Ex-Palin Attorney at Center of Insurrection Revelations

A bombshell article from Rolling Stone yesterday alleges that multiple sitting Republican members of Congress and members of their staffs coordinated and worked closely with the planners and organizers of the January 6th rally preceding the attack on the Capitol, and the attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from the Trump to the Biden administration.

Trump headlined that event, urging the crowd to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, supported “trial by combat.”

The article reveals that organizers of the protest worked directly with White House staffers, a number of Republican members of Congress and their high-level staff. One of the most shocking allegations – that Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar told January 6 organizers that President Trump was prepared to issue “blanket pardons” for what he obviously perceived to be the illegal activities that were yet to come.

Here’s where it gets interesting. At least from an Alaska perspective.

“The House select committee investigating the attack also has interest in Gosar’s office. Gosar’s chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, was among the people who were named in the committee’s “sweeping” requests to executive-branch agencies seeking documents and communications from within the Trump administration. Both sources claim Van Flein was personally involved in the conversations about the “blanket pardon” and other discussions about pro-Trump efforts to dispute the election. Van Flein did not respond to a request for comment.”

Palin’s personal attorney, Thomas Van Flein

For those not old enough to remember all the way back to the time that Sarah Palin held high office in the state of Alaska, the name Thomas van Flein may not be familiar. The rest of us did a double take. As Rudy Giuliani was to Donald Trump, so Thomas Van Flein was to Governor Palin – her personal lawyer. In his capacity Van Flein tried to mop up the multiple ethics reports filed against the former half-term governor, and oversaw her legal defense fund which turned out not to be … legal. Go figure.

After raking in the Benjamins in Alaska, Van Flein flew the coop and took a job with a brand-new Sherrif Joe Arpaio-endorsed Congressman from Arizona whose primary campaign issue was “build that wall!” “I look forward to working with [Van Flein] in Washington and ensuring that we listen to the American people and work to uphold the principles that make this country great,” Republican Congressman Paul Gosar said of Van Flein.

Since his original migration, Van Flein climbed the internal office ladder and is now Chief of Staff to Congressman Gosar and finds himself right in the thick of a very thick place indeed.

Thomas Van Flein from Twitter

We had no idea back then that the “principles that make this country great” would turn out to be organizing a rally that would lead to a coup attempt, and an offer of “blanket immunity” to the perpetrators. I suppose if you’re going to be negotiating preemptive immunity for traitorous felons, it helps to have a lawyer in the mix.

As events unfold and the January 6th Commission moves forward, it may pay to remember that not so long ago, Congressman Gosar was pointing a finger and yelling “Treason!” at other people. Back in February of 2018, Gosar urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek “criminal prosecution against these traitors to our nation” referring to James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein. If you want to time travel back to the Mueller investigation you can read all about it HERE.

Don’t go too far away. More news coming soon.


Dunleavy urges anti-vaxx cops to come to Alaska

MURKOWSKI AND SULLIVAN VOTE NO ON VOTER PROTECTION

Both of Alaska’s Republican Senators decided to take a ball-peen hammer to the knees of democracy this week. It’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing. As the U.S. Congress weighs the heavy topic of the sustainability of our very democracy, Murkowski and Sullivan aren’t even pretending to care about voting rights – the foundation of everything. They didn’t vote against anything in particular, mind you, they voted to filibuster the entire Freedom to Vote Act. They don’t even want the subject to come up for debate.

They have abused the filibuster to harm democracy, and benefit their own party. They tell us *exactly* who they are, and do exactly what Mitch McConnell tells them to do. This is not the way a representative democracy works. 

Trying to consolidate the power of the vote to only those you think will vote for you, and restricting the right and ability to vote for those you think will vote for Democrats is foreshadowing some very dark times. As our country is sliding down the slope of authoritarianism, Murkowski and Sullivan have shown us where they stand. And it’s not with Alaskans or the American people.

And let’s not forget about Don Young this week. Alaska’s lone Congressman just voted NOT to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. 

Which brings us to the next question.


WHO’S RUNNING?!

Wonder who’s running as a Democrat for Senate and U.S. Representative? We get that question a lot, and we know it’s tough to be patient. But know that we’re working behind the scenes fitting Democrats into the best seats, waiting for redistricting maps to be finalized, and doing all the prep work behind the scenes to run successful races. But if you want to encourage things along, here’s something you can do.

First – does the thought of having State Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson representing Alaska in the U.S. Senate excite you? We have reasons to believe with the right candidate, this is a winnable race for Democrats, FINALLY! Just think of it… A Senator who doesn’t bob and weave, no tiptoeing around positions, no more equivocating and backtracking, no being “concerned” and then doing the wrong thing. No more being Charlie Brown while our Senator is Lucy with the football.

Elvi is solid. She’s decisive. She says what she means and means what she says. She believes in people, and that they deserve a leader not someone who licks their finger after every question to see which way the wind is blowing. She’s a rock, she’s whip smart, and she works really hard. AND, she’s thinking about running for U.S. Senate.

If you support Elvi, and you want her to run, and you want to be in the loop, click HERE and sign up to get the news! 


DAVE BRONSON IS WRONG AGAIN

Contrary to what’s happening in the right-wing echo chamber headed by the Anchorage Mayor, droves of Anchorage doctors and nurses are NOT, in fact, quitting their jobs because their FreedomLiberty™ is being trampled by the TyrannicalLeftists™ running the hospitals.

As a matter of fact, Providence Hospital and Alaska Native Medical Center are reporting over 98% participation for vaccine requirements.

From The Anchorage Daily News:Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, who has publicly stated his opposition to hospital vaccine requirements, in an interview last month said he believed up to 20% to 30% of employees would lose their jobs over their opposition to vaccination requirements at hospitals such as Providence and Alaska Native Medical Center.Bronson cited anecdotal evidence, including news reports of staff resigning in other states over vaccine mandates as well as testimony during an invitation-only listening session for health care workers opposed to mandates hosted by Assembly member Jamie Allard. Municipal human resources director Niki Tshibaka triggered a standing ovation at one point when he asked if the crowd opposed mandates.

Pro Tip:  Getting your data by listening to right-wing news reports, anecdotes, Jamie Allard, and an invitation-only listening session of vaccine conspiracy nuts may not yield the most accurate results.

In other Bronson news this week, Bronson’s campaign volunteer who got appointed as Director of Boards and Commissions calls pro-mask Assembly members “criminals.” You can read about that at The Blue Alaskan HERE. I guess when Bronson asked people to “turn down the heat” he wasn’t talking to his own people.


