have plenty of disagreement within the Democratic Party, but the number one principle that we have is that people matter. Life is much more than an academic exercise with stats and data, despite what Ben Sasse says.

This open letter isn’t meant to be an anti-corporate rant either, the fact of the matter is though if we want this country to be great, great again, whatever you want to say we need serious commerce from sea to shining sea and everything in between.

Democrats owe Trump supporters an apology as we offer this olive branch. Appalachia is not a shithole. Middle America is not flyover country. We are talking about strong people with time-tested values, the most important value of all-being compassion.

I understand your frustration over the energy sector, and how the Democratic Party has abandoned you on this issue. I know that we as Democrats have NEVER done enough and in some people’s valid opinions anything to help replenish commerce in part of the country that has been damaged by idealistic energy policies. I supported Jim Webb for President of the United States in 2016 because I was looking for a candidate that struck the right balance between all forms of energy production. Period.

We have already seen people abandon solid people like Nick Rahall, Lucas and the Blue Dog Democrats to become Trump supporters. The truth of the matter is that the spirit to make America more economically vital again is something that Blue Dogs and President Trump have in common. I would plead with the people of West Virginia that supported Donald Trump not to abandon Joe Manchin. Evan Jenkins himself was a Democrat not very long ago.

This not an anti-profit, anti-company manifesto either, this is about patriotism and whether or not we want our country to thrive. People in the media are ready to chalk this all up to racism and want to go it alone in the world. Populism should always be a part of the Democratic Party. Questioning BAD trade agreements should always be a part of the Democratic Party. Yes, violating the human rights of workers may give some employers more freedom in life, but when did this become a principle that only this new brand of populist Republican can focus on?, It isn’t. This matter has nothing to do with race or gender.

Unethical business people like to attack blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. and women as well. Trump supporters understand this, and so do many, many members of the Democratic Party.

Paying my respects to Chief War Eagle by Gubernatorial Candidate Marco Battaglia

Paying my respects to Chief War Eagle

By Gubernatorial Candidate Marco Battaglia

TERRITORY, It’s just the body of the nation
The people that inhabit it make its configuration
PREJUDICE, Something we all can do without
Cause a flag of many colors is what this land’s all about”

Anthrax- Indians

Wambdi Okicize is commonly known as Chief War Eagle. Chief War Eagle is best remembered as a person who believed in peace and worked his whole life toward that goal. Because of his leadership among the tribes, the Indians and the whites learned to work together without having to resort to violence. As I was touring around Western Iowa last week I was able to stop by Chief War Eagle’s burial site. Other members of his family are also buried there, including Dawn and Blazing Cloud. The vibes and the views are breathtaking. An impressive monument honors the great chief, and depicts him with the eagle feather bonnet and ceremonial pipe, symbolizing his brave leadership and his commitment to peace. Housing projects on the east base of the bluff also bear his name. I was also able to chat with Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna and watch him perform live in Sioux City. Belladonna is part Iroquois on his mother’s side. I spoke to a number of people present at the concert that were from the Winnebago Reservation and it was just an unforgettable trip all around.

The War Eagle site is awesome. The 31-foot monument of Chief War Eagle overlooks three states from atop a bluff along the Missouri River in Sioux City. His contribution to the peaceful settlement of what was later to become Sioux City has gone down as most excellent and beautiful American history. War Eagle was born a Santee Sioux in a dim Minnesota forest about 1785. He left his own tribe, the Santee, to avoid bloodshed in a fight as to who would be chief. As a young man, War Eagle spent considerable time working among the white Americans. During the War of 1812, he carried messages for the United States government, and worked among the native peoples to promote the cause of the United States against the British.

War Eagle eventually was elected chief of the Yankton Sioux. He established and maintained a good feeling among the Yanktons for the early white traders. It was during the 1830s that War Eagle was pilot on the upper Mississippi and dispatches for the early trappers up and down the river. Later, his warriors escorted U.S. mail between trading posts. During this time, War Eagle met and became a very good friend of Theophile Bruguier, a well-educated trader who came from Canada and was one of the first white traders in Sioux City. Bruguier found a fascination with Indian life and culture. He deserted the white man’s civilization and joined the Sioux tribe. Many lasting bonds were created between War Eagle and area American settlers, which set a tone of friendship that spread through the area. War Eagle refused to send his warriors on attacks against whites and this brazenness in the face of hostile and overwhelming odds marked him as a man of great courage.

