The PRC needs more public scrutiny, not less

NM - Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Hall recently blasted the media for its coverage of the scandal surrounding one of his colleagues, Jerome Block Jr. Hall criticized the media for not covering “good news” about the PRC and said Block “has not been charged with one thing at this point.” “Now, there’s a lot of allegations. In this country you’re supposed to be presumed innocent until you’re proven guilty, but the press wants to prove you’re guilty first, and you’ve got to prove yourself innocent, and I don’t appreciate that,” Hall said, according to the Santa Fe Reporter. It’s not really surprising that Hall, who’s had his own problems in the past and managed to dodge scrutiny during last year’s campaign, would apparently think the media shouldn’t report on potential abuses of taxpayer money and other issues at the scandal-plagued PRC. But it’s still disappointing. Let me remind Hall of my 2009 column illustrating the reality that the PRC is a microcosm of New Mexico’s corrupt political system (read it here). Read more


Report: Government probe of Standard and Poor's

From the Santa Fe New - (AP) — The Justice Department is investigating whether the Standard & Poor's credit ratings agency improperly rated dozens of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The investigation began before Standard & Poor's cut the United States' AAA credit rating this month, but it's likely to add to the political firestorm created by the downgrade, the newspaper said. Some government officials have since questioned the agency's secretive process, its credibility and the competence of its analysts, claiming to have found an error in its debt calculations. The Times cites two people interviewed by the government and another briefed on such interviews as its sources. According to people with knowledge of the interviews, the Justice Department has been asking about instances in which the company's analysts wanted to award lower ratings on mortgage bonds but may have been overruled by other S&P business managers. If the government finds enough evidence to support a case, it could undercut S&P's longstanding claim that its analysts act independently from business concerns. The newspaper said it was unclear whether the Justice Department investigation involves the other two major ratings agencies, Moody's and Fitch, or only S&P. Read more


Five local AFSCME chapters break from leadership to support Balderas against Heinrich

From Capitol Report New - State auditor Hector Balderas is trying to gain some traction in his race against Martin Heinrich for the Democratic nomination to the US Senate position that Jeff Bingaman is vacating at the end of 2012. And on Tuesday (Aug. 16), he picked up some union support that was formerly ceded to the Heinrich campaign. In April, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) leadership endorsed Heinrich but on Tuesday, five separate locals of AFSCME broke ranks and endorsed Balderas — a move the Balderas camp described as evidence of “grassroots momentum.” “I’m humbled that these AFSCME locals have decided to step out and support our campaign,” Balderas said in a statement. “We always knew that we would not be the campaign supported by most of the Washington insiders.” In a recent survey conducted by the Democratic Party-related polling group Public Policy Polling, Heinrich had a 23-point lead on Balderas. Read more


Commentary - The Depression: Past And Future

From Personal Liberty Digest - by John Myers - America’s recovery has run out of steam. Job growth is nonexistent. Stock indexes cling to highs set earlier this year. Barack Obama’s moneyfest has failed to right America’s listing ship. Yet no one from the Potomac to Wall Street has noticed the obvious — that the U.S. is facing a deflationary collapse worse than anything that has happened in 80 years. We are staring into the face of an economic depression. Bankers are again nervous that other banks might turn off the tap. And the banking crisis of 2008 still plagues the global economy. Already, banks have once again begun hoarding capital. And the modern economy cannot function when credit is not available. Since most companies and households don’t take out big new loans every day, it takes time for this truth to be realized. But when this happens, panic will ensue. Washington and the Federal Reserve are doing their utmost to turn back the deflationary tide. The Fed has already injected more than $1 trillion into the economy in a desperate attempt to resuscitate the business cycle. I believe if the President had his way, he would pump trillions of dollars more into American banks, automakers and any and all corporations that might help him get re-elected. What Obama and the Federal Reserve are unable or unwilling to understand is that all this money is killing the one great thing America still had going for it: the U.S. dollar. The greenback that was once revered around the world is now an asset that depreciates almost daily. The endgame of this accidental or purposeful mismanagement of the American economy could be a 1929-style crash of dollar instruments and devastating deflation. Read more


