Bill Clinton’s biggest “accomplishment”

Dear Friends,

Do you realize how embarrassingly rare it is for a progressive voice to be heard on the so-called “public” airwaves? Unless I’ve missed something (and I hope I have), the Fallon Forum is the only progressive political talk show on commercial radio anywhere in Iowa.

That’s not only sad and wrong, it’s dangerous. Our airwaves have been sold-off to a shrinking handful of corporate giants. As a result, traditional radio listeners are inundated 24-7 with a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and their ilk.

Vice President Al Gore looks on as President Clinton signs the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

It’s no wonder so many Americans have been brainwashed into buying the lie that climate change is a hoax. So yeah, this sell-off of what used to be OUR airwaves is downright dangerous.

Lest people forget, it was President Bill Clinton who signed the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, the bill that made possible this travesty of fairness. Clinton delivered many other plums to Corporate America during his presidency, including NAFTA, welfare reform, and the repeal of Glass Steagall. But the Telecommunications Act was perhaps the most far-reaching in its damage. (Note of historic interest: Joe Biden voted for all four of these bills while Bernie Sanders voted “no.”)

Which brings me to two important conclusions:

1. Support progressive talk radio. Yeah, the Fallon Forum for sure. But across the country, there are other talking heads pioneering alternatives to the Limbaugh-Hannity-Beck model of divide, lie, and further divide. There are excellent community-owned stations, too, including KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames), KICI 105.3 FM (Iowa City), and the 300+ stations affiliated with the Pacifica Network. Support us!

2. DON’T NOMINATE ANOTHER CORPORATE DEMOCRAT FOR PRESIDENT!! Ignore the “we must nominate a moderate” blather. As the late Paul Wellstone used to say, the division in America is not between left and right, it’s between top and bottom. I’m encouraged that many Democrats running for president this year understand the distinction and have track records that suggest they’ll deliver on it.

One final word about the unraveling of the public airwaves. As Michael Corcoran wrote in this Truthout story marking the 20th anniversary of the passage of The Telecommunications Act, “In 1995, before the Telecommunications Act was passed, companies were not allowed to own more than 40 radio stations. ‘Since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Clear Channel [now called iHeartMedia] has grown from 40 stations to 1,240 stations – 30 times more than congressional regulation previously allowed,’ according to a report from the Future of Music Coalition.”

Domination of the economy and our lives by an oligarchy of unaccountable corporate or government interests is a blow to liberty. Nowhere is that domination more evident than in radio. Yet like water, the human spirit constantly seeks out cracks in the oligarchy’s armor — cracks through which to carve a path toward innovation, and through innovation, a path toward freedom.

Let’s do all we can to help bring that reality to fruition.

Ed Fallon

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Presidential candidate climate flow chart

Dear Friends, Bird Dogs, Penguins, and assorted Climate Patriots,

The last couple weeks have seen a whirlwind of activity. There are now 236 Iowans signed up to bird-dog presidential candidates. Caucus goers probing candidates on climate change have literally been everywhere!

Doug Fuller with Marianne Williamson at Enchanted Mystical Boutique

Charles Goldman and I discuss some of these interactions on this week’s Fallon Forum. Check out our conversations about Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke. Also, we dig into how bailouts have been, well, nothing more than badly-targeted socialism. And Charles, donning his pretty green medical scrubs, queries, “Is Obamacare now officially on life support?”

Sid Barfoot questions Eric Swalwell in a one-on-one situation.

Back to the presidential campaign and the relentless efforts of bird dogs, penguins, and assorted climate patriots. Our work is absolutely helping to elevate the conversation about climate change nationally — even making the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

With the knowledge that saving the world doesn’t have to be gloom and doom, Randall Damon came up with this entertaining and instructive flow chart for how to determine if a presidential candidate is truly up to the task of being the climate leader humanity needs. Feel free to share, with attribution.

Thanks again for caring about our world, our future, and what’s left of the public airwaves. — Ed

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Bold Climate Penguins grill Andrew Yang

Dear Friends,

We kick-off this week’s Fallon Forum with Dara Jefferson and Oliviah Walker of the Meskwakie Tribe, discussing the upcoming National Day of Awareness rally for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. It’s at the Iowa State Capitol, Sunday, May 5 at 1:00. Come stand with our Native allies who are fighting to let people know of this tragedy — and let’s do something about it!

