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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Women's Voices Women Vote Behind Robocall Scam in NC

I wonder if the TV cable squawkers and the editorial board complainers will spend one one-hundredth of the time they've spent on the Wright "crisis" on this scandal. Turns out the Dem-leaning, non-profit group Women's Voices Women Vote has now admitted conducting an unethical and probably illegal anonymous robocall campaign in North Carolina that's clearly aimed at confusing potential primary voters who might be expected to support Obama. Note that former White House Chief of Staff for the Clinton administration, John Podesta, is on the group's board. Make of that what you will.

As the post states,

N.C. residents have reported receiving peculiar automated calls from someone claiming to be "Lamont Williams." The caller says that a "voter registration packet" is coming in the mail, and the recipient can sign it and mail it back to be registered to vote. No other information is provided.

The call is deceptive because the deadline has already passed for mail-in registrations for North Carolina's May 6 primary. Also, many who have received the calls -- like Kevin Farmer in Durham, who made a tape of the call that is available here -- are already registered. The call's suggestion that they're not registered has caused widespread confusion and drawn hundreds of complaints, including many from African-American voters who received the calls.

According to a story in the Raleigh News and Observer,

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said in a news release that the calls were being made to African American households. The good government watchdog posted audio of the call.

"This is another in a long line of deceptive practices used in North Carolina and elsewhere that particularly target African-American voters," Hall said. "In our view, this phone message plainly violates North Carolina law. We ask the Attorney General, State Bureau of Investigation, and the State Board of Elections to investigate, expose, and prosecute the sponsors of these calls."

The robocall scandal comes on the heels of accusations that the person who orchestrated Rev. Wright's appearance at the Washington Press Club was Clinton supporter Rev. Barbara Reynolds, a reporter and member of the Club. A post on Reynolds' blog praising the Clinton campaign was recently deleted, although its contents have been recovered via a cache version of the post. The president of the Press Club has denied that there were any political motives involved in the booking of Wright.

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April 30, 2008 at 01:38 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Crime, Minority Issues, Women's Issues | Permalink | Comments (2)

NM-01: More Chardonnay Sippers for Heinrich?

I don't know if the folks shown in these videos sip chardonnay or not. I don't know if they drive Volvos. And I certainly don't know if they drink expensive lattes to keep them going. I really don't think it  matters, do you?

What I do know is that they're ordinary, hard-working New Mexicans who strongly support Martin Heinrich for Congress in NM-01 because of his strong record on issues that matter to them. I also know this flies in the face of the "wisdom" imparted by certain naysayers who claim Martin's support comes from "elites" of some kind. But facts are facts, and cliches are cliches, and anyone paying attention can easily see the difference. (You can see more videos of folks explaining why they support Martin here.)

Heinrich is making economic fairness, more and better job creation and ensuring that ordinary folks get an even break major issues in his campaign -- just as he did on the Albuquerque City Council and in his work with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility board. Working people get it.

If you get it too, consider volunteering now for Martin's campaign. As the June 3rd primarily looms, and with early in-person voting starting on May 6th (see flyer), Heinrich's campaign needs all the help it can get with phone calling and other tasks every single day. Sign up here or give the campaign a call at 244-0022 in Albuquerque.

Also consider attending an upcoming Heinrich campaign event or make a campaign donation online.

DFA-DFNM has officially endorsed Martin Heinrich for Congress. Please do what you can to support his campaign.

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April 30, 2008 at 11:46 AM in Economy, Populism, Labor, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1)

REMINDER: Benefit Party at Flying Star for Eric Griego Tonight

EgriegonewCome on down to the Downtown Flying Star at 723-B Silver Avenue SW from 5:30 to 7:30 PM TONIGHT, April 30, for a party and benefit for Eric Griego's campaign for State Senate in District 14. There'll be refreshments, great music and lots of fun with Eric and supporters of his candidacy. Click for an EVENT FLYER.

Even if you don't live in Eric's District, it's important that we all lend our support to electing more and better Dems to the NM Legislature so we can finally get things passed like ethics and campaign finance reform and universal health care. A win by a Dem like Eric is a win for all of us.

Mary Ellen and I are among the co-hosts of this event and we'd love to see a big turnout from the readers of this blog. We know there are lots of political events going on right now, but we hope you can at least stop in, give Eric a high five and toss in a few bucks for the cause. To RSVP click here or call (505) 907-7752. Hope to see many of you tonight.

DFA-DFNM has offically endorsed Eric Griego for State Senate.

