New Mexico

‘Political problem’: Santa Fe-area DA defends letting obelisk topplers go free

On Thursday, the district attorney for the First Judicial District, Mary Carmack-Altwies, announced she would not be seeking jail time for any of the domestic terrorists who toppled the 153-year-old obelisk in Downtown Santa Fe dedicated to Union soldiers who fought against the Confederacy in the Civil War.

At the time, she claimed, “The Obelisk case defendants meet the criteria I set out for diversionary programming. We have reached a resolution after months of careful investigation and negotiation between defendants, their attorneys, and my office that ensures justice while working toward community healing.”

But her decision to not go after the ardent criminals who very deliberately and knowingly tore down a centuries-old piece of New Mexico culture and history was met with much fury from the public. 

Former city councilor Ron Trujillo said it was a “crock of crap” that Carmack-Altwies was letting the vandals go free, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

However, Carmack-Altwies claimed the toppling of the obelisk was “a political problem that got forced upon the criminal justice system” in her defense of her weak prosecutorial decision to let the criminals slide.

Some pointed out her tone-deaf comments, with one person writing, “Well, I suppose the storming of the national capitol was ‘a political problem that got forced upon the criminal justice system’ too. For that matter, were the bombings of abortion clinics, vandalism of fur farms, and burning of draft offices ‘political problems’? No. They were crimes.”

In her defense, the district attorney made clear she did not want a “punitive” result for the domestic terrorists. She said her “restorative justice” approach was “supposed to bring both sides together and get everyone to come to a resolution or conclusion about what they should do as part of their punishment. And it is a punishment.” She added, “It’s not punitive, necessarily, in that it’s not jail. But it is a punishment — they have to participate in this. And if they drop out and they don’t do it, then we lift the stay and prosecution keeps going.”

Many would say Carmack-Altwies is speaking out of both sides of her mouth if she says she does not want a “punitive” outcome while also saying the vandals having to merely talk it out with community leaders while they pick up a few pounds of trash is “punishment.” 

The Santa Fe New Mexican notes, “Carmack-Altwies said that while it will be difficult to identify the specific victims in the toppling of the obelisk on Oct. 12, anyone is welcome to present their grievances to the program’s mediator, Debra Oliver.”

Still, people are not happy with her weak-on-crime approach to holding these vandals accountable. One commenter said, “Mary, It is called ‘you let em go free.’” These words ring loud and clear for many New Mexicans, especially those in Santa Fe who will now have a chance to kick out Mayor Alan Webber, responsible for letting the obelisk get toppled as he commanded the police to stand by and watch. 

Out-of-state climate alarmists lobby against PNM transferring power plant to Navajo Nation

A recent report from the Santa Fe New Mexican details far-left anti-energy “climate change” alarmist groups opposing Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) transferring its share of the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant to the Farmington-based Navajo Transitional Energy Co. (NTEC). 

These extreme anti-energy groups opposing the transfer include the radical “,” which wants to “Stop and ban all oil, coal and gas projects from being built” and the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club, which has endorsed the expensive, economy crippling Green New Deal. 

The radical groups that comprise what they call the “Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy” contend that transferring the plant from PNM to the Navajo Nation-owned NTEC would let the economy stabilize powerplant “ stay open and keep polluting.” 

The groups opposing the transaction are hell-bent on closing the powerplant for good, by hook or by crook, with claims that PNM’s proposed contract with NTEC “will make it harder to shut down the power plant, said the adviser,” according to the Sierra Club’s technical adviser Jeremy Fisher of Oakland, Calif.

Fisher, who doesn’t even live in New Mexico, said, “the plant is the state’s largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions,” reports the New Mexican.

Another out-of-state Sierra Club representative, Matt Gerhart of Denver, Colorado, claimed the plant’s transfer to NTEC is “flawed,” arguing that it is “a bad deal for ratepayers and for the environment and for the people who live in the shadows of the Four Corners plant.”

