Two Shameful Tales, Inspiring and Courageous Responses and Opportunities for Action

Two separate issues: the DNC’s refusal to hold a climate change debate and a NM private prison housing asylum seekers in squalor. Plus, the inspiring responses from a 23-year old, risking arrest at a DNC meeting and a 95 year-old ABQ activist who just ended her 7 day hunger strike. Plus, Leger de Fernandez wins Emily List endorsement and  thoughts on on Mitch Buszek’s untimely passing..

Before diving in to the DNC and the private prisons housing child immigrants so shamelessly, a few short announcements.

In Memory of Mitch Buszek.  It is with great sadness that I share that last night the Democratic Party of Santa Fe announced that Mitch Buszek, a tireless justice advocate, has passed. Mitch didn’t just attend meetings, he did the hard work between meetings, he attended the hearings, he got out the vote and now Santa Fe and New Mexico has lost one of those rare folks who consistently put in the time to make change. Farewell, Mitch. You made a difference.

Emily’s List Endorses Teresa Leger de Fernandez.  From today’s Santa Fe New Mexican:  “The Washington, D.C.-based group that funds female candidates who favor abortion rights said it chose Leger Fernandez because of her strong ties to the district and her decadeslong experience as an attorney in Northern New Mexico communities.” An endorsement from Emily’s list can have a profound effect on both fundraising and in encouraging other important endorsements.

Thoughts on the Debate.  I have to say that was about as substantive a debate as I’ve heard in some time. I thought that Elizabeth Warren had a commanding presence and in a brief review of theDonate Button with Credit Cards
internet this morning, a strong consensus supported that. One exception, the NY Times gave the “winner” nod to Julian Castro who did offer a stirring series of comments on immigration and the asylum seekers. The Times reported that Google experienced a 2400% spike in searches for Julian Castro after the debate. So this may help elevate him in the polls.  It appeared to me that Warren benefitted from being given the most questions and was able to open and close the debate, but I was surprised to see one online report that timed this and Booker wound up with the most on air time (11:06), with O’Rourke second (10:33) followed by Warren (9:31). It was noteworthy that, as reported in Mother Jones, Warren was the only candidate who didn’t interrupt, something that occurred repeatedly, particularly in the last hour. Technical difficulties aside, the debate did a good job of delineating positions of the candidate.  What did you think? Who won and why?  Who disappointed you?  Comment below.  Part I of the two-day debate cycle certainly made me eager to see Part II.  And only 11 months and two weeks until the actual vote.

Painting Parties for Teresa Leger de Fernandez. Thursday, June 27, 5:30-7:30pm at Wise Fool Studios, 1131 Siler Rd, Suite B, Santa Fe, NM.  Wise Fool was a big part of the Wall of Love. Ignite your personal inspiration and do it. Signs will be used during Fiesta, at rallies and marches and at other events throughout Santa Fe. With eight candidates, this is a race that can be won by a very narrow plurality with the difference between going home and going to Congress being five or ten votes. I know that the second night of the debates is on, but that is what a video recorder is for!!!  Let’s Do This!

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday, June 29,   8:30 am – 9 am.  I will be interviewing Dana Millen, Outreach and Education Coordinator for the New Mexicans for Health Security Campaign.  The show was taped last week and is a very interesting program as we talk not just about what the Health Security Act is, but also discuss the tortured 27 years that it took to finally get it through the Roundhouse. We also talked about the road ahead, as this is only the first of three steps to being the first state to pass a universal healthcare system. To listen to all of these shows via podcast, go to go to the programs menu, scroll to podcasts and then click on Retake Our Democracy. All 2 1/2 years of shows are there in chronological order. Binge on.

