Industry’s New Colonial Outpost: Rural Iowa

Dear Friends,

Two things before I explain why Iowa is becoming a colonial outpost:

First, I’m sad to say that the pro-DAPL bill (SF 2235) passed this week despite hundreds of Iowans contacting their lawmakers. Visit the Fallon Forum and Bold Iowa websites for news coverage and to learn how your senator and representative voted. The silver lining is that Bold Iowa’s coalition of environmentalists, landowners, farmers and Native allies worked with labor unions on a common cause. Let’s build on that!

Second, check out this week’s Fallon Forum. Among other topics, we talk with two of the five climate warriors who shut down the flow of tar sands oil in 2016. If you missed the previous week’s program, check out our conversation about gun violence, sustainable farming, and why the job of Secretary of State is important.

Janna Swanson with Ed Fallon at the Blue Daisy Cafe in Ruthven.

Colonization never goes well for the colonized. It went badly for the Indigenous peoples of this continent. It’s gone badly for people in “third world” countries we’ve pillaged. And it’s going badly for rural Iowa.

Yup. A new wave of colonization is in full swing. Perhaps in the twittering storm of political scandals and legislative hubris you haven’t noticed. But rural Iowans can’t help but notice as the forces of colonization steamroll their farms and communities.

Here are the most egregious examples (and yeah, the acronym spells “PLOW,” for what that’s worth):

PORK. There are 15,000 hog confinements (CAFOs) in Iowa. Given the soaring foreign demand for pork, state officials say that number could jump to 45,000! America’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, is now owned by a Chinese corporation. Smithfield will get rich exporting pork to China while rural Iowans are stuck with foul air, lower property values, contaminated water, a decline in quality of life, and continued depopulation.

LAND. Foreign ownership of farmland in the US is rising. Foreign entities now control an area larger than Tennessee! Fortunately for Iowa, our law prevents foreign ownership of farmland — but powerful forces want to change that.

Some new turbines are as tall as two football fields.

OIL. The Dakota Access Pipeline carved a 350-mile scar across Iowa, damaging topsoil and threatening our water for a Texas corporation’s export crude oil pipeline. As I’ve warned, don’t be surprised if Big Oil tries to build a second pipeline through Iowa.

WIND. Industrial Wind Installations (IWIs) are meeting greater and greater local resistance. More are in the works and problems associated with the turbines are fomenting extensive and impassioned local resistance.

Perhaps that last item took you by surprise, coming from someone who cites climate change as the gravest threat to life on Earth. I’ve always been disturbed by any concentration of economic power, though in the past I’ve grudgingly given wind energy a pass because of the urgency of the climate crisis.

Janna Swanson with the Coalition for Rural Property Rights

To be clear, we absolutely need to move beyond fossil-fuel consumption as quickly as possible. Energy conservation, reducing consumption, and sequestering carbon are three of the most important actions we can take.

We also need a robust and rapidly expanding renewable energy portfolio. The backbone of that portfolio must be solar — and solar must be controlled by individuals, communities, family farmers, and small business owners. There’s room in that portfolio for wind, too, but not the centralized industrial model that increasingly dominates more and more Iowa counties.

While a handful of landowners are making money leasing their land for turbines, monopoly control of wind is wreaking havoc on rural landscapes and the people who live and farm there. In February, I traveled to Palo Alto County to visit Janna Swanson, a leader with the Coalition for Rural Property Rights. Palo Alto residents are suing MidAmerican Energy and Invenergy over a massive 340-megawatt project near Emmetsburg. There are 268 residences in the target area — yet only 24 have signed a contract to allow turbines on their land!

IWI opponents cite visual blight, shadow flicker, noise, flashing lights, pressure, turbulence, the impact on farming, and the risk to bats and birds. A separate blog could be written about each of these concerns.

While the scientific and medical impacts of IWI’s continue to be hotly debated, one thing is clear: the vast majority of people who live nearby don’t want them. That needs to be respected. When proposing an IWI, decision makers must give far greater consideration to local concerns than they do at present.

“Some people live next to a turbine and don’t have a problem,” Janna told me. “For others, there’s a cumulative effect. Take the intense pressure and turbulence. You can feel it when you’re standing nearby, almost like it’s grabbing at your heart.”

Janna says many Iowans complain that they can hear the turbines inside their home at night, even with a white-noise machine cranking away. It’s affecting their health. In some places, long-time residents have had to sell their home and move because of health problems attributed to the turbines.