Chief War Eagle Further
Once when Sioux tribes gathered at what is now Riverside for the New Ulm, Minn., attack, War Eagle refused to let his warriors join the warring Indians. And when the Sioux were on the warpath and camped in what is now Stone Park on their way to the Spirit Lake massacre, War Eagle adamantly refused to allow his warriors to take part. War Eagle received a silver medal from President Martin Van Buren in 1837 in honor of his work in Washington, D.C. to negotiate peace treaties. War Eagle was especially proud of this Peace Medal. That visit to Washington marked the largest gathering of chiefs and warriors of different nations and tribes in history. Several treaties were signed, and these resulted in peaceful settlement of Indian tribes along both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Aside from the wonderful monument, Chief War Eagle is also memorialized with human rights awards bearing his name, given to recipients in Sioux City that continue to demonstrate his spirit today. I believe that many Iowans would love to continue to live in the spirit of the great chief.





Marco Battaglia writes for the Iowa Free Press and is a proud member of The Fourth Estate. Marco Battaglia is running to be Iowa’s 44th Governor, and the first since James W. Grimes not to be from the Democratic or Republican parties. Marco Battaglia firmly believes that Iowans deserve the freedom to choose for themselves how they work the land. 

learn more at 

Environmental Freedom

“It is gratifying to me, of course, to hold the undisputed world’s title.  I am glad it is held in America, glad that I brought it here.  But I mean my life to be more than a mere wrestling exhibition.  I expect to be an Iowa farmer all my life, and make my life worth something.  I hope that every year may find me a little better man in some way than I was the year before.

I want to be a good citizen and a helpful, useful man.”

Frank Gotch Signature

Frank A Gotch

The best thing the government can do right now in regards to advances or alternatives to burning coal and natural gas for energy, or to the internal combustion engine or transportation in general, is get out of the way. We can allow for a freer market for energy and transportation. We can allow for the fairest possible competition between biofuel, gas, and electric. One day electrical vehicles may be ideal but as of the moment about 30% of our electricity in the USA still comes from coal and we make another 34% by burning natural gas. It doesn’t matter if your electric car has no emissions if the electricity it uses is still coming from burning coal or natural gas.

 Hydrogen powered vehicles are another alternative on the horizon that are very appealing to me because hydrogen can be produced domestically and it burns cleanly. I feel that a freer market would allow for hydrogen powered vehicles to become a familiar competitor much sooner! There is also the potential for photo-voltaic cells powering public transportation using solar energy directly. I see great things on the horizon in terms of earth friendly transportation! Iowa can help ensure the horizon comes sooner rather than later.

Government subsidized agribusiness pollution is a leading cause of the dead zones that plague waters from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Ruminant digestion and manure management associated with domestic livestock in subsidized CAFO settings and soil cultivation practices in regards to subsidized mass monoculture are among the biggest ways that humans negatively impact the environment. They also threaten Iowans economic and agricultural freedoms in terms of recreational opportunities, water quality, and free market competition.  I propose that we phase out large agricultural subsidies on mono-culture and CAFOS. We should end the renewable fuel standard. Corn has not proven to be an ideal crop for bio-fuel or animal feed and the production of corn ethanol has actually had a negative impact on the environment. To protect farmers that have invested in government aided markets we can ease away from them with subsidies for farmers that agree to meet soil conservation and water quality goals. I also believe that we need to investigate cronyism in terms of eminent domain abuse and that we need to reform civil justice so that farmers that contribute to issues such as excessive nitrates can be made to build additional costs into their business models. I have both hemp and raw dairy freedom built into my agricultural freedom plan. Hemp and raw dairy could help reverse trends in many of our counties that are declining in population. Hemp and raw dairy freedoms are good starting points that would both provide additional ways to make income for farmers that want to try new things.

