Friday, March 01, 2013

Sequestration Day = Citizen's Screwed, Elected Officials Safe - Time to say NO

Websters Dictionary Definition of Sequestration:

In law, a writ authorizing a law-enforcement official to take into custody the property of a defendant in order to enforce a judgment or to preserve the property until a judgment is rendered. In some civil-law jurisdictions, contested property may be deposited with a third party until it is determined to whom it properly belongs.

Breaking%20Down%20the%20Sequester%20Pie%20Chart

Image above from the BiPartisan Policy Center

Sign this petition http://signon.org/sign/recall-the-dc-535 and like this FB page. 

If the Sequester kicks in, it is because the Congress has demonstrated a persistent inability to do its job as set forth in the Constitution. Therefore they should be recalled as a body.

However, as recall elections of federally-elected officials are not permitted, we the undersigned declare this Congress and its members illegitimate, and state our intention to remove every member from office, regardless of party affiliation, in the next election.

Do your job. Or go home.

Also Go LIKE this FB page:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Recall-the-DC-535/543177652368994

To the people who are looking for jobs this sequestration is very real. The economy is extremely fragile. This is already having effects. It is unbelievable to have this acually going to occur, mostly this affects the poor and elderly.

The solution in my humble opinion, elect women up and down the ticket. No more men in office til they can play fair with others.

March 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM in Candidates & Races, Corporatism, Current Affairs, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Republican Party, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Tom Udall, Steve Pearce | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Fun Saturday Lazy Research

Patchwork Nation has a fun map of the counties of our Country and an interactive method to drill down to see what a particular region is made up of these current days.

Patchwork nation rev
The categories for the interactive map above are shown below.

Patchwork nation image 1

Have fun. Click on this link to go to the patchwork site and maneuver around. See where you want to move to. Good Saturday fun!

December 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM in 2012 General Election, Business, Corporatism, Current Affairs, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Small Business Owners on Bush Tax Cuts, Fiscal Cliff: “It's Time to Listen to Main St., Not Wall St.

The following article is from the Main Street Alliance. The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state and locally based small business groups that creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies.

As Congress reconvened Tuesday for its lame duck session, small business leaders from the Main Street Alliance network sent a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other congressional leaders outlining a small business agenda for the fiscal showdown coming in the lame duck session of the 112th Congress. Main Street business owners called for an end to the top-bracket Bush tax cuts, urged Congress to protect middle class programs that strengthen the small business customer base, and pushed for additional revenue options.

This small business agenda presents a sharp counterpoint to the positions staked out by corporate executives and Wall Street CEOs, including the “Fix the Debt” CEO council and the Tax Relief Coalition, ahead of the lame duck session of Congress scheduled to start next week.

The small business letter reads, in part:

If we’ve learned anything from the economic forecasts about the so-called “fiscal cliff,” it is that austerity policies won’t work any better in America than they have in Europe. Austerity-driven budget cuts won’t create an economic miracle, they’ll force our economy back into recession and kick off a downward spiral.

While Wall Street CEOs who have bet their futures on overseas markets may be content with a program of deep domestic cuts, for small businesses that rely on a local customer base here at home this fact holds true: we can’t cut our way to prosperity. We need to grow our way to prosperity. Growth requires investment and investment requires resources. This is why Congress must put meaningful new revenue options on the table in the lame duck session.

As a country, we’ve tried listening to Wall Street. That strategy hasn’t worked for most Americans and it hasn’t worked for small businesses. While the banks got bailouts and Wall Street rebounded to post new record profits, small businesses took it on the chin. It’s time for a change. It’s time to listen to Main Street.

The full letter is available here.

November 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM in Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NM Senator Udall Advocates for Constitutional Amendment at Hearing

From Senator Tom Udalls office:

Tom udall at hearingPhoto above: Senator Udall testifying at hearing

At a committee hearing on Capitol Hill today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) built support for the constitutional amendment he is sponsoring to give Congress the authority to undo dangerous Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and rein in the unprecedented flood of secret money in the campaign finance system.

"Money has poisoned our political system," Udall said. "We, as Americans, believe in government 'of the people, by the people, for the people' – and so we must work to put in place a constitutional amendment that will restore integrity to our elections and the legislative process."

 
Click above to see video of Udall at today's hearing.

In November 2011, Udall introduced S.J. Res. 29, a proposed amendment to allow Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money, including restricting independent expenditures by so-called “Super PACs”. It would give the states the same authority to regulate campaign finance at their level. Udall’s amendment currently has 23 cosponsors.

