Meet the Marchers

Dear Friends,

Climate March mobile “bathrooms” — complete with showers and commodes

Just like planet Earth, preparations for the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March are heating up. This past weekend, Sarah Spain and Chap Myers scouted the route between Des Moines and Fort Dodge. We’re now closing in on locating the seven campsites we’ll need for the September 1 – 8 march.

Also, Sarah and her brother, Sean, are working on improvements to our “Mobile Bathroom” unit — a trailer that hauls both environmentally friendly commodes and solar showers. Besides the trailer’s functional importance, it showcases the technologies that will lead us beyond climate chaos into a sustainable future.

We’re thrilled that Lyssa Wade — a.k.a., Veggie Thumper — will provide food for our hungry marchers and guests each night of the March. Lyssa needs someone to repair her bus’s refrigerator. If you’ve got expertise in that area, or know of someone who does, please get in touch with me.

Lyssa Wade and the “Veggie Thumper” bus

As if to underscore the urgency of the March, BNSF Railway recently spilled upwards of 230,000 gallons of tar sands oil (the worst of the worst) into the Little Rock River, just a few miles from where Bakken oil flows through the Dakota Access Pipeline in Lyon County, Iowa. Mahmud Fitil shot some excellent video of the oil spill. That inspired Krystle Craig to take water samples at seven locations — from just upstream of the spill to Omaha. Here’s video footage of Krystle’s work. From everything we’ve seen, the spill appears to be worse than railway officials are willing to admit. Stay tuned for more.

David Houston with Homes4MyPeeps

Back to the March. I’m excited about the commitment, passion, and diversity of those stepping forward to join the March. David Houston of Des Moines understands the connection between climate change, food, and the challenges facing low-income communities. He writes, “I’ve never done a march, but this seems like a good way to get connected. I run Homes4MyPeeps to restore homes for low-income people. Part of what I do involves growing and eating good, healthy food. People need to start thinking about what they eat, because when we eat better and put the right fuel into our systems, we feel better, too.”

Trisha Etringer

Trisha Etringer is a Hochunk woman from Cedar Falls. She writes, “I’m marching for Indigenous rights, landowner rights, and clean water for my children. They and other children deserve clean water and a healthy way of living. I’m majoring in psychology and minoring in mental health at UNI. My experience at Standing Rock was eye opening. My time there woke me up to the importance of fighting to protect Mother Earth. I had never done anything like that in my life and was pregnant at the time. If I’d not gone to Standing Rock I’m not sure where I’d be today.”

Fred Kirschenmann is a life-long farmer who’s joining the March for the first four days. He writes, “I grew up on a farm in North Dakota under the tutelage of a father who developed a passion, as a result of the dust bowl in the 1930s, about how important it was to ‘take care of land.’ He instilled that value in me, so it has also become a passion of mine. During my life-time its importance has only increased in me.”

Fred Kirschenmann

This March is important for so many reasons, especially with the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit coming before the Iowa Supreme Court in September. We can accommodate fifty marchers each day. If you’d like to join us, please visit the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March where you’ll find an application, a FAQ sheet, our Code of Nonviolence, a link to the marcher profile page, and more.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Whether by pipe or rail, fossil-fuel transport unsafe

Dear Friends,

The oil spill in northwest Iowa has been “contained,” according to authorities. I’ve yet to see the price tag on how much taxpayer money has been spent cleaning up the mess. It also remains to be seen whether the spill will contaminate water supplies downstream in Sioux City and Omaha.

Oil spill in NW Iowa last week. Photo by Des Moines Register. Click for more images.

Since the BNSF Railway train wreck last Friday that caused the discharge of 230,000 gallons of Canadian tar sands oil into the Little Rock River, Florida and Rotterdam have seen their own oil spills. Perhaps I’ve missed others. The bottom line is, whether by train or pipe or cargo ship, oil and gas spills happen all the time! Check out the astounding record in Wikipedia’s “List of pipeline accidents in the U.S. in the 21st century.”

Ironically, just one day before the spill in northwest Iowa, President Trump again did the bidding of the oil and gas industry by dumping President Obama’s initiative to prevent oil spills.

