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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Honoring a great American tradition

Dear Friends,

Filling in for me Monday, August 8th at 11:00 on the Fallon Forum is Maria Filippone. Her focus will be on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and her guests include Isaac Christensen with Jewish Voices for Peace and Kathleen McQuillen of American Friends Service Committee. An important part of the conversation often overlooked is the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. See below for details for how to listen to the show live, rebroadcast, or as podcast. And callers are always welcome at (515) 528-8122 during the live broadcast on Monday at 11:00 CT.

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In every fight against injustice, there comes a point when men and women of conscience must defy laws allowing that injustice to persist. In the protracted fight to stop the Bakken pipeline, we have arrived at that point.

The crowd at a South Dakota Farm Alliance Rally on Feb. 12, 1985 (from The Daily Republic).

The crowd at a South Dakota Farm Alliance Rally on Feb. 12, 1985 (from The Daily Republic).

Over the past two years landowners, farmers, tribes and environmentalists have done everything possible to stop the pipeline.

We have pursued legal and legislative channels at great cost of time and money.

We have held forums, rallies, protests, flotillas, press conferences and more.

We have written letters and opinion pieces for our newspapers, spoken with radio stations and TV reporters, and written countless letters to government agencies.

We have learned more about pipelines, climate change, watersheds and eminent domain than we ever imagined we’d need to know. With the knowledge we’ve acquired, we’ve educated others — and public opinion has moved our direction. The most recent Iowa Poll shows less than half of Iowans support the pipeline while 3/4ths oppose the use of eminent domain to build it.

We await court rulings on a lawsuit filed by ten Iowa landowners and another just filed by Tribal leaders in the Dakotas, and remain cautiously optimistic that the court will decide in our favor. But barring an injunction, those cases may take time.

Meanwhile our land, water, property rights and climate are being trampled.

From the perspective of climate change, it is unconscionable that our government enables this pipeline to go forward. President Obama claims to understand the seriousness of climate change, having said, “No challenge–no challenge–poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Yet he hasn’t lifted a finger to stop this pipeline.

From the perspective of eminent domain, Republican Governor Terry Branstad campaigned against the abuse of eminent domain, yet now has no problem with its use for a powerful, wealthy pipeline company.

From the perspective of our environment, Democratic officials like State Senator Mike Gronstal and Congressman Dave Loebsack either openly support the pipeline or refuse to stand with their constituents against it, despite grave concerns about the potential impact on our land and water.

As with many great struggles before us, when those elected to represent and protect our interests fail to do so, it is incumbent upon the people to challenge an unresponsive government through nonviolent civil disobedience.

In this struggle against the Bakken pipeline, there are two key examples of the failure of law and government to respect and protect our rights.

First is the Army Corps of Engineers’ abdication of its responsibility to assure the safety of our waters. In issuing a permit to Dakota Access, the Corps failed to assess the full range of the pipeline’s probable impacts.

Second, the decision by the Iowa Utilities Board to issue eminent domain to a private company providing no service to Iowans is an assault on the sanctity of our right to own and enjoy property. If government can allow your land to be confiscated for an oil pipeline, where will the assault on liberty strike next?

Yes, it is time to defy an unjust law, time to defend liberty, time to fight the expansion of the fossil-fuel infrastructure and the accompanying destruction of our environment.

In the tradition of other great American struggles for freedom . . .

From the Boston Tea Party to the labor movement struggle to secure rights and freedoms we still enjoy and take for granted;

From the fight for women’s suffrage to the civil rights struggle of the 1960s;

From the Farm Crisis when farmers stood with their neighbors to block foreclosure auctions to the struggles happening now all across the country in opposition to fracking, pipelines and oil drilling;

. . . It is time to step forward and risk arrest.

Over a month ago, a Pledge of Resistance was circulated. The Pledge was initiated by Bold Iowa and supported by Iowa CCI, CREDO Action and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future. To date, over 1,000 people have signed the Pledge, which reads:

“{W}e are the conservatives, standing up for a safe and secure future for our families. It is those we protest, those who profit from poisoning our water, who violate our property rights, and who are radically altering the chemical composition of our atmosphere — and the prospects for survival of humanity — that are the radicals.”

If you are moved, please sign the Pledge and stand with us in a final attempt to stop this pipeline that our planet can’t sustain and most Iowans don’t want.

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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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