OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

September 26, 2012

Senate Subcmt Discusses Corporate Offshore Profit Shifting

Filed under: Network — Tags: , , , , , , — oksafeinc @ 10:26 pm

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Since two of the six state questions scheduled to be on Oklahoma’s November 6, 2012 ballot deal with taxes, (SQ 758 and SQ 766 deal with ad valorem tax),  it might be good to get a feel for what is being discussed in D.C. on the issue of corporate tax avoidance issue.

Link to September 20, 2012 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations meeting on Corporate Offshore Profit Shifting:

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Senate-Subcmte-Discusses-Corporate-Offshore-Profit-Shifting/10737434260-1/

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) chairs the hearing; Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) appears as (co-chair?).  Coburn’s initial comments include the statement that tax avoidance is not illegal, that this problem has been incentivized by government policies.  He further comments that the committees report is about the symptoms, not the disease, and that the tax code needs to be revamped.  Sen. Levin contended that some corporations are taking advantage of loop holes that are not actually allowed.

Univ. of Michigan Professor of Law Reuven Avi-Yonah provides testimony that touches on the issue of intangibles.  Avi-Yonah’s  testimony begins at roughly minute marker 45:00.

From the C-SPAN description:

“Washington, DC
Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations holds a hearing on multinational corporations shifting profits into offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

The hearing examined how these activities are affected by the Internal Revenue Code and other related regulations.

Witnesses include representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, multinational corporations and an accounting firm.

Sen. Levin questioned Bill Sample, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Worldwide Tax on a company that Microsoft owns in Bermuda that has no employees and claims $3 billion in income. Sample separately conceded that it was in Microsoft’s interest to reduce their tax burden and that holding assets in a foreign country serves to reduce the company’s U.S. tax burden.

Sen. Levin (D-MI) will chair the hearing.”

End of C-SPAN description.

September 25, 2012

State Questions on the 2012 Ballot – 5 No’s and 1 Yes (Maybe)

Filed under: Education — oksafeinc @ 3:22 pm

OK-SAFE, Inc. –

[NOTE: OK-SAFE’s printable State Question Voter Guide/Handout is available on the front page of the OK-SAFE website, (http://www.ok-safe.com).  Click here for the document entitled OK-SAFE Recommended Vote – PDF.]

There will be six state questions on Oklahoma’s crowded November 6, 2012 ballot.  Below is a list of the state questions, including the ballot title, the ballot language, and OK-SAFE’s recommended vote and assessment.

SQ 758 and SQ 766 deal with ad valorem (property) taxes.  Because both questions may be perceived as a tax reduction, there may be puzzlement about our recommendation of a NO vote on both questions.

The question before us was, does either question result in an actual tax cut, i.e. does the measure provide tax relief for everyone and effect reduced government spending? The answer was no.

Standing on this first principle, OK-SAFE could not support either question.  Transferring the tax burden from one group of people to another is neither conservative nor a tax cut – it is legislative sleight of hand.

The Six State Questions:

SQ No. 758 – NO

Title: Ad Valorem Taxation Limitation on Valuation Increases

Ballot Language: This measure amends the State Constitution. It amends Section 8B of Article 10. The measure deals with real property taxes also called ad valorem taxes. These taxes are based on several factors. One factor is the fair cash value of the property.  The measure changes the limits on increases in fair cash value. Now, increases are limited to 5% of fair cash value in any taxable year. The measure changes the cap on increases to 3% for some property. The 3% cap would apply to homestead exempted property. The cap would also apply to agricultural land. The measure also removes obsolete language.

Comments: This measure if approved, will reduce a County Assessor’s ability to rightfully adjust the fair cash value of undervalued property as compared to other property. Owners of undervalued property pay less Ad Valorem Tax than they should transferring it to the other property tax payers to pick up the difference in the resulting higher millage rates.

The lower 3% adjustment rate lengthens the time to correct the inequitable tax transfer cases. Because this measure does not prohibit the Boards of Equalization Excise Board from increasing millage rates to offset the imposed limitation on fair cash value assessments, a cap on the fair cash value alone does not control the tax burden of the citizen.

Recommended Vote: No

_____________________________________________________

SQ No. 759 – No

Title: Affirmative Action

Ballot Language: Prohibits certain preferential treatment or discrimination. The measure deals with three areas of government action. These areas are employment, education and contracting. In these areas, the measure does not allow affirmative action programs.

Affirmative action programs give preferred treatment based on race, color or gender. They also give preferred treatment based on ethnicity or national origin. Discrimination on these bases is also not permitted. The measure permits affirmative action in three instances. 1. When gender is a bonafide qualification, it is allowed. 2. Existing court orders and consent decrees that require preferred treatment will continue and can be followed. 3. Affirmative action is allowed when needed to keep or obtain federal funds.

[NOTE: If passed, this measure will add the following new provision the Oklahoma Constitution: Section 36 A. The state shall not grant preferential treatment to, or discriminate against, any individual or group on the basis of race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting unless it is prohibiting action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in the loss of federal funds to the state.]

In other words, if the feds require affirmative action in order to keep the federal money, we’ll have affirmative action.  We take federal money – therefore, we’ll have affirmative action.