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April 30, 2008 at 09:59 AM in 2008 NM State Legislature Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dem Women of Sandoval County to Meet 5/7/08

On Wednesday, May 7, 6:30 PM, with social time at 6:00, the Democratic Women of Sandoval County will meet in the Town Council Chambers at the Town of Bernalillo City Hall, 829 Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo. Join us from 7 to 9 for a forum featuring the Sandoval County Democratic candidates for State Legislature and State Senate. All the candidates have been invited. Questions will be taken from the audience after all the candidates have spoken. Light refreshments will be served. The public is encouraged to attend. Guests are welcome. For info call Janice Saxton at 867-1139 or email [email protected].

April 30, 2008 at 08:58 AM in Democratic Party, Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NM-02: McCamley Makes Extraordinary Loan to Campaign!

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McCamley announces loan at campaign HQ this morning

I reported earlier today, as breaking news, that the McCamley campaign would be unveiling something unique this morning.  Now it's official. Bill McCamley made an extra-special and highly symbolic $47.50 loan to his campaign today. He's also asking his many grassroots supporters to make a campaign contribution in that same amount to help offset the hundreds of thousands of dollars his primary rival, Harry Teague, has tossed into his own campaign coffers. Click to donate your $47.50 (or any amount you can afford) to McCamley's campaign.

I'm a big admirer of McCamley and the feisty (and successful) campaign he's been running. Bill's campaign loan provides a clever commentary on the difficulties a grassroots candidate faces when going up against a monied opponent with insider political ties and numerous colleagues in the oil business. The question that naturally comes to mind is, what will all that oil money really buy? Do you realize that you may be contributing to McTeague's campaign, in a way, simply by filling up your vehicle? Read all about it:

LAS CRUCES – Today Congressional candidate and Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley announced that he has loaned $47.50 to his campaign in a ceremony at his headquarters in Las Cruces. This follows one day after McCamley’s opponent, oil industry executive Harry Teague, loaned his campaign $475,000.

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McCamley with THE CHECK

“I am not a millionaire oil industry executive, but I am pleased to provide my campaign with this contribution,” said McCamley. “With gas prices reaching new records every day, this $47.50 will almost pay for our campaign’s next tank of gas as we take our message of fixing Washington for the middle class across the Second District.”

Gas prices hit another national record high last week of $3.60 a gallon, according to Reuters.

“Just remember, every time you see a TV ad from Mr. Teague, you’re paying for it at the pump,” said McCamley. “Gas prices are just one of the many economic challenges that are hurting middle class families and workers throughout New Mexico and across the nation. We need someone in Washington who will stand up to the oil companies and the other special interests to make government work for the people again.”

McCamley’s contribution is exactly one 10,000th of Teague’s recent contributions. After the ceremony, McCamley announced he would be asking his supporters to contribute an additional $47.50 to his campaign.

McCamley’s campaign website is www.billmccamley.com.

Note: Matthew Reichbach at The New Mexico Independent has an excellent article about creative campaign financing techniques being used by candidates this year to try and make it fun for small donors to participate. McCamley's campaign loan to himself today is another example.

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April 29, 2008 at 03:14 PM in NM-02 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1)

NM-Sen: New Ethical Questions Raised About Steve Pearce

PearceThe Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund just released the following statement, responding to a story in Roll Call (subscription only) that raises serious questions about the ethics of Rep. Steve Pearce. Pearce (NM-02) is running against Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01) for the Repub nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici.

Albuquerque, N.M – New details of a business transaction between Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Key Energy Services have today been exposed by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, shining a light on some questionable ethical behavior on the Congressman’s part and raising some serious questions Pearce needs to answer as he campaigns for Senate.

The article reveals that in 2003 Pearce was entrusted to chair a House natural gas task force, which on August 18, heard the testimony of a Key Energy Services executive. Just six weeks later, Key Energy Services bought Pearce’s oil company, Lea Fishing Tools Inc., for more than twice the amount Pearce had valued it on his financial disclosure forms.

“Pearce has been caught in a glaring and inexcusable conflict of interest”, said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. “There is no way a member of Congress should have been chairing a congressional task force and taking testimony from officials of a corporation that was in the process of buying his company.”

Rep. Pearce sits on the House Natural Resources Committee which has huge regulatory authority over the oil and gas industry.  Key Energy Services had begun the purchase of Pearce’s company in January 2003 and, therefore, knew they were buying a company from a member of Congress who sat on that committee. Pearce ultimately sold his company for $12 million but only $5.2 million was ever disclosed.

“The entire point of financial disclosure forms is to shine a light on exactly these kinds of potential conflicts of interest,” continued Schlickeisen. “Whatever loopholes in House ethics rules Pearce may have exploited, it is clearly in the public interest that he disclose the full details of this transaction and we call on him to do so.”

“These are significant ethical questions that the people of New Mexico deserve answers to if Pearce is to ask for their vote,” added Schlickeisen.  “We’ve seen too much corruption on Capitol Hill in recent years; the people of New Mexico want and deserve something different.”

