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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

“I’ll comment more on this later.  For those who don’t follow this blog, it is one of the best in Alaska.”

OK, its later.

First, Alaska Mudflats, an anonymous blogger from here in Alaska that writes the wonderful progressive blog  The Mudflats, has been outed by a state legislator.  A Democratic legislator no less.  Mike Doogan.

Why?

Who knows.

Mudflats is one of the ways that I start my days.  I hit the Alaska Volcano Observatory, Daily-News Miner, Huffington Post, Anchorage Daily News, and the Mudflats.  Several times a day usually.  Often I hit Mudflats before any of the rest, except the Observatory (but only as of late), because it is more honest, better written, and often a day ahead of any news the paper prints.

Moving beyond my anger and disappointment at this event and recognizing that it quite possibly will silence an outstanding commentary on Alaska politics, an underlying philosophical question comes into play.

Are anonymous bloggers a threat to our society and to our form of government?

Apparently, Mr. Doogan thinks so.

Should people be allowed to speak out (or write in this case) for, or against things, without signing their name in big bold letters for everyone to see?

NO!!!  As Mr. Doogan sees it.

Mr. Doogan, who used to write commentary for the Anchorage Daily News, certainly has his right to that opinion.  On the other hand, does he have the right to enforce his opionion on someone who has chosen to be anonymous, using state resources to do so?  We’ll leave that question to be decided in the courts, at leas that is where I hope it gets decided.

Now, back to the subject, does anonymity have a role to place in a democratic society?

Our founding fathers Hamilton, Jay, and Madison felt it worthwhile to speak anonymously in favor of ratification of the Constitution in the Federalist Papers.  Benjamin Franklin published Poor Richard’s Almanac under the pseudonym Richard Saunders.

Apparently they thought expressing themselves politically while remaining anonymous was worthwhile.  So what does Mr. Doogan know that they don’t?

For one, they had not made a career out of working for a newspaper industry that may well be in it’ s death throws, and a paper specifically whose continued viability has been called into question.  Mr. Doogan’s media may be a thing of the past, in part to the immediacy and honesty of bloggers like Alaska Mudflats.  So, maybe he’s just a bitter, old man.

Another dig there.  Sorry Mr. Doogan, I know you are a great supporter of common courtesy.  Back to the topic.

In my opinion, anonymity can provide a forum for honest and intellectual essays devoid of fear of repercussion or judgement.  I value that discourse in society.  I think it leads to an improvement in the public discourse.  Hamilton, Madison, Franklin, and Jay apparently agreed; as they used the format to present arguments via essay and print on matters as important as our constitution.

If one thinks that political opinions don’t carry reward or risk in Alaska, they are sadly mistaken.  When citizens aren’t allowed to discuss concerns, worries and events in an environment safe from repercussion, what does the future hold?  Particularly in a what can certainly be considered hostile territory for progressives.

I’ve written this blog, intermittently of late, but always anonymously.  But many people know me as the author.  That has been my choice.  I have written about some personal things, including conflict in a group as small as our church.  It hasn’t gone without criticism from some friends and fellow church members who thought I was being unfairly critical and mean spirited.

Perhaps.

My response to them is, “If you don’t like it, don’t read it.”

Needless to say, that doesn’t always go over very well.  The message I’m trying to get across to the critic is that the blog is a personal essay, an exercise in writing about something that one feels strongly about.  When well written it brings about a strong reaction in a reader.  Sometimes it is a positive response, sometimes negative.  Sometimes people are so moved they feel the need to comment and hopefully will enter into a conversation with the author.  If so, job well done.

I like to think of blogs as the modern day equivalent of letter writing.  Before our country was formed, our founding fathers discussed politics and philosophy via  letters.  Jefferson and Adams, friends and sometimes political rivals, shared letters.  Imagine, a civil discourse founded on thoughtful, intelligent debate at the end of a quill, or today on a keyboard.

