Tuesday, January 27, 2015

MeanMesa: Waiting for the Mail

Communicating with Washington, D.C.
Your Representative or Senator is simply dying to hear from you.

Amid the wonders of our modern, technological age there are all sorts of extremely convenient tools to convey our opinions and sentiments to our elected officials. Among the least effective are things such as petitions filled out by faceBook stragglers who add their email addresses to some little, easily ignored message which is then converted to electrons and piped off to Washington. When such a petition arrives in a Capital Hill mail room [email room?] a tiny little check is placed on an already on-going list of "constituent interest topics."

In this way hundreds of petition signing emails are aggregated into a solitary total, and should that total exceed a certain threshold [a threshold inevitably set by a Congressional 'office manager' who is famously adept at preventing anything upsetting from reaching the Congressman or Senator...], a very, very short mention is then made to the Congressman or Senator about this particular concern. Otherwise, that is, should the petition not reach this threshold of "valid perturbability," nothing further happens, and all the electrons involved are released for use in their next communication task.

Phone calls made directly to the Congressman or Senator's office are a tiny bit more dicey. A staff member will have to actually speak to the constituent on the line. The caller will probably become quite exercised about something or other that the Congressman or Senator has done recently. The staffer who has answered the phone is paid to bear the abuse rolling in from this irate constituent, reassuring the caller constantly that whatever the specific complaint might be, that the caller's perception of the Congressman or Senator's action had, in fact, been unfortunately misinterpreted, and that everything was actually "roses, simply roses."

Well, MeanMesa has, from time to time, done all these things to communicate this or that message to the seat of power in Washington, D.C. Expectations that such a message might actually deliver any noticeable impact on its addressee were never particularly strong. From time to time the overly emotional phone call might yield a few moments of fleeting satisfaction afterwards, but the artificial nature of such a sensation soon reduces the whole matter back to little more than pointless chatter.

Once all these "less than effective" choices have been dispatched as being too easily ignored, there remains one final option. MeanMesa reserves this last remaining style of communication for exceptional cases. Think of it as the equivalent of a "nuclear option."

This last choice is a letter.

By letter, MeanMesa is referring to an actual letter. One which can be composed on one's computer and then printed out on one's printer. The additional ingredients for this "letter" will be an envelope and a stamp. After all the components have been assembled, the letter signed and the envelope carefully licked and sealed, the whole shebang goes into a mailbox. The United States Postal Service will then deliver this paper envelope containing this paper letter with MeanMesa's actual signature to the Congressman or Senator's office.

MeanMesa found this "nuclear option" quite necessary on two occasions this past week. This necessity resulted in such a paper letter being sent to each of New Mexico's theoretically Democratic U.S. Senators.

Letter Number One
Senator Martin Heinrich

Topic: Voting against an amendment proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren which would have protected the Dodd-Frank bill.

The letter.

Letter Number Two:
Senator Tom Udall

Topic: Voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Options: Sell Out or Scorched Earth?

What will it take to satisfy

 what's left of NM's Democratic base?

Now, visitors here, after having a look at MeanMesa's paper letters, may quite accurately get a sense of how incredibly frustrated a progressive Democrat might be when Senators begin acting this way. What can we be thinking as we sit here thousands of miles from Washington, D.C. wondering just what these Democratic Senators of ours are actually doing?

When you "reach across the aisle" it's OUR hand. [image]

So far as MeanMesa is concerned, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- on the "other side" of that aisle that should merit a single vote from one of our state's Senators. Come on. We have seen these people in action. The reactionaries in the GOP work for the billionaires. And that is not "sort of" work for the billionaires, or "only mainly" work for the billionaires' interests in "business matters" or "are simply trying" to do what they think is "best for the country" which means doing everything the billionaires tell them to do.


The owners of the Republican Party are busily putting together their looting plan to raise the national debt by $1.25 Tn in the next 24 months. We all know who will be putting this money into their pockets. [The $1.25 Tn/year figure is based on the average increase in debt per year that Republicans -- i.e. Bush W. -- have hollowed out of the economy every time they have had the chance in recent years.] If either Martin Heinrich or Tom Udall think that this is somehow going to be good for New Mexico, we've got the wrong Senators.

Letter Number One: Martin Heinrich

New Mexico took a "direct hit" when Bush W. and his cronies in the autocracy vaporized forty per cent of the accumulated wealth of middle class Americans in a matter of a few weeks. Some of the bitter drama unfolding after the "bank job" didn't actually slam into this poor state for a couple of months because we were already so poor that no one noticed much of the impact right away. 

Nonetheless, the pain reached New Mexico just as it had reached the other states. When the Democrats took measures to prevent the same thing from happening to us again, most folks here -- from both Parties -- thought that it was a great idea.

Predictably, the banksters didn't like Dodd-Frank much, but MeanMesa suspects that much of the maudlin enmity they expressed was only a guise covering the "cold echoes of real terror" coursing around in their exceptionally small, wicked little brains. They terrified themselves with their own wild greed binge, and although the financial sector's "masters of the universe" squawked and piddled on cue, they were actually relieved that someone had stepped in to permanently squelch the destructive rampage.

That was then. This is now.

It's 2015. Who can remember what happened in 2008? Exactly the same players who looted it last time are now scheming to loot it the next time. [With, perhaps, a few "new faces." The 2008 disaster created a disturbing handful of new billionaires with shiny new, dynastic fortunes cleverly extracted from everyone else's pain.] With the pirates in charge of the Congress, the "next time" is, of course, now.

