December 14, 2019

Childhood’s End

Posted on 18. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural, Uncategorized

In 1953, Arthur C. Clarke published a science fiction novel titled Childhood’s End.  In this work, Clark gave us a Teilhard de Chardinian vision of humanity’s future.  In Clarke’s work, the consciousness of certain advanced humans merged to form a new superconsciousness that departed earth in a spectacular pulse of energy, presumably for an eternal pilgrimage through the infinite cosmos.  The departure of this spirit leaves the earth a dead husk.

Under the Progressive vision for the future, childhood ends in a different way.  Progressives regularly urge an earlier and earlier start for government run educational programs.  As a result, we now speak of “‘cradle-to-career’ education” in our public discourse on national policies.  This would entail starting (mandatory?) public education when a child reaches four years of age.

Although research indicates that all advantages to an early start in school are washed out by the time a child reaches the third grade, progressives would increase this program from its current level that includes only 25% of children to 90%.  This would greatly increase the cost of public education for what may be virtually no improvement in educational achievement.

But there could be another, perhaps more troubling, aspect of the idea of an earlier start to the public educational process.  It removes children from the influence of their families at an earlier age and places them under the control and influence of government-run educational programs.

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World constitutes a chilling look at where all of this could lead, especially when “cradle-to-career” education is combined with the collapse of the family and advances in the science of in vitro fertilization.

In Huxley’s dystopia, the idea of natural birth has become anathema.  Sex is free as long as one does not develop a preference for a particular partner.  Not only does the union of sperm and egg take place in vitro, but the resulting fetus also develops in vitro.  The development of fetuses is controlled to produce people of various intelligence levels to provide workers and managers for the various tasks required by the economy and society.

One of the most chilling aspects of Huxley’s book is his description of the conditioning of young children who are raised in government facilities.  For one thing, they are taken into hospitals to view those who are dying as part of the program to inure them to the process of dying.

Having been raised in a loving, extended family, I can scarcely view the prospects for the future of childhood as anything other than bleak.  Moreover, the prospects for humanity’s future dims with the demise of a traditional childhood, if we are to believe psychologist Carl Jung, who warned us that as we move farther and farther from our natural roots we become increasingly disoriented.

Soon, we shall have reached a point in this process in which we can no longer return to a saner, safer culture, for we have become like the Nietzchean superman who not only burns his bridges, but destroys the land behind him as he sets sail on a dark, unknown sea.

This article was submitted by Don Baucom


 

 

 

Recent News from the Legislature courtesy of New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Posted on 18. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Senate Passes 34-6 Economic Relief for NM Restaurants and Taverns by extending Sunday Sales

Senate Passed 34-6

SB 154 Hours of Sunday Alcohol Sales

Sponsor: Senator John Ryan

Video and audio at: http://youtu.be/UNU6bgfmZ1w

Santa Fe— The New Mexico State Senate today passed a bill to make New Mexico restaurants and taverns more competitive with neighboring states so they can boost their business by allowing them to serve liquor such as champagne with Sunday brunch  at 10:00 a.m. rather than noon as the law currently permits.  The sponsor of SB 154- Hours of Sunday Alcohol Sales, Senator John Ryan (R-Albuquerque)  said all alcohol would be allowed to be served beginning at 10:00 a.m. as a way to not discourage business in New Mexico.

“This is a good business bill,” Senator Ryan said. “We have a lot of tourists from all over the world who come here expecting to have champagne with their Sunday brunch only to find alcoholic beverages can’t be served until noon.  The sports bars which cater to the sports enthusiasts who want to watch Sunday football games are not able to serve their patrons until noon. This bill will help increase business on Sunday mornings by allowing liquor to be served at a reasonable time. More business and more employment could be the result.

SB 154 changes the legal start of Sunday sales by the drink for alcoholic beverages in a licensed restaurant or bar from noon to 10:00 a.m.

Senator Ryan said many bars and taverns buy NFL packages that attract customers early to their businesses but they are unable to buy alcoholic beverages until noon.  He said many tourists who come to the state for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and for snow skiing might be more likely to spend more money if this bill becomes law.

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For Immediate Release  Thursday, February 14, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Committees took action Thursday PM  Feb. 14, 2013 on the following Republican Senate Bills:

SB9aa Neville STATE INVESTMENT COUNCIL CHANGES DP SFC 8-0 to Sfloor;

SB39 Rue COLLEGE DISTRICT BONDS FOR HARDWARE & SOFTWARE DP SFC 8-0 to Sfloor

SB86CS Beffort PUBLIC EMPLOYEE AVERAGE SALARY CALCULATIONS DP SFC 7-0 to Sfloor

SJM 1  Rue – Family Friendly Workplace Task Force DP 6/0  Next to Senate Floor

SPAC: SB 335 (Ingle:  Assisted Living Facility Contract Refunds)  DP 5/0  onto SJC

SPAC:  SB 304 Payne:  2nd Degree Murder Prosecution Time Limit  No Rec 5/2 to SJC

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 14, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Senate Passed Bill to Save

State-Owned Man’s Best Friend from Being Destroyed or Possibly Being Auctioned off to Drug Dealers

Committee sub for SB-139a  Disposition of State-Owned Animals

Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque)

SCONC DP 6-0 Next to the Senate Floor

(Santa Fe) The New Mexico State Senate this afternoon passed unanimously a bill to save man’s best friend who has retired after serving the state from being destroyed or from being auctioned off.  The committee substitute from SB 139s gives the dogs the opportunity to find a loving home with its trainer rather than take the chance the former K-9 could be auctioned off to a drug dealer. The K-9 would be protected under a bill sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque.)

Senator Moores’ bill provides that police dogs that have worked for both State Police and for the Corrections Department be offered first to their trainers or handlers free of charge when they retire from the force.  The police dogs known as K-9 dogs would then be offered to a non-profit organization if they are not a threat to public safety.

“It just makes sense that these well trained dogs be allowed to live with their trainers once their work for the state is completed,” Senator Moores said. “Currently, these dogs are treated like all other state owned property, they are auctioned off or destroyed like an old computer or rundown vehicle.”

Senator Moores said many of the dogs had been trained as drug sniffing dogs and he does not want them auctioned off to unknown criminals.  “We do not want to take the chance these drug sniffing dogs be auctioned to drug dealers, that would be bad for the dogs and terrible for the state,” Senator Moores said. “These hard working dogs deserve to stay with the trainers they have bonded with over the years.”

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 14, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Keep on Track or Risk

Losing Driver’s License

SB 393- Early Intervention to Prevent Drop Outs

Senator Craig Brandt

Desired Outcomes:

Increase Graduation Rates, Better preparation for college or career

Serve as Early Warning System- ID students at risk, immediate intervention

Prevent Dropouts-student, parent, principal agree after exit interview, sign statement- Can only drop out due to financial hardship, illness, court

If no exit interview or exceed habitual truancy – at risk of losing driver’s privilege

Santa Fe- Senator Craig Brandt, a former School Board member from one of the state’s high schools with the best graduation rates, is sponsoring a bill to prevent school drop outs throughout the state.  SB 393 is designed to increase graduation rates and decrease the number of dropouts by better preparing students for success in college and in their careers. If students do not take some of the steps to prevent them from dropping out, they are at risk of losing their driver’s privileges.

