Would You Rather Freeze to Death, or Be a Socialist?

28 11 2008

On Thanksgiving weekend, when Americans are thinking of all they have to be grateful for, many are also burdened with worries about the future. Matters as fundamental as keeping warm are very real for thousands of Alaskans living in rural villages where the price of heating oil hovers around $10/gallon. The costs associated with flying heating oil out to rural communities that are off the road system is astronomical. Many communities are experiencing theft of heating oil by neighbors desperate to keep warm, and others in coastal communities are scouring the shore for driftwood to burn. These things are incomprehensible to most Americans, but are a stark reality in Alaska. Many families are abandoning the native subsistence lifestyle that their families have been living for thousands of years, and moving to Alaska’s urban centers because they feel they have no choice. This is causing a whole host of other challenges for the rural communities that are losing residents, and for the urban centers coping with the influx of rural Alaskans coping with culture shock.

For the past three years, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has been donating free heating oil to Alaska villages, and economically depressed communities in 23 states across the country. This has the effect you might imagine in Alaska. Some are deeply grateful. Those are usually the cold people. Others are furious at the gesture from this unapologetic socialist, and either accept the gift begrudgingly, or have outright refused to take it. Those in the latter category are starting to rethink their position facing the hard reality of the coming winter, and the fact that some rural families will be spending in excess of 40% of their income on heating fuel.

I am unsure if the irony of the socialist free fuel dilemma is lost on Alaskans. While some state leaders are squawking that

a) Chavez is a Socialist

b) Socialists are evil

Therefore we should reject them and all they stand for.

They seem to be OK with the fact that

a) Sarah Palin also gave away money for free fuel to all Alaskans in the form of an energy rebate check.

b) This sounds awfully…..socialist

c) Sarah Palin was openly railing against socialism and all things socialist across the country on the campaign trail.

Many say, “We shall forget this comparison because we don’t like cognitive dissonance and we shall not ever admit that a socialist idea has any merit at all, nor that any Alaskan might think we need to be doing the same thing as Hugo Chavez. Humph.”

The main difference, of course, is that Chavez is providing the fuel to rural communities that have at least a 70% Alaska Native population, and Sarah Palin gave it to everyone, including wealthy Anchorage residents who spent it on…whatever.

Speaking of the $1200 energy rebate check issued by Palin,

Anchorage Rep. Bob Lynn, a Republican, said he doubts the state would cut checks again because oil prices are dropping and the payment was meant to be a one-time measure.

Lynn said it’s not right for Alaska to receive oil from Chavez. “We need to be able to take care of our own. The United States needs to do something about this,” he said.

Still, Lynn added later, “It’s one thing for me to speak philosophical thoughts here in the warmth of my home in Anchorage. It’s another thing to have a wife and kids in danger of freezing to death out there.”

Bingo. It’s time for Alaskans and Americans to stop screaming “Socialist!” like it was a four-letter word and get over the reactionary knee-jerk rejection of an entire political philosophy because of the fear of a label. Fear of freezing should trump fear of a word. We need to address these problems using concepts with long-term solutions, and not be afraid to use what works because of how it sounds. And we need to recognize where the need exists most and focus our efforts there.

It’s going to take some conviction and courage from both sides of the aisle in Alaska to deal with this, especially considering the ironic anti-socialist rhetoric that came from our Governor on the VP campaign trail.

 


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201 responses

28 11 2008
rigger de quebec

Hi AKM – Missed Ya!

28 11 2008
susanne

Take the oil and laugh at Chavez. There’s nothing wrong with socialism per se (think Sweden), but don’t kid yourself about Chavez; he is a dictator, not a kindly socialist. And….he’s starting to lose the support of his country. Hope he doesn’t freak out and get more repressive. Good luck this winter.

P.S. If only Castro had some oil! It would be great for Alaska to take that, too.

28 11 2008
TheraP

Alaskans, do you want your gov campaigning for a guy who behaves like this? Watch his hand on his granddaughter. And if you’re a mandated reporter in GA, this mandates reporting!

http://firedoglake.com/2008/11/28/saxby-big-daddy-chambliss-creepy-thanksgiving-ad/

No, SP, this is not appropriate grampa behavior – Senator or no senator.

28 11 2008
TheraP

PS, sorry to “heat up” this blog with my former comment. I know you Alaskans need warmth… but not that kind!

28 11 2008
Martha Unalaska Yard Sign

I am Alaskan and I didn’t know this about Chavez – how interesting (and I SHOULD have known). I know – let’s thank him by sending SP to Venezuela in trade. We need warm, they need cold. There’s nothing colder than the lyin’ witch of the North!

28 11 2008
Sue in Kansas

I’d rather see some socialism than see ANYONE freeze. There is no excuse for anyone in this country to freeze or go hungry. That is not acceptable in this country, call me socialist if you will, but until the people of this country are ready to help those that are less fortunate, we are not the kind of society that I want to be a part of.
I just hope that your clueless Govenor takes some action for the sake of those folks, instead of focusing her attention on the lower 49. Especially since I’m sure that she is quite warm and comfortable in her fine home in Wasilla.

