Friday, June 05, 2015

Call To Duty: Peter Micciche and Gary Stevens

The budget deal was close - a compromise passed the Alaska House of Representatives. Democrats gave up on Medicaid expansion, but held fast on education, the ferry system, negotiated pay raises and other issues. The additional costs for those programs amounts to less than 1% f the budget. Left alone were cuts to pork projects like The Susitna Dam, the Juneau Road to nowhere, the Knik Arm Bridge and cuts to the ridiculously expensive LIO building in downtown Anchorage. Also left untouched were the massive production credits being paid to the oil companies.

Yet that wasn't enough for the Alaskan Senate. Nope, there's not been an inch of compromise offered by the Senate.

However, our two Kenai Peninsula senators, especially Micciche, who is on the Finance committee, can take a stand and buck the Republican majority.  I've heard Peter say (many times) that he is willing to work across the aisle. That he's for education. That he represents the people of the central peninsula. And from his past actions, Gary Stevens often shows that he is an old-school republican, reasonable, in other words.  Not that there's been any evidence of that this session.

So, please Senators Micciche and Stevens, show that you are true representatives of the people of the Kenai Peninsula, cut the puppet strings from the Republican majority and vote for what's right. Approve the House budget. Move Medicaid expansion forward - it's the morally right thing to do. And it's what your constituents want you to do. If you two start acting like grownups, maybe a few other on-the-fence republicans will join ranks.

Yeah, I'm not going to hold my breath either.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Starving the Beast While Feeding the Piggies (and robbing the bank)

Petting party (pic from the Juneau Empire)
I hope that no one is surprised. Republicans have long been enamored with the concept of cutting taxes to the point that there is no money left for basic government functions to exist. it's called Starving the Beast. Witness Kansas and Louisiana, two states that have recently tried this approach and are sinking into deficits so great that schools are shutting down early and basic government services are being cut as massive tax breaks are being given to the wealthy and to corporate sponsors.  

And now it's happening in Alaska. 

The Republican controlled majority under the previous governor, rammed through massive reductions in the money we sell the oil that the state owns to the petroleum companies. And to make matters worse, these same 'fiscally conservative' politicians gave their employers (the oil companies) production credits that will exceed the revenue we get from selling the oil by $650 million over the net two years at the current rate. We are paying the oil companies to take the oil the state owns! 

The mess has led to a $3.2 Billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. Mike Chenault (owns an oil service business) and Kevin Meyers (employed by Conoco Phillips) have not been able to come up with a balanced budget and their only solution has been to blame the Democrats. Why, because they need the support of the Dems to access the $9 Billion in the Constitutional Budget Reserve. And the Dems say that we should get our priorities straight by cutting funding for pork projects like the Susuitna Dam, the Knik Arm Bridge, the TajMahawker LIO building in Anchorage and maybe reduce the hundreds of millions we are paying the oil companies for taking our oil. (Read Chris Tuck's take on it all here).

But the Republicans are doing what Republicans do. Cutting education, refusing to help out the working poor in need of health care, cutting public TV and radio, rescinding negotiated pay raises (but gladly taking their own excessive per diem) and etc. And making the oil companies and their cronies richer and richer.

And now, maybe they have an endgame: to raid the Permanent Fund. They don't need the 2/3 vote of the combined house and senate to tap into this. It will be interesting to see if they have the balls enough to do this. Of course, they will blame the Dems, just like they have blamed the Dems for the current mess. It's easier to blame the innocent than take responsibility.

It will get interesting if they do that.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Micciche, Olson, Chenault and The Republican Legislature: Playing Hooky, Cutting Class and Passing Gas

OK, I suck at graphic design, but you get the point.
Their one job as legislators is to pass a real budget, you know a balanced one that lasts through the fiscal year. But the best the Republican controlled majority could do is come up with a lame budget with only enough money for a few months and would still fall some $3 Billion short of what was needed to fund government for the remainder of the year.

That was after some drastic cuts to public school education (in addition to draining  $1.3 Billion from the Forward Funding of Education Account), a $30 million cut from the university system (that will result in the elimination of up to 500 jobs - how's that for job creation!?!), and rescinding pay raises for state workers that had already been negotiated.

What it didn't cut were millions of dollars set aside for various boondoggles such as the Knik Arm Bridge, the Road to Nowhere in Juneau and the Susistna Dam.

And thanks to the new oil tax scheme, the state now pays more in oil production credits than it gets from per/barrel oil revenues - about $100 Million more. The Republicans have refused to look at tweaking those credits so that Alaska actually earns money for the oil we own, rather than pay the oil companies for taking it away. Yes, I do realize that the oil companies do pay other taxes (property, pipeline, etc), and I do realize that at the current low prices, SB21 charges the oil companies more than ACES would have, but thank goodness ACES was in effect for the previous years as it padded the state's coffers and made these trying times a bit easier to deal with. If SB21 had been in effect before, we'd be tapping the PFD AND paying a state income tax about now.

