Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue –
1. AK Politics
1. AK Politics. The old Chinese curse, May You Live in Interesting Times, is in full effect as Alaska moves from spring into summer. We are 5 days past what is hopefully our last frost here in Anchorage and the sun is quite high in the sky, with days pushing 18 hours of sunlight. On the less pleasant side, we have a statewide by-mail primary to replace Don Young in the House of Representatives with over 50 candidates, we are in the final stages of the legislative session, the annual PFD wars are raging, and we are still arguing about the reason for less than satisfactory municipal election results last month.
- Alaska congress critter Don Young, died in late March at age 88 after serving for 49 years. While nominally a Republican, he swung hard in support of everything union, voting for all union friendly legislation in the House over the last couple decades. It took him a while to get there. Some of his putative replacements are making that worldview change, growing in office, much quicker. One of them, sitting state senator Josh Revak, elected as a strong Republican, is making the change in near real time, apparently trying to appeal to Young supporters without understanding or even caring why Young was supported by his fellow Alaskans for decades. Democrats were never able to run anyone better than Young and he gave Republicans enough of what they wanted to never trigger an active opposition. That worked until this year when he got a competent, conservative candidate running against him, Nick Begich, from the conservative side of the Begich family.
- Revak took out a pro-union Republican in his initial election run in 2018. He was appointed to fill a State Senate seat after the incumbent passed away in 2019. He successfully defended that seat in 2020. This year, he decided to run for US House to replace Don Young. Revak positions himself as a strong fiscal conservative, which is supposed to explain his position against the statutory Permanent Fund Dividend. I don’t like it, but I get it. But he has apparently grown in office, especially during this campaign, coming out on the campaign trail for every single pro-union piece of legislation Nancy Pelosi and her cabal have dreamed up, including the odious PRO Act, which Young voted for this year. Last week, Revak helped with the functional equivalent of a discharge petition to bust HB 55, a return to defined benefit pensions for police and fire public employees, moving the bill out of committee to the much friendlier Senate Finance Committee. How fiscally conservative are you, Josh? If we don’t have enough money for a statutory PFD, why do we have enough for a defined benefit pension, which would be a violation of the Rule of Holes? Alaska moved on from defined benefit to defined contribution in 1986 after it became apparent that we couldn’t afford defined benefit. The unions always hated that and spent three decades busily trying to reverse it. Police and fire are simply the opening bid, the camel’s nose under the tent. Revak is a decent guy, young, disabled vet from the Sandbox. But he made a really poor choice here, and may have stop cocked his fledgling political career, at least if I have anything to do about it.
- Statewide elections are going to be quite exciting this time around. We have three large Disturbances in the Force in play to make it even more exciting than normal: Redistricting, replacement election for Don Young, and our first statewide ranked choice election. Whatever happens, I predict a big, loud mess.
- The previously mentioned mail-in election to replace Young is underway as we speak, with over 50 candidates in the primary. The four highest vote getters get to run in the replacement election. It is in that election that the ranked choice routine kicks in to determine who will sit in the House until the general election primary is run in August and the general election run in November. Notable candidates for congress include Nick Begich (who I am supporting), Sarah Palin, Al Gross (who lost to Dan Sullivan in a remarkably ugly campaign for US Senate in 2020), and Josh Revak who was discussed earlier. Even a guy named Santa Claus, a socialist from the Fairbanks area who changed his name some years ago is running. As of this writing, Begich has the best campaign organization which may or may not matter.
- Redistricting ensures 59 of 60 members of the Alaska legislature are up for election. While the new maps aren’t as favorable to Our Side as the Florida map is to Our Side, it isn’t NY, IL or CA either.
- Finally, the ranked choice system was concocted to ensure Lisa Murkowski gets reelected this year. It was put together by a former staffer, a power lawyer who ran it as a ballot initiative in 2020. The focus-group persuasion of getting rid of dark money in campaigns was the eventually winner at the ballot box. It survived a court challenge when the AK Supreme Court decided a ballot initiative could hit the ballot if it had more than one topic, their go-to excuse to toss things they didn’t like for decades. It is as always, Good to be King. Lisa is in deep, deep political trouble this year, having managed to antagonize every single person who has supported her over the last two decades. She may survive. She might not.
2. Lease. What do you do when the price of gasoline is pushing $5/gallon? That’s right. Cancel federal oil and natural gas leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. Last week, the Biden administration announced cancellation of a lease sale in Cook Inlet (Alaska) and two leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The excuse for cancellation of the Cook Inlet leases was lack of industry interest. The excuse for the two leases in the Gulf was contradictory court rulings on them. Why fight in court if you can simply cancel everything at the stroke of a pen? Here in Cook Inlet, which is body of water connecting Anchorage to the Pacific Ocean, the cancellations have the potential to make things pretty expensive. Natural gas up here is used for heating and electricity, about two thirds of total energy use. Liquid fuels are the other third. Liquids are brought in from Outside. Natural gas generally comes from Cook Inlet. If we can’t get it from the Inlet, we have to barge it in like liquid fuels. Note that national inflation is entirely due to artificial restrictions in the exploration for and production of oil and natural gas. Nothing like tightening the anti-development ratchet down yet another notch.
