The Equal Access to "Justice" Scam

Inside Tucson Business - For years Tucson has tried to create a positive image of itself to attract new business. Tucson wants to be the biotech center of America. Tucson wants to be the solar capital of America. But Tucson already has a well-established identity in America. Tucson is the environmental litigation factory capitol of America. Tucson is home to the Center for Biological Diversity which has been spewing out lawsuits over alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act. And the CBD has been raking in millions in legal fees for these lawsuits under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). Nationally the CBD has become the poster child of a litigious environmental group...prompting Congress to actually try and reform the Equal Access to Justice Act and cut off the pipeline of taxpayer money to the CBD and other similar environmental litigation factories such as Western Watershed Project and WildEarth Guardians. CBD engages in what some call the "EAJA racket". Here is how it works according to Ted Williams who had a commentary in the Tucson Weekly. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Study Shows Oil and Gas Critical to State Pensions

A new Sonecon study released by API shows oil and natural gas holdings are key to the performance of New Mexico’s public pension funds. State pension fund investments in oil and natural gas companies are providing strong returns for teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public pension retirees in states across the country. Study results were based on New Mexico’s largest public pension funds: Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA) and the State of New Mexico Educational Retirement Board. Returns on oil and natural gas assets in these funds averaged 41 cents for each dollar invested compared to just 2 cents for other assets in these funds from 2005 to 2009.
During good economic times – or challenging ones – oil and natural gas investments far outperformed other public pension holdings in the state. While oil and natural gas stocks made up an average of 4.5 percent of holdings in New Mexico’s public pension funds, they accounted for an average of 14.7 percent of the returns in these funds, according to the Sonecon study. Click Here to Download New Mexico Report and read rest of story here: News New Mexico


PNM: Changing Stand on Wind Power

Forbes - FARMINGTON, N.M. -- Public Service Company of New Mexico is challenging a directive from state regulators that it buy more wind power for its electricity customers. A PNM spokeswoman initially said the utility would comply with a state Public Regulation Commission order by spending up to $6 million annually for wind power from a New Mexico plant. But the company, which is a unit of Albuquerque, N.M.-based PNM Resources Inc. ( PNMPRA - news - people ), changed course last week and now says it will fight the commission's order. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Washington Must Listen to Americans, Face Debt Crisis

Steve Pearce
By U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce - If we divided the debt we accumulate in just one year among everyone in Las Cruces, every single person would owe $13.5 million. The American people deserve better—it is time for Congress to take responsibility and face our debt crisis. For too long, the federal government has chosen to repeatedly raise the debt limit, sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. Our national debt is crippling our ability to compete internationally, is stifling our job growth, and is pushing us to the brink of economic collapse. Internationally, our credit is already faltering. Both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have said that they could soon consider downgrading the U.S. government’s credit rating if our deficits are not addressed. China will not continue to loan us money forever, and we can’t afford the bills we’ve already built up.
The federal government’s thinking simply doesn’t match its wallet. Washington continues to act as though it just got a paycheck, spending more and more, buying into every program that seems like a good idea. Meanwhile, payday is a long way off, and our credit cards are all maxed out. If you knew someone so out of touch with reality, you would call him irresponsible, even foolish. But in Washington, it’s the norm.
As a result, New Mexico suffers. Our small businesses can’t survive, because every new program comes with new regulations, new taxes, and new ways to choke off productivity. Our people struggle to make ends meet as prices rise and government promises fail. The President recently joked that “shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” But to New Mexicans out of work, broken promises are no laughing matter. In 2009, the President promised that by spending even more taxpayer money, he could keep unemployment below 8 percent. Unemployment is now 9.2%.
Knowing how desperately our state needs job creation, I proposed legislation earlier this year to help put New Mexicans back to work. Overbearing restrictions have killed over 20,000 logging jobs nationwide. So, I introduced a simple, two-page bill that says the government should get out the way and let American businesses create the timber jobs that once drove local communities. Common sense ideas like these can create hundreds of thousands of jobs in America.
Instead, Washington has tried for over two years to spend our way out of recession, and we’ve seen the results. We’ve lost 1.9 million jobs, 13 million more Americans are on food stamps, our gas prices have doubled, health insurance is more expensive, home values have fallen, and the federal debt has risen to record levels—a back breaking share of $46,000 for each American. Isn’t it time we try a new approach?
New Mexicans want real solutions. This is why I voted against H.R. 1, the House’s lukewarm budget proposal, earlier this year. The bill simply didn’t show that Washington is listening. It didn’t demonstrate the real change we need: change in the way we spend, the way we operate, even the way we think. We must promote policies that allow businesses to put Americans back to work. We must stop spending money we don’t have on programs we cannot afford. Increasing our debt limit doesn’t fix the problem. So, when the President asked Congress earlier this month to write him another blank check, I said no.
Recently, I emailed 47,000 constituents asking for their opinion regarding the debt ceiling. Over 83 percent of those who responded said that they do not support legislation like what the President asked for—a debt limit increase with no corresponding spending cuts. An overwhelming 93 percent said that Washington is not doing enough to address our national debt. And even more—over 97 percent, said that this issue is important to them, with 92% calling it “very important.”
Americans made their voices heard last November, and they are continuing to do so. We are tired of our money being wasted on programs we don’t need and can’t afford. We are afraid for the futures of our children and grandchildren. We are tired of struggling to pay our bills while we watch Congress continue to rack up more debt. We are tired of Washington politicians not making tough decisions and standing firm. It is time to stop kicking the can down the road. It is time for real, serious solutions to our national debt. I am ready to tell Washington, “Enough is enough.” I will continue to stand against Washington’s wasteful spending, and demand that we face our nation’s debt crisis.


