The Department of Energy

Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the Department of Energy during the Carter Administration? The DOE was institution August 4, 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil which was at that time 30 percent. In 2010 the budget for the DOE was $242 Billion a year. It employs 16,000 federal workers and has about 100,000 contract employees. So when it started working on the problem of our dependence on foreign oil that dependence was 30 percent. Today 70 percent of our oil consumption is from foreign sources. What is the chance we could do away with the Department of Energy? About the same as the DOE actually doing the job it was founded to do… no chance whatsoever.

When a society really means to tax the rich

From NM - Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - I have heard many times our legislators talk about how unfair it is for our society to allow the evil rich to keep their ill-gotten gains. These legislators keep changing the tax code to take more and more from the rich, but if we are to have a just society, they have not taken enough until they take all of it. Example: Last week someone plunked down a dollar in the Mega Millions lottery drawing and came away with more than $100 million after taxes. How can we Americans allow this to happen in our country? Remember, this is someone who does not need $100 million. They were getting by fine and, in fact, had an extra dollar to waste on the lottery. The media covers it like it is a good thing. They ignore the fact that this money came from all of the poor people of our land who essentially got nothing in return for putting their dollars in the lottery. We cannot allow prizes to be awarded from the lottery because that would be ill-gotten gains – like when someone in a company gets a golden parachute. We must confiscate all lottery winnings if we are to have a just society. P.S. – I am not a nut. Read full column

Unclear: Wilderness Designations in Dona Ana County

NMPolitics - New Mexico’s U.S. senators are continuing to push for new conservation and wilderness areas in Northern New Mexico, but they have not decided whether to try again this year for permanent protection of land in Doña Ana County including the Organ Mountains. From the Associated Press: “U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would preserve about 236,000 acres of public land (in Taos and Rio Arriba counties) managed by the Bureau of Land Management by designating a combination of conservation and wilderness areas. “Much of the land – 214,600 acres – would be managed as a conservation area. “Two other parcels would be managed as wilderness. “Fellow New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall is cosponsoring the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act.” Asked if there are plans to try again this year for permanent wilderness designations for land in Doña Ana County, Bingaman spokeswoman Jude McCartin said that’s currently “unclear.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Americans Not Buying Obama's Libya Justification

Muammar Gadaffi
Rasmussen - Despite President Obama’s address to the nation Monday night, most voters still aren’t clear about why the U.S. military is engaged in Libya. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States has a clearly defined military mission in Libya. Fifty-six percent (56%) disagree and say the military does not have a clearly defined mission. Nearly one-in-four voters (23%) are not sure. The president apparently did not close the sale with his address explaining his decision to commit U.S. forces to Libya. The survey was taken Monday and Tuesday nights, and the findings from the first night prior to the speech and the second night after the speech showed little change. The numbers also didn’t change over the two nights when voters were asked if Libya is a vital national security interest for the United States these days. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Reigning in Fannie and Freddie

Steve Pearce
WASHINGTON, DC – House Financial Services Committee Republicans today unveiled their plan to reform government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, issued the following statement: “Today marks the start of a process – a process to begin winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Beginning today, and over the course of the next few months, my colleagues and I on the Financial Services Committee will introduce multiple rounds of very specific, very targeted bills to end the bailouts, protect the taxpayers and get private capital off the sidelines.
The culmination of our efforts will formally wind down the GSEs and return our housing finance system to the private marketplace. “With the American taxpayers on the hook for $150 billion and counting, the bailout of Fannie and Freddie is already the most expensive component of the federal government’s intervention into the financial system.
Americans are tired of the ongoing bailout of the failed government-backed mortgage giants, and they are tired of Democrats’ refusals to address the driving force behind the financial collapse. While Democrats chose to ignore the problem last Congress, House Republicans stand ready to end the bailout and protect American taxpayers from further losses.” Read rest of story here: News New Mexico


Pearce: Senate Democrats Out of Time

Washington, DC (March 30, 2011) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement on the need to pass a responsible long-term spending plan: "The federal government is spending 3.5 trillion dollars for every 2.2 trillion it brings in,” said Pearce. “The Senate has failed to respond to the nation's looming debt crisis that is threatening our economy. The House has taken important first steps, but the Senate refuses to pass even these minimal cuts.
Our Senators must realize that they are jeopardizing jobs throughout our nation and must stop spending money we don't have. It is time that the Senate steps up to provide the leadership and make the decisions Americans need."


Quit Downplaying Cartel Threat

NMPolitics - States are grappling with the dual problems of immigration and border security, but it’s a no-win situation for them; real solutions must come from Congress and the president. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asserts that the border is safe. She claims the cartel violence that has plagued Mexico hasn’t spilled over in a serious way. “There is a perception that the border is worse now than it ever has been. That is wrong. The border is better now than it ever has been,” she was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in El Paso last week. With all due respect, that’s crap. Read full story here: News New Mexico

King: Signals His Priorities on Driver's Licenses

Gary King
Santa Fe New Mexican - The Attorney General's Office on Wednesday said Gov. Susana Martinez's campaign committee might have violated campaign laws by spending money on radio ads in support of a bill to prohibit driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. In a letter to Secretary of State Dianna Duran, Albert Lama, deputy attorney general, said Duran's office should reconsider its decision that the Martinez ads were not in violation of the Campaign Reporting Act. "Although you did not seek our advice in this matter, we are concerned that your interpretation of the Campaign Reporting Act is unnecessarily broad and may open the door to use of campaign contributions contrary to the Legislature's intent," Lama wrote.
Dianna Duran
But Lama's letter doesn't suggest that the attorney general is going to take any further action. In February, Martinez's campaign committee spent $5,648 on radio spots that urged listeners to contact legislators and tell them to support bills aimed at stopping the practice of issuing driver's licenses to undocumented people. The effect was not successful. The House and Senate couldn't agree on the driver's-license bill, so it died. Somos Un Pueblo Unido, an immigrant-rights group, and Common Cause, a group that has advocated for election reforms, complained that the ads violated the Campaign Reporting Act.
On March 3, Duran wrote Somos, saying, "Susana Martinez meets the definition of a "candidate" who has authorized her campaign committee to make expenditures for the purpose of seeking future election to office. ... I have no reasonable belief that Susana Martinez for Governor Committee committed any violation of the Campaign Reporting Act, and I do not intend to refer this matter to the Attorney General or a District Attorney." Martinez and Duran are Republicans. Attorney General Gary King is a Democrat. Read full story here: News New Mexico


State Revenue Up $200 Million Year over Year

Capitol Report New Mexico - It doesn’t call for uncorking Champagne bottles but New Mexico received some good economic news this week. The US Census Bureau released its figures for state tax collections and in the fourth quarter of 2010 (October-December), the state received reported slightly more income than in the same time period the year before. In addition, income from severance taxes was up by nearly $20 million. The severance tax receipts are especially critical since those taxes reflect the overall strength of the oil and gas industry in New Mexico, which contribute so heavily to the state’s economic well-being. “I was expecting a slight bump.” Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming) said Wednesday, “due to the price of oil going up lately.” In total, the state collected $1.3 billion in total taxes in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from $1.1 billion raked in at the same time in 2009. Read full story here: News New Mexico