Legislative Session Begins; Excerpts from Chris Hedges’ View on the Election

Actions at the PRC and Roundhouse today; a call for a tribute to Rep. John Lewis, a living legend; excerpts from a Chris Hedges article written in January 2019. How did he see the future so clearly?

Please go to our Actions & Events page to see what’s happening today at the PRC and the Roundhouse. A big day with public comment on PNM’s terrible power replacement plan for San Juan (speaking points provided). YUCCA and XR actions at the Roundhouse from 10:30-3:30. Click here.

Today we will send a detailed Alert about the bills we are supporting, their status, and an action to contact the Governor and ask her to put our bills on the call. If you’re not subscribed to the Alerts, you really need to do so if you want details on 2020 legislation. Click the “Get Legislative Alerts” button on the right side of our home page to subscribe.

Retake Our Democracy, 2020 Legislative Session Planning, TODAY, Jan. 21, 6:30pm – 8:00pm, 1420 Cerrillos Rd. On opening day of the 2020 Legislative session we will present our priority bills and discuss how you can effectively advocate at the Roundhouse and from home. RSVP by emailing retakeresponse@gmail.com or on Facebook at this link.

Yesterday We Honored MLK, Jr. Today We Pay Tribute to Rep. John Lewis, MLK’s Colleague & Friend

Today, we honor another extraordinary human being, thankfully still alive, the honorable John Lewis, often called the conscience of the US Congress, as he faces yet another huge challenge — treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Lewis was MLK’s colleague and friend in so many civil rights efforts & accomplishments, a courageous leader of the Selma March, a freedom rider, and outspoken advocate for voting rights. He had an expansive view of justice, advocating ceaselessly for gay rights, social, environmental, and economic justice, gun violence prevention, and peace. And, by the way, he refused to attend DT’s inauguration. Lewis has been there for justice for five decades and now he needs support from us, to whom he has given so much.

At a local NAACP event yesterday to honor MLK, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan was asked what the NM community might do. He told the audience that Lewis is reading all the letters he is receiving & they are boosting his spirits.

So please consider sending Congressman Lewis a card or a brief note, offering prayers, blessings, wishes, appreciation for all that he has done for this country. Please send them to Ben Ray’s office c/o Sonya Lopez@ 1011 Calle Lorca, Ste. A, Santa Fe 87505. Ben Ray will get them directly to Lewis’ team. The time to honor him, to surround him with blessings & love, is now, while he is still with us.

Chris Hedges’ View on 2020 Election, Published in January 2019 — The Man Is Clairvoyant

Chris Hedges publishes a weekly post on Truthdig, but he took this week off and Truthdig re-published Hedges’ piece from Jan 19, 2019, focused on beginning the 2019-2020 election marathon. It is stunning how precisely he predicted how the year would unfold, the voices that would be raised, the voices that will be suppressed, who will control the tone and scope of public discourse, and what next year may bring. He began with this:

To take power in 2021 in lieu of any real policy changes, the Democratic Party is banking on the deep animus toward President Trump. It has no intention of instituting genuine populist programs, rebuilding unions, funding universal health care, providing free college tuition, or curbing the criminal activities of the corporations and the big banks. The war machine will continue to wage endless war and consume half of all discretionary spending. The vaunted new populist members of Congress will be no more than window dressing, trotted out like Sanders to trick voters into thinking the Democratic Party is capable of reform. Most voters, for this reason, are “voting out of loathing, against enemies and against the system in general, not really for anybody,” as journalist Matt Taibbi points out.

“A Circus Then, A Circus Now” by Chris Hedges

With Warren and Sanders on the stage in the debates, there actually has been some substantive discussion of progressive policy and legislation, but the mainstream media — from PBS, CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times, and the Post — all follow those discussions with commentary questioning the pragmatism of their “extreme left” programs and policies.

