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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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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School Strike for Climate!

Dear Friends,

Socrates was condemned for corrupting the youth of Athens. At the risk of being accused of corrupting the youth of Iowa, I ask K-12 and college students to join School Strike for Climate on March 15 … and beyond.

Alexandria Villaseñor, a 13-year-old climate justice activist from New York City.

All successful movements are built on a foundation of failure interspersed with moments of incremental progress. It’s important to recognize the seeds of climate action sown in the past. But with only eleven years to transform our world to keep global warming below 1.5° C, we’re beyond incrementalism. An all-out mobilization to fight climate change is all that can save us.

Who better to lead the fight than children and young adults — those who will suffer the consequences of our fossil-fuel addiction well into the 21st century and beyond. Tens of thousands of young people across the world have stepped forward to demand action. School Strike for Climate is one vehicle to further grow the movement.

School Strike for Climate in Great Britain

But, “Shouldn’t those kids be in school?” you ask. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who skipped three weeks of school to protest in front of the Swedish Parliament, responds, “If you think that we should be in school instead, then we suggest that you take our place in the streets, striking from your work. Or, better yet, join us, so we can speed up the process.”

School Strike for Climate‘s website reads, “We, the youth of America, are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change. We are striking for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Climate Bird Doggers Sam Kuhn and Sid Barfoot question John Delaney on climate.

Yes, we are running out of time. Young or old, get involved! Strike from your school or job. Lobby relentlessly until our elected officials listen. Practice non-violent civil disobedience. My preferred strategy at this time: Join Bold Iowa’s Climate Bird Dogs to compel the presidential candidates to prioritize the climate crisis as the urgent, existential threat it is.

Through all of human history, there has never been a crisis such as what we now face. We have to look beyond the immediate challenges of our daily lives and focus on the frightening reality that life on Earth is in jeopardy. As Greta says, “[E]veryone keeps saying climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on like before. I don’t understand that, because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me that is black or white. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.”

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