As the Arctic melts …

Dear Friends,

Ed Fallon, Pascha Morgan and Charles Goldman discuss this weekend’s action.

Charles Goldman co-hosts this week’s program with me. On the first segment, Pascha Morgan joins us to discuss Bold Iowa‘s provocative performance art, which involved a gallows (representing the threat of extinction) and large blocks of ice (representing accelerated ice melt in the polar regions).

Bold Iowa’s action demanded that Democratic presidential candidates make human survival their first act as president. The banner above the gallows declared, “As the Arctic melts, the climate noose tightens.”

The action received some enthusiastic support. Yet despite what organizers thought was clear messaging, it also experienced some strong pushback. In addition to this week’s live on-air discussion, I’ll publish a more in-depth blog later this week, responding to criticism of the action and apologizing to people offended by the imagery.

Also on this week’s program, Charles and I look at a few of Earth’s current climate hot spots, specifically New Orleans and the Arctic. We also try to sort out the absurd tweet from President Trump (yeah, another one) that four Democratic Congresswomen of color should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Of course, the fact that all four — Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Tlaib, and Pressley — are Americans, three who were born in the US, is lost on a president who operates from his own set of “facts.”

Finally, we try to sort out why conspiracy and paranoia run so deep in American politics. Wish us luck on that one. And thanks for tuning in.

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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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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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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This week’s forum smorgasbord

Dear Friends,

Dr. James Zogby

Dr. Charles Goldman is the guest host on this week’s Fallon Forum. Due to technical difficulties, Charles was unable to connect with Dr. Jim Zogby, co-founder of the Arab American Institute, to discuss the recent controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) comments regarding Israeli influence on American politics. Instead, we invite you to listen to Dr. Zogby in person tonight (Wednesday) in Des Moines, where he will discuss “Undoing the Damage We’ve Done Across the Middle East: The Current Situation and What We Can Do About It”.

Charles’ other guest on the program is State Senator Jim Carlin, Republican from northwest Iowa. They discuss some of the Iowa Legislative action not making headlines in the local media, topics other than abortion rights, Iowa’s purportedly activist judiciary, and once again fixing the essentially non-existent problems with voting.

Also on Charles’ docket: No, we don’t need a US constitutional amendment to fix the Electoral College. Enter the National Popular Vote Plan, an interstate compact, already enacted in 12 states that will take effect if it is passed into law in further states totaling 98 electoral votes. Should it be brought to fruition, the national popular vote winner of the presidential election will automatically become the next Chief Executive. No more popular vote losers becoming President (6 out of our 45 presidents) or “near misses” (4 out of the last 25 elections).

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Why I listen to Rush Limbaugh

Dear Friends,

Rush Limbaugh

And yes, I mean “friends,” because there’s something I do for you that very few people would do: Listen to Rush Limbaugh. Why? So you don’t have to.

Seriously, it’s important for me to occasionally tune-in to the shock jocks of the radical right — whose voices comprise 91% of talk radio! Corporate consolidation within the media is appalling, and it’s worse in radio than in television and print media.

That’s why small community-owned stations like La Reina 1260 AM and 96.5 FM (Des Moines), KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames), KICI 105.3 FM (Iowa City), KIPI 94.7 FM (Fayette, Missouri) and WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, Louisiana) are so important. That’s why programs like the Fallon Forum — which broadcasts on all those stations — are important.

Please consider a donation to help support our program. If you’ve got a small business, non-profit organization, or upcoming event, consider advertising on our platform (contact me at ed@fallonforum.com).

Tune-in live on Mondays from 11:00-12:00 noon, central time. We’re also available as a podcast. Check out this week’s program here. Jeffrey Weiss and I discuss the war in Yemen, and how ML King’s radical message goes beyond non-violence. I also talk with Dr. Mylan Engel, professor of philosophy at Northern Illinois University, about whether there’s any place for meat in the diet of a sustainable future. (I believe there is, Mylan feels otherwise.) I also discuss how Rep. Steve King’s troubles just keep getting worse, and the importance of the two Boone County landowners who just won their case against DAPL.

