In this post, we offered a host of Actions & Opportunities that are still in play. We also offered “In Brief” links to two articles on how we should pay reparations to African Americans and one on a Bernie Sanders’ outrage over a Congressional Budget Office report indicating that we are robbed of almost $400B a year due to the 1% failing to pay taxes that are due. Together those three articles echo the theme of Thursday’s post.
Roxanne sent me a post by Seth Abramson on Twitter the other day. He posted a very well-written prediction that is, tragically, likely to transpire.Today, we present his canary in the coal mine call for sane action. But before we explore Abramson’s post, a few brief comments.
In the NM June primary, many teams formed by Indivisible chapters, Nasty Women and others played key roles in the primary, making calls, raising funds, and sending letters. We need to multiply the number of small teams operating throughout the state many, many times over: It is that important.
Throughout the year, the Retake blog, the radio show, the alerts and the Zoominars are designed to engage and educate and hopefully motivate you. Now it is time to turn that motivation into action. In dialog with Marjorie Luckey of Taos United, I am told that Taos has a team forming that is aching to get started. I know there are other teams, experienced from the primary that are ready to pivot to the general election and hopefully there are many other individuals who may not be part of teams, but are eager to either form one or join one.
Retake wants to help teams develop all throughout the state. Over the years we have formed relationships with small groups of progressive advocates in Dixon, Farmington, Las Vegas, Taos, Silver City, Las Cruces, TorC, Wheeler Park, Valencia County, Corrales, and of course, in Santa Fe and ABQ. It is time for all of these groups to begin forming teams among their friends and to grow those teams. If you are part of a team or are interested in forming one, let Retake know by writing to us at RetakeResponse@gmail.com.
We’ve been in dialog with our allies and other election operatives for the past two weeks and next week we will publish a fully updated Toolkit for teams. It will include specific priority races in NM identified through those conversations, races where 100 votes can decide the race (Remember Abbas Akhil? 80 votes made the difference). The Toolkit will also include info on swing states and key senate races. Priorities will change over the next four months, based on polls, fundraising results and numbers of volunteers working on each race and Retake will funnel information so that teams can shift their focus to meet the demands of the overall campaign.
The Toolkit will also include ways you can work with your teams remotely via Zoom (it is free for 40 minute zoom meetings). You really don’t need a guide to form and launch a Zoom group, but we will provide a step by step guide to launching your own Zoom just to make it easy. But if you can click 2-3 times you are done and it is a great tool you can use with distant friends and family.
The point is, it is looking like we will be isolating for a good while. We have an enormous opportunity over the next 4 months and we must maximize the opportunity. We can have a NM state legislature packed with new progressive legislators who won’t have to wrestle with nearly as many DINOs and GOP legislators. In this context, it is almost unfathomable what we can get done: a public bank, health security and so much more could be achieved in the 2021 session. And on the national level, the stakes are existential.
So today, there is one ask: take a few minutes to make a list. It can be as small as 2-3 people and call them, share this post. Ask them to ask a couple of friends and in an hour or so you can have formed your own team. Let us know you’ve got a team going and we will communicate with you throughout the campaign. And early next week, we will have a robust Toolkit to support your work.
And watch for the updated Toolkit early next week.
Let’s do this. If we don’t… I can’t even think about it. We need to get it done.
Forgive Consumer Debt
On Thursday we examined Neoliberalism’s Looting of America, an article describing how over the last 50 years 90% of Americans have seen skyrocketing prices erode their personal wealth and send them into higher and higher levels of debt. The post also described how what has transpired over the past 50 years amounts to wealth theft by the wealthiest 10% of Americans.
So, when I read a NYTs article about how our banks should pay reparations by cancelling all African American consumer debt along with other measures, I started to mull over how that could happen. My first reaction was that while reparations should be paid to African Americans for slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and myriad other degradations suffered for 400 years, there are other populations that have also suffered from neoliberal policies, indigenous people leading that list, but also Hispanics, and in truth, most of America. I also wondered how politically feasible it would be to address African American reparations. It occurred to me that that might be achieved by some kind of massive relief bill in 2021.
So, this is where my head went: We have just paid out trillions to banks, gas and oil, pharma, and other Wall St organizations because they claimed harm from COVID. Well, 300 million Americans have been being harmed for fifty years by Wall St. profiteering. When do we get relief? In 2008, millions of Americans lost their homes, and research has shown that people of color lost over half of their collective wealth from that one recession. But there is a history of wealth theft, diminished wages, and crushed dreams that extends for decades and, for some, centuries.
