Monday, February 19, 2018

Alaska 2018: Faded Promises & Accelerated Decline - How Apathy, Greed & Corruption are Rapidly Destroying The Last Frontier, and What Can Be Done About It?

by J.R.Myers, Constitution Party National Executive Committee At-Large Member, Founder & former Alaska CP Chairman, ACP Candidate for AK Governor in 2014, and 2016 Presidential Candidate. 

After many years of adventure in Alaska, he has now returned to his native State of Montana to live, where he remains connected to local, Alaskan and National politics.

I have spent about 15 years, or more than a quarter of my life in Alaska, The Last Frontier.  I have known, witnessed and participated in many of its struggles, dreams and successes.  My family has been involved in The Great Land for much longer.  My grandfather served in the Army in Alaska during WWII in the 1940's.  My grandparents then homesteaded in Alaska in the 1950's.  My father operated a HAM Radio link to the outside world from Anchorage, after the devastation of the Great Quake of 1964.  My grandfather also worked on the oil pipeline in the 1970's.  My grandmother worked for Alaska Airlines in the 1980's.  An uncle retired from the Alaska Railroad in the 1990's.    They staked out a homestead.  They used dog-sleds for transport.  They used the permafrost for refrigeration.  They felt the earth shake and roll and the sea roar.  They watched volcanoes explode.  They burned wood for heat in the long dark cold winter.  They worked odd jobs, gathered berries, panned for gold, and hunted and fished to survive in the nearly perpetual light of summer.  My relatives served Alaska in many ways over the years, as they worked hard to help it grow and prosper.  It was an historic, challenging and rewarding existence.

I was an Alaskan resident from 1963-64 and again from 2003-2017.  While there, I served as a Licensed Professional Counselor & Chemical Dependency Counselor I, as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor & Master Addiction Counselor.  I worked in community mental health, tribal behavioral health and also had a private practice.  I served as Vice-President and President of the Alaska Counseling Association.  I helped many, befriended many, was supported by many and was accepted into the communities of many Alaskans of all kinds across the state.  I was actively involved in trying to make many positive systems reforms and changes.  I still own a cabin and pay property taxes in Alaska, while maintaining an interest at a distance.

Despite recent increasingly negative and sad political and economic events, and lost opportunities, overall I have many fond and enduring memories of the Great Land and its people.  I've witnessed many changes too over the years.  What can compare to the unique features of Alaska such as the incredible wilderness views?  The Northern Lights?  The Bipolar Seasons and light cycles?  The moose, bear, caribou, cranes, eagles, ravens, seagulls, coyotes, wolves, lynx, hare, salmon, halibut, octopus, beluga, orca, otters, seals and other fauna?  The quirky coffee kiosks everywhere?  The bountiful community Farmer's Markets?  The powerful Native Arts & Crafts?  The Subsistence based culture with freely shared fresh fish and game?  The freshly picked blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and other flora?  The plethora of excellent micro-breweries and micro-distilleries?  What about the newly sprouting legal recreational cannabis shops and support industries?  The alternate universe of reality based TV programs?  The world renowned Extreme Sports industry?  The massive cruise lines with their floating cities of thousands.  The professional fishing, hunting and wilderness guides?  What about the horrific exponential expansion of the petro-dollar fueled Nanny State?  Indeed, Alaska, and Alaskans are in the midst of several profound and potentially permanent changes.  A true struggle is underway for control of the heart and soul of Alaska and its resources.  My prayer is that Alaskans quickly get actively involved in any and all peaceful ways possible to reclaim Alaska from the enemy within while they still can.  It is in this spirit that I share my following experiences, observations, warnings, opinions and encouragements.

