Luján delays attempt to hear driver’s license bill

From NM - by Heath Haussamen - House Speaker Ben Luján abruptly adjourned tonight’s session and walked off the floor, ignoring objections, after he delayed an attempt to hear a bill that would outlaw giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Rep. Andy Nuñez, I-Hatch, made a motion to bring his House Bill 78 directly to the floor, taking it out of a committee that has already tabled it. The rare procedural move, called “blasting,” is a way to bypass the committee process with a majority vote on the House floor. A blasting move, if approved by the majority of House members, brings a bill directly to the House floor for immediate consideration. The speaker said he would delay consideration of Nuñez’s motion until Thursday morning. The House had already spent hours today debating the budget and film incentives. Some members called out their objection of the delay, but Luján ignored them as chaos ensued. There was a motion to adjourn, and Luján ruled that the “ayes” won the vote over the “nays.” Many Republican members voiced their objections, and one called out a challenge to the speaker’s ruling, which would normally have led to a role-call vote on whether to adjourn. Ignoring the objections, the speaker instead walked off the House floor. Republicans remained on the floor, stunned, following adjournment. Nuñez’s bill is one of Gov. Susana Martinez’s top priorities for the session. Martinez was quick to lash out at the speaker. “It’s outrageous that Speaker Ben Luján broke House rules to block an up-or-down vote on the bill to repeal driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants,” Martinez told “It’s tactics like this that cause the public to lose faith in its elected leaders. Come tomorrow morning, every House member will make a choice – either stand with Speaker Luján and support driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, or stand with New Mexicans and repeal this dangerous law,” Martinez said. More News New Mexico

Public employee union membership rises — and so do pension burdens

From Capitol Report New Mexico - With all the talk about the standoff in Wisconsin, the issue of public employee unions has taken center stage. I knew that union enrollments in the private sector have been going down in the past 30 years and that union enrollment in public employees unions have been going up, but I was surprised to see that the actual number of union members in the public sector exceeded the total number of private sector union members. One might explain that, with outsourcing and cost-cutting, private sector unions are taking a hit. But that doesn’t explain why public sector union enrollment has increased by 1.9 million since 1985 while private union enrollment has decreased by 4.2 million over the same period. On a related note, the growth of public employees means state governments have a larger burden to bear when it comes to paying for the retirement plans of state employees. We’ve written about those concerns here and here. In addition, the Rio Grande Foundation posted a chart, showing that while Ohio and Wisconsin are ranked 1-2 in pension liabilities, good old New Mexico is No. 3 in the nation, with estimated pension liabilities at a whopping 59.8 percent of GDP: Read more News New Mexico

Eric Holder: Black Panther Case Demeans “My People”

Eric Holder
From - Eric Holder told the House Appropriations subcommittee that the New Black Panther voter intimidation case demeans “my people.” The Politico reported:  Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.  Holder’s frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in PhiladelphiaMore News New Mexico

Michael Moore: Wealthy American's Money is Ours

From -Yesterday, Michael Moore said that the money of wealthy Americans “isn’t theres, it’s ours,” and is a “national resource.” This is why the wealthy filmmaker has taken the unprecedented step of posting his bank account numbers online so all Americans can have access to the vital national resource that is “our” money. I’m impressed by th… what? He didn’t do that? I would have expected otherwise because he’s usually not hypocritical that way….  More News New Mexico

Obama: Race a Key Component in Tea Party Protests

Pulaski Note:  President Obama has refused to acknowledge the racism and violence on behalf of the union protesters in Wisconsin.  The protesters have verbally attacked and harassed black gay tea party members by yelling racial epithets on multiple occasions and yet our President still supports their movement because they support his interestsFrom - But Obama, in his most candid moments, acknowledged that race was still a problem. In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent "Tea Party" movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn't helping them nearly enough, he said.  A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to "take back" their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn't dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a "subterranean agenda" in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.  More News New Mexico

