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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Warmongering: Quote of the Day

It is hard to overstate how extremist is the warmongering agenda of those who exert the most influence among Bush supporters. Isn't that what Democrats should be asking Americans most clearly and aggressively - do you really want to stay in Iraq indefinitely, and on top of that, have whole new wars with Iran and Syria, perhaps with North Korea? That is what Newt Gingrich says he wants, and he is hardly alone.

The President's supporters try to decorate their thirst for war by depicting it as some sort of compelled Churchillian defense in the face of unprecedented evil, but it is really nothing more noble than reckless warmongering of the most dangerous kind. Although Donald Rumsfeld's invocation of the "Neville Chamberlain appeasement" insult is being treated as some sort of serious historical argument, it is, in fact, the most tired, overused and manipulative cliche used for decades by the most extreme warmongers in Washington to attack those who seek alternatives to war.

From Glenn Greenwald on his blog, Unclaimed Territory. Go read the whole thing. The right-wing extremists are getting more crazy by the day it seems. They're feeling cornered.

August 31, 2006 at 01:11 PM in Iraq War, Middle East | Permalink | Comments (5)

Celebrate Jim Baca's Birthday

Bacainv
Click for flyer (PDF). Click on above image for larger version.

August 31, 2006 at 12:06 PM in Candidates & Races, Events | Permalink | Comments (1)

New Poll: AG Candidate Gary King Whomping Repub Opponent

Kingranchfence
Gary King (L), Democratic candidate for Attorney General

From the Gary King campaign website:
As the general election campaign heats up, a recent statewide survey of 400 likely voters in New Mexico conducted by Lake Research Partners on August 16-20, 2006 shows Gary King leading Jim Bibb by a two-to-one margin. A head-to-head ballot shows King leading Bibb, 49 percent to 25 percent, with 26 percent of the electorate undecided. King’s lead is even greater among voters who have consistently voted in all of the past four general elections (51 percent to 22 percent).

829poll1

King shows excellent momentum from the Democratic primary, holding the support of over two thirds of all Democrats (69 percent) compared to just 6 percent for Bibb. King also takes a significant bite out of Bibb’s base, winning well over one quarter Republicans (28 percent). And while half of all likely independent voters are still undecided, King outpaces Bibb by more than a three-to-one margin among independents (38 percent to 12 percent).

829poll2

Be sure to visit the GaryKing.org for videos, endorsements, a blog and much more.

August 31, 2006 at 11:13 AM in Candidates & Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

VOTE YES! on September 19th APS Bond Election

From AFT NM:
APS has not raised taxes in 13 years. The need is here now. On Sept. 19, the Albuquerque Public Schools will ask voters to head to the polls and vote on a $351 million General Obligation Bond to build schools and renovate classrooms.

WHY VOTE YES? The G.O. Bond would provide the district with capital funds to complete the new Northwest and Southwest high schools, build additional schools on the west side and renovate schools across the district. If passed, the money would go to:

  • $182 million for growth. Included is $50 million for a new west side elementary school and middle school. Another $115 million would finish the Northwest and Southwest high schools.
  • $96 million on facility renovations across the district. Major projects in every cluster will be addressed, as will district issues, like updates to Milne and Wilson stadiums and improvements to the APS Food and Nutrition Services facilities that provides breakfast and lunch for schools. Roofing concerns at several elementary and middle schools also fall under this category.
  • Nearly $2.5 million will be used for the implementation of a new student information system, SchoolMax. The system will eventually allow parents to check their student¹s grades and attendance on line.

Passing the G.O. Bond would require those in the district to invest more in the future of APS students, by increasing property tax rates by 5.6 percent. The owner of a $150,000 house would pay an additional $107 per year in taxes.

APS IS DOING THEIR PART! The district isn’t turning to taxpayers without doing everything possible to ease the burden on taxpayers. They are raising funds by selling $8 million worth of property. They also reached an agreement with homebuilders to offset the cost of construction. The deal with the homebuilders is estimated to bring in about $12 million per year to the district.

To learn more about the Sept. 19 G.O. Bond election visit www.voteaps.com or call APS Community Relations at 881-8421.