Pushing back against the insanity of these spills, leaks, and presidential executive orders that violate both science and common sense, we must continue to do everything we can to turn hearts and minds away from fossil fuels and toward decentralized, sustainable energy alternatives.

Here are three simple things you can do to help:

1. Share the press release (below) with your friends, co-workers, family members and media contacts.

2. Spread the word about the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March, which will raise awareness about the all-important landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit against the misuse of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline.

3. Come march with us, September 1 – 8! Ok, that’s not a simple ask. But if you’re able, we’d love to have you apply to join us.

Here’s the release on the BNSF spill. Scroll down further for detail on this week’s Fallon Forum. Thanks! – Ed

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 23, 2018 — 1:00 p.m. CDT

Contact: Christine Nobiss at (319) 331-8034 or cnobiss@gmail.com
Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa issue joint statement on oil spill
Two organizations deride fossil-fuel transport as unsafe — whether by pipe or rail

Leaders of Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa today expressed deep concern for the families, communities, land and water impacted by yesterday’s oil spill in Lyon County, Iowa. At the same time, the organizations’ leaders reminded people that these disasters are inevitable as long as policymakers give preferential treatment to fossil-fuel giants.

“All forms of transport for this deadly substance will fail,” said Christine Nobiss, founder of Indigenous Iowa. “The poison will be delivered into our systems through the water, food and air we ingest. This cycle will continue until we simply stop extracting fossil fuels from the ground. It took millions and millions of years for the Earth to create these substances and, frankly, there’s a reason most of it is buried deep within her. Let’s just leave it there and demand better, renewable and sustainable energy infrastructure.”

“Whether these big corporations move their product by pipe or train, there are going to be leaks and spills,” said Ed Fallon, a former lawmaker who directs Bold Iowa and hosts The Fallon Forum. “This time it was a train, transporting foreign oil through our state. Next time it could be the Dakota Access Pipeline, which we’re fighting in the courts.”

Nine landowners along the pipeline route have joined with the Iowa Sierra Club to sue the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) over illegally authorizing the use of eminent domain to take their land. The case is expected to be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall. If the ruling is favorable, it could stop the flow of oil.

To raise awareness about the importance of the lawsuit, Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa are organizing the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. The march begins on September 1 with a press conference at the IUB’s office in Des Moines. Following the pipeline route through Story, Boone and Webster counties, it concludes with an action in Fort Dodge on September 8. Fifty participants representing farmers, environmentalists and Indigenous nations are preparing to walk the entire 90-mile route, averaging roughly 11-12 miles per day.

In April of 2015, Fallon finished a 400-mile walk along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline, from Lee County in the southeast corner of the state to Lyon County in the northwest. “I spoke with a couple dozen landowners and farmers in Lyon County during that walk,” recalls Fallon. “Very few of them supported an oil pipeline running through their land and across their rivers. After what happened yesterday, I bet they’re equally unhappy with oil trains.”

Indigenous Iowa was founded by Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Salteaux from the Gordon First Nation. Indigenous Iowa raises awareness about the devastating effects that oil, gas and coal have on our environment while simultaneously promoting the development and implementation of renewable energy.

Bold Iowa builds rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change, to prevent the abuse of eminent domain, to protect Iowa’s soil, air and water, and to promote non-industrial renewable energy.

# # #

On this week’s Fallon Forum:

  • NW Iowa oil spill: neither trains nor pipes are “safe”
  • Dear Louisiana, Sorry about the dead zone. Please sue us. Love, Iowa
  • The end is near . . . not again!
  • Trump exits UN Human Rights Council
  • Failed US immigration policy splitting families
  • Methane emissions far worse than previously believed
  • Restaurants give up plastic straws

Fossil-fuel transport unsafe, whether by pipe or rail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 23, 2018 — 1:00 p.m. CDT

Contact: Christine Nobiss at (319) 331-8034 or cnobiss@gmail.com
Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa issue joint statement on oil spill
Two organizations deride fossil-fuel transport as unsafe — whether by pipe or rail

Leaders of Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa today expressed deep concern for the families, communities, land and water impacted by yesterday’s oil spill in Lyon County, Iowa. At the same time, the organizations’ leaders reminded people that these disasters are inevitable as long as policymakers give preferential treatment to fossil-fuel giants.

