Readers’ Views on Extinction Challenge + Call to Action As DCCC Stoops to a New Low + NEE Wins in Supreme Court

Days after Alabama essentially banned all abortions, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is staging a pricey fundraiser for a strident opponent of a woman’s right to choose. Call to Action on this. And it will be fun. The Supreme Court decision announced late yesterday validates NEE’s claims about PNM and voids PNMs acquisition of nuclear assets, details within.

Readers Respond to Extinction Threat:  After a few announcements, Retake has posted a sequence of thought-provoking comments posted by Retake readers in response to the recent post about Escaping Extinction. Their comments are well written and bring a different voice and perspective to you. Very well worth your review.

PNM Loses Suit in Supreme Court, Purchase of 10% Share in Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Deemed Imprudent.  This is HUGE. Yesterday, the NM Supreme Court ruled that PNM’s investment in Palo Verde in 2015 was indeed imprudent and their balanced draft capital expenditures at San Juan were also imprudent. The Court found that the PRC’s remedy did not meet due process requirements and so remanded the case back to the PRC for a lawful remedy.

The court’s decision is largely based on evidence put forward by New Energy Economy which proved that PNM had done no financial or comparative energy resource analysis before investing millions in expensive nuclear energy.  Though unrelated to NEE’s recent Joint Petition for an Investigation into PNM’s planned purchase of additional nuclear holdings in Palo Verde, the Supreme Court decision sets important precedent regarding ratepayer protections as well as PRC authority to hold the utilities accountable. Retake Our Democracy joined 25 plus other organizations in that petition. We’ll keep you posted, but New Energy Economies persistent and principled stands against the utility and gas and oil industry are worth supporting. They are too often a lone voice for climate justice, an organization unwilling to barter the interests of impacted communities and rate payers for modest concessions.

And what is NEE doing this weekend to celebrate?  The NEE Team is up in Tsédaak’áán, Diné Bihkeyah (Hogback, NM) working hard to get the kitchen and farm ready as their Just Transition team prepares to launch the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Food truck. The project will provide ancestral meals to community members while conducting surveys and interviews to document the impacts of almost 50 years of San Juan coal plant operation on the health and livelihood of indigenous residents as well as their visions, needs, and demands for a just transition. Tonight they will gather at the farm with the circle of community advisors who are guiding this work! NEE doesn’t just talk about commitment to impacted communities, they act in alliance with them, again and again.  Click to make a donation to NEE today.

A Conversation with Speaker Egolf.  I met with Speaker Egolf yesterday for about an hour and recorded a show for the KSFR show that will air on May 25. Tomorrow or Sunday I will offer commentary on the conversation as I learned things I simply did not know about the powers of the Land Commissioner, more accurately the limits to that power and about the process for having an amendment to our State Constitution.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR, 101.1 FM 8:30am Saturday, May 18.  A full hour broadcast with Hannah Laga Abrams, Santa Fe student activist and Kim Smith Navajo Nation and New Energy Economy activist from Hogback (Four Corners).  This is a remarkable show and well worth your time. Only 30 minutes will air tomorrow, but the full one hour broadcast will be posted as a podcast on KSFR.org: Programs Menu: Podcasts and then scroll to Retake.  Usually KSFR gets the broadcasts posted on Saturday or Sunday.

Two Actions Sought, One Practical and One Subversive and Fun

Even after state legislatures in states like Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama have passed draconian anti-abortion laws designed to criminalize women and attempt to convince a far-right U.S. Supreme Court majority to overturn the pro-choice Roe v. Wade precedent, U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL), the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), is hosting a fundraiser for one of the most anti-abortion politicians in America.

The graphic about the fundraiser does not mention Dan Lipinski’s party affiliation and this is for a reason. Despite Lipinski’s extreme anti-abortion views, Lipinski is a Democrat, and he’s seeking re-nomination in the 3rd Congressional District of Illinois, which extends from the southwestern parts of Chicago to northern Will County.

Lipinski has participated in the March for Life, an annual anti-abortion political protest, Lipinski has repeatedly opposed pro-choice legislation, and Lipinski has repeatedly supported anti-abortion legislation. In 2013, Lipinski voted for federal legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Thankfully, Lipinski is being opposed in next year’s Democratic primary in Illinois’s 3rd District by Marie Newman, who came close to unseating Lipinski last year. Unlike Lipinski, Newman is strongly pro-choice and has publicly opposed abortion bans like the one that recently passed the Alabama Legislature.

Action I:  You can donate to Marie Newman’s campaign here and find her campaign website here.

