Gregory Hollister

NM AG Torrez joins SOS Toulouse Oliver in meddling with grocery store merger

New Mexico’s far-left Democrat Attorney General Raúl Torrez is joining the state’s far-left Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver in trying to mess up the proposed $24.6 billion merger between Kroger and Albertsons, joining a multi-state lawsuit spearheaded by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

The legal challenge aims to halt the merger on claims that it would stifle competition, potentially leading to higher consumer prices, diminished quality, and adverse effects on employees. The FTC, expressing concerns over the implications for both consumers and workers, filed both a lawsuit and an administrative complaint to contest the merger.

Kroger, known for its diverse portfolio of nearly 1,300 stores across various brands in the U.S., including Smith’s and Price-Rite in New Mexico, seeks to acquire Albertsons, which also operates under multiple regional brands such as Albertsons Markets and Safeway within the state. 

Attorney General Torrez said, “My office proudly announces its collaborative stance alongside multiple states and the Federal Trade Commission in a collective effort to challenge and prevent this anti-competitive merger that threatens fair market dynamics.” 

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The lawsuit has garnered support from a coalition of attorneys general from Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, and Wyoming, all opposing the merger on the FTC’s platform.

Last August, Toulouse Oliver added her signature to a letter co-signed by six other secretaries of state, rejecting the $24.6 billion merger — a direct attack on the free market.

The letter highlights potential repercussions: “If the merger goes through, the lack of competition gives Kroger-Albertsons substantial power to dictate prices that harm growers and shippers who will be forced to cut wages for their own workers.”

However, Kroger’s perspective on the matter contradicts the officials’ bloviated concerns. A spokesperson for Kroger conveyed that the opposite is likely to occur if the merger progresses. They contend that prices would decrease, consumer choice would expand, and wages would increase as a result of the merger. The spokesperson also criticized the opposition, suggesting that the real beneficiaries of preventing the merger’s completion would be large, non-unionized competitors like Walmart and Amazon. Kroger assured that the merger would not lead to layoffs or closures of stores, distribution centers, or manufacturing facilities.

Outrage as teacher’s sword fight stunt turns classroom into battleground

An alarming incident at Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, involving a high school teacher and a dangerous classroom activity, has led to a lawsuit against Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). The lawsuit, filed on February 23, alleges that a teacher allowed students to engage in sword fighting during a chemistry class on May 2, 2022, resulting in significant injury to one of the students.

According to reports from KRQE-TV, the troubling event was captured on video, showing students wielding swords and dueling in the classroom under the teacher’s supervision. Tragically, this unconventional class activity led to a student sustaining a deep cut on her wrist, necessitating emergency medical attention. The injuries were severe, with severed nerves and tendons, ultimately requiring surgical intervention and leaving the student with permanent damage to her dominant hand.

Attorney Jessica Hernandez, representing the injured student’s family, criticized both the teacher’s judgment and APS’s oversight, stating, “Not only did this teacher and APS not protect this child, but actively put her in harm’s way, actively created this danger and put deadly weapons right into these student’s hands — and exactly what could reasonably be anticipated is what happened.”

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The lawsuit details how the teacher surprised the students with the swords, purportedly as part of a lesson on the science of metal and melding. Despite the Albuquerque Public Schools handbook’s clear classification of weapons as items that could cause injury or death, the teacher proceeded to have students engage in sword duels, exacerbating the risk of harm.

The incident came to light through a cellphone video taken by the injured student moments before her participation in the sword fight. The subsequent injury and the school’s handling of the situation have raised serious concerns about safety and accountability within the school district.

Hernandez further commented on the school’s response to the incident, suggesting that an attempt was made to downplay the seriousness of the situation and avoid a thorough investigation. “The incident report that he filled out really seems like it’s trying to deflect responsibility away from the district to sweep this under the rug rather than doing a thorough investigation to find out exactly why and how one of their students had been so seriously hurt,” she remarked.

In response to the fallout from the incident, APS confirmed that the teacher involved, initially hired in 2021 as a special education teacher, was terminated in 2022. The lawsuit continues to unfold as the injured student’s family seeks justice and accountability for the distressing event.

Anti-Israel protesters block entrance to Santa Fe Starbucks

A group of 10 individuals recently picketed outside a Starbucks in New Mexico’s capital, protesting the coffee giant’s legal actions against employees who voiced support for the Hamas-led “Palestinians,” first brought on by an X post from the union “Workers United,” which stood with the Hamas terrorists — damaging the reputation of the coffee company. 