Comments:  This measure is a principle without principle and does not rise to the caliber of a Constitutional Amendment. It establishes and codifies the idea “money trumps principle” and gives up Oklahoma prerogative over preferential treatment to the Federal Government when accepting their money. This measure increases federal power and ultimately does nothing to protect the interests of Oklahoma Citizens.

Recommended Vote: No

___________________________________________________

SQ No. 762 – No

Title: Removes the Governor from Pardon and Parole Board

Ballot Language: Modifies the power and authority of the Governor and Pardon and Parole Board in the parole process for nonviolent offenders. It changes current law, decreasing the power and authority of the Governor by removing the Governor from the parole process for persons convicted of certain offenses defined as nonviolent offenses. It enlarges the power and authority of the Pardon and Parole Board by authorizing that Board, in place of the Governor, to grant parole to persons convicted of certain offenses defined as nonviolent offenses.

The Legislature defines what offenses are nonviolent offenses and the Legislature may change that definition.

The measure authorizes the Pardon and Parole Board to recommend to the Governor, but not to itself grant, parole for persons convicted of certain offenses, specifically those offenses identified by law as crimes for which persons are required to serve not less than eighty-five percent of their sentence prior to being considered for parole and those designated by the Legislature as exceptions to nonviolent offenses. For those offenses for which persons are required to serve a minimum mandatory period of confinement prior to being eligible to be considered for parole, the Pardon and Parole Board may not recommend parole until that period of confinement has been served.

Comments: Although the idea was to speed up the parole process, if passed, SQ 762 will transfer accountability from the Governor to an unelected Pardon and Parole Board, depriving the people of the ability to hold the decision maker directly accountable.

Recommended Vote: No

____________________________________________________

SQ No. 764 – No

Title: Creates the Water Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Reserve Fund; allows the OWRB (Oklahoma Water Resources Board) to issue bonds

Ballot Language: This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds a new Section 39A to Article 10. It would allow the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds. Any bonds issued would be used to provide a reserve fund for the Board. The fund would be a reserve fund for certain water resource and sewage treatment funding programs. The fund could only be used to pay other bonds and obligations for the funding programs. The bonds could only be issued after other monies and sources are used for repayment. The bonds would be general obligation bonds. Not more than Three Hundred Million Dollars worth of bonds could be issued. The Legislature would provide the monies to pay for the bonds. The Legislature would provide for methods for issuing the bonds. The Legislature would provide for how the fund is administered.

Comments: This measure would provide the funding to implement the highly controversial Water for 2060 Act, (HB 3055), one of the most dangerous bills ever passed by the Republican-led Oklahoma Legislature.

HB 3055 reads the public policy of this state is to establish and work toward a goal of consuming no more fresh water in the year 2060 than is consumed statewide in the year 2012”.

If passed, SQ 764 would provide the funds to make this dangerous and costly bill a reality in OK, leading to rationing of freshwater, regardless of its abundance.

Recommended Vote: No

___________________________________________________

SQ No. 765 – Yes

Title: Repeals section of the Oklahoma constitution relating to the Department of Public Welfare and grants the Legislature the authority to create a new department.

Ballot Language: The measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It abolishes the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the Oklahoma Commission of Human Services and the position of Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. These entities were created under different names by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of Article 25 of the Oklahoma Constitution and given duties and responsibilities related to the care of the aged and needy.

The measure repeals these sections of the Constitution and consequently, removes the power of the Commission of Human Services to establish policy and adopt rules and regulations. Under the measure, the Legislature and the people by initiative petition retain the power to adopt legislation for these purposes.

The measure adds a provision to the Constitution authorizing the Legislature to create a department or departments to administer and carry out laws to provide for the care of the aged and the needy. The measure also authorizes the Legislature to enact laws requiring the newly created department or departments to perform other duties.

Comments:  SQ 765 is like asking, “Which do you prefer – Frankenstein I or Frankenstein II?”  Added to the OK Constitution in 1936, the Public Welfare department was a New Deal era creation, introducing the “nanny state” concept into the role of government. Without doubt, the current Public Welfare/Dept. of Human Services is too complex and wasteful, under the direction of one of those unaccountable ABCs (agencies, boards, & commissions).  However, removing power from the Commission and placing the Legislature in it’s stead provides some measure of accountability to an institution that shouldn’t exist in the first place.  It is almost guaranteed the OK Legislature, who has busily implemented federally dictated health care reform (“Obama Care”) in this state, will most likely adopt further technologically based solutions once they gain control of this entity.

Recommended Vote: Yes – With Reservations

___________________________________________________

SQ No. 766 – No

Title: Exempts all intangible personal property from ad valorem taxation

Ballot Language: This measure amends Section 6A of Article 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution. At present that section exempts some intangible personal property from ad valorem property taxation. This measure would exempt all intangible personal property from ad valorem property taxation.

Intangible Personal Property which is still currently taxed but would not be taxed if the measure is adopted, includes items such as:

  • patents, inventions, formulas, designs, and trade secrets;
  • licenses, franchise, and contracts;
  • land leases, mineral interests, and insurance policies;
  • custom computer software; and
  • trademarks, trade names and brand names.

