Weekend Reading & Viewing: Democracy in Tatters In Israel and the US

What’s involved in impeachment inquiry and whistleblower testimony and if Israelis election is confusing, a great, clear article on the implications for Palestine. Plus video excerpts and the full House Intelligence Hearing.

Today, after two brief announcements, we present excerpts from a great article on the 8 key things that are just wrong about the infamous Trump call to the Ukrainian President. We follow that with two videos, one of the full House Intelligence hearing (yes all 3 hours for those who are gluttons for punishment. We also provide the 5 minute question by Rep. Maloney which does a great job of capturing the gist of the situation.

We then present an issue Retake really doesn’t focus upon enough: Palestine. Today, we present an excellent article that captures the implications for Palestine of the current Israelis election stalemate.

Finally, at the very end of the blog, we present information about our very important panel discussion Tuesday, Oct 1 from 6:30-8:30 with the panel focusing on the need for a Just Transition and for legislation authorizing Community Solar. We will have Mariel Nanasi, from New Energy Economy, plus two activists, one from Picuris Pueblo and one from the Navajo Nation, along with two state legislators involved in pressing for climate related legislation. Check it out and please RSVP that you are coming with 3 friends 😉

In brief,

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturdays, 8:30 am – 9 am.   This Saturday, September 28, I will be interviewing long time ally, co-director of EarthCare, and candidate for Santa Fe Community College board of trustees.  Aside from finding out about his views on SFCC, it is always interesting to speak with Miguel as he is a most experienced and astute activist.  Great sense of humor, too. We recorded the show yesterday and it is a tremendous show. I learned a great deal about how SFCC could become so much more of an integral part of our community. You’ll want to listen in. The show ran almost an hour, so only the first 30 minutes will be shared today live at KSFR, but the podcast with the full interview will be available Monday at KSFR: Programs Menu: Podcasts: Retake. This post will update you on ways you can support Miguel’s campaign.  

EarthCare and the Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA), 12:30-2:30 pm, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd. Santa Fe. YUCCA is the group of youth activists who organized and led the Climate Strike last week in Santa Fe who are continuing to plan further actions. They were going to have an action yesterday, but postponed it as the action was slated for the Roundhouse and there was a funeral for the late Senator Cisneros. But today, they are holding a planning meeting where you can find out more about future actions to advocate for statewide action by our Governor and legislature, action that is appropriate to the crisis we face. The first part of the meeting will be devoted to a presentation on the Greater Chaco Canyon Fracking Tour that Roxanne and I took last week. Roxanne and I have developed a presentation with tons of photos and some shocking statistics. We’ll be joined by activist John McCleod in describing the tour and the degree to which the community surrounding Chaco Canyon has become a Sacrifice Zone. EarthCare and Yucca are also planning a press conference for Monday at the Roundhouse. Find out more, today.

A Trump Appetizer

As an appetizer to today’s Trump report: Trump has suggested that the Whistleblower should be charged as a spy and should be executed. There is now emerging evidence that the White House restricted access to records of sensitive calls to Putin nd the Saudi royal family. The “off the deep end” headline below may actually be understated.

“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information, because that’s close to a spy,” Trump said. “You know what we used to do in the old days, when we were smart, with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

Treason is a federal offense punishable by death. Lord help us.

Trump Off the Deep End

First we provide excerpts from a NY Times article that lays out the eight key elements of the Trump-Ukrainian President phone call. Since some can’t access the NY Times online, we provide generous excerpts, but to get the full article click here.

The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call. 

In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room. 

Starting in mid-May, I heard from multiple U.S. officials that they were deeply concerned by what they viewed as Mr. Giuliani’s circumvention of national security decisionmaking processes to engage with Ukrainian officials and relay messages back and forth between Kyiv and the President. These officials also told me: that State Department officials, including Ambassadors Volker and Sondland, had spoken with Mr. Giuliani in an attempt to “contain the damage” to U.S. national security; …

In several public comments, Mr. Lutsenko also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters. The allegations by Mr. Lutsenko came on the eve of the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on 31 March. By that time, Mr. Lutsenko’s political patron, President Poroshenko, was trailing Mr. Zelenskyy in the polls and appeared likely to be defeated. Mr. Zelenskyy had made known his desire to replace Mr. Lutsenko as Prosecutor General. On 21 April, Mr. Poroshenko lost the runoff to Mr. Zelenskyy by a landslide.

