The Iowa purchase

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

Our gratitude to Iowa Starting Line, a liberal online news and opinion site, for ferreting out an Iowa Farm Bureau memo on trying to buy the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture’s race. Farm Bureau, which is a huge insurance company with a solid investment in Monsanto, of course endorsed Mike Naig for the secretary’s job. Naig previously was a lobbyist for Monsanto. His opponent is Tim Gannon, a Mingo Democrat and former aide to US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“A one-time investment of corporate funds for this cause will return dividends for a decade or more to come,” wrote Don Petersen, director of government relations.

Farm Bureau set up a political organization called Friends of Iowa Agriculture, which can take unlimited funds from corporations like Farm Bureau and from individuals. It already dumped $227,000 on ads in Cedar Rapids alone, according to Starting Line.

Farm Bureau raised the alarm when it appeared that the race was a dead heat and that Gannon was raising more funds, in small contributions, than Naig was overall. Friends of Iowa Agriculture spent in Cedar Rapids TV buys what Gannon has in the bank.

“Agriculture needs stability in the Iowa Sec of Ag position, especially with the competitive election for Iowa governor,” the memo states. “The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture needs to counter any policy threats that may develop after the election or with changes in political leadership.”

In other words, the Republican Party is an appendage of Farm Bureau. And Monsanto. And the Koch Brothers.

They see a threat to a huge pot of money they have set aside to write each other checks for water quality demonstration projects. Gannon’s main campaign plank is to finally fund the conservation trust fund with a 3/8th-cent sales tax, approved by 67% of voters at the polls. Farm Bureau and Monsanto are deathly afraid of losing control of that slush fund, of opening it up to public inspection, and to losing acres to native grass.

They own the governor, they own Naig, they own the legislature, they control and are purchasing on contract Iowa State University, they are infecting the state and federal courts with secret third-party funding. They know that the ag job has gone from stamping fuel pumps and grain tickets to a leading apologist for industrial agriculture that is running rural Iowa ragged.

They should be worried that Reynolds will lose, because Hubbell will quickly end those cockeyed insurance plans that do not cover pre-existing conditions. They are plenty worried about that. And that Medicaid will be returned to the administration of the state. He will return some standing to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Gannon would be fine with that. The farmer son of a John Deere dealer and farmer, after all, who is enthusiastic about ethanol and pork exports, is considered a threat to Farm Bureau’s way of doing business. It is a way that sees rural Iowa blow away, that sees its surface waters polluted, its lakes disappearing and our export markets retreating in panic. Those are the messages that Gannon is spreading with the little funds he can garner from the little people who think there might be a better way than turning over this state to executive suites in West Des Moines, St. Louis, Delaware and Wichita. We are selling this state to the big ag players and Farm Bureau is calling the sale.

If that memo isn’t evidence enough of who is running this state, and why, then pigs ain’t pork and your nose is lying to you.

No invasion imminent

There is not and will not be an invasion of Kiron or Odebolt by Hondurans, Mexicans or Muslims. Not that Steve King’s hometown, population 273, couldn’t use one. The folks at home are well-armed and well-informed and will keep an eye clear for interlopers. But to hear King and Fearless Leader Trump, we have plenty to fear. They are marching 5,000 strong from Honduras across Mexico in the heat, women and children too, and sometime after the election 500 or so might actually show up at El Paso and ask for asylum. At which time we can lock them in a cage. Trump said he will send the troops to the border. That should keep Sac County safe from growth. There is nothing like fear to whip up the base. Be afraid of Honduran women and children fleeing cartel violence. Be afraid of young fathers wanting to scoop manure in a Sioux County dairy barn. Keep it up and there will be no one left in Knoke or Jolley. Or Nemaha. D15 will be a clear shot. We’re almost there, safe from it all.