Thursday, October 19, 2017

Santolina Crime

The actions of Jeff Garrett of the Santolina sprawl project on ABQ's west side are criminal in my opinion.  His company has funded outrageous commercials that accuse Mayor Candidate Tim Keller of coddling sexual predators.  I have seldom seen a city race stoop this low on local TV campaigns.

We know that Garrett has been joined in the past by many Attornies at the Rodey Law Firm in funding candidates who favor this horrible development.  Are they doing so again?  I am talking about John Salazar, Dick Minzner, Justin Horwitz and Robert Lucero.  Have they lent their time and money to this dirty campaign on the behalf of dan lewis?  Will we ever know?  The same goes for the Bohannon Engineering firm.  Are they putting their great reputation on the line too?

The only other time I have seen something akin to these attacks is when I ran for Mayor in 1985.  Ken Schultz and the Aragon family, that would be Manny and Benny and their ilk, started a rumor campaign all throughout the Hispanic community that my wife Bobbi was a racist because she didn't carry my last name of Baca.  They also said my children did not, which was totally false.  But the campaign worked for them and he beat me by a couple of thousand votes in the runoff on the strength of those whispers.

So, once again I admonish all voters to get to the polls or we will end up with a christian fundamentalist mayor who lies and cheats through his supporters false TV ads. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Flavor

The flavor of the GOP is hatred and lies these days.  And the formerly moderate members of that one-time major political party sit by quivering as the lunatics run the show.  And even worse they have managed to seep into every level of government in acquiescing to the craziness.

Case in point, the runoff election for ABQ's new Mayor.  dan lewis has partaken of the fringe flavored Kool-Aid in trying to paint Tim Keller as a supporter of rapists in the new Lewis TV Commercial.  I just saw that piece of political fear mongering,  and any respect for I had for lewis is gone.  I had at one time thought he was a moderate man until the GOP/religious fundamentalism reared its ugly presence and took his decency.

I am hopeful we can prove that this hateful kind of campaigning doesn't work any longer.  But, it will have an effect on many voters who are scared of their own shadows these days.  So, getting out the vote is really important in this low turnout election.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Misc.

We spent a great weekend with friends in the wine country around Paso Robles, CA.  No fires there but lots of wine tasting and lazing about in friend's restored the Victorian home.  The political discussion just could not be kept away.

It looks like Dan Lewis has joined the trump/bannon brand of political discourse.  The account I read of their debate on Sunday made me think that Tim Keller will fight back strongly against silly and specious allegations from the extreme right wing.  Good for him.  Meanwhile, Lewis has sold his soul to the crowd that loves to hate.  So, from now on I will no long capitalize his name.  It is lewis from now on.

It was a joy to read that so many people turned out to voice opposition to Governor susana martinez's plan to turn New Mexico's public education science curriculum into a religious fundamentalist wacko inspired school system.  The way the hearing was conducted in Santa Fe was amateurish with few people getting into the undersized venue.  Thanks to all sane people who trekked up there.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Corporate Media

I often rail about corporate news media.  From our local TV stations which are owned by large conglomerates to the media giants like Comcast.  They will only allow in-depth news coverage of issues that don't affect their bottom line.

This latest scandal with another Hollywood mogul, Weinstein, proves the point as NBC has been called on the carpet by independent journalists for continually killing the story of this pervert's sexual predations.  How could anyone trust NBC to deliver any worthy journalism from here on out?

It reaches down to our local broadcasters.  When was the last time you saw any real investigative work done on anything but the government?  Yes, they will parrot some worthy reporting in the ABQ Journal, such as the wonderful work on the rip off industry of elderly guardians, but can you remember one TV news operation really taking on the big guys?  I mean corporate monsters.  Like Comcast itself?

We can only dream.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Misc

So the APS School Board is fighting Susana Martinez's attack on science in the public schools.  This is good.  Only one board member voted to favor religion over science and that was Peggy Muller Aragon.  She is the wife of Robert Aragon who is running for city council.  And that is a giant reason for keeping him out of office.  He has always been a political gadfly, but now the political/religious fundamentalism nutjobs are attempting to get another seat on the council.  Please vote for Cynthia Borrego in that race.  For the sake of your children's education.

