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June 13, 2021

Headlines:

Crony Capitalism is the Norm In Juneau

The debate in Juneau over oil tax credits has captured the attention of most Alaskans by now. Alaska is paying out over $700 million more in oil tax credits than we get in production taxes. This arrangement where we pay more in tax credits than we get in production taxes is projected to last until 2025. But below the surface lies a much deeper debate over the fundamental nature of capitalism in our society. Capitalism is generally defined as an economic system where private individuals control the means of production for their own profit. A danger of capitalism has always been when…

WE DID IT, ALASKA! Oil Giveaway on the Ballot.

  Moments ago, the Alaska Division of Elections announced that they had received enough valid voter signatures to put the question of repealing SB21, the massive giveaway of state money to oil companies, on the primary ballot in August of 2014. After achieving his stated goal of a Republican majority in the State House and Senate (albeit using redistricting lines later found to be unconstitutional), Governor Sean Parnell got the vote he wanted in the 2013 legislative session. The vote in the Senate was made possible by two legislators who are literally employed by ConocoPhillips. Last month, Parnell signed into…

The Best Bill in Juneau

During the hearings, and vote on SB21, (the governor’s oil tax plan to give billions to oil companies in exchange for absolutely no promise of anything) did you find yourself wondering why Sen. Peter Micciche who works for Conoco Phillips was allowed to vote to give his boss a windfall? Or why Sen. Kevin Meyer who also works for ConocoPhillips was allowed to do the same? And then there’s Rep. Mike Hawker whose wife works for the oil industry. Before critical votes, you’ll hear a legislator like Micciche and Meyer pipe up and say they’d like to abstain from the…

The Conoco Coup

Pick. Click. Giveaway. We’ve all heard the ads, “ConocoPhillips: Alaska’s Oil And Gas Company.” They should change that to “Alaska: An Oil Colony of ConocoPhillips, BP and Exxon.” Fifty-five years ago Alaskans voted for statehood. We were tired of Outside corporations dominating our fisheries at the expense of Alaskans. It looks like we need to wage that fight once again as large Outside companies – this time oil companies – have taken over our government in a nonviolent, post Citizens United coup. Former ConocoPhillips lobbyist Sean Parnell runs our executive branch. He’s the guy who also worked for the law…

GOP’s Slash & Burn Values

“Family values.” It’s something we hear a lot around election season from the Republican Party. It’s code for “queers are bad and ladies are baby ovens.” It has nothing to do with healthy families. Case in point: This past week, the Republicans in the Alaska House of Representatives, on some sort of “look-how-fiscally-conservative-we-are” display, slashed and burned the state operating budget. The hypocrisy of their campaign stances comes into pure light when you see how they are spending our money. Pre-kindergarten education was slashed, as was funding for Best Beginnings early education and the Parents as Teachers program. A two-year…

The Silent Oil Coup

A silent coup has occurred in Alaska. “More foxes in the henhouse than chickens,” as someone said. The oil tax giveaway proposed by former Conoco Phillips lobbyist and Exxon attorney Sean Parnell has been referred to the TAPS Throughput Committee chaired by Conoco Phillips employee Sen. Peter Micciche, in front of Senate Resources co-chair Cathy Giessel, whose husband’s job relies on the oil industry, and later to the uber-powerful Senate Finance Committee co-chaired by Conoco Phillips employee Kevin Meyer. The grease already on the wheels of this faulty legislation could fill a pipeline. I know, you’re thinking surely the employee…

Alaska for Sale

~State Senator Lesil McGuire You know how some things that are technically legal still smell funny? Well, there’s something in the air right now. This week, Sen. Lesil McGuire glowed as she introduced the newly formed “magical challenger slush fund” for Gov. Sean Parnell at the Petroleum Club. Her word-salad about being a backbone herself for the Republican Party, and the Senate bipartisan working group needing more GOP in it, was, well, Palinesque. As someone who supports the “grown-ups” in Juneau, it was disappointing to see Sen. McGuire show up with her hand out to a governor whose oil tax…

Alaska Disasta! Conoco Net Income Looks Grim…

Forgive me a second while I try to calm down. I… it’s…. I’m sorry. Just… just give me a second. (You kindly wait while I compose myself) You know how Governor Parnell tells us that we have to give $2 billion back to the oil companies every year? It’s not that he really wants to, but you know, they have to make a living. They invest a lot in our state, and we need to show a little gratitude. We can’t be all greedy and hog it all to ourselves, or they will just be lose their incentive, and will…

Parnell and Pebble Try to Silence Alaskans

I will argue with people about voting. More vehemently if they don’t vote than if they vote for someone different than me. No, candidates aren’t all the same, and it’s a form of freeloading if you don’t vote. If democracy were a religion, voting would be the sacrament. Alaskans have an amazing record of being forward-thinking on who could vote. In 1912, a Tlingit, Charlie Jones, voted in Wrangell. He was assisted by Tillie Paul Tamarre, and they were both arrested. A federal court granted Alaska Natives the right to vote in territorial elections and the charges were dropped. It…

The Bailout is Billions…Ten Specifically

The recent oil tax debate has raised more questions than answers for many Alaskans, including the majority of state Senators.  Today, in a press release from Senator Bill Wielechowski, a few of those questions were answered. BREAKING:  Data Shows Even As Companies Invest, Alaska Takes A $10 Billion Hit  For Immediate Release:  April 13, 2011 JUNEAU:  Senator Bill Wielechowski (D–Anchorage) said new analysis shows that, even with the potential investment mentioned last week by ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva, under the Governor’s oil tax rollback proposal, the state would lose an estimated $10 billion over the next eight years. Last Thursday,  Mr….