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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Bob Vander Plaats (photo by Dave Davidson,
Bob Vander Plaats (photo by Dave Davidson,

Vander Plaats: Bryan Fischer doesn’t speak for me

By Jason Hancock | 11.19.10 | 7:00 am

Bob Vander Plaats says he won’t denounce the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer for statements he made about the Medal of Honor being “feminized,” saying the controversial conservative leader and his group “do not speak for me.”

Tuesday, Fischer wrote on his blog that while Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta of Hiawatha certainly earned the Medal of Honor he was just awarded by President Barack Obama, it was time we stopped rewarding only those who saved lives and also rewarded those who took enemy lives. Giunta earned the medal by rushing into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during a harrowing battle in Afghanistan in 2007.

Several Iowa veterans, along with the LGBT-rights group One Iowa, called on Vander Plaats to publicly denounce Fischer for the statements. But despite numerous ties to Fischer and the American Family Association — which includes AFA spending $140,000 on Vander Plaats’ successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices and an appearance by Vander Plaats on Fischer’s radio program — Vander Plaats says he won’t answer for something someone else said.

“As the son of a World War II veteran, I understand the sacrifices those in the U.S. military such as Staff Sgt. Giunta make to preserve our liberties and freedoms,” Vander Plaats said in a statement to The Iowa Independent. “It is disappointing a group would try to settle a score and try to make me accountable for words that aren’t mine. Bryan Fisher and AFA do not speak for me or Iowa For Freedom, and we don’t speak for them.”

Vander Plaats has previously faced criticism for his association with Fischer and the AFA. Last month, a group of religious leaders labeled the AFA an “extremist hate group” and called on Vander Plaats to “denounce hate-filled comments” Fischer has made.

Fischer has said homosexuals should be barred from public office and called gay sex “domestic terrorism.” He said Muslims should be imprisoned because “that’s not religion, that’s treason,” and argued that inbreeding may have done “irreversible damage to the Muslim gene pool, including extensive damage to its intelligence, sanity, and health.”  On women, Fischer agrees with U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint that unwed mothers should not be allowed to teach in public schools.

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


  • Anonymous

    Let me get this straight, so to speak. Mr. Vander Plaats will happily pocket over $140,000 in out-of-state cash from the hate-mongering Bryan Fischer to influence Iowa’s elections, but back-peddles frantically to dissociate when his sugar-daddy reveals his grotesque, fascistic “hidden” identity as a rabid, American-hero-hating wingnut and… wait for it… Muslim genetics expert. These guys were made for each other. (The double entendre being, of course, unintentionally ironic.)

    • Anonymous

      rancher—you have assigned to Fischer some things he didn’t write or say. He expressly does not have ANY beef with SSG Giunta or any possible MOH awardee, but his complaint is with the administration, who
      (according to him) want only to award life-saving actions, and NOT actions by our soldiers in heroically taking enemy lives.
      I guess since you’re not a ‘wingnut’, you somehow missed that larger point. Dave

      • Anonymous

        Dave – yes, as I’ve said elsewhere on this site, I’ve seen some weakly constructed arguments relying on Fischer’s back-tracking comments that he didn’t intend to disrespect any MOH recipients w/ his remarks about the feminization of the process. This, IMHO, misses the salient point, as does your reply above. Despite his words to the contrary, by claiming that giving the medal to those who save lives instead of taking them is the result of feminization, Mr. Fischer’s stated point in his rant obviously claims that those who rec’d the medal for saving lives are in some way less worthy of the honor than those who took lives. Unless, of course, he intends to imply that he feels positively about the feminization of the process, which he clearly doesn’t. Counterpoint more than welcome, but unless one forces a totally skewed reading on the man’s comments, he’s dissing all the heroes who were recognized for saving lives instead of taking them, i.e, these heroes medals are the result of a feminized process and therefore tainted. And, as far as wingnuts go, unless you agree with Fischer’s wildly offensive, unsubstantiated, mentally unstable contention that Muslims as a group are inbred, my statement that he’s a wingnut stands as frankly irrefutable. Irrefudiate-able, even. So, yeah, Fischer’s a wingnut. And as for the larger points you think I missed in the overall argument, I think you need to take a closer look at your argument before posting.

