KRWG

Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @ nmsu.edu  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.  Submissions must adhere to these guidelines.

Greece Is Still Suffering

May 3, 2019

Commentary: The drachma is among the oldest coins, dating back to the 6th century BC. And in 1832, it became the monetary unit of modern Greece. This ancient and glorious history came to an end in 2002, when it was replaced by the Euro. That event, the end of the drachma, has turned out to be a disaster for Greece.

Commentary: Families USA released the following statement regarding the Religious Refusals of Care Rule released today by the Department of Health and Human Services that would allow health care providers to deny patients services based on religious beliefs.

Crying "Uncle!" In 2020

May 2, 2019

Commentary: My fellow Americans, as I look across the 40 or 50 people in this presidential primary, it is clear the only thing missing is me. So who’s running for president? This guy!

You know me, America. You knew me as “Lunch Pail Joe,” the working guy's friend, and later as “Uncle Joe.” I was a Senator for decades and I spent eight years in the White House.

My record dimmed in memory as my hair grew white and I became a popular character in social media memes. Now that I'm Uncle Joe, I want you to cry "Uncle!" in 2020.

 

Commentary: Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) introduced a historic bill to increase focus on addressing the silent crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. The Not Invisible Act of 2019, H.R. 2438, is the first bill in history to be introduced by four enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, Representatives Deb Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna), Tom Cole (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma), Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin), and Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee Nation).

Torres Small and Crenshaw Call on CBP to Increase Technology at Southern Border

May 1, 2019

Commentary: Reps. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) and Dan Crenshaw (TX-02) released the following letter they sent to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan on the importance to expeditiously acquire and deploy new border security technology along the southern border.

Reps. Torres Small and Crenshaw are Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, and Accountability (OMA), respectively.

“Every day, thousands of trucks and cars pass through our ports of entry but due to staffing shortages and inefficient technology, only a small percentage of vehicles are scanned by non-intrusive inspection technology (NII) for illicit drugs, contraband, and human trafficking,” said Congresswoman Torres Small. “By investing in smarter and more efficient technology at our ports of entry, such NII, we are both enhancing the safety of communities across the U.S. and growing our economy through increased flows of legitimate trade. I thank Congressman Crenshaw for his partnership on this issue.“

Commentary:  Congressman Ben Ray Luján addressed New Mexico Democrats at the party's convention on Sunday - the final stop of his statewide listening tour that took him to nearly 20 of New Mexico's counties to meet with hundreds of supporters and voters in their communities and homes. 

Excerpts of Luján's remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

"We’ve come a long way together. Two years ago, when we last gathered, you and I - we looked around and saw the middle class being left behind. 

"Women's health and freedoms at risk. We saw the needs of the 99 percent put aside for the wants of the 1 percent. Climate change deniers were calling the shots. We saw threats to our Democracy, our health care. We saw Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security under assault. Women’s rights, human rights, equal rights, and voting rights under attack.


  Commentary: The thing that makes the Kentucky Derby so unique is the size of the field. A typical race has six to 12 horses. The Kentucky Derby has 20.

The thing that makes this Democratic primary so unique is that it also has 20 contenders.

 

imagebase.net

Commentary: The United States' prescription drug pricing crisis is forcing consumers to gamble with their health, and jeopardize their financial security. Many health care consumers and families cannot take their medicines as directed or worse, are not filling their prescriptions at all due to high and rising prescription drug prices. Nearly 3 in 10 people across the country skip doses or forgo filling prescriptions altogether due to high costs. While Congressional committees have advanced initial measures to address prescription drug costs, the Coalition for Fair Drug Prices contends their work to date has not focused on the significant policy changes needed to meaningfully lower drug prices. The Coalition, which launched last March, represents one of the broadest and most politically connected consumer groups working on this issue. It is comprised of 12 organizations representing health care consumers, labor, and health care providers who want to encourage policies that will reduce prescription drug costs for America’s families.

