Thursday, June 23, 2005

TH on Nussle and Social Security.

The 23 June Dubuque Telegraph Herald has on page 1 as the lead story,


Activists target Nussle
Foes of privatizing Social Security hope to sway Iowa Republican
by MARY RAE BRAGG

The article is online here (registration required).

This is not much different in content from other other Iowa-based stories you get via Google news.

Ms. Bragg says vis-a-vis Bush's Social Security plan and Nussle's views of it:

The communications director at Iowans for Nussle, Maria Comella, dismissed the topic as a "federal issue" that she said will not be coming up in the state campaign.

Really. Did Ms. Comella really say that? If she did, she displays extraordinary arrogance and and an abysmal ignorance of what concerns Iowans.

We hope and pray that Ms. Comella continues to exhibit her full-blown case of foot-in-the-mouth disease. With enemies like this, who needs friends?

--Mark.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Grover Norquist and Nussle.

Grover Norquist is a Washington Republican insider who makes Karl Rove look like Mother Theresa. He's the slimiest, most corrupt troll the right wing has ever produced.

Basic Bio: http://www.nndb.com/people/482/000049335/. At the bottom of the page you find links to the groups he's a part of. The most notorious is his position as president and founder of Americans for Tax Reform http://www.nndb.com/org/549/000049402/. If you click on the link, you'll see he's associated with the infamous right-ring ogre, Richard Scaife, and the lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- the one who is presently in deep doo-doo over influence peddling and ripping off his clients. Following the link to ATR, http://www.atr.org and fishing around, you come across what he's most famous or infamous for, the pledge to not raise taxes.

Nussle has signed the pledge: http://www.atr.org/pledge/national/incumbents.html.

Norquist has a peculiar attachment to Islamist groups. He is founder and President of the Islamic Institute http://www.islamicinstitute.org. What's interesting here is not what its web site says about itself, but what other web sites say about Norquist's Islamophilia.

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/451 You should read this one fully. It ends this way: "if Norquist is indeed a convert to Islam, it could be that he is not just enabling the Islamist causes but is himself an Islamist."

This is a response to the last: http://badanalysis.com/catallaxy/?p=861.

The biographical site above speculates if Norquist is gay, and this site, http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/04/how-many-gop-gunslingers-arent-gay.html, tries to dismiss it. But Norquist does seem to have married an Islamicist with some rather dubious connections. Is she his beard?

Norquist's association with Abramoff will likely be the cause of his fall, or at least the start of it. His thuggish ways with his no new taxes pledge list has earned him many enemies inside the Republican party. The very sharp, very long knives are waiting.

Anyway, just for the benefit of googlers searching on these terms, my eyes roll at the idea of handing out a press release with the headline:

Islamic Terror Linked Gay Muslim Endorses Nussle

The DeLay Connection.

"Just how tangled up in Tom DeLay's House of Scandal is Jim Nussle?"

Read it here: http://houseofscandal.org/members/JimNussleIA-1.html

A little too ambivalent

Following up on Drew's post below, The Des Moines Register gets into action on Nussle today with a more state-focused article about Nussle and Social Security. They even happen to give the same quote that the Post had.

In the article, we find out that Bob VanderPlaats, the other GOP candidate for governor, fully supports the President's privatization plans. We also find out how vague Nussle's position is.

From The Register:
"The retirement program has been an issue in the past in Nussle's re-election campaigns for the House in eastern Iowa, and he has at times backed personal accounts.

During the 2000 campaign, Nussle told the Register: "Seniors who currently rely on the program need to be assured that their benefits are completely secure. Younger workers should also have the chance to invest a small portion of their payroll tax dollars in low-risk investments."

In 2002, he told the Register that "I am not for privatization of Social Security. Social Security should be a government-run pension program and should be a guaranteed benefit and operate just the way it is now."

This year, Nussle has said that "doing nothing is not an option" but he has not expressed outright opposition to or support for the president's plan. He appeared with President Bush at a Cedar Rapids event where Bush touted personal accounts, and at a House Budget Committee hearing, he accused Democrats of using scare tactics to try to derail the Bush proposal."
So, which position is it Jim-Jim?

Iowa voters want an answer. And it better not involve privatization--or its spin name, personal accounts.

Nussle and Social Security

Do we want someone who can't make up his mind on Social Security running a state where seniors make up a substantial portion of the population?

From the Washington Post:

A Nussle aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity because she had not been able to consult the congressman, made it clear that he, too, has yet to embrace the president's proposals.

"He's still weighing the options," the aide said.


