Monday, June 05, 2017
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Sent from my iPad
On May 21, 2017, at 1:13 PM, Jim Baca <email@example.com> wrote:
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From my old friend.
MAY 21, 2017
The leaking of sensitive intelligence is making a lot of news lately. Among the recent reports is the story that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister when they met in the White House. That comes after weeks of controversy over the unmasking of the name of the former national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, in an intelligence report and the leaking of his involvement with the Russian ambassador.
The concern about the president sharing sensitive information with the Russians is that they may be able to figure out how the information was obtained. That could put sources and methods and intelligence cooperation with Israel, the important partner who reportedly provided it, at risk.
It is not certain where the debate about the disclosure regarding Mr. Flynn will lead. For some, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that leak is just as bad as the Russian interference in our election last year. I disagree with Mr. Graham, but his argument is something every American should consider.
A person's views on a subject are always affected by one's own experience, and my view on Mr. Graham's assertion certainly is. I received my first top secret clearance in 1966 as a low-ranking enlisted man in the Naval Reserve. It was not just any top-secret clearance. It permitted me to have access to intelligence similar to the communications intercepts in which Mr. Flynn's name appeared. That clearance came with a long briefing, special caveats that themselves were classified and an oath. The oath, which I was required to sign, said I understood I could go to jail for 10 years and be fined up to $10,000 for revealing the information to which I was about to become able to see.
The briefing recounted how the decoding of intercepted communications of the Japanese and Germans helped the Allies win World War II and saved countless lives. It also stressed that the sources and methods used to obtain that kind of information were incredibly sensitive for, once revealed, the source was lost as the enemy changed its method of encryption and communication. For that reason, every time I read a news story about sensitive intelligence that indicates how it was collected, it makes me cringe.
I had a different reaction, however, when reading about Mr. Flynn. While the details remain uncertain, it appears clear that he took money from the Russians, all of which he did not report, discussed the easing of sanctions with the Russian ambassador before the Trump administration took office and then lied about it to at least the vice president and quite possibly the FBI. On top of all this, according to The New York Times, he told the Trump transition team on Jan. 4 that he was under federal investigation for secretly being on the payroll of the Turkish government.
After Mr. Trump took office, the White House was informed of Mr. Flynn's activities by the acting attorney general, yet no action was taken for 18 days. And then only after the story came out in the press. Mr. Flynn put himself in the position of making it very, very easy for the Russian ambassador, who knew he had lied, to blackmail him. Having worked on the National Security Council, I can assure you that, with the possible exceptions of the secretaries of State and Defense, there is no position in the government more crucial to national security than that of the national security adviser. No official has more access to all the intelligence our government produces.
Someone in our government understood the situation and, seeing the White House doing nothing, decided to violate his or her oath and leak the information on Mr. Flynn to the press. It seems very likely that, if the leak had not happened, he would still be sitting in the White House, given the president's inability to ever admit he made a mistake or to assume responsibility for his own actions.
I therefore came to the conclusion that, while leaking sensitive intelligence is wrong, in this case it was justified and that the leaker was motivated by patriotism despite the risk of a fine and jail time.
Therefore Mr. Graham's argument is absurd. The leaker forced an end to a grave threat to national security. The Russian campaign to discredit one of the candidates in the presidential election with well-timed releases of emails and other information, quite possibly in collusion with the campaign of the other candidate, undermined our democracy because it smeared one side and aided the other. Such interference undoubtedly had an impact given how close the result was.
Would Hillary Clinton have won the election if there had been no Russian meddling? We will never know. One thing is sure — Russia has declared war on our democracy and that of any other country with representative government. But that is not the only threat, according to James Clapper, former director of national intelligence. He told CNN he believes America's institutions are under assault both externally, from the Russians, and internally, by the president. Whether Mr. Trump's supposed sharing of sensitive intelligence with the Russians is part of that assault, was just a boastful error or really did not amount to all that much is something else that is still unclear.
Hopefully, it will be clarified soon, as well as the extent of Mr. Flynn's activities. And that is why all Americans should welcome the naming of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. Even in a town as divided as Washington, there is agreement that he is the right man for the job. And if it is one thing America needs at this point, it is unanimity about the extent of Russian interference, the degree of collusion with them and whether the leaks were justified.