A group of Palo Alto residents is suing to have the Palo County wind project stopped. Plaintiffs are preparing for an April 27 court date. The case is likely to end up before the Iowa Supreme Court.

Right now, 37% of Iowa’s electrical generation comes from wind. From the perspective of reducing fossil fuel consumption, that’s encouraging. But it comes at a heavy price for rural Iowa. It’s a price we shouldn’t have to pay given the more sustainable and less invasive options available.

As I said earlier, with Iowa’s land protected from foreign ownership, we effectively have a moratorium on that element of colonization. Perhaps it’s time for moratoriums on CAFOs, IWIs, and crude oil pipelines, too. That would carve out some space for us to have a deep, democratic conversation about what Iowa should look like in 50, 100 or even 500 years. Perhaps the original victims of this land’s colonization, Native Americans, could lead and direct that conversation.

One thing is emphatically clear to me: eminent domain should NEVER be used to condemn land for transmission lines to ship Iowa’s wind to Chicago or the East coast. An effort to use eminent domain by the Rock Island Clean Line (another Texas corporation) was defeated last year. Given the money and political power behind IWI, don’t be surprised if another proposal surfaces.

Regardless of where one stands on pork, oil, or wind, we should all agree that it’s wrong to ignore the voices of rural Iowans in order to export our resources to distant ports — whether those ports lie on Lake Michigan, the Atlantic Ocean, or the China Sea.

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Pipeline bill passes despite strong grassroots opposition

Check out coverage of SF 2235’s passage and write a letter-to-the-editor in response. Contact Ed Fallon if you need to know more about what’s involved with submitting your letter. If you know of other news outlets that picked up the story, let us know. As of April 5, here’s the coverage we’ve seen so far:

Cedar Rapids Gazette
Des Moines Register
Mason City Globe Gazette
Quad-City Times
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

To see how your State Senator voted, scroll down to page 852 of the Senate Journal for April 3. To see how your State Rep. voted, scroll to page 685 of the House Journal for March 27. Special thanks to Sen. Rob Hogg and Rep. Rick Olson for offering amendments to assure that severe penalties for sabotage don’t apply to peaceful, non-violent protestors.

We’re deeply disappointed that no Senator or Representative offered an amendment to eliminate a crude oil pipeline from the definition of “critical infrastructure.” We’re grateful for the strong coalition of organizations that opposed the bill, especially some of Iowa’s leading labor unions, who worked tirelessly in opposition to the anti-free-speech provisions of the bill.

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Iowa Pipeline Fighters Head to Super Bowl to Pressure US Bank to Divest

Dear Friends,

Go Tom Brady! Yeah, I just had to get that out of the way. Across the country, people are turning up the heat on politicians and corporations intent on destroying our water, land, and planet for satiate their lust for power and money.

US Bank is one of them, and it’ll be in the spotlight on Super Sunday when the Pats and Eagles tangle at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The day before the Super Bowl — let’s call it Super Saturday — pipeline fighters, Native leaders, and property-rights defenders from across the upper Midwest will converge in Minneapolis to turn up the heat on US Bank. I’ll be there and, with cold weather forecast, will be wearing two hats. See photo on right. And see the release below for details about the action.

And “Go Tom Brady!” (Or did I already say that?) — Ed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 1, 2018 — 11:00 a.m. CST

Contact: Christine Nobiss at (319) 331-8034 or cnobiss@gmail.com
Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

Iowa Pipeline Fighters Head to Super Bowl to Pressure US Bank to Divest
High security, restrictions on freedom of speech, expected in Minneapolis

Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa will join a coalition of Native and non-Native organizations from across the upper Midwest this Saturday, February 3 at 12:30 at the headquarters of Minnesota 350.org at 2104 Stevens Ave in Minneapolis for a rally and action in advance of Sunday’s Super Bowl game at US Bank Stadium. Native communities, farmers, landowners, and environmentalists fighting Energy Transfer Partners and the Dakota Access Pipeline are pressuring US Bank to stop financing oil pipelines.

“If US Bank has a moral compass, this should be a no brainer,” said Bold Iowa director Ed Fallon. “US Bank is as complicit as Energy Transfer Partners for abusing eminent domain, trampling the rights of rural landowners, destroying farmers’ soil and crops, and threatening our water and climate. That can change. It needs to change, and we’re turning up the heat to make it happen. In Iowa, we’re educating people about the lawsuit filed by landowners and the Sierra Club. That case is expected to come before the Iowa Supreme Court this spring, and the ruling could well be historic.”

