Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I didn't watch the debate

For once, Hillary's hair attracted less criticism
than her counterpart's coif
I skipped the most-watched presidential debate in history because it was another reality TV show designed for ratings and nothing else.

Plus, how could anyone watch or listen to Donald Trump for more than a couple of minutes. He's the worst presidential candidate in my lifetime.

Well, the results are in and the debate was as popular as the Super Bowl, another event I usually avoid. The Super Bowl is known more for its ads and halftime entertainment than the game itself.

This debate didn't have ads and had to get by with just one moderator.

Still, it was "the most tweeted debate in history."

Such a milestone.

I spent the time walking around the neighborhood on a beautiful, unseasonably warm evening in Bend. In an hour of roaming, I saw just three other people out for strolls. Only a couple of cars passed by. Evidently, everyone else was watching the debate.

Yet, I came across a group of deer munching on plants in someone's front yard the way they do in mine. Across the street from them were a couple of fawns nibbling at some other neighbor's greenery.

The debate was good for the mule deer. They could eat in peace without being bothered by folks walking their dogs.

The setting sun lit up the fall foliage from yellowing aspens to red maples. All in all, a pleasant evening.

I got home with about a half hour left in the debate, but I lounged in the zero-gravity chair on the front porch until the contest was over. At summer's end, I realized I spent too little time savoring the moments of idleness in such a comfortable setting surrounded by ponderosa pines.

Then, I went inside and watched snippets of the post-debate analysis on CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

It wasn't that enlightening but I did giggle over the fact that The Donald was reduced to citing Sean Hannity on the Iraq War and that he had to trash Rosie O'Donnell again. Then, he complained about a winner at one of his beauty pageants because she gained so much weight.

I'd say The Donald didn't disappoint. I'm sure he was satisfied because he got to be on TV again and be watched by more than 80 million people.

On MSNBC, I laughed at the guys holding up puppets behind the commentators. It seemed a fitting end to a debate night where everyone thought their candidate won.

I know I won. The walk was worth it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vote yes on Measure 97

It's easy to see that over the past 40-plus years, corporations have taken more from this country and its citizens than they have given in return.

Corporations move their factories overseas or to Mexico, displacing millions of workers and decimating cities. They hide their profits in shell companies offshore and then whine about the national deficit. With their coffers overflowing, corporations then buy off lawmakers so that the game can stay rigged. Owners of some corporations fund groups that seek to destroy unions and what's left of the middle class.

Forty years ago, corporations paid 18.5 percent of all Oregon income taxes. Today, the corporate share is down to 6.7 percent, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

After Measure 5 passed in 1990, the property tax burden was almost equally shared by business and residential property owners. Now business property owners' share is around 40 percent while residential is 60 percent.

It's time for a little payback.

On Oregon's ballot, we have Measure 97 that increases certain corporate taxes by establishing a 2.5 percent tax on corporate gross sales that exceed $25 million.

It would only affect the largest corporations in the country operating in Oregon. Less than 1 percent of corporations in Oregon would see a tax increase.

The new revenue would go to schools, health care and senior services.

Gov. Kate Brown and former governors Ted Kulongoski and Barbara Roberts support the measure to bring some balance back to our skewed tax system.

Naturally, corporations are spending millions to defeat the measure. The sky will fall if this passes, they assure us, just like it did with the increased minimum wage. Well, the sky is still up there.

Opponents claim that this corporate tax is actually a sales tax because corporations will just pass on the cost on to consumers. That argument only makes sense in a non-internet world.

In fact, internet shopping poses the greatest threat to store sales and if corporations raise their prices, consumers can shop elsewhere online for lower prices.

The only problem with Oregon taking this bold step on corporate taxation, is that it would stand alone.

And, this is the fundamental problem not only facing this country but also the world.

Thomas Piketty's book, "Capital in the 21st Century," explores the roots of rising income inequality plaguing all countries today. He notes that one way to fight it is to ban tax havens for individuals and corporations. It's not likely to happen, but it would make the world a better place if we did.

So, all you Bernie-bots and Trumpettes out there who bemoan the escalating income gap between the rich and everyone else, now is the chance to do something about it.

Vote yes on Measure 97.