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Howard Dean: Hillary Should Take Bernie Sanders “Very Seriously”

Dean crowd

Former Gov. Howard Dean says Sen. Bernie Sanders is a strong presidential candidate.

Dean, who has already endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, says he told the Clinton campaign not to underestimate Sanders’ strength in the Democratic presidential primary race.

Dean has some practical experience in Democratic presidential politics. In 2004, he was viewed as one of the front runners until his campaign fell apart in the Iowa caucuses.

Dean says Sanders has a lifelong message of supporting economic equality issues and that he’s well suited to bring these issues to the presidential campaign.

“It turns out that economic justice is probably the largest domestic issue that we’re facing right now,” he says. “Underlined by the riots in Baltimore, underlined by the polls, which tell us that 80 percent of the American people don’t think the economy is working for them anymore, and so Bernie’s sort of in the right place at the right time.”

Dean says having Sanders in the Democratic presidential debates ensures that these economic issues will be discussed. “You have to confront the issue of income inequality if Bernie Sanders is up there. He’s a good debater. He doesn’t get personal and make personal attacks. He sticks to the issues. I have counseled the Clinton folks to take him very seriously,” says the former governor.

Sanders hopes to raise between $40 and $50 million in the next eight months. In the first week, he raised more than $2 million from 35,000 people. Dean thinks Sanders will have enough money to be a competitive candidate. “I think he can raise it and I would not write him off. He is not a fringe candidate,” he says.

A recent Iowa poll showed Hillary Clinton with a huge lead and Sanders in second place well ahead of several other potential candidates.

Eminent Doman Bill SF 506 Moves To Full Senate


Reforming the use of eminent domain in Iowa

The Senate Government Oversight Committee has approved legislation that would curtail the use of eminent domain for certain energy projects proposed by private companies in Iowa. Eminent domain is the right of government to appropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation for the property owner.

Lawmakers have heard concerns from landowners about a pipeline that would carry crude oil from North Dakota through Iowa and about the Rock Island Clean Line project to carry wind power out of Iowa. Critics say these projects are about private profit, not public good. A new Senate bill could affect these proposals, both of which are before the Iowa Utilities Board.

SF 506 has five main components:

Before companies are given the power of eminent domain, Iowa’s Economic Development Authority (the agency responsible for energy development) must recommend the proposed project in its annual report. This addresses the need for ongoing planning that is not met by current state law.
Before companies are given the power of eminent domain, they must acquire 75 percent of the land needed for a project through voluntary easements.

Companies seeking voluntary easements are subject to the complaint and investigation authority of the Iowa Utilities Board.

Companies’ financial responsibility for crude oil pipeline projects is increased to $500,000 or more per county.

Additional protections for landowners facing eminent domain by companies that are not public utilities, do not have a duty to serve Iowans, and are not subject to ongoing supervision and planning by the Iowa Utilities Board. This includes access to legal counsel if the Board finds good cause.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Seafood For Thought

Wild Planet LogoThe silence on the story of human trafficking connected with slavery in the seafood industry is deafening.

Margie Mason of the Associated Press reported Tuesday that Indonesian police arrested seven suspects in an ongoing case.

“Five Thai boat captains and two Indonesian employees at Pusaka Benjina Resources, one of the largest fishing firms in eastern Indonesia, were taken into custody,” wrote Mason. “The arrests come after the AP reported on slave-caught seafood shipped from Benjina to Thailand, where it can be exported and enter the supply chains of some of America’s biggest food retailers.”

But for the investigative reporting by the Associated Press, these instances of slavery and human trafficking would have gone unnoticed, especially in the Western Hemisphere at the end of the global food supply chain.

American consumers don’t want to hear what goes on at the far end of the food supply chain. Using slave labor to fish is particularly egregious, and most people I meet don’t want to hear any of it. The focus is on the box, can, bag or piece of fruit or vegetable in front of them. Few want to dig very deep into where it comes from. We are the less as a society because of this prevalent American value.

