Sunday, May 21, 2017

Re: from today's pittsburgh post gazette

Great

Sent from my iPad

On May 21, 2017, at 1:13 PM, Jim Baca <jbaca16@gmail.com> wrote:



Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:


From my old friend. 

 

DENNIS JETT

 

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. 

Fwd: from today's pittsburgh post gazette



Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:


From my old friend. 

 

DENNIS JETT

 

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

Inklings

Could it be bipartisanship is in revival?
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

Old Times

Tonights firing of Comey reminded me of this posts from 2010.  At least this firing got the attention it deserved.

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

7 Days in May

The movie Seven Days in May is one of my all time favorites.  It has one of the best scripts I have ever read.  It is about an attempted military takeover of the US Government during a crucial first week of May.  It was averted by playing dirty when needed.  And that is what we must do now.

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.

I feel I have stepped into a Dali Painting every morning as I rise from a fitful sleep, anticipating the latest from a demented mad man and his congress.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Ludicrous

It is almost too much to bear.  Governor Martinez equating a sugar tax rejection in Santa Fe as an indication that all taxes are bad.  She truly is a third rate thinker, maybe fourth rate.

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.

lu·di·crous
ˈlo͞odəkrəs/
adjective
  1. so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing; ridiculous.
    "it's ludicrous that I have been fined"
    synonyms:absurdridiculousfarcicallaughablerisiblepreposterousfoolishmadinsaneidioticstupidinanesillyasininenonsensical
    informalcrazy
    "a ludicrous idea"

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Awkward

So what do you say to friends who live in Texas?  Given that the GOP led legislature in Texas just passed a law giving jail time to people who shelter, feed and clothe people in sanctuary, what can you start a conversation with?  Gee, how is the weather?  Or, do you have enough jails to incarcerate the thousands of folks who believe in charity and compassion?  It really doesn't matter if those in sanctuary are undocumented or not.  I mean, charity is charity.

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

Back

I have been on a vacation from blogging for two weeks.  But I return on news of a total breakdown in leadership in the City of Albuquerque.  The actions by the Albuquerque Police Department on social media is akin to the resurgence of brown shirt mentality in our society.  The use of APD's social media to threaten and coerce judges, social reformers, or anyone who doesn't wear blue is truly epic.  I can't recall anything like it in my life long time as a resident of this city.

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

Misc.

Michele Grisham Lujan is amassing lots of money for her run for Governor.  She may well be the best candidate but  I am sensing some deja-vu here on her anointment as 'the one' by many Democrats.  Remember the hierarchy also anointed Hillary, and look where we ended up.  I am hopeful we will get a good contested primary where the debate is strong and we get a choice.  I could easily vote for Michelle, but I need to know if there are other worthy candidates who might be out there.  At the end of the election cycle I think we will have a Democrat as Governor.

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

Cellophane

I must recommend a book I am reading called "New York 2140", by Kim Stanley Robinson.  This futuristic novel has great political and economic insights and good character and storylines.  Essentially it is about life in NYC after climate change has occurred.

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

Misc.

I hope someone will start putting forth serious essays on whether or not the trump administration and its minions are committing crimes against humanity with their climate change denial agenda and actions.  I for one think they are.  How does one stop them?

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

Convergance

We are victims of the so called War on Drugs.  While we were sleeping Friday night a burglar came in through our doggy door, stole Bobbi's purse, grabbed my car keys, disengaged the overhead door in the garage and stole my Infiniti Hybrid SUV.  They were in the house and we didn't hear a thing.  But, this has been happening in our neighborhood a lot, and I figure the perps were some of those folks who have gone un prosecuted because of poor funding in the DAs Office.  Meanwhile, all the cops could do was shrug.  The insurance agents said it is happening a lot.  The drugs keep flowing and the users keep  using.  And the 'war on drugs' is a joke as it always has been.  This kind of crime would be cut by 90% if these addicts didn't need the money.  Legalization would cure that, along with funding for rehab services funding instead of putting money into Armored Cars for the police.  Here is another view from one of my neighbors on the list serve.

