An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Alaska’

Bristol, Please Stop Talking…

It’s not in good taste to beat a dead horse, but it seems that this time, it is unavoidable.  Bristol Palin seems to have taken notice of what everybody has said about her statements, and has decided to make yet another response.  It only seemed fair to once again call her out on her own insipid statements that are both bigoted and not based in factuality at all.  So, Bristol, your move.

I’m puzzled at the lack of reading comprehension by internet pundits.  There are a few stories popping up – in The Advocate and one or two on HuffPo on a recent Google alert — claiming I’m playing “the victim card” over here on my blog. However, anyone who actually read my post would know that I simply made two claims:

1.  Those who claim to be loving and tolerant certainly are hateful and bullying.

2.  But despite their efforts at name-calling and even their threats, I won’t be deterred from speaking out.

Bristol goes on with a small clip from her blog that didn’t give any context.  Bristol, what you said is very clear.  In your first blog, you claimed that Obama is only supporting gay marriage because his daughters watch Glee, say that same sex marriage is wrong because of thousands of years of “tradition” and then claim that children in LGBT families grow up less happy than those with heterosexual parents (obviously attacking single parents too).  In the next post, you claimed exactly what you are claiming here.  You claimed that people just attacked and bullied you, taking some comments you got that sound inflamatory.

Here’s the real truth about what you have said, Bristol – not two words of it were backed up at all.  You have ignored the blatant hypocrisy of things that you have said, like the part where you went on about you being in the spotlight, but failed to acknowledge that your mother is the one who put you there against your will.  You provided not one shred of evidence for any of your points.

What you did after that was take some comments that were horribly innappropriate and decided that you would simply use them to show how you are being so bullied, ignoring all the posts like the ones from this column that clearly showed how you are wrong, and talked in a very level and decent way, addressing each way that your statements were wrong.

You most certainly aren’t a victim, Bristol, of anything.  You were most certainly playing the victim card, claiming to be bullied, while you yourself are the one doing the bullying.  The blatant hypocrisy of your statements is so visceral, yet you fail to acknowledge it, now taking the tactic of once again hiding behind your words, and not acknowledging how unfactual they are.

But looking at this post, are you really accusing everybody who is for gay rights of being intolerant and bullies?  Are you really saying that all people who are “loving and tolerant” are bullies?  Since you seem to claim that about yourself, that must mean that you have to lump yourself into that category, right?

Not to mention that these comments you received do nothing to help your cause or defend your mischaracterization of the President.  They provide just another lovely shield for you to hide behind, playing, you guessed it, the victim card.

You are no victim, Bristol, you just are trying really hard to act like one.  Now please stop talking.  You’ve embarassed yourself enough

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Does Voting Work?

This is the question that has bee wracking my mind since I first registered to vote back when I was 19.  I was registered in the 2008 year, when I was excited to be a part of the political system.  This decision carried a lot of weight.  But then I was starting to really get into the act of getting to know the system that I was voting in, the people I was voting for.  Learning the specifics of this country, and what made it flow.

Now, before that time, I had been a man who kept up on current events, but I never really dug all that deep into things.  I was young.  But this was the point where the political ideas that I have that guide a lot of who I am were developing.  My growth was a person has been guided by the late nights that I and my late fiance had discussing things.  Her passing marked an occasion where I was sitting up alone, pondering this.  The nights alone have been long indeed.

After becoming more aware of the system, the flaws and the failures, I gradually started to get the viewpoint that America is broken, on many levels.  The absolute corruption of this government is visceral.  Our politicians are bought and paid for.  The legislation that is getting passed is absolutely worthless.  This isn’t just hyperbole.  This isn’t just stating things and making no evidence.  I could go into exhaustive detail about how legislation is obviously biased toward one side, the corporate side.  It can’t be argued at this point.

