The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Dec 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The other evening as we sat around with family and friends old and new, we were reminded of what Christmas is all about. In these troubled economic times, it's easy to focus on what you can't do or are afraid to do.

Questions of the future plague our thoughts and dampen our spirits. Will the new year bring unemployment? Will our retirement be blown away by collapsing investments or hyper-inflation? Paralysis sets in as we focus on our fears.

The truth is that we are a resilient people, with a heritage of beating the odds. George Washington beat the odds in 1776 when he crossed the Delaware River in the rain sleet and ice only to win an important victory at Trenton New Jersey. The soldiers with Washington had nothing but rags to wear and little to eat. But they had each other and an enduring faith in their cause.

Christmas is a time for friends, family and faith. You may have decided not to spend as much this year. You may be worried about your job, your retirement, your future... but family, friends and faith aren't subject to economic booms or busts. They endure, and give you the courage to face the future with a clear purpose and optimism.

Those soldiers back in 1776 were bound by brotherhood and belief. As you visit with family and friends know that they are the true gifts of Christmas and will enable you to face the challenges of the new year.

Merry Christmas! May the season bring joy to you and yours no matter who you are or what beliefs bind you to the important people in your life.

Dec 17, 2008

Lessons in Freedom

For a country whose founding principle was liberty, it's amazing how often that very principle gets thrown in history's dustbin in the name of some greater good. Sometimes these transgressions are obvious - like rounding up Japanese Americans during World War II. Other times they are more insidious and subtle. Such is the case with most campaign finance and reporting laws.

Wednesday's Albuquerque Journal ran a story about a group of non-profit organizations who are suing the Secretary of State alleging that the state is curtailing their freedom of speech by requiring them to disclose a list of donors to their various organizations. These are the same non-profit organizations whose political activities were called into question by a number of incumbent Democratic officials who were defeated due to these non-profit's unlawful campaign activities (read it here).
Registering with the state would violate their First Amendment rights, states a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.

The lawsuit was filed by New Mexico Youth Organized, which is an arm of the Center for Civic Policy; and Southwest Organizing Project.

The groups mailed out glossy fliers to voters earlier this year that cast a negative light on a group of mostly veteran incumbents. All but one legislator was up for re-election, and five of the eight targeted in the fliers were ultimately defeated at the polls.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that money is a form of speech. The donations received by these affiliated non-profit political action committees could be and should be considered an expression of support by those who wrote the checks. The question is - does the State of New Mexico have the legal authority to require registration and the disclosure of the names of these political organizations' benefactors? The Secretary of State and the Attorney General seem to think so.

What concerns us is that should the courts rule in favor of SWOP and NMYO, they would by definition extend rights to non-profit political organizations that the rest of us don't enjoy. Why should a group of political operatives be able to hide their supporters beneath a non-profit corporate shell, when private corporations, grass roots organizations, and individuals are required to register with the state and to report the sources of their funding?

As is often the case, the Southwest Organizing Project and New Mexico Youth Organized are not fighting for free speech they're fighting for extended rights that benefit only their cause. In our opinion, you cannot separate the two. If campaign finance law requires the registration of political organizations and disclosure of donors and assuming that law is indeed constitutional, then it should apply to everyone. If on the other hand, New Mexico law is abridging the free speech rights of non-profit political organizations then it is also abridging the free speech rights of every organization and individual.
Don't even get us going on McCain/Feingold. If you want to know why Republicans stayed home this last election, look no further than this misguided attempt at keeping money out of elections. The result has been some of the most expensive elections in history and the rise of 527s.
(End Sidebar)
Freedom is an all encompassing concept that abhors special exceptions and favoritism. Each of us is guaranteed the right to free speech in all of its forms. Extended freedoms should not be conveyed upon a group simply because they file some paperwork with the IRS. If state law is a violation of anyone's free speech rights, then it's a violation of everyone's free speech rights. A narrow application of liberty is no different than tyranny.

Dec 15, 2008

Easy ID

We've long been concerned about providing drivers licenses to "undocumented aliens." It seems to us that the State of New Mexico is aiding and abetting the commission of a crime... that of being in this country illegally or should we say "undocumentedly."
Karim Shaaban Kassem Ibrahim, who is now facing charges of forgery and identity theft, came to the attention of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department after he applied for a job at Talin Enterprises, a grocery store at Louisiana SE. He applied using the identity of Rami Al Nasa, an Egyptian man living legally in North Carolina.
We'll admit that when we read the name Karim Shaaban Kassem Ibrahim we were more than a little concerned that Ibrahim had more than a job at the Talin Market in mind when he assumed the identity of Rami Al Nasa. After all, it's not like Ibrahim made a run for the border and ended up here.

In fact with our history of being attacked by certain people from a certain part of the world, it would be less than prudent to ignore the possibility that someone might exploit our state's propensity to provide drivers licenses to anyone with a pulse for terrorist purposes. Fortunately for us, Rami Al Nasa was worried about protecting his identity even if the state is not worried about protecting us from the identity crime of others.
New Mexico is one of the states that don't require proof of U.S. citizenship to obtain a driver's license...

Al Nasa subscribes to a service that alerts him whenever a credit check is run in his name, and was alerted when Talin Enterprises ran such a check. He contacted the sheriff's department and said he had never applied for a job in New Mexico.
The fact is that the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department would never have known about the illegal use of Al Nasa's identity here in New Mexico if Al Nasa hadn't contacted them. The Legislature and the Governor in the infinite and suspect wisdom made it legal to provide identification regardless of legal status.