"First, the drug problem is simply a reflection of supply and demand.  As they explain in every economics textbook, whenever there is a demand for a product, there will be someone who will be there to supply it.  Even though we claim to have been fighting a "War on Drugs" for decades, that charade has never been more than a dog and pony show, brought out by politicians at election time to demonstrate that they are not quite as ineffective as they normally appear. 

Second, we as a country really haven't tried very hard at all to lessen the demand.  Here in New Mexico, there is virtually no adequate treatment for addicts who seek treatment for substance abuse.  You can't tell people who seek treatment to come back in a year, or when space opens up, and expect a drug treatment program actually to work.  In a word, the drug treatment we have is a joke, and a very sick, sad and intolerable joke at that. 
    
Third, we have done far less than we could have or should have to diminish the supply.  Take the case of Afghanistan, for example.  We have been at war there since 2001, we have spent something on the order of a trillion dollars fighting the Taliban and various and sundry warlords, and what is the result?  Well, Afghanistan's opium poppy production now goes into more than 90% of heroin worldwide.  Except for the initial year of the war,  Afghanistan has been the world's greatest illicit opium producer in every single year going back to 1992.  Opium production has risen every year since the beginning of the U.S. occupation.  More land is used for opium production in Afghanistan than is used for coca production in all of Latin America put together.  As if that weren't enough, in addiction to heroin, Afghanistan is also the world's largest producer of cannabis, in the form of hashish.  This is not to say that we haven't changed some conditions in the country.  For example, we have built some beautiful roads which have made it much easier for the Taliban to move the opium and other drugs to buyers outside Afghanistan,

Well, I think you get my point.  One can't say that we have really addressed the problem of the supply of opiates.  At the same time, we have done virtually nothing to address the demand for addictive drugs in this country, even with respect, I might add for soldiers like one of our best friends who came home to his wife and kids from Afghanistan not only with PTSD but also addicted to drugs, for which the Marines kindly gave him 30 days of treatment in a rehab facility near Camp Lejeune. 

So where do we go from here?  Well, the current national administration seems to want nothing more than to resurrect Betty Ford's "Just Say No" program of years past, something whose low cost would be equaled only by its ineffectiveness.  Our own Governor, and Mayor and other putative leaders all seem unwilling to even have a serious conversation about legalization (which we favor), never mind providing the funds necessary to address the problems that we face in a substantive way.  And dealing with the current situation will take money, and time, and most importantly the willingness to recognize the gravity of the problems, and finally the empathy required to care about dealing with them.  I'm sorry, friends, we can't wait for crude oil prices to rise, and the oil and gas industry to pour money again into the coffers of our state.  Oddly enough, our problems won't solve themselves or go away on their own.   However, intelligent, knowledgeable leaders, if we can find some, and money, and doctors, and nurses and caring will at least start us on our way.  It's not just our homes and our cars and our safety that are at stake.  It's our sense of honor, and the immense satisfaction of doing the right thing, that hang in the balance here as well."


Thursday, March 23, 2017

More

History is humankind trying to get a grip. Obviously not easy. But it could go better if you would pay a little more attention to certain details, like for instance your planet.

Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140 (Kindle Locations 2300-2301). Orbit. Kindle Edition. 

trump and climate change explained

From Kim Stanley Robinson's new Sci Fi Book, "New York, 2140"  which is set after climate change.

"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

Misc

The Wilderness Society, whose Council I served on for 23 years, is using New Mexico as an example of state land being sold off to oil, gas and timber companies.  It is  true that 4 million acres were sold by corrupt Land Commissioners over decades.  These were the lands with timber, water, and other exceptional qualities.  In the 30's to early 80's the State Permanent Fund got ripped off, and some of the Land Commissioners took bribes and never went to prison.  That kind of thing would be unlikely in this day and age.  However, it does make the great argument against states fighting to get title to federal public lands.

