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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,889

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I'm Not Giving Up

I bought postcards today.

Tomorrow we are going to the Families Belong Together vigil here in my home town.

I will continue encouraging young people to register and vote. I will help with GOTV efforts.

I will write and call and march in support of all I believe in.

I will donate more, to causes and candidates.

I will be alert for opportunities to do more.

I'm not giving up.

I won't give up no matter how long it takes.

I will work for the restoration of America, and the progress to equity and diversity, peace and justice, until life leaves my body.

I will bequeathe this work to my daughter and my grandson.

I am not giving up.

No matter what.


I bought a supply of blank postcards today. And postcard stamps.

I will be sending three post cards each day.

One will always go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The other two will vary.

The ones for Pennsylvania Avenue will always have some variety of this message: "HAVE YOU RETURNED THE CHILDREN YET?"

The others will depend. Ones going to my Democratic Congresscritters, and Dem leadership, will have variations on "WHAT DID YOU DO TO REUNITE IMMIGRANT FAMILIES TODAY?" Or "PLEASE ASK WHEN THE CHILDREN WILL BE RETURNED."

Ones going to GOP Congressional leadership and Federal bureaucrats will be along the lines of the ones going to Pennsylvania Avenue, and maybe "STILL TORTURING CHILDREN?"

You can get 200 printable postcards for about twelve bucks at Amazon. They're a bit more at the office supply store, but it works out to about ten to fifteen cents a postcard.

Postcard stamps are thirty-five cents apiece.

I figured I could afford about a buck-fifty a day to remind those who putatively "lead" us of basic priorities.

For as long as it takes.

When I was about three, we were at summer vacation at the lake cabin. My Mom took me into town with her to do the shopping. She was wearing light blue pedal pushers and white sneakers. When we got to the store, at one point I got distracted by something. I turned and looked for her.

Seeing light blue pedal pushers and white sneakers, I ran after them.

And then looked up.


More than fifty years later, I remember the horror and sense of terrified abandonment that overwhelmed me.

Fortunately, my Mom was at the meat counter at the end of the aisle, not being marched off to a bus to take her to her concentration camp.

To anyone who claims that what is being done to thousands of children is not "torture", I can only say that if more than fifty years later I have vivid memories of that incident, I would not want to live with the memories these children-- and their parents-- are going to have.


Yes, I have other priorities, too. I'm upset about the Supreme Court, I'm doing what I can to encourage young voters to register, I will do my best to combat vote suppression, prevent Americans from losing their health insurance, and plenty of other issues.

Those are all important.

But right now, what matters MOST-- the number one priority for me and (I hope!) for every American who has beein either a parent or a child (that would be all of us, wouldn't it?) is to stop the torture of these children and their families, and reunite them as soon as possible.

It's a PRESENT evil, an IMMEDIATE evil, and an evil we have a clear moral mandate and personal power as citizens with voices to fight, for everything we are worth.


So, it's gonna be a long fight. Did you really expect otherwise?

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has gleefully torched the Constitution. There have been other Courts, other Chief Justices that have done their damnedest to burn down democracy. (see, among others: Taney, Roger)

This is not the first time Congress has been controlled by a majority wholly owned by and subservient to a cabal of greedy, racist, xenophobic oligarchs willing to sell their own grandchildren for a tax break.

This is not the first time a President has betrayed the most basic principles of human decency.

And YES, it's not the first time all three branches of government have looked as though they're the oncoming train of Total Destruction.

And we survived.

And the pendulum swung.

It cost lives, it cost pain, it cost hard, hard losses for generations.

I did not want to see another such fight in my lifetime.

But we have it.

And we can win it.

It will not be a quick turnaround.

In this case, previous generations had the advantage of us because they were accustomed to longer time horizons for change. They didn't have the life experience of breathtakingly fast cultural, technological and economic change that we have seen.

But politics is rooted in human nature, and human nature doesn't turn on a dime. There is no one event, no one factor that will read the same to everyone and make everyone say "Woah! This changes everything!" That doesn't happen. People are invested in this or that aspect of a status quo they find comforting, even if some other aspect displeases them. Loss aversion is powerful. Fear of the unknown is powerful.

This is not a simple battle, it's a complex WAR.

The long game is not won by defeatism, nor is it advanced by unrealistic expectations.

The long game depends on steady effort, on opportunistic flexibility serving a clear and overarching strategy. On the slow building of solidarity. On determination to ensure the survival, not of our generation, but of our children's grandchildren. On willingness to sacrifice.