SB 393 sets up an early warning system of those who are at risk of dropping out and provides for  immediate intervention to keep them on track with the Next Step Plan.

An intervention similar program has been implemented in the Rio Rancho School District and has contributed to their growth in its graduation rate.

“Identify students at risk and getting them the immediate support they need to get back on track was successful in Rio Rancho and can make a huge difference across the state,” Senator Brandt said. “There is so much hope for our students and their futures if the legislature has the courage to make these critical improvements. If the students do not go along with the efforts to help keep them in school, they could lose their driver’s permit or license. That could keep them on track.”

The data used in early warning system to identify students at risk include: 3rd grade reading proficiency rates; multiple discipline referrals; habitual truancy rates in grades 6 –9; 9th grade GPA below 1.5; and failure of any core courses during grades 6 –9.

Under the proposed changes, students would only be able to drop out of school if they are between 16 and under 18 if the students, parents, principals agree after exit interview conducted by the school.  All of them would also have to sign statement acknowledging that dropping out will reduce the student’s earning potential.  And the changes would only allow withdrawal from school due to the student’s financial hardship, illness, if there is a court order that has jurisdiction over the student.

If a student drops out without completing the exit interview or if a student exceeds the habitually truancy rate between grades 8-12, they might lose their driving privileges during the second year of the plan’s implementation.

The above information was submitted by the State of New Mexico Republican Senate Office. For more information, contact: 505-986-4702

 

New Legislative Update

Posted on 09. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

For Immediate Release  Friday, February 08, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State  Senate Republican Office

Committees took action Friday PM  Feb. 8, 2013on the following Republican Senate Bills:

SCORC SB 85 OUT-OF-STATE PURCHASER GROSS RECEIPTS (Beffort) DP (7-0)  on to SFC

SB 347 ACCESS DEVICE DATA ACT (Rue) DP (8-0)

SB 79cs SJC  DP 9-0 Sponsor Rue ELECTRONIC PROFESSIONAL LICENSE RENEWAL goes to Senate Floor

SB 77 SJC DP   7-3    Sponsor: Rue EMS PROVIDER BACKGROUND CHECKS goes to Senate Floor

From Friday AM:

SB 39 Rue COLLEGE DISTRICT BONDS FOR HARD & SOFTWARE DP SEC 8-0 Next to SFC

SB 115 Ingle EDUCATIONAL RETIREMENT CHANGES DP Unanimous SEC Next to SFC

SB 57 Beffort UNM HEALTH CENTER NURSING ENROLLMENT w/o rec SEC 9-0 Next to SFC

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For Immediate Release Friday, February 8, 2013 Contact: 986-4702

New Mexico Senate Minority Office

On to Senate Floor- Background Checks for EMTs

“This is a public trust and safety issue.”

Senate Bill 77- Criminal Background Checks for EMTs

Senator Sander Rue

On to Senate Floor, passed SJC 7-3,  DP 8-0 from SPAC

“This is a public trust and safety issue,” Senator Sander Rue said of SB 77. “This bill was created to increase public health and safety for New Mexicans seeking emergency medical services.” Senator Rue said helpless people needing emergency care in their homes or at the scene of an accident can feel more confident that the emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic  touching them is not a convicted criminal like a child molester,  if  SB 77  becomes law.

Senate Sander Rue of Albuquerque is sponsoring SB77 that would require EMTs, paramedics and all of those licensed under the Emergency Medical Services Act to pass qualified background checks in order to be licensed in the state of New Mexico.

“People needing emergency care in their homes are in a very helpless situation. They need to feel confident that the people they are allowing into their homes when they are most vulnerable, are not criminals that could do them more harm. A background check for EMTs could easily identify areas of concern in an EMTs background,” Senator Rue said. “People deserve to feel at ease that the person rendering assistance has had a thorough background check.”

Senator Rue’s bill would require applicants and licensees under the Emergency Medical Services Act to submit to nationwide criminal background checks. The bill also requires the applicants and licenses pay for the background checks and fingerprinting for a fee of $52.50.

The fingerprints would be sent to the FBI for a national criminal history background check and to the Department of Public Safety for a state criminal history. The requirement needs to be placed in statute in order for the FBI to give out this background information.  The bill also requires that criteria be established regarding what information from the background checks may form the basis of denial, suspension or revocation of a license or any other disciplinary action.   There is also a provision allowing for appeals under the Uniform Licensing Act.

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For Immediate Release  Friday, February 08, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

No Skills, Knowledge Test for

Hired Custom Harvester Drivers

“Helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

SB 202 – Farm-Related Industries Driver’s License

Senator Cliff R. Pirtle

Video and Audio Avail: http://youtu.be/4v3xwTvAggY

(Santa Fe) Senator Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) wants to correct an oversight in the law that treats the drivers of hired custom harvesters and commercial farm and ranch operators that travel the back roads of New Mexico within 150 miles of the owners farm or ranch differently.

Senator Pirtle’s SB 202 would grant the hired custom harvesters the ability to receive the same exemptions that  farm and ranchers  currently receive.

“Under this correction in the law, all harvesters- for hire or private- will be treated the same and will enjoy the same exemptions. They will be able to get the new CDL C class license,” Senator Pirtle said. “In addition to their own fields, this will help farmers harvest their neighbor’s fields without having to take the knowledge and skills test. It helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

Pirtle’s bill adds a new section to the motor vehicle code to allow employees of certain farm-related service industries to obtain restricted commercial driver’s licenses, if they meet all of the qualifications for that license, without having to take commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge and skills tests.

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For Immediate Release   February 8, 2013  Contact:  505-986-4702

New Mexico Senate Minority Office

Ensure Clean Water by Maintaining Clean Water Tanks

Senate Minority Caucus Chair’s Bill to do that

Senate Passed  39-0 : Senate Floor Substitute for SB 93 – City Water Storage Tank Contractors

Senator Steven P. Neville

Video-Audio avail at: http://youtu.be/Z8cpM0Rz1z4

Santa Fe—It is a simple premise. Clean water needs to be stored in clean water tanks in order to remain clean.  Unmaintained rusty, grimy, dirty water tanks store…you guessed it…what ends up being rusty, grimy, dirty water.  Senate Minority Caucus Chair Steve Neville is sponsoring a bill to better ensure that New Mexico communities are able to clean, repair and maintain their water tanks in a timely manner that won’t bust the bank. A simple change in the current law will help do this.

His bill SB 93-City Water Storage Tank Contractors- will allow communities to hire on a contractual basis companies to maintain their water tanks over a period of years rather than require all the maintenance be completed and paid for in one year as current law requires. A floor substitute for the bill that made a slight change from the municipal code to the purchasing act passed 39 to 0.

Senator Neville said a former mayor of Farmington brought the problem to his attention. “It will be more manageable for our communities to be able to have what ends up as being a maintenance agreement paid for over several years rather than what we have now. Now we have what is in essence a capital project that needs to be paid for in one year. Can you imagine what is happening  to their budgets, or to the quality of their drinking water when some of our smaller communities need to clean and repair more than one water tank at upwards of $500,000 a tank and they cannot afford it?” Senator Neville said.

