November 26, 2022

Crisis of confidence on Fantasy Island

Posted on 02. Jun, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Ask any newly married couple. It’s tough to pack up the sun block and the two-piece and head back home after a dream honeymoon in Barbados.

Why? Because real life is so, well, real. There’s no concierge, no room service, no Rum Punches on the beach. It’s not playful and carefree, adventurous and provocative 100% of the time. It’s more like 10% at best. This must be how the mainstream media is feeling after their bikini-clad ox got gored at the Associated Press.

Yes, Virginia, the honeymoon is finally over. Unzip the garment bag and take out the truth. It’s time to see if it fits. After nearly five years of pushing it farther back into the closet we may have to admit that it’s probably not in fashion any more. And if it doesn’t fit, what then?  What will that say about our relationship with Barack Obama? Has he been stringing us along or have we simply deluded ourselves that he loved us.

While we’re at it, we might as well take off those rose-colored glasses that our Baby Boomer parents gave us, you know, the ones they got at Woodstock and wore for nearly half a century along with the ‘Make love not war’ buttons.  The glasses are beginning to leave marks on our consciousness. Maybe it’s time to trade them in for a magnifying glass and a spotlight so we can see what shenanigans our government has been up to since Vietnam and Watergate?

Oh, I forgot. We’ve done that already, and are still doing it — that weapons of mass destruction thing (Bush lied, people died).  I’m confused.  Have I got this right?  Do you mean we’re going to have to go after one of our own just because he went after us at the Associated Press?  Seems kind of unfair.  Isn’t there a way we can blame all these scandals on George Bush or Karl Rove or Don Rumsfeld instead of toppling our guy?

It’s tough being conflicted like this. On the one hand, I sort of like the First Amendment and the right not to be surveilled or harassed by the Justice Department or by the IRS. On the other hand, I’d miss being tucked in at night by Kathleen Sibelius and serenaded with an Al Green tune from the Crooner-in-Chief. Government can be soooo comfy.

I mean, I know that all honeymoons eventually come to an end and that we have to get on with our daily lives, but why couldn’t this one have lasted at least until 2017 (or 2025 after Hillary is done being President)?  Now we’re all going to have to listen to those low-life Republicans interrogate our heroes, reducing them to ordinary people. Can you believe that Republicans are going to be defending our rights? Bizarre!

Then there’s the BIG quandary…will we in the press have to cover all these scandals? Can’t we just let Fox News do it and then blame them afterwards for being unfair, unbalanced and highly partisan?  That would be my choice. What?  You don’t think that would fly, that the wells of the Senate and House would look too bare with only one cameraman and one reporter?  Hmmm, could be.

Wait, I’ve got it! We’ll go on a second honeymoon and come back when all this blows over. That way we too can use the most famous DC strategy for not knowing – plausible deniability (nobody told us anything that we didn’t want to hear).  It could work.  It might work. After all, it’s only a scandal.

- Editor

Will Republicans Screw Up Again? Some Are Already Overreaching.

Posted on 02. Jun, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

From The Rothenberg Political Report – Some Republicans are so excited at the thought of multiple controversies dogging the White House over the next few months (or longer) that they are already foaming at the mouth. For example, on his syndicated radio show late last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee compared reports of the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status to what happened in Nazi Germany. And, of course, you knew that some conservatives and Republicans (such as Glenn Beck, Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann) couldn’t resist mentioning… To read the entire article, log on to

NM lost 3,000 businesses during recession

Posted on 01. Jun, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy

According to a recent article in Albuquerque Business First, not only did the recession cost New Mexico more than 50,000 jobs, it cost the state 3,000 businesses. According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, New Mexico had 43,860 businesses in 2011, down from 46,869 in 2007. Sixteen out of 20 industry sectors lost establishments, with construction leading the way with 1,370 businesses lost between 2007 and 2011. To read the full article log on to:


Senate Majority Whip Tim Keller to Run for State Auditor

Posted on 01. Jun, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Albuquerque – Sen. Keller shared with supporters his intentions to run for the State Auditor position in 2014.

“Today I am excited to announce I’m all in for Auditor 2014!  The State Auditor office is the best fit for how I can continue to serve New Mexico. Being our next Auditor offers the platform to champion government reform ideas I’ve worked on in the legislature, on a year-round, statewide basis.  I plan to attack fraud, waste and abuse; and also to evaluate effectiveness and cost benefits to improve state-funded programs including: education, healthcare, water and economic development policies.”

Tim Keller serves as the Majority Whip in the State Senate and is in his second term.  During his legislative career Keller has run over 100 hundred pieces of legislation and passed 30 measures.  Keller’s vision for expanding the State Auditor’s office into policy evaluation builds on his legislation accomplishments.  In the legislature Keller’s primary focus has been on government reform and tax and economic development policy.    Examples passed legislation include:

·         Restructuring and adding qualifications to the Public Regulatory Commission

·         Sweeping State Investment Council (SIC) governance restructuring

·         Requiring of the transparency and effectiveness of NM’s $1B in tax incentives

·         Expanding the In State Business Preference creating 5,000 local jobs annually

·         Rebranding Albuquerque’s “War Zone,” the “International District”

·         Enacting the state’s first Home Owners Association Act

·         Establishing the net 40% solar tax credit

Tim was born and raised in New Mexico and is an Eagle Scout.  Following graduation from St. Pius X High School, he attended the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree studying in Finance.  He then went on to earn an MBA with honors from the Harvard Business School.