In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.

The Complainant’s identity is known to me. As allowed by law, however, the Complainant has requested that the ICIG not disclose the Complainant’s identity at this time. For your information, the Complainant has retained an attorney, identified the attorney to the ICIG, and requested that the attorney be the Complainant’s point of contact in subsequent communications with the congressional intelligence committees on this matter.

The Complainant’s Letter acknowledges that the Complainant was not a direct witness to the President’s telephone call with the Ukrainian President on July 25, 2019. Other information obtained during the ICIG’s preliminary review, however, supports the Complainant’s allegation that, among other things, during the call the President “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid.” Further, although the ICIG’s preliminary review identified some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate, such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern “appears credible,” particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review.

Maloney Looks Gleeful as He Prepares to Launch on a Most Revealing Line of Questioning

Gantz or Netanyanu? Pick Your Poison Palestine

CounterPunch had an excellent article outlining the two most likely resolutions of the current election stalemate in Israel. Option number one, Benjamin Netanyanu, the despotic leader who has been overseeing the past thirteen years of oppression of Palestine, or Benny Gantz, former Army Chief of Staff who recently said that he like to send “parts of Gaza back to the Stone Age”. Neither leader has a humanitarian cell in his body and both candidates seem hellbent to prove who would be more hostile to Palestine, leading CounterPunch to opine:

Once upon a time, outright discussion of annexing large parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories were relegated to the margins of Israel’s political discourse. This is no longer the case. The call for annexing major illegal settlement blocs, along with the Jordan Valley, is now a common demand made by all of Israel’s main political parties, including Gantz’s own. “

Click here to find out more about the implications for Palestine of the recent Israelis election, currently locked in stalemate with only two terrible options. The article also does a good job of outlining the various other parties involved in the effort to form a new government.

Tuesday, October 1, 6:30-8:30pm at 1420 Cerrillos the Center for Progress and Justice: A Panel Discussion on Democratizing Our Energy.  Come learn about the transformative benefits of Local Choice Energy and Community Solar and how they are essential to a just transition in New Mexico. This is an opportunity to become better informed about a clean energy transition in New Mexico and to turn your knowledge into effective advocacy at the local and state level.

Please RSVP by email to retakeresponse@gmail.com, or on Facebook — click “Going” at this link. Confirmed panel members include: 

  • Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy;
  • Rep. Abbas Akhil, D-Dist 20, a retired renewable energy scientist;
  • Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-District 13, sponsor of the Community Solar Act;
  • Les Rubin, Finance Director, Pueblo of Picuris, where a 1 Megawatt solar array project was completed in 2018;
  • Mario Atencio, Legislative District Assistant, Navajo Nation, and Adjunct Professor, UNM Native American Studies.

The discussion will begin with Atencio and Rubin framing the discussion, with Atencio outlining how the extraction industry is destroying his Navajo community in the greater Chaco Canyon area (click here if you missed yesterday’s important post). Rubin will follow with a description of how the creation of a modest sized solar array has transformed the Picuris Pueblo community. A study in contrasts.

With this contrast as the context, panelists will discuss how Community Solar, Local Choice Energy and legislation for a study for how to make a just transition can together advance climate justice, followed by a Q & A session with the audience. Join us to find out more about the possibilities to achieve climate justice in NM and turn your knowledge into effective advocacy at the local and state level.

We hope to live-stream this event to Facebook and to have the video available to watch at any time after. We have a new piece of audio equipment scheduled to arrive this week that should noticeably improve the video/ streaming sound quality. To help us accommodate all who want to attend in person, PLEASE RSVP by clicking “Going” on this Facebook event page, or by emailing retakeresponse@gmail.com by Mon., Sept. 30. Thank you!

In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne

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