Friday, June 30, 2006
Harmful Telecom Bill Progresses, But Barely
The bad news: The critically flawed telecommunications bill, which cleared the U.S. House without net neutrality protections, gained passage in the Senate Commerce Committee this week. The good news: All Democrats on the committee voted for the Byron Dorgan/Olympia Snowe net neutrality amendment. It was defeated, but barely, on an 11-11 tie vote. The main telecom bill gained passage by a margin of 15-7 to move the bill out of committee. However, the word is it will have trouble on the Senate Floor and some of those who voted to move it out of committee have said they won't vote for it when and if the full Senate takes up the bill.
Matt Stoller at MyDD provides a detailed account of the wild discussion session on the bill and how Chairman Ted Stevens' erratic rants may have caused enough consternation to stop the bill's final passage on the Senate Floor. Stoller reports that Senators Dorgan (D-ND) and Kerry (D-MA) were magnificent speaking against the bill and for net neutrality, while countering the mad lobbying of the large mob of telecom lobbyists who flooded the hearing.
You must read Stoller's account, gleaned from sources who were present, to get the full flavor of the dizzying levels to which the telecoms and their numerous lobbyists have gone to push passage of this bill. They got their wish in the Senate Commerce Committee, but their behavior and that of their Republican mouthpieces may well spell doom for the bill at the next level. For more on the status net neutrality, check out the article by Jonathan Rintels on FreePress.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has announced he will attempt to achieve stoppage on the bill and lead a filibuster against it, if necessary, unless meaningful net neutrality provisions are added. It's clear that Kerry and Dorgan will join him and, according to Stoller, other Dem Senators are expected to follow suit. We would need 41 Senators to secure the filibuster. Sen. Kerry today released a statement about the bill on the website of Save the Internet, the massive coalition that is fighting to retain net neutrality.
Senator Ted Stevens (D-AK), Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, has said that he won't bring the bill to the Senate floor unless he's sure of 60 votes in support. As things stand now, he doesn't have the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. Stay tuned, and be sure to express your views on net neutrality to Senators Bingaman and Domenici. We still have a great chance to stop any bill that lacks net neutrality protections. Urge your Senator to stop passage of the telecom bill unless it's amended to provide meaningful guarantees of net neutrality.
Mayor Chavez Helps Repub Councilor Raise Campaign Funds
Once again Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez, who calls himself a Democrat, is helping a Republican in the fundraising department. Chavez co-hosted a $500 per person benefit yesterday at Scalo's designed to help Republican City Councilor Don Harris pay off his campaign debt. Harris was elected in November in a District 9 race against Democrat Chris Catechis.
Click to see the invitation to the event, which was mailed out with an instruction to RSVP to Teri Baird, Chavez's campaign finance honcho. A Marston Moore post this past September on Duke City Fix provides a rundown on Baird's history of mishaps, legal problems and fundraising prowess applied to the likes of ABQPAC, the slush fund set up to provide Chavez with pocket money "donated" by "high-ranking city employees, real estate developers, lawyers, bankers, city contractors and city vendors."
Chavez's connections with Don Harris are well-documented. Check out another post by Marston Moore at DCF on this topic, which also reveals that Harris is a close friend of Teri Baird. Ah the circles go round and round, and the big question is, what does Marty want from Don Harris? After all, the Mayor's support doesn't usually come without strings attached.
Chavez has a pattern of helping some Republicans, especially those who can help further his causes or help stop initiatives he's against. One example is provided by the recently defeated municipal ethics package introduced by Councilor Brad Winter where Marty's partner in crime, Sally Mayer, was one of the nays in a vote decided by one nay. Chavez has endorsed Republicans running against Democrats, including Mayer, who ran against talented Dem Marianne Dickinson in District 7 last Fall, and Sen. Pete Domenici, who has stated he will run for reelection once more in 2008.
I don't understand why Marty continues to call himself a Democrat, do you? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck....
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Mary Herrera Still Dragging Her Feet on Paper Ballots
Current Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera, who is the Dem candidate for NM Secretary of State, has long fought against a paper ballot voting system in our state. When the ultimately successful bill to require paper ballots statewide was being heard at the Legislature early this year, she turned up at hearings parroting Republican talking points against the measure. Although she now claims to back paper ballots, she still seems reluctant to make the switch completely. According to Joe Monahan:
... Indulging in a bowl of red chile as bright as Santa's suit, Mary [Herrera] sent me into blogging overtime as she relayed that she will not, repeat, will not, be using only optical scanned all-paper ballots for the November election.