Our Eyes Behind the Badge tell us that they stop holders of these legal illegal IDs on a nightly basis. It's hard to believe that all of these folks are innocently trying to make their way regardless of their illegal status. It's more likely that at least a few of them have shall we say less than honorable intentions. With that in mind, is it really any surprise that Albuquerque is experiencing a crime wave led by gangs?
Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said New Mexico's lax laws on driver's licenses are making the state a magnet for illegal immigrants.

"We attracted sex offenders when we didn't have a Megan's Law, and now we're attracting people who are here illegally because of how easy it is to get a driver's license," he said. "I would strongly urge the Legislature to revisit it to see if there should be some changes."
In some cases the blind eye that New Mexico turns towards identification verification aids a struggling immigrant simply yearning to breathe free. In others, it aids less honorable immigrants in their desire to do harm to the very people that the state is sworn to protect. In both cases, the State of New Mexico is aiding criminals in the commission of a crime... that of being in this country without permission.

Dec 14, 2008

Failure to Act

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg lived a charmed life... that is until this past election when challenger Lisa Torroco made an issue of the DA's judgment or lack thereof. In fact, the election revealed an alarming pattern of what appears to be erratic decisions and questionable calls.

The Almighty Alcalde got into the act this weekend criticizing Brandenburg for her penchant to plead repeat offender DWI cases.
"There has been a dramatic drop in the number of these (enhancements) being brought. They are being plea-bargained out. The end of that is that sentences are lenient and so people are committing ... these violent felonies with a modicum of impunity," Chávez said.

"That is simply not acceptable. You can't plea-bargain out habitual offender status."

But Brandenburg said the statistics released by the Mayor's Office are not valid and called Chavez's plan "insane."
DWI is certainly a problem but the DA's questionable calls extend beyond the field of intoxicated driving and right into homicide prosecution.

You may have heard or read a story about the Ngyuen brothers. They were accused of murdering 17 year old Aaron Ferrell in 2007. Our Eyes tell us that back in 2007 the Ngyuen brothers were present while there friend was involved in an altercation over a girl with the victim Aaron Ferrell at Mariposa Park in Taylor Ranch.

According to our Eyes The Ngyuen's friend wasn't faring so well so Linh and Tam Ngyuen went to their car and retrieved a 9mm handgun and returned to shoot Ferrell. The two continued to fire on bystanders as they retreated to their vehicle and even after driving off. Shell casings from the weapon lead from the scene of the shooting all the way back to the parking lot and out into the street.

When officers arrived, Ferrell was alive and managed to indicate to officers who had shot him. Later officers managed to get a positive ID from witnesses using a line-up.

Our Eyes insist that the investigation and identification of the Ngyuen brothers as suspects was done by the book and that APD handed the DA a solid case. Friday, the DA's office told Ferrell's family that they intend to drop murder and other charges against the pair.
The family told News 13 that prosecutors are recommending that the Nguyens only be charged with firing a gun from a moving vehicle.

"That's the only charge they feel they can get right now," Ferrell's cousin Carla Serna Darling said. "Basically all the other charges, the first degree murder charges, the tampering with evidence, the hiding the gun, they've all been dropped."
Last week the family spoke out in a heavily edited letter to the editor in the Albuquerque Journal.
OUR SON, Aaron, was killed on Aug. 30, 2007, in an altercation ... at Mariposa Park in Albuquerque. We met with prosecutor, Judith Faviell. ... We were told that in her professional opinion she has no case to prosecute ... because an adolescent on our son's side shot first.

We asked many questions and they were all answered with “self-defense.” We still have many questions and we feel that “self-defense” cannot be the only answer. We sincerely believe that the case involving Aaron's death should be decided by 12 jurors after they hear all facts and statements by witnesses. ...

We are not asking for favors. We are asking that all facts and witnesses be heard by 12 jurors, and that they be allowed to determine if the accused was acting in self-defense or if he is totally innocent. We ask this for peace of mind for both families.

MARY DUNEMAN The Family of Aaron Ferrell, Albuquerque
We don't know where this issue of self-defense came from. According to our Eyes the Ngyuen brothers left the fight, went to their car and retrieved a 9mm (possibly two) and returned to the fight where they shot Ferrell. There's absolutely zero chance that the Ngyuens can plead self-defense when they had ample opportunity to get in their car and leave the scene safely. By definition they were not in imminent danger, and therefore their claim of self-defense is specious at best.

What's worse is that Brandenburg's office isn't even willing to present the case to a grand jury. They'd rather let two alleged murderers walk than tie up the courts with a difficult case. On the other hand, Brandenburg is more than willing to prosecute a decorated Marine who never disengaged from his assailant and was forced to use his weapon after doing everything possible not to do so.

The DA's job is to prosecute crime - not to protect the system. The Ngyuens are of course innocent until proven otherwise, but it should be up to a jury to decide the issue not a DAs office that seems to be unwilling to face a trial that actually involves criminals.

Dec 11, 2008

Eye Wide Open

Some of you may have been wondering what has happened to your friendly neighborhood Eye. To put it simply we've been getting a little shut Eye. It's been a long couple of years with over 400 posts. It was simply time to step back, take a breath, and get ready for the years to come.

December 16th, 2006 was our first post. Our job was and continues to be to keep an Eye on what happens down at city hall. With the city heading into financial crisis and its leaders hell bent on building monuments to themselves, our job is far from complete.

We thank you for your years of readership and support. is a place where opinions can be voiced and inside information can be shared. Your participation is vital to our success. Thank you again for being here... and rest assured that The Eye is Wide Open.