The Albuquerque Journal's Dan McKay this morning used the term 'left-leaning' to describe some groups opposing attempts by Congressman Steve Pearce's move to gut National Monuments in New Mexico.  Yet the people and legislators who are defending the attack on these Monuments are given no label.  So much for editorializing in a news story.  I thought we had seen that stopped when the last Editor was kicked upstairs.

Meanwhile, the Journal editorial board has wussed out by calling for a ban on bump-stocks for assault weapons.  The NRA bait and switch worked.  You can still buy assault weapons by the truck load if you wish.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fiction or Truth

One of my favorite authors is Paolo Bacigalupi.  His latest book in the Drowned Cities series is called "Tool of War."  Its first page is timely.

THE DRONE CIRCLED high above the wreckage of war. A week before, it hadn’t been there. A week before, the Drowned Cities hadn’t been worth mentioning, let alone worth committing drones to overwatch. The Drowned Cities: a coastline swamped by rising sea levels and political hatreds, a place of shattered rubble and eternal gunfire. It had been a proud capital, once, and the people who inhabited its marble corridors had dominated much of the world. But now the place was barely remembered on maps, let alone in places where civilized people gathered. The histories it had dominated, the territories it had controlled, all had been lost as its people descended into civil war—and eventually were forgotten.

Bacigalupi, Paolo. Tool of War (Ship Breaker) (pp. 1-2).  Kindle Edition. 

Monday, October 09, 2017

Transition

It is remarkable that the ABQ Mayoral winning candidate will have only ten business days to conduct a transition before entering office.  I am assuming that will put a lot of heat onto Tim Keller if he wins, as I think he will.  Dan Lewis will march into office and mostly inherit Mayor Berry's team, except for the police chief I assume.

Besides having to run a campaign against Lewis who will get right wing money from the puppet masters in the GOP, Keller will have to think hard about his top appointments.  He will have a few months to fill in department heads after being elected, but his top choice for Chief Administrative Officer has to be solidified almost immediately.  And of course shove the APD Chief out the door while putting together a search for a new Chief from outside the Department.  And outside the State too.

And on one last note about Vice President Pence wasting money to fly to a walkout at an NFL game, one wishes the money the trip cost should have been spent on genetic engineering to assure fewer religious fundamentalist idiots like him are born.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Misc

Many people are trying to get credit for Tim Kellers great victory in the ABQ Mayor's race first round of voting.  Some even suggest that Bernie Sanders endorsement was key.  What rubbish.  Keller won by having a smarter and leaner campaign that wasn't concentrating on spreading fear and hate.  That seems to have sailed right over the head of City Councillor Dan Lewis who is already doing the attack approach.  He says Keller will be soft on crime.  Lewis has stood by as a Councillor for years while our Police Department imploded and crime got out of hand.  He gave only lip service to it and now is trying to push the blame off on others.  Weak.

The ABQ Free Press has gone the way of so many good and hard hitting news and investigative organizations.  They closed down with little fanfare.  The fact is that you can not survive as a real news outlet by asking for donations to support you.  It is sad but true.  And those journalists who worked there can't subsist on minimum or no wages at all.


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Deviates

One really wonders what kind of satisfaction these NRA donation recipients get from actually harming our future and costing future innocent lives. It must be like how a sexual deviate feels when he opens his trench coat in front of a grade school. I have no other explanation.

Any Democratic Senate Candidate, House Candidate or Governor's candidate who does not come out for an outright ban on assault weapons should not be given any support.  Every time one of these tragedies occurs they all do a bait and switch by talking about more background checks etc.  The problem is assault weapons and bump stocks.  We all heard what they can do in the audio of the LV massacre. 


I will not send one more dime to any candidate for federal and state office who does not take a pledge to stop the sale of assault weapons and gather in all the existing ones.  Anyone who doesn't turn them in gets a year in a federal lockup.  Yeah, I know, they will lose votes but taking hard positions is part of the job.

Take a Ways

The first round of the ABQ elections are over.  Here are my take-a-ways.

Tim Keller had a killer ground game and was truly the best all around candidate.  His message resonated with voters and his nearly 40% share of the vote was astounding.  Now, he needs to get an even bigger tent.