Once holding incredible riches, potential and promise, Alaska now finds itself in an existential political, moral, and financial storm.  Perhaps it was too ambitious a project to begin with, after all it was called Seward's Folly.  Some would say the geographical area was too vast, the people too few.  From the beginning, there was too much government control, not enough private sector opportunity.  Too much judicial activism, too few involved citizens.  Too many political opportunists, carpetbaggers and gold diggers, not enough earnest statesman, pioneers and decent settlers.  Now, there is a more recent and fundamental disconnect, a widening chasm between the ruling political elite and the rest of the population.  Alaska's Constitutional Republican form of government has been turned on its head.  Official cynicism rules the day.  Alaska increasingly resembles a top down authoritarian Banana Republic.  Power mongering and greed have replaced public service and civic virtue in the isolated, off the road system, Capitol of Juneau.  Collusion between Lobbyists, Politicians and the Media has driven Alaska far beyond established boundaries and nearly over a cliff from which it will not likely recover.  Alaska has again become the American poster child for poor domestic policy.  We can call the latest round, Walker's Folicies (folly+policy, similar to a state  imposed fallacy).

Due to Walker's Folicies, Alaska is close to becoming a failed state altogether.  Well over 1% of the population, or about 8,500 people fled the State in 2017, leading to an actual population decline.  The State has been in a worsening recession with an  unemployment rate of 7.3% as of 12/2017.  The Permanent Fund Dividend, the people's share of Alaska's mineral wealth, has been recklessly tampered with by the Governor & Legislature for two years in a row.  Billions of anticipated dollars have been withheld from Alaskans, and thus the Alaskan economy.  This was one of the worst economic moves possible, which has deepened and prolonged Alaska's Great Recession.  This was predicted, and was totally avoidable.  Now Alaska faces a worsening crisis, manufactured with full bi-partisan cooperation.

Also, fisheries are dwindling, millions of acres of forests and mineral resources remain locked up.  People in the villages and interior cannot afford to heat their homes and businesses, so they increasingly flock to the rough urban centers.  Global politics and economics seem to conspire daily against Alaska.  Recently, the Permanent Investment Fund lost two billion dollars in a matter of days during the stock market correction.  This event added even more volatility to the state's economic future.  Under the current administration, Alaska has experienced, a series of credit downgrades, meaning millions annually in greater credit costs.  The State of Alaska can't even seem to make legalized pot functional.  There has been a reported decline in most recent projected Recreational Marijuana Tax & Fee Revenues.

There is a growing disconnect between the people and their government.  The current Governor of Alaska, Bill Walker, has the lowest popularity rating of any state chief executive in the nation with a 26% approval rating as of 1/2018.  There is an increased public awareness and subsequent anger as people realize that the political elite are using government to take more than their fair share of resources.  There is anger that the political elite are rapidly plundering the inheritance of future generations to satisfy their current lusts.  Alaska, once a stronghold of liberty, has clearly lost its way.  In many ways, Alaska seems a future microcosm of the United States.

Perhaps the Alaskan Independence Party had it right all along.  The AIP maintains that the vote for Alaskan statehood was fundamentally flawed.  At that time, the Alaska Native vote was heavily suppressed, while the military stationed in the territory was improperly allowed to participate in the statehood vote.  To add insult to injury, the new Alaska Constitution was (and still is) an ideal socialist and globalist document.  Fifty nine years after statehood, has one folicy built upon another compelled Alaska to become a failing state?

My 2014 race for Governor of Alaska predicted and attempted to expose both the Parnell & Walker wrecking crews and their nefarious plans for Alaska.  While Captain Zero (Parnell) was defeated, Walker, through several unsavory tactics, emerged victorious as an, "Independent."  Walker immediately set to work to implement his agenda.  It has proven to be The Grand Folicy at the expense of All other Alaskans, and their futures.  As an attorney, Walker has mastered the arts of subterfuge and obfuscation.  Walker has repeatedly overturned well established traditions and laws to further his distorted vision at every opportunity.  Walker has literally sacrificed the people and land of Alaska for his irrational obsession to partner with Communist China to create an unprofitable natural gas pipeline.  This pipedream alone will devastate Alaska, if it is allowed to proceed.

