Gov Reynolds Says Iowans Must Return To Work Or Lose Unemployment Benefits

Iowa Gov Kim Reynolds(R) with President Trump

As the push by Republican Governors to lift covid-19 stay-at-home orders and “reopen” America for business intensifies, an interesting theme is emerging as the reasoning behind their hasty and quite frankly, reckless move. There is no question that covid-19 testing rates in the U.S. are nowhere near the levels that would justify safely reopening the states for business at this juncture. Texas in particular, is notoriously lagged behind in testing yet Governor Greg Abbott has slated this Friday(May 1), as the day many businesses in the states are authorized to reopen.

So what is the reason behind this hasty “reopen America” move by Gov Abbott, Reynolds, and other Republican Governors across the U.S.? The answer to this question lies in the national embarrassment the unemployment programs in these states have subjected these Republican governors to. Florida’s unemployment program in particular has become such a national embarrassment following widespread media reports, that Governor Ron DeSantis was not only forced to confess that it is broken, but also issued an executive order relaxing some of the requirements for workers to qualify for benefits.

Unflattering media reports about the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) which handles unemployment claims in Texas have also been a constant source of embarrassment for Gov. Greg Abbott. The same story has played out in other Republican-controlled states including Iowa. Simply put, contrary to popular belief, covid-19 did not break these state unemployment programs. These programs have been broken for years, thanks to GOP’s anti-worker’s rights policies. Covid-19 simply exposed on a grand scale, the unemployment insurance sham in GOP-controlled states.

Well, it appears Republican Governors have settled on the “reopen America” push as a way of dealing with the unemployment insurance embarrassment. By hastily reopening businesses in their states, GOP Governors can technically force workers to return to work because refusal by the workers to do so will amount to quitting, which in turn disqualifies them from unemployment benefits. This is especially cruel and insensitive to minorities especially Blacks and Hispanics, who have a valid reason to fear returning to work before covid-19 testing rates are ramped up to a level that will reassure them that it is safe for them to do so. GOP Governors don’t seem to care about the plight of vulnerable minority populations validly fearful of covid-19 and appear hell bent instead, on blackmailing them back to work by threatening them with losing their unemployment benefits. This is precisely what Gov Kim Reynolds just did.

Gov Kim Reynolds specifically said, “If you are an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to that’s a voluntary quit, and so therefore they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.” Make no mistake about it folks, this is an “order” by Gov Reynolds and other GOP Governors to employers in their states to call back workers so as to forcibly take them off the unemployment rolls–essentially cruelly forcing people back to work regardless of their valid covid-19 fears. There is no effort being made by Gov Reynolds and others to fix the numerous problems covid-19 has exposed with the state unemployment programs. Forcing vulnerable people back to work appears to be the GOP Governors’ way out of the problem.

Bottom line folks, covid-19 has exposed some serious problems with the state unemployment programs, especially the ones in Florida and Texas. It is imperative that the mainstream media and members of Congress call for changes to these woefully broken state unemployment programs. Simply put, Governors Reynolds, Abbott, DeSantis and others must not be allowed to sweep these unemployment insurance problems under the rug simply by forcing their residents to go back to work. The GOP Governors must be forced to address the reasons why these programs are broken in the first place.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Betsy Devos’ Aide Behind Reopen America Protests

In case you missed it, there was a bombshell revelation on MSNBC’s AM Joy show that prominent republican operatives are behind the reopen America protests that are springing up across the country in opposition to stay-at-home orders issued to prevent the spread of covid-19. One of those prominent republicans, per AM Joy, is Greg McNeilly, a longtime political aide to the Devos family. McNeily was apparently behind the recent reopen America protests in Michigan which were highly promoted by Fox News and it’s number one customer President Trump.

AM Joy’s host Joy Reid perfectly nailed down what these so-called protests boil down to–rich people getting regular folk out on the streets to advocate for what they(rich people) want and that is, a return to making profits, the human cost be damned! Joy Reid specifically said, “You do have very very wealthy people who see their own interests as getting as many people back on the cog in the wheel as possible for themselves who are then creating these supposed grassroots movements, sort of astroturf movements…..The Devos family…. is one of the groups promoting this group the MIchigan Freedom Front. It’s run by Greg McNeilly the longtime political adviser to the Devos family, who are prolific Republican donors and have funded Conservative causes for decades. McNeilly was campaign manager for Dick Devos the husband of current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos..”

It is vitally important for the public to understand the point Joy Reid is making and that is, these so-called protests we are witnessing across the country in opposition to covd-19 stay-at-home orders are not organic grassroots protests from regular folk clamoring for their freedoms. Instead they are well organized and financed campaigns led by rich republicans like the Devos family, who are desperate to get the economy back up and running regardless of how many human lives are expended in the process.

It cannot also be left unsaid that President Trump who for all practical purposes leads the coronavirus task force, has also shockingly encouraged such protests–essentially urging the public to disobey the recommendations of his own task force that people continue to stay at home to curb the spread of the disease. Of the many reckless actions President Trump has undertaken while in office, encouraging the public to protest reasonable stay-at-home orders in the face of a pandemic certainly ranks at the very top.

Bottom line folks, it is important that we remember who is really behind these so-called protests. As Joy Reid perfectly put it, it is rich folk looking out for their own financial interests. Your duty, especially if you are a person of color and thus more susceptible to death from covid-19, is to exercise due diligence and make sure your local officials are basing their “reopening” decisions on scientific data as opposed to going along with Trump’s/Republican party politics. The best way to do that is to ensure covid-19 testing numbers and results at your locality support the conclusion that it is safe for you or your family member to go back to work. Simply put folks, look out for yourself and your family when making covid-19 related decisions and be very skeptical of the reopen America “protests” that are designed to deceptively suggest that the public is raring to go back to work. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, NFL star Malcolm Jenkins gives the same prudent advice.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Ted Cruz Doubles Down On His Preexisting Conditions Lies

Sen Ted Cruz’s Interview On Fox26 Houston

After MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently exposed how Republicans vying for Congress this November, including Sen Ted Cruz, have resorted to outright lies regarding their record on Obamacare’s preexisting conditions, one would think that the said GOP candidates would do the reasonable thing and at least back off from their provable lies. This is especially so given the fact that former President Obama himself, the pioneer of Obamacare has also recently gone public ridiculing GOP’s lies regarding his signature healthcare achievement, and specifically its popular preexisting conditions rules.


Turns out Sen Ted Cruz is not your “reasonable person” because instead of backing off from his outright lies on preexisting conditions, he has done an interview with a local Houston TV station doubling down on them. In his interview on Houston’s Fox26 station, Sen Ted Cruz said, “We[GOP] want instead lower premiums, more access, protect preexisting conditions. Beto is trying to tell some falsehoods about that but everyone agrees we’re going to protect preexisting conditions but make health insurance more affordable.”

The full Ted Cruz interview is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Think about that folks, Sen Ted Cruz has been the biggest opponent of Obamacare and specifically, its preexisting conditions rules. He is even on record as having argued that Obamacare’s preexisting conditions rules are unconstitutional.

Now days before the November elections, he goes on TV and proclaims that he, not Democrat Beto O’Rourke is the champion of Obamacare’s preexisting conditions–with zero push back from the local Fox26 host. What alternative universe is Senator Ted Cruz and the Fox 26 TV host living in? Folks we can’t let Ted Cruz lie his way back into the U.S. Senate. We must make sure Texas voters know his real record, which is to knock people with preexisting conditions out of affordable healthcare options.

In the interview Ted Cruz also lied about Beto’s record on medicare when he said “What Beto is proposing is taking 200 million people who aren’t on medicare, many of whom haven’t paid into the system, including illegal aliens and putting them all on medicare. That would bankrupt medicare.” For the record, Beto has never advocated medicare for illegal aliens and again this is an issue the Fox26 host could easily have known is false and pushed back on but instead let Cruz’s big lie stand.

Bottom line folks, ever since Trump became President we are confronted with several crises, chief among them the “lying crisis”. Throughout history politicians have been known to embelish their positions on various issues. What we are witnessing today however, where a candidate for the U.S. Senate, who is known as a major opponent of Obamacare’s preexisting conditions goes on TV and shamelessly declares that he has always been for preexisting conditions, represents a totally new phenomenon that we need to take very seriously. Simply put, a reasonable argument can be made that Sen Ted Cruz’s current stance on preexisting conditions is borderline fraud, which should disqualify him from holding any public office, let alone being a U.S. Senator. 