Questions about Pearce's ethics in relation to the purchase of Lea Fishing Tools by Key Energy were raised last September by the nonpartisan group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). See my previous post. CREW ranked Pearce as one of the top 22 most corrupt members of Congress.

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April 29, 2008 at 02:11 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (2)

NM-02: Breaking: McCamley to Make Loan to His Campaign

UPDATE: See my later post.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR A FULL REPORT LATER TODAY
Today Congressional candidate and Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley announced that he will loan $47.50 to his campaign in a ceremony this morning at his headquarters in Las Cruces. This follows one day after McCamley’s opponent, oil industry executive Harry Teague, loaned his campaign $475,000.

“I am not a millionaire or oil industry executive, but I am pleased to provide my campaign with this contribution,” said McCamley. “With gas prices reaching new records everyday, this $47.50 will almost pay for our campaign’s next tank of gas as we take our message of fixing Washington for the middle class across the Second District.”

Have you checked out McCamley's new Grassroots Energy campaign yet?

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April 29, 2008 at 09:48 AM in NM-02 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

NM-03: Luján to Hold Health Care Town Hall in Taos

From Luján for Congress:
Ben R. Luján, Public Regulation Commissioner and candidate for New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District, invites Taos residents to a town hall as part of his Standing Up for New Mexico Town Hall Tour. While the focus of the town hall will be on the broken health care system, Ben will talk with voters about all issues, take all questions and listen to all concerns. The town hall will be held at the Talpa Community Center, 4 Archuleta Rd., Ranchos de Taos from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM in Taos on Wednesday, April 30.

As part of Cover the Uninsured Week, Ben will focus his discussion on America's broken health care system, which has left 400,000 New Mexicans uninsured. Cover the Uninsured Week is a time to raise awareness of the plight of the uninsured, with a goal of covering all Americans.

"Families should not have to choose between food and medicine, and parents should not have to hope each day that they will not get sick, so they can continue to provide for their children," Commissioner Luján said. "In Congress, I will stand up for New Mexico by fighting for affordable and accessible health care."

The town hall is part of Ben's Standing Up for New Mexico Tour. Ben will visit every county in the 3rd Congressional District at least once before the June 3 Democratic primary to speak with voters and discuss New Mexico's most pressing issues.

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April 29, 2008 at 09:00 AM in Healthcare, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kate Nash with Gov. Bill Richardson in Venezuela

So much is going on at once in politics and the world. I feel overwhelmed and exhilarated at the same time. I'm unable to keep up with a lot of things in the news. One of them is Gov. Bill Richardson's trip to Venezuela to talk to Hugo Chavez about helping obtain the release of prisoners held by the FARC in Colombia. To my delight, I learned that Kate Nash of the Santa Fe New Mexican made the trip with Gov. Richardson and has put up several posts on her experience at her blog Green Chile Chatter. Go see.

April 29, 2008 at 08:45 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 28, 2008

What's Wrong With Wright?

WrightbootcampThe Santa Fe Reporter just launched the beta version of their snarky new political group blog, Swing State of Mind. There's something about the pepto bismol pink along the left sidebar that delighted me as soon as I saw it. And when I started reading their first few posts I knew I'd be visiting regularly.

Maassive (better known as SFR staff writer Dave Maass) hits all the rights notes with his post, The Wright Stuff, at least from where I sit. The TV pundits and "analysts" are apoplectic about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's latest speakouts, predicting dire consequences for the Obama campaign. I, however, agree with Maass that Wright's appearance today at the National Press Club was must-see TV, riveting throughout and hilarious at times. Go read what Dave has to say about it and, if you didn't get to see it live, be sure to view the video he has all the way through to the end. (That's a photo of Wright above, at Marine Corps boot camp in 1961. He reportedly joined the Marines in response to JFK's famous inaugural line that Americans should "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.")

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Rev. Wright with President Bill Clinton at White House

I also recommend that you view the Bill Moyers' interview with Wright that aired on PBS on Friday, for a more somber and serious side of the Reverend. You can view that here. I also watched his animated and rousing speech at the NAACP on Sunday and found it fascinating and provocative. You can see that here.

Obviously Wright's political views -- not to mention his style -- vary significantly from Obama's in an abundance of ways, as the two of them have unequivocably acknowledged. They are not political or theological twins by any stretch of the imagination. But I can see why Wright's intellect was appealing to Barack and why his services were usually jam packed with folks from every social and economic echelon in Chicago. I think Wright should be judged in his own right, as a complex, highly intelligent, funny, opinionated, thought-provoking, bookish and down home force of nature. I still don't get why so many are so up at arms at what he's saying, in an era when torture is being planned casually and in detail from the White House. Now THAT's shocking.

