Walk to Paris: Day 1

Ed and Steve on Omaha Beach, standing in front of the memorial

The first steps on the road to COP21

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 – Omaha Beach to Asnelles

Today was hard. Steve and I hadn’t realized that the shops and most restaurants would be closed on Armistice Day. Our food consisted of meager amounts of nuts, dried fruit and cheese.

Our only meal came at sunset, from a fast-food joint striving to compete with the worst possible American swill dispensary. Despite being famished, I could barely choke down the dry burger, and I simply gave up on the soggy fries.

The first steps on the road to COP21

Ed and Steve on Omaha Beach, standing in front of the memorial

Halfway through today’s journey, my legs announced that they did not appreciate 15-mile walks. The unexpectedly brisk pace didn’t help. Normandy’s daylight is scant in November, and one does not walk the narrow, windy roads after dark.

We had started late in order to spend time at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. I explained our mission to the staff, and they enthusiastically approved of the urgency of climate action. They also understood the connection between the sacrifices made in WWII and the sacrifices needed to battle the climate crisis. One told me that the Earth does not need us; we need the Earth.

I thought of that as Steve and I walked over earth that, 70 years ago, had been ravished badly, sacrificially, in the struggle to liberate Europe from Fascism.

Steve and Ed with Josianne Rudd-Guillemette and Sandrine Paunet at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

Steve and Ed with Josianne Rudd-Guillemette and Sandrine Paunet at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

Yes, it was a hard day. My hamstrings screamed at me to stop. But as we passed reminders of the hardships faced by Allied soldiers in 1944, our walk from Omaha Beach to Paris felt like a Sundaystroll in comparison. I imagined landing there in 1944, struggling to fight my way through the pounding surf under heavy artillery fire, dead and wounded men piling up around me. What a hell-on-earth that must have been. And what tremendous levels of courage and heroism must have been needed to get through it.

We walked through Longues and saw the still-evident scars of a town bombed by Allied forces to root-out Nazi troops. For the residents of Longues, witnessing the destruction of their town must also have required courage and heroism,  knowing that they were being liberated even as their homes were being flattened.

Amy Swanson Salmon in front of her 800-year old home

Amy Swanson Salmon in front of her 800-year old home

Our host for the first two nights, Amy Swanson Salmon, heard about our walk from a friend. I hadn’t met Amy until  she greeted us at the train station. I asked what had inspired her to offer such amazing hospitality to two guys she didn’t even know.

“The act of crossing the Atlantic and walking in foreign territory seemed like a heroic act to me,” explained Amy. “I knew I woud be offering you some protection, some much-needed assistance.”

Amy said that if she had had more time, she would have encouraged churches to ring their bells as we came through town.

“November 11 marks the end of WWI. On that day, the bells rang in all of France. In my mind, I have always connected that with the slow, quiet act of walking.”

While I appreciated Amy’s kind offer, I confessed relief that churches were not ringing their bells as we came into town. That would have felt distinctly immodest, even if what we were doing was seen as heroic by her and others.

That said, for humanity to successfully address the climate crisis, acts of heroism are demanded of all of us, individually and collectively. Small acts from those who can do small things, larger acts from those who are able to do big things.

Perhaps this walk is a notable act of heroism in response to the climate crisis. I don’t know. What I do know is that for me, this walk feels like the most significant thing I can do to push for a positive outcome from COP21.

This walk will continue to be difficult. Yet so far, as my steps lead across the fields, beaches and towns of Normandy, I am reminded that this journey is so much easier than what others were called to do in response to the crisis of their time.

Keystone coalition must mobilize against Bakken

Dear Friends,

With the Keystone Pipeline finally laid to rest, the national coalition that helped secure victory must turn its attention to the Bakken Pipeline.

Ed and oil pipeline segments

Don’t be fooled: Bakken is the replacement for Keystone – a fact that became crystal clear to me during my 400-mile walk along the pipeline’s proposed path earlier this year. Bakken’s ultimate target is Alberta’s tar-sands oil, not North Dakota’s “sweet” crude.