"We need to tread carefully. The law does not require that every vote be cast with a paper ballot until after this election. I will have at least one paper ballot machine at each precinct, but I will also continue to use the electronic (Shouptronic) machines. It's the prudent thing to do because of the short time we have to train people in the new system and also because of continuing issues with the paper ballot vendor." Informed clerk Mary.
She may take some more heat from fellow Dems who want that all-paper ballot system to ensure that each vote is accompanied by a "verifiable paper trail." It was mandated by the Legislature and pushed by Big Bill, but Herrera, initially opposed to all-paper, but now in favor, appears to have the law on her side and will phase in the system. Stay tuned for more on this one.
Herrera is right that the bill doesn't mandate the machines until next year, but given how hot the issue of flawed electronic voting machines has been here and around the nation, you'd think she'd be working hard to get the problem solved ASAP. Since one optical scanner can easily handle the paper ballots from many voting stalls in a precinct polling place, it's obvious that Herrera could switch over entirely to the new machines if she wanted to. Let's hope she's keeping the Shouptronics on hand merely as a backup, and will ensure that most votes are cast using a paper ballot read by an optical scanner. Ah, hope springs eternal. Or at least for awhile more.
Help Fill Madrid's Clean Air Balloon
The quarterly reporting period for campaign fundraising ends on June 30th and it's important to show that Congressional candidate Patricia Madrid has broad-based support in CD1. I was going to do a post today encouraging folks to donate a few bucks before the deadline or to volunteer for the Madrid campaign, but why reinvent the wheel? Many of you will remember political veteran Kathy Flake from her days working on the Howard Dean and Miles Nelson campaigns. She's now a Democrat Abroad, living outside London for a few years, but she still has the politics bug. She's written an excellent post on her blog on why we need to strongly support Madrid's campaign. Read it here.
Let's get that balloon filled with clean air! Otherwise, we'll have two more years of the horrors of this joined-at-the-hip team:
Heather Wilson: supporting legislation that will dirty our air, member of the League of Conservation Voters' infamous Dirty Dozen, recipient of dirty money from the Abramoff, DeLay, Safavian crowd. Her dirty secret? She supports the radical Bush agenda more than 90 percent of the time, while pretending to be an "independent moderate." You know what to do.
Welcome the EmergeNM Class of 2006-07
EmergeNewMexico Advisory Committee & Board Members invite you to welcome the EmergeNEWMEXICO CLASS OF 2006-2007!!
July 8, 2006, 6-8:30 PM Reception
At the home of Randi McGinn, ABQ, NM
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for directions and details. Questions can be directed to Julie at 505.920.6002.
EmergeNewMexico has selected 25 incredible women for it's first NM class. Please join us in congratulating them and learning more about these future - and current - candidates for elected officials.
Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish
Attorney General Patricia Madrid
Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron
Senator Dede Feldman
Senator Linda M. Lopez
Senator Cynthia Nava
Representative Mimi Stewart
Representative Danice Picraux
Representative Gail Chasey
Board of Directors
Agnes Maldonado (co-chair)
Giovanna Rossi (co-chair)
Sarita Nair (Treasurer)
Julianna Koob (Secretary)
Cristy J. Carbon-Gaul
Petroglyph National Monument Features Evening with Famed Photographer David Muench
Date: Saturday, July 1, 2006
Time: 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Location: Petroglyph National Monument Visitor Center
Contact: Ed Dunn, 505-899-0205 ext. 347
David Muench has been a freelance landscape photographer for over 35 years and has been the primary photographer for over 40 books depicting the wonders of nature. In 1975, he was commissioned to provide photographs for 33 large murals on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, along with 350 smaller pictures, for the permanent exhibition at the Jefferson Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. A resident of New Mexico, he and his wife and author, Ruth Rudner, have most recently produced a book called Our National Parks, which will be on sale in the bookstore.
You are invited to visit with David and ask questions about his photographic and travel experiences in some of the world’s most remote and beautiful regions.
Location: Petroglyph National Monument’s Las Imágenes Visitor Center located at 4735 Unser Blvd. NW at Western Trail. Our gates will open at 6:00. Come early and browse the monument’s Western National Parks Association book store. This program is free and open to the public. No advanced registration is required.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Join Greg Palast on DFA Blog Book Club Tonight
If you attended investigative journalist Greg Palast's recent appearance in Albuquerque, you know the kind of blockbuster info he provides on the latest BushCo scandals and schemes. If you didn't attend, all the more reason to blog with him live tonight.
From Chris Speich of the DFA Blog Book Club: Be sure to visit DFA's Blog for America tonight for a discussion with Greg Palast on his new book, "Armed Madhouse." Other guests on the thread will be Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from Georgia, Susan Pynchon, electronic voting fraud specialist, and Nancy Skinner, DFA Grassroots All-Star competitor. Here's all the info you need to participate:
Book: Armed Madhouse, by Greg Palast
When: Wednesday June, 28th, 5:00 PM Mountain tonight!