House Speaker Up to His Old Tricks

Many New Mexico citizens have been waiting for months to see how the debate would shape up regarding ideas on how to re-work New Mexico’s budget. But when it was all said and done in Santa Fe today, the dictatorial tactics of the Speaker of the House prevailed. What should have been a lengthy debate with ample opportunities for new ideas rapidly descended into a disgusting time-wasting charade. And much like the introduction of the ill-fated House Bill 605 last week, once again a handful of House members brought disgrace on themselves.
At the heart of the ridiculous spectacle were stifling procedural tactics, all carefully choreographed  and executed with the approval of House Speaker Ben Lujan. Today Lujan carved yet another notch in his political gun when he killed any chance that other people with ideas worth consideration might be heard. Instead of all duly elected House members being allowed to consider various budgetary ideas, they were treated to a lamentable farce. Given the tough decisions facing New Mexico how and why could this happen?
First it quickly became clear to all members that House Republicans were ready to offer several amendments for a vote. These were ideas designed to improve the state's woefully inadequate budget process. And early on one amendment was actually was adopted by the chamber. However, almost as quickly, and seemingly right on cue, Ben Lujan's lieutenants decided to "run out the clock" rather than continuing to engage in deliberative debate and the thoughtful consideration of ideas. After the single GOP amendment was adopted, it seems that the Speaker had had enough of any thought process that might actually allow intelligent people, even those in his own party, to explore ideas that might lead to best practices. The amazingly arbitrary three-hour debate time limit that was established, after months of waiting, was allowed to be "run out." Allowing additional votes on additional amendments was not to be.
Tom Taylor
Today the state witnessed yet another of many sad chapters in New Mexico's recent political history. Once again a single "strong man" managed to impose his personal will on all of the people and all of their duly elected representatives. “The people of New Mexico would be disappointed in this behavior and so are we,” said House Minority Leader Tom Taylor of Farmington. “The fact a single member of the majority easily took up over an hour of time in debate is completely unfortunate.” Apparently not much has changed in Santa Fe. Clearly House Speaker Ben Lujan still feels he can run the House chamber like a Kangaroo Court. Only citizen activists and others searching for best practices will determine how many more times Lujan can continue to deny duly elected officials the chance to bring ideas to the table and others to consider them.
Could it be time to reform a system that allows bullying, intimidation, and the stifling of debate to be a winning political ploy? That time came and went. Everyone sees the huge budget deficit and the blatant conflicts of interest. Today in Santa Fe we saw the definition of insanity playing out. Where is the outrage?


Williams: Clarion Call for Leadership

Armstrong Williams
Townhall - Some startling revelations have come out of the fracas going on in Wisconsin over Gov. Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature facing off against public sector unions, namely the teachers’ union. From 2001 to 2010, Wisconsin taxpayers paid more than $8 billion for state employee health care coverage, while state employees contributed only $398 million, less than 5% of the total costs. From 2000 to 2009, taxpayers paid $12.6 billion for public employee pensions, while the employees only contributed $55.4 million, less than 0.5% of the total cost. Public employees are guaranteed those final salaries for life. Not only that, you get to add on other positions for mega-pensions. So if you were a firefighter and a teacher, you get two pensions at your last salary in both jobs. Retired public employees regularly receive pension in excess of $100,000 - again, guaranteed for life. And who pays for these folks not to work? You and I, the taxpayers. We are their meal ticket for their entire lives, yet when times are tough and we ask them to share the burden, they yell and scream that they are entitled to every penny they never had to contribute. Read full column here; News New Mexico

Efforts to Close Off Gila Forest Opposed

Newsnm note - (Spence) A huge rally in Silver City is scheduled for Saturday March 5th. Those planning to attend will protest a unilateral decision by government bureaucrats to close 97 percent of the Gila National Forest. Now eyes are turning to Washington D.C. as campers and backpackers seek help from elected officials against a faceless and unresponsive  bureaucracy. It would appear that while NM Reps Heinrich and Lujan and Senators Bingaman and Udall look the other way, Congressman Steve Pearce is leading the charge against the latest land grab by big government. 
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Stevan Pearce (R-NM) released the following statement regarding the House Natural Resources Committee’s oversight hearing on “The Impact of the Administration’s Wild Lands Order on Jobs and Economic Growth:” “I applaud the committee for exercising vigorous oversight of the Obama Administration’s attempt to circumvent Congress’ statutory authority in order to create de facto Wilderness areas. It is clear this Administration is committed to its war on western jobs by any means. “The actions taken by Interior Secretary Salazar on behalf of the Obama Administration will have a devastating impact on jobs and American energy production in western states if it is implemented. It is time for the Obama Administration to start focusing on creating jobs and producing American energy,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Steve Pearce.
Steve Pearce
The Wild Lands policy, established by Secretarial Order 3310, asserts that the Bureau of Land Management has the authority to “designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as ‘Wild Lands’ and to manage them to protect their wilderness value.” The Wilderness Act of 1964 gives Congress the sole authority to designate public lands as Wilderness areas. The Wilderness designation is the most restrictive land use policy that can be taken as it places severe limitations on public access to public lands. In addition to the impacts on jobs and the economy, many forms of popular recreation and access could be prohibited.