My father grew up on a farm in Minnesota and I have worked my own acreage when I have been able to make the time to. I believe that hemp and or cannabis farming would be best combined with a multi-cropping plan and to mix a cash crop, cover crop, and animal feed crops (Hemp Seed products), with other grasses, rye, and prairie restoration efforts. Something like this would provide the most sustainable situation. To me if you have the acres why would you not want to find perennials that can both make money, restore pollinator populations, and help with the nitrogen problem? A comprehensive state-wide strategy for reducing nutrients would have economic benefits, as well as show improvements to drinking water, recreation and health. I wholeheartedly believe more people would already be doing this if not for the way that the government has impacted the family farm.

Marco Battaglia writes for the Iowa Free Press and is a proud member of The Fourth Estate. Marco Battaglia is running to be Iowa’s 44th Governor, and the first since James W. Grimes not to be from the Democratic or Republican parties. Marco Battaglia firmly believes that Iowans deserve the freedom to choose for themselves how they work the land. 

learn more at 

Gubernatorial candidate Marco Battaglia on the Clubhouse Model of Mental Health Rehabilitation.

I learned so much from my tour of Passageway mental health clubhouse in Des Moines, Iowa. I met some wonderful people that have overcome great obstacles. I encourage the other gubernatorial candidates to visit. Passageway would be very excited to give you the tour. Many people I have spoken with, who have struggled with mental health, claim finding a place that will not turn them away and help them re-enter the workforce, is invaluable to them. Passageway does these things and so much more.

The Clubhouse Model of Psycho-social Rehabilitation is a comprehensive and dynamic program of support and opportunities for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses. In contrast to traditional day-treatment and other day program models, Clubhouse participants are called “members” (as opposed to “patients” or “clients”) and restorative activities focus on their strengths and abilities, not their illness. All participation in a clubhouse is strictly on a voluntary basis.

There are four guaranteed rights of membership, which are at the core of the Clubhouse Model:

A right to a place to come; A right to meaningful relationships; A right to meaningful work; and A right to a place to return.

The members and staff of a Clubhouse work side-by-side to manage all the operations of the Clubhouse, providing an opportunity for members to contribute in significant and meaningful ways; therefore, a Clubhouse is operated in a partnership model with members and staff working side-by-side as colleagues. The Clubhouse Model seeks to demonstrate that people with mental illness can successfully live productive lives and work in the community, regardless of the nature or severity of their mental illness. I believe that it would do wonders for people to have access to this model in every community in Iowa. A year of Clubhouse rehabilitation is akin to two years under hospital care. The Clubhouse Model has proven to reduce incarcerations, reduce hospitalizations and recidivism, and it is cost effective compared to the other existing mental health care approaches. I think we need to adjust the way that we fund mental health to better align with this model. I see it as very realistic that with some start-up help from state and local government clubhouses could take off all over the state and work towards independence from state funds.

Please check out when you have a chance. They would be happy to give you a tour whether you are a candidate running for office or you are just interested in the Club House model. I am actually raising money for Passageway and you can donate to support the Club House Model at this link. Marco Battaglia’s fundraiser for Passageway and the Club House Model of Mental Health Rehabilitation.


I recently sat down with a citizen concerned with the mental health crisis in Iowa. He was open about his own struggles. We decided to film our first in person meeting and conversation.


Gubernatorial Candidate Marco Battaglia is interviewed by Iowa citizen Ross Trowbridge. Learn more at


Marco Battaglia writes for the Iowa Free Press and is a proud member of The Fourth Estate. Marco Battaglia is running to be Iowa’s 44th Governor, and the first since James W. Grimes not to be from the Democratic or Republican parties. Marco Battaglia firmly believes that Iowans deserve the freedom to choose for themselves what they put into their bodies.

Families United Action Network in Support of Shared Parenting Bill – SSB 3154

On Tuesday, a Senate Subcommittee meeting was held to discuss SSB 3154, a bill that would create a rebuttable presumption of equal shared parenting in child custody cases. I spoke as an associate of the organization Families United Action Network in support of this bill.


Currently, when divorcing parents walk into a courtroom, it is assumed that one parent will “win” and one parent will “lose” custody of the couple’s children. This societal standard has left generations of people suffering emotional turmoil all of their lives. According to, children without their fathers are twice as likely to drop out of school and seven times more likely to become teen parents. They are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and suffer poverty. I cannot overstate the importance of a child’s own father in their lives.