Tuesday, July 2, 6:30-8:30pm at 1420 Cerrillos the Center for Progress and Justice.  Retake Our Democracy Organizing Meeting.  Join us to find out how you can get involved.  Hear about our plans to expand our statewide network and advocate for justice in NM. This is our monthly organizing meeting (first Tuesday of every month). We will discuss plans to advocate at coming Interim Hearings, update you on publishing and spreading the word about our 2019 Legislative Session Report Card,, and to see how you can become involved with one of our action teams:  Outreach and Organizing, Media and Marketing, Research, and an developing Climate Action Team.

At our last meeting, that team went around the room with each person describing their interests but there were 30 people and 30 ideas and so on Tuesday we will ask the Climate Action Team to consider taking on the role of watchdogs for a variety of state and regional commissions responsible for regulating and overseeing use of our land, water, air and natural resources. The group will work closely with the Research Team.

Whatever your issue related to climate change and the environment, there is a commission and a state department with a role in regulation and monitoring. You can be part of a team that stays abreast of emerging issues from the LANL’s’chromium plume, to plans for Holtec’s nuclear storage facility, to PNM’s plans to build a gas plant in the Four Corners, to efforts to frack in Chaco Canyon. If you can make it to our meeting, please RSVP by writing me at  It is a great group of folks. You will make new friends and run into old ones.

Demand that the DNC Get’s Serious About Climate Change and Host a Climate Change Debate:  Climate Change is NOT Just a Single Issue

Petition to Demand DNC Host a Climate Change Debate. On Tuesday, those of us on the national Sunrise Movement e-list, got an email from a 23-year old girl who was risking arrest with dozens of other young people from the Sunrise Movement who camped out at the DNC headquarters to demand a climate debate because our future depends on it. Donate Button with Credit Cards
The note below is from one of them.The protest continued into Wednesday, with activists camping out outside the DNC building overnight.  Several members of Congress came by to show their support, including Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Deb Haaland (yay), and Ro Khanna.  Bernie Sanders, Jay Inslee, and Julian Castro also stopped by bringing food.

My name is Lauren and I’m 23 years old. Right now as you read this, I’m sitting in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee. I’m one of more than 100 young people gathered here to tell the DNC — climate change is an emergency for our generation and it’s time you start acting like it by reversing your ban on any climate debate.

The DNC’s reasons for not holding a climate debate have felt sadly familiar: it would be “impractical,” this isn’t the way things have been done before, climate change is just ‘another issue.’ For our entire lives, the DNC and Democratic leaders have taken millions of dollars from fossil fuel billionaires and have failed to treat the climate crisis like the emergency that it is.

WhenTom Perez says we can’t have a climate debate because it’s “against the rules” and “impractical,” we can’t stand by and be silent. Our future is at stake and there’s no excuse our leaders could give that would justify failing to take action to protect us. From my perspective, holding one debate where the candidates have the chance to talk in-depth about their climate plans is the least the DNC could do. Share this petition so that the DNC knows that the nation is watching them.

These young adults put their bodies on the line, for now all they are asking you to do is to sign a petition. But Retake is also asking you to put in your calendar July 13 at 2pm as that is when the NM Youth Climate Action Coalition, an outgrowth of the Sunrise Movement, will ask you to join them in planning for a Sept 20 General Strike. Apparently our leaders are not getting Mother Earth’s message: “My resources are being depleted and despoiled. I can’t keep up much longer.”  This is not just an issue; this is the issue and we’d all best get on board. So, please sign the petition above today and join us on July 13 and September 20.

Time to Crank Up the Volume. Vigil Protesting NM Private Prison

 Vigil Protesting Private Prisons Friday July 12. Location & Time TBA. Vigils are being organized in Estancia where the Torrance County Detention Center is housed, in Albuquerque and I am sure in other parts of NM.  In Santa Fe the Democratic Party is organizing the event.  If you are looking for motivation, I’ve got two items:  Sally-Alice Thompson’s hunger strike and Kay Matthews moving post from La Jicarita.

