18 December, 2014
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” The Declaration of Independence
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Amendment VIII
In this time of turmoil and chaos, when, as Yeats said, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity,” I find it comforting to review the founders’ mission statement i.e. the Declaration of Independence, excerpted above and the 8th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a document meant to implement the mission.
More than other nations, the United States of America was founded on ...
11 December, 2014
While writing about social and political issues during my second sailing in Taos from 1998 to 2009, I discovered that the stimulus for scribbling, as George Orwell says, “is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice.” —Bad Gringo
“Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.” — Declaration of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal:
The Torture Guys: When did they figure it out?
In Andrew Rosenthal‘s NYT post, 12 Dec. 2014, the pundit quotes Dick Cheney: “What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation, and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it,” Mr. Cheney said in a telephone interview.
“I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The ...
8 December, 2014
From the Desk of Chris Hedges (Truthdig.com)
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to launch a pilot program in New York City to place body cameras on police officers and conduct training seminars to help them reduce their adrenaline rushes and abusive language, along with the establishment of a less stringent marijuana policy, are merely cosmetic reforms. The killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island was, after all, captured on video. These proposed reforms, like those out of Washington, D.C., fail to address the underlying cause of poverty, state-sponsored murder and the obscene explosion of mass incarceration—the rise of the corporate state and the death of our democracy. Mass acts of civil disobedience, now being carried out across the country, are the only mechanism left that offers hope for systematic legal and judicial reform. We must defy the corporate state, not work ...
1 December, 2014
Now comes “Hands-up, Don’t Shoot,” a protest featuring Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Tre Mason, the receiving corps of the NFL's St. Louis Rams, who reminded fans about the killing of Ferguson’s Michael Brown. It takes moral courage to stand up in corporate America for what’s right in the face of the overwhelming power of the state. Now these players belong in the Hall of Fame that counts.
Precedents for Black American athletes include Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Mexico City, 1968 Olympics, who raised their fists in solidarity with their brothers and sisters; Lebron James and the Miami Heat (below), dressed in hoodies, in a gesture of support for Justice in the Trayvon Martin wrongful death. Folks always forget that a Black American, MLB player Curt Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals, sacrificed his career ...
26 November, 2014
A Difficult Thanksgiving
According to tradition we thank our creator, family, friends, the gods, the Sacred Mountain or life itself for blessings on Thanksgiving. As we utter these words of humility and comfort, I shall cross my fingers. Given the failing state of civil society across the Mid East, in Mexico, and here in America, it seems there is less hope and little change for the better: see Ferguson, see Albuquerque.
In an effort to keep the rabble mindful of their duty to their corporate masters, the rule of law has been turned out of the House of Justice. Like some abandoned outlier, the law is used now to serve judicial careerists, cops, judges, and prosecutors, agents of the National Security State and the militarization of government.
We all live or die in Ferguson and Albuquerque. By shooting the black man or child, ...
19 November, 2014
The Preservation of the “Forgotten People”
When history is made and/or acknowledged, it’s a rare thing. Most of the participants in the event are not conscious of the story, a story that begins long ago in geologic and Paleolithic time. Through bumps and burps, a people emerges, the indigenous ones who hunt, gather, and grow crops alongside the mountains or on the streams that flow down from the mountains and feed the modest fishery of the Rio Grande. Others arrive as acequia builders or farmers as well as the ones who record history and interpret it whether as painted images on canvas, or in photographs, and, occasionally carved in stone.
Then in a climactic moment the real history, the history of the human race or the people of the valley in this case, recognized and represented becomes part of reality. The history ...
13 November, 2014
Recently one of Manby’s sons, a member of the United Realtors of Taos, “implied” in the excellent local weekly that I allowed my readers to write and say outrageous things about the proposed airport expansion project. I do. Due to his run-on periods and unclear syntax, he also conveniently implied that I condoned the remarks.
Similarly, a week or two ago, the Taos Bark and Bite person accused me of saying “hateful” things because I summarized in a brief paragraph and posted the complete findings of the NM Veterinary Board in the Stray Hearts Animal Abuse case. Though I didn’t say hateful things, I suggested the responsible parties shouldn’t cover up cruelty to animals.
When residents get shut down by the censors at the corporate media or don’t have the wherewithal to profit from Manby’s legacy, I make space available for the ...
12 November, 2014
Mexican Politicos, police, and narcos conspired, reportedly, to murder 43 students who were incidentally in the way of a party planned by the Mayor’s wife of Iguala in the state of Guerrero. When a Mexican Official dismissed concerns, citing fatigue: “Ya Me Canse (Enough, I’m tired), protestors turned the remarks around and redefined government inaction from a populist POV: Yo Me Canse (Enough. I’m tired.)
Thanks to Cesar Chavez and the first Obama campaign, Americans revived the notion of “Si Se Puede” (Yes we can). Now we might simplify and identify with the great Panamanian fighter, Roberto Duran, who, when out-boxed by Sugar Ray Leonard, finally said “No Mas.”
Let us say “no mas” to injustice, the official liars of the state and the wealthy lawn mowers searching for public tax dollars between the blades of grass. After you say no to ...
5 November, 2014
Sign Man Sighted
On November 4, 2014, the Sign Man was back on the streets, exercising his First Amendment Rights, claiming he was no longer smitten with Smith's, who has smited drivers and is selling gas for high prices. Lines at the pumps were light during election day.
