Jaime Estrada - "Trade Missions"

Jaime Estrada
Bill Richardson
From NMPolitics.net - What’s wrong with this picture? With nothing to show for it, Governor Bill Richardson has just returned from another so-called “trade mission” to Cuba to meet with the communist regime’s dictators. Meanwhile, New Mexico lags behind other states in exports. Clearly, our state needs to get serious about trade, and that requires setting the right priorities in order to create jobs and get our economy growing again. New Mexicans are wondering what has resulted from four annual trips to Havana, the first led in 2007 by then Congressman and now U.S. Senator Tom Udall. According to international trade data produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, exports from New Mexico to Cuba since 2007 amount to zero. That’s right, zero. Despite four consecutive “missions,” New Mexico has not sold a single pecan, green chile pepper or grain of wheat to Cuba. Read more here:


Jim Harbison - Campaign Contributions

Jim Harbison
Campaigning season is again upon us and we will be plagued with campaign ads on the TV, radio, newspaper, in our mailboxes and on our roads. These ads cost money, and lots of it. Having recently participated in a local political campaign I am well aware of what it takes to get a candidate’s message out to the public. Candidates hope that their ads will inspire voters of all political persuasion to cast their vote for them. Advertising is the most expensive part of campaigning and a single multicolored printed piece can cost several dollars to produce and distribute. Campaigning requires a talented team, an effective strategy, and large amounts of money. I believe that money is probably the most important factor in winning or losing an election. It was reported last week that John McCain, who trailed his opponent early in the campaign against J.D. Hayworth, spent more than $20 million in the last six weeks of his campaign to undermine Hayworth’s efforts to win his Arizona senate seat. Without this large infusion of cash to fund anti-Hayworth advertising his chances of winning were in doubt.
John McCain
Now you might think that a campaign fund as large as McCain’s is only necessary for national races. I submit that amounts similar to his are necessary for State governor level races as well which brings me to the point of this column
There have been numerous attacks on a gubernatorial candidate for taking contributions from the oil and gas industry. I would like to point out that they are important industries for the State of New Mexico and income from them funds many activities and programs of the State government. Realizing that campaigning is VERY expensive and that New Mexico has one of the lowest State populations combined with one of the lowest per capita incomes, it becomes increasingly necessary to encourage and accept contributions from large businesses. Unless a candidate is independently wealthy, it is necessary to solicit large contributions from all elements of business and society.
If we expect our candidates for office to self-fund their campaigns we end up with only the wealthy elite running for office and governing society. This undermines the belief that every person has the opportunity to become President if they choose to pursue that dream. Our founding fathers did not want an elected aristocracy but an elected government that represented the diverse nature of its citizenry. Unfortunately, campaigning has become so expensive that even wealth candidates must seek funding wherever they can get it. In a recent local election one candidate’s campaign contributions came from members of the Las Cruces/Dona Ana County community. The opponent received many contributions in the $25-$50 range that came from Albuquerque and Santa Fe tied to members of national environmental organizations.
Environmental Financier Al Gore
There was no outcry that external forces were trying to buy the election or that the candidate was a puppet for the external special interest group. The majority of residents in New Mexico simply do not have the disposable income to make significant financial contributions to candidates. This combined with the low population of the state does not provide a sufficient citizen financial resource for candidates. We need to understand that campaigning is expensive and unless we want to enact legislation for some type of public campaign funding our candidates will seek funding from those individuals and organizations that have the financial resources to provide significant campaign contributions. Accepting funds from business that are important to the well being of the state should not necessarily be view as questionable, unethical, or somehow sinister.


Guv candidates talk about changing the Constitution

From NMPolitics.net - by Heath Haussamen - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish wants a new constitutional convention to consider revising the N.M. Constitution. Her GOP opponent, Susana Martinez, agrees with the sentiment behind creating a commission to tackle government inefficiency but says there’s a better way to combat corruption. Martinez said that’s by having “real consequences for violating the public trust,” and said “we will fix over-bloated bureaucracies by electing strong leaders that can put an end to them.” Denish pointed out that the last constitutional convention was held in the late 1960s, and said as the state has grown, “certain deficiencies in the Constitution have become apparent.” She said the state’s centennial is a good time to review and update the Constitution.

