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Climate Advocacy Update From Senator Rob Hogg

ICYMI, please read this message from Senator Rob Hogg:

Dear Climate Advocates:

Happy New Year, 2017!

People across our country and future generations need us to speak up for climate action now more than ever. Starting tomorrow, Americans across our country will be speaking up against nominees Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and Scott Pruitt for the environmental protection agency. Neither nominee understands or accepts climate science or supports renewable energy. We can do better.

Multiple national groups are working together to block these nominees including Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, NextGen Climate,, and many others.

Call Your U.S. Senators This Week

In Iowa, here are the numbers to call for our U.S. Senators at one of their taxpayer-funded offices to urge them to vote no on Tillerson and Pruitt and to support other action to protect the climate:

Senator Joni Ernst
(202) 224-3254 (Washington, DC)
(319) 365-4504 (Cedar Rapids)
(712) 352-1167 (Council Bluffs)
(563) 322-0677 (Davenport)
(515) 284-4574 (Des Moines)
(712) 252-1550 (Sioux City)

Senator Chuck Grassley
(202) 224-3744 (Washington, DC)
(319) 363-6832 (Cedar Rapids)
(712) 322-7103 (Council Bluffs)
(563) 322-4331 (Davenport)
(515) 288-1145 (Des Moines)
(712) 233-1860 (Sioux City)
(319) 232-6657 (Waterloo)

In other states, you can find the contact information for your U.S. Senators at this web address:

Please do not let your U.S. Senators off the hook by ignoring them. It is critical that you call, write, email, and meet with them to stop these nominees and to build support for the climate action we so urgently need, regardless of which party controls Congress or the White House.

When you call, please let the staff know that you care about this issue and that you support climate action, both as a matter of policy and personally. After you make your call, you can send an email to me at so I can track how many calls are made this week. On social media, you can use the hash tags, #SpeakUp4Climate, #UseLessFossilFuel, and #ClimateSolutionsWork.

Reminder: Republicans Know How To Act On Climate

When you call or meet with Republican Senators, or when you are just speaking up in public, please remember that Republicans have a rich heritage of acting on environmental challenges, including:

> Teddy Roosevelt’s preservation of national parks and monuments
> President Nixon’s creation of the EPA
> The Clean Air Act (signed by President Nixon and strengthened by President Bush)
> The Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances (signed by President Reagan and strengthened by President Bush)
> Solar energy investment tax credit (signed by President George W. Bush)

By using these examples, you can help unite our country for the climate action we so urgently need.

Other Upcoming Climate Action Opportunities

Iowa Interfaith Power & Light – Iowa IPL is showing “Before the Flood” at the Fleur Cinema and Café, 4545 Fleur Drive, in Des Moines, on Sunday, January 22, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Iowa IPL is also sponsoring an “advocacy day” at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday, January 31, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more details, visit

Climate Reality Project – The Climate Reality Project is hosting its next international training in Denver, Colorado, on March 2-4. The application deadline is January 24. The 2015 training in Iowa was great. To apply, or for more information, visit:

Citizens Climate Lobby – CCL is hosting regional conferences across the country to help citizens get more informed and more involved in the fight against climate change and to support a price on carbon pollution to guide development toward a prosperous clean energy future. Here are the upcoming regional CCL conferences:

Southern California Region, in Claremont, California, January 28-29
Gulf Coast Region, in Austin, Texas, February 4
Mid-Atlantic Region, in Glenside, Pennsylvania, February 17-19
Northern California Region, in Berkeley, February 18-19
Colorado Region, in Golden, Colorado, February 25
Greater Pacific Northwest Region, in Seattle/Bellevue, Washington, March 4-5
North Wind Region, in Okoboji, Iowa, March 17-19
Northeast Region, in Amherst, Massachusetts, March 18-19
Mid-South Region, in Asheville, North Carolina, March 25-26.

For more details, or to register, visit:

I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for your ongoing advocacy for a sustainable future.


State Senator Rob Hogg
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Rob Hogg is a State Senator from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and author of America’s Climate Century (2013). Contact Rob at

Republican Plot To Kill Medicare Starts Today

Paul Ryan, that nice young man from Wisconsin, leads the effort to strip health care coverage from retired people.

2016 Revisited Do Not Despair

Iowa Windmill

Following the mainstream news sources, we only get certain kinds of news.  Generally speaking,  bad news, superficial, biased, sensationalized news, sprinkled with dramatic over-reaction by the punditry in some cases or bewildering under-reaction (nothing to see here!) in others.  But behind the scenes of the 24-hour news cycle, and the Reality TV political coverage, realize that there is Real Reality going on. Here are some things that are out there happening. There are reasons to still have hope.  Reject the politics of cynicism and despair. 2017 awaits.