O'Rourke Announces Climate Change Plan

Apr 29, 2019
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke / File

Commentary: Today, Beto O’Rourke released a bold and ambitious plan to confront the existential threat of climate change and invest in our communities. The plan is built around a four-part framework: 1) implementing a slate of forceful Day One executive actions to start cutting pollution across all sectors of the U.S. economy at the outset of an O’Rourke Administration; 2) mobilizing $5 trillion over 10 years — spurred by the single largest investment in fighting climate change in history — to transform our aging infrastructure, accelerate innovation, and empower our people and communities to lead the climate fight; 3) working with Congress to enact a legally enforceable standard to guarantee the U.S. achieves net-zero emissions by 2050 and gets half way there by 2030; and 4) taking significant actions to defend communities that are preparing for and fighting fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and other devastating climate impacts. 

Will Trump Destroy our Democracy?

Apr 28, 2019

Commentary: When I took civic and U.S. history classes in high school and college I was told by my teachers that nobody in America is above the law—not even the President. That is why we fought the revolution from England—to create a Republic where there was no monarchy who created their own rules.

I guess that has now changed, according to Attorney General William Barr. Before his nomination to this office, Barr wrote a memo that the President cannot be charged with obstruction since he oversees the Justice Department. In other words, the President is above the law. Barr’s actions since than shows he is just a toady for Trump and his supporters.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: Hosting 2,200 refugees in two weeks is an unexpected challenge. Our community is responding beautifully. 

For months, nonprofits and churches have been helping a steady influx of Central American refugees. Then the feds started releasing so many that the City made Meerscheidt Rec Center a temporary shelter and authorized substantial expenditures. 

DHS Waives 27 Laws to Expedite New Mexico Border Wall Construction

Apr 27, 2019
KRWG News

Commentary: For the 12th time since the passage of the Real ID Act in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security has chosen to waive bedrock laws that protect public health, wildlife, and cultural heritage in order to build border walls. The waiver was issued for border wall construction in New Mexico and Arizona, and the news comes in the middle of CBP’s public comment period on these sections.

“The waiving of these laws sends a clear message to our border communities that our rights and our voices do not matter,” said Amanda Munro, field organizer for the Southwest Environmental Center. “These laws are intended to protect people from bad decisions that will negatively impact their environment, health, and history, and yet we border residents are deemed unworthy of even the right to give our opinion on the construction happening in our own backyards.”

Commentary: United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and United States Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, unveiled the Military Housing Oversight and Service Member Protection Act, a comprehensive bill to address a series of disturbing reports revealing unsafe and unsanitary conditions in privatized, on-base housing for military personnel and their families. Senate cosponsors include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

"Our servicemembers make sacrifices to protect our country, and they and their families deserve safe, affordable housing that isn't falling apart around them," said Senator Warren. "This bill will eliminate the kind of corner-cutting and neglect the Defense Department should never have let these private housing providers get away with in the first place."

Commentary: A New Mexico high school basketball coach who was violating the Constitution resigned after the Freedom From Religion Foundation alerted the school district.

A concerned Animas Public Schools community member reported to FFRF that the head coach of the Animas High School boys basketball team was promoting religion to his team. Before a playoff game on Feb. 27, the coach had his players wear T-shirts that said, “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me.” The coach was also reportedly holding bible studies with players.  It is a violation of the Establishment Clause for coaches to organize a bible study or endorse a religious message to students, FFRF had informed the school district. 

"Star Wars" Connects Multiple Generations

Apr 25, 2019

 

  Commentary: My young sons can tell you tales of Jason pursuing the golden fleece, how Hercules died and how Odin lost his eye. They also know the tale of Luke Skywalker and how he left a farming community for other worlds in pursuit of a mysterious destiny (and learned how to use a really cool sword).

Is one world of mythology any more legitimate or elevated than the other? If a statue of Masau'u, the Hopi figure, is acceptable as folk art, would a statue of Yoda be less so, because it is associated with commercial entertainment? My kids could not care less.

