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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The other existential threat

Dear Friends,

Climate change is an existential threat in progress. As scientists warn, we must act decisively by 2030 if we are to avert disaster — and possibly extinction. It’s encouraging to see more and more people waking up to the urgency of climate action. The ongoing School Strike for Climate is particularly inspiring.

Meanwhile, for more than sixty years, the existential threat of nuclear war continues to hang over our heads. Given the list of horrific near misses, we’ve actually been lucky. Yet the nuclear threat languishes on the back burner of both the general public’s attention span and the national news media’s priority list. That’s why the work being done by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is so important.

Dr. Maureen McCue of Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility

I was honored to have PSR’s Dr. Maureen McCue on this week’s Fallon Forum. (My other guest was Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. Check out our conversation about climate change at the 2:17 minute mark.) Maureen writes:

“Now that we’ve survived St. Patrick’s Day, I again turn my attention to the growing risk of nuclear war. Why growing? Largely because President Trump’s bellicosity is taking us to the brink. Trump’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia is a huge step backwards. Add to that his making nice with Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, his ignoring of the tensions between Pakistan and India, and his promotion of the myth that Iran may soon have nuclear weapons (even as he pulls out of our treaty with that country), and we have an escalation of nuclear tension like none we’ve seen in a long time.

“On top of that, President Trump is committing trillions of dollars to building more nuclear weapons that will only further destabilize the world. And I would be remiss not to mention his lack of attention to any of our real needs — like climate mitigation, environmental clean up, health care, etc.

“With all these actions by a president who seems remarkably disconnected from reality, we should pause to consider the risks to our future. One upcoming effort to work our way back to a saner, safer nuclear policy is the Nuclear Abolition Training scheduled for March 30 in Iowa City and March 31 in Des Moines. The events are open to the public.

“Climate change is being brought on by powerful industries indifferently heating the atmosphere. Nuclear winter could be brought on by an exchange of only 100-200 ‘small’ (Hiroshima-size) bombs. Further, if Earth’s climate continues to unravel, food and water resources will dry up, tensions will heat up, populations will move, conflicts will escalate (as in India-Pakistan, Iran-Israel, etc.) and boom, you have the kindling for setting off a nuclear nightmare. It’s all connected, and needs to be seen as part and parcel of the many myths undergirding both existential risks.”

Check out our conversation with Maureen at the 29:00 minute mark. And if you have questions about the trainings or the work of PSR, Maureen can be reached at info@psriowa.org. Thanks!

Ed

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Iowa Legislature should also condemn Steve King

Dear Friends,

There are two main reasons Iowa makes the national political news: (1) The Iowa Caucuses, and (2) Congressman Steve King (R, late-1800s). The Caucuses operate on a regular, predictable, four-year cycle while King’s hateful rhetoric runs on its own erratic time table.

Steve King (R-IA)

After more than a decade of King embarrassing Iowa and casting doubt on our image as “Iowa Nice,” leading Republican elected officials are finally taking action against him. The US House resolution condemning King for his most recent outburst in defense of White supremacy is, well, better late than never.

Action by Congress is not likely to be, nor should it be, the final word against King. Pressure from his own Party is now so pervasive that, I believe, King is in the homestretch of his long tenure of embarrassing Iowa.

To speed along that inevitability, the Republican-controlled Iowa House and Senate should offer its own resolution condemning King. Governor Reynolds would have no choice but to sign it. The resolution should cite not only King’s most recent “White supremacy” quote, but his long litany of racially inflammatory remarks (yeah, I know, it’ll be a lengthy document).

The US House resolution was offered by Democrats. A resolution at the state level from a Republican-led legislature would send an even stronger message that stamping out racism is a bipartisan commitment.

Of course, King’s tumble from tolerance raises another question: Why does President Trump get a pass? Among the long list of hateful, hurtful things Trump has said or tweeted is this recent anti-Native belch:

“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”

Responding to Trump in this New York Times story, Storm Reyes, a Coast Salish indigenous woman, said, “As a Native, Trump’s tweet was equivalent to making a ‘joke’ about 9/11, Pearl Harbor or the Holocaust. I found it awful that not only did Trump use this tragedy as a joke, weapon and insult, but that his ignorance of American history is so great that he didn’t even know that Wounded Knee was a massacre and not a battle.”

Come on Republicans, you’re on a roll. Keep it going. An Iowa House and Senate chastisement of Steve King is the right thing to do and, for what it’s worth, would give Iowa a favorable national political headline. And while you’re learning to navigate with your new-found moral compass, take action against President Trump, whose disdain for non-White people is as bad if not worse than King’s.

Ed Fallon

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Bakken oil flows through Iowa to China

Dear Friends,

First, to folks living close to Davenport, Iowa City, or Cedar Rapids, I’ll discuss my just-released book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim at three separate events in eastern Iowa this weekend. Please come, and visit the Bold Iowa website for details about the book and tour schedule.

Rural Iowa can’t catch a break with President Trump. The trade tariffs threatened to inflict a $2.2 billion hit to Iowa’s economy. Farmers dodged that bullet, only to learn this week that China wants to resume importing US crude oil.

That’s bad news for landowners living along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) wants to expand capacity along the route. With expanded capacity comes greater risk to Iowa’s soil and water — and to Earth’s climate.

That fact was driven home emphatically last week by the National Climate Assessment, which warned of catastrophic impacts to our health and economy as the climate crisis worsens. Maybe President Trump considers the thirteen federal agencies that put together the Climate Assessment purveyors of fake news. They’re not, of course, and here’s a related, irrefutable slice of non-fake news:

ETP lied when it told Iowans DAPL was for domestic consumption!