Guest Author: Greg Palast
Where: DFA's Blog for America
How: Just come to Blog for America's comments in the Blog Book Club blog Post from Greg Palast. Greg will be answering our questions live. Remember to refresh so you don't miss anything.
Also, please post a comment on our DFA-Link group to suggest our next book, and let us know you will be joining us for the June 28th event. Note, if you can't swing the cost of the book, email me and I can send you a free copy.
Please prepare any questions for Greg or the above in advance and send them in now!
Guest Blogger: NM Sen. Dede Feldman
Take Back America Conference: We’re Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore
Earlier this month I attended the Take Back America conference of progressive activists from around the country in DC. I was one of twenty-odd elected state officials from the heartland to rub elbows with over a thousand organizers, labor union folks, civil rights activists, environmentalists and just plain ordinary citizens who are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. They’re pushing back against the Bush administration on the streets (there were lots of young people there who had organized the giant immigration rallies in April), over the airwaves, and on the internet. The conference was sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future (www/ourfuture.org), which is directed by Bob Borosage and Roger Hickey.
With Bush’s popularity dropping daily, the news from Iraq getting worse and worse, ethics scandals and a new interest in the environment spurred by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, there was a sense that the tide was finally turning.
The war in Iraq was a hot topic, of course, addressed by several Congressional leaders and Democratic presidential hopefuls who came to court, including John Kerry, Hilary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Barak Obama, and Tom Vilsack. Even more important was the debate over what should be the unifying theme for the Democrats going into the next elections.
Many thought that the idea of a “common good,” which is the polar opposite of the society Republicans want to create, fit the bill. Others thought that the term “golden rule Democrat” was a good offset to the so-called “moral values” trumpeted by the Christian right. Still others (including Barak Obama), felt it was enough to ask “Had Enough?”
More on Taking Back America
Among the throngs of young leaders at the conference, there were two that particularly impressed me. Eli Pariser is the head of MoveOn.org, which is now 3 million strong. He is truly amazing. He is able to connect this administration’s addiction to big money that wills most of the poor policy choices with which we are now saddled. Steven Bradberry, lead organizer for ACORN in devastated New Orleans, seized the moment and during a period when no help was arriving, helped ordinary citizens obtain affordable housing, organized voters in far flung cities and enacted reforms that will change the face of the city. Other kids were talking, blogging, and writing about the huge amount of debt that with which the current policies are saddling them, not to mention looming environmental problems. The 20-somethings are making the connections between campaign contributions from Sallie Mae to the Bush crowd and higher interest rates for student loans, which will affect them for years to come.
Here are few quotes that stuck in my mind:
“We have to start bringing the troops home now.” --- Sen. Harry Reid.
“Over half of those names on the Vietnam wall are names of soldiers who died after the leadership knew we would never win and we needed to get out.” --- Sen. John Kerry
“When are you guys going to stand up? We must take strong stands.” --- Sen. Russ Feingold
“It’s the timidity, the smallness of our politics that’s holding us back.” --- Sen. Barak Obama
“The truth is the bottom line in a democracy, and we are being lied to.” --- Sen. John Kerry
Click to view video, photos and more from the Take Back America Conference.
If you'd like to be a guest blogger, please contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the top left-hand side of our main page.
ABQ CodePink Now Has Website
Albuquerque CodePINK has its own website now: www.albuquerquecodepink.info.
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects the Bush administration's fear-based politics that justify violence, and instead calls for policies based on compassion, kindness and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
ACTION ALERT: Join Common Cause at NM Ethics Task Force Meeting This Week
If you care about ethics and honesty in politics and government, now is the time to act. From Matt Brix at Common Cause NM:
It's that time again, folks. The monthly meeting of the governor's ethics and campaign reform task force will take place over two days this week. The open and extended meeting times will offer plenty of time for public input, so please take the time to join me if you can on Wednesday, June 28, 9:00 AM-5:30 PM and Thursday, June 29, 9:00 AM-5:30 PM. The meeting site both days will be Room 322 at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.
The two-day meeting will be split into four half-day discussions. So, if you're not able to make it to both days of the task force meetings, here's what the schedule will look like (please note that I will lead the campaign finance discussion on the afternoon of June 28).