These heavy statistics are painful to accept when I look at my step children. My family is a blended one, where my husband and I both have children from previous marriages, as well as our own. I ache for my husband’s children each time they hug their sobbing siblings goodbye for yet another long absence. Four days per month is not enough time to create family memories, enjoy hobbies, and impart important values. What good reason is there for two empty seats at the dinner table most nights? Their mother does not wish to share parenting and fought their father vigorously in order to keep him devalued as merely a visitor in their lives.


I have another perspective to offer, that is as a mother who does share parenting, disregarding our divorce papers to do so. My two teenage children have enjoyed living as equally as possible with their father and myself for the entire ten years we’ve been divorced. Well-adjustment in having both parents involved in their daily lives is obvious. Their father and I have each had the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with our kids, offer emotional stability and maintain trust. Shared parenting works. My children wouldn’t have it any other way.


My ex-husband and I are far from friends. It’s a misconnection that shared parenting to work requires there be no conflict. Shared parenting does require maturity and cooperation, which can learned over time after the pain of a separation. Resources exist to help high-conflict situations, such as apps like My Family Wizard, which aid communication between parents. Money spent fighting in ugly litigation for control could be spent instead on counseling to learn better co-parenting skills. In the long run, two divorced parents learning to co-parent, sharing equally in the lives of their children, without one parent being the “loser” and “visitor” is certainly in the best interest of children.


But you don’t have to take my word for it. Dr. Linda Nielsen, a professor of Adolescent and Educational Psychology at Wake Forest University, agrees with over 110 other social science experts and has reviewed at least 54 studies that overwhelmingly show that “children in shared physical custody families—with the exception of situations where children need protection from an abusive or negligent parent—have better outcomes across a variety of measures of well-being than do children in sole physical custody.”

Don’t let another generation of kids grow up missing half of their families. Don’t let another generation of kids become prizes to be won in a war where they can only lose. I urge our legislators to pass a rebuttable presumption of equal shared parenting bill so that the next generation of Iowa’s children, who must endure a divorce or separation, can maintain strong familiar bonds that will benefit them for a lifetime.  


— Jocelyn Jeffries Fry is a candidate for Iowa House of Representatives and the newly elected Chairperson of the Libertarian Party of Polk County

Marco Battaglia’s response to the Governor’s Condition of the State

Condition of the State Response

January 19, 2018

Marco Battaglia

Iowa is in dire need of Comprehensive Tax Reform

Governor Renyolds said that she wants to lower taxes but she has been hesitant to say what exactly her plan is. I’ve heard politicians from the right and left of me say my whole life that they were going to lower taxes. Studying the past administrations in Iowa I’ve heard these promises and this debate ongoing throughout the previous century. I am willing to say right now that my tax plan works to eliminate the income tax entirely while reducing property taxes for all Iowans. Instead of using the markets that we are working to open up, to spend more of your money, I want to use them to systematically decrease the size of Iowa Government and to simplify and reduce taxation for all Iowans; Not just ones that participate with my political party, that donate to my campaign, or that belong to a specific tax bracket.

Iowans need and deserve real solutions not “Reynolds-Care”

The Governor has doubled down saying that she believes in the current crony capitalism regarding the state’s medicaid. This is not a classic republican or a classic liberal position nor is it the right thing for Iowans at this time. I believe that true free market solutions will not leave the most vulnerable Iowans without assistance. There is this unfounded fear mongering about Libertarians that we would not look out for special needs or low income individuals and I am running in part to show that this could not be further from the reality. My platform actually works to restore access to services in regards to mental health, special needs, and low income peoples. It is my belief that that we can work to move towards a much freer market without making haphazard and dangerous cuts that effect these peoples and their loved ones.

I believe that Bill Dix should resign.

In regards to Majority Leader of the Iowa Senate Bill Dix I will go as far as to say that he needs to step down. Bill Dix, I am asking you to step down. I think that you should resign immediately. A majority of us that come from the private sector would be fired if we would have handled such behavior in our workplace in this manner.

Spending more and more money for worse and worse results?

