John Block

MLG, City of ABQ deny reports of airlifting AZ COVID-19 patients to NM for treatment

On Monday, there was confusion on social media about a report from AZ Central claiming COVID-19 patients from Arizona would be air-lifted to New Mexico for treatment. According to the report, patients would be flown in at Mile Stadium in Albuquerque to receive care from New Mexico health care facilities. 

KIVA radio show host Eddy Aragon of the “Rock of Talk” visited the helipad on Monday, getting on video the newly-painted helipad and newly-implemented asphalt parking lines for ambulances. He spoke with some alleged healthcare workers who told him they were from Presbyterian and said he was being “disrespectful” for going to the scene.

But since Aragon’s report, the AZ Central article was updated, claiming patients will not for sure be sent from Arizona, but that “the helipad has been built in case of a surge of patients.”

When asked on Twitter if patients from Arizona would be flown into Albuquerque for treatment, the City of Albuquerque flatly denied the claim, writing, “The news article published regarding this was in error. There are no plans to airlift patients from Arizona to Albuquerque.”

According to a report from KOB 4 News, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office also denied that Arizona patients would not be flown to New Mexico for treatment. “It’s a part of transporting patients within New Mexico when the surge hits,” the spokesperson said.

Presbyterian Hospital spokesperson Melanie Mozes said the Arizona article is grossly inaccurate. “The extra helipad will only be used should a surge of COVID-19 patients happen,” she said.

The helipad is undeniably at Milne Stadium, and the previously published news article did explicitly note that Arizona COVID-19 patients would be airlifted to New Mexico for treatment, but since that has been walked back.

Dem NM Rep. inadvertently blames Dems’ 89-year rule of NM for ‘racist systems’ worsening COVID-19

On Monday, far-left state Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque) took to Twitter to place blame for the effects of the novel coronavirus on (you guessed it), “racism.”

A typical play by Democrats, Martinez claimed COVID-19 is hitting New Mexico the hardest because of “[y]ears of policies that uphold historically racist systems like..failures 2 invest land grant fund in youngest kids, failures 2 build water systems in communities w/out, failures 2 build an economy that works for ALL.” 

However, Martinez does not give any detail about his outrage over “racist systems” with any facts. On the contrary, it does not appear that racism has anything to do with land grant funds going to the state’s “youngest kids,” supposed “failures” to build “water systems” or the vague ability to “build an economy that works for all.”

Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation retweeted the post, writing, “And there you have it, Chair of House Tax in #nmleg arguing that if we weren’t so RACIST that we didn’t tap the permanent fund for pre-K minority groups wouldn’t be as impacted by Coronavirus.”

During the 2020 legislative session, the Legislature passed and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law HB 83, which originally would withdraw 1% from the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund for pre-kindergarten programs, but the final version of the bill passed by a wide margin in both chambers with .5% extraction from the fund.

New Mexico’s current systems, which have been run by Democrats for over 89 years, is fully in the hands of Democrat lawmakers, not Republicans, and so it appears Martinez is blaming Democrats for his perceived failures in the state. Since 1931, Democrats have had a majority rule over the state legislature and most state offices, so by Martinez’s logic, Democrats are 100% responsible for any “racism” in the current system.

GOP Whip Montoya: If state can’t handle jobless claims, let people get back to work with restrictions

On Sunday, the New Mexico House Republicans shared an article from the Albuquerque Journal regarding New Mexico’s overwhelmed Workforce Solutions unemployment system, and their inability to handle the 60,000+ newly filed cases, where the system was used to 600-800 cases on average per week. The Department of Workforce Solutions is headed by former Rep. Bill McCamley, a failed 2018 candidate for state auditor.

House Republican Whip Rep. Rod Montoya of San Juan urged Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to reopen the economy with the same health restrictions that are currently being observed at big box stores like Walmart. 

“This is what happens when the Governor mandates the closure of every business that she determines to be ‘non-essential.’ If they can’t manage the unemployment system that is overwhelmed by these forced closures, then let people go back to work with the same restrictions as Wal-Mart! It is time to responsibly open New Mexico back up for business,” wrote Montoya.