I’m not a person who sees cause for alarm everywhere I look. I’ve been inside enough manufacturing and production operations during the last 40 years to know it requires oftentimes difficult work to make things we use every day. In most cases, there is a human impact with the means of production.

In the slow walk away from union representation since the Reagan era, much of what we learned about worker treatment has been abandoned by companies whose business model is to outsource or use subcontractors. That’s the immediate defense of Pusaka Benjina Resources: their subcontractors were responsible for any human trafficking and slavery. It is really no defense.

One should appreciate that the Associated Press is still willing to invest substantial resources in breaking stories like the slavery on Indonesian fishing vessels. Few others seem willing to do so as news organizations struggle to carve out a viable business niche, and as news and information gets blended into a vast soup of engaging, but largely irrelevant bits and packets transmitted with the speed of breaking news.

What’s a blogger to do? We begin like a fisher, setting sail on the sea of posts, articles, books, emails and letters that exist on electronic media. Waiting for what is relevant, what is news, and importantly, what matters. Not what matters to me, but what matters to all of us on this blue-green sphere.

What comes next is up to each of us.

(Editor’s Note: Read the first in this series about slavery in the seafood business here. Article includes links to brands whose tuna may be harvested by slaves).

Al Gore Comes To Iowa

Al Gore Giving His Slide Show

Al Gore Giving His Slide Show

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa– Al Gore held up a T-shirt presented by a youth group from Indiana that said, “Ask me about my future.” The context can be political, even if the presenters intended the question be about the environment.

Gore joked about wearing the T-shirt in Iowa and what it might mean during the run up to the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. During the 28th training of climate activists for The Climate Reality Project, he made clear he was a “recovering politician” and had no plans to run for president again.

Why did Gore pick Cedar Rapids for his first North American training since 2013? Five reasons.

It is partly about influencing the presidential selection process related to Iowa’s first in the nation political caucuses. By training Iowa activists, he hopes to make the voices for climate action heard by candidates for president.

It’s about extreme weather events including the 2008 Iowa flooding and recovery. The conference used space that was under water during the flood and heard from Mayor Ron Corbett about what the city did to repair the damage of the flood.

It’s about bringing a focus on the impact of climate change on agricultural issues in the breadbasket of the world.

It’s about Iowa’s success in development of renewable sources of electricity, wind energy in particular, but solar as well.

It’s about advocating for world governments, including the U.S. government, to make meaningful commitments to climate action at the United Nations 21st conference of the parties in Paris, France this December.

There was a lot to discuss and Gore was generous with his time, speaking multiple times each day of the conference. The significance of its 350 attendees from around the world, 75 of whom were from Iowa, is hard to miss. The movement for meaningful governmental action to mitigate the causes of global warming and related climate change is gaining momentum worldwide.

Here are some takeaways from the conference:

The people at my table, and attendees generally, are already doing a lot to raise awareness of the need for climate action. They are possessed of a high level of energy and are really smart people devoted to taking climate action.

The price of solar electricity is plummeting and installation of photovoltaic arrays is growing exponentially. In some parts of the world solar reached grid parity, and this, coupled with other sources of renewable energy, will drive the end of the era of fossil fuels.

The Iowa Soybean Association had a seat at the table, which a few years ago would not have happened. Christopher Jones, an environmental specialist for the association, said they had begun to change their thinking about global warming during the last year. If this is borne out by their actions, it would be a tidal shift for the big agricultural organizations.

Gore added information about Iowa to his already encyclopedic knowledge of global warming and related climate change. He spoke about everything from extreme floods and droughts that have hit Iowa, solutions implemented here—particularly wind and solar electricity generation, and current political issues, including the eminent domain legislation working its way through the last days of this Iowa legislative session.

A member of Citizen’s Climate Lobby asked Gore why he hasn’t endorsed the fee and dividend scheme they propose. Gore responded he favors putting a price on carbon, there are multiple mechanisms to do so, and he hasn’t finished research to determine which one(s) to endorse.

