A Look Back A Look Forward Plus An Action Alert: Write to Representative Lujan

The post includes an update on coming activities and actions, as well as a look back at political corruption in Wisconsin, a corporate-dominated indoctrination of newly elected members of Congress teaching them now to play by their rules, the growing GOP revolt against Trump over the Saudi Prince, and an examination of how capitalism impedes developing the needed response to economic injustice and climate change. Lots to read and a good post to share with friends. We need to expand our base. Sending our Monday posts to friends is a great way to orient them to what we do.

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Retake Our Democracy Roundhouse Advocacy Team Training and Mtg. Thursday, Dec 13, 6pm-8pm at 1420 Cerrillos, the Center for Progress & Justice.  Retake’s Roundhouse Team will be meeting on the 13th and the 20th this month. On the 13th, we will offer an orientation for new participants from 6-6:30, after which a team of Retake volunteers led by David Thompson will deliver a training on how to access the breadth of information available on the Roundhouse website, nmlegis.gov. At Journey Santa Fe on Sunday, Senator Peter Wirth indicated that the Roundhouse website may be the best such website in the country, but based upon my and many others’ experience, it can be difficult to navigate and interpret. Our team will do a click by click demonstration guiding through the site, which will be projected on a screen for your viewing. after the training we will work in small groups to develop and advance our Roundhouse readiness planning. The session is 5 weeks away and we have much to do researching bills, contacting allied organizations, and calling people who have signed up for the Rapid Response Network to orient them and encourage their engaging others. We will tape the nmlegis.gov training to make it available to residents throughout the state. It will be a part of our new Roundhouse Advocacy Tool Kit which is now available under our Resources menu. Click here to review the contents. It is designed to make it much quicker and much easier for you to effectively advocate for bills that you feel are important.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR,101.1 FM.
  8:30am Saturdays!  Two weeks ago, I interviewed Miranda Viscoli Co-President of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.  This past Saturday, Dec. 8 interviewed Land Commissioner-elect Stephanie Garcia Richards and Emerge NM Executive Director Ashley Sanderson. We heard of the dramatic success of Emerge candidates in the mid-terms, an 88% win rate, and how they train women for political leadership and from Stephanie, we heard how a woman’s perspective will impact the values and approach to land management in NM. The last two minutes are particularly worth hearing, as I paid a heartfelt tribute to my wife Roxanne. If you missed any of our shows, you can go to KSFR.org go to the programs menu, scroll to podcasts and then scroll down to Retake Our Democracy. All our shows are listed there to listen to at your leisurePlease do me a favor that will take you about 3-4 minutes. KSFR has posted an online survey asking what shows you listen to live or listen to on podcast during their weekend programming. If we are going to keep broadcasting Retake Our Democracy on KSFR, they will need to know you listen in, so please go to ksfr.org TODAY. The survey button is impossible to miss in the upper right had corner. I have no idea how long the survey will be up, so please do it today

HELP!!!! On Friday and Saturday I spent hours doing things on my PC that would have taken me 2-3 minutes on my MAC. Generally I am very happy with the PC, but there are a number of tasks I can’t figure out how to do and it is consuming way too much of my time. Microsoft and Dell’s support has been unhelpful, to be kind. If you are experienced with Windows 10 on a PC and have a bit of time, I’d be happy to buy you coffee or a beer if you’ll sit with me and help me sort some of this out. If you can do this, you will be my new best friend. You can reach me at paul@retakeourdemocracy.org.  Thanks.

Journey at Collected Works. Roxanne and I attended Collected Works yesterday and found an absolutely jammed standing room only and crammed around the corners audience, by far the largest turnout I’ve seen for this tremendous weekly forum. This is certainly another measure of the level of excitement about the coming legislative session that opens Jan. 16. Sen. Wirth and Speaker Egolf laid out their legislative priorities and answered a dozen questions from the audience. It was a very engaging hour. I passed out 100 flyers about our Roundhouse Team and Melissa Williams who organizes Journey asked if I could do a special end-of-the year talk on Dec. 30, so I will be there, hopefully with one or two others from the Roundhouse Team to discuss our priorities and plans for the coming session.  Sunday 11am, Cec. 30,  Collected Works, 202 Galisteo with Retake. Click here for an excellent summary of the talk by Robert Nott from the New Mexican.




Call to Action.  It is time to reach out to Representative Ben Ray Lujan, but in a most civil manner. He is not responsible for the bi-partisan “orientation” of new House Members that was held last week. The training was dominated by corporate lobbyists, one of whom condescendingly told the new members “You don’t understand how the game is played.” This did not sit well with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives who complained that while the corporations were well represented, there were no consumer advocates, no unions, and no one else representing the perspective of communities of color or working people. Yet the “orientation” was really designed to tell new legislators:  “We have a way of doing things here. Play by our rules, or good luck.” You can find a link to the post I did on this indoctrination below. While Rep. Lujan did not organize this orientation, he is now the 4th ranking member of the Democratic House; he has influence and he could speak up for a more balanced orientation for new members. To reach Rep. Lujan:  Ben Ray Lujan, Congressional District 3.  Again, this is not a time for being critical of Rep. Lujan, but just to ask for his help with a simple message:  “The orientation sponsored by the Kennedy School of Government was not a balanced one, did not include any advocacy, labor or consumer groups, but did include a full slate of corporate representatives. Could you please tell leadership that your constituents want our new legislators to receive a more balanced orientation.””