Governor Reynolds said that we invested in our kids at a record level, committing $735 million more for education since 2011. Reynolds also said that over the last 10 years, only three states increased education funding at a higher rate than Iowa. I am not proud of this. The state’s growing contributions to K-12 don’t translate dollar-for-dollar to districts’ budgets. For decades—and as recently as 1992–Iowa students either led the nation in student achievement or were right at the top of the pack. The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills began, not surprisingly, right here in Iowa. So did the ACT assessment. No state can afford to be self-satisfied and to perpetuate the status-quo and I am afraid to say that our administrations since have done just that. Over the last two decades, Iowa has stagnated educationally. Many states, and even other nations, are now outperforming Iowa. I beseech the Governor to take a look at the fact that Iowa is the only state in the nation that hasn’t made significant progress in early math education since 1992. Iowa now ranks in the bottom ten states in the percentage of high school seniors who take and pass an Advanced Placement course.

I believe arguments that more English as a second language students, or that more poor students, play a role in this, are entirely bogus. More than 80 percent of Iowa’s students are still white kids that were raised knowing English only–and these students are no longer among the best in the nation. In fact, reading scores for non-poor, white students in Iowa on the NAEP assessment are now below the national average for their peer group. Students in 29 U.S. states are more likely to be advanced in math than these students in Iowa. And all students in 30 nations and provinces are more likely to be advanced math students than just these students in Iowa. In the knowledge economy, that is not nearly good enough–because Iowa students are no longer competing just against their peers in their community or in their state. They will be competing with students for jobs and admission to higher education with students from places like China, South Korea, Canada, India, and Russia. I actually believe that being bi or multi-lingual is an amazing thing for children to be and actually an early indicator that one is going to grow to be very intelligent. I need everyone that wants to participate to consider what kind of return we are getting on our investments here? Are there true school choice and free market solutions that could move us in a better direction at a much lower cost? Is there any excuse for a child with educated guardians and connection to the internet not to have access to a world class education in the year 2018?

I believe that Iowans should be able to set their own high bar in terms of education standards. State and local governments should be able to lead the way on raising standards, measuring and supporting teacher and leader effectiveness, re-evaluating the skills that children are taught, and closing achievement gaps. Iowans need the freedom to be leaders in implementing innovation to increase and improve learning. Iowa has one of the weakest charter school laws in the nation, limiting educational flexibility and experimentation. Iowans need true alternative certification programs and options for true competition, creating incentives for teachers or else we will continue to export our top talent to other states and other countries. Reynolds was right that the state’s contribution to K-12 education has increased by about $735 million since 2011 and she was right that over the last 10 years, only three states increased education funding at a higher rate than Iowa, but I would not use these items as a bragging points myself. A vast majority of Iowans believe that every child in all parts of Iowa should have access to quality education. I believe that my vision is best suited to ensure us a path there and that it ensures that we are improving on education for years to come. I believe that we can work smarter to improve education and actually save significant amounts of our money while returning Iowa to being a state that churns out people with world-class educations and skills.

Make Mental Health A Priority

Governor Reynold’s actually had the nerve to brag about the status of Mental Health Care in Iowa during her address. Perhaps if she was at the Gubernatorial mental health forum that I attended, she would have heard what Iowan’s think about the state of mental health care in Iowa. I don’t see how she could feel positive about being complicit in the direction that we having been going for decades on mental health in Iowa. I believe so strongly in my medical freedom platform that I am willing to say that it will not only increase care access to levels never before seen in Iowa but that it will draw top mental health professionals from all over the world to Iowa.

End the War on People

Not only was Kim Reynolds inaccurate with her numbers in regard to opioids during her address but why does she or any other elected official even bother to keep talking about them without addressing solutions to the problems? My medical freedom platform works to end the war on drugs so that addicts can ask for and receive help in lieu of fines, imprisonment, criminal records, and forced labor. It gives those that need pain relief alternatives to opioids if they choose them. This gives medical and public safety professionals affordable access and the ability to use life saving measures in every instance of opioid overdose. Under my vision officers of the law, legal, and medical professionals will all be able to focus on the violent crimes that are going on in Iowa. By expunging the records of those charged with non violent drug crimes we will return many people to the workforce and allow many Iowans to work their way up the economic ladder.