The political will to take climate action is building worldwide. The election this week of Rachel Notley as provincial premier in Alberta, Canada, where the long ruling Progressive Conservative party was ousted by her New Democratic Party is a prime example. “During the campaign, Notley promised to withdraw provincial support for the (Keystone XL pipeline) project, raise corporate taxes and also potentially to raise royalties on a regional oil industry already reeling from the collapse in world prices,” according to the Guardian.

Finally, there is hope. The solutions to the climate crisis are working. Renewable energy is beginning to take off, gain broader acceptance, and reach toward grid parity. Almost no new coal-fired electricity generating stations are planned for North America and old ones are being shuttered. We are not there yet, but Gore’s training and inspiration made the journey easier for us, and encouraged us to tell our own story about why it is important to take climate action before it is too late.

There is no planet B.

“We couldn’t even evacuate New Orleans as hurricane Katrina approached,” Gore said.

Earth is our only home, and is hanging in the balance. It’s up to us to protect it.

Today’s Fallon Forum: Breaking News On Bakken Pipeline

fallon forumDear Friends,

This weekend, I received an astounding news tip relevant to the proposed Bakken crude oil pipeline. It was shared with me in confidence, but I can tell you that it literally made my jaw drop!

This breaking story has the potential to completely change the conversation about the pipeline. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more (if a source requests confidentiality, I respect that), but I’ll be able to share full details with you later this morning (Monday, May 11th) on my talk show at 11:00 a.m. on KDLF 1260 AM in Des Moines and online. The actual person breaking the news will join me in the studio. Please tune-in if you are able.

Other topics on today’s Fallon Forum:

(1) Taylor Brorby talks about the fracking/pipeline link.

(2) We discuss the latest problems confronting a foreign-owned fertilizer plant that received over half-a-billion dollars in public money to employ a mere 240 people.

(3) We look at the federal court of appeals ruling last week regarding cell phone spying – a ruling that might encourage Congress to revisit the so-called Patriot Act.

(4) For something a little different, we talk with Dr. Kevin Moore about the growing enthusiasm for investing in gold.

(5) In this week’s edition of Caucus Buzz, we consider the suggestion that some are offering: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is the perfect opponent for Hillary Clinton, who appears to be the Democratic establishment’s candidate of choice.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Podcasts available after the show. Your input is welcome; simply call-in at (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m.

ed fallonThanks!

Ed Fallon


May 18 – Bill McKibben at Grinnell College (Grinnell)
Bill McKibben will speak during the commencement ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at the amphitheater on central campus. (In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center, 1201 10th Ave.) Free admission. The event also will be live streamed on Grinnell’s website.

May 20 – “Walking the Line: Memoirs on Oil, Land & People” (Hiawatha)
Sharing his experience on the Great March for Climate Action and his 400-mile walk across Iowa along the path of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline, Ed Fallon discusses eminent domain and the urgency of tackling the climate crisis. It’s at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, 120 E Boyson Rd from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Contact Emelia Sautter at

Support Funding Of Iowa’s Natural Resources

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa Senate Democrats

Investing in natural resources, water quality

The Senate Ways & Means Committee has approved legislation to fulfill the state’s commitment to provide sustainable funding for natural resources and outdoor recreation. SF 504 would increase the state sales tax by 3/8 of a percent with revenue going to the Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, which was approved by 63 percent of Iowa voters in 2010. [Italics BFIA’s]

SF 504 will enhance Iowa’s water quality, natural areas and recreation. Funding would provide more help for farmers and landowners who want to do more on soil conservation and water quality. It would extend trails, improve state and local parks, and restore our lakes and rivers.

These changes are good for the health of Iowans and the environment, and create jobs and economic growth opportunities throughout the state. This funding will mean a better quality of life for all Iowans. That’s a great incentive to folks deciding where to make their home.

