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May 5, 2021

Hey… Where’s this thing going?

Hey… Where is this thing going?

As several journalists have pointed out – August is supposed to be a slow news month. But like many other things in Alaska, that’s been turned on its head. The Dunleavy steamroller is juiced up and going full speed. And so is the recall effort.

Almost 40,000 signatures have been gathered so far in the first phase of the recall which will draw to a close on September 2. Phase 2 will come after the application is approved, and will require over 70,000 signatures (which looks extremely do-able at this point), and then after that, the question will be put on a ballot for a vote. And that’s when Alaskans get to show up and decide what kind of future they want.

We keep getting previews of Dunleavy’s privatized, deregulated, anti-labor, anti-human decency agenda every day.

 

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

“Business,” to the governor, clearly does not include jobs associated with health care, or education, or fishing, or the small businesses that support the people who hold those tens of thousands of jobs. It’s okay though – he’s counting on those people being gone soon anyway. With a depopulated state, think how freed up we’ll be to drill, chop, mine, and extract. While the Amazon is burning, and Alaska has already lost 2.5 million acres of trees, what’s another rain forest here or there, right? It seems that Pebble Mine wasn’t the only plan being pushed on Trump in Dunleavy’s meeting on Air Force One. It’s now been revealed that the Tongass is also on the chopping block, if you will. At the urging of Dunleavy and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Trump has asked his agriculture secretary for current protections to be removed, opening up millions of acres of protected land to logging and mining projects. Oh, and we can’t afford to fix leaky roofs on schools or earthquake-proof children’s libraries, but we can surely afford a giant road to the Ambler mining district.

 

MORE BUSINESS

And, of course, the news has been saturated with BP’s sale of its Alaska assets to Hilcorp, a private company owned by a Texas billionaire named Jeffrey Hildebrand who started his career working for Exxon. Hilcorp is privately owned, which means that under Alaska law, it doesn’t have to pay corporate income tax. And it’s not just Hilcorp – there are thousands of privately-owned companies in Alaska that pay zero corporate income tax. But remember back in 2013 when we were told we had to give away the farm in tax incentives (SB21) or the Big 3 oil companies would leave us and go find someone else? Remember that? They spent a LOT of money convincing Alaskans we’d be left out in the cold, and how oil companies need “stability.” They didn’t make any promises of course – not for new exploration, not for increased production, not for jobs for Alaskans, and not that they’d stay here… but we were pretty darn sure they were going to be our BFFs because we were super nice to them. Well, turns out that second F wasn’t for “forever” and now one of the three is leaving and turning us over to an entity that is immune from about $30 million a year we were getting and now we won’t be. No worries, I’m sure Mike Dunleavy has a budget cut for that. And as for us needing stability? Pffff. We’ll get over it.

 

 

WITH FRIENDS OF THE COURT LIKE THAT…

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson’s been busy this week. First, he signed on to a “friend of the court brief” urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). That’s the program where undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the United States as children, are allowed to apply for a renewable 2-year work permit – as long as they have committed no crimes. There are a whopping 70 DACA recipients in the state of Alaska – the third least in the nation. But, Clarkson argues, the program “inflicts ongoing irreparable harm.” The last time Alaska signed on to a friend of the court brief because of “irreparable harm” was under the Walker administration and it was all about same-sex marriage.

Clarkson has also barged out in front of every other state in the union arguing that nobody else has gone far enough in interpreting the recent Supreme Court decision on Janus vs. AFSCME. The court ruled that public employees should not be required to pay union dues because, they said in a 5-4 decision, it could violate the employees’ first amendment rights. Now, Clarkson says, an employee’s desire to even be represented by a union might become “stale” even thought they could opt out at any time. So, he wants to require an opt-in for union members, and he wants them to have to do it every year. It certainly would make it easier to fire people if they slipped up and forgot to re-up. Oh, and happy Labor Day, by the way. “I find it completely ironic that they request people to sign a loyalty oath and then fired two lawyers for stating a public opinion on social media… and now they have some great concern about First Amendment rights?” said Alaska State Employees Association Executive Director Jake Metcalfe.

 

THE IRONY METER IS BROKEN

And speaking of irony, I’m not sure which is funnier, the typo on this flier for a meeting of The Federalist Society at the “Hotel Captain Hook,” or the fact that Kevin Clarkson will be speaking on the vital importance of the separation of powers, after he rigorously defended Dunleavy (the executive branch) for punitively cutting the budget for the court system (the judicial branch) because he doesn’t like the fact that reproductive choice is protected under the Constitution. But Clarkson never let that pesky Constitution get in the way of something he just doesn’t like.

 

*This article is reposted with permission from the Alaska Democratic Party

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4 Responses to “Hey… Where’s this thing going?”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/459568-juan-williams-mcconnells-supreme-court-hypocrisy

    SPOTUS is likely to get even more extreme right wing and uphold draconian laws Alaska’s.

    David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report reported last August that the 52 Republican senators who began the 115th Congress — the session preceding the current one — were elected by only 18 percent of the U.S. population.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Then there was this from Slate: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/09/alaska-unions-janus-abortion-tactics.html

    What kind of moose shit did you wingnuts step in to get an AG like this POS? Wingnuts appear to enjoy hiring extreme right wing mercs to destroy their state and get paid handsomely to do so. Has to be a severe rash of brain freeze among wingnut morons who vote for these assclowns.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    Great good luck with that recall petition(s). US congress has its 12th wingnut member decide not to run again this next election. May a stroke of conscience infect Alaska’s stoopid effing wingnuts.

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