PNM’s vice president, Tom Fallgren, Fallgren “said the deal with NTEC would preserve jobs at Four Corners, benefit the Navajo Nation, save PNM customers money and enable PNM to move to carbon-free energy faster. He also lauded the decision by plant owners to reduce emissions by 20 percent to 25 percent by going to seasonal operations in 2023,” according to the New Mexican.

But Stephanie Dzur, an attorney for the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, demeaned the powerplant, saying PNM has chosen an odd way to unload the “crappy old, polluting” Four Corners plant. “They want to abandon the plant to a coal company,” she said.

This is not the first time a coal-powered generating station has been closed due to out-of-state influences on the Land of Enchantment, most corrosively through 2019’s Energy Transition Act (ETA), the most extreme state-wide anti-energy bill in the country to install the “Green New Deal.” 

Previously, UNM was forced to close the San Juan Generating Station (pictured) due to the ETA. According to the Farmington Daily Times, the 2022 closure of the powerplant will “mean the loss of one of the major economic drivers in the county as well as approximately 1,500 direct and indirect jobs, with [a] high proportion of that workforce being Navajo.” 

It appears that far-left Democrats and out-of-state anti-energy groups are doing whatever necessary to displace more Navajo energy workers from their jobs to the chagrin of public officials, such as state Rep. Melanie Stansbury who said these displaced workers can just “sell your art and your wool.” 

Gov. Lujan Grisham praises Jeffrey Epstein-linked Branson, Richardson during space launch

On Saturday, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic completed its first space launch in over two years from Spaceport America in Sierra County with the launch of VSS Unity, making New Mexico only the third state to send humans to space.

To mark the occasion, former Gov. Bill Richardson, Branson, and current Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham came together to see the launch. While Richardson was governor, he had the State of New Mexico pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the creation of the Spaceport. 

But Branson and Richardson did not likely only know each other from the space launch transaction. They both were included in allegedly slain pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s “little black book.” Epstein was a sexual degenerate and pedophile who used strong-arm tactics to feed the sexual desires of powerful people and latch onto economic wealth. 

In a 2016 deposition, Virginia Giuffre, an Epstein sex worker claimed she was instructed “to go to (former U.S. Sen.) George Mitchell, (modeling agent) Jean-Luc Brunel, Bill Richardson, another prince that I don’t know his name. A guy that owns a hotel, a really large hotel chain, I can’t remember which hotel it was.” She claims she was told by Epstein and the billionaire’s “madam” Ghislaine Maxwell to give the former governor “erotic massages.” 

Dozens of accusers say they were underage, some as young as 14, when Epstein allegedly sexually abused them.

Although Richardson denies the allegations, the accusations remain. 

Epstein purchased a secluded, 10,000-acre Zorro Ranch in southern Santa Fe County, which according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, “he purchased from former Gov. Bruce King in the early 1990s. On that property is a 26,700-square-foot hilltop mansion as well as a small airplane hangar and airstrip.” 

Epstein called on Richard Branson and Bill Gates to appear alongside him during a 2014 panel about money’s origins at Arizona State University according to an email from theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss at the time.

According to the Daily Mail, “It was Krauss who revealed this news in a 2013 email to Jim Simons, asking the famed mathematician if he might be interested in a spot on the same panel.

Krauss wrote to Simmons that Epstein was coordinating the panel on the Origins of Money, and said ‘right now he has Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Larry Summers on board.’”

It is unclear if Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham had any connection to the pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. 

After the space launch, Lujan Grisham did praise Branson and Richardson in a statement, writing, “On behalf of proud New Mexicans everywhere, I’m incredibly grateful to so many dedicated and visionary collaborators in this effort, not east Sir Richard Branson and former Governor Bill Richardson the entire Virgin Galactic team and Spaceport America team who made this long-awaited day possible.” 

New forest fire starts near Marble Canyon outside of Alamogordo

On Saturday, it was announced by the National Forest Service (NFS) that another fire had started north of Marble Canyon near Hershberger Peak outside of Alamogordo. 

