Conspiracy Brews 1.31.15

Conspiracy Brews @ SW Secondary Learning Center 9:00 AM – 10:15 PM on 31 Jan 145
Robby Robertson who regularly attended our meeting passed away. His service will be at 11:00 AM at the Masonic Lodge on Osuna. His obituary is at the end of this notice. Our meeting today will shut down at 10:15 sharp.
If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday. Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting. For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact: ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.
Conspiracy Brews
“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

Benjamin Franklin
Not your average political discussion group!
January 31, 2015
9:00 AM to 10:15 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.
*** Quotes of the Week ***
“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

Indira Gandhi

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Suggested Topics

– What is the perception of Albuquerque & APD? How is the mayor handling it?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/son-deceased

http://www.koat.com/news/berry-reacts-to-new-yorker-article-defends-actions-against-brandenburg/30952442

– The President ordered his Iran negotiators to finalize a deal in Iran…any comments?

(Light Quotes of the week)

“O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.”

Saint Augustine (354 AD – 430 AD)

“If a thing isn’t worth saying, you sing it.”

Pierre Beaumarchais (1732 -1799 )

All is in the hands of man. Therefore wash them often.”

Stanislaw J. Lec

——-

James Douglass “Robby” Robertson
11-27-1925 – 1-26-2015

Mr. James Douglass Robertson of Albuquerque, NM, died Monday, January 26, 2015. He was
89 years of age.

“Robby”, as he was known to his friends, was born in Groton, CT, on November 27, 1925, and is
survived by four children, Margaret Robertson, Groton, CT; Elizabeth Weil, Groton; CT, Ted
Robertson, Colorado Springs, CO; and Carl Robertson, Cromwell, CT; two grandchildren and two
great grandchildren, all residing in southeastern, CT.

Mr. Robertson was a member of the United States Navy for 8 years followed by 20 years in the
Army. He served with the Navy in the Pacific Theater during WWII and in Korea and Viet Nam
with the Army, retiring in 1969 as a Major and moved his family to Groton, CT, in 1970.

Mr. Robertson settled in Albuquerque, NM, in the mid-1980s. He was an active amateur radio
operator, a photographer, square dancer and loved to travel the country during the summer
months. He was the family genealogist which led him to Europe as part of the project. He filled
his spare time supporting community organizations and events. He was also a member of the
Masonic order, the second most current in a line of Masons dating to the 1700s. His home
lodge was Temple 6 in Albuquerque, NM.

He was an accomplished writer, publishing his book, “Robby”, in 2012, which chronicles his life
and experiences as a teenager during WWII.

Mr. Robertson’s storied life will be commemorated during memorial services at the Masonic
lodge in Albuquerque on Saturday, January 27, at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception for
attendees. The address is: 3801 Osuna Rd., Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

In lieu of flowers, Mr. Robertson’s family is requesting donations be made in is name to
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 63, at 202 Harvard Rd. NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87102, or, to the
Masonic Lodge in care of Temple #6, 3801 Osuna Rd., Albuquerque, NM 87109.

How much taxpayer money will fund this — Is it worth it

Sig Silber was kind enough to send this along.  Is the devil in the details or is this an angelic gift?
——————————————————————————–

SUNZIA_RELEASE%20IMG_V2

On January 24, 2015, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack, U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Luján, and senior Bureau of Land Management officials to announce the approval of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Line in New Mexico. The $2 billion infrastructure project will connect and deliver renewable power generated in New Mexico and Arizona to population centers across the southwest. The announcement was made at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Laboratories.

January 28, 2015

Dear Fellow New Mexican,

Our state can and should be America’s epicenter of the clean energy economy. New Mexico has the technology, ingenuity, and abundant wind and solar resources to unleash the full potential of our homegrown energy to create good, quality jobs.

That’s exactly what a major infrastructure project that was approved on Saturday represents.

The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project will unlock New Mexico’s stranded wind and solar resources and move that energy to market. The project has the potential to enable the addition of 3,000 megawatts of electric capacity, which would provide sustainable power for more than a million homes.

SunZia will also have tremendous impact on our state’s economy. An economic study estimates that in New Mexico this project would generate $275 million in wages and salaries and $65 million in state and local taxes during construction.

