The Art of the Deal? President Trump Pardons Criminal Bankers!

The Art of the Deal? President Trump joins President Obama in granting exemptions to Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Barclays, UBS, and Deutsche Bank.

SOURCE

 

“It takes a pillage.” 
― Nomi Prins, It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street

It is fitting timing that I was just finishing up re-reading Nomi Prin’s, “All Of The President’s Bankers”. How many more bail-outs, big shorts, and market riggings are we going to put up with? Do you think it is wise that we let the fed print money out of thin air and pick and choose what businesses sink or swim? The President just granted exemptions to some of the worlds biggest crony capitalists.

The Libor scandal was a series of fraudulent actions connected to the Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) and also the resulting investigation and reaction. The Libor is an average interest rate calculated through submissions of interest rates by major banks across the world. The scandal arose when it was discovered that banks were falsely inflating or deflating their rates so as to profit from trades, or to give the impression that they were more creditworthy than they were. Libor underpins approximately $350 trillion in derivatives. Around 20 major banks have been named in investigations and court cases. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. UBS AG, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Bank, and Citibank, as well as ICAP (Intercapital) are among the most prominent. Timothy Franz Geithnerthe, the 75th United States Secretary of the Treasury, presided over the AIG bonus scandal, the 2007-2008 bailouts, and the libor scandal. He now serves as president of Warburg Pincus.

In June 2012, multiple criminal settlements by Barclays Bank revealed significant fraud and collusion by member banks connected to the rate submissions, leading to the scandal. Because Libor is used in US derivatives markets, an attempt to manipulate Libor is an attempt to manipulate US derivatives markets, and thus a violation of American law. Since mortgages, student loans, financial derivatives, and other financial products often rely on Libor as a reference rate, the manipulation of submissions used to calculate those rates can have significant negative effects on consumers and financial markets worldwide. The manipulated rates harmed state, municipal and local governments. Homeowners in the US filed a class action lawsuit in October 2012 against twelve of the largest banks which alleged that Libor manipulation made mortgage repayments more expensive than they should have been.The cost of litigation from the scandal may exceed that of asbestos lawsuits.

In 2012 the Financial Times published an article by a former trader which stated that Libor manipulation had been common since at least 1991. As of August 2015, UBS trader Tom Hayes was the only person convicted in connection with the Libor scandal. In the first quarter of 2009, Citigroup had interest rate swaps of notional value of $14.2 trillion, Bank of America had interest rate swaps of notional value of $49.7 trillion and JPMorgan Chase had interest rate swaps of notional value of $49.3 trillion. Given the large notional values, a small unhedged exposure to the Libor could generate large incentives to alter the overall Libor. In the first quarter of 2009, Citigroup for example reported that it would make that quarter $936 million in net interest revenue if interest rates would fall by .25 percentage points a quarter, and $1,935 million if they were to fall by 1 percentage point instantaneously. The New York Federal Reserve chose to take no action against them at that time.

US experts such as former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts have argued that the Libor Scandal completes the picture of public and private financial institutions manipulating interest rates to prop up the prices of bonds and other fixed income instruments, and that “the motives of the Fed, Bank of England, US and UK banks are aligned, their policies mutually reinforcing and beneficial. The Libor fixing is another indication of this collusion. In 2016, Libertarian Candidate for President, Gary Johnson, cited this as an example as to why a “profound change” was due, in regards to the Federal Reserve System. Former Citigroup chairman and CEO Sandy Weill, surprised financial analysts in Europe and North America by calling for splitting up the commercial banks from the investment banks. In effect, he said that we should, “Bring back the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which led to half a century, free of financial crises.” The Danish, Swedish, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Libor rates have been terminated.  Traders sought particular rate submissions to benefit their financial positions. Later, during the 2007–2012 global financial crisis, they artificially lowered rate submissions to make their bank seem healthy. At least three banks – JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Bank of America – are still under investigation for their involvement in the fraud.

During the week of Christmas, the Federal Register announced that the Trump Administration had issued waivers to Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank—all megabanks facing charges of fraud and corruption. Deutsche Bank pled guilty to wire fraud in a U.S. court in 2015, and it went on to pay $3.5 billion for its role in the LIBOR scandal—more than any other bank involved—before it reached a $7.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department in early 2017. Then in June 2017, Deutsche Bank trader David Liew, who is based in Singapore, pleaded guilty to conspiring to spoof gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures in federal court in Chicago, confirming that the biggest banks in the world have conspired to rig precious metals markets.

 

In late 2016, the Obama administration extended temporary one-year waivers to five banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank. Late last month, the Trump administration issued new, longer waivers for those same banks, granting Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Barclays five-year exemptions. UBS and Deutsche Bank received three-year exemptions—revealing the real rulers in DC. Deutsche Bank — which is owed millions and millions by President Donald Trump and his business empire,  has also been fined for its role in a Russian money laundering scheme. In the year leading up to the new waiver for Deustche Bank, Trump’s financial relationship with the firm has prompted allegations of a conflict of interest. The bank has not only sought the Labor Department waiver from the administration, it has also faced Justice Department scrutiny and five separate government-appointed independent monitors. Meanwhile, the New York Times recently reported that federal prosecutors subpoenaed Deutsche for “bank records about entities associated with the family company of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.” All of these interactions with the Trump administration and the federal government are transpiring as Deutsche serves as a key creditor for the president’s businesses.

Trump owes the German bank at least $130 million in loans, according to the president’s most recent financial disclosure form. Sources have told the Financial Times the total amount of money Trump owes Deutsche is likely around $300 million. The president’s relationship with the bank dates back to the late 1990s, when it was the one major Wall Street bank willing to extend him credit after a series of bankruptcies. In 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump and his companies have received at least $2.5 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank and co-lenders since 1998. The relationship has had problems. After the financial crash, Trump defaulted on a $640 million loan from the bank. Deutsche brought Trump to court, and the famously litigious real estate mogul countersued for $3 billion in damages, claiming the financial crisis was a “force majeure” event that Deutsche Bank helped create. But the rift was short-lived: the parties settled, the loan was repaid, and Deutsche was soon lending to Trump again.

 

When will we elect leaders that will finally stand up to The Fed and Wall Street and demand that the most powerful banks be held accountable for criminal activity?


 

“Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all.“ Thomas Carlyle

Marco Battaglia writes for the Iowa Free Press and is a proud member of The Fourth Estate

See Also:

The Fourth Estate, The 2016 United States Of America Presidential Election, And A Case For A Modern Glass-Steagall Act in addition to Audit the Fed, and why no principled vote is a wasted vote.