At this time of rising oil prices and revenue and record Permanent Fund Portfolio Gains, instead of taking the opportunity to right size government, Alaska's corrupt political elite have decided to double down on the Grand Folicy to confiscate more and more private wealth to continue to fund bloated state government.  As anticipated, they are proposing statewide sales and income taxes, as well as implementing and raising a myriad of other local and state fees.  Alaska's corrupt political elite aim to take care of their cronies, regardless of the fallout on average Alaskans.

Walker's Grand Folicy has twice seized the bulk of the PFD, with collusion from the Alaska Legislature, as well as corporate, media and globalist interests.  Those larcenous acts alone have greatly increased the severity of Alaska's recession by withholding billions of dollars from the people of Alaska and the Alaskan economy.  Alaska's Golden Goose, the PFD, was once a globally envied model of citizen ownership of resources and wise economic policy.  It was designed to be a perpetual economic engine producing larger and larger eggs.  Individual PFDs were projected to be over $5,000 in 2018.  Now, the PFD has been gutted, by the farmyard foxes, and is about to be butchered and consumed, feathers, beak, feet and all.

Years of reckless bipartisan fiscal and public folicies have fostered expansive local and state governments.  In 2016, it was estimated that Alaska expended combined state/federal funds of $14,290.00 per capita, the highest rate in the nation by far.   Alaska remains both heavily constricted via Federal land ownership and resource control, while heavily subsidized by and over reliant upon Federal government payments, grants and projects, as well as its own bloated state government.  Its Medicaid expansion program added 42,500 to the rolls.  Now 196,762 Alaskans or more than 27% of the population are on Medicaid for an additional cost to Alaska of $100,000,000 this year.

Even with this excessive per capita spending, Public Safety is routinely compromised as street and highway maintenance as well as other services are wrongly deferred in order to hold the public hostage during budget negotiations.  Also, despite all the massive public spending, Education and Health results in Alaska routinely rank at the bottom nationally, while crime ranks at the top.  Real lives and opportunities are lost and destroyed as a direct result of the continued implementation of such misguided public folicy.

Faith in the criminal justice system has collapsed.  Too many unaccountable activist judges.  Too much disparity in justice between the elites and the average citizen.  Too many nonviolent offenders trapped and punished forever in an ineffective penal system.  Too many politically based decisions outside of the Rule of Law.  Too many violent felons being released into communities in droves without warning.  Too many Law enforcement too often seemingly at odds with the populace.  Justice and the Rule of Law have eroded as a result of leaders ignoring and deriding the Constitution rather than truly keeping their oaths to uphold the rule of law while serving the public with integrity.

With the longest, and only Arctic coastline in the nation, Alaska remains largely undefended.  There are present and real threats (more surfacing daily) from Russia (which borders Alaska), China and North Korea.  The Russians have been busy fortifying their Far East and Arctic military installations.  Russia and China continue to make aggressive military maneuvers near Alaskan waters and airspace.  Anchorage is well within North Korea's nuclear strike range.  The State of Alaska needs to activate, arm and vigorously train the Alaska Defense Force to proactively protect the heartland and coasts of Alaska.

Governor Walker, a true petty neo-tyrant, and his sycophants in the Alaska Legislature, are eager to sell out the future of Alaskans to the Communist Chinese government, and to globalism.  Walker will not stop at any deception, manipulation or intimidation to steal PFD dollars and more to fund his delusional pipe dream.  He is literally hell-bent on building an ill-advised natural gas pipeline from the arctic to a warm water port, to be funded from Alaska's public legacy.  To add insult to injury, he's also foolishly inviting a permanent and formidable Communist Chinese presence to establish itself within the State of Alaska to develop and control huge gas fields and sensitive infrastructure.  What's wrong with this picture?  When the (democratically elected) Governor seems more interested in courting a murderous totalitarian regime than listening to his own citizens, it is clear the Corrupt Old Bastards Club (COB) remains alive and well in Alaska.  It has transfigured itself.  It is now gender and party neutral, an equal opportunity force of corruption.  The COBs have played, and continue to play a large part in Alaska's unfolding failures.  They will need to be completely uprooted, if Alaska is to truly move forward.

As a candidate, "Independent," Walker even convinced Sarah Palin and the Alaskan Independence Party to endorse him in the 2014 General Election.  He went on to defeat Palin's former running mate, and sitting Republican Alaska Governor, Sean Parnell in an upset, 48.1% to 45.9%.  The margin of victory was only 2.2%, or smaller than either the CP (2.5% ) or LP (3.2%) votes.  Leaving those parties with the so-called balance of power vote, clearly indicating that many Alaskans are really seeking an alternative to the status quo.

Voter turnout in Alaska has been low to moderate with 17.22% in the August 2016 Primary election and 60.77% in the November 2016 General election.  The lack of public engagement has allowed relatively small political cabals to seize control of elected and appointed office.  They have thereby hijacked public policy for decades to suit their private agendas.  It doesn't matter if power has been held by Republicans, Democrats or Independents.  They can all be COBs.  There is no longer any sense that the government is serving the best interests of the public.  True government oversight and accountability is practically nonexistent, except for the ACP, and its Tundra Coalition allies.

For better or worse, political representation in Alaska is fragmented into several political parties and groups.  The election laws make it confusing and difficult to establish and maintain a new political party.  Campaign rules are strict.  Mistakes are potentially severely punished with huge fines.  There are four officially state recognized political parties.  They are the Alaska Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Alaskan Independence (AIP) Parties.  There are also Limited Political Parties.  They only run a Presidential ticket.  In 2016, the AK Constitution and Green Parties were in this category.  There are also several official Political Groups.  These are the Alaska Constitution, Green, Veteran's, Patriot's, Moderates, Progressives, Twelve Visions and UCES Clowns parties.  The largest blocks of voters are Undeclared and Non-affiliated.

Then there is the Bureau of Fear, otherwise known as The Alaska Public Offices Commission or simply APOC.  APOC was allegedly instituted to thwart political corruption, but has instead become a direct assault on citizen involvement in the political process. The official APOC Mission is, "To encourage the public's confidence in their elected and appointed officials by administering Alaska's disclosure statutes and publishing financial information regarding the activities of election campaigns, public officials, lobbyists and lobbyist employers."  Sounds good, but in practice, its onerous rules and disproportionately huge fines for minor infractions dissuade the average citizen from even contemplating a run for public office.  APOC routinely terrorizes and silences many Alaskans who want to establish true political alternatives.

2018 looks like it may be a repeat of the same choreographed elections we've witnessed for years.  There is hope in several of the candidates lining up for the many legislative races, and in a few running for Governor.  Unfortunately, Walker/Mallott have filed as Independents to retain their seats.  Former Republican Senator Dunleavy (current favorite), and former Republican Speaker of the House, Chenault, as well as several lesser known candidates have also already filed for Governor in the Republican primary, which will likely be crowded.  The Libertarians will likely have a ticket.  It isn't known what the Democrats will do.  Even though it is a qualifying race to become an officially State recognized Political Party, it is unlikely the Alaska Constitution Party will field a Gubernatorial ticket in 2018.  Likely, the ACP will look at endorsing the Gubernatorial candidate of another party, if asked.  It is widely thought that the seat will revert to a GOP candidate in 2018, especially without the participation of the ACP.   

A big part of the problem is that most of the current candidates are incumbents who were in power in Juneau over the past few years presiding over the precipitous decline of Alaska.  Like wicked swamp puppets, they've emulated the worst of Washington D.C. politics.  They have usurped authority, created a protected enclave in Juneau for themselves and set into motion a cascading effect of statewide destruction.  All in a nakedly vain attempt to satisfy their lust for power and control.  Hopefully a decent candidate, such as Senator Dunleavy will prevail.

More than half of Alaska's population of 730,000 live in the Anchorage metropolitan area.  Anchorage is basically a Sanctuary City.  Often referred to by Alaskans as, "Los Anchorage."  Criminals and gangs now cast a blanket of fear over the city. Shootings, stabbings and general mayhem are on the rise.  There are unsolved serial killings.  Many areas are unsafe.  Uncontrolled illegal immigrants roam freely throughout the land.  Meanwhile the native population is increasingly demonized, restricted and taxed beyond endurance.

