John Taylor’s appointment seems unlikely

It was great to write last week about the potential appointment of John Taylor as the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve, but that now appears unlikely. After meeting with the current Fed chair, the President declared there are five finalists and that he likes all five of them. Both Janet Yellen and John Taylor were on that short list.

It’s hard to understand how anyone with a clear position on monetary policy would include both on the same list of finalists. Discerning Trump’s views on interest rates and the value of the dollar have been even more challenging than making sense of his foreign policy.

Also on this list is a bona fide moderate. Jerome Powell (pictured above) stands as a centrist choice between the inflation hawks like Taylor and doves like Yellen. It’s now being reported that Powell has emerged as a favorite. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Federal Reserve | 2 Comments

The Johnson Games

Representative Mark Johnson recently announced that he would be resigning from his position as State Representative in order to take up the job of President and CEO of Oregon Business and Industry, the new business organization formed when Associated Oregon Industries and the Oregon Business Association merged. I am hopeful that Representative Johnson will help bring about a more unified voice for businesses in this state. With such a wide variety of industries and sectors it is easy for the business community to fracture on any number of issues and at times it has led to mixed signals or mealy-mouthed responses when the legislature has approached businesses for their take on policy changes. I am optimistic that Representative Johnson will be a strong voice for business in Oregon, but his resignation presents new challenges for Republicans in Oregon. Continue reading

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Posted by at 12:26 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Taxpayer Association backs Ontario Sales Tax Referendum Petition

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Ontario voters are reviving democracy by launching a referendum repeal petition campaign to stop the newly passed Ontario sales tax.  They are called Stop Ontario Sales Tax.

In September, the Ontario politicians quickly voted to make Ontario the only city in Oregon with its own sales tax.  Being the only city in Oregon with a sales tax is like hanging a sign on our local businesses saying “Don’t shop here” or a sign to future businesses “Don’t locate here”.   Taxpayer don’t want to see their city lose customers and lose jobs because of new and unnecessary taxes. Continue reading

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Posted by at 09:41 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The End of the Republican Majority


As the United States Senate returns after yet another vacation its workload has been increased dramatically by President Donald Trump. I’m still not on the Trump Train but I do admire his work ethic and now his expectation that others should demonstrate a similar one.

To date, with the exception of the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, the Republican controlled Senate has accomplished precisely nothing. The Republicans have NOT repealed and replaced Obamacare. They have NOT adopted a budget resolution. They have NOT provided a tax reduction and tax reform. They have NOT provided any solution to the immigration mess including securing the borders. They have, however, taken numerous vacations and worked three days per week. They have also spent an inordinate amount of time criticizing President Trump and each other. For a group of men and women who have accomplished nothing their criticism of others rings pretty hollow. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2018 Election, Congress, Illegal Immigration, immigration, Leadership, Obamacare, President Donald Trump, President Obama, Tax Reform | 6 Comments

Stop Healthcare Tax Petition makes ballot, breaks record!

Petition submission qualifies over 82,000 signatures with a record-setting 85.43% validity rate for January ballot

SALEM, OR. — Today, the Stop Healthcare Taxes Referendum 301 chief petitioners qualified 82,312 signatures with a record-setting 85.43% validity rate for the January 23rd, 2018 special election to let voters vote on healthcare sales taxes passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Kate Brown. Continue reading

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Posted by at 07:24 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Central Oregon Union Leader Accused of Attempted Church Break-In

By Northwest Spotlight

As first reported by The Bulletin, Yajnesa “Yaju” Dharmarajah, is being accused of allegedly attempting to break into the Westside Church in Bend, Oregon. According the Bend paper:

Police found Yajnesa “Yaju” Dharmarajah, 43, outside the church wearing a ski mask and gloves just after 4 a.m., according to a Bend Police Department news release. Dharmarajah allegedly had a crowbar in his hand, and after checking the building, officers found several areas damaged in a way consistent with an attempted break-in.

Dharmarajah was also found with a loaded 9 mm handgun. He was booked into the Deschutes County jail under suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon, possession of burglary tools, first-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief. According to the jail, he posted 10 percent of his $45,000 bail and was released.