Come on, Nussle. This has been discussed for six months now. If you can't even come to an opinion on the major issue of the day in Washington, how can we expect you to make the hundreds of decisions an executive must make every day? I suppose Nussle has been too busy campaigning to do the job the people of Eastern Iowa elected him to do, though.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

His Voting Record.

http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=H1371103

This site needs to be substantially explored.

Nussle's Staffers.

Washington, D.C. Staff

Tom Wolfe, Chief of Staff
Barbra Snitker, Administrative Assistant
Christopher Bliley, Legislative Director (Education issues) chris.bliley@mail.house.gov


Iowa Offices and Staff

Manchester
(office to contact for scheduling and invitations)
Tony Cox, District Representative
Joseph Huber, Ag Issues joseph.huber@mail.house.gov
712 West Main Street
Manchester, Iowa, 52057
563.927.5141
800.927.5212

Davenport
Shane Johnson, District Director
Ann Rave, Deputy District Director
209 West 4th Street
Davenport, Iowa 52801
563.326.1841

Dubuque
Cindy Kohlmann, District Representative
2255 John F. Kennedy Road
Dubuque, Iowa 52002
563.557.7740

Waterloo
Jason Niehaus, District Representative
3641 Kimball Avenue
Waterloo, Iowa 50702
319.235.1109


From:
http://www.iacec.info/documents/legislative/congressional%20profiles05.pdf

Googling the staffer's name (in quotes) plus 'nussle' out of quotes pulls up some interesting stuff.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pharmaceutical Givers.

2001-2002
AVENTIS PHARMACEUTICALS INC $1000
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB COMPANY $2000
MERCK & CO INC $4000
MCKESSON CORPORATION $3000
NOVARTIS CORPORATION $2000
PFIZER INC. $4000
SMITHKLINE BEECHAM CORPORATION $5000
ABBOTT LABORATORIES $6000

From:

http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_give/2001_H0IA02040

--Mark

Nussle's friendly contributors

Sorry this wasn't posted this morning, like I had expected. I ran into some posting troubles that have now been resolved.

Looking over Jim Nussle's campaign contributors has led me to some very interesting findings.

First of all, Jim's in deep with John Deere and their lobbyists. Now, I know John Deere is a very important company to Iowa, and particularly the Quad Cities region that Jim represents, but having personal donations from their lobbyists--that seems a bit sketchy.

William M. Behan lists himself as "In-House John Deere Lobyist." On September 12, 2002, he gave Nussle $1000. On November 21, 2003, he gave $500. I hope that the second one wasn't a "Christmas Bonus" from John Deere to Behan to Nussle. That would be a bit illegal.

Next up is Taylor S. Davis, Legislative Counsel for John Deere. As another move to get on the Budget Commitee Chairman's good side, he gave $25o three times: April 4, 2004, November 21, 2003, and June, 28, 2003.

I hope that Congressman Nussle was having a fundraiser on the 21st of November 2003 otherwise that is one hell of a coincidence to have two John Deere lobbyists give on the same day.

Finally, there is Charles R. Stamp--John Deere Government Affairs Manager. He gave $500 on August 5, 2004, and gave $1000 on Septeber 12, 2002. Again, another date coincidence--he gave on 9/12 just like Mr. Behan did. Hopefully that was a fundraiser too.

Beyond just John Deere, however, Jim Nussle has got a lot of friends in the banking lobby. That would explain his support for the terrible bankruptcy bill that passed the House earlier this year (and went on to pass the Senate and be signed by President Bush) that made it phenomenally harder for individuals to declare bankruptcy from the shark-like and fiendish credit card companies.

Nussle has also received a lot of contributions from a multitude of Maytag executives. But what have those contributions gotten the company? Nothing but more layoffs and a buyout by a new firm. However, those executives got the benefit of massive tax breaks thanks to the Bush tax cuts that Jim Nussle has so widely supported. While Maytag employees at the lowest level get screwed over, their executives and CEO get huge tax breaks thanks to the work of the Budget Committee Chairman.

And, what is even better, Jim Nussle has the support of his fellow congressmen--or at least one from Iowa. Tom Latham's (R-IA-04) Chief of Staff, Vicky Vermaat, personally gave the Nussle campaign $1000 on September 29, 2002.

There is my look at Nussle's contributions. If you see anything else worth pointing out, leave a comment and let me know.

Open letter to the Pres. of the U. of Dubuque.

(Jeffrey Bullock is the President of the University of Dubuque)

http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_ind/H0IA02040/A-E/

Search on your last name.

