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On this week’s Fallon Forum, Charles Goldman joins us to discuss:
(01:42) Analyzing Bold Iowa’s climate action, with Pascha Morgan;
(32:55) The latest climate hot spots: New Orleans, the Arctic;
(40:35) Trump tells four Congresswoman to go back where they came from;
(50:53) Conspiracy and paranoia run deep in American politics.

All previous episodes are available here.

As the Arctic melts …

Dear Friends,

Ed Fallon, Pascha Morgan and Charles Goldman discuss this weekend’s action.

Charles Goldman co-hosts this week’s program with me. On the first segment, Pascha Morgan joins us to discuss Bold Iowa‘s provocative performance art, which involved a gallows (representing the threat of extinction) and large blocks of ice (representing accelerated ice melt in the polar regions).

Bold Iowa’s action demanded that Democratic presidential candidates make human survival their first act as president. The banner above the gallows declared, “As the Arctic melts, the climate noose tightens.”

The action received some enthusiastic support. Yet despite what organizers thought was clear messaging, it also experienced some strong pushback. In addition to this week’s live on-air discussion, I’ll publish a more in-depth blog later this week, responding to criticism of the action and apologizing to people offended by the imagery.

Also on this week’s program, Charles and I look at a few of Earth’s current climate hot spots, specifically New Orleans and the Arctic. We also try to sort out the absurd tweet from President Trump (yeah, another one) that four Democratic Congresswomen of color should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Of course, the fact that all four — Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Tlaib, and Pressley — are Americans, three who were born in the US, is lost on a president who operates from his own set of “facts.”

Finally, we try to sort out why conspiracy and paranoia run so deep in American politics. Wish us luck on that one. And thanks for tuning in.

Ed Fallon

From Hatred to Harmony

[CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST]

Frankie Meeink

To say that Frankie Meeink has led an interesting life would be a tremendous understatement. Raised in Philadelphia in a highly dysfunctional family, Frankie found camaraderie and acceptance in a White supremacy gang at age 13. On the July 8 Fallon Forum, we spend the full hour discussing Frankie’s past and his transformation while in prison from hater to healer.

We also get Frankie’s take on the rise of the Alt Right and the proliferation of for-profit prisons. Finally, we discuss the presidential campaign — Frankie shares his concern that President Trump has a secret weapon at his disposal that could make it even more challenging for the eventual Democratic nominee to unseat him.

— Ed Fallon

Interdependence Day

Dear Friends,

Five years ago this week, the Great March for Climate Action enjoyed a day off in Culbertson, Nebraska. This excerpt from my book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim, explains the importance of remembering our “interdependence” even as we celebrate our “independence.”

We march in the Independence Day parade in Culbertson, Nebraska.

Culbertson, a town of 600, swells to several thousand people for its annual Independence Day celebration. We’re thrilled to have been invited to join the parade. Some of us play instruments and sing while others carry signs and a banner. Folks along the parade route seem genuinely receptive, or at least politely amused, and we connect with our biggest audience since Los Angeles.

After the parade, I immerse myself in Culbertson’s holiday fun. I watch the horseshoe competition for a bit, then stumble on a luncheon to raise funds for the new library. I drop $10 for a modest meal and grab a seat at one of the tables, striking up a conversation with a woman who introduces herself as Corky Krizek. She and her family live in McCook and they saw us in the parade. Corky’s got the usual questions about shoes and weather, then asks “Have you lost much weight?”

“Yeah, dropping 24 pounds in the first two months was one of the biggest surprises,” I tell her. “I rip through calories like a twister through a cornfield, and I’m craving meat like there’s only one pig and one cow left on the entire planet.”

“Well, when you get to McCook tomorrow, you’ll be only a few blocks from our place. Stop by and I’ll make you a big steak dinner.”

Massage conga line with marchers and, yeah, Nebraska state coordinator Anna Wishart’s sweet dog.

I thank Corky, then wander around for another couple hours, reveling in the nostalgia of all that’s good and wholesome about America: family, food, fun, and a robust love of land and country. I think about the myriad ways in which everyone here, each of these several thousand people, need each other, how their lives are woven together in so many essential ways. July 4 is not so much a celebration of America’s independence as it is Americans’ interdependence.

Perhaps that little girl in the red dress over there, the one darting around the playground with her friends, will only overcome her learning disability with the after-school reading program at the new library.