Alaska endures some of the highest suicide, substance abuse, domestic abuse, sexual assault, violent crime and sexually transmitted disease rates in the nation.  Substandard housing and an insufficient sanitation, transportation and utility infrastructure further hamper progress.  Vast regions of Alaska resemble third world conditions without running water, sewer or on-grid power.  Corrupt public folicy has perpetuated the economic and moral poverty and lack of development throughout much of Alaska.

Now, with the historical bipartisan Federal multi-trillion dollar hyper-deficit budget being signed, the unbridled corruption within has become so great that our nation is at real risk of soon perishing before our eyes.  Is Alaska the proverbial canary in the coal mine?  It appears as if Juneau has become the mini-me of Washington, D.C.  Obviously, we need a quick shift to a new political paradigm.  One that is focused on We The People, the Constitution and the Rule of Law.  We need a strengthened Tundra Coalition of like minded individuals and groups of which I have spoken before.

There are hopeful signs that Alaskans are waking and taking action.  The Constitution Party was able to place its Presidential nominee, Darrell Castle on the Alaskan ballot in 2016 via petition.  The Alaska ballot is where Castle received his highest vote percentage in the nation at 1.21%.  Though it was not enough to maintain Limited Party ballot access for the Constitution Party, it gave thousands of Alaskans a real option without compromise of their sacred ballots. 

Will such efforts be enough in 2018, and in time to restore the government to its proper limited role?  Or, will it be too little, too late?  Time will tell and it will likely be sooner, rather than later as markets, geopolitics and history relentlessly impose their wills and pressures upon Alaska and the USA.  Hopefully soon, the struggle will no longer be between philosophies of Liberty & Tyranny, but rather between competing Humanist and Creationist visions of Constitutional Liberty.  I envision the Constitution and Libertarian Parties, or at least their basic philosophies, as poised to be the likely contenders to inherit what's left of our system.  After the current scourge of  public apathy and political corruption ends, and the gold dust settles, that is.

A bold crime was committed in plain view of all.  I am a witness, one of many.  Just as it reached its greatest potential, Alaska was hijacked, plundered and pillaged for billions of dollars by those who proclaimed to be its protectors, its saviors.  It will take a true miracle indeed to turn Alaska around and into a viable State.  The land will remain in some shape or form, but what of the people?  Believers should be in earnest prayer about Alaska's future.  It will require divine intervention, a mass change of heart and boots on the ground.  Short of a Constitution Revolution, expect further brain drain, and an exodus of talent and capital as more Alaskans choose to vote with their feet and their dollars in search of a better life elsewhere.

Without a renaissance of hope, a vicious cycle of desperate dependence will accelerate.  Those reliant upon government will grow in proportion to the productive citizens and squeeze them more and more of their energies.  Instead of downsizing to a sustainable level, the government has taken the known path to misery.  They have chosen the treacherous path of increasing wealth confiscation, regulation and population control to maintain the corrupt political elite.  This has already further destabilized the economy, forcing increased capital flight from Alaska.

Hopefully, sour dough Alaskans of all political persuasions will rise up at the ballot box and throw off the yoke of their oppressors this November.  Hopefully, many will choose to run for office themselves.  Hopefully, others will decide to support a campaign of their choosing with funds and volunteer time.  How refreshing it would be to have a glut of liberty candidates generating high public interest and voter turnout.

The defenders of the Constitution must remain strong and united, regardless of party affiliation.  The Alaska Constitution Party will continue to uphold a high standard.  The ACP, and its allies in the Tundra Coalition, will remain the impetus for true political correction and reform in Alaska.  In the Land Of The Midnight Sun, freedom loving Alaskans must choose to act as catalysts of restoration together.  There is no one else.


Bob said...

I feel you love and caring for your adopted home. The most we can do is tell people the truth and offer them light to show them the path back to the right standard where there is blessing.

J.R.Myers said...

Yes, we must continue to be witnesses to the truth, even (and most often) when it is unpleasant to the status quo.

J.R.Myers said...