I learned online that in 2019 the total consumer debt in America was $4 trillion. A portion of that debt is held by wealthy individuals who wouldn’t need or deserve debt relief, so a relief package would likely be far less than $4 trillion. There is considerable ethical and moral justification for offering consumer relief by cancelling consumer debt. As part of that relief package we could include specific elements that address reparations for African Americans and Native Americans. Why not? The working class has, in effect, subsidized the growth in wealth of the top 10% for the past 50 years. Hmmmm. What if? Reactions?
You will find below, in the “In Brief” for today, two articles directly related to the above discussion.
In Brief: We continue to present links to 2-3 articles we thought might be of interest. Two are germane to the above ruminations on canceling consumer debt, and the other offers findings from a Congressional Budget Office report of how the 1% steals nearly $400B a year just by not paying their taxes.
- From NYTs: “Banks Should Face History and Pay Reparations” lays out rationale for banks paying reparations.
- From USA Today: “Reparations bill gets new attention amid BLM. Could other nations provide a blueprint?” offers historic examples where reparations have been paid.
- From Common Dreams: ‘An Absolute Outrage’: Sanders Rips ‘Wealthy Tax Cheats’ as CBO Estimates $381 Billion in Annual Unpaid Taxes
Worst Case Scenario Is Coming
Today we present a recent Tweet from Seth Abramson, where he examines the “worst case” COVID scenario of 2.5 million Americans perishing if we do not follow science. Our health experts tried to warn us and for a time we half-heartedly embraced social distancing and began to contain the virus, but then we allowed our own myopic, pathological commitment to individualism to override any concern for the common good. And so, now that worst case scenario projected in March may be just around the corner. Read On. From Seth Abramson:
“Those of us who care about our country must accept the possibility that too many Americans are selfish or stupid for us to ever control COVID-19. That means we’re headed to the “uncontrolled” scenario experts warned of—2.5 million dead. Prepare yourself mentally for that outcome.
We should also understand that when we see videos of crowds partying it further confirms that the pandemic will last longer in America than anywhere else in the world. That means that our lives as we know them are over for *years*—not just a matter of months. Thanks, America.
None of this means those of us who care about America shouldn’t keep doing all we can to try to slow the spread of the virus and educate those who’d go to the types of parties we’re seeing in videos online—but we should be clearly acknowledging how much we screwed ourselves.
Maybe if America was more candidly and universally discussing the outcome we’re rapidly rushing toward there’d be a chance of reaching some of the stupidest, most selfish, and least responsible Americans—or at least getting their friends and neighbors to start to shame them.
I understand those saying the 2.5 million assessment came at the start of the pandemic, when circumstances were different in many respects. But we’ve no idea when/if a vaccine will be developed; daily infections are 5x now what they were then; hospital capacity is being hit.
Actions & Opportunities
8:30am, Sat. Retake Conversation with Eric Griego, Working Families Party, NM Executive Director.
A tremendous interview on a most timely issue: the 2020 election in NM and the Nation. Eric Griego has been in the political theater for decades and as the Director of the Working Families Party of NM has, over the past four years, been the chief architect behind the transformation of the NM state legislature.
Working with allies like Ole, Indivisibles statewide, Nasty Women, Taos United, and Retake Our Democracy, WFP has made the state legislature a far more progressive body than it was in 2015. Find out more about what they’ve achieved and their plans for this November.
At 10 am on Saturday, the entire 60-minute interview will be available at Retake Conversations.
75 Years & Waiting July 16, 1945 –
July 16, 2020
Loreen Mills interviews Tina Cordova discussing the shamelessTrinity testing of a nuclear bomb in land they considered uninhabited. Wrong. And they have been morally wrong then and since. If you’ve never heard Tina Cordova speak of the impact the Trinity test has had on her community and the US government’s refusal to offer redress or even healthcare support for those suffering from the fallout. We highly recommend you view this.
Watch at these times:
Saturday night, July 11, 6 pm:Channel 3, KENW-TV, PBS / Portales.DirecTV network also airs it on Channel 3 at this time.