Gov. Lujan Grisham has come under intense scrutiny for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led her to send out State Police as her attack dogs to hunt down small businesses disobeying her orders and issue citations.

Lujan Grisham also banned church gatherings on the eve of Easter, but is allowing abortion clinics and to stay open, despite the major health risks involved with the elective procedure. 

Heinrich, Dems play politics with pandemic — use COVID-19 to attempt halt on border construction

On Saturday, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and fellow hard-left Radical Democrats in the U.S. Congress penned a letter demanding Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper halt all border wall construction, using COVID-19 to justify their partisan plea. Retiring Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland (D-NM), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), were some of the co-signers of the letter.

The letter claims the construction of the border wall “places local communities at unnecessary risk,” continuing to say, “Money should be invested in healthcare, small businesses, and fighting the spread of COVID-19, not used to build an ineffective and wasteful border wall that does not solve our immigration crisis or protect our homeland.”

A response to the hyper-partisan letter (that uses not a single statistic or fact-based argument), the ACLU’s Astrid Dominguez responded, “We welcome this letter from Members of Congress, and call on the Trump administration to use this crisis as an opportunity to abandon its wasteful use of precious resources on the expansion of a border wall.” The key phrase to note here is “use this crisis as an opportunity.” The very fact that the left wants to use a deadly pandemic as an “opportunity” to stymie the Trump Administration’s policies says a lot about those signing onto the letter, as well as the fringe-left groups goading on the partisan measure.

“The only way to ensure that New Mexico stays safe during this global pandemic is to stop the militarization of our communities and provide fair and equitable access to healthcare services for all people who need them,” said Johana Bencomo, Executive Director of NM CAFé, a dark-money “non-profit” which harbors criminal aliens in New Mexico under the guise of Catholicism and Christian churches.

The open-borders Democrats led by Martin Heinrich and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are proving every single day that they do not have the best interest of the state in mind, and would much rather work solely to push forward policies that hurt our state forward. Just as Lujan Grisham irresponsibly pulled the New Mexico National Guard from the Southern Border as one of her first acts as governor, despite hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens attempting to flood into our state, Heinrich’s letter once again just proves the carelessness and disregard Democrats have for our state and for our safety. 

As New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham works hard to keep open businesses who have given to her political campaigns (such as abortion clinics, big box stores, and pot dispensaries), New Mexico’s sad excuse for a congressional delegation is hard at work ramming far-left policies down the throats of average New Mexicans — once again weaponizing a crisis for their own political gain. The disgraceful attempts by New Mexico Democrats should be noted and NEVER forgotten.

Opinions offered by Piñon Post contributors in no way, shape, or form represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at: news@pinonpost.com.

ABQ gun store owner Louie Sanchez fights back against Gov. MLG’s cease and desist order

On Saturday, Louie Sanchez, the owner of Albuquerque gun store Calibers and former Republican U.S. Senate candidate appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” to discuss his decision to remain open despite Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s cease and desist order calling his business “non-essential.” He said his business with continue to stay open regardless of the Governor’s order.

But Sanchez contends that “under Michelle Lujan Grisham’s… order, we actually are considered essential.” He explained that “in Section F, as we tried to explain to them, that you are considered essential if Law Enforcement and MIlitary uses your facilities. And as of up to two days ago, we actually had law enforcement from ATF, FBI, Albuquerque Police, State Police, Sheriffs, etc. using our facility. And then Thursday night at 5:00, we got a visit from our friends at the State Police with a cease and desist order, telling us that we are considered ‘non-essential.’”

When asked about social distancing and remaining open, Sanchez said, “Not only is it a right as for every American to bear arms as in our Constitution, but it’s a right for every small business also. We have small businesses that are getting destroyed in this sate,… but we have big box stores that have never closed. And my wife and I have lived in this city for our whole lives, and we were going to the big box stores and there was no social distancing going on. Small businesses in New Mexico, we can control exactly how many people come into our store.”

On Friday, Sanchez posted the news of the Governor shutting him down from his Facebook page, writing, “It’s amazing how the Governor is picking ‘winners and losers’ as small businesses are closed all over the state and thousands of people are now unemployed. Small businesses new and old which will never recover or reopen [their] doors again.”

