Examining the "Protecting" of the Committee Process

Ken Martinez
NewsNM note - This column was updated with a link to the audio archive of an appearance on News New Mexico in January by Andy Nunez. During the interview segment with Nunez he indicated that Speaker Ben Lujan had brought (blasted) bills to the floor that had previously been tabled by unanimous vote in committee. House members Ken Martinez, Roger Madalena, and Thomas Garcia went on the record at NMPolitics late last week. Each spoke in favor of protecting “the committee process.” Martinez actually spoke of a long standing “tradition” in the House. The term “integrity” was tossed around. Let’s examine these words and phrases. If one would simply substitute the words, “awesome dictatorial power of the Speaker of the House,” for, “the committee process,” we can precisely define the essence of what actually gets “protected.”
Roger Madalena
Representative Andy Nunez is an emerging political phenomenon in New Mexico. It seems that both Republicans and Democrats are having trouble getting a grip on the force of change that Nunez represents. Nunez is a one-man independent caucus. He is a non-partisan problem solver. Besides being an authentic force for change, lately Nunez has been helping New Mexico citizens learn plenty about the lack of “integrity” inherent in the “committee process.”
Thomas Garcia
Here is the background. We have interviewed dozens of elected officials on the News New Mexico radio/internet show since July 2010. One of the most amazing aspects of all the interviews is how often we have heard the phrase, “culture of corruption.” This remarkable phrase has been uttered by Democrats and Republicans alike in describing how things work in Santa Fe. It is critical to recognize that the committee rules in the House of Representatives facilitate corruption. The rules are structured in such a way that open discussions of various ideas that can lead to improved problem-solving are being stifled as a matter of routine. Based solely on the whims of the Speaker, bills get tabled.
Language used lately to describe the process of yielding to the will of the people is instructive. “Blasting,” is the term elected officials and the media used last week to describe the Nunez motion to have the full House consider his bill (HB 78).
Andy Nunez
While actual democracy gets the “blasting” label, the term “tradition” is trotted out to describe Ben Lujan's dictatorship. The fact that 80% of the voters supported any idea, and it still required a dynamic leader like Andy Nunez to bypass the committee process, tells you all you need to know about rules regarding “integrity” in the House. We find it deeply troubling that on several occasions Ben Lujan has unilaterally “blasted” bills onto the floor, (listen here) even after they were unanimously tabled on BI-PARTISAN votes in committee. With no mention of those "blasting incidents," it would seem that House members Martinez, Madalena, Garcia, and others still feel that except for the Speaker, nobody else should be able to get a bill to the floor for debate and a vote without Lujan's express or implied permission.
Perhaps the time has long since passed when every single House member should take a very long look in the mirror and admit to themselves that the committee process has very little integrity left. House rules need a major overhaul. Clearly it is in the best interests of New Mexico for the House to make an emergency pitching change by removing the current speaker, nominating a non-partisan member to serve the citizens, and finally get on with the process of “protecting” something actually worthy of protection.