Legislatures in six states, including New Mexico, have called on Congress to send an amendment to the states for ratification. "Over the past few months, the unfair influence exerted by Super PACs has become abundantly clear to voters in New Mexico – and they are calling for campaign finance reform. Our Founders did not intend for elections to be bought and paid for by secret donors and special interests. My amendment simply puts our elections back in the hands of ‘we the people’,” Udall said.

At the hearing, Udall noted the long and bipartisan history of support for constitutional amendments dealing with campaign finance. Since 1983, bipartisan proposals similar to Udall’s have been introduced in almost every Congress.

“James Madison argued that the U.S. Constitution should be amended only on ‘great and extraordinary occasions’,” Udall said. “I believe we have reached one of those occasions. I know amending the Constitution is difficult. And it should be. But I believe the growing momentum demonstrates that this is the right time for Congress to act," said Udall. "Our elections no longer focus on the needs and interests of individual voters, but are instead shaped by multi-million dollar ad campaigns funded by special interest groups with unlimited resources. Americans’ right to free speech should not be determined by their net worth.”

The hearing included testimony from other members of Congress and outside witnesses before the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, was titled “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs”.

Click here to view the legislative text of Senator Udall’s amendment.

July 24, 2012 at 04:23 PM in Citizens United, Corporatism, Sen. Tom Udall, U.S. Constitution, video | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Struggling New Mexicans Demand Leaders End Outrageous Tax Giveaways to Big Oil Companies

Following release is from OLÉ Education Fund is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to empowering and improving the economic well-being of working New Mexicans.

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Billboard campaign in Albuquerque highlights how taxpayers foot the bill for billions in big-oil tax breaks

New Mexicans who are struggling to fill their tanks today unveiled a billboard campaign calling attention to Big Oil receiving $4 billion in tax breaks despite raking in $137 billion in pure profits in 2011 alone.

Standing under a billboard featuring a frustrated driver and the message “Big oil gets billions in tax breaks … we pay the price. Why?!” New Mexicans called on elected officials and candidates to take a stand and outline their positions on whether they support preserving tax giveaways for the oil and gas industry.

The billboard campaign is sponsored by the Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) Education Fund.

“We pay high prices and the oil and gas companies get away with huge profits at our expense,” said Luis Garcia who works as a waiter in Albuquerque. “What’s worse? They also get $4 billion in tax breaks rubber stamped by Congress. Oil companies are robbing us at the pump and on tax day.”

Representative Steve Pearce, who represents southern New Mexico in Congress, has voted to preserve these tax giveaways for big oil 8 times since February of 2011 alone.

U.S. Senate Candidates Heather Wilson and Martin Heinrich have issued the following statements on the issue:

Heather Wilson: "Heather Wilson supports a balanced long-term energy policy that will create American jobs and reduce energy prices."

Martin Heinrich: "At a time when big oil companies are pulling in record profits, taxpayer dollars should not be padding the deep pockets of CEO's."

  “It’s nice that we have something from our Senate candidates, but New Mexicans deserve to know what Heather Wilson and Martin Heinrich’s clear positions are on these tax breaks,” said Marie Aragon, resident of Albuquerque. “And with these statements, we’re not quite there yet.”

The billboards aim to call attention to how ordinary New Mexicans are paying the price for oil-company tax breaks and educate the public about politicians who are consistently voting to preserve tax breaks for an industry that raked in $137 billion in profits in 2011 alone.

July 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Candidates & Races, Children and Families, Corporatism, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Resolution to Amend the U.S. Constitution and Reverse the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision debated at the Albuquerque City Council

ConstitutionTonight the Albuquerque City Council will debate City Councilor Rey Garduno’s resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission.

A sharply divided Supreme Court decided that the American people are powerless to stop corporations from using corporate funds to influence state and federal elections. The 5-4 decision ruled that the restrictions on corporate expenditures in elections contained in the federal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known as “McCain-Feingold”) violated the First Amendment protections of free speech.

The ruling dramatically expands the new “corporate rights” doctrine that has transformed the First Amendment in recent years, reduces transparency and exposes our elections to a new flow of billions of dollars of corporate money. The Citizens United ruling has already resulted in an explosion of unlimited, and often undisclosed, Super PAC spending, as we have seen in the current New Mexico state legislative races, as well as in the Republican presidential nominating process.

The Court’s action seriously threatens to overwhelm the voice and vote of individual American citizens. The decision unleashes a torrent of corporate money in our elections and reduces transparency in political advertising. It has invalidated state laws and even state Constitutional provisions separating corporate money from elections; And, along with the Supreme Court’s ruling that money equals speech, it grants excessive power to corporate interests.