Sincerely,
Christine Trujillo, President
AFT New Mexico

Early voting has begun at four Albuquerque locations:

  • Bernalillo County Clerk's Office at 1 Civic Plaza, 6th floor, downtown
  • APS City Center, 6400 Uptown Blvd. NE, near Coronado Mall,
  • Seven Bar Elementary School, 4501 Seven Bar Loop NW
  • Plaza Ladera,  5300 Sequoia NW,  Ste. G

Sites will be open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM through Friday, September 15.

Absentee voting began August 25th. The last day to request an absentee ballot for this election will be on Thursday, September 14. To request an absentee ballot, please visit the clerk's office or call 468-1291. The ballots must be returned to the clerk's office or your local voting precinct by the close of Election Day, September 19th at 7 PM. 

Voter registration for this election has closed. If you are not registered to vote, please contact the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office at 468-1291.  Voter registration forms are available at the clerk's office or any public library or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

Where do I vote? It is important that you are registered to vote in the precinct in which you live. To check your precinct or polling location call the County Clerk's office at 468-1291.

August 31, 2006 at 09:51 AM in Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New ATLA Ads Target Heather Wilson's Ties With Oil and Big Pharma


Heather Wilson and Big Pharma:
$68,000+ from drug companies

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America has released two new ads that are critical of incumbent Republican Rep. Heather Wilson, who's running against Dem challenger Patricia Madrid in NM-01. ATLA explains:

The ads urge constituents to contact Representative Heather Wilson, who has voted to put corporate profits of the oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries before the safety and well-being of the public, and tell her to do the right thing when taking future votes.

“Representative Wilson has been doing the bidding of the big oil and drug companies and putting profits of corporate contributors before the health and well-being of her constituents, just as she has repeatedly voted to limit the ability of every day Americans to hold these powerful corporations accountable in our courts,” said ATLA CEO Jon Haber.

Click to hear an mp3 of their radio ad about Wilson and her financial ties with the oil industry. More than $415,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry and counting.

August 30, 2006 at 01:32 PM in Candidates & Races, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (5)

Jeff Armijo Withdraws as Auditor Candidate

As you probably know by now, Jeff Armijo, the Democratic candidate for State Auditor, withdrew from the race yesterday after meeting with Governor Richardson to discuss how allegations of sexual misconduct against Armijo might affect his candidacy and the Party.

I personally think it's unfair to tar and feather anyone based purely on dark allegations for which they haven't been arrested, indicted or proven guilty in a court of law. But as we know, that's often the way the political cookie crumbles. Of course I don't know if Jeff is guilty of the allegations or not, but I do know that he ran a very energetic and grassroots-based campaign and gained many friends and supporters on the way. We'll see if he ever gets his day in court so justice can be served either way. I hope the accusations are bogus. If they aren't, he should be prosecuted like anyone else.

In the meantime, the Democratic State Central Committee is set to meet on September 9th at Smith-Brasher Hall on the campus of what used to be called TVI to vote on a replacement candidate. The names of State Rep. Hector Balderas, ABQ City Councilor Ken Sanchez, outgoing Bernalillo County Assessor Mark Carrillo and DPBC Vice-Chair Daniel Ivey-Soto are among those being mentioned as possibilities, but at this point it's all just talk.

Here are the statements released about Armijo's withdrawal:

From the Democratic Party of NM website:
ALBUQUERQUE – Following a meeting with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Tuesday afternoon, Jeff Armijo, Democratic candidate for New Mexico State Auditor, released this statement:

“Governor Richardson has convinced me that I must leave the race for State Auditor. A debate on the issues could not take place if I remain in the race.  I started this campaign with the notion to contribute to all the Democratic candidates.  I feel if I stay in, I may detract from their efforts this fall.

“My focus will now turn to facing the accusations against me.  As I have done all my life, I will maintain my honor and dignity throughout this process.  I would remind everyone that I am presumed innocent until proven guilty.  I have full faith in the judicial process.

“Although a number of people have urged me to stay in the race, I believe leaving is the best decision for my family. I would ask that my privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

SANTA FE – Governor Bill Richardson released the following statement today following Jeff Armijo’s decision to withdraw from the race for State Auditor:

“I appreciate Jeff Armijo’s action,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “He has acted in the best interest of his family and the Democratic Party.”