Those are the qualities we need now.

Yes, we can give ourselves a short interval to run in circles, scream and shout, express our horror and dismay.

The shorter the better.

There's work to be done, lots of it.

How many people have you registered to vote this week?

How many town/city/county council meetings have you attended?

How many volunteer hours have you put in at a candidate or party event?

How many letters to the editor have you written?

How many postcards have you sent to your elected representatives?

How many hours have you been in the streets, carrying a sign?

You're not alone.

If you're feeling alone, do some of those things just listed above-- they'll connect you with the fight.

Connect, and stay connected.

...to be continued...


Liberals "Going High" on the Other Side of the Red Line

I seriously doubt that Michelle Obama, who famously said "When they go low, we go high," is walking around scolding people like Stephanie Wilkinson for 'being rude' or 'descending to their level' or whatever they're calling it today on the liberals-must-be-nice fainting couch.

There is always a Red Line.

That being the term for "beyond this point, imputing moral ambiguity to something appalling is wishful thinking at best and much more probably sheer lazy-ass, conflict-avoidant enabling."

David Roberts explained it, on the Twitwaves (here it is threadified for those who avoid that particular scrum):

7. The most insidious thing about the descent into illiberalism is that it is incremental. There's no dramatic moment, no Rubicon. Every step seems bad, but only a little worse than the previous step. Smart autocrats are careful not to provide that moment.
9. When lefties have tried to draw a line, create a moment, force a reckoning, the establishment has united in a single voice to say: calm down. Let's be civil & work together. Let's not raise our voices or be shrill. Both sides do it. We're still in Normal Politics.
11. By jailing toddlers, Trump has potentially made a mistake. Instead of incremental illiberalism, this seems like a jump, something to shock the conscience. It is yet another opportunity for a Moment, a time for the rest of us to say: no. This is not normal. It's not ok.

The Forces of Evil (FoE) know this: If they can keep us arguing about where the Red Line is, and whether any particular action actually crosses it, they can a) generally escape any consequences of their actions; and b) get the liberals-must-be-nice fainting couch crowd to do their pushback for them. Thus the incrementalist tactics.

Above all else, they want to avoid a consensus coalescing around "THAT was the Red Line, and they have UNEQUIVOCALLY broad-jumped across it in a single bound."

Having done exactly that, they're now frantically looking to the fainting couch for cover.

So, listen up, please, to a few words about "going high" and what that is, once we're on the other side of the Red Line.

"Going high" is not:

    > Acquiescing silently to evil.
    > Refraining from identifying the evil of particular actions.
    > Avoiding calling out those who participate, enable, or defend evil actions.
    > Leaving wiggle room by focusing on the motivation of those participating, enabling or defending evil actions, rather than the evil effects of the actions.
    > Scolding those who shine the light, identify evil, and/or resist evil for being 'uncivil' in doing so.

Is that much, at least, clear?

"Going high", therefore, can be identified by the opposite of what it is not:

    > "Going high" includes speaking out when evil is present, and expressing opposition.
    > "Going high" includes explaining the specific moral repugnance of the evil in question.
    > "Going high" includes calling out those who participate, enable or defend evil.
    > "Going high" includes demanding accountability for the damage of those evil actions.
    > "Going high" includes refraining from discouraging those who would resist evil, unless their methods of resistance are also unequivocally evil.

And it is possible to do ALL of those things from a stance of maturity, clarity, and strength. Going high is exactly that:

Rather than letting moral outrage descend to tit-for-tat name calling and emotion-driven but childish retaliation, going high involves standing firm, stating clearly the evil, and calmly refusing to cooperate, condone, or remain silent in its favor.

Going high is demonstrating the moral principles that have been transgressed-- as when the crowd gathered at the New York airport to express love and support for the refugee children.

Going high can involve breaking rules or even breaking the law-- but doing so using the principles of nonviolent resistance.

Going high is calmly telling someone involved in evil, "You have done/enabled/defended this terrible thing. I will not allow you to escape the consequences of your action by pretending you have not done it. Nor will I enable your attempts to enjoy the normal pleasures available to decent human beings in public venues, untainted by the evil of your actions."

Going high is following through on that moral conviction, with firm serenity.

Yes, when they go low, we CAN go high.

Doing so is the best way to keep them from whining around the fainting couch, and in a media environment tainted by a mistaken belief that bothsiderism is journalistic objectivity and "civility" is defined as "inoffensiveness", it can be a potent tactic.