“All forms of transport for this deadly substance will fail,” said Christine Nobiss, founder of Indigenous Iowa. “The poison will be delivered into our systems through the water, food and air we ingest. This cycle will continue until we simply stop extracting fossil fuels from the ground. It took millions and millions of years for the Earth to create these substances and, frankly, there’s a reason most of it is buried deep within her. Let’s just leave it there and demand better, renewable and sustainable energy infrastructure.”

“Whether these big corporations move their product by pipe or train, there are going to be leaks and spills,” said Ed Fallon, a former lawmaker who directs Bold Iowa and hosts The Fallon Forum. “This time it was a train, transporting foreign oil through our state. Next time it could be the Dakota Access Pipeline, which we’re fighting in the courts.”

Nine landowners along the pipeline route have joined with the Iowa Sierra Club to sue the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) over illegally authorizing the use of eminent domain to take their land. The case is expected to be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall. If the ruling is favorable, it could stop the flow of oil.

To raise awareness about the importance of the lawsuit, Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa are organizing the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. The march begins on September 1 with a press conference at the IUB’s office in Des Moines. Following the pipeline route through Story, Boone and Webster counties, it concludes with an action in Fort Dodge on September 8. Fifty participants representing farmers, environmentalists and Indigenous nations are preparing to walk the entire 90-mile route, averaging roughly 11-12 miles per day.

In April of 2015, Fallon finished a 400-mile walk along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline, from Lee County in the southeast corner of the state to Lyon County in the northwest. “I spoke with a couple dozen landowners and farmers in Lyon County during that walk,” recalls Fallon. “Very few of them supported an oil pipeline running through their land and across their rivers. After what happened yesterday, I bet they’re equally unhappy with oil trains.”

Indigenous Iowa was founded by Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Salteaux from the Gordon First Nation. Indigenous Iowa raises awareness about the devastating effects that oil, gas and coal have on our environment while simultaneously promoting the development and implementation of renewable energy.

Bold Iowa builds rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change, to prevent the abuse of eminent domain, to protect Iowa’s soil, air and water, and to promote non-industrial renewable energy.

# # #

Why income inequality is getting worse

Dear Friends

On this week’s Fallon Forum, Charles Goldman and Tom Jochum discuss income inequality. Writes Charles, “We dig into the fact that (what a surprise) workers who are not bosses are earning lower wages since the passage of the Trump tax cuts. Also, I’ll discuss that you get the Supreme Court you vote for, or ‘a week in the life of Little Scalia, a.k.a. Neil Gorsuch.'”

Charles has other topics on the docket as well, and writes, “I generally like to avoid Hitler references, especially when they’re used incorrectly. But this is important. We’ll discuss how Hitler admired and was influenced by American racism, and how we are far from the post-racial America supposedly heralded by the election of Barrack Obama.”

Charles also discusses, “How the Bible doesn’t just support the atrocity occurring along our southern border (as stated by Mass’r Jeff Sessions) but also is undergirding the anti-environmentalism of Trump acolytes such as Scott Pruitt. There’s a long history of Bible literalism that leads up to 35 million Americans believing that the end of the world will occur just as depicted in Revelations, and thus climate change is irrelevant. Unfortunately, they may be taking the rest of us with them.”

And if you missed last week’s program with Lora Fraracci and her guests discussing sustainable agriculture, check it out here: www.fallonforum.com/listen.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 96.5 FM and 1260 AM (central Iowa). Add your voice to the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122.

– Listen on other local affiliates:
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks!

Ed Fallon

Save the date to march with us

Dear Friends,

Often when there’s a crisis, people respond by traveling great distances on foot. Marches often transform the participants, and have changed my life, too. (Stay tuned for the upcoming release of my first book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim.)