Perhaps that old farmer I saw tossing ringer after ringer at the horse-shoe contest had an accident last fall and was only able to get his crops in with the help of his neighbors.

Perhaps the Climate March wouldn’t have even made it out of California without the kindness and support of hundreds of people. Yeah, I’m certain of that.

Sure, Americans should celebrate winning our independence from England, even though things probably would have turned out about the same whether we’d fought a war or followed the more diplomatic path of our Canadian neighbors. Sure, we should celebrate the fact that, over the course of 238 years, no foreign power has come close to invading our country and subjugating our people.

But meanwhile, we’ve bought the notion that independence means being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, without anybody’s help. The percentage of Americans who now live by themselves has swelled from five percent in the 1920s to 27 percent today. That’s not independence. That’s isolation. That’s the face of loneliness — and though it may be hard to measure, those who study these sorts of things claim loneliness has increased dramatically over the past twenty years.

On July 4, we celebrate our independence from foreign powers. The rest of the year, we celebrate our independence from each other. Meanwhile, we’ve failed to notice that America has succumbed to a gradual invasion, a more insidious subjugation. Through the clever manipulation of laws by greedy men (yeah, again, they’re mostly men) and our own complacency, national chains and big corporations now dominate our economy.  It’s increasingly difficult, almost impossible in some professions, for hard-working men and women to harness their talent, energy, and passion to realize the American dream and earn a living as a farmer, business owner, or entrepreneur not beholden to some distant corporate overlord.

While we cheer the parade vehicles made in Japan, wave our tiny flags made in China, and catch little pieces of candy made in Mexico, the wealthy and powerful quietly consolidate their control over our lives. They do this in large part through buying off America’s political leadership, both Democratic and Republican, and solidifying their control of our lives through manipulative advertising. We fail to notice that this unholy alliance of corporate and governmental power has eviscerated anti-trust laws, gutted protections against the formation of monopolies, allowed foreign corporations to buy our farmland, and enacted trade treaties that ship our jobs and factories overseas. When the powerful interests that benefit from these laws run aground because of their own greed and stupidity, our politicians simply provide taxpayer-financed bailouts to banks, car manufacturers, and other industry giants deemed “too big to fail.”

The way out of this loss of independence is through recognizing, celebrating, and building upon our essential interdependence. Buying our food from farmers we know and trust. Supporting businesses owned by people who live and work in our town. Using cash instead of credit cards, since the small business owner in the middle gets dinged badly by the credit card company. Doing more with barter.

The long road that led us from America’s former independence to our current dependence — and the difficult path out of dependence through interdependence — is our only hope if we are to win both the race against climate change and the struggle to regain our democracy.

Joe Biden’s message discipline problem

Dear Friends,

As a lawmaker, I recall our caucus leaders constantly hammering us on the importance of “message discipline.” Perhaps Joe Biden missed that lesson. Last week, he gave Democratic voters another reason to question whether he’s their best option to beat Donald Trump.

Joe Biden

Predictably, Biden’s comment about cozying up to segregationists brought a wave of pushback. Voters rightfully upset about the content of Biden’s remark are also worried about Biden’s lack of message discipline.

This is not a new problem for Biden. (Here’s a relevant Mother Jones article.) Last month, in a bizarre, meandering response to climate activists in Des Moines, Biden lauded praise on American oil production:

North America is now energy independent. It’s not the Saudi Arabian peninsula. It’s not Nicaragua (sic). It’s not somewhere in South America. It’s not Africa. It’s the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico. And the United States is soon going to be the largest producer of energy of any nation in the world by the end of the 2020s. My Lord, what are we so afraid of?” — Joe Biden, May 1, 2019, Des Moines, Iowa

How many more slip-ups (or perhaps in this case, candid revelations) can Biden afford before voters get cold feet and decide not to trust him with the nomination? It’s ironic, of course, that message discipline and even basic civility don’t apply to Donald Trump. But knowing that, Democrats have to be even more cautious about their nominee’s ability to stay focused and disciplined.

Charles Goldman and I talk about this on today’s Fallon Forum. We also discuss the many important US Supreme Court decisions coming down this week, and the heated debate over paying reparations to the descendants of slaves. Finally, we celebrate a small victory in the grassroots effort to expose the truth in Dakota Access’ push to double the flow of oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A Candid Assessment of Some Presidential Candidates

Dear Friends,

Remember how the Republican field shifted in the 2012 and 2016 Iowa Caucuses? The lead changed so many times that emergency rooms across Iowa saw a drastic increase in whiplash cases.