Approximately 35 crew members have been dispatched to respond to the fire, around five acres in size. The cause of the blaze is currently under investigation. 

“Crews, including one hotshot crew and two engine staff, used ATVs and then hiked the rest of the way to reach the fire, where they discovered a 5-acre fire. They were able to assess the fire, terrain, and fuel conditions to begin their fire suppression efforts, which are expected to last into the night. Crews will sleep near the fire to continue fighting the fire as early as possible tomorrow morning,” wrote the NFS. 

“Fire activity has died down as the night progressed and temperatures dropped; however, the winds are still gusty. The fire is burning in an area with pinon-juniper, grass, and oak brush. Pinon-juniper trees tend to burn at hotter temperatures than other wood.” 

NFS reports that smoke is visible from Alamogordo, the High Rolls area, and West Side Rd.  Locals should expect smoke to be the heaviest in the mornings as it settles into drainages overnight. 

There are currently no evacuations in place at the moment.

Many on social media shared photos from their vantage points of the fire and smoke, writing well wishes to the firefighters. One man wrote, “May our firefighters fight this fire with the protection of our [L]ord and all his angels too putting this fire to rest as quickly as possible, may the lord cover you all with his blood and protection… let’s give our firefighters our protection as well…” 

The National Forest Service warns of an “above-normal fire year” in southern New Mexico “due to the extreme drought condition. Therefore, residents should begin preparing for a wildfire emergency by becoming familiar with the nationally-used Ready, Set, Go principles of evacuations.” 

The Three Rivers Fire in northern Lincoln County is near 100% containment, while two smaller new fires have emerged in the Gila wilderness. Read more about them here.

‘Retaliation’: After blowing whistle on Gov. MLG’s CYFD deleting public records, two top officials fired

On Friday, it was reported that two high-level employees at New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Division (CYFD) were fired for raising concerns over the Department encrypting and destroying public records.

According to Searchlight New Mexico, “over the past year, the CYFD used the secure text messaging app Signal to discuss a wide range of official business, including the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the care of children in state custody and concerns about private contractors. Department leadership then set many of those communications to automatically delete, rendering them forever inaccessible to attorneys, members of the public and journalists.” 

“Searchlight also found that the Office of the Governor and the state’s Department of Information Technology supported the systematic deletion of messages, according to emails and policy guidance obtained through an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) request.” 

The Attorney General’s office is currently investigating CYFD’s use of Signal. New Mexico House Republicans asked Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to provide a report detailing “whether her office staff and/or cabinet level staff have been using data encryption and data dumping.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s press secretary Nora Sackett said the office recently conducted a refresher for staff on what counts as transitory, and that the governor takes transparency and open government “very seriously.”

After CYFD’s chief public information officer Cliff W. Gilmore raised concerns on April 22 over the use of the Signal app stating it was“detrimental to the credibility of and the public’s trust in government institutions and their leaders,” he was fired on May 6.

According to Gilmore, “At one point Secretary Blalock (pictured) told a group of roughly 30 of us staff members at a ‘leadership’ meeting that people who regularly submit IPRA requests would eventually find out we were using Signal and that, because when an IPRA request came in we would have to retain everything from that moment, we should set our Signal apps to 24-hour auto-delete.”  

Gilmore’s wife, Debra Gilmore, who led CYFD’s Office of Children’s Rights, confirmed that she had also raised internal concerns about Signal. She was also fired May 6.

The Searchlight New Mexico report further notes, “Although the department ceased using the app on April 29, according to an agency press release, many CYFD employees continue to have active Signal accounts on their phones. Meanwhile, the department has switched to Microsoft Teams, a platform that offers the agency the same ability to encrypt and automatically delete messages.” 

In response to the report, Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce decried the Department’s firings as “retaliation.” 

“These employees knew that CYFD was breaking the law by destroying important documents that may have impacted the lives of foster kids and parents. This Department knows no bounds and continues its corrupt behavior and ignores the notion of government transparency. There are countless instances of child abuse and injury that center around the poor decisions at CYFD. This agency has no watchdog, and there’s no true oversight as far as what goes on behind the CYFD doors,” he added.