Give Iowans their land back

I understand that a Governor is unable to touch on everything in such an address but I must say that I am also disappointed that the Governor did not touch on opening up new markets for Iowa farmers such as hemp and raw dairy, and with how did she did not address the pressing pollinators, soil, and water quality issues.



The Iowa Free Press Reflects on MLK JR DAY 2018

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

“I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

“Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.”

Taken from

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]”


Last year we talked about the power of boycott and the right that we all have to peaceful protest. This year I thought that we would talk about individual liberty. The most damned, banned, excluded, condemned, forbidden, ostracized, ignored, suppressed, repressed, robbed, brutalized and defamed of all ‘Damned Things’ is the individual human being. No one can, nor should, ever take away from a persons struggle. I simply find that for the declaration of independence, the constitution, and the bill of rights, to be worth the paper that they are printed on, that they must apply to everyone in their bounds. In 2018 I see similarities in the plights of every type of minority. Religious minorities, homeless of every color, racial minorities, lgbtq peoples, refugees, immigrants, ect. ect. As we are finally in a position to ensure that the founding beliefs of this country apply to all within our bounds, I am reminded that Dr. King was more upset not with those that commit aggressions but with those that stood by idly and did nothing.

Iowa has played a prominent role in the civil rights movement going all the way back to the beginning. Dred Scott, whose legal fight for freedom was ruled on in the 1857 Dred Scott Decision of the United States Supreme Court, lived with his family in Davenport as he followed his master to various military postings in the Midwest. Scott and his wife based their appeal for freedom on the fact that they had been held for extended periods of time in free states and territories, including Scott’s stay with his master in Davenport in 1834-36. An historic plaque was installed at the site of Scott’s residence in Davenport. African Americans fleeing both slavery and the Civil War came to Davenport because it was a major port in a free territory on the Mississippi River. Though I am still greatly inspired by reading Dr. King’s writing, this year I thought that we would look at some of his peers that helped make the world a better place for those of us that were yet to be born.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rossetta Tharpe influenced Martin Luther King Jr, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Brian Jones, to name a few personages of historical significance. Robert Plant even immortalized her in a song of his own. I would say that it is tough to hear a popular song that is not influenced by someone that she influenced. Encouraged by her mother, Tharpe began singing and playing the guitar as Little Rosetta Nubin at the age of four and was cited as a musical prodigy. She rocked the Gibson SG before Angus and Tony and she also sang while doing so. Tharpe defied religious, gender, and race roles as they were and are typically depicted during her lifetime. Her performances both shocked and awed the crowds, and were controversial as well as revolutionary in several respects. At the time performing gospel music for secular nightclub audiences and alongside blues and jazz musicians and dancers was all but unheard of. You don’t exactly have to be Marty McFly to watch surviving footage of her and experience how far out she actually was. She could and did outplay many men of the time exemplifying her skills at guitar battles at the Apollo. Tharpe toured around the world representing a nation that she proved could be tolerant, caring, and a global leader in civil and human rights. Tharpe continued recording during World War II, one of only two gospel artists able to record V-discs for troops overseas. 


James Farmer

James Farmer served along MLK JR as a civil rights activist and leader. He also pushed for nonviolent protest to dismantle segregation. He was the initiator and organizer of the 1961 Freedom Ride, which eventually led to the desegregation of interstate transportation in the United States. Farmer was a child prodigy; as a freshman in 1934 at the age of 14, he enrolled at Wiley College, in Marshall, Texas. He was selected as part of the debate team. At the age of 21, Farmer was invited to the White House to talk with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt signed the invitation. Before the talk with the president, Mrs. Roosevelt talked to the group. Farmer took a liking to her immediately, and the two of them monopolized the conversation. When the group went in to talk to President Roosevelt, Mrs. Roosevelt followed and sat in the back. After the formalities were done, the young people were allowed to ask questions. Farmer said, “On your opening remarks you described Britain and France as champions of freedom. In light of their colonial policies in Africa, which give the lie to the principle, how can they be considered defenders?” The president tactfully avoided the question. She exclaimed, “Just a minute, you did not answer the question!” Although the president still did not answer the question as Farmer phrased it, Farmer was placated knowing that he had gotten the question out there. Farmer earned a Bachelor of Science at Wiley College in 1938, and a Bachelor of Divinity from Howard University School of Religion in 1941. At Wiley, Farmer became anguished over segregation, recalling particular occasions of racism he had witnessed or suffered in his younger days. During the Second World War, Farmer had official status as a conscientious objector. Inspired by Howard Thurman, a professor of theology at Howard University, Farmer became interested in peaceful protest. Martin Luther King Jr. also studied this later and adopted many of its principles. Farmer started to think about how to stop racist practices in America while working at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which he joined after college.



