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Farm Bureau’s Right-Winginess Exposed

Farm Bureau Exposed

Will Iowa’s Contaminated Drinking Water Lead To Statewide Public Health Crisis?

ernst branstad Citizens for a Healthy Iowa

Elections matter – and the 2014 election results could mean disaster for efforts to clean up & protect Iowa’s rivers, lakes & streams …. our sources of clean drinking water.

Senator-Elect Joni Ernst has said she supports getting rid of the Environmental Protection Agency and thinks the Clean Water Act is just meddlesome regulation. Gov. Branstad vetoed $20 million that would have protected sources of drinking water and improved Iowa’s parks & natural areas. Long story short … Iowa could be moving in the wrong direction fast.

Are you tired of Iowa politicians putting out of state special interests before protections for clean drinking water? Take action and help us fight back!

citizens for a healthy iowa icon Sign the petition to join Citizens for a Healthy Iowa and #CleanWaterVoters from across the state in sending Governor Branstad and Senator-Elect Joni Ernst a message:

It’s time to acknowledge the potential for a statewide public health crisis due to contaminated drinking water, and to stop condemning the environmental agencies and programs that are fighting to protect Iowa’s waterways from pollution.

Click here to sign the petition

Still Time To Comment On Net Neutrality

“There have been more comments on this issue than any other issue in the history of the FCC.”  -Tim Karr, FreePress.net.  Click on the link  to comment.

The Fallon Forum Is Back!

fallon forumDear Friends,

I tell you, when you’ve been walking 15-20 miles a day and sleeping in a tent for most of eight months, re-entry is tough. As I returned to Iowa two weeks ago, I thought about how much I wanted to be back on a Des Moines radio station. Given the corporate domination of the public airwaves, I knew this might be difficult or impossible.

Well, I’ve got great news: The Fallon Forum is back on radio in Des Moines! Starting December 1, we air Mondays from 11:00-12:00 noon central time on KDLF 1260 AM (“La Reina”) – a Latino station that will broadcast the Fallon Forum in English.

“We are very excited to have Ed join our team,” said Juan Rodriguez, the station’s owner. “This will be our first non-Spanish-speaking program in the three years La Reina has operated.”

Help make this first program from my new studio a success. Yeah, I know, success will largely be determined by my choice of content and not making a fool of myself. But knowing that you are tuning-in means a lot to me. You also can listen live online at www.fallonforum.com.

Monday’s program will rebroadcast on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 5:00 pm on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday.

And don’t forget to come to one of eighteen public hearings on the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. These will be held all across Iowa starting today. Thanks to our friends at the Sierra Club for posting the complete schedule.

Thanks, and it’s great to be back!

Ed Fallon

ed fallon

 

 

 

 

Something Else To Do On Black Friday

gandhiDont feel like joining the crowds of shoppers on Black Friday at the big box stores?  True, you can always shop local.  Or you can do something for someone who literally has nothing.  Here is one idea from the Animal Rescue site.   http://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/feralshelteridea/

“Making a shelter for feral cats takes about ten minutes and provides warmth, safety, and protection from the cold weather months. Now that’s what we call a simple way to make a difference! Watch the video below for straight forward instructions–supervised by Marmalade the cat, of course!”

 

How To Talk To Your Conservative Uncle At Thanksgiving Dinner

talking to conservaativesA note from Progress Iowa:

If you’re like me, you’re about to head home for the holidays, and you know what’s coming: that dreaded conversation with your conservative Uncle.

Every year he corners you because he doesn’t get the chance to talk to many progressives. And then it begins: Obamacare, Hillary, gay marriage, Benghazi, the list goes on and on.

Don’t worry — you’re not alone, and we’re here to help! This year try our 3-step recipe for survival in any conversation with your conservative Uncle (or Aunt, cousin, brother, parent, or in-laws!). Just preheat the conversation, stir in a few facts, then bake until perfection!