“But she is allowing big box stores to stay open even though they’re selling the same products or services. Small businesses are the economic backbone of this state employing thousands of hard-working New Mexicans. We appreciate all of our customers and the thousands the calls, emails and social media support that we have received. God Bless everyone during this time.”

In recent weeks, the governor has come under intense scrutiny for sending small businesses that provide essential goods and services cease and desist orders. On the eve of Easter, Lujan Grisham announced a ban on church gatherings, triggering local churches to defy her orders. The Las Cruces Bishop announced he will resume church services in this diocese, a first of any Catholic prelate in the nation. Legacy Church filed a lawsuit against the Administration, however, on Friday, their temporary restraining order to halt Lujan Grisham’s mandate was denied by an Albuquerque Judge.

Gov. MLG’s comms. director: NM GOP is a ‘death cult’ wanting more New Mexican COVID-19 deaths

On Thursday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s communications director, Tripp Stelnicki tweeted out a jab at anyone who is trying to reopen New Mexico’s economy — a group mostly led by Republicans worried about fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Earlier this week, the New Mexico Republican Party pushed back on Lujan Grisham sending cease and desist orders to New Mexico businesses staying open to provide necessary goods and services, despite the Governor labeling many businesses “non-essential.”

On Tuesday, the New Mexico Business Coalition unveiled its plan to reopen the state’s economy, beginning with allowing businesses who can operate under the current guidelines of 20% capacity to reopen. “When you look at all the goods and items that can be purchased in a big box store, for example, why could we not purchase those locally? If we were to do that, we would get more businesses open,” said NMBC President Carla Sonntag.

During Lujan Grisham’s Thursday address, she made clear she has no intention of letting up on restrictions yet, saying, “…we are not at a point currently where it would be safe to reopen.”

The same day as the Governor’s address, Tripp Stelnicki wrote up a tweet directly targeting the Republicans who are aiming to help reopen the state’s economy. He wrote, “You don’t have to ask the death cult their opinion or publish their quotes. False equivalence now is actually life or death. There is no “both sides” to this. There is one group preaching accelerated illness & death because they “love” “business” & if you can’t see through that?”

Republican state leaders rebuked Stelnicki’s jab at their concerns as a “death cult,” with the Republican Party responding, “This outrageous tweet, suggesting that Republicans want to get more New Mexicans to contract COVID-19, is shocking and disgraceful. The tweet shows to what lengths the Governor’s Office will go to scare the public and politicize the pandemic. The tweet is disgusting and twisted, and the Governor’s Office is way out of line with this monstrous claim. Nothing is further from the truth.”

Moderate Republican Rep. Rebecca Dow of Silver City suggested Stelnicki’s tweet goes against state laws mandating state employees cannot be “engaging in a political activity while on duty,” citing the New Mexico statute. 

The Governor has not responded to her communications director’s statement, which appears to have violated state statutes barring state employees from political activity while on duty. The Republican Party of New Mexico has demanded an apology from the Governor’s office in response to Stelnicki’s jab at Republicans. 

Previously to working for Gov. Lujan Grisham, Stelnicki worked as a reporter for the left-wing paper, the Santa Fe New Mexican, and has bashed President Trump and Republicans on countless occasions, such as in September 2019 when President Trump visited Rio Rancho, New Mexico for a rally. Stelnicki mocked the President about how he would pronounce “Rio Rancho.” 

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Governor’s spokesperson, Nora Meyers Sackett, said, “The tweet in question does not reference any person, group, or organization specifically by name — if someone seems to think it’s about them, I’d say they’ve placed that upon themselves.”

Las Cruces bishop first in U.S. to resume Mass as MLG’s State Police hunt down church ban defiers

On Wednesday, Las Cruces Bishop Peter Baldacchino advised his priests to resume their ministry, in accordance with state-ordered health guidelines, making it clear he does not agree with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order of no more than five people congregating in one place. 

“We [as priests] have been called by Christ and ordained to serve the people of the Diocese of Las Cruces, to bring them hope and consolation during this difficult time,” Baldacchino wrote.

“In the events of these days and weeks the Lord is calling us out of our comfort zone, he is calling us to seek new ways to reach the people. In addition to this mission with which we are entrusted, we also have the mission to keep people safe. The two must be equally pursued.” 