Farmers and landowners remember that lie. Native communities along the route remember. The rest of us who fought against the pipeline remember. We presume the Iowa Utilities Board remembers, too.

Corroboration of ETP’s deception is abundant, as indicated in this story from September 1, 2016, by The Intercept: “The company claimed in a presentation in Iowa, a state that granted approval for the project this year, that the pipeline will feature ‘100% domestic produced crude’ that ‘supports 100% domestic consumption.’”

Over 200 march in Des Moines in frigid conditions on December 14, 2016, in support of the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit.

The Intercept’s story goes on to say, “The domestic energy claim, which has been touted by company brochures and a pro-pipeline website, has also been used to criticize hundreds of demonstrators in North Dakota who say the Dakota Access endangers drinking water and threatens sites that are sacred to a number of Native American nations and tribes.”

It’s crystal clear that ETP all along intended DAPL to serve its private interests, not the public good. The claim that DAPL is “critical infrastructure” is, like ETP’s domestic consumption pledge, a bald-faced lie.

Keith Puntenney and Carolyn Raffensperger speak at a rally after the Iowa Supreme Court hearing on DAPL, September 12, 2018.

It’s time for Governor Reynolds, Iowa lawmakers, and especially the Iowa Utilities Board to call out ETP for its destructive, costly ruse. Hopefully, too, the Iowa Supreme Court understands that DAPL’s permit was granted under false pretenses. The Court’s ruling on the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit against the misuse of eminent domain to build DAPL could be issued soon. Stay tuned.

— Ed Fallon

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Native Nations Rise!

Dear Friends,

The sad news is that oil may soon flow through the Dakota Access pipeline. But there are several silver linings in that dark, oil-soaked cloud.

First, the lawsuit filed by Iowa landowners against the abuse of eminent domain is on its way to the Iowa Supreme Court. In a recent Radio Iowa story, the attorney for the plaintiffs, Bill Hanigan, said “if eminent domain was improper, then all of the condemnation easements are invalid. If the condemnation easements are invalid, then that pipeline and all of the crude oil in it is trespassing.”

And what is the legal remedy to someone or something trespassing on your property? Removal! If the court rules in favor of the landowners, Dakota Access should be required to tear out all that pipeline and find an alternative route. It’s important to support these brave landowners, so stay tuned for more on that.

The other silver lining is that President Trump is indeed making America great again. It is so uplifing to see how many new people are getting involved in the fight to defend justice and our environment against the full-frontal assault led by Pres. Trump and the corporate crocodiles he’s let into the swamp he promised to drain.

One example? The great work being done by Kelly Quinn, Jenny Miller, Shelley Buffalo and others with the Meskwaki Nation. They’ve organized the RISE WITH STANDING ROCK NATIVE NATIONS RALLY – IOWA this Friday at 12:00 noon at the Iowa State Capitol. Please come support them — and deepen your own commitment to push back against state and federal actions whose real motive is to turn over more and more of our rights and tax dollars to the corporate oligarchy that has bought and paid for too many politicians.

Here’s the press release Bold Iowa sent out today. The original release can be viewed here. Please share it!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12:00 p,m, CT, Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Contact: Kelly Quinn, krb.quinn@gmail.com or (515) 657-0179
Contact: Shelley Buffalo, buffaloshelley@gmail.com or (319) 333-2844
Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa Director, ed@boldiowa.org or (515) 238-6404

Meskwaki Women Organize “Rise With Standing Rock” Rally 
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe calls for solidarity as they march in Washington

Des Moines, IA — On Friday, March 10 at 12:00 noon, members of the Meskwaki Nation and their Iowa allies will rally on the west side of the Iowa State Capitol building in solidarity with the Native Nations Rise march and rally in Washington, DC at the same time.

“I stood with Standing Rock in the fight to protect water and I stand with all Native nations for their right to self-preservation and sovereignty,” said Kelly Quinn, a Meskwaki woman who lives in Ankeny. “What Standing Rock showed us is that tribal rights, agreements and treaties need to be honored by the US government. We support tribal autonomy, oppose any more oil and gas pipelines, and advocate for clean energy to save our water and planet.”

“All of creation is equal and the Earth is our mother,” said Shelley Buffalo, a Meskwaki woman who lives in Iowa City. “We practice gratitude for the Earth for providing us with all that we need. That’s why we are the protectors. That’s why we stand in solidarity with our Native brothers and sisters across the country and with all who have come together to defend our land and water.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other grassroots Indigenous organizers have called upon other tribes and all their allies to join them on March 10 in Washington, DC and in events across the country as they march, pray and take action. Participants will lobby Congress for Indigenous Nations’ rights to tribal sovereignty and to protect their homelands, the environment and future generations.

“The fight against the Dakota Access pipeline has ignited a historic alliance that is just beginning to exercise its political muscle and moral authority,” said Bold Iowa director, Ed Fallon. “Friday’s actions in DC, in Iowa and across the nation are another indication that our strength and influence as a powerful coalition of Native communities, farmers, landowners and environmentalists is growing deeper and more connected.”

Fallon will not be at the Iowa event as he is traveling to Washington, DC with members of Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa to participate in the march and rally there. Bold Iowa Program Coordinator, Shari Hrdina, will attend the Des Moines rally along with Lyssa Wade, who will speak on behalf of Bold and her work with landowners along the pipeline route.

In addition to Bold Iowa, organizations partnering with the Meskwaki women spearheading Friday’s Des Moines rally include Indigenous Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition and the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Bold Iowa is part of the Bold Alliance, building a coalition of small-and-mighty groups in rural states to fight Big Oil, protect landowners against the abuse of eminent domain, and work for clean energy solutions while empowering a political base of voters who care about the land and water.

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