But, returning to this post, why did Senator Heinrich vote to eat away the protections of the Dodd-Frank? Surely he is not one of the mind addled GOP base who has, following orders, strangely forgotten about what happened to us only a short six years ago. The question is: 

"Why did a Democratic New Mexico Senator not vote to protect Dodd-Frank??

Letter Number Two: Tom Udall

New Mexico doesn't need the Keystone pipeline for any compelling state interest that MeanMesa can possibly put together. State revenues are already in a crisis thanks to the low oil prices. As the fifth largest holder of "proven reserves" of crude oil and natural gas, New Mexico receives a very large portion of its state revenue from severance taxes. When the prices of those commodities plummets, state expenditures have to be trimmed to balance the budget.

If anything, the Keystone pipeline inflicts a "double injury" of New Mexico's already rather "battered" economy. [New Mexico is currently having a "second helping" of the Great Republican Recession of 2008.]First, by introducing even more crude oil into the commodity market, prices can drop even lower and state severance revenues will follow the plunge. Second, the Keystone's Canadian sludge is going to be directed to refineries which are now producing gasoline for the New Mexico market, making it necessary for in state gasoline supplies to be refined elsewhere and shipped here.

The Keystone may amount to a "wedding gift" to pay back the Koch brothers who bank rolled the Republican "win" in the mid terms, but it amounts a healthy dose of rat poison for the struggling New Mexico consumer economy. [New Mexico is the poorest state in the nation.]

[MeanMesa was so upset while preparing the paper letter to Senator Udall that it was accidentally addressed to his brother, Mark Udall. For visitors not living in the Southwest United States, Mark Udall lost his Senate seat to a screaming right wing abortion monkey in Colorado in the last election, so perhaps the error was actually prescient. The brothers are the sons of the late Mo Udall. Even before that, the Udalls were a more or less permanent, generational fixture in neighboring Arizona's state government.]

However, bringing the focus back to the title of this posting, all of these protestations only amount to little more than the casual whining one might over hear at a frozen, wind blown, Albuquerque bus stop. The question is: 

"Why did a Democratic New Mexico Senator vote for the Keystone pipeline??"

Waiting for the Mail

Do we think we'll be hearing from either one of them?

At least one of the possible answers to either of the two questions above spells big trouble for New Mexico. Is it possible that both of our United States Senators have drunk the Kool Aid while we weren't watching?

If either one or both of them have quietly sold us out, they will have plenty of company in the Congress where just about everyone has now already done the same. After all, we already knew that even after the billionaires ponied up the $500 million to buy the mid term, they still had plenty of dough left over to "talk" to Democrats.

However, rather than recklessly launching into accusations, we should wait for both Senator Heinrich and Senator Udall to explain themselves. If either of these Senators bothers to respond to MeanMesa, that response will be published here.

If there is no explanation or response, maybe Washington will have a chance to understand the "Mean" part of MeanMesa.

Update: Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Email from the office of Tom Udall
 [Links remain enabled]

A promise was made in the post above -- to update with correspondence from either of the two Senators. This email arrived from Senator Tom Udall's office.

Dear MeanMesa,

The United States has always been one of the most innovative economies in the world. We invented the telephone and perfected the assembly line. American ingenuity put the first man on the moon. And I believe we can lead the world in clean energy production.

But the debate over the Keystone Pipeline is a political distraction.America deserves a “do it all, do it right” approach to energy policy that will move us forward by investing in homegrown, energy solutions -- like clean energy technology and domestic oil and gas. But instead, the Keystone Pipeline would pump millions of gallons of dirty tar sand oil through the heartland of our country.

Tell the Senate you support American renewable energy alternatives to dirty foreign oil pipelines. Add your name to my petition.

Climate change exists, and it’s already impacting America’s communities and our economy -- just ask our farmers and ranchers here in New Mexico.

This pipeline is not a real, long-term energy solution. We have the technology, resources, and know-how to lead the world in clean energy production that will create jobs and fight climate change.

The Keystone Pipeline is a step back when we should be moving forward. Add your voice to mine and oppose the Keystone Pipeline.

Thank you for your support.


Additional correspondence will be published here.

Update: Thursday January 29

POLITICUSUSA Reports Senate Votes on Keystone

Heinrich and Udall voted NO.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Treason and Hubris in Boehner's Sky Box

A Quick Glimpse at the Constitutional 
Mechanism of International Relations
We may have quit doing a lot of this,
 but it remains in the Constitution.

To begin, we can spend just a short moment taking an over view of how the United States government is supposed to do business with the rest of the world. 

The executive: We have a President for a reason. By the time the Constitution was written the founders already knew that committees utterly sucked at things like fighting wars, negotiating with foreign governments, granting pardons, speaking for the government on international matters and so forth. The alternative to this confusing approach was to elect a President with the job of doing all these things more or less publicly, and who would then "face the wrath" of voters if he strayed too far from the straight and narrow.

The Senate: So far as treaties went, the Senate would have the final word on ratification. The Constitution spelled out very carefully that, once a treaty had been ratified this way, its terms became the law of the land. The Senate was, apparently, given this job because it was supposed to be a "deliberative body."

The House of Representatives: With respect to waging wars the House of Representatives would sit in the driver's seat because wars cost money, and the House had the money. The House could neither declare a war nor a peace, but the money angle would always turn out to be the controlling factor sooner or later. Likewise with trade agreements, but not with everything. [For example the current House Republicans have tried to "de-fund" both the ACA and President Obama's executive orders regarding immigration policy, but have not really managed in either case so far. On the other hand the same bunch has managed to "de-fund" the closing of Guantanamo.]