“While it is true that we need to take every reasonable precaution to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it is equally true that we offer the greatest ‘essential service’ to our people. The past few weeks have brought to light many unintended consequences of the ‘stay-at-home’ order,” he continued.

According to the Catholic News Agency, “Baldacchino is the first U.S. bishop known to have amended a previously declared diocesan ban on public Masses since the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the U.S. last month.”

The news comes amid Gov. Lujan Grisham sending State Police out to hunt down people of faith who are defying her ban on church gatherings announced the day before Easter Sunday.

In the Governor’s announcement of the ban, she said she wanted to make clear that “home is also holy,” mentioning the Jewish Passover and the Islamic Ramadan as other holy occasions. The announcement just so happened to come out the same day the Albuquerque Journal published an op-ed from a leftist columnist who harassed an elderly pro-life man, where she echoed much of the same language in the piece. 

Audio obtained by KIVA 93.7 FM/1600 AM’s “Rock of Talk” host Eddy Aragon, shows state police calling churches, saying they’ve had “complaints” that the churches have remained open, and they must suspend all gatherings immediately.

In once call from an “Officer Price” to the New Hope Revival Church, he informs the church they are “non-essential and this business should be closed down until further notice until this epidemic is over and completed.”

 Another call from Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office to Pastor Jeff Carr of Mesa Baptist Church in Rio Rancho informs the church of the Governor’s order while giving guidelines that are supported, including “online services, drive-in services where people remain in the car with their windows rolled up… or listen to a radio service, honk their horns for ‘Amen!’ and so on.”

On Monday, Legacy Church in Albuquerque filed a lawsuit against the State of New Mexico claiming Gov. Lujan Grisham violated the First Amendment protecting their freedom of religion. Head Pastor Steve Smothermon said, “Really what I consider a very egregious act on her part that at 5 o’clock on Saturday she puts out this new order for churches basically not making churches essential when they were before, and she does it on the eve of Easter.” 

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a statement on social distancing and religious practices in light of a church in Greenville, Mississippi where congregants were fined $500 for participating in a church service from their cars. “Even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers,” wrote Barr. 

The Las Cruces Bishop’s decision to resume Catholic mass services will test what lengths Gov. Lujan Grisham is willing to go to clamp down on religious believers practicing their faith, as she is allegedly a member of the Catholic faith.

Dems cry ‘voter suppression’ after Dem-majority NM Supreme Court blocks all-mail election

On Tuesday, the New Mexico Supreme Court dealt Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and the Democrat Party a crippling blow in their attempt to use the COVID-19 pandemic to push for an all mail-in ballot election, despite New Mexico’s ancient voter records.

The Court unanimously sided with the Republican Party of New Mexico, with Chief Justice Judith Nakamura saying, “The relief that is requested is specifically prohibited by New Mexico statute … which says that a mail ballot shall not be delivered by the county clerk to anyone other than the applicant for the ballot.”

The Court found a solution to the pandemic concerns with in-person voting by ruling that the state should send out absentee ballot applications to be filled out and sent back, which both followed current statute and curbs potential for widespread fraud. 

A deep-dive from the Public Interest Legal Foundation found countless instances of inconsistencies in the New Mexico voter rolls, with 3,168 registrants flagged with duplicate concerns, 1,681 dead residents, 1,519 voters aged over 100 years old, 64 of which are aged over 120, and 188 registered with a commercial address. — # of Registrations flagged for duplicate concerns: 3,168

The Republican Party of New Mexico hailed the Supreme Court’s decision, writing in a statement, “The court’s refusal to rewrite New Mexico election law—to allow the unsolicited mailing of live ballots as part of an all vote-by-mail (VBM) election–shows the proper respect for the importance of election integrity, even in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19.”

The hard-left dark money Democrat Party-linked 501c4 nonprofit “ProgressNow NM” bemoaned the Court’s decision to follow written law, claiming “this is a rough day for democracy in New Mexico,” despite the ability of citizens to vote legally with absentee ballot applications.

Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver sent out a statement begrudgingly accepting the decision, saying, “My office will comply with the court’s order and mail absentee ballot applications to all voters registered with a major political party. That’s why it’s important that eligible voters register to vote or update their voter registrations by May 5.”

The Democrat Party of New Mexico sent out a statement once again using the COVID-19 crisis as a pelting board to launch attacks at the Republican Party. The statement claimed the NM GOP is attempting to “suppress the vote,” despite the Party asking for the Court to rule in the bounds of current law. 
The New Mexico Supreme Court is made up of four Democrats and one Republican.

‘Mom and pop’ shops selling necessary goods served with cease and desist orders by Gov. MLG

On Monday, farming and ranching store Bar G Western Wear in Portales announced via Facebook that they had been served with a cease and desist order by State Police for keeping their doors open. The store sells essential items needed by farmers and ranchers to keep their businesses running.

Bar G Western Wear’s post reads, “Soooo folks… we’ve just been served with a CEASE and DESIST order! Apparently there were several complaints against us. (Snitches/Busybodies…..who would have thought). The NM State Police were very professional and nice. We will pursue this further. Thanks for the overwhelming support!”

State Rep. Gregg Schmedes (R-Tijeras) responded to the news with outrage, writing, “Apparently Governor Grisham doesn’t believe farmers & ranchers are essential. Where are they supposed to go to get supplies and work clothes? MLG, you’re wrong. These are the good guys, and they are ESSENTIAL. #TooFar”

The Republican Party of New Mexico has pushed back on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s orders that allow large corporations like Walmart to keep their doors open during COVID-19, while small “mom and pop” shops are hurting, many being sent cease and desist orders if they remain open to provide essential goods and services to their communities.

“Somewhere the Main Street owners of mom and pop stores in New Mexico need to be spoken for,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce. 

Lujan Grisham’s office shrugged off the concerns by writing, “Any half-thought-out proposal about picking winners and losers and allowing partial closures … will lead to more illnesses and more death.”

Ex-ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez to SD Governor: ‘We don’t care if we make you sick’ with COVID-19

On Monday and Tuesday, former Democrat Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez took to Twitter to defend the policies of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and to go after Republican governors with whom he disagrees.

Early Tuesday morning, Chavez responded to a Twitter video from Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem giving South Dakotans information on how they can slow the spread of coronavirus. He wrote in response, “North Dakota – we don’t care if we make you sick.” Chavez apparently meant to direct his aggression at South Dakotans, despite him writing “North Dakota.”

Gov. Noem has not issued a mandated “stay-at-home” order for her state, despite heavy criticism from Democrats, despite the measures put in place by Noem have cut initial projected infection rates in South Dakota. Noem says Dr. Anthony Fauci has applauded her response to COVID-19.

Noem’s response differs greatly to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s mandates, including a stay-at-home order, and State Police is tasked with enforcing the guidelines by citing businesses disobeying the order, with civil penalties of up to $5,000. 

Lujan Grisham has taken heavy criticism in recent days over banning church gatherings the day before Easter Sunday and allowing abortion facilities to kill babies through abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the CDC guidelines to “Delay inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases.” Abortion is never medically necessary and thus is an elective procedure.

But despite the deadly pandemic, Chavez is defending the Governor’s proposals, writing on Twitter in response to a Republican U.S. Senate candidate decrying the Governor’s order, “Your solution being to allow mass gatherings as long as people are praying?  Hilarious.” It appears Chavez is mocking people of faith for praying on Easter, a Constitutionally-protected religious freedom.

On Monday, Legacy Church in Albuquerque filed a lawsuit against the State of New Mexico for violating their First Amendment right to religious freedom.

In response to a commenter criticizing Lujan Grisham keeping abortion clinics open while banning church services, Chavez wrote, “A doctor and his or her patient making an important health care decision versus 300 or so people who gather, infect and spread killer disease to thousands. Not really the same.”

Chavez’s tweet may be seen by many as ironic, since abortion is the act of killing a human baby through unnatural measures, while he is trying to make the case that the “important health care decision” to kill the child is necessary during a deadly pandemic.

On Good Friday, Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) late-term abortion clinic had a full parking lot, thanks to the governor’s order. SWO ends babies’ lives up-to and after 7 months gestational age. 

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