Day 1 Wednesday, June 28
Conduct of Government Officials (9:15 AM-12:00 PM)
Discussion Group Leader: Hilary Tompkins
Discussion Facilitator: Dean Suellyn Scarnecchia
Campaign Finance (1:30 PM-5:30 PM)
Discussion Group Leader: Matt Brix
Discussion Facilitator: Governor Garrey Carruthers
Expert witness will be Todd Lang of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
Day 2: Thursday, June 29
Legislative Compensation (9:15 AM-12:00 PM)
Discussion Group Leader: Governor Garrey Carruthers
Discussion Facilitator: Dean Suellyn Scarnecchia
Prevention and Enforcement (1:30 PM-5:30 PM)
Discussion Group Leader: Jim Noel
Discussion Facilitator: Dean Suellyn Scarnecchia
Remember folks, the task force meeting is this Wednesday and Thursday, June 28 and June 29 in Room 322 of the New Mexico Roundhouse in Santa Fe. If you can attend one of the four sessions, I would strongly recommend attending Wednesday afternoon's discussion on campaign finance reform!
Thank you, I look forward to seeing you at the ethics task force meeting on June 28 and June 29!
Executive Director, Common Cause New Mexico
Common Cause NM
Breaking: Cindy Sheehan to Lead Protests in Taos, Los Alamos
UPDATE: Cindy Sheehan had to cancel her New Mexico events because she was invited to travel to Jordan to meet with Iraqi parliament members and peace activists. She'll be rescheduling a visit here for sometime in September.
WELCOME CINDY SHEEHAN TO TAOS
A Day of Action: Saturday, August 5th
3 PM: Cindy protests at Rumsfeld’s home
6 PM: Speak Out by Cindy at KTAO’s Solar Center - The
Patty Mac and Dr. Dave’s Concert for Peace. Scheduled
Musicians include: David and the Infidels & Tabularrasa
7 PM: Speech at the TCA: a Crawford
House fundraiser - $10, students free
Events are cosponsored by the Action Coalition of Taos and Veterans for Peace. For more information call 505-766-1932. Click for a flyer (pdf) and pass it on.
It's also being reported that Cindy will appear in Los Alamos on Sunday, August 6th, in connection with the event to memorialize the Hiroshima atomic bomb anniversary that's being organized by the Los Alamos Study Group and others. More info to come.
Sound Off: Stand Up and Speak Out
This Sound Off was submitted by Terry Riley:
I have demonstrated at many events in Albuquerque. I have participated in the State Fair Parade, the Christmas Parade and I have demonstrated at the Balloon Fiesta. There is a degree of frustration when demonstrating. The people who oppose you do not give you a chance to explain why you feel the way that you do and the people who agree don't ask how they can join you and work toward solving the problem.
I can't afford to buy radio time, oh, and I can't afford to buy the US Senate or House. As you see I am pretty limited. I have attended meetings of some really neat orgainizations and I have tried to speak out and cheerlead people into getting involved, hopefully along the lines that I am working.
Please don't look at this as me trying to take credit for moving mountains all by myself. I am talking about how this effected me and what and how I did things.
On Saturday June 24th I tried something that I have never tried. I went to the Civic Plaza to the Summerfest. I walked through the crowd and handed out flyers that asked:
Want Cheap Gas?
Get Out Of Iraq!
Stay Out of Iran!
Before Iraq $1.55/gal!
On the back I listed the addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers of both of our Senators, Congresswoman Wilson and candidate for Congress AG Patricia Madrid. I also listed The Albuquerque Veterans for Peace, Stop the War Machine, Democracy for New Mexico and the Los Alamos Study Group as organizations that one should consider joining. I also listed several web sites that people could go for information - starting with the New Mexico Democratic Party followed by the New Mexico Republican Party. I want people to consider stepping up and speaking out to bring about the change that we need to save our country.
I passed out 80 of these flyers in about 20 minutes. I found 8 people who were not interested in looking at it, several of them seemed irritated by the information. Those are fantastic statistics. Eight out of eighty, that is 10%! That sample was totally random.
In order to get people activated we need to get information to as many people as possible and it has to be useable. The flyer has to identify the problem, explain an action, give locations or contact information and provide support. People are lazy or afraid or embarrased. We have to make it easy for people to stand up. It also helps to give an example or two of past successes to further encourage people.
The Paper Ballot Bill in the State Legislature and the Minimum Wage Increase in Albuquerque are very hard to argue with. Now you go for the close, get the sale, ask the person to come to the next meeting and become involved. Clearly state to a person who is considering that the movement cannot succeed if people wait until it is strong or wait to see who gets on board. Success will depend on THEM standing up and speaking out.
I would like to do a lot more of this and I need volunteers to work with me on this. Please contact me if you are interested at this email address.
Editor's Note: Sound Off is a sometimes feature on this blog that provides readers, candidates and others with an opportunity to submit a post. If you'd like to submit a Sound Off, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the top left-hand side of the main blog page.