Friday, April 13, 2012

Campaign Updates: Michelle Shocked at Last & Environmental Positions Announced

Preparing for the new weekend. Traveling wife Beth and Perry. She is going to do committee work with AEA in preparation for the upcoming delegate assembly in a couple of weeks. Perry and I are going to check in with Virginia from PDA, try to catch Carmona in Glendale and support the Manny for Mayor campaign, then onto the 99% Spring Training, PHX edition. These events are taking place all over the country this weekend, even in Bullhead City. Learning how to better organize events and activism seems right for me at this stage and the connections that come from training like this remain invaluable. Especially since the following day, tax day, Sunday April 15th we are doing our big push in Bullhead City and having the Michelle Shocked concert (tickets still available by phone or at the door). This will be our first full scale event.

Anecdote that Might Be too Ribald:

I spent the sunset walking So-Hi again this afternoon.  My house is on the front row of the sub-division.I remember when Beth were dating and she first pointed out the neighborhood one Sunday as we drove by while out touristing.  I met one couple who had me unroll a three foot wide county map to show them their precinct, a guy who blew up in a rant when he heard I was there for politics and burst out of his house yelling, “Trent Franks is a lying _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and has lied to me straight to my face!” So I yelled back, “That’s right, Trent Franks is a lying _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and has lied to me straight to my face too!--Which is just one of the reasons I’m running with the Democrats!”

He stopped in mid-stride, “Democrats? Well, that’s different.” and he smiled.  The man then went onto explain his interest in a oil production method called thermal depolymerization, which creates water, gas and other oil products from waste. Franks had blown him off when he expressed interest in this technology a couple of years back, now the guy says he’s heard of the military developing mobile prototypes that use the same technology to make gas while on the go. While this technology in and of itself isn’t the silver bullet to wean us off of oil dependency it is clearly a tool we can use to attack the problem.

Environmental Positions Announced

After having more than a month to work on them and only six months of work to get done before I could get to work on them, I completed and submitted my Sierra Club questionnaire with a full 52 minutes to spare and wanted to share some of these positions with you.

About my record on environmental leadership:

Growing up during the 60s & 70s I was exposed to many progressive ideas and the environmental ones stood out for me. While my personal commitment to working on environmental issues was vague and insubstantial in my 20s, I moved to Springfield, IL at 28 and soon found myself as the leader of the local activist food co-op and our non-profit earned money through food sales to do environmental and social justice activism. Besides supporting the Nature Conservancy and Sierra Club through literature disbursement and occasional guest speakers, we also helped create The Friends of the Sangamon River Valley, an organization still active in wildlife restoration and conservation. We were also key players in the municipal support of the 20th Anniversary Earth Day celebration, the anniversary that revitalized America’s now annual celebration of environmental issues.

Our main accomplishments however were recycling related. At the request of the membership I created an at-first member-based, later community-wide recycling center and later we were leading advocates for the establishment of a municipally managed city-wide recycling program. One of our former board members went on to become Springfield’s solid waste coordinator. Since then I have continued to be heavily involved in community recycling efforts. In addition to working with the “Cans for Schools” program in Bullhead City until it was disbanded in 2007, I have been the organizer the paper and plastics recycling programs at the schools where I have worked for the past 12 years, teaching young people to respect their planet and embrace the idea of community service.

In addition to this, for much of the past twenty-three years I have been a political writer, a liberal humorist of sorts. I started writing for underground and college newspapers in Springfield, IL in 1989 and have repeatedly returned to environmental issues such as writing about both the Exxon-Valdez and the BP Oil Rig spills, acidification of polar oceans, ice floe melt, deforestation and Bush’s environmental record over the years. The more recent stuff is primarily available with Op-Ed News:

As you might expect I am opposed to gutting environmental protections, mountain-top removal, Keystone XL, drilling in ANSWR, the Resolution Mine, and my opponent Paul Gosar’s favorite: Uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. My favorite question came from their concerns about the environmental impact of border issues. I said:

Immigration is at the heart of my campaign. I grew up near the border of Texas, in Raymondville, Texas, just south of the interior checkpoint, and I am shamed by our country’s record of tolerating the exploitation and harassment of immigrants and then excusing their demonization by the right for political goals. In addition to being an outspoken critic and activist against the more recent SB1070 disaster, in 2007, I wrote one of my more successful articles, “Make Immigration Legal”--

--Which argued for the sensible immigration reform designed to work with the reality of living in an age of economic refugees. I believe the idea of attempting to create an impenetrable fortress around our country is as wrongheaded and immense a boondoggle as Vietnam and likely to have as profoundly regretful of consequences.