These three Kenai Peninsula legislatures, especially Chenault and Micciche have been the driving force that has driven the ship of state up on the rocks of fiscal irresponsibility. Olson, well, he just does what ever Mike Chenault tells him too.

One didn't need to be an accountant to see this fiscal cliff coming. Why last year, even in this lame blog, it was pointed out that oil production wasn't going to be anywhere near where these three (and then Gov S Parnell) predicted. Despite the warnings, Micciche (on the finance committee) voted for the new LIO remodel job (a no-bid deal with a friend of another legislator)and we now have the Taj McHawker, the hugely expensive and unneeded office space.

Gov .Walker ordered the legislature to stay in session and figure out the budget (and to pass Medicaid expansion), but the Republican controlled house and senate thumbed their noses and voted to take a 2-week vacation rather than do the job they were elected to do.

The one solution is to negotiate with the Democrat Minority and tap into the $10 Billion Budget Reserve (thanks to ACES). But the Dems say they will only do so if some education cuts are restored and that production tax credits are re-visited.

And that's where we are today.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Micciche Saves Persecuted Christians in District O

Yeah, right here in river city those who would dare call the holy metal tree-like symbol of corporate greed (and donated by ConocoPhillips) a 'Holiday Tree' rather than by its God-given name, Christmas Tree, were given a Facebook dressing down by his eminence, state senator Peter Micciche.

Commenting on the production of "a Charlie Brown Christmas", Peter pontificates: "The play is about the importance of Christ's birth as the meaning of, and reason for Christmas. Period."

So far, so good. Personally, I think the reason Christmas and other Christian holidays (and holidays really means Holy Days, of course) are still celebrated might have less to do with Jesus having been born and more about the beauty of his teachings.

Peter can't just be happy about a nice community celebration though, he's got to play the persecution card. Despite the fact that really no one in Soldotna has ever tried to prevent anyone from celebrating Christmas, Micciche lets loose some arrogant rage "What Linus read on that stage Saturday, or reads on your Blue Ray at home is Luke 2: 8-14...straight from the new testament. Gasp. That's right, we are not afraid to celebrate the birth of Christ here in District O."

Gasp. But then in a comment, a citizen asks Peter if he also celebrates the holy days of other religions or at leasts acknowledges that some of his constituents may not be Christians. Peter's went on the attack. "My post is about the hijacked symbol of a religion. The end result is a loss of religious freedom for just one religion. I helped organize and attended a joyful Christmas event. I believe calling a symbol of Christmas a holiday tree is restricting my and some of my constituent’s right to worship as I/they see fit."

Of course, no one was hijacking Charlie Brown's Christmas. There were no protestors, no angry letters to the editor. No one was beheaded or crucified. But Micciche seems to feel he is the defender of Christianity, no matter how much it isn't being attacked here in SOLdotna.

It's called grandstanding.

But he goes on to be condescending to the writer of the comment and avoids answering her question -    Does Micciche actually show some deference to his constituents who may not be Christian?

He does give her some advice: "Focus on the positive instead of preconceived notions regarding the diabolical intent of your conservative “friends”. Such notions are almost never true."

Since when is asking if he celebrated the holy days of his non-Christian friends a 'preconceived notion of diabolical intent'?

Maybe His Arrogance should follow his own advice. Focus on the positve, Micciche, instead of your preconceived notions of your non-conservative 'friends'. Such notions are almost never true.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Picking and Choosing

SOL avoids watching TV and now that the Citizen's United ruling permits unlimited secret money to be dumped into election ads, I'm sure most of you can't wait for the election to be done and the return of the normal TV ads that try to get you to buy things you don't need. I hope you all read Alan Boraas's OpEd piece in the ADN about how our government is a plutocracy. 

Since I am working out-of-town, I already voted using the state's new electronic voting system. As long as my vote is actually going to be counted, it was a very easy process. But isn't it sad that here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, it's also the land of the corporate rules and corrupt politicians? Can one be sure an electronic ballot is actually counted?

Anyway, here's what I was thinking as I cast my vote.

Governor - How can anyone vote for Parnell? The AK National Guard scandal should be enough to make him resign. His refusal to turn over emails related to when he was notified indicate that he chose to ignore the rapes and corruption that were happening.  But that's Parnell's MO - public business is conducted in private. I don't agree with everything Walker has to say, but I do think he is basically an honest person and that is enough a reason to vote for the man.

