Chomsky on The Crimes of US Presidents, Ike to Bush–11 Minutes & We Hit the Road

Many comments on family separation blog pointing out that US history is replete with far worse offenses. Today, we feature those comments, a video from Chomsky, and a kick-off to the Look, Listen, Learn Road Trip. We are on the road!

Look, Listen, Learn Road Trip–After months of planning: We Are Off!

Roxanne and I headed out on our Look, Listen & Learn National Road Trip on Tuesday, 10-weeks, 22 cities and much to observe, learn and bring back to NM. And today we head to Washington, D.C. for the Poor Peoples Campaign march on the Capitol. But while we both are very much looking forward to the experience, it seems to be coming at an oddly inopportune time.

In Santa Fe, planning on the Santa Fe University of Art & Design and the rollout of the Mayor’s Transition Team planning are of tremendous import and it feels odd to not be here to be part of that. On a state level, we have statewide elections where Retake will be supporting key candidates in legislative and PRC races while we will be encouraging support for Democrats running for state office. Also within NM, Roxanne and I have been deeply involved in efforts by the Adelante Progressive Caucus to reform the state Democratic Party. Finally, on a national level, any of a number of triggers could launch a national or international crisis: immigration, trade wars, Korea, Mueller, the question isn’t what of these potential crises will erupt but which will erupt first.

In that context, it feels to me a bit like we are saying: “Good luck with all that, see ya!” But our intention in doing this tour is to identify effective practices related to affordable housing, worker justice, equitable transition to a sustainable economy, addressing food deserts and authentic participatory governing practices at the local levels. All good things and you can only learn so much by reading Truth-Out and Next Cities articles that seldom dig into how these initiatives were hatched, nurtured and implemented. We will be posting on the Retake Facebook page, click here to follow us on Facebook and to get updates of our journey across the US.

In order the Roadtrip looks like this: Santa Fe-Oklahoma City, Memphis, Knoxville, Wardenville WV, Washington, D.C. (and the Poor People’s march), Baltimore, Philadelphia (remarkable urban system of 31 orchards, a remarkable One ART Community Center and my son’s wedding), Buffalo (Fruit Belt Community Land Trust), Rochester (worker justice innovation with a system of worker owned businesses), Montreal, Kingston & Toronto (for a bit of fun, including Dave Matthews concert in Toronto), Detroit (Hope Community Land Trust), Cleveland (Evergreen Collective, Gar Alperovitz and the Democracy Collaborative), Chicago (youth organizer team introduced to us by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn). Much of the remainder of the trip needs some connections to be finalized, but then Minneapolis, Madison (some very cool student led stuff here), Nashville, Asheville, Atlanta (Athens Land Trust and West Broad Farmers Market), Montgomery (museum and a workers justice org), and one of the highlights with much to see and hear, Jackson MS (cooperative worker system, land trust, and participatory city government—it helps when the Mayor wins 92% of the vote), on to Austin where we will stay in a Tiny House in the Community First homeless program.

As if that were not enough, we then head back to NM and a ten-city tour visiting with legislators, local activists, and members of our growing statewide Rapid Response Network. Home Aug 25.  We will be blogging, posting on FB and doing our radio show along the way, so keep in touch and we’ll be back before you know it.  Last week’s blogs follow.

Readers Respond to Family Separation Blog

Increasingly these days, an offense coming out of Trumpland hits me in the gut and causes me to feel as if I have never experienced such outrageous stuff, never been so offended by the ignorance, lies, myopic greed and self-centered, me first, America First egotism that is today.  And then someone puts the latest offense in historical context and the flood of US history from slavery and Native slaughter through lynchings, Viet Nam and endless US interventions across the globe, each of which includes the deaths of countless innocents to ensure our comfort. It is not a pretty picture and I want to thank our readers for reminding me that as bad as it seems today, it has been worse and can get worse.

But this is our history and it falls upon us and our children to try to bring us closer to the ideals that the US has never approached. And it is important to recognize that all over the US there are individuals, groups, cities, tribes, students and organizations who have not given up, who every day commit themselves to justice and invent new paths to equity. Meeting some of those justice heroes is the reason for our Road Trip and hopefully it will yield inspiration and direction for those of us here in NM who have not given up.

From Mick Nickel, a frequent contributor

The kind of ‘nation’ we have become is the nation we always have been. Not to critique you personally, but any collectice shame one or all experience now would have never seen the light of day if shame were operative in any degree at Jamestown or Wounded Knee or during Polk’s war or in central Africa or on the slave ships or Dixie plantations or on the UP rail line amidst the once glorious herds of mindlessly slaughtered bison and elk herds, or any of the other tens of thousands of unforgivable traumas the noble citizenry of the beloved usa have perpetrated on ‘others.’

To now lament the latest version of perverse sadism, while constantly engulfed by Gaza after Gaza, is to codify Pavlov as master of all psychology. We did NOT just get here. We all, at some wavering and changeable percentage, have been and are NOW, here.

I have never been popular in the human crowd due to my nearly incessant rants about the schizoid nature of human denials surrounding nearly all behaviors and their insane and tragic outcomes. Nor am I popular with myself due to my failures to heed my own observations.

As human animals we must, if we insist that we have some ordained right to exist, plead guilty on all counts. Having done so, it behooves all of us to render a punishment befitting our collective crimes.