This a step forward, but we still have a long way to go before funding becomes a reality. If Iowa’s environmental legacy matters to you, contact state legislators and Governor Branstad  and encourage them to support putting money into the Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

Senate  Switchboard  (515)281-3371
House Switchboard  (515)281-3221
Governor Branstad (515-281-5211)

Old-Fashioned Democrats Emerging?

Hillary Clinton came out strong for a path to citizenship and fixing the immigration mess on Cinco de Mayo. She has previously put out strong positions for women, on greatly lessening income inequality and money in politics.

Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in the Senate to break up the mega-banks that have grown out of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. As he did he reminded us that:

No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of Americans or to our nation’s economic well-being. No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure would send the world economy into crisis. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist and that is the bottom line.

Bernie on the economy

Martin O’Malley staked out positions in liberal territory early on, even though he has not officially declared his candidacy yet. You can check his positions here.

Is this reality? After years of Democrats running like lukewarm Republicans, we are getting Democrats talking as if they are Democrats. This is a trend we hope continues up to election day and beyond. It may be Sanders’ entrance into the race, or it may be that Democratic leaders finally realize that Republican ideas are failed ideas.

Democratic debates will be debates on real issues talking about real solutions for real people.

But don’t forget.  America not only needs a Democratic president that will face issues – as Barack Obama has done – America also needs a Democratic congress to put those concepts into reality.

Sunday Funday – Mother’s Day Edition

Mother Jones one of America's great mothers

Mother Jones one of America’s great mothers

What can be said about mothers that hasn’t been said before? Pretty much each and every one of us has or had one. If your mother is still alive, treasure her. If she has passed on, here’s hoping you have fond memories. If you never knew your real mother, we hope there was someone who fulfilled that role and deserves your love.

Lots of news again this week! Here we go:

1) Once again there were presidential candidate announcements. What 3 people announced their candidacy during the week?

2) 70 years ago last Friday the world celebrated the end to what?

3) Somebody had a baby! At least someone so famous that it was world wide news. So who had the baby?

4) In Nebraska, a woman filed a lawsuit in federal district court against what group of people?

5) After getting a super sweetheart deal from Iowa, fertilizer manufacturer Orascom caused major concern when it laid off Iowa workers and tried to replace them with workers from where?

6) The first permanent English settlement was established in North America on May 14,1607. Do you remember the name of the settlement?

7) Energy companies in Alberta province in Canada (home of the Athabasca oil fields) braced for major changes after what liberal party swept elections Tuesday?

8) Which presidential candidate called for “nothing less than a full and equal path to citizenship” for Latinos at a campaign stop in Nevada?

9) Which presidential candidate submitted a bill to break up the “too big to fail” banks?

10) Jade Helm 15, ostensibly a military war exercise, is believed by some Texans to be an excuse to do what to Texas?

11) What part does Walmart play in the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy stories?

12) From late April, but recently reported. A man in Jacksonville, Florida was surprised and a bit put out when the local Bank of America refused to cash his check for how much money?

13) A bill greatly tightening what power of government to take land passed the Iowa senate this week?

14) Senate democrats and House Republicans in Iowa said they may have a compromise worked out for what major budget sticking point?

15) A Florida man and woman have been convicted of having public sex on a beach may be sentenced for up to how long in prison?

16) This man did deflate his balls claims the NFL. Who?

17) Despite poll predictions of a deadlocked electorate, voters in Britain gave a clear majority to what party?

18) Pres. Obama gave a major speech pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership at what company Friday?

19) One sidelight of the British election: Which party won all but a couple of seats from Scotland?

20) At a small fundraiser this week Jeb Bush surprised many by saying that on the Middle East “If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him.” Who was he speaking of?

BTW it is Mother’s Day and therefore time for our annual Mother’s Day tornado outbreak. Stay safe, all.


1) Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina

2) Victory over Europe in WWII

3) Prince William and Kate

4) homosexuals. She wants a judge to decide if homosexuality is a sin

5) Texas

6) Jamestown, Va.

