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Middle East friendship chart

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California topples a tyrant

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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Check video

- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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Sneaker Politics

Kitzhaber and legislators got rolled by Nike. 

More

 


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"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.


The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column


Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 



Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

Steve Duin Schools get the blame 

School Reform/slate.com 



    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

    Connecting the dots between homelessness, hunger & health care disparities in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

Heath Care Disparities: 

•    Adults in Oregon without insurance represent 22.3% of the state’s population compared to 19.7% of the nation.  In Washington County approximately 


A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

 

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

SIP contract online

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Oreaviationwatch

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Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel

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Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Kansas' ruinous tax cuts

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Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!


"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild



Check video

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha

 Sign the online petition on Intel emissions in link below:  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Rediscovering Government

Is the US #1? 

 

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman 

krugmanonline.com 

 

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001


    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

  

     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 


"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

 

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

 

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?'

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" 

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921)

 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11


"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”  

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."

- Abraham Lincoln

 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..."

- Edmund Burke 

 

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”

- Jonathan Swift

 

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."

- Garrison Keillor


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Tuesday
Sep022014

TERRORISM AND THE YOUNG

    Why do "some" young people in the Arab/Muslim world and even in the West find the appeal of terrorist groups like ISIS so alluring?   Could it be because for the younger generation they see no hope for jobs in their future?  As a result they become "true believer" fodder for an anti-western jihadist ideology.  

     The young of many Middle East nations are trapped in autocratic regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt where the "revolution of rising expectations" is met with a reality that hope for a secure economic future is simply not a reality.  Hope is replaced by dispair and with dispair comes a potential terrorist recruit. 

     When one combines this with the three track class system in these nations - a rural peasant class with very traditional religious values, an educated urban class without job prospects and the offspring of the 1% who can live off the largess of their families - you get a combustible mix which becomes fertile recruiting ground for groups like ISIS. 

     One sees little effort by the US or our allies to address this problem by bringing economic development to this region. 

     "....the continuous single biggest driver of the kind of criminal Islamist extremism we see in the IS phenomenon is the predicament of several hundred million individual Arab men and women who find — generation after generation — that in their own societies they are unable to achieve their full humanity or potential, or exercise their full powers of thought and creativity, or, in many cases, obtain their basic life needs for their families..." 

-  Rami G. Khouri - "Antidote to the Islamic State Threat" - see left sidebar

Monday
Sep012014

FAILURE - A PRELUDE TO SUCCESS? 

Failure is good for you in school? 

     My “CC” sent me an article from the Toronto Globe & Mai on how failure can be a positive learning experience.

      As we start a school year when the “Common Core” comes online the failure rate for CC tests is projected to be @ 70%. 

     If learning how to fail is the goal, it appears this goal will be achieved.  Lucky us!    

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/your-kids-a-failure-congratulations/article20281805/#dashboard/follows/

     As a kid who struggled in grade school because I was sick a lot and had to work hard to catch up and succeed in junior high and high school I understood that nothing was going to be given to me on a silver platter. 

     Unlike the children of helicopter parents, being solidly middle class my parent’s generation did not “hover.” I attended public schools in Seattle (1-4), Palo Alto (5) and Roseburg (6-12) not an upscale prep school. 

     I didn’t experience failure per se but certainly learned the value and ethic of hard work - which paid off in high school and after that in college.  And as many college students my first two years were a challenge. 

     But embracing “failure” seems to be a bit of a stretch.  I found the comments by hi-tech gurus that failure led to their later success puzzling. Recovering from a quixotic battle against Intel, forgive me for being a bit jaundiced about being "road kill."  

     When corporate Oregon and America use the American taxpayers as their ITM machine for their R&D – they aren’t embracing the risk of failure, the are hedging their bets by using other people’s money – yours and mine. 

     I find this mildly amusing since Intel as reported by the Oregonian sinks a lot of employee pension money into unidentified hedge funds, the modern fools gold that led to the Great Recession. 

     “One of the mantras of Silicon Valley and other start-up-intensive areas is “fail fast, move on.” (This is probably also a useful survival strategy, considering that 80 per cent of new businesses are destined for the scrap heap.)”  