But I continued to vote, for one reason – the belief that on some level, maybe not the national level, but maybe at the local level, I could make a difference.  My vote couldn’t affect anything substantial on a national level, since the options there were absolutely just corporate shill A or corporate shill B.  But maybe, on a local level, I could change things.  This belief has fallen away.

There has been an event here in the city I live, Anchorage, Alaska.  This event has shaken my very beliefs about not only the merits of democracy, but also the voting public in general.  It was a municipal election.  I won’t go into too much detail, since I have already talked this point to death.  Quite simply, there was a Proposition to get rid of a landlord or employer’s ability to descriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation, which according to the state’s current Title 5, they can.

The Prop didn’t pass, and anyone who has been following this tragic affair as it has been unfolding knows, it was a complete and utter fraud.  What happened that day was no accident, as was reported in the Anchorage Daily News.  The linked article and many others all over Alaska have shown that this was deliberate rigging of an election.  And what has been the recourse?  Nothing.  Almost nothing has been done.  The Anchorage voters are just being told by the Anchorage Assembly to just accept it, and move on.

We are being asked to accept an election that has been proven to be fraudulent.  That has been proven to be rigged.  We are being told that this is just something we should allow.  Not by all the Assembly members, of course.  Elvi Gray-Jackson was thankfully willing to say that there needs to be an outside investigation.  But her voice is among the tragic few.  The public has been voicing their being appalled at this.  The public (to a point), has said that this is so absolutely awful.  Yet the public has gone unheeded, and nothing is being done.  Nothing substantial.  There should be an investigation by the ACLU.  There should be another election.  This whole dilemma should be having this whole process be declared invalid, because the people do not accept it.  And yet, nothing is being done.  Hopefully, maybe, something will be done, but as of right now, we are just being asked to accept it, and move on.

This whole affair has left my faith in what little I could believe in when it came to the system of this country’s government shaken, and after reading that article that I linked above, I have come to the conclusion to the question in the title.

No, voting does not work.

Now, let me explain my position, because I am not just going to make the usual “it’s the system, man!” arguments.  I am not going to be like, “it’s all these corrupt politicians, man!” statements, because I believe the problem goes deeper than that.  But before I do go into it, let me put some context as to what I know a person who opposes my position believes.

My friend Heather believes that through voting, you have a voice in government.  There was a time when I believed that argument, and went with her on it, too.  However, examining the way things work in this government, it isn’t so simple.

Every election cycle, the people will talk about the politicians and how corrupt the system is.  That’s true, but nobody ever cuts to the meat of the existential nut – why?  Why is the system so unbelievably rigged?  Why does Corporate America have such a strangle-hold on America’s politics?  You see, the truth is that one of the reasons that I don’t see voting as worthwhile is because none of the options are any better than the other.

Let’s take a look at the Presidential elections that are coming up.  We have Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate, and Barack Obama as the current President running against him.  Mitt Romney is against abortion, and all sorts of other talking points of the Republican Party that we have seen for years.  But what about President Obama?

Well, he has pretty much franchised Guantanamo Bay.  Health Care Reform was a birthday present to the private insurance companies.  He backed and even asked for the amendments to NDAA that stipulated that American citizens can now be held indefinitely without trial or charge.  He gave the Republicans even more than they had asked before with the continuation of the Bush Tax Cuts.  The debt ceiling agreement he came to was obscene.  This man has shown himself to be an absolute turncoat to his own principles.  If, of course, he actually had any to begin with.  If you follow his campaign, there was a lot of talk about “hope,” but never much about what was to be done.

So, on one side, a corporate shill who is rolling back progress one “compromise” at a time, and on the other side, a corporate shill who wants to roll back progress one “victory” at a time.  That is who we have.  And the senators and representatives we elect are no better.  To get anywhere in politics in this country, you need corporate backing.  This is the system we live in.  So, if voting is your voice, then your voice is kind of limited.  Limited between Corrupt Option A and Corrupt Option B.  And who is to blame for that?

