Is Oklahoma Microcosm Of Coming Trump Presidency?

That president-elect Donald Trump is highly unpredictable is widely accepted, but what does seem something to securely bank on is his commitment to tax cuts for the wealthy given his connection to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who has been appointed to his transition team, and local oil baron, Harold Hamm, who is rumored to be in the mix for energy secretary.

As you might recall, both Fallin and Hamm, chief executive officer of Continental Resources, hammered out a 2014 tax-break deal for the state’s oil and gas companies that lowered their gross production rate from 7 percent to 2 percent for the first three years of any oil and gas well drilled vertically or horizontally.

This is what Fallin said about the deal after it was pushed by local oil and gas executives, which included Hamm:

“The new 2 percent tax rate is fair to the state and sends a clear message to energy producers worldwide: Oklahoma is the place for energy production and investment. We want to be a leader in this field not just today but for decades to come.”

Fair to the state? A year later the tax break, along with a slow down in fracking, led to a 12-year low gross production revenue drop.

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Pipeline Conflicts

The problematics and complications of the coming Donald Trump presidency is no more obvious than in Trump’s stock ownership in companies with interests in the Dakota Access pipeline, the controversial project now drawing major protests.

The Associated Press outlined Trump’s stake in the pipeline building project on Friday. Although comparatively speaking Trump doesn’t own that much stock in the project—$15,000 to $50,000 through one company and $100,000 to $500,000 through another company—he has indicated he supports the project and wants to see it completed, according to the AP story.

Since this all has to do with oil barons and profits from fossil fuels, there has to be an Oklahoma connection, right? The AP reports:

Besides Trump, at least two possible candidates for energy secretary also could benefit from the pipeline. Oil billionaire Harold Hamm could ship oil from his company, Continental Resources, through the pipeline, while former Texas Gov. Rick Perry serves on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners.

Continental Resources is based in Oklahoma City, and Hamm has been an active member of the conservative movement both locally and nationally.

The project has been delayed because members of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and other indigenous groups have stood up against it with help from other environmentalists, arguing it could contaminate drinking water and endanger Indian cultural sites. The Army Corps of Engineers, according to the AP, is consulting with the tribe in order to resolve the issue. Protestors want the 1,200-mile pipeline project, which would go through four states, shut down.

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Everyone Should be Unnerved By Trump Presidency

Some of the post-election editorials by The Oklahoman, which actually didn’t support president-elect Donald Trump, have been marked by a warped, snarky edge criticizing liberals and progressive activists. It’s suffocating to be open-minded here.

The most recent example of such an editorial was published today under the headline “Liberals unnerved by sudden role reversal,” which uses sweeping generalizations and cites minor legal cases instead of deploying the type of evidence-based argumentation you might expect from a large metropolitan daily newspaper.

The editorial makes the point that liberals have been taking people’s rights away from them in recent years, citing two cases where people were accused of discriminating against people based their religious beliefs. One case involved the owners of an Oregon bakery who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The other case involved The Little Sisters of the Poor, a charity group, which was threatened with a fine because it refused to “distribute”—that’s the word used by The Oklahoman—birth control.

Both cases were about rights, true, but they were about the rights of people—liberal or conservative—to receive particular services whatever their religious views. The cases and their outcomes were vastly different as well. The bakery was fined for its obvious discriminatory actions. All it had to do was bake a cake, but the owners chose to make a stand. The Littler Sisters of the Poor actually WON the right to refuse to offer birth control to their employees through insurance as mandated by regulation. Note, again, the use of the word “distribute” by The Oklahoman.

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