Sub Base marks 76th anniversary of Navy’s victory over Japanese fleet at Battle of Midway

The mission of the submarines, including the one J. Deen Brown was on, was to form a semi-circle southwest of Midway to ensure that Japanese transport ships loaded with thousands of soldiers and equipment couldn’t reach and invade the island.

In recent years, Brown, 95, of Oakdale, has been the sole Battle of Midway veteran at the Naval Submarine Base’s annual commemoration of the event. Navy officials and a small crowd on Monday marked the 76th anniversary of the three-day battle, recognized as the turning point of World War II in the Pacific

“I feel sometimes like maybe I’m being a little spoiled. But it is an honor and I do appreciate very much the attention and consideration I’ve received,” said Brown, who turns 96 on Friday.

The battle, which started at 4:30 a.m. on June 4, 1942, happened six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, Japanese commander Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto wanted to lure what remained of the American fleet to Midway and destroy it, then invade and use the island as a base for attacking Hawaii.

“Our nation and Navy’s response was just as forthright,” said Capt. Paul Whitescarver, commanding officer of the base, explaining that on June 4, 1942, U.S. aircraft flying from three aircraft carriers – USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown – attacked and sunk four Japanese carriers, which had attacked Pearl Harbor.

“By June 6, 1942, Admiral Yamamoto and his Japanese forces were forced to withdraw,” Whitescarver said.

The battle was not the most challenging for submarines – that would come later in the war – but Brown and the rest of the crew assigned to the USS Trout (SS 202) had to frantically prepare the submarine to head to Midway. The submarine only had two working engines because it had been damaged two months earlier while supporting the Doolittle Raid, the first U.S. air raid to strike the Japanese home islands.

“We didn’t anticipate having to go to Midway,” Brown said. “It came as a very, very quick surprise.”

The submarine was getting ready to receive a radar system, cutting edge technology at the time, and had to repair the other disassembled engines while underway to Midway in rough seas with “a rolling and tossing ship,” Brown said.

Midway laid the foundation for the ultimate end of the war, Whitescarver said, noting that D-Day, when Allied troops invaded Normandy, France, two years after the Midway battle, was a “cornerstone to that end” and marks its 74th anniversary on Wednesday.

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© 2018 The Day (New London, Conn.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Arizona Senate Puts Coal Tax Relief Bill on Hold

A bill to provide tax relief for Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station (NGS) by exempting income derived from coal mining from the state’s transaction privilege tax (TPT) was held up in the Arizona Senate’s Finance Committee with the legislation falling one vote short of passage.

The bill’s sponsors are working to gain additional support before bringing it up for reconsideration in the wake of the March 14 setback.

Native-American Workforce

NGS, a 2,250-megawatt coal-fired power plant located on the Navajo Nation reservation near Page, Arizona, is the largest electricity power generator in the state. NGS operates under a lease agreement with the Navajo Nation, supplying electricity to customers in Arizona, California, and Nevada. It also provides the power needed to pump water for agriculture and municipal uses from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson through the Central Arizona Project.

The plant is jointly owned by the Salt River Project and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, who own the largest percentages of the installation, and the Arizona Public Service Co., NV Energy, and Tucson Electric Power, who have smaller shares. NGS employs more than 400 full-time staff, 90 percent of whom are Navajo.

NGS uses coal from the Kayenta Mine, operated by Peabody Western Coal Company under lease agreements with the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe. The coal is delivered to NGS by a 75-mile electric railroad owned and operated by the plant. Ninety-nine percent of the mine’s 340 employees are Native American.

‘A Tax Elimination’

Arizona’s TPT taxes companies’ gross receipts in 16 separate business classifications, including mining, retail, telecommunications, and utilities. Arizona also allows municipalities to levy local TPTs.

HB 2003 would exempt coal from the retail and mining classifications under the state TPT and any municipal TPT and sales taxes. A Fiscal Note prepared for HB 2003 estimated although the proposed exemptions would reduce Arizona’s General Fund by $9.1 million in Fiscal Year 2019, the ongoing revenue loss from a closed NGS would be $12.2 million.

State Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Tucson), HB 2003’s sponsor, says TPT never should have been imposed on coal mining.

“This is … a tax elimination,” said Finchem. “The state does not collect a [TPT] on the wind, the sun, or the water, nor does it collect the tax on natural gas and nuclear fuels, … [so the TPT on coal] never should have been laid.”

Fails Tax Tests

John Nothdurft, director of government relations at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News, testified HB 2003 would improve energy markets in the state, during a hearing before Arizona House Ways and Means Committee on February 14.