The GOP will go all medieval on him.  He will face a well funded NRA and anti gay Dan Lewis who is an ordained baptist minister.  Look for Koch brother money coming in to the race.

Brian Colon suffered from the curse of being a former Democratic Party Chair.  The ability to fund raise and make deals just doesn't translate into charisma for being a successful candidate.  His TV commercials were pretty bad.  Kellers were pretty good.  Colon is a nice guy who needs to get his folks behind Keller.

Wayne Johnson, the anti sanctuary guy can now slink back into the Santolina owned Bernalillo County Commission.

Many Democrats voted against the sick leave issue.  It was just a  bridge too far after folks tried to read through the ballot language and saw how convoluted it was.  The opposition ran a good campaign.

I am all in for Cynthia Borrego in my old home District 5 Council race.  The last thing we need is Robert Aragon, another fundamentalist wacko.  Read up on his background to see what a disruptive person he can be.

Send money to this PAC that helps Tim Keller.  His election will make those clowns at the Santolina development pucker their sphincters. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Misc

One of my conservative democrat friends called this morning and said he and his spouse had taken a vow that they would never, ever, vote for a candidate again who accepts money or endorsements from the NRA.  I have accepted the challenge.  It may mean I don't vote for democrats ever again, but it is time to take a stand.  What else is there left for us to do?  When congress and others did nothing after the massacre of first and second graders the only thing left to do is vote as a one issue elector.

Tim Keller will slide to a first place in the ABQ Mayor's race tonight after the votes are counted.  Then a real donny brook will be set in place for the runoff against a pro NRA and antigay opponent.  The money will pour in to his opponent's coffers while Keller's publicly financed campaign will be limited.

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has decided not to run for Congress.  I have a gut feeling there is more to this decision than has been revealed.  This Commissioner, who allows leg hold traps on State Lands for the cruel deaths of wildlife, might have been elected to Congress.  It is a strange move.  I have a gut feeling the fossil fuel boys were against him because of his favoring the livestock industry on contentious issues between the two 'buggy whip' state land users.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Timing

Timing is everything.  Dan Lewis has received the endorsement of the NRA and fundamentalist christians who want to burn gay people.  Does this help him in his run for Mayor?  He will be facing off against Tim Keller, who the NRA dislikes and who supports gay rights.

So, getting out to vote in the runoff election will be extremely important.  I can tell you the NRA and anti gay types will be there.  So every other candidate with any morals at all will have to get behind Keller.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Truth be Told

If one wants to support former political party chairs in New Mexico for elective office, just be prepared to lose.  The chances of the former party leaders at ever winning seems doomed, always and forever.  If any readers can ever remember a former party chair being successful,  just chime in here on the comments section.  Maybe it would give ABQ Mayoral Candidate Brian Colon some hope of getting into the runoff with Tim Keller.  A teensy bit of hope anyway.

What does seem to work for some candidates is what worked for trump.  Get voters who want to hate some group on your side.  Appease them by remaining cozy and silent when their xenophobias break out.  Dan Lewis, who I have always thought was one of the better city councillors, did just that when his religious supporters went full attack mode on the LGBT community.  He gained in the polls. He stooped to the level of  County Commissioner Wayne Johnson who went postal on brown people in his anti 'sanctuary' TV commercial.

It will be interesting to watch the sick leave ordinance outcome on the ABQ ballot.  I was truly surprised to see it had lost so much ground in the latest Journal poll.  The trend shows it could fail.  As a progressive, I did vote against it because it was way too complicated.  If it goes down then the city council and new Mayor should take a new stab at getting something workable.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Trickle Down

Mayoral candidate Wayne Johnson has decided the trickle down theory can work.  What is trickling down is racism and hatred for immigrants.  He has targeted them in what he might think is a subtle way, but really it is just an appeal to the trump white supremacists.  His commercial saying he will not let ABQ be a sanctuary city is really saying, "I will throw all brown people out."  What a dick.