“US Bank is perpetuating the cycle of colonization that disenfranchises and oppresses those who are not ‘privileged’ enough to be part of middle and upper class American society,” said Christine Nobiss, founder of Indigenous Iowa. “US Bank funds the extraction industry and allows government-backed corporate conglomerates to move in to poor communities and create havoc. Not only does the extraction industry add to climate change and destroy local environments during construction, spills, and explosions but it also institutes ‘man-camps’ which bring added violence and sexual assault to local communities. As an Indigenous woman, I’ve seen and heard first hand what man-camps have done to our First Nation communities, and it is frightening. These camps are one of many institutions in society that contribute to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, men, and children. This is on you, US Bank.”

Last year, Nation of Change published an informative article about the nuances in pipeline infrastructure financing. That article also contains links to the contracts between Energy Transfer Partners, US Bank, and other financial institutions providing capital to allow the Dakota Access and other pipelines to be built.

Indigenous Iowa was founded by Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Salteaux from the Gordon First Nation. She is a decolonizer and also works with Seeding Sovereignty. One of the main goals of Indigenous Iowa is to raise awareness about the devastating effects that oil, gas and coal have on our environment while simultaneously promoting the development and implementation of renewable energy. Indigenous Iowa’s website is www.indigenousiowa.org.

Bold Iowa is an independent non-profit organization that addresses the climate crisis, opposes the misuse of eminent domain to expand fossil-fuel infrastructure and other private purposes, promotes individual and entrepreneurial efforts in renewable energy and energy conservation, and works to build a broad, urban/rural coalition. The organization’s website is www.boldiowa.com.

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Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Dear Friends,

Kim Weaver and Deidre DeJear

{Please come to Bold Iowa’s “Here Comes the Sun” Party on Friday, January 26 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Victor’s Mexican Restaurant, 602 US 69 in Huxley. In addition to learning about Lee Tesdell’s solar set-up, we’ll discuss the lawsuit against the Dakota Access pipeline that will soon come before the Iowa Supreme Court. Details on the Bold Iowa website or Facebook.}

Christine Nobiss

This weekend, an estimated five million people turned out for 673 Women’s March events across the U.S. and around the globe. I attended the Des Moines rally where an estimated 6,000 people showed up at the Iowa State Capitol. The organizing team — including former congressional candidate Kim Weaver, West Des Moines City Councilwoman Renee Hardman, and Robin Covington — did an incredible job in a short span of time.

I was encouraged to see the voices of Indigenous women featured prominently in rallies across the country, including Des Moines. Christine Nobiss of Indigenous Iowa gave one of the most passionate and inspiring speeches I’ve ever heard.

Here’s the link to the livestream of Christine’s speech, and the text is included in its entirety, below.

Please check out this week’s Fallon Forum.

Christine Nobiss joins me for the opening segment. Then I discuss the killing of 500,000 bees in northwest Iowa by two young boys. Joel Kurtinitis is my next guest as we talk about the 1.3 million US troops that remain overseas despite claims that ISIS has been destroyed. Kim Weaver joins me to talk about the election focus of this year’s Women’s March, and I give an update on the DAPL lawsuit.

*******

CHRISTINE NOBISS, WOMEN’S MARCH,DES MOINES, JANUARY 20, 2018

I want to say thank you to the organizers for having me on this stage at the last minute. In these settings, Indigenous people are often overlooked. We overcame assimilation and extermination but we are still often ignored or romanticized by settler-descendant society. I had to ask to be here because there was no Indigenous representation in the line-up. I’d also like to say thank you to Ed Fallon and Heather Pearson from Bold Iowa who also asked on my behalf.

I’d like to start by saying why is it so important that there be Indigenous representation here. As the original inhabitants of Turtle Island, we should always be represented at forums like this to pay respect to the land on which we are standing right now. And with that in mind, I’d like to honor the Meskwaki Nation, the only First Nation left in Iowa. And we can’t forget all of the other nations that thrived in this area of the world before they were murdered or removed — the Ioway, the Omaha, the Ho-Chunk, etc.