HMMM…THAT GUY ON THE RIGHT LOOKS FAMILIAR

Hey isn’t that the guy who showed up on ‘Storm the Capitol and Overturn the Election Day,’ and blamed it on ANTIFA? The guy who showed up in Maricopa County to get a personal tour of the secret watermarks and bamboo fibers that would prove election fraud, the one who fanboyed all over the Pillow Guy at his marathon conference where there would be irrefutable evidence that Trump is still President? Yep, that would be Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla. 

This time he’s in the news because he’s one of the 28 elected officials in the country who is a registered (Lifetime!) member of Oathkeepers, the militant extremist group that figured heavily in the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol. Many of the other electeds have backed away, or said they relinquished involvement some time ago. But not Eastman.”Eastman, on the other hand, is happy to discuss his affiliation with the group. An Army veteran and West Point graduate, he was formally reprimanded by the Alaska legislature early in his first term for claiming that “poor women in rural Alaskan villages” intentionally got pregnant so they could get free trips to Anchorage or Seattle for abortions. Last month he made headlines again for apparently comparing President Joe Biden to Adolf Hitler and the COVID-19 vaccine to Nazi experimentation on Jews and others held in concentration camps.”He has not previously been identified as an Oath Keeper, but in written responses to inquiries from BuzzFeed News, the Republican legislator said he’d joined the group ‘when it first started’ and that he ‘will always consider it a privilege to stand with those in the military and first responders who strive to keep their oaths to the Constitution.’”

I guess “striving to keep their oaths to the Constitution” involves attempting to block the peaceful transfer of power that assures the continuation of representative democracy? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You can read the article about the hack/leak and revelations at BuzzFeed HERE.


THE NUMBERS CAME HOME TO ROOST

This is the ‘we told you so’ that we never wanted to have.

In an interview with Alaska Public Media, Governor Mike Dunleavy reiterated that he will not endorse mask or vaccine mandates. A few weeks ago during a press conference, he touted Alaska’s death rate per capita as one of the lowest in the nation to justify that Alaska was doing well, despite the desperate pleas from hospital staff saying that they were having to make life and death decisions because not all patients were able to receive care.

He was still at it recently. Here’s what Dunleavy said on October 15. 

Dunleavy: We still have the fourth-lowest death rate per capita. We did have the third. Forty-six other states have done worse. It’s a tough one, to say that when somebody dies, ‘Are we doing good?’ Our hospitals are holding, they have assistance. None of what we’re seeing is unnecessarily unanticipated. And I would say that we’re hanging in there, and we’ll get through this.  

We pointed out last month that Dunleavy’s “low death rate” claim wouldn’t hold up for long. Not only did we have a known lag in reporting deaths from over the summer (which the governor knew about), but the spike in positive cases that were happening right when Dunleavy was choosing death rate as his benchmark, would inevitably lead to a spike in deaths down the road. 

We are now down the road. 

On Tuesday, four days after Dunleavy’s brag, Alaska shot up the charts in a very bad way.

Alaska ranks #1 in COVID cases.

Alaska ranks #3 in deaths (not #47 as the governor said)

And we are #7 in hospitalizations with a mere 12 staffed ICU beds in the state, only two of which are in Anchorage where half the state’s population lives.

We are not “hanging in there,” we are in free fall. And the stubborn refusal of the governor and his Republican cohorts to push for policies that work instead of pandering to their political base is negligent, and literally comes at the cost of Alaskans’ lives. 


COULD THIS BE A NEW LOW?

Hang on because it just keeps going. It’s hard to say anymore with so many “lows” under his belt if the governor has hit bottom. But bearing in mind what you just read up there ^^, this appeared on Twitter Thursday morning in response to an article from the Chicago Tribune talking about police officers who refuse to be vaccinated.

Yes, you read that right. As covid surges in Alaska, Mike Dunleavy is trying to poach police officers from across the nation from the pool who refuse to take the minimum basic step to keep themselves and their communities safe. And he wants them all to come work here. It should be noted that the biggest cause of death for police officers last year was, you guessed it… COVID. A staggering 65% of officers’ deaths were attributed to the disease.

The governor isn’t using the power of his platform to urge OUR police and first responders to get vaccinated so they stay safe and don’t infect others, he’s bragging about NOT doing it and trying to increase the ranks of the unvaccinated among law enforcement.

Remember the Gov. Mike Dunleavy of last summer who made a tourism commercial boasting that “Having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, our people are safe and you will be too!” You can rewatch that “didn’t age well” commercial HERE.

Rep. Liz Snyder (D-Anchorage) said it best.


NO MORE DOUBLE DIPPING?

And as the state burns, Dunleavy is off campaigning for reelection so he can do to us for another four years what he’s been doing for the last three. This invite went out for his kick-off campaign in Fairbanks this week.

Look again… No Dunleavy commissioners as co-sponsors like lastt time? No stealth “cabinet meeting” at Pike’s Lodge? It just goes to show that when you throw yourself a party, the guest list is a lot smaller when you’re not paying people to attend.

The governor must not have enjoyed everyone noticing half his administration went on a jaunt to Kenai last month for a coincidental roving “cabinet meeting” where Dunleavy did his Peninsula campaign kickoff for the election in 2022. “It’s so weird! We were going to have a cabinet meeting in Soldotna ANYWAY!” Riiiight. You can read more on that HERE.

Interestingly, the name of Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer appears. Dunleavy all but said he’d be dropping Meyer like a bag o’ dirt as soon as he could find someone else to replace him on the ticket. The new rules overhauling election law instituted by Ballot Measure 2 means that Governors and their Lt. Governors now run on the same ticket. Dunleavy and Meyer ran and won on separate tickets in 2018. Looks like the lite gov is hanging in there for now, but stay tuned.


A HAPPY NOTE!

Not one, but TWO pieces of good news for Alaskans from the Biden administration to finish us out: 

1) Last week, the most recent in a series of child tax credit checks were sent to Alaskans. The child tax credit isn’t new, but President Biden expanded it and also ensured it was sent out monthly instead of making families wait until tax time. This means kids can get what they need when they need it, it reduces the use of predatory payday loans that bilk users for outrageous interest rates, and families are less likely to be living paycheck to paycheck. Here’s how the stats play out for Alaska.

***Both Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Dan Sullivan voted against the American Recovery Act that ensured this critical relief for Alaska families.

2) If you live in Fairbanks, North Pole, King Salmon, Dillingham, Moose Creek, Gustavus, Yakutat, or any of the little glowing green dots on this map, you’ll be glad to know that the Biden administration has your back.

Instead of delays and sweeping matters under the rug, the President this week laid out a roadmap for dealing with toxic carcinogenic PFAS chemicals (known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they are retained and stored in the human body for long periods of time). In Alaska PFAS problems are most commonly associated with firefighting foam, and contaminate ground water, soil, and local food. You can read about what’s happening HERE.