On this week’s Forum, I also talk with Sam Kuhn and Matthew Peirce — two young activists who have been instrumental in the success of Bold Iowa’s Climate Bird Dog campaign. Sam and Matthew share a bit about their backgrounds, what brought them to Iowa, and how they’ve been able to make a difference for Planet Earth through asking questions at presidential candidate events.

Bold Climate Penguins with Andrew Yang: Sheila Knoploh-Odole, Kathy Byrnes, Matthew Peirce, Sid Barfoot, Lysa Fisk and Sam Kuhn.

Well, Sam and Matthew’s work goes beyond simply asking questions. On two occasions, Sam and others have pushed the envelope by displaying “Climate is a Crisis” signs at events where they weren’t allowed. Just this week, Sam, Matthew and nine others launched the Bold Iowa Climate Penguin brigade at an Andrew Yang rally.

Yup. Penguins. Like most of the presidential candidates, Andrew Yang seems to get the urgency of the climate crisis, yet fails to prioritize it. Yang claims that poor people don’t care about climate change, and that their attitude is “the penguins can wait in line.”

So, dressed as penguins, six Bold Iowa members sat in the front row at Yang’s Des Moines rally on Sunday. One penguin — Sid Barfoot — asked Yang if he would prioritize climate change, saying, “Full disclosure, I’m not a penguin. I’m a person with financial struggles dressed as a penguin. Those of us at the bottom, we’re the least responsible for carbon emissions — yet we’re the most vulnerable to the consequences of a changing climate.

Video of Penguins talking with Andrew Yang

“Sure, we penguins would love an extra $1,000 per month. But we just found out that the second largest penguin colony in the Antarctic collapsed due to ice melt. Meanwhile, 150,000 people were displaced last year by the deadliest wildfire ever in California, and just this year, thousands were displaced by the unprecedented flooding in the Midwest.

“Neither people nor penguins have time to wait in line while our next president spends political capital on anything like universal basic income. Our question is, will you adjust your campaign’s focus and make averting climate catastrophe your number-one priority, so that both people and penguins win?”

Besides the penguins, others participating in the action were Todd Steichen and Osric Jamerson holding the sign. Not pictured were Pascha Morgan, Beth Chrzastek and Ed Fallon.

The penguins were supported by other Bold Iowa members throughout the audience, two holding a large banner reading “LET THE PENGUINS SPEAK!” Yang’s answer was, well, less than satisfactory. Bottom line is this: If the next president is serious about reducing US carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 (the target given to us by scientists, not politicians), some version of a Green New Deal will have to be their highest priority.

Also, this action resulted in the mainstream media reporting on climate change, in the Des Moines RegisterWHO TV Channel 13, and a brief mention in Politico.

Also on this week’s program, I talk about the Extinction Rebellion (ER) and the incredible ten days of action that shut down big chunks of London and compelled the political establishment to meet with the movement’s leaders. As ER talks about launching a similar campaign in the US, it’ll be interesting to see how authorities here respond.

Ed

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Do Gillibrand’s arm-wrestling and drag-queen moments help or hurt her?

Dear Friends,

[Check out the press release about Thursday’s Climate Bird Dog Workshop, below and at this link.]

Climate Bird Dogs video Kirsten Gillibrand talking about climate.

On this week’s Forum, Charles Goldman and I reflect on the Republican Party, which spends so much time pledging faux fealty to a strict constructionist interpretation of the US Constitution, yet has no problem with President Trump’s latest attempt to override states’ rights. Yes, by executive order, President Trump hopes to put the kibosh on states that refuse to allow pipelines to cross their borders. It’s too early to tell, but the courts may, again, put the brakes on Trump’s latest attempt to weaken democracy while rewarding fossil fuel giants.

Charles and I also talk about the ironic spectacle of Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan Chase), Ray Dalio (hedge fund Bridgewater Associates), and other billionaires who have publicly questioned whether capitalism is in crisis due to rising income inequality. Maybe a charitable non-profit can form out of this new-found empathy: Billionaires for the Poor. Any billionaires who follow the Fallon Forum are invited to launch the effort.

Relevant to income inequality, Charles and I also take a look at the various Democratic suggestions for making the ultra-rich pay a greater share of their assets to care for the commons. Most of these ideas, including those from presidential candidate US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), revolve around some form of a “wealth tax” — certainly a non-starter in the Republican-controlled US Senate, but red meat (or juicy slabs of tofu, take your pick) to Democratic caucus goers and primary voters.