 

 

 

 

Jesse Ventura and Kyle Estate Settle Out Of Court

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jesse Ventura served as Minnesota’s governor from 1999-2003. His win shocked the world, with so many that had become accustomed to seeing people from one of two political parties in American positions of power. When I have been around Jesse he has reminded me so much of my family from Minnesota. He is unlike any other person that I have been around, that has been Governor of a state. He got this anarchistic teenager interested in participating in our republic. Ventura’s dispute with the Kyle estate is now over. As a fan and friend to Ventura, and as a journalist, I watched this case closely over the years, especially after Kyle’s tragic passing.  It was settled out of court. Ventura said the settlement money didn’t come from Kyle’s widow or his estate. It really pisses me off that legitimate fake news turned a lot of really good people against each other and I hope that everyone can see that the two parties have settled their differences and put this thing to rest. We are on the same team. It also really bothered me that Clint Eastwood got involved in the propaganda revolving around yet another American who was indoctrinated into thinking that he was fighting on “God’s own team”. The grim truth is that far too many in the establishment have not been fighting to defend the principles of this country in some time. The shining truth is that many of us from many different walks are fighting to restore the principles that this country was founded on in our own ways. It will take many different types of us working together to work out our differences. I am resigned to battle on with the firm belief that we can restore our republic. Jesse Ventura currently hosts a variety news show, airing Fridays on RT, that tackles today’s biggest political stories. Embedded below is the latest episode.

 

 

 


 

 

“Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all.“ Thomas Carlyle

Marco Battaglia writes for the Iowa Free Press and is a proud member of The Fourth Estate

 

“Libertarians can never win”. Up until they win in a landslide. Rob Green wins Cedar Falls at-large city council seat.

CEDAR FALLS, IA — Libertarian Rob Green defeated Cedar Falls businessperson LeaAnn Saul in a landslide to win an at-large Cedar Falls City Council seat in a runoff election Tuesday.

Unofficial totals show Green with 2,901 votes, or 70.5 percent. Green, a University of Northern Iowa Rod Library employee and former president of the Overman Park Neighborhood Association, will succeed Nick Taiber, who did not seek re-election. Green and Saul were thrown into a runoff after neither gained a majority in a three-way race in the Nov. 7 municipal election. “The messaging I used was a very positive, very issue-driven campaign,” Green said. “I listed exactly where I stand, I was honest and that attracted people.” Green supports some kind of balance among full-time police and firefighters and cross-trained public safety officers. Cedar Falls is the 13th largest city in Iowa via population and it is home to The University of Northern Iowa.

http://robgreeniowa.com

https://www.facebook.com/rgreencf

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”


“Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all.“ Thomas Carlyle

Marco Battaglia writes for the Iowa Free Press and is a proud member of The Fourth Estate

 

Marco Battaglia’s Questionnaire on Mental Health

I am a major party candidate for governor of Iowa. I am taking part in the DSM Register’s mental health forum this evening. Here is my biography for tonights forum which will be live-streamed at https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/29/watch-live-mental-health-forum/906490001/

Marco Battaglia was born, raised, and educated in Iowa. His father grew up on a farm in Minnesota. His mother immigrated to Iowa from Italy with her family when she was a child. Marco is a media major with a degree from the University of Northern Iowa. He has professional experience in radio, journalism, finance, mortgage, and insurance. Marco has one child, a son in elementary school and he lives on an acreage on the south-side of Des Moines where he has kept livestock. Marco’s platform entitled, Give Freedom a Chance, revolves around medical freedom, agricultural freedom, and economic freedom.

www.marcoforgovernor.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybhaTJFzstQ

 

If elected governor, what are your priorities for your first 100 days in office?

Comprehensive tax reform that works for all Iowans while completely phasing out the income tax and reducing property taxes. A truly balanced budget that is going to reduce government waste while protecting the social safety net and public services that Iowans currently use.  Addressing mental health services and medical freedom for all Iowans. Working to end the war on drugs, civil asset forfeiture, eminent domain abuse, and big ag subsidies. Working to put Iowa on the forefront on a return to sound economics and sound money. 

What do you think is the single most important thing we can do to improve the mental health system in Iowa? 

Rein in the war on drugs. 

Do you supporting lifting the dollar cap on the mental health property tax levy? If not, what is your proposal for adequately funding adult mental health services in the state? 

No. I believe that it was a mistake to tie mental health funding to the property tax levy. We also know that spending more and more money does not always solve a problem. If this was the answer we would have some of the greatest health-care and some of the greatest education on the planet. We need to work smarter. I call for a Iowa Mental Health Task Force with a goal of ensuring access to community based treatment for every Iowan. The goal would be that the communities would see the value in these centers and work towards funding them at the community level. I think that it is ok to spend more money on this public safety issue. If government can’t provide this service, why do we have it? I simply think that the money should be alloted for in the budget transparently and directly. There are many hidden costs that come along with our current state of mental health services. These show themselves as people being arrested, in the court system, and/or imprisoned while truly needing mental health care. Some needing such care also wind up in emergency rooms that are not situated to provide them with the necessary treatment to allow them to address or cure issues. These types of logjams also impacts and sometimes is deadly for people or the victims of their crimes, that are accurately going through such avenues. 

Do you support opening new state mental health beds? Why or why not? 

Yes. I think that mental health treatment is best given in the community that one resides. Local, community based, youth driven, answers to mental health treatment are working in our neighboring states of Minnesota and South Dakota, and they are working around the world. 

What is the best way to increase the number of mental health professionals, especially prescribers, in our state?

I believe that we can use the existing training that we spend tax dollars for and refocus it on careers that we will need Iowans to do over the next century. Mental health professionals certainly rank high among them. 

 

You can reach Marco Battaglia with questions, ideas, or concerns via his website and social media. www.marcoforgovernor.com 

Marco Battaglia

MBGOV

The Iowa Free Press, Iowa Cancer Survivor Beth Dennis and Iowa(Colorado) Pot.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1–2

In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.”

[DEA Administrative Law Judge – 1988]” 
Francis Young

Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.” 
Bob Marley

The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
Carl Sagan

Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?”
Bill Hicks

Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use.”
Richard M. Nixon

Since announcing my campaign for Governor I have lost count of the people that have messaged me with questions about marijuana. I have gone on programs ranging from the far left to the far right and I have been routinely asked about marijuana. During my last campaign for Governor I was the only candidate running on a platform of an end to prohibition of medicinal plants. This time around I know that Jon Neiderbach is another candidate that is calling for an end to marijuana prohibition. I, like many of us, am cautious to talk about cannabis without medical science to back me up. Well, you hear stories, you hear some more stories, and then you hear some more and you start to wonder if maybe there is more to the story. I saw Beth Dennis messaging other journalists from around Iowa trying to share her story and few were responsive so I thought I would have a chat with her over the phone.