In all three of these cases the "committee in charge idea" was set aside for a variety of pretty good reasons, but MeanMesa [who makes absolutely no claim to be a scholar of Constitutional history...] suspects that one of the main reasons was that the "committee approach" was too susceptible to being swayed by bribes, extortion, gifts, special deals and other "less than Constitutional influences." Regardless of whether it was the 1770's or 2015, wars, treaties, pardons, trade agreements and the rest have always been swarming with "loose dollars" ready to make their way into just the "right" pockets to produce just the "right" decisions.

Boehner's Invitation to Netanyahu
A Billionaire's dream of war with Iran

It is tempting to characterize this Constitutional arrangement as "separation of powers," but in this case [the subject of this posting] that might introduce some unnecessary confusion. Rather than a Constitutional  assignment of specific powers to the various bodies of the government, the present issue with Boehner and the Israelis turns out to be more of a Constitutional "suggestion for good manners."

Nonetheless, even seen this way Boehner's machinations with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reflect horrible manners for the Speaker. The planned visit will probably take place roughly as it is presently outlined, but it will be provocative -- and it will be provocative in the most detestable sense.

Nothing is going to materialize from Netanyahu's predictably maudlin histrionics before the House of Representatives. Nothing can materialize. The House cannot start a war, no matter how much they are salivating over the prospect. So, given these realities, what is spurring Boehner to such a reckless act of political provocation?

MeanMesa suggests a profound miscalculation on Boehner's part, a miscalculation similar to the embarrassing example we saw when Mitt Romney arrived after the 2012 election without a concession speech. In this case with the Speaker the miscalculation is similar, has similar origins, similar causes and, most likely, will have somewhat similar consequences. There are simply no longer a sufficient number of tragically blinded "Revelationist voters" to carry another hare brained GOP election campaign.

First, Boehner has been convinced that there really is this "actionable political majority" encompassing enough of the base voters of both Parties to make this risky charade worth undertaking. The "majority" we refer to here is made up of Biblical voters who remain steadfastly adherent to the canonical factuality of Saint John the Divine's nightmarish Revelations about the ultimate destiny of Jerusalem.

Both Boehner and Netanyahu consider the "apocalyptic US voters" to be the ultimate of all precious, constituent treasures. Talk about "low maintenance!" The only duty required to keep this crowd in a state which will very dependably deliver its voting block every time is the exercise of a reasonable caution to never cross the mythology's strained boundaries, that is, to be continually and convincingly apocalyptic in a  non-provocative, non-denominational manner.

Second, while such a statistical misperception would have normally been dispatched by contradictory reporting conducted by America's "free and independent press," Boehner has replicated the Romney mistake of listening exclusively to right wing hate voices. This has resulted in a dangerously skewed image of the American electorate's actual priorities -- a skewed vision the Speaker, like Romney, has eagerly embraced for at least reassurance and comfort, but, most likely, also for political necessity. There are very few credible "arrows" remaining in the GOP's heavily soiled quiver, and this isn't one of them.

MeanMesa concludes that playing the "Bible card" is a sign of right wing political desperation. Such tactics have worked before, but the numbers have been changing. This has been famously described as the Earth moving under the GOP's feet -- while they failed to notice.

Boehner is, according to what information is available, apparently a "devout Catholic." It is a religion with a usefully adaptable authoritarian spine for any politician willing to exploit its parishioners. Further, the Crusade-like obsession to rush to the "fight to free the Holy City" has, traditionally, also been one of the sweetest, most dependable Biblical incitements for going to war for centuries among the non-Catholic dominionists, evangelicals and others, too. One need look no further back in history than the Six Day or Yom Kippur Wars [res: 1967, 1973. Read more  WIKI - Six Day War and WIKI - Yom Kippur War ]to measure the eager, war making sentiment of the American electorate accompanying such events.

Boehner is convinced that the Netanyahu invitation has the potential to "beat plowshares into swords" politically, even though there is essentially no possibility that the President, acting as Commander in Chief, would ever declare war on such a basis. [Confused? Maybe you're thinking about the last guy.]

The hackneyed gambit of either creating an actual crisis or simply fabricating a convincing artificial picture of one is as old as the hills. American voters are in no mood for a repetition of the Bush Jr.  Iraq.War on Terror fraud. Not every dime of Sheldon Adelson's Iran hating billions will be enough to sell another version of this pocked, wormy apple while the bruises and scabs of the last time are still so fresh.

Third, Boehner is also hoping that this maneuver will further the oligarchs' think tank scheme to deluge voters with on-going propaganda that the President is not sufficiently engaged with the "Jerusalem question" to merit being considered righteous by the true believers. If the President can be imaged as being  "in over his head" when faced with dealing with such an issue, these already "fact free" Biblical voters will have even less confidence in him than ever.

Actual facts would straighten this out quite quickly. There is no immediate "Jerusalem issue" other than the Halloween candy Mr. Netanyahu will be bringing to the party. The President is more effectively involved in Arab/Israeli relations than the last Republican President was or than any of the Republican Presidential candidates since then have proposed in their platforms. Conditions meriting the violent military action as it is described by both St. John the Divine and Mr. Netanyahu are static, unchanging flash points. The actual conditions and challenges "on the ground" are fluid, quite dynamic and not without constructive opportunity.

Fourth, Boehner's sudden rush back to the Biblical, trailer park voters with his release of antics such as the Netanyahu invitation has been choreographed in a very suspicious schedule. The Speaker was hardly "hiding" his plan for the Israeli Prime Minister's visit prior to the President's State of the Union speech, but immediately afterward the right wing's obedient media was ordered to begin publicizing the invitation broadly.

The President's State of the Union Speech
Things seemed to be going so well
until this hurricane suddenly appeared.