Four years ago when the battle to stop Keystone was engaged, scientists claimed that building Keystone would be “game over” for climate. If that’s true, Bakken is just as much a threat.

Protesting Bakken

With Dakota Access pushing aggressively to build the Bakken line before opposition broadens beyond the four targeted states, the national coalition that stopped Keystone needs to engage immediately.

Bakken Pipeline Resistance FB logoCan the grassroots coalitions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois stop Bakken on their own? Perhaps. (In Iowa, visit Bakken Pipeline Resistance and No Bakken Here for daily updates.) But a broader coalition from across the country would be more powerful – and more likely to light a fire under state and federal officials.

So take a moment, both to celebrate our Keystone victory and to take the next step:

* Congratulate Bold Nebraska, who through incredible creativity and tenacity built an unstoppable coalition of ranchers, farmers, Native Americans, property-rights advocates, environmentalists and climate activists.

* Thank President Obama for his leadership in denying TransCanada’s request for a permit.

* Write to any national environmental, property rights, climate or land stewardship organization you’re affiliated with and tell them in the strongest possible terms to make Bakken the next target in stopping the expansion of fossil-fuel infrastructure.


Ron Yarnell hosts the Fallon Forum this week. I’ll call-in from France to share an update on preparations for the walk from Normandy to Paris.

Also, Dan Kim joins Ron to discuss the upcoming Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit, and Ron talks with Ben Yetter, who co-plays Spider-Man in the Justice Corps of Iowa.

Hear the Fallon Forum live 11:00-12:00 noon CST 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 Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans).

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

The next long walk

Dear Friends,

Next week, I travel to France to being a walk from the coast of Normandy to Paris for the U.N. Climate Summit. This will be my third long walk in two years, and people are starting to ask if I have a walking addiction. “Perhaps you need a 12-step program, Ed,” they jest. Some tell me to enjoy my vacation, and I want to scream that walking 12-15 miles a day in mostly cold and rainy conditions, even if it is in France, is not an offer you’ll find in any tourism brochure.

The U.N. Climate Summit is truly a pivotal moment in The Climate Mobilization that’s needed if the nations of the world are to embrace the urgency of the climate crisis. Yet mobilizing entire nations will take each of doing our part. For me, walking 200 miles from Normandy to Paris is one thing I can do. (See today’s press release and please share.)

If you are in central Iowa, here’s something else you can do: This Thursday, November 5 at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Federal Building (210 Walnut Street in Des Moines), join State Senator Rob Hogg, State Rep. Dan Kelley, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and other Iowa elected leaders in a press conference signing the Pledge to Mobilize in the fight against climate change.

Here’s something else you can do: Continue the fight against the expansion of fossil-fuel infrastructure! In Iowa, all eyes are on the Iowa Utilities Board as it deliberates the fate of 350 miles of Iowa farmland threatened with an oil pipeline. There are all sorts of ways to be part of that process. For the latest developments, visit Bakken Pipeline Resistance.

On today’s Fallon Forum, we’ll discuss:

– Water quality and wetland restoration
– Bernie Sanders and his Palestine problem
– Governor Jindal’s growing credibility gap
– My day of Halloween fun at the Republicans’ Growth and Opportunity Party

Join me and my guests today live 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 Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans).

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Martin O’Malley for . . . Vice President?

Dear Friends,

Before I tell you the most important take-aways from Saturday’s JJ Dinner, I’ve gotta share three moments of personal interest:

– I attended the JJ as Press, which gave me a whole different perspective on the event, and a chance to catch up with David Yepsen, John Nichols, Dennis Goldford and other media pundits I’d not seen in awhile.

– Andy McGuire, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, came over to say she couldn’t understand why former Party Chair and current congressional candidate Jim Mowrer refused to meet with me, and that she’d like to get together soon. That was refreshing, especially since McGuire and I have butted heads in the past. JJ - My Stalker copy

– When I ran for Congress, Leonard Boswell’s campaign hired a guy who literally stalked me, filming me everywhere I spoke, including a non-campaign related speech on religion to a group of seniors at a nursing home. Well, I spotted the guy at the JJ and snapped a picture of him from behind. Apparently, he’s now working with the O’Malley campaign.