Beth Dennis is from Indianola, Iowa. Beth was fired from a job directly after reporting a highly respected member of her company and community, for sexual harassment. Beth has a child that was dealing with bullying in school. She looked for help high and low in her community and instead was threatened, ridiculed, and shamed. She is a mother and a grandmother and she was asking for help from her neighbors and found none. In 2013 Beth had a stroke believed to be caused by all of this stress. She lost a dangerous amount of weight. Just when it seemed like things could not go any worse Beth was diagnosed with Small-Cell Carcinoma. Small-cell carcinoma (also known as “small-cell lung cancer“, or “oat-cell carcinoma“) is a type of highly malignant cancer that most commonly arises within the lung, although it can occasionally arise in other body sites, such as the cervix, prostate,and gastrointestinal tract. Compared to non-small cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma has a shorter doubling time, higher growth fraction, and earlier development of metastases. Median survival is low. In limited-stage disease, median survival with treatment is 14–20 months, and about 20% of patients with limited-stage small-cell lung carcinoma live 5 years or longer. Because of its predisposition for early metastasis, the prognosis of SCLC is poor, with only 10% to 15% of patients surviving 3 years. The prognosis is far more grim in extensive-stage small-cell lung carcinoma; with treatment, median survival is 8–13 months; only 1–5% of patients with extensive-stage small-cell lung carcinoma treated with chemotherapy live 5 years or longer. Basically it quickly spreads to other parts of the body and by the time it has spread to other parts of the body it is often hard to treat. This is similar to the type of cancer that got some tough mother f’ers. John Wayne, Warren Zevon, Vincent Price, to name a few.

 

Beth’s doctor, Matt Hill, said that he could find 3 cases similar to hers specifically in the last 20 years. Her doctors suggested chemotherapy and radiation however having seen her mother die of cancer, Beth was willing to try anything that she could to fight to survive. After Beth’s stroke she wanted to gain weight in a healthy manner and she discovered medical cannabis to help with appetite and her weight. She found this to be effective. Beth regularly used CBD Oil, which is now legal to possess in Iowa. Because of the nature of the bill people like Beth that want to try this still have to have even legal CBD oil shipped to them. Beth got hers from a company in Colorado that was willing to ship the oil after it became legal in Iowa. Beth discovered a social media group on facebook called, “Clinical Cannabis Care”. Members there talk about a lot of things that they had success treating with cannabis, some include cancers, COPD, fibromaglia, addiction, and PTSD. The facebook group helped her figure out how to acquire high thc cbd oil derived from whole medical cannabis plants. This is still illegal in Iowa as of press time. Beth began taking high thc cannabis oil three times a day, at about ½ a gram each dose, as the group recommended she get up to 30 grams in 90 days. Cannabis oil can come in a syringe and you just take a dose on your tongue and swallow it. She says that this was easy to do. Cannabis oil does not cause the feeling known as a high, that comes along with smoking or otherwise eating the cannabis plant. In addition to this the group told her that she needed to have a low sugar diet and cut out processed foods. After 3 months on this dosage and diet Beth went to see her Oncologist and he said that he had some news for her. Beth was prepared for the worst and very scared. Beth’s doctor told her that her cancer was gone, that he could find no evidence of disease. He even said that he could no longer easily find evidence that she had suffered a stroke. Prior to these events Beth was on different kinds of medicine, including opioids like hydrocodine. She was on tramadol, aspirin, and antidepressants. Now after these events she only uses cannabis oil from time to time. She was glad to find something to use for pain relief besides opioids or aspirin as she had even previously suffered an aspirin overdose. Beth says the biggest issue with treating an illness this way is the fact that it is illegal. She says that this makes it dangerous to acquire and much more expensive than it should be. Beth is raising money to start a clinic, where she can help other people fight cancer the way that she did. If you would like to keep in touch on or help support this project please let me know.

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vndx0b3ULLM


 

“Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all.“ Thomas Carlyle

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.

 

The Iowa Free Press on James Wilson Grimes

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly was the guest for the premiere of Laura Ingraham’s new show on Fox News Channel on Monday night. During the interview, he outlined his view of the history of the Civil War. Kelly is a retired United States Marine Corps general. Kelly made several points. That Lee was honorable. That fighting for state was more important than fighting for country. That a lack of compromise led to the war. That good people on both sides were fighting for conscientious reasons. When I listened to Kelly’s words I had to go home and look for some books in my library. I agree that it was ultimately lack of compromise that lead to the war but I also believe that the rest of the story is not simple or easy to compare to our current place in history.

Last night during a facebook live video I mentioned that James W. Grimes was one of my favorite Governors from Iowa history. I am now compelled to elaborate as to some of the reasons why. Grimes studied law and he was a farmer. He spent most of his adult life in the area we know as Burlington, Iowa. Grimes helped start “The Iowa Farmer and Horticulturist” in 1853. Grimes served as a member of the Iowa Territorial House of Representatives for 1838 – 1839 and 1843 – 1844 terms. He served as Governor of Iowa from 1854 to 1858. Grimes slogan was “No More Slave States”.  He also insisted on the protection of all Iowa citizens as they had moved on to “free territory”. Many historians believe that Grimes let northerners use Iowa’s arsenal in the fight to help Kansas become a free state. Grimes was the only Iowa Governor to serve as a Whig, and the last Iowa Governor to date to be from a party other than the Democratic or Republican parties. While elected as a Whig in 1854, he was a guiding light in the Republican Party’s establishment in Iowa in 1855 and 1856. The RPI was founded on an anti-slavery platform in 1856 by citizens dissatisfied with the existing Whig and Democratic Parties.  Other than James W. Grimes, Samuel J. Kirkwood, abolitionist and later Iowa’s Civil War governor, is credited as one of the principal founders. Summoned from his mill at Coralville and still coated in flour dust, Kirkwood gave a rousing speech at the founding meeting of the Republican Party of Iowa in February 1856 in Iowa City. Many people credited Kirkwood’s speech and subsequent work with the success of the party in Iowa. Another principal founder was Edward Russell, an outspoken abolitionist editor who later turned the Davenport Gazette into an award-winning Republican newspaper and one of the largest dailies in Iowa. At the Republican State Convention in 1865, Russell introduced the resolution declaring negro suffrage in Iowa and carried it by a decisive majority. His more famous son, Charles Edward Russell, went on to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  Pro-Union sentiment during and after the Civil War helped the party to expand in importance. Between 1858 and 1932 the Republicans won every Iowa gubernatorial election, with the exception of 1890, when Horace Boies, a former Republican, was elected because of his opposition to Prohibition.