If adopted, the measure would apply to property taxation starting with the tax year that begins on January 1,2013.

Comments:  SQ 766 is in reality a tax transfer, not a tax cut, and therefore should not be passed.  [Proponents of this bill are using scare tactics, saying that if this question doesn’t pass this question there will be a huge tax increase for businesses.  What they are failing to mention is that the state legislature has put in a safeguard against this.  Senate Joint Resolution (SJR 61), passed in 2010, established the BAT tax.  The BAT tax is an “in lieu of” tax ($25.00 annual business fee) , a fee businesses pay instead of (“in lieu of”) ad valorem tax on intangibles.   Senate Bill (SB 1436), passed in 2012, amends the statutes to allow for the continuation of the BAT tax if the state question fails to pass, per a representative of the Tulsa County Assessor’s office.]

SQ 766 mostly involves those entities whose property is centrally assessed by the State Board of Equalization, i.e. public service corporations. Currently, Article 10, §6A of the Oklahoma Constitution makes certain intangible personal property exempt from ad valorem or any other tax. The Constitution sites 8 categories of items as intangible.  Certain corporations want to change this to exempt “all intangible personal property.” However, intangible personal property has not been clearly defined.  As it is, what is considered intangible is subjective in nature, its meaning in flux.

If SQ 766 passes, the OK Tax Commission estimates there will be a $50 M tax shortfall statewide; this tax shortfall will be apportioned across the state and local counties will be required to make up the shortfall. That, of course, means the Counties will have no choice but to increase the Ad Valorem tax for all their county property owners.

What the proponents of this measure claim as “intangible personal property” includes not only customer lists, it includes data and databases, as well as intellectual property, i.e., trademarks and trade names, patents, copyright, trade secrets.  This creates a potential taxation problem – as we complete the transition to a “knowledge-based economy,”* corporations will be holding more and more wealth in intangibles and intellectual property.  If everything in this category of property is declared exempt from taxation, the ad valorem tax burden falls on those remaining individuals left holding real and tangible personal property.

*Knowledge-based economy – transitioning from an industrialized economy, to an economy based on data and information, a “bits and bytes” economy.

Recommended Vote: No

______________________________________________________________________________

More Background on SQ 766

These six state questions and their supporting documentation have been posted on the front page of the OK-SAFE website. (Click on the state question to read the legislation and A.G.’s office determination of ballot language.  Hover over each question to see our recommended vote and commentary.)

Due to the complex nature of SQ 766, intangible personal property, we’ve posted some background material:

  1. The 2009 Southwestern Bell Telephone v. OKLA State Board of Equalization case that prompted the state question;
  2. Adams Express vs Ohio Intangible Value court decision;
  3. An article on Intangible Valuation by Robert Reilly, that industry likes to quote (this documents cites roughly 125 different things as “intangible”);
  4. And a very revealing document by entitled What Ideas Are Worth: The Value of Intellectual Capital and Intangible Assets in the American Economy” (Sonecon, 2011) which provides some staggering statistics on intellectual capital and intangible assets in this country.

Reading the Executive Summary of the Sonecon paper reveals the fact that industries’ wealth is being concentrated in “intellectual capital” and intangible assets, to the tune of more than $9 trillion dollars.

So, just what kind of maneuver is taking place by exempting all this investment (property) from ad valorem taxation?  If trillions of dollars in property is exempt from ad valorem taxation, just who the heck is going to be footing the bill for property tax?

Answer:  You are going to pay the bill for property tax.

Advocates for SQ 766 claim this exemption will benefit “small business” – but one must ask, just how much intellectual capital and intangible property does a hair salon actually have?

Excerpt from the Sonecon paper:

Executive Summary

“The United States has become an idea-based economy, measured in very concrete terms. This study generates those measures and estimates their values. One sign that the United States is truly an idea-based economy comes from Federal Reserve data, which show that since the mid-1990s, a majority of U.S. business investments have gone into intangible assets rather than traditional physical assets. These intangible assets include the traditional intellectual property of patents and copyrights; the broader intellectual capital of databases, general business methods, and research and development (R&D); and the firm-specific and task-specific knowledge and practices of managers and workers, or their “economic competencies.”

In 2005, we provided the first systematic measure of the value of the intellectual capital in the U.S economy – which includes patents, copyrights, and “other forms of economic ideas” like databases and general business methods. Using a primary methodology and a second approach to confirm the first one, we estimated the total value of U.S. intellectual capital at $5.0 trillion to $5.5 trillion in 2005. This study updates and extends those estimates. We find that in 2011,

The value of the intellectual capital in the U.S. economy has increased to between $8.1 trillion and $9.2 trillion; and

The value of the intangible assets – which includes intellectual capital plus economic competencies – in the U.S. economy totals an estimated $14.5 trillion in 2011.

The study also estimates the value of the intellectual capital and intangible assets held by 24 industries.1

Of 24 industries, the ten with the largest stocks of intellectual capital are energy; software and software services; insurance and other finance; capital goods; pharmaceuticals, biotech and life sciences; technology hardware and equipment; food, beverages and tobacco; media; materials; and healthcare equipment and services.