Finally … Will US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) become the second presidential candidate to prioritize the climate crisis, after Washington Governor Jay Inslee? She seems to be hedging that direction. But will arm wrestling an ISU college student, swapping clothes with a Des Moines drag queen, and other spontaneous outbursts of genuineness elevate her profile or tank her candidacy?

Thanks, and here’s the press release about Thursday’s big climate event:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 23, 9:00 a.m.
Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@fallonforum.com
Contact: Samantha Kuhn at (847) 682-2924 or sam@boldiowa.com
(Visit www.boldiowa.com/climate-bird-dogs)

Over 200 sign up for Bold Iowa’s Climate Bird Dog campaign
Since January, Bold Iowa supporters have grilled candidates on climate

DES MOINES, IOWA — On Thursday, April 25 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Mickle Center, 1620 Pleasant Street in Des Moines, Bold Iowa will host a Climate Bird Dog Workshop. Participants will hear from Iowans on the front lines of the climate crisis and from Climate Bird Dogs about their experience interacting with presidential candidates (details here). The bulk of the workshop will involve a series of role plays, demonstrating how bird-dogging progresses from a simple Q&A exchange to edgier, more creative tactics — and possibly into civil disobedience.

“Since January, our supporters have attended dozens of events across the state,” said Bold Iowa director, Ed Fallon. “We’ve asked presidential candidates to make the climate crisis their top priority. So far only one, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, has done that, although US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) might be getting close. This week’s workshop will fire-up even more caucus goers to take aggressive action. We hope to convince every presidential candidate — Democrat and Republican — to make climate change their top priority.”

One of the front-line presenters to kick-off the workshop is John Davis, a long-time climate activist who lost his Hamburg home to this spring’s historic flood. “This unprecedented flood in southwest Iowa was caused by humanity,” said Davis. “As we continue to pour carbon into the air — causing an ever-increasing rise in temperature, particularly in the Arctic — more of these catastrophic weather events are certain.”

Donnielle Wanatee of the Meskawaki Nation will also address attendees. Wanatee was one of the first Iowans to speak out against the Dakota Access Pipeline. She participated in the Climate Justice Unity March in 2017 and the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March in 2018, which crossed the route of DALP through Story, Boone and Webster counties.

Bold Iowa’s mission is to build rural-urban coalitions to (1) fight climate change, (2) prevent the abuse of eminent domain, (3) protect Iowa’s soil, air, and water, and (4) promote non-industrial renewable energy. Workshop facilitators include Bold Iowa’s director, Ed Fallon, who brings thirty-two years of bird-dog experience to the conversation, and Samantha Kuhn, a Climate Bird Dog team leader.

# # #

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Britain’s Anti-Extinction Invasion

Dear Friends,

[Check out Ed on Lee Camp’s show Redacted Tonight.]

At the tail end of a presidential candidate event recently, I ran into an old friend, a woman I’ve known since we were in college together in the 1980s. I told her I was encouraged by the candidate’s strong stance on climate, but concerned that it wasn’t their top priority.

My friend responded, “Climate’s not my issue. It’s maybe ninth or tenth on my list. I don’t have kids and won’t even be alive in another ten years or so.”

I was shocked. How could an intelligent, progressive woman who is genuinely concerned about human welfare be so dismissive of future generations? The exchange reminded me that our challenge is not simply to get politicians and the media to wake up to the existential threat of climate change. Our challenge is also to wake up our friends, families and neighbors.

A recent Extinction Rebellion protest in Oxford Circus targeted fashion’s toll on the environment. Photograph: Brais G Rouco/Brais g. Rouco

While Bold Iowa’s Climate Bird Dog campaign continues to produce solid results, it’s clearly time for a new level of agitation. The question I always ask when debating the merits of an edgy action is, “Will it bring new people into the cause or drive folks away?” In the past, I’ve tended to come down on the side of not wanting to alienate potential allies.

Channing Dutton

As Britain’s Extinction Rebellion ramps up its colorful campaign of creative nonviolence, moving from the streets of London to cities across the US, that’s the conversation attorney Channing Dutton and I kick around on this week’s Fallon Forum. Are shutting down roads and bridges, disrobing in front of politicians, blockading media conglomerates the kind of actions the climate movement needs? Does posing that question even matter any more? Is it time for an all-out assault on climate apathy?