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

Neighbors

Neighborhood list serves can be a destructive device for uh, being neighborly and free speech.   Some of our enlightened people around the our north valley middle class environs are putting yard signs in their front yards saying no hate is allowed etc.  I ordered 50 yard signs that say resist and a number of my neighbors put them up also.

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

Rage

From my friend Patricia

Immediately after the election Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller explained that Melania would be staying in New York because there was "obviously a sensitivity to pulling out a 10-year-old in the middle of the school year".

We have since learned that the cost of security for Melania and Barron to remain at Trump Tower is $183 million/year. There is also no indication that they will actually move to DC this summer. So in essence the Federal government is giving the Trump family a $183 million annual voucher so Barron can attend the elite private prep school of his choice.

Meanwhile, we learned that Trump's budget would completely eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA, with an annual budget of only $148 million, is able to provide seed money for arts programming in literally every Congressional district in the country. This would disproportionately affect underserved and rural communities hardest.

So, on the one hand you have a $183 million school voucher for a single 10-year-old at an elite private school. On the other hand you have a program that impacts arts and cultural programming throughout the entire nation, mostly to those in need.

NOT NORMAL. #Resist

Please cut, paste, and share.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Going Postal

Hissy Fit.  Losing it. Going postal. Schizo time.  Meltdown. Break Down.

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

Misc.

Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall have invited that paragon of intellect, DOE Cabinet Secretary Rick Perry, to visit our National Labs in New Mexico.  Of course it was Perry who suggested we close down the Department of Energy and the National Labs.  I for one would like to see him given a 3rd grade science  test before he is allowed inside those facilities.  Actually, the fact that trump gave him this appointment will stand as one of the mysteries of the ages.

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

Ho Hemp....Ho Hum

Despite overwhelming bipartisan support Governor Susana M. has once again vetoed a bill that would allow the growing of an industrial Hemp crop in New Mexico.  She must think that with all the pot sales and tax revenues up in Colorado, that all of America will run to the Land of Enchantment to get high in the fields.  Except  Hemp doesn't make you high, unless you are a farmer looking for a good cash crop in growing a very useful plant.

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

Public Land

Another missive from Ned.

The Senate (http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/322800-senate-passes-bill-ending-obama-era-land-rule) and the House have now voted down a rule that required a more thorough, transparent planning process for activities on public lands - about 250 million acres (not Parks or Wildlife Refuges) managed by the Bureau of Land Management, mostly in the West.  The rule was adopted by the Obama Administration in December - too late, making it vulnerable to rescission under the terms of the Congressional Review Act.  Hunting and fishing groups were offended (see the reaction of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership at http://www.trcp.org/2017/02/07/house-votes-eviscerate-rule-giving-sportsmen-say-public-land-use-2/) because in some key places there are big conflicts between the roads, pipelines, and wellheads required for oil and gas development and maintenance of critical wildlife habitat, particularly migratory species such as antelope and mule deer.  And please be aware of the irony here: elimination of a rule hailed by the TRCP is one of the first actions of the Congress that the new Interior Secretary just departed, calling himself a Teddy Roosevelt fan at his confirmation hearings in the Senate...

The oil industry pushed hard against this rule, and pushed hard for its repeal. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska senator who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, said the rule had obscured planning, which sounds a tad Orwellian.  Having been very deep in the development of this rule and its antecedents, and observed the conflicts that made it necessary, I weep (well, figuratively) for our public lands and wildlife.  We are definitely going back in time - back to a time when some field offices, heavily pressured and influenced by oil industry landmen, moved permits through with inadequate attention to sensitive resources from cultural and archaeological to buffers near national parks, water sources, and wildlife areas. 