The ten industries whose intellectual capital represents at least 50 percent of their market value – the ten most intellectual-capital- intensive industries — are media; telecommunications services; automobiles and components; household and personal products; food, beverages and tobacco; commercial and professional services; software and services; healthcare equipment and services; pharmaceuticals, biotech and life sciences; and consumer services.

1 These industries cover the economy, based on the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). Certain financial companies that lack GICS codes were grouped with “Insurance” to make “Insurance & Other Finance.” ”

End of excerpt.

September 19, 2012

A.G.’s Office to Host Seminars on OK Open Meeting and Open Records Acts

Filed under: Network — Tags: , , , , , , , — oksafeinc @ 12:47 am

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Want to become better informed and make government more transparent?

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is hosting 6 seminars on Oklahoma’s Open Meeting and Open Records Acts, from September 27, 2012 through December 13, 2012.  This is a great opportunity for grassroots groups to expand their knowledge of how these two acts work, how to successfully make open records requests, and gain access to those all-important source documents.

More information is on the Oklahoma Press Association website.

Press Release from the A.G.’s office.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Diane Clay, Communications Director for Attorney General Scott Pruitt, (405) 522-0166, (405) 250-8792 cell, Diane.Clay@oag.ok.gov

Karee Pyeatt, Public Information Officer, (405) 522-4400, Karee.Pyeatt@oag.ok.gov

Attorney General offers Open Meeting and Open Records Seminars

Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office will host six regional seminars on the Oklahoma Open Meeting and Open Records Acts. The regional seminars are being held across the state in partnership with the Oklahoma Press Association and Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation.

This year’s meetings will feature Rob Hudson, First Assistant Attorney General and former Payne County District Attorney, and the attorney general’s Communications Director Diane Clay, who has 20 years of experience working in media and government.

“Oklahoma’s open meeting and open records laws provide the framework for public access to government,” Attorney General Scott Pruitt said.  “The seminars are an excellent opportunity for community residents and public officers to learn more about transparency in government.”

The seminars are designed to answer questions concerning the state’s open meeting and records laws and inform elected or appointed officials about their responsibility under the acts. Hudson and Clay will also discuss requirements on access to public records and the conduct of public meetings.

There is no cost or registration required to attend. Attorneys can receive three continuing legal education credit hours from the Oklahoma Bar Association for attending the seminar. School board members and superintendents can get three continuing education credit hours from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and technology center board members can earn three continuing education credit hours from the state Department of Career and Technology Education. The seminars will be 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and are open to the public. 

The meetings will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at six locations across Oklahoma:

  • Sept. 27, Lawton, Great Plains Technology Center, 4500 W Lee Blvd;
  • Oct. 18, Weatherford, Stafford Air & Space Museum, 3000 Logan Road;
  • Oct. 25, Oklahoma City, Metro Technology Center, 1900 Springlake Dr.,
  • November 29, McAlester,Kiamichi Technology  Center, 301 Kiamichi Drive;
  • Dec. 6, Tulsa, Tulsa Technology Center-Riverside Campus, 801 E. 91st Street;
  • Dec. 13, Enid, Autry Technology Center, 1201 W. Willow Rd.

For more information, call (888) 815-2672 or go online to http://www.okpress.com/seminars.

 

September 16, 2012

Sir William Blackstone & The Common Law, by Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D.

OK-SAFE, Inc. –  It is good to actually read a book once in a while; Robert Stacey’s overview of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries is one that can be recommended as a worthwhile read.

Sir William Blackstone

Who was Blackstone? From Britannica, “Blackstone was an 18th century English jurist, whose Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vol. (1765–69), is the best-known description of the doctrines of English law. The work became the basis of university legal education in England and North America. He was knighted in 1770.” [Source: Britannica]

For those interested, the entire text of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England can be found on a site call LONANG – short for the Laws Of Nature And Nature’s God.

The Book

Sir William Blackstone & The Common Law – by Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D.

This slim volume provides an overview of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries, the common law tradition and the principles of natural law.

The book’s chapters include The Lawyer of Cheapside, The English Common Law Tradition, The Legal Theory of Blackstone’s Commentaries, and Blackstone in America.  As far as U.S. law was concerned, “Until the twentieth century, to know the law was to know Blackstone.” (p.53)

Chapter 1’s Introduction includes commentary on the culture war.

Author Stacey writes, “In particular, three tensions – each resistant to easy revolution – are evident in the contemporary culture war.” (P.24-26)

These three tensions are:

  1. Between the individual and the community – where “the interests or desires of the individual are sometimes at odds with those of the community…”  Until recently, this country tipped the scale in favor of the individual, particularly concerning property, while acknowledging “the community’s authority over moral concerns and issues pertaining to the common good.” (p.24)
  2. Between liberty and security“Men are tempted to trade natural rights and liberties in exchange for protection from real or imagined danger.”  Stacey goes on to say, “Preservation and security often mean vesting power and authority in the hands of someone – a strongman, a centralized government, etc. – who can do something about the danger.  The downside is that the specially empowered authority can often become a danger itself.” (p.25). This is where we are with the drones over U.S. soil, clearly an inappropriate use of the military’s war-fighting surveillance technologies.
  3. Between science and religion – Stacey writes, “God created the natural world and established the natural law, both physical and moral, by which it is governed.  For progressives the material world is essentially all there is.” (p.26)

We have seen evidence of all of the above – i.e. the elimination of the rights of the individual in favor of communitarianism, including the taking of personal property; the elimination of personal privacy and liberty, including the freedom to travel about without being poked, prodded, or surveilled, in favor of “security”; the diminution and denial of God, and the destruction of life and family, in favor of science and technology (the rise of the technocrats).