Ok, I made that last part up. But seriously, remember one-time 2012 front runner Herman Cain? I didn’t think so. How about 2016 flash-in-the-pack leader Ben Carson? Or shoe-in-for-the-nomination Scott Walker? And oh, how I miss Michele Bachmann.

The horde of Democrats running for president this year may or may not experience the same level of volatility, but we’ve already witnessed some surprises. A year ago, how many of us had even heard of …

PETE BUTTIGIEG? This spring, polls had Buttigieg running third among Iowa Caucus-goers. He’s now fourth, and downward may well be his trajectory. Buttigieg is a captivating speaker. But my guess is he was Iowa Democrats’ first flavor of the month. With so many flavors to choose from and voters hungry for change, another new and exciting prospect is likely to slip past Buttigieg. But, it won’t be …

JOE BIDEN. Name recognition has carried Biden thus far, but his descent has begun. There’s more and more chatter about the astounding inconsistencies between Biden’s past record and his rapid transition to progressive policy advocate. Case in point: Biden’s excellent climate plan, which magically morphed out of his intent to find “middle ground” on climate. How’d that happen? Simple: Biden’s advisors discovered that a milktoast climate strategy would bomb with the base. So they quickly retooled and spit out a plan that looked, well, remarkably like the progressive climate proposals of other candidates.

Few Iowans are fooled. Besides Biden’s climate-plan flip-flop, his recent boast about US oil production hangs around his neck like an endangered albatross (sad but true, Climate Change Threatens Survival of Albatross):

“The United States is soon going to be the largest producer of energy of any nation in the world by the end of the 2020s.” — Joe Biden, May 1, 2019, Des Moines, Iowa

Ouch. My prediction: 2020 will be the third time Joe Biden fails in a presidential primary. Meanwhile, on the other side of the sincerity spectrum …

BERNIE SANDERS. Sanders inspires like no other candidate. It’s not just his rhetoric. It’s his consistency over the years. Unlike Biden, Sanders means what he says. His 2016 campaign changed the debate, forcing even Hillary Clinton to pretend she was progressive. Sanders’ 2016 message has set the tone for 2020.

Yet … the Sanders campaign claims to have 24,000 volunteers. Where are they? This army of believers had better deploy soon because Sanders can’t simply do well in Iowa. He has to win Iowa. No doubt, die-hard Sanders supporters will turn out to caucus for him even in a polar-vortex-induced blizzard with a windchill of -79°F. (That is, in fact, the coldest windchill I’ve experienced in Iowa. Take note, campaign workers from milder climes.)

Sanders essentially tied Clinton in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. But he should have won. In various other states, we can blame the Democratic Establishment for stacking the deck against Sanders. But not Iowa. Here, Sanders has only himself to blame for not beating Clinton, as I recall story after story of wannabe volunteers drooling to help but unable to get even a response from Sanders’ people.

His campaign needs to figure out a way for that not to happen again. Logging 24,000 volunteers on paper is one thing. Effectively managing them in the field is a whole ‘nuther ball game.

The even bigger challenge for Sanders is that most of those who supported him in 2016 seem willing to give other candidates a serious look. Maybe it’s not too late for Sanders to bring a majority of his 2016 supporters home, but the competition is stiff, especially …

ELIZABETH WARREN. Who knew that Iowa Caucus-goers actually cared about issues? Well, yeah, we do — and Warren is proving it. She’s strong on policy with a solid track record to back it up. Despite what the Establishment would have you believe, issues matter, both in the primary and general elections.

Warren’s star continues to rise, and not just because of her strength on policy. She’s running the ground game that Sanders failed to fully mobilize in 2016 and has yet to mobilize this time around. Warren also has survived a few bumps, and that bodes well for her durability.

But this election season is still young. Plenty of candidates are poised to see their prospects improve, such as …

ANDREW YANG. No one does a better job at messaging their uniqueness than Yang. He’s built a deep following nationally, and his peeps are all over social media. Criticize their man and the Yang Gang’s cyber-hammer comes down hard. I’ve got 60+ communiques to prove it.

