Category Archives: Opinion

Gaslighting the Country


by Jerilyn Bowen

The 1938 play Gas Light tells the story of a man who contrives to make his wife believe she’s losing her wits by dimming the gas-fueled lights in their home on the sly and insisting that her perception of the dimmed lights is a misperception. In our times gaslighting is widely recognized as one of the principle strategies employed by narcissists to undermine and control the people with whom they have relationships.  By assuming an air of authority and calling into question the feelings, intuitions, interpretations and responses of their intimates, the narcissist maneuvers to make their unfortunate victims doubt their own sense of reality, thereby psychologically disempowering them so that they will go along with the narcissist’s hidden agenda of domination and emotional exploitation.

What plays out at the interpersonal level of human interaction can be magnified to apply to the collective level.  And has been.  Across the globe, here and abroad, the diabolical tactic of gaslighting is a key feature of the disinformation playbooks of state authoritarian forces.  The aim is to undermine any reliable public standard of truth by which these bad actors can be called to account.  In situations where they can’t supplant the truth with their lies, they settle for generating doubt about what is true and what is not.  That allows them to escape accountability by creating a narrative in which it’s a matter of competing interests vying with one another for dominance rather than a matter of lawfulness, honorable action, and objective evidence.

Continue reading Gaslighting the Country

Harvest Time 

by Jerilyn Bowen

The whirlwind has descended.  We knew it was coming, now it’s upon us and picking up momentum by the hour.  It may be a long time before we get back to Kansas, if ever we do.

Up to now, Trump and his band of transactional spintalkers have been emboldened by getting away with egregious violations of both law and decency ever since the Russia-rigged election of 2016 that made this exceedingly poor excuse for a human being ‘the leader of the free world.’  Three years later, the very fabric of our country is being shredded by tiny rapacious hands that take pride in grabbing women by the genitals, aided and abetted behind the scenes by large fleshy hands that take pride in grabbing as much of our national wealth as they can stuff into the yawning maws of their tax-free offshore bank accounts.

What stands in their way?  What is going to keep these invisible hands from continuing to exploit and disempower the vast majority of their fellow beings with few consequences to themselves?  What is going to prevent the agents of corporate power from transforming our country into an authoritarian state?  Beyond that, what is going to stop them from stealing the future of all coming generations by continuing to poison Mother Earth for profit?

Continue reading Harvest Time 

What’s the Story?  

by Jerilyn Bowen, 9/25/19

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  On what grounds do we make them, individually and collectively? That’s a big question these days.  Many considerations inevitably come into play but basically most decisions are determined by a dialectic between fear of X and faith in Y.  Which prevails depends on the story we tell ourselves.

For a minor example:  when Trump came to Rio Rancho in September, the story on the street was that holding a mass protest outside his rally would prove to be dangerous so best to attend the alternate gathering sponsored by the NM Democratic Party in a safe place far from Rio Rancho.  No one talked about what we sacrificed in letting ourselves be intimidated out of showing up in large numbers to make our collective voice heard when the national media would be there to record and broadcast our message.  No one asked what Martin Luther King might’ve been willing to risk that day in service to the cause of saving our democracy.  In short, no one seemed to put the supposed dangers of an on-site protest in context of the larger narrative about what motivates us in our work for a more just and humane world…just X, no Y.

Continue reading What’s the Story?  

Making America Ours Again

by Jerilyn Bowen

Every day we are reminded that our country–and our planet–is in peril.  We are bombarded with demented inflammatory Tweets from the usurper who occupies the White House amid reports of mass shootings and weather catastrophes; frightened children ripped from their parents and locked in cages; violence against minorities, women, and those of nonconforming gender; public schools in crisis; a rampant opiod epidemic; melting arctic ice and vanishing species; rising suicide rates; nuclear war hovering on the horizon and much more.  Perhaps the worst of it is the unholy food fight fomented by Republicans in Congress, the national body that is supposed to represent the interests of the people.  While Senate Majority Leader McConnell contrives to block any legislation that doesn’t increase the wealth and power of the 1% who own his party and the House dithers about impeachment under the myopic leadership of a corporate Democrat who lets Trump set the agenda, it feels as if the country is being precariously held together with chewing gum and duct tape.