“Arizona’s transaction privilege tax … [is] dissimilar to how other states tax raw materials used to produce energy, such as coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels,” Nothdurft testified. “Sound tax policy generally abides by four basic principles: It is applied to a broad base; kept at a competitive, low rate; it is non-distorting; and rate-setting and the regulatory process are completely transparent to the state’s citizens.

“Arizona’s transaction privilege tax fails on at least three, if not all four, of these principles,” Nothdurft said.

High Closing Costs

Nothdurft also testified failure to implement the proposed tax reform might cause NGS to close, which would increase energy prices in Arizona.

“Thirty-one percent of Arizona’s electricity generation comes from coal, but this would significantly decrease if NGS is closed,” said Nothdurft. “This is a significant problem, since the cost of coal electricity is much cheaper than other forms of electricity—especially wind and solar, which are heavily subsidized and yet remain more expensive.”

Severe Power Disruptions Forecast

Fred Palmer, a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute, says ending TPT for coal mining would benefit all of Arizona.

“HB 2003 is designed to help extend the commercial life of NGS, a crucial resource for the economic future of the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, as well as water users, electric consumers, and agricultural interests in Arizona,” Palmer said. “Since a closed NGS will produce no mining tax revenues, opposition to the bill can only be construed as anti-Native, anti-fossil fuels, and anti-growth.”

A recent study by utility consulting firm Quanta Technology confirms NGS is critical to the power supply in the Southwest.

The report states closing NGS in 2019 would result in “power deficiencies which could evolve into potential voltage collapse and outages, load shedding triggers, potential rotating brownouts, failing transformers or transmission lines and equipment damage” affecting Phoenix, Flagstaff, other large Arizona cities, and California cities such as Lugo and Shandon.

Confident in Bill’s Prospects

Although HB 2003 stalled in the Senate Finance Committee, Carlyle Begay, a Navajo and former Arizona state senator for the district where NGS is located, says he is confident HB 2003 will eventually pass.

Finance Committee member Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), who initially withheld support for the bill, which kept it from moving out of the committee, now supports the proposal, Begay says.

In addition, “we will have enough Democrat votes to pass the bill through the Senate,” Begay said. “The commitment will be in place in case we need it.”

Editor’s Note: This article was published in cooperation with The Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News.

PHOTO: The Arizona Capitol Museum building in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

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Who Are the Racist?

Who Are the Racist? I noodled this question based on a belief that racism not acted upon is relatively benign. With that notion in mind which political party appears to be more racist than another? A belief that races and cultures are not equal need not assign inferiority. However, when that belief does assign and act upon inferiority that belief it is no longer benign. Political positions appear to divide into two points of view. The Conservative view is that representation and consideration must include all people. Their reason is that the Constitution does not empower legislation that does not…

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210

Providing for consideration of H.R. 5515, NDAA FY, 2019; providing for consideration of S. 204, Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017, and providing for consideration of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act

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Still missing in Santa Fe: blaming the guns

Things are slowly returning to normal in Santa Fe after the recent school shooting, or at least as close to normal as is possible under such circumstances. But one thing I’ve noticed is that we’re not seeing nearly as much wall-to-wall coverage of reactions from the community on cable news. One possible reason for this is the fact that as the community comes together to try to heal, there’s a key element missing from the usual narrative. Almost nobody is blaming the guns for the tragedy. Calls for new gun control laws coming out of Santa Fe are nearly nonexistent. The LA Times looks at some of the contrasting responses.

There was no outcry against firearms in Santa Fe after a gunman killed 10 and wounded 13 others Friday. Guns didn’t come up at a prayerful vigil attended by 1,000 people that evening. On Saturday, there were no protests, and local leaders don’t expect any Sunday…

The Rev. Brad Drake has ministered to the Santa Fe community for seven years at Dayspring Church, an Assemblies of God congregation of about 150 people a few miles from the high school. The town of about 13,000 has 15 churches, and Drake serves on the local ministerial alliance as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

After the shooting, he worried that outside groups might show up with political agendas. He noticed a man openly carrying a handgun on his hip at the Friday vigil. But that was it, he said.

“We’re able to look past that stuff and just take care of people,” Drake said as he sat in his office.

Among the students who were willing to talk to the press, there didn’t seem to be any interest in signing up to be political pawns. These kids are just trying to heal and the answers they are demanding have more to do with making their school more secure than some national political debate. And that’s probably for the best since the Santa Fe shooting broke the usual story arc in a few ways.

There’s more to the missing narrative puzzle than just the failure to call for more gun control. This shooting breaks the standard profile in a couple of ways. A second element is the problematic fact that the guns used in the attack were legally owned by the shooter’s father and were stolen by the son. Once again, no gun control laws currently under consideration would have staved off this attack. The same was true of the Sandy Hook shooting, though that didn’t stop Connecticut from immediately moving to ban guns.