Compare it to the TV bloviators, where posturing, yelling, and personality take precedence over the rational discussion of ideas.  Can you imagine what Bill OReilly’s blog might look like?  How about Rush?  Beck?  Mr. Doogan?  “I CAN TYPE LOUDER THAN YOU!!!!!!  SHUT UP!!!!  #%$!@@#@#!!!!!

Alaska Mudflats has added to the political discourse here in Alaska; providing insightful, at times funny, at times biting (often to those that deserved bit), political and social commentary.

Our state is entering a crucial time.  Our governor and legislature can’t get along, our governor doesn’t know where the state capital is, our state budget is a shambles, Alaska Natives are making the choice between food and heat, and one of our so-called leaders is using our state resources to hunt down the nefarious threat to democracy otherwise known as Alaska Mudflats.

I hope Alaska Mudflats sticks around.  As I’ve said before, reading Mudflats is part of my daily routine.  If it goes away, I’ll miss it greatly.  I feel deeply for Alaska Mudflat’s family, and hope they remain safe.  I hope they feel safe.  The loss of ones comfort and security in their own home, their own community, can be one of the greatest losses one can have short of a loved one.

To anyone offended by Mr. Doogan’s actions, especially Alaskans, his contact info is below:

Mike Doogan
Ph: (907) 465-4998
Or (800) 689-4998
Fax: (907) 465-4419

doogan@akdemocrats.org

Representative_Mike_Doogan@legis.state.ak.us

doogans@gci.net

If you want to keep up with what other bloggers are saying about this event, check out Immoral Minoritys blog where there are links to what everyone is saying.
UPDATE: Another link to with updates and commentary at  the Mudflats Forum.

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and exactly where was God?

I came across this article today as I was reading the news.

13 Year Old Girl Confirmed Dead

Now, tell me, exactly where was God?

Perhaps he was in the shower when she was raped.

Her crime was being raped by 3 men.

Or using the bathroom when they found her guilty of adultery.

When she reported the rape to the militia who control Kismayo, Somalia, she was charged with fornication (adultery)

Maybe in the middle of catching a Pat Robertson newscast while she was convicted.

and sentenced to death by stoning.

At 13.

At 13.

Maybe he was cheering on his football team while she was prepared for her sentence.  Everyone knows god picks favorites.

Kicking and screaming in terror, the girl was carried into the stadium.

Reading the last, suspenseful chapters of the DaVinci Code.

1,000 onlookers watched as her hands and legs were forcefully bound

Just possibly he turned away, unconcerned because she wasn’t an American.

13 year old  Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was buried up to her neck and a cape was placed over her head, leaving only her face exposed.

Or a Christian.

50 men hurled stones at her face from the truckload unloaded earlier that day.

I wonder if he flinched, just a little, as the first stone struck.

According to onlookers, 3 times nurses were instructed to check whether she was still alive.

Or went back to talking United States foreign policy with George W. Bush.

They pulled the teen from the ground,

Not once.

declared she was still alive

Not twice.

and put her back in the hole for the stoning to continue.

But three times.

Now, pray tell me, where was God?

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

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Playin Alaskan

I’ve been pointed to two good guest columns on Sarah Palin this week by Alaskan writers Seth Kantner, author of “Ordinary Wolves” and Nick Jans, author of “The Last Light Breaking”.

Take the time to check the columns out, both are honest reactions of observant, thinking Alaskans to Sarah and her fundamentalist, faux Marge from Fargo accent, lets develop Alaska so its just like everywhere else shtick.

Seth Kanter “That Sarah Palin is one unreal Alaskan“.

Nick Jans “Sarah Palin: The view from Alaska“.

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Some new quotes.  This one has to be me favorite.

Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a Governor.

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In one of my earlier posts I laughingly suggested it couldn’t get any worse that George W. Bush.  I was mistaken.

Palinguage

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An interesting debate was started between a couple of brothers today on Discontinuous Permafrost.  It began on another post, than ran over into an e-mail debate that I felt warranted a post of its own.  Before going any further with posting their discussion, I should give you a little more feedback on the two brothers.