The main message he transmitted during his speech to the NAACP in Detroit -- to a crowd that numbered about 10,000 and reportedly included Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin -- was that different does not mean deficient, or less than. Absolutely mindboggling and radical, isn't it? And how anti-American too.

I hope everyone will take the time to listen to the man and what he's actually saying before jumping on the hysterical bandwagon of reproach. Truly. It's one thing to agree or disagree with things he says, but to claim that's he's a hate-filled, unpatriotic kook -- as many are doing in the traditional media -- is just more of the same revolting and simplistic reaction we've unfortunately come to expect from something that used to be call The National Press. Make up your own mind. What exactly are the ravers so upset about? That he's angry because his entire life's work -- that has been praised and honored by respected institutions and individuals at every turn -- has become fodder for the mocking, distorting media elite? Wouldn't you be?

PS: Also see marjorie's post at m-pyre on this topic.

You can read more about Dr. Wright's varied background and extensive experience here.

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April 28, 2008 at 09:09 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Current Affairs, Media | Permalink | Comments (3)

(Updated) Sen. Jeff Bingaman Endorses Obama

UPDATE: As reported in WaPo's The Trail, Obama has now moved ahead of Clinton in terms of support from U.S. Senators, 14-13, due to Sen. Bingaman's endorsement. Obama will also receive the vote of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who hasn't officially endorsed him but said he'll support Obama at the convention in deference to his state's voters. Clinton has a similar pledge from Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. The article contains a list of Senators who have endorsed each candidate.
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Fabulous news. Jeff Bingaman, U.S. Senator from New Mexico and superdelegate, endorsed Barack Obama for president today. Sen. Bingaman joins Gov. Bill Richardson and former Sen. Fred Harris among New Mexico's superdelegates who are backing Obama. Thank you Sen. Bingaman! Here's the statement:

Chicago, IL – Today, United States Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) endorsed Barack Obama for president, citing his ability to rise above the issues that divide us, end the war in Iraq, bring universal health care, and make America energy independent.

Senator Bingaman said, “Today, I am announcing my support for Barack Obama for president and declaring my intention to vote for him at the Democratic convention.

“Our nation faces a daunting number of critical challenges: reasserting America’s leadership in the world, meeting our needs for energy independence, addressing global warming, making healthcare accessible and affordable, positioning our economy to effectively compete globally, and extricating ourselves from the war in Iraq, to name a few.

“To make progress, we must rise above the partisanship and the issues that divide us to find common ground. We must move the country in a dramatically new direction.

“I strongly believe Barack Obama is best positioned to lead the nation in that new direction.”

Senator Obama said, “I’m grateful today to have Senator Bingaman’s support. Senator Bingaman has been speaking out in the United States Senate on some of the most pressing issues of our time – saving our environment, fighting global warming, and making America energy independent. Senator Bingaman has been an important advocate in the energy debate, and has served the people of New Mexico for decades, giving voice to the issues that matter to families across the state.  We are proud to have his support as we fight to bring about real change for families in New Mexico and across the country.”

Senator Jeff Bingaman is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He has served in the United State Senate since 1982, and previously served as New Mexico Attorney General. 

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April 28, 2008 at 01:54 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary | Permalink | Comments (6)

NM-02: AFSCME Endorses McCamley

More good news (and more momentum) for Bill McCamley's campaign. Congressional candidate and Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley announced that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) had endorsed his candidacy for US Congress in New Mexico’s Second Congressional District. AFSCME represents over 12,000 city, county, state, and university employees in New Mexico. AFSCME New Mexico’s Political Action Committee voted to endorse McCamley, citing his “great relationship with labor over the years.”

“Bill is going to do great things for Southern New Mexico,” said Committee Member Fred Marquez.  “We are going to work hard to make sure he is our next Representative in Washington.”

“I am thrilled to receive AFSCME’s support,” said McCamley. “I am committed to changing Washington to get results for the people of southern New Mexico, including the hard-working public servants that AFSCME represents.”

McCamley is a Doña Ana County Commissioner and was Executive Director of the New Mexico Rural Development Council.

McCamley recently won the Democratic Party’s Pre-Primary Convention for the Second Congressional District with 49% of the Convention delegates over his remaining opponent’s 36% in a tremendous show of strength.  Internal polling showed McCamley leading his opponent by over 20%.

He has previously been endorsed by the New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents over 7,000 New Mexico workers. 

Since declaring his candidacy in April, McCamley has put over 50,000 miles on his car – enough to circle the earth twice – traveling to every county in the district to listen to the concerns of constituents.  He has raised $350,000.

McCamley’s campaign website is www.billmccamley.com. No donation is too small to help NM-02's grassroots candidate. Just do it.

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April 28, 2008 at 01:37 PM in NM-02 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)