Tough decision for a pack of Pavlovian canines who imprisoned Dr. Jack. If I were a betting man I would place the few bucks I have left on Elliot’s conclusion – ‘not with a bang, but a whimper.’

Karen St. Clair

Let’s be honest. The United States has always behaved cruelly and inhumanely to anyone who isn’t a WASP. Fit in the nice, neat description of our forefathers and you’re “in”. Otherwise, you will be treated worse than an animal – slavery, Native Americans, Japanese, etc, etc, etc.

The US needs to rid itself of the Patriarchal attitudes that continue to put us in one war after another, risk the lives of our youth and poor and for what? So we can be “big man on campus” in the world?
I really don’t foresee any of this changing in my lifetime, but I remain hopeful of the next generations.

What can we do? Short of revolution, you mean? I’m too old now and can’t stomach the thought!! But I continue to vote and spend my dollars with businesses and candidates that espouse my values while steadily boycotting those that don’t – Carl Jrs., Hobby Lobby, Steve Pearce, etc, etc.

Mavis Johnson

Taking children way from their parents like this is truly inhuman. It is horrifying how they went along with this just like the Germans when the Nazis came to power. The abject failure of anyone in power, to stand up or stop this, is horrifying too. Local news only barely covered it, and TV news made it seem like just another policy decision. We have all tolerated this dehuamanizing of people right here in our communities, while pretending all of this is business as usual. This horror did not start with this administration, it was long tolerated overseas, and along our borders. As long as Americans are getting by, and our elected leaders are getting richer, they can continue to justify it away. The collective reaction is nearly as disgusting as the act itself. Here in New Mexico, empty jails were being touted as potential locations for this inhumane treatment, because it could bring jobs.

Having observed the inhumanity at the border for decades as it got worse, while our so called progressive politicians either ignored it or found a way to profit from it, makes it pretty clear that we have lost any moral decency. They stayed in denial when racist incidents occurred right here in Santa Fe, while disparaging and attacking anyone who spoke up. Even as we decry this horror on our border, children in other countries are dying and being traumatized with money, and policies allowed by our Leaders. We all have blood on our hands, those of us who spoke up years ago were ridiculed and silenced, and it might be too late now. This community tolerated this and their silence is complicity.

Dianne Vaughn

I think the word shame is most appropriate. But I am also filled with such rage that I often find it difficult to sleep. I never harbored illusions about this nation and spent many years doing political work to try to improve things. In vain, I’m afraid. And I don’t believe this is as low as we will get. Things could get very bad indeed.

Again, thank you readers.  If you want more evidence of recent Presidential transgressions, Noam Chomsky delivers in 11 minutes.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

4 thoughts on “Chomsky on The Crimes of US Presidents, Ike to Bush–11 Minutes & We Hit the Road

  1. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign was for All poor — as is Rev Barber’s today. Let us kerp in mind there are WASPs today, particularly in the mountains of Appalacchia, who need our our empathy and help, too. Robert Kennedy visited there during his campaign of 1968 — as well as in Harlem and our at Native American Indian reservations. Let’s be wary of identity politics based on race and color alone: the poor deserve our attention regardless of ethnic background. Yours Respectfully, Harold Murphree,.

  2. I regret my referring to ICE employees as “border goons” in a recent post. A tv interview has convinced me that the people carrying out this border policy, separating these families, are also victims. Doubtless, many of them are ex-military who, after being stripped of their youth first in so-called basic training and then in the realities of war (around any corner could be a person or device set by a person bent on killing me and mine), who then were dumped unceremoniously into “civilian” society “back home,” sometimes with their weapons, to find their way when the job they held before enlisting has disappeared.

    For many, forward-moving options no doubt seemed limited. Drugs/suicide, shooting up a nightclub or some other octave of “suicide bombing,” supporting a presidential candidate who lashes out violently, having been abused as a child. Maybe joining up with another authoritarian employer such as the police or ICE, in secret hope of reclaiming the humanity they parked in a similar place long ago when they enlisted.

    Once there, they find they are forced to look into the mirror and see,

    A child, crying.

    “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” — Luke 23:31

  3. I hope you enjoy your trip. Um, on the bright side, I reckon you’ll have no trouble staying warm. (You’ll be in some damn-hot, hell-humid places all summer, you know… )

  4. I regret my referring to ICE employees as “border goons” in a recent post. A tv interview has convinced me that the people carrying out this border policy, separating these families, are also victims. Doubtless, many of them are ex-military who, after having been systematically stripped of their youth, first in so-called basic training and then in the realities of war (around any corner could be a person or device set by a person bent on killing me and mine), subsequently found themselves dumped unceremoniously into “civilian” society “back home,” sometimes with their weapons, to find their way when their old job had disappeared.

    For many, forward-moving options no doubt seemed limited. Drugs/suicide, shooting up a nightclub or some other octave of “suicide bombing,” supporting a presidential candidate who lashes out violently, having been abused as a child. Maybe joining up with another authoritarian employer such as the police or ICE, in secret hope of reclaiming the humanity they parked in a similar place long ago when they enlisted.

    Once there, they find they are forced to look into the mirror of life and see:

    A child, crying.

    “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” — Luke 23:31

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