Mayor Pulls Security AND Spit Guard

THREE CHEERS FOR FAIRBANKS!

Before we dive in to the usual shenanigans from the local to the federal level, let’s all take a moment to marvel at what just happened in Fairbanks and take a look at the faces that will grace the Borough Assembly and the School Board. Some will return, others are new, but all were enthusiastically supported by the Interior Democrats!

At a time when the importance of rational local governance and local elections have never been more plain to see (more on that later), Fairbanks rallied the community with great candidates, solid plans and policies, hard-working campaign volunteers, financial support, letters to the editor, phone calls, good old-fashioned grassroots organizing, and they DID IT!

A huge congratulations to incoming Assembly members Savannah Fletcher, Kristan Kelly, and David Guttenberg, and School Board members Chrya Sanderson, and Erin Morotti. And yes, this means that the Q-Anon candidate who thinks some “cabal” has buried thousands of children under the White House is not going to be a lawmaker. And Lance Roberts, who says that women shouldn’t have jobs because it makes God sad, is no longer sitting in an elected position making decisions. 

Thank you to everyone who had a hand in these victories. A sweep like this doesn’t just happen by itself, and to everyone involved – whether you helped on a campaign, reminded friends to vote, made calls, waved signs, or donated, all we can say is:

👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 Well done!


MURKOWSKI’S GONNA MURKOWSKI

This week also saw hundreds of Women’s Marches across the country supporting abortion rights in the wake of the horrendous Texas law which literally puts a bounty on anyone helping a woman seek abortion services by rewarding snitches with cash money, and makes illegal any abortion after six weeks – before most women even know they are pregnant.

Alaskans rallied too, despite some dicey weather. And we couldn’t help but notice that our Senior Senator is back in campaign mode again. We’re old enough to remember things like her vote for the Blunt amendment which allowed insurance companies to deny coverage of birth control, and her vote for conservative anti-choice justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. She has also notably voted against allowing late-term abortions, which occur only under the most dire and wrenching medical circumstances. She’s rated a measly 47% by Planned Parenthood. And we all know that 47% on any test is a failing grade.

This was this week ^^.  Below has been the last few years.

If anyone is saying, “but she’s the best we can do” just hold your horses.

State Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson is seriously considering a run for the US Senate. If you don’t know her, she is a Democrat and she’s smart, driven, compassionate, experienced, and we would be ridiculously lucky to have her represent Alaska on Capitol Hill. 

Imagine – no shilly-shallying, no political game-playing, no figuring out which way the wind is blowing before making decisions, no using “concern” as a cover for inaction, no having to write letters and beg and hope for crumbs. With Elvi, you know where she stands, and it’s on solid ground when it matters most.

Check out her impressive background HERE and her latest floor speech HERE.

“We continue to see on a national level, personal and political division, the ‘it’s us against you,’ approach, the ‘other-izing’ of our neighbors and fellow community members, blatant partisan obstruction to any good policy, and the insatiable hunger for power – all of which is getting in the way of moving this country forward. Forward to promote living-wage jobs, economic growth, and the continued development of new industries that address the climate crisis we are in.”

And repeat after me: Alaska deserves better than a proxy war between Mitch McConnell (Lisa Murkowski) and Donald Trump (Kelly Tshibaka).

And for now, here’s a cheesy meme to remind you of your worth. 💗

And this just in:

Raising the debt ceiling is literally required to pay our loans, a substantial portion of which came under the Trump administration. Republicans always vote to raise the debt ceiling because if we don’t the U.S. will default. This has never happened and would wreak financial havoc on not only the United States, but around the world. 

Lisa Murkowski, at the end of the day, is a party pawn. She will do what Mitch McConnell allows her to do, and won’t do what he doesn’t. She’ll stand on the side of the reckless irresponsible showboaters playing chicken with our pocketbooks. She is a loyalist. And it’s not to Alaska. 


THE ‘TOTALLY COINCIDENTAL’ CABINET MEETING

Governor Mike Dunleavy has announced that he’d like to continue to be the conductor of the three-year-long slow-motion train wreck that has been his administration. That means he’ll be a candidate on the 2022 ballot.

Once an elected official becomes a candidate, the whole landscape changes. They must then be very sure never to mix business (their elected position) and pleasure (their campaign). There are all kinds of rules about this for good reasons, but primarily it boils down to ethics. Think about it. State money (your money/our collective money) should never be spent on anyone’s campaign, giving them an unfair advantage in an election. Doesn’t matter which side – if you hold office, the people shouldn’t pay for your campaign. This is a very bright political and ethical line.

For instance, let’s say that a candidate who currently holds the office of governor scheduled a big fundraiser for his reelection in Soldotna, on the Kenai Peninsula. And let’s say he wanted to bring along a whole bunch of other government officials who work for him in his cabinet to this campaign fundraiser as ‘co-hosts’ so he can draw a lot of people and make a bunch of money for his reelection.  

Red arrows indicate Dunleavy’s own appointees who are cosponsoring his reelection fundraiser.

But then COINCIDENTALLY, that governor just happens to decide to hold a “cabinet meeting” at that very same time in that very same place, just to get away from Juneau and check in with another random area of the state. For business. You know. Nobody’s ever had a cabinet meeting in Soldotna before, but hey. First time for everything, right?

We certainly hope that the governor’s brother governor is going to foot the bill for his little weekender with his buddies on the Kenai, and not make YOU do it. Stay tuned.

You can get the full background from Dermot Cole at these links:

Dunleavy cabinet members serve as ‘hosts’ for campaign fundraiser

Dunleavy campaign should pay for his fundraising trip to Kenai


PROPAGANDACAST!

Buckle up, kiddos! Just when you thought that state governmental processes couldn’t get any LESS exciting, get ready for the new government … PODCAST!  It’s called “First Hand.” Because you don’t need that pesky media holding anyone to account and getting in the middle of everything. The fourth estate is not willing to parrot the government line all the time, so we’ll just snip them right out, and come to you DIRECT “from commissioners, staff, and MORE!”

Isn’t that kind of like… propaganda, you ask? Yes. Yes, it is.

The first guest on the propagandacast was the Commissioner of Health and Social Services, Adam Crum, the failed State Senate candidate who said that he’s “not a healthcare policy guy” and now holds the reins of HSS in the state with the largest pandemic numbers in the country, and in the world. He held his first spin class which was aptly dissected by Dermot Cole.”On a new state-funded podcast hosted by one of two new press agents hired last month, Health Commissioner Adam Crum gave a similar ‘get the shot if you feel like it’ pitch.“’To be clear, myself and the governor 100 percent believe, it is a personal choice, I respect that, I want everybody to understand it absolutely is a personal medical choice. And it is so important for us, we’ve said this throughout. You have to meet people where they’re at.’“’Some people will have reasons that they believe or medical reasons, which is true, that they’re not going to receive that, and that is absolutely fine. And what we just ask is if you don’t receive that then you have grace with those who ask for you to get a vaccine. And for those that are vaccinated, that you also have grace for individuals for what their reasons may be they don’t get it.'””This is not what a competent health commissioner would say.”