Step 1: Preheat the conversation. You can’t just start shouting facts at your conservative Uncle. They’re used to hearing angry, reactionary voices from Rush Limbaugh to Bill O’Reilly. Stay calm, and renew your personal connection. After all, you’re family! Most importantly, do not appear too thoughtful — conservatives may confuse this for weakness.

Step 2: Stir in the facts. Nothing gives conservatives more power than the myths they cling to. Stirring in the facts once you’ve warmed up the conversation is the most important step in the process. Make sure they are given the truth — it may take a while to counteract all the bad ingredients they’ve been given by the far right. Here are a few myths they may try to promote, along with facts you can stir in to the conversation:

MYTH: This year’s elections mean conservatives are winning over the country.
FACT: Recent polling shows that Americans believe we should lower the cost of student loans (80%), increase spending on infrastructure (75%), raise the minimum wage (65%), and address climate change (59%). [Source: NBC News/Wall St Journal]

MYTH: President Obama’s executive actions on immigration shredded the constitution.
FACT: Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush took similar actions on immigration; President Obama’s decision will keep families together and improve our economy by bringing in millions in tax revenue. [Source: Associated Press/ABC News]

MYTH: The situation in Ferguson had nothing to do with race, it was simply justice being served.
FACT: There is a ‘staggering disparity’ between the races in our justice system, and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson is the latest tragic example of that systemic disparity. [Source: USA Today]

MYTH: Obamacare is failing and unpopular.
FACT: Obamacare [The Affordable Care Act] has covered millions of Americans who previously went without insurance, and more than 70% of Americans like their Obamacare plans. [Source: Gallup]

MYTH: Gay Marriage is ruining our families, and the Supreme Court has no place deciding the issue.
FACT: The majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, and agree with the Supreme Court’s recent decisions approving same-sex marriages. [Source: ABC News]

MYTH: Benghazi is one of the biggest scandals in American history.
FACT: A committee organized and planned by Republicans just debunked the conspiracy theories behind this myth. [Source: CNN]

MYTH: Climate change is a myth, or ‘the science isn’t settled’ on the issue.
FACT: The scientific community agrees by a 97% margin that climate change is real and man-made [Source: Washington Post]. Major corporations are now planning for climate change, why shouldn’t we work to prevent it? [Source: Boston Globe]

MYTH: Voter ID laws are needed to stop voter fraud and protect our democracy.
FACT: Voter fraud is almost nonexistent, and Voter ID laws are designed to suppress voter turnout among minorities, the elderly, and the young. [Source: Brennan Center for Justice]

Step 3: Bake until appropriately cooked. At this point, your conservative Uncle will be roasting in his own myths and half truths, so forgive him if he’s a bit thrown off. Take your time and be patient, let him fully cook, and patiently explain the error of his ways.

There’s your simple three step recipe. If all else fails, feel free to send us an email. We’ll be checking ThanksgivingHelp@progressiowa.org and prepared with answers to your questions and fact-check any myths we haven’t covered.

Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Matt Sinovic
Progress Iowa

P.S. Like any good recipe, this one should be passed on to other progressives in your family. Click here to share it on Facebook!

Howard Dean Calls On Democrats To Bring Back 50-State Strategy

Dean crowd 2004Highlights from the Salon.com must-read interview with America’s #1 patriot and most loyal Democrat, Howard Dean.

by David Dayen

Howard Dean will forever be associated with one unguarded moment on a microphone in Iowa. But his real contribution to politics over the past decade was during his time at the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2008, when he implemented the 50-state strategy…And it bore fruit: Democrats gained by virtually every metric in deep-red states during this period, from presidential vote share to state legislatures.

After President Obama’s election in 2008, the 50-state strategy was effectively jettisoned. Large swaths of the country have been ceded to Republicans, with predictably terrible results. I talked to Gov. Dean about what the 50-state strategy accomplished and why he prefers empowering bottom-up organizing to making decisions exclusively out of Washington.