Swickard: Deep in the Valley of STUPID

Michael and Conrad
Twice in the last week I had an out-of-brain experience that has left me quite brainless. First there was a “free” coupon I received for a fountain drink. I like the concept of something for free, be it a free people or a free soda. But when I presented the “free” coupon to the clerk, things did not go as I had anticipated. The clerk said it would be cheaper for me if I did not use the “free” coupon. This great nugget of wisdom was repeated to me. The clerk indulged me since I was so slow of a thinker. I watched the words come out of the clerk’s mouth. Yes, the clerk said if I bought a soda it would be cheaper than if I got it for free. I had trouble understanding how I could be hearing that the free soda drink was cheaper if I bought it instead of using the free coupon. The education system left either me or the clerk with a problem.
As much as I knew the folly of attempting to do so, I tried to use logic to reason with the clerk. I casually mentioned that in my book free usually means it costs nothing. After a few minutes, deep in the valley of stupid, I finally took my free drink coupon back and bought the drink at the regular price so that I could in theory save money. A visit to a doctor. Well, I thought to myself, it is only a couple of bucks and I got the “Stupid moment of the week” out of the way and could look forward to the rest of the week in the valley of not so stupid. But it was not to be. Just a few days later I had an even worse time dealing with the cost of a visit to a doctor.
It all started when I received a bill from a neighborhood Quick Doctor establishment where I had gone one Saturday. At the time I was for sure in the hurt locker due to a terrible sinus infection and did not want to wait until Monday. I knew from experience that these places handled those kinds of problems well. When I did not have insurance, the cost per visit was less than $100, which was a deal. In fact, at this place the cost for a walk-in sick person without insurance was $88 plus tax. I assumed, incorrectly, that I would be billed between $95 and nothing depending on my insurance policy, which I had just gotten a couple of weeks earlier. However, the bill I received from this place said the charge was $264, of which my medical insurance paid $138, thus leaving me a balance of $126 to pay.
Too much sense. I know I was guilty of trying to use logic in public for a second time that week but I tried to get my brain around those two numbers. The conversation I had with the bookkeeper about the bill was long and convoluted. No matter how much I tried to steer the conversation to what seemed to me to be the core issues, I could not get past the fact that if I have medical insurance, it costs me more money than if I had no insurance at all. To the voice on the other end of the phone I correctly pointed out that if I did not have insurance the whole price was $95, but now I owed $126 after my insurance company paid $138.
This was acknowledged to be true. I know I am repeating myself in this column because I repeated those numbers a number of times to the person on the other end of the phone, to no avail. “Mr. Swickard,” I was told, “The reason you have to pay more money is because you bought insurance.” I asked if I could just pay the $95 and was told no, that would be fraud since I had insurance. But I was no more or less sick because of my insurance. Nor did I take more time. Why not just ask me for $95? Because that would make too much sense deep in the valley of stupid.


Chavez: Obama Irrelevant on World Stage

Linda Chavez
Townhall - Two years into his presidency, the man who promised to restore America's standing in world public opinion has rendered himself personally irrelevant on the world stage. President Obama came into office more popular abroad than he was even at home, where he won a resounding election victory. European crowds thronged his speeches; leaders complimented him on his cultural sensitivity; the foreign press praised his cosmopolitan roots. The cognoscenti were so enamored of Obama that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize barely nine months into office. The move embarrassed even Obama. But as the world faces a cataclysm of popular revolt stretching across North Africa and into the Middle East, Obama stands mostly on the sidelines. He did nothing to support the brave Iranian demonstrators who flooded the streets of Tehran after fraudulent elections there in 2009. He waited too long to weigh in on the side of Egyptians who demanded an end to autocratic rule in their country. Read full column: News New Mexico

Union Teaches Michael Moore a Lesson

Pulaski note:  This news comes after reports of Michael Moore joining the union protesters in Wisconsin, see here 
From nypost.com -Michael Moore, champion of the working class, used non-union stagehands to film "Capitalism: A Love Story." The porcine provocateur is promoting his anti-Wall Street jeremiad by giving free tickets to unions, but the American Federation of Teachers has turned them down because Moore didn't hire any members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.  More News New Mexico

Haussamen: A Real Disservice to New Mexicans

Heath Haussamen
NMPolitics - A change in House leadership was needed earlier this year, but most Democrats and Republicans instead opted for the status quo. While they’re busy playing games, who is doing the business of the people they were elected to represent? When Republicans opted against supporting Rep. Joseph Cervantes’ attempt to overthrow House Speaker Ben Luján earlier this year, they made a political decision that they would have a better chance of taking control of the House in 2012 if the controversial Luján was speaker.
Ben Lujan
Now they’re upset that Luján broke House rules on Wednesday to stop their attempt to revive a bill that would make it illegal for undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. What did they expect? Luján has a history of bending and breaking House rules, of twisting arms, and of not treating people fairly. He acts that way in full view of the public without concern for who’s watching. In fact, Wednesday night he broke the rules even though the governor’s office was recording him. Luján plays dirty if that’s what it takes to win. He often displays a lack of respect for the process, and for his colleagues. This is apparent to anyone who’s paying close attention. Read full column here: News New Mexico


NM Photo Voter ID Commercial to Air Statewide

A new commercial is to be aired on statewide television in regards to photo voter ID. It is going to air Monday between 7 and 8 am and one at .  The group responsible for putting this commercial together is Hispanos Unidos in an effort to stop issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.  The group's goal is to have honest elections with legal New Mexico citizens ONLY casting votes and to stop voter corruption.  You can visit their website here as well as make a donation to further their cause.  The commercial is also available to watch here on youtube.com.