As a result of Armijo’s decision to withdraw from the race, the New Mexico Democratic Party’s State Central Committee must meet to choose a replacement candidate.

“I support a competitive process in which the State Central Committee chooses the best candidate to represent the Democratic Party on the ballot,” Governor Richardson said.

ALBUQUERQUE -- Today, Jeff Armijo, the Democratic candidate for State Auditor announced his decision to withdraw his candidacy for the position of state auditor and confront allegations made against him.  Jeff Armijo put the Democratic Party first and his decision helps ensure that the Democratic message – one that calls for a new direction in Washington and celebrates New Mexico Democrat’s record of moving our state forward – will be heard.

Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico John Wertheim issued the following statement in reaction to Armijo’s decision:

"We recognize that this is a difficult time for Mr. Armijo and his family and we appreciate him acting in what he feels is the best interest of the Democratic Party”

“The Democratic Party of New Mexico is fortunate to have a deep bench of competent, capable Democrats who can campaign for, win and effectively manage the office of the state auditor.  Our State Central Committee, the body empowered with filling vacancies on the statewide general election ballot, will convene on September 9th to decide on the best qualified candidate to join our ticket.  Ours will be a fair and open nomination process."

August 30, 2006 at 12:02 PM in Candidates & Races, Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (7)

Boletin Latino Presents Session on Bolivia and Cuba

Boletin Latino presents: Anne and Bill Kass on Bolivia and Cuba. Anne and Bill will share their experiences on a recent trip to Bolivia and show the documentary, "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil."

September 12, 2006; Tuesday, 7 PM
Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center
Corner of Harvard and Silver

August 30, 2006 at 10:45 AM in Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina: What Bush Begat

Lowerninth
Mourners embrace today at the repaired levee wall in the Lower Ninth Ward. (Click on images for larger versions.)

“There will be a momentum, momentum will be gathered,” the president said. “Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses.”

-- George W. Bush, speaking in Gulfport, MS, 8.28.06, one year after Hurricane Katrina

Yeah, and extremist conservative ideology begat purposeful neglect of the federal government's core responsibilities, cold-blooded budget cuts to levee and wetland renewal projects and the willful destruction of FEMA's ability to meet the demands of its mission. All courtesy of George Bush and his crusading right-wing Republicans, who set out to defund and destroy the federal government and its most vital agencies that serve the common good.

Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps people, say the corporatists at the American Enterprise Institute and other bastions of the pay-no-taxes crowd, government solutions are passe. Government is the problem, not the solution. And the brutal behavior of Bush's feds on the Gulf Coast is all about that self-fulfilling prophesy. This was no mistake. This was a result of core conservative policies.

When you think about Katrina's victims today, on the first anniversary of the tragedy, think of George one year ago today, playing air guitar at a photo-op, stopping off to present to birthday cake to John McCain and staring blankly out of that airplane window at the destruction far away. Katrina was primarily a man-made disaster in the New Orleans area.

Katrinaguitar

The brunt of the hurricane made landfall East of NOLA. What hit New Orleans was the result of a government's refusal to fund state of the art levee construction, the catastrophic design failures of the Army Corps of Engineers and the refusal of George to put the federal government into high gear for relief efforts. We need accountability, not another "compassionate" photo-op of the man who can't see anything real outside his narcissistic bubble. The places that bore so much suffering a year ago and that are still witness to tragedy and lies today are sacred lands, being trod once more by one not worthy to put a foot on the ground. Go begat yourself, George.

The Times-Picayune at NOLA.com covers the story from many angles, with print and multimedia.

August 29, 2006 at 02:09 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Eric Griego: Democrats Search for Their Soul: Lessons from Lieberman

We're pleased to feature a guest post by Eric Griego, former Albuquerque city councilman and progressive candidate for mayor:

Que lastima .  What a shame.  Three-term United States Senator and one-time Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman made history again this month.  In 2000, he became the first Jewish-American at the top of the American political ticket.  Last week, he became one the few senators in modern U.S. politics to lose his seat in a primary.  In Connecticut, like much of Democratic America, the natives were restless. 