The U.S. has been producing oil and gas at historic levels.  Can't the industry take its boot off the neck of our public lands and allow a slightly more careful, inclusive, informed process for development on the public estate?  Instead the industry's concerted opposition to this rule and others represents a no-holds-barred, give-no-quarter approach to energy policy.  Same as with methane management, same as with offshore leasing, same as with opposition to even the most basic rules governing hydraulic fracturing.  This week, as Cambridge Energy Research Associates holds its annual "Energy Week" in Houston (about 75% oil and gas, with speakers from industry and the Trump Administration - see https://ceraweek.com/agenda/ ), the dominance of the oil and gas industry has never felt more obvious.  A few leaders deserve credit for supporting the Paris climate agreement - although, since it will never be implemented or endorsed by our current EPA or Congress, it could be seen as a ploy to give even more comparative freedom to the industry on the ground in the United States.

Please be in touch with friends in red and purple states to make them aware, get them involved, and prepare for the 2018 elections.


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Dog Park Politics

One of the best decompression exercises I have is to take Mercury the Aussie to the dog park in  the mornings.  Watching the dogs and owners is great, and there is little politics spoken.

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

trump

I keep thinking of certain words.

un·hinged
ˌənˈhinjd/
adjective
adjective: unhinged
  1. mentally unbalanced; deranged."the violent acts of unhinged minds"
bent1
bent/

  1. 2.
    BRITISHinformal
    dishonest; corrupt."a bent cop"
    • stolen.
in·san·i·ty
inˈsanədē/
noun
noun: insanity
  1. the state of being seriously mentally ill; madness."he suffered from bouts of insanity"
  2. synonyms: 3 mental illness, madness, dementia; Morelunacy, instability;
    mania, psychosis;
    informalcraziness
    "insanity runs in her family"
    4
extreme foolishness or irrationality.plural noun: insanities
"it might be pure insanity to take this loan"

lu·na·cy
ˈlo͞onəsē/
noun
noun: lunacy
  1. the state of being a lunatic; insanity (not in technical use)."it has been suggested that originality demands a degree of lunacy"
  2. synonyms: 3 insanity, madness, mental illness, dementia, mania, psychosis; informalcraziness "originality demands a degree of lunacy"
  3. antonyms: 6 sanity 7




Sunday, March 05, 2017

Misc.

The legislature wants to ban open carry of assault rifles in the capitol because it makes people uncomfortable.  Meanwhile, these guys with mommy problems can still carry them into your grocery store and stroll along side your toddlers.  And of course the paranoids who need to carry concealed weapons can still go anywhere.  All of this will eventually end badly.  Madness in America.

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.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Wilderness

Every time I get out of bed and read real newspapers I feel more and more like I am wandering lost in the Wilderness with others looking for a way out.

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

From Ned

More from energy policy insider Ned Farquhar.

Scott Pruitt at EPA.  No need to replay all the news about Pruitt's close coordination with the oil industry over the decades.  Pruitt, based in Oklahoma, was doubtless very close to Oklahoma oil magnate and early Trump supporter/energy advisor Harold Hamm, who strongly supported his appointment to EPA. (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/07/trump-names-scott-pruitt-oklahoma-attorney-general-suing-epa-on-climate-change-to-head-the-epa/?utm_term=.ce192832342b ).  You know he says climate change is still in doubt and that he wants to "return" EPA to its basic mission of clean air and clean water, ignoring climate change.  The nation's environmental watchdog is being leashed and told to bark at the janitor, not at the robbers who have parked a giant truck at the back of the bank in the middle of the night and are vigorously prying open the doors and vaults.