Ok, my three take-aways of political value:

1. Martin O’Malley solidified his spot as a distant third place contender. There’s still time for that to change, but it didn’t happen at the JJ. Having an entire section of reserved seating marked for your supporters yet empty did not go unnoticed. O’Malley’s an excellent communicator. His speech featured some memorable lines on Donald Trump and immigration. His focus on gun violence was clearly an attempt to lure folks away from Sanders’ camp . . . and position himself as a possible VP choice should Clinton win the nomination.JJ - O'Malley seats empty copy

2. Between a strong performance in the first Democratic debate and holding her own in the Benghazi lynch-mob hearings, the second half of October has been kind to Hillary Clinton. She did herself no harm with the polished speech she delivered at the JJ Dinner, although some felt it came off as shiny to the point of phony. Her biggest liability among Democrats is that they do not see her recent transformation on several issues as sincere. Clinton did nothing to ameliorate that concern at the JJ.

3. Enter Bernie Sanders. I think Sanders gained the most from the JJ with his strongest remarks yet about the contrast between himself and Clinton. On issue after issue, without ever mentioning Clinton’s name, he pointed out how she’d been on the “wrong” side of Keystone, DOMA, TPP, Glass Steagall, Iraq. If Sanders lets it lie there, there’ll be no bump for him. But I expect he, his surrogates, supporters and perhaps even the media will hammer away at those differences over the next several weeks – with potential favorable impact to Sanders.

We’ll see. American politics, as covered by the American media, is not that different than professional sports. The game can change quickly, unexpectedly and conclusively.


Join Dr. Charles Goldman and I today from 11:00-12:00 noon CDT on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Here’s our program line-up:

– Why has Ben Carson vaulted to the front of the Republican presidential pack – and will it last?

– What impact did last week’s Benghazi hearings have on the presidential campaign, Congress, and most important, the truth?

– We talk with ISU student Joe Heegaard about climate activism on the Iowa State campus.

– Central College political science prof Andrew Green joins us to discuss what the electorate are really hungering for in their apparent preference for political outsiders.

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 Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans).

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

If the IUB has any integrity . . .

Dear Friends,

I am so proud of all the landowners standing strong against the Bakken pipeline. (See the article in today’s Cedar Rapids Gazette.) Their position is not an easy one to be in. Yet despite Dakota Access’ aggressive tactics, threats and lies, 37% of the land needed for the pipeline remains in the hands of farmers and landowners who have said “NO” to granting the company an easement.

With that threshold of opposition, there is no way the Iowa Utilities Board, in good conscience, can grant Dakota Access the power of eminent domain. But to make sure they know that, it will require continued citizen pressure and vigilance over the next two months.I’ll add this too: As I discovered time after time on my Pipeline Walk earlier this year, many of the landowners who have said “YES” felt they had no option. (For more on that, read my blog posts from Day 11 and Day 36 of the Walk, as just two examples.) The opposition to the pipeline among residents along its proposed route is even deeper than the IUB probably thinks.

Iowa’s politicians should be listening. In fact, the presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa should be listening, too. Seventy-five percent of all Iowans are against taking private property through eminent domain for a pipeline. So far, I know of only three candidates who have said they oppose the Bakken pipeline. They are Rand Paul, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. If you know of others, tell me so we can thank them – and even Paul, O’Mallely and Sanders should be challenged to speak-out more strongly against the Bakken.

Of course, some of Iowa’s political leaders are not only listening to our concerns but are in the fight with us. A special thanks to State Rep. Dan Kelley, State Sen. Rob Hogg, and State Rep. Bobby Kaufman – and Bobby will join me on today’s program at 11:00.

Also on today’s Fallon Forum:

– Congressional candidate Desmund Adams;

– Ted Glick, who was part of a group fasting in front of FERC for 18 days last month in opposition to that agency’s rubber-stamping of permits for fracking;

– Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau, discussing last week’s awarding of the Food Sovereignty Prize; and

– State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad on the most recent anti-Muslim comments by Congressman Steve King, and how race and religion plays into this year’s presidential campaign.