James Grimes was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1859 and reelected in 1865. He served in the Senate from March 4, 1859, until resigning December 6, 1869 citing ill health. In the Senate, he served as chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia (in the 37th and 38th Congresses), and the Committee on Naval Affairs (in the 39th through 41st Congresses). He also served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments. The amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws. The amendment limits the actions of all state and local officials, including those acting on behalf of such an official. The Due Process Clause prohibits state and local government officials from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without legislative authorization. This clause has also been used by the federal judiciary to make most of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural requirements that state laws must satisfy. The Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people, including all non-citizens, within its jurisdiction. This clause has been the basis for many decisions rejecting irrational or unnecessary discrimination against people belonging to various groups.

14th

 

In 1861 Grimes was a member of the peace convention held in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending Civil War. The Peace Conference of 1861 was a meeting of 131 leading American politicians in February 1861, at the Willard’s Hotel in Washington, DC, on the eve of the American Civil War. In failing to limit the expansion of slavery to all new territories, the compromise failed to satisfy hardline Republicans. In failing to protect slavery in all territories, the compromise failed to address the issue that had divided the Democratic Party into northern and southern factions in the 1860 presidential elections.

1280px-Willard_Hotel_-_Franklin_Pierce_inauguration_-_Illustrated_News_-_1853

In December 1861, Grimes introduced the senate bill which led to the creation of the Medal of Honor.  On 9 December 1861, James W. Grimes, Chairman on the Committee on Naval Affairs, proposed Public Resolution Number 82 (Bill 82: 37th Congress, Second Session, 12 Stat. 329) “to promote the efficiency of the Navy” which included a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor which was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21, 1861 (Medal of Valor had been established for the Navy), “to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamen-like qualities during the present war.” Secretary Wells directed the Philadelphia Mint to design the new military decoration. On May 15, 1862, the United States Navy Department ordered 175 medals ($1.85 each) with the words “Personal Valor” on the back from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

 

Ortega_meda_of_Honor

 

James W. Grimes’ most famous political action happened while he was a United States Senator. His vote helped save President Andrew Johnson from impeachment and his thinking secured the idea that our democratic republic would have many Presidents to come, and that impeachment of a President via congress would prove to be rare and quite difficult. Grimes had a stroke two days prior to his no vote and had to be carried to the senate chamber to vote. Johnson was saved by one vote. He was one vote short of the required two-thirds. Although James did not agree with Johnson, he did not want to risk changing the set up of the Presidency, “I cannot agree to destroy the harmonious working of the constitution for the sake of getting rid of an unacceptable President.” His vote was not a popular decision at the time and he was severely criticized even among some of his family and friends.

In all, eight U.S. presidents have faced possible impeachment. President Richard M. Nixon faced impeachment over his involvement in the Watergate scandal and its fallout. In fact, the House of Representatives approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon, making him the second U.S. president (after Johnson) to face a potential hearing before the Senate. However, Nixon resigned in 1974 before Congress could begin the proceedings. More recently, President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 over allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from a lawsuit filed against him relating to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Although the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved two articles of impeachment against President Clinton, he was ultimately acquitted by the Senate the next year and finished his second four-year term in office in 2000. Dennis Kucinich brought 35 articles of impeachment against Bush in 2008, although none of them ever progressed to a House vote despite Democratic control of the chamber.  As these cases indicate, impeachment is considered a power to be used only in extreme cases, and as such, it has been used relatively infrequently. In all, the House of Representatives has impeached only 19 federal officials, and the Senate has conducted formal impeachment trials with seven acquittals, eight convictions, three dismissals and one resignation (Nixon’s) with no further action. It’s also important to note that the power of Congress to impeach is not limited to the president or vice president. Indeed, throughout history, senators and federal judges have also been impeached.

 

In addition to federal impeachment, state legislatures are also granted the power to impeach elected officials in 49 of the 50 states, with Oregon being the lone exception. At the state level, the process of impeachment is essentially the same as at the national level: typically, the lower state legislative chamber (the state assembly) is charged with levying and investigating formal accusations before ultimately voting on articles of impeachment should there be evidence of possible misconduct. If the lower body approves any article(s) of impeachment, the upper chamber (the state senate) conducts a hearing or trial on the charges, during which both the legislators and the accused may call witnesses and present evidence. Once the evidence and testimony has been presented, the upper chamber of the state legislature—much like the U.S. Senate at the federal level—must vote on whether the charged official is guilty or innocent. Usually, a supermajority (two-thirds majority or greater) is required for conviction and removal from office. And just like at the federal level, impeachment at the state level is extremely rare. For example, the state of Illinois has impeached only two officials in its entire history—a judge in 1832-33 and a governor (Rod Blagojevich) in 2008-09.

 