And I can't imagine what his attacks on fellow republican Dan Lewis, a fundamentalist baptist minister, will end up doing to the already damaged GOP brand.  They deserve any blow back that occurs.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Roll Them Bones

These early endorsements for Governor seem risky to me.  One of the groups I support with a money drop every month is Conservation Voters New Mexico.  They went early with Michelle Grisham Lujan.  She would be a good candidate on green issues, but so might Jeff Apodaca.  But, will he ever even be recognized or asked?  And do these early endorsements actually mean anything in November of next year?  That is a long ways off.   An early news release is about all that comes out of this early cheer leading.

Also, it is quite likely that someone else might enter the race that would be even better on climate change and renewable energy programs than either of the announced candidates.  Then a real division takes place in the march to Primary election day.

It would have made sense for CVNM to play the field a little longer.  And other groups like them.




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Misc.

If you are upset about the Public Education Department in Santa Fe trying to appease religious fundamentalists then please send in a comment.  As you know they are trying change science curriculum by removing evolution, climate change and age of the earth from our students knowledge base.  Unthinkable.

Actually, think a little about Alabama right now and the complete nutcase they just nominated for the US Senate.  He is a disgraced state Supreme Court Judge who takes all of his orders from god.  Even trump didn't like him.

Governor Martinez is saying all elected officials should be removed from the State Investment Council.  That would not be a blow for transparency.  Can you imagine leaving the state's billions of dollars in permanent funds under control of only the hedge fund CEOs and Bankers?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grist

The latest FBI crime stats provide more grist for the mill in the Mayor's race in Albuquerque.  This comes as Mayor Berry says he is handing over a growing economy to the incoming Mayor.  Well, he might be right after almost eight dismal years in office with no economic program in evidence, along with do nothing Governor Martinez. About the only ones doing really well are the car thieves in NM.  Car thefts doubled in just a few years.  Those cars, like the one stolen from me last March, are headed in caravans for the border.  So, I suppose one could say that is bringing new money into the state.

Having said all that I want to thank Mayor Berry for his service to the city.  It is a tough job and every decision will upset someone.  And the criticism is severe since everything is localized.  I would say his only huge failure is the Police department.

Its bad enough taking abuse from anyone who hits a new pothole in the road, but to sit there while the parochial City Council endlessly gets away with poor performance is like watching trump give a speech.  Endless nausea.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Signs

Having run a lot of campaigns I can say one of my favorite ways to spend money is on yard signs.  In my subdivision off Rio Grande Blvd near Matthew St. it appears that Tim Kelly outnumbers every other candidate about 10 to one in yard signs that actually sit in front of a home, instead of on a street somewhere.  It tells me that Kellers underfunded public campaign is using its money wisely on grass roots.  Those people who actually vote.  The only other presence in this neighborhood is a lone Colon sign.  That is it.  None for Lewis or the other candidates.

The upcoming danger for Keller is the runoff.  That is when an opponent who has unlimited funding options will have some advantages.  Who ever runs against Keller, probably Colon, will uncork that money from irresponsible land developers.  Colon has been strangely quiet in the scurrilous attacks on Keller by CEO Jeff Garrett at the Santolina development.  Profit at any cost.  (Please don't forget the County Commissioners who sided with Santolina, but that will be a topic for a future blog.)


Sunday, September 24, 2017

M'eh

The ABQ Journal did a dual endorsement today of Colon and Lewis for Mayor.  Downright bizarre.  They endorsed this way because in their editorial board's twisted logic they must think it hurts Tim Keller.  Does it?  I think  it actually could help  Keller a little bit as it divides non Keller types that the Journal influences into spreading out their vote.  Does that make sense?

No matter what, Keller is in the runoff.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mr. Poster Child

Dear Mr. Jeff Garrett of the Santolina Abomination Development,

You really are a poster child for everything wrong with corporate America. Your oped in the Albuquerque Journal this morning has earned you that rating.  You don't give a damn about our city and state. You just want to make money on an ill concieved sprawl project that will hit taxpayers hard and fast. Mr. Garrett, I don't think you are really welcome around here. Go away.

Your interference in our local politics and your attacks on Tim Keller the front runner has demonstrated a new low in our political scene.  And, that is hard to do when we have a Governor like Susana Martinez.

I question your competence to be even the CEO of a Sno Cone stand.  I say that because I am pretty sure you picked some consultant to write that oped.  And you paid for it.  How is that a good management decision?