He said the New Mexico Municipal League supports this legislation and has adopted Resolution 2012-9 in support. “There could also be a cost savings to our communities by using multi-year contracts,” Neville said.

This bill enacts a new section of the municipal code to allow a municipality to contract for water storage tank maintenance through direct negotiations or by request for proposals. Current law does not allow municipalities to procure and enter into multi-year agreements for water tank maintenance. Allowing a municipality to enter into a multi-year agreement would allow for a more comprehensive and consistent maintenance system with one contractor being

Responsible for maintenance rather than multiple contractors for specific tasks.

Currently, 41 states now allow municipalities to enter into multi-year professional services agreements for tank maintenance.

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For Immediate Release Friday, February 08, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

New Twist to Deterring Corrupt Officials-

Throw ‘em out and take their Cash

AG and SOS support bill

SB 238 – Removal From Public Office for Felonies

Senator Mark Moores

Audio and Video Avail at: http://youtu.be/eRgGFAskbl0

(Santa Fe) There is a new twist to deterring an old problem. What to do with a corrupt government official who will not leave office.

“Throw them out of office immediately upon a felony conviction and turn over their campaign funds to the state,” that is a solution offered by State Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) in his SB 238- Removal from Public Office for Felonies. It is a solution supported by both the Attorney General and the Secretary of State.

Unlike many other anti-corruption initiatives before it, Senator Moores’ bill extends the removal from public office to cabinet secretaries and to anyone appointed to a public board or commission.

“Under my bill, there will be no question about what to do with the seat of an elected public official, cabinet secretary or an appointee who has been convicted of a felony while in office,” Senator Moores said. “The corrupt and disgraced public leader shall be deemed to have resigned from that office immediately upon conviction and the office will be deemed vacant. Plus, all funds belonging to that person’s campaign committee then shall be subject to forfeiture to the general fund to be used for the benefit of the public.”

Under SB 238 a “Public office” is defined to mean any elected office, any cabinet position, or any appointed position on a public board or commission.

The State Attorney General, Gary K. King, supports SB 238 and thanked Senator Moores for sponsoring it.  “I am pleased to support it. Your proposal is consistent with other public corruption initiatives I have supported and pursed…I believe it is a good addition to current law.”

Senator Moores said the Secretary of State’s (SOS)  office states that it “supports the public policy regarding the forfeiture of campaign funds upon a felony conviction.”

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For Immediate Release  Friday, February 8, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Cell Phones to become like Smuggled-in Guns and Drugs in prison- Contraband

Bill to Ban Cell Phones from Being Brought Into Prison Cells

On Senate Floor Calendar This Afternoon

SB 40aa – No Electronic Communications in Jails

Senator Sander Rue

(Santa Fe) Cell phones and other electronic devices are contraband, just like smuggled in guns, drugs, and drug paraphernalia,   if they are brought into a jail or prison for the purpose of giving them to an inmate under an amended bill sponsored by State Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque.)

“The purpose of the bill is to prevent inmates from using cell phones to continue to engage in criminal activity like drug trafficking from their cells,” Senator Rue said. “This law is to deter family members, friends or even correctional staff from giving inmates cell phones. Cell phones and other electronic devices will be added to the list of contraband that includes guns, drugs and drug paraphernalia. The law needs to keep up with the ever-changing technology.”

Senator Rue said the purpose of the bill is not to criminally punish visitors or staff who accidently or inadvertently bring cell phones into a jail or prison.

The bill adds “electronic communication or recording device” to the list of contraband not to be brought into a correctional facility. The bill defines “electronic communication or recording device” as excluding “a device that is or will be used by prison or jail personnel in the regular course of business or that is otherwise authorized by the warden”.

Cell phones and electronic communications or recording devices will be added to the list of items considered contraband. It will now be a third degree felony to bring an electronic device into a prison and a fourth degree felony to bring an electronic device into a jail.

Senator Rue said in the past year, 17 employees were caught with cell phones in NMCD prisons without advance permission, violating NMCD policy. Additionally, 9 cell phones were confiscated from inmates. “It is reasonably assumed that the inmates got the cell phones from either a visitor or a correctional employee and that has to stop for the safety of the correctional facility and for the public,” Senator Rue said.

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 07, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

SB 258 Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- passed SPAC 7-0, on to SJC

Senator Bill Burt-(R-Alamogordo)

Santa Fe- A bill that encourages members of the military and their spouses to live and work in New Mexico by giving them a break on obtaining professional licenses in the state in headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Senate Public Affairs Committee passed it unanimously this afternoon.

Senator Bill Burt (R-Alamogordo) sponsored SB 258 Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- allows expedited occupational and professional licensing of military service member, spouses of military service members and veterans who are licensed in other states.

“For all people wanting to live and work in New Mexico, the state should process their professional and occupational license applications in a timely manner,” Senator Burt said. “Members of the military who are active duty or recent veterans and their spouses who have obtained occupational licenses in other states or jurisdictions should receive reciprocity with those licenses so we encourage them to live and work in New Mexico without causing them much delay.”

Senator Burt’s bill calls for issuing a license to a qualified applicant who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant holds a license that is current and in good standing and that the licensing requirements are substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements for that occupation or profession in New Mexico. In additional to cities and states, jurisdictions in the bill could include a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

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New Mexico Republican Senators Updated Website and Facebook Page Up and Running “Make them your favorites!”

(Santa Fe)  Our newly updated “New Mexico Republican Senators” website and Facebook page have recently been published onto the World Wide Web. This year’s new look features our seven  newly elected Senators and our 10 veteran Senators along with their biographies, videos, new releases, and photos.

To visit the website visit:  www.newmexicorepublicansenators.com

While logged into the website, click on the link to our newly created “New Mexico Republican Senators” Facebook page.  If you enjoyed the visit, don’t forget to click “like”.

You can go directly to the Facebook page by clicking here:

https://www.facebook.com/NewMexicoRepublicanStateSenators#!/NewMexicoRepublicanStateSenators

Republican Senate Minority Communications Director, Diane Kinderwater said, “Remember to make them your favorites!”

Editor – The preceding were submitted by Diane Kinderwater of the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

 

Latest Legislative Update

Posted on 07. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Bill to Speed up Background Checks Prior to Placing Children in Emergencies on to Senate Floor

SB 141 Background Checks for CYFD Emergency Placements

Senator Sander Rue

Do Pass 8-1 Senate Judiciary Tonight, on to Senate Floor

Santa Fe— On to the Senate floor is a bill sponsored by State Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque)  to allow the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to conduct a federal criminal history records check with the FBI of all adults residing in a home where a child might be placed by the state when there is an emergency and a child is in need of state protection. It would producer faster criminal checks than what CYFD is currently able to attain.

The bill passed out of Senate Judiciary tonight with a vote of 8 to 1.

SB 141 is designed  to improve the safety of children placed in the home of relatives, neighbors or friends in an emergency situation.  If it becomes law, abused and neglected children needing emergency protection from the state would not be placed in a home with a known convicted felon because background checks would be conducted faster than the current process  and prior to a child being  placed in a home.

“We want to ensure that when an emergency arises,  the state places  no child in a home that could be potentially volatile if a felon is living in the home,” Senator Rue said. “The state needs to do everything it can to protect these children that are under its care and we need to be able to do it quickly.  This will allow the state to do instant nationwide name checks through the National Crime Information Center.”  The NCIC conducts a broader, nationwide check to cover what could be potential concerns in the home.