Another way to characterize these tensions?  The battle between good and evil.

This writer is looking forward to the rest of the book.

Sir William Blackstone & The Common Law, by Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D. is available here.

September 10, 2012

Travel Advisory – Stealth Tolls in Colorado

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , , — oksafeinc @ 4:25 pm

OK-SAFE, Inc. – This past June researcher Vicky Davis traveled from Idaho to Oklahoma.  This road trip involved traveling through the Denver area of Colorado.

Davis used cash and credit cards on her trip and paid all the tolls she encountered along the way.  Or, at least she thought she did.

A month after driving around Denver, Davis received a surprise in the mail – a bill for traveling on Denver’s E-470 electronic toll highway. According to Davis, she couldn’t even tell she was on a toll road.

From Wikipedia’s description: “E-470 is a 47-mile-long (76 km) controlled-access toll road traversing the eastern portion of the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area in the US state of Colorado. The toll road is not a state highway, but is instead maintained by the E-470 Public Highway Authority, which is controlled by a governing board of ten elected officials, three from each county and one from Aurora. Construction and operation involves no state or federal funding or taxes.”

Toll Fees Surprisingly High

The Denver locals may know E-470 is an all electronic toll highway system accepting no cash. Visitors don’t know this – the surprise comes later in the mail.

Continued from the Wikipedia description, “The toll rate on E-470, roughly 33 cents per mile, is one of the highest rates of any toll road in the United States. There are six toll stations along the 47-mile (76 km) route and the average toll to pass each is $3.00. Traveling the entire length of the road from I-25 in the north to I-25 in the south can cost in excess of $14.00 one way. The toll stations no longer accept cash…”

License Plate Toll Billing Process 

E-470 utilizes a license plate toll billing  process, put into effect in August 2012.  Every vehicle that accesses E-470 has the license plate photographed for billing purposes.   E-470’s tolling policy is described here. This license plate billing process is explained here.

Within days of getting the first notice, Davis received a 2nd notice, assessing an astonishing 50% late fee on top of the original toll bill.

It would be nice for travelers to be forewarned about how E-470 works in enough time to choose an alternative route and avoid the license plate cameras, the hassle, and the exorbitant toll fees.

The E-470 toll scheme is a Ricky Mountain high travelers can do without.

Stealth Tolling Equals Criminal Racketeering  – Vicky Davis’ letter Public Highway Authority

September 7, 2012

Public Highway Authority
P.O. Box 5470
Denver, CO 80217-5470

Dear Sirs,

In June of this year, I did go on a trip passing through Colorado. In July, I received a bill for $9.45 for allegedly driving on a toll road. I did not drive through a tollbooth. I did not see a sign that said “entering toll road”. I did not see an exit that said, “if you entered this toll road accidentally, exit here”. I did not in any affirmative way agree to pay a toll for driving on a road in Colorado. Because of this, I consider your toll road to be an ambush racket.

Despite the fact that I consider your Public Highway Authority to be engaged in racketeering, I debated whether or not to pay it. It was only $10.00 and in this day and age of rampant public corruption, deception and organized crime under the color of law, there is only so much time in the day so one has to choose their battles. I decided to just pay it and not bother with you people but when I opened the second bill and you added a $5.00 late fee, I changed my mind. You proved me right. You are engaged in criminal racketeering and I’ll not contribute one penny to it. You may stick this bill in your round file.

I won’t be traveling through Colorado ever again and I’m going to issue a travel advisory on my website to warn unsuspecting travelers that Colorado is a state to be avoided.

Sincerely,
Vicky L. Davis
Statement Numbers: 1145416454
1148263761

Other Tolling Incidents in Colorado

This website is collecting Colorado tolling incidents – looks like the stealth tolling is effecting a lot of travelers:

http://neighbors.denverpost.com/viewtopic.php?f=233&t=123488088

List of toll roads in Colorado:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Toll_roads_in_Colorado

Travelers should avoid using E-470 to get around Denver. Keep your money, find and use an alternative, less expensive route around the city.  Or better yet, stay out of Denver in the first place and really save some money.

September 7, 2012

U.S. and Mexico Sign Border 2020 Plan

Filed under: Sustainable Development — Tags: , , , , , — oksafeinc @ 12:43 am

OK-SAFE, Inc. – NASCO’s (North America’s SuperCorridor Coaltion) latest  newsletter included this article about a bi-national agreement dealing with the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border.

Called Border 2020, this agreement was signed on August 8, 2012 and builds on the EPA’s Border 2012 Plan.