Heads Up, Assignment Editors of America!

Dear Assignment Editor,

(For those uncertain about media entity/journalism structure and titles, the "Assignment Editor" is sometimes a full-time job of its own, sometimes it's lumped in with other editorial duties. Either way, Assignment Editors know who they are: The ones who steer the writers, photogs, fact-gatherers-and-checkers, etc., toward the targets most likely to garner clicks, grab eyes, etc.)

I know some of you have had serious resentments about all the flak you get for being glued to [Redacted]'s sphincters. "We have a responsibility!" "Those are the stories people READ!" and other whines can be taken as read. Suffice to say, America's major media outlets' morbid fascination with every belch, fart, and gesture from [Redacted] has painted you, you personally, as part of the problem, and is that fair? You don't want to obsessively pan the camera over the train wreck, lingering lovingly on the dismembered limb. But you have to. It's "THE" Story. The Story that won't quit.

The story that just keeps on spawning more layers, more stories, and keeping horrified/fascinated Americans riveted to the web page/newspaper/teevee broadcast/podcast that serves up the freshest and most outrageous iteration.

(We Are All Tabloids Now)

Well, I have good news for you.

"THE" Story has just changed.

What, you ask, could rivet the attentions of readers/viewers/listeners more obsessively (and thus, more lucratively for you) than the latest bloviation of [Redacted] and his minions?

They themselves just handed it to you.

The new "THE Story". The one that won't quit, that offers a new, rivetingly appalling facet every few hours between now and November 6th is:


The Lost Children

Yes, my editorial amigos, the One Story that always leads, is always on the front page, is always clickbait has been dropped into your lap in an endless series of iterations.

Here are some questions to get you started:

Where are the young girls?

Did any of the babies left on those floors survive?

How many ended up in hospital emergency rooms?

What soulless corporate heels enabled this outrage?

What brave, selfless resisters stood up for a helpless child victim?

What grieving photogenic parent hasn't seen their baby for weeks and keeps getting the runaround from the apparatchiks who won't admit they've LOST the kid?

What midnight flit allowed the ICEStasi to spirit these particular kids to some unsuspecting town in the dead of night?

What social service agency is overwhelmed to the point of collapse trying to reunite families?

What heart-rending horror happened in <your town here> when the helpless tots were sent to the wrong facility?

What thirteen-year-old girl ended up trafficked into sex slavery?

What twelve-year-old boy ended up trafficked into sex slavery?

What grieving father has been crisscrossing the US in a futile search for his two daughters?

Oh, yeah, my friends.

Headlines galore.

And they will JUST. KEEP. COMING.

Even if the Child-Torturer-In-Chief and his helots swear off committing atrocities from this hour forth, the atrocities they've already committed are spawning new atrocities even as we speak.

How much are the taxpayers on the hook for, in the attempt to clean up the mess?

Are we going to have to set up Reunification Centers? What will that cost? What will it involve? How many families? How many places? What will the Immigration Courts' roles be? How will their rules change? WILL their rules change?

What other appalling cruelties are being perpetrated under the cover of treating misdemeanors like aggravated felonies combined with bureaucratic indifference?

There's your stories, my friend.

The clicks, the outrage, the letters, the controversy, the discussion, the advertising revenues, the ratings will pile up to INFINITY, if you are smart enough to ride this juggernaut.

And if you're not seeing this as the opportunity of a lifetime, you're not worthy of your Assignment Editor chops.


Some Things I Want To Know

First, I want to know locations: I want to know the location of every ICE state and local headquarters facility, every federal immigration facility, every (Southern) border crossing checkpoint.

And I want to know the location of every concentration camp, excuse me, "#TrumpHotel" that is being run in my name as an American.

Where are all these places?

Next, I want to know the names, job titles, and office addresses of all of the ICE directors and supervisors. The ones who are "following orders" from above and relaying those orders to the line thugs who are then following them below.

I'd be okay starting with the ones here in New Mexico, but it would probably be good to know the ones in all the (southern) border states, and then in all the major cities, and then ALL of them.

It is summer.

The stench of the atrocities our government is perpetrating in our name is getting rank.

Light must be shone upon all of the places and people perpetrating them. Not just the vile policymakers and their sleazy enablers, but all of them, right down the line.

Large numbers of lawsuits need to be filed.

Large numbers of people need to mobilize.

Witness must be borne.

That means, we have to go there.

We have to look them in the eye.

