Valerie Plame, PRC, MLK, Women in Poverty, & the Roundhouse

Today, we offer a look back at some important posts, one on women in poverty that too many of you missed. We also provide excerpts and discussion of Valerie Plame who was critiqued strongly in the NYT.

Roundhouse Preview. Before we dig in, I’d encourage you to come to the Roundhouse on Monday and Tuesday. Monday is Immigrant and Workers Day of Action and Tuesday is Environment Day. What’s more, on Tuesday the recreational marijuana legalization and Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order bills will be heard at 1:30 or 2:30pm in the Senate Chambers, whenever the morningi Senate Floor Session ends. It will be jammed, so you will want to arrive early. To review the growing list of bills Retake is supporting, click here. You will find links to bill summaries and updates on how each bill is doing in committee hearings.

Valerie Plame Probably Was NOT Happy with the NY Times Yesterday

Since many don’t have access to the NYT on line, I am going to offer a generous dose of excerpts. The bottom line is that the Times critiques Plame on several fronts:

  • Misrepresenting the facts in many contexts;
  • Not having a very good grasp on NM, being relatively new to the state;
  • Having 70% of her campaign funds coming from out of state;

The Times begins with this to set the context.

Some voters in the district, which is considered the cradle of New Mexico’s centuries-old Hispanic culture and is home to 15 Pueblo tribes, the Navajo Nation and the Jicarilla Apache Nation, are expressing skepticism over her bid as an Anglo newcomer who moved to the state in 2007. Hispanics account for 41 percent of the district’s population, while Native Americans make up 19 percent.”

“Ousted from Washington, Ex-Spy Valerie Plame Asks Voters to Send Her Back”

Strike one.

One of the biggest issues in the campaign got its start in 2017, when Ms. Plame raised an uproar for a tweet linking to an article, “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars,” in a publication that has been criticized for publishing anti-Semitic material. Ms. Plame continues to get questions about her shifting response to the controversy. “

“Ousted from Washington, Ex-Spy Valerie Plame Asks Voters to Send Her Back”

Strike two. And her feeble explanation for her tweet is that she hadn’t read the article closely. Well, I’d say that even reading the title of the article might have clued you that you’d best read carefully. She also offered that “I am of Jewish descent,” which also has backfired, as noted by a member of the Santa Fe temple Plame claimed to be part of.

“I’m concerned about her truthfulness,” said Daniel Yohalem, 71, a civil rights lawyer who has served on Temple Beth Shalom’s board. “At first she deemed the tweet wasn’t a problem, then she adopted a series of stories about what happened.

Lately she’s discovered an ancestor who was Jewish,” Mr. Yohalem said. “I’m not questioning her spiritual journey, but I am concerned about her truthfulness and qualifications. The mere fact that she’s a former C.I.A. agent doesn’t qualify her to represent this district.”

“Ousted from Washington, Ex-Spy Valerie Plame Asks Voters to Send Her Back”

Strike three. Plame admits that her newfound interest in Judaism arose after the furor over her tweet.

Sam Pick, a former Santa Fe mayor who is from one of the city’s pioneering Jewish families, said Ms. Plame was trying to deflect attention from her original tweet by highlighting her Jewish ancestry. “An apology is not enough, especially since Plame has a history of sharing articles from the same source,” Mr. Pick said. “

“Ousted from Washington, Ex-Spy Valerie Plame Asks Voters to Send Her Back”

Strike Four. Apparently she has cited the same source before.

Ms. Plame said she spoke Greek, German and French, linguistic skills she honed in the C.I.A. But after living in New Mexico for more than a decade, some voters complain that she still cannot speak much Spanish, nor pronounce Spanish surnames and place names the way many longtime New Mexicans do, whether they are Hispanic, Anglo or Native. “

“Ousted from Washington, Ex-Spy Valerie Plame Asks Voters to Send Her Back”

Strike Five. In New Mexico, people are extremely sensitive to interlopers, new to NM, who do not understand the culture or the state. Underscoring her outsider status is that 70% of her campaign contributions come from out of state while only 27% of Teresa Leger Fernandez’s contributions have come from out of state.

“Valerie is a gracious person who asked for my support,” said Roger Montoya, 58, a community leader and co-founder of a youth center in Española, north of Santa Fe. “But we have centuries and centuries of lineage and culture that have informed us in a unique way.

Mr. Montoya said he was supporting Ms. Leger Fernandez in the race, adding of Ms. Plame: “She’s obviously an outsider who doesn’t know our culture firsthand.”

“Ousted from Washington, Ex-Spy Valerie Plame Asks Voters to Send Her Back”

Strike Six. So Plame has now struck out twice. Let’s hope she does so again in June, as Northern New Mexico has a better option.

“It’s not just that I’m from the community and speak fluent New Mexican Spanish,” said Ms. Leger Fernandez, who has specialized in representing Native American tribes. “I’ve been involved for decades in issues of importance to the district.”

“Ousted from Washington, Ex-Spy Valerie Plame Asks Voters to Send Her Back”

As a result of those decades of work in the community, Leger de Fernandez has been endorsed by: Emily’s List; Sierra Club; the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; the Latino Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to elect progressive Hispanic leaders; and Native American tribes, including Taos Pueblo and the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

Game over. Click here to read the full NYT article.