This incident unfolded against a backdrop of heightened tensions following the egregious October invasion of Israel by Hamas, an organization widely recognized as a terrorist group for its violent actions against Israeli civilians.

The protesters donned traditional keffiyehs and bore signs advocating for a union, and the viciously anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, aimed to impede the morning rush by obstructing access to the Starbucks location on the corner of Santa Fe’s Cerillos Road and St. Francis Drive, as reported by one far-left source. Their actions cast a shadow on the complex and nuanced nature of Middle Eastern geopolitics, particularly the relentless terror campaigns waged by Hamas against Israeli citizens.

Critics argue that such demonstrations risk oversimplifying the intricate Israeli-Hamas conflict and lending support to entities like Hamas, whose tactics and goals starkly contrast with the pursuit of peace and coexistence. The BDS movement, which the protesters align with, has been criticized for its one-sided approach and potential to exacerbate divisions rather than foster dialogue.

The legal tussle between Starbucks, a leftist company, and its employees over public statements concerning the Israeli-Hamas conflict underscores the broader challenge of navigating corporate responsibility and employee rights in politically charged environments. 

According to a report from CNN: 

“We unequivocally condemn these acts of terrorism, hate and violence, and disagree with the statements and views expressed by Workers United and its members,” Starbucks said in a post. “Workers United’s words and actions belong to them, and them alone,” the company added.

Starbucks also filed a lawsuit against the union, alleging trademark infringement and demanding the union stop using its name and logos. The association with the union was damaging its reputation and putting its workers in harm’s way, Starbucks said.

While Starbucks has not been officially boycotted by the BDS National Committee, grassroots campaigns have emerged, reacting to the company’s legal stance against employees’ political expressions.

The confrontation at the Santa Fe Starbucks, marked by both support and backlash from the public, highlights the polarizing nature of the Israeli-Hamas discourse, especially when transposed onto unrelated platforms like coffee shops. 

Gabe Vasquez spews ‘blatant lie’ about GOP opponent over recent court ruling

A recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court decision has virtually halted in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the state. 

Far-left Democrat Rep. Gabe Vasquez of New Mexico’s Second District used the news of the ruling to attack his GOP opponent, former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, claiming she is “an extremist.” Herrell is the GOP nominee for the seat.

“Extremist Yvette Herrell is in lockstep with Alabama’s Supreme Court. Republicans are taking away women’s reproductive healthcare rights & now they’re taking away the opportunity for loving couples to start a family. This is shameful & Herrell’s voting record is clear. Enough,” he wrote in the melodramatic X post. 

However, Congresswoman Herrell is not against IVF. National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Delanie Bomar posted that “this is a blatant lie,” sharing an article from Axios that noted the former congresswoman’s position.

“Former Reps. Mayra Flores (R-Texas) and Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.), who are running for their old seats, said in statements to Axios that they support access to IVF,” read the article.

Many Republicans are joining in to support IVF. On Friday, the 45th President expressed his endorsement for the continuation of in vitro fertilization treatments amid the contentious legal discourse in Alabama, where a recent court decision has classified frozen embryos as persons. In a statement on Truth Social, President Donald Trump emphasized his commitment to fostering robust, flourishing American families, stating, “Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families. We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder! That includes supporting the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America.”

Trump further aligned himself with the general consensus in the country, advocating for the accessibility of IVF for couples striving to conceive. “Like the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of Americans, including the VAST MAJORITY of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, and Pro-Life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby,” he remarked.

In light of the judicial decision in Alabama, which led to several providers’ temporary halt in IVF services, Trump urged the state’s lawmakers to devise a solution to safeguard IVF services promptly. 

After Dem failures during 2024 Legislature, MLG threatens special session

Far-left Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham expressed her major dissatisfaction with the Democrat-majority Legislature’s inability to advance her anti-gun bills and other initiatives during the 30-day session that concluded Thursday. In a move that surprised many, she revealed in a post-session news conference that she is contemplating convening a special legislative session focused on public safety issues. “Both houses are well aware that I’m frustrated,” she stated after most of her extreme, unconstitutional proposals to ban guns fell flat. 