Action II:  You can write to Jeff at Jeff@rollagroup.com and hell, he was nice enough to give you his phone number, so give him a call and tell him what you think about this. Below is the email I wrote to him. Use some of it or cobble your own message. We can’t sit idle and let stuff like this just happen. The powers that be need to know we are watching and that we are not amused.

Hello Jeff,
I was born in Chicago. My father had a radio show on WBBM for several decades. I still think of Chicago as both an oppressor of black activists that has evolved to elect a progressive black lesbian as Mayor.  So I am disgusted that at a time when Alabama has just essentially banned a woman’s right to choose, the DCCC would still support a pro-life candidate for the House.
My representative is Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, former chair of the DCCC, and he has defended the DCCC’s being an arbiter for who is a viable candidate and who is not. I have reviled that role for the DCCC, but if it is going to play that role, at the very least it should look for someone else to represent Chicago and the Democratic Party in Congress. Fortunately, you have that option in Marie Newman.
I won’t be your tidy with a tidy $5600 price tag for admission. But I just made a donation to Newman’s campaign.
Paul

Readers Respond to Extinction Resistance Post

Escaping Extinction was not read by as many folks as usually read the blog. Unfortunately, I think many folks see a headline with Extinction and run. But it is important that we face the facts and the challenge. It is interesting the kinds of comments made on this blog with three suggesting our only hope is revolution, as the kind of system change required is not something our government, beholden as it is, simply can’t deliver. No one was calling us to take up arms, but the overall perspective is that we need some radically different and more effective strategies if we are to address this challenge. I couldn’t agree more.

I have not edited any of the comments that follow and they appear in the order in which they were submitted. But oddly, they create a kind of narrative and thematic flow. My intent in sharing these perspectives is to broaden the Retake voice. We have many folks out there with tremendous perspective and a way with words. So we want them to be heard and read.  Read on.

Paralysis, follows the morning news. Good post. And your question “What shall we do?” is at the heart of all things. Gandhi said, to cooperate with evil is to perpetuate the very system that oppresses us. Revolution will come to the U.S. as soon as the stock market collapses. And this will be within the next 2 years. The national debt has tripled in 2.5 years. The unsecured loans (cars, credit cards, and student loans) are greater than 1.4 trillion. Banks are already reporting they are not “securitized” (means they do not have the required 10% of cash holdings per loans issued). All of our systems are broken: health, education, government, finance, and environment. Expect civil war. Prepare now. Creating community for mutual survival is imperative.  Cristy Holden, Taos United

And from Robert Baroody:

What to do? Off the top of my head there are two tracks. One is activism. A campaign to reduce plastic packaging, for example. Or getting local governments to adopt a very specific green policy. These may seem like minuscule steps in the big scheme, but every step in the right direction is worth taking. The second track is very simply withdrawal from the greater part of the consumer culture that has shaped our lives. Reduce consumption by 1/3 to 1/2. Of pretty much everything. Don’t believe this is possible? Walk into a Walmart (an easy target, I know, but representative) or an Albertsons. 90% of what is sold, 90%!!!, is either stupid, useless, unneeded junk or is demonstrably bad for you. As an older guy who had a very fortunate and diverse childhood, I can attest that most of the newer “stuff” we have today, (that we didn’t have then), is unnecessary for satisfaction and happiness. Perhaps a movement could incorporate a simple slogan like 67% or 50%, much as the great legacy of Occupy was to popularize the neglected reality of the (we are the) 99% versus the 1%. BTW, I’m not advocating wearing a hairshirt or feeling guilty all the time. Humans seem to need art and occasional frivolity in their lives. (PS: I was informed at the last Retake meeting that “minimalism” is now a thing, and I’ll be exploring this on the internet very soon).

One thing I am pretty sure of: the concept of perpetual growth, in any human domain, is done.

Also, full disclosure: I do not believe that the political entity called the U.S. of A. has much of a future. The political and economic structures and the individuals in power–mostly sociopaths–are too irredeemably corrupted for there to be anything to hope for except a less severe downshifting into national decline.

Finally, I’ll submit that there are a few simple concepts that we can apply in our local actions: accountability, sustainability, resilience, and community. If we question actions and decisions using these criteria, we may have a chance in the future for ourselves and for our children/grandchildren.

“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out”.–Vaclav Havel   from Robert Baroody

And from Mick Nickel who always brings a unique wisdom and turn of phrase into the discussion.

HI Paul and Roxanne. Whenever I hear some new person out there in the community view you two and Retake with some or more than some skepticism, I just go to a post and affirm to myself how full of BS these folks are.