Most important, marches change history. Consider:

  • The Women’s Suffrage March
  • Gandhi’s Salt March
  • The 1965 March for Voting Rights
  • The 1986 Great Peace March, which mobilized support for a nuclear test ban and citizen diplomacy between Americans and Russians

From September 1 – 8, fifty people will march from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, and one of them could be you! The First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March unites Native, farmer, and other voices to build awareness of the historic landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit against the Iowa Utilities Board, contesting the use of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. That suit has the potential to stop the flow of crude oil across Iowa and three other states.

If you’re interested in learning more about the march, click here.

If you want to donate, click here.

The lawsuit will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall and it alleges that the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) illegally allowed the use of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. The case is strong and references Iowa’s 2006 eminent domain law that limits the use of eminent domain to public purposes. A privately owned crude-oil pipeline merely transporting oil through Iowa is not a public purpose. This is a strong case.

According to Wally Taylor, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, “The IUB can grant a permit to a pipeline company only if the service to be provided by the pipeline is necessary and benefits the public. The IUB failed in its duty in this case.”

Bold Iowa is again partnering with Indigenous Iowa to organize this eight-day, 90-mile march. We’ll track the pipeline through Story, Boone, and Webster counties, traveling 10-14 miles each day.  We’ll set up our mobile encampment at farms and parks — a self-contained community of tents and teepees with a kitchen, eco-commodes, solar showers, and a solar collector.

If you’re a good walker, care deeply about justice and our Earth, and are ready for a unique personal growth experience, please consider being part of this important event.

Eddie Mauro is strongest on climate

Dear Friends,

Do you like drums? I do. Here’s one you’ll hear me beat until America wakes up or slips into a climate-induced coma:

WE CAN STOP THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE!!

That’s right. The lawsuit filed by the Iowa Sierra Club and landowners along the pipeline route will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall. It’s a solid and potentially historic case.

An Irish Bodhran

But does the mainstream media notice or care? Apparently not. So we have to get the word out through the alternative press, social media, and creative actions.

2017 Climate Justice Unity March

Creative actions like the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. Sign up to be part of this week-long grassroots adventure that fills the void left by the media. Let’s wake people up to the importance of the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit. If the Court rules against the Iowa Utilities Board, as it should, crude oil flowing through Iowa will stop.

Speaking of the mainstream media, in the Des Moines Register’s editorial endorsing Cindy Axne for Congress, I was shocked to read this: “While all of the candidates say addressing climate change is a priority, Axne has hands-on experience directing the Culver administration’s clean energy program.”

Eddie Mauro

What’s shocking is that the Register suggests that climate change was a priority in its decision to endorse Axne, even though it never asked about climate in the hour-long interviews with Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie Mauro.

Despite that, Eddie Mauro brought up climate change without being prompted. In his interview with the Register, at the 26:20-minute mark, Mauro says, “I would argue probably the most important issue that gets the least amount of play is climate change.”

Good for him! (Read Mauro’s full climate statement here.) And a thistle to the Register for failing to bring it up. Any community leader — whether in government, business, academia, or the media — who fails to prioritize climate change should be called to task.

Need more examples of the negligence of the mainstream media on climate? Consider three stories in the May 30 USA Today:

Flood-hammered Ellicott City faces a decision. Reporter Christal Hayes poses this question: “How could the unthinkable — a catastrophic flood —  happen again within two years?” Ok, good. Now go ahead, answer the question. I’m waiting. Reading through to the end of the article, the obvious villain — anthropogenic climate change — is never even mentioned.

Great Barrier Reef has survived 5 near-death events. Reporter David Carrig writes, “{S}scientists are not sure that the reef is resilient enough to survive the current crisis caused by rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching.” Thanks, David, but “current crisis”? Can you say a little more? Oh, wait, the end of the article references “the pace of change caused by the many current stresses.” So, that’s the best you can do?

Hurricane Maria killed more than 4,600, not 64, report says. John Bacon writes, “Maria was one of three hurricanes in 2017 — Harvey and Irma were the others. All three are among the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.” Yes, indeed. And why was that, John? I’m waiting. John, are you still there? Again, reading to the end of the article, there’s no mention of climate change.

