Monthly Archives: January 2017

Crony Capitalism, from Santa Fe to Silver City

Crony capitalism is when the government favors private industry with subsidies or non-cash help such as import quotas, tariffs, etc. It is not something confined to Washington, D.C., where examples abound, some quite outrageous. Who, for example, do you think is the biggest beneficiary of the subsidies given to windmill operators? None other than mega-billionaire Warren Buffet, longtime Democrat.

Piker stuff compared New Mexico’s Spaceport America, perhaps the dumbest crony capitalist deal of all time. You’re thinking, “What do you mean Burro? The Spaceport was ‘only’ $250 million or so. How is that so bad compared to, for example, the solar panel company Solyndra that cost U.S. taxpayers over $500 million?”

Solyndra? Ha! Chump change on a per capita basis. At $125 for every New Mexican, a national boondoggle comparable to the Spaceport would be $40 billion. Add in the fact of New Mexico’s relative poverty, and I bet a comparable D.C. boondoggle would be over $50 billion.

The Spaceport saga started back in 2004 when Democrat Governor Bill Richardson met with British multi-billionaire Richard Branson and agreed to build a spaceport, at New Mexico’s expense, so billionaire Branson could play Buck Rogers and have a place from which to launch “space tourists” into suborbital flight. Flights were supposed to start as early as 2009, with hundreds of thousands of tourist gawkers coming to inundate us with their money.

In addition to the hundreds if not thousands of jobs that the Spaceport would create, New Mexico’s grade-schoolers and high-schoolers would be inspired to take science classes, study math, and learn how to use slide rules. (OK, I made that last one up.) When a government spending proposal has as one of its justifications that it will be good for our children, you can be sure — YOU CAN BE SURE — that it doesn’t make economic sense.

Now it’s 2017 and nothing has happened and nothing will ever happen. Branson’s test spaceship crashed on Oct. 31, 2014, from an altitude of 70,000 feet, delaying indefinitely a commercial launch. Note that 70,000 feet is only about 25 percent of the target altitude of 60 miles. Also, the 66-year-old Branson almost killed himself recently in a high speed bicycle crash.

This brings up an embarrassing detail: The contract between New Mexico and Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic, has no clauses that protect New Mexico from adverse events. An example of such a clause: If Richard Branson were to suffer an untimely death prior to the commencement of commercial operations, New Mexico would receive the proceeds of a “key man” insurance policy of $200 million, or something like that. Another example: If commercial flights did not start before 2015, New Mexico could demand payment for the cost of the Spaceport, in full, from Virgin Galactic.

I will hazard an unscientific guess that ninety-nine percent of private sector entrepreneurs would include such clauses, and ninety-nine percent of government sector “entrepreneurs” wouldn’t have a clue.

Why, why, would a poor state like New Mexico agree to build a $200+ million facility for a foreign multi-billionaire? One answer is that it is easy to be a visionary with other peoples’ money, when you have NO PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY if the project fails.

Governor Richardson had nothing to lose by building the Spaceport. It was a “heads he wins, tails we lose” proposition. If the Spaceport lived up to expectations, Richardson would be remembered as a great, visionary governor. If the Spaceport became a huge failure, as it is in fact becoming, that would be a long way down the road and it’s the taxpayers who’d get stiffed. Big Bill? Who’s he?

The really big bill is the one we taxpayers are footing. The very least we should demand in return is that the white elephant be renamed. “Spaceport America” is pretentious, risible, and embarrassing. Somebody should suggest to Governor Martinez that she issue an executive order renaming it ” The Bill Richardson Spaceport.” Maybe she can’t do that, but it would be interesting to see what response she would get if she tried.

In fairness, Democrat Richardson had plenty of Republicans backing the Spaceport. Republican Dianne Hamilton, longtime State Representative for District 38, was one of them. Also, then-Chairman of the Dona Ana County Republican Party, Sid Goddard, wrote a long letter to the Sun-News urging Dona Ana voters to vote for an additional tax to help build the spaceport. Bernie Sanders could have written it.