This March is about many things, but primarily it is about empowering women. The reality is that Native American and Alaska Native women endure the highest rates of rape and assault in this country. Older statistics told us that one in three Native American women will be raped or experience sexual assault in their lifetime, but recently that statistic has been moved to 1 in 2.  A new Department of Justice study shows that of over 2,000 women surveyed:

  • 84 percent of Native American and Alaskan Native women have experienced violence;
  • 56 percent have experienced sexual violence;
  • Over 60 percent had experienced psychological aggression or coercive control;
  • 90 percent have experienced violence at the hands of a non-tribal member.

Experts say these astonishing statistics still underestimate the number of women affected by violence because the infrastructure for women to report and handle incidents is underfunded. Also, there is a lack of local law enforcement on reservations and tribal courts do not have the jurisdiction to prosecute non-tribal members for many crimes like sexual assault and rape–even if they occur on a nation’s territory. And our men our also facing similar statistics.

This leads to my next point. Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls: on some reservations in the United States, Native women are murdered at more than 10 times the national average. In Canada, it is 6 times the national average and there are currently over 1000 missing Indigenous women there. It is no different here, where the rate of missing women is astounding but has barely made a dent in mainstream newsources. These women are either dead, ran away or have been sold into the sex trade that exploits our vulnerable population. Here in Iowa, the Meskwaki have taken the initiative to protect their people and have started a program for missing and murdered indigenous women that is led by my good friend Dawson Davenport. He recently created the Rita Papakee Foundation in dedication to this missing Meskwaki woman. It provides resources for families and educates the public about this serious issue.

With all of this being said, I have to ask, do you think Donald Trump and his misogynistic, white supremacist administration is going to help or hinder us in our fight to overcome this awful realty? I think not. This Administration has already announced that they will make cuts to the Department of Justice. This means that the violence against women act is in jeopardy. This act has specific programs under it that are targeted towards Indigenous women because of our crisis status. This is something to keep in mind as we move forward in 2018.

Furthermore, I’d like us to keep in mind that Trump has a vendetta against the Indigenous people of Turtle Island. Back in the 80s he lobbied very aggressively against us and our gaming rights. He has been quoted saying, “Well, I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations.”  In fact, his 27-member Native American Coalition states that his presidency will minimize federal oversight and regulations through the privatization of our lands. He is not doing this for our well-being but to exploit the resources on our land.

It is estimated that Native American land holds about 30 percent of the nation’s coal, 50 percent of potential uranium, and 20 percent of known oil and gas. He wants to deregulate federal control on reservations and allow private entities to entice poverty-worn Nations with money in order to take their land. This is what Winona LaDuke calls predatory economics. This could undo our sovereignty, undo 500 years of resistance and 100 years of policy-making that has led us to a semblance of self-governance.

And, it may not be obvious but the health and safety of Native American women and men are directly linked to the health and safety of our land. It has been reported by many Native people that they feel much safer when they are living within their own communities where identity and purpose are linked to the traditions and cultures that rest on Sovereign territories. Basically, our Indigenous women’s body sovereignty is directly linked to the sovereignty of their first nation. And Trump is systematically and viciously trying to dismantle that.

However,  even with his portrait of Andrew Jackson hanging in the Oval Office, he has yet to realize the tenacity and strength of our people. We were the first to fight a corrupt, imperialistic, genocidal, slave trading, white supremacist government. We were the first environmentalists in this country and the first revolutionaries. And, we have been doing this for over 500 years. We have experienced much more than what he and his administration have even begun to attempt. We have shut down bridges, taken over buildings like Alactraz, and protected sacred areas that rightfully belong to us. We have set up resistance camps for hundreds of years. We have fought in the Walleye Wars, Oka, against Custer, fought for rivers in the northwest, mountains in the southwest, fought against commercial expansion in the Northwest and for the integrity of the ocean in the southeast. We took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that we will not to be easily oppressed anymore. We are coming out of the darkness and there are many of us that continue to fight this government and their manifest destiny campaign. Trump is but a manifestation of what this country was truly founded upon. And before I conclude I’d like to pay recognition to the our Latin, African American and Asian American brothers and sisters who have also endured a long history of extreme violence and oppression in this country. I’d also like to recognize the more recent immigrants into this country and the Two Spirit community that are also experiencing the same issues. And I’d like to say thank you to all of the settler descendants that are taking a stand and fighting for a better future for all of us. The imperialist agenda is to divide and conquer, but together we can overcome this.

And I would like to give a shout out to Bold Iowa, the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition, the Sierra Club and Indigenous Iowa for continuing to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline here in Iowa. Thank you.