It’s almost as if President Trump’s removal of climate change and global warming from many federal websites is now the accepted practice in the mainstream media as well. I guess there’s plenty of fake — and partial — news to go around.

Who will tell the truth? Who will talk about the severity of the peril we face with the mounting devastation caused by a warming planet on fossil-fuel steroids?

It’s up to you and me. Please, let’s wake up. Let’s wise up. Let’s put our minds to work and our bodies on the line before it’s too late.

Ed

Dems could (again) blow clear shot at victory

Dear Friends,

“This whole election is so volatile, and so many people dislike Clinton that it could go that way. I mean, Trump could win.” — Ed Fallon on August 25, 2016

That’s my quote in a Bleeding Heartland story published nearly two years ago, when almost no one thought Donald Trump could prevail against Hillary Clinton’s juggernaut. Sadly, many Iowa Democrats learned nothing from that election. Now many Democrats are lining up behind Fred Hubbell — the one candidate who could lose to Kim Reynolds in November, despite Reynolds’ extreme vulnerability.

Democrats must have missed 2016’s most teachable moment: failing to notice that the candidate tagged as “status quo” (whether true or false) loses.

The Trump-Clinton election shouldn’t have been needed for Democrats to learn this lesson. Remember John Kerry? Bruce Braley? If you come off as the elite candidate you lose — even against a draft dodger like George W. Bush or an unknown state senator like Joni Ernst. Perception trumps reality.

Fred Hubbell

Unfortunately, with Fred Hubbell, perception is reality. There is no way Fred can hide his upper-crust credentials.

Personally, I like Fred. I’ve known him and his wife, Charlotte, since the 1980s. They’ve been financially supportive of my work and once hosted a house party for a nonprofit I directed. I feel bad that I have to say these things.

But the importance of this election compels me to speak bluntly and truthfully to Iowa Democrats. If you nominate Hubbell on June 5, our prospects for defeating Reynolds are greatly diminished.

I see the barrage of ads touting Reynolds’ humble background — growing up on a farm, her dad taking a second job at a factory to make ends meet, working at a grocery store and later as a waitress. That stuff resonates with Iowans. Voters will have a hard time relating to someone as wealthy and privileged as Fred Hubbell, who himself finds it difficult to identify with the challenges most Iowans face.

Case in point is this quote from a May 23, 2018 Des Moines Register story, where Fred talks about organizing a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro for 12 family members: “We walked by the glaciers. We were on top of Africa. That’s the highest point in Africa, so the clouds are below you. … It was a good family experience. It brings people together, and I don’t think it’s something that even our young kids, the nieces and nephews, are ever going to forget.”

Whoa! What does a trip like that cost? I did a little research and it was probably over $100,000. The family vacation most Iowans remember is when the folks piled everyone and the dog into the station wagon and drove to Mount Rushmore.

Cathy Glasson

Mark my words, if Hubbell wins the nomination on June 5, that Kilimanjaro quote will be in a Reynolds attack ad this summer. I don’t care how wealthy Fred is or how many of his rich friends step forward with six-figure checks. Reynolds will have whatever money she needs to hammer home upbringing and lifestyle distinctions. Marginalized and independent voters will gobble it up.

But Democrats have a pathway out of defeat. John Norris or Cathy Glasson would beat Reynolds. Glasson has the best shot. As I’ve said before, not only is she solid on the core issues, but having a woman face off against Reynolds neutralizes one advantage Reynolds might otherwise have.

A lot of Democrats don’t want to hear what I’m saying. What else is new? But again, you didn’t think Donald Trump could win either, did you?

— Ed Fallon

Breast milk vs . . . puréed pork?

Dear Friends,

{Before I discuss a scientific experiment involving feeding puréed pork to babies — and no, I’m not making that up — please take a minute to support the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. Even a donation of $10-$20 will make a difference.}

Competition is good, right? That’s been America’s mantra since White settlers “out-competed” nearly every other life form on the continent. Competition is the cornerstone of our national identity, confirmed by prophets like Charles Darwin, Adam Smith and Ayn Rand.