  • Anonymous

    When I was a teenager, my parents reminded me often of this adage: SHOW ME YOUR FRIENDS AND I’LL TELL YOU WHAT YOU ARE.

  • Maureen Hennessey

    He speaks for you, Mr Vander Plaats; when you stood beside him, took his money, let him use you as the Iowa Masque for his out of state hatreds and desire to impose Mississippi prejudices upon Iowa law, you gave him the right to speak for you and you lent his views local legitimacy

  • Anonymous

    Yes, he does, Bob. You gotta dance with the one what brung ya. Too bad you picked one hell of a pig to cozy up to. You and Fischer make a perfect couple.

  • Zoe_Brain

    Bob – you may attempt to distance yourself from Fischer and the AFA as fast as Fischer and the AFA attempted to distance themselves from Dr “Lift My Luggage, Rentboy!” Rekers.

    But you’re still with them in spirit. And none of us will forget that. It’s on the Net, and will be brought up in future, again and again, to remind everyone of the kind of people you are.

  • Larry Linn

    Bryan Fischer has never served in the military of the United States! Yet he makes baseless judgments about military service. He has never experienced combat! Yet he makes baseless judgments about the glory of the battlefield experience. Nothing seems glorious in the midst of the battlefield. A soldier must always attempt to take multiple rational actions in a state of chaos. Bryan Fischer has never shared LRP’s for breakfast with several members in his unit, only a few hours later see them shot. He has never experienced bullets and shrapnel flying all around him, nor has he heard the screams of pain from your squad members awaiting a Medi-vac. Bryan Fischer will never forget the smell of burning flesh because he does not know what it smells like. Military Moron Bryan Fischer does not understand that many combat tactics, such as flanking can have both aggressive and defensive facets. Bryan Fischer does not realize that interdependence, reliance, and trust among the members of combat units facilitate both valor and victory. As far as I know none of Bryan Fischer’s grown children ever served our country in the military. He does not know what parents go through fearing the knock on the door. It is ironic that Chicken Hawk Bryan Fischer wants to redefine the Medal of Honor, but does not understand that rescuing fellow wounded soldiers is an act of honor. If Bryan Fischer had any honor, he would apologize to Sergeant Salvatore Giunta. Personally, I want to thank Sergeant Giunta for his valor and service. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    “Several Iowa veterans”???

    Two veterans. One is the owner of the Blazing Saddle gay nightclub in Des Moines and the other is the father of Carolyn Jenison’s lesbian lover.

    Pay no attention to these people, Mr. Vander Plaats. This is a NON-STORY.

    • Anonymous

      Peglet, you’re back! Haven’t seen you pedaling your pegshit around here lately. I see you’re still a twisted old hag.
      If you had read any of the comments here, you’d know it’s more than just two veterans whom you seem to despise. Regardless of who you think they are, they *are* veterans. Laid your life on the line for our country lately? Yeah, didn’t think so. What a skank.

  • egc52556

    Mr. Vander Plaats, you opened the door for Bryan Fischer, you took Fischer’s money, you led the campaign fueled by Fischer’s extremism.

    Maybe Fischer doesn’t speak for you. But you certainly have been speaking for him.

  • Anonymous

    Extremism? I think most Iowans would think belonging to gay men’s “leather clubs” is extremism at its best. One Iowa’s grapes are beyond sour.

    • Anonymous

      Hating on a Medal of Honor recipient isn’t exactly a pro-American position, Pegster. I’m not at all surprised you’re siding with the haters instead of America’s Heroes. Still a skank, I see.

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