On Tuesday, I received an email from another activist commenting upon Sally-Alice Thompson who has been on a hunger strike for the past week. Sally-Alice is 95 and has been an activist for decades. She has walked across the nation in protest of war and now she is protesting the private prisons in NM that are housing children and adult immigrants in a shameless manner. But on Tuesday she tamed her hunger strike saying, “After a full week of no food, today I decided to modify my fast, because I was becoming light-headed. Beginning with dinner this evening, I will eat two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. I will avoid lunch and snacks. This will allow me to feel hungry part of every day, in solidarity with the starving children, yet I’ll remain alive longer to continue the work. Please sign my petition:
She wants to continue to feel their hunger.  At 95. That is commitment. I want you to mark July 12 in your calendar and commit to joining Roxanne and I at the vigil.  When you ponder whether to commit, I want you to think of Sally-Alice and her hunger strike. And then I want you to call a few folks and get them to join you. If you are still mulling, consider this from Kay Matthews at La Jicarita.
This is a tale of two Americas. In a rational conversation that would be a strikingly reductionist statement, but considering the depth of the depravity we are experiencing, I’m going to go ahead and use a dialectical method to lambast the first America. This is where migrants from Central and South American arrive to ask for asylum and are put in either Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers where they take away their shoe laces, rosary beads, belts, shawls, and other personal belongings, put them in cold cages, feed them insufficiently heated burritos, and make them sleep on concrete floors. The other America is where the migrants are dropped off by CBP or ICE to shelters run by religious organizations and local governments where they are provided with warm food, showers, medical care, toys for the children, beds for the night, and help with bus and plane tickets to continue their journey to family members or sponsors all over the US who will care for them while they wait for asylum hearings.
Kay Matthews has been to Las Cruces and to the border several times in the past weeks and in her post published Tuesday, she painted a vivid picture of the two Americas: one of almost unimaginably shameless and cruel mistreatment of children and adults whose crime has been to flee terror in Central America, and walk 1400 miles in hopes of being able to just survive. Their welcome, being yanked from their parents and jailed in unimaginable conditions. I spoke with my son Jesse about this yesterday and his comment was:  “Every one of those kids will be traumatized for life. No matter what happens next.” Matthews also describes the heroic and sheroic efforts of people in Las Cruces, El Paso, Deming and elsewhere and offers a link to a recent and quite powerful Santa Fe New Mexican op-ed.  Click here to read Matthews’ invaluable article as it puts a very human face on an inhuman situation. This is another instance of when a very good writer meets a compelling story and conveys a very inhuman situation in very human terms.
I will be reporting more on the vigil, but just ask that for now, you start by recruiting friends to join Roxanne and I in protest of an absolutely shameless policy. If asylum seekers can walk 1400 miles to get here, we can devote part of an evening to protest our government’s ‘welcome.’.
In solidarity,
Paul & Roxanne














Categories: Climate Change, Agriculture, Land Use and Wildlife, Election, Political Reform & National Politics, Social & Racial Justice & Immigration Reform, Uncategorized

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4 replies

  1. This was not a debate. It was an audition.
    noun: debate; plural noun: debates
    a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.
    discussion, exchange of views, discourse, parley; More
    argument, dispute, wrangle, altercation, war of words;
    arguing, argumentation, wrangling, sparring, disputation, dissension, disagreement, controversy, contention, conflict, disharmony;
    negotiations, talks;
    dialogue, comment, interest;
    informalconfab, powwow, rap session;
    rarevelitation, contestation
    “I would welcome a debate on the reforms”
    an argument about a particular subject, especially one in which many people are involved.
    “the national debate on abortion”
    verb: debate; 3rd person present: debates; past tense: debated; past participle: debated; gerund or present participle: debating
    argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner.
    “the board debated his proposal”
    discuss, confer about, talk over, talk through, talk about, exchange views on, exchange views about, thrash out, argue, argue about, argue the pros and cons of, dispute, wrangle over, bandy words concerning, contend over, contest, controvert, moot; More
    informalkick around/about, bat around/about;
    “the board debated his proposal”
    consider a possible course of action in one’s mind before reaching a