Political capital has a lot to do with momentum, and Yang is building it slowly and steadily. He’s poised to be the flavor of the month, though I’m not sure he can ride that wave to a top-three, or even top-five, finish in Iowa. As good as he is, there is one candidate who has Yang beat when it comes to clever and creative, and that is …

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND. Many have written off Gillibrand. That’s a mistake. If I were to vote for a candidate for president based on the desire to have someone fun in the White House, it’d be Gillibrand. The Ranch dressing thing. The dressing like a drag queen thing. Beating the ISU student in arm wrestling. What’s not to love about all that in a world leader? “My president is stronger than your president and looks great in drag.” Gillibrand would restore America’s credibility on the world stage in ways Donald Trump could never imagine.

Gillibrand is no policy schlep either. When pushed by Bold Iowa’s bird dogs to feature climate more prominently on her website, she did it — immediately! Her embrace of the urgency of the climate crisis speaks well of her policy priorities.

But when it comes to climate, one candidate has Gillibrand and all the others beat …

JAY INSLEE. Not only is Inslee laser-beam focused on climate, as Governor of Washington he’s got a solid record of action to back it up. Given that the climate crisis is Democratic voters’ top concern and that the impacts of climate change are likely to increase over the summer and fall, Inslee should see his stock rise. But he needs a ground game in Iowa. He needs to talk more about his track record on a range of issues and what he would do to address them as president.

Finally, Inslee — and all the candidates — must address the one consideration on voters’ minds even more pressing than climate. That is …

WHO CAN BEAT TRUMP? Trump will only be defeated by a candidate who can’t be pegged to the status quo. That rules out Biden. It’s remarkable to me, astounding in fact, that anyone still believes that a self-described “centrist” (read “corporate-friendly”) Democrat stands a chance against the madcap faux populism of Crazy Uncle Donald. Fretting over the criteria of electability fed to us by insider pundits who take their orders from the Establishment will give us the same result we got in 2016.

You want electability? Nominate a candidate who’s a decent person, whose rhetoric and record on key issues is strong and consistent, and who demonstrates a solid commitment to tackling the existential threat of climate change. That’s how we beat Donald Trump and assure leadership in the White House that represents the public interest, not the corporate thugs who’ve held sway over America for far too long.

Tell me to shut up

Dear Friends,

If you’re among the handful of people who tell me I’m spending too much time talking about climate, let me respond bluntly: You’re wrong. If anything, I’m not spending enough time talking about it. At this pivotal moment in human and planetary history, if the current trajectory of increased fossil fuel consumption continues, Earth will be unfit for human habitation.

Photo by BBQ Guys

If your home was on fire, that’d be the only thing on your mind, right? Well, our world is on fire. As the climate crisis accelerates, I’m truly dumbfounded that it’s not the lead story in the news every single day; shocked that it’s not the top item on every politician’s list of priorities; dismayed that every single one of us doesn’t wake up saying, “Shit! What are we going to do? What am I going to do?”

It’s encouraging that more and more people are arriving at that “Holy shit!” moment. Yet the risk is that it will paralyze instead of mobilize, that instead of grabbing the firehose and exerting all our effort to extinguish the flames, we’ll stand there, frozen in fear, doing nothing.

And doing nothing is morally and functionally unacceptable. It negates part of what it means to be human — that quality of empathy without which the wars and witch hunts that pockmark the darker side of human history would have long ago snuffed out our species.

Methane and CO2 released from the thawing permafrost will further accelerate the rate of global warming. Valdemaras D., Via Pexels

Yet it’s also not possible to feel some level of fear and despair. I understand completely. As Dahr Jamail writes in a Truthout column this week about the increasingly rapid thawing of the Arctic, “I’ve aimed to be fully present, and I’ve had my heart broken, and I’ve now had enough practice at this that I have seen, repeatedly, the transformational qualities of despair and grief. In the face of our overwhelming climate and political crises, that grief is transformed into a new clarity of vision, and a depth of passion for action that was previously inaccessible.”

Please read Jamail’s piece. It’s both sad and powerful. Most important, it’s true. Hopefully, it will inspire you to engage, to take action, to do your part now before the opportunity to act has passed. If you’re inspired to work with me and my colleagues at Bold Iowa to bird-dog presidential candidates to prioritize the climate crisis, we enthusiastically welcome your involvement. Our workload is heavy, and more hands are needed.

If you’d like to support Bold Iowa’s work financially, one way to do that is to buy my book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim. Others have found it inspiring, and maybe you will too. All proceeds from the book support climate action.