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Wanted: Bold Iowans

Dear Friends,

I’m writing with an urgent appeal. Since March of 2016, Bold Iowa has been a key leader on climate change and eminent domain. In fact, our work is recognized not just in Iowa but across the country.

Yet for Bold Iowa to continue, we need your help NOW!

Bold Iowa’s march earlier this year built new bridges in challenging conditions.

We’ve built a powerful rural-urban network of environmentalists, farmers, Indigenous communities, landowners, and property-rights advocates. But our funding is perilously tight, and we truly need your support NOW! If even 10% of those receiving this message contribute $25, that would cover 20% of our annual budget. So, please TAKE A COUPLE MINUTES TO DONATE!

Our mission to build a broad coalition to fight climate change, protect land and water, and stand up for property rights against the abuse of eminent domain keeps our awesome team busy. Beyond the importance of your financial support, if you’re feeling really bold and would like to discuss joining our team, contact me at ed@boldiowa.com.

Much of our work has focused on stopping the Dakota Access pipeline. We’re deeply saddened that oil is now running under Iowa’s precious soil and water. But this fight is far from over. The lawsuit filed by nine Iowa landowners and the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is before the Iowa Supreme Court. This is a landmark case that could potentially put the brakes on the erosion of private property rights! (Read my recent blog here, and stay tuned for updates.)

Here are a few of Bold Iowa’s 2017 accomplishments:

January: We followed-up on the December, 2016 rally and march in support of the Landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit, continuing to build awareness of that lawsuit and the other pipeline fighter cases going to trial. Also, Ed and five landowners were interviewed by Eric Byler with The Young Turks in extensive national coverage of Iowa landowners’ resistance to the pipeline.

The march after the landowners’ hearing at the Polk County Courthouse, December, 2016.

February: We coordinated a statewide day of action to push back against Dakota Access, with meetings and non-violent direct action at 12 locations across Iowa, receiving extensive press coverage and resulting in four arrests during a sit-in at the Governor’s office.

March: We helped Little Creek Camp with promotion and fundraising. Also, part of Bold Iowa’s effectiveness includes plenty of “earned” media, including an appearance on WHO TV 13’s The Insiders.

April: We organized and led the eight-day, 85-mile Climate Justice Unity March to build bridges between urban and rural constituencies on climate, water and eminent domain. A national documentary crew is producing a video about the March.

Kids in Searsboro ham it up during the Climate Justice Unity March’s visit.

May: We organized the press conference for pipeline-fighter Heather Pearson’s trial in Rockwell City, which was covered by three media outlets.

June: Bold Iowa and several of our leaders are mentioned extensively in the TigerSwan memos released in detailed investigative reports published by The Intercept. The memos confirm the effectiveness of Bold Iowa’s “Bold Action Teams,” a strategy that slowed down pipeline construction considerably.

July: Working with Indigenous Iowa, we organized a rally and concert to demand pipeline accountability from Iowa’s elected leaders. The event featured renowned Native classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala.

Regina Tsosie opens the July 1 rally with song and prayer.

August: Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace, Bold Iowa and other organizations claiming damages of $1 billion. Our multi-layered strategy — education, protest, marches, civil disobedience, divestment, and political action — has had a clear and profound impact. Bold Iowa is honored to be tagged in this lawsuit, the second time in the past year ETP has come after us in the courts.

September: We discovered and publicized language in the Iowa Code showing that Gov. Branstad’s latest appointment to the Iowa Utilities Board, Richard Lozier, is unfit to serve because of “gross partiality” due to his work as an attorney representing the Dakota Access pipeline.

October: We began the process of contacting candidates for Governor and US Congress, with plans to endorse candidates who are strong on climate action, committed to fighting to protect our environment, and advocate for reining in the abuse of eminent domain. We also continue to stand in court with pipeline fighters Emma Schmit, Mahmud Fitil, and Kriss Wells who, along with Heather Pearson, were arrested last year and brought their cases to trial.

Heather Pearson testifies at her trial in Rockwell City.

Finally, we’re planning a “Picnic on the Pipeline” for October 29 — stay tuned for more detail on that — and we’re launching a series of house parties on solar energy.

Wow, right?! We’ve done a heckuva lot for a small, grassroots organization! Help build on this success by stepping forward:

Thanks! Together, let’s be bold and fight for an Iowa that puts our traditional values of community, hard work, and respect for the land and water ahead of the narrow, self-serving interests of bought-and-paid-for politicians and corporate bigwigs who are trying to run roughshod over our rights and our lives.