We have to nonviolently confront them, and say "Not in our name."

No one else is going to make it stop.

We are the only ones who can do this.

But we CAN do this.

It starts with collecting and sharing information.


Some things I want to know.

If you have a verified location or a verified person involved in this cheapass wannabe mass torture, post it here, please.

I want to know.

Someday there will be trials. Big, public ones.

Someday we will have to pay the economic and moral costs of this calamitous cruelty.

Data will help.


I'm asking NM Gubernatorial Candidates to commit to closing down concentration camps in NM.

I'm asking both Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce to make this commitment now:

"If I win, I will use all the resources at my disposal to shut down child detainment facilities operated by the Federal Government within the State of New Mexico. If the Federal Government refuses to shut them down, I will use the New Mexico State National Guard to prohibit access to these facilities, and I will initiate court proceedings to enjoin their operation within our state."

It is already unbearably shameful and humiliating to be an American whose government is abusing fundamental human rights in such an agonizingly horrific fashion.

It would be nice to not be complicit, as a New Mexican, in enabling such vile practices.


I stand with North America

North America, the great continent. The landmass that runs from the Arctic Circle down to latitude 15 degrees, well below the Tropic of Cancer.

A continent with amazing and agonizing history.

A continent patchworked with so many cultures and peoples-- from those here since their ancestors crossed the land bridge we now call 'Bering' and worked their way south to inhabit nations and communities from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from the Arctic sea to the Caribbean, to those who brought the cultures of virtually the whole rest of the world with them in the last six centuries.

And the continent has shaped and altered those cultures, in conflict and cooperation with one another, in centuries of excitement and tragedy and adventure.

From the hundreds of indigenous nations still claiming ancestral rights and territories, to the three large nation-states of Mexico, USA, and Canada, we are a wondrous tapestry of invention, culture, art, commerce, trade and travel, innovation and preservation.

This fabulous continent contains some of the world's most precious and diverse natural resources.

And its ability to support life, and contribute to the greater web of life of the whole planet, is threatened by greed, hatred, and ignorance.

I believe that only working together --all of us North Americans, the First Peoples who have been here longest, and all the citizens of the three nations who want our grandchildren to thrive on this continent-- can we reverse that threat.

And it's clear we can't rely on leaders and governments to bring us together. Even as some try to bring us together, at any given time a significant proportion of those leaders and governments see their interests advanced by keeping us apart, and promoting more greed, hatred, and ignorance.

So we, the peoples of North America-- First Peoples, Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians-- we MUST find ways of connecting, working together, learning about each other. We must exchange ideas and wisdom, hopes and fears. We must overcome our anxieties about those who are different from ourselves in the languages we speak, the foods we eat, the spiritual communities we share, the morphology of our bodies, faces, skin and hair.

We must build bridges. We must find common concerns, common delights, common ground upon which to meet and connect with one another.

And we must do this in spite of, and in defiance of, those who would keep us apart, isolate us for their own purposes, using fear and avarice.


Has the GOP Actually Won a Presidential Election Since 1928?

Think about it.

First, stipulate that while Eisenhower may have been in tune with the moderate Republican ideology of his era, he was in no way a GOP apparatchik, had never run for any lesser office under the GOP umbrella, and never served in any appointed position as a Republican. As a senior military officer, like most senior military back then, he largely avoided politics or overt partisan identification until he teamed up with the moderate wing of the GOP to prevent Taft from being elected and undoing NATO and the UN and other post-WWII global alliances.

Now, look again.

What does the GOP have to do, to win a Presidential election?

Since Eisenhower, five GOP candidates have won Presidential elections.

Nixon colluded with a hostile foreign power to nuke the Paris peace accords, contributing to his victory.

Reagan colluded with a hostile foreign power to prevent resolution of the Iran hostage crisis, contributing to his victory.

GW Bush gamed the electoral process (cheated) to hand a conservative-dominated Supreme Court the opportunity to hand him the Presidency.

[Redacted] both colluded with a hostile foreign power AND gamed the electoral process (cheated).

It is just conceivably possible that GHW Bush won fairly and squarely. It's possible that his terms as GOP chair, envoy to China, and Director of the CIA, not to mention his family's unsavory history of doing business with international, er, parties, had little or nothing to do with his electoral victory.

It's possible.

So, maybe the GOP has won ONE Presidential election since Herbert Hoover's 1928 victory.


But colluding with hostile foreign powers and outright cheating have been much more reliable for them.

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