Monday, November 16, 2015

The Horror In Paris: Time For Senators Udall And Heinrich To Shift Course, Plus: A Ghost Story Starring Jay McCleskey, And: Martinez's National Nonsense 

The monstrous evil that came to Paris has even the most isolationist among us rethinking the American role in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

The diabolical and damnable attacks on innocent civilians have now reached a scale that they threaten the everyday functioning of democracy. The dove of peace lies bloodied and dead, slaughtered by savages intent on returning the world to some kind of Dark Age.

The Paris massacre and the existential threat it presents to all we value must be answered with the full force of the United States. To that end, New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich should drop their opposition to President Obama's decision to place a handful of special forces troops in Syria.

Their argument that the introduction of troops presents the risk of a quagmire--even if correct--is no longer relevant in a world that faces far more ghastly consequences if we pursue a risk-averse strategy that handcuffs us in ridding the world of this barbarous menace.

It doesn't matter anymore that President George W. Bush paved the path for this catastrophe by so mistakenly involving America in Iraq and that it should be a lesson for nonintervention. With casualties mounting worldwide, with a hideous slaughter in a citadel of Western civilization and another in the skies of the Sinai--an  attack on all humanity as President Obama called it---we have no choice.

Senators Udall and Heinrich need to give a green light to engaging in any way possible this vilest of enemies and to end this scourge before it turns up on the streets of America.


Yet another leg of the federal grand jury investigation of Gov. Martinez's top political adviser Jay McCleskey is revealed as the Santa Fe New Mexican continues to lead on the state's big political story:

The use of the front companies raises questions about the sizable influence McCleskey had over huge piles of money in various campaigns and political action committees for which he worked, all with little or no scrutiny. The FBI is now investigating different fundraising vehicles used by McCleskey and the Martinez political campaign, though it is unknown whether M3 and CD are subjects of the probe.

State Dems pounced on the report:

After learning that Governor Martinez's own PAC helped create illegal shell companies to hide political dollars, it is no wonder there is an FBI investigation. Purposefully laundering campaign funds through fake corporations to fool the public is clearly a breach of trust and a serious ethical violation. Instead of trying to sweep this under the rug, Governor Martinez needs to explain why she helped create this illegal scheme to mislead New Mexican voters about her political machine," said Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland.

As the story develops, it's becoming clear that the federal probe of McCleskey is (or was) multi-faceted. Previous news reports confirm the FBI has looked at expenditures for Martinez's 2010 inaugural and allegations that her political opponents had their tax returns audited.


The notion that Gov. Martinez could be on the 2016 presidential ticket always had an alien ring to it, given that she has exhibited little interest in national politics or policy and has not sat for any substantive national interviews on the issues of the day (not to mention the in-depth vetting she has avoided).

Now with a potential scandal involving her political adviser McCleskey threatening to put her administration under water, the notion of Martinez advancing to the highest reaches of American politics seems more remote than Uranus.

That brings us to Senator Marco Rubio. When he threw Martinez's name out as possible vice presidential timber last Thursday was he unaware that the Governor's administration had just encountered a long shadow cast by its "shadow governor?" It's hard to believe he had not. By then the news was five days old.

If you like conspiracy theories maybe Rubio's name drop can be seen as a passive aggressive move. Rubio mentions Martinez which immediately draws attention to the latest news about her--which is the FBI investigation of McCleskey and that instantly undermines her nationally as she prepares to take the helm of the Republican Governors Association later this week.

Play along with us. Maybe Rubio and his allies aren't keen on the idea of Martinez becoming the RGA head and prefer someone like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker? Maybe the Rubio camp needs to keep its place in line as the leading Hispanic VP candidate in case of his bid for the top slot falls short? Seeing Martinez's bad news spread  doesn't hurt.

After Rubio's rumination the national Dems instantly moved to downgrade Martinez by issuing a release mocking the mention of her as a VP choice, pointing out the federal grand jury cloud hovering over McCleskey and her administration.

Conspiracies aside, it is fascinating watching the RGA taking on Martinez as chairman this week. They look like they are picking up a ticking time bomb.


Hot and heavy debate already over a proposed constitutional amendment that would reform the state's bail laws in reaction to the wave of violent crime. Reader Alan Wagman has rebuttal on another reader missive we carried Friday:

Joe, The reader comment in your Friday blog about the proposed bail amendment claims that the last sentence of the amendment states that "If [people accused but not convicted of crimes] are poor or indigent, turn them loose on their own recognizance." This is a demonstrable misstatement of the proposed amendment. The actual last sentence of the proposed amendment says, "No person eligible for pretrial release pursuant to this section shall be detained solely because of financial inability to post a property or money bond."

It does not say that people are to be turned loose because they are poor. It says that people are not to kept locked up solely because they are poor. Without this last sentence, a rich person charged with repeatedly and brutally torturing and beating a household member can be released upon posting a million dollar bond, while a poor person who gives a a single prescription painkiller to a friend with a toothache can be held in jail for inability to post even a minimal bond. That, in fact, is what happens now and is what the amendment is designed to address.

If the bail amendment is approved by the Legislature next year it would be sent to the voters for an up or down vote.

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