Iraq's oil.  In 2007 Alan Greenspan (former Fed chair) wrote that the Iraq war was about oil, a position he later tempered to say it should have been about oil, if it wasn't.  (See http://www.cbsnews.com/news/greenspan-backtracks-on-iraq-war-oil-claim-17-09-2007/ ).  The President has repeatedly said the United States should have appropriated Iraq's oil.  In fact the big multinational oil companies, that see little relevance to national boundaries (see Steve Coll's 2011 book, Private Empire, about the ExxonMobil corporation, or his recent New Yorker article at http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/rex-tillerson-from-a-corporate-oil-sovereign-to-the-state-department ), have done pretty well in Iraq, sharply boosting production and taking a share of the revenue, juicing global production and driving oil prices down in the past few years.  Whether the US appropriated Iraq oil or not, in the marketplace the oil companies are doing fine.  On the other hand, the US and its allies are caring for almost a million wounded war veterans (http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/military ), with potentially more to be identified in decades to come.  As of 2015, Iraq held proven oil reserves ranking it in the top five countries in the world, after Saudi Arabia, Iran, Canada, and Venezuela (see http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/data/browser/#/?pa=0000000000000000000008&c=ruvvvvvfvtvnvv1urvvvvfvvvvvvfvvvou20evvvvvvvvvnvvuvo&ct=0&tl_id=5-A&vs=INTL.57-6-AFG-BB.A&cy=2014&vo=0&v=H&start=1980 ). 

Some more about the oil export ban.  In late 2015, Congress repealed the US oil export ban.  In return, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress got a five-year extension of federal subsidies for wind and solar development.  The oil industry got far the better deal in this energy horse trade.

Less than two years later, the US industry is expected to export about 800,000 barrels/day, or bpd (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-02/u-s-may-export-more-oil-in-2017-than-four-opec-nations-produce).  As context, the US consumes almost 20 million bpd, and produces somewhere around 9.5 million, so exports are now reaching almost 10% of US oil production and moving toward 5% of US consumption.  Contrary to the industry's vague claims that we are energy-secure, we remain more than 50% dependent on foreign oil.  Time after time since the early 1970s, our dependence on foreign oil has led to world economic crisis and economically destructive price spikes.  And we spend hundreds of billions of dollars defending global oil transportation routes and oil facilities and oilfields around the world.  That is a cost borne by US taxpayers, not by the industry.  

By exporting oil, the US industry intends to seek the highest price and flatten the price gap between US crude and world crude prices, as projected by the Economist when the ban was lifted (http://www.economist.com/news/finance-economics/21684531-light-sweet-compromise-puts-end-crude-market-distortions-america-lifts).  What economists call a global market distortion, of course, provided economic relief to American consumers.  It's a boom and bust industry that produces jobs and then eliminates them, as shown by the contraction in oil and gas employment when prices were low in the years prior to the lifting of the export ban.  Despite the boasting about how many jobs the industry provides (when oil prices are high and punishing the American consumer), it isn't a healthy, consistent industry in the fabric of the American economy.

There are environmental implications of rapidly expanding oil exports as well.  The industry is clamoring for more access to the offshore, objecting to President Obama's closures of the Arctic and North Atlantic to offshore leasing, and to natural areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (see http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Trump-May-Open-Up-Arctic-Drilling.html ).  Further, in the drilling, production, processing, and refining processes, the industry produces and wastes significant amounts of unregulated methane (natural gas) - and the Congress has been preparing to rescind rules intended to control these unnecessary, wasteful, atmosphere-destroying methane emissions from production on public lands.  Production for export requires incrementally more poorly regulated fracking in the US, where shale oil and gas production far exceeds such production anywhere else on earth.  Thus we are generating and accepting the significant impact of other nations' oil and gas consumption, effectively importing impacts, while exporting fossil fuels.

Exporting US oil doesn't really make much policy sense.  But it clearly shows the grip that the oil industry has got on Washington and in the states - a grip growing ever stronger.


New energy campaign from the American Petroleum Institute.  If you saw the Super Bowl, you might have caught the industry's rollout of a new public relations campaign by the American Petroleum Institute, about "power past impossible."  (See http://www.api.org/news-policy-and-issues/news/2017/02/05/api-launches-power-past-impossible-campa ) or (https://powerpastimpossible.org/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAlsrFBRCAxcCB54XElLEBEiQA_ei0DLsWzMDeJ5OyJ39A8d9EC7-VjvrMrXA403ffwhtsqjIaAqi18P8HAQ ).  This follows on their five-year-old "Vote4Energy" campaign (see http://www.vote4energy.org/) that has in fact focused on oil and gas, not on energy.  As oil consumers, we are all paying for these campaigns to convince us that we can't ever live without oil, that it uniquely brings us jobs, products, convenience, and other benefits - without addressing the need to reduce carbon emissions radically in future years.  They seem to be so focused on powering past the impossible that they have powered past the possible (such as cap and trade on carbon emissions, with real, hard-shell limits to emissions and a successful record in the electric industry here in New England, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_Greenhouse_Gas_Initiative ) on the way!