While I am not a member of any immigrants rights groups, in that culture there is a symbol for the migrant: “la mariposa,” the butterfly, a creature of great beauty destined by life to roam, to migrate and share their gifts in many lands. This life of migration is a natural and beautiful thing and is representative of the numerous migratory species that travel the Americas. I want an immigration policy that does not believe America has to hide behind a fence, that does not need to chain the butterflies, or box in ocelots to feel safe. Though I approach this question as a social justice issue, this is a case where social justice could create environmental protection: if economic refugee immigrants could pass through established checkpoints, we could do a better job of taking care of our shared desert habitat, instead turning our country into a prison.

For more information about my stances on specific environmental issues or other matters, pressing or no, consider the wealth of contact and background information below:

Mikel Weisser for US Congress

mikel weisser

4490 Sundown Drive

So-Hi, AZ 86413


Act Blue:

Democracy for America:



On My Opponent, Paul Gosar:



LGBT Issues:


Tea Party Rebuttal:

Spoken Word:


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back from Yuma and back to reality. The roar of carnie engines is still in my ears and the pungent cocktail of steaming elotes, boiling oil, various farm animal’s fecal matter and fresh hot cinnamon rolls is still in my nostrils. Ah, the Yuma County Fair! And all the hard working Dems down there. Those guys hustled up petitions so fast, I thought they were selling burgers when I first arrived.  

This week should be about endorsements. I have a pile of them: Building Trades, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and Postal Carriers, that I can remember. But the main thing this week is preparing for this weekend, Sunday in Bullhead City, with Michelle Shocked.

This crazy event will include a banner with my face on it, tickets with serial numbers, radio ads, and a contract rider with dressing room prep instructions. Twenty years ago I was listening to a scratchy cassette of this lady and now I’m here tour stop between Albuquerque and Berkeley.  Show starts at 8pm at Lisa’s Boutique. Contact the campaign for details or call Susan Smith:

During the day, Sunday, we will be walking in the Riviera neighborhood of Bullhead City. I had spoken with some folks from the ACLU about Hispanic voters and how to create voter outreach and education. My hero Paulo Freire started his journey teaching people to read so they could learn how to vote. I don’t know if we have time for Sunday, but maybe before long we will get that going as well
This experience keeps making me grow, test my strengths, challenge my weaknesses, expanding my vision. Whoever I once was, was only the basis for the who I am now, after only a little over nine weeks. The film crew folks were down from NAU this afternoon. Tara Graeber and her man, the fabulous Flag’Slam poet Shaun Srivastava, came to do an interview with me in her set up for this weekend. Tara had started thinking about putting together a video before any of us knew i would be running for Congress. Shaun credits that i hosted the first reading he ever went to and changed his life. I know they are changing mine. I don't almost know where this is headed but if the future is as golden as the past, when i am done we will all be shining--


Remember all communications from this campaign are paid for by the friendly folks at Mikel Weisser for US Congress and I approve of almost all of their messages, this one in particular.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blog Notes 4/6/12 12:21a
Today we heard good news of Obama signing the STOCK Act to limit Congressional Insider Trading and a number of state AGs from around the country beginning to work together to overturn Citizens United. And i walked my own neighborhood: So-Hi, AZ: so named because it is so high above the Golden Valley of Golden Valley, AZ. Every time i look out my front door i am living a line from a Woddy Gutherie song.
We are preparing for a weekend in Yuma to join the Yuma Dems at the Yuma County Fair. This trip will also be the prototype for the roadshow design for the summer's campaigning plan: travel by van to various towns and cities in our district. Meet with local Democrats to energize a base and contact the public, possibly earn some media. Be prepared to be as cheap as possible including living in the van and relying as much as possible on campaign donations and in-kind generousity, creating a ruckus whenever possible with roadside concerts, protests, attending local Dem meetings and walking neighborhoods.
It is as grassroots as it gets. But i think it can help me change the whole world and all that.
ATTN Yuma:
I am aiming to talk to Yumans about immigration and see if we can come up with some humane ways to treat the economic refugees who struggle within our purposefully obtuse immigration system. As i said back in 2007 in Dissident Voice, "If you want to stop illegal immigration, make immigration legal."
In case you missed it, here is a link to my recent article critiquing Paul Gosar in the Payson Round-Up: