Bad News in GA., Great News for the Interior, But Who Replaces Deb in the House? Lots to Ponder Today

We’ve also included some farewell thoughts on a host of Trump minions from novelist Hari Kunzru who says what all of us have been feeling and We also include some surprising findings as our Legislative survey respondent numbers grow.

Retake Conversation on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday at 8:30 am with three of the leaders of the Tribal Education Alliance of NM

  • Jasmine Yepa, J.D., Jemez Pueblo, Policy Analyst, Native American Budget and Policy Institute (NABPI) and coordinator of the Tribal Education Alliance, a coalition of tribal education leaders, experts and advocates supported by the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School and NABPI.
  • Conroy Chino, Acoma Pueblo, has a long career in investigative journalism and filmmaking, former Labor Secretary in the Richardson administration, lobbyist for the Tribal Education Alliance and
  • Rep. Derrick Lente, who is currently Chair of the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee an Vice Chair of the Water and Natural Resources Committee.

This was a far-ranging conversation that covered the impact of Covid on the indigenous people and how the lack of internet in tribal communities inequitably impacts tribal children in their distant learning education. We also discussed the Yazzie Martinez decision and Rep. Lente’s legislative agenda for 2021. The discussion on KSFR is 29 minutes, but the full podcast of 54 minutes will be posted on the Retake Conversations page. To access this you just hover over the Actions & Events menu and click on Retake Conversations. The full recording will appear Saturday at 9am.


Legislative Update

We continue to prepare for the 2021 Legislative Session advancing two simultaneous strategies:

1) Circulating our 2021 Legislative Priorities Survey. Over 250 people have completed the survey in just four days and we are just beginning to do our outreach to encourage broader circulation of the survey. No other organization of which we are aware has developed a survey that crosses issue divides and includes bills on decriminalizing abortion, legalizing marijuana, funding for early childhood, tax and revenue, energy and the environment, water policy, food and agriculture and more. It is important that our legislators understand where their constituents stand on these critical issues. And so we are encouraging you not just to take the survey, but to ask others to do so. We also encourage you to ask your legislators to circulate the survey to their constituents and for your local Democratic Party to do so. Based upon over 250 responses to date, decriminalizing abortion is in a virtual tie with the Health Security Act as the most supported bills on our list, followed by permanent funding for early childhood, state public bank, green amendment, legalized marijuana, and local choice energy. Click here to take and circulate the survey.

2) Organizing Senate District Advocacy Teams. We are organizing teams who will meet with their State Senator in late December and early January. One team is already meeting with Senator Mimi Stewart on Monday. If you would like to be part of a team, just click here. We are conducting a Zoom planning session this afternoon at 3:30 pm. Click here to register.

We have a golden opportunity in 2021 to advance justice in NM and with so little effort on your part, you can play an important role.
Please participate in both of our strategies.


Cyber Attacks: There is so much more to ponder today but I’ll lose you if I try to pack it all in, so I am going to rely upon Heather Cox Richardson to fill you in on the most serious cyber attack and security breach in US history. As usual, she concisely captures the situation very well. Experts feel certain this has been conducted by Russia. Isn’t it odd, how Trump has said not one word about this breach? Actually, not odd at all. But I am continuously wondering what Putin has on Trump. there must be something lying beneath Trump’s silence on this and other Soviet-related actions. Click here to read HCR’s as usual excellent analysis.


Racial Injustice In NM: The Consequence of Twenty Years of Deliberate, Bi-Partisan and Ultimately Immoral Decisions.

Today I had also wanted to summarize the absolutely extraordinary report prepared by Paige Knight, MPP from NM Voices for Children, Tax Equity: A Powerful Tool To Advance Racial Equity in NM, but it will take more time to do justice to Knight’s inspiring and insightful 24 page analysis of the relationship between racial injustice and 20 years of intentional choices made in how we raise revenues and how we spend them.

A budget is comprised of revenues and expenditures. How we make decisions about how much revenue we need and where we will secure those resources is every bit as much a moral decision, as is how we expend those resources. And how much we can do to foster justice and create a sustainable life for New Mexicans, is predicated upon how much revenue the state raises and from where. These are moral decisions that impact the lives of our most vulnerable New Mexicans. Knight offers a searing indictment of our history of decisions that have largely benefitted higher income white New Mexicans and the corporations largely owned by the affluent, at the expense of the majority of largely brown New Mexicans.

Next week we will present our review of Knight’s work, augmented by other analysis from Voices and by data from a report compiled by PFM group. Both Knight’s work and PFM’s were the focus of a two hour interim hearing on Wednesday. But if you want to review the entire document, truly one of the most insightful and motivating pieces I’ve read in years, just click here, the report is on the NM Voices home page.

the PFM and Voices presentations to the Revenue Stabilization and Revenue Interim Committee were both excellent and can be viewed here. By using the advance arrow, you can go right to 2:58 where Rep. Martinez introduces PFM. Voices with Paige Knight and Amber Wallin follow at 4pm.

