Swickard: It pays to be the money broker

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. What is most destructive to a nation of laws is ambiguity in said laws. Yet that is now the way to hold onto power in Washington D. C. The power is for those who make the laws ambiguous enough that fights can pit one moneyed group against the other with politicians in-between harvesting money from both sides.
     In years past most contributors would select one party or the other for the majority of their contributions. Now all but the most political give money somewhat equally to both parties to hedge their bets. By giving equally to both parties smart money says that some of the ambiguity of laws can be thwarted.
     Example: the Internal Revenue Service provides a means for money and power to the members of the Congressional Ways and Means committee. This is not in actual cash, but in the ability of make winners and losers with each decision. Each decision means mega bucks for one group and that group must pay the political price with money and power. In some ways the most powerful people in our nation’s capitol are in Congress rather than the White House.
     There are two reasons to think this: first, the President is term limited while members of Congress can serve right to the grave. Secondly, the power of the purse, the real power of the money is what makes all of the power in our nation’s capitol work. It is the political “Golden Rule.” He who has the gold makes the rules.
     The more you look at the way Congress is organized to provide its members with power and money, the less it looks like the first Congress in 1788. That was a Congress of citizens who served and the service took a toll on their lives and fortunes. Not so any more. Read full column

Gov. orders flags half staff this week for AZ firefighters

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of the 19 firefighters killed in Arizona

The governor issued an executive order for flags to be lowered from Tuesday through sunset on Friday. 

Martinez said Monday the firefighter deaths hit close to home for New Mexico. Just weeks ago, the Granite Mountain Hotshots from Prescott, Ariz., traveled to northern New Mexico to help battle a fast-moving fire that charred more than 37 square miles of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. 

On Sunday, the 19 firefighters — all members of the elite Hotshot crew — were killed when flames overcame them as they fought a wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz. 

Martinez is asking New Mexicans to keep the firefighters' families in their thoughts and prayers.

PNM expanding its wind and solar portfolio

New Mexico's largest electricity provider says it has a plan for adding more solar and wind power to its portfolio.

 Public Service Company of New Mexico unveiled its proposal Monday. It must be approved by state regulators. The plan calls for building three solar generating stations in the Albuquerque area and purchasing more electricity from a wind farm in Cibola County

PNM says its renewable energy resources will provide enough electricity to power about 132,000 homes by 2015. The utility also expects a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of about 915,000 metric tons. 

With the proposal, 83 cents would be added to the average residential monthly bill starting in 2014.