Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Houston, we have a problem"

There has been a lot of discussion about the newly elected Governor's choice for the Secretary of New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Harrison Schmitt former astronaut and U.S Senator, due to his extreme views. Below is an opinion piece from the Albuquerque Journal.

Harrison Schmitt: in His Words
By Thomas J. Cole
Journal Staff Writer

"Words matter. If they didn't, I wouldn't be writing this and you wouldn't be reading it.

So, today, let's visit the words of former astronaut and U.S. Sen. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, who is Gov. Susana Martinez's pick to head the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

For more than a year, Schmitt has been posting his views on national and international issues on www.

I suspect most of you will agree with some of what he has to say and disagree with other things. The man does have credentials: a doctorate in geology from Harvard and a bachelor's in science from Caltech. He walked on the moon.

As for me, I think Schmitt spent a little too much time in weightlessness. Then again, I may be a member of what he calls the "state-committed media," working with President Barack Obama "to control personal behavior and private sector decision-making."

In reviewing his comments, you might want to keep in mind that — if confirmed as secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department — Schmitt will oversee state regulation of the production of most natural resources, including oil and natural gas.

He also will be in charge of programs related to the development of alternative energies, such as solar and wind, and supervise management of New Mexico's treasure of state parks.

Here are excerpts from Schmitt's website postings:

• On public lands: Conservation requires a balancing "of the liberties of individual citizens, the economic wellbeing of local communities and States, requirements for the 'common defence,' and the advance of conservation technologies. ...

"The Government violates constitutional equal protection most generally by restricting the land-related economic and recreational activities of residents of Western States when no comparable restrictions are possible in most Eastern States.

"(Federal) Wilderness and Monument designation for various western lands, establishment of private land buffer zones for endangered species, and regulatory and federal lawsuit roadblocks in the name of conservation also trample equal protection, as well as 5th Amendment's guarantee of due process in many cases."

• On energy: Congress should remove the "regulatory bottlenecks on nuclear power plant and refinery construction and on exploration and production from beneath public land and offshore waters. ...

"A major national security requirement for Congress is enactment of an accelerated program to encourage energy exploration and production from public lands or offshore water where economically and technically feasible. ...

"Our dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil has become one of our greatest national security vulnerabilities that only domestic production can solve in the next 50 years."

Schmitt also says loan guarantees to promote development of alternative energy sources are unconstitutional.

• On climate change: "Policy makers at the head of the government in the United States and in many States want to believe, and to have others believe, that human use of fossil fuels accelerates global warming.

"They pursue this quest in order to impose ever greater and clearly unconstitutional control on the economy and personal liberty in the name of a hypothetically omnipotent government.

"There exists no true concern ... about the true effects of climate change — only a poorly concealed, ideologically driven attempt to use conjured up threats of catastrophic consequences as a lever to gain authoritarian control of society."

• On work: The constitutional "protection of the right to work has been usurped by government requirements for minimum wages, union shops, payment of a prevailing wage, prohibition of even managed use of public lands and resources, moratoria on energy production, and many other unnecessary and politically motivated restrictions on earning a living."

• On the judiciary: Congress should interpret the Constitution and threaten to impeach any federal judge that disagrees.

• On health care: "One of the Obamacare legislation's most insidious Trojan Horses is the creation of a 'National Health Service Force,' including Ready Reserves, under the control of the President. President Obama has referred publicly to this Force as a 'national civilian security force' that is 'just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded' as the U.S. military. ...

"The president's new 'force' conjures memories of nightmares that previously occurred in totalitarian States."

• On Social Security: "The requirement that Americans have Social Security Numbers to obtain certain government benefits and the broad use of that number as a means of commercial and personal identification violate the implicit right to privacy under the 9th Amendment" of the Constitution." (Schmitt favors allowing workers to opt out of Social Security for Retirement Security Accounts).

• On China: It "constitutes both a military and an economic threat to our freedom and the freedom of all democracies. Congress must begin to fight Cold War II."

• On Venezuela: "The Senate Conservative Leadership must move rapidly ... to provide clear messages to unfriendly nations, like Venezuela, that we will take concrete efforts to bring such nations back into the democratic fold."

• On illegal drugs: "People of good will should join in considering all options available to fight the unintended crime consequences of drug prohibition. Did the failure of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, and the unintended consequence of stimulating organizing crime, teach us nothing?"

• On Obama: He "has shown repeatedly that the best interests of the American people are a lower priority than his ideological goals to change America from what it has been, to some mystical, socialist utopia with an energy-based standard of living equivalent to that of the late 1800s. ... Further, most of his senior formal and informal advisers have ties to anti-American radicalism."

• On the news media: "The state-committed media supports proposals to silence or regulate alternative media sources and broadband communications as well as generally limit the 1st Amendment's freedom of political speech." Also, the media and Congress are working to "demonize and unconstitutionally discriminate against ... education and personal achievement, marriage, and other Judeo-Christian values."

There is more on Schmitt's website about Israel, health care, education and the economy.

In one posting, he says a "philosophical wedge" has been driven between the government and its citizens, creating a divide that is wider than at any other time since just before the Civil War.

It seems to me that Schmitt has been doing some of the hammering on that wedge.

UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Thom Cole can be reached in Santa Fe at (505) 992-6280 or at "


  1. This guy's a whack job. Takes a point and stretches it to an irrational edge. Not the kind of guy looking out for the greater good. Just another looking for attention. Unfortunately, there's too much at stake these days to have to put up with his rhetoric.

  2. Senator Schmitt should study Santa Fe County's 2009 oil and gas ordinance through which the "People" of the County have exercised their rights to require that resource extraction industries be subject to rigorous studies and findings concerning environmental degradation, water pollution, fiscal impact and adequate off-site public facilities and services before drilling, exploration and production is undertaken. If he is an advocate of limited government, why does he support the use of state power to preempt the rights of local people to determine their destiny and quality of life? Could it be that his limits on government do not apply to state support of the rights of big business, to restrict the rights of the "people" that he claims to protect?