VFW at war over some of its PAC's endorsements

NewNM - In New Mexico the VFW PAC endorsed Harry Teague over Steve Pearce. The story below talks of the anger of the rank and file over selecting people who never served over people who served in combat.

From the Washington Times - The Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee refused to rescind its candidate endorsements Wednesday, despite outrage from some veterans that its picks failed to represent the VFW's 1.5 million members. VFW officials said hundreds of members have contacted the organization's national headquarters in recent days to complain about the endorsements by the PAC, which operates separately from the veterans group. The protests particularly were heated regarding two Democratic endorsements: Sen. Barbara Boxer over Republican Carly Fiorina in California, and Rep. Ron Klein over Republican and Iraq war veteran Allen West in Florida. The fervor spurred a Tuesday letter by VFW Commander in Chief Richard L. Eubank and two vice commanders asking the PAC to withdraw all endorsements for the Nov. 2 congressional elections because the situation was having a "detrimental impact on the organization." "Our recent endorsement process unintentionally provided favoritism to the incumbents," the letter said. "It is now evident it was unfairly skewed and actually subverted that process." Member fervor has been fanned by Web blogs oriented to veterans, some of which have taken issue with the PAC's position of endorsing some candidates without military service over candidates who have served. Read more


U.S. in slumber as Mexico drug war rages

From USA Today - By Ted Galen Carpenter - It takes a brave person to be a reporter in Mexico these days if the intent is to cover the drug cartels. More than 30 journalists have been killed since 2006, making Mexico perhaps the most dangerous place in the world for members of that profession. The country is at least on a par with such countries as Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan. It has become so bad that several Mexican journalists have sought asylum in the United States, and at least one has been granted that status. It is the latest sign that the danger of Mexico becoming a "failed state" — once an absurd notion — is no longer so far-fetched. Drug gangs make it a point to either control media coverage of their activities, or to intimidate independent-minded outlets into silence. They've been especially successful on the latter front. Numerous newspapers, radio stations, and television stations no longer cover stories related to the drug war, or they provide only very brief, bland accounts. The intimidation reached new heights in mid-September when El Diario, the leading newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, El Paso's sister city and the most violent arena in Mexico's drug war, published a front-page editorial asking the cartels for a truce, following the killing of one of its photographers. Read more

Candidates Share Differing Views On Medical Marijuana

From KOAT-TV ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Legislature passed a law three years ago allowing producers to grow and sell marijuana for medical purposes, but this is an area where the two gubernatorial candidates vying in the upcoming Nov. 2 elections disagree. Fourteen states and Washington, D.C., that allow medical marijuana. New Mexico is among those states. However, the controversial issue is one that separates the gubernatorial candidates. "The difference between me and my opponent is that she says she would repeal that law. I come down on the people's side of that law," said Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. Denish said she has listened to hours of testimony. "For people in chronic pain or with terminal illnesses, it's very important for people with cancer, PTSD or other afflictions to have every possible means of alleviating pain," Denish said. Susana Martinez sent KOAT the following statement: "Susana Martinez does not support distributing marijuana for any purpose since it is in violation of federal law. As someone who lost her mother to cancer, Susana understands the need to provide effective pain treatments to those in need of care, but believes there are currently effective treatments available for patients that do not break the law." Read more

Obama's Outsized Ego

From the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research - by Jonah Goldberg -

When presidents think they're bigger than the job they hold, they shrink in office. When they think they're smaller than the honor that has temporarily been bestowed upon them, they grow into it.

'That's all right, all of you know who I am," President Obama joked last week when the presidential seal fell off his podium during a speech in Pittsburgh. Even though the incident made headlines for no discernible journalistic reason, it was noteworthy as a succinct example of Obama's arrogance problem. Rather than make a self-deprecating joke, he opted to make a self-inflating one, as if to say that the title mattered less than the man. The good news is that it's apparently not racist to call Obama arrogant anymore. Not long ago, Keith Olbermann and other gargoyles on the parapets of establishment liberalism insisted that if you were to call attention to the fact that Obama ostentatiously holds himself in very high regard, you were really calling him "uppity," if you know what I mean. Now, what was once taboo has become undeniable. Even the New Yorker's David Remnick, author of a loving biography of Obama, tells Der Spiegel, "Obama has a considerable ego." Read more


What normal person would put up with the inane indignities of the electoral process?

