The Fate Of Vigil

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I don’t know if New Mexico State Treasurer Robert Vigil is guilty or innocent of extortion charges any more than our governor knows that Vigil has betrayed the public trust.

Yet without the benefit of a trial or scrutinizing or disclosing the evidence against him, Vigil has had to step down from his elected position and this week will have to endure impeachment proceedings.

Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?”

As if the position of state treasurer had committed a crime, the governor and various legislators want to do away with the position altogether. Why would a governor’s judgment in these matters be better than the voters? Why aren’t the voters to be trusted?

Many people have been indicted only to have been found innocent of all charges, yet we’re acting as if Vigil has been tried and convicted. I say let our legal system decide the case on its merits and if and only if he’s found guilty, impeach him and remove him. If not, let him be. Let’s face it, innocent or guilty, Vigil’s political career is over. That’s more than enough punishment if he’s found innocent.

Don Schrader V. Jimmy Carter

According to the Feb. 20, 2005, Albuquerque Journal (A9), the most heavily weaponed submarine ever built cost $3.2 billion and was named U.S.S. Jimmy Carter.

At the Feb. 19, 2005, commissioning ceremony for this submarine, Jimmy Carter said, “The most deeply appreciated and emotional honor I’ve ever had is to have this great ship bear my name.”

Although Jimmy Carter is a professed follower of Jesus, a Baptist Sunday School teacher, a longtime volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, an acclaimed human rights advocate and liberal Democrat, he demonstrates to the world that there’s not a dime worth of difference between most Republican politicians and most Democrat politicians on murdering multitudes of people worldwide for the U.S. Empire.

Below is my March 3, 2005, letter. So far I have received no reply.

“Dear Jimmy Carter—I am 59 years old. My mother and I voted for you in 1976. If you claim to follow Jesus, how can you celebrate having a submarine named after you? A submarine prepared to mass murder multitudes of moms, dads and children. I would be ashamed as hell to have any weapon named after me!

“I have paid no federal income tax for 26 years—I refuse to pay for war! I have no right to pay tax to do to other people what I do not want them to do to me. The federal income taxable level for 2005 for a single person under 65 and who is not blind is $8,200. I lived well all of 2004 on $3,475. I have no right to more than I need while others in this world have less than they need. I enjoy living simply! My life is an all-out public boycott of the U.S. Empire’s greed and war-making. Every day as long as I live I pledge to live simply, to own no car and to pay no federal income tax for war for the rest of my life.

“I refused to be a soldier in 1969 during the Vietnam War. For me, as a conscientious objector, to pay federal income tax to train other Americans, largely the poor and people of color, to become professional hired killers to murder on command with no conscience would be more evil than being a soldier myself.

“Now I vote for no one for president or Congress. I refuse to authorize any candidate to commit mass murder in my name. I oppose all war and all weapons of war.

“Gandhi said, ’The only people on the earth who do not realize Jesus was nonviolent are [most] Christians.' The Russian author Leo Tolstoy was a spiritual father to Gandhi. After Gandhi read (Tolstoy’s) book The Kingdom of God is Within You, Gandhi said, “I was shattered.” Tolstoy damned the Russian Orthodox Church’s approval of war as the worst betrayal of Jesus’ message. Jimmy, I urge you to read especially the first and last chapter of this book.

“I have hosted a weekly program here for over 12 years on public access cable. I am not paid to do the program. My mother, who was my all-time closest friend, taught me to speak the truth and to stand up for my convictions.”

A Real Living Wage Proposal

As Albuquerque voted on the “living wage” proposal, I was reminded of hearing Sen. Pete Domenici say, “The minimum wage should be market driven.” I don’t necessarily disagree with this, but by the same token, we should then get rid of all price supports and price ceilings.

Because, by appearances, our congressional delegates’ campaigns are financed by the recipients of price supports, it is unlikely that price supports will stop.

However, I would like to propose a solution for the political problems created by a delegate being in favor of increasing the minimum wage. My proposal is quite simple: Tie the minimum wage to congressional salaries—so that every vote that increases Congress’s non-market driven salary increases the minimum wage by the same percentage.

The Pussycat Dolls Must Die!

[RE: “Sonic Reducer,” Jessica Cassyle Carr, Sept 22-28] Just wanted to say that I agree that they represent the worst of American culture and should die. Have a good day.

Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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