This link suggests that your wife, Dana, is the President of the University. I am prepared to think this is a clerical error.

Never give more than $199.99 to a political cause, else you see what has happened. I find it difficult to believe so much money was given to Nussle without your knowledge.

The President of the University should not be politcal, but you clearly are. And you nestled up to Nussle and gave him some political money.

Jim-boy gave the Commencement address this year.
http://www.dbq.edu/news/news1.cfm?ID=170

Doubtless, you gave him a Doctorate of Something when he spoke at commencement. I think you would be happier working at Bob Jones University: BJU, after all, is also Presbyterian.

--Mark (graduate of the college and theological seminary)

And may the Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette and Dubuque Telegraph-Herald pick up this bit of factual-ness.

Nussle contributors

I've just finished a nice look through the individual contributors to Jim Nussle over the past few years. I'm tired now, but expect an interesting post on some of the contributors and some of the problems he hasn't solved for them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Nussle's contributors.

I've been fishing thru the Federal Election Commission site. This link leads to Jimbo's contributors.

http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_ind/H0IA02040

Clickining on A-E, you come across Steven Ackerson, of Iowa Health Care Associates. Buried in their site is this page:

http://www.iowahealthcare.org/asp/ecsi/ecsi.asp?PostingID=26

This tells us that
ECSI is a group purchasing company dedicated to provide services to our members at a reduced cost, at the same time raising non-dues income for the Iowa Health Care Association

It gives some other names who also gave Jimbo money. Basically, this putative goody-goody nonprofit would seem to be nothing more than a good-PR-generating front for a for-profit health products vendor.

I don't know how useful compiling such an 'enemies list' is, except perhaps as fodder to feed reporters looking for a story. Were I Vander Plaats, I might use such a list to do a direct mailing, doing the full exposé of what their candidate really stands for (is Vander Platts reading this? I think he will be eventually).

I'd like some comments on this.

--Mark.

New article on Nussle

The Des Moinest Register has a feature article today on Jim Nussle and how he intends to defend his budget role in the 2006 race for Iowa governor.

Defend his role? HAH! It really is indefensible.

The man has declared himself a budget hawk and fiscal conservative over and over again while completely neglecting those duties as House Budget Committee Chairman from 2001 to the present.

Part of that lack of principle can be explained by the Register:
"Nussle's transformation from the youngest member of Congress in 1991 to a confidant of President Bush and chairman of an influential committee is the product of a conscientious effort, said Norm Ornstein, a scholar with the independent think tank American Enterprise Institute."
Confidant of President Bush explains it all. Nevermind that AEI isn't independent, either.

The fact his, he compromised his so-called principles the minute he got a hold of the President's ear.

Look, there are lots of reasons why the people of Iowa don't need Jim Nussle as governor. The biggest one is his lack of committment to his principles when it comes to budgeting. When you've got the ear of a big politico and higher aspirations, you get bogged down with those nifty dreams in your head and you forget what you came to do.

Nussle tries to point out in the interview that the deficit is decreasing thanks to revenue increases thanks to the Bush tax cuts, which he supported. The fact is, that no matter how much extra revenue we'll get in tax income it will never be enough to get us out of the debt that the unwise spending President Bush (with the tacit assistance of Jim Nussle) has engaged upon.

The fact is, Nussle is just the wrong man for the job.

Unfunded Mandates

Unfunded mandates are not a sexy topic. They don't sound-byte well. It makes voters yawn. Nonetheless, this is a subject on which Governors and state legislators of all political stripes are agreed upon. Unfundeded mandates are often bad.

If a state is going to accept any Federal money, the Congress often requires the states to have additional programs, programs which may not be funded, which means the state has to cough up local tax dollars to pay for it. While the Democrats invented them, the Republicans have learned to love them. It lets the majority party claim to have done something while shifting the cost of doing it onto the backs of the states.

Jim Nussle, as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, has become a master at the smoke and mirrors of unfunded mandates. Special interests get their federal taxes cut, while Jimbo offloads previously funded federal programs onto the states as unfunded mandates.Considering that Iowa has been a victim of this chicanery, one can only admire Jim-boy's chutzpah in running for Governor. It seems he wants to preside over the fiscal mess he is so singularly responsible for. If you have been following the past few legislative sessions, there is little more that can be cut from the Iowa budget: the Republicans are the biggest complainers. Facing a tax-increase or cutting out some Republican sacred cows, they delayed the 05 legislative session, playing cutsy with the Democrats and the media.

What happens in 07 if Nussle wins? A tax increase? Undoubtedly, and one squarely aimed at the middle class.