There have only been a three occasions when the Iowa House of Representatives has filed articles of impeachment. In 1886, the House impeached District Judge Walter I. Hayes. In 1886, the House impeached State Auditor John L. Brown. In 1919, the House impeached Governor William Harding. In each of these instances, the impeachment failed in the State Senate. The most notable impeachment case involves the impeachment of State Auditor John L. Brown.  There is a plethora of information about this case.  The other instance involves the attempted impeachment of Governor William Harding over a pardon he granted.  According to Iowa: Its History and Its Foremost Citizens, Volume 2 by Johnson Brighmam, on March 3, 1885, Buren Sherman Iowa’s 12th governor “called Auditor John L. Brown to account for an alleged irregularity in reporting to the state treasurer the insurance fees collected by him.  Brown failed to satisfy the governor and was summarily suspended. The suspension was accompanied by an order to vacate the office. The auditor denied the right of the governor to make the order. Locking himself into his private office, Brown awaited Sherman’s next move. He had not long to wait. The governor, with the aid of his militia, forcibly entered and ejected the auditor. [Sherman] appointed Jonathan W. Cattell, ex-auditor to fill the vacant position.” (p. 490). Then, in April 1886, after William Larabee was elected governor, he removed Cattell as auditor and reinstated Brown to office on the basis that Brown had been wrongfully removed.  On April 9, 1886, “a senate committee reported unfavorably on Auditor Brown’s course. Articles of impeachment were preferred by the House, and Brown was tried before the Senate. Meantime the governor appointed Charles Beardsley auditor pro tem. The trial divided the Senate temporarily into hostile camps. Suffice to say, the impeachment failed, and Auditor Brown was reinstated.” (p.520). “After a lengthy trial he was acquitted of all serious charges and a subsequent General Assembly reimbursed him for expenses incurred in the trial.” (History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 4, p. 31)  In 1919, Iowa Governor William Harding’s administration was clouded by the fact that the Iowa House Judiciary Committee attempted to impeach Harding due to allegations of granting a pardon to an Iowa prisoner after accepting a bribe from his family. Although Harding was not impeached, a censure motion was approved. When the House Judiciary Committee attempted to impeach Governor Harding it was because he gave a pardon in November 1918 to Ernest Rathbon who had confessed to rape in Ida County in December 1917. Rathbon had been sentenced to life in prison. Rathbon had testified at the trial of another defendant involved in the case and perjured himself in statements made concerning that trial. The statements, however, were helpful in securing his pardon. Then, when it was discovered that he’d perjured himself, he was convicted of that crime as well, and his pardon was annulled and his prior life conviction reinstated.

 

Andrew_Johnson_impeachment_trial

 

Grimes died in Burlington on February 7, 1872, aged 55. He is buried in the Aspen Grove cemetery, in Burlington.

grimesgrave

The plot of land that his home was once located on is now home to an elementary school that bears his name.

burlington

Grimes played a significant role in getting our country to the point where we have schools with public notices like the one that appears on Grimes Elementary’s website today, “PUBLIC NOTICE: IT IS THE POLICY OF THE BURLINGTON COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT NOT TO DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, CREED, SEX, MARITAL STATUS, NATIONAL ORIGIN, RELIGION, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, AGE, OR DISABILITY IN ITS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, ACTIVITIES, OR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES.” The town of Grimes, IA is named for him.

John F. Kelly, I myself do believe that a hard reality is that the civil war was incited over world powers fighting over currency, a fight that led us to Wall Street and the Federal Reserve as we know it today, but that is a discussion for another day. Well, there, now you know a lot more about one of my favorite governors from Iowa history and much more about why I think that talking about the civil war is not as simple as many Democrats and Republicans try to make it.


 

“Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all.“ Thomas Carlyle

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.

 

How we simplify and reduce the tax burden on ALL Iowans, work towards ending the income tax, AND increase revenue at the SAME TIME. By Gubernatorial Candidate Marco Battaglia

“A rising tide lifts all the boats.”

JFK

“Atlas, Rise!”

James Hetfield

snake

                    The last few times a state has elected a Governor that was clearly not affiliated with either of the two major parties reforms to taxation happened! In Rhode Island when Lincoln Chafee won he cut the commercial property tax and reduced estate taxes. When Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota he oversaw reforms of Minnesota’s property tax, cut income taxes, and oversaw the state’s first sales tax rebate! Beyond Ventura’s policy initiatives, Ventura will most be remembered for getting average citizens interested in politics. I am one of them. While Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson was Governor of New Mexico he vetoed 200 of 424 bills passed in his first six months in office—a national record of 47% of all legislation—and used the line-item veto on most remaining bills. He also passed a gasoline tax cut. While Governor of Massachusetts Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate William Weld had the business community react strongly to his leadership. In a 1994 survey of chief executives conducted by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, 83% of those polled rated the state’s business climate as good or excellent—up from only 33% at the beginning of his term. It is important to note that New Hampshire has no general sales tax, nor is personal income (other than interest and dividends) taxed at either the state or local level. This is not some pipe dream, it is achievable as Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and, Wyoming, and Tennessee do not have income tax either. In addition to New Hampshire, Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Alaska also have no sales tax. Iowa if you make history with me and elect a non-democrat and a non-republican I will work to reduce and simplify taxation across the board. Here are some ways that we can accomplish this.

 

Cut Waste, increase efficiency, innovate, modernize, and work smarter not harder!- I am willing to bet that we can go through the budget with a fine tooth comb and cut waste without so much as firing anyone or touching a hair on the social safety net or education. I am confident that we can even find enough waste to increase mental health and education spending while we are at it.

 

Increase Sales – The government sells a lot of stuff – whether that is hunting licenses, unclaimed property, park passes, or public transportation tickets. But the government does not do a good job marketing their services as well as optimizing the sales process. The state could easily get more money if they gave citizens the option to renew services automatically or be better reminded through various channels.

 

Optimize Collections – Libertarians would like to get punishments for non-violent offenses off the books. Guess what this will not happen over night, and it won’t ever happen if we do not get elected. By lowering the barrier to payment on fines, we could greatly increase revenue. Websites that sell things learned this a long time ago with 1-click payment. It has to be super easy for people to buy or they will forget or move on. Government agencies could increase revenue by spending time optimizing the collection process making it easy to for people to pay their fees. There are a lot of unpaid parking tickets, library fees, business/property taxes, and other fees that can ramp up quickly if governments optimized the collection process.

 

Shut down the High Quality Jobs slush fund- The High Quality Jobs Fund is Orwellianly titled. Since 2011, the High Quality Jobs program has cost Iowa taxpayers more than $352 million in tax exemptions. For that enormous sum, we’ve gotten just 1,300 new jobs in return, at a cost of nearly $3 million dollars per job. Iowa does not need to bribe large corporations to build big data centers here. We already have huge advantages that bring them here naturally. Electricity is their biggest ongoing cost and we have lots of low cost, reliable, renewable-produced electricity. We are only going to have more renewable energy from here on out. Iowa is also relatively free from earthquakes, has lots of water and our winters reduce the cost of cooling hot computer servers for half of the year. In addition, there’s an Iowa sales tax exemption on the electricity consumed by data centers, a tax break worth tens of millions.

