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Today's Opinions

  • Socialism and the new left: Forgotten history, the grand plans and the big lie

    BY TOM WRIGHT
    Columnist

    A 2017 poll conducted by the American Culture and Faith Institute, among adults 18 and older showed what National Review described as a “tectonic shift” in American politics. Four out of ten adults polled preferred socialism over capitalism. If you are a capitalist who believes in smaller government, lower taxes and the values that built this country, you better pay attention to the current trends.

    Those of us who lived through the end of the Cold War remember the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (aka the USSR, the Soviet Union or Russia for the younger set) and the general collapse of socialist ideology. Socialist ideology actually went underground in the ‘90s and made roots in the fertile fields of academia and the environmental movement.

    While working in the Soviet Union before, during and after their transition to the Commonwealth of Independent States, I saw the stark reality was a lack of most everything, except for the very privileged. Socialism is definitely about equality of the common man, all live in an equal state of deficiency. Today, socialism is more popular in the US than in the countries where it is the economic system.

  • Letters to the Editor 4-12-19

    Attacks are a front for lack of ideas

    Dear Editor,
    Mr. Wright begins with the false comparison of the Hoover administrations break-up of the Bonus Army protest camp with force to FDR’s New Deal policy toward Veterans pension reductions. The bonus certificates that were to be issued to WWI veterans were not part of a Veteran pension and FDR met his own Veteran Bonus Army marchers with equanimity, not tear gas and broken skulls.
    This turns into an attack on the supposed dystopian narratives of progressives when the current false dystopian narrative king is President Trump who regaled us with his “American Carnage” apparently caused by illegal immigration, MS-13, and Democrats. This is all leading up to the focus of his attack which is the idea of Universal Basic Income.

  • Popular vote initiative is end-run around U.S., state constitutions

    BY VERNON KERR
    Guest Columnist

    The Governor and our Democratic controlled Legislature have given away New Mexico’s sovereignty and right to select our choice for president with the Electoral College. They have entered into a compact with other states, unconstitutionally going around the Electoral College, by using the national popular vote which is dictated by the most populous states.

    The Electoral College system was set to have each state make its choice and cast its votes as a sovereign state. By using the popular vote to elect the president, New Mexico citizens will be an insignificant ripple in the process and the only vote that matters will be that of the largest, most populous states. The presidential candidates will not need to come to our state or even ask for our five electoral votes. We will certainly be that poor little rural state that is “missing”.

    This is one result of not teaching civics as a whole course in our public schools. How is one to know what the purpose and the job of the Electoral College is if it is never examined and taught. In my days in public schools in New Mexico (in the “olden days”), we had a full semester of civics. The topic of the Electoral College is covered in the Federalist Papers for anyone who dares to dig it up.

  • Gov, legislators reach out with rural-friendly bills

    We hear a lot about the rural-urban divide, but there’s no bridge quite like money.

    In bills the governor signed last week, lawmakers sent some love to the state’s rural communities.

    Three big concerns in outlying areas are education, roads and healthcare. Thanks to the oil industry, there is more money for all three. And with the departure of a vindictive former governor and the arrival of a new governor, communities can expect to see that money.

    Education reformers took special pains to remedy budget slights of past years. In the overhaul of the state’s funding formula is a new rural population factor that will direct more funding to school districts and charter schools in what the

    U. S. Census Bureau defines as geographically rural areas.

    They did this by returning the small-school size adjustment to its original purpose of helping rural schools. Charter schools across the state had cashed in on the adjustment, leading to friction over its use.

    If you consider that in many communities, schools are the biggest employer, the 6 percent raise for teachers and school employees will make a big difference. A principal I know says: “This is an absolute win. Teachers will spend that money on cars and appliances. They’ll fix up their houses.”

  • Jobs numbers are up 2%! No, wait! It’s 1%.

    Remember 2018? Remember the reported wage job growth for the second half of the year? Borderline euphoric it was, by New Mexico standards, anyway. Six of the last seven months of 2018 showed job growth above 2 percent.

    Perhaps forgotten in the slosh of oil revenue tossed around by the recent Legislature is that last year the economists were standing in a corner, saying quietly—economists tend to speak quietly—that the 2% growth was….ahhhh….preliminary and wouldn’t last. The economists were right, of course; they know how these things work.

    There were 20,400 new wage jobs (2.4%) claimed in the first release of job growth figures, seasonally unadjusted, for the period from December 2017 to December 2018.

    A month later, the report for the year between January 2018 and January 2019 said New Mexico added 9,200 wage jobs for a 1.1% increase. We’re back to preliminary numbers now. For February, year-over-year, the growth was 7,400 jobs or 0.9%.

    The growth rate did not suddenly plummet. The difference is statistical. It happens every year.

  • WIPP accident response was costly overkill

    Dr. T. Douglas Reilly
    Columnist

    This is in response to the Monitor article, and others, regarding the 20th anniversary of WIPP. In particular, I write regarding the incident of St. Valentine’s Day 2014. Shortly after this, I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Albuquerque Journal that they published as the lead editorial of a Sunday Journal. The title of this was “Media, ‘watchdogs’ make mountain of WIPP molehill.”

    Little did I know at the time how big that mountain would grow to be. As you know, WIPP was shut down for three years and $500 million were spent in the process of reopening it. I chalk this up to what I call “the high cost of ignorance.”

    I believe the WIPP incident could have been handled without, or with only a short, shutdown of the facility and at a far lower cost. Allow me to defend this statement.

  • Socialism and the new left: Real hard times and Utopia

    By TOM WRIGHT
    Columnist

    The Roaring Twenties came to a sudden halt in ’29, giving way to the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the ‘30s.

    By 1933, 25% of Americans were unemployed and farmers in the central plains from Texas to Canada suffered ten years of the worst drought in modern history. Books like Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road told the stories of economic struggle and survival.

    Tobacco Road was adapted into a Broadway play that ran for eight years. The dire straits of the time had everyone’s attention and FDR was doing something about it. It was called the New Deal.

    Due to austere economic restructuring in the closing days of the Hoover administration, veterans who were promised bonus benefits feared their loss and opened a protest camp of 17,000 veterans and 25,000 civilians outside Washington, DC. The Secretary of War ordered General Douglas MacArthur and Major George Patton to lead regiments to attack and burn the encampment. Several veterans and civilians were killed. The following week, angry veterans marched on the Capitol building, causing the members of Congress to leave town until the riot could be quelled.

  • Plain old rhubarb has a world-class heritage

    “Rhubarb,” the name, has a history as strange as the vegetable itself. The eastern border of Europe at one time was the Rha River, one of the early names for the Volga.

    The region was wet and cold enough that barbarians and wild rhubarb both did well along the river. Things led on as they would. An outcome seen in stores today is fresh produce whose tag still displays signs of that barbarous past along the Rha; the tag says “rhubarb.” This spelling fits with enough history to be credible.

    Rhubarb plants have three main parts – roots, stalks and leaves. Depending on varieties, clusters of flowers bloom at times. The roots were a cathartic from ancient China. The stalks became a popular food after 1800 and the leaves are toxic.

    Medicinal uses of dried rhubarb root were known in China 5,000 years ago and were well documented over 2,000 years ago. The dried root came to Europe via the routes that brought silk, spices and other precious items of trade. The trade routes by land from China to Europe came to be known as the Silk Road. Certain spices came largely by sea from India.

    In the 1400s, these east-west trade routes were menaced by the growing influence of Islam.