Enablers

Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican has a great story on the horrendous business of the Pay Day Loan Industry today.  These people are truly the scum of the earth.  As are the Legislators who carry their water for them in the efforts to regulate a business whose sole purpose is to make poor people even poorer.  And of course the enabler in chief is Governor Susana Martinez who has taken large donations from the scum, as have democratic and republican lawmakers.

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

Dogma Again

How low can the GOP go?  The republicans on the ABQ City Council couldn't even vote for a resolution that we are an immigrant friendly city.  The word sanctuary wasn't even used!  Two of the members took a hike and Councillor Trudy Jones put her brainwashed bigoted beliefs front and center.  And where was the Mayor's leadership?  Ha!

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

The Real Problem

I have shared this on Face Book before, but more and more it gets to the heart of the problem.


New Gestapo

trump will get his own new Gestapo as he hires 15,000 new ICE and Border Patrol agents.  Think of it.  One job will be to tear families apart who are living in America.  And think again the way these people will be hired to do this job.

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

Regression

The Bernallio County Commissioners are considering the most regressive tax to get them out of their overspending habits.  They want to raise the gross receipts tax 3/16ths of a cent.  Of course this falls on the poor and middle class.  Every resident should raise hell.  First, tell them to stop spending.  Second if they still need money then look to the property tax.   Third, if they do this,  just do it for county areas that do not include the City of Albuquerque, whose residents are supporting this overspending by the county as it is while getting few services.

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

Victims

We are in the 6th circle of hell with the IRS and NM Tax and Rev because of a computer breach somewhere that affected my wife Bobbi's employment data with the Feds.  Now we have to prove who we are by spending hours waiting on phones and then trying to send scanned documents to the state, which doesn't really like scanned doc formats.  Catch 22 again!  Meanwhile the thousands they owe us in returns won't be sent for an undetermined time.  What is happening here is that we are victims again of identity theft.  But, things could be worse.  trump could actually be in office for more that a few months.  It will be interesting to see if our refunds get here before he has to leave!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Half

The Legislature is halfway to nowhere.  Thirty days left in the session to present crucial bills that our ideologue Governor will veto.

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

Who is on First

The City Council is funding an effort to get property crimes pounced on by a special team at APD.  Right now the response times for such crimes is almost never.  So, that is good.  Our neighborhood has been seeing a lot of burglaries.  So any thing that can be done to find these thieves is good.  Personally,  I would cut off one of their fingers every time they are caught.  And you all thought I was way too much of a lefty.

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

The Wall

The chief Cheeto in DC should hire Governor Susana Martinez to build his wall along the Mexican border.  She has already shown her prowess at building a human wall around her to block the press as she moves around the Capitol.  She is adept at it, and as her recent confusing and meaningless remarks on tearing families apart on the border shows, she is heartless too.  She just couldn't bring her self to say the wall is stupid and not something a rational human being would do.

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

Fossil Thinking

The Albuquerque Journal turned over a major part of its editorial page Sunday to the fossil fuel boys. Call it fake news OPEDs.  First that  oil and gas mascot, Congressman Steve Pearce, says that Obama wanted to crush New Mexico's economy by preventing flaring of natural gas into the atmosphere from all of those leaky oil and gas wells.  "Crush" he said.  Never mind climate change sped up by all this free methane!  Pearce, in protecting his funder's profits, could be construed to be much more dangerous than that poor woman torn from her children in Phoenix and sent back to Mexico.  Crimes against humanity just gets shrugs these days.

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.