7) the NDP ( New Democratic Party)

8) Hillary Clinton

9) Bernie Sanders

10) put Texas under martial law by the Obama administration.

11) Empty Walmarts would be used as prisons

12) $368 billion.

13) eminent domain

14) school funding. Pink slips went out to nearly 1,000 Iowa teachers last week

15) 15 years

16) Tom Brady

17) Conservatives

18) Nike

19) The Scottish Nationalist Party

20) His brother George W. – yep, that George W.

There is still time to reach agreements to help all Iowans

All workers deserve a living wage

All workers deserve a living wage

Posted on May 4, 2015 by admin note this was written Monday. So good it needed to be posted
Tom Courtney, State Senator, Burlington

It’s a sad day in Iowa when a lobbyist claiming to represent small businesses had these responses[“Small business dodged bad bills this session,” April 28] when modest reforms approved by the Iowa Senate are killed by the Iowa House:

* Dishonest employers are still able to cheat Iowa workers out of $600 million a year in wages? HOORAY!
* 181,000 Iowans were denied a modest increase in their rock bottom wages? YEAH!
* Iowa workers can still be forced to accept high-fee debit cards instead of a full paycheck for their work? YIPPEE!

This celebration of backroom efforts to keep Iowa wages so low that full-time workers need public assistance to survive is premature.

The session is not over and there is still time to reach agreements that will help all Iowans — workers, business owners and other taxpayers — recover from the national recession.

Editor’s note: A couple of my pet peeves: two other issues not addressed here under the labor banner that continue to fester year after year:

1) the plight of the contract worker. These are folks that work in a real limbo between “real” jobs and unemployment. Their work is sporadic, they work for a company in between them and the ultimate employer, most likely they do not qualify for any benefits and they get very low wages.

2) Restaurant workers, especially wait staff. I don’t know about you, but I see no reason why it should be up to me to pay the wait staff. Isn’t that their employers duty? Nor should the staff be subjected to some of the crap that is directed their way just to get a tip.

22? Is it a Football Team? No, It’s GOP Candidates

Mike Luckovich, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mike Luckovich, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Listening to the Stephanie Miller show Wednesday I heard that that there may be as many as 22 Tea Party candidates. “What are they,” said I to me, “a football team or presidential candidates?” I decided they are a football team and will take on their hated opponents in a fall showdown schedule. I have inside information that they are all going to huddle up on a stage 14 times this fall and take on the competition. So it will be their version of a fall football schedule. There has even been a schedule posted – to insiders of course. You have to pay big time to see it.

Game times are Saturdays at 4PM Central Time. This will allow the team members a couple hours in the evening to phone their respective billionaire owners to get a critique and a freshly minted donation. This also allows for some praying time to act contrite before their God for the lies told during the competition. Were those lies not cleansed before walking into a church on Sunday morning – and you know that is mandatory – the church might be engulfed in flames.

Sept. 5th – Labor – This is expected to be an easy win for our heroes. Sadly Labor has been its own worst enemy since Reagan was President, often voting for candidates who do them harm. Expect an easy victory, even this close to Labor Day.

Sept.12 – Election laws – Once again this is expected to be an easy victory. With an election commission split 3-3 party line by law, this group may not even be able to find the field. Even if they do, the judges are all aligned to favor the Tea Party Clowns.

Sept. 19 – Science – here we get into some more meaty opponents. Remember that the goal is not to prove the opponent wrong, but to convince voters they are wrong. With an offense built around confusing phrasing and inaccuracies and their standard yet hardy defense of “God did it!” the Clowns should be able to eke out a victory. But it will be close. Science will be using evidence and will be tough.

Sept. 26 – Students and Education – With debts higher than they can ever pay and an education that has taught them to take tests but little else, this Student team will be hungry and mean. This could be the first dent in the Clowns record as “we didn’t know” is a very poor defense. Look for a Clowns loss here.

