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

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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

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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.

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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.

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Wells Fargo under fire

Dear Friends,

Protestors confront officials inside hotel where Wells Fargo shareholders met last week.

Actions have consequences. That’s a lesson each of us learned as kids — hopefully. Now it’s Wells Fargo’s turn to learn about consequences for a string of transgressions that make anything most of us did as kids look, well, like child’s play.

– Wells Fargo continues to finance the Dakota Access Pipeline and other Energy Transfer Partner fossil fuel projects.

Christine Nobiss speaks in front of banner designed by Remy.

– Wells Fargo also finances private prisons, the NRA, and other industries coming under intense public scrutiny.

– Wells Fargo has been “accused of ripping off small business owners on credit card transactions and retaliating against workers who called the ethics hotline.” (Story in WSIS)

– Wells Fargo has “admitted to opening as many as 3.5 million fake accounts, forcing customers into auto insurance they didn’t want and charging unnecessary mortgage fees.” (Story in WSIS)

Shari Hrdina and Sarah Spain with Bold Iowa’s banner.

Wow! Wells Fargo has even been sacked with a $1 billion fine and forced by the Federal Reserve to limit its growth. Its consequences may continue to pile up.

At the grassroots level, during its national shareholders meeting last week in Des Moines, Wells Fargo came under fire both inside and outside the meeting.

Check out this excellent coverage by KCCI TV 8 of the protests outside the meeting.

And here’s what Common Dreams had to say.

What’s next in the growing effort to get Wells Fargo to shape up? That’s under discussion in Iowa and across the country. Stay tuned!

*******

On this week’s Fallon Forum, Dr. Charles Goldman co-hosts with Ed Fallon. We talk with Maya Rao, an author who spent a year at a North Dakota oilfield. Maya’s also a D.C. correspondent with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. We also talk with Penny Furgerson of Gateway Dance Theater.

– Up close look at fracking for oil in North Dakota’s Bakken
– Restorative dirt farming to sequester CO2
– Wells Fargo comes under fire
– America’s ongoing crisis of income inequality and wage stagnation
– India’s Chipko movement battles climate change, one tree at a time
– Will Arctic sea ice become a thing of the past?

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