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Putting the goober in gubernatorial


POLITICAL THEATER

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Oh, fantasy! I love that genre!

This week’s big dose of live entertainment fiction was Governor Dunleavy’s State of the State address, and thank goodness we didn’t have to pay for a ticket. The state of the state, (often referred to as the SoS) was an SOS indeed, and was met by those who’ve been in the thick of the Dunleavy disaster with slack jaws and utter disbelief.

Dunleavy apparently believes that Alaskans have the long-term memory of a goldfish and have completely forgotten the first three years of his administration and the vital state services he fought so hard to cut, or kill.

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The Dunleavy of this week (are you sitting down?) talked about the importance of public education and the University. Yes, the very university he tried to gut with funding cuts of more than $130 million. He also talked about how important the WWAMI medical program is – you know, the one that he’s been undermining for years.

He’d love us to forget that he’s the one who dismantled the University system, cut public education funding from pre-K on up, and dumped the state fiscal burden in the laps of local taxpayers. But we will not.

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He says he’d also like to increase funding for public safety (after cutting it for Village Public Safety Officers and programs that help prevent crime). And he claims to be very concerned about rural Alaska (after trying to obliterate the Power Cost Equalization program which keeps many rural residents from having to choose between heat and food).

He bragged about how well the economy is doing (failing to mention that it was because of a huge influx of FEDERAL DOLLARS including COVID relief funds). He of course didn’t thank Joe Biden, or the American Rescue Plan which put shots in arms and stimulus checks in Alaska wallets (no thanks to Sullivan, Murkowski or Young who all voted no on that one).

He didn’t even acknowledge Biden’s enormous bipartisan infrastructure deal which gave Alaska an outsized pile of cash – we’re talking $3.2 BILLION – for roads and bridges, water utilities, statewide broadband and a host of other improvements including renewable energy projects the Governor says he supports. But the governor’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are busy hurling juvenile insults and complaints about Biden, and filled with dramatic rants against “federal overreach.”

So when you hear anyone talking about how well Alaska is doing this year, you can thank President Biden, and skip the card and flowers for a governor whose fiscal strategy for years one through four is: 

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1) hatchet, 2) hatchet, 3) hatchet, 4) SANTA! 

And the Santa part is only possible because of Joe Biden and federal money, both of which he continues to bash and insult while crying “overreach!”

But wait, there’s more. Dunleavy also wagged his finger at the legislature telling them they need to work together and not get a free ride for doing nothing during an election year, all while using his bully pulpit to basically launch his reelection campaign

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PUTTING THE GOOBER IN GUBERNATORIAL

In case anyone was wondering, yes, Gov. Mike Dunleavy has an opponent in the gubernatorial race who is coming at him from the RIGHT. You’ve probably never heard of him, but you’ll see his name on the giant primary ballot you’ll be filling out this summer.

It’s the former Chief of the Uterus Police (Alaska Right to Life), Rep. Christopher Kurka of Wasilla, who is engaged in a campaign to fire Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink, because she won’t endorse quack cures and fake science. Check it out for yourself below.

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“Whereas” Kurka sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and had some interesting things to say in this week’s hearing, let’s look at that. 

The discussion this week was about House Bill 51 from Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) which has to do with “aggravating factors” in criminal sentencing.

The official legislative photo of Rep. Christopher Kurka [R-Wasilla]

When someone is convicted of a crime, the judge can’t just make up a sentence on a whim. There are official ‘sentencing guidelines’ which the judge uses as parameters to decide what the sentence will be. For instance, a person’s sentence might be more severe if they used a weapon in the commission of a crime, or if they caused physical injury to another person, or if they have a history of criminal conduct, OR if the defendant knowingly directed the criminal conduct at someone because of that person’s race, sex, color, creed, physical or mental disability, ancestry, or national origin

HB51 seeks to add something to that last part – namely this:

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You can imagine where this is going. First, Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) put forward an amendment saying there shouldn’t be ANY aggravating factors considered in sentencing. Get rid of them all. So in his world, targeting a racial minority, or a member of a religious group BECAUSE of that identity shouldn’t make a crime any worse than if that person were chosen at random. In other words hate crimes are just regular old crimes. 

After that idea was shot out of the sky by the Democrats on the committee [Reps. Matt Claman, Liz Snyder, Harriet Drummond, and Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins], Rep. Kurka asked for additional language to be added to include “political ideology” to the list and said that before joining the legislature he experienced discrimination and hate numerous times for his political beliefs.

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“I’ve experienced on numerous occasions before I joined the legislature discrimination and a lot of hostility and hate because of the ideology I espoused and was actively engaged and organizing for that,” he said, presumably talking about his anti-choice activism and the displaying of graphic signage while doing so. 