Damn, I could go on forever.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Served Cold

The people at Santolina development and their local mascots must have a screw loose.  Now that we know they are behind funding for ads that call the front runner Mayoral Candidate Tim Keller a protector of pedophiles, there will be a reckoning.

Really, how stupid can this corporate operation be?  If Tim Keller is elected do you think maybe Santolina's development plans might run into some obstacles.  I have been a Mayor.  I can sit here and think of about a thousand ways to stop this immense sprawl development on Albuquerque's West Side.  I plan on calling the new Mayor, no matter who, and possibly point out some dozens of studies that should be done before one shovel is put into the ground.


At the very least Santolina has shown themselves to very sophomoric.  Why would we want them building anything anywhere near our city?

Misc.

Mayor Berry's approval ratings are in the dumpster.  Not as bad as mine were after opposing the NRA back in 2001, but still not in good shape.  I don't think any Mayor in a major city can escape with good ratings.  That elected position is just to close to the fire and a focal point for voter's frustrations. Compare that with a City Council which has performed poorly also.  They are diffuse and get blamed for nothing.  But, that is the way things work in local government.

Mayoral Candidate Tim Keller is like a hurricane, gathering up every group in his path.  The fact that the Police Union has endorsed him must hit all the GOP fundamentalist candidates right in the kisser. Those crime all the time types are feeling pretty impotent.  When Keller takes office he will have his hands full with the unions and will need some real wisdom in dealing with all of them.

I can't wait to find out who is funding these horrendous ads against Keller accusing him of protecting pedophiles.  The real recipients of this campaign are the TV stations and billboard companies.  They will do anything for money.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mandatory Reading

Lies and still more lies.  You simply must read this from my friend Dennis Jett.

Trump Is Far More Embarrassing to the U.S. Than the Iran Nuclear Deal Is

If you had a serious disagreement with someone, would you begin to resolve it by insulting that person and threatening to kill them? That is the approach President Donald Trump took in his debut appearance before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

In his speech, Trump referred to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” and added that the U.S. was “ready, willing and able” to “totally destroy North Korea.” It would be hard to recall the last time an American president resorted to that kind of childish name-calling. The threat, however, is even more ridiculous. To say that it is hollow is an understatement.

Of course, the U.S. has the capacity to destroy North Korea. But it could not do so without provoking the destruction of South Korea and much of Japan. Kim may be a tyrant, but he is not a fool. He is not going to hand a justification for his own annihilation to Trump. While the military option is always available, it is also unthinkable. One thing such a threat will accomplish, however, is making an acceptable solution to this issue all the more difficult to find.

The references to North Korea were not the only bit of Trumpian hyperbole in the speech. The president complained about the U.S. having to bear a “disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially” of the UN. The U.S. contributes 22% of the UN’s budget, which may seem like a lot until one considers that the U.S. also produces 22% of the world’s economic output. As for the military burden, when it comes to UN peacekeepers in uniform, 0.06% of them are Americans—a mere 50 out of 80,067 soldiers.

Another absurdity was the assertion that wherever socialism has been adopted, it “has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.” Perhaps someone should inform the Scandinavian countries. Studies to determine which countries have the happiest citizens typically put them at the top of the list even though their taxes are high. Trump asked, “Are we still patriots?” One element of patriotism is caring enough about a country to pay one’s fair share of taxes. Of course, whether that take on patriotism applies to the president will never be known until his tax returns are made public.

Trump’s rhetorical excess was not limited to just the UN and specific countries, as he described his foreign policy as one of “principled realism.” Unfortunately, it contains no principles and isn’t realistic. He mentioned sovereignty 21 times, which will be interpreted abroad as the U.S. no longer caring about democracy. Exceptions to that rule are made only for countries, like Venezuela, that are included in Trump’s axis of evil. Providing sovereignty as a shield for corrupt and repressive regimes will please Russia’s Vladimir Putin, but it is not a principle of which Americans can be proud.
The policy Trump outlined is unrealistic because today the real challenges and opportunities America faces are a result of globalization. That phenomenon, by its very nature and pervasiveness, makes it impossible for a single country to meet those challenges or seize those opportunities alone. Only multilateral cooperation through organizations like the UN can accomplish that.