Ed Fallon

 

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National Call to #StopETP

Dear Friends,

I’m so excited about my new flock of chickens! Over the past two months, they’ve made solid progress toward becoming fully enrolled members of the Des Moines Society of Colorful Egg Layers. Like an overly protective parent, I worry about them when I leave town. But fortunately, I have two wonderful friends, Emily and Johanna, who mind them in my absence. (Emily, Johanna, in terms of chicken sitters, you’re the best!)

On the other end of the chicken-sitter spectrum is Mr. Fox. If my only option were to put Mr. Fox in charge of the coop, I’d come home to an empty nest.

Yeah, yeah, the fox-watching-the-henhouse metaphor has been squeezed to death — but it’s really the best way to describe former Gov. Branstad’s appointment of Richard Lozier to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB).

Richard W. Lozier, Jr.

Lozier’s connection to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) as the attorney for the MAIN Coalition tags him as Branstad’s fox sent to guard Iowa’s land, water and property rights. Lozier’s bias is so transparent that Branstad never should have appointed him.

Gov. Reynolds needs to do the right thing and remove Lozier from the IUB. The Iowa Code speaks strongly to this type of conflict, citing “gross partiality” in Chapter 66.26(3) as grounds for deposing someone like Lozier.

Earlier this summer, Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa began circulating a petition calling on Gov. Reynolds and the Executive Council of Iowa to remove Lozier from the IUB. Please take a minute to sign the petition and circulate it to your contacts.

Next Friday, September 8 at 11:00 a.m, Bold Iowa and its partners will deliver the petition to Gov. Reynolds, as part of the National Day of Action to Stop Energy Transfer PartnersWe’ll meet on the west steps of the State Capitol for a brief rally, then head inside. I’ve got a call in to Gov. Reynolds’ scheduler, and will keep you posted about that and other developments on our Facebook invite and Bold Iowa website.

Thanks to our partners in this effort, including Indigenous IowaIowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. We hope to see you next Friday. Thanks!

Sign the petition here: http://fallonforum.com/petitions/

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Demand Repubs Pay Harassment Settlement

Dear Friends,

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION!

Kirsten Anderson, the Iowa Senate Republican staffer fired during the Statehouse scandal involving a toxic “boys club” environment of lewd jokes, vulgar comments and inappropriate remarks about women’s bodies, had her day in court this week. Kirsten won and the jury awarded her $2.2 million!

Kirsten Anderson

Kirsten won. Women won. Justice won.

But alas, Iowa taxpayers lost. We’re the ones now stuck paying the tab.

That ain’t right. And it doesn’t have to end like this. For sure, Kirsten deserves every penny of the settlement. But there’s an alternative to soaking the taxpayers.

Typically, when a party is found guilty and ordered to pay fines and restitution, that party pays. Not someone else. Certainly not an innocent bystander.

If Senate Republicans believe all their talk about fairness, if their clamor to cut taxes isn’t simply a cloud of political hot air, they’ll dig that $2.2 million out of their collective campaign pockets. We know it’s there. But do they have the integrity to do the right thing?

I’m not holding my breath. Politicians are known for clinging to wads of cash like an eagle clutches a dead fish. I suspect it’ll take an outpouring of public pressure to get them to respond.

So, what are we waiting for!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THIS PETITION! Thank Senator Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) for speaking out against the Senate leadership’s culpability in this scandal. (See Des Moines Register story here.) Encourage Bertrand and Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) — rumored to be considering a leadership challenge to Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) — to demand that Senate Republicans and the Iowa Republican Party pick up the tab.

I’m elated the court ruled with Anderson. I’m encouraged to see Iowa jurisprudence come down on the side of justice. Now let’s demand justice for Iowa taxpayers, too!

*******

The buzz continues from the important rally and concert organized earlier this month by Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa. Check out the collage of photos and videos Shari Hrdina has assembled, including summary video by Rodger Routh.

*******

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Heed Iowa’s Native Leaders

Dear Friends,

Most of the mainstream media missed it, as did most of Iowa’s political leaders. You might have missed it too, but last week, a truly important event happened in Des Moines.

Rally organizers Ed Fallon of Bold Iowa and Christine Nobiss of Indigenous Iowa, with Christine’s children.