Sheila Knoploh-Odole

Later in the program, Sheila Knoploh-Odole joins me to discuss pushing city governments to address climate change, since state legislatures and the US Congress are mostly doing nothing, or in some cases digging the climate cavern even deeper. For those in Des Moines, on April 22 at 4:30, come to the Des Moines City Council’s meeting where the Energy and Water Use Benchmarking Ordinance will be discussed.

Climate March reunion with Glenn Gilbert, Ed Fallon, Clifford Peterson, Lisa Peterson. One of Ed’s book readings visited Goshen, Indiana where the March came through five years earlier. Photo by Kathy Byrnes.

Also on the program, I talk about the recent book tour that took Kathy and me to five states for eleven presentations. We hated to burn so much carbon to fight climate change, but at least we were getting 50 MPH in Kathy’s Prius. It’s hard to measure the success of such a tour, but the following message I received from a young man in Pittsburgh was enough to declare the trek a success:

“I picked up a copy of Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim at your talk in Pittsburgh a little over a week ago, and I devoured it, and I’m totally floored. It’s wonderful that you wrote it, because it could inspire countless people to go many steps further than they currently do in the fight against climate change, and help them understand what that fight could look like. Also, fantastic writing. It’s filled with with deeply poetic and pointed passages. … Reading your book has inspired me to write about climate change and take larger strides in the fight against it.”

Onward! — Ed Fallon

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Farewell, LaVerne Johnson

Dear Friends,

Sadly, those of us fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) lost one of our strongest allies this week. LaVerne Johnson died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday. My heart goes out to his wife, family, and closest friends — though he will be missed by more people than he would have imagined.

LaVerne Johnson standing by his gate, showing me the intake that pipeline workers placed on the wrong side of his fence.

I first met Vern four years ago this month, when I walked the proposed Iowa route of DAPL.

Recalling my first conversation with Vern always brings back a smile. In the most calm, polite, Iowa-nice tone imaginable, Vern told me how delicately he had eviscerated the lies and empty rhetoric of the land agents sent to convince him of the virtues of running an oil pipeline through his farm.

Later, in response to pipeline workers tearing through his tile and then placing an intake on the wrong side of his fence, he took out a full-page ad to let the world know the kind of people he had to deal with. I believe the title of the ad was “You Can’t Fix Stupid.”

Vern and Ed in front of the DAPL valve placed on Vern’s land over his strong objections.

Some landowners opposed DAPL in the beginning, then buckled under pressure. Hard to blame them, given the relentless badgering and how quickly Iowa’s political “leadership” acquiesced to the company’s demands once they were bought-off with a campaign contribution or two.

But not Vern. Vern fought to the end the “sons of bitches,” as he called them in his ever-so polite, Iowa-nice manner. In fact, he’s still fighting. Vern is one of nine landowners on the lawsuit before the Iowa Supreme Court — a lawsuit that has cost Vern and other plaintiffs so much in terms of time, money, and stress. Hopefully, when it finally issues its ruling, the Court will understand the grave injustice of allowing eminent domain to be used for a distinctly private and destructive purpose.

As harsh as Vern could be with those who did him wrong, he was an impeccable gentleman with everyone who acted with respect and integrity toward him. The second or third time I visited with Vern, he told me we really needed a more lengthy, unrushed conversation, one that involved a mint julep. I told him I’d provide the mint if he could come up with the “julep.” I’m sorry we never got to follow through on that possibility.

Well, Vern, if and when I see you in that Great Swath of Cropland in the Sky, I’ll bring along some mint, if I can sneak it past St. Peter. And being a man of your word, I’m sure you’ll have the rest of the ingredients ready to go. It’ll be a good conversation, and one that we won’t have to hurry through.

Thanks again, Vern, for all you’ve done. We will never forget your commitment to fighting what will, in the annals of history, surely go down as a great evil foisted upon Iowa’s people, land, and water.

— Ed Fallon

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Can we have a little truth on socialism please?

Dear Friends,

Dr. Charles Goldman

The Goldman brothers (no connection to Goldman Sachs) host this week’s Fallon Forum. Writes Charles: “It’s now pretty clear that Republicans plan to have two points of emphasis in their 2020 campaign to retain control of the Presidency and the US Senate.

(1) They’ll protect us from the ‘socialists’ of the Democrat Party, and

(2) Their first order of business will be to pass the greatest health care program in history.