The Border 2020 Mission Statement reads:

“MISSION STATEMENT
As a result of the partnership among U.S. Border Tribes and federal, state and local governments in the United States and Mexico, the mission of the Border 2020 program is to: Protect the environment and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border region, consistent with the principles of sustainable development.”

Border 2020 is funded in part by the BECC (Border Environment Cooperation Commission) and the NADBank, (North American Development Bank) and is another example of the move toward regional governance.  Border 2020 institutionalizes a structure that crosses traditional boundaries – both national and jurisdictional.

The talking points this time emphasize public health and public health risks – translate this into meaning there will the collection and sharing of health data and information across borders.

Quote: “Measure program progress through the development of environmental and public health-based indicators.”

Border 2020 opens the door for more U.S. funded infrastructure in Mexico, environmentally and otherwise,  much like was included the SAFETEA-LU transportation bill a few years back. [Back then, when a constituent asked OK Sen. James Inhofe why we were funding transportation projects up to 100 miles into Mexico, Inhofe refused to answer the question.  Other government officials later answered this question by saying it  is “in our own best interests” to fund infrastructure projects in Mexico.]

Expect that there will be plenty of U.S. funding “in our own best interest” south of the border to fulfill the objectives of the Border 2020 plan.

La Paz Agreement – 1983

“The new accord is the latest working document stemming from the 1983 U.S.-Mexico La Paz Agreement. It builds on the Border 2012 program and encourages meaningful participation from communities and local stakeholders through regional task forces.”

For more on the 1983 La Laz agreement signed by Pres. Ronald Reagan, see the article entitled “La Paz Agreement – Pathway to Disintegration”  by Vicky Davis.

From the EPA’s website:

WASHINGTON –

The U.S. and Mexico signed the Border 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental program agreement on Aug. 8 to address high priority environmental and public health problems in the 2,000 mile border region.

The new pact follows the Border 2012 environmental agreement which ends this year, the EPA said in a statement.

The Border 2020 program works to organize stakeholders and communities on both sides to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or from terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship.

The signing by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Mexico’s Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources Juan Elvira Quesada was witnessed by a number of leaders including the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico E. Anthony Wayne; Vice Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation Wavalene Romero; California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez, Baja California Governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán and Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante Anchondo.

“Addressing the environmental issues along the border has long been a priority we share with our colleagues in Mexico, because we know that environmental degradation, pollution, and the diseases they trigger don’t stop at the national boundaries,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

“Thanks to help from our partners in government, industry, academia and local communities, the Border 2020 agreement will build upon the significant progress already made, and families on both sides of the border will continue to benefit from cleaner, healthier communities for decades to come.”

The new accord is the latest working document stemming from the 1983 U.S.-Mexico La Paz Agreement. It builds on the Border 2012 program and encourages meaningful participation from communities and local stakeholders through regional task forces.

ANALYSIS: Over the next eight years, the Border 2020 Environmental program will work towards significant improvements that will focus on five key areas:

– Reducing air pollution in bi-national air sheds by promoting vehicle inspection programs and road paving, and encouraging anti-idling technologies such as diesel truck electrification at border ports-of-entry.

– Improving access to clean and safe water as well as improving water quality in the bi-national watersheds.

– Promoting materials and waste management, and addressing contaminated sites as well as management practices for addressing electronics, lead acid batteries, tires, and trash.

– Enhancing joint preparedness for environmental and emergency response.

– Enhancing compliance assurance and environmental stewardship.

The new Border 2020 program also strengthens its focus in regional areas where environmental improvements are needed most: establishing realistic and concrete goals; supporting the implementation of projects; considering new fundamental strategies; and encouraging the achievement of more ambitious environmental and public health goals.

Border 2012, which concludes the current year, resulted in numerous achievements, including connecting households to drinking water and wastewater services benefitting more than 8.5 million border residents.

In addition, the program helped remove more than 12 million scrap tires from dump sites border-wide and more than 75.5 metric tons of obsolete pesticides from rural areas in the U.S. state of California and the Mexican states of Sonora, and Tamaulipas.

As the home to over 14 million people and one of the busiest cross-border trade regions in the world, protecting human health and the environment in the border region is essential to ensuring that the U.S. continues to be safe, healthy and economically productive, the EPA said.

The Border 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental program will protect the environment and public health for 10 states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, including 26 U.S. tribes and seven groups of Mexican indigenous people.

The mission of the accord is to “Protect the environment and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border region, consistent with the principles of sustainable development.”

In this program, sustainable development is defined as “conservation-oriented social and economic development that emphasizes the protection and sustainable use of resources while addressing both current and future needs and present and future impacts of human actions,” the EPA said in a fact sheet issued with the EPA signing statement.”

End.  Entire article here.

September 5, 2012

A Suggested Survival List – by Pastor Chuck Baldwin

Filed under: Faith, Issues — Tags: , , , , — oksafeinc @ 6:16 pm

OK-SAFE, Inc. – This was such a good and practical post by Pastor Chuck Baldwin that we’re re-posting it here.

We are living in somber times – no matter where you live, or what you think may happen, it is good to get your own house in order – your spiritual house first, then your natural house.