Obama Threatens to Shut Down Govt with Veto

NewsNM note (Spence) - Last week officials in the Obama administration said repeatedly that the failure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit would be an unprecedented event that would lead to default and economic catastrophe. Yesterday the president threatened to veto a bill that would avert an economic catastrophe if it was less than 90 days. -
Washington Times - President Obama declared Monday he would veto a short-term extension of the nation’s debt limit as he tried again to pressure congressional Republican leaders to accept tax increases in a long-range plan to reduce deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. “I will not sign a 30-day, or a 60-day, or a 90-day extension,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in the White House press briefing room.
“That is just not an acceptable approach. This is the United States of America. We don’t manage our affairs in three-month increments.” As the deficit-reduction talks dragged on with little progress, some congressional leaders have suggested a short-term deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling of $14.29 trillion before the Aug. 2 deadline. But Mr. Obama said he is insisting on an agreement that will cover government borrowing beyond the November 2012 elections. “If we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season,” Mr. Obama said of congressional lawmakers. “We might as well do it now. Pull off the Band-Aid. Eat our peas. If not now, when?” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Justice Department 2009: We're Doing Gun "Tracing"

Eric Holder
It would seem that the U.S. Department of Justice has now found itself knee deep in the burgeoning story of incompetence now becoming known as the "Fast and Furious" scandal. The stories of the participants and suspected participants at DOJ and ATF are beginning to diverge. Take a look at this video of Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden back in 2009. In it he explains to the media that "The president has directed us to take action to fight these cartels, and Attorney General Holder and I are taking several new and aggressive steps as part of the administration's comprehensive plan," with economic stimulus funds. View the video here: News New Mexico


55% Say Reduced Gov't Spending Good for Economy

Rasmussen - President Obama and Congress are currently debating how deep to cut government spending and whether to include some tax increases as part of a budget deal. But voters feel more strongly than ever that decreasing government spending is good for the economy and think tax increases of any kind are bad economic medicine. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters now think decreases in government spending help the economy. Twenty-four percent (24%) believe decreased spending hurts the economy, while 11% say it has no impact. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Doan: Entitlement Abuse Everywhere

Lurita Doan
Townhall - The budget debate in Washington, and Team Obama’s insistence, that entitlements must be preserved ignores 22 years of GAO fraud reports. Once Americans have conducted an informal “Handicapped Parking Experiment”, they are going to become convinced that instead of expanding entitlements, more effort needs to be made towards uncovering the fraud now embedded within the system. Tackling the issue of entitlement fraud and eliminating entitlement scams could well be the quickest and best short-term solution with long-term results that the government could implement. Whether talking about Obamacare or Medicaid, Food Stamps, home mortgage loan insurance or SSI, at a minimum, perhaps it’s time for our government to do an honest audit of who is receiving the benefits. Before any further expansion of entitlements, the government needs to prove to the American taxpayer that their dollars are being spent wisely and as intended, before trying to bilk taxpayers for even more funds for these flawed programs. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Obama Proposes Tax Hikes On Low Income Families