Then he dropped this one:

“I’ve witnessed far more hate based upon what someone’s political views are than for their sexual orientation or identity.”

This is after the committee had just heard harrowing stories of crimes committed against members of the LGBTQ+ community during emotional public testimony. The follow up to Kurka’s comments went like this:

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka): I’m in absolute disbelief. Representative Kurka, you were not assaulted and stabbed in the chest in your garage. That is a CRIME, and what you just described is not even in the same galaxy.

Rep. Liz Snyder (D-Anchorage): To draw these comparisons… it’s painful to listen to.

The hearing for Josephson’s House Bill 51 continues, and we can hope and presume the bill will pass out of the Judiciary Committee and move closer to becoming law, ensuring that targeted violence based on sexual identity and gender orientation will be included as aggravating factors in the sentencing guidelines.

A SEDITIONIST IN THE RANKS?

And speaking of David Eastman, the push to have him expelled from the Legislature is gaining steam including increasing coverage in the national media and the indication that the legislature could take some concrete action. And why shouldn’t it? Eastman is the ONLY sitting state legislator who was not only at the Capitol building on January 6, but who is a current member of the seditionist Oathkeepers militia whose leader Stewart Rhodes is currently sitting in federal prison. He sought release pending trial, but was just denied. This from The Washington Post:

“Rhodes poses a threat to the public and could evade authorities if he were to flee, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly C. Priest Johnson ruled, citing testimony of his long advocacy of using force against the federal government, military training, familiarity with encrypted communications, and organizing of fighters and weapons leading up to the Capitol breach.

“’The evidence shows Defendant orchestrated a large-scale attack on the federal government with the purpose of intimidating, by violence, federal officials and disrupting official governmental proceedings incident to the transfer of power in the Executive Branch following a national election,’ Johnson, of Plano, Tex., said in a 17-page detention order.”

The problem here is that Rep. Eastman’s proud affiliation with a group that tried to overthrow the government of the United States is incompatible with serving in the state legislature. Says who? Says the Alaska Constitution, which prohibits anyone “who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the State” from holding public office.

On top of it, Eastman has a number of other repugnant white supremacist tendencies which, while they don’t legally bar him from public office, should deeply shame anyone who still supports him.

[Rep. Eastman at the Holocaust Museum posing in front of a horrifying quote from Adolph Hitler]


The Anchorage resident who is spearheading a petition which will be submitted shortly to the House leadership also had a conversation with a member of Rep. Eastman’s staff regarding reports that the Representative has a German SS honor dagger from WWII in his office.

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There is still time to sign the petition HERE.

BOOK WORM

Nope, we’re not talking about an adorable studious seeker of knowledge who loves reading – we’re talking about the nasty little kind that burrows in and destroys books while no one is looking.

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It’s been obvious to anyone watching that the Bronson administration’s goal with the GIGANTIC library/librarian kerfuffle that’s been happening, was to install someone who’d be willing and able to purge the library of books they find morally undesirable in their “let’s roll this all back to the 19thcentury” brand of anti-science anti-progress conservatism. 

Sure enough, after Bronson’s first choice for Library Director, Sami Graham, was rejected by the Assembly for being completely unqualified for the position, he ratcheted up his game and appointed failed (for a reason) School Board candidate and super-fringe right wing supporter Judy Eledge to the “Deputy” position which, go figure, doesn’t require Assembly approval.

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Eledge mugging maskless on an Alaska Airlines flight last year while the flight attendants weren’t looking.

And now, apparently, she’s on a tear, flagging books and magazines with reams of sticky notes, and ready to axe everything from books that acknowledge not everyone is heterosexual, to the Atlantic, and the Economist for “biased content.”

“She is a current member of the APRE Facebook group. APRE’s parent organization claims anti-racism curriculum is racist and must not be taught in schools and that opposes the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) curriculum, which the group says is “designed to challenge or change traditional sexual and gender norms of society.” The group believes that LGBTQ+ advocates “groom preschool children at libraries” and that LGBT militant activism is fostered in both public schools and libraries.

“Eledge has an established and troubling history of publishing social media posts that linked gay and transgender individuals to pedophilia and criticized Muslims, Alaska Natives, and people of color.”

Yes, Anchorage, this was posted by the de facto Municipal Librarian

For all the sordid details, and Eledge’s mission to purge the library of LGBT content check out the full story at The Blue Alaskan

And now, the Youth Advisory Council under Bronson is at it too. More HERE.

[This article is reprinted with permission from the Alaska Democratic Party. To receive TALL Tales in your inbox (mostly) weekly, click HERE, scroll down and enter your email at the bottom of the page.

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