The brothers grew up in Wyoming, outside a small town on a farm.  They ate a lot of venison growing up.  That meant they, and their families, hunted.  They hunted mule deer, white-tail deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope.

Needless to say, the brothers grew up around guns.  And in America, where there are guns, there is also the NRA.  Both were “junior” members of that esteemed organization, and grew up reading its publications.

It is important to note how important hunting season was to this family.  Family vacations, holidays, fishing or camping trips were all canceled when work demanded it.  For years on end.  Hunting season remained sacred and was never missed.

Eventually, as the younger brother went to college he missed more and more hunting seasons.  He was alright with that.  One year he had gone hunting with friends, and it had become more of a killing trip than hunting.  It took a long time for him to recover his palate for hunting.  Even today, when he does hunt he goes more for the hunting than the killing, which is fortunate because the kills are few and far between.  When he does kill, he takes time to honor the life that was taken for his benefit, his nourishment.  In short, he gives thanks.

The younger brother will probably miss hunting season this year.  Not by choice, but because the older brother is getting married.  The younger brother points this out just in case he has offended the older brother during their debate, in order that the older brother knows he is loved so deeply that the younger brother is willing to miss a hunting season on his behalf.  He knows that despite his gruff exterior his older brother is a warm, compassionate, and caring person.

The brother’s entries are notated as yb for young ( arrogantly self-righteous) brother and ob for old (grumpy, gun-toting) brother.

And so, to catch up with their debate first visit: after Bush, is there anything left to risk?

hey- responded to your comment.  check it out- i’d like to know how obama’s ad is a lie.

yb
Will do.  sent a couple of forwards, 1 serious, the other funny but interesting.

ob
sorry took them both seriously.  I am sorry, I find that the NRA does more harm than good and I suspect they are largely a cover for the gun industry.  Consider the origin of the 2nd amendment, when Britian disarmed the colonists of muskets.  Muskets!!!  Today are military uses devices not even conceived of at that time.  How exactly is your 30-06 going to fight an F-16, or worse a nuclear device, or a tank.  Quite simply, its not.  So in order to arm ourselves do we all need a tank in our yard, that way when the neighbors dog poops on our grass we blow their house away?  do you really feel more comfortable knowing that the meth house down the street keeps automatic weapons, legally?

I’m all for keeping my guns, and hunting with them, and god forbid in the event of a break in using it in defense of my property and family.  But the sounds of gunfire during the night during my brief stint in Chicago wasn’t people protecting their homes, though they may have been protecting their turf.

It utterly confounds me how white, working class Americans will vote for someone merely because they say they won’t take your weapons way, while bending you over the fence and screwing you every other way.

Enough for now, yb

Before Round 2, the offending e-mails. Number 1:

SHOTGUN PRETEEN VS. ILLEGAL ALIEN HOME INVADERS – BUTTE, MONTANA, NOVEMBER 5, 2006.

TWO ILLEGAL ALIENS, RALPHEL RESINDEZ, 23, AND ENRICO GARZA, 26, PROBABLY BELIEVED THEY COULD EASILY OVERPOWER HOME-ALONE 11-YEAR-OLD PATRICIA HARRINGTON AFTER HER FATHER HAD LEFT THEIR TWO-STORY HOME.

IT SEEMS THE TWO CROOKS DIDN’T CONSIDER TWO THINGS: 1. THEY WERE IN MONTANA, AND 2. PATRICIA HAD BEEN A CLAY SHOOTING CHAMPION SINCE SHE WAS NINE.

PATRICIA WAS IN HER UPSTAIRS ROOM WHEN THE TWO MEN BROKE THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR OF THE HOUSE. SHE QUICKLY RAN TO HER FATHER’S ROOM AND GRABBED HIS 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN.

RESINDEZ WAS THE FIRST TO GET UP TO THE SECOND FLOOR ONLY TO BE THE FIRST TO CATCH A NEAR POINT BLANK BLAST OF BUCKSHOT FROM THE 11-YEAR-OLD’S KNEE CROUCH AIM. HE SUFFERED FATAL WOUNDS TO HIS ABDOMEN AND GENITALS.

