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Friday, August 27, 2021

Alaska’s Business Report Card – F is for Fabulous, and A is for Asshat

Senator Bill Wielechowski and Rep. Les Gara held a press conference yesterday talking about how corporations attempt to wield their power over the Alaska legislature through the use of the Alaska Business “Report Card.”

Let’s listen to what this is all about from Rep. Les Gara.

Now, think about corporations for a moment. I have equated corporations to polar bears before. Polar bears are not inherently evil, but they can be dangerous, and they do have an agenda that doesn’t always match that of people. The internal programming of a polar bear is simple – if it moves, it’s food. The internal programming of a corporation is also simple – maximize profits for shareholders. It’s what they do. It’s their responsibility as corporations to do that, and to do it well, and to the best of their ability.

Now, let’s take a look at the Alaska legislature (or any body of governance). What are they supposed to be doing?

When an elected official takes an oath of office, they swear to uphold the Constitution. They do not swear to maximize profits for corporations or their shareholders. Their responsibility is to you, and me, and the state. At times, the interest of the state happens to dovetail with the interest of a corporation. At times it does not.  Sometimes it’s fun to look at a polar bear playing with a big red ball and everyone is having a good time, but nobody in their right mind would walk into the cage with it because we understand that if the polar bear does what polar bears do, we’re lunch. We need to keep the polar bear in check, monitor what it’s doing, keep our eyes peeled, and never start thinking it’s like those adorable little guys on the Coke commercial. It’s a polar bear.

If a polar bear issued a report card, talking about its favorite people, you can bet that the wary ones, or the ones that stay on the outside of the cage, or wield firearms for protection are not going to rank very highly. The polar bear would vastly prefer the ones who throw open the door of the cage, rush in and give it a big hug, or a Coke and a smile. Why wouldn’t they? Those people are much lower maintenance snacks.

And so, when we receive our business report cards in the mail, a little translation will be necessary. You can bet your bottom dollar that the favorite legislators of BP, Conoco, Exxon, Pebble Mine, big banks, and the Chamber of Commerce are not the ones who tell them no. “No” is not something that these corporations like to hear. “No” from a legislator means that the interest of the corporation did not match up with the interest of the state, and someone had the temerity to tell them so. Someone stuck to the job of doing what’s best for Alaska, and it’s people. SOMEbody paid attention to the oath of office and the Constitution. They are inconvenient and annoying.

One thing that happens when the interests of large corporations aren’t held up first and foremost is that those institutions will go into overdrive to get their way. They want the tasty snacks, and they have the resources at their disposal (in this case, gobs of money) to tilt the scales in their favor. They can buy TV and radio ads, they can put full-page ads in the paper, they can fund think tanks and organizations, and they can send out direct mailing report cards, via organizations whose boards they populate. It’s a nice tool to have in the tool box. It’s the corporate version of the Coke ad. “Look how nice and fuzzy we are, everybody! We roll around in the snow in hats and scarves, and gaze at you with love from our shiny black eyes. Come on over and play! We don’t bite!”

You don’t have to get mad at them, or hate them. Just remember who they are, and what they are programmed for. And remember that this report card isn’t coming from your friends and neighbors, a citizens’ action group, or your local Mom & Pop retailer. It’s coming from a big polar bear collective.

In a strange way, the report card will be a useful tool when it comes time to vote. I would encourage everyone to stick it right up on the refrigerator. Only remember this – ‘F’ is for fabulous, and ‘A’ is for asshat. That little mnemonic device will serve you well.

Speaking of asshats, there was one little moment of drama in an otherwise important and very serious press conference. The General Manager of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance,  Rebecca Logan was present, and sitting right in the front row. Yours truly had the dubious luck of sitting two chairs away. In the middle of Rep. Gara’s address, she did it. Oh, yes she did. She pulled a Joe “You Lie” Wilson. There is Les Gara, in his soft-spoken intelligent way, talking to the camera and the audience, and the air is pierced by “YOU’RE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH!!!!”

To say the room was stunned was an understatement. Miss Manners continued to blurt out a whole series of shrieky and vague accusations before the slack-jawed crowd. Class and manners won the day, and when nobody paid any attention to the tantrum, she piped down. Nothing says cogent argument from a reputable organization like a General Manager who disrupts a press conference by pulling a Shrieking Harpie impersonation. Well done, Alaska Support Industry Alliance. Put your best face forward.