 

New Markets- Lets get it out of way. Yes, I want to entirely end prohibition. I want whole plant freedom for the species Cannabis sativa. This includes hemp and it’s “sister” cannabis. Colorado has received more than $500 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales since it legalized the drug in 2014. Couple this with hemp revenue and you could see this number triple.  How is that for a one-two punch? Why stop there? The list of easily provable medicinal scheduled items goes well beyond marijuana. Think of the markets for ibogaine, kratom, psilocybin mushrooms, mdma, and raw dairy! We could address our aging related illness, obesity, depression, suicide, mental health, ptsd, meth, heroin and opioid problems head on! Think of how many people that we could get off of welfare and/or back into the workforce! Think of the savings to medical costs! Of course I do not think that any of these items are miracle cures or that these items should be used without the assistance of medical professionals. I simply think that medical professionals should be free to utilize these medicines! You do not and should not take my word for it. Do your own research. Talk to medical professionals. Read scientific journals. Visit and see if you agree with me that Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the union. By reducing harmful big ag subsidies we can open up markets for aronia and blackberries. For wheat, tobacco, oat, straw. You wanna get nuts!? Come on! Lets get nuts! We can open up markets for hazlenut, pecans, walnuts, and peanuts. Farmers could compete via pollinator or fish farming! The great thing is that all of these things can be farmed in sustainable and ethical manners by independent farmers. We could increase revenue while preserving Iowa’s water and soil and restoring Prairie! Lets give new market freedom a chance!

 

Privatize the Iowa Lottery-

I think that the lottery should be privatized. However it is important to note that Illinois, New Jersey, and Indiana have provided examples of how NOT to privatize the lottery. It seems to me a majority of lottery experts agree that successful internet lottery operations will be the key to continued growth. I remain optimistic about the prospects for the Iowa Lottery to improve their level of performance by enlisting experienced private managers. I think that we must look for operators who offer real differences in the ways that the lottery would be run, not just projections based on business-as-usual approaches. We must also ask for an upfront payment. This would stimulate strong competition and ensure that the state would benefit from day one. The contract should remunerate the operator with a share of the net proceeds of the lottery [sales less prizes]. This would not only align the incentives of both the new operator and the state, but also provide an appropriate balance between risk and reward for the two. A private operator would modernize all lottery technology and embrace interactive lottery games, guaranteeing a new approach and new revenues. An appropriate manager would have experience generating revenues for a lottery. If done effectively this could have a significant positive impact on state revenue.

Legalize Fantasy Sports, E-Sports for profit, and ensure online gamblers have safe access to their money-

Listen, if people are going to spend their time playing video games we should allow them to create revenue. People are going to gamble whether any of us like it or not. While we should make sure that those that need help with addiction have help readily available it does not make much sense to me to force gamblers and gamers underground or into national or global markets. I think this area could provide us a huge increase in revenue if we simply embrace reality.

 

Voluntary Donation-  Shocking I know. Do you think that people without chosen beneficiaries would leave money to their county, city, or state? Do you think people that feel that they have more than enough wealth to go around would? You know what, I think so and it could not hurt to try. What if we simply opened the door to voluntary taxation while reducing forced taxation? What harm comes from trying? What if we could provide such good representation that people responded with voluntary tax payments? But Marco, our taxation is already voluntary. Good luck trying that one.

Response to a request for a statement on immigration from Gubernatorial candidate Marco Battaglia

Immigration policy should be
generous; it should be fair; it should
be flexible. With such a policy we
can turn to the world, and to our own
past, with clean hands and a clear
conscience.”
John F. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants

Give free markets a chance! Free movement of people is often regarded as one of the core concepts of libertarian theory and philosophy. Every American who ever lived, with the exception of one group, was either an immigrant himself or a descendant of immigrants. Libertarian Party national chair, Nicholas Sarwark, says of the recent political actions on DACA, “This is a heartless move by the Trump Administration. The recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) did nothing wrong. In fact, their parents loved them so much as to risk everything to bring them out of areas of extreme violence and poverty. They wanted a safer, better life for their children in America. How can we disparage them for that? This president shows mercy to a criminally convicted sheriff, but would toss young immigrants to the wolves for the acts of their parents? You can measure a bully based on whom they choose to pick on.” I agree with him. The Libertarian Party does not support classifying undocumented immigrants, of any age, as criminals. The current US immigration system is an embarrassment. I believe that as long as I have been living and breathing that it has been the duty of congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. People who would like to follow the legal procedures are unable to because these procedures are so complex, expensive, and lengthy. If Americans want immigrants to enter through legal channels, we need to make those channels fair, reasonable, and accessible. Immigration should be an encouraged easy path with precious employees and resources spent focusing on deportation of violent criminals and terrorism suspects both still to be given due process. The country that I want for us and our children is one that reduces illegal immigration in droves by simply highlighting the protections and liberties gained by becoming a legal citizen. Things like internment of enemy aliens and lawless deportation should remain in history books as examples of how government attempts to manage the labor market have failed.

The primary reason that the USA had such an illegal immigrant problem in the 1900s was a demand for labor. Mexico began discouraging emigration to the United States in the early 1900s, beginning with President Porfirio Díaz. Diaz, like many other Mexican government officials, realized that the laborers leaving for the United States would be needed to industrialize and expand the Mexican economy. Despite the concepts of illegal and legal immigration Americans continued to recruit and hire illegal laborers to meet their labor needs. Food shortages were common in Mexico while food rotted in the fields and most of the foodstuff that was successfully produced was exported.

What must be understood is that Mexico and American governments worked together to deport illegal immigrants! Mexican and American governments developed a strategy in 1945 to deport Mexicans deeper into Mexican territory by a system of planes, boats, and trains. In this country state force against illegal immigration peaked initially in the 1950s with the joint effort between the United States and Mexican governments called Operation Wetback. Overall, there were approximately 1,078,168 apprehensions made in the first year of Operation Wetback, with approximately 170,000 being rounded up from May to July 1954. In addition, many illegal immigrants fled to Mexico fearing arrest; estimated at over half a million from Texas alone. Scholars who have studied that period say it is impossible to verify the Border Patrol’s claim that more than 1.3 million people were apprehended and left the country in 1954. On a different front after Americans withdrew from the Vietnam War, our Indochinese allies faced imprisonment, torture and death under communist regimes. The Tai Dam, an ethnic group from northern Vietnam, campaigned for sanctuary, writing letters to 30 U.S. governors in 1975. Only Republican Governor Robert D. Ray of Iowa agreed to help. In fact Ray wielded more influence over Indochinese refugee resettlement and relief than any other governor in the nation. I am proud that this legacy of compassion is left by a Governor from my state.