China’s aircraft-carrier: Name and purpose to be determined

From the Economist - ON AUGUST 10th, after years of secretive work, the Chinese navy launched its first aircraft-carrier on its maiden voyage. The Chinese media hailed the vessel as a sign of China’s emergence as a sea power, one they insist has only peaceful intent. Its neighbours are not so delighted. State-controlled media had been predicting the ship’s imminent launch for weeks, prompting Chinese military enthusiasts to converge on the north-eastern port city of Dalian in the hope of seeing it set out. The ship is hardly a symbol of China’s prowess in technology. It was bought in 1998 from Ukraine, where it had been rusting half-finished since its first launch a decade earlier. The Ukrainians were told it would be used as a floating casino (they sold it without weapons or engines). But unlike two other ex-Soviet carriers in China that ended up as theme parks, this one was taken to a navy shipyard where, in 2005, it got a telltale coat of Chinese military paint. It was not until July that China confirmed it had been refitting the ship. Read more


Commentary: Fatherlessness and Violence

From Culture Watch - by Bill Muehlenberg - The London riots have simply reconfirmed and graphically illustrated what the social sciences have been telling us for a half century now: when we allow society to disregard the institution of marriage and in fact assault the institution of family, we are asking for – and will get – trouble. The social science evidence on this is as overwhelming as it is clear: by every indicator, children will be worse off when not raised in a biological two-parent family. They will be more likely to do less well at school, to become involved in drugs, to commit suicide, to have a range of mental and psychological problems, and to get involved in gangs and criminal activity. This has been documented so thoroughly now that only an ideologue who is pushing agendas can deny the evidence. Let me here just offer the smallest sampling of research data on this. These are just a few bits of the available evidence. In an important book on the subject, Francis Ianni found that most gang members in America come from female-headed households. And a study of British communities in the American Journal of Sociology by Sampson and Groves found a direct statistical link between single parenthood and virtually every major type of crime, including mugging, violence against strangers, car theft and burglary. One study tracked every child born on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1955 for 30 years. It found that five out of six delinquents with an adult criminal record came from families where a parent – almost always the father – was absent.
Read more


Pearce Co-Sponsors Another Job Fair in Roswell

Steve Pearce
Yesterday, Congressman Steve Pearce cosponsored the “Out of this World” job fair in Roswell. Sixty-eight employers were present, and over 550 prospective employees attended. “It was exciting to be a part of bringing together employers and job seekers today,” said Pearce. “Jobs are my top priority in Congress, and today’s event was one more way to find jobs for people in New Mexico. Everywhere I go, people tell me that they need jobs, and employers tell me they need workers. I hosted a similar job fair in Las Cruces in May, and it was a great success. Today’s job fair was also successful, and I look forward to more like it in the future, in other communities in southern New Mexico.” Congressman Pearce opened the job fair with a short presentation on the importance of jobs, and by cutting a ribbon to mark the first job fair held in the Roswell Convention and Civic Center. He then spent much of the morning visiting with attendees and personally helping employers connect with job-seekers. In addition to many employers to choose from, prospective employees also had the opportunity to participate in seminars on résumé writing and job interview skills.