From -Proposals under consideration include raising taxes on small business owners and potentially low- and middle-income families. You won't hear about that from Obama. Instead the president focuses on the very rich, and speaks euphemistically. Here are a few of the phrases the president has used of late to talk about what amounts to raising taxes for some: "What we need to do is to have a balanced approach where everything is on the table." "We need to take on spending in the tax code." "The tax cuts I'm proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires; tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners." More News New Mexico

Bingaman Reverse: "Ethanol Subsidies Should End"

Pulaski note: Bingaman has obviously had a change of heart when it comes to ethanol subsidies. In Feb. 2009 he was pleading to congress and the public for more financial assistance. The article can be seen here. WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman voiced his support for the end of a subsidy of ethanol – an additive to gasoline aimed at reducing pollution. Today, Bingaman voted in favor of an amendment introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Tom Coburn that would immediately end the subsidy, which is set to expire at the end of the year. The amendment passed 73-27. Bingaman has said he would prefer to allow the subsidy to expire rather than to surprise businesses with a mid-year elimination. But he voted in favor of the amendment to make it clear he wants the ethanol subsidy to end. More News New Mexico

King Spokesman Calls Marshall an Extortionist

Gary King
Capitol Report New Mexico - One day after Capitol Report New Mexico reported on the calls from attorney Victor Marshall and his client, Frank Foy, for Attorney General Gary King to recuse himself from a multi-million dollar investment lawsuit involving the state because of campaign contributions from former Gov. Bill Richardson, King’s spokesman accused Marshall of extortion and said the media are “choosing to blindly report Mr. Marshall’s accusations.” Phil Sisneros, the director of communications for the Office of New Mexico Attorney General, sent an e-mail Friday to Capitol Report New Mexico pointing to reponses filed by the attorney general’s office to calls from Marshall and Foy for King to be disqualified from taking part in the state’s lawsuit aimed at recovering money from an alleged “pay to play” scheme in the State Investment Council (SIC) because of what they claim are conflicts of interest. Read full story News New Mexico

Redistricting Committee Gears Up

Sander Rue
Alamogordo Daily News - The Legislative Redistricting Committee will hold public hearings throughout New Mexico to gather public input on various proposed plans to redraw the boundaries of New Mexico's three U.S. Congressional seats as well as all state Legislative districts, Public Regulation Commission districts and the Public Education Commission districts. After the U.S. Census is tabulated every 10 years, redistricting of various governmental seats takes place. The Redistricting Committee will recommend new boundaries for the various seats to a special session of the State Legislature which will approve the new boundaries. The special session is expected to be called this September after the public hearings are held in July and Aug.. The committee will make their recommendations based on the 2010 decennial census, the redistricting guidelines adopted by the New Mexico Legislative Council on Jan. 17 and testimony received from people interested in the issue. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Geithner Makes Talk Show Circuit

Tim Geithner
Bloomberg - Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the Obama administration wants the most comprehensive deficit-cutting deal possible and reiterated that failing to raise the debt limit could have “catastrophic” consequences. “We have to find a way to pass an agreement, but the president is going to keep working toward the largest deal we can do, because that’s the right thing for the country,” Geithner said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Obama and congressional leaders are seeking a deficit- slashing deal to pave the way for a vote in Congress to increase the government’s $14.3 trillion debt limit, a move the Treasury Department says is needed by Aug. 2 to avert a default on the nation’s financial obligations. Geithner said Congress has no alternative to raising the debt limit and there are no “constitutional” delays available. A default resulting from failure to raise the ceiling could do “catastrophic” damage to the U.S. economy, he said. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Spending/Debt Reduction Deal Stuck in the Mud

Speaker Boehner and President Obama
Washington Times - President Obama and congressional leaders ended a Sunday night session of deficit-reduction talks at the White House without announcing any progress, but they agreed to meet again Monday. The president also scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Monday at the White House on the negotiations, in which he is still pushing to include tax increases as part of a $4 trillion deal over 10 years. House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, announced Saturday night that he won’t agree to the president’s $4 trillion target if it included tax increases. On Sunday, his office said he reiterated that point at the meeting, saying that he favors a deal closer to the $2 trillion in cuts floated by a bipartisan commission led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden. Read full story here: News New Mexico