There's an Elephant in the House
Apparently, the Republican party capitalized on the sour mood of voters. Nationally, the Elephants swept Governor's, Senator's, and Representative offices. While democrats made in roads into Pennsylvannia, or held on to some seats in demo Donkey land, voters bucked the trends in Taos County and sent republicans packing, including longtime politico Virgil Martinez, who lost to Demo Mark Gallegos, Mayor of Questa, by a couple hundred votes. Gallegos will be the new commissioner in District 2. Congratulations to Mark "the giant killer."
The holiday season is upon us and it's ...
4 November, 2014
The rightwing tilt of American politics today, pro-cop, anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and the voter suppression of disagreeable Democrats, should tell you something about what to expect from Republican extremists, funded by billionaire descendants of the John Birch era back in the fifties and sixties, who are coming to power. The Taos News and the Santa Fe New Mexican elites have joined the party at GOP headquarters on the fourth floor of the Santa Fe Roundhouse, where Gov. Martinez circles the legislature like a predatory coyote. Hometown newspaper? Not likely.
Still, some of my best friends are Republicans and I urge you to vote today for Virgil Martinez as Commissioner and Ron Montez as Taos County Sheriff. Taos Republicans from the grass roots era of New Mexico shoulder a tradition that is more populist and leftward leaning than Democrats in my home state ...
29 October, 2014
￼(See: http://livetaos.com/2014/10/protester-general-jeff-northrup/ for stunning documentary footage.)
(International) “US relations with Israel have plunged to new depths of bitterness and hostility as senior officials in the Obama administration decried Binyamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit prime minister”, “coward” and a man more interested in his own political survival than peace.”—From The Guardian
(National) Thanks to Ebola and “lone-wolf” attacks on Canadians and threats from crazies, the National Security State is cracking down and pandering to America’s sense of insecurity. Here come the foot soldiers of the “inverted totalitarian” state, more laws, more guards, and fewer civil rights.
(State) Reversing a national trend, wherein cops shoot people of color nationwide and the homeless in Albuquerque, the cops from Santa Fe are shooting each other. We get our tragedies all upside down in El Norte.
(El Norte) According to Forbes Magazine, Louis of Taos Ski Valley is bringing ...
25 October, 2014
The Town of Taos will discuss animal issues at the Tuesday, Oct., 28 meeting, 1 PM, on Civic Plaza Drive. Manager Rick Bellis will be asking the Council for permission to do an RFQ (request for qualifications) and a national search for an expert to help Taosenos resolve animal issues, ordinances, and the struggle to present a unified front by local governments on the matter.
Animal lovers and activists need to pack the house.
The Town and County spend way too much money on Animal issues to ignore the current crisis while searching for an outside savior. Activists are way too powerful and the situation far too fraught with emotion and canny partisans for an outsider to figure out who's on first.
Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn’s work with the committee on the Holy Cross Hospital health policies suggests he has the demeanor and ...
23 October, 2014
What Say You?
For years we’ve heard how there’s a right way, a wrong way, and the Taos Way. But today the Taos Way, a kind of lawlessness combined with cruelty and laughter, is under siege by outsiders. We citizens here in the community have seen our elected and appointed officials summarily taken to the woodshed at the Taos Municipal Schools (TMS), the 8th Judicial District’s District Attorney’s Office, and at the Stray Hearts Animal Shelter by outsiders.
New Mexico Public Education Department
In a January 14, 2014 Taos news article, reporter Elizabeth Cleary writes, “Documents obtained from the state’s Public Education Department reveal years-long tensions between the Taos school district, the state and a disability rights group with regard to Taos’ special education program.” And, “The Taos school board placed superintendent Rod Weston on a three-day administrative leave last month due to ...
20 October, 2014
"Petey's Foot Fell Off" and other Charming Tales
The summary of the Board of Veterinary Medicine's "Findings of Fact"and eight complaints, posted below, reads like the cruelest animal story you've ever heard or read. It's Rated "R" for violence and neglect. Read it and weep. See the order on page 24, suspending Dr. Aversa's license to practice. The Board also fined him $5,000 and gave him orders to follow a remedial training program if he wants to resume practice. The Animal Shelter Board in Taos seems to lack someone besides lower level staff who exerts oversight at the Shelter. How many other animals in addition to the eight mentioned were abused?
9 October, 2014
On Oct. 9, 2014, Judge John Paternoster convened district court to hear an emergency motion for sanctions filed by Defense Attorney Todd Coberly, representing the defendant in State v. Issac Martinez, aka the Kit Carson Robbery Case. The motion was filed against Deputy District Attorney Emilio Chavez for the “abuse of subpoena powers”
Allegedly three subpoenas were issued by Deputy District Attorney Emilio Chavez after grand jury indictments of the alleged Kit Carson Bank Robbers to aid Taos Police Officer Wentz in his investigation. The motions we're filed some two months after a motion to quash evidence garnered by the earlier “hometown or bad subpoenas,” subpoenas issued over the DA’s signature to cell phone companies but without court or grand jury approval. The subpoenas in question on Oct. 9, 2014 above followed in the wake of grand jury indictments, subsequently quashed by ...