Advocate Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico praised the resolution as “a definitive statement of the City of Albuquerque’s intent to correct the egregiously wrong Citizens United decision that allowed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend millions on electing politicians in hopes they will do their bidding.” And LeMoyne Castle of Albuquerque Move to Amend says the “City Council resolution makes it clear that money is just an amplifier of speech and that granting human rights to corporations inevitably violates the principle of equal protection.”

79% of Americans support passage of an amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling, showing that this issue truly transcends political ideology. According to the 2010 Hart Research survey, 82% of Independent voters, 68% of Republican voters and 87% of Democratic voters support a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling. Additionally, John McCain has called this the “worst decision in this Supreme Court’s history.”

June 18, 2012 at 02:17 PM in Citizens United, City of Albuquerque, Corporatism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Luján Recognizes Local Efforts to Call for an End to Corporate Influence in the Electoral Process

Ben ray lujanCongressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District recognized efforts of local governments to call for the end to corporate influence in the electoral process. With localities nationwide this week highlighting resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, Luján applauded the efforts of the cities of Santa Fe and Taos.

Earlier this year, the City of Santa Fe and the Town of Taos passed resolutions expressing strong opposition to the Citizen United decision and urging Congress to take action to reduce the influence of corporate money in the democratic process. The City of Albuquerque is expected to have a similar resolution on the agenda on Monday, June 18.

“Citizens United has opened the floodgates for special-interest corporate money that seeks to influence elections and drown out the voices of the American people. Third party groups can spend unlimited amounts of money and hide their donors to prevent the American people from finding the truth behind where their money comes from,” Congressman Luján said. “I welcome the efforts of local communities around the country, especially those in New Mexico, that are standing up this week to call for action that removes corporate influence in our elections and reaffirms the bedrock principles of our democracy by giving voice back to the people. It is time to restore accountability and transparency, which are so vital to the electoral process, and take steps to get corporate money out of politics.”

Luján is cosponsoring legislation to amend the Constitution to overturn the decision in Citizens United. He has signed onto the House version of legislation introduced by Senator Tom Udall in the Senate. Luján has also cosponsored the DISCLOSE Act, which increases transparency by: enhancing public reporting of campaign-related activity by corporations and other outside groups; requiring corporations and other outside groups to stand by their ads; requiring corporations and other outside groups to disclose campaign-related spending to shareholders; and requiring lobbyists to disclose campaign-related expenditures in conjunction with their lobbying activities.

June 16, 2012 at 01:00 PM in Citizens United, Corporatism, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), U.S. Constitution | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Resolution to Amend the U.S. Constitution and Reverse the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision Introduced at the Albuquerque City Council

Tonight at the Albuquerque City Council meeting City Councilor Rey Garduno will introduce a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission.

The Citizens United ruling resulted in an explosion of unlimited, and often undisclosed, Super PAC spending, as we have seen in the current New Mexico state legislative races, as well as in the Republican presidential nominating process. The resolution is an important statement by the Albuquerque City Council because the constitutional amendment process requires ratification by a minimum of 38 states and passage would strongly affirm the support of New Mexico’s largest city.

Earlier this year, Representative Mimi Stewart (Albuquerque) and Senator Steve Fischmann (Las Cruces) passed both House Memorial 4 and Senate Memorial 3, making New Mexico the second state in United States to call on Congress to pass an amendment and reverse the Citizens United decision (Hawaii was the first, in April 2010). Since that time Rhode Island and California have followed suit, joining the rising tide of hundreds of cities and towns across the country.

Advocate Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico praised the resolution’s introduction as “a frank statement of the State of New Mexico’s intent to correct the egregiously wrong Citizens United decision that allowed corporations to spend millions on electing politicians who will do their bidding.” And LeMoyne Castle of Albuquerque Move to Amend says the “City Council resolution supported by Move To Amend and the Education Outreach Group makes it clear that money is just an amplifier of speech and that granting human rights to corporations inevitably violates the principle of equal protection.”

The dramatic increase in election-related funding by artificial entities threatens to drown out all other forms of speech, public debate, and election discourse. Addressing the flood of campaign contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals is supported by a vast and diverse majority of Americans, including two-thirds of small business owners.

79% of Americans support passage of an amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling, showing that this issue truly transcends political ideology. According to the 2010 Hart Research survey, 82% of Independent voters, 68% of Republican voters and 87% of Democratic voters support a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling. Additionally, John McCain has called this the “worst decision in this Supreme Court’s history.”

