A Look Back at Species Extinction, Lujan, and the 2019 NM Legislative Session’s Total Failure on Climate Change

Today, we also have heartwarming news from the ABQ Asylum Seeker relief effort, a call to action on Well’s Fargo’s investments in private prisons housing immigrants, and a selection of comments from readers on Retake’s reaction to Milan Simonich’s article on Ben Ray Lujan’s all too misleading campaign emails. The report on Asylum Seekers alone is worth clicking to read this post.

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Donate to Retake Today!
 We don’t push hard for donations.  Last week we posted this request, but got very little response. We get it; you get so many requests, we try to keep it low-key.  But we blew through a good deal of funds in mounting our Roundhouse advocacy effort.  Now we are launching a series of Town Halls throughout the state to meet with Action Alert team members and with legislators from other parts of the state. Funds are needed to pay for meeting rooms, flyers, buttons, and food and drink for meetings. And the cupboard is bare. Please make a contribution today.  We need one time donations or even better, modest monthly donations to sustain this work.  And thanks to all of you who have already donated generously.

Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Retake Our Democracy, at KSFR 101.1 FM.  The show aired on Saturday, but it included 15 minutes of bonus coverage only available by podcast. So if you missed the show on Saturday or you want to check out the bonus 15 minutes, click here to hear the full interview with Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Heartwarming ABQ Asylum Seeker Tale from Our Pal Javier Benavidez. Javier posted this tale on Facebook Sunday. At the end, we provide a link to where you can get info on how you can volunteer in ABQ and other ways you can support the relief efforts in ABQ, Las Cruces and El Paso. In ABQ, you can easily do what Javier and ABQ Interfaith did.  Anyone interested in organizing a Retake car pool to ABQ in the next week or two?

From Javier:  “If you’re in Burque and haven’t gotten to volunteer with the asylee/refugee welcome operation yet, it’s too good for the heart to miss. Today ABQ Interfaith took in about a hundred beautiful families, mostly from Honduras/Guatemala – about half children. So many smiles and good will – and kind of a sacred moment, thinking how generations to come might tell the story of the 3 week walk, then the 3-4 days in the cold mean detention, then the long bus ride with the bars and the armed guards – and then all those welcoming strangers with the good food and the hugs and the new clothes in that city with the funny name – Albuquerque, NM. One guy I got to process, here with his 8 year old daughter, told me he felt like he was in a dream. 🙏🏽 Got to hand a bunch of youngeons brand new soccer balls, thanks to Lawrence Espinoza and the Albuquerque Sol. This handsome young dude’s gonna be the next Ronaldo, watch. 🇭🇳 🇬🇹 🇺🇸”  Click here for how you can do this, too.

Force Wells Fargo to Disinvest in Private Prisons. Wells Fargo needs to hear from people in New Mexico that earning profits from the detention of immigrant families is morally wrong. 

Private prison companies hold contracts to operate hundreds of prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers across the country. By profiting off of incarceration, private prison companies have a perverse incentive to make business decisions that lead to more people behind bars. Private prisons also are rife with human rights abuses, pay correctional officers less than they are paid at publicly managed prisons, and foster environments unconducive to prisoner rehabilitation. The two private prison industry leaders, CCA and GEO Group, depend on debt financing to conduct their day-to-day business operations and acquire smaller companies. An analysis of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings over the past 10 years, which is detailed in In the Public Interest’s report “The Banks That Finance Private Prison Companies,” shows that Wells Fargo has played a leading role in financing these debts.2 In doing so, Wells Fargo is complicit with private prison companies in contributing to and enabling mass incarceration and the criminalization of immigration. Additionally, by collecting interest and fees on outstanding debt, the banks are complicit with CCA and GEO Group in profiting from mass incarceration and the criminalization of immigration. Click here for more on this issue from Public Interest.
Poster Making Party, May 16 and Wells Fargo Protest May 20. The signs advertise a poster making event at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on 107 W. Barcelona May 16th  from 5:00 to 6:30, and the May 20th peaceful protest, starting at 4:30 pm on the sidewalk in front of the Wells Fargo Bank on  Zafarano and Rodeo Road, which will starting around 4:15/4:30 on Monday May 20th.   
Click Wells Fargo letter to find the Wells Fargo letter for you to print and sign. If you’d like to gather signatures, here is a petition form for doing so Wells Fargo petition signature page (1) .   Sarah Manges, who is coordinating this action, would like you to collect signatures, which we will present along with the original Wells Fargo Letter and petitions to the Wells Fargo Banks here in Santa Fe.  Please return your letters, and the signed petitions before May 20 to: Sarah Manges, 369 Montezuma Ave. # 469, Santa Fe, 87501.  If you prefer, she’ll even pick up the petitions and letter from you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact her at 505-690-4640.