US Senate - Let's see, Dan Sullivan is against the EPA, so he is OK with polluting our air and water. He filed the state lawsuit to overturn native subsistence rights - crazy! He knows nothing about commercial fishing. He claims MD as his place of residency to avoid taxes. He would be the best candidate the Koch brothers could buy. Begich is a centrist and has done a world of good for Alaska. I'm glad he voted for Obamacare. 

US Representative - Really, how can anyone vote for Don Young? He's racist, ignorant, hateful, corrupt and arrogant - and those are his best qualities. Forrest Dunbar is smart, open-minded and energetic. Read this piece from Stonekettle Station for a well-written take on Dandy Don.

State Senate District O - Peter Micciche is evolving, but he is still a tool for industry and a fool to his own ego. On the plus side, he does support good causes and at least shows up to events where he might not be Mr Popularity. I don't know too much about his opponent, Eric Treider, but I think a vote against Micciche is vote for a good change.

State Representative District 30 - Shauna Thornton has been a refreshing and engaging candidate that has been tireless in her effort to give the central peninsula honest and accountable representation. Her opponent, Kurt Olson is Mike Chenault's Mini-Me. Kurt tried to ramrod HB 77 through, gave himself a back-door payraise where he keeps money that was suppose to go to office supplies. 

Ballot Measure # 2 - just legalize it. Read Marijuana Prohibition is Immoral from the Fairbanks NewsMiner

Ballot Measure # 3 -Raise the minimum wage. There's no reason not to do this. Try living on minimum wage for a year if you think it shouldn't be raised.

Ballot Measure #4  - I actually have mixed feelings on this one. I'm certainly opposed to the Pebble Mine, but who wants politicians involved in decisions that should be made by regulatory agencies and policies already in place?

Please get and vote. All of the candidate choices are between those who support the interests of the rich and powerful over the interests of ordinary people. It matters!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bear(up) With Me

Tom's Dirty Laundry (Maricopa Monitor)
Like many of you, I know very little about Tom Bearup, Mike Navarre's opponent in the upcoming Kenai Borough's mayoral race.  A quick little search on the internet was revealing.

The most interesting thing was that Tom served as the right-hand man of Sheriff  Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.  Yes, THAT Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of posse fame that targets brownskin individuals, that has been investigated for corruption, that has had prisoners die in his custody and etc. Tom was instrumental in building up the reputation of Arpaio, but then there was a falling out between the two men, Bearup apparently couldn't take the various abuses that Arpaio had alledgedly committed. Tom ran for Sheriff  against Arpaio and was spanked by Joe. Curiously, Tom was endorsed by the Arizona Tea Party, but to no avail.  You can read more about the dealing between Bearup and Arpaio  here, here, and here. There's an interview with Tom about some of Arpaio's shenanigans here.

A little more digging reveals that Bearup was previously fired from a supervisor's position at the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. Apparently Tom was on default on his own HUD home loan, but had not reported this conflict to his superiors. To be fair, Tom says he was fired because he was a whistle-blower on some department improprieties, but I couldn't find anything to back up that claim. You can read about that here - but be sure to scroll down to begin the info about Bearup.

Bearup filed for bankruptcy in 2011, but the court rejected his plea. Apparently, the judge felt that Bearup and his wife did not try to settle their debts honorably, but rather used the guise of a ministry to keep from paying the debts they owed. You can see the court document here. Without a doubt, Tom had some health issues that contributed to his financial woes, but the judge pointed out that Tom and his wife came into a bit of money and rather pay down the debt, spent the money on travel and their ministry.

Tom ran for Sheriff of Pinal County Arizona in 2012, but he lost the election. In a bit of a publicity stunt, Tom 'aired his dirty laundry' by actually hanging underwear on a clothes line; each piece representing some alleged scandal from his past. You can read about that here.

To his credit, Tom has a solid history of helping those in need. Remember when local businesses were taking advantage of international student visas and hiring foreign students, but charging them outrageous rents and housing many in small apartments? Tom and his wife stepped up and took these students in. Read about that here.

Tom has spent most of the last few years in Arizona, only recently moving back to the Kenai, but he was the mayor of Soldotna many years ago and did work for the Soldotna police. He does seem to have trouble dealing with finances and seems to be keen on getting elected to some position, either in Arizona or Alaska.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Joe Miller: The King of Welfare Queens

Wondering which US senate candidate to support in the upcoming primary?  Maybe this Q and A can help!

1) What candidate was disciplined by the Fairbanks North Star Borough for breaking into co-workers computers and using those computers for his own purposes?