  2. Hi Paul and Roxane,

    Several weeks back, you posted a brief but heartening part of a blog on the elections at the Jemez Co-op – Luis Torres was manager and Treasurer of the campaigns and he asked me to contact you to thank you for your blog support. As you may know, one reform candidate, Patrick Herrera did not succeed but Stanley Crawford did . The Jemez board is now split with a coin toss at the July annual meeting for the “board member at large” position. Luis is also now vice chair for the Rio Arriba County Democratic party. He asked me to share his email in the hopes of touching base with you in person after July 8. Again, thank you for keeping track of the Jemez Co-op issue.

  3. Warren was the clear winner the first night. Daily Koz illustrated a theme that was clear through both nights, The advertisements show the real agenda at MSNBC.

    Last night Kamala took down Biden. There is no doubt that he is not capable. This should have people questioning why he was brought out of mothballs. Bernie made a really important point, that none of this change can occur, until we take on the corporations, and build systemic change. Biden wants to “Fix” the ACA, but that ship has sailed, They allowed the corporations to undermine it. On the private insurance, a gotcha, it is clear now that keeping private insurance will only bring a two tiered health system, which is what we have now.

    One Nation a dark money funded conservative group, has come out attacking Universal Healthcare. BP ran several ads during the debate, about energy from trash, a kinder gentler oil company, that still has not cleaned up the Gulf.

    Bernie is right, the oppressive amount of money the same groups that are undermining the discussion and pitting people against each other. The MSNBC talking heads are describing Bernie as a “50’s era Socialist. yelling at people.” The paid media is falling all over each other attacking Bernie, and amplifying Biden, their favorite.

    I am sick of the talk about electric cars. Each and every one of them takes a half a ton of rare earth elements. They want to mine the Pecos, a huge multi national mining company, with unlimited funding. Yesterday a republican congressman tried to get rid of restriction on buying conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic Of the Congo . The same kind of powerful company that is killing indigenous people in Central America. There are correlations with DAPL, private mercenary armies, with help from Israeli security, protecting mining interests.

    We need a public transportation system that works, high speed trains can replace a of of air traffic, and keep a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. The mines and deforestation are impacting global warming, funding war lords, and criminals and undermining Democracy. On the local level cars account for so much road building, and even parking spaces, rendering public areas, unwalkable, and housing too expensive. The reliance on cars is destroying or neighborhoods, isolating people. The isolation is adding to the Epidemic of Despair in this country.

    I spoke with an old timer out in Las Vega NM, years ago. he told me that back in the day, they took a train to Albuquerque on Friday nights, after work. They did their shopping, had dinner and came home. It was enjoyable and stress free, now this trip is unthinkable, unless absolutely necessary. People had a lot more mobility back then, even low income people could travel to other cities or regions.

    I don’t think a lot of people are truly aware of what is at stake here. On the local level, there is too much complacency, while the media and propagandists are still attacking basic political discourse and discussion. The abject horror of that family at the border, has still not sunken in. The media has attacked our basic perceptions, with non stop propaganda. They made us all complicit. A court case right here in Santa Fe, another dead child, and it has already been framed as an individual issue, the bad mother. Nothing about the horrific set of circumstances that surround this death.

    They cut education, child care, and social services, which led to these circumstances. The charities made it easier to ignore these systemic problems, after all the local media amplified their effects, highlighting corporate giving. They turned horrific child deaths into opportunities to market their businesses. They gave people an easy out. Due to the over representation of charities, foundations, church groups, by local media outlets, it was easy to cut funding, to create corporate tax breaks. There is still silence on all of this, even though they seem to acknowledge that the children are not doing well.

    I don’t see people catching on! There needs to be a reckoning, before we can move forward.

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