28 11 2008
Lara

I have concerns about the Chavez oil (although I’m not faulting those who take it). It’s a similar tactic to what the mafia often did, Al Qaida, etc. By giving away much needed comfort, education, something very valuable, they build loyalty and appreciation. The previous post said to take it and laugh. I think that is difficult. It’s counter to the nature of most of us. The answer isn’t to make those suffering reject comfort – and the answer is to address the need instead of letting others address it for us and weaken the fabric of our society.

On a different, and perhaps less politically correct and palatable note:
Can we (U.S./Alaska/indigenous cultures) afford to have teh indigenous cultures in Alaska continue living their traditional lifestyle. Is it the best use of our resources to sustain their lifestyle. I ask these as honest questions, not rhetorical questions. To some extent, we can find money for specific causes/issues. To some extent, if we support “x” there is less money for “y.” There are unfortunately far too many needy people and too few resources and if we support “x” it comes out of “y.”
I can imagine that there are benefits to society/Alaska/U.S. to support their indigenous lifestyle. I don’t know enough to know what they are and therefore can’t balance them against the obvious difficulties and expense of maintaining their lifestyle.
ANd I know that it would be an extreme hardship on the people. Heartbreaking. I’m not uncaring about that. They aren’t the only ones. I also have a very pragmatic and prosaic side that says tough decisions have to be governed by rational analysis as well as our hearts.
Please don’t yell at me. I will listen to those who help me understand. Not real interested in listening to those who yell at me as if what I don’t know seems to them intuitively obvious to the most casual observer (just assume I’m dense and slow).

28 11 2008
ira2

“Fear of freezing should trump fear of a word.”

Yeah. No kidding.

Thanks for this post, AKM… it hits close to home, even though I’m nowhere near Alaska.

28 11 2008
Richard

Chavez may be many things, but he is not, at least according to all common definitions, a dictator.

28 11 2008
pvazwindy

Read where he made the offer again this year. SP has done nothing for Alaskan natives, even tho married to one.

28 11 2008
whichferret

Oh but W doesn’t like Chavez so he MUST be a bad guy. That is how the world works…isn’t it?

And oh yes we should be taking care of our own country, but we sure as hell are not. And doesn’t taking care of things include getting help wherever it comes from? Oh right, again it is better to have the world watch while our people freeze, drown, starve, whatever than to take help from someone that W doesn’t like.

But I will go and crawl back under my rock now because I am obviously an angry, ugly feminist or something

28 11 2008
jan jan (Possum)

A note to Lara-
Can we, the indigenous, afford to have you, the outsider and foreigner to our land, destroy OUR way of life so you can fish our waters and drill holes in our land and entertain yourselves with the beauty our ancestors called home? What right do you have to decide on our way of life? Oh, I forgot, the same right all the previous foreigners had when they came and claimed the east coast and moved ever west, then north killing anyone who stood in their way.

28 11 2008
Sue in Kansas

I sure don’t think Chavez is a good person, and I understand how doing this could be used to win the hearts and minds, so to speak, but the fact that our own government is not doing enough, is disgusting to me. When you have the reality that most of our government leaders live very rich and comfortable lives it’s sad that many of them don’t feel empathy for others.
Lara, I understand what you are saying, and being pragmatic myself, I have had the same thoughts about the Native Alaskans. I do wonder however, if they were forced to change the lifestyle that they are accustomed to, would we have many more social problems? It seems like it would be a shame to see the end of life that has so much heritage for so many Alaskans. I sure don’t know the answer, but my heart goes out to Native Alaskans. I hope that the someone on the state or national level, or possibley some private charity can do something for them.

28 11 2008
Martha Unalaska Yard Sign

@ pvazwindy

“SP has done nothing for Alaskan natives, even tho married to one.”

The Dud is only 1/8 native – and doesn’t appear to either have influence over his wife or to care for any stake in his native heritage other than to use it to make money.

28 11 2008
Martha Unalaska Yard Sign

I’m feeling really dumb here that I didn’t know about this. I just sent this link to the RM show, but don’t know the link for KO. Is it just me, or has this situation just slid under the radar somehow? I think this should be out in the open for all to know about in all of its glory and weirdness.

28 11 2008
Goalie in NM

Why is socialism such a bad word? I have defended my “liberalism”…all of my life. Since when did it become a “socialist” thing to want all the little children in school to have a carton of milk on their tray, or a warm lunch in their little tummy?

Meh…the system of socialism CAN be good for everyone – it’s those in charge that can ruin a perfectly good institution whether it be a labor union, a university or even a marriage!

28 11 2008
Sue in Kansas

Goalie in NM you are so right.

28 11 2008
Greytdog

Whenever we buy gasoline for our cars from Exxon Mobile, BP, or whomever, are we then complicit in the destruction of the environment? Are we tacitly saying we support the drilling of the Arctic, the offshore drilling of the Gulf of Mexico?
You don’t have to like someone’s politics in order to take whatever they are offering. . . we know that Chavez is offering this as a PR and political ploy. . . if our leaders against socialism don’t like it, they need to come up with an alternative plan and implement it. Otherwise, shut up.