Here are some hand-selected outtakes from a list of 99 incredibly positive climate developments from 2016. Social change, education and health topics were also included.

1. British Columbia protected 85% of one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests, home to the wonderfully named ‘Spirit Bear.’ Reuters

2. In February, Peru and Bolivia signed a $500 million deal to preserve Lake Titicaca. HNGN

3. In March, the US government abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters, reversing its decision from a year ago. Guardian

5. In 2016, more than 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. Reuters

42. The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history. CBS

43. Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016. It’s the third year in a row emissions have flatlined. Scientific American

44. Thanks to rapid technological innovation and political support from around the world, renewables now account for more newly installed capacity than any other form of electricity in the world, including coal.. Gizmodo

45. The Chinese government placed a ban on new coal mines, created new rules for grid access and doubled its renewables targets for 2020. WRI

India announced it won’t need any new coal plants for the next three years because it’s flush with generation capacity. Times of India

47. In April, the UK’s Chatham House released a report saying “Big Oil is screwed.” Chatham House

48. In the same month, 25% of European countries announced that they had quit coal. EcoWatch

49. The BRICS New Development Bank approved $1 billion in renewables investments in China, Brazil, South Africa and India. RT

50. In 2016 Costa Rica ran solely on renewable energy for over 100 days. Now it’s aiming for an entire year with no fossil fuels. The Independent

4. In October, the International Energy Agency reported that half a million solar panels were installed each day around the world in 2015. It also drastically increased its five year growth forecast for renewables. IEA

57. Mexico announced $6 billion in renewables investments, Argentina $2.7 billion, Scotland connected underwater turbines to its grid for the first time, and solar energy generated more power than coal in the United Kingdom. Independent UK

58. In November, India unveiled the world’s largest solar power plant, and revealed that it is now on track to be the world’s third biggest solar market in 2017. Al Jazeera

59. And in the same month, the United Kingdom agreed to phase out coal by 2025, France said it would get there by 2023, and Germany promised to reduce emissions by 95% by 2050. Guardian

How SILT Creates Farming Opportunities For Young Iowans

Sustainable Iowa Land Trust

Meet Ben.

Ben grew up in Cedar Falls, but after a stint volunteering on a farm decided to dedicate his life to it. He didn’t see Iowa offering the opportunity he was looking for, so he moved to Wisconsin, a state becoming well-known for its support for local, healthy food. But Ben and his girlfriend Dana recently moved back to Iowa and are hoping for a chance to farm not far from home in Northeast Iowa. Ben was the first young farmer to ever contact SILT more than 2 years ago. His ideal farm is more than 40 acres where he can grow a diversity of vegetables and livestock in a way that is “ecologically and economically viable.”

Your support today will help permanently protect more land to grow healthy food in 2017 and help young farmers like Kayla and Landon find a farm they can afford.

Please consider SILT in your end-of-year donation decisions.

Thank you,

Suzan Erem, President
On behalf of the board of directors of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust
SILT is a 501(c)3 organization.

ps: Landowners have many options for helping SILT create affordable farming opportunities, clean food production and healthier rural communities for Iowa for generations to come. If you know landowners interested in permanently protecting their land so we can encourage these young ag entrepreneurs, please let me know, thanks!

CMD Exposes Trump And His Gang Of Koch Allies

AlecA Note from Lisa Graves, Ex. Dir., CMD:

The Center for Media and Democracy is a national watchdog and media group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy. Our work aids grassroots action to make our world a better place. CMD is reader-supported.

There has never been a more urgent moment for a free and independent media in this country.

We feared it might happen and it has: a ready-made gang of Koch allies are being tapped by Donald Trump for positions of power within our government.

  • Trump’s VP pick, Governor Mike Pence, is a big Koch and ALEC booster. David Koch is one of his top funders.
  • Trump’s UN pick, Governor Nikki Haley, is an ALEC alum who has attends Koch summits.
  • Trump’s CIA pick, Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, represents Koch Industries in Congress and was staked by the Kochs in business.
  • Trump’s EPA pick, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has received Koch Industry campaign funds.
  • Trump’s Education pick, Betsy De Vos, is a long-time ally of the Kochs. They have worked together through ALEC, the State Policy Network, and more to advance bills to privatize public schools in America.

CMD has been working hard to expose these Koch-ties by talking to news outlets like Politico and by publishing new research on our sites.

We don’t have to tell you that these appointments threaten everything most Americans hold dear: fair wages and labor standards, free and universal public education, civil liberties, our environment, immigrants who help make our nation stronger, and even global security. We must stand together and help reach more friends and allies.

 Support CMD’s powerful, dauntless, original investigations that help illuminate our world.