Dennis Jett, the former U.S. ambassador to Mozambique (1993-1996) and Peru (1996-1999), is professor of international affairs at Penn State University.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
From my friend Ned.
Relief! A few minutes ago, all Democratic senators and three GOP senators voted down the repeal of the BLM methane rule by 51-49, the narrowest possible margin given the Vice President Pence would have broken a tie vote. GOP senators John McCain (remember his cosponsorship of a carbon cap and trade program with Joe Lieberman at the turn of the millennium?), Susan Collins of Maine, and Lindsey Graham of SC voted against rescission. (If I remember Senate rules correctly, any of these three who were on the winning side could quickly call for a re-vote, although the window for congressional rescission of late Obama Administration rules closes very soon.) Even the oil and gas/fossil state Democrats - people like Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin) - voted against rescission, a testimonial to the extreme actions that the majority in Congress and the White House have been pursuing in national energy policy. If you have friends in SC, AZ, or ME, let them know that people around the country are glad their senators stood up to the repeal!
Sent from my iPhone
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
I got hooked on watching, for the 10th time, that great movie "Network". The Oscar winning 1976 movie predicted with uncanny accuracy what would happen to Television News in the future. The premise was that the Network brass would allow the news operation to give commentary time to an anchorman who had gone crazy. (Think Glenn Beck and the Fox Crew.) The ratings went up as the rantings went on.
I got a note today from someone who said Frank Magid had died. He was a guy who single-handedly destroyed broadcast journalism with his 'happy news' format back in the early 70's. He thought news shows should be populated with 'personalities' and banter rather than serious reporting. His company was consulting for KOB-TV back then. I was working as a reporter, anchor, and assignment editor at Channel 7. Channel 4's new format was hurting our ratings. This was back in the day when there was no cable or satellite and everyone watched local TV news. So every rating point was worth revenue. Of course, our management went out and hired a consultant too and journalism died at KOAT-TV, for the most part. I remember well that I was producing and anchoring the news on the night that Nixon conducted the "Saturday Night Massacre" of Watergate fame. I led with the story and was hauled into the manager's office and confronted by him and the consultant with leading with the story for the newscast. They opined some dumb ass car wreck story was more important. I left TV sometime later because I just did not fit in with the new formulas. The General Manager at the station said I was a 'purist'. I think he was correct.
Things have deteriorated ever since for TV News along with viewership. Unless all you are interested in are sex related stories and poorly reported and researched political corruption stories. That is an old picture of me giving election results on the air in 1972. One thing for sure, the technology is better.
Thursday, May 04, 2017
First, trump has allowed religious fundamentalist churches reworked tax status, that being no taxes, even if they endorse political candidates and proselytize for their mascots from the pulpits of their imaginary friends. This is incredibly scary, like that book and now great TV Series the Handmaid's Tale. Holy Shit! I mean Wholly Shit!
And then there is the House of Representatives voting to repeal Healthcare for millions of Americans. What the hell are they thinking about? Certainly not their legacies. We should get some go fund me operations going to build monuments to these demons showing them taking the wheels off wheel chairs of Cerebral Palsy victims because, well preexisting conditions. Or build monuments to their group mind Obsessive Compulsive disorders.
Wednesday, May 03, 2017
And then we are reminded that there is now a $21 billion dollar total in the state's permanent funds which are not the result of taxes but mostly of payments for state owned oil and gas resources sucked out of the ground. Tooting my own horn here, but that money grew quickly after I became the first ever Land Commissioner to raise oil and gas royalty rates back in the 80's. No land Commissioner since then has had the nerve to raise them again, even during the time of extremely high prices.
The permanent funds are meant to be used for rainy days. And folks it is raining. Our Governor and her vacuous and venal minions in the GOP now see that payment for oil and gas as a way of keeping taxes low, rather than investing it to bring NM out of the 7th circle of economic hell.
Just like trump, someday people will look back at Susana and understand she was truly as demented or inebriated as the cheeto who sits in the White House destroying the Presidency.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
The Mayor of our city is out of the country while his Police department and its chief continue the meltdown into fascism. And the only person responding is some hapless Asst. CAO in the Mayor's office. He looked uncomfortable and awkward last night on TV News.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
There is a vile sickness at APD and in the Mayor's office where apparently everyone is on a permanent vacation from practicing leadership. I have often given Mayor Berry some slack because as a former Mayor I know how difficult that job can be. But, sooner or later a Mayor has to do some things that might upset people or employees in the city. And he seems to be at sea.