Providing renewable power to the desert Southwest region, SunZia is expected to create 6,200 jobs during a four-year construction period to build the transmission lines and substations, and more than 36,700 jobs during a two-year construction period for renewable generation projects. An additional 600 permanent jobs are estimated to be created from transmission and generation operations.

I commend the tremendous work that all of the agencies involved in the review of SunZia have done to responsibly site this line and reach common ground along the way. I have followed this project closely and it has been deliberate, transparent, and comprehensive.

But this isn’t just about SunZia. This is about New Mexico diversifying its economy and building a prosperous clean energy future.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me on this and other issues that matter most to you and your family.

Be well, and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

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Marita: Republicans advocating gas taxes

Editor:

Count on the republicans to keep not keep their word on taxes in general and gasoline taxes in particular.  At this point in time, it should not surprise us that politicians sitting at the federal level make promises to raise money, with little intent to serve the people voting for them.

There are other ways of financing our transportation infrastructure and Marita finds them with little effort. READ

Greetings!

I generally beat up on President Obama and his Democrat allies—because they are such easy targets when it comes to bad energy policy. However, when Republicans do stupid things, I am quick to point it out. In this week’s column, Note to GOP: Talking about raising taxes is a bad idea (attached and pasted-in-below), I took that opportunity. Really, what is the GOP thinking? Breitbart.com has posted a shortened version and I am offering you the full-length version. It is a complicated issue and my conversations with regular folks who don’t follow this stuff told me that a full explanation was needed—hence I suggest the longer version.

Whichever version suits your needs, I hope you will post it, pass it on, and/or personally enjoy it!

BTW, with the storms coming into the Northeast today, may I remind you of a column I wrote at the first cold snap in November? Give this another look: Dear Northeast: How’s that solar working out for ya?

Stay warm!

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Note to GOP: Talking about raising taxes is a bad idea

What are the Republicans thinking? Coming right out of the gate, at the start of the new GOP-controlled Congress, they began talking about the crazy idea of increasing the gasoline tax. It has little chance of passing, yet can easily taint the party with a tax-raising reputation.

Just two days after the swearing in of the new Congress, the January 8 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) headline reads: “Senate Republicans: Higher Gas Taxes are on the Table.” It states: “Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R., Okla.), who just took the reins of the panel, said he is open to considering raising the gas tax as a way to help pay for the dwindling Highway Trust Fund that keeps up the nation’s roads and other transportation infrastructure.”

Many of Inhofe’s Senate colleagues are clear about gas tax increase’s future. According to the Associated Press (AP), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said: “I don’t know of any support for a gas tax increase in Congress.” The WSJ cites Senator John Barasso (R-WY), “who said he doesn’t support an increase and doesn’t think there is a political appetite for doing so on Capitol Hill.”

The House isn’t any more optimistic. According to the AP, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) doesn’t think there “are enough votes in the House for a gas tax increase.” Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, said: “I don’t think there’s a will in Congress and the American People don’t want it.”

Even the New York Times touts: “Gasoline-tax increase finds little support.”

However, Inhofe’s apparent willingness to consider an increase in the gas tax, along with Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and John Thune (R-SD), has given fodder to those who long for a carbon tax. A San Francisco Chronicle article titled: “Odds of gas-tax hike grow with quiet support of GOP Senators,” opens: “With Washington’s most famous climate-change skeptic expressing interest in raising the federal gasoline tax, Bay area Rep. Jared Huffman sees an opening to grab the brass ring of the environmental movement: a tax on carbon.” Huffman sees that “it’s a good time to make the tax a little more sophisticated so it reflects the carbon content of all fuels.”

The gas tax creates headlines because the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which finances the interstate highway system, faces insolvency due to spending more than it takes in. Had Congress not come up with a solution to the $16 billion shortfall by August 1, 2014, federal highway projects would have ground to a halt and as many as 700,000 people would have received lay-off notices. An agreed upon “patch” put the crisis off until after the elections. That fix ends in May and the new Congress must now come up with another way to fund America’s roads and bridges. A gas-tax increase is the obvious solution as the concept means those who use the roads most, pay for them—supposedly making it more of a “user fee” than a tax.