“Just kidding on the latter. Like Nixon’s promise to end the Vietnam War in 1968, congressional Repubs have zero intent to offer the American people a decent health care system. On this week’s Fallon Forum, we devote most of the program to examining the history of socialist movements in the US, assessing how socialist ideas led to changes in the role of the federal government and, in the process, saved capitalism. We also offer the Democratic Party suggestions on how it might answer the inevitable barrage of Republican dog-whistle accusations.

“Finally, we check in with the Iowa Legislature, to see what havoc has been wreaked to date and what more might be on the horizon as the session winds down. We’ll also look at how an obscure case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission brought by, of course, a wealthy backer of President Trump, threatens to upend California’s ambitious carbon-free electric power goals.”

Thanks again to the Brothers Dr. Goldman —  Stephen and Charles — for an invigorating conversation. Hope you can check out the podcast, and feedback welcome.

Thank you.  –Ed Fallon

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An Iowa climate refugee speaks out

Dear Friends,

John Davis

If President Trump were, instead, Governor of Nebraska, perhaps he’d build a wall along the right-descending bank of the Missouri River to keep immigrants like John Davis from sneaking across the border.

John is one of many southwest Iowa residents punished badly by last month’s historic flood. He’s sorting out how to adapt: “As soon as I get my 90-year-old mom moved, I’m going to box-up what’s left so I can move, too. With my home destroyed, there’s just nothing left for me in Hamburg.”

The pile of destroyed belongings in front of John’s neighbor’s home. “I’ll have twice that amount, representing most of my life,” says John. “I’m looking at a $60k loss.”

John will probably relocate to Council Bluffs. In the New Climate Era, any town with the word “Bluff” in its name is probably a safer bet than living in a floodplain, low-lying coastal community, or fire-prone area out West. Unlike President Trump, John understands that climate change is real. He’s been talking about its inevitable impacts for years. Now he’s a victim.

Unfortunately for John and others, the government’s response has fallen short. “I’m not getting any help from FEMA,” says John. “They sent me a denial letter, reasoning that I can still stay in parts of my house and that I have flood insurance. FEMA sets up programs to give people hope, then crushes them with denials. I’m hopping mad.”

Want to lend John a hand? “Money will help, but people’s activism is more important to me,” writes John. That level of altruism is commendable. Still, John could use our help. Join me in pitching in here.

It’s impossible to know how many flood, fire, and food-shortage refugees there will be in the New Climate Era. Tens of millions will likely come from within our own borders. John Davis represents the growing tip of that iceberg.

Not that America needs another wake-up call, but last week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its State of the Global Climate report: “The increasing number of natural disasters and dangers linked to climate change represents ‘another strong wake-up call’ to the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said.” (Click here for full story.)

America Duran lobbying in Washington DC. She came to the US as a young child and has been living in Iowa ever since.

Climate change is the crisis that affects everything. EVERYTHING. It’s already impacting immigration. On the Fallon Forum this week, we dig into that subject with Jon Krieg of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Des Moines, who fills in as guest host. Jon writes, “America Duran, a young immigrants’ rights advocate, joins me on the program to report on her lobbying trip to Washington, DC. She joined hundreds of young people from around the US at a spring lobby weekend organized by the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

“America talks about new legislation supporting Dreamers and people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as well as work to defund ICE and CBP, two federal agencies terrorizing immigrant communities with detention and deportation.

“We also talk with Erica Johnson, who directs AFSC’s Immigrant Rights Program in Des Moines. We discuss where Iowa’s members of Congress stand on immigration and how you can get your voice heard by elected officials. Finally, we look at legislation at the state level and what’s being done among faith communities to build the Sanctuary Movement.”

Thank you. — Ed Fallon

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Live from Gaza …

Dear Friends,

Steve King

US Representative Steve King (R-Middle Ages) just can’t help himself. King is, perhaps, the most honest politician in America. No matter how hard he tries, King simply can’t conceal the fact that he’s a flaming racist.

At a public forum last week in Algona, for reasons that boggle the logical mind, King couldn’t resist bashing the victims of Hurricane Katrina. He accused the mostly Black victims of New Orleans of wanting government to bail them out, instead of turning to their neighbors and helping each other, like the mostly White victims of the recent flooding that socked King’s congressional district.

Markalain Dery

It doesn’t take a masters degree in anthropology to read between the lines and detect the not-so-subtle racial bias behind King’s comparison. Again, I want to thank King for being the most honest politician in America. Well, alongside Lousiana’s David Duke.

On one of three topics in this week’s Fallon Forum, I dig into King’s most recent racist rant with Dr. Markalain Dery of New Orleans. Dr. Dery is an infectious diseases physician who owns and operates WHIV 102.3 FM. (Yeah, I know — an infectious disease physician with a sense of humor. Full disclosure: WHIV rebroadcasts the Fallon Forum.)

I also talk with Maria Filippone about the latest flare-up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Akram Al Satarri joins us on the phone from Gaza. Yes, from Gaza — as Israeli missiles are landing within earshot. This was probably the most disturbing live interview I’ve ever conducted. I kept wondering whether, at any moment, we would hear a loud explosion and the end of our conversation with Akram. This is the frightening reality that the Palestine people live with constantly.

Maria Filippone

To be clear, I condemn the missile launched from within Gaza that struck near Tel Aviv. Yet the all-out assault against Gaza in response is completely unjustifiable.

Maria and I also discuss the political establishment’s response to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s — what shall we call it? — candid honesty about the plight of Palestinians and the insidious role of powerful lobbyist groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in contorting public opinion in the US. As with many issues, the old guard within the Democratic Party appears out of step with rank-and-file Democratic voters, who are increasingly inclined to side with Palestine in a protracted conflict that is further isolating Israel on the world stage.

Finally, we discuss the latest developments in Bold Iowa’s Climate Bird Dog campaign. So much is going on! I’ll simply direct readers’ attention to the Bold Iowa website for an update on our interaction with many of the candidates running for president. In particular, check out our engagement with Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand. To all who, understandably, feel despair over the worsening climate crisis, have hope. We are making a difference and, step by step, moving America closer to the decisive climate action demanded by science. — Ed Fallon

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The other existential threat

Dear Friends,

Climate change is an existential threat in progress. As scientists warn, we must act decisively by 2030 if we are to avert disaster — and possibly extinction. It’s encouraging to see more and more people waking up to the urgency of climate action. The ongoing School Strike for Climate is particularly inspiring.

Meanwhile, for more than sixty years, the existential threat of nuclear war continues to hang over our heads. Given the list of horrific near misses, we’ve actually been lucky. Yet the nuclear threat languishes on the back burner of both the general public’s attention span and the national news media’s priority list. That’s why the work being done by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is so important.

Dr. Maureen McCue of Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility

I was honored to have PSR’s Dr. Maureen McCue on this week’s Fallon Forum. (My other guest was Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. Check out our conversation about climate change at the 2:17 minute mark.) Maureen writes:

“Now that we’ve survived St. Patrick’s Day, I again turn my attention to the growing risk of nuclear war. Why growing? Largely because President Trump’s bellicosity is taking us to the brink. Trump’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia is a huge step backwards. Add to that his making nice with Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, his ignoring of the tensions between Pakistan and India, and his promotion of the myth that Iran may soon have nuclear weapons (even as he pulls out of our treaty with that country), and we have an escalation of nuclear tension like none we’ve seen in a long time.

“On top of that, President Trump is committing trillions of dollars to building more nuclear weapons that will only further destabilize the world. And I would be remiss not to mention his lack of attention to any of our real needs — like climate mitigation, environmental clean up, health care, etc.

“With all these actions by a president who seems remarkably disconnected from reality, we should pause to consider the risks to our future. One upcoming effort to work our way back to a saner, safer nuclear policy is the Nuclear Abolition Training scheduled for March 30 in Iowa City and March 31 in Des Moines. The events are open to the public.

“Climate change is being brought on by powerful industries indifferently heating the atmosphere. Nuclear winter could be brought on by an exchange of only 100-200 ‘small’ (Hiroshima-size) bombs. Further, if Earth’s climate continues to unravel, food and water resources will dry up, tensions will heat up, populations will move, conflicts will escalate (as in India-Pakistan, Iran-Israel, etc.) and boom, you have the kindling for setting off a nuclear nightmare. It’s all connected, and needs to be seen as part and parcel of the many myths undergirding both existential risks.”

Check out our conversation with Maureen at the 29:00 minute mark. And if you have questions about the trainings or the work of PSR, Maureen can be reached at info@psriowa.org. Thanks!

Ed

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