Iowa’s Suffering Senator

Dear Friends,

I’ve had it with Iowa’s welfare queens. Wells Fargo. Rockwell Collins. Pioneer Dupont. Chuck Grassley.

Senator Charles Grassley

Yes, Grassley. The Senator announced this week that he’ll apply for federal farm bailout money. Despite being worth $3.3 million. Despite working full-time as a US Senator since 1981. Despite his criticism of government assistance for the poor.

In an October 4 Des Moines Register story, Grassley said, “I would brag to you, actually, that this experience of mine — not being an absentee landlord but suffering what farmers suffer and being joyful when they are joyful — is a good experience for a senator from an agricultural state to have.”

I have no doubt that actual farmers — those who work the land day in and day out — suffer plenty, especially given Trump’s trade tariffs and the extreme weather of the New Climate Era. I’m sure there are plenty of ways a US senator suffers, too. But I’m also certain that — given such a powerful position that comes with incomparable prestige and privilege — the joys far outweigh the suffering.

So, just as Senator Grassley earned a reality check when he announced last December that the poor “are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” it’s time for another — drum roll please — Grassley reality check!

Once and for all, Senator, please put to rest the myth that you’re a farmer. You might have been a farmer many decades ago, but you’re now a career politician. You don’t tout that fact because voters don’t like career politicians. But if the truth doesn’t always set you free, it’s at least refreshing. So I’d like to suggest this slogan for your 2022 re-election campaign: “Vote Grassley, Iowa’s Leading Career Politician.”

No doubt, there are plenty of farmers hurting due to the tariffs, farmers who could use a shot in the arm. Grassley’s not one of them. His justification for taking bailout money as “equal treatment for everybody” rings as hollow as an empty grain bin. Everyone’s not equal, Senator. To pretend that you, as a US Senator worth $3.3 million, share much in common with the average Iowa farmer is creative accounting at best.

Here’s the box of garden produce we brought to Iowa’s suffering Senator.

Ironically, as more consumers localize their food sources, potential beneficiaries of Trump’s tariffs are small farmers raising so-called “non-traditional” crops. (I use quotation marks because, face it, heirloom fruits and vegetables are a heckuva lot more traditional than GMO corn and beans.) That includes farmers like . . . me!

The official definition of a farm is “any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year.” Yeah, the Birds and Bees Urban Farm that Kathy Byrnes and I operate in Sherman Hill is officially a farm. I would wager a hefty sum of produce that Kathy and I do a lot more hands-on farm work than Senator Grassley has done in a long, long time.

Grassley’s “equal treatment for everybody” got me thinking, “Where’s our bailout?” So I called the USDA Farm Service Agency to enquire. I learned, alas, that the bailout only applies to farmers raising corn, soybeans, hogs, dairy, almonds, and cherries — some of the same crops that already receive hefty taxpayer subsidies.

I’m not opposed to some system of price support for agriculture. Food production is too unreliable — and too important — to not provide a back-up plan to assure farmers don’t lose everything when there’s a bad year, or two, or three. But the only explanation for farm subsidies targeted to just a handful of commodity crops is the political and monetary clout of Big Ag. No Iowa farmer ever got crazy rich growing garlic — and no garlic farmer is rich enough to sway federal farm policy.

It’s time to revisit government support for agriculture. If we must have subsidies, let’s target them to farmers who actually need them, and not merely to those raising crops primarily destined for export. And to be clear, Birds and Bees Urban Farm will never ask for nor accept government handouts. There is strength in diversity, and with over three dozen products, we always have plenty of products that do well even as some fail. We don’t want or need the government’s help.

I want to encourage Senator Grassley to boldly go where few big farmers have gone before and say “No!” to taxpayer handouts. Taking him at his word — that as a farmer, he has suffered — Kathy and I today brought Senator Grassley some of the bounty of our harvest. Here’s the livestream from that effort, which one could say was marginally successful. The Senator’s staff was, as always, gracious and accommodating, and agreed to forward our request for a meeting to discuss farming and climate change to the Senator.