Here is some advice. Fire the Chief of Police immediately. Shut down the department's vicious social media sites and exert some leadership over new sites. If not then the administration is lost.
No, I don't like criminals, having been the victim of a recent home invasion and theft of our car and other valuables in the middle of the night as we slept. I want judges to put people in jail, especially repeat offenders. I want the Governor to properly fund the courts and penal systems to punish these crooks. And I want the police academy to turn out public safety employees instead of a paramilitary force.
When the police came to our house last month a very polite and impressive officer made an interesting comment. I asked him why it was so hard to recruit new officers. He said it was Obama's fault for letting the Justice Department investigate local police departments.
This otherwise professional young cop had imbibed of the kool aid set out by APD leadership, and a lack of leadership in the Mayor's office. What a shame.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Does one get that sinking feeling in looking at the real estate market here? We are surrounded by states that are seeing good economic activity while NM and ABQ are still in the swamp. Under republican leadership.
My stolen car has been recovered, but it is totaled after a high speed chase in Luna County as it headed toward Mexico. Four people were arrested but three were released. My car was in a gaggle of stolen cars headed south. Now to negotiate with my insurance agent. So far, they have been responsive but I am already out thousands of dollars.
But, it is only stuff.
Monday, April 03, 2017
One of the great metaphors in the book concerns the earth's atmosphere. Think of a basket ball with a piece of cellophane tape on it. The tape represents the size of the atmosphere in which all living things can exist. And our fossil fuel lovers think it can absorb what ever they dish out.
Do you think trump has ever thought of fragility of our life zone? Doubtful.
And then we have in the ABQ Journal today an oped by the flack for the fossil fuel industry, one Doug Turner by name, who savages a Native American legislator for wanting to ban fracking around Chaco Canyon and other New Mexico locales. I am surprised at Turner's retreat from his usual decency. But there is money in it I guess.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Rep. Nunes from California has become the poster boy for the IQ level of the GOP Reps in Congress. I always knew they were not very bright and this is one more example of the parochialism of that chamber. If Ryan doesn't remove him then he is even worse.
The Bernallio County Commission will spend their next meeting sticking it to the poor and middle class with yet another increase in the gross receipts tax. It would make more sense to raise the property tax, but since they max out their increase in that tax every year, there is no where to go for their spending sprees. The only Commissioner objecting to the increase is running for Mayor in Albuquerque. Maybe he should run on a platform of consolidating city and county services. But no, that would make sense and cost him votes. So by default Commissioner Johnson is just taking a bye on the vote.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140 (Kindle Locations 2300-2301). Orbit. Kindle Edition.
"But okay, you can’t really imagine a catastrophe will hit you until it does. People just don’t have that kind of mental capacity. If you did you would be stricken paralytic with fear at all times, because there are some guaranteed catastrophes bearing down on you that you aren’t going to be able to avoid (i.e. death), so evolution has kindly given you a strategically located mental blind spot, an inability to imagine future disasters in any way you can really believe, so that you can continue to function, as pointless as that may be. So, nice. Useful. Except when disastrously bad.
Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140 (Kindle Locations 2206-2210). Orbit. Kindle Edition.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
The US Senate Republicans just passed a neanderthal roll back of wildlife conservation regulations. It will allow twisted humans to kill, kill, kill all sorts of wildlife in inhumane ways. Denning, steel leg hold traps, and other psychotic ways of killing will be up to the states, and as we have seen from Susana Martinez and Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, they will allow it all in New Mexico. Senator Martin Heinrich tried to stop the carnage, but the GOP majority party, possibly all animal haters, took the day.
All of the Albuquerque Mayoral candidates are under the thumbs of poorly paid and so called TV News Directors who serve up nightly orange jump suit pictures of accused criminals. Everyone in this city has been so brainwashed by crime that the candidates think that being tough on crime is the only way to get elected. I know, because I did some of the same stuff when I was running for Mayor. But will they talk about anything else?
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Some one went on to the list serve wondering where they could get some signs, and all hell broke loose. A micro view of what is happening countrywide. There are a few people who don't believe in free speech around here and it started heating up, so the list serve commander started moderating comments. Understandable really. Sometimes we really don't want to know too much about who the right wing or left wing people down the street are. In this case, I don't mind.
