Welcome to Des Moines, capital of the new colonial outpost. Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. Just as European governmental powers extracted the wealth of Africa, Asia and the Americas in previous centuries (note: see Bruce Rastetter for details on how to continue the practice in the 21st century), so distant corporate powers now threaten to further drain the American heartland of its riches and autonomy.
I am not overstating the problem. Shuanghui International Holdings’ proposal to buy US ag-giant Smithfield Foods is only the most recent warning sign. Japan’s Marubeni Corp bought Omama-based Gavilon Holdings, Brazil’s JPS acquired several key US purchases, and insiders intimate that more corporate takeovers are being laid out in board rooms far removed from Iowa’s fertile fields.
We are gradually turning our personal and collective autonomy over to forces beyond our influence, forces whose sole motive is profit. Every time a family farmer becomes a contract worker, freedom takes a hit. Every Main Street business that shutters is a blow to liberty. The American Dream fades when wealth that used to circulate in Iowa’s rural economy is rerouted to a distant corporate headquarters.
Fortunately, we have two powerful tools at our disposal to help change this direction:
(1) Our wallets. Buy directly from Iowa farmers or from local businesses that sell locally-grown food. Ultimately, the fate of American agriculture is in our hands.
(2) Senator Grassley. Grassley seems to “get” vertical integration, and his public comments on the proposed Smithfield buyout are encouraging. But he hasn’t decided where he’ll land on the issue, and we need to encourage him to do the right thing. Call him at (202) 224-3744 or e-mail him here.
Monday, we launch a new regular feature: Weekend Review. Ed takes a look at some of the top stories over the weekend, including (1) the flight from Hong Kong of whistle-blower Edward Snowden, (2) a new look at Iowa’s inadequate preparation for the next big, inevitable flood, and (3) rural Mahaska County residents fight an airport whose need is highly questionable. Also, Joe Henry with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa discusses the immigration bill moving through Congress, and the latest polls on immigration showing a divided, confused America.
Tuesday, we talk with Mark Peterson about why conservation makes sense for Iowa farmers. And in A New Beat on Learning, we talk with Toni Harmon of One World Birth and Hermine Hayes-Klein, an attorney and organizer of the Human Rights in Childbirth conference, about the steep learning curve the medical profession in America – and around the world – needs to travel to restore sanity to the age-old practice of delivering babies. We talk specifically about one Hungarian midwife, Ágnes Geréb, who did time in prison for violating that country’s law against home deliveries.
Wednesday, we talk with Jeffery Weiss of Catholic Peace Ministry about the war in Syria. Also, Bob Krause, Democratic candidate for governor, joins us to talk about his campaign.
Thursday, Ron Yarnell and I dissect the news du jour. We also meet Lauren Hickman, a filmmaker whose movie, FLICK, will screen twice during the Des Moines Arts Festival. The storyline follows the path of a tormented young artist who returns home from school to find himself immersed in the same drama and problems he had been trying to escape.
Friday, we talk with Jan Glendening of The Nature Conservancy. We talk with Dr. David Spreadbury about food and nutrition. And we launch another new regular feature: Climate Beat.
Monday-Friday, join the conversation live from 12:00-1:00 pm on the Fallon Forum website. Call-in at 244-0077 or toll free (855) 244-0077 and add your voice to the dialogue. Video and audio-only podcasts are available after the program. Also, a rebroadcast of Tuesday’s Fallon Forum can be heard on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) Wednesdays at 5:00, and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. Thanks!