Keller closed with personal note, “Liz and I are thrilled to be expecting our first child at the end of July!”

This information was submitted by Senator Keller’s Office. Senator Keller can be reached at:






German Ambassador to visit New Mexico

Posted on 01. Jun, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

The German Ambassador to the United States will make his first visit to New Mexico on June 4-7. Ambassador Peter Ammon, who holds a Doctorate in Economics from Berlin’s Free University,most recently served as State Secretary at the Foreign Office. Born 1952 in Frankfurt/Main, he has close ties to the US through family relations and many long-standing friendships .

From 1999 to 2001, he served at the German Embassy in Washington,D.C. as Economic Minister. In 2007 and 2008, he was appointed German Ambassador to Paris, France. Prior to that he served as a career diplomat In London, Dakar/Senegal and New Delhi.

From 1996 to 1999, he was Head of Policy Planning and speech writer to the German President. A staunch advocate of free trade, he takes strong personal interest in what it takes to build a fair, peaceful and prosperous global order. As Director General for Economics at the German Foreign Office from 2001 to 2007, he helped prepare the G8 World Economic Summits for German Chancellors Schroeder and Merkel.

While in New Mexico, the Ambassador will meet with New Mexico’s Lt. Governor, German company CEOs and Hispanic leaders at a special “Hispanic Leaders Forum” at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce. He will also tour the special Karl May Exhibition as a guest of the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe. He will end his visit with a tour of German Air Force facilities at Holloman Air Force base before returning to Washington on June 8th. He will be accompanied on his trip by Mr. Klaus Guehlcke, Consul-General of the German Consulate in Houston.

- Editor

Horse-trading the Presidency

Posted on 01. Jun, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Our 2012 Presidential election distinguished itself as having had the third largest participation rate since the election of John Kennedy in 1960 and that reminds me of a phrase I heard about history. It goes something like this, “a person’s historical frame of reference begins with their own birth.”

I guess it’s only natural to focus on one’s self when looking at something as personal as history, but there’s also something very dangerous about it. Take Presidential elections, for example. Most of remember how contentious the Bush versus Gore election was, but I’ll bet we don’t remember the contentiousness of the 1876 election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden, do we?

Let me refresh your memory…Rutherford B. Hayes was the Republican candidate and Samuel J. Tilden was the Democrat. After the first vote, Tilden had won 184 electoral votes to Hayes’ 165, but there were 20 electoral votes that were unresolved and in dispute in four states: Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oregon. (By the way, Tilden won the popular vote with 4,284,020 votes (50.9%) to Rutherford’s 47.9%. It was the first Presidential election in 20 years that a Democrat had won the majority of the popular vote. )

The election was notable for other statistics as well, but historians look at this election for one REALLY INTERESTING twist of fate. It seemed that neither party was able to get the other to concede the outstanding 20 electoral votes, so a very unique compromise was made.

Basically, the Democrats gave the election to the Republicans in return for the end of Reconstruction (the post Civil War Northern militarization of the South)!  So, Midwesterner Hayes became President and Yankee Tilden became a near hero to southerners who saw Federal troops withdraw from old Dixie.

Since no one from that time is around to give us a first-hand interview, we can only speculate as to how the electorate dealt with the trade. They may have been upset, but I doubt they were as outraged as Americans during the election of 2000 when both parties went to legal war over hanging and dimpled chads AND used Federal election law and Florida State law to decide who would inhabit the White House.

When the 2000 election was finally decided by the Supreme Court, a new political Mason-Dixon Line was drawn in the sand, effectively reinforcing a Red-Blue ideological divide akin to the Blue-Grey mentality of 1876.

I suspect that it also created a boomlet of low (or no) information voters who cared less about the policies of the opposition than they did about bringing them down and replacing them with their own team.

No or low-information voters are the worst kind of voter imaginable, and a few of the founding fathers warned against them because they had no skin in the game. They owned no property but would be allowed to decide how the property of others could be treated. They had no education but could influence the workings of the educational system. They didn’t understand how government functioned but would be able to tell it how to do its job.

Americans have always been proud of the one man, one vote form of Democracy, but many, I suspect, have secretly wished that those with no real interest in the issues nor any real understanding of them would just stay home and let the rest of us who care enough to learn about those things choose the right people to represent all of us.

It’s a thorny situation alright. It’s also not talked about openly, precisely because we steadfastly protect our right to be ignorant, out of touch or uninformed. Maybe we should start discussing how to better inform our electorate before any more no/low-information votes are cast, unless of course we want another disputable election like the one in 2000 or God forbid, the one of 1876.

- Editor

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