Efforts by government to manage the labor market are as apt to fail as similar efforts to protect domestic industries or orchestrate industrial policy. It is important to note that deportations reached their highest point in history under President Obama in 2013. Though statistically true it is not giving the whole picture to put this burden on one President. It would be difficult to increase these numbers without a significant increase in federal spending across multiple administrations and substantial changes to the current legal system. Until recent years, most people caught illegally crossing the southern border were simply bused back into Mexico in what officials called “voluntary returns,” but which critics derisively termed “catch and release.” Those removals, which during the 1990s reached more 1 million a year, were not counted in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportation statistics. Now, the vast majority of border crossers who are apprehended get fingerprinted and formally deported. The change began during the George W. Bush administration and accelerated under Obama. The policy stemmed in part from a desire to ensure that people who had crossed into the country illegally would have formal charges on their records. If you ask me we simply corrected the definition. If a government moves a person forcibly from one spot on the planet to another I consider that deportation. For what it is worth I think that Rand Paul is right on this matter when he says that Sessions does have a valid legal argument against DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This matter should be addressed by congress as it should have been since before I was born. Congress should act to pass legislation to reinstate the policies from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Utah’s delegation are uniquely positioned to take a leading role in shepherding it to the president’s desk. Rep. Mia Love has already released a strong statement in support of DACA legislation, pointing to her own history as a daughter of immigrants. By their words alone it appears to me that congress has the votes to pass immigration reform. The issue appears to me that, as with war powers, many in congress would rather pass this power to a President than have to make a hard decision that may impact their paychecks and/or their donations. In the meantime if we are truly concerned about curbing violence and vetting terrorist suspects, we could focus our resources on these areas while working with our neighbors to improve trade policy, and working to end prohibition.

 

Sincerely, Gubernatorial candidate Marco Battaglia

What I Mean When I Say Give Economic Freedom A Chance- by Gubernatorial Candidate Marco Battaglia

Economic Freedom

This campaign issue was inspired by my time learning from and working with Dr. Ron Paul and his son, Dr. Rand Paul.

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”

— John Adams

The People and any lawful inhabitant, resident, or sojourner of the state of Iowa shall have the most economic freedom that government can allow.

I believe that in order for the largest number of Iowans to be able to prosper and pursue their vision of happiness that we need to keep a balanced budget and to reduce the debts that we are passing on to our children and to future Iowans. The Governor and her protege before her, have left us with state tax receipts that are running about $100 million short of expectations through May 31. This is unacceptable. Short term and haphazard cuts are detrimental to Iowans and are no answers to our problems. Governor Kim Reynolds plans to use money from the state’s “Economic Emergency Fund” to ensure the state budget is balanced when the books are officially closed on the current state fiscal year. Governor Reynolds said “everything has to be on the table”, when she and the Republican-led Legislature work next session to come up with revisions. Now, historically what this means from a Democrat or a Republican is more taxing, followed by more spending. I would work to ensure that what this means is simplified taxation and cuts to waste and corporate welfare as opposed to cuts to education or safety net programs that Iowans currently depend on. The key to moving Iowans out of a reliance on the safety net is not to leave them out in the cold, but to put Iowa on the forefront on a move to sound money and on the front-lines in the battle to end financial tyranny.

 

In order to enjoy economic freedom Iowans must be secure from tyranny. The Fourth Amendment is clear; it says we should be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects, and that all warrants must have probable cause and describe in particular the places, the people, and the items that are going to be looked at. Giving the accused their day in court isn’t a suggestion. It’s enshrined in our Constitution as a cornerstone of our judicial system. Civil asset forfeiture, which should be called civil asset theft, is the practice of seizing property believed to be involved in a crime. The government keeps the property even if it never convicts, or even charges, the owner of the property. Police can even use civil asset theft to steal from people whose property was used in criminal activity without the owners’ knowledge. Some have even lost their homes because a renter or house-guest was dealing drugs on the premises behind the owners’ backs. I propose that we end the practice of civil asset forfeiture. I propose that we move to protect Iowans from mass spying and indefinite detention. If the federal government does not start putting it’s citizenry first, Iowa, we need to take action. I move that no asset forfeiture, spying, or detention of any lawful inhabitant, resident, or sojourner of the state of Iowa shall be allowed without due process. I believe that we need to make it easier for those that do their time upon being convicted of a crime to have all of their rights restored immediately upon doing so.

 

I want to put Iowa on the front-line in the battle for economic freedom. I would settle for us simply giving economic freedom a chance. The Arizona House has removed a gold and silver inflationary tax. Meanwhile Utah and Oklahoma have declared gold and silver legal tender in their state, free from any taxation. Iowa needs to take steps toward sound currency and if the fiscal policy out of D.C. continues to be reckless civil, world, and race war fear mongering in the build up to our leaders debts being kicked on down the road for another year when they become due every September, we need to opt out. The sooner the better. I think that we are smarter than this and that we are tired of such insults to our intelligence. The state movement to designate gold and silver coin as legal tender is a low-risk, high-reward initiative to give citizens a prudent choice in currency. While the federal government has only offered more of the same (money printing), the states are in a position to create a different path and point America back to its sound money foundation. It is a state solution to a national crisis that can no longer be postponed. Iowans deserve a choice in currency. A choice in currency really means a choice – no one is compelled to accept or tender gold and silver coins, just as they cannot be compelled to use paper notes (consider the retailers who refuse to accept certain denominations of cash altogether). Iowa, we need to recognize crypto-currency as a valid alternative to paper money. Regulators are going to grapple with how to regulate and tax crypto-currency over the next few years and by beating them to the punch we can insure a fair and just way to recognize them without encroaching on our citizens civil liberties. I want to ensure that a citizen of Iowa will be able to deposit commodities, gold or silver – and pay other people through electronic means or checks – in sound money. We need to treat gold and silver specie as money. We can start by repealing state sales taxes on precious metals.

 

Iowa, we can help end financial tyranny. We can keep our place as one of the most stable states in the union if we return to balancing our books and keep the debt we pass on to future Iowans in check. I ask you to join me in working to protect our citizens from civil asset forfeiture, mass spying, and indefinite detention. We can make it easier for Iowans that have served their time to make their way back up the economic ladder as valued members of our community. We can allow for and recognize competing forms of currency while ensuring Iowans of their civil liberties. Iowa, I ask of you to give economic freedom a chance.

What I Mean When I Say Give Agricultural Freedom A Chance- by Gubernatorial Candidate Marco Battaglia

Agricultural Freedom

This campaign issue was inspired by my travels and interactions with farmers through the state as well as by the memory of Iowa Farmer and world champion Wrestler, Frank Gotch.

The People of the state of Iowa shall have freedom of choice and practice in work and stewardship of the land as they deem in their own personal best interest and judgment.