More recently, at a meeting discussing the state’s budget shortfall, I suggested to Republican State Representative John Zimmerman, District 39, that the state consider selling the spaceport, or even giving it away. Oh, no. The spaceport needed “only” a million dollars of support this year. Silly me. Only a million. I notice Zimmerman lost his reelection bid.

Here in Silver City, we’re no better than the state pols. Back in 2011 a “quality of life” bond was passed that approved, amongst other projects, a half million dollars to build a clubhouse out at the golf course, sold as a necessity to attract people who deemed a nice golf course essential to their life styles, e.g. retirees and WNMU executives.

Well, the clubhouse was finished just as the private group leasing the course threw in the towel. Thankfully, Western New Mexico University stepped in to run the course so that now the losses are spread over the entire state, not just Silver City.

In 2013, Grant County proposed a quality of life bond, totaling $10 million, which as I recall, included over $2 million to build a multiplex theater and then lease it to a private operator. This idea was strongly supported by a couple of prominent Republicans and at least one outspoken business owner.

My Progressive friend Lynda Aiman-Smith wrote an excellent analysis of Deming’s experience with a similar project that turned into a huge white elephant, supported to this day with taxpayer dollars. Her conclusion: “The Deming Starmax multiplex is a case example of terrible judgment and terrible use of taxpayer money.” She strongly recommended against such a project in Grant County and also recommended a NO vote on the bond.

Think about it. If a multiplex movie theater made economic sense here in Silver City, investors wouldn’t need to have public financing. THEY WOULD USE THEIR OWN MONEY. Too many elected officials think that THEY can and should use the public’s money to make such investments because private investors obviously lack the necessary “vision.” Investment geniuses aren’t born, you see, they’re elected.

There is hope: The bond referendum lost two-to-one.

An Infidel’s Guide To The Koran, a 26 minute speech

Speech, part one, 26 -28 minutes   revised  12/30/16

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you about Islam. Is it really a religion of peace?  In just the last month (Nov 2016) Islamic terrorists worldwide killed 2008 people in 231 attacks in 29 countries, which included 27 suicide bombers, and last month was not exceptional. Since the 9-11 attack on the twin towers in NYC over 15 years ago there have been  ______ acts of terror by Muslims around the globe, almost two thousand a year.  You can update these numbers on the web site, religion of

We hear very little about these terrorist attacks  unless they occur on our soil, and since 9-11 there have been 44 deadly terrorist attacks in which 139  Americans died. When such attacks have occurred, the political response has been to run to the nearest Mosque and tell the Muslims how peaceful, they, the Muslims are. For example:
*President George Bush less than a week after the 9/11 attack addressed the  Islamic Center in Washington D.C. and said “Islam is peace.“
*Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in November of 2015 and said, “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing to do with terrorism.”  This was less than a week after Muslim terrorists killed 138 people in Paris.
*Three weeks after Hillary’s comments, director of homeland security Jeh Johnson, addressed a mosque in Northern Virginia and declared, “anyone who does not understand” that Muslims want peace, “does not understand Islam.”  This was less than a week after two Muslims killed 14 people in San Bernardino.
* and I don’t have time to list President Obama’s statements defending Islam.

In my opinion, our political leaders couldn’t be more mistaken, and I am not alone.  Let me quote the best-known Muslim cleric of the 20th Century, that beatific, sweet old man, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader after the fall of the Shah.  He said: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam councils against war.  (They) are witless.  Islam says: kill all the unbelievers — he goes on to say there are hundreds of verses in the Koran and sayings of Muhammad, quote:  “urging Muslims to value war and to fight!”

While the Ayatollah said that both the Koran and Muhammad urge Muslims to wage war, we only have time for a brief look at the Koran, but that will more than prove the Ayatollah’s point.

There are a couple of things you have to know about the Koran. First, the Koran is NOT like the Bible.  The Bible has only a few words considered directly from God, directly, not indirectly as is most of the Bible, and those words are the Ten Commandments, revealed through Moses.  The Koran is the opposite, almost every word in the Koran is the word of God revealed through Muhammad. The few words that AREN’T from God make up the very short first chapter, only a few sentences long, called al-fatihah, The Opening, and it’s a prayer recited 17 times a day by devout Muslims.  The rest of the Koran is God’s response to that prayer.

The fact that virtually every word in the Koran is the word of God has profound implications.  In Islam, to disagree with something in the Koran is to disagree with God, to be an apostate. Only God can disagree with God, something I’ll get to in a minute.

I use two Korans and the one I’ve found most helpful is one recommended by Robert Spencer, who has written extensively on Islam. It‘s a 20th Century translation by the Pakistani scholar Sayyid Mawdudi, who died in 1979.  It has many explanatory footnotes clarifying the meaning of many verses. This is very important because it helps us understand the Koran and from the perspective of a 20th Century Muslim. Since the Mawdudi Koran is a translation from Arabic to Urdu and then Urdu to English, I have a second Koran which is straight Arabic to English, published in 1999, translated by two scholars living in Medina, the birthplace of Islam.  It’s published out of Riyad, the capital of Saudi Arabia, with accompanying Arabic text, and it’s also extensively footnoted –very scholastic.  If you are interested, it’s referred to as the Al-Hilali translation.
Since I’ve found no discrepancies between the two and since Mawdudi is far more readable, that’s the one I’d recommend. I purchased both through

The author of the FORWARD to this translation, an educated and devout Pakistani Muslim, gives us non-Muslims an insight into how Muslims view the Koran, and by extension, their religion. Here’s what he wrote, and I’m paraphrasing a bit:  The Koran is the foundation and mainstay of Islamic faith—. The uniqueness of the Koran lies in its being the Final Revelation. ——. It was God’s will that (his) final revelation should be preserved in its entirety exactly as it had been communicated to the prophet (Muhammad) —. All this was essential since this last Book was meant to serve as a BEACON LIGHT FOR THE GUIDANCE OF ALL HUMANITY TILL THE END OF TIME.” (Repeat) —

He goes on to write “The Koran, uncreated Word of God though it doubtlessly is—” meaning he believes the Koran is without question the word of God that has existed forever.  God just reached over and picked it up and said to the angel Gabriel, Gabe, take this down to my messenger Muhammad and reveal it to him, which occurred one revelation at a time for the next 23 years of Muhammad‘s life.

Implicit in all this is that the Koran is God’s infallible word and GOD’S WORD MUST BE OBEYED!!

Now, the second thing you must know about the Koran, is that the revelations or verses in the Koran that were dictated to Muhammad are God’s words for the guidance of humanity till the end of time unless they aren’t  God’s words for the guidance of humanity till the end of time. Now, you’re probably thinking I put a little something extra in my coffee this morning, but no, let me explain.

Muhammad began his missionary work in Mecca, where he first heard voices and saw apparitions.  His wife  convinced him he was hearing the word of God from the angel Gabriel.  Muhammad preached in Mecca for 12 years with little success and much hostility from the Meccans who were quite happy with their polytheistic religions.  Muhammad fled Mecca to avoid assassination, and he and his followers, some 80 to 150, settled in Medina, over a hundred miles away, where he soon became undisputed ruler.  After 12 years in Mecca, he had gained at most 150 followers; after ten years in Medina, he had conquered all of Arabia and his armies were on the march, east and west and didn‘t have a major defeat until 732 AD, 100 years after Muhammad‘s death.

The journey to Medina is called the hijrah, and marks the beginning of the religion of Islam as both a political and religious force, a theocratic ideology.  In Medina, Muhammad built his first Mosque where his sermons attracted Jewish rabbis from the surrounding Jewish settlements.  The rabbis didn’t believe Muhammad’s claim to be God’s prophet and they asked a most embarrassing question: Why would Muhammad’s “revelations” from God occasionally contradict earlier revelations?