The tax is currently 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel—more than double the oil companies’ profit on that same gallon of gas. (Note: the gas tax is a flat figure, not a percent. With lower prices, people are driving more so revenues should be up.) With gasoline prices at historic lows, many think now is the time to raise the tax, as it will hardly be noticed.

But there are other options that don’t require raising taxes—or instituting a new carbon tax.

The fact that modern cars are more efficient than they were when the gas-tax was first instituted in 1956 at 3 cents a gallon is a major problem with HTF funding. Because drivers now go farther on less fuel, the roadways receive wear and tear without enough taxes collected to cover the use. As more electric cars fill our roads, the problem is exacerbated. Electric cars use the roadways for free while everyone else pays for them. Therefore many have proposed a mileage fee rather than a gas tax—or in addition to it. With a voluntary program passed in 2013, Oregon has been at the forefront of what is called mileage-based user fees (MBUF). The pilot program, which takes advantage of smart technology, has been hailed as a great success.

However, MBUFs should concern everyone concerned about more government involvement in our lives. At the Detroit auto show, BMW sounded an alarm about the “fine line between performance and privacy.” While the Financial Times (FT) report focuses on the pressure carmakers receive from technology companies and advertisers who want data collected by “connected cars,” one doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to imagine the data collection morphing into a big-brother-like intrusion. According to the FT: “About two-thirds of today’s new cars have sensors and communications systems that send and receive data.” At last year’s consumer electronics show, Jim Farley, then Ford’s head of marketing, said: “We know everyone breaks the law. We know exactly when you do it because we have a GPS sensor in your car.” Imagine Environmental Protection Agency officers showing up on your doorstep because you have driven more than the allowed amount. Or, more likely, your gas supply getting cut off because you used up this month’s allotment early.

MBUFs may serve as a good option for electric vehicles, but implementation should not be universal—and therefore do not create the full answer to the HTFs funding woes.

The answer requires an understanding of the problem.

Gas taxes used to be more of a user fee—which made it fairer. “But since the 1990s the Highway Trust Fund has come to fund much more than new roads and bridges and highway maintenance,” claims a WSJ editorial. Heritage Foundation transportation and infrastructure analyst Emily Goff believes the problem is: “Spending priorities are determined more by politicians appeasing special interests than local needs or consumer choices. And the federal regulatory burden delays projects and smothers state and private-sector innovation.” She points out: “Washington diverts more than 25% of that money to subways, streetcars, buses, bicycle and nature paths, and landscaping, at the expense of road and bridge projects.” Users of these HTF projects utilize the infrastructure but don’t contribute to it. Cutting non-highway spending would go a long way to closing the funding gap. As the WSJ puts it: “Simply using the taxes that are supposed to pay for highways to, well, pay for highways makes the HTF 98% solvent for the next decade, no tax increase necessary.”

Another part of the solution, would redirect highway projects to the states. Chris Chocola, president of The Club for Growth, explains: “All 50 states have Departments of Transportation. More than 70% of all transportation spending in this country is already financed and spent at the state and local level. Each state has very specific infrastructure needs, and those needs are most effectively addressed at the local level, where those making the decisions are held most accountable by the taxpayers.”

States can more easily innovate and have already solved some highway issues with toll-concession private-public partnerships (PPP). Douglas Holtz-Eakin, head of the American Action Forum, a conservative advocacy group, and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, sees creating more PPPs as an alternative to an increase in the gasoline tax.

A Reason Foundation FAQ on Toll Concession PPPs explains them this way: “A toll concession is a DBFOM (design-build-finance-operate-maintain) highway contract in which the principal funding source is tolls charged to users of the highway project. The projected toll revenue stream is used to support long-term revenue bonds, in addition to covering operation and maintenance costs of the project. In a toll concession, the consortium that wins the right to do the project takes on the risks of (a) construction cost overruns, (b) late completion, and (c) inadequate traffic and revenue. Those risks would otherwise be borne by the government (and hence, the taxpayers).”

I’ve outlined just four possible options to fund our roadways without raising the gas tax—which will still exist when gas prices go up and impacts the price of almost everything:

MBUFs for electric cars;
Limit spending to actual highway projects—not mass transit or nature trails;
Redirect some projects to the states; and
Toll concession PPPS.

