We report on the insidious misinformation effort that will fuel the Trump campaign, a targeted social media effort designed to undermine factual reporting. Shocking. We also report on our best hope for the future: our youth.
Roundhouse Roundup. We continue to enjoy success, with all but one of our Priority Bills advancing. There are too many moving parts to update you in our posts, especially as we move into the last couple weeks of the session. But you can keep current by going to our 2020 Priority Bills page which updates the status of our 30+ bills throughout the day. And if you want to get Legislative Alerts when any of these bills is going to a committee, click the Get Legislative Alert button at the right of our home page. Just one of the many comments we receive daily about our alerts.
And we thank you for making this complex system of legislation comprehensible. “Cheryl HastingsDatil, NM
YUCCA & Drilling to Disaster
Wednesday, Feb 12, 5:30-8pm, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe. featuring Oil Change International, New Energy Economy’s legal team and Just Transition team including Doolíí Diné Collective, and Wild Earth Guardians. Together they will discuss Drilling to Disaster and how the Governor’s Climate Plan fails to address the realities described in the “Drilling to Disaster” report.
In 2019, Oil Change International released a report called “Drilling to Disaster” about the emissions impacts of the US fracking boom. We are now working with them on a campaign to expose the high level of emissions coming from the Permian and to work with us and our partners in NM to raise awareness about the ticking carbon bomb we have a responsibility to address.
This week “Drilling to Disaster” will release their first analysis – a comparison of the Governor’s Climate Plan with the reality. According to their research, when emissions from our state’s oil and gas reserves are included, New Mexico’s carbon footprint will be 10 times Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s target for in-state emissions by 2030. New Mexico has the goal of a 45% reduction in emissions from 2005 levels in 2030. However, end-use emissions from our oil and gas extraction is the annual equivalent of 123 coal plants. As YUCCA and Retake Our Democracy has been saying – New Mexico CANNOT meet our state’s commitments to global climate goals while exporting emissions growth outside of the state. .
Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) has been asking the Governor to declare a Climate Emergency and to take immediate steps to reduce our state’s dependence on oil and gas revenue through a just transition study and fund and other key policy initiatives (see YUCCA’s demands HERE).
YUCCA has been dismayed that the Climate Change Plan released by the Climate Change Task Force and Governor last year totally failed to acknowledge the urgency of the crisis and the scale and scope of the solutions needed. Methane regulation isn’t going to turn our emissions around when we are still drilling and fracking at unprecedented levels in the Permian.
We met with top administration officials to ask our questions last October — will the Climate Change Plan contemplate how to get our state to carbon neutrality? No. Will the Climate Change Plan contemplate how to wean ourselves off of oil and gas revenue dependence? No. Will the Climate Change Plan contemplate a ban on fracking? No.
It is clear that our state’s current political leaders are not facing the crisis and that we must continue to build power and pressure to demand meaningful action.
Students Show Up In Force for HB 173
Monday was one of the more inspiring days I’ve spent at the Roundhouse as about 75 Santa Fe youth jammed the House Appropriations and Finance Committee to support, HB 173 a bill which over the past four years they had researched and developed and then yesterday presented before one of the more intimidating committees, House Appropriations and Finance.
Introduced by Rep. Matthew McQueen, HB 173 is one of our Priority bills. If made law, it would have created a gas tax with 1/3 of the revenue generated paying for road repairs, 1/3 going for a renewable energy infrastructure fund and 1/3 funding a gas tax relief tax credit to mitigate the impact of the gas tax on low-income drivers.
The students waited patiently for over three hours to make their case and they made it beautifully. Tabatha Hirsch served as the expert witness and was so skilled and poised in her presentation, backing her argument persuasively with research, data, and facts supporting the importance of the bill. She even pointed out an error in the Financial Impact Report. When it came to hear public comment, 75 or more students lined up to do so and each one had a compelling statement. They came prepared.
Unfortunately, the deck was stacked against them. About 40 representatives from the cattle, agriculture and trucking industries spoke in opposition to the bill and the hearing was held before the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, a committee heavily weighted with Representatives from rural communities. In the end, the committee voted 14-1 to table the bill, ending any chance of its passing in this session. It wasn’t supposed to end this way, but my gut tells me these youth are not done with their advocacy. Even in defeat, watching these youth present their case was one of the highlights of the session.
Trump’s Frightening Misinformation Campaign Could Steal Election
A just published report from the Atlantic, “The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign Designed to Reelect the President,” outlined a carefully developed Trump strategy designed to disseminate misinformation in a systematic effort to undermine honest civic debate during the 2020 election. That statement likely doesn’t shock you, however, the depth of the misinformation campaign and the degree to which it is able to narrowly target their messages should alarm you. We have our work cut out for us. This blog has often noted how Fox-fed Trump supporters live with a separate set of “facts” and in a different reality. But the Atlantic makes clear, there is much more in play that Fox News.