Perhaps Trump’s oratory hit its lowest point when he called the Iran nuclear agreement the worst deal ever and an embarrassment to the U.S. The agreement continues to curb that country’s nuclear ambitions and is far preferable to any alternative strategy. If Trump walks away from it, he will do so alone.

In a speech that was an exercise in exaggeration and bluster, Trump demonstrated that, in fact, the biggest embarrassment to this country is Trump himself.

Dennis Jett, a former career diplomat, is a professor of international affairs at Penn State University and the author of The Iran Nuclear Deal: Bombs, Billionaires, and Bureaucrats.

Metaphor?

The Finches have embraced the Nyjer seed this year.  I have gone through at least twenty pounds of the stuff.  I really enjoy watching them while reading morning newspapers on my IPad as they all share the bounty.  It made me think about the latest GOP attempt to kill healthcare for all.  If these birds acted the same way there would only be one of them on the feeder.  It would probably have a Cheeto Color.

Crime

The ABQ Journal statistics on how our residents feel about crime was predictable.  Horrendous grades for Judges. They also rated the DA, the Chief and Officers.  The Officers got the best rating.  Strangely, the Mayor and City Council were not given grades on how they were handling things.  Although I am sure there will be numbers coming on the Mayor in the next few days.  Like the Governor's numbers, they will probably be in the tank.

Today I signed up for the VINE program which will notify us when the car thief found driving our meth infused car gets out of the County Jail in Luna County.  Supposedly he will be there for another year.  He is a repeat offender but a plea bargain got him 18 months and a promise of years in the state prison if he commits any more crimes.  I am told the County lockup is worse than the state pen.  One can only hope.

The VINE Program is a great tool.  When Roberto Aguirre of Albuquerque gets out, at least we will be aware of it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Brew Economy

The Journal's poll this morning showing a high level of angst over Albuquerque's economic condition is not surprising.  The big news in business today was that one of our kazillion craft breweries is expanding into Arizona.  So, new jobs in Arizona and local brewery maybe adding a few folks to the production facilities.

And a reinforcing story on the front pages today is the drop in enrollment at UNM.  What a tragedy!  I am sure there are many reasons for this drought in higher education, including Lottery scholarships waning, but surely if there were more good jobs here the young folks would see more of a reason to enroll.

How does this economic malaise translate into grades for the Mayor and City Council?  Probably an F for both.  Eight years of almost unmitigated disaster on the job creation front where it seems there was really no effort put forth at all.  And our Chamber of Commerce is just as guilty of thumb twiddling.  Tired old leadership all the way around.

However, it is not tiredness on the Governor's part.  It is just plain old incompetence peppered with nastiness.  Have you ever paid attention to the statements coming out of her communications people?  And her political consultants?  Pretty nasty.  Kind of like this blog sometimes, but unfit for a Governor.

Monday, September 18, 2017

War on Mother

The right wing Montanan Zinke who serves as trump's Secretary of Interior will go down in history as hating Mother Nature.  His unprecedented recommendations  to cut acreage and/or  open National Monuments to damaging practices will put him in the annals of landscape rapists.  As much or more than trump, his psychopathic twittering boss.

It is unclear whether protections for New Mexico's National Monuments will be affected.  It wouldn't do much good to keep the current acreage if damaging resource development and dramatically increased motorized traffic is allowed. The Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks landscapes will be less protected probably.

If they suffer little damage you can thank Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall for their lobbying to keep them as whole as possible.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mayor's Poll

Tim Keller is in pretty good shape as shown by the Sanderoff Research and Polling survey this morning.  It is probably accurate because unlike robo call polls, the cheap ones employed by TV News and others, Sanderoff manages to get a right mix of both cell phones and landlines into his sample.  One could argue that few of Keller's young supporters have land lines.

An interesting demographic in the race concerns Brian Colon, former Democratic Party Chair, is that he is losing big time to Keller amongst Democrats.  I have referred to him as the "Pelosi" of New Mexico, and that might be showing.  Time for new leaders.  But, I can't recall any former Chairs of the Party who went on to win elections.

