Today we offer a 30 minute 1958 video interview with Aldous Huxley. Incredible how predicts a Trump, the role of television, the role of propaganda and the possibility of stumbling to fascism. Also, I acknowledge a small error in the Report Care & encourage you to reexamine yesterday’s post about a schism among environmental groups. Readers offered very thoughtful comments.
Report Card Update: We’ve gotten a tremendous response to the Report Card and we are now encouraging all of you to write letters to the editor to encourage others to read the report. Click here for contact info and word/submission guidelines for the ten largest daily newspapers in NM. One of them is certainly near you. The Report Card has the potential to expand our base, inform more people and increase our impact in future legislative sessions and primary and general elections. We provide sample letters to get you thinking, but the best letter to the editor is one that just expresses your reaction to the Report Card and something you found in it that helped you understand how things work. Let’s Do It.
Report Card Correction. I got a call from House Speaker Egolf indicating that he had two concerns with the Report Card. First, he felt we had overstated the degree to which Rep. Lundstrom and Sen. Smith kill bills in their committees. The Report Card provides a chart that depicts how many bills never received a hearing in different committees, with Senate Finance Committee (chaired by Sen. JA Smith) and House Appropriations and Finance (Chaired by Rep. Patty Lundstrom) having far and away the most “kills.” Speaker Egolf claimed that a goodly many of those bills were actually bills that were tabled because deals had been made with the bill sponsor to insert funding for the bill into either the Senate or House junior budget bill, essentially ensuring its being funded and not requiring it to jump through all the committee hoops.
After the call, I recalled a conversation with Bill Jordan from NM Voices for Children immediately after a House Committee where a Voices tax credit bill had been abruptly tabled. He assured me then that the bill would not be un-tabled, but that it would be incorporated into the House Appropriations bill, HB 6. And it was. So I wrote to Bill Saturday to confirm that Speaker Egolf was correct in his concern and Bill affirmed that the Speaker was correct. So we are reworking a few passages referring to this chart. Egolf’s point leads to a different concern, however: It is impossible to distinguish committee performance in hearing bills as there is no way to distinguish from bills tabled to kill and those tabled because they’ve been taken care of and will be funded. What’s more, by tabling a bill and slipping it into the appropriations, that bill doesn’t receive public scrutiny. In most cases, I am guessing that this strategy is used to avoid clogging committees with bills that are sure to ultimately pass, but I am only guessing. I can’t help but wonder if this strategy is also used to ensure passage of bills that might encounter significant opposition.
Speaker Egolf also had a concern about one sentence where we indicated that three Democratic House Reps indicated that he had told caucus members that the amount that each raises and gives to the House Campaign Committee would be a criteria for selection for a chair or vice-chair position. He asserted that checking the fundraising levels of the House chairs would reveal that few were among the larger fundraisers. We are going to fact check that and if a review affirms Speaker Egolf’s claim, we will make an adjustment to the report. Anyone interested in doing some research?
Environmental Organization Schism Redux. Yesterday’s post generated a good many excellent comments. If you missed the post, it isn’t terribly long and below the post are about ten very good comments from readers. Very worth you review. Even if you read the article, click here to get the post and then scroll to the end to view the comments….and feel free to add your voice. Reader comments are actually becoming an important feature to the blog offering a more diverse set of voices. I have only not approved one or two comments in the past 2 1/2 years, so it is really an unmediated forum. Chime in.
Skilled Facebook Person Needed. We do a terrible job of using our FB page to generate conversation and build awareness. It could easily be a venue where 1-2 articles a day are posted with brief descriptions or where links are provided about interesting lectures, books, video, etc. But we need someone who wants to take responsibility for it. Interested? Please write to me at Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.
Aldous Huxley 1958 & Looking Forward. If You Wonder What He Would Think of Trump, He Sort of Tells You
Pretty remarkable what this man saw as our future and how prescient he has proven to be. While he doesn’t use “fake news” as the terminology, he describes precisely what occurs in political discourse in the US, he describes clearly how the media could be used to mislead the public and he gets at the ways in which despotic politicians can prey on the emotions and vulnerability of people. Very worthwhile Check out in the beginning with Mike Wallace holding a cigarette and smoking during the interview.
Paul & Roxanne