With tremendous appreciation,

Lisa Graves
Executive Director
Center for Media and Democracy

Should Internet Access Be A Basic Right?

Thom Hartmann is the #1 Progressive talk show host in America.  If you think it strange that you’ve never heard of the #1 progressive talker in America,  it is because you live in Iowa where there is only conservative talk radio broadcast over the publicly owned airwaves. At least for now, we still have the free and open internet, so please check out Thom’s show.

You can access Thom’s TV show The Big Picture in 2 locations in Iowa, on the College Channel in Des Moines, or WCTV17 Waterloo community TV.


Resting Up For The Coming Trump Administration Hell

All of us at BFIA hope you’re enjoying a nice break over the holidays before it’s time to get back to work saving Democracy and the planet.  For some escapist fare with a moral to the story, try this BFIA staff pick-of-the-week.

Iowa, Unions, And The Right Wing Propaganda Machine

attribution: earlG at democraticunderground

Yes, last year on his radio show, Jan Mickelson said “what’s wrong with slavery?” and nobody thought a thing about it. Well, some bloggers did, and a few national “elitist” progressives, but not your average Joe Iowan. Like the proverbial boiling frog, we’ve gradually gotten used to the crazy talk. We tell ourselves it doesn’t affect anything, we just have to work around it.  But we are going to have to confront this elephant in the room sooner or later.

I wrote this for the January 2017 edition of The Prairie Progressive newsletter. See below for PP subscription information.


White, rural voters had a hand in electing Donald Trump and the takeover of the Iowa legislature. Many articles are calling them moronic, racist, rigid, fundamentalist Christians. Some are. But some are merely misguided, poor, struggling, and can’t keep up with the complexities of policy and politics.

I grew up in white, rural Iowa, but I am a progressive Democrat and not religious. Someone asked me recently how that was. I was surprised by the question, but as I thought about it, I came up with two things that were different in the rural Iowa I knew growing up, and the rural Iowa of today.

The first is unions.

Where I lived, in a small town, most of the primary wage earners (men) were employed in a union plant such as John Deere or Firestone. Being in a union meant my dad belonged to something larger than himself. I clearly remember the pride he took in keeping his picket line duty schedule when they were out on strike during contract negotiations. Sometimes the strikes were long and I remember “commodities,” huge cans of peanut butter that we subsisted on, and powdered milk.

Being in a union is not just about wages and benefits. It is about a collective identity, being a full-fledged member of the middle class, a participant in the American dream, defined as a good job, a house, maybe even college for your kid if you were frugal enough. You were a part of America. You had someone fighting for you and you shared in the fight. You may not be rich, but being in a union meant you were not “poor.” Back in my day in white, rural Iowa, a union job gave you a sense of community, dignity, and satisfaction in living a simple life. You didn’t have to hate others for having more than you did, because you were doing okay for yourself. You had value. You belonged.

If there had not been that union job for my dad, our family would have just been poor and there would have been shame in that. I think that’s where it is today. The good union jobs are gone, and the shame of being poor is back.

Enter the right-wing propaganda machine, the second thing that is different today, with its massive reach, telling you exactly who is to blame for jobs being gone, telling you everything the Democrats are trying to do to help you, is actually hurting you. Immigrants are stealing your jobs, your president wasn’t born here, is a traitor. And on and on. From our privileged view, with college educations, we can’t imagine being taken in by such obvious lies. Why don’t people just inform themselves better? But it is incumbent upon us to educate ourselves about the reality of life for many in rural Iowa.

The right-wing propaganda machine in Iowa takes the form of the dominating presence of conservative talk radio. NPR exists, but trying to get facts to the people is like shouting into a hurricane.

“The Telecommunications Act of 1996 provision that greatly expanded the number of stations that one individual could own was devastating to free speech. Clear Channel (Now I Heart Radio) owned around 40 stations then. Within 2 years CC owned 1200 stations. Other networks also expanded. Once they controlled all those stations and could program each station from one location, the fate of talk radio was doomed to be conservative. Because that is what the owners wanted it to be. Today, 91% of the messages getting out to the people are filtered through conservative talk show hosts.”

“Every day 2700 hours of conservative diatribes against health care, against energy policies, against programs to get people back to work are balanced by only about 254 hours of messages on the truth of what the [Obama] administration is doing for the people.“ –

In Iowa, at least 700 hours a week of right-wing propaganda is being broadcast on the AM dial.