3. Protesters. Pro-abortion protests continued last week outside the homes of SCOTUS Justices with Attorney General Garland refusing to take any action against the protesters. Perhaps he and his FBI are too busy investigating angry parents at school board meetings. CNN joined the gaslighting with a piece predicting right wing protests should SCOTUS overturn Roe. Clarice Feldman wrote a great piece in American Thinker a week ago about the protests, that made a pretty good case that Chief Justice Roberts cave into political pressure on O’BamaCare and upholding it by redefining it as a tax only served to convince the political left that their mobocracy works. I don’t think she is wrong. Finally, we have The Federalist with a piece about protest organizers at Ruth Sent Me offering stipends to some protesters as they organize pro-abortion protests at SCOTUS Justice homes and churches nationwide. They appear to be coordinating with Code Pink, Kavanaugh Off Our Court and BLM, making a wonderful case for a future criminal RICO investigation. These protests are what we have come to know and expect from the left. They are never organic, grass roots affairs. They are coordinated, orchestrated rent-a-mob actions by the political party that is and does rent-a-mob at their very core.
4. Working. Interesting thought piece by Sarah Hoyt 10 days ago in According to Hoyt asking the question What if we’ve been profoundly wrong about child labor? She makes an interesting case that the 20th Century move to turn childhood into a golden, idyllic time without responsibilities ended up shortchanging our children and grandchildren. Over time, a lot of this ended up enshrined in law, with corporal punishment and child labor becoming illegal. Things got so bad that many parents even refuse to correct their kiddos, which ends up giving us the self-important, privileged monsters running rampant in the Yale Law School. She makes a powerful case for kids working at meaningful jobs at a young age, ten or so. Now this doesn’t me we need to go all Chinese and send them to the cobalt mines like the CCP is demanding of their clients in Africa, but there are positive things learned by working: how to learn, showing up on time, new skills, responsibility. More importantly, you get actual self-esteem, not from attending esteem classes in school or getting a participation trophy, but by actually getting off the dime, doing something, knowing you are valuable and self-sufficient. At the end, Hoyt believes we are woefully short-changing our children and grandchildren by wrapping them in bubble wrap for a couple decades and then kicking them out the front door expecting them to be functional adults without putting them in position to actually be and do adult things. Maybe it is time to have that discussion.
5. NIH. The more we learn about public health at all levels of government, the worse it looks. Much like the mythological world turtle, that supports the flat earth on its back, when asked what is under it, it is always another turtle, an infinite stack of turtles, aka it’s turtles all the way down. The turtles in this piece are corruption in public health. Last week Open The Books ran a piece following royalty money paid by third parties to National Institutes of Health (NIH) agency itself and its employees who were credited as co-inventors. This totaled $350 million 2010 – 2020. Open The Books disclosed 22,100 royalty payments totaling $134 million to nearly 1,700 scientists between 2009 – 2014. These results are only 1,200 pages of 3,000 they admit holding. The remaining cover the period 2015 – 2020. This is big, big money, and smells a lot like kickbacks, as the NIH handed out over $30 billion in grants to 56,000 recipients last year. Royalty payments were also paid to NIH leadership including Drs Fauci, Collins and Lane. While Open Secrets knows the number of payments, they don’t know the amount. NIH is doing its level best to obstruct and deny release of information to the public, defying FOIA requests, fighting the requests in court, and heavily redacting whatever is released. In 2005, the AP used a FOIA to crack open the NIH royalty database. At the time, they found 900 scientists collecting $9 million in royalty payments. 51 of these were working on experiments involving inventions for which they were already paid. After 2005, getting this sort of information out of the NIH got a lot more difficult. The most important question in all of this is when a federal bureaucrat pops up on television giving us health instruction, we should ask a few questions: Who has paid them? What were they paid for? What research and technology? When a patient agrees to a clinical trial or experimental treatment, what financial interests are involved?
6. Exemptions. One of the little games the perfumed princes suckling up to the Harris – Xiden administration have been playing with their vax mandate is the notion of religious exemptions to the vax. Pro-lifers object as some of the vax varieties were prepared with fetal tissue. There have been previous reports out of the USMC and Navy that while multiple active-duty military members have requested the exemption from the vax requirement, none have been granted. Some Marine outfits were using what amounted to form letters turning down the request. Last week, the AF admitted that all religious exemptions granted were to people who were in the process of separating. None have been granted to anyone staying in. What good is a religious exemption if by what appears to be DoD-wide policy, none are ever granted. I have no data as yet on Army, Space Force or Coast Guard treatment of religious exemptions. Sadly, I have no hope they will be treated any better than Marine, Navy or AF people. If you want to destroy unit cohesion and ability to fight, I can’t think of a better way than what these clowns have been doing, which may be the point after all.
More later –