Archive for August 23rd, 2010
Many years ago now, post Roe v. Wade but prior to more recent Alaska Supreme Court decisions, WC from time-to-time served as a guardian ad litem in a series of children’s cases. One such case involved a 15-year old girl who was pregnant, by her father. Because she was only 15 years old, it took her a while to figure out what was going on. And in addition to being sexually abused by her father, she had been physically abused him. And her mother wasn’t in the picture. Let’s see how that would play out under Ballot Measure #2.
Dad wouldn’t consent to an abortion for “religious reasons,” so parental consent wasn’t possible. Under Ballot Measure #2, a doctor who performs an abortion without parental consent or a court order faces five years in the slammer. So what would this 15 year old victim do? She’d have to work up the courage to either go to court – a process WC’s ward wouldn’t have even known about – or find someone willing to help with the extended sworn affidavit process available as another option.
Most teenagers won’t know about the court option or the affidavit option. Even if they could find a physician who would conduct the procedure under the ambiguously written affidavit procedure.
It comes to this: some parents think their rights as parents outweigh the right of WC’s former ward to avoid adding childbirth to the rape, incest and physical assault she had already suffered. Or the even greater dangers of a back-alley abortion. Or suicide. These are parents who live in a world where rape and incest never happen to teenagers. Where parents and siblings never assault children. WC doesn’t know where that world is, but it’s not in Alaska. And WC is deeply suspicious of any parent who values his or her “rights” as parents over the safety and sanity of children.
WC will be voting “No” on Ballot Measure #2.
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
Last week, the New York Times posted an mostly accurate, but very unflattering portrait of Alaska. Alaskans collectively come across as a bunch greedy hypocrites. Sometimes it can be instructive to see yourself as others see you, This is one of those times.
And the hypocrisy is everywhere. Some examples:
The Times noted that Alaska receives $5.76 in federal highway funds for every $1.00 it contributes. Even though Alaska has fewer miles of highways all but a few of the smaller states. And yet State Representative Carl Gotto told the Time, “‘I’ve introduced legislation to roll back the federal government,’ he says. ‘They don’t have solutions; they just have taxes.’”
Alaska received 2010 federal stimulus funds in 2010 amounting to $3,145 per resident. That’s by far the highest among the 50 states. South Dakota was second with $1,781. Alaska has an unemployment rate of 8.5%, putting it in the middle of the states. By contrast, Nevada has an unemployment rate of 14.0%, yet received just $1,034 per capita.
It’s not just these specific programs. Federal funding sources amount to about 40% of the total Alaska economy, according to a March 2010 study by the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Economic and Social Research (“ISER”). About 15% is defense-related spending; about 25% is non-defense. If you look at core income, federal spending, not the petroleum industry, is by far the largest source, almost twice as large as the petroleum industry. If you look at employment, the federal sector is significantly larger than the petroleum sector. By any measure, the largest employer is the State of Alaska is the federal government.
So when you see candidates like Joe Miller pledging to shrink the federal budget, understand they are also pledging to brutalize the Alaska economy. A dramatic reduction in federal spending in Alaska won’t just impact federal employees; it will also affect everyone who feeds, clothes, houses, heats and provides services to those employees. Alaska is certainly going to have to wean itself from its heavy reliance on federal funds – Uncle Ted and his seniority are gone forever. Federal spending is going to contract. But Alaskans don’t have to make the reduction any more brutal than necessary. Is Miller so ignorant of Alaska’s economics that he doesn’t understand, or is he just another hyocrite?
The ex-governor rails about federal spending, yet when she was Mayor of Wasilla, she hired a consulting firm to help the town of Wasilla get more federal pork, to the tune of about $25 million. And don’t get WC started on Caribou Barbie’s stunts on the Garvina Bridge, the so-called “bridge to nowhere.”
WC receives email from readers who rage about the federal deficit, but work for the federal government. WC has asked them if they are willing to take a pay cut to reduce the deficit. The emails back in response are not suitable for publication.
It’s pretty clear that Alaskans aren’t objecting to the fat federal checks; at least they don’t if they are smarter or more honest than Joe Miller. No, Alaskans object to the strings that those rascally federal bureaucrats attach to their money. Stuff like endangered species listings for polar bears and beluga whales; clean air requirements that limit your right to poison your neighbor’s air; water quality requirements that keep placer miners from dumping all the silt they want into Alaska’s clearwater streams. How dare the feds tell us what to do? How dare those feds threaten to withhold our money if we don’t follow their rules.
Ironically, the ability of the feds to attach strings to their money traces to a series of US Supreme Court cases involving limitations on the use of federal dollars to pay for abortions. The shoe was on the other foot: those who oppose a woman’s right to choose – the rusty coat hanger crowd – passed severe restrictions on the right to use federal health dollars to fund abortions. The pro-choice folks challenged the statutes, and the SCOTUS basically said, “It’s the fed’s money, they can impose whatever conditions they want.” But when the same rule gets applied to the right-to-lifers crowd when the issue is endangered species, there are howls of protest. More hypocrisy.
But Alaskans are proud of their independence from government, as they cash their PFD checks. They are proud of their frontier spirit, while they line up for federal jobs. And Alaskans have been doing it so long that they can’t see it as hypocritical. Until someone from Outside holds up the mirror.