Editorials

EDITORIAL: US withdrawal doesn't define victory in Afghanistan

A flag-lowering ceremony in Kabul this past weekend signaled the official end of Operation Enduring Freedom — America’s 13-year war on terror in Afghanistan.

But the reality is that the war is not over, and Americans shouldn’t act like it is.

Though al-Qaida, the architects of the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist plots, has been partly dismantled and the Taliban is a shadow of its former self, extremism still has a foothold in the war-torn nation.

EDITORIAL: Oil price drop not without benefits for Alaska residents

As unlikely as it seems, there are a few benefits to Alaska residents that come with lower oil prices. The slump, in which prices have dropped to levels between $60 and $80 per barrel in recent months, has left the state budget in a world of hurt, and there’s no question residents will feel a host of negative effects of that lost production tax revenue. But there’s a silver lining for residents that takes a bit of the sting out of the market downturn.

EDITORIAL: Alaska needs budget leadership

Alaska’s political leaders once again will be reaching for the antacids as the state confronts a colossal loss of revenue because of the tumbling price of oil.

The Alaska Department of Revenue, in its annual fall forecast released Dec. 9, expects the price of oil to average $76 per barrel for the present fiscal year, which ends June 30. That’s down about 40 percent from the department’s spring projection. The department expects a further decline in the following fiscal year.

EDITORIAL: Obama should remember who friends are around world

The Obama presidency was supposed to revive America’s image in the eyes of the world, but results on that score have been mixed at best. Recent blunders show the White House struggling to manage relationships with our closest allies.

Speaking in the coal-producing Australian state of Queensland [in November] during the G-20 Brisbane economic summit, Obama made what Greg Sheriden, foreign editor of The Australian, called “a bizarre decision to attack and damage his closest ally in Asia, and one of the most committed supporters of U.S. foreign policy.”

EDITORIAL: President choosing wrong path on immigration

President Obama must be tone deaf. His threat to go it alone on comprehensive immigration reform — bypassing Congress if necessary — sounds like man who didn’t hear the nation’s loud and clear rejection of his policies Nov. 4.

Instead, he sounds like a president who’s determined to get his way — even if it condemns the country to two more years of gridlock.

House Speaker John Boehner correctly warned Nov. 6 that the president will “poison the well” for the new Congress if he takes executive action to address the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Turnout doesn't measure up to options on the ballot

I usually don’t buy into post-election hand-wringing over voter turnout for a simple reason: If you don’t care enough to vote then I really don’t want you having a hand in the outcome anyway.

That said, however, the extremely low turnout for the 2014 general election is mystifying.

EDITORIAL: For governor, Parnell is the right choice

Editor’s note: The Journal of Commerce, which is owned by the same company as the Empire, joins in its editorial board endorsement of Sean Parnell for governor.

The road of Alaska politics is never a dull ride — there’s twists and turns, drama, success and defeat; there’s even some old-fashioned corruption every once in a while. When it comes to who the Juneau Empire will recommend for Alaska’s governor, the road led to Sean Parnell.

EDITORIAL: Data doesn't support Obama's claim economy is better off

President Barack Obama has always seen himself as an agent of change, a la Ronald Reagan. His goal was to do for progressive politics what Reagan had done for conservatism.

Thus it was no surprise that he parroted a Reagan trope in recently asking the question of whether Americans are better off today than when he took office — and then answering his own question by concluding that “the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office.”

EDITORIAL: Second option is good news for Interior gas needs

News in September that a Texas-based company is looking to ship natural gas north from Cook Inlet to the Interior likely came as a surprise to many Fairbanks residents. After all, the state and Interior municipal governments are already well down the path toward commitment to a natural gas trucking plan that would require a liquefaction plant on the North Slope and trucking to Fairbanks — plans and financing for the plant are already underway.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Walker claims don't fit facts of Point Thomson settlement

Today hundreds of Alaskans are employed working towards first production at the largest undeveloped oil and gas field in Alaska — Point Thomson. This follows years of disputes, hearings, litigation, and an out of court settlement achieved in 2012.