The Netanyahu visit scheme actually amounted to "damage control" for the GOP's austerity exhausted base. This frantic PR calculation was apparently made essentially in "real time" while the President was still at the podium.

The populist ideas in the speech which suggested that the Federal Government might actually do something -- anything -- for common voters without lobbyists harpooned a vein of real terror through the halls of the think tank bunkers. These were precisely the kinds of ideas which might lure GOP base voters who had previously been infatuated with patriotic, "old rugged cross" suffering to wander out into the sunlight.

Pursuing this speculation even further, we note that the President's popularity has overwhelmed the manufactured doldrums which had been so carefully and relentlessly fabricated by the media. Although there has been less openly spoken reference to it, the dream of impeaching Barack Obama still constitutes the primary food group for the bigots in the tea bag caucus. The interesting question which surfaces here like a WWII German U-boat on a foggy morning is whether or not the billionaires still consider that popular opinion and approval ratings have anything to do with their enduring appetite for impeachment and the continued looting it would make possible.

We also need to remember that the President's recitation of the rather remarkable facts of his administration's accomplishments during the State of the Union speech was the first time that many Americans had ever heard a single word of such a narrative. With such a refutation of the endlessly repeated propaganda out in the open, some -- although certainly not all -- of the FOX manufactured "failure imaging" began to slip, releasing perhaps more than a few of Murdoch's wing nut media victims from their zombie-like political trance in time for the 2016 election.

Netanyahu's Road Weary Diatribe
Israel's frantic CPR for war with the old Ottoman Empire

Historic villains such as Artaxerxes and Tissaphernes may have inconveniently slipped from view for history challenged Americans, but the Ottoman Empire's violent military efforts to retain control of Jerusalem are as fresh a fodder for the Biblical Right as a blistering episode of the Seven Hundred Club on a particularly good day. Israel's constant, Mafia-like extension of settlements into Palestinian territory guarantees that the endless real estate war will continue for the foreseeable future.

Something positive? [image source]
We can assume that Netanyahu's "speech" to the House will fall considerably short by the measure of war making inspiration of Demosthenes's Philippics, but it will be designed to spark new Biblical vengeance into the drooling tea bags at the back of the chamber. However, the ambitions go even further. While the Prime Minister will be endeavoring to shore up the fading leverage of St. John the Divine's hallucinatory ramblings on international war politics, the cynical eyes of the Republican caucus will be glued to US opinion polls, searching for a dent in the President's surging approval ratings.

This is a chillingly clear case of dabbling with war in Iran for domestic political advantage. 

The most bellicose of the House chicken hawks will be grinding the bones of military corpses in the midnight hours to exploit their moment in the spot light to the maximum. The billionaires' think tanks will have ordered an extra truck load of coal to rev up the power levels of their fact twisting machinery. These preparations are underway now. Netanyahu is scheduled for March.

Another OIL War
 and Behind the Scenes Money Making

Of course a war with Iran would carry a few other "delectable" tid bits for GOP snacking.

The list is sickeningly familiar.

1. Iran has huge oil reserves. 

2. The military procurement expenditures for such a war would be immense. Iran is not at all similar to the "push-over" victims of the effeminate Bush Jr. This country has teeth.

3. A Republican looter seated in the Oval Office could ram additional "emergency, no bid, war making contracts" through a strangely cooperative House as "emergency supplements" to the Federal Budget. This is what happened during the frenzied attack and occupation of Iraq. Tax payers watched helplessly as the Iraq war funding reached a billion dollars per week. No one could stop it.

4. Once Iran had been demolished as an "unfortunate necessity" in the war, massive oil field service contracts would, of course, be vitally necessary to "stabilize the world market." Americans are prone to view the actual crude oil as the ultimate prize in such a scheme, but oil field services required to rebuild and improve fields and equipment after being subjected to military violence hurled Halliburton from a comatose corporate failure state to an amazing "business resurrection" that saw stock prices sky rocketing and...uh..."hard working" millionaires being made from whole cloth.

Maybe We're Being Too Mean
Could Boehner be cooperating with Obama in the national interests?
There's a first time for everything...

Please be sure that you are seated. While it is extremely unlikely that the Owners of the Republican Party could have experienced such a shocking shift in perspective, there remains the faint possibility
The self-sacrificing patriot. [Huff Post]
that the Speaker is actually "on board" with the Iran nuclear negotiations and has decided to suffer the probable embarrassment of the Netanyahu visit as a voluntary act of "willing, self-sacrificing patriotism." If the Iranians see the Israeli fascist spewing forth war talk before the addled Republican House members, perhaps they would be inclined to "pick up the pace a bit" in the already tediously painful nuclear negotiations.

Can a leopard change its spots without surgery?

Yes, but usually only if it has some reason to make the change.

MeanMesa, while satisfied that this last, unlikely possibility should be included in the post simply for completeness, gives the proposition very little credibility. This skepticism can be explained by looking at the record of John Boehner's tortured political performance.

Can anyone else recall John passing out checks from the tobacco companies on the floor of the House before the vote on a financial regulatory over haul? [Read more  here - NY Times ] John Boehner is a sold-out, unrepentant political creature from the GOP's exoplanetary extreme right. MeanMesa must confess that there is little to suggest any detectable evidence of a possible, looming change of heart.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

GOP Congress Attacks the Disabled and Children

Bernie Sanders Exposes Republican Plot
 To Cut Social Security For 11 Million Disabled People

by Jason Easley
January 12, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is warning that Republicans are plotting to cut Social Security benefits for 11 million disabled Americans through a rule change that would make it more difficult to fund the disability account.