From Slate.com - By Christopher Hitchens - Asking my hosts in Connecticut if there was anything worth noting about the upcoming elections in their great state, I received the reply, "Well, we have a guy who wants to be senator who lied about his record of service in Vietnam, and a woman who wants to be senator who has run World Wrestling Entertainment and seems like a tough lady." Consider: What normal person would consider risking their career and their family life in order to undergo the incessant barrage of intrusive questioning about every aspect of their lives since well before college? To face the constant pettifogging and chatter of Facebook and Twitter and have to boast of how many false friends they had made in a weird cyberland? And if only that was the least of it. Then comes the treadmill of fundraising and the unending tyranny of the opinion polls, which many media systems now use as a substitute for news and as a means of creating stories rather than reporting them. And, even if it "works," most of your time in Washington would be spent raising the dough to hang on to your job. Read more

Harbison: City of Las Cruces Budget Implications

Jim Harbison
The main topic at this week’s City Council Work Session was the Budget Strategies for Fiscal Year 2012. A lengthy presentation was made by Dick Gebhart, Manager of Management & Budget on developing City budgets for FY 2011-2016. I found it somewhat amazing that the budget forecast for the next five (5) years proposes a budget of $69 million with anticipated revenue of $26.8 million resulting in a shortfall of $42.2 million (annual budget of $13.8 million with revenues at $5.36 million and an annual shortfall of $8.5 million). Obviously, this is a tremendous shortfall which will have to be made up by increased taxes and fees or grants from the Federal and State governments. This is especially scary because the strategy was based on the assumption that there will be no changes to the current tax laws. This seems to be unrealistic since the City Council has already expressed concerns about the next State legislative session considering the elimination of the “hold harmless” provision on taxes on food and medical. If enacted, it would result in an additional loss of approximately $8 million in annual revenues to the City.
Money from Federal and State sources is also tax dollars that have to be taken from the taxpayers. As the saying goes, “there is no free lunch” and every dollar the City of Las Cruces receives from State or Federal agencies has been confiscated from the earnings of workers including those in New Mexico. Under this budget scenario Las Cruces will continue to be a “beggar City” and like so many others will become depend on the State and Federal governments. As a result our policies will be driven by those agencies that provide the funding rather than the citizens of Las Cruces.
With a faltering and struggling economy the Federal government has decided not to provide any cost of living allowance (COLA) to the seniors who depend on social security for their existence for 2010 and 2011. The City government is apparently unaware of the Federal declaration that there is no inflation or increases in cost of living because this budget strategy proposes an annual increase in employee compensation of 8.6% (2.8% salary & 5.8% benefits) each year for the next five years. I do not believe this is fiscally responsible under the current economic conditions.
One of the proposals was to make up some of the shortfall from the City’s reserve fund. It is mandated by the State that the reserve fund be equal to 1/12th of the budget. Due to astute financial management, the City has approximately twice this amount. This reserve is often called the “rainy day fund”. Mayor Miyagishima stated at the work session that “it is now a rainy day” and those funds should be used. Councilor Small thinks the reserves are too large and should be used to mitigate some of the budget shortfalls. Is this truly an economic downturn or rainy day that requires use of the reserve fund or is it the result of too many non-essential programs that we can no longer afford? Has anyone on the Council considered reducing spending?
When asked what caused the greatest increase to the General Fund expenditures over the past five years Mr Gebhart stated it was due to increases in City staffing. The irony is that the building boom that increased staffing ended in 2007 and the workloads have diminished but the City has not reduced the amount of employees. It is time for the City Council to demand a thorough review of the City programs and staffs and to make the appropriate and necessary reductions to both.


A School Teacher Writes In to NewsNM

- These are a few excerpts of exceptional feedback from a professional educator:
I almost went off the road listening to you this morning, because you both hit the nail right on the head. Last year, on a standardized reading test, our freshmen averaged a 5th grade reading level. That is not a typo. I have seniors who can't write a coherent sentence, and can't pass a history test because they don't understand the words in the questions. A significant portion of the community is on welfare or free/reduced lunch, yet almost all the kids have ipods and cell phones, wear expensive shoes, and drive nicer vehicles than I do.
Parents (if they are around) do not necessarily get upset when their freshman daughters get pregnant, because it will mean another welfare check. I think we should require welfare recipients to pass a drug test in order to collect their money. Judging by their conversations, these kids have ready access to drugs and alcohol, and in many cases they get drunk or high with their parents. I have the impression that they believe that welfare check is their right, and as long as it is there, why should they go work for a living?
I used to farm in Colorado, near another multiple-generation welfare community, and regularly had job applicants tell me that they would need to be paid under the table so they wouldn't lose their welfare benefits. We have succeeded in making welfare into a career choice, instead of the stop-gap measure it was intended to be..............Enjoy listening to you on the drive down the hill from the Gila National Forest........


