Keylime, Not Keystone

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Dear Friends,

Three weeks ago, marchers reached the physical midpoint of the Great March for Climate Action. Saturday, we reached the political midpoint, crossing the proposed path of the Keystone Pipeline. (Check out this link from our incredible partner, Bold Nebraska, for details and photos.) The Keystone Pipeline has become the symbol of resistance to climate disruption and our dependence on fossil fuels. Keystone is where activists across the country have drawn a line in the sand.

Midwest hospitality being what it is, the Pipeline has also provided a focal point for Nebraskans to roll out the red carpet for us. We have been treated to all sorts of wonderful food, including meat pies, quiche pies, veggie pies and fruit pies. On two occasions, I was the delighted recipient of Keylime Pie, giving birth to my personal slogan in this cause: Keylime, Not Keystone. (Note: Both times, the Keylime kindness was dished-up by self-described conservatives who disagreed with me on many issues but concurred on Keystone and climate.)

As I sit here in front of my tent in 100 degree heat, I am deeply grateful for the kindness that I and other marchers have received from so many Nebraskans – kindness that includes not just food and shelter but showers, laundry and good conversation about the crisis of this century. And while not everyone agrees on what to do about climate change, the vast majority of those we meet concur that we have a huge problem, that human activity is causing it, and that something must be done.

My sense from the front lines in the race to save the planet is that people “get it,” even though they have yet to mobilize in a big way to fight. I have a strong, encouraging feeling that this lack of mobilization is about to change – is already changing, in fact. This sense keeps me going despite the fatigue, the heat, the bug bites, and the ongoing struggle to find enough calories, protein and sleep.

Tune-in to the Fallon Forum, live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. I’ll give daily updates about the March and talk with some of the fascinating people I meet along the way. We’ll also dig into Iowa politics, as the mid-term election heats up and draws national interest. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

FORMER IOWA LAWMAKER PREDICTS BIPARTISAN ALLIES IN PIPELINE BATTLE

Former State Representative Ed Fallon, who is walking across the country with the Great March for Climate Action, today had harsh words for proponents of a pipeline across Iowa.

“This proposal is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start,” said Fallon. “With the impacts of climate change becoming more and more evident, the last thing we need is another pipeline. Also, with the pipeline proposed to go through 17 Iowa counties, the loss of farmland and condemnation of land is going to hurt Iowa from literally one corner of the state to the other.”

As a lawmaker, one of Fallon’s specialty areas was toughening eminent domain law to better protect property owners from condemnation of land. “A coalition of Democrats and Republicans was successful ten years ago in extending greater protection to landowners facing condemnation of their property for development. If a Texas oil corporation thinks they can come to Iowa and take people’s land for a bad idea like a pipeline, they’ll find they have quite a bipartisan fight on their hands,” predicted Fallon.

Fallon is also troubled by the apparent secrecy of the proposed pipeline. “I have my suspicions about who knew what and when, and why this hasn’t been discussed in the full light of public oversight, but I will reserve those comments until we learn more,” concluded Fallon.

Fallon is the Founder and Director of the Great March for Climate Action and operates a daily talk show called The Fallon Forum, which can be heard online and on two Iowa radio stations. He has walked every step of the way with the Climate March, to date about 1,600 miles.

Beaten down, but determined

Dear Friends,

The Climate March is wearing on me. Walking 15 miles a day is grinding me down. I’ve lost weight. My lips are a war zone, victims of the hot sun and dry air. My nails are chipped so bad I can’t pick guitar. The novelty of sleeping in a tent wore off in the Mojave, as did the novelty of bathing with a quart of cold water.

And the weather! Sure, we’ve had some beautiful days. But there is simply no joy in having my tent – and my nose, ears and eyes – invaded by sand hurled by 30-40 mile per hour winds. Sometimes it’s too cold to sleep, and in the morning it’s too cold to work one’s fingers. If I’m late for dinner there may be little or nothing left. I’ve devoured over 100 peanut butter sandwiches since the start of the March.

Sometimes, I don’t know how I’ve done it, yet I’ve walked every step of the way – nearly 1,000 miles. I am determined, God willing, to walk every step of the next 2,000 miles.

When I reflect on why I’m marching, quitting is simply not an option. As I walk through deserts and over mountains and talk with people along the way, I think of the thousands across the globe who have already suffered and died because of climate disruption. I think of the lives – both human and other – that will be lost if we fail to tackle the climate crisis.

Although I am tired and sore, although this March often feels like a sacramental act of penance and self deprivation, I know that the only option of conscience is to continue, to persevere, to finish. I believe strongly that the message we marchers carry on the road to Washington, DC is the most important message America needs to hear today.

I am digging deep in this often grueling coast-to-coast odyssey. I ask you to dig deep as well, one more time, to make sure we have the funds to get to Nebraska and beyond. Since my first appeal three weeks ago, you and other supporters have donated $24,000. That is nearly halfway to our goal of raising $50,000 by the end of May! For that, I and the other marchers thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Please click here to donate, and as you do consider the following:

- It costs $200 per day to feed 40 marchers;
- It costs $1,000 to sponsor an environmentally-friendly EcoCommode;
- It costs $2,500 per month to rent, power and maintain our vehicles;
- It costs $10,000 per state to organize route, campsites, permits, rallies and events.

Please take a moment to do what you can.  Share this letter with others, and with organizations or a church you are involved with. Ask them to pitch in as well, by throwing a house party or passing the hat at a church service or event.  Consider taking your summer vacation with the March (in addition to the hard times I’ve discussed above, there truly are many wonderful moments). And know that your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement mean so much to me, and to all the marchers.

And please tune-in to the Fallon Forum, live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. I’ll give daily updates about the March and talk with some of the fascinating people I meet along the way. We’ll also discuss Iowa-specific issues, including: Bernie Sanders for President? Tom Vilsack for Vice President? Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Business Sponsors
Anemometry Specialists
Corazon Coffee Roasters
State Rep Dan Kelley
Dianna’s Wedding Cakes
Gateway Market
HoQ Restaurant
Ritual Cafe
Sargent’s Garage
Tally’s Restaurant Bar & Catering

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Organizational Sponsors
Great March for Climate Action
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Iowa Chapter
Sierra Club Iowa Chapter

Business Sponsors
Anemometry Specialists
Corazon Coffee Roasters
State Rep Dan Kelley
Dianna’s Wedding Cakes
Gateway Market
HoQ Restaurant
Ritual Cafe
Sargent’s Garage
Tally’s Restaurant Bar & Catering
The Book Store

Native Hospitality

Dear Friends,

Well, marching across New Mexico has been an eye-opening experience. The Native peoples we meet – Zuni, Acoma, Laguna – have provided hospitality richer even than the openness Iowans are known for. I’ll share some stories with you this week on the Fallon Forum.

Also, what are your thoughts on West Des Moines’ Microsoft “deal” . . . as in . . . “Is this a great deal for Microsoft at the expense of the taxpayers or what?” Or perhaps you think a bundle of tax money for a handful of jobs make sense. Either way, I’m happy to hear from you.

Also, will US Senate Democrats join Senate Republicans and cave to pressure from the fossil fuel industry and Canada (the country formerly referred to as our friend to the North) and jam the Keystone Pipeline through without Presidential approval?

I’m open to your thoughts on other timely topics to dig into on this week’s Fallon Forum. Fire away with suggestions. Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

GOP Shake-up No Big Deal

Dear Friends,

My take on the Iowa Republican Party shake-up? Purely cosmetic. Expect business as usual. Iowans will see the same anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-environment and anti-labor rhetoric and policy proposals that are standard practice for both Governor Branstad and the GOP-controlled Iowa House.

Sure, so-called “liberty movement” Republicans are out. Theocrats and big business Republicans are in. But there is no substantive difference, and real world problems will be met by the same lack of vision and lack of empathy for the common person that have become standard for modern-day Republicans.

I do need to give the ousted Ron Paul supporters credit for one thing. They weren’t afraid to challenge the power brokers within the Party. Of course, that’s a big part of why they were ousted.

One impact could be positive for Iowa – one based on image, not substance. National poobahs, both Republican and Democrat, will prognosticate that the Iowa Republican Party has transformed itself, has become more representative of the electorate. They’ll reason that Iowa has redeemed itself after the caucus fiasco of 2012. Thus, it’ll be harder for Iowa’s detractors to argue we are unfit to host the first-in-the-nation presidential contest.