 

 

From the Chuck Baldwin Live website, August 30, 2012:

A Suggested Survival List – By Pastor Chuck Baldwin

It’s once again time for my annual survival list column. One does not have to be a prophet to know that we are on the precipice of some potentially catastrophic–or at the very least, challenging–days. In fact, most of us are already in challenging days, and some are already enduring catastrophic events. That is, if one would call being out of work, losing one’s home, facing life-threatening medical conditions without any prospect of medical insurance, several families being forced to live in one house due to homes being foreclosed, etc., catastrophic.

The potential for an escalation of cataclysmic events, however, is very real. Only a “blooming idiot” would call someone who attempts to prepare for “the day of adversity” a Chicken Little now. Anyone who does not see the storm clouds on the horizon isn’t paying attention.

For example, can one imagine what would happen if Russia or China launched a nuclear attack against the United States? (Once again, I encourage readers to watch the CBS TV series “Jericho” to get an idea of how quickly life, and even civilization, could change.) Imagine if there was another 9/11-type event. What would happen if some form of Zimbabwe-style inflation hit the US? What would happen if anything disrupted the distribution of Welfare checks, or food to local grocers? Imagine a Hurricane Katrina-style natural disaster in your town. I think people everywhere are beginning to awaken to just how vulnerable we all really are.

As a result, people from virtually every walk of life have asked my thoughts on how they should prepare. Therefore, I will, again, attempt to share with my readers some of the counsel I have given these folks.

First, a disclaimer. I am not an economist; I am not a survival expert; I am not a firearms expert; I am not an attorney; I am not a physician. In fact, I am not an expert in anything! For several years, however, I have tried to learn from others. I am an avid reader. My work has allowed me to travel extensively. In fact, I have logged over 150,000 miles crisscrossing this great country over the last few years. I have had the privilege of sitting at the feet of–and learning from–many of America’s most learned, most trained, and most qualified “experts” in a variety of fields. What I write today, I have learned from others. I’ve formed my own opinions and priorities, of course, but everything I’m sharing has been said, or written about, before. But if I can share something in today’s column that will help someone be better prepared for the days to come, then my goal will have been achieved.

Location:

Analyze your living conditions. Where do you live? Do you live in an urban or rural environment? Is it a big city or small town? Do you live in an apartment or condominium? How close are your neighbors? Do you even know your neighbors? Would you trust them if the electricity was off and they were hungry? Could you grow your own food if you had to? How easily could you secure your home? If you live in a cold weather environment, how long could you stay warm without electricity? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself now.

Over the past several decades, masses of people have migrated into large metropolitan areas. More people currently live in urban areas than at any time in American history. While this may be well and good for times of prosperity, it is an absolute nightmare during any kind of disaster. Does anyone remember what New Orleans looked like after Hurricane Katrina came through? Can anyone recall what happened in downtown Los Angeles during the 1992 riots? Needless to say, any inner-city environment could become a powder keg almost instantaneously, given the right (or wrong) circumstances. And the bigger the city, the bigger the potential problems.

If you live in the inner city, I suggest you consider moving to a more rural location. Obviously, now is a very good time to buy property (especially rural property), but the downside is, selling property is not as favorable. If you can afford it, now is a great time to buy a “safe house” outside the city. If you are fortunate enough to have family or some true friends nearby, you may want to put your heads–and some resources–together in preparation for serious upheaval. Obviously, a team of prepared people is much better than being alone.

If you must stay in your urban location, have some common sense plans in hand in the event of a major disaster. Get to know your neighbors: find out whom you can trust and whom you can’t. Keep some extra gasoline on hand, in case you need to get in your car quickly and leave. Have several exit routes planned ahead of time, in case roads are blocked. Have a “bug-out” bag containing essential ingredients to live on for three to four days. If leaving is not an option, have a plan to secure your home as best you can. You’ll need to think about things such as food, water, medicine, warmth, self-defense, etc. But at this point, to do nothing is absolute lunacy!

Most readers probably know that my entire family and I made the decision two years ago to move 2,600 miles from our home of 35 years in the Florida panhandle to the Flathead Valley of Montana, which is located about 75 miles south of the Canadian border in the Rocky Mountains. I can tell readers without equivocation or hesitation that we are so glad we made this move. We absolutely love it here–all the difficulties and trials associated with such a life-changing move notwithstanding. In fact, I’ve never lived in a place I love so much!

If readers want to learn more about what prompted our move to Montana, please peruse the information on this web page:

http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/home/?page_id=2243

Provisions:

During a major disaster, food will quickly disappear. Living for over three decades on the Gulf Coast, I can tell you with absolute certainty that whenever disaster strikes (usually an approaching hurricane, for those folks), food and provisions at the store sell completely out in a matter of a few hours. People panic, and within hours, you cannot find food, bottled water, ice, generators, batteries, candles, etc. In a matter of hours, every gas station in the area will be completely out of gas. Not days. Hours!