     What isn’t said is that “failure” is done with other people’s money – gullible investors and/or the public’s money. 

     Keep in mind that the children from such privilege will grow up in the best neighborhoods, go to the best schools and inherit a sense of entitlement that will carry on through their lives as “poor little rich kids.”  

Failure on the mean streets

     A FOR from Denver sent me an article on homelessness could have been written about being homeless in Portlandia and Washington County.  While it creates a stereotype of the homeless, it’s worth the read.  

http://extras.denverpost.com/homelessstudents/?source=hot-topic-bar

     It offers the other side of “failure” – the failure of the American political and economic system to help those in need get out of the so-called “culture of poverty” which is generational not just individual. 

     It’s one thing for someone to screw up by a having a drug habit, doing jail time or making bad personal choices. But when your kids are collateral damage it’s a tragedy based on the luck of the draw by birth. 

     The system seems programmed to fail the most needy.  As I’ve said before in Washington County it will take us 160 years to build enough low income housing to meet the current need while Intel gets its 30 year deal. 

     “The number of homeless children in Colorado schools has surged because of the lack of affordable housing in this state, experts said. Also, schools have improved efforts to identify those who qualify under the McKinney-Vento federal law that guarantees homeless children the same rights to a public education as housed children.”

  •      I’m morally outraged by an education system that blames failure on students, teachers or their parents rather than a political and corporate elite who “reform” the system based on no experience in the classroom. 

  •      I’m disgusted by educational reforms which promise to end the drop out rate, to end the achievement gap but fail to deliver on that promise which using high stakes tests which implicitly blame the victims for failure. 

  •      I’m offended by an economic system which confines families to the margins of the US economy because of an accident of birth into the working poor, because of their race or being a single mother struggling against the odds. 

     If one wants to see children succeed in school and to succeed in life the basics are not learning how to learn from “failure” but to provide the conditions for family stability and children’s physical and emotional security. 

    This is not theory – as a grand father I see that such stability and unconditional love are the necessary and sufficient conditions of success and happiness every weekend in the eyes of my grand daughter.  

     The Founders promised Americans “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  But those promises came with a catch – “all are equal but some are more equal than others.”  So failure is a relative term. 

     If you come from the wrong side of the tracks you may never get out of the “failure trap.”  If you are born into privilege you can navigate failure because somebody has your back – most likely Mommy and Daddy!  

     Here’s what I believe:  

1.   Hardworking people should be able to afford housing and still have enough money for groceries and other basic necessities.

2.  Children deserve an opportunity to succeed in school and life, which is tied to having a stable home.

3.  Housing gives people an opportunity to build better lives. To succeed you need a place to call home.

4.  It’s only fair that everyone has a safe, decent place to live. Seniors, people with disabilities and single parents ought to have housing they can afford.

     But as long as we give goodies to Intel and Nike – it will be another 160 years before this promise is fulfilled in Washington County, let alone “the Other” Oregon.  And by then we’ll have even more poor people.  

     In the richest nation in the world, the plea of the little girl who was the poster child of my homeless advocacy in the Puzzle Palace in Salem is sadly still relevant.  With 1 in 4 children in Oregon living in poverty, we’ve achieved failure. 

    We sing at sporting events American is the home of “the free and the brave.”  But it turns out to be the home of “the privileged and the rich.”  It’s time to turn the page and to pay off that promissory note from the Founders.



Sunday
Aug312014

SIP SCHEME'S DISTORTED PRIORITIES

“All politics is local”

     In the joint hearing on August 26th on the newest approved SIP request by Intel, County Commissioner Roy Rogers claimed there was no “nexus” between helping schools versus helping Intel. 

     That’s strange logic as I’ve pointed out since over the last 20 years, local schools in Washington County lost over $300 million in funding due to Intel’s tax breaks from the SIP. 

     SIP tax breaks for Intel = lost revenue for schools.  If that’s not a “nexus” I don’t what it is.  Rogers was simply evading the question by putting lipstick on the SIP pig he negotiated for the county!   

     Ironically, Washington County will give $2.8 million in Gains Share to Washington County schools.  Gee, so there is a nexus.  Why is Roy, a CPO, is practicing that old trick called "implausible deniability." 