I put a pile of Resist signs on my porch and folks are stopping by to get them. Mostly, people are going to be stating their positions strongly in this trump era and I for one want everyone around me to know where I stand.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Let me describe the ways our internalizing Governor Susana Martinez is acting these days. Her flurry of vetoes of widely supported bills that would be good for New Mexico have ended up in the shredder for some bizarre reason. She won't say why she is killing these bills. She feels disrespected obviously, and will take it out on everyone in the state. Yes, she really has lost it and one can only surmise she needs some downtime in the care of a good Doc. Seriously. Or possibly some time with an addiction counsellor for what ever is ailing her. (Remember that Pizza Party?)
This is not good for the Land of Enchantment. The Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate need to get upstairs to the fourth floor soon and dispense a little practical advice to this twisted Governor. And I do mean soon.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
The Legislature in New Mexico now has a chance to show they really care about our state's future. For the first time there are bipartisan efforts to overturn vetoes by the Governor. One of her vetoes, that would allow computer coding to be taught along with science, was supported by everyone. She is truly an outlier politician, and not in a good way.
Thursday, March 09, 2017
This veto is a metaphor for a truly incompetent Governor who never looks forward, only backward to her prosecutor days where in her mind nothing good can come out of anyone she deals with. What a sad thing to happen to New Mexico.
Wednesday, March 08, 2017
The dogs mostly work things out. Primarily, they just want to play and run and sniff butts. If there is a psycho dog present he is just taken away after a little peer pressure is expressed to the owner.
If the Congress and NM Legislature worked as well as a dog park, everything would be great in America again.
Monday, March 06, 2017
- mentally unbalanced; deranged."the violent acts of unhinged minds"
dishonest; corrupt."a bent cop"
- the state of being seriously mentally ill; madness."he suffered from bouts of insanity"
- synonyms: 3 mental illness, madness, dementia; Morelunacy, instability;
"insanity runs in her family"
"it might be pure insanity to take this loan"
- the state of being a lunatic; insanity (not in technical use)."it has been suggested that originality demands a degree of lunacy"
- synonyms: 3 insanity, madness, mental illness, dementia, mania, psychosis; informalcraziness "originality demands a degree of lunacy"
- antonyms: 6 sanity 7
- extreme folly or eccentricity.plural noun: lunacies
"such an economic policy would be sheer lunacy"
- synonyms: ◦ folly, foolishness, stupidity, silliness, idiocy, madness, recklessness, foolhardiness, imprudence, irresponsibility; informalcraziness "the lunacy of gambling"
Sunday, March 05, 2017
The Journal did a great story on the huge number of higher education institutions in New Mexico this morning. It showed a graph demonstrating the loss of tuition paying students since Governor Susana took office in 2010. But she got off with no criticism. She of course sees no value in increasing revenues to higher ed because it might hurt her corporate sponsors tax cuts. I sure want to see a compilation of economic indicators on graphs when she leaves office. It will solidify her as the most failed Governor ever.
President trump tweets conspiracy theories at 3am in the morning. Even I don't do that! When will proceedings start to remove him as unfit. Even a religious fanatic like Pence can be advised if he were elevated to the Presidency. Can't you imagine what trump's family and staff must think every time they see one of these tweets appear? Can't wait to read the book that will come out on the first 100 days, if it lasts that long.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Monday, February 27, 2017
Today I pick up the NYT and see that trump is vowing to increase military spending. While at the same time killing healthcare for poor children all over the nation. It doesn't matter that we have a defense budget bigger than the next twelve nations combined. We just need to get more money to Defense Industry stockholders and bonuses to the scum who call themselves CEOs of that giant killing machine.
I feel my self getting radical as I wander. I see anger rising every minute in our country. I see dictatorship leading to refugee camps run by private corporations that trump's policies will force to open.
I see a total loss of the moral compass that usually pointed somewhere in the right direction for our democracy over time.
Well, it is a Monday.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
There is also another category of folks that should take on the blame, and that is the lobbyists who grease the skids for this immorality. Lobbying, on its own isn't evil in all cases. A good ethical lobbyists can further discourse and debate. But, the ones who take on clients like the short term loan folks have to be missing some of their moral compass.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Vice President Pence criticized vandalism in that Jewish Cemetery and then declared war on 12 year old Transgender kids in the school bathrooms. Make no mistake, this is his warped christian fundamentalism at work and something that will need to be dealt with after trump is impeached or resigns.