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.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Squash vs Bureaucrats

Dear Friends,

The personal story I’m about to share is not exactly a struggle against the abuse of eminent domain. But it’s an urban parallel that should deepen city dwellers solidarity with rural landowners fighting to stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline.

I’ve been involved with the Des Moines Community Garden program for a dozen or so years. Sadly, I have watched the program morph from a gardener-driven initiative to one controlled by City bureaucrats — bureaucrats who have taken the “community” out of the program and replaced it with centralized control by non-gardeners.

The plots I manage aren’t legally “mine.” But they’re on public ground that is otherwise unused — ground that I and other gardeners carefully nurture year after year.

But City bureaucrats have gradually exerted more and more control over how gardeners manage their plots. Last year, they even began charging us for the privilege of being hassled and harassed. I now pay $150 a year. It’s not eminent domain per se, but it sure feels like a “taking” of the public’s right to grow food on public land.

The list of ridiculous things that I and other gardeners have been cited for includes:

– A weed violation that was actually dill;
– A weed violation that was an edible cover crop;
– Having a composting device on one’s plot;
– The design of raised beds within plots;
– Squash and sweet potato vines growing into the pathways.

That’s just a few of the “violations” we’ve been cited for. Nearly every gardener I’ve spoken with has a story or two about being harassed by City staff about something silly.

So, yeah, when farmers across the state share stories of how badly they’ve been treated by Dakota Access workers and Iowa Utilities Board officials, I’m empathetic as all get out. When they tell me how losing their land to a pipeline would impact their ability to raise crops and livestock, I can relate to that, albeit it in a much smaller way.

If you live in Des Moines, expect to hear more about the City’s botched management of the Community Garden program. (Hopefully, working with the Mayor and Council members, it’s a problem we can fix.) If you live anywhere in Iowa, I appeal to you to stand with landowners fighting to stop Big Oil and its allies in Big Government in their accelerated push to build the Bakken Pipeline. For breaking developments, visit Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition and No Bakken Here.

On today’s Fallon Forum:

– We talk with Tim Dwight about challenging the presidential candidates to support powering the U.S. economy with 50% clean energy by 2030. Read Tim’s recent opinion piece here: Why Clean Energy is Necessary for a Sustainable Future.

– Author John Massaro joins us to discuss his book, NO GUARANTEE OF A GUN: How and Why the Second Amendment Means Exactly What It Says. The book’s premise is not that guns are bad and all guns should be banned. It is simply that gun control is a public-policy issue and not a Constitutional one.

– Des Moines being the Cultural and Culinary Crossroads of America, we talk with Billy McGuigan about his Beatles band and “Yesterday and Today,” an interactive concert happening this week at the Des Moines Playhouse.

– In this week’s Caucus Buzz, we talk about the Trump campaign rally in Waterloo that I got thrown out of, the obscene amount of money already being spent by a few presidential candidates on tv ads, and tomorrow’s first debate among Democratic presidential candidates.

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.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Disrupting Trump’s self-love fest

Dear Friends,

In the fight for a just and peaceful world – and now, in the fight against climate change – I’ve done a lot of uncomfortable things. Running for office, walking thousands of miles, fasting, getting arrested. None of that is in my “fun-time” category.

But what I did this week beat all else in terms of discomfort. Please check out the press release about our climate action at a Donald Trump campaign event this week.

First, an important reminder: The Iowa Utilities Board hearing on the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline draws near, with a date of November 12 in Boone. For regular updates, visit Bakken Pipeline Resistance and/or No Bakken Here.

Trump supporters get aggressive with climate-change activists

Oct. 9, 2015

WATERLOO, IOWA – On Wednesday, October 7, a group of Iowans – several dressed as Rosie the Riveter – interrupted Donald Trump’s campaign speech at the Electric Park Ballroom with calls to “Mobilize Now!” and take “Climate Action Now!” The seven-member team was there on behalf of The Climate Mobilization, a national campaign calling on the United States to end net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and restore a safe climate for humanity through a World War II-scale mobilization of the economy.