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A Handy list of Texas GOP Politicians Pushing Koch Brothers/ALEC Radical Plan To Change The U.S. Constitution

In a previous post, Yours Truly highlighted a radical plan by the Koch Brothers and their outfit American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC)  to get  Republican-controlled State legislatures to support their effort to Amend the U.S. Constitution and thereby ELIMINATE programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that have greatly benefited the poor.



This rare constitutional maneuver referred to as Constitutional Convention (aka #ConCon in Twitter circles) or Convention of States would require the approval of 34 State Legislatures for it to initiate (begin debate). However for any proposed amendment to be ratified, it would require the approval of 38 State Legislatures. Because this is such a radical maneuver by the Koch Brothers and their State GOP enablers, our target should be to prevent them from getting to the 34 states required to begin the constitutional amendment process.

Texas has traditionally been a hotbed of Republican politics. It follows therefore that the Koch Brothers/ALEC would push their radical Constitutional Convention campaign heavily in the state---and they have. All elected Republican politicians in Texas have bought into the ConCon idea, from The Governor, Lt Governor, the two U.S. Senators and virtually all GOP State elected officials. The Texas Senate for example approved the ConCon idea on February 28, 2017 on a 20-11 straight party line vote. The same thing happened on May 4, 2017 when the Texas House of Representatives, adopted the Senate's proposal on a 94-51 straight party line vote. You would think that on an issue as consequential as changing the U.S. Constitution, the Texas GOP would at least strive for some support from Democrats, but no, they are controlled by what Koch Brothers/ALEC want, not what is in the best interests of the State. 

Given the heavy investment Koch Brothers/ALEC have made in Texas as a ConCon state, it naturally follows that Texas also has to be ground zero for the #NoConCon movement--people like Yours Truly, opposed to Koch Brothers/ALEC radical idea to amend the U.S. Constitution. That of course begins by knowing who our enemies are--The Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lt Governor Dan Patrick and the Texas GOP State Senators, without whose support the radical Koch Brothers/ALEC agenda would be dead on arrival

Below are the 20 Texas State Senators who supported Koch Brothers/ALEC radical plan to change the U.S. Constitution. Governor Abbott, Lt Governor Patrick and most of the GOP State Senators below are seeking re-election this November. Because the said Texas Senators are supporting Koch Brothers/ALEC's radical plan to kick Grandma and Grandpa out of their Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, let's return the favor and kick these shameful Republicans out of Austin this November. We owe that much to poor Grandma and Grandpa. 

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

How Koch Brothers Paid Gov Abbott To Pollute Texas

Few people know this fact but in 2001 Koch Petroleum Group pled guilty to covering up environmental violations at one of their refineries in Corpus Christi Texas–essentially admitting that they knowingly polluted the Texas atmosphere and then lied about it.

Since then the Koch Brothers have embarked on a rigorous campaign not to bring their industries into compliance, but to do away with environmental protections altogether. To that effect they have enlisted the services of Texas Republicans to peel away environmental protections that were put in place for the public’s safety. You would think any sane Texan would advocate for a cleaner environment and urge Koch industries to strive for better emission standards. Well, not the Texas GOP. In the same way the Texas GOP has backed the Koch Brothers/ALEC mission to do away with Medicare/Medicaid under the guise of “Balanced Budget”, they are also helping them pollute the Texas environment under the guise of “deregulation”.



What the Texas Republicans fail to tell their supporters is why the regulations were enacted in the first place, the obvious answer being for public safety. Take for instance the deadly explosion that happened at Texas’ West Fertilizer Company in 2013 that killed 15 people and wounded 226 others. After a federal investigation, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board concluded that the explosion was caused by the Ammonium Nitrate the company had on storage. The Chemical Safety Board added that the incident at West Fertilizer was a result of violations by the company, chief among them its failure to disclose to local authorities and the public that the chemicals they had on storage created a massive fire hazard. The Chemical Safety Board suggested that Texas do better on chemical disclosure to avert another chemical disaster.

However, a few months after the West disaster the Koch family sent then Texas AG Greg Abbott “donations” for his Texas Gubernatorial bid and just like that all the chemical disclosure reforms that were suggested by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board went out the window. Instead Greg Abbott started touting the ridiculous idea that requiring chemical companies to disclose what they had on storage would make it easier for terrorists to strike. Think about that folks, after the Koch family gave money to Greg Abbott he totally abandoned the public’s safety concerns, even after 15 people had been killed and 226 others wounded. In essence Koch Brothers paid Abbott to allow chemical companies to hide dangerous chemicals from the public, even though they knew 15 people had just died as a result of such failure to disclose.