Last Week’s Posts Reprised

We like to offer you a second chance at posts you may have missed last week. I usually also identify one or two posts that especially warrant your attention and today that would be the Thursday post that focused on women living in poverty worldwide. It is very worth your time and attention. If you have time, the Tuesday post featured Chris Hedges (yes, again). He was on vacation for a week, but Truthdig offered up his post from a year ago where he gave his thoughts on how the 2019-2020 election would go. He nailed it.

Preview of the 2020 Legislative Session & A Report From Chris Hedges

January 21, a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Do we need him now, or what? The post offered a brief tribute to MLK, Jr. a preview of what to expect at the opening of the Legislative Session, including direct actions at the PRC and Roundhouse. In relation to the PRC, the post included information on New Energy Economy’s position in relation to what the PRC should do in response to PNM’s almost disrespectful proposal for replacement power. The post also included a call for a tribute to Rep. John Lewis, a living legend and excerpts from a Chris Hedges article written in January 2019. How did he see the future so clearly? It is worth a click to just read Hedges. What a tremendous writer and important voice for justice. Click here to read the full post.

Shocking Report on Women Living in Poverty

Thursday, Jan 23. This was an under-read post, somehow slipping past the cracks for many people. While we reported on what transpired at the first day of the session and the tremendous YUCCA direct action, the focus of 90% of the post was on an Oxfam report on worldwide poverty with a strong focus on women living in poverty and the extraordinary amount of unpaid work done by women, most of it very important work caring for children and aging parents. If you missed this, please take a moment to check it out. It is not long. Click here to read this important post.

Round House Roundup: Looking Back at Last Week & Forward to Next Week

Saturday, January 25. The post includes news on Lyla June’s hunger strike, last week’s Roundhouse highlights & what’s coming up, a report on a serious Bernie surge in Iowa & across the nation, and bad news for Trump, as cracks in his support surface. Especially for those interested in the Roundhouse session, this is a good post to read. And each weekend, we will post a Roundhouse Roundup. Click here to read the full post.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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5 replies

  1. Valerie Plame definitely has some shortcomings–as ALL candidates do–people make errors and misjudgments. That said, to “diss” her candidacy because she is somehow a “newcomer” is horrific in my opinion. I moved to Santa Fe in 2012 and are YOU GUYS really going to tell me that I should “get lost” as I have ZERO history here. I pay taxes, I vote, and I AM involved in State and Local government programs. Should I STOP volunteering teaching second grade readers? Should I STOP volunteering at the Food Depot? Should I STOP purchasing at local stores to support MY community? Really this is nothing but insulting. Perhaps I should STOP all of the above until some snotty “old-timer” decides that I have met some time limit to be a REAL citizen. Goodness…no wonder this country cannot get its act together.

    • Thank you for the comment. I expected at least a few reactions like yours and as someone who also moved here in 2012, I have certainly not been bashful about getting involved, as it seems so have you. But we are not running for Congress. What’s more, that was but one of the issues we identified: 70% of funds from out of state and the whole issue not just about tweeting favorably about an article with antisemitic comments and then dissembling in her equivocating efforts to sanitize those comments. I think any “newcomer” to NM really needs to go out of their way to immerse themselves in the community and culture. Plame has not really done that.

  2. Plame gained national attention for her exposure, by Bush’s Rat*uckers, after her husband questioned Bush’s lies about WMDS. Her services to this country in Iraq, has not translated here. She has been the darling of the social scene in Santa Fe. No doubt the well heeled, but misinformed cocktail party, set told her she should run. Her candidacy shows how oblivious and out of touch, the more comfortable Santa Feans are. Her Agenda hits all of the topical notes, popular here in Santa Fe, but seriously, and dangerously ill informed.

    Just like our governor, she is using “opioids” in her campaign, since the topic is scary and riveting. She repeats the same corporate media talking points, which have made the problem worse. This area has had problems for decades, and the so called Drug War, made the problem generational. She seeks consensus with the silly, by declaring that the problem is “Systemic” yet does not mention the poverty, despair and dysfunction that accelerated it all. She then repeats the cannabis marketing talking points about “Cannabis use for opioid treatment.” These are popular talking points here in Santa Fe, meant to sidestep the generational poverty, economic despair, and no hope for a future. She seems to be opening up for a corporate sponsor!

    That incident with the antisemitic article, shows her poor judgement. Some Nazis would have thought twice before sharing that.

    Hey she was in a movie, she has name recognition, that is what helped Trump!

  3. As someone who moved here in 1981, I am still considered an outsider. Learning humility is an asset. Learning to listen is an asset. Like Paul said get involved, absolutely! But pay attention and learn from those who have lived here for thousands of years. Plame has lied on numerous occasions (not just the ones mentioned here). Teresa Leger Fernandez is honest, clear, fully present and is an attorney with experience and integrity, who stands up for our water, our land and our people.

  4. We definitely do not support Ms. Plame’s effort to win Ben Ray Lujan’s seat in Congress. Our support is solidly behind Teresa Leger Fernandez, as well. At the same time, I don’t think it helps to divide people along lines of whether they have been here for centuries or millennia, or are relative newcomers. I agree that being a former CIA agent is not a calling card for winning a seat in the US House. But I also disagree with Roger Montoya that it’s an US versus THEM issue. Of greater concern is that she’s raising money from outside of NM, which is never good for any state. And the issue of whether she is Jewish or not does not concern me as much as her attempt to backtrack from earlier comments that she now regrets. It’s much to better to own that she made a mistake, in my opinion.

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