Trump initially endorsed the suggestion, saying, “That’s right, mobilize now.”

When demonstrators continued their call, chanting “Climate Action Now,” Trump realized he had made a mistake. “Oh, I thought they were on our side!”

Trump supporters became aggressive with the demonstrators, pushing them and grabbing and destroying their signs. Miriam Kashia, a 72-year old woman from Iowa City, was shoved from behind and nearly fell over.

As demonstrators walked toward the exit, some in the crowd became hostile. Others, however, offered heartfelt words of thanks. Kashia reported that, while she was exiting the event, “A woman held out her hands and said, ‘Thank you for doing that.’”

“We’ve been working hard to question the presidential candidates, to get them to talk about climate change,” said Ed Fallon, who organized the demonstration. “Some live in denial. Others get it. But no candidate has yet to prioritize climate for the crisis it is. No one has pledged to mobilize the full force of the U.S. economy to fight it on the scale needed.”

“We’ll continue to question candidates about climate change,” said Fallon. “But with less than four months before the Caucuses, it’s time to up the ante. For me, chanting and holding signs like we did today is uncomfortable. But climate change is causing discomfort and worse across the globe. I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone so the candidates hear – loud and clear – that climate change demands a full-scale home-front mobilization.”

Besides Kashia and Fallon, the other demonstrators were George McCloskey of Des Moines, Peter Clay of Des Moines, Shari Hrdina of Des Moines, Barbara Schlachter of Iowa City, and Kristy Medo of Iowa City.

Video Available Here

CNN: “Trump tells crowd not to get violent when protesters disrupt event

POLITICO: “Trump heckled by climate change activists

Ed Fallon:
(515) 238-6404
Margaret Klein Salamon:
(734) 476-5169

Preview YouTube video Climate Mobilization Activists Disrupt Trump Event 10/7/15

How Hillary Clinton might avoid Scott Walker’s fate

Dear Friends,

I love the richness of our descriptors for gatherings of various life forms. A few of my favorites:
– A pride of lions
– A murder of crows
– A host of sparrows
– A field of presidential candidates

Ok, that last one’s not official. But we use it a lot, and as the field of Republican presidential candidates thins, it seems like a fitting metaphor.

This week, we saw the surprising and sudden exit of Scott Walker. Expect more of that. I predict a Republican field that shrinks to ten candidates, or less.

On the Democratic side? It’s just a matter of time before Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb call it quits. No surprise there. But what about Hillary Clinton? The trajectory of her campaign is very similar to Walker’s, who once led the Republican field by a substantial margin. And when Joe Biden jumps in and eats-up a chunk of Clinton’s dwindling support, she’ll be under a lot of pressure to step aside.

Something big, different and defining needs to happen to revive Clinton’s campaign. Here’s a thought: None of the candidates have prioritized climate change like the crisis it is. The door to that visionary stance is wide open. Clinton could be the first to sign the Pledge to Mobilize, calling for an emergency response to the climate crisis “carried out on the scale of the American World War II home front mobilization.”

We’ve heard that language before, from  . . . Hillary Clinton! In a speech delivered on November 5, 2007, in Cedar Rapids, Clinton said, “For this generation of Americans, climate change is our Space Race. It is our home-front mobilization during World War II and it is our response to the Great Depression.”

If Clinton were to beat Biden, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley to the punch and distinguish herself as the first candidate to commit to an ambitious, full-scale emergency response to the climate crisis, that would be huge. Would it be enough to send her poll numbers in the other direction? Hard to say. But I, for one, would love to find out.


A hearty thank you to all who participated in this weekend’s “Rosie the Riveter” action at the Republican candidate forum, and to Rodger Routh for this video: Climate Activists Confront Presidential Candidates in Iowa.