Nussle, in Congress, is a big-government, borrow-and-spend Republican. As governor, he would be a big-government, tax-and-spend Republican.

--Mark.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Shared Opinions

I found a good blog about Nussle. It has the infamous Bag-man picture.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Jim Nussle has been bad for his district, bad for Iowa, and bad for America. While he likes to call himself a deficit hawk, as chair of the House Budget Committee he has presided over the largest increase in the US national debt ever, taking us from record surplus to the brink of fiscal ruin. For Iowa, he has become the High Priest of Unfunded Mandates, forcing the states to cut services and increase taxes to make up for what the Federal government has taken away from them in order to fund tax cuts for their well-heeled friends in big business.

Jim Nussle is Mr. Deficit, Mr. Borrow and Spend, Mr. Unfunded Mandates, Mr. Big Government.

Now, Jim-boy would have you believe the Chairman of the House Budget Committee is powerless: this is in fact true, because he'd have been kicked out of the Republican power structure forthwith if he did not toe the party line as set down by Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay. Jim-boy, good toady that he is, is happy to tell lies to his constituents, sound-byting one thing for the little old lady in Dubuque in the morning then doing just the opposite in committee or on the floor in the afternoon.

Then there is the issue of his private life. The precise details are sketchy, but he was pulled into an extra-marital affair, leading to a messy public divorce, with his subsequent remarriage to wife #2, Karen Chiccehitto Nussle. The common scuttlebutt is that Karen was the other women, and if she is (as it seems she is) then let's call her what she really is: a homewrecking slut: strike one. Karen was also a policy advisor to Newt Gingrich: strike two. She then revolving-doored into the lobbying firm of Black, Kelly, Scruggs and Healey (that's as in Charles Black, the infamous Republican insider): strike three. She is currently listed as an instructor at the University of Dubuque (teaching Homewrecking 101 no doubt).

Vander Plaats has made noises about exposing all this lurid marital dirt, but I wonder if he has the testicular fortitude to do so. He is certainly trails Nussle in terms of polls and money, and has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Democrats would gain if Vander Plaats did, as Nussle would have to waste valuable resources attempting to counteract the dirt, while the Democratic candidates can piously remain above such mudslinging politics, at least until after the primary.

Whatever. We Democrats need to collect all the dirt possible and get all out in the open.

I wonder if worthies such as State Senators Nancy Boettger and Mary Lundby or or State Representative Polly Granzow enjoy having their morals compared with those of Mrs. Nussle, and how as Republicans, Karen personally represents for them the apotheosis of ideal Iowan womanhood.


--Mark.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Nussle and the Deficit

Jim Nussle visited Ames on Thursday, as part of his 50 city tour trying to gin up support for his Gubernatorial candidacy. Incredibly, the theme that he focused on was the idea of small government.

Nussle has chaired the House Budget Committee for every one of the Budgets submitted under President Bush. During this time, he has done virtually nothing to cut government spending.

In the 2001 budget, the last budget where Nussle was not chair, the United States had a surplus of $128 billion. During his first year, we ran a deficit of $157 billion. Since then, every year has seen around $400 billion more in spending than in revenue at the federal level.

This isn't because of September 11th either, as Nussle would like you to believe. Taking both Defense and Homeland Security out of the Equation, there was an incredible forty percent increase in spending from 2001 to 2005. These aren't numbers from some interest group, either - these are using figures straight from the Whitehouse.

If Nussle can't use his position as chair of the House Budget Committee to keep government spending reasonable, why should we believe he can do any better here? As a young person who is going to end up paying for his teenager-with-a-credit-card antics, I have a lot at stake in this argument. Please, Iowa, don't bring this nonsense back from Washington to our state.

Nussle and Small Government

The local Democrats are doing us proud:

Story County Democrats held a press conference at Ames Public Library earlier in the day, calling into question Nussle's plan for smaller government.

Sen. Herman Quirmbach said cuts over the years have strained state programs, and the only real area Nussle could cut would be education, which currently occupies more than 60 percent of the state budget.

Quirmbach pointed to the closing of two Ames schools - Northwood Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary - as a sign that the state budget could not suffer any more cuts.

Quirmbach also attacked Nussle's record as Budget Committee Chairman while in Congress.

During his time as Budget Committee chairman, Nussle ran an annual deficit that was nearly 80 times what the state budget was, Quirmbach said.

"Mr. Nussle is the last person you would want to trust for fiscal responsibility," he said.



So far Nussle has pushed "small government" as his defining theme of his gubernatorial campaign. If he continues with this the race is ours to lose.