On next week’s program, Dr. Charles Goldman is my cohost. Here’s the line up:

— ISU climate scientist, Gene Takle, joins us to discuss how to converse with skeptics about climate change.
— Jonathan Jennings of Health in Harmony discusses how zoos may be the last line of defense for so many species threatened with extinction.
— Trump’s EPA wants to undo protections put in place by the Obama administration to protect groundwater from coal ash. (Point of interest: there are more contaminated coal-ash sites in Iowa than in almost all of the US west of the Rockies.)
— Lobbying by voting-machine manufacturers continues to make our election system insecure and untrustworthy.

Thanks! — Ed

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Join the BIRDS!

Dear Friends,

WANTED: Climate patriots to join BIRDS.

Yup, BIRDS. That stands for Bold Iowa Relentless Dog Squad. We’re assembling a squad of supporters to persistently “bird-dog” presidential candidates about Bold Iowa’s agenda. Voters have a right to know if candidates will:

German Wirehaired Pointer (Bold Iowan) with Ringneck Pheasant (Presidential Candidate). Ok, that’s going too far. (Photo: Steve Oehlenschlager)

— Mobilize for an all-out assault on climate change;

— Oppose the expansion of oil pipelines, fracking, and other destructive fossil-fuel projects;

— Stand with Indigenous communities to defend their sovereignty, land, and water;

— Stop the abuse of eminent domain;

— Push for non-industrial, distributed generation of renewable energy, and

— Support legislation like the Green New Deal, and Carbon Fee and Dividend. (Thanks to The Climate Mobilization, Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby for their national leadership on these initiatives.)

SIGN UP TO JOIN BIRDS TODAY!

Bernie Sanders

I’ve bird-dogged presidential candidates since 1987. It works! Back then, a coalition of Iowa peace groups convinced five of six Democratic candidates to support a nuclear test ban and oppose the dangerous Trident missile system.

More recently, we witnessed the power of bird-dogging in the 2016 presidential election. In November of 2014, Charles Goldman and I asked Bernie Sanders where he stood on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Sanders hadn’t made up his mind. Over the next year, anti-DAPL Iowans bird-dogged him relentlessly. Not only did Sanders eventually come out against DAPL, he ran ads leading up to the Iowa Caucuses touting his opposition.

Trump supporters eye us as we plan a “Rosie the Riveter” action during our work with The Climate Mobilization in 2015. From left: Peter Clay, George McCloskey, Kristy Medo, Miriam Kashia, and Ed Fallon. (Not pictured: Barb Schlachter. Photo: Shari Hrdina)

Whether a candidate is a Democrat or a Republican, bird-dogging is effective. In 2015 at the State Fair, Shari Hrdina filmed my conversation with Mike Huckabee about DAPL and eminent domain. We had similar conversations with Rand Paul and Chris Christy and landed some excellent coverage.

Our most memorable bird-dogging experience in 2015 was when five of us got tossed from a Trump rally in Waterloo after challenging then-candidate Trump to promise to fight climate change.

The 2020 campaign is noteworthy because of the sheer volume of Democratic candidates running or likely to run for president. Iowans who understand the urgency of the climate crisis not only have an opportunity but an obligation to plug into the Caucuses and make our voices heard. There is probably no other forum where our bang-for-the-buck is greater.

So, tell me you’re ready to join BIRDS, and that you’re willing to work with other Bold Iowa supporters in your community to make sure every candidate for president hears from us at every stop they make. Soon, we’ll be offering trainings to get folks up to speed on bird-dog style and content.

Polls show that Bold Iowa’s agenda resonates with a clear majority of Iowans. Let’s make sure the presidential candidates know that, too.

Ed Fallon, director, Bold Iowa

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Politico calls Rob Sand a “young Robert Mueller”

Dear Friends,

The excitement around November 6 is above and beyond what we normally experience leading up to an off-year election. Coast to coast, young, progressive candidates are fueling that excitement — as is growing discontent over President Trump’s reign of error. Even conservative voters are pulling away from the Tweeter in Chief over his:

Rob Sand

— Escalating trade war with China,
— Support for pipelines and fracking,
— Belief that “eminent domain is a wonderful thing,” and
— Lack of a moral compass.