Sunday morning, July 12, 8 am:Channel 22, KRWG-TV, the PBS station in Las Cruces.Channel 5, KNME-TV, the PBS station in Albuquerque.
Sunday afternoon, July 12, 4:30 pm:Channel 9 – KNME-TV, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Northern NMAlso seen on Comcast Cable Ch. 204 HD -or on DISH on Ch. 9 or 8825 HD)
Monday morning, July 13, 9:30 am:KANW-FM, 89.1 over the air and streaming online, an NPR and PRI station
Saturday, July 11, 10:00 AM March to Honor and Demand Justice for Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year old woman who was brutalized and killed near the Fort Hood base (many other murders have occurred at this army base) in Texas.
Actions in Support of Black Justice
If you haven’t seen Santa Fe While Black‘s call to action this week – Check it out here!
How it works:
CALL YOUR COUNCILORS :: Use the script below to either call or email the two councilors for your district TODAY. Phone calls are more impactful. If you don’t speak to someone, leave a voicemail. If you can’t leave a voicemail, send an email.
Register your call and any notes on the Action Network page after you have called or emailed.
If you don’t know who your council member is, look at this map of city council districts.
Don’t forget to check out & share YUCCA’s matching fundraiser for Building Power for Black NM & All-African People’s Revolutionary Party HERE!
And positive test % is through the roof. So yes—even with enough PPE and ventilators for those who’ll be able to get into hospitals after they’ve reached capacity, we may see ourselves in the “uncontrolled” scenario I described if social distancing remains a political issue.
We just set a *global record* for new daily infections, and did so in *summer*. And after we set the record, giant parties and lack of social distancing continued. Hospitals across many states are a week from full capacity. What do folks think happens once flu season starts?’
Has anyone considered that the reason the Trump White House is about to unveil a “Live With It” campaign—which is basically genocide as a political slogan—is because most of America has already accepted that millions will die, as Trump long ago (reporting reveals) accepted?
Trump’s “Live With It” campaign is just a “Die With It” campaign; I hope the left will meme the hell out of that genocidal slogan accordingly. But if 40% of America accepts the slogan—as it appears it will—I don’t know what the other 60% of us can do except try to stay safe.
I try to choose my words carefully—so when I say “prepare yourself mentally” I don’t mean “resign yourself as a matter of your words and actions.” We *must* keep fighting (and voting)—but we should do so as though 2.5 million dead is a real possibility, simply because it is.”Seth Abramson
So as you sit there, simultaneously sad and furious, consider that there is something you can do. Please consider this: start today making a few calls to friends who you might think would like to be part of a small group of friends who will work in teams on campaigns in either NM state race, a swing state or in a key Senate race.
It is the most important election in our lifetimes, perhaps in the history of our nation. No one can sit on the sidelines, and there is much that can be done from home. Let’s Retake this Nation, before there is nothing to Retake.
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne
Please provide link for “Seth Abramson: Worst Case Scenario Is Coming”. It sounds to me like emotional manipulation (don’t think! fear! fear!). What are the denominators for these numbers (like numbers of new cases)? If the numbers are not presented in some scientifically reasonable way (like as fraction of total population) they mean nothing. If Abramson doesn’t understand this, that is interesting. This guy doesn’t understand basic science. It he does, that is also interesting. This guy is trying to emotionally manipulate us.
I don’t think his intent was to do an epidemiological study, but to sound an alarm, as Retake has done repeatedly over the weeks. When you like at the case curves of dozens of countries and compare them with the US and some of our worst states in terms of implementing science-based practice, we are just heading toward catastrophe. I think that the only folks who could do what you suggest would be the WHO, as the CDC is constrained and can only publish good news.
I can’t find a link either other than to some disjointed Twitter feed.
While I agree wholeheartedly with most of your thoughts on reparations via the banking system,, I would offer one cautioned. It is true that to one extent or another we have nearly all suffered at hands of the banks, but broadening the call for reparations to include all consumers feels a bit like saying “All Lives Matter.”
I knew your point would be raised. And while there is validity to this in relation to slavery Jim Crow, and current police violence, indigenous populations certainly have suffered as much or more from colonialism. So, I made some reference in the post that there needed to be some special part of this over all justice omnibus relief act or whatever cool name can be affixed to it, there are also tens of millions of Americans who have been horribly exploited, just more subtly and acknowledging and addressing offers the potential of a much broader base of support AND AS IMPORTANT brings millions of Americans into a better understanding of just how screwed they have been getting. Does that help? Thanks for the comment. Good point.