Fast forward to 2017 and a similar chemical disaster happens, this time at the Archema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Turns out Archema much like West Fertilizer, failed to disclose that it was storing large amounts of Sulphur Dioxide, contrary to what U.S. Chemical Safety Board had suggested after the 2013 West disaster but in keeping with Gov Greg Abbotts directive that they didn’t have to disclose because of fear of terrorism. I mean this was a classic case of Gov Abbott’s policies putting people’s lives in danger.

Strangely, nobody has ever held Governor Abbott to account over his deadly and inexplicable policy towards chemical disclosure and whether donations from  the Koch family influenced his strange policy. The hapless Mainstream Media, with the exception of the wonderful Kiah Collier, lets Gov Abbott get away with this dangerous policy that will undoubtedly lead to further Texas deaths.

Think about that folks, because of the Koch Brothers, Gov Abbott will not allow Texans to know what dangerous chemicals are stored near their neighborhoods, their children’s schools, etc. A Texan for example would like to know whether there are toxic materials stored in an area before say purchasing a home in that area. Texans are denied all this because Koch Brothers tells Gov Abbott not to allow it. But not to worry folks, Yours Truly will make sure Gov Abbott’s DEADLY CHEMICAL POLICY GOES AWAY, whether the Koch Brothers like it or not

Bottom line Dems must expose how Governor Abbott and other Texas Republicans have sacrificed the public’s safety for the enrichment of their Super Donor Koch Brothers. 

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ALEC Sought To Be Exempted From Texas’ Open Records Laws

We now know about how GOP Super Donors Koch Brothers have enlisted the services of American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC) in their efforts to change the U.S. Constitution. ALEC essentially comprises wealthy corporate lobbyists who influence State GOP lawmakers into passing their(ALEC’s) preferred pieces of legislation. As Yours Truly pointed out in an earlier post, often times ALEC just hands down bills written by their lobbyists to State GOP legislators for passage “as-is”–a flagrant subversion of our democratic process.


Most of the voting public is unaware of this travesty surrounding ALEC and State GOP lawmakers thanks in large part to the hapless Mainstream Media. It is clear however that if the public were to find out that they elect state representatives only for them to be taken over by ALEC when they reach State Capitols, there would be bipartisan outrage(both Democrats and Republicans). Well it turns out that ALEC is fully aware that its activities would enrage a lot of Texas voters in particular so much so that in 2013 they asked then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to make them immune from Texas’ Open Records Laws.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Think about that folks, ALEC has so much conscience of guilt about its activities, that it wanted AG Abbott to keep its communications with Texas legislators secret. Even more troubling is that a Texas House Rep Stephanie Klick (Rep-Fort Worth) actually fought to keep her communications with ALEC secret. She argued that her communications with ALEC should be kept secret citing the “deliberative process” exemption to Texas’ Open Records Laws.

Government corruption watchdog Center for Media and Democracy wrote a letter to then Texas Attorney General  Greg Abbott challenging ALEC’s and Rep Klick’s stances that their communications should be exempt from Texas Open Records laws. Now Yours Truly is not an attorney and so is not in a position to assess the merits or demerits of Texas Rep Klick’s “deliberative process” argument. However just from a public optics standpoint, it looks very bad that here you have an elected State Rep who appears intent on going around Texas’ open records laws to keep secret her interaction with lobbyists. It reeks of corruption whichever way one slices it and goes against the spirit of Texas’ sunshine-in-government laws.

Texas State Rep Klick is running for re-election this November. Her Dem challenger for Texas House District 91, Jeromey Sims must confront her on her ALEC stance. Specifically he should call on her to release her communications with ALEC that she sought to keep secret, if she hasn’t done so already. Regardless of whether she ended up releasing the documents or not, the Dem challenger should confront her for her demonstrated hostility towards Texas’ Open Records Laws. Simply put, any Texas politician who does not favor Texas’ Open Records Laws has no business being in the State Capitol. 

Texas State Rep Stephanie Klick

Bottomline, as we approach Midterms 2018, Texas Dems must expose this corrupt affair between Koch outfit ALEC and the Texas GOP. 

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com