The biggest reason that I have decided that I am done voting is because the fact is that if you want to know the real reason for the system in this country being such a complete and utter failure – the voting public.  The fact is that the public, both liberal and conservative, has failed this country, and I don’t hold the politicians responsible for what has gone wrong.  I will complain about what they do, but I fully understand that the public is enabling these people.  The public in this country at large has become so complacent and so docile and pedicured that it doesn’t matter who you vote for.

The voice of the people has been channeled.  There will be those who will come and say, “but we can elect better people into office.”  Time was, I might have believed that.  But now, we have a people who, at their core are selfish, entitled and don’t even bother following what the issues are.  Liberals and conservatives are guilty of just getting onto a bandwagon, never stopping to question why, or what that bandwagon stands for.

So if voting is using ones voice, then the voice of this country should be silenced.  I take George Carlin’s position

But where do people think these politicians come from?  They don’t fall out of the sky.  They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality.  They come from American parents, American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities.  And they’re elected by American citizens.  This is the best we can do, folks!  This is what we have to offer.  This is what our system produces.  Garbage in, garbage out.

He is absolutely right.  The public is absolutely worthless and toothless, and because of that, we have rampant corruption because the politicians aren’t scared.  But nobody wants to hear that.  America doesn’t like it when a mirror is shined at them in a not so flattering way.  That’s against the American way.

A government should be legitimately afraid of its people.  There should be some fear that if they don’t fly right, the people will rise up and put them in their place, even if violence is how that has to happen.  But this government doesn’t have that.

There are no decent politicians and systems that are waiting, just that one vote away.  Our system produces people in it only for themselves, and not caring about everyone else.  This isthe best we can do.  So I reject the notion 100% that voting is your voice.  Your voice is gone, replaced by the options you pick.

With that in mind, like Carlin, I am staying home on the next election cycle, and I can complain because I didn’t help put these people who are making this mess into office.  I didn’t contribute to this problem.  Rather, I am here, trying to talk to all of you, and trying to tell you that there has to be a greater change in our way of thinking before I will be back to the polls.  And should it come to pass, I will be first in line.  That is a guarantee.

But don’t count on it.  This country is too busy watching Glee, and shopping at the mall.  It’s the American way.  They say that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.  I reject that notion.  People who see evil and do nothing aren’t good.

They are merely…patriotic.

Peace out,

Lefty

(as an endnote, I want to make it clear that I respect Heather’s position, and that this is my own position.  Above anything and everything, I ask that you come to your own conclusions.  Don’t take what I say as gospel.  This column’s dedication above all else is to be about having people think, on their own.  If you disagree, post a comment, and I won’t reply, but I will put it up)

Lefty’s Review: Anchorage Concert Association – Chris Botti

This may not seem like the most pressing issue that can be talked about in a year of turbulence and craziness all over America’s political sphere, but honestly, this is worth talking about, because despite how active a person is, they need to realize that sometimes, you just have to take a break and have fun.  This concert was a perfection occasion to do so.

This performance was one of those things that a person will see maybe once in their entire life.  Everything about this was amazing.  It was total and complete perfection in every way.  Chris Botti’s performance was just as much about him as it was about everybody else on that stage tonight.  He is one of the few really great musicians who fully recognizes that he would be nothing without those who are with him, and he was so cool.

This group couldn’t have had better on-stage chemistry.  Their solo numbers were just as cool Botti.  He also had two guests with him, who each played amazing roles in this concert.  The first was Caroline Campbell, making her debut on stage with him.  She is also in his newest album, “Impressions,” as well.  The next was a woman who had actually sung with the Rolling Stones, Lisa Fischer.  Both of these women did an amazing job.

I know that I am talking about how great this is, but honestly, it was.  This night was what all great concerts should be.  It was joy, it was pain, it was rapture, it was passion, it was sadness, it was all the emotions and none of them at all.  To be in that place, and to be a part of the music that happened here, it was one of the few nights where one could actually forget about the world.