 

New Mexican Women Endorse Ben Ray Luján for Senate

Apr 23, 2019

Commentary: Today, nearly 300 New Mexicans announced their support of Congressman Ben Ray Luján for Senate. The women include local leaders, activists, teachers, health care professionals, retirees, and everyday New Mexicans who've said they are inspired by Luján's progressive vision for the state. Additionally, U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) announced their endorsement of Lujan last week.

"I've known Ben Ray for years, and he has always been a leader that steps up for New Mexicans. As a native son, raised on a small family farm, Ben Ray understands that hard work and a commitment to community is what our families deserve. I am proud to support his candidacy because I know he'll continue to bring those values to his work every day and fight hardest for our right to health care, education, and women's reproductive freedom," said Diane Denish, the former Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico.  

 


  Commentary: In all my years of local government reporting, I’ve never seen a new leader make a better first impression than Greg Ewing when he was hired as superintendent of the Las Cruces school district in December of 2016.

 

For months leading up to his hiring, the school board had been locked in a bitter struggle with then-Education Secretary Hanna Skandera, who at one point threatened to take over control of the district.

Stan Rounds, the superintendent at that time, made the mistake of trying to appease both sides.

Board members were looking for a full-throated advocate, and found one in Ewing. He forcefully stood up for the district, and eloquently defended its teachers.

 

Perhaps that’s why, more than two years later, school board member Terrie Dallman is still referring to him as “a breath of fresh air.”

 

Delaying Border Commerce Is Hurting The Entire Nation

Apr 22, 2019

Commentary; Waves of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border have prompted the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily assign Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents at the southern ports of entry to the Border Patrol. Their new role is not necessarily the traditional duties of watching the border and conducting interdiction - rather, they are being reassigned mostly to process migrants who are giving themselves up at ports of entry to seek asylum, and to transport these migrants to and from medical checkups and holding houses.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: It's great to be home. 

To step outside to the mild weather and relative quiet of Las Cruces in April, hear the familiar chabbling of the hens, and reassure the cat that we still love him. (Yeah, I invented “chabbling” to suggest babbling, chattering, and occasional squabbling.) 

Everything suddenly seems simple. It helps that I was away from Facebook and most email for a week. 

 

 Commentary: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico sent a letter to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Hector Balderas asking them to investigate an armed vigilante group currently engaged in the unlawful detention of hundreds of migrants near New Mexico’s southern border.

Excerpted from the letter:

“Two nights ago, on April 16, 2019, an armed fascist militia organization describing itself as the United Constitutional Patriots arrested nearly three hundred people seeking safety in the United States, including young children, near Sunland Park, New Mexico. Other videos appear to show arrests in the past few hours.[1] The vigilante members of the organization, including Jim Benvie, who posted videos and photographs[2] of the unlawful arrests to social media, are not police or law enforcement and they have no authority under New Mexico or federal law to detain or arrest migrants in the United States. Their actions undermine the legitimate efforts of our state’s law enforcement officials to keep New Mexico families safe and they erode community trust. The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law. This has no place in our state: we cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum. We urge you to immediately investigate this atrocious and unlawful conduct.” 

More audits would benefit honest taxpayers

Apr 19, 2019
Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary: Honest tax payers should want more IRS audits. Not of themselves, of course, but in general. The reason is to incentivize those who are less honest to pay their taxes.

In fact, a lot of taxes go uncollected. An IRS study for tax years 2008-2010 found he tax gap, which is the amount of money owed the IRS but not paid, averaged $406 billion per year. This translates into 16% of taxes going unpaid; about 2.8% of GDP.

"Electability" Is Once Again A Question For Democrats

Apr 18, 2019

Commentary: Behold! See, mortals, the unseeable: This week brought us a glimpse of a black hole, briefly flooding social media timelines and popular science digests with a blurry image of a fiery orange ring that newspaper writers have likened to everything from the eye of Sauron to a donut.

