Texas Economic Development Fueled By Taxpayer-Funded Corporate Subsidies

Texas economic development continues to be fueled by taxpayer-funded corporate subsidies. An estimated $1.4 billion in property tax revenue has gone uncollected in Texas from 2005 to 2015 as a result of Chapter 313. These are the findings from the state auditor's report in October 2016. As Texas Observer detailed last year, the free lunch to corporations doing business in the state of Texas has seen steady growth year after year. The Texas Economic Development Act, or Chapter 313 as it's known in the tax code, has now racked up an estimated $7 billion cost [...]

By | 2017-12-22T01:45:41+00:00 February 11th, 2017|Economy, Energy & Utilities, Politics, Texas Property Taxes|0 Comments

City of Austin Sues State Of Texas Over Unequal Appraisal System

It appears the City of Austin is taking the bull by the horns in addressing Texas' broken property tax system. The city yesterday announced a lawsuit against the state of Texas over unequal appraisals that continue to burden residential homeowners. The new lawsuit stems from Austin's challenge of TCAD commercial values earlier this summer. In that independent TCAD analysis, commercial property appraisals were shown to be under market value by as much as 50 percent. This of course would contradict the state constitutional mandate that all property be taxed "in proportion to its value". The [...]

By | 2015-08-26T11:40:42+00:00 August 25th, 2015|Housing Policy, Politics, Spin Cycle, Video|0 Comments

Feeding Frenzy – Lobbyists And Congressmen Gorging On Corrupt System

This is a bit gross, but oh so true. Watch as a lobbyist and Senator walk into a restaurant and do what they do best.  As the House GOP members announce tonight that they have scratched a vote to bring a bill forward which would open the government and raise a debt ceiling, it's worth remembering just how we arrived here. You can also scroll down for a fitting reaction to what passes for democracy in America.   Dylan Ratigan Expresses His Outrage At Continued Extraction Of America (As a reminder, this segment was originally aired [...]

By | 2013-10-16T00:00:49+00:00 October 15th, 2013|Economy, In the Press, Politics|0 Comments

Bill Moyers Talks To Wendell Berry About Peaceful Resistance To Reckless Greed

Bill Moyers interviews Wendell Berry, poet and farmer.  Berry has a no-nonsense approach to living and some advice that we could all use. "The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer" "I am done with apologies. If contrariness is my  inheritance and destiny, so be it. If it is my mission  to go in at exits and come out at entrances, so be it.  I have planted by the stars in defiance of the experts,  and tilled somewhat by incantation and by singing,  and reaped, as I knew, by luck and Heaven's favor,  in spite of the [...]

By | 2016-09-29T14:30:35+00:00 October 13th, 2013|Economy, In the Press, Politics|0 Comments

Snowden Awarded Whistleblower Prize In Berlin

Interesting that a ceremony would be held in Berlin to award Edward Snowden with the Whistleblower Prize for his efforts to "defend the public right to the truth and value of privacy". Snowden was honored by the Federation of German Scientists, Transparency International and IALANA at the ceremony. Russell Tice, a former intelligence analyst and NSA whistleblower, says the Snowden revelations are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the surveillance state. Tice says point blank that the intelligence officials continue to lie about the capability of the surveillance apparatus.

By | 2013-09-02T11:19:38+00:00 September 2nd, 2013|In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|0 Comments

British Security Detains Glenn Greenwald’s Partner For Nine Hours Under Terrorism Act

It looks like the game is escalating. Today we learn that Greenwald's partner David Miranda (a Brazilian citizen) was detained by British authorities at Heathrow airport under schedule 7 of their Terrorism Act.  Why would the UK do something so stupid.  That's a very good question.  Another question is whether the U.S. played a part in the 9-hour stop and frisk of Greenwald's friend? Coincidence?  I doubt it!  Something tells me that this wasn't the best idea for a government agency (U.S. or UK) looking to assure citizens that it can be trusted with overreaching powers. Widney Brown, Amnesty [...]

By | 2013-08-19T00:29:19+00:00 August 19th, 2013|In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|0 Comments

The Blast Shack – Three Years Later

Bruce Sterling and the Geek Empire revisit the revelations of Wikileaks back in 2010.  As Sterling revisits his essay "The Blast Shack", he remarks on how things have evolved since that essay was originally published. The remarks on the NSA and the current mess are a great read.  As he noted back in 2010: One minute’s thought would reveal that a vast, opaque electronic spy outfit like the National Security Agency is exceedingly dangerous to democracy. Really, it is. The NSA clearly violates all kinds of elementary principles of constitutional design. The NSA is the [...]

By | 2013-08-18T11:46:26+00:00 August 18th, 2013|In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|0 Comments

Ellsberg: Manning Did Not Deserve A Day In Jail For Informing Public

Interesting interview with Scott Horton and Daniel Ellsberg following the recent verdict in the trial of Bradley Manning.  Most importantly, Manning was found not guilty of "aiding the enemy".  Nevertheless, there were several other charges of which Manning was found guilty.  As Ellsberg carefully points out, the Manning trial points to how perverted the state of the state has become in America.  You can read the transcript of the interview or listen to the podcast interview at Scott Horton's Radio Show. "The truth is that he did not deserve a day in prison for informing the public here as he [...]

By | 2016-02-02T22:42:16+00:00 August 1st, 2013|In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|0 Comments

Texas Legislators Weigh Ban On Women

Texas Senate Republicans pushed through one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States on Friday, voting 19-11 to pass the bill which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The new abortion bill also also requires doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and restricts abortions to surgical centers, which would limit the number of abortion clinics in the state.  The bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest, and with a lack of consideration for such extenuating circumstances, the new legislation will likely be appealed.  The Texas Medical Association, Texas Hospital Association and the American College [...]

By | 2018-02-03T00:02:05+00:00 July 14th, 2013|Economy, Humor, In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|0 Comments

Bill Moyers & Marty Kaplan: Weapons Of Distraction & Misdirection

This is an interesting interview between Bill Moyers and Marty Kaplan. Kaplan heads the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California.  The topic of discussion here is the media's role in the distraction and misdirection of the American people and the role of propaganda in shaping culture and opinion. The manufacturing of consent would be a lot more difficult if our media outlets weren't also part of the problem.  Kaplan addresses the need to sort the real news, actual journalism, from the trash which permeates the airwaves.  He also specifically references the recent [...]

By | 2013-07-13T11:32:06+00:00 July 13th, 2013|Economy, In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|1 Comment