But it is what Adam Crum would say.


PANDEMIC PROFITEERS

As the lunacy of the anti-mask parade at the Anchorage Assembly meetings continues this week, an interesting story has broken. It seems a Dave Bronson for Mayor mega-donor has popped up at the old Golden Lion Hotel, ready to help Anchorageites with their monoclonal antibody needs.

From The Blue Alaskan:“At an Alaska Public Media Mayoral Debate held during the Anchorage mayoral campaign, Bronson said he would sell the Golden Lion Hotel on ‘day one’ after becoming mayor.”WEKA LLC owners Todd Herring and his wife Crystal, and through five of their various businesses, have donated thousands of dollars to both Mayor Bronson’s campaign and a pro-Bronson Independent Expenditure group.”

$15,000 to be exact. WEKA Tactical (see above) which sells firearms, ammunition and tactical gear got its business license in 2013. WEKA Medical, which will now run the clinic, got its business license… two weeks ago. WEKA stands for “wisdom, experience, knowledge, ability” so everything will probably be fine… The mayor made the announcement in a press release.

And if you’ve been listening to the anti-mask testimony all week, you probably noticed that Mayor Dave “I will never get the vaccine” Bronson has been busily touting the benefits of the “therapeutics” (like the monoclonal antibodies available at the Golden Lion Hotel) that we have available now. Funny how that all works out.

And meanwhile back at the three-ring circus going on in the Assembly chambers as the mask mandate testimony passes its sixth day…

STRATEGY #1

Like Governor Mike Dunleavy, the Mayor’s plan seems to be to:

1) Let covid run its course until everyone has either been vaccinated or gotten the disease.

2) Beef up staffing at hospitals using outside health workers paid with federal money (Thanks Biden) to increase the “throughput capability” of the covid ward to treat all the sick people rather than prevent them from getting sick in the first place.

3) Limit testing to only symptomatic people and reduce testing availability by HOURS every day so the number of reported positive cases will go down.

4) Continue to fight any kind of direct ask for vaccines or masks, and refusal to implement the mandates they’re capable of enforcing.

You are not the only one that finds this unacceptable. Assembly member Meg Zaletel from Midtown had this to say.

From Alaska Public Media:“If there’s a reduction in hours, it seems to make very little sense. Especially since many Assembly members, at the behest of the community, just advocated for expanded services, since lines were spanning parking lots and it was taking hours to get a test,” said Assembly Member Meg Zaletel. “We know, with the current high transmission rate of COVID in our community, testing needs to be readily accessible and convenient so people will use it.”She added: “We’ve got to have COVID testing right now, more than ever, and reducing that service doesn’t make sense to me.”

The Trump playbook is back. Less testing = better numbers!

STRATEGY #2

The other strategy seems to be to drag on public testimony and delay as long as possible, so we see the numbers go down (from the limited testing) eliminating the Assembly’s justification for implementing a mandate.

The stalling part of the program is the brain child of Eagle River Assembly member Jamie Allard. You may remember, she’s the one who was booted off the Commission for Human Rights because of her comments last summer defending Nazi license plates.

She’s been trying to filibuster the whole proceeding by dragging out the public testimony as looooooonggggg aaaaaas pooooosssssssible. She slowly and deliberately asks multiple probing questions of every single anti-mask testifier, guiding them to expound on the aspects she wants to hear and shaping their answers. The three-minutes of public testimony then turns into 5, 6, 7, 8 minutes or more for each person. Some testifiers have been complaining about the long wait time, but they haven’t seemed to put two and two together.

The other stall tactic is to gum up the works by crying foul about procedure even when no foul is to be found. She challenges rulings of the Chair, insists that the Municipal attorney look things up, calls breaks, and in general tries to break local government by grinding it to a halt.

STRATEGY #3

Photo courtesy of The Alaska Landmine

Intimidation and madness. Last night Mayor Bronson, who didn’t like the fact that Chair Suzanne LaFrance was no longer going to allow Allard to filibuster by having lengthy discussions with every testifier, god mad. He not only dismissed security at the meeting despite the fact that there had been at least one arrest of someone with a firearm this week. Then he had Adam Trombley, the Director of Economic & Community Development physically remove the plexiglass spit guard from the testifiers’ podium.  It’s getting very very ugly.


DO NOT DESPAIR!

[Photo by Paxson Woelber, courtesy of the Alaska Landmine]

Amid the raging, screaming, fist-shaking, Star of David-wearing, science-denying, droplet-spraying mob, there are voices of reason. Here’s a passionate must-listen from Travis Neff. 

>>Watch the video and read the full transcript HERE at The Midnight Sun<<

“There is no debate happening here when one side has medical doctors, epidemiologists, institutions, compassion, evidence and the other side has a mob,” Neff told the assembly in closing. “A mob that cheered a homophobic slur, a mob that was egged on by morally vacant politicians as our hospitals are receiving national press for crisis standards of care and our case rate remains the worst in the nation. It would be the worst in the world if we were a country. And so I ask this assembly to, please, wield your power because the pilot here doesn’t understand our plane is crashing.”

If you live in Anchorage, the best way to channel your frustration is by raising your voice. You don’t have to enter the pit of covid droplets to do it either. You can send an email to all Assembly members at: wwmas@muni.org

Let them know if you support a mask mandate as Anchorage stands as THE global hot spot for covid transmission. They are counting emails, and listening to everyone. The loudest are not the majority, but the majority CANNOT afford to be silent. Your comments don’t need to be longer than a sentence or two, but they need to be made.

Don’t let this happen ^^ [Photo by Paxson Woelber, courtesy of the Alaska Landmine]

And if you live in Midtown Anchorage and you received a ballot in the mail, this is because the anti-mask crowd is attempting to recall Assembly member Meg Zaletel, one of the authors of the current mask ordinance now being debated. Don’t let that happen. Get your ballots in the mail before October 26 and encourage your neighbors in midtown to do the same and VOTE NO on the recall.


DON YOUNG DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE

As tempting as it would be to say that 88 year old Congressman Don Young is just phoning it in at this point, that would be an exaggeration.