Here’s Senator Bill Wielechowski, who explains how this all relates to Alaskan issues like the Governor’s oil tax plan which would (using the Governor’s own numbers) bankrupt the state in just ten years.

Meanwhile, at today’s “Alaska Business Report Card Luncheon” we got to find out who the “Champions” of Asshattery are. Ready to be breathlessly not surprised?

(I get out my teacher’s pen and make my comments to their announcement  in red)

Governor Parnell received a B+ (WHAT? He didn’t make “Asshat+? Frankly, I’m outraged.)
-showed good leadership in coastal management, oil tax reform, vetoes showed good    management of these interests
-Lower marks on internal coordination and external leadership required to execute agenda

(Ohhh…. I see. He TRIED to give away the farm, but hasn’t quite figured out how to pull it off yet.)

House Majority (Republicans) received an A-
-Were referred to as the “Superstars” on the Session – Solid pro business (ass HATS ass HATS! Gooooo team!)

House Minority (Democrats) received a D
Not bad! If they apply themselves a little more, they can be “F”abulous next time!)

Senate Minority received a B+ (The Senate minority is made up of only four legislators, all Republican who have sworn NEVER to work with the Bipartisan Working Group, Senators from both sides of the aisle who actually want to work together to accomplish things. Obviously, we can have none of that. These are the people with the least amount of power and the most amount of wingnuttery. They sit in the corner with their arms folded and pout a lot. I don’t want to name names but… Cathy Geissel, Fred Dyson, Charlie Huggins and John Coghill.)

Senate Majority received a F  (Fabulous! A bipartisan group of Senators who want to accomplish things)
Has been one of poorest performing in recent memory
Run by Left leaning anti- business senators (Oooooooo.)
Rejected clean coastal management renewal
Tried to force shift in balance of power through loaded capital budget

Champions:  Grade of B or higher
Giessel, Menard, Meyer, Coghill, Dyson, Huggins, Wagoner, Meyer, McGuire. (Write that down, kids)

On November 1, each individual legislator will receive their personal grade, but for now, you get the idea.



32 Responses to “Alaska’s Business Report Card – F is for Fabulous, and A is for Asshat”
  1. Thank you!

    “The Alliance”, as they like to be called, has been the coarsest and rudest pro-corporate monger in the many years I’ve been working on oil and gas issues. Facts matter none, as they have demonstrated yet again. Thanks to Bill & Les, and loud “boos” to all the others who stand on the sidelines and let BIG OIL own us.

  2. why do some organizations get away with placing polar bears and penguins in the same Arctic locations when the whole world knows,or should know,that their home environs are Poles apart? And who in Alaska allowed the Northern Lights to drift far enouigh South that some people in Southern states were able to see them and denounce them as Northern Liberal trash trying to undermine white supremacy in the South?

  3. AKjah says:

    Now that we have seen the report card. Can we ground them and take away their TeeVee privileges.

  4. AC says:

    Good job Senator W and Rep Gara!

  5. hedgewytch says:

    “Rejected clean coastal management renewal” WTF?!?! is that? Another type of “clean skies initiative?

    No, the State rejected the federal $’s to set up our own coastal management plan which would have allowed for local input on any type of coastal development.

    What just burns me is too many people will get this in the mail and go – oh, o.k., I gotta keep that in mind and support these corporations – they’ll be looking out for Alaskans!

    Head – desk, – head, desk

    BTW, I cannot stand Fred Dyson – I had the “pleasure” to serve on a public board with him on distribution of federal dollars through the Forest Service. I took evil pleasure in sitting next to him and by my very presence, looks, words, and deeds offended him every single minute – and I did it with a pleasant smile and a big “How are you today Fred?”.

    Go Les Gara!

  6. Methinks said polar bears would absolutely have a love/hate relationship with the ones who stand outside the cage and toss the poor citizens into the feeding frenzy-you know-the way what’s-her-name does with useless refuse from her inner circle.I’m sure the bears show some appreciation for being gorged regularly,but,would certainkly devour the hand(s) that feed them if given any chance at all. Is the BP on the bear standing for Brad Pitt or Bolar Pear? Ak is what my kids use to say when they bit into something that they didn’t like.