Allah, ever quick to come to the aid of Muhammad, sent down a new revelation that saved the day, and it’s the most important revelation in the Koran, verse 106 in chapter two, called the abrogation verse, to abrogate meaning to annul, cancel, supersede. Let me read it: “For whatever verse We might abrogate or consign to oblivion, We bring a better one or the like of it. Are you not aware that Allah is all-powerful?“  Let me read you the translator’s footnote, Mawdudi’s footnote, to this ‘revelation:’  “This is in response to a doubt which the Jews tried to implant in the minds of Muslims. Why, they asked if earlier scriptures/verses were from God, had they been replaced by new ones in the Koran?”  The bottom line is that the all-knowing God of Islam would occasionally CHANGE HIS MIND, and who are you to say He can’t? As I mentioned earlier, only Allah can disagree with Allah.

This means, and this is very, very important, the second thing you should know about the Koran is that the chronology of “Allah’s” revelations determines their legitimacy.  Islamic defenders frequently quote the Koran out of chronological context, probably the most well known out-of-context revelation is 2:256: “There is no compulsion in religion.”  If a Muslim or anybody comes up with that one, be sympathetic. Oh, you poor dear, as my grandmother would have said, don’t you know that Allah changed his mind about that?  That nonsense about no compulsion doesn’t count anymore, it‘s been abrogated.

Furthermore, knowledge of abrogating and abrogated verses has been of fundamental importance in Islamic theology since the beginning of Islam. Sharia law — Islamic law –requires Islamic judges to know which verses abrogate which verses and Sharia law cautions the layman from discussing the Koran without knowledge of abrogation, as doing so could be considered an apostasy, the punishment for which is not excommunication, oh no, no: it’s death.  The bottom line: The chronology of the verses is all important which is the second thing you should know about the Koran.

The third thing you have to know is that THE KORAN IS NOT IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. After the very short chapter one, the opening prayer, it is pretty much longest chapter to shortest. The very long chapter two is the 87th chapter chronologically. Fortunately, the chronology of the chapters is no secret and a quick Internet search puts all 114 chapters in their chronological sequence, as determined by Islamic scholars over the centuries.

So, to avoid wasting your time reading verses that may have been annulled later on, I suggest you read the Koran chronologically backwards, starting with the last chapter of revelations, chapter 110. Chapter 110 was the last of the 114 chapters, chapter 96 the first.   Confusing, no? Let me first read you the footnote to chapter 110 (Page 977): According to reliable traditions, this was the last chapter (sura) of the Qur’an that was revealed some three months before the Prophet’s demise.

Sura 110 Al-Nasr (Help)  “When the help comes from Allah and victory (is granted) and you see people entering Allah’s religion in multitudes, then extol the praise of your Lord and pray to Him for forgiveness. For He indeed is ever disposed to accept repentance.” That’s it. Now, if you’re like me, you probably didn’t find much in there that we could call a “beacon light for the guidance of humanity for all time.” So, you ask, what is the next to the last chapter of revelations? So glad you asked.

The next to last is Chapter nine, (Al-Taw bah (Repentance)) the most  important chapter in the Koran, some 28 pages of UNABROGATED commands from Allah, the final revelations of the final revelation,  Perhaps the most well-known revelation in chapter nine is the Verse of the Sword, 9:5, which one Muslim scholar has estimated abrogated 124 earlier revelations, including that no compulsion one, so why waste your time reading them? Let me read it 9:5:  “–when the sacred months expire (there are four holy months of the year in which Muslims are forbidden to initiate war) slay the Pagans wherever you find them, — seize them–beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war — “ unless, of course, the pagans become Muslims.

Now you’re probably thinking, “I’m no pagan, I’m Jewish” or “I’m Christian.” Sorry. There’s another verse in chapter nine, Verse 9:29 that says, “Fight against those do not believe in Allah—even if they are people of the book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves utterly subdued.”  “People of the Book” means Jews and Christians; the jizya is the tax Jews and Christians pay to live in peace in Muslim ruled countries.  Here’s the illuminating footnote from Mawdudi: The purpose for which Muslims ARE REQUIRED TO FIGHT is not–to compel unbelievers into embracing Islam –but to end the rule of unbelievers–The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the True Faith” i.e. only Muslims should have political power. That’s the word of God, the beacon light for humanity forever. Out damn Democrats and Republicans!