Furthermore, almost all disasters include a complete loss of electricity. The water supply is compromised. Bottled water becomes more valuable than bank accounts. Dehydration becomes a very real and present danger. I remember witnessing a man offer an ice vendor $100 for an extra bag of ice during Hurricane Ivan. My wife and I went two weeks (14 days) without electricity in the aftermath of that hurricane. Believe me, I got a taste of just how precious bottled water, ice, batteries, generators, fuel, etc., can become.

I suggest you have a supply of food and water to last at least a month. Many survival experts insist that a six-month supply is the minimum. Personally, I can live a long time on tuna fish or peanut butter. You can purchase MREs from a variety of sources, as well as “camp-style” packaged food from many sporting goods stores. Of course, bottled water is available everywhere during normal times. Stock up! Distilled water will store longer than spring water. Plus, I suggest you have some water purification tablets or a Katadyn water filter on hand. And, if you are able, prepare to grow your own food. In cold weather climates such as we have here in Montana, people quickly learn how to construct and utilize greenhouses in which to grow food. Canning food is another very helpful hedge against deprivation. If your parents and grandparents were like mine, this was standard operating procedure.

Get a generator. Keep a supply of fuel on hand. Stay stocked up on batteries, candles, portable lights, first aid supplies, and personal hygiene items–especially toilet paper. Trust me, during times of intense and prolonged disaster, toilet paper could become more valuable than money. I also suggest you never run out of lighters or matches. You never know when you’ll need to build a fire–and during a prolonged survival situation, fire could save your life. If you live in a cold weather climate, you probably already have some sort of wood stove or fireplace. And don’t overlook the necessity of a good knife.

Obviously, you need to take stock of your clothing. Do you have clothes suitable for extended outdoor activity? What about boots? During a disaster, you would trade your best suit from Neiman Marcus for a good pair of boots. Do you have gloves? Insulated underwear? What about camouflage clothing? These could become essential outerwear in the right conditions. Plus, any “bug-out” bag will need to include spare clothing. And as most folks here in Montana know, “cotton kills.” For extended outdoor wear in cold weather, wool is the only way to go!

Communication and medical provisions are also a high priority in any kind of emergency. How will you communicate with your loved ones when the phones (including cell phones) go down? Portable ham radios are a very valuable resource. But the time to buy (and train to use) one is NOW! A preordained rally point (or safe house) might be something to think about. And what about medical supplies? Do you have enough to take care of routine (and not-so-routine) emergencies? What about your prescription drugs? How long could you function if you were cut off from your pharmacist for any length of time? Also, seriously consider learning about natural, herbal medicines. Those plants growing in your “back forty” might just cure a headache, stop bleeding, or even save your life. Think about it now.

And one more suggestion, while we’re on this subject: the best resources in the world are of little use if one is physically incapable of making good use of them. In other words, GET IN SHAPE. During any kind of emergency situation, physical exertion and stamina become immensely important.

Commodities:

I suggest you have at least some cash on hand. Just about any and all disasters will result in banks being closed for extended periods of time. That also means credit card purchases being suspended. You need to have enough cash to be able to purchase essential goods (if they are even available) for an undetermined amount of time.

Of course, some survival gurus insist that during any cataclysmic climate, precious metals will become the only reliable currency. A little gold and silver could go a long way in a prolonged emergency. For that matter, with the way our fiat money system is coming unraveled, you may want to seriously consider moving your IRA accounts into precious metals, if for no other reason than to better protect your savings. Ask yourself, how much money have I already lost at the hands of these banksters in the Federal Reserve and their toadies in the stock market?

In fact, in a disaster, what is considered a valuable commodity can change rather quickly, as the barter system takes a life of its own. What is valuable is determined by what you need and how badly you need it. In a prolonged disaster, simple things such as toilet paper, canned goods, ammunition, and clothing could become extremely valuable; while cars, video games, televisions, etc., could be reduced to junk status. In antiquity, wars were fought over things such as salt. You might be surprised to learn that there are already active barter groups in your area. I suggest you establish a relationship with these people now!

Speaking of cars, remember that during a prolonged “national emergency” that might involve some sort of nuclear attack or widespread civil unrest, an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) might be employed; in which case, most every late model vehicle would be completely inoperable. Accordingly, if one can keep an older, pre-computer-age vehicle in good working order, he or she might be driving the only non-government vehicle capable of going anywhere. Of course, you might not want to drive it to town!

Rest of Chuck Baldwin article here.

Filed under: Education — oksafeinc @ 4:16 am

OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

[9/4/12 UPDATE to this post:Both Nathan Dahm (R-SD 33) and Ken Walker (R-HD 70) won the runoff elections on August 28th, 2012.  Since no Democrat candidates filed for these seats, the August 28th election decided these offices.  The Oklahoma Legislature will convene for the First Regular Session of the 54th Oklahoma Legislature (2013-2014) on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 12:00 Noon.]

Uh, and for us, you know, political guys, you know, a lot of times we, you know, the legislature spends a lot of time talking about things that just don’t matter – I mean, they want to talk about tax cuts and all that stuff… So we’re going to have to figure out…how to help, uh, refocus maybe the legislators’ attention on things that are actually going to create jobs, versus worrying about tax cuts and tax credits and stuff like that.” [Chad Warmington…

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