Check out podcasts from this week’s Fallon Forum:
– The Pearl Project (with Kelly Boon
Lee Camp on Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the FERC fasters
– Water wars and the Iowa Environmental Council’s 20th anniversary (with Katy Heggen
Caucus Buzz: Blown-off by Ted Cruz
 (with Pat Bertroche)
– California fires could be climate’s Pearl Harbor moment

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.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Catholic Church speaks out on climate

Dear Friends,

I am honored to have Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese on today’s Fallon Forum at 11:00 a.m. You can tune-in to the conversation live on KDLF 1260 AM La Reina or online. A podcast will be available after the program.

Responding to Pope Francis’ encyclical addressing climate change, Bishop Pates wrote “An honest conversation acknowledges that humans are causing much of the recent climate change . . . The dialogue we need is not about whether to act on clime change but how to act.” (The Des Moines Register, July 2, 2015)

Bishop Pates goes on to challenge us to action, saying, “With presidential candidates already visiting us regularly, I encourage Catholics across our state, and all people of good will, to talk to them and ask not if, but how, they plan to work toward solutions to climate change.”

Already, 2015 has been a big year for climate action, with two major events still on the horizon:

* Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. this month, including a first-ever address by a pontiff to a joint session of Congress.

* The United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, November 30 – December 11, where expectations are high that a serious climate agreement might at last be attained.

I am grateful for Bishop Pate’s clarion call to faith-based action on behalf of creation and our planet. And I am grateful to all who are engaged in principled acts of conscience leading up to these two landmark moments in the face of escalating climate disasters. There are so many encouraging citizen-based actions in progress right now, it’s impossible to note them all. But let me mention three:

1. The Climate Mobilization, a promising new initiative challenging presidential candidates, other elected leaders, and all of us to confront climate change honestly and commit ourselves to “a World War II-scale emergency climate mobilization to protect civilization from the climate crisis.” If you haven’t yet signed the Pledge to Mobilize, please do.

2. Activists, including some of last year’s participants in the Great March for Climate Action, are fasting for eighteen days in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) building in Washington, DC. In advance of the Pope’s visit, they hope to call on FERC to stop issuing permits for fracking.

3. The People’s Pilgrimage chronicles an informal network of concerned people heading to Paris for the U.N. Climate Summit, or those who plan to be there in spirit. The initiative’s website says, “You can cross a continent, or only walk a mile. It’s up to you. You can do it any way you like – walk, cycle or some other low or zero fossil fuel means. What matters is the spiritual journey and that you use the journey to reflect on the risks of climate change.”

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

Revival of hope in SE Iowa

Dear Friends,


Democracy in America is not dead. But it is seriously ill, and most of us know it.

Hughie Tweedy Protest Party Thumbnail

Hughie Tweedy

Now, I am optimistic by nature. But in recent years, I sometimes find myself in despair over the extent to which Big Business and Big Government control our lives – and conspire to shift more and more of OUR wealth into their pockets.

On August 29-30, 2015, in the far southeast corner of Iowa, something very special occurred on Hughie Tweedy’s farm. Democracy proved it is still alive and ready to fight. The Tweedy family has deep roots in this rolling country along the Mississippi River, and Hughie is a vocal and colorful opponent of the proposed Bakken oil pipeline.

Well, “vocal” and “colorful” took on new dimensions last weekend, as nearly 2,000 friends, family members and fellow pipeline fighters descended upon the Tweedy farm for a festival of camping, music, food and organizing. The diversity, unity and spunk of those assembled imbued me with new hope for democracy. Farmers and hippies, rednecks and environmentalists, Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians and independents. People arrived by pick-up truck, Prius and Harley. They came to support Hughie and other landowners fighting to stop the Bakken pipeline. They came to say that all of us average, working Americans have a lot more in common than any of us do with the executives sitting in corporate boardrooms and their bought-and-paid-for politicians sitting in state and federal halls of power.

Most of us will admit that our political system is a mess. But it’s the system we’re stuck with, for now at least. We can make it work for The People when we organize and look beyond our differences and diverse backgrounds to a greater vision of our common good.

At the Tweedy farm, that reality was on display last weekend. If, like me, you sometimes need a reminder that the passion for liberty and justice still burns strong in America, this was it. Check out the five-minute video Shari Hrdina put together and you’ll see what I mean: http://fallonforum.com/1701-2/.

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