King Bill Targets Charter Schools

Rhonda King
Santa Fe, NM – Rep. Rhonda S. King (D-Stanley) has sponsored two bills in an effort to create more transparency within government and both bills have received the support of the House of Representatives. HB 252 would require each local superintendent or person in charge of the fiscal management of a charter school to provide quarterly financial reports to the local school board of the school district or the governing body of the charter schools. It passed the House with a vote of 69-0.  The question for New Mexicans is simple. Do these rules apply to ALL public schools or just Charter Schools?


Jeffrey: Cash Drains From Treasury as Republicans and Democrats Dither

Townhall - by Terry Jeffrey - Were it your personal bank account, you would get it -- and change your ways. But it is not your personal bank account, it is the Treasury of the United States -- funded by your tax dollars and money borrowed in your name -- and it is now controlled by elected officials of both parties who do not seem to get it at all. If you want to take a look at the Treasury Department's latest statement for its bank accounts, it is available online now at The statement is like a fiscal snapshot of a nation rapidly descending into bankruptcy.
According to the Daily Treasury Report for Feb. 28, the federal government took in $851.47 billion in revenues in February -- which included $63.7 billion in new net debt. On the other side of the ledger, it spent $1.009 trillion over the course of the month, including $585 billion to redeem maturing government securities. That gave the government a deficit for the month of $158.5 billion. Read full column here: News New Mexico


When Buffett Writes, People Read

Jim Spence
The unique structure of Berkshire Hathaway, in conjunction with the remarkable investment minds of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, has created a tremendous case-study for all aspiring investors. It is important to realize first and foremost that Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger designed and shaped their own investment vehicle. Those who are tempted to toss in a “yes but,” when evaluating the astonishing achievements of these two legends should realize that any “but” discounts the architectural wisdom of Buffett and Munger. In creating flexibilities in their structure they have enabled themselves to take full advantage of their wisdom and become fabulously wealthy.
The massive fortunes created for those who hitched their wagons to Berkshire came as a result of the fact that Buffett and Munger engineered the proper specifications for a unique investment machine.
Warren Buffett
Over the final weekend of February Warren Buffett posted yet another of his annual letters to shareholders. No doubt there were countless hits on the Berkshire website by anxious investors. Many may have been hopeful that some insight might come from this year’s edition that would help them with their next trade. Our perspective on the wisdom of Buffett and Munger comes with a broader context. Having read every letter Buffett has written to shareholders since 1977 as well as Munger’s book “Poor Charlie’s Almanack” several times brings a certain perspective.
Charlie Munger
We feel that the latest letter to Berkshire shareholders is most useful when it is put into the context of everything else Buffett has said in all of his letters for the last thirty-four years. What follows are my observations on the most recent Buffett letter. I humbly offer them within the context of what I feel is most important to understand about Buffett and Munger. Read rest of column here: News New Mexico


Pearce Weighs in on Continuing Resolution Patch

Steve Pearce
Washington, DC (March 1, 2011) Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement in response to the continuing resolution that passed the House today: "Today's continuing resolution cuts spending to establish an environment where jobs can be created while keeping the government operating. Americans across the country have been forced to find places in their budgets where they can save money; the government must do the same. We face a looming debt crisis, and the federal government's irresponsible spending is recklessly endangering the futures of our children and grandchildren. Unless we want to see massive increases in taxes, inflation, and joblessness, Congress must find ways to stop spending money we don't have. Today's continuing resolution is the next step in that process."