In a statement, Sen. Sanders explained what the House rules change will mean for disabled Americans who depend on Social Security:
Senator Bernie Sanders [V-I]

“Around 11 million Americans, including nearly 2 million children with a disabled parent, rely on Social Security to help keep them out of poverty,” said Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

A new House rule creates a legal obstacle course that would make it harder to shift funds from the Social Security retirement account, which has a big surplus, to the smaller disability account. Such transfers have been done routinely in the past under both Republican and Democratic presidencies, including four times under President Ronald Reagan.

Without a transfer to shore up the disability fund, Social Security Administration experts say the disability program will run short of money next year, and there will be only enough to cover 80 percent of scheduled benefits.

“Instead of working to strengthen Social Security for all, the House Republicans’ new rule puts America’s most vulnerable at risk,” Sanders said.

The rule change is a part of a Republican effort to kill Social Security. If the disability fund can’t be replenished, Benefits will have to be cut, and some of the most economically vulnerable people in our society will be pushed deeper into poverty.According to experts, the problem with the Social Security disability cash assistance programs is that it limits the earnings of disabled individuals to just above the poverty line. This creates a trap that makes it impossible for individuals who can’t work to escape poverty.

The ideal solution would be the exact opposite of what Republicans are trying to do. Instead of cutting benefits, lawmakers should raise the income limit, so that disabled individuals can keep their benefits while also possessing an avenue to potentially escape poverty.

The Republican rule change that would lead to more benefits cuts will only push millions of Americans with no source of income further into poverty. House Republicans are repeating a pattern of attacking those who most need assistance. Since they have taken over the majority, Republicans have tried to cut benefits for the unemployed, children, wounded veterans, the elderly, and the disabled.

Sen. Sanders is using his position as the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee to sound the warning about what Republicans intend to do. The Republican agenda is all about taking from those at the bottom in order to give more to those at the top. Republicans want to carry out a massive upward redistribution of wealth. John Boehner rejected the idea of a $2,000 tax cut for middle-class families but has long been a champion of permanent tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

The Republican desire to remake America into an oligarchy knows no limits. Sen. Sanders is leading the charge against the oligarchs, and the economic future of millions depends on his warnings being heeded.

[Links remain enabled. Visit the original article  here - PoliticusUSA]

MeanMesa's compliments to Senator Sanders and Mr. Easley.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A New Mexico "Right To Work" Primer

GOP: Welcome to the Round House
I assume you brought your chain saws, crow bars and U-Hauls...

There may have been a moment of confused uncertainty in the minds of Republicans as they rolled into Santa Fe to take over the New Mexico House. These new Representatives were probably trying to "piece together" different figments of faux ideology they had heard on hate radio into something coherent enough for a news conference. Presumably, there were ALEC "educational meetings" already scheduled to rough out the Party's legislative priorities for the exceptionally slow ones.

[MeanMesa assumes that simply issuing written instructions from the ALEC "campaign benefactors" would prove to be "just too much" for some of the newly elected Texan carpet baggers, oil barons  and other right wing riff raff arriving from the New Mexico hinterlands.]

Oh, what to do? The new Republican House members were like kids in a candy store. Wing nut ideas were flying around like gnats at an abandoned picnic on a hot Los Cruces afternoon. 

New Abortion laws? Sorry, Albuquerque sent the abortion evangelicals back to Kansas.
Stand your ground laws? Sorry, New Mexico is already 2nd most violent state in the union.
Obliterate environmental regulations? Sorry, Susana has already undone most of the "coal and coughing" regulations in her first term.
Tax cuts? Sorry, New Mexico is the poorest state in the union. That means New Mexico has some of the poorest people and the lowest wages -- and, the lowest tax revenue. Even the "rainy day fund" got mangled a few years ago on Wall Street.
Dumping NM ObamaCare exchange? Sorry, too many New Mexicans finally have health insurance for the first time and more are joining -- and...some of them are Republicans.
How about a few million more for "economic development?" Darn, it's never worked before, and Susana is keeping the results of the last try secret. [There's always the chance that New Mexicans might have already forgotten the last time, the time before that, the time before that and the time before that...]

Well, since this latest bunch Republican House members is rather inexperienced at the job, the House leadership has picked something they hoped everyone would find "easily understandable:

union busting.

The "strategy" to accomplish this would be proposing legislation to turn New Mexico into a Right To Work state.

Very importantly, unions could be blamed for all the expensive failures of "economic development!" Plus, the oligarchs and corporations funneling the cash into ALEC already hated unions for all sorts of reasons. It would amount to "killing two birds with one stone." The plan would produce an immediate down payment on all the favors that were owed to those who made this "massive" Republican House take over possible, and -- even though the logic behind such a move was a "little flaky," it would firmly establish the old GOP "winner take all" atmosphere before anyone had time to become confused.

For years the state had invested billions of job creation dollars in bribes to a rather strange variety of industrial manufacturers with utterly dismal results, and all of this financial tragedy could be blamed on unions!

However, even though the idea looked pretty darned flashy in "right wing world," the numbers were going to need a little "tweeking."

As to the numbers, New Mexico has around 825,000 people currently employed in private sector jobs, a figure which seems to fluctuate up and down fairly regularly by around 40,000 a quarter. [Read more here - US Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Yet, in Republican "talking point world" there were hordes of grumbling, snarling New Mexico union workers -- ddefinitely "takers" -- who had consistently sabotaged every one of these "honest, forward thinking" efforts to improve the State's economy, and they had to be stopped. The problem was with the size of these "hordes." How many New Mexican union workers are there in a "horde," anyway?