From Roll Call:When the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up its budget reconciliation measure earlier this month, the longest-serving member of the panel wasn’t there. Alaska Republican Don Young also wasn’t there during the June 9 and 10 committee markup of a $767 billion bill paying for surface transportation programs.And he didn’t vote on the surface transportation bill that the committee voted on in 2020, even though the markups were hybrid, meaning he had the option of voting in person or remotely.In all three cases, he was the lone committee member not to vote on a single amendment on any of those bills, which were considered some of the more momentous pieces of legislation tackled by the committee this Congress.

As a matter of fact, Don Young has not voted in a single Transportation and Infrastructure markup in over two yearsThe last time he did pipe up was to make sure the Coast Guard wasn’t taking into account any data or information from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when it wrote up its own report on how the Coast Guard was going to deal with climate change. That amendment was defeated.

And since then? Nada from Don Young who explained that “I don’t believe in Zoom, I don’t like that communication-type thing. I just do my job.”

Tim Stretton, at the Project on Government Oversight had this to say about Don Young “doing his job.”

“In what private business is it OK if an employee doesn’t show up to their work but only for certain events? He works for the people of Alaska. He has a duty to them to have their interests and vote for or against bills. Even if you vote against something, you try to improve it. And it would appear he’s not doing that.”

Ironically a photo of Alaska’s only congressman on Wikipedia shows him using Zoom just fine. So, it’s not that he can’t do his job. He just doesn’t feel like it. 

GOP “leadership” & Alaska’s COVID catastrophe

NOT THAT SPECIAL

Welp. Another special session has come to a close, with the legislature settling on an $1100 PFD – pretty much the same as we’ve had for years and no thanks to the governor who could have had this outcome long ago, but in an interesting choice vetoed the PFD down to nothing, and started the process all over again. It was actually a nail-biter for a second and it looked like Alaskans might have no PFD at ALL. But we drove back from the edge of that cliff. There will be no veto this time, but before you think that means we’re done here – ANOTHER special session has been called for October 1. Someone should tell the governor that if he keeps calling special sessions, nobody is going to think they’re very special.

The purpose of special session #4 is to nail down the rest of a long-term fiscal plan. But that’s been the looming mission in Juneau since at least 2016 if anyone lost track of time. Back in the day when oil was footing the bill instead of hoarding tax credits, and we had bipartisan control of the Senate, we socked away a whopping $16 billion, which successive Republican administrations have managed to whittle down to almost nothing. [Reason #4,812 why you need to vote in 2022 and not for Republicans].

It seems like wishful thinking that after a regular session and three special ones, with many legislators set to be out of town on long-excused absences, and patience wearing thin across the board, that we’ll see anything meaningful happen in October. But there’s only one way to find out. Stay tuned.

COVID CATASTROPHE

Back in the good old days when people were listening to Dr. Anne Zink instead of horse paste salesmen, and before the  governor became so terrified of his own base that he doubled down on refusing to take real steps to stem the virus, we led the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations and our case rates and health care were the envy of the Lower 48. We were all, “Yay, Alaskans take care of each other!” 

Then Gov. Mike Dunleavy abdicated his leadership duties in favor of pussyfooting around on vaccine messaging and mitigation measures, and Dave Bronson took the reins as mayor of half the population of Alaska, as Anchorage’s new mayor. Once they became the Frick and Frack of “Gee, I don’t know what more we can do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ,” it all started collapsing.

Alaska’s average rate of daily new infections over the last week is more than double the national average — and higher than any other state. 

ANCHORAGE SPEAKS

In Anchorage this week, beleaguered and emotionally broken doctors and hospital health care providers gave moving and frankly horrifying testimony about the grim realities happening behind hospital walls, and what their implementation of “crisis care” really means in human terms.

These health care workers were met with scorn and mockery by Bronson acolytes in the audience and in particular Assembly Member Jamie Allard of Eagle River who made thinly veiled accusations that doctors and nurses were exaggerating how bad it was, and not offering enough cow dewormer.

Remember when Sarah Palin was trying to tell everyone that Obamacare was akin to “death panels” where the government would decide who lived or died? And remember how Republicans were all up in arms? Well Obamacare provides affordable care to millions and has saved countless lives. But the “three-person wellness team” described in the graphic above is actually having to face the brutal task of helping doctors decide who gets medical care, and who doesn’t – who lives, who dies. And it’s the direct result of the inaction and inability of Republican leadership to step up in a crisis, ignore the hysterical conspiracy theory crowd, and explain to the people of Alaska that freedom doesn’t mean the freedom to wantonly spread a deadly disease.

Yet, the death panel crowd is silent.

The situation is so bad that it’s been picked up by the national media.

So what have these two “leaders” actually been doing?

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson this week used public money to hold a private invite-only meeting of vaccine deniers, mask opponents, and conspiracy nuts in the Anchorage Assembly Chambers to hear their tales of woe and persecution, and tyranny – complete with police and fire presence. ($$$) The private event was held just like a regular Assembly meeting, only it wasn’t. 

Nothing portrays the tenor of the meeting better than this: Human Resources Director Niki Tshibaka, (who just happens to be married to Kelly Tshibaka, the GOP US Senate candidate), actually asked attendees to stand and CLAP if they believed the hospital system and health care providers weren’t telling them the truth about available beds and staffing.

Watch the mind-blowing video, courtesy of The Blue Alaskan, HERE.

DUNLEAVY DAMAGE CONTROL

Meanwhile, Governor Dunleavy gave a press conference on the COVID situation Wednesday afternoon. The whole state is now “rationing care” but he spent most of the time trying to put frosting on a moose poop cupcake.

The drum he kept beating was that Alaska’s overall death rate from the virus is among the lowest per capita in the nation. 

But this is deceiving and here’s why:

1) The number of deaths tends to be a lagging indicator, and it can take weeks or even a month for the number of deaths to accurately represent surging case numbers like we have right now.

2) Because of a cyberattack on the Department of Health this summer, we know that about 25% of all the deaths that occurred from May through August have not even been recorded yet.

And it’s not like the governor doesn’t know this. It was all explained in an article in the Anchorage Daily News and surely explained to him by his staff.  And yet, this misleading information became his go-to talking point just because it sounded good. And sure enough we’d see more than 45 deaths reported in the few days following his press conference. So there went the talking point.

Then he went on to say that the reasons for hospital collapse is that “people are getting burned out” and we’re “losing people.” The governor said that soon, everyone will have either had the virus or the vaccine, so it’s all good. But the reason they are getting “burned out,” of course, is exactly because of the lack of leadership and intervention on his part, in favor of treating hospitals like assembly lines to treat the sick and dying instead of trying to prevent the sick and dying from being sick and dying. The mind reels.

So, what’s happening? Alaska, we learned, will be getting an influx of 400 contract hospital workers to assist those already here. They’ll be here for a 90-day stretch to help process all the extra and unnecessarily sick people through the system. This is going to cost a cool $87 million. 