That would be Joe Miller. And Joe is on record admitting that he lied about his involvement. Joe also tried to prevent news agencies from investigating this breech of ethics. Joe also tried to delete some 10,000 emails related to his involvement. Oh, while Joe officially resigned from his position with the borough, it came right before he was going to be fired.

2) What candidate is opposed to ObamaCare, yet had no problem enrolling his many kids in Denali KidCare, federally funded health care for children from impoverished families?

That would be Joe Miller. Yes, federally funded health care is fine for his kids, but not for yours. You know, Joe, if you couldn't afford to have kids, for God's sake, you should have kept your zipper up! 

3) Who hired his wife to be his aide when he was a part-time magistrate and then had to let her go because it violated state laws concerning nepotism?

That would be Joe Miller. His wife Kathleen had to be let go because cronyism is sort of against the law. She immediately filed for unemployment benefits. That's right, she went on the government dole. Another example that welfare is good for Joe and his family, but bad for everyone else.

4)What candidate took federal subsidies for property he owns in Kansas?

That would be Joe Miller. Yes, it's OK for him to suck on the government teat, but he's against poor folks from doing it. Mead Treadwell also took federal subsidies for a company(about $7Million)he was on the board for - and then cashed in for a cool $1 million when he then promptly sold his interests.

5)Who applied for an Alaskan low-income hunting and fishing license after buying a $400,000 house and taking a job with a law firm?

That would be Joe Miller. I don't know, but to me it seems like he's the King of Welfare Queens

6) What candidate believes that companies should be able to discriminate against blacks, non-Christians and LGBT citizens and that it is no business of the federal government to interfere with discrimination?

That would be Joe Miller. Do read his interview with Salon. But he does support the federal Defense of Marriage Act which does support discriminating against gay marriages. 

7) What Candidate proudly welcomes the endorsement of Gun Owners of America, whose leader, Larry Pratt, is on record saying that Obama is raising a black army to kill white Americans, that liberals rejoice at mass shootings like Sandy Hook and that members of congress should have a fear of getting shot?

That would be Joe Miller. The local branch of GOA help kick off his first event this election cycle. Miller was also a buddy of Shaeffer Cox, the convicted terrorist. 

8) What candidate would put a woman in prison if she decided to get an abortion after being raped or after being a victim of incest?

That would be Joe Miller (and Treadwell too). Joe says that if a woman got an abortion after being raped or being a victim of incest, she would be punishing an innocent child. Joe, isn't that a bit too much federal overreach? Shouldn't God be the judge when a woman has such an awful decision to make? Of course, Joe (and the other republican candidates) would punish the mother in these dire situations who decided to carry the child by denying her any sort of health care, child support or child care support. Joe is a false Christian with no compassion.

9) What candidate was ordered by the courts to pay $85,000+ to the Alaska Dispatch for their legal fees after he tried to prevent them from investigating his shenanigans?

That would be Joe Miller. The court found that Miller was "Making inconsistent positions, failing to disclose information during discovery, being unavailable for his deposition, and his procedural filings which the record did not support,” caused unnecessary delays and costs for both the Dispatch and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  

10) What candidate would build a 'Berlin Wall' to keep out illegal immigrants?

That would be Joe Miller. He would also abolish the IRS, so no word from the bright folks crunching his numbers on how the wall would be funded.

11) What candidate is a big crybaby and sore loser?

That would be Joe Miller who filed several lawsuits to disqualify votes for Lisa Murkowski during his last senate run. Of course, he not only lost election, but also the lawsuit and the appeal.

12 What candidate has his head stuck up his ass about Global Warming?

That would be Joe Miller, Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell. Joe has driven this primary so far to the right, that the other two candidates will say anything to get the lunatic fringe vote. Of course, the lunatic fringe = mainstream Alaskan republicans these days. Despite overwhelming evidence from 95%+ of climate scientists and supporting data, all three of these guys claim (without citing any legitimate sources), that global warming is simply liberal fear-mongering. Yeah, despite the fact that Alaska is taking global warming on the chin. Glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates,  coastal villages in the western and northern part of the state are getting hammered by waves from winter storms; waves that normally wouldn't happen because the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean is usually frozen for longer periods; that permafrost is melting like never before; and ocean temperatures and acidification may be having a huge negative impact on salmon and other fisheries. But these candidates, especially Joe Miller, get their marching orders from the Koch Brothers (who bankroll the Tea Party) and who have financial reasons to continue to pollute and discharge massive amounts of carbon in the atmosphere.

It's crazy to think that Joe Miller even has a chance to win the Republican primary, but all he has to do is say he's against abortion, for 2nd Amendment rights and against ObamaCare and his base couldn't care less that the man is hypocritical, a liar, and is ethically challenged.  

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