State Rep. Joseph Cervantes has proposed the creation of a state Constitutional Revision Commission to consider and recommend changes to the New Mexico Constitution. The proposal is based on the goal of making government more efficient, effective and ethical. Read more

Obama Policies Reflects Conflicts and Contradictions

President Obama
President Obama formally announced the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq yesterday. The president has also made it clear he believes escalating the U.S. troop commitment in Afghanistan is the right thing to do. The president seems conflicted. He has rehired most of George W. Bush's generals. And after firing one insolent Bush general (Stanley McChrystal) he replaced him with another man who had been previously crucified by members of his own party (General Petraeous) in congressional hearings and in progressive media publications. Today President Obama continues to pursue national security issues in the Middle East in a muddled, confusing, and often times contradictory fashion. He snubs Israel then re-engages with the nation. Yesterday he visited Fort Bliss briefly to talk to troops about their completed and uncompleted missions. Then without a word about the war raging just a few kilometers away in Mexico he headed back to Washington to address the nation where he grudgingly acknowledged the effectiveness in the surge of troops in Iraq that he so adamantly opposed, while almost simultaneously trying to garner support for the big surge of troops (in Afghanistan) that he so adamantly supports.
General David Petraeous
Cynics might point to the most remarkable statement the president made last night and say it reflects a political sensitivity to polls that suggest that the act of dumping all blame for everything that goes wrong these days on George W. Bush is no longer a strategy that works.
"It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset," Obama said. "Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security," the president said.
For more on this story go to the El Paso Times and read more here:


Domenici Conference Starts Today

Pete Domenici
From the Las Cruces Sun News - LAS CRUCES - This year's Domenici Public Policy Conference, which starts today at New Mexico State University, features an all-star lineup of political figures. Attending the two-day event will be Karl Rove, a contentious figure in the former Bush administration who's now a Fox News contributor; Sam Donaldson, an ABC news anchor and native New Mexican; U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, the senior senator of her state; Joe Lockhart, political commentator; and New Mexico's two gubernatorial candidates. The conference was able to schedule the big names because of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici's efforts to invite them, said Garrey Carruthers, dean of the NMSU business college and director of the university's Domenici Institute. "We give nearly all of our credit to Sen. Domenici who's willing to pick up the phone and invite people to come and participate," he said. "He's our biggest recruiter." The conference, in its third year, was founded to honor Domenici, R-N.M. He retired in 2009 because of an illness, after a 36-year tenure in Congress. As of Tuesday afternoon, some 620 people had registered, Carruthers said. Roughly 200 are students, who don't have to pay the $50 registration fee. "This could conceivably be our best attendance," he said. Domenici will be present both days. Read more here:

Progressive: "Racial Subtext" in Restoring Honor Rally

Chris Wallace shed some light on the Glenn Beck phenomenon in his exclusive interview on Fox News Sunday, right after Beck's big rally Saturday in Washington, DC. You have to give Wallace credit: Although he is part of the conservative media, and despite the absurd coyness in Washington about the obvious connections among the Republican Party, the Tea Party movement, and the conservative talk machine, he asked tough questions and he illuminated some of the most troubling aspects of Beck's anti-political politics.
Dr. Alveda King Spoke at Restoring Honor Rally
"Do you feel you have a role in trying to transform this country?" Wallace asked Beck.
"Don't you?" Beck shot back at his Fox News colleague.
"No. I just ask questions for a living," Wallace said.
"I forgot I was talking to an actual journalist," Beck said.
Forget for a moment whether a Fox News anchor can fairly claim to be an impartial reporter. It may be because he and Beck are on the same team that Wallace seemed less intimidated than some members of the "liberal media" who are reluctant to point out the racial subtext of the tea party rallies. Read more here:


Walter Williams - Something for Free

Walter Williams
Perhaps the most difficult economic lesson is that we live in a world of scarcity and everything has a cost. Scarcity exists whenever human wants exceed the means to satisfy those wants. For example, Rolls-Royce produces less than 4,000 cars a year but it's a safe bet that more than 4,000 of the Earth's 6.5 billion people want a Rolls-Royce. That means Rolls-Royces are scarce. But it's not just Rolls-Royces that are scarce. It's clothing, food, land and most anything a human would want. There's not enough to meet every single want.Scarcity means there's no free lunch. Having more of one thing requires having less of another. You might say, "Williams, that's where you're wrong. Someone gave me this newspaper and I'm reading your column for free!" Not true. If you weren't spending time reading my column, you might have spent the time reading something else, chatting with your wife or children, or going out for a jog. You're reading my column for a zero price but you're not doing so at zero cost. You have to sacrifice something. There are zero-price services such as "free libraries," "free public schools," "free transportation" and free whatever. It doesn't mean that costs are not being borne by somebody. Read more here: