Building bridges in the Heartland

Dear Friends,


Our program kicks off with a discussion of President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to host a climate summit within 100 days of taking office. Says Biden, “We’ll elevate the incredible work cities, states and businesses have been doing to help reduce emissions and build a cleaner future. We’ll listen to and engage closely with the activists, including young people, who have continued to sound the alarm and demand change from those in power.”

Maybe Iowa Democrats will finally figure out they’ve got a problem after only six counties voted for Joe Biden.

Great start — and a refreshing change from the the climate denial of the Trump years.

Next, rural activist Brad Wilson joins me to analyze why Democrats fare so poorly among rural voters. The problem isn’t just the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. Brad says, “The weakness of Iowa’s progressive Democrats goes beyond farm economics to economics in general. They make it all about social issues.”

Brad points out that in 2020, “We had a lot of candidates talking about the rich paying more, even Biden, but they squandered it with big new spending programs, like free college, free etc. None of them said it would go to lowering taxes for the great mass of taxpayers. Sheer political idiocy!”

Regarding the polarization of religion within the two major parties, Brad says, “Another failure for progressives is rejection of a Christian message, which has been conceded to the Republicans for a long while, even though progressives are so much better on it, and Republicans are so incredibly bad. To try to bring this up in the Facebook group of the Progressive Caucus is to be quickly kicked off.”

Charlie Wishman, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor, joins me to discuss the complaint filed with US OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) over Iowa OSHA’s failure to enforce health and safety standards during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those hit hardest by COVID-19 are immigrants. Black and Latinx Iowans are on the frontlines and occupy many “essential worker” roles, including meatpacking jobs. Nationally, 44 percent of meatpacking workers are Latinx and 25 percent are Black.

Joshua Barr, Director of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission

In Iowa, as of October 4, workers had filed 148 COVID-19-related complaints with Iowa OSHA detailing dangerous working conditions. Thirty-six of those were formal complaints. Only five resulted in an inspection, and not a single safety citation was issued by Iowa OSHA.

Moving on, Joshua Barr, Director of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission, joins us with positive news about Breaking Bread, Building Bridges — an initiative to bring people together, one-on-one, to talk through their perceived differences and discover common ground. Pairings include an individual who is very anti-police and a police officer. The short video is encouraging and worth watching.

Finally on this week’s program, Kathy Byrnes with Birds & Bees Urban Farm discusses the wonderful world of turnips. And no, we’re not being funny. Turnips truly are a versatile, healthy, easy-to-grow garden product that can make your life and your table interesting while saving on your grocery bill. Turnips are hardy and store well, and you can eat the greens along with the roots. So stop whining and plant some this coming August.

Thanks for checking out this week’s program!



(02:08) Climate Update: US to host 2021 climate summit;
(12:46) How Democrats could win, with rural organizer Brad Wilson;
(26:08) OSHA complaint over COVID-19 violations, with Charlie Wishman, president Iowa Federation of Labor;
(38:54) Civil rights in the Heartland, with Joshua Barr, Director of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission;
(52:35) The wonderful world of turnips, with Kathy Byrnes, Birds & Bees Urban Farm.

Watch our conversation with Kathy Byrnes on The Fallon Forum Facebook Page.

Please support the local businesses and non-profits who make this program possible. Click on their logos elsewhere and visit Story County Veterinary ClinicBold Iowa, and Birds & Bees Urban Farm.

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Thanks for supporting the progressive alternative to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity!

Ed Fallon