Center for Economic and Policy Research
Report on Private Sector Union Membership, 2012
By John Schmitt, Janelle Jones and Milla Sanes [visit the CEPR site here]
                                                   Number of Union Members    Union Membership Rate (%)
                                           2011              2012            Change           2011     2012      Change (p.p.)

New Mexico       15,136        15,360        224         2.9       2.8           -0.1

So, it turns out that a "horde" of New Mexico private sector union members is around 15,000. [The statistics are for 2013, but the numbers haven't changed much.] So -- 15,000 unionized "bad apples" in a state labor force of 825,000 private sector workers has managed to wreck all the bright, optimistic "economic development" plans for our state's new prosperity. Darn.

MeanMesa suspects that the state's "economic development money" apparently wound up creating a crop of New Mexico millionaires instead of hundreds of New Mexico jobs. The jobs statistics definitely are not suggesting that it has created jobs.

Why Do the ALEC Billionaires Want
"Right To Work" In New Mexico
There seems to be very little here to steal...

We can begin by "clearing the air" just a little. The billionaires who own the Republican Party could not possibly be less interested in somehow "assisting" some employee working in a union shop's labor force to be able to avoid joining the union, paying union dues and still work there. The fate of individual workers has never been interesting to them.

On the other hand, what does interest them can be spelled out pretty briefly. They love low wages -- the ones that are less than union scale. These turn directly into profit and go directly into their off shore accounts. They love paltry benefit packages. The difference in cost between cheap, crappy benefits and reasonable ones turns directly into profit and go directly into their off shore accounts. They hate spending money on good, safe working conditions for the same reasons.

And, at the top of the list if things "detested" by the owners of the Republican Party, the really well heeled among those owners hate organized union campaign workers. [By "well heeled," MeanMesa is referring to the cash handy plutocrats and the "free range," unregulated corporations who can painlessly finance ALEC and other hateful, wing nut super PACs.] If they want similar campaign workers for candidates they support, they have to pay them. They are also not particularly fond of "get out the vote" efforts that union workers seem to enjoy because "all the wrong people" wind up voting.

Creating a "right to work" state in New Mexico would lethally degrade unions by essentially evaporating the compensation a worker pays for the benefits of union representation. If there is any remaining curiosity as the the "mechanism" right to work laws employ to neutralize the fundamental revenue stream supporting unions, this is the "mechanism."

There remains no discernible reason not to characterize the process as union busting.

Five Takes On the "Right To Work" Plan
Read through these and there will be
little question as to who now owns the media...
and why blogs have become so important.

MeanMesa roamed through the offerings in the GOOGLE a bit before selecting the following five articles. Between them, the main points to be extracted from contemporary propaganda, "academic" conclusions concerning some sort of "economic theory," local "oatmeal" reporting and "business forums" openly sympathetic the the idea. Be aware: there are a fascinating amount of "every body knows" conclusions being bandied about in these articles which should "avoid the light of day" if their authors intend to maintain their credibility.

In the fact-free morass of "right wing world" they sound as good as gold.

1. KOAT Albuquerque
[Visit the original article here - KOAT ]

MeanMesa: This is a fairly good example of what is to be found in local reporting. Notably, Republican Gentry's claim that "Right to work states" have better-paying jobs, lower "instances" of unemployment and high incomes doesn't really correlate to facts on the ground. The "token" Democrat's sole comment was that "RTW" would impact health care options is practically a paid advertisement suggesting that the real damage would be limited to this. Coverage like this fails to present the actual arguments -- or facts -- to New Mexicans.

Officials debate New Mexico
 as a right-to-work state
Republicans to push for New Mexico to become right-to-work state

by Megan Cruz Jan 3,2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —"Right to work" is a controversial issue that could change the future of economic development in New Mexico.

Republicans said they'll push for New Mexico to become a right-to-work state in 2015, meaning employers cannot force employees to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment.

Rep. Nate Gentry said it'll mean better-paying jobs for New Mexicans.

"Right-to-work states have lower instances of unemployment and have higher incomes," Gentry said.

But Democrats disagree, saying right-to-work legislation is wrong for New Mexico.

Sen. Michael Sanchez said weaker unions could mean "a lower income (because) they don't have as much health insurance or (any) health insurance at all," Sanchez said. "The impact it would have on families, in my opinion, would be devastating."

There's also a difference in opinion when it comes to whether or not a right-to-work law would bring more businesses to the state.

Some thought electric automaker Tesla passed up on New Mexico because it is not a right-to-work state.

"Time and time again, the fact that we're not a right-to-work state takes us off the table for a lot of businesses to consider locating here," Gentry said.

"Their priority isn't, 'Are you a right-to-work state or not?' It's based on labor skills and costs," Sanchez said.

Twenty-four states are right-to-work, including Nebraska, Mississippi, and Virginia. New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey are among the states that are not.

2. Albuquerque Business First
[Read the original article here - Bizjournal]

MeanMesa: When a business journal's "reporter" cites arguments in favor of the right to work idea from the President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation the blind ideology is getting pretty thick, and any lingering hint of objective analysis has just flown out the window. Pay attention. Arguments in favor of right to work usually cite comparisons of various states with and without it and imply that the differences are fundamentally a result of whether or not they have right to work. Right to work is not the primary difference between current state economies, over shadowing population, industrial development, prevailing revenue levels and other measures.

Would ‘right-to-work’ law
make NM more competitive?

by Damon Scott
  Mar 25, 2013

A national expert on “right-to-work” laws encouraged a crowd of commercial real estate executives and government officials Monday to begin a push to pass the legislation in New Mexico.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said the law gives workers the right to refuse to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Mix spoke at an event sponsored by the New Mexico chapter of NAIOP — Commercial Real Estate Development Association Monday at the Albuquerque Marriott at 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE.