OK. So far, in chapter nine God has laid down the forever law to slay or convert Pagans, slay, convert or give Jews and Christian the added option to essentially become slaves, and you’re thinking, “That about does it.”  Nope. One more group of errant sinners to go.  Verse 9:123 says, “Believers! Fight against the unbelievers who live around you –.” these being, as explained in the footnotes, “hypocrites” who are further defined as those who claim to be Muslims but are not.  As a practical matter, this means kill those Muslims you have theological differences with or those Muslims deemed insufficiently devout.  You want to know why Muslims are killing Muslims around the world today? That‘s why. Islamic law, Sharia, even prescribes death for those Muslims who forget to pray at the correct time. (Reliance of the Traveler F1.4) Recently Swiss authorities closed a mosque in Zurich after the imam called for the death of those Muslims lax in their attendance.  They closed the mosque! Gosh. I guess there’s no freedom of religion in Switzerland. I wonder what it will take to close a mosque in America?

So, Muslims fight pagans, Christians, Jews and other Muslims, and this is not optional.  Sticking with chapter nine, Verse 9:38  commands believers to “March forth in the cause of  Allah. Do you prefer the worldly life to the Hereafter?” In other words, go die for Allah.  And verse 9:39 continues, “If you do not march forth, Allah will chastise you grievously. —.” Then verse 9:41 commands “march forth whether light or heavy (in your armaments) and strive in the way of Allah with your belongings and your LIVES.”  And the purpose of all this marchin’ around?  Verse 9:33 explains: (Allah) has sent his Messenger with the guidance and the True Religion that He may make it prevail over all religions, howsoever those who associate others with Allah in his Divinity might detest it.”  In other words, the God of Islam has commanded Muslims to fight until Islam rules the world.
Period. Whether non-Muslims like it or not.

Finally, still in chapter nine, verse 111 is the verse of the bargain: “–Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their belongings and in return has promised they shall have Paradise. They fight in the way of Allah and slay and are slain. Such is the promise He has made—. Rejoice, then, in the bargain you have made with Him.”

Let me summarize: (1) The Koran is Allah’s revelations — the word of God — to guide humanity forever but (2) Allah would occasionally change his mind, which makes knowing the chronology of the verses crucial for understanding Islam.  (3) The Koran is not in chronological order, so don’t waste your time reading it. (4) Chapter nine is virtually the last chapter of revelations, is therefore none are abrogated, and is the most important chapter.  Nine is about 95% of what you need to know about the Koran.

There are a few other verses that are especially important in understanding how Allah directs Muslims to treat women and non-Muslims, but nine is the one that proves the Ayatollah Khomeini was right:  Muslims are commanded by their God to kill, convert or enslave infidels and hypocrites until the world is ruled by Islam and sharia law which will then bring the “peace” Muslims claim to seek.  In return for slaying and being slain to bring this about, devout Muslims will live in Paradise forever.  That’s Islam in a nutshell. It is not peaceful, it is not tolerant. Muslims make no secret of this and haven’t for 1400 years

I realize this is contrary to what virtually all our politicians have been saying about Islam for years.  Well, they are wrong, the Ayatollah was right.  Look at the evidence: Muslims are murdering people around the world, not because they are “radicals” who are “perverting” the religion of Islam, but because they are devout Muslims, obeying Allah’s commands in the Koran.

I am very encouraged that our new administration is reversing the suicidal political correctness that has ruled the last two administrations.  My wish is that the term “radical Islam” will someday –soon– be recognized as the redundancy it is. I’m afraid however, that before that happens there will be hundreds if not thousands of Americans murdered by devout Muslims we have allowed to immigrate here.

Remember, Muslims are commanded to march forth, whether armed lightly or heavily, to kill the infidels.  Grab a knife and head to the mall; drive a truck through a crowd; shoot em’ up at an office party, whatever; and off to paradise you go.  The press and the politicians are always in search of motives and terrorist links when an act of terror occurs but terrorists don’t need to be directed by ISIS or al-Queda, although they may be. All Muslim terrorists are guided by their religion, and do we want such a religion to be protected by the First Amendment? I think not.   TYVM—–