There seems to be a rather popular myopic view of slavery in the history of the world. Women have been the main proponents of slavery throughout history, including being included in the spoils of war, or living in constant service to men and their endless needs and appetites, that are rarely satisfied. Still true today with the sex trafficking, women doing most of the work, being single mothers, and not being paid fair value. People not being responsible for the consequence of their actions, such as having sex and then having unwanted children, sometimes many many children, often with no father to assist with the raising. I am not responsible for other people and their sex behaviors and the consequences, except by way of then perhaps having to support them through taxes and other programs. There is no way to make reparations to and for all the injustices done in the world. Who cares about the factory farming and fear, terror and pain animals go through as they become meat. Who cares about the rape of the land as it is sprayed with poisonous chemicals and planted with genetically modified seeds that mean farmers become slaves to buying from those who “patent” those seeds. All peoples, including blacks, many indigenous cultures, caucasian cultures, religious cultures, communist and capitalistic cultures either had slaves or sold their people into slavery and took profits in that, including those in Africa to the slave ships. Humans treat animals like slaves and commodities for their consumption, ignorant or turning backs on the suffering involved in their treatment and eating. Humans believe everything around them is for their consumption and there to “serve them”. We prefer the maximum benefit with the least amount of effort. Being alive entitles us to the the benefits everyone else has, regardless of our contribution or lack of it. In the natural world, that is not true nor ever will be. Everything is making a contribution towards the greater whole. Everything is making their lives count according to their design and function/purpose. No one is designed nor capable of doing everything, nor do we function at the same level of skill and knowledge.
The spread of Covid in most public discussions involves people at the beach, having parties, and Trump rallies. Do not see much referencing to all the massive protests filling the streets all across America without social distancing. Governors who will have a hair dresser arrested for opening a business with great care in masks and social distancing, in order to feed her children. Yet those same Governors will be out there getting their own haircut because “they are in the public limelight”, clearly so important, or marching in the streets with protestors. That lack of social distancing is OK and permissible. The protests and violence are OK and permissible, in terms of Covid. Trump not wearing a mask is not. I am not a Trump fan, however, I do witness some imbalances in beliefs.
We are on the biggest threshold in human history, not the least of which is being part of the 6th Mass Extinction, being tracked from long ago. Back when we were called citizens instead of consumers. When we advanced based on our performance and contribution to the greater whole. When items manufactured or made were made too last a long time not be cheap so we could have endless things to enjoy and throw away. Many items bought in Walmart are most likely made through slave labor. For me, the unasked question is what is invading/or invades the human mind to the point where we continue to be willing to undermine and harm each other, slinging mud at each other, insist that others come to our point of view or belief, or suffer harm and death. What invades the human mind that causes it to believe that by being alive and breathing we are entitled to the world serving our every whim, rather that learn to live in the astonishment that life exists at all, it is our privilege to be in human form, we are responsible for the care of it, and the consequence of how we use it.
Perhaps you all yearn for the day when vaccines are mandatory and then you have to be chipped in order to prove it. It doesn’t matter if you know what is actually IN the vaccine, or whether or not it is safe. Just have a vaccine you can believe will fix the problem because an authority told you so. And perhaps without knowing the background of the authority and their personal investment in the solution. they are providing. You can have all your info on your phone, you can walk out of your house and have the internet of things read your mind, so your every desire can be met, as long as you are an obedient consumer, hooked up to everything around, including your refrigerator which is now “smart” and monitors what you eat, or gee whiz, be one of Elon Musks dream boats where your brain is hooked up to AI and you are smarter than you could be with your innate biological intelligence. And of course, it means you can be downloaded with all sorts of programs like a computer, and monitored to the max, vaccinated to the max, and controlled to the max. Secure? Well, to some. Depends on what we value in life.
Life has progressed through boosting the immune systems of itself. Some of us look towards that way. Rather than keep poisoning things, trying to kill things we see as a threat. Washing hands changed the landscape of health in the fields of war and medicine quite a while ago. Honors and nourishes the immune system.