Continue reading Making America Ours Again

Fasting for the World’s Children

Friends and family,

Albuquerque has a very special person, Sally-Alice Thompson, who has been an activist for peace and for many human rights issues for decades. She and her husband, Don, founded the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center which is a community center for a whole variety of campaigns to improve the condition of humanity.

Sally-Alice is nearing her 96th year and she has decided to undertake a fast of water only to draw attention to the children who are starving and dying due to US policies around the world. She is a passionate person of sound mind and commitment. Many of her friends have tried to talk her out of this but she started her fast on Saturday and is steadfast in doing this to bring awareness to the children.

What am I asking of you? If you like, you can skip a meal or fast a day or two in solidarity with her. That may be too much for many people to do so in lieu of that you can be informed and inform others.

The most important thing is to let Sally-Alice know that you care. That is the request that she has made – that people e-mail her if they fast (for any length of time) and that they aware of the tragedy that is happening to the world’s children. She thinks that not enough people know what is happening!

sally-aliceanddon@juno.com

I’ve attached three short video clips from today when she was at the weekly Resist Trump Tuesday in front of the New Mexico Congressional offices in downtown Albuquerque. Sally-Alice and others have been there EVERY Tuesday since the 2016 election.

I’m copying below her statement that she presented today.

Statement from Sally-Alice Thompson:
“I am starting “Fast Against Sanctions and Sieges” (FASS) because of American sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, and sieges, supported by America, of Yemen and Gaza, are resulting in the starvation of thousands of infants and children. If hungry children, who need nourishment to develop their bodies and minds, are going hungry, then so must I. These sanctions and sieges must end!”

Please call your Members of Congress and say that you oppose any one of these measures that is hurting children. Your call will be tallied and is important.

View the videos here.

Pat Bartels

A press converence with Sally-Alice

To Be or Not To Be, Impeachable He Runs Free

by Jerilyn Bowen

 The question of impeaching President Trump now hangs before the nation on every newscast.  This is unsettling. More disconcerting, however, is the seeming inability of the Democratic  Congressional leadership to take an unequivocal, principled stand on Mueller’s documentation of multiple attempts to obstruct justice by the man who occupies the White House, offenses that more than meet the impeachment standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”   Were this any other president,  that personage would long ago have been subject to impeachment on a number of other grounds as well, including corruption and collaboration with foreign powers in service to a private agenda.

Continue reading To Be or Not To Be, Impeachable He Runs Free

Making the Case for Democratic Socialism, Green New Deal et al

By Jerilyn Bowen

 

Since one of our PDA challenges is to take the hex off the McCarthy era scare word socialism, in case you missed any of the below, am sending along for your delectation.   (And possible use in other networks.)  The AOC clip is a real spirit-lifter…I recommend as antidote to any activist malaise that may sneak up on you in the dead of night.

1)  Intercept video narrated by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, seven-minute gone-viral envisioning of the future we could have if we adopt a Green New Deal approach and put it into action sooner rather than later:
 
+ Two excerpts from Democracy Now in which prominent economists talk about what’s gone wrong with our present system and how that can be fixed.  
 
In the first one Stiglitz uses “Progressive Capitalism” to describe what he says is pretty much the same as Democratic Socialism.  On the latter, important to get across that Democratic Socialists like AOC & Bernie are not talking about Soviet style Communism, but rather, about a regulated marketplace economy like the ones most European countries have, with the government acting on behalf of the citizenry to control capitalist excesses & insure a fair distribution of economic resources so as to create secure, livable lives for all members of society.  Many millennials seem to get this distinction but a lot of less youthful people still react to the notion of socialism as if it were poison, something Trump & Fox News are already using to scare their low information followers with.       
 
[Intro: We look at staggering inequality and the state of the U.S. economy with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. Joseph Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute. His latest book, out this week, is “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent.]