Paul Jenkins

If Thomas Paine were alive today, instead of penning, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” he might write, “These are the times that try men’s humanity.” There is ample reason to worry. As the leading edge of a Syrian refugee flood is poised to wash into the United States early next year, the slaughter in Paris has triggered a growing fear of Muslim jihadis. In turn, that has stiffened resistance to the federal government’s allowing, first, 1,500 Syrians into the country -- joining 1,854 allowed in since 2012 -- and then another 10,000. An estimated 9 million Syrians have been displaced by civil war and murderous oppression by their government and ISIS. Europe, foundering under the onslaught, is being asked to absorb hundreds of thousands, if not millions, as they flee their homes...Paul Jenkins
Watching brain-dead kids and their professors jabbering on the University of Missouri campus last week, it was hard not to remember a line from George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”: “The past was dead, the future was unimaginable.” Trying to imagine government and business in the hands of these leftist boobs leaves “unimaginable” a tiny speck in the rearview mirror; the future is nothing short of terrifying. Embracing political correctness and social justice (whatever that is) as a new religion, the blossoming social warriors, and some idiot faculty, reveled in their new-found leftness; their “right” to not be annoyed or offended; their “right” to be safe; their “right” to shut down contrary viewpoints. Students trying to bar media coverage of their antics surrounded a campus newspaper...Paul Jenkins
Here we are again, stuck in yet another muddy pothole on the long, frustrating and increasingly erratic road to construction of a $65 billion gas project to move North Slope gas to Asian markets. This time, we are mired in the insanity of government trying to pretend it is a business -- kinda -- and the question of who will get to know exactly what, and how much, about the ins and outs of the massive Alaska LNG Project. The issue? Alaska’s industry partners -- Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and BP -- insist on confidentiality about the project’s fiscal matters and other sensitive information; Gov. Bill Walker is adamant about transparency. From all appearances, a cynic might believe the Palin wing of the Crazies R Us contingent in Walker’s administration is hard at it, working tirelessly to...Paul Jenkins
With deepest apologies to Mark Twain: Suppose you were a highway robber. And suppose you were a member of the liberal Anchorage Assembly majority. But I repeat myself. The Assembly majority, emboldened, possibly even inspired, by former Mayor Mark Begich’s hocus-pocus fiscal wizardry -- he could, indeed, squeeze blood out of your turnip -- last week revamped how the voter-mandated city tax cap is calculated. In English, that means a potential whopping tax increase. In doing so, the majority cavalierly ignored what voters’ wanted in 1983 when they changed the city charter to establish a tax cap to keep greedy politicians from taxing us out of our homes. Amy Demboski, Bill Starr, Jennifer Johnston and Bill Evans, thankfully, voted no. While voters understood government costs would go up,...Paul Jenkins
What Gov. Bill Walker’s administration had in mind as it tried to press middle and high school kids into prepping their parents and communities for taxes and using the Permanent Fund in some fashion to make ends meet, seems clear -- and entirely inappropriate. It opted to further politicize Alaska’s “budget challenge” by trying to get it into Anchorage School District classrooms -- with its own spin, of course. It even provided “educational resources” and a lesson plan as long as three weeks crafted by the University of Alaska’s eLearning and Distance Education team, the Alaska Council on Economic Education, the Anchorage School District and West Valley High School teachers. All that work -- surprise! -- is based on “Alaska’s Revenue and Expenditure Model developed earlier this year by...Paul Jenkins
Imagine my surprise at the headline in Oct. 12's Alaska Dispatch News : “Alaska Democrats rally to Clinton -- how can that be good for Alaska?” Rally? To Hillary? Surely, Alaska’s Democrats are smarter than that. Rallying to the flippest of floppers? The nexus of evil and gall? The epitome of all that is horribly wrong in American politics? That Hillary? Astounding. The woman suffers from a terminal dose of John Kerry disease. She has been for everything, before she was against it -- and vice versa. She loved the Second Amendment. Now? Nah. She loathed same-sex marriage in 2008, and prior. Now she is for it, not that there is anything wrong with that. She stood by her 2003 Iraq War vote, but now it was a “mistake.” She was against giving illegal aliens driver’s licenses back in the day...Paul Jenkins
If reasoned leadership in this state sold for $1 billion a gram, we would have to scratch like chickens in a dusty barnyard to come up with a penny’s worth. If we could peddle ineptitude for a dime a ton, we would be rich. Let’s review: Our Swiss cheese fiscal ship is belly-up and sinking like a stone. Alaska suffered a $3.5 billion deficit last year; it faces $3 billion in red ink next year. Oil pays the bills. Its prices are skidding and may crater. Credit-rating agencies are circling like vultures. There is talk of taxes, using Permanent Fund earnings, almost anything to raise money. There is little -- make that no -- good revenue news on the near horizon. In short, we are well and mightily hosed. The only glimmer: Alaska is partner to ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and TransCanada in...Paul Jenkins
The Anchorage Assembly screwed up by ignoring the will of 57 percent of the voters who three years ago soundly rejected the idea of adding the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to an already-lengthy list of those protected from discrimination. Nine of the Assembly’s 11-members -- the exceptions being Amy Demboski and Bill Starr -- imperiously decided Tuesday that what 40,223 voters wanted in 2012 means absolutely squat nowadays. When citizens voted on the proposed municipal code change, there was no mistake. The ballot language was clear. “Shall the current Municipal Code sections providing legal protections against discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, physical disability, and mental disability be amended to...Paul Jenkins
Our fearless leaders, propped up by pundits and questionable polls calling for a “balanced” budget approach, are preparing us for whatever they may have up their sleeves to close Alaska’s $3 billion budget gap while preserving government spending. They are ignoring the obvious -- and hope we will, too. It is like watching kids with squirt guns attacking a forest fire. None of what they are proposing -- taxes, using the Permanent Fund, cutting a little here and there -- will work for long. Addressing the deficit piecemeal in the face of competing interests -- searching for a temporary, workable tactic rather than a long-term strategy -- is a waste of time, which Alaska does not have. Think about it: If you levy an income, sales or head tax at a certain level and nothing changes in a year...Paul Jenkins
Count me among the legions of suckers hungry for happy endings; the hapless mopes actually surprised when Lassie runs to summon help for Timmy in the well; whose eyes still get misty at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”; the dupes who thought, “Hey, everybody finally is on the same page -- Alaska really might get a gas line this time.” We should have known better. It appears Alaska’s lengthy, painful pipeline hopes -- up and down more often than Bill Clinton’s pants -- again are scraping across a rough patch rubbed raw by the natural friction between business and government. Because of competing interests and responsibilities -- that shareholders v. politics thingy -- government and business cannot function alike. Stir in a few inflated egos, a roller-coaster gas market, a megaproject...Paul Jenkins