There is no rationale for any abuse, oppression, harm, greed, lust, anger, or egotism that insists we are more important than others, or that our individual behavior is immune from consequence or responsibility because of the color of our skin, or our religious beliefs, culture, etc. and we are entitled to everything we may desire. No exceptions. To date, I have not met many people who have lived such blemish free and honorable lives that they have a “right” to throw mud at others for the behavior they do not like. Addressing what is wrong and harmful is correct. Recognizing what that actually is is the challenge. I, as one, am certainly not blemish or error free in my life. However I have not forced others into having sex and endless babies, take drugs/drink alcohol for pain, shoot people, rape and injure people, cheat people working only behalf without commensurate compensation in my immediate interactions. Have spent deep time learning about many diverse cultures and their ways, which includes the natural world, I am on the path of what nourishes life, as best I can, where I can, personal faults and mistakes included. I did not live 400 years ago. I cannot fix that nor the consequence. I can, however, and have, been working in collaboration with others, in my own, and different cultures, to build a benevolent reality based on mutual respect and discovery. And for me, all lives do matter, down to the bees that ensure our food growing.
Our systems in place for hundreds of years are breaking down. Most of them. Life on the Earth is currently on a conveyor belt of mass extinction. We are on the top of list, like it or not. So what exactly is REALLY important to us as a human species. May we wake up enough to discover that, going forward. We cannot fix the past. We can only create a different future that makes the past obsolete, as Bucky Fuller once said. We each can have a part in that. However small it might be.
Or, we can continue down the path of making ourselves obsolete. Seems to be the main chosen path. Tech advancement, AI, 5G, etc. requires Earth “resources”. They compete with biological life needs……… last I checked, human beings are currently part of biological life….. or were.
True Democracy is SELF GOVERNANCE. Meaning governing our own individual lives to the best of our capacity, intelligence, skills and talents.
Wow, Connor. Way too much to respond to, but I’d like to comment a bit. First, Roxanne and I talked about the reparations quite a bit today and we noted that women have been subjugated for centuries and continue to be treated at best unequally, at worst oppressively and the degrees depend on where you live to a significant degree. But if the focus is on US policy, there does appear to be “levels of oppression” with African American and Indigenous people being at the very top and then we looked at immigrants, others of color and women as being populations that have been systematically oppressed, if not enslaved or subjects of genocide. But we also felt that to a significant degree most everyone else in the US below about the 80% of the income/wealth had been the subject of wealth theft and narrowed opportunities in a systematic way and to the exclusive benefit of the rich and Wall St. Obviously, to move from concept to legislation requires a great deal of parsing the concept and as we thought about it we felt that a possible structure for the concept could be distinguishing “reparations” from “relief,” with reparations reserved for those who have been the subject of systematic enslavement or genocide and then “relief” for those who have been systematically oppressed economically and socially. Likely, as your commentary on women points to, there would need to be varying levels of relief based upon the degree of oppression. For example, there would have to be a distinction between immigrants and middle class white folks who are among the working poor or the working struggling.
But the other point I’d like to respond to is that you identify a large list of various forms of environmental degradation and animal abuse. Those are important issues, but you can’t address everything in one initiative. Hopefully, the Green New Deal will be a framework that will address not just environmental issues, but in that context also industrial ranching and industrial farming. Thanks for the comment, Connor.
Oh, one more thing, You said true democracy is “SELF GOVERNANCE” which is simply unworkable. The function of government is to organize for the collective good. Left to our own myopic and too often uninformed devices, too many would be willing to risk the common good implementing their own form of self governance. All you have to do is look at the idiots who insist that wearing a mask is an effort to insidiously control the world. Self-governance for some, is a good thing, but we need government to regulate many behaviors and practices. Frankly, I’m starting to think that in relation to masks, the day Biden is inaugurated he issues an executive order: all people must wear masks any time they are in public, no warning citations. Immediately off to jail for 30 days. Second offense 60 days. etc. If we don’t get compliance and soon, we will be living in shelter in place for a decade while millions die.
Seth Abramson’s rant (that is how it read to me) offered little, except vote. AND YES YES VOTE. However there’s much more to consider about this pandemic and the others that we will be facing….and that is the science. To add some clearheadedness to this conversation do read the following press release from the UN. You can also access the full report which outlines the root causes of pandemics as well as offering us ways to prevent and respond to future disease outbreaks.
The key word is Biodiversity.
And Democracy Now! https://www.democracynow.org/2020/7/9/delia_grace_zoonotic_diseases_un_report