As my good friend and fellow climate marcher, Miriam Kashia, reminds me, “Action is the antidote to despair.” And action — both changing our individual lives and pushing relentlessly for collective transformation — is what may yet see us through the difficult times that lie ahead and are, in fact, already upon us.

Ed Fallon

Apology is O’Rourke’s path out of climate contradiction

Dear Friends,

Six Bold Climate Bird Dogs arrived at Beto O’Rourke’s CNN town hall last week with great expectations. O’Rourke had just released a climate plan that generated much excitement. He talked about climate during his recent Iowa tour and the plan is featured prominently on his website.

Beto O’Rourke speaking at his Climate Change Roundtable in Des Moines on May 6, 2019. Photo by Shari Hrdina

Forty-five minutes into the CNN town hall, Terrance Pendleton asked O’Rourke a general question about climate. That was followed by Patrick Bourgeacq’s more specific inquiry into O’Rourke’s past donations from fossil-fuel interests and his pro-oil-industry votes while in Congress.

O’Rourke responded adequately, then something unexpected happened. Moderator Dana Bash picked up where Bourgeacq left off. She pushed O’Rourke about his controversial 2015 vote to support lifting the ban on crude oil exports.

[Historical perspective: On October 9, 2015, the US House voted to lift the 40-year ban on crude oil exports during the heat of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). That wasn’t a coincidence. DAPL was never about US oil independence. It was about selling fracked oil to the highest bidder. DAPL officials assured us that the oil running through Iowa was for domestic consumption. Lifting the ban on crude oil exports exposed the company’s lie. O’Rourke voted for the bill and it was signed into law by President Obama — a bipartisan betrayal of the greater public good.]

O’Rourke’s response to Dana Bash is worth viewing. As I watched the exchange live, I was wishing O’Rourke and I could talk casually over a pint of Guinness, something along these lines (O’Rourke’s quotes taken directly from his responses at the forum):

Me: “You honestly think voting to let a few rich guys sell US oil overseas makes sense?”

Beto: “Yes, I’m happy with that vote.”

Me: “Ouch. It’s just hard to see how someone who understands the urgency of the climate crisis, someone who just released a progressive, far-reaching plan to fight it, doesn’t regret a vote that clearly takes us in the wrong direction, takes us, in fact, one step closer to extinction.”

Beto“Look, I drove here tonight in a Dodge Grand Caravan that is burning gasoline.”

Me: “Please, Beto. You’re better than that. I’m so over climate deniers and other detractors calling me a hypocrite because I arrive at a pipeline protest in rural Iowa by car. Sorry, the bus and train aren’t running today.”

Beto“I want to make sure that we’re independent of the need to obtain those fossil fuels from the Middle East or Venezuela.”

Me: “Whoa. Stop right there, Beto. The legislation you supported had nothing to do with making America independent of foreign oil. It was simply about letting rich oil tycoons get even richer at the expense of our land, water, property rights, and climate. Come on, you know that!”

Beto“I’d rather those jobs and that exploration take place here in this country to satisfy our energy needs and the energy needs around the world.”

Me: “So, you’re admitting you’re ok with our land being exploited to satisfy the rest of the world’s thirst for oil? Look, if that’s your perspective on climate, it puts you on the same page as Joe Biden. Sorry, that’s not the kind of Democrat I’m interested in supporting.”

Beto“I’d love to toughen EPA standards to make sure we’re doing this in the most environmentally sound way.”

Me: “No, no, no! There’s no environmentally sound way to exploit, transport, refine, and burn oil. Dang, Beto, look at your plan! It’s spot on. Yet defending your 2015 vote on the export ban says to Iowans that you don’t really get it.

“Here’s my advice: Admit that your vote was wrong. Apologize to the Iowa farmers, landowners, and Native communities directly impacted by the pipeline. Apologize to Earth for driving another nail into an unsustainable climate future. Then perhaps, after a thorough and sincere mea culpa, Iowans will take your climate plan seriously.

“Otherwise, Beto, people see your jumping on the climate bandwagon as pure political posturing. I wanna believe it isn’t. I wanna believe you mean every word of it, and that one of the first things you’ll do to steer America on the road to a fossil-fuel-free future is to shut down DAPL and all the pipelines causing so much immediate harm and doing so much long-term damage.

“Yup,” I’d say as I chug the final swig of my Guinness. “The only way out of your dilemma is through contrition. But it has to be sincere, because one thing Iowans are skilled at is seeing through a phony. I, for one, wanna believe you’re the real deal and that you’ll deliver on your climate plan. Prove me right and the next pint is on me. And you might even get my vote.”

— Ed Fallon

King implies Clintons should be executed

Dear Friends,

I’m not prone to cliches, but I can’t get this one off my mind: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Witness hapless US Congressman Steve King (R-Eighteenth Century), who despite public chastisement by fellow House members for his comments in support of white supremacy, was again unable to conceal his propensity to think outside the sanity box.

Last week, King posted a meme on social media showing Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who during the early years of the Cold War were executed for treason. The meme also features Bill and Hillary Clinton, noting that they are “still running free,” accompanied by “#LockHerUp.”

And why does King believe the Clintons should be locked up? He apparently buys the meme’s reference to a conspiracy theory claiming the Clintons sold uranium to the Russians, long-since debunked. How debunked? Even Fox News host Shepard Smith rejects the accusation.

The meme’s clear implication is that the Clintons deserve the same fate as the Rosenbergs — execution. In an age where the radical fringe feels emboldened to act violently against leaders and entire classes of people it disdains, King’s meme is not only politically irresponsible, it’s morally objectionable — and deeply so.

King knows he’s about to experience the election fight of his life, with three Republicans set to challenge him in the June 2020 primary. Most politicians, when threatened with electoral extinction, dive for that nebulous realm of messaging vagueness called “the center.”

Not King. He doubles down on crazy talk, like fantasizing about killing liberals in a new civil war. Like insisting that an all-white society would be superior to others. Year after year, quip after quip, the crazy talk goes on and on.

Yup. If nothing else, one has to admire King for his consistency, honesty, and chutzpah. We’ll see how those traits serve him in his upcoming election battle.

Ed Fallon

Bill Clinton’s biggest “accomplishment”

Dear Friends,

Do you realize how embarrassingly rare it is for a progressive voice to be heard on the so-called “public” airwaves? Unless I’ve missed something (and I hope I have), the Fallon Forum is the only progressive political talk show on commercial radio anywhere in Iowa.

That’s not only sad and wrong, it’s dangerous. Our airwaves have been sold-off to a shrinking handful of corporate giants. As a result, traditional radio listeners are inundated 24-7 with a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and their ilk.

Vice President Al Gore looks on as President Clinton signs the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

It’s no wonder so many Americans have been brainwashed into buying the lie that climate change is a hoax. So yeah, this sell-off of what used to be OUR airwaves is downright dangerous.

Lest people forget, it was President Bill Clinton who signed the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, the bill that made possible this travesty of fairness. Clinton delivered many other plums to Corporate America during his presidency, including NAFTA, welfare reform, and the repeal of Glass Steagall. But the Telecommunications Act was perhaps the most far-reaching in its damage. (Note of historic interest: Joe Biden voted for all four of these bills while Bernie Sanders voted “no.”)

Which brings me to two important conclusions:

1. Support progressive talk radio. Yeah, the Fallon Forum for sure. But across the country, there are other talking heads pioneering alternatives to the Limbaugh-Hannity-Beck model of divide, lie, and further divide. There are excellent community-owned stations, too, including KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames), KICI 105.3 FM (Iowa City), and the 300+ stations affiliated with the Pacifica Network. Support us!

2. DON’T NOMINATE ANOTHER CORPORATE DEMOCRAT FOR PRESIDENT!! Ignore the “we must nominate a moderate” blather. As the late Paul Wellstone used to say, the division in America is not between left and right, it’s between top and bottom. I’m encouraged that many Democrats running for president this year understand the distinction and have track records that suggest they’ll deliver on it.

One final word about the unraveling of the public airwaves. As Michael Corcoran wrote in this Truthout story marking the 20th anniversary of the passage of The Telecommunications Act, “In 1995, before the Telecommunications Act was passed, companies were not allowed to own more than 40 radio stations. ‘Since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Clear Channel [now called iHeartMedia] has grown from 40 stations to 1,240 stations – 30 times more than congressional regulation previously allowed,’ according to a report from the Future of Music Coalition.”

Domination of the economy and our lives by an oligarchy of unaccountable corporate or government interests is a blow to liberty. Nowhere is that domination more evident than in radio. Yet like water, the human spirit constantly seeks out cracks in the oligarchy’s armor — cracks through which to carve a path toward innovation, and through innovation, a path toward freedom.

Let’s do all we can to help bring that reality to fruition.

Ed Fallon