     It’s important to know that Portland Public Schools get no Gain Share money despite the fact that over 5000 of Intel employees live in Portland and adjacent counties to Washington County.

     But Gain Share funds come from Intel employees’ state income taxes not from Intel.  It's Only Washington County gets Gain Share money which the county commission uses as a slush fund for their favorite pork projects (see below). 

     Intel brags about how their 17,000 employees pay income taxes to support Oregon.  True, but Intel should pay its fair share too but they don't.  Instead they are relying on Oregon taxpayers to pay for their R&D.  

     Aside from a miserly $250K for the Community Housing Fund – the county gives no SIP money for dealing with the projected 160-year backlog of low-income rental housing in the county. 

     Check this article out for an example of “pork” Washington County style.  When you add Gain Share plus SIP in lieu of local property taxes Washington County and Hillsboro gets a tidy sum to “spread around.” (for more, see "Comments" section below)

Pet projects: 

     Hillsboro - $4 million in CSF, $1.85 million in GAP and in lieu of taxes fee –

  • Paying down the debt for Ron Tonkin Field, the Hops home;

  • Pavement Management for road maintenance;  

  • Parking near Shute Park Library;

  • Internal fiber loop for the city;

     Additionally SIP money will partially pay off the city debt for the Hillsboro Civic Center, expansion of Main Library and renovation of Shute Park library, Ron Tonkin Field, Cherry Lane Fire Station, Jones Farm Fire Station plus additional debt for the Main Library. 

     But in Hillsboro or Washington County there is no SIP or Gain Share money targeted at ending homelessness, helping those facing foreclosure or ending poverty in a state where 1 in 4 children grow up in poverty.  These people can’t give PAC money to politicians! 

     To paraphrase Commissioner Rogers "there is no nexus" between SIP/Gain Share and poverty in the county!  This is pure bull - not pork! 

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The Growth and Spread of Concentrated Poverty

     Suburban communities experienced the fastest growth of residents living in concentrated poverty between 2000 and 2008-2012. 

Thursday
Aug282014

COMING ATTRACTIONS - MISSION CREEP IN IRAQ?  

      The CC sent me a very thoughtful article from The New Yorker. I like the conclusion very much

     “But fully absorbing the lessons of the past should mean being able to think clearly about going forward: Find partners, internationally and locally, and don’t get out in front of them. Understand the complexity and the importance of politics. Locate the elusive ground between overreacting and under reacting. Pay attention to other people’s nightmares, because they might be contagious.”

     My thoughts are why don’t we build a coalition between Israel and the so-called moderate Arab states in the region – Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen?  ISIS is the “common enemy” of them all plus Sunni and Shiites in Iraq.  Iran also has an interest in stopping ISIS.  

     If Arab and Muslim nations of the region are unwilling to spill blood and treasure, no amount of strategic or drone bombing by the USA will save the day.  Now if the Israelis realized that a radical Islamic Caliphate would be more dangerous to their fate than a Palestine nation-state, perhaps they would join such a coalition too.  

      Geo-politics makes for strange bedfellows as it did in WW II when FDR, Churchill and Stalin forged an alliance against Nazi Germany.  But the troops on the ground must be the “locals” not Americans, Canadians or Europeans.  We did our time from 9/11 to the pullout.  It’s time our friends in the region used their American subsidized weapons of mass destruction on their own. 

     More articles on "mission creep" from the "CC" -  

Thursday
Aug282014

IF WE CAN'T GET RID OF SIP, THEN REFORM IT...

     EDITOR'S NOTE:  Washington County Commission and the Hillsboro City Council approved a 30-year, $2 billion tax break for Intel in exchange for the company agreeing to bring $100 billion in new investment to the state. 

     The deal promised no new jobs and the investments are not guaranteed either.  

     Sitting directly in back of the Intel VPs at the hearing their smugness was evident.  One speaker called them "sociopaths." They knew they had the winning hand lubricated by campaign contributions (see "Comments").  

     Here's what Ben Unger soon to retire as a State Representative (D, from the Forest Grove area) now with OUR OREGON had to say:  

     It was the largest deal of its kind in Oregon history, and it hopefully means keeping thousands of Intel jobs here for years to come.