Lieberman's opponent, antiwar millionaire Ned Lamont, ran as an outsider and tapped into growing discontent not just with the war in Iraq but the myriad other failed Bush policies.  Lieberman, his opponent asserted effectively, was as cozy with W as corporate lobbyists with keys to the White House.

The upstart Lamont, once snubbed by the Democratic establishment for taking on an incumbent in a primary, is now cuddling with the who’s who of the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and our own governor. This, after former President Bill Clinton and a list other “centrist” Democrats campaigned tirelessly for Lieberman.

Progressives in the Democratic Party see the Lamont win as a major victory not just for their wing of the party, but for the “heart and soul” of Democratic voters. They believe Lamont is much more in line with rank-and-file Democratic voters. The center of the Democratic Party, it seems, just shifted.

The struggle within the national Democratic Party is echoed here at home. Democratic State Party Chairman John Wertheim was challenged at this year’s state Democratic convention by a group of agitated progressive delegates. Wertheim easily survived the challenge, but the discontent within the base of the Democratic Party has not gone away.

The Democratic Party has historically championed working men and women, fought for the environment and supported a foreign policy that engages rather than alienates the international community. From the New Deal to the Civil Rights Act to the Clean Air Act, Democrats have been the party of the people. However, recently Democrats from Congress to City Council have sided with corporate America, become environmental relativists and supported the preemptive wars of the Bush Administration.

Many Democrats are fatigued with the morphing of the two parties into one mega-centrist party whose members fight to keep their political office rather than make needed political change. They want their party back.

With several up-and-coming Democrats being wooed to the center, it is getting more difficult to see any real difference between the parties, especially on state and local issues. Several DINOs (that’s Democrats In Name Only) have held seats in the state legislatures and Congress for years. Some, like Lieberman, even hold leadership positions.

New Mexico House Majority Leader Kenny Martinez, a strong bet for both speaker and governor in the future, clarified it for me at a recent awards dinner. “It’s not so much moving to the center; it is speaking in terms of values that resonate with voters.”

The lesson of Lieberman’s loss should not be lost for the many up-and-coming aspiring politicos looking to lead the state in the future. Among the group—thirty- and forty-something up-and-comers at all levels of government in our fair state—conversations often center around how the next generation will take the reins of New Mexico. Will it be through go-along-to-get-along politics? Will it be by having a noncontroversial voting record to build broad financial and political base? Will it be by fighting for real reform even if it means taking on some of the powerful members of the Democratic Party? Or will it be by tapping into the alienation and discontent felt by the kind of voters who supported Lamont?

Democratic leaders from the growing list of presidential contenders to candidates for City Council have to do a gut check. What is it that we stand for as Democrats? Are we still the party of the working class? If so, why couldn’t we get an increase in the minimum wage in our Democratically controlled State Legislature? Are we still the party of conservation? Then why is it that developers run most New Mexican cities? Are we the party of diplomacy and internationalism? If so, why did so many Democrats line up like lemmings behind the failed Bush war policies?

One big sign that the waters may be changing is the national movement to hold Wal-Mart accountable for its dismal labor practices. A parade of presidential hopefuls, including our own governor, have or will join the national tour to put pressure on Wal-Mart to change its policies of not providing adequate health care and paying its workers substandard wages.

As the political “center” keeps drifting right, Democrats here at home and in Washington will have to decide if they will keep chasing that elusive “middle” or stand up for the core values of the Democratic Party. As they make that decision, they should remember Joe Lieberman. More importantly, they should remember Ned Lamont.

This commentary is cross-posted at the Alibi.

If you'd like to submit a guest post for consideration, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of our main page.

August 29, 2006 at 09:53 AM in Candidates & Races, Democratic Party, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (8)

RSVP for NM Wild Otero Mesa Outing

From the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance:
Join us for another outing to Otero Mesa, September 22 - 24 and experience America's largest and wildest Chihuahuan desert grassland! With all of the rain New Mexico has been receiving, the grasslands in Otero Mesa should be exceptionally healthy and tall. Don't miss this opportunity to witness Otero Mesa in all of its brilliance.