Surely, the great minds in Washington could come up with more ideas.

With several options available to support the nation’s highways, the GOP needs to create, innovate, and unify in fixing problems—like the HTF—and show America that they can do it without raising taxes.

(A version of this content was originally published on Breitbart.com.)

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

Conspiracy Brews 1.17.15

If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday. Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting. For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact: ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.
Conspiracy Brews

“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

Benjamin Franklin
Not your average political discussion group!
January 17, 2015
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.
*** Quotes of the Week ***

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Elliot

Suggested Topics

— The Mayor, the DA, the Police Chief, the Press, the Public, the Police Union and the CAO…What is truth?***

— Boko Haram…Does anyone give a hoot?***

–Why can’t NM become an Entrepreneur Hub?***

— Should Hawaii become a separate county?***

— The President want the US Government to pay for community college attendance…what you think. ***

(Light Quotes of the week)

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

Robert A. Heinlein

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed behold a black eye.”

Jim Henson

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz

——-

Charlatans and Conundrums

Imagine a visitor from another  “world,” is somehow plunked down in our midst.  This visitor is not familiar with our customs and mores, but it is able to reason and question in a perceptive way.  It doesn’t take the visitor long to realize there are deep divisions between the adherents of the world’s different religions.  The visitor sees so-called Islāmic wars being waged, outright massacres and attempts to establish “state,” religions.  With his interest piqued, he decides to set out on a course which will allow him to examine the world’s religions.

The visitor first finds very little to commend the religions and is able to find that all the negative aspects of this world’s religions have existed since the dawn of time.  What is more, the visitor sees a calendar of crusades, other “holy,” wars, pogroms, inquisitions and other partitions which have pitted neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother and father against son.

As our visitor continues he observes Sikhs versus Hindus, Muslims at odds with all other religions, fundamentalist protestants against those with a liberal bent, and catholics fighting within the faith with other catholics.  He sees hundreds — no thousands — of innocent men, women and children murdered as the perpetrators swear they are following the dictates of their religion as they look toward heaven for their god’s approval.  Our sojourner wonders at the effrontery of some of the world’s religious and political leaders as they expend more and more of their human resources to wage war on those whose religious beliefs run counter to their own. Wasted men and women, either dead, or mentally exhausted to the point of being unable to work as they once were.  He also sees food and other sustenance wasted which could have been better spent filling the stomachs of the less fortunate or filling the minds of their ignorant and illiterate with meaningful knowledge.

Our visitor sees the three main monotheistic religions have similar or common theme in their doctrine and formation (not the least being their shared lineage from Abraham).  Our “alien,” is chagrined at the rifts which have developed in the past and present among each religion’s adherents.  He finds the fault does not necessarily or solely lie with the doctrine or the “holy,” books and tracts, but with some of the world’s religious leaders and their charlatanistic spin which they nimbly apply during their demagogic diatribes.  He also sees followers blindly tagging along as they are fed the pablum of their very own “false prophet.”  He doesn’t miss the demonic instructions which causes a young child to become a human bomb in order to rid the world of one more “infidel,” or non-believer; the dictates which withhold aid and succor for the world’s hungry and downtrodden; the dictates which teach hate is acceptable as it is directed toward one that is different because of their religious beliefs, the color of their skin, or their historic and ethnic culture.

Finally exhausted and disappointed in the extreme, our alien friend departs our world, shaking his head as he thinks:

How strange so many of that world’s religious leaders sit on their hands while their religions renegade elements wreak havoc on others and lay waste to the potential of that planet.

I hope the thoughtful reader will find nothing offensive to their person or spiritual well-being in reading the above, but if the opposite be the case, perhaps an inward search toward the depth of their soul will reveal something which could be attended to….

O’Reilly on America’s Race Problem

Bill O’Reilly said this back in July of 2013.  It has been reprised by CNS News and it seems as true today as it was in 2013.  For those finding themselves insulted or inflamed due to O’Reilly’s opinion, unless you can find more valid reasons as cause for the sorry state some of our cities are in … just sit down and take a number, your turn, i.e., turn will come.

Please click the link just below:

O’Reilly on America’s Race Problem