I’ll keep you posted as to whether that meeting transpires.

Ed

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Endorsements

Dear Friends,

Due to multitudinous requests for more detail about the candidates I’m endorsing . . . .

220px-Bernie_SandersPRESIDENT: BERNIE SANDERS – This is relevant if you live in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, or if you have friends who live in those states. In other words, it’s relevant for all of you!

This race is not over. Not even close. If Sanders wins next Tuesday, the Democratic convention in Philadelphia is going to be, well . . . . HUGE! Any American who understands that a Donald Trump presidency couldn’t lead to fascism should be fighting as hard as possible for the candidate best able to defeat Trump in November. Nearly every single poll shows Sanders trumping Trump by significant margins. Hillary Clinton either wins by margins that are sometimes too close for comfort or, in some key states, actually loses to Trump.

A Trump presidency is a risk we can’t take.

I dislike polls as much as anybody. But as I learned when I ran for Congress, professional polls are remarkably accurate. Democrats supporting Clinton need to face the fact that Sanders is the strongest candidate to avert what could be the greatest threat ever to our liberty and freedom.

So, tell your friends and their friends in the states listed above to vote for Bernie Sanders on June 7. If you want to get even more involved, in a brilliant piece of campaign strategy, the Sanders campaign has launched a coordinated effort to ask supporters across the country to call voters in these states. Click here to get on the phone for Bernie.

Rob Hogg from iContactU.S. SENATE: ROB HOGG – I have good friends who are supporting Bob Krause or Tom Fiegen. I respect that. I would be content with either of them as my U.S. Senator. But Hogg has absolutely distinguished himself as one of not just Iowa’s but America’s most vocal and effective advocates for serious climate action. With Hogg in the Senate, the U.S. Congress will no longer be able to ignore the climate crisis. He feels that strongly about it, and understands it that thoroughly.

And now, to utter words that the Iowa Democratic Establishment dreads . . . . I will not vote for Patty Judge in November. I will vote for Hogg, Fiegen or Krause if any of them wins the nomination. But not for Judge, and I know there are lots of Iowans who feel the same way. The last thing the U.S. Senate needs is another pawn of corporate interests. On this account, Judge has a long and distinguished record. My interests, and I suspect your interests, will be not be those that drive Judge as a U.S. Senator. As when she was Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Lt. Governor, it will be corporate donors who have her ear, not us.

So, not only is Hogg the best candidate to fight the climate crisis, he’s also the best candidate to beat Judge in the primary and Chuck Grassley in November. Want to learn more from the man himself? I’m hosting a house party and concert for Rob at 735 19th St in Des Moines this Sunday, June 5th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Donations to Rob’s campaign appreciated but certainly not required. Here’s the link to the Facebook invitation.

Vernon_Monica_circle - Version 2U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 1: MONICA VERNON – The First District is the northeast quadrant of the state. Honestly, I don’t know Monica Vernon that well. I’ve met her a few times, like her well enough, and hear good things about her. But I know Pat Murphy really well, and when I think of people I enjoyed serving with at the Statehouse, Murphy is not on even on the long list. He was difficult to work with, and often opposed me and others on progressive legislation that the vast majority of voters supported.

This primary election is pretty much a repeat. Murphy won last time, only to lose in the general election in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic. He had his chance and blew it. I say it’s time to give Vernon a shot.

Desmund Adams orignal from net - Version 2U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 3: DESMUND ADAMS – The Third District includes Des Moines, Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa. I’ve been crystal clear that Desmund Adams is my guy. (Click here to see the video from my house party for him.) Adams is a fast study on issues, and as our Congressman, he’d be Iowa’s lone progressive voice in Washington. (Someone pass that along to Congressman Loebsack for me.)

The other Democratic candidates are Mike Sherzan and Jim Mowrer. I’ve only met Sherzan once and don’t have a good sense of his priorities, though I could conceivably vote for him in November.

But as with the U.S. Senate race, I’ll make it perfectly clear that, should Jim Mowrer win the Democratic primary, I will not vote for him in the fall. The last thing Washington needs is another foreign policy hawk whose main claim to political viability is a tenacious ability to rake in money from special interests.