But Botti didn’t just have stage charisma, he also had audience charisma.  Early in the show, he asked how many of the people in the audience had played music.  There were two boys who said that they had.  For the final number, he had them come up on stage with his band and play the drums.  He also had their dad come up and film it on his iPhone, saying that this was going to be something that he wanted to keep.  Too right.  I have no doubt that this man has done something that those boys will remember, FOREVER!  To be in that place, how could you not?!

This was an amazing night, and honestly, I wish it didn’t have to end.  To have this kind of experience, it is a once and a life-time opportunity.

Peace out,

Lefty

Anchorage election fraud goes unchallenged, and democracy dies a little more

It’s no mystery to the people who know me that I don’t think that voting means much.  It’s ironic that when I saw in an article tonight my friend Heather’s husband, John Aronno make the point that George Carlin made a career (which I don’t truly believe, but it was a part of his beliefs) out of saying that voting doesn’t matter.  Carlin was right when he said about our politicians –

They come from American families in American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities.  And they’re elected by American citizens.  This is the best we can do, folks!  This is what we have to offer.  It’s what our system produces.  Garbage in, garbage out.

I love that Carlin was such a sharp mind.  Even up to his dying days, he was one of the most intelligent people who has graced the stage in about 50 years.  Now, unlike Carlin, I gripe and complain about the things that American politicians do, but that’s just because it is my schtick.  However, I also vote, but not because I believe in it.

Not for two seconds do I believe that it does any good.  I just do it to say that I did, and to hope that maybe, just maybe, this time, it won’t lead to some ignorant, overpaid and underworked pseudo-celebrity jackass running my country and leading it into ruin.  That maybe the guy or gal that I vote for won’t be one of the corrupt aristocracy that runs this country.

But like John, I do think that on the municipal level, I can make a difference, and I do take some comfort in that.  In this last election, however, I lost that belief.  I lost it because I saw open and blatant subversion of democracy.  This wasn’t a partially flawed election.  This was an outright fraud.  The illegitimacy of this election is obvious to anybody here in Anchorage paying even a modicum of attention.

He wrote in a post about a young woman who made an impassioned statement at the assembly meeting.  I won’t put it up here, because I didn’t hear it, and I don’t want to feel that I took away from this, because I have a feeling that if I had been there, I would have been beyond angry.  Rage would have coursed through me as I could listen to Honeman continue to defend this, to defend the people who are allowing this.

This woman says that voting is your voice, and while I want to agree, I don’t.  The reason that I don’t agree is that I don’t share most people’s belief in the general goodness of humanity.  I have absolutely no faith in the human race.  None whatsoever.  I believe that people are dumb, stupid, dangerous animals that are our own worst enemy.  BUt I’m not advocating for that belief.  As a friend of mine has pointed out, it is fairly toxic to the mind, and I admit, I’m not a happy person.  That is who I have chosen to be.  Wading in to the river of crap that runs this country, trying to sort it all out.

But you know what I think is that Catch-22 of this whole debacle here in Anchorage, and with John’s post?  People want to believe that their vote matters, that they are making a difference, and this is good.  But I think the reason that so many people have just given up is that they are not given a reason to care.  Now, with this local election, we are seeing that even that can be rigged, can be fraudulent, can be invalid.  And when the government officials who we are saying need to hold this whole mess accountable do nothing, can you honestly blame them?

Peace out,

Lefty

Liberals are Nazis! And other cheap tricks to get their base to the polls

Remember the good old days, when the increasingly irrelevant Glenn Beck was on the air and he was talking about how the liberals were going to start FEMA death camps and how the socials marxist communists were going to come for your guns and have euthanasia be required?  Well, those sorts of conversations still go on all over the country.  Fox News has been carrying the torch for the “liberals are coming for you” rhetoric.