I am on your email list and read your posts regularly. While I have my problems with Lujan, I also take issue with this post. I am sure you are on many candidates lists….they all work this way. With equally crazy crisis every few hours. Heinrich was no different when he ran. What I also might point out is, I have signed up a few times for Lujan’s newsletter, which I assume is his email list, and have never gotten anything. So no fundraising emails either. I just wonder how organized he and his staff are.  I do appreciate all your efforts.

Click here to get to Retake Our Democracy’s Events and Actions page which includes events that are updated regularly. Or at least we try. The page includes info on a great film on 1948 Palestine Creation and Catastrophe screening Tuesday night and on our PNM Shareholders campaign where you get to attend their annual shareholders meeting and ask the PNM CEO embarrassing questions in front of the shareholders.  Great fun. 

Readers Comment on Saturday’s Post on Ben Ray’s Annoying Fundraising Emails:  Typical politics? Evidence of Important Character Flaw? Or Both?

Last Saturday, I posted a blog covering Milan Simonich’s pretty strong article about Ben Ray Lujan’s daily and highly annoying fundraising email.  A link to that post can be found at the end of this post.  But immediately below is a series of reader comments that provide an interesting conversation about Ben Ray and the sad devolution of political communication.  First this from Ann Marie:

I am on your email list and read your posts regularly. While I have my problems with Lujan, I also take issue with this post. I am sure you are on many candidates lists….they all work this way. With equally crazy crisis every few hours. Heinrich was no different when he ran. What I also might point out is, I have signed up a few times for Lujan’s newsletter, which I assume is his email list, and have never gotten anything. So no fundraising emails either. I just wonder how organized he and his staff are. I do appreciate all your efforts.”  Ann Marie

And then from David Thompson, from our Retake Leadership Team”

I agree with Ann Marie. While I don’t like this kind of email, many (if not most) of the fund-raising emails I get (and since we’ve given to a lot of candidates over the years, we get loads of emails) are at least deceptive, if perhaps not blatantly so. They turn me off – I wonder how effective they really are, but they keep coming, so perhaps people respond to this kind of stuff. I’ve also noticed that establishment candidates and front-runners (often the same, of course) rarely mention that they are opposed in a primary – they often put themselves forward as if it’s a foregone conclusion. So in this Ben Ray is also, unfortunately, not alone.”  David Thompson

And lastly this from Bill Sortino:

We are essentially on the same page in our thinking if we subscribe to Retake so I am not being critical in my response to your post. I just want to reiterate, what Paul stated just above your post, and that is we are trying to actually change this very system that has led our country into the veritable gutter of political pay to play and outright lying. To do that we must first clean up our own house and that means being honest about those Democrats who are a part of or behave as if they were a part of this broken system, because it is “just” the way everyone does it.

That is what we are facing on every area of our inability to govern and why it is so important to call out these politicians and hold them accountable. We reject climate change, which is destroying our earth and will continue to kill millions across the globe in the coming years, some using the excuse that if China did more then we would, but we will not start because they won’t. Well, that argument translates into I am willing to potentially kill my grand children because I will not change until you do, much like a playground argument. Our problems are real and we all need to force those in power to change this system or else we all lose.”  Bill Sortino

I think that Bill makes my point. No, while what BRL does is fairly extreme, it is not entirely out of the norm. But that is exactly the problem and we need to call out this behavior for what it is misleading, lacking substance and manipulative. We want more from our leaders. Where is the email that says:  “I’ve asked my staff to take a deep look at the thorny issue of Medicare for All and together we’ve developed a comparison of the three most prominent plans being considered in Washington. I’d like your input.”  No $5, $10, $20 options, just a white paper and survey that engages constituents in a serious manner. That just doesn’t happen.  And that was my central point. But beyond that, the tone struck by Lujan is dismissive of Toulouse Oliver and of the primary itself as if he has been anointed as our candidate and there is choice his constituents face in June, just November. And the use of fake facts (that McConnell has raised funds just to defeat him) is simply untrue and I think we’ve all had more than enough of self inflated false truths being used to manipulate voters. It may be common place, but that is what is wrong with political discourse today.

A Look Back at Last Week’s Posts

Not sure what happened, but we had far fewer readers than usual for the first two posts below and both are important, as they cover climate change from a national and then a state perspective.

One Million Species Face Immanent Extinction & the Media Doesn’t Seem to Care

This was an important post as the mainstream media is simply not covering climate change with anything the depth it deserves. But maybe they know something, as this post had the lowest open rate for any post we’ve published in over six months.  It is an important read. The IPBES report points to still more evidence of encroaching disaster. Today’s posts reviews this report and puts it in local, state and national context. Quite by chance, I found a Truthout report by Dahr Jamail. The post closes with 2 citations and a link to Jamail’s full article—powerful. Also, a reminder Thursday night, Retake is holding an Input and Strategy Session,details follow.  Click here to read the full post.