No, it wasn’t Independence Day, although that’s important, and this year’s celebration was unique given the Legislature’s decision to legalize fireworks.

The truly important event was the NoDAPL Rally, Concert and Call to Action at the Iowa State Capitol on July 1, spearheaded by Christine Nobiss and Indigenous Iowa. It was small, maybe 150 people. But participants came from all over with a united sense of purpose that will continue to shape the conversation on climate, water and our land well into the future.

Regina Tsosie with the Native American Coalition of the Quad Cities opens the rally with a song.

July 1 showed that Native voices are not backing down in the fight to protect Earth from the full-blown war being waged against her by greed and myopia.

July 1 showed that Indigenous leaders are no longer isolated, and that people from many nations are working together in this struggle. There were at least ten Native nations represented at the rally.

July 1 showed that non-Native allies increasingly understand that, as Native people step forward to assume leadership roles, we must stand with them as supporters and resist the colonial impulse to sweep in, take over and show them how it’s done.

Gabriel Ayala of Tucson, Arizona, headlined the rally with powerful music and words.

I wrote about this truth in one of my blogs from Standing Rock last year, and reprint a portion of it here:

Manape LaMere, a camp leader and one of the seven Elders, invites us to a meeting of camp Elders. Lyssa and I lean into the blizzard for the grueling ten-minute walk from our tent site to the dome.

Donnielle Wanatee of the Meskwaki People speaks.

We assemble in a cold, crowded structure heated by a wood stove. The air is filled with a cocktail of smoke from sage, wood and tobacco. With people constantly coming and going, bursts of blizzard air slip in through the dome’s entrance. The interior never warms up much.

The meeting is long, interesting, important. The Elders talk about tribal unity, and the importance of non-native allies remembering that they are guests and not here to provide leadership. The camp is governed by Native leaders using traditional structures and time-honored procedures. This is likely to be foreign, uncomfortable to non-natives. It’s easy for those of us from a western mindset to slip into a mode of benevolent, well-intentioned colonialism. It’s easy for us to want to take over, insist on a “better” way to do things.

Donnielle Wanatee’s daughter, Loveena Adeline Jefferson

It’s solid advice. White folk still have this imperial mindset, where we’re the ones to fix things, the ones who ride to the rescue.

I don’t watch a lot of movies, but as I listen, Dances With Wolves comes to mind — it takes a white guy, Kevin Costner, to help the Indians figure out how to save themselves (he fails).

At what point will European-Americans, as individuals and collectively, move beyond the failed notion that we have all the answers? Clearly, we have a ways to go if a U.S. Congressman (Steve King) can disparage non-white constituencies as “sub groups” while making the outrageous statement that historically, all valuable contributions come from whites.

State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad and his friend, Jacks.

After each of the Elders speaks, Manape invites me to share what’s happening in Iowa in opposition to the pipeline. I’m honored to have this opportunity, and talk about landowner and farmer resistance, upcoming court hearings, and Jessica Reznicek’s open-ended fast demanding revocation of Dakota Access’ permit.

They appreciate my report and the commitment of their allies in Iowa. But here at Standing Rock, this movement is more than just a fight against the pipeline. It’s a movement of historic proportions, a movement that’s just beginning, a cultural revival of traditions that will supplant the failed, non-sustainable paradigms that have dominated Western civilization.

Lakasha Touches Lightning from Little Creek Camp helps emcee the rally.

I ask Manape what happens after the pipeline fight is over. “The traditional chiefs who’ve been appointed to lead this camp are looking to build a future that is sustainable and eco-friendly,” says Manape. “We’re a community where people are showing up with wonderful technology, whether it’s heating or cooling systems or just general power usage.

“And this new form of government we’re building is breathing life into our people, reviving the significance of our treaties. Some people get it, some people don’t. But what we’re doing is going to save non-Natives as well as Natives.”

I hope you’ll take time to review the photos and video we assembled from July 1. You’ll find it in my Facebook “NoDAPL Rally, Concert and Call to Action” album and Facebook “NoDAPL Rally on July 1, 2017” playlist and in various other places too numerous to list. Also Rodger Routh produced a wonderful summary video. Videos include some powerful speeches by both Native and non-Native leaders. Thanks for continuing to stand together! – Ed

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NoDAPL Rally, Concert and Call to Action

Dear Friends –

I’m pumped about Saturday’s big event, spear-headed by Indigenous Iowa and highlighting the music of Gabriel Ayala. Gabriel may well be one of the most accomplished guitarists ever to perform at the Iowa State Capitol. Check out his music in the link I’ve included with this post. I guarantee you won’t want to miss Gabriel’s performance.