Besides, in terms of winning the general election, Adams presents the greatest contrast with Rep. David Young — and contrast is never a bad thing in a swing district such as the Third.

Rep. , Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA HOUSE DISTRICT 29: DAN KELLEY – Dan Kelley has done an excellent job over the last six years representing Jasper County at the Statehouse, where he’s admired for his sincerity, integrity and hard work. He’s been Iowa’s most vocal opponent of the Bakken Pipeline — which is, I suspect, one reason he has a primary opponent from . . . you guessed it: The Democratic Establishment.

More than anything, Dan needs boots on the ground, so to speak. Come join me in Newton on Saturday, June 4 at 10:00 a.m. to knock on doors for Dan so we can send him back to the State Capitol where he has done so much good for his constituents and for all of Iowa. Click here for detail on Saturday’s door knocking event.

EddieMauro - Version 2IOWA HOUSE DISTRICT 41: EDDIE MAURO – I first met Eddie Mauro when I was helping deliver meals to the homeless along the Des Moines River one day. No, Mauro wasn’t homeless. He was delivering meals, too. That impressed me, and suggested that he has the heart and sense of compassion needed of a true public servant. So, if you live in Sherman Hill, southwest Des Moines or west-central Des Moines, please consider giving Mauro your vote.

 

 

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Check out podcasts from this week’s Fallon Forum:

1. Trump Watch
2. Pipeline Grinds to a Halt
3. Allergies Worsen in New Climate Era
4. Veggie Thumper
5. Soylent Beef

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– 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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Judge Not

Dear Friends,

{The Iowa Utilities Board meets March 9th and 10th beginning at 9:00 a.m. at 1375 E. Court Ave in Des Moines. The IUB could make a decision this week on the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. Come if you can, otherwise livestream the meetings, and I’ll be live-tweeting and “Face tweeting” as well.}

What a relief! Wall Street now has an Iowa Democrat it can get behind for U.S. Senate.

Patty Judge’s entry into the race last week was greeted with extensive coverage by Corporate Media, who largely have blown-off the other three Democrats in the race. The Des Moines Register’s headline, “Patty Judge challenges Chuck Grassley,” says it all, ignoring the reality that Judge is running not against Grassley but against Rob Hogg, Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen in the Democratic Primary. The winner of that race gets to face Grassley in the general election this fall.

And it shouldn’t be Judge.

Her long history of support for Corporate Ag’s agenda has hurt and continues to hurt Iowa farmers, our environment, our rural communities. I served with Judge at the Statehouse. I fought her anti family farm agenda when she was Secretary of Agriculture. I ran against her in what was then a five-person primary for Governor in 2006. Patty Judge and I go way back. Her allegiance lies with Big Money, and that reality will become clear as this race heats up.

For now, don’t let Corporate Media fool you into believing Judge is the defacto nominee, the only one who can beat Grassley. It is, alas, easy to be fooled, as I discovered running into a friend of mine yesterday. He’s bright, progressive, very active in Democratic politics. Yet he told me he was supporting Judge. When I pointed out that Judge was horrible on issues he and I cared about, he agreed, but said he would vote for her because she was the most “electable.”

How many more times will we fooled on the question of “electability?” Barack Hussein Obama — by virtue of his name and skin color — was initially deemed to be thoroughly unelectable. A few shoe-in, absolutely-the-most-electable candidates in recent Iowa history? Jim Ross-Lightfoot, Governor. Jim Nussle, Governor. Bruce Braley, U.S. Senate. Staci Appel, U.S. Congress. Yup. All were presented by Corporate Media and their Party Establishment as so “electable” they didn’t even get primary opponents. All got their clocks cleaned in the general election.

What voters want is someone with a solid track record to assure us they will challenge the status quo and stand with people against special interests. Among the four Democrats running for the U.S. Senate nomination, there’s no-one more tightly bound to the status quo than Patty Judge.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. The number to call is (515) 528-8122. 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). Check-out podcasts here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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