Of course, the reason why they are using this rhetoric is simple – to get their base to the polls.  George Bush II won the 2004 elections because Karl Rove was a brilliant tactician (along with Kerry not calling Bush out, at all) who used the bigotry of these people as a weapon, by bringing up gay marriage in states that everyone knew weren’t going to pass it.  Much like Prop. 5 here in Anchorage, once you say the word “gay,” the bigots flock to make sure their bigoted opinions are known.

However, there is a problem in the Republican Party.  The base is dying.  They have alienated almost every single group.  Minorities, for the most part, left their bandwagon years ago.  The LGBT community won’t have anything to do with them.  The latest war on women has officially gotten them away from the party too.  So, if you only have middle to senior-aged white men as your base, what do you do?  The answer is easy – subvert democracy by rigging voting.

Voter suppression is nothing new in America, of course.  Back when this country was founded, only the wealthy white men got to vote.  Minorities and women were fresh out of luck there.  And there are plenty of Republicans who are trying to get back to that.  Don’t believe me?  Well, the evidence speaks for itself.

34 states have passed or are working to pass laws that make it so that voters have to show photo IDs.  15 states have passed or are working to pass laws that say you have to have your birth certificate or passport to be able to vote.  16 states have or are working to pass laws would end same-day voter registration. 9 states have passed or are working to pass laws to end early voting.  4 states are working to pass laws to get rid, outright, of absentee voting.  3 states have passed laws that restrict voter registration drives.  All of this work has been done in the last year.

The mission goal is pretty clear – stop people from getting to the polls.  Their tactics are decisive and swift.  This isn’t something that can be debated, because we are seeing it happen now.  Over 21% of Americans don’t have government-issued ID’s.  The bulk of the people who don’t are minorities, the elderly, and college students.  Care to guess where most of them vote?  They generally vote liberal.

It has even been seen on a scale that nobody pays attention to.  Here in Anchorage, Alaska, the latest municipal election was obviously a fraud.  The voting booths ran out of ballots is how it all went down.  However, in spite of this clear violation of the law, there aren’t going to be new elections, or even an outside investigation.  The Assembly simply decided to accept what has happened, and are telling everybody to basically just move on.  This is unacceptable.

However, it is efficient, and in a country where the conservative party is rapidly dying on its feet, this is what it has to do in order to maintain power.  They know that they can’t win this upcoming presidential election on fair terms, because not only will the disheartened liberals like myself side with Obama out of the principle of not having Romney put in office, but the GOP voters at large have no love for Romney, since he has proven that he is a flip-flopping croney capitalist who doesn’t believe in anything.

This is what the future of America is looking like.  Instead of politics being a rational and reasonable discussion of values and what is to happen next, we instead get to listen to rhetoric on one side that liberals are all nazis coming to kill you, and conservatives are…well, actually, the rhetoric about them is true.

They want to subvert democracy to keep themselves in power, and the money flowing into only a few people’s hands.

Peace out,

Lefty

Prop. 5 Fails, Discrimination Wins

While One Anchorage is not ready to declare that it is over, the writing on the wall seems to be the Proposition 5 (the new proposition that would have amended Title 5, sections 1-8 to prohibit discrimination for things like maintaining a job or getting housing based on sexual orientation) has failed.

A great deal of work has been put into this.  So many people gave so much time and effort.  But, as was seen with Ordinance 64 (the previous version of this bill), this issue showed just how easy it is to rally a bigoted base against a cause that they are “morally” opposed to.

There argument was that this was “inhibiting religious freedom.”  Never mind that the section of Title 5 that dealt with religious institutions, section 9, would not have been affected by this.  Religious institutions could show preferential treatment to whomever they liked.  But the truth didn’t matter to the “Protect Your Rights” campaign.

Their message was that these gays, lesbians and transgendered peoples were going to be like a seedy lot of evil monsters.  This kind of propaganda is nothing new.  When gay marriage has come up in other states, they try to dress it up really nice, talking abour rights and “morality.”  The truth is that we have allowed this government to pretty much openly endorse discrimination.