And you are getting your shoulders behind the dead carcass of inertia that plagues this planet, and you are PUSHING!!! Thank you for finding the heart of darkness. Just look what this post has drawn out. Two really excellent perspectives on the mad human disease that has infected all of us, and is destroying all our truly meaningful plant and animal friends.

Ironically (or maybe not) I just came from a watershed class on the crisis of overconsumption and resultant “garbage” that results, and if and how it is and can continue to be dealt with. As Barry Commoner said long ago, there is no “there” to throw away our wasted hoardings. One man in class tonite said that we are literally sitting atop our own filthy pile of garbage, and he had tears in his eyes.

As you and many others of us almost certainly ask ourselves, repeatedly, “what can we do?” This question also hit the bricks tonite in my class, and we were asked to collaborate on possible answers. A usually talkative and question-laden class of 17 was eerily silent. So I dared to brave what I thought would be a storm of rebukes, and I posited that there were many potential avenues of reclamation. But I started with what I always see as the elephant in the room – our personal failures to admit to ourselves that we are in way over our heads, are essentially addicted to consumption, denial and argumentative defense of our behaviors, that we have been manipulated and deluded by propaganda posing as capitalist advertising into self-mutilation and persecution of ‘the other,” and that without literally standing on our heads and revolutionizing our daily existence, not one damn thing of any consequence will change for the better.

I then suggested that we destroy capitalism by any and all means possible, by pointing out that 90 percent of us do all the work for the other 10 percent, and then turn around and consume what we have just produced and pay the 10 percent back 90 percent of what we were just paid, only to do it all over again. So we force all business to become employee-owned and non-profit, that we then question the need for each and every company that produces absolutely every item of consumption available, and the energy we consume to make, transport, use and then discard such junk, and just shut down the production of all bright and shiny objects. To start with.

I was met with many thanks, applause, penetrating gazes with wry smiles, etc.

So I say it now, as I have before. Revolution or Extinction. We do not seek violence, but we cannot be manipulated and coerced one more second into behaving like lunatics so a handful of sadistic, perverse sociopaths can get their rocks off to the sounds of the last frog croaking.  Mick Nickel

And this from Karen Nelson

My first thought is that it will be better for the planet’s water, air and soil, its non-human creatures and plants, if we humans bow out. The earth will heal and renew itself if we’re not here.
Let’s not grieve human extinction.

To fight extinction (of ourselves) we can learn to live lighter on the planet from our indigenous neighbors.

  • We could stop being carnivorous and consumers-of-the-unnecessary. Live larger by living smaller.
  • We can conserve water, make our yards wildlife friendly, grow food, disavow plastics. Etc.
  • We all know the list.

If we stop consuming petroleum products we may save ourselves from extinction.

I got to a Hearing in the House Chamber early one afternoon and caught the end of a speech by a tribal leader who was using the L word, saying with simplicity and humility:
We need to love each other more. We need to help each other, like we used to ….It was an appeal for community, an appeal to treat each other like neighbors, like family.
Being a caring community, as Retake, as Santa Feans, as New Mexicans are doing for refugees, might cover a multitude of our sins of overuse and excess.

As for activism, I would like to see Retake EMPHASIZE Clean Energy Initiatives and a Just Transition. Good people are working on health care, on school improvement, but the most crucial and urgent need for all earth’s creatures is for fossil fuel extraction to be halted. And for G&O to be pressed into cleaning up their operations until they are eased out of production entirely.

  • We need to convert more legislative votes before the next sessions–and not only by primarying DINOs, although that is an important tactic.
  • We need to involve younger generations, being willing to let them lead.
  • We need to fight the insanity with grace and passion. And we need to do it smart.”  Karen Nelson

And lastly, a more practical, immediate and local action that is also consistent with the messages in both of the two articles and consistent with Karen’s comment about living large by living small.  This from Greg Corning.

On San Isidro day, I saw the Pojoaque Valley acequia system at work, from source to finish. I saw young farmers working with water, soil, and available technology to provide abundant healthful food to Santa Fe.  Can small groups of people working together, creating infrastructure and – possibly more important – social networks – re-shape society? Maybe. In fact, working at the small local scale may be the only way that we can make the county, the state, the nation humane. Greg Corning

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

One thought on “Readers’ Views on Extinction Challenge + Call to Action As DCCC Stoops to a New Low + NEE Wins in Supreme Court

  1. In your piece about the DCCC, who is Jeff who you write to and give the e-mail address for? Shouldn’t we be writing to Cheri Bustos?

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