Bishop of Gallup backs ‘eucharistic sanctions’ on pro-abortion politicians

On Friday, it was reported by LifeSite News that the Most Reverend Bishop James Wall of Gallup had come out against giving pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion. The Bishop’s statements came out in response to liberal pro-abortion Bishop Robert McElroy’s recent op-ed titled “The Eucharist is being weaponized for political ends. This must not happen.”

His title suggests that political motives are driving the bishops’ current discussion of pro-abortion politicians and worthy reception,” Bishop Wall wrote. “But while I don’t presume to know what’s in the mind and heart of my brother bishops, I am not motivated by political ends, nor are those with whom I have discussed the subject.”

Bishop Wall said, “Our concern is not political but pastoral; it is for the salvation of souls. This issue has political ramifications, but that is not an excuse to shy away at this crucial moment,” he said.

McElroy claimed that denying pro-abortion supporters is an “extremely expansive” litmus test, but Wall wrote, “It surely is not ‘expansive’ to put this evil in the category of grave sin.”

In response to McElroy’s claim that denying Coly Communion is an “assault” on the unity of the Church, Wall said, “Speaking the truth at times appears to create division, but often it simply exposes the division that already exists.”

“If Catholics cannot agree on protecting the helpless unborn, then our unity is superficial at best and illusory at worst,” he wrote.

Wall said, “In the past few months, several Catholic bishops have issued statements on the question of whether to publicly deny pro-abortion politicians the Eucharist. I am grateful to all my brother bishops who have courageously spoken out on this thorny subject.”

The U.S. bishops have been clear that “abortion is the great evil of our culture,” including by recognizing abortion as a “preeminent threat” in 1998 and the “preeminent priority” in 2019, he said. 

“Pro-abortion political leaders have not heeded these calls, and now we seek to apply the last remaining and most severe medicinal option we have: eucharistic sanctions,” Wall concluded.

Bishop Wall has long been a supporter of the right to life of children in the womb, sharing multiple posts and pro-life sentiments over the years. 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is set to convene to vote on whether pro-abortion politicians, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and other leaders should receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.

The Eucharist is the most sacred tenet of the Roman Catholic faith, with the bread and wine offered through the sacrament of Holy Communion not merely representative of the presence of Christ — but through transubstantiation, the bread and wine transform into the true presence of Jesus Christ. 

According to the USCCB, “The Body and Blood of Christ present under the appearances of bread and wine are treated with the greatest reverence both during and after the celebration of the Eucharist.” 

“Before one steps forward to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion, one needs to be in a right relationship with the Lord and his Mystical Body, the Church – that is, in a state of grace, free of all mortal sin,” the USCCB continues. 

Bishop Wall also promoted the Most Reverend Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin’s words calling out pro-abortion Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with Hying writing, “Pelosi says she’s ‘pleased’ with Vatican letter to U.S. bishops on Communion. So, in other words, Nancy, we bishops should just be quiet about your radical pro abortion stance, as you facilitate the continuation of the murder of millions of unborn lives.” 

As Three Rivers Fire reaches 98% containment, three fires spark in the Gila

It has been reported by the National Forest Service (USFS) that the massive Three Rivers Fire in the Lincoln Forest has been 98% contained after starting in late April near North side-Ruidoso, South side-Three Rivers campground, Mescalero, and Tularosa.

But just as the month-long fire in Lincoln County subsides, another fire has sparked in southern New Mexico, this time in the Gila National Forest, reportedly caused by lightning. 

The fire, dubbed the Doagy Fire, has already consumed 6,800 acres since its start on May 14, 2021, near Doagy & Corduroy Canyons in Catron County.

According to the USFS, 128 personnel have been dispatched to the area to battle the flames as of 10:09 p.m. on May 20. 

The current weather for the affected area includes a slight chance of thunderstorms with precipitation unlikely. “A warming and drying trend is forecasted through the remainder of the week,” writes the USFS.