There are only 25 spots left so if you are interested, please RSVP by September 15. To RSVP and for more information, contact Nathan Newcomer at [email protected].

The outing will include hiking in the tall grasslands, exploring the thousands of petroglyphs on Alamo Mountain, and conducting surveys to find the endangered Aplomado falcon. A social potluck will be held on Saturday, September 22 where we will provide buffalo burgers for all.

Nathan Newcomer, Otero Mesa Campaign Organizer

August 29, 2006 at 09:46 AM in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 28, 2006

As Madrid Slams Wilson on Iraq Intelligence ...

This is a guest post from Avelino Maestas of Live From Silver City, a blog that's providing excellent coverage of the political scene and more in the Gila region. It's cross-posted at his blog, and adds some compelling points to our recent discussions about the NM-01 Madrid-Wilson race.

This is a little outside the region, but there are two issues regarding the Madrid-Wilson race that I wanted to mention.

The first has been talked about in several places, including up north at Democracy for New Mexico and FBIHOP. The nuts and bolts of it: Wilson is below 50% in a poll released by Madrid earlier this week. Furthermore, she only leads Madrid by two points, 46-44, and we’ve seen nothing from the GOP to refute those numbers. We can go to Josh Marshall on why this is significant:

Of late, we’ve been seeing lots of (D) partisan polls. And that’s, as I said, because the Dems are the ones who have an interest in showing how close a lot of these races are.

The point I didn’t mention is this: the normal response when one candidate puts out a poll favorable to him or herself is for the other side to go into the field and (if they can) and get a better number to release. And back in July they did just that. According to Roll Call, the NRCC dropped $450,000 to conduct polls in 28 competitive districts. The article was dated July 31st. And the polls were conducted “over a two-week period this month.” In other words, the polling was almost certainly done at least a month ago.

So far as I can tell, I’ve seen few if any of those polls. And it’s not hard to figure out why.

Madrid’s latest ad is so powerful because it not only ties Wilson to Bush and his unpopular venture in Iraq, it faults her for rubber-stamping the administration’s intelligence that led to the 2003 invasion.

That leads to my second point: this tidbit from Laura Rozen (guest-blogging over at the Washington Monthly) about a new House Intelligence Committee report (PDF) on Iran:

It’s a sloppy report, as the NYT, Sick, Yglesias and others point out. But its purpose wasn’t just to take a quick swipe at marshalling the facts in its favor. It’s a campaign document, a “brochure”, as the NYT put it. What kind of joke of a committee is the House Intel committee that it has lent itself to that? Is anyone in Congress doing any serious work on the Iran issue? Or by the way, on the Iraq issue?

And which of New Mexico’s representatives to the House sits on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence? You get one guess.

August 28, 2006 at 12:23 PM in Candidates & Races, Guest Blogger, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (3)

Get Involved with Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform

From Common Cause NM:
It's time again for the next ethics and campaign reform task force meeting! Please come, make a statement during public comment period, or just let members of the task force know the public is engaged in the process.

The next meeting of the ethics and campaign reform task force will be Tuesday, August 29, 9:00 AM on the 17th floor of the Bank of the West building. The Bank of the West building is located on the Northeast corner of San Mateo and Central in Albuquerque.

As I've stated in the past, it is of the utmost importance that Common Cause members and friends attend the task force meetings. There will be opportunities for public comment right before lunch, and again at the end of the meeting in the afternoon. Discussion topics for the day will include legislative salaries and the potential of creating an independent ethics commission in New Mexico.

Folks, I believe the forceful and insightful comments made by Common Cause members and friends at past meetings have made a real difference and have pushed the task force to be bold. We need to keep the pressure on and keep the momentum going as the task force heads toward its final recommendation process. Please take this opportunity to play an active role in the first step toward reform in New Mexico!

Thank you, I look forward to seeing you at the task force meeting on August 29!

Sincerely,
Matt Brix
Executive Director, Common Cause New Mexico
Common Cause NM

August 28, 2006 at 10:52 AM in Ethics & Campaign Reform | Permalink | Comments (0)