The governor’s contemplation of a special session caught legislators from both parties off guard. House Speaker Javier Martínez acknowledged the governor’s authority to summon a special session but mentioned that he had not discussed this possibility with her. 

The reaction among Republicans was one of dismay, with House Minority Leader Ryan Lane questioning the necessity of a special session after a month-long regular session had just concluded.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca echoed this sentiment, arguing that the legislature had already made its stance clear and that a special session would be seen as an attempt to override the legislative process. 

At the outset of the legislative session, Lujan Grisham had proposed a “comprehensive” public safety and gun control package. This included measures such as an “assault weapons” ban, stripping 18-20-year-olds of their constitutional gun rights, and attacks on the firearms industry, among others. While a few elements of her package, such as a seven-day waiting period for gun buyers and increased penalties for certain crimes, received legislative approval, the bulk of her proposals died.

Addressing New Mexicans directly, Governor Lujan Grisham voiced her concerns about public safety, stating, “I don’t think it’s safe out there” without her proposals being enacted.

The specifics of what might be included in a potential special session agenda remain uncertain, but the governor stressed the need for a “criminal competency bill” to address the treatment needs of repeat offenders with substance abuse or mental health issues.

Beyond public safety, the governor faced challenges in advancing other priorities, such as a strategic water supply initiative, an attempt to force businesses and workers to pay for job-crushing “paid family and medical leave,” the requirement for a 180-day school year, which was met with massive blowback from all sides, including teacher’s unions. Despite legislative resistance, she expressed her intention to pursue these goals through alternative means, including the establishment of a state Office of Housing with funding allocated from the Governor’s Office budget.

As for her involvement in upcoming legislative races, Governor Lujan Grisham stated her intention to focus on the national campaign trail, particularly supporting Joe Biden in his bid to stay in the White House, while maintaining a distance from direct engagement in state legislative campaigns. That remains to be seen. 

Extreme Dem attack on illegal immigrant detention facilities fails

In a massive blow to Democrats in New Mexico, a legislative proposal aimed at prohibiting local detention centers from detaining illegal immigrants for federal civil immigration violations was defeated in the state Senate on a bipartisan vote against it.

The proposal, known as Senate Bill 145, sought to prevent public entities from forming or renewing contracts with federal immigration authorities for the detention of illegal aliens in the U.S. 

Despite support from some lawmakers, the bill was rejected with an 18-21 vote on the Senate floor, highlighting a division among the senators.

Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Albuquerque), the bill’s sponsor, argued that these individuals who crossed into the U.S. illegally are treated as criminals despite breaking federal laws to enter the country. 

The debate also touched on the conditions within detention facilities, particularly the Torrance County center, which has faced a barrage of attacks by leftists for alleged unsanitary and unsafe conditions. 

The failure of the bill means that local governments in New Mexico can continue to enter into contracts with federal immigration authorities for detention purposes. 

The outcome has sparked disappointment among open-border leftists who argue that the debate was not rooted in factual evidence, and they vow to continue the fight against these facilities. 

The absence of two Democrat senators during the vote also drew criticism, with one being formally excused due to a conflict of interest and the others cited for other engagements, further fueling the controversy surrounding the bill’s defeat. Despite any anger over the vote, it still died. 

NM AG says Meta is ‘single largest marketplace for pedophiles’

The New Mexico Attorney General, Raúl Torrez, has initiated a lawsuit against the social media giant Meta, accusing it of facilitating child trafficking on its platforms. Torrez expressed his concern, stating, “Meta is the ‘largest marketplace for predators and pedophiles globally.’” 

This legal action coincides with congressional hearings where Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, along with other executives, is being questioned about their platforms’ role in online child sexual exploitation.

Dima Solomin, Unsplash.

Torrez’s investigation into Meta has revealed alarming findings, suggesting a significant problem with child sexual exploitation on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. He mentioned, “There was an explosion of sexual interest from users attracted to the undercover accounts,” highlighting the severity of the issue. Internal documents from Meta have estimated that around 100,000 children face sexual harassment on Facebook and Instagram daily.

The lawsuit aims to hold Meta accountable for its alleged failure to prevent the use of its platforms for harmful activities against children. Torrez emphasized the need for Meta to prioritize user safety, especially for children, stating, “Fundamentally, we’re trying to get Meta to change how it does business and prioritize the safety of its users.”