Banning Monuments to "ME" is Tabled

Capitol Report New Mexico - We’ve written extensively about the number of public buildings that have been named after politicians who are still sitting as in their elected offices. Sen. Mark Boitano (R-Albuquerque) sponsored a bill that was heard by the Senate Rules Committee that would prohibit state agencies, as well as local governments from naming public buildings or property after a public official while that official is in office. It would also establish a naming committee to set up guidelines for naming buildings that includes public input.
But the measure — Senate Bill 372 – was tabled on a 4-2 vote. Here are the senators who voted to table: Tim Jennings (D-Roswell), Michael Sanchez (D-Belen), George Muñoz (D-Gallup), Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque). Those who voted not to table: Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe), Kent Cravens (R-Albuquerque). Read full story here: News New Mexico


Wilson to Announce Senate Run Monday

Heather Wilson
NMPolitics - Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson will announce Monday that she’s running for the Senate seat being vacated next year by Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. Wilson’s decision was first reported this evening by Politico, and later confirmed by NMPolitics.net with a source who has knowledge of the situation. Wilson, a Republican, is expected by many to be the frontrunner for her party’s nomination and a formidable candidate in the general election if she makes it that far. Many like Wilson’s chances because she’s a moderate Republican. In a presidential election year like 2012, when turnout among Democrats will be higher, sources say it’s especially important that the GOP look to a moderate. Read full story here: News New Mexico

O'Reilly: Look for the Union Label

Bill O'Reilly
Townhall - In order to form a more perfect union, many of my ancestors joined one. My maternal grandfather was a train conductor; my paternal grandfather, a New York City police officer; my uncle, a fire captain in the Big Apple. Around my dinner table as a kid, working people were revered and evil corporate bosses were vilified. Unions were big in Levittown, N.Y. I am a union guy, as well. AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) has represented me for more than 30 years. And they've been good. When King World Productions tried to dodge pension payments for "Inside Edition" employees (of which I was one) in the early 1990s, AFTRA took them on and won a settlement. Without the union, we would have been hosed. But now things are different in America. Over the years, some powerful unions, representing both public and private workers, have succeeded in gaining so many benefits that the entire U.S. economy has been damaged. Many states cannot pay health and pension benefits because the tax revenue is not nearly enough to cover expenses. Also, millions of jobs formerly held by Americans are now done by Chinese and Indian people because labor is so much cheaper in those countries. Thus, we have economic warfare between the cost-cutters and the union folks who want to protect what they have. While I am absolutely sympathetic to hardworking union folks, I truly understand the danger of the United States government not being able to pay its bills. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Austin Hill: Who is PRO-Business

Austin Hill
Townhall - Has the Obama Administration turned the corner, and become more “pro business?” News about the economy and business growth has been getting better. Claims for unemployment benefits, and unemployment itself, seem to have dropped. And while unemployment and “under employment” figures remain painfully high, a look inside the latest data on American businesses suggests that many of them have mustered about as much productivity as they can with their current arrangements. Presumably, many of these American businesses will likely need to either begin hiring new employees, or at least begin deploying more independent contract laborers in the months ahead. That’s all good news. And the fact that the American economy is showing signs of new growth after a near total collapse of the financial system less than three years ago is a testimony to the American work ethic, and American ingenuity.
If, however, America is to have a sustainably prosperous economy over the long haul, then America must demand a smarter government. It is always to be expected that Washington politicians (the President included) would have lots to say about “job creation,” and being “pro business,” and this is especially true given current conditions.
But mere rhetoric is not enough. In truth, the President and the Congress must always maintain a healthy dose of respect for what is entailed in both “job creation,” and “wealth creation.” Yet much of what emanates from Washington conveys not only a profound sense of disrespect, but completely cluelessness as well. Read full column here: News New Mexico