Poll’s message: Steak, not cake

Dear Friends,

This weekend, I attended a most incredible, eclectic gathering of around 2,000 farmers, rednecks and environmentalists. People arrived via pick-up truck, Prius and Harley. They came to support Lee County landowners fighting to stop the Bakken pipeline. If one needed a reminder that the passion for liberty and justice still burns strong in America, this was it. I’ll save that story for next week, when we’ll have some video clips and photos to share.

Over the weekend, a new Iowa Poll showed Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders had shrunk to a mere seven percentage points in the Iowa Democratic Caucus. On the Republican side, two non-politicians – Donald Trump and Ben Carson – lead the other 15 candidates by ten percentage points!

Of course, the mainstream media and the political elite mostly miss the essential message that these polls reveal: Across the political spectrum, people are fed-up with establishment politicians.

Really? Who knew? Aren’t we all just thrilled with the way things are going in Washington, at our Statehouses and at City Hall? We’re not the least bit upset that the richest Americans are hoarding more and more of the wealth we toil to generate. No one’s bothered by the bloated military budget and the larger and larger chunk of our tax dollars it eats up. Folks are fine with our government spying on us like never before. We’ve got no complaints about politicians fiddling while climate change scorches the southwest and threatens to drown most of Florida. And we’re all fine with the obscene amount of money in elections – and the onslaught of attack ads that comes with it.

Enough sarcasm for one morning. The message to the Political and Corporate Elite is this: You have failed. We’re at the end of our rope, and we’re ready to shake up the political universe. We’ll express our dislike of your business-as-usual candidates through our enthusiasm for presidential aspirants with zero political experience (Trump and Carson) and a candidate who, despite years of political experience, has always been an outsider and consistent voice for reform (Sanders).

Will the Establishment hear? Or will they continue to believe that the masses can be satiated with another sliver of cake when they’re starved for steak?

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Dr. Charles Goldman joins me on today’s Fallon Forum. We’ll discuss the Sanders-Trump-Carson phenomenon, the likelihood of Joe Biden entering the race, Jeb Bush’s immigration problem as a result of his “anchor babies” comment, and the Hillary Clinton event in Ankeny last week.

Also, it’s the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s visit to New Orleans, prompting President Obama to stop by there last week. We talk with Liana Elliott, a New Orleans policy analyst and urban planner. Was the devastation to New Orleans caused by a monster storm, or was it the direct result of not being prepared for a changing environment, of corporate disregard for the environment, institutionalized inequality and chronic lack of investment in public infrastructure?

Also, wind energy continues to surge, with the CEO of MidAmerican Energy recently asserting that when its latest renewable energy project comes on line, the company could generate up to 57 percent of its power from wind. But as wind surges, so does resistance – not just from the fossil-fuel industry but from farmers, landowners and rural residents as well.

Join us live every Monday from 11:00-12:00 noon CDT on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Call (515) 528-8122 to add your voice to the conversation. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Wednesday on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. Podcasts available, too.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Ostrich Society

Dear Friends,

The propensity of humans to pretend all is well when it’s not is hardly new. Look back 2,600 years, when Jeremiah warned Israel of impending doom at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, only to be ridiculed and ignored. Closer to home, look back 75 years, when millions of Americans resisted taking action against Hitler despite irrefutable evidence of the Nazi genocide of European Jews.

The human instinct to pretend all is right when it isn’t runs deep. With the announcement last week that July was Earth’s hottest month on record, now would be a great time for humanity to grapple with this instinct and move beyond the denial of climate change. Yet a passionate core of deniers remains vocal in its resistance despite the preponderance of evidence.

A sampling of comments on my Facebook page last week drives this point home:

Frank Allen writes: “BS that’s all this climate change is Its called weather you dweebs”

Steve Jensen writes: “Bahahahaha ! A true libtard. Straight from the public library – climate action news!”

Tim Henning writes: “Worry about something meaningful and knock off useless fear mongering about weather not being the way you want it. Dumb !!”

Kelly Harbeson writes: “Oh yeah! Who better to try to sell your climate alarmism the a pandering prostitute of a politician.”

All dudes, I might point out. It’s not just a so-called “pandering prostitute of a politician” these folks choose to ignore. It’s the US military. The insurance industry. Monsanto. Weather.com. Ninety-seven percent of all scientists. These are the Jeremiahs of the climate crisis. But instead of the tattered clothes of a Biblical prophet, they wear suits, uniforms and white lab coats. They are the establishment. They “get” climate change.

Still, the deniers persist.

But I take heart. What we’re seeing is the last flailing backlash of the Ostrich Society, of those who fear change and thus bury their heads deep in habits and ideologies that will soon be untenable as we struggle to adapt in the New Climate Era. Of course, we stand a better chance of adaptation – survival, even – if we get with the program sooner rather than later.

Time is not on our side. Action is needed – urgently, passionately, immediately.

This is why I walk – across America in 2014, across Iowa along the proposed pipeline route earlier this year, and from Normandy to Paris this coming November.

This is why it’s important to repeatedly, persistently, politely “bird-dog” presidential candidates, until they understand that they MUST take climate change seriously if they are to have our support.