Meta has defended its practices, asserting that it employs sophisticated technology and experts to combat child exploitation, reporting harmful content to relevant authorities and disabling accounts that violate its child safety policies.

This legal battle, still in its early stages, seeks to bring about significant changes in how Meta operates, with a focus on enhancing the safety and protection of its youngest users.

Legislative update: Anti-gun, eco-left, union bills to be heard in committees

Starting Monday, radical leftist bills are being heard in legislative committees, including proposals to take Second Amendment rights away from law-abiding citizens, “diversity, equity, and inclusion” bills, and more.

On Saturday, the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 7-4 along party lines to pass a “clean fuels standard” (H.B. 41) that will raise gas prices by 50 cents or more per gallon. 

On Monday at 8:30 a.m., the House Health and Human Services Committee (HHHSC) will consider H.B. 35 from Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D-Albuquerque) to create an “office of diversity, equity, and inclusion” at the University of New Mexico, which would cost the taxpayers $1.2 million annually.

The Zoom details for the HCPAC meeting are below:

On Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee (HCPAC) will consider H.B. 27 by Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque) to expand the state’s “red flag” law, to further encroach on New Mexicans’ constitutional rights.

HCPAC will also hear Tuesday H.B. 114 by Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos) to target the firearm industry by opening manufacturers, FFLs, and even payment processors up to swaths of frivolous lawsuits to attempt to stop their commerce in the state. 

The Zoom details for the HCPAC meeting are below:

On Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., the House Labor, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee (LVMAC) will consider H.B. 119, a union bill by Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque), that aims to inject the state between collective bargaining agreements and implement more mandates upon the rail industry. 

The Zoom details for the LVMAC meeting are below:

On Tuesday at 9:00 a.m., the Senate Conservation Committee will consider a bill, S.B. 2, from Sen. Bill Tallman (D-Albuquerque) to further harm the oil and gas industry by increasing the royalty rates for oil and gas tracts of land through the New Mexico State Land Office.

Vasquez’s ties to pro-Palestinian extremists revealed

In a recent development that has sparked widespread debate, Democratic politician Gabe Vasquez has been linked to radical pro-Palestine groups, raising questions about his political alliances and beliefs. This connection surfaced following the discovery of Vasquez’s participation in a 2018 rally, where he was photographed speaking in front of a poster bearing the slogan, “From Palestine to Mexico, all walls gotta go.” This phrase has become a controversial rallying cry for various advocacy groups that are critical of immigration policies and Israel’s actions in Palestine. 

The slogan has a history of association with extreme advocacy groups and has been notably used in protests against U.S. immigration policies and in demonstrations against Israel. It made appearances in 2017 during airport protests, at UC Santa Barbara, and was prominently chanted at a 2016 protest outside the AIPAC Policy Conference. The recent resurgence of the slogan, especially in light of the latest Palestine-Israel conflict, has been evident at events such as the disruption of Anthony Blinken’s Capitol Hill hearing, a march in Washington DC, and a Baltimore Harbor Christmas Village event.

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), known for its strong criticism of Israel, has been credited with popularizing this rallying cry. The USCPR has made several controversial statements, labeling Israel as an apartheid state and accusing it of genocide and occupation.

Other radical and antisemitic groups have also used the slogan. Code Pink, a Left-wing international advocacy group, has utilized similar phrasing in their discussions of the Gaza security fence and the Mexico border wall. United We Dream, a youth-led organization, has echoed the sentiment on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Amid these revelations, questions arise regarding Vasquez’s stance. Does he align with these radical groups and their advocacy against securing the southern border?

National Republican Congressional Committee Spokeswoman Delanie Bomar commented on the matter, saying, “Whether it’s supporting open borders, defunding law enforcement, or rallying behind antisemitic causes, there’s always a new radical low for Gabe Vasquez. His extremism is out of control, and he’s massively out of step with hardworking, commonsense New Mexicans.”

This controversy emerged just days after Vasquez downplayed the significance of border issues, prompting CNN anchor John Berman to challenge his perspective. In addition, Vasquez’s call for a ceasefire in the Palestine-Israel conflict aligns him with other groups labeled as extreme. His previous statements regarding the southern border crisis and efforts to secure the border have been contentious.

With a recent influx of 302,000 illegal immigrants crossing the southern border in December, which directly affects Vasquez’s district, these connections and his past remarks have become a focal point of concern and discussion.

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