Oct. 3 – SNAP and Welfare recipients – This one looks to be another trouncing. After decades of public denouncement on the main stream media (MSM), SNAP and Welfare recipients have had any fight literally beaten out of them. Look for the Clowns to use this occasion to trot out some ugly new plays such as any welfare recipient should lose their kids. Note: This does not include the group that gets the largest share of welfare from the government – that is the wealthy and corporations. While their welfare in the forms of tax cuts, tax abatements and questionable tax write-offs dramatically dwarfs those who get help directly from the government, the Clowns will be lining up to give them even more and more.

Oct. 10 – The Poor – While on paper this looks like a real battle simply because of the numbers, most of the opponents will not be able to even play since they will be working at one of their 3 minimum wage jobs just to afford food and rent. The Clowns will feature an offense that creates laws that make it simply illegal to be poor and subject to incarceration for any number of offenses that are normal living when a family is poor.

Oct.17 – “Obamacare” or the ACA – While claiming they have the fans behind them on this one, when they look around, no one is following. When they call for a big cheer, they find many of their followers are busy since they are finally able to access health care system. The Clowns will once again claim victory while losing badly as they have some 50+ times against this opponent.

Oct. 24 – Environment – Using their standard offense of “jobs will go away” and their standard defense of bottling up any and all legislation it looks like the environment will be beaten to a pulp again.

Oct. 31 – this will be an open date. Clowns will either be hiding in dark corners to avoid the devil or be making sacrifices to the devil. No one really knows.

Nov. 7 – Non-Christian Religions – With the playing field titled at an almost 75 degree angle in their favor (75% + of Americans identify as Christian) this looks like an easy win. The Clowns will alternately focus on one aspect at a time or take the whole bunch at once, either way they will be able to paint their opponent as the scariest enemy of America ever.

Nov. 14 – Non-Whites – Perhaps their longest standing opponent, this is one they have a long winning streak against. It hasn’t been much of a contest since the days of Nixon. Dog whistle phrases will once more be the Clowns attacking offense while things like stop & frisk and drug laws will provide the bulwark of the defense. If your skin is not white, you are the opponent.

Nov. 21 – Women – The Clowns will use a stiff defensive stance of anti-reproductive health laws, forced child birth, low pay and “traditional” roles to counter an increasingly powerful opponent. The Clowns will use Carly Fiorina as their main offense, dangling her in a display that says ‘you are one of us.’

Nov. 28 – Climate Change – This looks like a loss for the Clowns. While they use such brilliant plays as letting everybody know it is November and it is cold, many people will remember the water in their houses last summer or the early 2 feet of snow that never happened before. Hard to push a weak offense when your exposed by the weather all around you. The Clowns will also be pretty full of themselves after celebrating Thanksgiving praising themselves.

Dec. 5 – Immigrants – Starting off with hoots of “speak English” and “cantaloupe calves” the Clowns will take it hard to the immigrants. This will be a pummeling this year, but may be closer than expected. However, the Immigrants are building for the future. You can expect the Immigrants to close the gap soon, leading to victories in the future. Let’s face it, in this case the Immigrants = Latino immigrants.

Dec. 12 – SS and Medicare Recipients – Final game and a sure loss for the Clowns. The Clowns have been trying to get their hands on Social Security and Medicare money for decades, but their opponents are generally smarter and more tenacious than the Clowns. The major turning point ion the pResidency of George W. Bush was a skirmish with these folks. Big loss for the Clowns with many injuries.

The Tea Party Clowns are a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. Charles and David Koch take great pride in defining the rules not only for their team, but for the whole country. All billionaires are invited to invest. Money is what makes this team strong.

The Tea Party Clowns have a variety of coaches. However, all coaches were schooled at the Karl Rove Institute and the Lee Atwater School of Communication. The major problem facing the Clowns this year is that most players want to be the quarterback. There are a couple (Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee) that want to be Pope. None want to play in the line.