But don’t worry because Alaska is not going to have to pay for it, Dunleavy said. FEMA money will foot the bill. 

If your irony meter is straining the bounds of its capacity, you are not alone.

Remember that Alaska has threatened to SUE the Biden administration for implementing vaccine or test mandates for federal workers. Dunleavy has made his mantra complaining about federal overreach, complaining about federal spending, complaining that Biden is waging a “war” on Alaska, taunting the President on Twitter, and yet – he’s all smiles that FEMA is galloping to our rescue to try to mop up the horrible consequences of his bad leadership.

I don’t think President Biden or FEMA should hold their breaths for a thank you card.

And finally, at the end of the presser, a thin-skinned and visibly ruffled Dunleavy couldn’t resist lashing out at his political opponents and the media. “Alaskans need to know what’s really going on. There’s a lot of stuff happening in the blogosphere. There’s a lot of stuff happening in the media. This whole thing has been politicized, unfortunately, I think to the detriment of all of us…”To those that really want to profit off this by politicizing it like the individuals who were brought up earlier in this broadcast, you’ll have your opportunity to politicize things down the road. But when it comes to the health and the life safety of Alaskans I’d really ask all Alaskans, especially those that want to make this political theater, that want to make this campaign season, not to profit off the misery of Alaskans.”

😳

First of all, the “individuals” he’s talking about are Democratic gubernatorial candidate Les Gara, and Bill Walker’s former Chief of Staff, Scott Kendall, both of whom (along with MANY other Alaskans) have been critical of the governor’s lack of action. You don’t need to be running for governor to do that.

According to Dunleavy, noticing he’s not good at being governor is “politicizing it.” So if you ever decide to sit back and let some critical work project fall apart, remember, if you stand up and pretend to be outraged, and yell at everyone that they need to stop being political at you, it might work. Or it might not.

*SIDEBAR*

When Dunleavy excoriated “those who want to profit by politicizing this crisis,” I couldn’t help but think of just a couple weeks ago when his favorite blogger and propagandist, to whom he still grants interviews, was literally selling anti-mask covid swag, unearthing a quote from Dunleavy’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink, from the very early days of the pandemic, believing she’d scored some kind of epic ‘gotcha.’ Let’s all repeat this again. Masks are to keep you from infecting other people, not to prevent you from being infected.

Behold what literally “profiting off the misery of Alaskans” looks like. Why the governor continues to give this blog “scoops” and interviews is all part of the wink and nod messaging to the fringe.

The flattering racerback tank is no longer available. Sadly, the misinformation is.

Dr. Zink was also at the press conference and had the most sobering words of anyone who spoke. “Our healthcare system is in crisis right now,” she said. And “at the end of the day (the governor) is the policy-maker and we are the data.” In other words, she’s giving good data and it’s not her fault that the governor still chooses to screw it all up.

“We’ll get through this,” Dunleavy concluded after assuring us that “We’re on top of this. We’ve always been on top of this.”

And here’s a great detailed wrap-up from Matt Buxton of The Midnight Sun or watch the whole press  conference yourself HERE.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Within moments of the press conference’s conclusion, two things happened.

First, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services released the new COVID numbers for the day, revealing 1251 new cases – an all time daily high. (Since then it’s only gotten worse)

Second, State of Alaska employees got this letter:

Hmmmm. Wash hands, social distancing, mask, get tested if you’re sick… It’s almost as if some critical directive is missing.

Senator Jesse Kiehl (D-Juneau) was not amused, and summed it up best.


HITLER’S FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS

We’ve all heard of Adolph Hitler. We’ve all studied about World War II, the Holocaust, and Nazis. But few of us are so familiar with Hitler’s speeches that portions of them just spring to mind out of the blue.

Apparently most of us are not like Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla. He’s been the lone no vote on honoring Black Alaskans who helped build the railroad, and creating Indigenous People’s Day, and a host of other bills which give clues to his character. But this one takes the cake.

No longer shy about sharing white supremacist ideology, Eastman tweeted the following including a link to a white power website.

Yes, a sitting legislator is sharing links to a white supremacist website which contains articles like the ones below. I copied and pasted so you don’t have to click. [Please don’t click] These are all front and center, no hunting or clicking necessary. The page is unbelievably disturbing.

You get the idea. This is an active link to a racist, anti-semitic, white supremacist website which remains on Eastman’s Twitter feed even after criticism.

Eastman was pummeled in the comments on his tweet (which still remains active as of this writing). The image has now been labeled as “sensitive content.”

James Brooks of The Anchorage Daily News followed up. Those he talked to from the Speaker of the House, to the spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle were critical of Eastman.Anchorage resident Ivan Hodes is Jewish and a graduate of West Point. He served in the same U.S. Army battalion with Eastman and discussed the Wasilla representative’s social media post during the Anchorage Caucus meeting.He said it’s completely unacceptable for a legislator to encourage Holocaust denial.“The fact that he is familiar with this website, that he’s posting links to the website where his followers are going to go click on it, I think that shows what his agenda really is,” Hodes said by phone on Thursday.Dan Miller, president of the West Point Society of Alaska, said Eastman has been disinvited from future society events unless he removes the link to the Holocaust denial website and refrains from similar actions. Eastman had previously attended those events, he said.Eastman said on Thursday that he was unaware that he linked to a Holocaust denial website.

Well, it’s Saturday. That’s two days past Thursday and guess what’s still up on Eastman’s Twitter feed. So, he knows now and still promote the website. 


REDISTRICTING

The 10-year census numbers are in, and that means the whole entire political map of the state is about to be redrawn. You may end up with completely different representation in the House and the Senate next year. This week several third-party groups presented draft maps for consideration by the Redistricting Board.

Now they’ll be taking a handful of these maps on a roadshow across the state to get public input. The Alaska Democratic Party spent a great deal of time developing a really good, fair map that met all the criteria and far exceeded the original two maps that the board themselves developed. Frankly we were pretty proud of it, and the good news is that when a fair map is drawn it’s a much better map for Democrats. Alaska is genuinely bluer than you think!

But for some weird reason, ours was the ONLY map rejected. The hideously gerrymandered map put together by the now supposedly non-partisan Randy Ruedrich (long time Kingmaker of the Alaska GOP) made the cut though. That’s the AFFER map, and it’s so so bad. 🙄

Southeast is first on the tour. Some Juneau area maps lop off the communities ‘out the road’ past Auke Bay, and lump them with Haines and Skagway (!!!) instead of keeping them in a district with communities literally on the same road system.