On May 17, it was reported that the Doagy fire is surrounded on three sides by prescribed fire entry from 2019 and 2016.

On Thursday, the USFS reported that there were two additional lightning-caused smaller fires sparking in the region, the Trujillo and the Drummond fires burning on the Black Range Ranger District. 

“This fire is being managed for suppression using a confine and contain strategy which limits exposure of fire practitioners from direct proximity to the fire.  The plan will be to keep this fire south of NM Hwy 152.  The fires are burning in the scar of the 2013 Silver Fire with dead and down and multiple snags which makes it dangerous for fire fighters to be close to. Because of the dead and down trees, snags, and extremely steep terrain, during the day there will be fire-fighting resources at Emory Pass monitoring the fire,” the Forest Service notes. 

“There are some trails in the vicinity of the fire which includes the Black Range Crest #79 and Grandview Trail #146. Please stay off the trail system as they are temporarily closed due to dangerous conditions. Be very cautious driving in smoke both early in the morning and late in the evening due to limited visibility.” 

Gov. MLG dismisses $250 million labor dept. overpayments as ‘minuscule,’ tries to discredit LFC

In a surprise and a rather uncharacteristic move, television station KOB 4 called out embattled Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her silence on the overpayment of $250 million in taxpayer dollars through the Department of Workforce Solutions under then-secretary Bill McCamley during the viral outbreak beginning in early 2020. 

The station’s headline for Lujan Grisham’s silence amid the crisis read, “Gov. Lujan Grisham nowhere to be seen amid unemployment overpayment crisis.” It also noted how the Governor’s office has “declined to make the governor available for an interview” to address the multi-million dollar mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

The station asked her office the following questions: 

  • Her response to the hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment overpayments.
  • Does she believe we can fairly recoup these millions of dollars?
  • What she thought about some of the serious claims of threats and violence raised by the former Workforce Solutions secretary? 
  • When is she in appointing a new permanent Workforce Solutions secretary, and what is she looking for in that next person?

In a response from the Governor’s office through press secretary Nora Sackett, KOB 4 was provided with the following statement: 

Despite what the LFC may have reported, and despite the way it was covered, it is not accurate to say the state overpaid benefits by $250 million, as the acting secretary explained in detail to KOB last night, or that these were necessarily the “state’s mistakes,” as you describe them. 

The LFC’s calculation used an overpayment rate derived from random sampling. The Department of Workforce Solutions, meanwhile, computes the number daily from actual claims – and the amount overpaid is $105 million. The overwhelming majority of overpayments derived from the federal PUA benefits program, which was a program created at the federal level specific to the pandemic, a new and complicated program that created an environment where, because of misunderstandings, people were subject to make fraudulent claims, and human error was at play. 

There is nothing to investigate with respect to the overpayments as the agency knows exactly where the money is, which accounts with which individual claimants, and the state has already been engaged in the process of recovering and managing overpayments. There are several strategies for doing this – some claimants are eligible for waivers through which their overpayments will be forgiven; some claimants will see their weekly benefits off-set to pay back an overpayment; and some will see their appeals remanded through the adjudication process. 

With respect to the bigger picture: The overpayments and fraudulent claims made by claimants, while understandable to an extent given the complexity of the ever-changing federal pandemic unemployment programs, represent a minuscule fraction of the $3.7 billion in benefits the state has paid out to claimants over the past 14 months.

Yes, the state is searching for a new full-time secretary. — Nora Meyers Sackett, press secretary for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Just like the Governor’s response to so many other crises, she appears to be passing the buck. In her statement, she even targeted the state’s own Legislative Finance Committee, claimant its figure of $250 is incorrect while telling the press not to investigate the millions in lost money, saying, “There is nothing to investigate.” 

In a shocking move, the Governor’s office not only denied responsibility but also claimed the hundreds of millions of lost dollars are “minuscule.” Apparently, $250 million is a “minuscule” amount in the eyes of the Lujan Grisham administration.