Right-to-work laws exist in some form in 24 states, mostly in the South and West. The laws do not, as some think, provide a guarantee of employment to people seeking work.

Mix said passing the law in New Mexico would make the state more competitive with states that have already passed versions of it. He added that he’s heard from companies that make site selections based in part on whether a state has the law on the books.

Mix said the laws do not outlaw unions, end collective bargaining or prohibit a worker from joining a union. He said states that have right-to-work enjoy a higher per capita disposable income.

“Right-to-work is not a panacea, but is a piece of the puzzle to compete with other states for jobs,” he said. “From an economic development standpoint, it’s positive to have the debate.”

Mix also serves as president of the National Right to Work Committee, a 2.6 million-member public policy organization. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNBC and CNN.

Those opposed to the law say, among other things, that a union’s ability to improve work conditions beyond legal minimums is weakened when membership declines.

The right-to-work issue has gotten attention in New Mexico lately. Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry said in a recent speech at NAIOP that it’s time to start talking about whether New Mexico needs right-to-work legislation.

And a National Federation of Independent Business poll recently found that 78 percent of New Mexico small business owners surveyed think New Mexico should pass a right-to-work law.

3. The Washington Post
[Read the original article here - Washington POST ]

MeanMesa: The focus on "whether or not unions can require workers to pay union dues" is the propaganda slant aimed at workers who are or might be required to pay union dues. The prospect of bringing home a larger pay check is appealing, but with it comes the prospect of working somewhere essentially without any union representation or protection. No, these are not openly presented as a result of right to work, but the inevitable destruction of unions trying to function without the revenue of union dues should be.

Lawmakers are starting to talk
 about making New Mexico
 a right-to-work state

By Niraj Chokshi
November 14, 2014

Republicans control the New Mexico state legislature for the first time in 60 years, and lawmakers there are beginning to suggest they may use their new majority to restrict union power.

State Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) told the Albuquerque Journal that now “could be the time we get it through both houses,” referring to a right-to-work bill that would allow the state to prevent unions from requiring workers to pay dues. If the legislature were to pass the law during its two-month session that starts in late January, it would become the 25th state with such a law.

In states that lack right-to-work laws, labor unions may require employees to pay dues regardless of whether they join because they benefit from the negotiations the union conducts on the behalf of all employees.

Last year, 21 states and D.C. considered right-to-work laws, though only Tennessee passed one, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The year before, 19 states considered it, and four states passed various versions of laws that expanded or established right-to-work provisions. Generally, debate has come in waves since stats began enacting right-to-work laws in the 1940s, according to NCSL:

The first right-to-work laws were passed in the 1940s and 1950s, predominantly in Southern states. Most right-to-work laws were enacted by statute but 10 states adopted them by constitutional amendments. There was a surge of interest in the issue in the 1970s and again in the 1990s, but only a handful of states have enacted right to work laws since the initial wave in the mid-20th century.

Ingle said the state’s lack of such a law puts it at an economic disadvantage because several neighboring states have such laws: “If we’re going to compete in New Mexico and draw businesses, we’re going to have to do something,” he told the Journal.

The resurgence of the right-to-work debate comes as unions suffer from waning influence, with approval near 75-year lows. More than a dozen states have curtailed collective bargaining rights in recent years, and union membership has declined in 43 states since 2003.

Gallup Poll: Do you approve of labor unions?

4. GIVE UP [a blog]
[Excerpted. Read the original article here - GIVEUPBLOG]

MeanMesa: The important point for including this excerpt from a blog is to paint a "bigger picture" of the political and economic realities of states with right to work. The two maps show that the same states which are "beating the odds" and receiving more Federal dollars than they are contributing are very often the same ones with right to work. Why would additional Federal dollars be funneled into right to work states? For starters, because poverty rates are higher, and wages are lower.
50 state "economic freedom" ratings
The map from this site.
The map from the e21 site [below]
See any similarities? [MeanMesa]
It seems as though 7 of the top ten states receive more federal dollars than they contribute, two of the three "economically free" states that contribute more than they take are blue states. Then take a look at the bottom ten and you seven of the ten pay out more than they receive (and the ones that don't nearly break even). So, in other words, the economically free states are the ones that end up bilking the blue states out of federal tax dollars because their tax incomes are inadequate to cover the costs of administering their state budgets.

Then consider this idea that "jobs are flocking" to these states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate in Kansas, where these jobs are supposedly flocking to, is the same as in New York, and Massachusetts and New Jersey actually have lower unemployment rates. Most unemployment rates in this country are more or less the same, falling between 4 and 5 percent, highest in Mississippi at 7.9% (eight of the ten highest unemployment rates are in red states). Then consider the rate of change in these rates, and you see California and New York are decreasing their unemployment at a faster rate than Kansas (0.8 vs 0.5 percent respectively>. The states with the most rapidly increasing unemployment rates are mostly red (8 of 10 are red states). Also, check out Figure 1 and 2 on the left, of the comparison of the so-called "right-to-work" states with other states and you see these economic freedom measures simply lower wages without any great decrease in unemployment benefit. By all means, move to these "economic freedom" states to work for a lower wage, and at the same time receive fewer services from their governments. It's clearly a measure of freedom not to have healthcare, good hospitals, decent wages, or an infant mortality rate worthy of the first world. Sh*t, why stop at moving to these "economically free" red states? Why not just move all the way to Mexico, not get taxed at all, and live in a place where 50% of the labor force has to work in another country in order to pay the damn bills.