CYFD currently conducts fingerprint-based national criminal records background checks on all foster and adoptive parent applicants, however these checks do not provide immediate results. The bill provides CYFD with more timely access to federal criminal records histories than currently is available.  This information is critical to assessing child safety in the placement.

This bill adds a new section to the Children’s Code permitting the Children Youth and Families Department to request from a criminal justice agency a federal name-based criminal history record check of each adult residing in a home where a child will be placed in an emergency due to the absence of the child’s parents or custodians. The bill also contains provisions for fingerprint-based verification by the department of public safety of name-based checks completed.  The bill contains an emergency clause.

According to Senator Rue, law enforcement may place a child into the emergency protective custody of CYFD when law enforcement believes that a child is abused or neglected and that there is an immediate threat to the child’s safety.  In such circumstances, the parent is unavailable to provide care and protection to the child, and CYFD is responsible for identifying a safe and appropriate placement for the child. Placement options can include appropriate relatives so as to reduce the trauma to the child and preserve family connections.

The bill also establishes provisions for follow-up on any name-based check with a fingerprint-based check within fifteen calendar days from the date of the name-based check.  The bill provides provisions to remove a child from the home immediately if any adult resident in the home fails to provide fingerprints or written permission to perform a federal criminal history record check when requested to do so.  When placement of a child in a home is denied as result of a name-based check and the resident contests the denial, the bill allows the resident to still submit fingerprints with written permission allowing for the fingerprint based check.

For the purpose of this bill, the term “emergency placement”  is defined as instances when CYFD is placing a child in the home of private individuals, including neighbors, friends or relatives as a result of sudden unavailability of the child’s primary caretaker.

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Committees took action Wednesday afternoon and evening on the following Republican Senate Bills:

  • SB 20 Senator Neville- Raise Probation Costs for Defendants- tabled in  Sen. Judiciary 5 to 5

 

  • SB 93 Senator Neville- City Water Storage Tank Contractors- do pass Sen. Judiciary 8-0 goes to Senate Floor

 

  • SB 10 Senator Rue- Notice for Surveys on Law Grants- do pass Sen. Judiciary 8-0

 

  • SB 40/a Senator Rue- No Electronic Communications in Jails  Do Pass Sen. Judiciary 10-0 on to Senate Floor.

 

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Santa Fe- Senator Sue Wilson Beffort (R-Sandia Park) is sponsoring a bill to allow a school employee to carry a concealed handgun on school property.

Currently, state law prohibits anyone from carrying guns on school property except police and school security guards.

Under the Senator’s bill, each school in the state could designate one employee to carry a concealed gun.

“We need to stop a tragedy before it happens,” Wilson Beffort said.

Senator Wilson Beffort said changes have to be made in light of the school shootings across the nation.  Last December, 26 students and school workers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

The designated employee must be in possession of a valid concealed handgun license.

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State-Owned Man’s Best Friend-Auction off? Destroy? Live Happily Ever After?

SB-139a  Disposition of State-Owned Animals

Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque)

(Santa Fe) Man’s best friend who has retired after serving the state could now find a loving home with its trainer rather than take the chance the former K-9 could be auctioned off to a drug dealer. The K-9 would be protected  under a bill sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque.)

Senator Moores’ bill provides that police dogs that have worked for both State Police and for the Corrections Department be offered first to their trainers or handlers free of charge when they retire from the force.  The police dogs known as K-9 dogs would then be offered to a non-profit organization if they are not a threat to public safety.

“It just makes sense that these well trained dogs be allowed to live with their trainers once their work for the state is completed,” Senator Moores said. “Currently, these dogs are treated like all other state owned property, they are auctioned off or destroyed like an old computer or rundown vehicle.”

Senator Moores said many of the dogs had been trained as drug sniffing dogs and he does not want them auctioned off to unknown criminals.  “We do not want to take the chance these drug sniffing dogs be auctioned to drug dealers, that would be bad for the dogs and terrible for the state,” Senator Moores said. “These hard working dogs deserve to stay with the trainers they have bonded with over the years.”

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Public Schools to be Paid for Teaching Part-time Home Schooled Students

SB 302a Home Student Program Units

Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho)

Santa Fe–Home schooled students would be allowed to take one or more classes in all  public schools in the state  and the schools would be able to receive state funding for those part-time home schooled students under a bill sponsored by Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho.)

“Currently, not all school districts allow home schoolers to take one or two courses in their schools because the state does not fund those home schoolers,” Senator Brandt said. “That will change under my bill, home schoolers will be allowed to take one or more courses and public school districts will receive funding for those students they teach in their public classrooms. It is only fair.”

Senator Brandt said currently, public schools do not receive any state funding for students who are taught at home.

While a Rio Rancho School Board member, Senator Brandt tried to ensure that all  home schoolers had access to Rio Rancho public schools, but they were denied it by the rest of the school board. “Right now home schoolers cannot take one class in the Rio Rancho school district.  I am committed to working  on this funding issue so all New Mexico public schools will teach all of our children, as required in the State Constitution.

“It will encourage home schoolers to take courses such as chemistry or biology that might be more challenging  to be taught at home while it compensates the schools for taking in these students,” Senator Brandt said. “I believe the students will feel more welcomed in the classroom if the school district receives the additional funding.”

According to the analysis of the bill, SB 302a- Home Student Program Units  amends the Public School Finance Act by adding a new section that allows home schooled students to enroll in classes at traditional public schools and generate additional program units.  The bill allows home school students that take one or more classes at traditional public schools and generate program units by the cost differential factor of 0.25.  The program units generated by this provision are to be paid to the school district in which the student attends. A home schooled student is eligible to enroll in a public school in the attendance zone in which the student resides or in another public school outside the attendance zone as provided in Section 22-1-4 NMSA 1978.   The school district must verify each home schooled  student’s academic and other eligibility to enroll in the class.

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Committees took action today, Wednesday on the following Republican Senate Bills:

SB 216 Ingle ENMU MASTERS OF NURSING PROGRAM DP 8-0 SEC Next to SFC

SB 183 Kernan  REPLACE GED TERMS WITH EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA DP 8-0 SEC Next to SPAC

SB 150 Kernan ENMU ROBOT WORKSHOP & COMPETITION DP 8-0 SEC NEXT TO SFC

Last night:

SB 182 Procurment Code Changes (Rue; Lucky Varela) SPAC DP 8-0 SJC

SB 185a Woods – FRONTIER COMMUNITIES PROGRAM  – SPAC DP 8/0 Next SFC

SB 247a (Beffort) CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES PROCUREMENT – SPAC DP 7/1 For: BRANDT, GRIGGS, IVEY-SOTO, KELLER, KERNAN, O’NEILL, ORTIZ y PINO  No: CANDELARIA

SB 180 (Neville) DP SPAC 6/2  For: Brandt, Griggs, Ivey-Soto, Kernan, O’Neill, Ortiz y Pino  No: Candelaria, Keller  Next: SCORPS

SB 94 PENALTIES FOR NO BOAT FLOATATION DEVICES (SHARER) held over for a later meeting in SCONC

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SB 258 Professional  Licenses for Military and Spouses

Senator Bill Burt-(R-Alamogordo)

Santa Fe- Senator Bill Burt (R-Alamogordo) is sponsoring a bill that encourages members of the military and their spouses to live and work in New Mexico by giving them a break on obtaining professional licenses in the state.

SB 258 Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- allows expedited occupational and professional licensing of military service member, spouses of military service members and veterans who are licensed in other states.

“For all people wanting to live and work in New Mexico, the state should process their professional and occupational license applications in a timely manner,” Senator Burt said. “Members of the military who are active duty or recent veterans and their spouses who have obtained occupational licenses in other states or jurisdictions should receive reciprocity with those licenses so we encourage them to live and work in New Mexico without causing them much delay.”

Senator Burt’s bill calls for issuing a license to a qualified applicant who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant holds a license that is current and in good standing and that the licensing requirements are substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements for that occupation or profession in New Mexico. In additional to cities and states, jurisdictions in the bill could include a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

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Killed in Sen. Judiciary-Bill to Make Stealing Utility Hardware A Felony

“At least put this crime on par with stealing a goat”

Tabled Senate Judiciary 5 to 5

SB 28a Neville Penalties for Larceny of Cable Hardware

Santa Fe- A bill that passed unanimously in Senate Public Affairs, was essentially killed in Senate Judiciary when it voted 5 to 5 for passage and the SB 28a was tabled.  The sponsor of the bill compared the theft of wire at a utility that could potentially cause a city-wide power outage to the theft of a goat. Stealing a goat in New Mexico is a felony, while causing a power outage due to stealing the utility’s wire is only a misdemeanor crime.

With his bill, Senator Steve Neville (R-Farmington) wanted to make the larceny of telecommunication or utility cable or hardware to be a third degree or second degree felony, not a misdemeanor. He said the type of crime and its penalty should be based on the damages to the utility and the cost of getting the utility back on-line after the theft, not based on the cost of the stolen wire or piece of hardware.

All Republicans and Democrat Senator Martinez voted to pass SB 28a, while all of the other Democrats on the committee voted against passing it.

The above information was submitted by the State of New Mexico Republican Senate Office

Latest Bill Action from the Legislative Session

Posted on 25. Jan, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Bill to Make Stealing Utility Hardware that Keeps NM Humming A Felony “At least put this crime on par with stealing a goat”

Passes Senate Public Affairs Today

SB 28 Neville Penalties for Larceny of Cable Hardware

SPAC Do Pass 8-0, on to SJC

Santa Fe- Currently a thief can be charged with only a misdemeanor crime for stealing a $10 copper wire that could potentially cause a power outage throughout an entire city or do even worse damage. In comparison, stealing a goat in New Mexico is a felony.

Senator Steve Neville (R-Farmington) wants to change. He does not want to change the livestock theft crime, but he wants to make the larceny of telecommunication or utility cable or hardware to be a third degree or second degree felony, not a misdemeanor. He said the type of crime and its penalty should be based on the damages to the utility and the cost of getting the utility back on-line after the theft, not based on the cost of the stolen wire or piece of hardware.

“Thieves are out there right now stealing cable and wire for the copper content with complete disregard of how that piece of equipment can potentially jeopardize an entire community,” Senator Neville said. “That stolen item could cause a power outage and do a lot of damage, everything from shutting down business operations, to shutting off the heat in people’s homes causing pipes to burst or people to freeze to death.  It could cost a utility company tens of thousands of dollars to get the community humming again.”

The bill was amended in Senate Public Affairs this afternoon, clarifying that the theft of railroad signal equipment would also be a felony. “Can you imagine how stealing a wire and disabling a Railrunner crossing signal could end up costing a motorist or pedestrian their lives. The penalty should fit the crime. These thefts should be felonies,” Senator Neville said.

Senator Neville said all thefts of telecommunication or utility cable or hardware would be at least a third degree felony, those that cost the utilities over $20,000 to restore the services would be second degree felonies.

Regarding the  goat felony crime, Senator Neville said that as he researched his bill he learned that livestock in New Mexico have historically been critical to the livelihood of New Mexicans and the theft of livestock has always been a third degree felony. “At least, let’s put this crime on par with stealing a goat in New Mexico,” Senator Neville said.

Senate Bill 28 would amend §30-16-1 NMSA (Larceny), by adding the crime of committing larceny of telecommunication or utility cable or hardware. Depending on the dollar value cost of the restoration of services following an outage caused by said larceny, the crime is categorized as a third degree (any value) or second degree (over $20,000) felony.

Sometimes We Don’t Want to Advertise ‘I’m from the Government and I am here to help” Undercover State License Plates to Help Employees do their Jobs in Sensitive Situations

SB 51- Protective and Undercover License Plates

Senator Sander Rue

Passes SCORC

Undercover state employees can avoid advertising they work for the state because of the markings on their government issued license plates under a bill Sponsored by Senator Sander Rue. The bill,   SB 51- Protective and Undercover License Plates, heads to Senate Judiciary after receiving a do pass from Senate Corporations and Transportation tonight.

“Sometimes we don’t want to advertise “I’m from the Government and I am here to help,” Senator Sander Rue said as he quoted the nine most terrifying words in the English language from President Ronald Reagan. “Sometimes advertising they are a state employee can put those employees working in the field in jeopardy and can jeopardize the critical work they are doing for the state.”

The bill sets in law a process to issue non-government license plates to state employees who work in agencies and departments such as CYFD, and to probation and parole officers who need to work undercover in sensitive situations without the public knowing they are public officials. And the law also creates a mechanism to prevent abuse.

Senator Rue said the bill is designed to protect state employees and help them do their jobs in sensitive situations without the public knowing by the license plates on their state vehicles, that they are public employees.

“CYFD employees often times have to intervene in traumatic family situations, a job that is difficult enough,” Senator Rue said. “We need to do everything we can to assist them in doing their critical work in the field without jeopardizing their situation under sensitive circumstances by advertising they are a CYFD employee,” Senator Rue said.

The bill also adds language to 66-6-15 NMSA to allow MVD to issue undercover and sensitive activity plates to Indian tribes, pueblos, counties, municipalities and other governmental entities.

Job Creation and City Revitalization Bill Heads to Senate Finance

Small Business Revitalization Funding Passes SPAC Committee Unanimously

SB 52- Mainstreet Programs

Senator  Sue Wilson Beffort

MainStreet New Mexico will drive away with $100,000 for technical assistance for the New Mexico MainStreet program under a bill sponsored by Senator Sue Wilson Beffort. SB 52- MainStreet Programs- heads to Senate Finance after passing Senate Corporations and Transportation this afternoon.

This session, The MainStreet program is also seeking up to $2 million dollars from capital outlay for the program that is a national award winner.

The program helps local commercial districts revitalization in cities throughout the state by assisting property owners rehabilitate buildings, address infrastructure needs and fund capital improvements.  It is done through a non-profit corporation, with local MainStreet organizations working in partnership with cities.

Senator Wilson Beffort said it is a job creation bill because it helps to create an inviting environment that attracts new businesses to an area, “One of my priorities this session is to seek ways to create more job in the state. The MainStreet program does that while revitalizing our cities. It is a win-win program.”

The $100,000 appropriation from the general fund will go to the Economic Development Department for the purpose of expanding technical professional assistance to enhance local MainStreet programs statewide.

The MainStreet program is part of an economic development network of more than 37 states and 1200 communities across the country that was launched in 1984 in New Mexico.

- Editor:  The above were submitted by Diane Kinderwater of the NM Legislative Office. For more information, please contact: 505/986-4702

 

 

 

 

The Real Gun Control Argument

Posted on 24. Jan, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

It’s about time we took off our politically correct muzzle, removed our rose-colored glasses and talked about the real reason many Second Amendment supporters are pushing back at the anti-gun forces with extreme prejudice.

The reason is simply this… many don’t trust their government and have lost faith in that government’s willingness to protect its citizens’ basic freedoms as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

These low-trust citizens are really fall-away Americans who are now viewing many of their government’s decisions with extreme skepticism. They have come to this conclusion over a number of years and over several political administrations.

I believe their distrust has deepened and grown enormously over the last four years but that it started in earnest under President George W. Bush with the enactment of the Patriot Act, which was for many an infringement on their privacy rights.

To be sure, the Patriot Act became law during a period of intense terrorism and was designed, according to the Administration, to protect our liberties rather than prevent us from pursuing them, but the result was a considerable increase in the government’s ability to surveil us, thus limiting our basic rights to privacy. (Don’t forget, fall-away Americans guard their privacy and their right to be left alone as passionately as any other freedom.)

The proof is in the decisions

Low-trust Americans and critics point to real decisions the current Administration has taken to bolster their case for withholding their confidence.

Some of those decisions were rendered by the President himself like the one that totally ignored the Immigration and Naturalization Act by slow-walking and then down-prioritizing the deportation of certain immigrant groups rather than adhering to the regulations which only permit this act for individuals.

Then there were those made by America’s chief law enforcement officer and the Justice Department like Operation Fast and Furious, the nose-thumbing of Congress on this issue, the refusal to prosecute voter intimidation cases, etc.

Others made by Administration surrogates like the Democrat dominated Congress that bullied the Patients’ Affordable Healthcare Act to passage seemed to seal the deal for the skeptics…that is until the recent Vice-President led task force on gun control.

For many fall-away Americans this task force, along with several pending gun bills and the media’s mobilization of anti-gun activists, is viewed as the Battle of the Bulge for the Second Amendment — AND they’ve dug in and are not going to give up without a fight.

That’s why Liberals should not chuckle when they see bumper stickers the likes of: “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.” These people mean business and will not go quietly into the dark night as they have checked out of the third person and checked into the active voice.

A quick look at booming NRA membership and skyrocketing gun and ammunition sales will tell even the most naive observer that something’s up and it’s not support for omnibus gun legislation spearheaded by Presidential Executive Order.

Invasions are easy to recognize

Fall-away Americans are also looking at the media and seeing the handwriting on the wall. Here I speak of the Journal News newspaper in Westchester County that recently revealed the names and addresses and interactive Google map of all gun owners in that county – an action that has put gun-owners and non gun-owners alike at risk from an escalation in home burglaries.

A loss of Second Amendment rights is often preceded by a loss of First Amendment rights. Just ask the peoples of Poland about their occupation in 1939 by the Nazis under trumped-up charges they were persecuting Sudeten Germans living there. How many weapons were confiscated from the Poles? Answer: All of them.

This falling domino method of losing rights has been used by many oppressors, but the West Germans learned their lesson after WWII. They banned the gathering of unnecessary information on German citizens and the sharing of it with other government agencies in contrast to what the Nazis and the Stasi did. The law is called the ‘Datenschutz’ (data protection), and it enshrines the right of German citizens’ privacy.

Fall-away Americans believe that by creating a federal registry of guns and gun-owners and then sharing this information with any/all government agencies will perfectly position an unethical or rogue government to keep tabs on its citizens and enable it to tax, regulate and eventually confiscate America’s weapons. Even trusting citizens should be worried about this possibility, because once set in motion, the domino could fall backwards or forwards taking other rights down with it.

We must not trifle with our Bill of Rights nor should we believe as many progressives and liberals do that it is a work in progress. No. It is like the Ten Commandments. After all, God didn’t tell Moses these were the Ten Suggestions, and our founding fathers didn’t call the Bill of Rights the Bill of Possible Options either.

- Editor

Inauguration or coronation?

Posted on 24. Jan, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Dateline: Washington, DC – January 21, 2013?

Well, America, we finally did it. After throwing off the abusive monarchy of George III who subjugated all of us 237 years ago, we’ve come full circle with the coronation of a new king.

Today, King Barack the First, was elevated from his previous position as President to Supreme Monarch of the United States of America (soon to be renamed the Kingdom of Grand Largesse).

Americans turned out in the hundreds of thousands to fill the nation’s capitol city (soon to be renamed Victory City) and assembled on the steps of the Capitol Building (soon to be remodeled and renamed the Memorial of the Masses) to celebrate the moment and pay homage to their new ruler.

The ceremony was produced and directed by several of Hollywood’s top celebrity directors. The leading producer was Steven Spielberg who is responsible for the recent box office hit, “Lincoln and Me” (the really true actual verifiable no foolin’ life story of Abraham Lincoln who was reverse re-incarnated from Barack Obama).

The festivities took months of planning and creative accounting by the Democratic National Committee which amassed millions of dollars of tribute (donations) for the ceremony from eager subjects aspiring to key positions in the Court of the Great Barack.

The newly-formed Royal PAC called, “Organizing for Action” headed up by Obamaphiles Messina, Axelrod, Cutter, Gibbs, Plouffe, et al. will be in full operation January 22nd. The aim of the PAC will be to identify which donors to the Obama campaign will be awarded land grants in the former states of California, Hawaii, Texas and Florida.

Their secondary task will be to create a short list of possible candidates for peerage. It is rumored that among the candidates are: Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Sean Penn, Madonna, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the entire Chicago City Council, the entire Democratic Senate and all members of the SEIU.

While the President was being crowned, architects and designers were feverishly completing their work on a new coat of arms for the King which will replace the outdated seal of the President, a stunning new signet ring bearing the King’s picture and an eight-foot tall throne made of Republican Rino horn (it will replace the old HMS Resolute desk that had served Presidents from FDR on).

Hollywood choreographers and songwriters were collaborating on a new musical that will debut on July 4th and which will commemorate the new King’s rise to power from his humble beginnings in Hawaii. The musical’s working title is: “Obama the real American idol: From rags to swag.”

The festivities were supposed to have been emceed by radical author Saul Alinsky, but he could not be exhumed in time for the ceremony (Whitehouse doctors were also doubtful they could re-animate him had he been dug up).

Next in line was former domestic terrorist turned royalist Bill Ayers, but Mr. Ayers was unable to locate a tie. Instead, the honor went to the Senator from New York (soon to be re-named New Bama), Charles Schumer. It is rumored that Mr. Schumer will soon accept a prominent position as Court Schmoozer in the new Court of the Great Barack.

After the coronation and the singing of the old national anthem (the new royal song will be, “Let’s stay together” by Al Green) the crowd was treated to a poetic reading by MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews. The title of Mr. Matthews’ poem was, “The decapitation and dismemberment of conservatives: Ode to the common man.”

The evening will be capped off by two royal balls. At each ball the new King and his queen will be borne in to the venues on the backs of fat-cat capitalists from Wall Street, hedge fund managers, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and former President George W. Bush.

America, rejoice, for unto you a king is given, and he will make straight the crooked and make equal the unequal. The poor will become rich and the undeserving the deserving.  He is for all time and for all men: Barack the Cool, Barack the Benificent and Barack the MAN. All hail or else.

- Editor: The New Mexican Voice welcomes equally fanciful opposing points of view. Send them to us at: editor@newmexicanvoice.com

Superwhitehouse-atmospheric-theatricalidocious

Posted on 22. Jan, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

It’s getting confusing. I thought I had to buy a ticket to see a movie or take in a show to be entertained. That’s all changed. Somebody should have told me all I needed to do was watch our President sign Executive Orders!

Today’s example of the gun control Executive Order signing ceremony took me back to the time when I won a coloring contest sponsored by our local TV station in Milwaukee. Us kids (we always called ourselves that) were avid fans of a futuristic space show headed up by a spaceman called, Captain Jet.

One day in 1953, the Captain (CJ) actually picked my drawing on air as one of the top three winners and I was invited to appear on the following week’s show to pick up my prize.

When the happy day came, I wasn’t nervous.  After all I knew I wasn’t going to be shot into space to rendezvous with ole CJ on a far-off galaxy. I was just going into a TV studio and on a set that looked like it was designed by my grade school classmates.

We were all carefully positioned next to CJ before the cameras started rolling and I got the first question. After asking me my name, he wanted to know where my father worked. Not remembering, I politely excused myself, walked off the spaceship set and headed towards my mother who sat off-stage by the whirring TV camera.

I didn’t see Captain Jet’s face, but I do remember what he said when I got back on board the good ship cardboard. He looked into the camera and said, “Well kids, it’s a good thing our ship hadn’t left the Earth’s orbit yet or we’d have lost this little fella.” Talk about suspension of disbelief! (We called it imagination back then.)

Children have been in TV audiences since the late 40s. Remember Howdy Doody, the Buster Brown Show and then Captain Kangaroo? But this using children as window dressing phenomenon is new to me.

It’s one thing to host kids for the White House Easter Egg Hunt or the Whitehouse Christmas Tree lighting, but I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember if the likes of Ike, LBJ or Nixon surrounded themselves with moppets on the podium for bill-signings. Don’t think so.

Children have been used as props by politicians throughout the ages, but usually referred to in speeches in absentia. I didn’t think that I’d live to see the day that the Whitehouse would be holding casting calls for little urchins to show up at bill-signings. Remember the cute little boy in the vest by the President’s desk when Mr. Obama signed the healthcare bill? Precious.

Today, the Whitehouse Office of Theatricality had assembled four well-dressed and well-behaved youngsters to frame the President as he signed 23 Executive Orders designed to stave off vicious crime perpetrated by gun-wielding crazies.

The scene looked bizarre as if the invitations had gotten mixed up, and instead of being at PS 41 for the annual spelling bee, the kids found themselves standing in for criminals and law-breakers who were supposed to be shackled to their chairs while the Commander in Chief talked about murder and mayhem.

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think that children should be used as scenery for Presidents or any other elected officials. If this is the new normal than I’m just going to insist that the President bring in a bevy of barnyard animals, bales of alfalfa and bushels of rutabagas to future farm bill signings.

As long as he’s at it, he could bring back Mr. Greenjeans to hold the signing pens while the theme song from Green Acres plays in the background. Somehow, the atmospherics of that scene appeal to the old farm boy in me. Now that’s what I call a real signing ceremony.

- Editor

Could tyranny come to America?

Posted on 22. Jan, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

There is an elephant in our room, and it is the unasked question: “Could tyranny come to America?” I’m told that serious-minded, intelligent people (you know, rational, modern men and women) would never ask this question nor even entertain the possibility of debating it even if it were asked.

Perhaps that’s the problem. Outside of the academic environment where theories and hypotheses are tossed around college classrooms like vulgarities on the Bill Maher show, the question is largely un-debated except among those people that are labeled by the left as kooks, right-wing crazies, wackos, nut jobs, Tea Partyers, survivalists, extremists and Republicans.

It’s not surprising then that we don’t want to talk about the possibility that our U.S. government or any of its three branches: the Legislative, Executive or Judicial might one day (or incrementally over time) turn renegade and limit some of our freedoms or remove others, completely.

Historical examples might be: Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, the internment of innocent Japanese during WWII and the Patriot Act, to name a few. Were we to talk that talk it might make the possibility actually, well, possible. Then, Heaven forbid, we’d have to think about it by shifting our focus away from the latest sports scandal.

That unspoken thought on tyranny (or abuse of power if you prefer) shares the cupboard with a lot of other unspoken thoughts tucked away on our secret shelves. Incest is one. Mental illness is another. Drug addiction and alcoholism (now called substance abuse) are a little more acceptable now that so many Americans have experienced them.

Unspoken issues share space with euphemisms we use to soften reality. For example, “Uncle Joe passed away/on/over last week.” Translation: Uncle Joe died. Passing away sounds like he suddenly left town unannounced and moved to the Villages in Florida.

Euphemisms take the edge off reality by making a perfectly normal but uncomfortable-to-acknowledge situation acceptable to society when society can’t handle the truth. They are also often the precursor for the subordination of unspoken issues (like tyranny) to the dust heap reserved for uncivilized conversation.

It may be high time to man up and talk about tyranny in relation to American life and politics. There are many forms of it, but all of them have one thing in common – an inordinate amount of power concentrated in a few hands.

The enablers of tyranny are cowardice, apathy, ignorance, lethargy, stupidity and gullibility. Tyranny also relies on lies and subterfuge to succeed. The lies don’t have to be sophisticated. They can be simple emotional appeals to our fears and our basic needs. They can come from the left and from the right of the political spectrum, and like fire, they need oxygen to survive. Their oxygen usually comes in the form of a crisis or the threat of one.

Other examples of tyranny are: an abusive parent or spouse, sexual harassment, slavery, monopolies, unfair laws, un-enforced or inconsistently-enforced laws, voter fraud, disenfranchisement or manipulation.

The tyrant is a battlefield commander that divides the opposition into smaller groups, attacks them unmercifully and then paints them with a brush of ideological repugnance and then forces them into a highly visible corner. Finally, the tyrant calls the public’s attention to them and declares them, the enemy.

While America may not be teetering on the brink of tyranny, to say it could never happen or ignore the conversation is naive and foolish. I’ve said it before though not said it first, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” To that I would simply add ‘or say nothing.’

- Editor

The Kerry hearing you probably won’t hear

Posted on 22. Jan, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Washington, D.C. (January 24, 2013)  Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing for Senator John Kerry’s Secretary of State nomination took place. The Committee’s Ranking Member pursued a tough line of questioning regarding Senator Kerry’s green energy investments and his ability to profit, as Secretary of State, from his support for a climate change agenda.

According to this author’s imagination, the questioning took place as follows:

RANKING MEMBER: Senator Kerry, it is my understanding that you voted for the STOCK Act, is that correct?

KERRY: Yes, and along with many fellow Senate Members, I co-sponsored the bill introduced by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

RANKING MEMBER: The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act—known as the STOCK Act— prohibits members and employees of Congress from using “any nonpublic information derived from the individual’s position… or gained from performance of the individual’s duties, for personal benefit.” The bill also applies to all employees in the Executive and Judicial branches of the federal government. Is that correct?

KERRY: That is the general emphasis, yes.

RANKING MEMBER: The STOCK Act passed quickly and with wide bipartisan support.

You are the wealthiest member of the Senate, is that correct?

KERRY: Yes, that is what is reported.

RANKING MEMBER: Thank you Senator. I’ll change topics now.

You have been an ardent believer in Climate Change as a man-made crisis. In August of 2009, you penned an op-ed that compared the threat of climate change to the 9-11 attacks. In it you wrote: “Make no mistake: catastrophic climate change represents a threat to human security, global stability, and—yes—even to American national security. …

Unfortunately, not everyone in Washington appreciates the stakes. It’s tragic that we live at a time when if one were to dismiss the threat of terrorism, you’d be sent home in the next election. But there are no similar political consequences if you dismiss the science or the threat of climate change.”

On September 30, 2009, you and Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the Senate version of a cap-and-trade bill: the 821-page Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act—also known as the Kerry-Boxer Bill. At the time, you said, about the bill aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore slowing global warming: “Ultimately, this bill is about keeping Americans safe.”

The Sierra Club, long the standard bearer for the environmental community, responded to the Kerry-Boxer bill this way: “Millions of jobs could be created here if only the U.S. were to invest wisely in clean energy, innovation and efficiency.

This bill can build our clean energy economy—and not let polluters get away with their dirty business-as-usual ways. Global warming is a very real threat to our national security. As catastrophic weather events increase over time, our world will see more climate refugees—masses of people forced to move, causing clashes over borders and dwindling resources like food, fuel and water. A strong clean energy bill is essential to protecting our security.”

The Kerry-Boxer Bill didn’t pass. But that hasn’t stopped your crusade against global warming.

In 2011, in response to the President’s glaring omission of any climate change priorities in his State of the Union Address, you gave him a pass when you said: “That’s alright. There’s a lot of work that has to be done to revalidate the science and the facts with respect to that.

It would cloud the reality that we’re trying to deal with respect to energy. So I’m very sympathetic. I understand that completely. That is not where the country is. That’s not where the issue is right now. It has to be brought back there. And it will be, but that’s a different track on a different issue.”

It now appears that you see the Secretary of State position as the “track” to bring it back. The Los Angeles Times reports that as Secretary of State, you will “push the issue to center stage as a slow-motion crisis in need of a global solution.”

Climate hawks are practically giddy over your nomination. For example, writing for the National Journal, Coral Davenport says that as Secretary of State you will “likely raise climate change to a top-tier priority.” In Mother Jones Magazine, Washington Bureau reporter Kate Sheppard wrote: “Having Kerry at the helm at State would be very good news.”

In Climate Progress, Joe Romm says he believes your nomination is “the first serious indication Obama will focus on climate change in his second term.” And, in Grist.org, Lisa Hymas refers to you as “the most ardent climate hawk ever to hold the office.”

Have I reflected your views and the enthusiasm for your nomination accurately?

KERRY: Yes. As you know, along with my lovely wife Teresa, I wrote the book This Moment on Earth: Today’s New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future. I do believe that I would be “the most ardent climate hawk ever to hold the office.” I am pleased to have received such affirmation from the green groups. I view them as family.

RANKING MEMBER: Thank you Senator. Next topic.

Is it true that you helped craft President Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill—more specifically, you worked on the portions that offered federal support for green energy projects?

KERRY: Yes, I am very proud of my efforts to promote clean, green energy. I “played a key role in securing energy tax provision increases to include a long term extension of provisions that provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and tax credits for conservations.”

RANKING MEMBER: Humph! Amazing, since your “efforts” have cost America’s taxpayers billions on foolhardy projects that lined the pockets of Democratic lawmakers and wealthy donors before going bankrupt. But, I digress.

Big-ticket Obama donor,” John Doerr also was part of shaping what went into the 2009 Stimulus Bill. Doerr is a partner at investment firm Kliener Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). Doerr jumped on the Climate Change bandwagon in 2005 and credits Al Gore for his “environmental awakening”—though his conversion may have been more financial than spiritual as he saw green-energy as the “mother of all markets” and “the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”  In 2006, Doerr started his first green-tech investment fund.

KPCB has two investment portfolios that specifically fund green energy projects—both launched in 2008: the Green Growth Fund to invest $500 million in growth-stage companies, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers XIII, a $700 million fund to invest in greentech, information technology, and life sciences ventures.

Senator Kerry, you may be wondering why I bring up the seemingly unrelated investment firm KPCB. I’ll tell you.

More than fifty percent of the companies within these funds have benefitted from loans, grants, and special tax breaks through the 2009 Stimulus Bill, in which both you and John Doerr participated.

Senator, you have vast wealth, myriad investments, and an impressive record that considerably beats the average. Obviously, you know how to spot a good investment opportunity. Yet, you did not invest in either of the KPCB funds at their inception.

You waited almost a year later, until after the stimulus bill was passed—which directed billions of taxpayer dollars to KPCB funded projects. According to your investment records, you invested in both of Doerr’s greentech funds—Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers XIII and the KPCB Green Growth Fund—on March 31, 2009. You’ve invested in the funds many times each year in the subsequent years.

Despite a green-energy push from the White House, these funds haven’t “delivered the returns expected on the timeline expected for most venture capitalists.” In fact, Doerr admitted in a November 2009 speech that the government funding saved them: “If we’d been able to foresee the crash of the market, we wouldn’t probably have launched a green initiative, because these ventures really need capital.

The only way in which we were lucky, I think, is that the government stepped in, particularly the Department of Energy. Led by this great administration that put in place these loan guarantees.”

Senator Kerry, I recall my mother telling me to put my money where my mouth is—I am sure you were taught some similar adage. It is great to see a person investing in issues in which they are strong believers—as your investment history shows. However, Senator, this has always been immoral for members of Congress and, thanks to the STOCK Act, it is now illegal.

We have every reason to believe that, as Secretary of State, you will push forward a clean energy agenda, one that moves climate change to center stage; a top-tier priority—and this will financially benefit your family and friends. With the Kyoto Treaty dead and more and more countries abandoning their CO2 targets, these greentech funds seem doomed without another form of government intervention and that could come in the form of your manipulating climate change into a national security issue as I’ve laid out.

Following the passage of the fiscal cliff deal, green energy stocks rallied—not because of market demand (in fact, in spite of it), but because the deal promised continued government funding. In much the same way, if global warming falls off the radar—as it is currently doing due to a lack of actual warming and the global economic crisis—these greentech investments will die without a government savior such as yourself.

If you are confirmed as the Secretary of State, Senator Kerry, can you assure me, and the American people whose tax dollars have already been transferred to you through your investments, that you will not make climate change a national security issue as your record, to date, indicates you will?

Perhaps it will really work out this way on Thursday.

Author’s note: Thanks to Christine Lakatos for her extensive research on the green-energy crony-corruption scandal and specifically KCPB’s greentech investments.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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