Saturday’s event is critical as we continue to push back against the power elite and demand justice in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline. Click here to register your attendance and to learn about the three specific actions we’re asking pipeline fighters to focus on going forward.

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Another pipeline fighter goes to trial this week. Come stand with Heather Pearson in Rockwell City on Friday. The trial begins at 9:00 a.m. and we’ll hold a press conference over the noon hour on the courthouse steps. Heather (a.k.a. Bold Iowa’s Director of Rabble Rousing) played a key role in the development of the Bold Action Team tactics that were so successful at slowing down pipeline construction last fall.

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Participants in this spring’s Climate Justice Unity March continued the conversation with residents of Deep River last Thursday over a cookout in the park where we set-up camp the first night of the March.

The whole point of the March was to show that there’s unity across the political spectrum when it comes to climate solutions. Regardless of whether people agree on the causes of climate change, nearly everyone wants renewable energy and clean water. Many thanks to Darrin and Molly Ehret, Casey and Charlotte Pierce, Jack and Kim Higginbotham and all the other Deep River area folks who helped pull this together and continue to keep the conversation going.

Picture 1: Marchers mingle with locals at a cookout last week in Deep River.
Picture 2: Kelly Boon and Shelley Buffalo.
Picture 3: Ed Fallon played accordion and Ralph King’s film crew traveled all the way from San Francisco to continue documenting the March and its impact.

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Check out this week’s Fallon Forum, with birthday-boy Ron Yarnell and Ed. Here are our segment topics, and you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

1. Is the scare of American Fascism overblown?
2. Health care “reform”
3. What kills more birds: Windmills or Trump Tower?
4. Big Grocer just got bigger
5. Des Moines takes a page from Havana on food production

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Pipeline Opponents to Gov Reynolds: Appoint New IUB Member

Dear Friends,

When I ask folks what they think of Iowa’s new Governor, Kim Reynolds, the usual response is, “Well, nothing really.” And that’s fine. She’s only been Governor for a few weeks, and for the last six years, has existed primarily as Governor Branstad’s shadow.

Well, here’s one of Gov. Reynolds’ first big opportunities to show that she’s not just a Branstad clone. Read on, and if you agree with what Christine Nobiss and I are working to accomplish, as laid out in this press release, share it widely. And come join us on July 1st. Thanks!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1:00 p.m. CT, June 14, 2017
Contact: Ed Fallon at 515-238-6404 or ed@fallonforum.com
Contact: Christine Nobiss at 319-331-8034 or cnobiss@gmail.com

Pipeline Opponents to Gov Reynolds: Appoint New IUB Member
 July 1 action at the State Capitol announced

Richard W. Lozier, Jr.

Des Moines, Iowa — In light of Iowa Utilities Board member Richard W. Lozier, Jr.’s statement today that he is recusing himself from any votes or even discussion of the Dakota Access pipeline, Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa called on Governor Kim Reynolds to remove him from the board and appoint someone without a conflict of interest. Lozier served as legal counsel for the MAIN Coalition, a public relations firm with close ties to Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Partners.

Read Lozier’s recusal statement here.

“It’s mind boggling that Gov. Branstad appointed someone with such a clear conflict of interest on the biggest issue ever to come before the IUB,” said Ed Fallon. “The question now is will Gov. Reynolds do the right thing: remove Lozier from the board and appoint someone who’s not beholden to the fossil fuel industry.”

“Big Oil and its minions within state government keep giving us more reasons to fight,” said Christine Nobiss, founder of Indigenous Iowa. “We’ll rally at the State Capitol on July 1, right in front of her office, and I hope she’s working that day so she hears our message: ‘No more political patronage for fossil fuel flunkies!’”

The July 1 action (click here for details) will be on the south side of the Iowa State Capitol, just outside the Governor’s office and across from the Iowa Supreme Court Building. The event’s focus is twofold:

  1. Encourage Gov. Reynolds to remove Lozier from the IUB, and
  2. Remind the public of the importance of the lawsuit pending before the Iowa Supreme Court, in which a group of landowners allege eminent domain was used illegally to take their land for the pipeline. Sierra Club Iowa Chapter is also a plaintiff in that lawsuit, alleging that the IUB should not have issued a permit to Dakota Access.

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