WHEN GARZA RAN TO THE FOOT OF THE STAIRS, HE TOOK A BLAST TO THE LEFT SHOULDER AND STAGGERED OUT INTO THE STREET WHERE HE BLED TO DEATH BEFORE MEDICAL HELP COULD ARRIVE.

IT WAS FOUND OUT LATER THAT RESINDEZ WAS ARMED WITH A STOLEN 45 CALIBER HANDGUN HE TOOK FROM ANOTHER HOME INVASION ROBBERY. THAT VICTIM, 50-YEAR-OLD DAVID BURIEN, WAS NOT SO LUCKY. HE DIED FROM STAB WOUNDS TO THE CHEST.

PATRICIA STAVED OFF A ROBBERY AND POTENTIAL RAPE BECAUSE HER PARENTS TAUGHT HER HOW TO USE A GUN. HER PARENTS DIDN’T HIDE A GUN IN THE HOUSE AND NOT EDUCATE HER ON THE POWER THAT A FIREARM PROVIDES. IGNORANCE CAN BE DEADLY, BUT FORTUNATELY FOR THIS MONTANA FAMILY, KNOWLEDGE WAS POWER.

TWO ILLEGALS WERE SENT BACK….IN A BOX!

BLAMING GUNS FOR VIOLENCE IS LIKE BLAMING SPOONS FOR ROSIE O’DONNELL’S FAT ASS.

EVER WONDER WHY GOOD STUFF LIKE THIS NEVER MAKES NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, OR ABC NEWS???

And the second:

(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.

Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

Now think about this: Guns

(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. Is 80,000,000. (Yes, that’s 80 million)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.

Statistics courtesy of FBI

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember, ‘Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.’

FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on LAWYERS for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention!

Yb wants to ad-lib the following into the email debate:

Of course, the anonymous author fails to say how many lives were saved by guns (300 by government break-in estimates) versus by doctors. Given doctors administer antibiotics regularly for diseases that a century ago regularly killed, say once a day, then we could say 700,000 doctors times 365 days a year. Wow, that’s a bigger number than I care to calculate, and moves doctors securely into the lives saved category. Guess gun owners are more dangerous after all.

Now, back to the debate at hand:

and what exactly does this prove?  how many people die in homes due to poorly design stairs?  maybe we should contractors illegal?  and in the few cases where they actually use an architect the architect should be illegal too?

somewhere I miss the logic or humor.

I don’t think anybody that I’ve ever voted for, and I voted largely democratic or liberal, has proposed the wholesale banning of guns.  what they have proposed is making it more difficult for people who should not have guns to do so.

yb

The laws are already in place to keep guns from those who shouldn’t have them.  I believe that people in those positions to enforce those laws use their positions to allow the occasional nut job to fall through the cracks, so to speak, intentionally, to advance their own political agendas.  As far as the “Shooting in Montana” forward I can provide 8 to 12 instances from NRA magazines that quote news stories of similar incidences in each issue.

ob

Enjoy my rant below:

I bet you can.  Do you want me to find 100 instances of guns (stolen from homes) being used for other purposes?  I know the NRA likes to publicize those few events, but the facts prove otherwise.  so one burglary is foiled by a gun for every 100 guns that are stolen?  is that a good trade off?  Not for the people who die from those other 99 guns.  Check this out: http://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/fadeathwithrates65-04.pdf Is there one gun law that would have prevented the people in the nra magazine from having the gun they used for protection?  not likely- those are the law-abiding citizens the laws help protect.

So you believe someone sees a lunatic applying for a handgun permit and allows them to get it to prove their political point?  So the guy that shot up a unitarian church sunday was sold a shotgun on the premise that a politician somewhere could point out that the guys read books by the fox news pundits?  Do you hear yourself?  That is insane.

Thats like believing somehow that there is a group of “rich” people behind the environmental movement.  Its bullshit.  Not even if the ten richest people in the world poured everything they had into the sierra club could they counter the money coming from Exxon alone.