After its introduction tonight, the resolution is expected to be heard at the June 18, 2012 City Council meeting.

June 4, 2012 at 05:41 PM in Action Alerts, Citizens United, City of Albuquerque, Corporatism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Common Cause New Mexico Releases Research -- Role of Campaign Contributions in NM Health Policy

On May 7th,  Common Cause New Mexico (CCNM) released their latest report, Connecting the Dots – The Role of Campaign Contributions in New Mexico Health Policy, focusing on campaign contributions and how legislators vote when receiving donations from industries affected by their voting. Between 2000 and 2010, various healthcare industries contributed a combined total of $4,863,088 to candidates running for political office in New Mexico. Furthermore, contributions from these industries have increased substantially over time, from $268,096 in 2000 to $1.3 million in 2010.

Focusing on six pieces of health-related legislation between 2007 and 2010, our findings suggest that money does play an influential role in the voting behavior of New Mexico legislators. In almost all instances, decision-makers who receive larger amounts of money from the healthcare, tobacco, business, eating and drinking establishments, gambling and lodging, and pharmacies are more likely to vote in a manner that is favorable to that industry.

New Mexicans want to be assured that our legislators are voting for the public good, not to pacify or cater to industry in New Mexico,” says CCNM’s Executive Director Viki Harrison. She continues by saying that “public confidence in the legislative process is critical if we are to trust our legislators and have confidence in the legislative process.”

In nearly each case, decision makers who receive larger amounts of money from the healthcare, tobacco, and liquor industries are more likely to vote in a manner that is more favorable to that industry. However, we want to clarify that the correlations found here between campaign contributions and voting behavior do not imply that legislators are trading votes for campaign donations. Identifying individual motivations for voting one way or another, or to vote at all for that matter, are impossible to determine at any level of certainty. That said, the correlation between contributions and voting behavior alone can erode trust in government and interest in politics among the population. If the public believes that powerful interest groups can use their financial resources to steer policy in the direction of their interests, this is not good for the status of democratic governance in our state

May 12, 2012 at 03:38 PM in Candidates & Races, Citizens United, Corporatism, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Healthcare | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Health Care Director Brings History of Scandal and Corporate-Run Regulation (ALEC) to NM

From ProgressNow New Mexico.

Governor Susana Martinez's appointee to lead the design of New Mexico's Health Insurance Exchange has a long and sordid history with ALEC, scandals involving the improper use of taxpayer resources and suspect businesses dealings using non-profit foundations for big personal gains.

Michael Leavitt is a former Bush administration EPA Administrator and HHS Secretary.  ProgressNow NM has discovered that during his tenure in those positions, and in his private life throughout and since, Leavitt has drawn criticism for his close associations with corporations he was charged with regulating, using government emergency aircraft as a private jet service and "suspect" behavior to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars through a non-profit and into his private bank accounts.

Among the items reported by ProgressNow NM (view the full report and citations online):

  • As EPA Administrator, Leavitt was a featured speaker at a 2004 ALEC event sponsored, in part, by ExxonMobil and other entities he was charged with regulating.  ALEC is the shadowy corporate-backed bill factory now under IRS scrutiny and investigation in several states for allowing corporations to write legislation and regulations about their own industries and feeding it to legislators to pass, avoiding anti-lobbying laws in the process.
  • As HHS secretary, Leavitt used a CDC emergency response aircraft as his personal charter jet on more than 90 trips - forcing the CDC to find other transportation in at least two actual emergencies
  • Congress proposed a law to stop Leavitt and others from funneling more than $500,000 in corporate and non-profit money through a non-profit scholarship foundation, then receiving all of that money back while placing those students in housing owned by Leavitt.

In 2014, small businesses and the uninsured (mostly young, old and poor) will be required to obtain health insurance and most will do so through the state-run insurance exchange.  The exchange is supposed to connect uninsured with insurers providing affordable insurance plans.  New Mexico has an estimated 430,000 uninsured residents, the second-highest in the nation.

Martinez is responsible for setting up that exchange, and she has delegated that task to Leavitt, along with a $1 million payment.  

"As a regulator, he was closer to those he regulated than those he was charged to protect.  As a health secretary he saw no problem with utilizing government emergency health response resources as his own private charter jet company and in private life he funneled hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in charitable money through a non-profit foundation and into his personal bank accounts," says ProgressNow NM's Executive Director Pat Davis.

"Insurance companies Leavitt will negotiate with are surely happy with this appointment, but New Mexico's uninsured and small businesses who are already pinching pennies are right to wonder about a man whose experience shows such disregard for individuals and taxpayers."