To unearth what this campaign looks like to the targeted audience, McKay Coppins, the author of the piece, signed up for about a dozen Twitter, Facebook and blog sites that support the President so that he could see first hand the kind of misinformation promulgated by their campaign. And what he found is extraordinary. From the Atlantic commenting on the reporting on the impeachment hearing:
Thousands of micro-targeted ads had flooded the internet, portraying Trump as a heroic reformer cracking down on foreign corruption while Democrats plotted a coup. That this narrative bore little resemblance to reality seemed only to accelerate its spread. Right-wing websites amplified every claim. Pro-Trump forums teemed with conspiracy theories. An alternate information ecosystem was taking shape around the biggest news story in the country, and I wanted to see it from the inside.”“The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign Designed to Reelect the President,”
And while the above quote reflects upon an impeachment disinformation effort, this is but a small part of the overall campaign. McKay tracked his new “friends” on Facebook and through posts from Trump supporter blogs. He was astonished to see news reports, testimony or commentary on any issue he had just seen on television, twisted and edited and then disseminated through social media in a version that bore no relationship to what had actually transpired. And it wasn’t just one site, it was dozens.
As I swiped at my phone, a stream of pro-Trump propaganda filled the screen: “That’s right, the whistleblower’s own lawyer said, ‘The coup has started …’ ” Swipe. “Democrats are doing Putin’s bidding …” Swipe. “The only message these radical socialists and extremists will understand is a crushing …” Swipe. “Only one man can stop this chaos …” Swipe, swipe, swipe. ““The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign Designed to Reelect the President,”
What I was seeing was a strategy that has been deployed by illiberal political leaders around the world. Rather than shutting down dissenting voices, these leaders have learned to harness the democratizing power of social media for their own purposes—jamming the signals, sowing confusion. They no longer need to silence the dissident shouting in the streets; they can use a megaphone to drown him out. Scholars have a name for this: censorship through noise. ““The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign Designed to Reelect the President,”
While campaign spin has been employed since the US was formed, the nuanced way in which Trump deploys it is frightening. It isn’t as if they have a single message that is blasted to their supporters. Instead, they use algorithms to group supporters according to their hot buttons, what will trigger their anger? What are their issues? And then with this knowledge, language is tailored to precisely inflame those receiving the misinformation.
In conversations with political strategists and other experts, a dystopian picture of the general election comes into view—one shaped by coordinated bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-targeted fearmongering, and anonymous mass texting. Both parties will have these tools at their disposal. But in the hands of a president who lies constantly, who traffics in conspiracy theories, and who readily manipulates the levers of government for his own gain, their potential to wreak havoc is enormous.”“The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign Designed to Reelect the President,”
The article goes on to outline how Brad Parscale, a very unusual character who has worked his way up in the Trump campaign to now lead Death Star, a $1 billion disinformation campaign. Parscale has mastered manipulation of social media and we should be very frightened by what he will be doing over the next months to ensure that the Trump supporters have no end of twisted “facts” to fuel their support for his campaign. I highly recommend your clicking to read this very illuminating report.
Asphalt Planned for Upper Canyon Road! No That Would Never Happen, But Southside? Why Not?
This would not occur on Upper Canyon Road or near Las Companas, so where do you put it? Near a bunch of trailer parks in a low income neighborhoods. This is the definition of environmental racism and needs to be opposed. So what is being proposed? Our thanks to Earth Care for raising the red flag on this. What follows is from their e-blast.
There is an Asphalt Plant being proposed just west and south west of the Riverside, Cottonwood and Country Club Gardens trailer parks. It is off of Airport Rd and 599. It will directly impact all of the communities in the Airport Rd Corridor as well as the Village of Agua Fria with increased pollution from the plant as well as a huge increase in diesel truck traffic and pollution.
The rest of Santa Fe will also feel the impacts of increased pollution from the 24/7 production, transfer and transport of asphalt, a known source of numerous toxic substances that can severely impact health and lead to related illnesses and death, especially in the most vulnerable populations. These include children, the elderly and those with compromised health. This area of Santa Fe has the highest number and concentration of children (and schools) as well as individuals with compromised health which is directly related to poverty.
This area also has the highest number and concentration of Hispanos, Immigrants, Native Americans, and poor people residing there. That is the definition of Environmental Racism! Environmental racism is the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color. When poor people and people of color are forced to live near toxic and poisonous industries and the existing institutions and government regulations allow this is an injustice!
There is also the negative impact on home values, for both existing and proposed developments. This could keep housing developers from building in this area due to lower profit potential.
I am waiting information from Earth Care, as to the “action” needed. A recent community meeting may well force the state department of Energy & Natural Resources to hold a public hearing, so stay tuned. This ain’t over.
Paul & Roxanne