Commentary: Late Monday night, the Albuquerque City Council voted 5-3 to pass a weakened Clean and Green ordinance that will end single-use plastic bags in retail but allows restaurants to distribute single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam takeout containers.

 

Sierra Club’s Global Warming Emergency (formerly Global Warming Express) kids, who have been advocating for such an ordinance since the beginning of the year, waited for four hours to speak on the importance of ending the proliferation of single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam takeout containers that create microplastic and nanoplastic pollution that could endanger our health, in addition to damaging our oceans and killing wildlife.

Asylum-seekers arrive at Community of Hope / City of Las Cruces


  Commentary: I’ve always been proud of the way our community treats those who are in need of help.

The most obvious example of that is the Community of Hope complex, where the homeless can get food, shelter, clothing, showers, counseling, computer access, job assistance and treatment for both their physical and mental health.

More recently, when federal authorities began dropping off families of Central America refugees in Las Cruces, El Calvario Methodist Church launched a massive volunteer effort to welcome those families and help them get to their sponsors around the country.

 

NMFO

Commentary: American Rivers today named the Gila River #1 on the list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2019, citing the grave threat that climate change and a proposed diversion project pose to New Mexico’s last free-flowing river. American Rivers and its partners called on Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to permanently stop the diversion project and advance more cost-effective, innovative water supply solutions. “

Facebook / Wikileaks

Commentary: According to their website, "on April 5th, 2010 WikiLeaks released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad- including two Reuters news staff. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded."

 

As a result, the U.S. is now charging Julian Assange with conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer network. But even if he was part of the hack itself, who can rightly argue that the material he accessed should have been hidden from the public forever? In other words, did Julian Assange commit a crime or expose one? Is the United States seeking accountability for his actions or merely a way to eliminate the messenger? 

Las Cruces Event Was A Reminder Of Those Who Serve

Apr 14, 2019
Peter Goodman

Commentary: Last weekend, I played in the 2nd Annual Aaron Gifford Memorial Pickleball Tournament. 

It was fun. Met many enjoyable people from eleven different states, on two beautiful New Mexico spring days, and ran around a lot. Healthy exercise, and a chance for local pickleballers to play with referees and strict rule, and play game after game in the hot sun, even when they felt tired or dehydrated. There was even a court for beginners to try out the game and learn. If some of those folks got hooked, the exercise could improve their health and even their longevity. 

It was also a good event for a good cause. 

New Federal Proposal Gives Needed Boost to New Mexico’s Working Families

Apr 10, 2019

Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today joined Senators Sherrod Brown, Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, Ron Wyden to introduce the Working Families Tax Relief Act (WFTRA), legislation that would begin to fix our tax laws to help working people with low-wage jobs make ends meet as they work to support themselves and their families. The proposal would strengthen the highly successful Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families, most of whom have children, ensure that millions of poor children aren’t left out of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and boost the CTC for families with very young children.

Group Applauds House Democrats' Efforts To Restore Net Neutrality

Apr 10, 2019

Commentary: On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-190 to pass the Save the Internet Act (H.R. 1644). If enacted, it will restore the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order and bright-line net neutrality consumer protections. The FCC would be responsible for regulating the internet instead of allowing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to regulate themselves. Additionally, the agency would have the requisite rule-making and enforcement authority to protect consumers from harmful, discriminatory actions by ISPs.

Art And The Struggle For Justice

Apr 10, 2019

Commentary: The visual and performing arts have traditionally served as a means for political movements to communicate, but is political struggle a subject for art?

The subtitle of the art exhibition at the Southwest Environmental Center in downtown Las Cruces through April 30 answers in the affirmative: “The struggle is beautiful.”

This may not seem an obvious takeaway from the daily news. Climate disruption threatens natural systems that preserve much of the planet’s life forms, including us. Society remains organized through exploitative models of power and exchange, while organized labor continues to decline. Rates for alcoholism, addiction and suicide — measurements of societal despair — are on the rise.

 

Pages