Harbison: Wishful Thinking

Jim Harbison
Liberal politicians like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and political advisers like David Axelrod all proclaim the TEA Party and its influence has reached its zenith and is now on the decline. From their prospective it will not be of any political significance in the 2012 election cycle. I applaud them for their liberal wisdom and perspective and it just illustrates what is wrong with the Obama Administration. They clearly do not see what is happening all around them. Fortunately, their distorted vision of how to get us out of the current financial and economic conditions will help usher more conservative members into the next Congress. The straw poll in Iowa should tell them that politics as usual will not be acceptable to the group of Americans formerly known as the “silent majority”. This group represents individuals of all political orientations who want a limited government that is responsive, protects their rights and demonstrates fiscal responsibility. Because of the Internet and the ability to network and immediately communicate messages to large groups government is no longer able to clandestinely create policies and agencies that restrict our freedoms and encroach on our constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The blatant expanses of government, creation of czars and bureaucracies that are not accountable to the people and the increasing intrusions into the private sector have awakened this group. It made them even more concerned about protecting their own individual liberties and also about protecting the Constitution and enforcing the rule of law. There are increasingly more people and groups that are concerned about the growth and escalating cost of government and a corresponding loss of individual freedoms. These groups are aggressively educating the public about the creation of this nation and the type of government envisioned by our founding fathers.
Michelle Bachmann
TEA Party supporter Michelle Bachmann’s victory should send a strong message to everyone that the TEA Party still has influence and that America values liberty, fiscal responsibility, and limited government. It also sends a clear message to Republican candidates to demonstrate individual responsibility and return to those traditional conservative values. TEA Party groups, while independent of each other, have learned how to network and work together. They share information and strategies to defeat liberal policy agendas in their local areas. As we all know, all politics are local and TEA Parties across New Mexico and the nation are learning how to impact local governments. Recent actions by the Clovis TEA Party defeated an unpopular affordable housing project. Because of TEA Party pressures Las Cruces announced it would not renew its membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, a non-government organization (NGO) sponsored by the United Nations to implement its Agenda 21 sustainable development policies.
There are many people who periodically attend TEA Party groups, form other special interest groups, and work on constitutional issues important to them. TEA Parties are opportunities and incubators for people to learn about their constitutional rights and freedoms and how to fight to retain and protect them. The TEA Party is supporting in hosting a September 10, 2011 conference in Las Cruces on Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development to educate our politicians and the public about its adverse impacts on our property rights.
Independent free thinking individuals who believe in limited government and fiscal responsible will not disappear. As the current administration continues to spend us into oblivion they will find stronger political opposition from the TEA Parties. I hate to be the bearer of bad news for the Democrats but I think the rumor of the demise of the TEA Party is definitely premature.


Bernalillo County Commissioner in C.D.#1 Race

Michelle Lujan-Grisham
NMPolitics - Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham jumped into the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary today, setting up a three-way contest that also includes former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez and State Sen. Eric Griego. “I’m running for Congress because we are under attack in this country,” Lujan Grisham said in remarks released to the media. “A band of right-wing radicals in Congress has hijacked our country and put the interests of their corporate masters ahead of the middle class, seniors and the most vulnerable among us.” The former cabinet secretary for the departments of Health and Aging said the economy is “crumbling, health care is becoming more expensive and inaccessible and our families are struggling to survive.” “Congress’ answer to this has been to cut investments in our people while preserving tax breaks for oil companies and billionaire hedge-fund managers,” she said. “Worst of all, they have proposed dramatic cuts in Medicaid – which over 500,000 New Mexicans depend on – and, even worse, they would end Medicare as we know it.” “I am running for Congress because we need to stop the insanity,” she said. “People need a champion to fight against these extreme policies and instead focus on creating more jobs.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

$147,000 of State Funds Misspent by NHCC

Clara Apodaca
Veritas New Mexico - New Mexico Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales and State Auditor Hector Balderas demanded Monday that the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) Foundation return $147,000 of $812,500 in taxpayer funds intended for completion of a 45-foot-tall fresco of New Mexico history at the Center’s Torreón (pictured). “I fully expect the Foundation to repay the thousands in public money it improperly spent,” Balderas said. The Albuquerque accounting firm Moss Adams found in its state-ordered audit that the Foundation had misspent $147,000 from lawmakers’ 2008 fresco appropriations. The Foundation had already returned March 31 what it said was an unspent balance of $138,361 of the state fresco funds. The state will now pursue the return of an additional $147,000, Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Deputy Secretary Doug Svetnicka said Monday. Foundation President Clara R. Apodaca could not be reached for comment. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Tracking Seattle's $20 Million Green Jobs Grant

KOMO - Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. The unglamorous work of insulating crawl spaces and attics had emerged as a silver bullet in a bleak economy – able to create jobs and shrink carbon footprint – and the announcement came with great fanfare. McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods. But more than a year later, Seattle's numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable. "The jobs haven't surfaced yet," said Michael Woo, director of Got Green, a Seattle community organizing group focused on the environment and social justice. "It's been a very slow and tedious process. It's almost painful, the number of meetings people have gone to. Those are the people who got jobs. There's been no real investment for the broader public."
Red full story here: News New Mexico