Transparency for One - Transparency for All

It may not have created transparency, but the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has leveled the playing field. Virtually unlimited amounts of money are still being used to influence all elections. On "Face the Nation" this weekend, after accusing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of all sorts of vague improprieties (with no evidence to back up his charges), White House aide David Axelrod finally got to the real issue that is bugging: "Why not simply disclose where this money is coming from? And then all of these questions will be answered." We are all for transparency. In New Mexico many people are wondering....how much money got funneled to the Hispano Chamber of Las Cruces and where did it come from. The Hispano Chamber then used the anonymous funding source to pay for a huge political campaign in favor of a highly controversial "wilderness" designation of lands all over Dona Ana County.


Nathan Small to Appear on NewsNM

Nathan Small
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance employee Nathan Small will appear as our guest on News New Mexico Wednesday morning at 8:00am. Along with District 37 State Representative Jeff Steinborn, Small, (also a Las Cruces City Councilor) is a major local political official who actively works for the enactment of a bill in the U.S. Senate that would create the controversial "wilderness" designation for various parcels of lands in our area including areas in Southern Dona Ana County on the Mexican border. We will ask Small questions from our site visitors and listeners as well as questions we have for him. Please use the contact page at the top of our site to e-mail us your questions for Mr. Small.


Dianna Duran Calls for Voter I.D.

Dianna Duran
From Capitol Report New Mexico - Amidst all the news coming out of the Secretary of State’s office concerning firings, political intrigue, accusations of porn sites on office computers and even a possible burglary, it’s easy to overlook the facts that: A) the office is a powerful one in New Mexico because the secretary oversees statewide elections and enforces election laws, and B) there’s a competitive election for the job between the incumbent, Democrat Mary Herrera and Republican Dianna Duran. Duran is currently a sitting state senator from Tularosa who once was the county clerk (supervising local elections) in Otero County. And one of the stark differences between Duran and Herrera is Duran’s desire to institute a photo voter ID program....Read more and watch video here:


Post Office Loses Own Union Ballots

From the Daily Caller - If you believe in a higher power, then I’ve got evidence for you that God has a sense of humor. Last week, the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 workers, had to extend its elections for national officers because…wait for it…thousands of ballots got lost in the mail. The irony is amusing, but what isn’t funny is the financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service. The grand ole government mail monopoly has seen its revenues plummet from the combination of a weak economy and growing competition from cheaper, quicker electronic communication alternatives. Read more here:

Calderon's Plight - Epidemic of Corruption and Violence

Felipe Calderon
From the El Paso Times - JUAREZ -- The visit by Mexican President Felipe Calderón to Juárez and Chihuahua City exposed his plight -- to strengthen state police to end the epidemic of corruption and violence. Calderón said all of Mexico needs better-paid state police, and recruitment and training efforts for people to trust law enforcement. "It is essential that we strengthen our capabilities of the state attorney general's offices and investigative agencies to have institutions of justice and public safety that are trustworthy, professional and efficient," he said.
U.S. Border Patrol Observing a Train Near Border
On the same note, Calderón asked governors of other states and mayors across Chihuahua to support the consolidation of city and state police to improve coordination and bring about a reduction in crime. Calderón said that it would be a "hybrid" system, so that in some cities, municipal police would continue to operate, and in others they would blend with state police and attorney general's offices. He said it is important to strengthen community policing in Mexico, but it is still a risk to take that step. Read more here:


Harry Reid : Rasmussen Poll Shows Angle Surging

Harry Reid (D-NV)
From the Washington Times - It's been a mixed week for Sharron Angle, but it's ending on a high note. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday shows her four points ahead of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in their hotly contested Senate race. What's more, the Republican Angle hit the 50 percent mark for the first time since August. The survey of likely Nevada voters found her leading 50 to 46 percent. Read more here: