February 27, 2020

Santa Claus Mentality of Progressives

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Politics

The October 1st Albuquerque Journal included a guest Op-Ed by Sherry Wenz, “Bleeding the Rich,” in which she argued cogently that the Progressive goal of making the wealthy pay more taxes will not solve our economic troubles.

Wenz’s piece should remind us that there is abroad in our Progressive polity a pernicious Santa Claus mentality:  I can have everything I want and force someone else to pay for it.  This description of the Progressive mindset would seem to be as good a definition of the Progressive concept of fairness as one is likely to find.

What is it about the soft socialism of Europe that Progressives don’t understand?  The web is full of stories on Europe’s woes:  “Eurozone Unemployment Hits Record High,” “One in 10 Workers Has Taken Time off for Depression,” “Greek Youth Unemployment Hits 55%,” “Spain Riots over Night! Europe is Falling,” and “Riots in Greece and Spain over Efforts to Trim Government Spending.”  In short, soft socialism has reduced much of Europe’s economy to a shambles.

We are today at a tipping point.  About half of Americans pay no income taxes, the largest source of revenue for the federal government.  Please don’t tell me about the other taxes these people pay.  The next largest source of government revenue is the withholding tax that is supposed to support Social Security and Medicare.

This means that the half of the American body politic that pays no income taxes can vote for politicians who promise them more government payouts.  Surely, reasonable people can see that this is a recipe for disaster.  It is an open invitation to demagogic politicians to seek election by promising more programs and more payouts.

Think today of “Obama” phones, promises of more Pell grants, promises of relief from college loans, ending work requirements for welfare recipients, record numbers on food stamps, record numbers on disability, etc.

There is a quotation of uncertain provenance which states:  “A democracy will continue to exist until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

Regardless of the source for this quotation, it should serve to remind us of the extreme danger posed by the irresponsible tax-and-spend policies of Progressives.

In 1787, when Benjamin Franklin emerged from the Constitutional Convention, which had just concluded, he was reportedly asked by a certain Mrs. Powel if the convention had given our nation a republic or a monarchy.  Franklin’s famous reply was:  A republic if you can keep it.  This election may well be our last chance to keep our “Great Republic.”

This article was submitted by Don Baucom of El Prado, NM


























Newest State Senator takes office Oct 26th

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

The newest New Mexico State Senator will be sworn into office on Friday. Republican Pat Woods of Broadview, New Mexico will take his oath of office at the Curry County Courthouse in Clovis at 4:00 p.m. on October 26, 2012.  He will represent District 7 which includes the far Central Eastern and Northeaster part of the state.

“Releasing the New Mexican potential” is what Woods said he looks forward to helping to do while in office. “I believe in a better state, a better world,” Woods said on the eve of his swearing-in. “I am grateful to be in a position to work towards re- releasing the American initiative, releasing the New Mexico spirit so hardworking men and women can once again strive for their dreams. I want them to reach their potential with the encouragement of government, not with government intrusion or interference.”

Woods, who  is a farmer and a rancher and who operates a 100-year-old family farm said he recalls his 94-year-old grandfather telling him that the current generation will see and experience changes in their lives that he  never could have imagined.  Woods said it is an exciting time in history and that he will take every opportunity in his new position as a State Senator to help shape a better future for the next generation, while offering encouraging the current generation.

Woods said education is key to success. “Parental involvement is critical in the education of their children so they will be prepared to start school with their young minds focused on education,” Woods said. “We need to encourage that parental involvement, without it, the state will need to step in with incentives for early childhood initiatives.”

Water is also a critical for the future of Eastern New Mexico, Woods said.  “Water is a major issue in Eastern New Mexico. Our main concerns are where future water supplies will come from so we are able to have future development.”

Woods said a pipeline from the Ute Reservoir, which is the nearest source of renewal water,  is something he  will help develop. In the meantime, he said he will investigate an opportunity for the agricultural industry to lease some of its water from the underground aquifer into a pipeline that could be used by Clovis and Portales residents.

He says the Ute pipeline should be started next to Clovis so the potential of leased water from the ag industry could begin flowing as soon as possible and before a pipeline is completed all of the way to the Ute Reservoir.

As a State Senator, Wood said he would also like to take the opportunity to examine the control of the Federal Government over land in the state and the best used for those lands for the betterment of New Mexicans.

Woods said he looks forward to working towards repealing the state law that allows people who are in the state illegally to obtain New Mexico drivers’ licenses.

“What part of illegal do they not understand,” Woods said, “We should not be encouraging people to come to our state illegally by awarding them with our New Mexico state sanctioned driver’s licenses. It is a security issue that has the potential to threaten the safety and security of our state.”

Woods was appointed to the State Senate seat by Governor Susana Martinez to replace Republican Senator Clint Harden of Clovis who chose not to run for re-election and resigned his seat earlier this month.   Woods is the only candidate on the ballot in the general election for District 7 and would have taken office in January 2013. He will be one of 42 State Senators, all of the Senate Seats are up for election this November.   He will represent District 7 includes portions of Curry, and Quay and all of  Union Counties.   Woods will be sworn-in by District Court Judge Ted Hartley.

This was submitted by the New Mexico State Senate at the State Capitol, Santa Fe. Contact: 505-986-4702






























Patients, Physicians and Advocates Launch Campaign to Protect Patients with PTSD Access to Medical Cannabis

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Healthcare, Politics

Continued access to medicine is being threatened by a request to withdraw PTSD as a qualifying condition for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. Military veterans and other patients to petition the Governor and the Secretary of Health – Don’t Take Away Our Medicine.

(Santa Fe, NM) – Today, more than 3,000 New Mexican residents with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are actively enrolled in our state’s Medical Cannabis Program. Many of them are military veterans, patients living with disabilities, and victims of serious trauma and violent crime. Unfortunately, their continued access to medicine is being threatened by a request to withdraw PTSD as a qualifying condition for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.

On July 29th, 2012, William Ulwelling, M.D. submitted a petition to the Department of Health requesting PTSD be removed from the list of eligible medical conditions for enrollment in the NM Medical Cannabis Program.  His petition will be heard by the program’s Medical Advisory Board at a public hearing, November 7th from 1 – 5 pm at the Harold Runnels Building, 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe.  The Secretary of Health will have the final decision.

“We deserve access to effective medical treatments whether we’ve just come home from combat or we are suffering debilitating symptoms from other trauma,” said Chris Hsu, NM Medical Cannabis Patient’s Alliance’s Vice President.

In defense of keeping PTSD as an eligible condition, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patient’s Alliance, the Drug Policy Alliance, and others are banding together for a campaign they are calling, Don’t Take Away Our Medicine – a Campaign to make sure the voices of PTSD patients are heard loud and clear.

“When I returned home from Afghanistan I was diagnosed with PTSD. I worked with my doctor and tried many prescription drugs. Taking handfuls of pills every day, every one with a different set of side effects was hard on my body, and I still experienced some symptoms,” said Michael Innis, who served in the General Infantry and who was awarded a Purple Heart after the convoy he was traveling with got hit by an IED and was then ambushed. “Cannabis was not my first choice of medicine, but I tell you first hand, this medicine works for me. Cannabis allows me to leave my house and has helped me to return to work.”

The Campaign is standing up to protect the legal rights of patients to access safe medicine. They are asking for all compassionate New Mexicans to join them in telling the New Mexico Secretary of Health and the Governor to protect the rights of seriously ill New Mexicans and to reject the request to rescind PTSD as a qualifying condition by signing on to the Campaign: https://secure2.convio.net/dpa/site/SPageServer?pagename=MedicalCannabisNMPetition

“Tell them not to turn their backs on veterans, patients with disabilities, and victims of trauma and violent crime,” said Nat Dean, another medical cannabis patient diagnosed with chronic pain and PTSD.  “We deserve access to the medicine that works for us. Don’t take away our medicine.”

The right to use medical cannabis was approved in 2009, when PTSD was added to the list of conditions eligible under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. Since then PTSD has become the disabling condition most frequently indicated by patients in the program, and today accounts for 40% of the diagnoses of the citizens in our state’s medial cannabis program.

“The current pharmaceutical cocktails given to sufferers of PTSD have limited efficacy, have significant debilitating side-effects, and have in many cases proven deadly,” stated Lisa Walker, M.D. a board-certified psychiatrist. “Given these facts, along with the experience of thousands of patients whose quality of life has been improved by its use, medical cannabis should continue to be an available treatment for the suffers of PTSD.”

“We will not allow the removal of PTSD as a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program to happen quietly,” said Emily Kaltenbach, the NM State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Patients deserve, above all, the freedom to choose the safest and most effective treatment for their disabling conditions — whatever that treatment might be.”

On November 8th, DPA is also re-launching an updated version of Healing a Broken System with current numbers and new material related to medical cannabis as a safe and effective treatment for veterans diagnosed with/suffering from symptoms of PTSD. This report examines the significant barriers that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face in obtaining effective treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems, and the tragic consequences of leaving these wounds of war untreated.

This article was submitted by: The Drug Policy Alliance. They can be reached at: www.drugpolicy.org or by phone at: 505/920-5256

























A “Third Bill of Rights”

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Let’s be inspired by FDR’s grand impetus for turning around a troubled economy.

In his final State of the Union Speech (SOTU), President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Jan. 11, 1944, called on Congress to implement a “Second Bill of Rights” – an “economic bill of rights”, that would guarantee:

A job with a living wage, Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies, Homeownership, Medical care and Education

Roosevelt did not argue for any change to the Constitution. Rather, he contended that these rights – to be implemented politically, not by federal judges – were needed because the political rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had proved “inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.”

Over the course of the ensuing decades, we made great strides toward achieving these goals. FDR had already introduced the minimum wage in 1938, and after the war wages expanded, homeownership increased, Medicaid and Medicare were created, and college and trade school enrollments soared. All of this coincided with a prolonged balanced expansion of the economy.

Today, though, we’ve fallen far back from these relative high water marks. The wages of 90% of workers have stagnated in real terms since 1967. The homeownership percentage has shrunk. Fewer employers offer quality medical insurance and pensions. And more than 28 million workers are now unemployed in real terms, with income inequality at an unprecedented level.

There is very little “equality in the pursuit of happiness.”

Thus it is that we need a “Third Bill of Rights” added to FDR’s list: the right of workers to freely join a union, and the right of all Americans to fair elections, with limits on large anonymous contributions and free access to voting booths

Years before FDR’s SOTU in 1944, his National Labor Relations Act recognized the “right to self-organization [and] to form, join, or assist labor organizations.”

Then in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized that “everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” And of course, the First Amendment has always similarly been read to protect freedom of association. But since the 1960s, when 30-35% of private-sector workers were unionized, the American labor movement has declined significantly. Today only about 7% of these workers are unionized.

I’ve spent a career negotiating deals, and ultimately all negotiations come down to bargaining strength and leverage. When labor was strong, workers achieved fair income growth and the country as a whole prospered. Today, however, the decline of organized labor as a bargaining power has not only adversely impacted wages for the bottom 90% of Americans; it has severely impacted our ability to achieve the other goals laid out in FDR’s address.

And in protecting the right of workers to organize, we would also be protecting their right to a retirement lived in dignity.

We also need to make campaign finance a civil rights issue.

We can’t expect the politicized Supreme Court, the similarly politicized Congress, or the underfunded and thus hamstrung SEC, to address the massive wrongs wrought by Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, American Tradition Partnership v. State of Montana and SpeechNow v. Federal Election Commission – a collection of judicial decisions which has made our electoral process captive to vast and mostly anonymous contributions from big business.

While none of the large corporations that now dominate American elections is specifically anti-civil rights and anti-civil liberties, every one of these companies, in order to advance its corporate, management, and sometimes global trade agenda, contributes huge amounts of money to federal candidates who are often anti these things.

Indisputably, these big business contributions are directly enabling closed voting booths, insensitive immigration policies, regressive tax policies, continuing attacks on reproductive rights for women and equal rights for gays and lesbians, and blatant union busting.

The nation’s civil rights, civil liberties and labor organizations should all demand an end to political contributions that work against a fair and inclusive society. And if Congress won’t respond, then this demand should be taken directly to consumers and the marketplace.

We need to protect FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, and now we also need to turn around and better balance our troubled economy. This new two-point “Third Bill of Rights,” also enacted politically, would both form a ‘national collective bargaining unit’ large enough to reinvigorate middle working-class Americans and restore fairness to our democracy.

The author can be contacted at comments@intermediaadvisors.com. He is the former CEO of AT&T Broadband and its predecessors, Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) and Liberty Media, and is currently an investor in media companies.

This article was submitted by Leo Hindery, Jr. a regular contributor to the New Mexican Voice





























We Need to Make Campaign Finance a Civil Rights Issue

Posted on 11. Sep, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

In his final State of the Union address in 1944, recognizing that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had proven “inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Congress to implement a “Second Bill of Rights,” an “economic bill of rights.”

FDR’s concerns then were specifically five-fold, and he hoped that this Second Bill of Rights would guarantee (1) a job with a living wage, (2) homeownership, (3) medical care, (4) education and, notably, (5) freedom from unfair competition and monopolies (read “business practices”).

Over the course of the ensuing decades, we made great strides toward achieving these goals, which coincided with a prolonged balanced expansion of the economy.

However, today, the quality of life for our workers has taken major steps backwards. More than 28 million workers are now unemployed in real terms.

Those who are working face an unprecedented level of income inequality, 90 percent of workers have had stagnant wages in real terms since 1967, and fewer and fewer employers offer pensions and quality medical insurance.

This move back to the past is largely due to the courts’ interpretation of the first Bill of Rights. Through Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, American Tradition Partnership v. State of Montana and SpeechNow v. Federal Election Commission, our judicial system has determined that unlimited campaign spending is “freedom of speech.”

Our electoral process is now captive to massive anonymous contributions from big businesses and extremely wealthy individuals to candidates from whom they obviously expect some sort of fealty if elected.

(As an aside, while the same rulings have also given unions the right to spend freely, they are outmatched by large corporations and the likes of the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, by several factors.)

Much of the scorn for this current situation has been rightfully pinned to Citizens United; however, it’s actually SpeechNow that has been most destructive.

This is the decision that birthed both “Super PACs,” which are explicitly political organizations that can accept unlimited contributions from corporations or individuals but must disclose donors, and “tax-exempt organizations,” which can accept unlimited contributions and are not subject to disclosure requirements.

The result of all of these decisions is that massive corporations are now pouring tens of millions of dollars into tax-exempt and anonymous trade groups to influence the outcome of federal elections.

And while none of the large corporations that now dominate American elections are outwardly anti-civil rights or anti-civil liberties, they support candidates who absolutely are.

Indisputably, these big business contributions, while advancing their companies’ own corporate and management agendas, are directly enabling closed voting booths, insensitive immigration policies, continued attacks on reproductive rights for women, and blatant union busting.

Unfortunately, the potential payoff for these corporations and individuals is simply too great for this current Congress, the SEC and aggrieved shareholders to sufficiently rein in corporate political contributions and their undue influence.

In fact, Congress and the courts, which are the very institutions that are supposed to protect us from oligarchy, are now mostly enabling it.

Thus, we now need to add to FDR’s list the civil right of all Americans to fair elections, with limits on large anonymous contributions. Every American citizen deserves an equal voice, the right to know who is influencing his representatives, and an end to corporate political contributions that work against a fair and inclusive society.

The civil rights movement of the 1960s showed us the impact we can have on corporations through boycotts. There is no “freedom to spend anonymously” in the Constitution; corporations need to disclose in detail their contributions and then be put under the spotlight. People from the left and the right should agree upon that.

And once we know which companies are donating, and to whom, we should demand action. Companies are not just backing candidates to further their agendas — they are backing candidates who are obviously anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-women, and anti-union.

We have the right to know if we are supporting hate when we go buy a light bulb or a chicken sandwich, and we always have the right to protest and boycott.

We as a nation need to again have a government that represents all of America — including the working class, small business owners, students and retirees — rather than one that is controlled by the wealthiest individuals and largest corporations.

Our civil liberties are being recast by those who are little more than prejudicially elected handmaidens of those who have become the oligarchs of America.

If we cannot stop this unrestrained spending through legislative action, which seems unlikely, then we need to at least ensure that strong disclosure laws are in place to guarantee transparency and begin the process of re-establishing our electoral rights.

To restore balance to our democracy, we now almost have no choice but to recognize — in terms of our civil rights — the implications of what the courts have done and what Congress refuses to do.

This article was submitted by Leo Hindery, Jr. who is chair of the US Economy/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation, co-chair (with USW President Leo Gerard) of the Task Force on Jobs Creation, founder of Jobs First 2012, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former CEO of AT&T Broadband and its predecessors, Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) and Liberty Media, and is currently a private equity investor in media companies.

Dems don’t view climate change as winning issue

Posted on 11. Sep, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment, Politics

Nobody pays much attention to the party platform—including the party, until some piece of it makes headline news.

At last week’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, the official “platform” was destined to the usual low profile until the Republicans made headlines over the fact that the Democrats had dropped the word “God” and removed language regarding Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—both of which were present in the 2008 party platform.

One day after approving the official party platform, the omission was reversed in a contentious voice vote from the floor that attracted even more attention to the matter.

Addressing the relevance of a party platform, NPR said: “The platform itself is a relic from the days when the parties were far more important institutions.”

While the platform may hold little sway over the candidate’s views or what actually happens in the next four years, it does outline some distinct contrasts between the parties on some major issues.

For example, the Republican platform opposes abortion under any circumstance, while the Democratic platform supports abortion at any time. Both, also, have well-known, opposite views on gay marriage.

These differences where highlighted last week in Charlotte as the Democrats gave key speaking spots to Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards and Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke and to openly gay Representatives Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin.

One report cites an Orthodox Jew—sporting a beard and a payot and wearing a black suit and broad-brimmed hat—as saying: “In speech after speech, they promoted gay marriage. I don’t think there was a single speech without it.” Even Michelle Obama’s speech supported the controversial themes.

Clearly, the DNC hasn’t shied away from polarizing issues—which makes the public absence of another platform plank all the more curious: climate change.

The 2012 Democratic Party Platform mentions climate change 18 times, while the 2012 Republican Party Platform mentions it only once (page 40)—and then only to criticize “the emphasis on climate risks in Obama administration military planning documents.”

The Huffington Post calls climate change “one of the starkest contrasts between the recently released Democratic and Republican party platforms.”

Some of the climate change language from the 2012 Democratic Party Platform includes:

“We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation—an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making.

We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. President Obama has been a leader on this issue.

We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy, and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants.

As we move towards lower carbon emissions, we will continue to support smart, energy efficient manufacturing. Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers.

Democrats will continue pursuing efforts to combat climate change at home as well, because reducing our emissions domestically—through regulation and market solutions—is necessary to continue being an international leader on this issue.

We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice.”

“We can … concentrate our resources and attention abroad on the areas that are the greatest priority moving forward.

This means directing more energy toward crucial problems, including longstanding threats like nuclear proliferation and emerging dangers such as cyber attacks, biological weapons, climate change, and transnational crime.”

“The national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe.

That is why, in addition to undertaking measures to enhance energy independence and promote efficiency, clean energy, and renewable sources of power here at home, the President and the Democratic Party have steadily worked to build an international framework to combat climate change.

We will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, working to ensure a response to climate change policy that draws upon decisive action by all nations.

Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can mitigate the effects of climate change and invest in clean energy technologies.

That is why the Obama administration has taken a leadership role in ongoing climate negotiations, working to ensure that other major economies like China and India commit to taking meaningful action. It is also why we have worked regionally to build clean energy partnerships in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.”

“And we will continue to champion sustainable growth that includes the clean energy that creates green jobs and combats climate change.”

With the scare tactics involved—calling climate change “one of the biggest threats of this generation,” a “catastrophe in the making,” a “national security threat” that is “real, urgent and severe,” and one of “the greatest dangers we face” likened to “terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber and biological attacks,” and “transnational crime”—you’d think it deserved at least as much mention on the podium as abortion or gay marriage.

There shouldn’t have been “a speech without it.” However, according to a report by the Daily Caller, it received only one mention in more than 80 speeches during the first two days.

Additionally, none of its big supporters were given a spot on the podium. Neither Representatives Henry Waxman or Ed Markey—the authors of the failed cap-and-trade bill, nor the high priest of global warming, Al Gore, were given a role in Charlotte.

At the 2012 DNC, unlike 2008 where he “strode onto the stage at Denver’s Invesco Field to a hero’s welcome,” Gore reportedly was “nowhere in sight.” Markey was in town and did participate in an off-site panel discussion on energy hosted by Politico.

There he called clean energy “a debate that wins.” He said, “We think this revolution is something to brag about.” Yet, the best attention the green energy/climate change issue got was a vague reference to “increasing climate volatility” from a “least watched” speech by Tom Steyer, co-founder of the Advanced Energy Economy trade association, a “passing reference” from Bill Clinton regarding “reducing greenhouse gases,” and, on Thursday, former presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry added: “an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet.”

Why so little attention for an issue that is one of the “biggest threats of this generation?”

Perhaps, just days away from the anniversary of the Solyndra scandal, they didn’t want to remind people of President Obama bragging about how Solyndra is the model for green jobs of the future, only to have them fail—costing more than a thousand jobs and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Or, how the failed green-energy loan guarantee program exposed the favor his friends in high places received.

Maybe they didn’t want to draw attention to Obama’s failed promise to push through a cap-and-trade program—as was a part of the 2008 Democratic Party Platform. Or, to the higher energy costs the green-energy emphasis has brought to manufacturing—causing jobs to be outsourced—and that “disproportionately affect the poor.”

They probably didn’t want to have to answer questions about CO2 emissions being the lowest in twenty years without the onerous, job-killing policies favored by the Democrats. Or, why European countries are abandoning their green-energy policies, ending green-energy subsidies, and are pursuing coal, shale gas, and off-shore drilling.

Whatever the reason, the obvious exclusion at the DNC makes clear that the Democrats don’t view climate change as a winning issue. The strong language included in the party platform is more likely, as NPR stated: “the platform is used as a pressure valve for activists within the party’s base.”

In contrast, Republicans realize the economic damage and job-killing ramifications of pursuing an agenda like that laid out in the Democratic Party Platform. They know that, right now, jobs and the economy are where they need to focus—and that is “something to brag about.”

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.





The unconventional convention?

Posted on 10. Sep, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

I remember when political conventions used to be a hoot. I got a kick out of watching the Ridiculous Meter go off the charts when TV cameras spied delegates wearing elephant hats, Uncle Sam outfits and other outrageous getups, some straight from Ringling Brothers’ wardrobe wagon.

Seemed, too, that the conventions of old weren’t scripted down to the minutest detail. Thankfully, there were no teleprompters back then to steer the speakers’ every word.

This year there was one genuine moment from the Democrats’ convention that will go down in the annals of convention history.

It was when the delegates were asked for a voice vote on re-inserting the words God and Jerusalem back into the party platform (seems somebody had left them out and the President wanted them back in, thus requiring a vote from the delegates).

Dem Convention Chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for a voice vote three times before showing real democracy by adopting the platform change with less than the 2/3 majority required to do so.

I guess he was going for a version of the old Flip Wilson, ‘the Devil made me do it’ rule here and say that he had to call it that way because it was on his teleprompter!

For my money, this one event was worth sitting through the full three days of the convention – not just for the deer in the headlights look on Villaraigosa’s face – but for the departure from the rigid programming that now characterizes these conventions.

Over in Tampa, the previous week, the Republicans had their own magical moment when Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood decided he’d go off-script and talk to an empty chair that supposedly held the President. I cringed watching the great actor and director reduce himself to a comedic role for which he clearly wasn’t prepared.

It was like seeing Richard Nixon doing stand-up, telling jokes about Spiro Agnew.

Conventions have become Petri dishes into which are added all manner of speakers designed to address every conceivable voter demographic or special interest group.

I counted the following: celebrities, working mothers and single women, the handicapped, Black Americans, Latinos, labor unions, athletes, pro-abortion groups, the military, small business owners, teachers, conservationists, anti-big energy and anti-big government types, and seniors.

I kept waiting for them to get really specific, bringing on speakers representing New England ball-bearing manufacturers, blind ATV off-roaders, transsexual spelling bee winners and maybe disgraced dead politicians, but it never happened.

There were no great surprises for the Repubs. They didn’t exhume Ronald Reagan and prop him up in front of an American flag near the podium. They just had “workmanlike” (quote from the media) speeches by the candidates.

The Democrats on the other hand did recycle former President Bill Clinton (the Dem commentators and surrogates called him “former President Clinton” I think to remind their faithful that Bubba wasn’t on the ballot).

Clinton proceeded to give a lecture on domestic realpolitik that focused largely on himself and his eight years in office and a father/son talk on the birds and the bees.

I stopped counting the, “Listen to this; it’s important” lines as I was transfixed by his crooked index finger that was busy doing an intricate dance of the sugar plum fairies while he droned on, effectively keeping the real President waiting behind the curtain.

Then the President spoke, and my mind went back to FDR and his Fireside Chats, John Wayne in any war movie, Knut Rockne at half-time, and finally it landed on Davy Crockett at the Alamo. The Beatles crept in there too, with the ‘Long and Winding Road.’ It was heady.

I’m sure glad I didn’t have go anywhere afterwards because I couldn’t have driven my car for fear I would have been cited for driving under the influence.

Words and exceptional speakers will do that to you, and I’ve found I need to decompress after the conventions to regain my equilibrium. Thank goodness the debates are a month away so I’ll have plenty of time to prepare for my next political rush.

- Editor

Can government and religion partner?

Posted on 01. Sep, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Every ten years the people counters of the U.S. Census Bureau descend on Americans with clipboards in hand to ask the nation a myriad of questions, the most important of which is: “How many people are really living here?”

If you’ve experienced an actual visit from one of the census bureau’s workers you know that their questions don’t stop with that one. They will ask you as many as you’re willing to answer. They’re a bit like Jehovah’s Witnesses, but with one big disadvantage. Unlike their door-knocking JW brethren, they don’t have the powerful back story of the Bible to aid them in pressing their case. What they DO have is the power of the government and an official ID on their side.

The Census Bureau’s information is very useful, and I relied on it while researching this article. I also looked at the Rasmussen and Gallup polling organizations in my quest to find the ‘big game’ in the political jungle – the Republicans and the Rinos (Republicans in Name Only), the Democrats and the Dinos (Democrats in Name Only) and the Swing Voters and Svinos (Swing voters in Name Only). Now that we got the terminology out of the way, how about some facts?

Let’s take the most current national elections of 2010. In the actual elections, according to the Census Bureau, Hispanic voters accounted for 7% of the vote, Blacks 12% and Asians 2.5%.

The most common reason given for not voting was, “I was too busy” at 27%. 16% said, “My vote wouldn’t make any difference.” Fully 68% of the 72% registered homeowners did vote. Only 50% of the 61% registered renters voted. Finally, 61% of the voters were from families making $100K/yr. or more while only 30% came from families making $20K/yr. or lower.

Around the time of the 2010 election, a Gallup poll revealed that 31% self-identified as Democrats (a 22-year low), 29% as Republicans and 38% as Independents. Later in 2011 the company found that self-identified Independents rose to 40% (the largest in 60 years), Republicans dropped to 27% and the Democrats held steady at 31%.

Fast-forward to June 2012 and a Rasmussen poll showed that 35.4% of the people polled identified themselves as Republicans, 34.0% as Democrats and 30% as Independents. Comparing the 2011 numbers from Gallup with the 2012 numbers from Rasmussen and the results are: Republicans gained 7%, Democrats gained 3%, and Independents lost 10%.

The conclusions, based on these numbers, would be that both the Republicans and Democrats are gaining strength and that many previously self-identified  Independents and now moving towards the major parties.

This brings up several questions: do you trust people’s responses; to what do you attribute these shifts and can this information really be used to predict outcomes?

I would argue that the pollsters should have been asking different questions, as the electorate is really all over the map AND don’t always identify with the labels they’re given to choose from.

They should have asked: “Are you, a) a fiscal and social conservative, b) a fiscal and social liberal, c) a fiscal conservative and a social liberal or d) a fiscal liberal and a social conservative?”

There’s another aspect to all of this polling stuff. People lie, all the time, and for different reasons. These days it’s really hard to tell which political stripes are real and which ones are just painted on.

Personally, I think we need to streamline the questioning business. My solution is to give the census responsibility and all the political polling jobs to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’re always presentable and extremely polite, and who better suited to get the truth out of us than those who tell it for a living? Take that Rinos, Dinos and Svinos.

- Editor

Cracking the political code

Posted on 21. Aug, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

What our country desperately needs during these last eleven weeks leading up to the Presidential election is a reverse ‘code-talker’ to help us decipher the true meaning of the political newspeak being served up in advertising, interviews and speeches by the two parties’ candidates. Let’s explore a few of the more recent examples…

1. ‘Paying their fair share’ – Decoded: the administration believes that there is a definition of what a fair share of anything is, but that they are either reluctant to tell the American people what that definition is or admit that they really don’t have one.

The phrase is often paired with a controversial idiom and concept, social justice. Both are related to a belief in income redistribution. To be fair to income redistribution disciples, our tax code has been doing social/economic engineering and re-distribution of wealth since 1913 when the income tax was enshrined into law by the 16th amendment. The more cynical among us may also be reminded of another famous quote in the same vein, “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.”

2. “You didn’t build that” – Decoded: a Freudian slip (maybe) of the Presidential tongue in August that refers to small business owners.

It means that you as an individual are part of a greater whole – a collective – and that the credit for anything you’ve built or done to increase your wealth or standing like engaging in hard work or good decision-making MUST be shared with the rest of society to be considered fair. The Progressives worry that if you are able to take full credit for what you’ve done, you might oppose the federal government taking your fair share in taxes, hence the collectivization of your toil. What naturally follows is a debt owed to the American people by American businesses.

3. “Y’all will be back in chains!” – Decoded: a certainly inappropriate and possibly racially-charged comment made recently by the Vice-President, presumably about black Americans being returned to slavery if they vote for the opposition who would take the country backwards to a time of economic or other bondage. In short,“vote for us and you will continue to enjoy economic security through government entitlement programs.”

4. “Saved or created jobs” (as it relates to the so-called ‘Stimulus Plan’) – Decoded: the Administration added saved jobs because they knew that an increase in created jobs would be too difficult to achieve and thus they could fall back on the saved jobs number when created jobs didn’t materialize.

5.  “Kick the can down the road” – Decoded: a very worn out term meaning to procrastinate or put off making a difficult decision (like passing a budget which the Senate hasn’t done in over three years). Usually meant to demean the other side’s willingness to tackle the tough issues.

6. “This guy” – Decoded: often used to diminish a person, make him/her less legitimate (frequently used instead of this gentleman, this man, my opponent, President blank or Governor blank, etc.).

7. “Extremist” – Decoded: frequently employed by the candidates’ political surrogates to conjure up a mental picture of a ‘Molotov cocktail throwing radical’ with an agenda that will turn back the clock to perilous times of social and economic uncertainty.

8. “Social Darwinism” – Decoded: recently used by the President to describe the Republicans’ budget and specifically their proposed welfare (entitlement) program changes. Great sound bite and works on the college campus, but makes the President sound like he’s rehearsing for the Mensa Society instead of speaking to the folks.

Taken from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection (in Origin of the Species), the President’s phrase alludes to purported Republican socio-economic policies that would promote unchecked growth and the influence of special interest groups on the rest of the country.

You probably have your own favorite political code words or phrases that raise your hackles, and I would encourage you to dust off your decoder ring and find their true hidden meanings. By the way, raising your hackles refers to the hairs on the back of a dog’s neck which stand up when the animal is angry or threatened. Isn’t our language rich even in an election year?

- Editor

Dr. Obama’s Amazing American Elixir

Posted on 19. Aug, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Politics, Social/Cultural

The fight for America’s soul and the debate on socialism is not new in America.

It’s just entered our orbit of consciousness with a vengeance since the election of a president who, in his own words in October of 2008, said, “We are five days from fundamentally transforming America.”

Pundits and parsers will probably say that was just a candidate being political, but those of us on terra firma will recognize it as a prophetic statement about a radical transformation of our economic and political system that would soon be made by a committed ideologue who was days away from doing it!

Either way, it was a clear marketing victory.

Those who say Mr. Obama didn’t live up to his central campaign promises weren’t paying attention. He told us, repeatedly, that he was a change agent. Knowing that, why wouldn’t we believe that he would change his positions once he was elected? Americans weren’t listening with their ears. They were in a shopping trance, wanting to buy something new that reflected their own self-image.

They were searching for a product that would cure all their ills. What they wanted was actually a miracle wonder product from an earlier century, routinely sold on street corners and at carnivals all over this land. It was commonly known as, ‘snake oil.’

They found exactly what they were looking for in Dr. Obama’s Amazing American Elixir.

By voting for him, they cleansed their consciences about America’s past racial transgressions. Younger voters got their cool guy who was slim, played basketball, had smoked cocaine and was only slightly removed from their generation.

The Black and Hispanic communities elected a man seemingly sympathetic to them. Barack Obama made the presidency attractive to first-time voters who were looking for transformational change.

The only problem was that many in these groups knew little about how America actually worked let alone how to transform it. They only knew how it looked to them and hadn’t a clue how Wall Street, Main Street and Capitol Hill fit together.

Ideologies have always needed memorable images, words, songs and symbols to sell their message, and secularism and socialism are no different.

Secularism sells itself on a simple premise: society is better served, more fair and easier to manage without all this religious nonsense. Socialism is not far behind with: the needs of the many outweigh the inconvenience of the few.

The truth is we’ve always had a dollop of secularism and socialism in America and seen its ebb and flow, especially during times of crisis when standing together made for a solid defense (in the Great Depression, during WWII, and now in the Age of Obama and the Great Recession).

The danger now is that we’ll jettison our traditional capitalistic system and adopt an unworkable government-managed economic model out of fear.

Pushing a social justice theme and espousing income redistribution with a “you didn’t build that” mantra, the 44th president continues to ride a populist wave of support on a surfboard of pointed rhetoric, rhetoric that has worked up until now.

Americans have always been suckers for a good slogan whether it’s where’s the beef or the pause that refreshes.

We bought big cars with shark fins, hula hoops and pet rocks, spiked our hair, wore dog collars and suffered high colonics. With all that consumer history, why would anyone think that we couldn’t be sold and re-sold a president and that he would ride in on a messianic message of hope?

Ad men were proud of candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. It was masterful, right down to the use of the new social media which became the message.

Young people self-identified with the media Mr. Obama used and the bond was forged. They bought the T-shirt, the new world decals for their back packs AND the message.

It was change we could believe in…at first sight and any thinking person had to be thinking Obama. The others were just unenlightened.

It wasn’t a hostile takeover that America experienced on January 20, 2009.  We got a taste of the classic leveraged buy-out. The financial sponsor (the candidate) acquired the controlling interest (our votes) in our equity (the running of the country) and then financed his operation through leveraged borrowing (increased national debt), trillions of dollars of it, in record time.

That was then, but in eleven short weeks Americans will have a choice: sign on to four more years of the same or turn around, go back to the place where we left our values and start anew.

We may have to face facts, however…that we have become mere consumers of promises and have lost our taste for critical thought. If that is the case, we should all be investing our money in the media, because that is where the battle for the hearts, minds, pocketbooks and votes of Americans will be fought, at least until November. Caveat emptor.

- Editor








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