It seems the current political establishment has no problem with cronyism or corporate welfare. Cronyism plus corporate welfare sets up ideal conditions for crony capitalism. Iowans have been conditioned to accept that it is OK for their leaders to influence and create markets even when there is no clear benefit to a majority of Iowans. These leaders are happy to take credit when a back-room deal has been struck between leaders and national or multinational corporations. They express joy when the concept of eminent domain is abused to pad their or their business partners pocketbooks. I think that it is great when innovative new companies decide to locate in Iowa. I think it is great when the most possible Iowans can find good work for good pay. I do think that we need to take a long hard look at our appointed leadership and at our policies to ensure that, as far as the governance is concerned, that we have a fair playing field for a local start-up and a multinational corporation alike. When our current political leaders want to seek funding they start saying things like, “we are feeding the world”, “ we are fueling the world”, and they start talking about large hog or chicken operations without differentiating between them and a traditional family run farm. The truth is a majority of Iowans now work in industries like medicine, banking and insurance and that due to increased crony capitalism it is becoming harder and harder for a young Iowan to enter the farming business. I believe that this type of crony capitalism can be easily seen in agriculture but I believe that these principles can be applied to state business in general. My fellow Iowans I ask of you to give agricultural freedom a chance.

 

Iowa is still known for having wonderful soil. When Iowa land was first plowed, the settlers found 14 to 16 inches of topsoil. By the year 2000 the average was six to eight inches. When the prairie plants were plowed under, the soil was to exposed and vulnerable to erosion. Soil erosion is the process of removing soil materials from their original sites by water or wind. Hard rains that wash across bare soil move Iowa’s black gold into gullies and streams. During dry weather winds can carry loose soil across the countryside. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, the rest of Iowa’s topsoil could be gone in the next 100 to 150 years. Collusion between state and federal officials has drastically reduced the number of family farms and increased mono-culture. These actions have created multiple side-effects such as a loss of top-soil, high levels of nitrates in the water, and a decline in the health and numbers of our states natural and native pollinators. I believe that we must gradually work to free the agricultural market so that sustainable family farmers can stand a chance to become good stewards of the land again. What I mean by this, is that we must gradually work to end big agricultural welfare and subsidies, we must allow free market competition so that multi-cropping and cover-copping can compete with mono-culture farming which leaves us with chronic surpluses of things like corn, soy, and hogs. Subsidizing these markets may sound good to people that are in the business of large agriculture but when you break it down to the basics it is taking control of the market and picking and choosing who is going to get paid extra wages for growing what crops. In Iowa we do this to prop up the corn and soy markets, in other parts of the world they do this with crops like rice and opium.

 

The Governor can say nice things like that we are feeding the world but the truth is that a whole lot of what we are doing is creating ethanol and high fructose corn syrup. Ethanol is a type of alcohol – it’s the thing in booze that makes you drunk. It is also a fuel. Ethanol is used as transportation fuel, either on its own or added to other fuels, such as gasoline. Much of the ethanol in the United States is currently made from corn. The fuel is big business here in Iowa – 47 percent of the state’s corn goes into ethanol, according to the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Let me remind you who won our last Republican Presidential caucus in Iowa. It was a man by the name of Ted Cruz. Cruz takes a very different tack than almost all other Democrats and Republicans that I have seen campaigning here. He is against the RFS. Cruz decries the mandate as a Washington-driven, anti-free market scam that makes people rich. “There’s a reason the lobbyists want the people of Iowa focused on the RFS,” Cruz said last year in Independence, Iowa. “Because as long as the RFS is front and center, it keeps Iowa dependent on Washington.” For the most part I agree with Ted Cruz on this issue and I think that more Iowans than the establishment realizes agree with us on this matter. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose. The U.S. PIRG Education Fund, a consumer advocacy group, highlights often tragic consequences of long-standing agriculture policies that have showered hundreds of billions of dollars on a small handful of crops including corn and soybeans that are processed into such additives. One being that childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the past 30 years, an alarming public health development that is contributing about $150 billion a year to the overall cost of U.S. health care.

 

So aside from moving away from subsidizing big agriculture what are some steps that we can do to move Iowa in the direction of agricultural freedom? I believe that we will see many positive results from ending prohibition on hemp growing as well as ending the prohibition on raw dairy sales. We need to reevaluate appointments that make decisions on eminent domain so that this process can proceed as it was originally intended. I believe that we can move the focus away from companies outside of the state receiving welfare and increasing support for items like The Agricultural Assets Transfer Tax Credit, commonly referred to as the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit. I have spoken to many an Iowa farmer that was only able to start farming in the last decade because of beginning farmer programs. We also need to make sure that appointments are made and policy is reviewed to ensure that justice is the same whether you are an individual family farmer or the owner of a large farming operation. I don’t think that you will find a Libertarian that believes you should be able to harm your neighbors or anyone downwind, or downstreams well-being, land and/or property without consequences. I think that you will see a lot more people and/or corporations being taken to court if they do not start minding their runoff, drift, and waste. From my travels and my research I find that the less dependent on the government the farmer, the better steward of the land they are. I think that farmers should be able to utilize hemp as a cash and as a cover crop as they see fit. Hemp can fix large amounts of nitrogen. Used as a cover crop, hemp can improve soil properties, reduce soil erosion, conserve soil water, and recycle plant nutrients. Raw milk has become popular in recent years as part of the local food movement: An estimated 3 percent of the population drinks at least one glass a week. Many of its fans are fiercely passionate about what they see as its benefits. They say they buy raw milk because it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners or the growth hormone rGBH, they like the taste, and they enjoy having a direct connection to the food they eat. Some claim that it helps them avoid allergy problems and/or that it is the only kind of milk that they can drink because they have problems with the homogenization process. I think that, as we do with other potentially dangerous food items, we should allow individuals to decide for themselves what is best for them. A number of states that have allowed raw milk sales did not do so to condone it. Rather, giving people the freedom to choose for themselves also gives public health agencies the power to regulate a market that otherwise exists underground.

 

Starting the process of moving away from big agriculture subsidies and corporate welfare will allow more and more family farmers to compete again. This will restore prairie, reduce mono-culture, reduce unsustainable cafos, and help our pollinators fight their populations back. Government intervention from both current sides of the aisle has largely created chronic surpluses of corn, soy, hogs, and chickens. Freeing cannabis, hemp, and raw dairy farming will also help smaller farmers compete and grow to become better stewards of the land. I believe that by allowing agricultural freedom to the people of Iowa that we will see a happier and healthier state that can set a positive example for the country for years to come.