  • Ph: (202) 225-6190
  • email: grassroots@benrlujan.com  OR
  • Link to email form: Click here to get to his form. You will need to input your zip code to get access to the form used to direct email to the Congressman.

Looking Back: A Week Full of Craziness

Retake understands that our readers may not be able to read every post when it arrives in your inbox. So each Monday we provide a summary and links to the posts from the prior week. So many threads were reported on last week, it is hard to pick one to focus upon, but if I had to pick one it would be the Tuesday blog immediately below or the report on Wisconsin GOP legislators subverting democracy and the vote of the people after suffering a thorough beating in the Midterms. The Wisconsin report includes a video that is one of the best pieces of reporting I’ve seen on Democracy Now!, as a Wisconsin reporter does such a good job of laying out all the undemocratic billx passed in a dead-of-night special session of its Legislature and the impact of those antidemocratic bills on Wisconsin’s governance.  Read on.

The Wizard Behind the Curtain That Is Undermining Our Efforts to Address Climate Change and Economic Justice:  Capitalism

Tuesday, Dec. 4.  The post contains a discussion of the need for a new economic system with links to 3 old Retake posts that are germane to this discussion and an abstract from a Utah prof who describes succinctly why we can’t address climate change within capitalism. I understand that many readers have benefitted from the capitalist system, myself included. But 90% of our nation and billions of others across the globe have suffered tremendously.That is the economic justice perspective. In this post we focus on how a system predicated on growth and lots of it, is simply incompatible with addressing climate change. If we are ever going to be able to mount an international effort to combat climate change, we will need to invent a new system.  Well worth your time.  Click here to read the full report.


GOP Senate Revolts Against Trump on Saudi Prince’s Involvement in Khoshoggi’s murder + A Report on Stephanie Garcia Richards’ Legislative Priorities

Wednesday, Dec 5. This post reports on GOP Senators’ comments exiting their closed door hearing with the CIA Director, who had shared her findings related to the involvement of the Crown Prince in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. They were unanimously incredulous that Trump and his security advisors could even begin to believe that there was any question as to the Crown Prince’s guilt and they immediately set about developing a bill to cut military funding for the Saudis. With reports later in the week describing the mounting evidence of Trump’s complicity in chargeable crimes, we could be witnessing the beginning of the end of the Trump regime. While the GOP has stuck it out and backed Trump repeatedly, at the point that he carries too much political baggage, that support could disappear and quickly. The post also includes a short report on Stephanie Garcia Richards, Land Commissioner-elect and her legislative priorities. Click here to read the full report.


Borrowing from North Carolina, Wisconsin GOP Passes Litany of Anti-Democratic Bills Designed to Undermine the Dem. Governor and Attorney General-Elect + A Report on Journalists Under Fire

Thursday, Dec. 6.   What is being done in Wisconsin is utterly disgusting, subverting the very central premise of democracy:  that the voters decide. There are other ways in which corporations and moneyed interests erode our democratic process, but few as brazen as what was done in Wisconsin. This post describes what has been done, with a tremendous 15 minute video from Democracy Now! where a Wisconsin reporter lays out very clearly the dirty details and the implications. The post also reports on what Roxanne and I found at the Journalism Under Fire conference held this past week in Santa Fe. The conference included panels and breakout groups with 48 international journalists, most all of whom had been threatened, beaten or jailed for doing their job. All journalists I heard said that the denigration of the media was the first step before specific threats, arrests, and murders were launched in country after country. This must be viewed as a warning, as we certainly have a president who is constantly belittling the media and even calling it “the enemy of the people.” And as the walls close in around Trump, he may be even more dangerous as he tries to evade the truth.  Click here to read the full post.

Newly Elected Blue Wave Democrats Wash Ashore in D.C. Only to Be Indoctrinated by Corporate Lobbyists

Saturday, Dec. 8. After reading a number of reports on the “orientation” sponsored by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I understood how corporations maintain an iron grip on the legislative process. This post first demonstrated the scope of the shift left within the Democratic Party since 2010, and it is a dramatic one, with far fewer Blue Dog Dems and far more Democrats joining the Progressive Caucus. The second half of the post describes the shamelessly undemocratic orientation provided by the Kennedy School. It is worth a read if you missed it, as it shows the formidable obstacles that await us even after a sweeping election win. NM is not impervious to this, as well. We won tons of races, installed some very good representatives, elected a Democratic Governor, but the Roundhouse is still far too influenced by corporate lobbyists. In 2016 we retook the Roundhouse, installing a solid Demcratic majority in the House and maintaining one in the Senate, but precious few good bills passed. They died in committees quietly and largely out of view. Hence, the importance of volunteer advocacy. And, as you know, Retake has a plan for that.  Click here to review the full report.

Again, Roxanne and I want to thank the many, many emails and comments when we are out and about, wishing me well. Doing fine so far.

In solidarity and gratitude,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation, Personal & Collective Action

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