Well, it turns out competition’s only good until the top competitor owns and controls it all. Energy monopolies. Ag monopolies. Financial monopolies. Amazon. The unholy consolidation of Bayer and Monsanto. That sort of thing. Once it’s theirs, the Big Guys turn sour on competition.

(Ask the good people of Decorah, who earlier this month fell only three votes short of beating Alliant Energy, the regional power Goliath.)

Consolidation has rocked the public information sector as well. Ownership of radio signals by a few corporate giants — most notably iHeartMedia — has skewed the public airwaves so far right that if Genghis Khan were a guest on Simon Conway’s show he’d look like a snowflake liberal. Small, independent operators like me have to scrape and scrap for access to even low-power signals.

“I’m not too sure about that.”

Newspaper ownership is increasingly skewed as well. Gannett now owns over 100 dailies (including the Des Moines Register), plus 1,000 weeklies.

When ownership is skewed, so is coverage. Take the Des Moines Register’s front-page story this week about the study showing that babies fed pureed pork grew nearly an inch more than babies who were fed “dairy.”

Casual readers probably saw just the headline — “Pureed pork for babies? — New study touts benefits of meat” — and then rushed off to blend bacon for their baby boy. Only diligent readers who persevered to the rest of the article, on page eight, learned that the study involved a sampling of only 64 formula-fed infants and was supported by the National Pork Board, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Leprino Foods (makers of processed cheese “products.”)

Which brings us to Q and A time:

Q: Why would a newspaper run a front-page story about an industry-financed study of a statistically meaningless sample with a conclusion easily refuted by objective science?

A: Because that’s what corporate newspapers bought-and-paid-for by industry do.

Q: Does Big Ag own the Des Moines Register?

A: Yes, but not exclusively. See the so-called Iowa Life section, a.k.a., the HyVee page, for detail on another Register “owner.”

Q: What kind of parent lets their baby be part of a scientific experiment?

A: Probably a poor parent desperate for whatever money the study’s backers are willing to pay. I called the study’s principle author, Minghua Tang, to learn that parents received $20 per visit.

Q: Was there a dissenting voice in the story, you know, to provide some semblance of balance?

A: Sort of. Sarah Francis, an Iowa State University nutritionist, expressed concern that “five months is too early to feed meat to infants.” The story also referenced the American Academy of Pediatricians, who recommend breast milk or formula (italics and bold mine) as a baby’s sole nutritional source for about six months.

Q: Why were breast-fed babies not included in the study?

A: I asked Tang about that. She agreed that breast-fed babies are stronger and healthier than formula-fed babies, and that formula-fed babies were at higher risk of obesity later in life.

Q: So, given that, why were breast-fed babies not included in the study?

A: Because, I was told, breast-fed babies are too healthy and would’ve skewed the study. To find young infants facing comparable health challenges to those fed puréed pork or “dairy,” the study needed to find less healthy subjects. Enter babies fed with formula.

Q: Does being an inch longer as a one-year-old really matter?

A: While I haven’t seen any studies on the subject, I doubt a one-inch-longer, puréed-pork-fed baby has a better shot at being the high school valedictorian, sports sensation, or head cheer leader than a baby fed processed dairy products. But what’s not refutable is that a breast-fed baby’s overall happiness inclines him/her to be happier and healthier as an adult.

At this point, I don’t even know where to go with this blog. Let me simply share full disclosure: My talk show, the Fallon Forum, also has business sponsors, and the bar I set for my partners is high. They must be:

– Locally owned;

– Run by men and women of high integrity, both personally and as business owners; and

– Provide an important service that doesn’t exacerbate societal injustice or destroy the planet.

My business sponsors include a grocery store, a coffee shop, three restaurants (one, two and three), a car mechanic, a solar installer, a caterer, an accountant, an insurance company, and a veterinarian.