The following list has been updated as of December 25, 2016:

Iowa commercial radio stations that broadcast multiple hours a day of conservative talk are:

KCPS Burlington 12 hrs/day,

KBUR Burlington6 hrs,

KXEL Waterloo-CF12 hrs,

WOC Quad Cities11 1/2 hrs,

WHO Des Moines 11 1/2 hrs,

KSJC Sioux City13 hrs,

WMT Cedar Rapids 8 hrs,

WDBQ Dubuque, 6 hrs,

KILR Estherville15 hrs,

KGLO Mason City9 hrs,

KFJB Marshalltown, 3 hrs,

KASI Ames, 6 hrs, and

KICD Spencer, 5-6 hrs.

This massive amount of false information being pumped into our communities, solely for profit, divides us and makes democracy unsustainable. Climate change, health care, social justice issues, and the economy cannot be even talked about when citizens hold two opposite versions of reality. The unions going away and the onslaught of right-wing radio are two things that have done devastating harm to our political discourse.

Unless we take time to more fully understand the enormity of the loss for rural Iowans caused by the destruction of unions, coupled with the daily tsunami of right-wing radio delivering a fictional version of reality, we are not going to be able to re-connect with rural voters in Iowa or throughout America.

–Trish Nelson grew up in Marion County, Iowa

Prairie Dog

Reprinted with permission from the January 2017 issue of  The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter, available only in hard copy for $12/yr.  Send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244.

More Republicans In Legislature Could Mean Guns In Iowa’s Schools

Peace on earth, good will toward men and women and children! Christmas is at root a hopeful time for all, whatever a person’s religious preference may be.

Help Iowans for Gun Safety work toward the goals of peace on earth and good will toward all with a generous contribution!

Iowans for Gun Safety is uniquely focused on legislation in Iowa and is ready to work with coalitions in communities across the state to reduce violence. Iowans for Gun Safety is working with local groups in Clinton, Decorah, Dubuque, and Des Moines, and seeking to develop partnerships with groups in Waterloo and Davenport. We have and can identify and contact supporters in all of Iowa’s 50 state senatorial districts.

Iowans for Gun Safety expects to see legislation in Iowa allowing the carrying of guns in schools, permitless carry, reciprocity with states that have very weak laws regarding pemits, and in general, legislation moving toward the goal of allowing anyone to carry guns anywhere, [italics BFIA’s] legislation which has passed in other states, most recently in Ohio. To combat this, Iowans for Gun Safety needs your financial help as well as your willingness to contact your state senators and representatives to express your support for strong laws regulating traffic in guns.

Iowans for Gun Safety is already planning for the 2017 Concert Across America, scheduled nationally for Sunday, September 24. The board members in Cedar Rapids are planning a matinee format (2-4:30 pm) with a few musical or performing persons or groups and local speakers who are concerned about gun violence and gun safety. Iowans for Gun Safety encourages our supporters across the state to begin planning their own Concerts. In 2016 there were 350 such concerts across the country, several of them in Iowa.

Iowans for Gun Safety is also working with the University of Iowa College of Public Health’s Center for Injury Prevention. They are developing a series of programs to address violence, and supporting a study of the roots of violence in Cedar Rapids, which should be a model for such studies in other cities in Iowa.

Iowans for Gun Safety is coordinating with the Linn Co. Dept. of Public Health on suicide prevention, and will be talking with gun store owners and gun owner organizations about their promotion of gun safety, including safe storage as well as protecting waiting periods for the purchase of guns. The findings of these meetings will be shared with people across the state, as these conversations need to occur everywhere. The suicide numbers and rate has been increasing dramatically in Iowa over the past few years, affecting people of all ages from adolescents to seniors, with a new focus on men between 35 and 65. There are from year to year six times as many suicides by gun as there are homicides by gun. Nearly half of all suicides are by gun. Iowans for Gun Safety needs your support to carry out and promote this project with the state and county Board of Health.

As you can see, there is much Iowans for Gun Safety is doing, and much you can help with in terms of programming, contacting legislators, working with County Depts. of Public Health and other organizations in your community. Your financial support is just one part, but an important part, of the many steps needed to keep Iowans safe.

If you have already contributed recently, thank you very much. So far, of our goal of $3000, we have received $500. Iowans for Gun Safety is grateful for your support. If you have not yet contributed, now would be a good time as Iowans for Gun Safety approaches the end of the year. Iowans for Gun Safety is a non-profit, 501.c.3, organization, so your contribution is tax deductible.

Iowans for Gun Safety


Jane Fonda At DeFund DAPL Rally

Stop watching TrumpTV.  Watch something real for a change. These people are fighting for their sacred land and our water. Bear witness. It’s the least we can do.

Jane Fonda informed Wells Fargo that she was withdrawing her money and read a statement at the rally.

They wouldn’t let us in but we can still take our money out…As a customer of your bank I reject the notion of my money supporting your investment in the Dakota Access pipeline..gross corporate irresponsibility and hypocrisy..worst oil spill record in the United States.. contaminated ground water in multiple states…”