If I'm wrong, explain to me how economic freedom corresponds to taking more federal tax money than other states with higher GDPs, then claiming you are somehow economically superior? The unfree states are subsidizing their tax idiocy, and then the WSJ claims that jobs are flocking to these states, when it's clear as many or more jobs are flocking to places like California and New York. Then look at any other measure of quality of life, measurements of the efficacy of state government (summarized in some of the Give Up maps) and you see that the Blue states are providing better services and quality of life while subsidizing the regressive tax policies of the "free" states.
5. e21: The Manhattan Institute
[Excerpted. Read the entire article here - e21: The Manhattan Institute]

MeanMesa: If you've ever wondered how right to work "helps unions and economic growth," here is the answer. The Manhattan Institute tells visitors to their site about themselves, perhaps explaining why their position that right to work "helps unions." This is from their "About Us:" page.

We aim to advance free enterprise, fiscal discipline, economic growth, and the rule of law. Drawing on the expertise of practitioners, policymakers, and academics, we will encourage a spirited debate about the way forward for democratic capitalism. And we will do so in a manner that is accessible and engaging, in a way that appeals to both experts and non-experts

Realize that a steady stream of this is the sort of arcane nonsense is what voters in the Republican base are hearing -- and believing. The grossly "detail-free" comparisons of state economies -- each time implying that the presence or absence of right to work laws is responsible -- saturates the narrative, culminating in the "data" and calculations which purportedly have yielded the "map." Case in point: "...map displaying how much each state lost in per capita income because it did not have RTW." Now, that is a piece of real research, right?

If you have -- quite sensibly -- decided to engage Pro-Right To Work sentiments in the New Mexico debate, you can anticipate encountering conversations in which material such as this will be tacitly considered "fact."

How Right to Work Helps
 Unions and Economic Growth
Jason Russell

With steadily declining membership, unions are shifting their public relations and political contributions into overdrive in hopes of wooing new members to their cause. Many of these political contributions have been spent opposing Right to Work (RTW) laws, which give workers the right to not join a union even if their workplace is unionized.

This is a mistake. States with RTW laws have faster economic growth, and union membership is growing in RTW states. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, from 2004 to 2013 total union membership rose by 0.5 percent in RTW states but declined by 4.6 percent in non-RTW states. RTW is win-win for the economy and for unions.

Twenty-four states have RTW laws today. Over time, people and assets have migrated from non-RTW states to RTW states, causing their economic growth to increase. New research by the Competitive Enterprise Institute suggests that states that have relatively recent or no RTW laws experienced slower economic growth over the past 35 years.

Researchers Richard K. Vedder and Jonathan Robe examined economic growth in RTW states versus non-RTW states from 1977-2012, while controlling for outside factors, such as the rate of population growth and the percentage of the employed in manufacturing, that might alter their results. They concluded that RTW laws alone created an extra 11.5 percentage points of economic growth per state over that time period. Vedder and Robe then examined how much economic growth each state had lost as a result of its non-RTW status. Below [the map is "above"] is a map displaying how much each state lost in per capita income because it did not have RTW.


As with any economic research, these results are not definitive. However, they suggest that RTW attracts businesses, which then create jobs, adding to economic growth. 


Although conservative Alaska has seen the largest loss of per capita income growth ($5,238), its particular situation should not be extrapolated to other states because its climate and size make it difficult to grow a business. Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, and Maryland immediately follow Alaska, leaving many liberal strongholds with the most to gain from passing RTW laws. It is likely that small-government states, such as Kentucky and Montana, are offsetting their non-RTW status with other policies that increase growth.

If unions want to gain more members and make them better off, they should flip their anti-RTW position and give workers the right to choose whether or not to join.

MeanMesa Will Imitate the NRA
Acknowledging that Republican Congresses
 don't actually listen to anybody who actually votes...
let's go ahead and "score" the right to work votes.

Since the newly seated New Mexico State House majority has already taken a page from the national Republican "play book," and begun, helter skelter, their frantic run to implement every single talking point which has ever issued forth from a FOX pundit without any regard whatsoever about what "normal" citizens might want, the rest of us may as well jump on the "band wagon." After all, when polls showed that 80%+ of American voters wanted back ground checks after Newtown, the US Congress effortlessly ignored the clear will of the people.

The reason for this was what is called "scoring." The NRA gleefully informed all the cravenly cowardly Congressmen that it would be "scoring" the vote on back ground checks. Any Congressman who voted for the background check bill would get a "bad score." 

That threat wouldn't have amounted to much if it had not also included the additional threat of millions of NRA gun manufacturer dollars going to the campaign war chest of absolutely anybody who was running against one of these "poorly scoring" Congressman in the next primary election.

Well, after hearing that some New Mexico Democrats in Santa Fe are "considering" voting for this ALEC right to work bill, MeanMesa has grown just grumpy enough to think that this NRA "scoring," campaign extortion idea may have some merit after all, that is, it may be useful to us, too.

So, for what it's worth, MeanMesa will be "scoring" any vote on a New Mexico right to work bill in the Round House. Any New Mexico Democratic Representative or Senator who votes for this piece of ALEC detritus should expect a "robust" treatment from this blog, certainly including "naming names."

MeanMesa has a GOOGLE and isn't afraid to use it.

MeanMesa has never been a union member, but MeanMesa has benefited plenty from what unions have accomplished. The same can be said for most New Mexicans. This can also be said for the State of New Mexico's economy

New Mexico needs more private sector union jobs 
-- not fewer!

New Mexico needs more union trained skilled laborers 
-- not fewer!

New Mexico needs more workers drawing union scale pay checks -- not fewer!