N.M. National Guard Deployed to Egypt/Israel

From kob.com -About 400 New Mexico National Guard soldiers will soon be on their way to Egypt, as part of a multi-national mission to help keep the peace between Egypt and Israel.  The troops are from the 1st Battalion of the 200th Infantry Division - the same men and women who helped fight wildfires around the state last summer, and came to the rescue of thousands during the deep freeze cold snap last winter.  It's 7,000 miles from Albuquerque to the Sinai peninsula where the New Mexico soldiers will spend at least 9 months. Today brought farewell ceremonies in Farmington and Albuquerque, and there will be another one in Las Cruces tomorrow.  More News New Mexico

Border Patrol Seized 400 Pounds of Marijuana

From therepublic.com -U.S. Border Patrol agents working in southern New Mexico have seized more than 400 pounds of marijuana and have made three arrests in two separate busts. Agents near Santa Teresa spotted a vehicle and two people north of the border Thursday. The vehicle sped off but agents were able to stop it. Inside, they found three large burlap bundles of pot. The driver, 19-year old Melissa Vargas Otero, and 18-year old Jason Nathaniel Harrison, were arrested.  More News New Mexico

Swickard: The Occupy Santa Fe movement needs to move differently

© 2012 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.

Occupy Santa Fe Press release: “… OSF understands the continuing corruption of our democracy is a matter of sheer survival with 146 million Americans at or below the poverty line. A noisy interruption of the ALEC $250 dinner is mild compared to the economic, social, and environmental devastation caused by corporate domination… ALEC members choked two women protesters with their own scarves while simultaneously punching them in the back, one by Representative Kintigh of Roswell. Following them to the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, an ALEC member punched a male protester in the face, and shoved another male protester to the wall in a chokehold. Four security guards from the Eldorado Hotel contained the violent ALEC legislative member.”

I was not there nor have I spoken to any of the participants. However, I am gravely concerned at two things: first, that a peaceful group of elected New Mexico legislators on private property were subjected to a frightening violent interaction. Second, that the Occupy Santa Fe group was able to barge into a private dinner.
If the Occupy Santa Fe protesters had remained at their protest outside the hotel it would be a non-story. Instead they came onto public property, a hotel dining room and caused a fuss. They called causing a fuss civil disobedience, but they are wrong.
Be noisy, be in the face, be on public property. Step onto private property without permission and it is not fine. The hotel, while open to the public is still private property. The protestors have no right to walk into any store, restaurant or hotel without permission.
The authorities and security forces were absent and that left it up to the legislators to protect themselves. There is a charge of excessive force against Rep. Dennis Kintigh when he removed at least one person. He is a New Mexico certified police officer and a retired FBI agent. That he felt compelled to act speaks volumes as to the safety of the legislators in the room.
Where do we go from here? I hope Occupy Santa Fe troops are not trying to force the legislators to huddle behind protected walls. We have a great citizen legislature where anyone can walk almost anywhere in the Roundhouse without hassle. The dialog may have started to try to contain the “terrorist” effect of protestors.
I do have to protest the protestor press release, “…the continuing corruption of our democracy is a matter of sheer survival with 146 million Americans at or below the poverty line.” So one half of all Americans are at or below the poverty line? Yet most have a house, car and cable. How is that poverty? I suspect the fragile population is closer to five percent and yes, they do need our prayers and our help.
Also, the New Mexico Legislature has been firmly in the hands of the Democrats since before World War Two. The Occupy Santa Fe group was yelling at Republicans who rarely if ever have any say in what the Legislature does. If corporations have bought the New Mexico Legislature protest the Democrats.
I would like to give some honest helpful advice for the people in the Occupy Santa Fe movement. Stay on public property. We hear you and dare I say it, I agree with some of your more reasonable concerns. I have raised them myself as to money and politics.
Importantly, if you really want to make a difference, go to each legislative district and put up a candidate against the incumbent so that a year from now the entire 112 members of the New Mexico Legislature could all be newly elected Occupy members who will completely cleanse the political process. Do the change right.
The Occupy people all over our nation do have our attention but we will not be bullied, we will not be intimidated and they cannot come on private property and attack New Mexico citizens without the full response of angry citizens being conveyed to them. If they want to change the political process it is open to them to do so. Do it in the way that our US and New Mexico Constitution allows, get elected and lead us to a better world.

Defending Tim Jennings

Tim Jennings
by Jim Spence - Senator Tim Jennings of Roswell was talking facts in Santa Fe Friday. He spoke of the enormous contributions the oil and gas industry makes to the revenue side of the NM state budget. Suddenly the tweeting began. One tweet came from Carter Bundy, a well know public employee union lobbyist who said that oil and gas companies contribute a “tiny fraction” of their profits to government coffers. Since the data is so readily available, we looked at Exxon Mobil to determine what "fraction" was truly applicable to the discussion.
First, Exxon Mobil made huge land lease payments to both state and federal governments last year. It also made huge royalty payments to both the state and federal governments last year. Lease payments were received from Exxon Mobil regardless of production. And royalties were paid based on production volume, not profits.
On the pre-tax bottom line (gross income net of costs) Exxon Mobil earned $52.9 billion in 2010 and paid a whopping $21.5 billion in income taxes. Even if you ignore both the royalty and lease payments, which would be foolish, Exxon Mobil paid 40.6% out of its net income in taxes. These tax to income ratios are pretty much the same across the industry whether you are looking at Chevron, Conoco Phillips, or any other oil and gas company. You can see the actual Exxon Mobil income statement by clicking here.
It didn’t take me long to do the homework. But it will always be much easier to simply toss out a grossly misleading phrase like "tiny fraction," when describing the government's share of the oil and gas company’s income and revenue streams. Not only should Senator Jennings be defended, the contributions of the oil and gas companies should too.
Facts are stubborn things. The payment of $21.5 billion in income taxes, out of $52.9 billion in profits is 40.6%. Add in the royalties and lease payments that go to government and it looks like we are looking at pretty close to a 50-50 split, with the oil companies putting up all the capital and taking all of the downside risks while government cashes the checks. When splitting 50-50 is the fundamental fraction involved, it is pretty difficult to see how using the term “tiny fraction” could be anything other than 1) an effort to misinform or, 2) a reflection of being uninformed.
With billions in revenue at stake for our state government, being uninformed in this area can be costly. Though we don’t think about these things very often, most New Mexicans, including public employees, really appreciate the fact that when we need to fill our tanks we can do so. Some of us are old enough to remember the gas lines in 1973…..and we don’t want to go back to those days when everybody lost.


Martinez: Won't Sign a Bill That is a "Sham"

Michael Sanchez
NewsNM note (Spence) Think it is easy to clean up this state? Think again. New Mexico's driver's license issuance law has created a sanctuary for crime syndicates. And those crime syndicates were heard cheering wildly this week. Why? Because Democrats in the New Mexico legislature led by Michael Sanchez of Belen in the Senate and Speaker Ben Lujan in the House, consciously chose to either look the other way, or actively work in unison, mostly behind closed doors, to kill reform that would send these crime syndicates packing. Not a single Democrat was heard condemning the obstruction and none lifted a finger to put a halt to what was happening. This is true despite the fact that early in the week an Associated Press report showed that unidentified and undocumented foreigners are as a matter of routine, fraudulently and repeatedly using the same addresses at smoke shops and auto-repair shops to get state driver's licenses. The conditions are creating nightmares for law enforcement. Governor Martinez spoke out.
Ben Lujan
KOAT TV - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Gov. Susana Martinez called an alternate bill that aims to tighten the state's driver's license laws "a sham." Martinez told Target 7 that she won't stop until illegal immigrants are banned from getting licenses in the state.
On Thursday, Martinez's bill was shelved in committee and Democrats offered an alternative that would, in part, require license renewal after two years.
"What they've done is actually drafted a sham. They're still going to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and I won't sign a bill that does that," Martinez said.
This is the second time in two legislative sessions that the bill has disintegrated.
"I will never give up doing what New Mexicans want me to," Martinez said. "Every opportunity I have, I need to fight to repeal this law." Read full story here: News New Mexico