Now we have Bill Walker maligning those who worked selflessly on behalf of the state by claiming in a recent opinion piece that the settlement is the “worst, dirtiest backroom deal in the state’s history.”

EDITORIAL: Onerous tax code behind corporate flight

It’s not corporate greed or a lack of patriotism that is driving American corporations overseas, as President Barack Obama contends. It’s one of the worst corporate tax codes in the developed world. The cold, hard evidence of that is detailed in a new study ranking the tax competitiveness of 34 industrialized nations.

AJOC EDITORIAL: First LNG steps, and a word on the First Amendment

A Chinese proverb states that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and so it goes with the Alaska LNG Project.

More than a few of those important initial steps have been taken less than nine months after the major North Slope producers, pipeline company TransCanada and the State of Alaska signed a “heads of agreement” statement outlining a large-diameter pipeline and export plant project.

EDITORIAL: Islamic State's threat to America is a real one

Call it ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State. By any name it is deadly, and America is in its sights.

The murder of James Foley was — or should have been — a wake-up call for those who have, despite the murders of thousands on Sept. 11, 2001, been lulled into a false sense of security.

These fanatic, brutal killers have an equally false sense of grandeur, but they are dangerous to anyone who doesn’t kowtow to their perverted interpretation of their religion.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Alaskans not fooled by 'giveaway' campaign

No, Les Gara, Alaskans were not fooled.

In a response to our veteran reporter Tim Bradner about the results of the Aug. 19 primary that saw the effort to repeal oil tax reform defeated, Rep. Gara took the four-percentage point loss as a moral victory.

 “This shows the power of corporate money,” the Anchorage Democrat said, “but also that Alaskans are tough to fool.”

EDITORIAL: State must diversify economy or be bound to oil

During the past few months you’ve read a great deal about Ballot Measure 1 on these pages, and for the next month leading up to the primary election Aug. 19, you’ll continue to. The measure, which would repeal Gov. Sean Parnell’s recently-passed oil tax reforms, is hailed by supporters as a return to a fairer tax scheme. Opponents say that repealing the oil tax reforms would cripple the state’s economy and undo progress made in stemming the decline of oil production on the North Slope. The two sides disagree on nearly every major tenet of the measure’s effects.

EDITORIAL: State is right to join suit over King Cove road

The long and perplexing dispute over the proposed one-lane gravel road through a portion of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge on the Alaska Peninsula has just become a heavyweight fight.

EDITORIAL: Another election, another frivolous complaint

Apparently, defending your good name is an ethics violation — if you’re governor, that is.

Following a misinformed opinion column penned by lieutenant governor-hopeful Craig Fleener, where he accused Gov. Sean Parnell of skipping a planned event at the National Congress of American Indians conference in Anchorage earlier this month, a state Democratic party officer has now filed an ethics complaint against Parnell.

EDITORIAL: 'Alaska Agreement' good theory, flawed practice

In 2008, Alaska’s usually low-profile Senate contests came to an end, as Sen. Ted Stevens saw his decades-long career in office come crashing down amidst a corruption trial that made national headlines.

Two years later, the 49th state got heavy press again when Sen. Lisa Murkowski was toppled by challenger Joe Miller in an unexpected primary result, only to mount a successful and widely publicized write-in campaign.

EDITORIAL: US foreign policy a drifting disappointment

Barack Obama reaffirmed his belief in American exceptionalism in a speech (last) week aimed at reframing his foreign policy. This was no small point coming from a President who won office partly by capitalizing on a decline in the U.S.’s global standing.

When he accepted the Democratic nomination in August 2008, Obama made a bold promise.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Poo-pooing the news, part 2

It was noted in this space a few weeks ago that Democrats never let good news go to waste, and they remain nothing if not predictable.

Barely an hour after BP announced it was selling some of its smaller North Slope assets to Hilcorp Energy on April 22, the reliable Sen. Hollis French was out with a press release accusing BP of fattening its bottom line by exiting Alaska after lobbying for the oil tax reform that passed the Legislature in 2013.

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