JUNEAU

  • Date: Monday, September 27
  • Time: 4:30pm-6:30pm
  • Location: Centennial Hall, Ballroom 3
  • Online Public Notice Link: HERE

HAINES

  • Date: Tuesday, September 28
  • Time: 2:30pm-4:00pm
  • Location: Haines Assembly Chambers, 213 Haines Highway
  • Online Public Notice Link: HERE

SITKA

  • Date: Wednesday, September 29
  • Time: 3:30pm
  • Location: Westmark, Sitka
  • Online Public Notice Link HERE

VALDEZ

  • Date: Thursday, September 30
  • Time: 4:30pm
  • Location: Valdez Convention and Civic Center
  • Online Public Notice Link: HERE

ANCHORAGE

  • Date: Monday, October 4
  • Time: 4:30pm
  • Location: Anchorage Legislative Information Office
  • Online Public Notice Link: HERE

The meetings will be in an “Open House” format with large, printed maps displayed while board members circulate among the participants to receive feedback and engage in discussions.  

Not all board members will be able to attend all community public meetings, so written testimony is highly encouraged so that all board members will receive comments quickly. Forms will be available at the meeting and staff members will be on hand to assist in submitting testimony via the web portal or transcribing, or recording, oral testimony.  Attendees can also email testimony at any time to: testimony@akredistrict.org.

You can look at the maps that were accepted HERE and you can look at our map HERE. Give it a second to load.

The Whole State Has Gone Mad – a Tour.

This week has been particularly mind-boggling everywhere from the Capitol in Juneau to the Anchorage Assembly chamber, to the Kenai Peninsula, Fairbanks, and the Mat-Su.

All I can say is suit up, because we’re going to take a dive and look at it all.

IN JUNEAU

The Special Session took a crazy turn Wednesday night. The legislature was slated to vote on what was shaping up to be an $1100 PFD, to fund scholarships, and get it done, and the floor session was ready to start…

But 18 of the 38 legislators who were in the Capitol decided not to show up. Taking into consideration some excused absences and a covid quarantine after close contact, there weren’t enough legislators for a quorum to conduct business. So, no PFD, no scholarships, no voting, no business, and NO floor session. And yes, all 18 elected members of the House who decided to hide out in their offices and throwing a wrench in the works were Republicans. But I didn’t really have to tell you that.

That’s a lot of empty red chairs.

As it stands right now, Dunleavy has VETOED the PFD all together, leaving us with exactly $0. And apparently he thinks by having his cohorts refuse to show up to vote for an $1100 PFD somehow will allow him to blame the ones who did show up. It’s about what we’ve come to expect from Dunleavy & Co. 

Last time the big dog and pony show happened when the Republicans refused to come to Juneau and tried to have a rogue session in Wasilla. Remember that Dunleavy fiasco? Now the usual suspects are actually in the Capitol building but still refusing to do their jobs. 

The mood in Juneau is grim at this writing. So remember,

**If we get no PFD this year, it rests squarely in the lap of the governor who vetoed it and the Republicans who never showed up to defend it.

The House floor session today was canceled, but there’s one scheduled for Saturday morning at 10am. We’ll see how it goes.


RECALL DUNLEAVY NOVEMBER 2022!

Yes, the official Recall Dunleavy campaign is winding down. Covid really ground the signature gathering process to a halt for long enough that the dates started running too close to the election and the decision was made to end the process. But don’t be sad, because this timing means the new Recall Dunleavy election is going to happen at the ballot box in November of 2022. 

So far in the race is Dunleavy (R), Walker (R–>I), Toien (L), and former Rep. Les Gara (D). Other announcements may come before the field is set, and the top 4 vote-getters in the primary will advance to a ranked-choice general election. [ONE vote in the primary, RANK up to 4 in the general].

The Alaska Republican Party has fully endorsed Dunleavy for another disastrous four years so it will be up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you want to pitch in to help make that so, click HERE and every penny will go to unseating the Dunleavy Disaster.

You heard the man!



IN ANCHORAGE – MAYOR HAS HISSY FIT WHEN TOLD ‘NO’

If you missed the Anchorage Assembly meeting on Tuesday, you were deprived of another great display reminiscent of petulant toddlers not getting their way and breaking their crayons. They gave Republicans in the legislature a run for their money.

You may remember that last week we talked about Sami Graham, a failed school board candidate who told Bronson she would like to work for his administration and he suggested she apply for the position of Municipal Librarian and she did. Problem being that although she has an education background, she does NOT have a background in actual Library Science. A Masters degree in that field is the minimum expectation for this type of position and Graham’s lack of it actually would jeopardize federal library grants to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Nobody likes losing tens of thousands of library dollars, especially with all the Republican cuts going around.

Sami Graham

Bronson’s people including Head of Human Resources, Niki Tshibaka (Trumper-Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka’s husband who strangely gained his position with no prior experience either) talked about how – sure, she wasn’t qualified on paper, but she was a ‘tour guide’ for young minds, and gleaned satisfaction from introducing children to knowledge, so…

The Assembly had been flooded with emails both from concerned patrons of the library who didn’t like the idea of partisan croneyism for unqualified people, to Bronson acolytes who wanted Graham just because those darn liberal bookheads DON’T.

Mind you the Assembly had voted to approve MANY of Bronson’s appointees so far, but this one they weren’t ready to vote for. Graham’s nomination was not approved by a vote of 7 to 4.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

[image from @Hrrrlscouts on Twitter]

As soon as the Assembly cast the vote, Bronson asked for a point of privilege to speak. And then he said he’d like to introduce everyone to his new Chief of Staff, Sami Graham. The Bronsonites went wild.

The rest of us were thinking… 1) Well, that’s good. She’s not the librarian and if he wants her as Chief of Staff, okay. and 2) What about Craig Campbell, the current Chief of Staff?

Then he went on to say if anyone needed to speak with his new Chief of Staff, they could find her in her office… IN THE LIBRARY! [dum dum duuuuummmmmm] More cheering.

Bronson’s office then quickly released a press statement that had been prepared in advance saying that Campbell had “relinquished his roll [sic]” as Chief of Staff to be something else they just made up, and Graham would be both Chief of Staff and also take on library director responsibilities.

[The press release is real, but I took liberties with the photo. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!]

This contorted attempt to “own the libs” by ignoring/rewriting the Municipal code is no doubt going to be contested. Anchorage conservatives thought this mutilation of the roles (<—-) of city government officials, and subverting the intent of the documents that organize government, was an “awesome power play” and that Bronson has… well… I’ll let them tell you in their own inimitable words. 🙄

We’d call it a temper tantrum and an inability to respect the rule of law and checks and balances, but whatever.

During testimony Niki Tshibaka confirmed that Graham was the one who asked to work for Bronson and that Bronson SUGGESTED she apply for the Librarian job. That plus the fact that he was totally cool with playing mixey-matchey-make-it-up with high level Municipal positions shows that the mayor is far less concerned with competence and far more concerned with giving unqualified croneys positions of authority. [I’m old enough to remember when that described Governor Palin to a ‘t’.]