  7. I See Villages From My House says:

    Oh lordy lordy, is that the conservative Alaska Woman norm now, shrieking harpies? How about that lady caught on Rachel Maddow’s camera’s on her show taped in Alaska inexplicably blaming USAG Eric Holder of plotting to abolish the 2nd Amendment?

    Sarah leading by example with her gutteral mandations from a seat without a title? Not just Alaska, Rupert Murdoch’s wife pulled no punches against her husband’s pie assailant.

    This is flat out embarrassing, as embarrassing as the report cards and Andrew Halcro’s blog critiquing Gara and Wielechowski as the most anti-business lawmakers in the State. I agree with Andrew on a number of things, but sometimes he just reverts to type.

  8. Ripley in CT says:

    AKM, how did you EVER find a litho of a Harpy that looks JUST like that woman? INcredible.

  9. thatcrowwoman says:

    Hey, AKM, have I told you lately that you are one of my favorite storytellers in the whole wide world?
    Quyana, toda raba, many thanks.

    This definitely calls for a fridge magnet.
    and for finding a Florida report card for my fridge, also, too…


  10. GoI3ig says:

    Isn’t Rebecca Logan one of the hacks from Dan Fagan’s blog? I don’t know if he still has the Alaska Standard or not. I won’t give him the satisfaction of a “web hit” so I can find out. I’m not sure what happened with him and KFQD, but he seems non existent now.

  11. Zyxomma says:

    Asshats! Fabulous! So dignified.

  12. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    AKM – Polar bears? I wish you had made a different choice for the analogy. That issue aside, the vermin who have utterly corrupted the processes of government are still vulnerable because they are fundamentally dishonest and therefore engage dishonest activities. The problem is how to bring them to justice. The fact that you reveal their malfeasence is at the very least a step in the right direction.I commend you highly for doing so.

  13. Moose Pucky says:

    Thanks for ‘xplaining that report card so ‘xcellently! Moose Pucky loves to roll around in the forest kicking up its legs with a good chuckle.

  14. All I Saw says:

    It almost seems as if a “good” grade from the Chamber has more to do with a legislator’s position on abortion…

    Just sayin.

    (For the life of me I can’t possibly understand how Linda Menard is considered “good for business”)

    P.S. The enormous tantrum Dave Stierren and Rachel whats-her-name from the Alaska Chamber threw on the radio with Les Gara says it all.

  15. AKPetMom says:

    We just watched a show on PBS the other night that was underwritten by David Koch. It was a fabulous show on the origins of the Solar System, that really knew all the details of, but really wanted to watch anyway; who can get enough of that stuff.

    Now that I know that the Kochs underwrite PBS programming I don’t feel as bad about not donating to public television this year.

    • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

      While I sympathize with your sentiment I disagree with your logic. The more dependent NPR and PBS become upon corporate funding the less objective they will be. This should be obvious from recent events concerning Lisa Simone for example.

      • Had an interesting disagreement with rwnj on Lisa Simone losing her place at NPR. They(the nutters) screamed the government shouldn’t fund left wing propaganda with tax dollars,since the nutters are convinced that all the funding comes directly from nutter’s pockets. I looked up NPR funding and pointed out only about 2% of the budget comes directly from the government. Which was apparently enough ammo to prove that NPR is government funded. Their side doesn’t like to hear my thoughts that my taxpayers dollars shouldn’t fund dumbass dubya’s wars or korporate amerika. I guess only one side is “entitled” to “free speech”

    • CO almost native says:

      I donate! My dollars are piddly compared to the Koch Bucks, but mine represent the 99%. I deserve a tip of the hat 😉

    • StElias says:

      So the Koch Brothers threw in a couple of bucks. Exactly their plan, get all of us to dump NPR and then what do we have? Nothing but talking lunatic fringe heads on red radio, just like we see here in Anchorage today. I recall that just a few years back powers within the Bush W. camp decided to try and take over public radio and TV.

      The tip off for me was when I noticed a couple, that are life long extreme religious fundamentalist adherents who continually espouse right wing politically persuasion rehtoric, sponsoring a program or two on the Valdez public radio station. Up to that point they had harbored a vitriol hatred for NPR, and had no compunction sharing their opinion with any and all. Then I found out about the right wing move afoot to take over. Thankfully, it failed.

  16. Bob says:

    I wish you would have included a segment of the shrieking harpies. I’ll turn it into an mp3 and post it whenever one of these asshat supporters post their lies.

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