Hosea Williams

Also depicted in the photo of King on the balcony the day before his death is Hosea Williams. Williams was arrested 125 times for his militant acts of defiance while working in service to the civil rights movement. Perhaps his passion for civil rights was a direct consequence of his having been beaten so severely he was hospitalized for five weeks because he had a drink at a “whites-only” bar. Not nearly as well known as King or Jackson, Williams nevertheless was a major figure in the civil rights movement with several triumphs to his credit. Because of his efforts, Savannah, Georgia, was the first city to ban “whites-only” lunch counters. He also led a march against the Klu Klux Klan in 1987 and won a $950,000 jury award after suing Forsyth County. He later became a senator.

Harry Belafonte

Actor, singer and activist Harry Belafonte has achieved lasting fame for such songs as ‘The Banana Boat Song (Day-O),’ as well as for his film and humanitarian work. Always outspoken, Belafonte found inspiration for his activism from such figures as singer Paul Robeson and writer and activist W.E.B. Du Bois. After meeting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1950s, the two became good friends, and Belafonte emerged as a strong voice for the movement. He provided financial backing for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and participated in numerous rallies and protests. Belafonte helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, in which King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and met with the civil rights leader shortly before he was assassinated in 1968.

Moses Fleetwood “Fleet” Walker

Moses Fleetwood Walker was an American professional baseball catcher who is credited with being the first openly black men to play in Major League Baseball (MLB). Walker was born in 1856 in Mount Pleasant, a working-class town in Eastern Ohio that had served as a sanctuary for runaway slaves since 1815. Its population included a large Quaker community and a unique collective of former Virginian slaves. He was also a businessman, a newspaper publisher and a scholar. He received patents for artillery shells and motion-picture devices. He wrote a book on race relations. Many people know of Jackie Robinson and it is well documented that the two ball players endured their own trials with racism in baseball. While both breaking barriers, Robinson went on to become good friends with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Not satisfied with his work on the diamonds, Robinson became even more involved in the civil rights movement after he retired in 1957. When King gave his righteous and impassioned address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, Dodgers great Jackie Robinson stood just feet away, looking on with his children.

Kenny Washington

Jackie Robinson and Kenny Washington stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the athletic fields of UCLA, as both excelled at football and baseball. Washington broke the NFL’s modern-era color barrier as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in 1946. What Kenny had to go through from his peers was in some ways harder than what Jackie Robinson had to endure. You could dodge a ball in baseball. But the Rams handed him the ball. One time in a game against the Washington, the players held him down, piled on top and put chalk in his eyes. Washington actively participated in politics.

Bill Russell 

In 1950 Chuck Cooper became the first black player to be drafted when he was chosen by Boston; Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton became the first to sign an NBA contract when he signed with New York, and Earl Lloyd became the first to play in an NBA regular-season game because the schedule had his Washington team opening one day before the others. NBA legend Bill Russell was feet way from MLK JR. as he gave his “I Have A Dream Speech.” Russell was the in the middle of his legendary career — he had five championships and three MVPs at that point — and his presence helped some understand the need for equality that extended from buses to restaurant counters all the way to the basketball court. Russell lended his presence to the civil rights movement on multiple occasions.

Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken-word performer in the 1970s and 1980s. His collaborative efforts with musician Brian Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself was “bluesologist”, which he defined as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues”. His music, most notably on Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. In fact, Scott-Heron himself is considered by many to be the first rapper/MC ever, a recognition also shared by fellow American MC Coke La Rock. Scott-Heron remained active until his death, and in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years, entitled I’m New Here. A memoir he had been working on for years up to the time of his death, The Last Holiday, was published posthumously in January 2012. In an extract from this memoir written the year before he passed , Gil Scott-Heron talks about when he toured with Stevie Wonder to establish Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday in the US.