The types of firearms used have also deflated the media’s enthusiasm for covering the Santa Fe shooting. As the Chicago Tribune pointed out this week, the firearms owned by the shooter’s family are on the list of “approved” weapons, even among gun control advocates.

Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left 10 dead, was carried out with a pistol and a shotgun – firearms that even gun-control advocates generally regard as utilitarian.

The reality that weapons not included in proposed assault-rifle bans can still exact a double-digit death toll further complicates a wrenching national debate about how to prevent future tragedies.

“That’s true” that weapons other than assault rifles can kill many people at once, conceded Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which favors a federal ban on assault rifles but not on shotguns or pistols.

Parkland and Santa Fe are indeed a tale of two cities. Unfortunately, only one of them is being heard from in the media coverage of this national debate. If the survivors in Santa Fe don’t follow the script theyr’e not of much use to the various gun control groups currently trying to use the Parkland tragedy to their advantage.

The post Still missing in Santa Fe: blaming the guns appeared first on Hot Air.

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The Commodity-Subsidy Scheme

The amount of cronyism and subsidies in the nation’s agricultural program is too much to cover in a single article. That’s why, as the debate over this year’s Farm Bill heats up, I’ve been covering one topic a week, from advertising campaigns that taxpayers cover for large producers’ advertising to the sugar program that harms the economy at large to subsidize just over 20,000 sugar producers. This week, we’ll look at the heart of farming subsidies — commodity programs.

Under the nation’s current agricultural program, farmers are able to take advantage of two types of programs. The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) provides coverage against natural disasters and other factors that reduce crop yield, while the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs provide protection against changing market conditions.

Farm support subsidies overwhelmingly go to six crop types, even though they do not come close to making up a majority of agricultural production. Corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, rice, and peanuts received 94 percent of commodity subsidies, despite making up only 28 percent of production between 2014 and 2016.

And subsidies they are — despite being intended as a safety net, these “insurance” programs consistently pay out far more than they take in. A study by the Environmental Working Group found that, between 2000 and 2014, farmers received an average of $2.20 in subsidies for every dollar they paid in premiums. There was not a single year over this time period where farmers didn’t receive, on average, more in subsidies than they paid in.

Part of the problem is that farmers do not need to suffer significant losses to receive subsidies. So-called “shallow loss programs” insure farmers against minor losses, providing encouragement to ignore market signals. This creates a form of moral hazard, as farmers can engage in riskier behaviors knowing that even small losses will be picked up by the federal government.

Farmers are also able to “double-dip,” receiving access to both the FCIC and ARC/PLC programs. The Environmental Working Group also found that, between 2014 and 2015, a decline in crop prices caused the federal government to pay out $13 billion in subsidies through the ARC/PLC programs. At the same time, the FCIC paid out nearly as much — almost $11 billion — to help farmers with that same price decline. Taxpayers were on the hook for the whole $24 billion.

The current farm bill, up for consideration in the House, could post even bigger losses for taxpayers — and bigger payouts for farm businesses. Changes to the way payments are calculated and inflated reference prices, some at more than 100 percent of market price, practically guarantees payouts regardless of economic conditions or losses. In addition, the bill extends these payments to cousins, nieces, and nephews and eliminates the current payment cap for pass through entities and other types of joint ventures. This is a massive expansion of the pay-out pool, extending taxpayer funds to individuals and groups that may have had little or nothing to do with the day to day operations of the farm, let alone would bear the brunt of any potential loss.

Subsidies of this level of generosity completely distort the market. For example, in 2012, the most severe drought in half a century caused nearly 1,700 counties to be declared natural disaster zones. Far from barely getting by, however, farmers had their most profitable year in history thanks to subsidies and sky-high prices. A safety net should provide protection against loss, but it need not be designed so that farmers come out ahead after natural disasters.

We are also far from the days of an economy based largely on small farmers. The share of Americans working on farms has dropped from 40 percent in 1900 to 1 percent today, while crop production has multiplied several times over. As a result, farming households have grown wealthier than the average household — the net worth of the median U.S. household in 2012 was $68,800, while the net worth of the median farming household in 2014 was $802,000.

And it’s the largest farm businesses that receive the bulk of the subsidies. Commercial farms, which account for just over 10 percent of all farms, received 73 percent of ARC/PLC payments and 83 percent of FCIC payments. Small family farms, making up 90 percent of farms, received the remainder.

Congress should work to address the over $20 billion a year taxpayers are on the hook for each year to subsidize these large farms. It’s past time to turn commodity systems into a true safety net, not a golden parachute.

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