Or that scientists are predicting global warming in order to pad their research grants.  Oh, and the oil companies saying it isn’t happening have nothing but their god-fearing honesty to protect.

Oh the NRA, such a moral beacon that they hire spys to infiltrate concerned citizen groups.  And who funds the NRA?  industry.  No, say it ain’t so.  Industry is more moral than individuals, just ask any god-fearing republican.  Oh- it is industry.  The gun industry.  why do they care?  because they sell…… GUNS!!!!!   http://www.vpc.org/press/9711eddi.htm If you think the NRA is a bunch of people morally committed to your right to carry a gun you are wrong- they are protecting somebody’s right to SELL you a gun.  Big difference.

Another great source of information is: http://www.bradycampaign.org/issues/ I know if you read NRA propaganda they are going to say these are evil and warped sources of information.  Kind of like oil lobbyists say about environmental scientists.  But consider what people committed to this cause have to gain: NOTHING.  They aren’t in it for money, nobody is getting rich by not selling guns.  I don’t think you can even name a politician that has gotten elected on this issue alone.  Just like scientist aren’t getting rich predicting global warming (while the oil industry gets rich denying it) neither is anyone making a living off of gun laws.  People care about the issue more often or not because they have lost someone due to no gun legislation.

The End

yb

I want to add I know there is no way any gun law that I would support would have prevented the shooting on Sunday at the Unitarian Church- though if my memory is correct he used an automatic shotgun, and I feel strongly against using automatic weapons for hunting and so wonder about their purpose in society at large.  Ultimately, an individual is responsible for their actions, good or bad, and no gun law is going to prevent a person from a premeditated attack.  But, if someone had been legally armed in the congregation I don’t see how that would have prevented or resolved the situation any differently.

yb

Did the NRA make up the statistic that when Australia confiscated all firearms from law abiding citizens that the violent crime rate jumped 275%?

ob

I’m not familiar with that statistic- but if the crime rate went from 100 murders to 237 assaults, no deaths, because guns were not involved wouldn’t that increase have been worth it?

yb

that should have been 275 assaults, to make the math easy.

yb

Also, try to find some scientific, peer reviewed studies that show the benefit of gun ownership.  That means not funded by the NRA, or gun manufacturers, and published in something other than nra magazines.  I’m not indicating they don’t exist, but they strengthen the argument for guns if they do.

yb

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One of the most common things I hear from people when asked about their preference for Obama or McCain is that they are adverse to risk.  In short, the McCain we all know and love versus the Obama we don’t know but want to love.

Or, as Obama puts it “the devil you know versus the devil you don’t.

In response to a comment warning liberals of the dire consequences of electing Obama, I began to put together a list of thing Obama could screw up, only to discover George W. has already done them all, with the exception of nuclear holocaust.  But don’t worry, he isn’t out of office yet.

So here is my list, please send in additional items.  I’m interested in seeing what there is left for Obama, or McCain, to screw up if elected.

  • Allow a terrorist attack on our soil
  • Run up the national debt
  • Oversee a housing crisis
  • Corrupt Department of Justice
  • Start a war
  • Invade another country (ok, make it two)
  • Lose a war (in progress)
  • Occupy another country (permanently by all appearances)
  • Allow a natural disaster to destroy a major American city
  • Alienate the US from the rest of the world
  • Encourage unrest in the Middle East
  • Oversee oil prices reach record highs
  • Prevent US from providing any leadership in world of diminishing natural resources
  • Avoid taking any role in preventing or dealing with the effects of global warming
  • Underfund our national park system
  • Prostitute our public lands out to industry
  • Torture our enemies
  • Enshroud our government in secrecy
  • Ignore the constitution
  • Watch economy collapse
  • Take a record number of vacation days

OK, Obama or McCain might beat that last one given Bush has already completed the to-do list.

  • Nuclear holocaust
  • WWIII

Of course, the other way to look at it is which of these candidates, Obama or McCain, is more likely to fix these items.

And we all know the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that you have one, and it is pretty clear only one of these candidates recognizes that.

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