May 11, 2012 at 09:40 AM in Corporatism, Healthcare, ProgressNow New Mexico, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Elections Matter - GO VOTE!!

Vote your futureEarly Primary Voting begins today, visit this Bernalillo County Website to find out where to go.

The Albuquerque City Councilconvened until 11:45 pm last night. The city council is made up of 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats. The Abq City Councilors are not up for election this year. However, a point should be made regarding our elected officials these days, there is a big difference in elected officials that vote for the corporations and big business and there own interests, and the elected officials who vote for the people, for the betterment of peoples lives.

Watching the City Council meeting unfold last night was yet another awaken. We saw the last of the public TV air waves in albuquerque be gobbled up by the conglomerate Comcast. Comcast has all the other stations and now they have these few stations as well. There is never anything on any of the 100's of stations, and now they have more to fill with dumbed down nothingness. Anything but letting the public message get out even through such a tiny crack as the 4 public access TV stations Albuquerque had until last night. Another victory for the corporations another loss for the people. Thanks to the Republican controlled Council and the Republican Mayor.

The other big loss for the people was the adoption of the sector plan in the Coronado Village area. This is a complex matter which the City Council has been dealing with for some time. Basically it will allow for the people living in an old established manufactured homes community to be displaced in the future for a big box store. It is no wonder the 5 R's voted for the zoning of the land to be returned to the type to allow big box stores like Walmart to move in.

So let's summarize all the losses just in one night due to the Republicans being in power in Albuquerque City Government.

  1. No more public TV access for us, the citizens, the people who own the air waves which the comcast conglomerates are stealing, and the republicans are handing over to them.
  2. Citizens whom have lived in a Manufactured home park, living a modest live, paying there fair share of taxes will be evicted soon for another Walmart to move in.
  3. The big box store Walmart will move in and will not pay their fair share of taxes to New Mexico. Thanks to our republican governor whom vetoed SB9 a bill which would have stopped a loophole used by big box stores to opt out of paying their taxes to this state. SB9 passed the Senate and the House because it is good for New Mexico. Too many republican legislators voted against correcting this tax loophole which harms small business in our state, putting our own NM stores at a disadvantage. SB9 is commonsense bill, which would clearly help New Mexicans.

Here we are in yet another very big election during our lifetime on the planet. Everything is at stake, from contaminating our Earth more to our civil rights to exist in peace. Go vote, get your friends to go vote, get your family to go vote. Elections matter!

This primary election is a closed party affiliation vote. As citizens we must elect the best democratic candidates to run against the corporatist republicans in November. Much is at stake; President Obama's reelection, holding onto democratic control of the US Senate and regaining democratic control of Congress. And here in the state of NM; to maintain the majority in the NM Senate and House. Imagine the unraveling if our NM state house and senate fall into the control of the republicans.

May 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM in 2012 Primary Election, Corporatism, Economy, Populism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 30, 2012

ALEC State Chair says ALEC Too Partisan, But Happy They Send Him Free Money

From ProgressNow New Mexico

Alec money

One of New Mexico's two state chairmen told constituents on Friday that thanks to ALEC he has never had to solicit a single campaign contribution. "It just shows up in the mail," he said in reply to questions from ProgressNow New Mexico.

On Friday, New Mexico State Representative Paul Bandy hosted a public forum on ALEC.  During the 90 minute session, Bandy took questions on everything ALEC and exposed, for the first time, how he as state chairman controls a corporate-sponsored slush fund he uses to pay for "scholarships" and other unreported expenses for ALEC members in the state.  

Bandy also told the group that references to ALEC are intentionally scrubbed from model legislation introduced because ALEC legislation would not pass in the state if the true origins were known. The ALEC chairman accidentally disclosed that ALEC membership is larger than has been publicly reported, though he declined to provide a full list.  New Mexico has one of the largest reported ALEC memberships in the country, formerly at 22 known members.  State Senator George Munoz resigned after ProgressNow NM called for legislators to leave the group.

In response to questions about challenges to ALEC's non-profit status, the ALEC state chairman also voiced concerns about the organization having become "too partisan."

Bandy's forum was hastily announced last week in an email from Bandy to a small group of constituents who responded to ProgressNow NM's call for constituents to call on their elected representatives to leave ALEC.  ProgressNow NM obtained a copy of the email and embarked on the 350-mile round trip to cover the event.  

A full accounting of the meeting, as well as audio clips are available online at ProgressNowNM.org .

April 30, 2012 at 03:24 PM in Corporatism, ProgressNow New Mexico | Permalink | Comments (1)