Hedges zeroes in on something Retake has stressed for three years: Trump is the logical result of the Democratic Party essentially abandoning low-income communities. Communities of color largely continue to support the Democratic Party, albeit with less enthusiasm, but low-income, struggling white communities turned their anger on the Democrats who long ago abandoned commitments to the poor and to working families.

Working men and women especially despise the slick-talking politicians—including the Clintons and Barack Obama—and the “experts” and well-groomed pundits on their screens who sold them the con that deindustrialization, deregulation, austerity, bailing out the banks, nearly two decades of constant war, the exporting of jobs overseas, tax cuts for the rich, and the impoverishment of the working class were forms of progress. Trump hangs on to the support of white working Americans because he expresses through his adolescent insults and dynamiting of political norms the legitimate hatred they feel toward the well-heeled, college-educated ruling elites who sold them out. “

“A Circus Then, A Circus Now” by Chris Hedges

Hedges then begins to focus on the heart of the problem. Neither party, Republican or Democratic, is willing to state clearly what is actually happening in America, what is depriving working people of any kind of relief, what is enabling the 1% and the corporatocracy to continue to aggregate more and more wealth: a corporate oligarchy that funds both the GOP and the Democratic Party and serves their corporate funders far more faithfully than they serve us. These politicians present a vision of America as being just a vote away from justice — just vote for us and the sun will rise to a beautiful future. Except that their votes, the ones they will take in Congress, are already purchased, despite their campaign promises. The rosy sunrise is for their corporate allies, while our dreams sunset.

Politicians must stick to the script. They have well-defined roles. They express a suffocating, reality-defying positivism about the future of America. They are steadfast in their obsequious praise of the nation’s “heroes” in the military and law enforcement. They are silent about the crimes of empire. They ignore the plight of the poor; indeed the word “poor” is banished from their vocabulary. They pretend we do not live in a corporate oligarchy, although they acknowledge amorphous attacks on the middle class and promise to stem the assault.”

“A Circus Then, A Circus Now” by Chris Hedges

Hedges describes how those with the temerity to raise their voice, pull back the curtain, and expose the Wizard are marginalized, their candidacies undermined with questions and skepticism. Day after day, despite polls showing Sanders gaining momentum, one editorial after another describes nominating Sanders as suicide. If he were to drop out, the focus would shift to Warren. Even the most “progressive” of the media are purchased, and so we find CNN as guilty as Fox at painting a picture of how a Sanders nomination would give Trump another four years….again, despite polls showing Bernie would do quite well against Trump.

Those who do not play this game, like Ralph Nader, or who like Sanders play it begrudgingly—Sanders refused corporate money, has called for reforming “the bloated and wasteful $716 billion annual Pentagon budget,” and addresses issues of class—are ridiculed and marginalized by a monochromatic corporate media that banishes qualification, ambiguity, nuance and genuine dialogue.”

“A Circus Then, A Circus Now” by Chris Hedges

This is the heart of the problem: with the media controlling the breadth of possible solutions, Americans are never offered a platform of policy options that are supported by the majority of Americans, that would address the needs of the under-served, and where there is solid evidence that those policies have worked elsewhere and could work here. But we only hear about how naive, untested and “socialist” these policies are.

The corporations that own the media and the two major political parties have a vested interest in making sure there is never serious public discussion about issues ranging from our disastrous for-profit health care system and endless wars, to the virtual tax boycott that large corporations have legalized. The corporate system is presented as sacrosanct and the ruling ideology of neoliberalism as natural law. The corporations are funding the show. They get what they pay for. “

And so, the powers that be make sure those who are most oppressed, low-income people of color and low-income whites, fight each other over abortion and gun violence policies, policies the corporatocracy could care less about. But by ensuring these policies are front and center, the 1% ensures we are divided and unable to focus on how much we have in common and how well we would be served by a progressive agenda.

“The people who sponsor election campaigns, who pay hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the candidates’ charter jets and TV ads and 25-piece marching banks, those people have concrete needs. They want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, anti-trust waivers and dozens of other things.”