I know that Voices is planning a whole series of Tax and Rev 101 educational sessions over the next few weeks and Retake will be offering sustained analysis of this issue. Too many constituents pay scant attention to tax and revenue issues. In preliminary findings from our 2021 Legislative Priorities Survey, Tax and Revenue ranks but 10th of 15 Transformational bills. As Knight’s report conveys, too much depends on tax and revenue reform for it not to be ranked near the top.


Georgia on My Mind

Polling numbers below show a shift to the right. We reported last week polls showing Warnock up by 4% and Ossoff up by 1%. The shift is not huge, but it is not going in the right direction. What’s more, one of the major issues facing Georgia is the need for Covid relief. This is what is pushing the GOP leadership to be more accommodating in negotiations on the relief bill and why this week some progress was achieved. Clearly, this is a race that will be very close. It is just over two weeks away. So, if you have time or finances to devote to this effort, click here to find out what you can do. If you need some inspiration, check out the rendition of Georgia on My Mind below.

More Georgia on My Mind: An inspiring rendition by at least 100 strong vocalists who somehow knit together seamlessly despite being remote.


On to the Interior: It is Deb!

Unless you’ve been hiding under your bed waiting for 2020 to end, you know that Rep. Deb Haaland has been selected as Secretary of the Interior, the first indigenous person to sit in the US Cabinet. There is no other way to view this other than positively. Rep. Haaland not only has stated publicly her whole hearted opposition to fracking and is a strong supporter of the Green New Deal, she went to Standing Rock, not for a photo op and back to the hotel, but to work. Her comments from a recent Guardian article.

“I just feel like our priorities are so messed up right now,” Haaland told The Guardian last year during an interview in which she said she was “wholeheartedly” opposed to fracking and oil drilling on federal land.”

We are most fortunate to have someone in this critical role who is from New Mexico, and who understands our relationship with the earth, not from a business perspective, but from an indigenous perspective, a relationship founded upon love and respect. I feel hopeful that critical decisions about our relationship to our land, water and air will not be based upon how we can profit from that relationship, but from how we can ensure a sustainable, healthy, mutual relationship.

How big a difference will it make having Deb Haaland as steward of all US lands? This much, from Wikipedia.

“As Secretary, Zinke opened more federal lands for oil, gas and mineral exploration and extraction.[9] Zinke’s expenditures as Secretary of the Interior, which included expensive flights, raised ethical questions and controversy, and were investigated by the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General. His ethical troubles were the subject of a PBS News Hour report on October 19, 2018. On October 30, 2018, the investigation into Zinke was referred to the Justice Department by Interior’s Inspector General. Trump announced on December 15, 2018, that Zinke would leave his post on January 2, 2019, to be replaced by his deputy David Bernhardt.

Wikipedia

With Haaland Leaving the US House,
What Is Next for NM Congressional District 1?

Based upon NM State Election Rules, who is on the ballot to represent the Democratic Party in District 1 will be up to District 1 Democratic leadership, those sitting on the SCC from Congressional District 1. From the Rules:

“Section 4 – Filling Vacancies for Nominees for Public Office 4.1 – Vacancies Filled by State Central CommitteeIf a vacancy on the general election ballot occurs for a federal, state, district, or multi-county legislative district office, the nominee for the office shall be chosen by a vote of those State Central Committee members from the geographical area corresponding to the jurisdiction of the office that has been vacated. The State Chairperson, as presiding officer of the State Central Committee, shall file the name of the nominee selected for the office with the proper filing officer.

(Chap. 1, Article 8, Election Handbook of the State of New Mexico, 2017 Edition.)”

The language above says nothing about whether there then is a special election, but from multiple sources, including the NM Democratic Party, I’ve been told that if the vacancy occurs in the first year of a two-year term, as is the case with Haaland, that within 91 days of Haaland resigning her House seat, the Democratic candidate will face off with a GOP candidate in a special election. We can expect the amiable weatherman, Mark Ronchetti to seek the GOP candidacy. While CD-1 is a strongly progressive district, with Haaland just winning re-election by a 58-41% margin. We should not feel too overconfident, as Ronchetti ran a surprisingly competitive race for Senate against Ben Ray Lujan and from that achieved significant voter recognition.

While we are less than 24 hours into the breaking news, some Democratic names are already circulating: State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Rep. Javier Martinez, SOS Maggie Toulouse Oliver and State Auditor Brian Colon all are part of the roasting hot email conversations. Stay tuned.

Just Cuz We’ve All Thought These King of Thoughts
For Four Years

I saw this description of Trump cronies from British-Indian novelist Hari Kunzru on the Facebook feed of Leslie Pearlman yesterday and while it is a bit over the top, even for me, it still resonates and actually affirms how and why all of us have felt so repulsed by national “leaders,” policies and politics for the past four years. We have been led by a bunch of narcissistic, entitled, cowardly and uncaring people for so long, how can we not harbor at least a smidgeon of disgust for them? It will be best to purge ourselves of these sentiments now and start 2021 more positively.

I expect that for some of you, this will be going a bit too far, but I post it because, sadly I think while vivid in his caricatures, Kunzru is not far off the mark in his view on those who for the past four years have been inhabiting the news, and whether we have liked it or not, our minds. From Kunzru:

“Mike Pence you repressed joyless would-be witchfinder, every time you spoke you always looked like you were straining to expel an enormous bolus of your own hypocrisy from your clenched sphincter.

“Betsy DeVos you blandly foolish soulless entitled child-stealing witch, rotting like a corpse inside your Chanel suit.

“All the generals, you spineless buzz-cut phallus-brained plastic Spartans fawning and wriggling to distract yourself from your moral cowardice.

“Kayleigh McEnenay, you evacuated husk of a mean-girl cheerleader, the cavity where your heart once was pumped full of spite and moronic lies.

“Bill Barr you vast pompous pus-filled bladder of casuistry, you are an enemy of justice, bloated with resentment and cruelty, wobbling like a jelly at the feet of the oligarchs.

“Jared Kushner, you vacuous dainty preening overpromoted nub of mediocrity, squeezed like an entitled smear of toothpaste into a silk suit bought with tear-stained dollars wrung out of the suffering tenants of your slum apartments.

“Ivanka Trump, you monstrous slug of vanity, you infantile ninny so marinated in self-regard that in your pea brain you believe we ought to love you for your crimes.

“Mike Pompeo, you bubble, you booby, you flatulent zero, that roiling in your ample guts that you mistake for world shaking significance is just the acid reflux of irrelevancy.

“Don Junior, you scabrous single-nostriled unloved elephant-murdering human wreckage, vibrating with bitterness and impotent rage at all the opportunities you’ve squandered.

“Sarah Sanders, you crude hulking beetle-browed bully, working your multiple chins as you masticated another stinking quid of falsity, spitting again and again on the people you were supposed to inform.

“Interlude: all you staffers and interns, so eager to crunch your way in your shiny new work shoes over the bodies of the poor and powerless, I smite you and cast you out one by one.

“Eric Trump, you pallid clammy suppurating nocturnal semi-human grub, your absence of charisma is your only notable trait and the act of flushing you from memory will so be smooth and painless that in a month people will find it hard to picture your moon face.

“Rudy Giuliani, you capering cartoonish skull-faced bag of graft and corruption, too stupid even to ask who’s pulling your strings just so long as you can cake your crusty face in tv make-up and clack your jaw at a camera.

“And of course Stephen Miller, you weeping pustule upon the social body, you dreg, you homunculus, you noxious slime felched from the gaping cavity of Jim Crow, one day may you find yourself walking barefoot across hot sand, desperate for water, crying for your missing child.

I can’t help but wonder what he had to say about Trump himself.

Stay hopeful, one month from Sunday is Inauguration Day.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne



Categories: Environmental Justice

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13 replies

  1. What a concept! A Native American woman in charge of the agency that owns the Bureau of Indian Affairs!

  2. Re cyber attacks: It bothers me that Paul and Roxanne are uncritically going along with this story. From Glenn Greewald: “I know it doesn’t matter. I know it’s wrong to ask the question. I know asking the question raises grave doubts about one’s loyalties and patriotism,” Greenwald sarcastically tweeted. “But has there been any evidence publicly presented, let alone dispositive proof, that Russia is responsible for this hack?”

    • Iraq rememberer: It’s very unlikely that the general public will ever know the actual details of these latest cyber attacks. If the in-coming administration places public sanctions on the perpetuator(s), they will no doubt have solid evidence, even if it can’t be shared.

      • Based on my knowledge of history of since 2001, the U.S. war machine threatenes the entire world, not the other way around. Presenting evidence to the general public might indeed threaten security–of the U.S. war machine, not my security (that my tax $$ are well spent). Why would I believe what the in-coming administration might say in order to advance their known agenda of military domination of the world? How can any critically thinking person who pays attention think differently? What do you know that I don’t?

  3. Please do not leave Melanie Stansbury out of the mix of folks who will be contending for the position of Democratic nominee for Deb Haaland’s seat in CD1.

  4. This Hari Kunzru is disgusting. Even though there is a lot of truth to it especially Steven Miller, low life that he is, I can’t believe that you published this filth.

    • Roxanne and I debated it for awhile this morning. You are the first person, to object. We were hesitant to include. We are considering removing it. Do you feel Kunzru is disgusting and if so, why? Or did you just mean this piece was disgusting?

  5. Yes, great news that Deb Haaland has been nominated for Secretary of the Interior.

    But I am still disappointed that Tom Udall wasn’t picked. His decades of service have prepared him for a position like this and he certainly would have hit the ground running. While Haaland is capable, she is still relatively young and new to government.

    I do hope that Udall is able to serve in the Biden administration in some way.

  6. Hari Kunzru, don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel. 😉

  7. Just Kuz: Succint and well said.

  8. I hope you consider Randi McGinn as a congressional candidate. A more effective advocate would be hard to find.

  9. Paul, I love everything you do for New Mexico; however, I am troubled by your continued proliferation of the media narrative that supports the idea that Russia is our perpetual enemy. I find the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity to be a credible source in this matter. The following is a link to their latest post:

    https://consortiumnews.com/2020/12/20/vips-memo-to-biden-dont-be-suckered-on-russia/

  10. Lovely singing and lovely editing.

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