So instead of taking a loss in the long list of nominees, Bronson has thrown a tantrum and gotten his 3 years off to a rocky start by forcing his way in a probably illegal maneuver.

Attorney Caitlin Shortell had some interesting comments on that front.

More HERE from The Blue Alaskan, the best source for coverage on the Assembly and Anchorage politics.


ON THE KENAI – MAYOR TOUTING DEWORMING PASTE

You’ve probably heard by now about the latest quackery regarding alternative ways to rid onesself of covid-19. It’s called Ivermectin, a livestock deworming paste that’s now all the rage among the unvaccinated. The biggest anti-mask-anti-vaxxer of all, Senator Lora Reinbold, has mentioned it and now so has the chief executive of the Kenai-Peninsula Borough.

KPB Mayor, Charlie Pierce

KPB Mayor Charlie PierceMayor Charlie Pierce spoke up at a Borough Assembly meeting to berate the hospital for not using unproven substances on Emergency Room patients. He touted the animal dewormer which is not approved for human use, and can also cause dangerous side effects in humans, messing with blood pressure and other things that shouldn’t be messed with, AND hydroxychloroquine, a favorite of the former President which has been shown ineffective also.

The mayor admitted he is not a doctor, nor medically qualified to promote the drug, but he has since been using his considerable platform on the Kenai to challenge local doctors on the use of  COVID-19 treatments debunked by the FDA on local right wing radio talk shows and in public meetings.

If you actually have livestock on the Kenai who need deworming, you may be out of luck because human demand has been high.

Pierce should take note of this from the Municipality of Anchorage.


IN FAIRBANKS – RADICAL CANDIDATES ON THE BALLOT

Feminism is what tells women they can sleep around and just get abortions when they go to (sic) far. Feminism is women saying they want to do it their way and not God’s way, and it gives men the ‘out’ to do nothing. I see feminism as one of the worst heresies that have completely messed up our church today (and the whole world for that matter).” Lance Roberts

Assemblyman/Raging misogynist, Lance Roberts

Sitting Fairbanks Northstar Borough Assembly member Lance Roberts is up for reelection this fall. Constituents have started reminding each other why he deserves no elected seat ever. Dermot Cole posted a piece this week on why Roberts believes that women shouldn’t be allowed to be pastors, and then cites Biblical quotations to back up his premise and intimating that if women DO want to be involved in church it should be just to sit there and be quiet.

The indomitable Rev. Matt Schultz of Christians for Equality, and the Alaska Democratic Party’s Faith Caucus had this to say:

“In these comments, Roberts displays a shallow understanding of scripture, which includes a wide variety of women in leadership (including Deborah, Huldah, Mary & Martha, Lydia, Phoebe, and many more) as well as a shallow understanding of biblical interpretation, which must always take into account the historical and cultural contexts of the writing of each individual passage. 

“We are all quite comfortable reading with an eye toward context when we allow tattoos, eat bacon, or wear polyester, all of which are prohibited in the Bible. It’s also important to remember that theology doesn’t remain on a person’s bookshelf, nor within the privacy of one’s soul; a person’s theology inevitably expresses itself as the person’s actions in the real world and treatment of other people. As Robert’s expressed his belief that women are a secondary creature spiritually, we can expect him to treat women as secondary creatures in the real world. It is essential that he is asked how this would impact his policy-making decisions.”

The Rev. Matt Schultz

👏👏👏

For more information about Roberts’ latest run, and his deep-seated misogyny, you can read another post from Dermot Cole which is full of links HERE and one from the Mudflats archives HERE.

Another problem Assembly candidate for the Fairbanks Northstar Borough is Patricia Silva.

Dermot Cole also has a post about her (he’s really covering the Fairbanks scene well), particularly her completely fringe conspiracy theories that she posted on her Facebook page. Those have been scrubbed now, but screen captures are forever. Here are two of MANY.


THE MAT-SU – A STORY IN HEADLINES

The Mat-Su Valley is in the middle of its own covid problems. Believing somehow that this whole pandemic thing is overblown and that masks are harmful to children, it was decided to do away with that pesky mask requirement on school buses as kids got back to class this month.

These sequential headlines tell the story. Turns out crossing your fingers is about as effective as deworming paste.

And just reported today:


WHILE THE STATE IS GOING CRAZY

There are still some good things to report. Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) who is contemplating a run for U.S. Senate (!!!) got a bill passed and the signing was this week. And yes, you-know-who, going against the recommendation of his Chief Medical Officer, was not wearing a mask.

Congratulations to Senator Gray-Jackson, and to all those this bill will help, and thanks to Rep. Andi Story (D-Juneau) for carrying the bill in the House. You can read the full text of the bill HERE.



THE ART OF POLITICS

And let’s not forget beauty in the midst of the chaos. The Alaska Democratic Party is hosting a unique benefit auction in which legislators pair with Alaskan artists to create beautiful works of art that they’ll auction off to benefit their efforts. 

I’m getting some amazing sneak peeks at the art being created, and I have to say it has knocked my socks off every time. This gorgeous stained glass (suitable for indoor or outdoor display) created by Karen Williams and a soon-to-be-revealed State House Representative is a labor of love and hope.

Here’s a quick note from Williams about what the piece means to her and her co-artist.

“There are many small mirrors in this piece, which signifies that democracy is us…you and me…we may not all have the same world view (hence the circles/blue and rectangles/red)…but democracy works best when we can come together as community and government (the three branches signified by the green/yellow) and allow our colors to blend, and ideas to overlap (compromise).

“Another important point is that most of the materials are recycled… the round glass is from an old table at Habitat for Humanity Restore store…much of the glass is from thrift stores (vases and plates), and most of the steel would have ended up in the dump! This is also a metaphor for democracy…the brokenness can come together to create strength and beauty!”

To bid on this incredible piece, and many others that are equally WOW, you’ll need to get your tickets for the event which will happen on Friday, September 17, HERE. That’s your pass into an evening of a DIY cocktail class, live music, poetry, art, and camaraderie with some amazing artists, legislators, and like-minded folks.

Not only will it be a balm for the soul (which we all desperately need), but you’ll be helping ADP in the upcoming year to hire outstanding staff, to purchase the tools and services to get out every single vote, to execute a top-notch communications program, and to train the candidates and staff who will help to right the ship and get Alaska back on a steady course. We want our state to be a place our children stay and make a life, a place where people with big dreams can make them come true, and a place where our big wild life is welcoming to all.

**This article is reposted with permission from ADP. To get ‘Tall Tales from Juneau’ in your in box, click HERE and subscribe!