In Iowa, two candidates firing up voters are Rob Sand, running for State Auditor, and Deidre DeJear, running for Secretary of State. Check out the great story about Rob and Deidre in Politico this week — and the entertaining comparison of Rob to Robert Mueller.

Deidre DeJear

Better yet, come meet Rob and Deidre in person at a fundraiser Kathy and I are throwing:

Saturday, September 29, 8:00-10:00 a.m. at 735 19th Street in Des Moines

Our co-hosts are Rachel Scholten, Jon Krieg, Charles Goldman, Carla McIntire, Cheslea Lepley, and Cyndy Coppola. Kathy’s making an egg dish (from our hens and garden of course) and baked French toast. We’ll have tea and coffee. Sorry, no mimosas.

Also, US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) will join us! Jeff is a key national leader on many important battles, and we’re honored to welcome him at this event.

US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)

By any reasonable measure, Democrats at the state and federal level should do well in the mid-term election. The stars are so firmly aligned in Democrats’ favor that only a series of Himalayan blunders could lead to an electoral outcome where Republicans prevail.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Don’t underestimate the Democratic Party’s ability to unleash an avalanche of Himalayan blunders. Justified skepticism aside, it’s almost certain that Democrats will, on balance, gain seats up and down the ballot. The prospects for that are enhanced when each of us invests time, effort, and money in candidates and causes that inspire and empower us. Above all else — vote!

But one election cycle doesn’t mean Democrats are on the cusp of a lasting political transformation. Looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election and beyond, if the Democratic Party is to avoid permanent minority party status, Democrats have to talk truth on tough issues while rising above the tired old politics of partisan division. It’s important to call out Democrats who don’t get this.

Congressman Dave Loebsack

Case in point: Twice at the Progress Iowa Corn Feed this week, Congressman Dave Loebsack demonstrated why he should serve as the poster child for much of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party. When I approached Dave politely to ask a couple questions about the Dakota Access Pipeline and climate change, he walked away and said he wasn’t talking to the press. I immediately thought, “Hmm, that reminds me of Donald Trump.”

When Dave had his five minutes at the mic, he used nearly the entire time to say, in so many words, “Republicans bad, Democrats good.” Sorry, but voters are sick and tired of partisan blather and vacuous generalizations about “the other side.” We want genuine conversation about real issues. And we want civility and unity — something Loebsack’s Republican predecessor, Congressman Jim Leach, understood and practiced.

Make no mistake: In recent years, Republican officials at both the state and federal level have carved a wide swathe of policy carnage favoring big corporations and the fantastically wealthy over average Americans and our planet. So, why doesn’t Congressman Loebsack focus on the initiatives that distinguish Democrats from Republicans instead of throwing out trivial sound bytes that turn off voters?

Great question. Too bad the Congressman wouldn’t let me ask it.

Ed

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Why income inequality is getting worse

Dear Friends

On this week’s Fallon Forum, Charles Goldman and Tom Jochum discuss income inequality. Writes Charles, “We dig into the fact that (what a surprise) workers who are not bosses are earning lower wages since the passage of the Trump tax cuts. Also, I’ll discuss that you get the Supreme Court you vote for, or ‘a week in the life of Little Scalia, a.k.a. Neil Gorsuch.'”

Charles has other topics on the docket as well, and writes, “I generally like to avoid Hitler references, especially when they’re used incorrectly. But this is important. We’ll discuss how Hitler admired and was influenced by American racism, and how we are far from the post-racial America supposedly heralded by the election of Barrack Obama.”

Charles also discusses, “How the Bible doesn’t just support the atrocity occurring along our southern border (as stated by Mass’r Jeff Sessions) but also is undergirding the anti-environmentalism of Trump acolytes such as Scott Pruitt. There’s a long history of Bible literalism that leads up to 35 million Americans believing that the end of the world will occur just as depicted in Revelations, and thus climate change is irrelevant. Unfortunately, they may be taking the rest of us with them.”

And if you missed last week’s program with Lora Fraracci and her guests discussing sustainable agriculture, check it out here: www.fallonforum.com/listen.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 96.5 FM and 1260 AM (central Iowa). Add your voice to the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122.

– Listen on other local affiliates:
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks!

Ed Fallon

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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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