The knives will come out big time in the race now.  But where they will be planted is up for grabs.  Probably in Colon as the desperate GOP right wing tries to get one of their fundamentalists into the runoff.  Meanwhile, will ABQ City Councillor Lewis and County Commissioner Johnson go into war against each other?  Who knows.

The voter turn out will be low.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Barbaric

I was sitting behind a NM Game and Fish truck at a traffic light the other day.  It had a bumper sticker that said something to the effect of "Teach your children to hunt, fish and trap."

The hunting and fishing part don't bother me much.  The trapping is absolutely barbaric.  The use of leg hold traps fostered by the Governor and her handpicked right wing Game and Fish Commission is horrendous.  Why would anyone want to encourage their children to cause long painful deaths of New Mexico's Wildlife?

I frankly find the judgement of the Game and Fish Director to be poor.  To allow such a slogan on all of their trucks is pretty stupid.  They have stated on their website that they are looking for a new generation of Game and Fish Officers.  If they continue this trapping policy then only psychopaths need apply.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Angst at the Fair


Bobbi and I got up and decided to partake of the green chile fried cheese curds at the New Mexico State Fair.  But we had quite a wait.  We bought our tickets and then were shown to the security line that had about 500 people in it and more coming every minute.  There were more than a few disabled people in the line.  There were four ticket sellers and two security guards wanding everyone and looking through bags.  They seemed embarrassed.  Who can blame them?

This is America today.  Paranoia everywhere fed by two bit right wing pols, security consultants and private contractors who make money off of it.  And all we wanted was a short munchie visit after a three or four year lapse in attendance.

 I called someone after 30 minutes in the hot sun and told them people were pissed!  Some one in the chain of command took a look and the security ruse was lifted.

On the menu were the cheese curds.  A $4 diet coke in a bottle.  And two slices of pie from the Asbury Cafe.  Lots of fat and sugar in that repast.  A visit to the Fine Arts Center, Natural Resource Center, Indian Arts and a stroll down main street.  All very nice.

We then left.  The security line was working again, but it was very short.

The 2017 State Fair experience of Jim and Bobbi.

Lack

Everywhere you read about the governments lack of funding.  In Santa Fe the legislature says there is no money again.  This is normal over the last decade  under the failed leadership of an untalented and  rightwing Governor Martinez.

The U.S. Air Force says a lack of funding is seriously harming their ability to carry out their mission. And they are part of the military industrial complex that gets way more than their share of money.

This is all happening for one reason.  Corporate America and the one per centers are not paying taxes.  They have been enabled by the right wing hatred of all things government related.  Oh, except when their red states get devastated by natural disasters and then spending outrageous amounts to rebuild for their confederate flag wavers seems like a good idea.  And then it will happen again because these people will rebuild in the flood plain.

And, they want more tax breaks.   This is suicidal for a nation.  It will catch up to us.  Or rather, our grandchildren.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dirty

Any business who gives money to a PAC that accuses any candidate of protecting pedophiles will sooner or later be identified and then reap their rewards.  They may not be good rewards.

Any Candidate who is a member of a Church that hates gay people but doesn't quit that Church is unfit to be Mayor.  That would be Dan Lewis.


Stone Age Education

Is it possible that Christopher Rosznowski, Governor Susana Martinez's new Education Secretary is attempting to roll back science education by removing any mention of evolution and climate change in the state's Science Curriculum?  Also that they are removing the language from the curriculum that says earth is 4.6 Billion years old?

Is this all aimed to please the creationists?

Will the media start asking questions of the Governor and her appointee?  I know that the organization known as the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education is concerned about these changes.  This Albuquerque group is a pretty good watchdog on these matters.  Here are their main points.



*  These standards with the changes are scientifically unacceptable.  They appear to be politically motivated, and that does not belong in the classroom.

*  These standards will result in very bad publicity for the state that will hurt any chances we may have of business expansion for any companies concerned with our public education system.

*  These standards will make it harder to attract good scientists to current businesses.

*  A change in standards of this magnitude requires money and time for training, curricula creation, acquisition of classroom materials, standardized test creation and payment, etc.  Where is the money and time and implementation planning?

*  And whatever else you can think of.