We Have 12 Years to Face Down Climate Change and with Democrats Controlling All NM Branches of Gov’t, We Got Zero Down on Climate Change in 2019 Roundhouse Session

We are nearing completion of the 2019 Legislative Report Card. While we had much to celebrate, we compromised far too much to corporate interests in other areas..Tonight Retake seeks your input and ideas to inform how we move forward and ensure that in 2020 and 2021, we get far more done. 12 years and the clock is ticking.  The post includes excerpts from the first draft of the Executive Summary of the 2019 Roundhouse Report Card, so if you want a preview of the Report Card to be published within ten days, check it out. Also, a link to new info on how to help Asylum Seekers children.  Click here to read the full post.

Ben Ray Lujan Slammed for Deception + A Report on Packed Retake Input and Strategy Session, A Plan for 2019-20 is Emerging

Saturday, May 11. We had 12 RSVPs, but 47 folks showed up and were brimming with enthusiasm at Thursday’s meeting. Next meeting: June 5, 6:30-8:30pm. Also, Milan Simonich absolutely nailed Rep. Lujan for his fundraising emails, which are clearly annoying, but also apparently riddled with lies. WE don’t think what BRL is doing with his campaign emails is illegal, but they are somewhat unethical and tell us more about him as a candidate than perhaps he realizes. We summarize Simonich’s piece and provide a link. Notice of Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Retake on KSFR.  Click here to review the full post.  There were a goodly number of reader comments on this post, as described above. So, if you missed it, now’s your chance.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne


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4 replies

  1. “Everyone does it…” Well, no, not everyone does fundraising that way. Deb Haaland does not use the crisis tactic and blitz her constituents daily as BRL and Xochi do. (I suspect it’s what the Washington leadership and consultants tell them to do in order to raise “small donor” money so they won’t look like they rely solely on corporate/PAC dollars.)
    I can’t support BRL for many reasons, but I especially resent being manipulated and my intelligence insulted in that way. Glad he doesn’t have my email address.

    • That is a very good point about the likely role in this of the DCCC approved consultants who may well be pushing legislators / candidates to use this method and likely even structuring the language and the crises. It would be interesting to see if there are candidates for Senate in other states who stated that McConnell has created a $2.1 fund to target them, etc. But I’d sure love it if someone knows someone in another state where maybe this was being done. Hmmm. How could we find out?

  2. Hi Roxanne n Paul. Quite a response for a Monday. About BRL and the call out. Trouble is, it is Simonich doing the calling out, not just to point out the wordsmithing, but to set BRL out as something of a phony. I have some problem with any editorial space on the front page of any daily paper. I used to write for the New Mexican, and many other papers, and never, never, never saw this before.

    But the point is well taken. I have written letters, signed petitions, sent emails, made phone calls, for three or four years. Always nothing but the identical form letter back. If someone answered the phone, they did not even ask for my name, and I know they took no notes due to the lack of dialogue between us. Just a curt thank you and a dead line. Heinrich is a little better, but is really a moderate R in disguise. Udall always answers my letters fully, on topic. Which is why replacing him with a real human being so ssoooooooo important.

    I like the idea of Plame, Leger and Toulouse-Oliver in a three-way round robin of town halls and debates. Just leave Lujan out in the parking lot.

    But my main point in writing is to disagree with those who say that the press IS NOT covering climate crisis topics. Sorry folks, but I read at least a dozen each day focusing on the many facets of the complex context that wraps around the sematic superstructure of atmosphere, oceans, polar ice, permafrost, glaciers, forcing gases in the atmosphere, new levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, hyper-saline ocean current forcers off the Antarctic continental shelf, info on ancient climate data from ice logs, ocean sediment logs, newly exposed dirt and rock from ice melt in Antarctica and Greenland, ozone hole fluctuations, altered ocean currents, changing patterns of atmospheric storm events, coral reefs, zooplankton and phytoplankton changes, fisheries fluctuations, ocean invertebrates, kelp bed destruction, etc. etc. etc.

    It is all there, in technicolor. Only the big five are failing to plaster it on their bigger broadcasts, and we all know why. As I was forced to recall when re-watching Apocalypse Now the other night, the famous line about not doing the obvious boils down to – “Charlie don’t surf.”

    Folks. We have to turn ourselves upside down, stand on our heads, and stack bee bees with our eyelashes. We have to force ourselves into an incredibly painful rebirth, without a loving midwife. Anything less will be business as usual.

    Not nearly enough. Revolution or Extinction.

    Mick Nickel

  3. I don’t want to pay via pay pal, but if you try to pay with a card, they seem to force you to create a pay pal account. Help!

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