     But the deal could’ve been better for our community, and there still are things we can and should do to make this deal and others like it better for our schools and for the working families who will hopefully get these jobs in the future.

     Here are four simple things we should do right away to improve the process going forward:

1. Make the whole process more transparent and give the community a greater role.

     In general, the public should have a greater opportunity to participate in these discussions. Tuesday night’s public hearing was important to have, but the deal was done and no testimony had a chance to really change that. When something like a $100 billion agreement is happening to a community, we deserve the chance to really participate and shape the bargain to make sure it meets the needs of the community.

     The goal should always be to make our community stronger at the end of the deal than when we started. We can meet that goal, but only if the whole community is involved.

2. Clarify the Strategic Investment Program language so that deals can only be for one investment for no more than 15 years.

     The Intel deal was the first of its kind to involve multiple SIP investments in one bargain. This locks in all of the agreements for 30 years even though it will involve multiple different SIPs. This is clearly allowable under state law, but it’s not advisable. These tax breaks are massive, and the community deserves a chance to review each one to make sure that the deals are right for our community.

3. Put school money in a lock box.

     This Intel SIP bargain leaves school kids empty handed. The way the deal is structured takes millions each year away from schools. If the deal treated schools fairly, classrooms would receive $4 million more per year from taxes and an additional $14-15 million more in income taxes. Instead, the bargain cuts out nearly $20 million from schools annually. Ask any parent: Our schools need those resources. We should change the rules to make sure that school kids are getting their fair share when any tax deal is struck.

4. End Gain Share.

     Tuesday night’s testimony reminded me that one thing is definitely true: It’s time to end the controversial Gain Share program. Gain Share takes income dollars from the state budget and gives them to local governments that sign tax break deals. The idea is to replace dollars at the local level for needed infrastructure, but there often is no need. At the hearing Tuesday night, a number of commissioners made it clear that because this Intel agreement promises no new jobs, there were no new infrastructure needs. That’s why, they argued, schools were cut out.

     If there’s no new infrastructure, then there should be no need for Gain Share. This program cost school kids, public safety, and health care services nearly $40 million in 2013-14, and the costs with this new deal are only going up.

     The good news is that even though this deal is done, we can change the tax break laws we have now so the impact of this deal and others are muted right away. Gain Share isn’t a permanent program; the Legislature can change it. We can pass a law to protect school dollars right away, and it will be effective immediately, even on this Intel deal. We can add in more community involvement in the decision-making right now, and it will also apply for the investments Intel plans to make in the future. 

     This Intel SIP bargain is a good wake up call: We need to act now to build our community for the future. 

     RAD would add that if growing jobs is not part of the package, then no SIP money, period!  And when a company claims to be growing jobs - it should be audited annually to make sure those jobs are real not recycled from one state to Oregon.  And the hi-tech machines used in traded sector fabs or plants should be "made in America" not China.  Finally SIPs should benefit communities in the "other Oregon" not merely Washington County! 

Sister Sarah Palin's Socialism in Action:      

     Alaska is not a model of a well governed state.  But when it comes to Big Oil paying taxes, oil and gas taxes, corporate income taxes plus property taxes, unlike Intel and Nike in Oregon, it makes one lust for those petro dollars.  Perish the thought.

Got this from the CC this morning -

     It gives new meaning to the mantra "drill baby drill."  This is done without the feds allowing drilling in environmentally sensitive areas of the state nor with Big Oil saying they will leave if they don't get their way!  Amazing...      

     In fiscal 2013, the main levy—the oil and gas production tax—brought in $3.975 billion, or 78.5 percent of the total taxes Alaska collected. But there’s more. Corporate income taxes on oil and gas companies brought in another $541.4 million, or 10.7 percent of the total collected, while property taxes on oil and gas facilities accounted for another $99.3 million, or 2 percent. All in, more than 91 percent of the state’s tax revenues derive from the oil and gas industry. That totals about $4.615 billion, or about $6,300 for each person living in Alaska. That’s a very large amount of taxes that individuals living in Alaska don’t have to provide.