They mostly don’t care about abortion or gay marriage or school vouchers or any of the social issues the rest of us spend our time arguing about. It’s about the money for them, and as far as that goes, the CEO class has had a brilliantly winning electoral strategy for a generation. They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population. The Republicans give them everything that they want, while the Democrats only give them mostly everything. They get everything from the Republicans because you don’t have to make a single concession to a Republican voter. All you have to do to secure a Republican vote is show lots of pictures of gay people kissing or black kids with their pants down or Mexican babies at an emergency room.”

Journalist Matt Taibi, Quoted in “A Circus Then, A Circus Now” by Chris Hedges

And so our public discourse, especially as projected in the mainstream media, is dominated by misleading, provocative stereotypes and images. The language is reduced to platitudes and, with Trump, to pre-adolescent insults. That’s our election process in America. If the 2020s are to be the decade of tranformation, we have much to do. So polish off that cup of coffee and meet us at the PRC.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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5 replies

  1. As usual, a honest and complete assessment by Retake Our Democracy! I recall sharing that article by Hedges last year and putting excerpts on the Network FB and DNC sites. Yet, few actually care. It appears that those truly caring Democrats of the Obama coalition just cannot make the step across the endless swamp of brain washing that has been in place for the last 40 years. Yet, to suggest elitism to them, is like suggesting they should vote for a Socialist!

    We are stuck and it was made clear by the preposterous NYT endorsements of Warren and Klobuchar which was at best cynical and and at best and uncaring what those who actually read and think at worst. There was a complete acquiescence to the “Alternative Facts” agenda in their completely opposite choices! That illustrated to me anyway, that the election is officially over and that unless there is some alien invasion or worse, Trump will certainly win.

    We are in big trouble and not only Nationally, but even here in our cocooned and protected NM as we see our Governor rapidly doing her Corporate uniform and our Legislation once again run by inept politicians. It seems it will never end, despite all the good intentions of the many people like Paul and Roxanne. Yet, that said, we have no alternative but to continue to try and awaken the electorate if not for today, then for tomorrow! It is a job worth doing!

    I just wanted to add that there is one way to throw a fear of God type moment into these Democrats, and that is for Sanders to form a third Party, the Progressive Party! Certainly that will allow the Republicans to win, although I feel they will win if they only have to oppose a non Progressive agenda, but this will force a change of direction which if we combine the acceptability of both Sanders and Warren, will win any National election! Wish you a Happy New Year!

  2. We are facing the actual end of Democracy, and all we see locally is the same old nonsense!

  3. Thank you for the clear analysis! It’s time to clear money out of politics.
    How did the meeting go tonight?

    • Meeting was tremendous. It wasn’t one of those meetings where we sought a big turnout. It was for worker bees and they showed up.

  4. I’d like to post here that we agree with everything said in this post and many Retake posts. The problem is that writing and talking about these issues endlessly doesn’t change anything. And we must change things or we know where that is going – certain extinction of life on earth.

    Closer to home, I wanted to post that Tierra Contenta is facing the potential expansion of an asphalt plant very close to our homes. The EPA lists asphalt plants as very dangerous to human health. There’s an article about it in the SF New Mexican today.

    Even if you don’t live in Tierra Contenta, Santa Fe is small enough that every area of town could be affected in terms of air quality, depending on which way the wind is blowing. The company, Associated Asphalt and Materials, LLC has applied for an Air Quality permit through the NM Environment Department and they are going to submit an application to Santa Fe County for the expansion of the plant, which is now a smaller plant near the corner of Airport Road and 599.

    The zoning for for industrial properties. But we are thinking that the zoning predates the building of all of the homes in Tierra Contenta and surrounding areas. We’re going to try to convince the city and county to persuade the plant operators to move the asphalt plant to a location that is not near densely populated residential areas.


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