The People of New Mexico have two National Research Labs.  It should not allow such nonsense to be inserted into our schools.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Vigilantes

Crime.  A big issue in Albuquerque.  The Mayor's candidates think so, as I do.  The guy who was found driving my stolen car down near the border in Luna County was a habitual offender.  He got 18 months in the county jail.  And a promise that the next offense when he gets out will get him a lot more time.  So, he will eventually get a lot more time.  There was so much Meth residue in my car that the insurance company totaled it.

More cops would help, a little.  But in the end a more prosperous economy would help a lot more.  It is no accident that Governor Susana's state has about the lowest economic growth in the nation, and one of the largest crime problems.  I pin this problem on her complete lack of any economic development program.  Oh sure, she wants lower taxes but if gang members are stealing thousands of cars a month then who wants to locate here.  And the current Mayor's total lack of a competent police command structure has made ABQ ground zero.  I just can't understand how he has put up with this.  There must be some reason, right?

I recall that when I worked for Mayor Harry Kinney that the crime rate went down when the police went on strike.  A lot of people made it known they were armed and would shoot if they thought a criminal was taking advantage of the police walkout.  I hope we don't get to than point. But, it could happen.  That whole vigilante thing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Misc.

One of the things that bothers me about the Albuquerque Sick Leave Ordinance that is on the ballot is  when it comes to overall fairness in the state.  Yes, I want people to get sick leave.  But it should  be an equal access issue for all New Mexicans.  One wonders whether the residents outside of ABQ will ever see such a benefit if we pass it here.  It would be up to the legislature of course to pass a statewide law providing for such sick leave, but if ABQ has it already, does that lessen the chances of it ever happening for all residents in the Land of Enchantment.  Does it water down the political effort needed to pass a state wide sick leave policy?  Maybe.

I have often thought of Mayor candidate Brian Colon as the "Pelosi of New Mexico."  He is a long time money raiser and political operative who is always on the scene.  But from what I read in the Journal this morning he cant live up to Pelosi's toughness on taking a stand.  His reported mumbling of support for gun rights during a debate on crimes committed with firearms left me a little confused. Maybe he should clarify his stance.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Pouncing

Of course we knew it would happen.  Tim Keller is the front runner in the Albuquerque's Mayor's  race so every other candidate is out with their knives trying to pare him down to third place to keep him out of the run off.  He is being accused of abusing the Public Financing of his campaign.  It is a serious allegation, but what he is doing was done in the past by other mayoral candidates and  City Council candidates in their races.  But, the allegation probably will get traction from the ABQ Journal Editorial Board who just cant stand to see progressives in office.

The Mayor's race here is almost invisible.  It is covered up by trump, DACA, a string of hurricanes, and voter apathy.  So, the person who wins will be the one who gets his voters out in what could be an all time low turnout if this trend continues.

Now, Keller just needs to do the basics.  He needs to address the allegations so there is no where to go for the media.  He needs to point out that all of the other candidates are taking in large amounts of money from special interests who are only setting up sweetheart deals with their candidates.

We actually need a Mayor in this city who is more interested in just 'being there.'  Keller actually wants to get some things done.  The rest of the candidates mostly want to have a title.

Now, read this to see how Susana's state leadership is on display as Amazon looks for a second HQ.  Poor NM.  Surrounded by potential but left at the altar.   

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I'm Baaack

Okay, four months off from blogging after 12 years of whining.  I have recharged my whining angst and will start blogging a few times a week.  After having to endure the last few months of the trump era of chaos I just have to get back in gear.

If you haven't seen the story about the ringer in the wings for being appointed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals seat, then you should read it in the Journal this a.m.  This 33 year old mystery gift from trump probably will get no where, but just the fact that he is in the running is pretty scary.  This seat on the Court usually goes to a New Mexican.  This guy is from DC and has little or no experience in the legal profession.

My feeling is that he is a mascot for the extreme right and fossil fuel boys.  But really, who knows? Our delegation will hopefully stand firm against him.

Over the next week I plan on spending a little time on the almost invisible Albuquerque Mayors Race.  I am supporting Tim Keller, a guy who actually wants to do things rather that just being there.  More later.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Cool Off

I have been cooling off from blogging for a few weeks.  I will continue to write pithy covfefes on Twitter.  Back in July some time.

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. 

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

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