Continue reading

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Posted by at 11:42 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“Shuffling” Is for Playing Cards, Not School Kids

By Kathryn Hickok

Portland Public Schools is redrawing the boundaries of more than a dozen schools and reassigning 5,000 students, ten percent of its enrollment. According to The Oregonian: “To make sure no school ends up understaffed or overcrowded, students must be shuffled.”

In government-run school districts, kids are cards in a deck. The bureaucracy gets to deal, assigning students to school buildings based on their residences. And even when parents exercise choice by moving into a neighborhood, gaining access to special school-based programs, or enrolling in charter schools located in underused facilities, the district retains the right to shuffle and deal over. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Whose Money Is Your Oregon Kicker Refund?

By Steve Buckstein and Kathryn Hickok

State economists have confirmed that individual Oregon income taxpayers will receive kicker refunds next year. Based on the May revenue forecast, more than $463 million will be returned to taxpayers as a credit on their 2018 tax bills, with the average refund being $227.

But with the news that the coming refunds will reduce our tax liabilities, some are criticizing the way the kicker law works, while others argue the money really belongs to the state, not the taxpayers. They argue that as long as any group of Oregonians—or any state government budget item—has a “need” for that money, then the money should go to them instead of back to the individuals who earned it. Continue reading

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Posted by at 12:30 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

John Taylor for new Fed chair

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump met with Stanford University’s John Taylor on Wednesday to possibly be the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Before this news became public, expectations were beginning to grow that former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh was the early favorite.

This is great news, and I’ve been waiting patiently for something nice to write about the Trump administration. Such an appointment would be the monetary policy equivalent of appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Federal Reserve | 1 Comment

Knute vs. The “Anti-Knutes”

With the announcement from Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer that she would not be seeking the Republican nomination for Governor of Oregon we are getting a better idea of what the 2018 field is going to look like.  With DeRemer’s exit from the race, it appears that the race will consist of front-runner Representative Knute Buehler and a handful of others jockeying to be the “Anti-Knute” candidate.

As of now, it looks like the other candidates will be Sam Carpenter, former candidate for the US Senate, Bruce Cuff, who ran for Governor in both 2014 and 2016, and Greg Wooldridge, former commander of the Blue Angels who has appeared in recent polls for Governor.

Additionally former Democratic candidate for Governor, David “Water Slides” Stauffer, and the man with the most epic beard, Keenan Bohach have campaign committees set up to run for the Republican nomination.

In the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney held the position of frontrunner for most of the race.  Some of the more conservative element of the GOP base who didn’t like Romney spent much of the race bouncing around between different “Flavor of the Month” candidates.  Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain all had times where they were up in the polls and seemed to be the chosen “Anti-Romney” candidate.  With this opposition unable to coalesce behind any one candidate all Mitt Romney had to do was hold onto his base and avoid making any outrageous mistakes and was able to win with an overwhelming lead in the delegate count.

An example that is more fresh in everyone’s mind should be the 2016 GOP Presidential Primary where the entire race appeared to be “Trump vs. Everyone Else” and with seemingly countless candidates attempting to position themselves as the counterbalance to Donald Trump it helped him to secure the nomination and eventually move on to win the Presidency.

As Richard Nixon once said, “if you ever hear of a group getting together to stop X, be sure to put your money on X.”

With Chavez-DeRemer out of the race, Knute Buehler seems to have his lane all to himself. Knute is now the only socially moderate candidate with experience serving in government and a demonstrated ability to fundraise.  The other candidates will lock themselves in a battle of seeing who can “out-conservative” the others or who can hit Representative Buehler the hardest.  All the while Buehler just has to do what Mitt Romney did in 2012 and what Donald Trump did in 2016, hold onto your base and hope your opposition keeps fighting amongst themselves all the way to election day.

Oregon deserves better than Governor Kate Brown.  Regardless of who wins, I want to see a GOP Primary that produces the nominee best suited to take on Governor Brown and the entrenched Democratic establishment in this state.  Likely  it could be fairly brutal at times, but at the very least should be entertaining for us political nerds.

Get your popcorn ready.


Jacob Vandever is political activist, lifelong Oregonian, and proud Oregon State graduate. Jacob is the Editor of the Oregon Upstart Blog.