I’m open to partnering with a new business sponsor or two — perhaps one that promotes breast feeding or natural birth? And while I certainly have my opinions, I try to make sure they’re thoughtful and well-researched. If you think otherwise, I’m happy to entertain criticism. Democracy depends on the free exchange of ideas. Unfortunately, when the media and academic research are sponsored by deep-pocketed corporations more concerned about their profit than good policy, democracy loses.

Glasson is Dems best bet to beat Reynolds

Dear Friends,

If Iowa Democrats need one emerging trend to guide them to nominate the strongest candidate against Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, it’s in this May 10 USA Today story: “Women break political ground — They’re smashing records as donors, candidates”

Of course, simply being a woman running against a man doesn’t assure victory. (See Hillary Clinton for details, and why being tarred as the establishment candidate — regardless of party, gender, or truth — is the political kiss of death.)

When Terry Branstad flew off to China and Reynolds slid quietly into the role of governor, the most common comment I heard was, “I don’t know anything about her.”

Well, now we know, and it ain’t pretty. In short order, Reynolds has amassed a track record that puts her at odds with the values and priorities of most Iowans:

– She signed the most restrictive anti-choice law in the country;

– She eviscerated Iowa’s decades-old energy efficiency statute;

– She signed a tax cut that disproportionately benefits Iowa’s thin upper crust;

– She stood against landowners fighting the abuse of eminent domain while supporting Big Oil’s “critical infrastructure” bill; and

– She botched the ongoing saga of sexual harassment and fiscal mismanagement at the Iowa Finance Authority (where her close friend, David Jamison, was in charge).

So, yeah, we know exactly where Kim Reynolds stands, and it’s not with us.

These and other failures of leadership make Reynolds vulnerable. But if the Democratic Elite convince enough rank-and-file Democrats to again nominate an establishment candidate, we risk four more years of Reynolds and a continued downward spiral of Iowa’s quality of life.

Cathy Glasson

To be clear, the Democratic Elite will never rally around a progressive in a primary. That’s why you see so few “big names” backing Cathy Glasson. That’s exactly why Glasson stands out, and one reason you should support her.

The Elite want you to believe voters should nominate a “moderate” Democrat — someone who doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable at their galas and banquets. Really? Because that’s worked so well in the past?

As Bernie Sanders demonstrated, voters are hungry for leadership that puts people ahead of corporate greed and the entrenched forces of political stagnation. Glasson is that leader. There’s no doubt that her allegiance lies with the common person, not the rich and powerful.

Given Glasson’s track record of fighting for change, we know where she stands. (Check out her website.) Consistent with that record, Glasson doesn’t sugar-coat her campaign message. She’s not afraid to offend the Party Elite. More than any other candidate for governor, Glasson’s message resonates beyond the Democratic base. It appeals to voters who don’t give a hoot about either major political party — the same voters who’ll be a key deciding factor in November.

Back to that USA Today article. It doesn’t hurt that Glasson is a woman. Iowa voters are eager to elect women. If the Democratic nominee is male, some voters will cast a ballot for Reynolds simply because she’s female. If Glasson is the Democrats’ standard bearer, that factor is eliminated.

Finally, Democrats should remember what happened in 2006. Congressman Jim Nussle was considered invincible, so Republicans handed him the nomination without a primary challenge. On the Democratic side, the three-way primary between Chet Culver, Mike Blouin and me went to Culver. Culver went on to absolutely crush Nussle.

In 2006, Democrats also gained control of the Iowa House and Senate. Democrats held “the trifecta” for four years, yet accomplished almost nothing. Besides refusing to take action on campaign finance reform, corporate hog confinements, and climate change, the Democratic Legislature passed just one of Labor’s priorities — and Culver vetoed it.

Over the years, I’ve lost track of how many people said they wish they’d vote for me in 2006, but didn’t because they felt pressured by Democratic insiders to support one of the two establishment candidates.

Don’t let that happen again. Don’t nominate a candidate simply because he has the backing of big money. Don’t nominate a candidate who gives a nice campaign speech but lacks the track record to inspire confidence that he’ll deliver on his campaign promises.

With Cathy Glasson, Democrats have both the best candidate on the issues and the strongest candidate to win in November.