“My experience from having campaigned and from being governor is that there are Democrats everywhere, and if you want to nurture the party you have to nurture all of them. If you focus only on the states that are mostly Democratic, it’s demoralizing to the other states.

“The problem was that people in Washington are always moving people in and out of races and telling them who can and can’t run. And they don’t do as good a job, they’re not as in touch with what’s happening on the ground.

“Underlying all of it was this idea that the Internet was wonderful, but it’s not a substitute for personal contact.

“I believe in the South the Democrats will come back, but you can’t do it if you don’t pay attention.

“The point is that if you give up before you start, then you give up. The 50-state strategy was about giving everybody a base, and some competence level to work off, and then they were on their own. And it’s amazing what people will do if you give them a chance. Especially people who have been beaten down for years by the national party, who feel that nobody cares about them. The DCCC and DSCC wouldn’t put any money into these places for years, they didn’t care. And anybody who could self-fund, they became the candidate. That’s no way to run a party.”

(click here to read the entire article)

 

Schedule Of Public Meetings On Proposed Oil Pipeline In Iowa

Bakken Pipeline Proposed Route

Iowa Sierra Club

Proposed Pipeline through Iowa Carries Risks   [Bolds and italics BFIA’s]

Energy Transfer Partners (ETF), also doing business as Dakota Access, announced plans for a proposed oil pipeline that will run diagonally across Iowa, through 17 or 18 counties. It will carry light sweet crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois where it will link with another pipeline that will transport the oil to terminals along the Gulf of Mexico. The company also announced that some of the crude oil will be loaded onto rail cars for shipment to the east coast.

The company has scheduled public informational meetings in December 2014 in each of the counties that the pipeline will cross, a requirement before asking the Iowa Utilities Board for permits. Members of the public will be able to attend and can speak during the meeting. ETF is expected to seek permits in 2015 through 2016. The company plans to have the pipeline operational in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Counties in Iowa comprising the proposed route include Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Webster, Boone, Story, Polk, Jasper, Mahaska, Keokuk, Wapello, Jefferson, Van Buren and Lee. The northeast tip of Sac County is also in the study area.

Get Involved:

The Sierra Club Iowa Chapter urges you to join in opposition to the pipeline proposed by Energy Transfer Partners by attending and speaking out at one of the public meetings. The meetings will be held as follows:

December 1, 1:00, Inwood Community Center, Inwood

December 1, 1:00, Comfort Inn & Suites, Fort Madison

December 1, 6:00, River Valley Lodge, Farmington

December 1, 6:00, Terrace View Event Center, Sioux Center

December 2, 9:00am, Sheldon Community Services, Sheldon

December 2, 9:00am, Jefferson County Fairgrounds Activity Building, Fairfield

December 2, 3:00, Cherokee Community Center, Cherokee

December 2, 3:00, Bridgeview Center, Ottumwa

December 3, 9:00am, Buena Vista University Anderson Auditorium, Storm Lake

December 3, 9:00am, Memorial Hall, Sigourney

December 3, 3:00, Gateway Church of the Nazarene, Oskaloosa

December 4, 9:00am, DMACC Newton Conference Center, Newton

December 4, 3:00, Ankeny Parks and Recreation Lakeside Center, Ankeny

December 15, 1:00, Sac Community Center, Sac City

December 15, 1:00, Gates Memorial Auditorium, Nevada

December 15, 6:00, Boone County Fairgrounds Community Building, Boone

December 15, 6:00, Calhoun County Expo center, Rockwell City

December 16, 9:00am, Triton Room, Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge

Consider additional ways you can oppose the pipeline proposed by Energy Transfer Partners. The Chapter encourages you to:

  • Write letters to the editor in opposition to the pipeline
  • Once the public meetings have ended, submit written objections to the Iowa Utilities Board. For more information about how to submit your comments,  contact the Iowa Sierra Club.