The news comes as Lujan Grisham is under investigation by the New Mexico Ethics Commission for misusing over $6,000 in campaign funds to fund her daughter’s cosmetology business, a violation of state law.

After domestic terrorists topple age-old monument, DA lets them skirt justice with no jail time

On Thursday, it was reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican that violent domestic terrorists who toppled a 153-year-old obelisk in the heart of Downtown Santa Fe will skirt by without any jail time.

Mary Carmack-Altwies, the District Attorney in the First Judicial District has “reached an agreement with all but one of the protesters charged in connection with the October destruction of the Santa Fe Plaza obelisk that will allow them to avoid jail time.”

“It was my promise upon assuming this position that our office would do our best to divert non-violent and first-time offenders from costly and unnecessary incarceration,” Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. “The Obelisk case defendants meet the criteria I set out for diversionary programming. We have reached a resolution after months of careful investigation and negotiation between defendants, their attorneys, and my office that ensures justice while working toward community healing.”

“The pre-prosecution diversion program consists of a combination of community service hours and a new approach rooted in restorative justice principles, which has been shown in other communities to lead to better outcomes for victims and those otherwise adversely impacted by crimes,” the District Attorney’s office wrote. 

“Both the presence of and the toppling of the Obelisk left people within our community deeply hurting,” Carmack-Altwies said in the statement. “I am pleased that we are pursuing a method of justice that will begin to heal those wounds. This is a new and innovative way of dealing with harm in the community that will move us closer to reconciliation.”

Mayor Alan Webber ordered police to stand down as the domestic terrorists ravaged the antique monument, which was dedicated to Union soldiers who helped end slavery in the fight against the Confederacy during the Civil War. 

The apparent pro-Confederacy “indigenous” protesters, led by The Red Nation, an anti-Hispanic hate group, will now not be forced to spend a single day behind bars due to the neo-liberal policies of supposed “restorative justice” instituted by Carmack-Altwies. 

Gov. MLG’s labor dept. overpaid $250M in benefits due to ‘fraudulent claims and human error’

On Wednesday, it was revealed that embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) overpaid $250 million in unemployment benefits during the recent viral outbreak due to “fraudulent claims and human error,” which has left Democrat and Republican lawmakers furious.

A recent report from the Legislative Finance Committee report on the matter, “the reasons for the overpayments included insufficient staffing at the state Department of Workforce Solutions and a backlog of investigations into potentially fraudulent claims.” 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, “New Mexico’s unemployment fund was largely depleted last year by the explosion of pandemic-related jobless claims, prompting the state to borrow $278 million from the federal government to continue paying benefits to unemployed workers.” 

Of the projected $250 million in overpayments, about $133 million were due to potentially fraudulent claims, the report notes.

“The sudden influx of calls and claims hit very quickly,” said acting NMDWS secretary Ricky Serna, who took over the agency’s reins after previous Secretary Bill McCamley stepped down.

Sen. Crystal Diamond (R-Elephant Butte) blamed the Governor and her cabinet for the problems, telling KOB 4, “Ultimately, this falls in the governor’s office, and the executive, and this went on for far too long, and now legislators are being presented with somehow coming up with a solution of fixing a problem that should have never started and certainly should have never grown to the rate it is presented today.” 

Serna acknowledged that it would be very difficult to recoup the millions of dollars expended by the Department, but some overpayments may be able to be recovered due to adjustments with those still receiving benefits (around 90,000 New Mexicans). 

Benefits Attorney Alicia Clark who has heard from around 100 out of work New Mexicans on the issue, “People are getting their benefits garnished before they’ve had a chance to appeal their determination,” said Clark, who estimated she’s heard from more than 100 out-of-work New Mexicans on the issue.

“It’s not the people’s fault they got overpaid – it’s the department’s,” she said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham line-item vetoed an earmarked $600 million on federal funds to renew the depleted unemployment fund appropriated by the Legislature. According to the Governor’s spokeswoman, Nora Sackett, “at the time that the action was necessary due to uncertainty over the federal guidelines for spending the dollars.”

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