Such a sad reality, that.  American politicians have openly talked about how homosexuality is wrong.  They talk about how God is the one to look up to, even though we have a 1st Amendment, and his book is filled with some of the worst morals there are.

To people like Jim Minnery, the head of the Alaska Family Council, believe it is a conflict of “values.”  But what values are these people spreading by openly getting people to work against social progress?  They are saying that they value bigotry, because an employer could find out that you are gay and fire you on the spot.  They are saying that they value the spread of hatred, by having the people believe that these kinds of people are not worthy of respect or fairness.  They are saying that they value a system of beliefs that is 2,000 years old, from a desert filled with people that America is also openly discriminating against more than they do decency and kindness.

It’s not a question that there is discrimination against the LGBT community here in Anchorage.  Go to Mad Myrna’s on any day of the week and you can find this out.  Take a look at some of the signs that were being held up at the battle over Ordinance 64 and you’ll see where a good chunk of the population stands.

However, many will argue that most people are not like that.  Most people don’t discriminate, and most people are accepting.  Here’s the problem with that – where were they yesterday?  Now, I will give  that there were problems with the ballots, and this is an issue that I am very curious to see how it is resolved.  I’m not much for conspiracies, but that does seem to be a point of interest.  However, there were options, and the people could have come out in greater numbers.

The fact is that the group who is against gay rights is so much more able to mobilize their voting base, and this is something that progressives and liberals need to learn, because the fact is that the more people think that things will turn out alright, and that they don’t have to get involved, the more we are watching progress in this country get rolled back.

We are in a culture war, and the left is losing.  Badly.  Every compromise, every deal that is struck is only to stave off the madness, while the smaller battles are being won by those who want to get rid of all progress.  This needs to be paid attention to.  But don’t take my word for it.  I’m just a petty journalist who sees the writing on the wall.

Peace out,

Lefty

What Constitutes Cruelty: The End of the Samantha Koenig Case

This is going to be a rather brief post, talking about what has happened with the Samantha Koenig case.  I have avoided this subject, not only because it is a very depressing issue, but also because there was no end to it.  Well, the police believe that they found her body in Matanuska Lake.  It is a tragic end to a tragic case, which justice now will never be brought to, because she isn’t going to get to go home to her family.

Of course, for some people, this isn’t a bad thing.  For some people, this is “common sense.”  I refer you to a post that was put on Facebook by a girl named Kylie McCormick –

So, does the idea of shame just not mean anything to this girl?  She is saying “Ha” to the fact that this was just something that is “common sense?”  It boggles the mind how easy it is for people to just turn and say that this kind of statement is free speech.  It is.  She has the right to say it.

However, the Alaskans whose thoughts and prayers went out to Samantha Koenig and her family, they have the right to respond.  Here is one person who doesn’t believe in prayer, but whose thoughts did go out to this person saying his piece –

Kylie McCormick, you are a terrible person.  You are mocking the pain and anguish of a family who was desperately hoping that their daughter was going to come home.  You are insulting the memory of her by saying that it’s good that we can just take down the signs, like this was some minor annoyance.  You have spit in the face of decency by saying that people should just think that murder is common sense, even after anything could have been done to her.

It boggles the mind to ponder just how ugly a person would get a laugh out of taking down the posters of a young woman whose life was tragically cut short (unless it is found out that it is not her body) for reasons that we will never know.  If you are alone for the rest of your life, not loved by anybody, it would be a far more deserving fate for you.  Nobody should harm you, because that would be wrong, but if nobody ever speaks to you again, or gives you a kind word, or a kind glance, the world would be better for it.

The internet is forever, Miss McCormick, and you can bet that these comments are going to follow you around for the rest of your life.  Good thing, too.

Peace out,

Lefty

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