Concerns:

The Iowa Sierra Club is concerned about the impacts a tragic accident or a leaky pipeline involving the highly flammable oil will have on Iowa’s communities, farms and environment, including

  • Polluting Iowa’s streams, rivers, lakes and aquifers
  • Tragic accidents affecting lives and personal property in the communities along the pipeline
  • Destroying Iowa’s farmland
  • Harming wildlife and sensitive natural areas in its path

Although the company plans to seek voluntary easements, it may ask the Iowa Utilities Board for permission to acquire the easement through eminent domain. The pipeline will require a permanent easement 50 feet wide, with no structures allowed on the easement. An even wider, temporary easement of 100 feet to 150 feet will be taken during construction.

Once the oil in this pipeline finally reaches the oil terminals in Nederland, Texas, there is absolutely no guarantee that the oil and refined products from the oil will remain in the United States for use in this country.

Pipelines leak.

In March 2013, homeowners in Mayflower, Arkansas, were overwhelmed when oil from a leaky pipeline flowed into their basements, over their lawns and onto their streets.

The Bakken oil is the same oil that was involved in train wrecks in North Dakota in December 2013 and in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, in July 2013.

A new pipeline will delay the U.S. transition to clean and renewable energy and more fuel-efficient vehicles. The United States needs to move away from fossil fuel extractions and to energy sources that have less impact on climate change.

sierra club iowa chapter

What If You Had An Election And Nobody Came To Cover it?

Death-of-newspapers-gravestone-3In Iowa, you get Joni Ernst.

This article points to Colorado as a microcosm of what is happening to newspapers nationally (including Iowa), and the impact of the loss of journalism on elections.   Colorado lost 50% of reporters covering elections in the last 5 years with the closing of Rocky Mountain News, the state’s second largest newspaper.  The Denver Post is the only major daily paper left in Colorado, and they have been experiencing layoffs.  In Iowa, The Des Moines Register, thanks to Gannett,  is a shell of its former self and is trending in a similar direction.  You can read the entire story here.

In These Times

What if you held an election and nobody showed up to cover it? Americans have now discovered the answer: You get an election with lots of paid ads, but with little journalism, context or objective facts.

Between 2003 and 2012, the newspaper workforce decreased by 30 percent [italics BFIA’s] nationally, according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. That has included a major reduction in the number of newspaper reporters assigned to cover state and local politics.

Newspaper layoffs have ripple effects for the entire local news ecosystem, because, as the Congressional Research Service noted, television, radio and online outlets often “piggyback on reporting done by much larger newspaper staffs.”  Meanwhile, recent studies suggest the closure of newspapers can ultimately depress voter turnout in local elections.

“With so many newspapers and news outlets in general having fewer resources, there’s no pressure or incentive for candidates to engage with the press [ Joni Ernst] and there’s no echo chamber that makes candidates feel like they have to respond to anything,” Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols said. He noted that Republican U.S. Senator-elect Cory Gardner, for example, rarely appeared in unscripted settings with journalists, preferring instead to simply blanket the airwaves with ads.  [Sound familiar?]

Andrew Romanoff, the Democratic candidate in Colorado’s closely contested 6th district, said that what little campaign coverage there is often ends up being about the candidates’ ads, because that requires minimal time, travel and expense to cover.  [How much time did we spend ruminating over the Joni Ernst hog castration ad?]

“It’s not quite a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” he said. “It’s not a show about nothing, but the coverage has become a show about a show.”

The trouble, of course, is that the show should be about important issues like economic policy, climate change and national security (to name a few). And with a more vibrant local media doing more than just regurgitating poll numbers and reviewing ads, it can be. But that vibrancy requires two things: a genuine commitment and willingness to do the hard work of serious journalism and enough resources to succeed.

Both of those factors are in short supply. That means the most basic ingredients of a functioning democracy will probably remain in short supply, too.

(click here to read the entire article)

President Obama’s Immigration Speech