That is why we Pledge to Mobilize, so that the moral and political force of hundreds of thousands of Americans signing their names to the Pledge makes it impossible for our elected officials NOT to take action.

This is why what happens in Paris at the U.N. Climate Summit later this year is critical. Never has such an assembly been so timely . . . and ironically, so ignored by the mainstream media in the U.S.

Finally, this is why, to paraphrase Gandhi, every little thing we do toward creating a better world is important, even though it may seem insignificant. Writing a letter to the editor, speaking publicly, talking with friends and family, helping a candidate for public office. In normal times, we do these things on issues we care about. In times of crisis, such as this, we must do them with a deep sense of urgency . . . because our future depends on it.

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On today’s Fallon Forum:

1. Lee Camp joins us with his take on the Clean Power Plan.

2. Ron Yarnell offers his take on Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, writing, “Finally! Two candidates who are not trying to claim the center! And they are willing to get in your face about it!”

3. We talk with Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa.

4. Caucus Buzz: Gwen Merz joins us to explain the protest at the Iowa State Fair this weekend over the DNC’s limiting the number of debates.

Join us live every Monday from 11:00-12:00 noon CDT on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Call (515) 528-8122 to add your voice to the conversation. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Wednesday on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. Podcasts available, too.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Copters for Kids

Dear Friends,

{Check out and “like” my Facebook Page for pics, videos and impressions of the presidential candidates . . . and for updates on my exploits with chickens and organic gardening.}

“Hey kids! Forget the pony rides. This year, Crazy Uncle Donald’s taking you for a spin in his monster-copter.”

And thus, Iowa’s premiere annual showcase of cultural, culinary and agricultural glory morphs from State Fair to Trump Fare. Hopefully, 2015 will be an anomaly, with future fair-goers spared the pomp, press and privilege of a Donald Trump visit.

Trump and Chopper

Trump and Chopper

Or, for that matter, a Hillary Clinton visit. Like Trump, Clinton refused to appear on the Presidential Soapbox. And unlike the other candidates, instead of entering the fairgrounds through a public gate, Clinton slipped in to an exclusive corner of the grounds, where the fair’s big-money donors park their RVs for the week. Welcoming Clinton to the fair was a hand-picked entourage including three of Iowa’s Democratic kingmakers: Tom Harkin, Jerry Crawford and Bill Knapp.

(Warning: incoming vent. “Democratic kingmakers” . . . unless the Democrat is too progressive, too critical of big business. In 2010, Crawford had no qualms backing Republican Bill Northey over Democrat Francis Thicke for Secretary of Ag. Similarly, Knapp had no qualms backing Terry Branstad over Jack Hatch for Governor last year. Really, the two aren’t so much Democratic kingmakers as they are Status-quo King-and-Queen makers.)

In terms of pandering to the national media circus, the Trump and Clinton campaigns can declare their Iowa State Fair visits a success. In terms of providing access to the voting public, both candidates failed miserably — by design.

Fortunately, most presidential candidates seem willing, if not eager, to submit themselves to the exposure and risk provided by the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox. Shari Hrdina and I listened to and/or spoke with six of the candidates. Here are my impressions.

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Pipeline Battle Moves to Courts

Dear Friends,

Keith Puntenney

Good news in the battle to stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline! Landowners and attorneys have formed the Private Property Rights Coalition (PPRC) to take the fight to the courts. PPRC’s lawsuit maintains that “the Iowa Utilities Board has no legal authority to grant eminent domain to Dakota Access,” and that “the Legislature did not intend for a nonresident interstate crude oil pipeline to be able to use our eminent domain laws to take farmland from Iowans and then not be subject to Iowa’s pipeline safety regulations.”

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Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Seventy Years Later

Dear Friends,

In 1989, Mayumi Fukuda with the “Never Again Campaign” traveled from Japan to live with my family for six weeks. Our young children were intrigued by her accent, kimonos, paper cranes and the yogurt culture she brought with her from Japan and nurtured each day.

I organized dozens of opportunities for Mayumi to speak in schools, churches and with the media. She spoke about the horror of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and the horror of the attack on Pearl Harbor. She spread the message that nuclear weapons and war itself must be abolished.

It was clear to me then, as it is now, that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a humanitarian outrage – and strategically unnecessary. Given this history and as a life-long peace activist, perhaps it has surprised some of you to hear me call for a World War II-scale mobilization in response to the climate crisis.

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Pledge to Mobilize

Dear Friends,

America urgently needs a heroic, collective response to climate change. We need the kind of mission-driven national mobilization that fired-up our country during World War II. A new initiative called the Pledge to Mobilize gives people a clear way to demand that politicians get behind the major climate mobilization we urgently need.

And Iowa is now front-and-center in the campaign to make that happen.

In the months leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, Shari Hrdina (who bears a striking resemblance to Rosie the Riveter, does she not?) and I will work with The Climate Mobilization to build a grassroots movement in Iowa. We are excited about this, and hope you’ll sign the pledge and volunteer to help get the message out across the state.

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