Speaking of trump. Read this to fully understand his condition.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
For example the head of the Police Union in Santa Fe who exposes his hate for Muslims may end up being out of a job. A bad cop. Where do you think his next job will be? It is hard enough to fill vacant positions in police departments all over the country but now the job possibilities will increase even more and in desperation to fill them there will be a lot of inferior people hired. Every bad cop in the country who has been fired will probably be deemed eligible for this work.
And the private prison companies who will house these horrible criminals, you know the ones who do your landscaping and tar your roofs, will also be full steam ahead hiring anyone who can add one and one. Maybe worse.
What is happening to our America. When does the dam burst? Soon I hope. And for all you trump people out there, how could you be so stupid?
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Twenty years ago the gross receipts tax was about 5 1/2%. Now it is inching up towards 8%. This is unsustainable.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
The federal government's immigration enforcers are halfway to becoming the regime's Gestapo. Way to many of them are doing it willingly.
The Governor and Social Security Administration are halfway to making it impossible to get a drivers license renewed in New Mexico. I know, I am trying. Since my SS card is laminated I have to get a new one and they wont let me do it online because as a 71 year old retiree I am not verified. WTF?
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
But wait, in another development the new DA in Bernalillo County will only go after high profile cases because of his budget woes. So what happens to these small time thieves. Well, they are set loose on us again. And it all comes down to inadequate funding because of Susana's corporate subsidies and tax cuts. Unlike her, the rest of us don't have a State Police Officer living at their house as a full time security service.
Could the DA and the Mayor have a chat?
Monday, February 13, 2017
Meanwhile, the orange guy in the White House continues his almost hourly attacks on Journalists in this country. This is going to end very badly. Does anyone really doubt the the New York Times, LA Times, and the Washington Post are just absorbing this without a plan? Is it a possibility they are getting the goods on the regime and its ties with Russia's Putin and other unsavory folks around the world. Does the Cheeto regime think that videos and other damning evidence of all sorts will not find their way to real newspaper professionals?
And have you noticed how the Cheeto's advisor Stephen Miller sort of looks like Himmler?
Sunday, February 12, 2017
And then former Land Commissioner Bill Humphries, a pretty nice guy, drank some of Commissioner Aubrey Dunn's Kool Aid by supporting his P.R. massaging of the fossil fuel boys by saying federal mineral rights under private lands should be given to the state. Problem is, that will never happen and if it did it would be an immoral act. Those resources belong to all Americans, from sea to shining sea, and not just to Oil and Gas profiteers in the Land of Enchantment. Bill, I always thought you were much better than this.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Of course he is ignoring the fact that renewable energy, especially solar, is providing the real future of the country. And yet he wants to leave the Land of Enchantment in the starting gate.
Thursday, February 09, 2017
But, at the same time where is the business community ? The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce has had the same old tired leadership for decades. They keep their heads in the ground and rarely venture forth to do something concrete on getting the legislature and failed Governor to at least make an effort. They seem more interested in holding on to what they have in a faltering economy than showing some extended energy to make things better. The economic development teams of the State and City are feckless in rousing some support amongst them to improve education, infrastructure and recruiting.
Here is an idea for the media. Demand a news conference by the Governor to detail what her plans are for remedying our slow descent into economic hell. The Journal, the TV stations, and business publications need to insist.
Next, stand by for bad news from INTEL. I can feel it coming.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Someone should actually start a national lottery on the date and time the trump regime will be impeached for real.
The NM Legislature doesn't want ammosexual (yuk) gun nuts running around the Capitol building. They are considering banning firearms from the building. If they don't actually do it they are stupid. If they do actually do it, do it everywhere there is public present. They are in a corner on this one.
Friday, February 03, 2017
Thursday, February 02, 2017
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
We need a leader in the Senate to personify the Resistance. Some one young, charismatic, smart and relentless. In the vein of Senator Gillibrand or Senator Heinrich. Someone who can represent the young people, who in case you hadn't noticed, are the ones turning out by the millions to protest the crimes agains humanity emanating from trump and his minions.
This has to happen quickly, or trump and bannon will just keep shocking us with new issues until we become numbed.