For that reason, Iowa Democrats ought to send Terry Branstad a thank you note on a slip of paper. But make sure that slip of paper is pink, so it can double as notice that Branstad’s reign of error is finished.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Climate March in Jeopardy

Dear Friends,

Let me cut to the chase: The Great March for Climate Action needs to raise $50,000 during the next month if it is to continue. We have marched over 600 miles and have enough funds to get to Albuquerque. But the next critical stretch – Albuquerque to Denver, and then eastward toward the proposed path of the Keystone Pipeline – is in jeopardy if significant funds don’t arrive immediately. {Click here to donate now.}

I know that you – my long-time friends and supporters – understand the urgency of the climate crisis. I know that you appreciate the historic impact the March is having – and will continue to have as our numbers grow and momentum builds en route to Washington, DC. And I know that you appreciate the tremendous physical and personal sacrifices that I am making – that ALL of our marchers are making! – to bring this vision to fruition.

What you may not know is this:

We are already accomplishing tremendous things!

  • In the wake of our kick-off in Wilmington, California on March 1st, Valero (the company that threatened to drastically increase refining tar-sands oil in the Port of LA) withdrew its permit due to intense public pressure;
  • Press coverage has been extensive and favorable, not just along the March route but increasingly across the country (click here);
  • The town of Payson, Arizona rolled out the red carpet for us, and organizers there assured us we had a huge impact on the town’s conversation about becoming more sustainable;
  • Native American communities in Los Angeles, Parker and Phoenix have been very welcoming and engaging, and our state coordinator in New Mexico has arranged extensive dialogue with Native communities there; and
  • Our outreach through social media is growing by leaps and bounds.

And just this week, our young marchers released a compelling video, which is seeing broad circulation across the country: Reject and Protect.

I have given a lot to my home state of Iowa over the years. You – my friends, supporters and fellow climate patriots – have given me a lot, too. You have made it possible for us to work together to make a clear difference. Today, I am asking you in the strongest possible terms to step forward now, to donate as generously as possible to keep the Great March for Climate Action rolling.

The March’s impact on the crisis of our times will reverberate far beyond Iowa, from one end of our country to the other, and beyond our shores to a world looking to us for leadership and resolve. Please continue to help me and our dedicated core of marchers make that happen. Thank you!

Ed Fallon

Poll shows trouble for Terry

Dear Friends,

Popular wisdom has it that Governor Branstad’s armor is so thick it can’t be damaged by one lousy scandal. But what about a whole pile of lousy scandals? A poll released yesterday by PPP and commissioned by Progress Iowa spells big trouble for Branstad, with State Senator Jack Hatch polling a mere 5 points behind the 5-term governor.

More important, when poll respondents were asked about the recent scandals, Hatch trails by only one point. One point!

In other words, the Iowa governor’s race is a statistical tie!

That’s unprecedented. Branstad has been unbeatable in the past. He has always polled well ahead of his Democratic challengers. For Hatch to be this close six months before the election moves the race for Governor into a more prominent position in the national spotlight. It gives Hatch more credibility. It brings in new allies. And it will most certainly attract donations from individuals and causes favorable to the environment, campaign finance reform, health care reform and government accountability.

Whatever you thought about the Terry Branstad of the 1980s and 1990s, this millennium’s Branstad has taken political dysfunction and denial to new levels. Pundits who once thought Jack Hatch was either a sacrificial lamb or a long shot are having to rethink that viewpoint. With the legislative session about to end and Hatch free to bring his message of a fresh approach to governance to Iowans across the state, I’d say Branstad is in big trouble. This poll bears that out.

This week, we’ll talk about politics, issues and give you updates on the Great March for Climate Action on the Fallon Forum. Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 and add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Governor Denial

Dear Friends,

I received a welcome visitor in Payson, Arizona last week: my computer! As the Great March for Climate Action rolls across central Arizona, I am now able to resume regular weekly updates. I’ll continue to broadcast each program live from the March route, Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. On the docket for today is an analysis of this scathing critique of Governor Branstad by WHO news dude Dave Price. (And if you’ve got an opinion on this one, please call-in at 855-244-0077.) It’s spot on, so I’m just going to share the entire post and encourage you to view this link:

http://whotv.com/2014/04/08/political-fallout-governors-reputation-at-stake/

Writes Price:

Terry Branstad is Iowa’s longest serving governor. If he wins re-election, he would become the nation’s longest serving governor.

But he has to convince Iowans he’s still the best person for the job.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute.” Don’t believe everything you hear Governor Branstad warned us Monday.

It turns out, maybe we should have believed former state worker Carol Frank’s claims she was paid hush money.

The truth of her words makes the governor’s previous emphatic denial that the offer didn’t happen potentially more damaging to his reputation.

The governor said repeatedly he never knew about confidential settlements given to former workers affiliated with a dozen different departments across the state.

Other controversies

Denial has been a big part of the governor’s response in other key statehouse controversies.

When state troopers driving him got busted from driving far too fast, the governor said, “The lieutenant governor and I were both in the vehicle. We didn’t know anything about it. We didn’t know the incident even occurred.”

When news broke staff at the Iowa Juvenile Home kept troubled children locked in isolation cells for months, the governor said he didn’t know.

Five months after the home’s former superintendent left, when asked whether she quit or got fired the governor responded, “I don’t know the information on that. I don’t try to micromanage departments and agencies.”

Three high profile controversies, three denials from the governor.

Add them together and they give his long-shot challenger this to question the governor’s leadership. “I’m just wondering who’s in charge? He says he doesn’t micromanage. But the question is, does he manage at all?” gubernatorial contender Jack Hatch asked.

The governor faced criticism for letting two men remain on their jobs too long. Employees said Public Safety Director Brian London’s management style ruined morale. And they said Commandant David Worley bullied residents and staff at the Iowa Veterans Home.

The governor had initially praised both men. Both men eventually resigned.

Voters will eventually have a choice to make. Do they think the governor doesn’t have a good grasp on what his managers are doing, as Hatch claims? Or when the governor finds out there has been a problem does he take decisive action?

The DAS director has been fired, the speeding troopers were reprimanded and the governor closed the Juvenile Home.

Come November voters decide whether Governor Branstad remains the best person for the job.

Join the conversation live Monday-Thursday from 6:00-6:30 pm. Listen and watch online at www.fallonforum.com. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 to add your voice to the dialogue. Podcasts available after the program. And catch the Fallon Forum Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) from 4:00-5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Thanks! – Ed

Climate March – Day 1

Greetings DM,

If I could have conceived a more difficult start to the Climate March, I’m not sure what it would have been. In Southern California, where drought has plagued the region, who could have imagined three days of heavy rain? The worst day was today – the start of our 3000-mile March.
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On top of that, Day One was long – a 19.4-mile trek through Los Angeles’ industrial underbelly and some of its most impoverished neighborhoods. The start of the rally was an auspicious location: a park overlooking the towering infrastructure of the Port of LA’s oil refineries, which are poised to beef-up production at a time when climate models make it clear we need to cut back dramatically on fossil fuel consumption. Over 1,500 people turned out for an invigorating rally and the first two miles of marching. The rain held off. It was a glorious start.

Then the rains resumed.

It was like Iowa in June, complete with thunder, lightning and torrential downpours. The rain turned city streets into raging rivers. Crossing intersections often involved wading through water up to our calves. Two marchers had to stop due to the risk of hypothermia. Others bailed out for a variety of reasons, including the need for strong backs to extricate our gear truck from the mud at our previous camp.

I was able to walk the entire distance, with great difficulty, and made it to our overnight stop at All Peoples Christian Church at 9:30 pm. Due to weather conditions, church members at the last minute let us stay inside, a kindness that was extremely well received by marchers. I was too exhausted to do much other than wash up a little and crawl into my sleeping bag.

Day Two is only 8.4 miles. I’m not sure what to expect. Maybe the shorter distance will be a relief. Or we will still be too sore from Day One for it to matter. The rains are forecast to continue, so perhaps we should plan on being as miserable as yesterday.

From Los Angeles, Ed Fallon