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Posted by at 11:07 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

American Exceptionalism: my response to Wim de Vriend

I couldn’t help but notice a pattern in de Vriend’s social strife stories: none of them carried any rational relation to the history and experience of immigration in America. We could also point to all manner of religious conflict in human history such as the Thirty-Years War, but would this serve as a valid argument against religious freedom in the United States?

Similarly, why suggest that ideological conflict in the ethnically homogeneous French Revolution implies we should abandon America’s proven ability to absorb vast sums of immigrants? Why make the invalid comparison of the Belgian Revolution’s conflict between Walloons and Flemings in a war against occupation by the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a country like our own which followed a bloody revolution with our successful policy of open borders?

We’ve got something special here, and immigration is central to American exceptionalism. Take that away, and we’d eventually devolve into the mundane druthers of the old world. By arbitrarily cutting our legal immigration in half, that’s exactly what the RAISE Act would do.  Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Government Regulation, immigration | Leave a comment

Immigration Part 3: Could it be too much of a Good Thing?

Warlike Walloons, Japanese and Poles

by Wim de Vriend

History relates many cases of incompatible combinations of interests, be they economic or ethnic or religious or linguistic, that precipitated serious civic strife and chaos inside some unlucky country.  Civic strife and chaos are never good things, one reason being (besides death and destruction) that you never know the outcomes.  For one awful outcome of civil strife, consider the French revolution of 1789 which, after the horrors of the guillotine, led to the Napoleonic wars whose combined estimates of the dead, military and civilian, run from 5 to 11 million.[1]  Or consider the Russian revolution of 1917, which started peacefully but later that year was taken over by the communists.  The takeover provoked a civil war between Lenin’s Red Army and other armies, which lasted 5 years and caused between 7 and 12 million dead, most of them civilians.[2]  To those numbers may be added another 20 million in Lenin and Stalin’s Soviet Union, from terror, forced labor and deliberate starvation, but that’s without counting the casualties in World War II.[3]  Our own worst case of civic strife that got out of hand, of course, was the Civil War, or the ‘War Between The States’, whose casualties of some 700,000 exceed those of any other war we fought; that number was especially appalling because it represented 2.26% of our then population of 31 million.  If that same war had been fought – God forbid – with our 2015 population of 320 million, there could have been 7 million dead!  For more recent dreadful examples, consider the ethnic/religious cleansings inside former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, a series of wars between tiny countries that killed 130,000 while creating millions of refugees, and the genocides in African countries, between ethnic groups that you and I would have trouble telling apart. Continue reading

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Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And the Forest Fires Rage On

Right From the Start

Recent headlines dealing with the explosion of wildfires in Northern California, including the deaths of over eleven people and the destruction of over 1500 residential and commercial structures, reminded me of the incompetence of the environmental community in general and those who control by employment or threats the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. It comes on the heels of a recent visit to Central Oregon as the wildfires near Mount Jefferson and Milli Creek shrouded Central Oregon in a perpetual haze and forced people indoors to avoid the smoke. (I drove westbound on Highway 20 through Sisters and could not see from the driver’s seat across the street and into the doorways of the stores along the main street.) And there at the top of Santiam Pass sat the scars of the notorious B&B Complex fires of 2003. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Federal Government, Government Waste, Liberalism, Natural Resources, Progressivism, Timber | Leave a comment

Lori Chavez-DeRemer: I’m not running for governor in 2018

By Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Oregon needs and deserves great leadership. As Mayor of Happy Valley, I’ve experienced those challenges firsthand. It was my deep desire to provide a positive voice and have an impact on the future of Oregon that lead me to run for state representative last year. And, I have spent most of this year exploring the opportunity to run for Governor of this great State.

My team and serious supporters worked with me closely to evaluate this decision strategically and wisely for both my future and the future of Oregon. Continue reading

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Posted by at 09:05 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WSJ notes Walden on Equifax

By Jason Williams
Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Wall Street Journal Editorial “Hypocrisy and Hacking“, 10/6/17 mentioned Oregon Congressman Greg Walden’s remark on Equifax.  Good article, good comments.

Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith faced understandable bipartisan fury on Capitol Hill this week after hackers breached the credit-reporting company’s systems this year, gaining access to the confidential information of more than 145 million Americans. “How does this happen when so much is at stake?” asked Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican. “I don’t think we can pass a law that fixes stupid.” Continue reading

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Posted by at 07:12 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reagan Rightly Canned the Fairness Doctrine, Don’t Let Trump Resurrect It

Throughout his Presidency, Ronald Reagan maintained a message of freedom. Religious, Economic, and Political freedoms are enshrined in our Constitution and are necessary and all rely on each other. The federal government has been heavily scrutinized (and rightly so) in their regulation in the content and speech of television and radio. One of the primary ways the Reagan administration expanded freedom of speech was by killing the fairness doctrine.

The fairness doctrine has been dead for 30 years. Before Saturday, there were no notable supporters of the Fairness Doctrine (or anything like it) save a few random congresspeople. That all changed on Saturday when Donald Trump sent the following tweets.

Trump appears to be floating a new fairness doctrine. I could spend a lot of time giving examples of how the doctrine did result in increased free speech, how it singlehandedly created conservative talk radio, or even how the Internet (which wouldn’t fall under the old fairness doctrine) has turned traditional media on its head. Instead, I will defer to President Reagan:

In any other medium besides broadcasting, such Federal policing of the editorial judgment of journalists would be unthinkable. The framers of the First Amendment, confident that public debate would be freer and healthier without the kind of interference represented by the “fairness doctrine”, chose to forbid such regulations in the clearest terms: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

— Ronald Reagan to the United States Senate, June 19, 1987

Reagan Knopp is the Editor-in-Chief of Oregon Catalyst and a political consultant focused on digital campaigning.

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Posted by at 04:37 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Too Late to Fix PERS by Fooling Oregonians

By Scott Shepard

Governor Kate Brown’s task force, assigned to find ways to cut Oregon’s yawning unfunded PERS pension liability, is approaching its November 1 reporting deadline. Governor Brown is relatively new at her job, so perhaps she can be forgiven for hoping her PERS task force can produce magical founts of free money. But it can’t.

The Governor wants proposals to cut the admitted pension deficit of about $25 billion by 20 percent ($5 billion). Even if the task force managed this feat, the recognized debt would only return to its 2015 level, before the PERS Board started inching the assumed rate of return down from its long-standing eight percent figure toward more plausible figures. If the Board shifted to an assumed rate that matched risk with the certainty of payment obligations, unfunded pension liabilities would approach $50 billion. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The US abortion rate keeps on declining


The abortion debate has been in a stalemate for a long time, but three years ago a milestone was quietly reached in actual behavior. According to data from the Center For Disease Control, in 2014 the rate at which American mothers aborted their children dropped below the rates we’ve seen since 1973. The data now shows a pre-Roe v Wade prevalence of abortion in this country. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Abortion | 1 Comment

Petition power! 84,000 want a say on Health Care Tax

Photo Left: Lindsay Berschauer, State Representative Julie Parrish, field director Michelle Miller  and State Representative Cedric Hayden pose next to 84,367 signatures gathered in less than 100 days!
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

A big achievement in citizen power and direct democracy occurred today when the Stop Health Care Tax PAC turned in 84,367 signatures in a referendum petition to bring the $330 million health care tax to the voters.   The campaign (on a short time-clock) ran on a small budget but BIG on grassroots activism, word of mouth and a soulful desire to let voters have a say on the giant $330 million health care tax which was speedily passed by politicians early this year.  The three democracy musketeers and chief petitioners are State Representative Julie Parrish, State Representative Sal Esquivel and State Representative Cedric Hayden.  The Taxpayer Association of Oregon was honored to be a  coalition partner from day one and to help generate signatures across the state. Continue reading

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Posted by at 08:34 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

How the Supreme Court Could Change Oregon Politics Forever

The Supreme Court’s current docket has a number of interesting cases, but there are two in particular that could cause a seismic shift in the landscape of Oregon politics.  Now I am not saying that Oregon is going to instantly flip over to being a red state as soon as these rulings get passed down, but they could go a long way in eroding some of the institutional advantages that help Oregon Democrats hold onto their power. Continue reading

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Posted by at 04:48 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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