28 11 2008
Moose Pucky

Welcome back, AKM. I am thankful for “change”. All countries have socialism to one degree or another. It’s just a matter of where the support is directed. To education?
To health care? To support green jobs? Or to oil companies? Corporate agriculture? Banks? Insurance companies? Too frequently the checks have gone out to those who have been able to afford the most high-powered lobbyists. Kudos for change!!!

In this light, we have just a few days to help out the Jim Martin for Senate campaign in Georgia. There’s more info posted in the Action Alert Section of the Forum. Write letters, get on the blogs, make calls. http://www.martinforsenate.com/home.html

28 11 2008
NMJ

Why is there even any question of accepting this gift? SP is, as far as I can tell, the only Socialist governor in the U.S. She gave the “energy rebate” checks to every man, woman, and child (let’s see, how much did her family of 7 get?) in AK in order to buy their favor, when she should have used it to build infrastructure and support systems for people who she knows face always-worsening life and death conditions in the AK winter.

Alaskans, wake up! Instead of complaining about Socialism, direct your anger to the proper target that’s right in front of you. Dump your self-centered, do-nothing, hardly-ever-in-Alaska Governor, and vote into office a Democratic governor who does what the job description says: Work hard to make the lives of Alaskans better in ways that produce concrete, observable, physical results.

Those of you who don’t vote are making your own lives worse.

28 11 2008
Anonymous

My 1/4 Native trumps Stalker Boy’s 1/8. Neener. Lara, many cultures in the history of our world have been lost due to somebody’s idea of the greater good. The argument, “can we afford to let this go on,” can be applied to many many things once you start down that path. Deciding who shall give up their culture or keep it, based on affordability, is just not an acceptable strategy to me. My Native grammy was spit on when colonists came to Alaska in the 30’s, even though she had been adopted and “assimilated.” Why? Because she still LOOKED Native. Can we really afford to continue “assimilating” people?

I knew that Chavez has given free heating oil to folks in the cold parts of the lower 48, but it hadn’t occurred to me that he was giving it to oil-rich Alaska. Irony, yes.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

My 1/4 Native trumps Stalker Boy’s 1/8. Neener. Lara, many cultures in the history of our world have been lost due to somebody’s idea of the greater good. The argument, “can we afford to let this go on,” can be applied to many many things once you start down that path. Deciding who shall give up their culture or keep it, based on affordability, is just not an acceptable strategy to me. My Native grammy was spit on when colonists came to Alaska in the 30’s, even though she had been adopted and “assimilated.” Why? Because she still LOOKED Native. Can we really afford to continue “assimilating” people?

I knew that Chavez has given free heating oil to folks in the cold parts of the lower 48, but it hadn’t occurred to me that he was giving it to oil-rich Alaska. Irony, yes.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

sorry, I’m not at my own computer and forgot my name the first time. double post!

28 11 2008
Martha Unalaska Yard Sign

@ Anonymous

Are you Alaska Pi? What happened – oh no – you are hardly anonymous!

28 11 2008
Sue in Kansas

womanwithsardinecan, your spot on comment was worth repeating.

28 11 2008
Lara

@Sue in Kansas: I do wonder however, if they were forced to change the lifestyle that they are accustomed to, would we have many more social problems? It seems like it would be a shame to see the end of life that has so much heritage for so many Alaskans.

I wonder the same things – but you articulated them better. I hope someone has some more thoughts.
I do think it would be shame to see the end of so much heritage. What I don’t know are the costs and alternatives to balance against all kinds of other injustices and tragedies in the world.
Again, if you wish to answer, please assume i’m dense and slow and ignorant, and not that I’m callous. (heck, I may be callous and not realize it, but I’m not going to respond well to yelling. But then again, if you are so infuriated that yelling makes you feel good, then go ahead and yell. I do that myself sometimes. All depends on your goals, and both are understandable)

28 11 2008
Martha Unalaska Yard Sign

@ womanwithsardinecan

I thought you were my sister Alaska Pi – your story sounds like ours! Our Aleut grandmother was plucked from her home & family by a Russian Orthodox family – never to see her home or siblings again. She settled as a homesteader in the Valley & raised 11 children, who were all spit on & made fun of, too by the colonists. And my 1/4 native trumps the Dud’s as well!

28 11 2008
NMJ

Of course, after a moment of thought, I realized that the Alaskans who read this blog are probably among those who vote. How many native people don’t vote? Is there a way of contacting them to register them and assisting them in voting? Would their numbers tip the red/blue scale? It’s probably impossible to have much contact with them in winter, but the earlier we can work with them, the better, especially if there’s a movement to recall SP.

Obviously, this is taking the long view, but the sooner this is addressed, the better. In the meantime, take the oil…please!

28 11 2008
Kelly M

Not only are fuel prices in the bush insanely high, but bad weather can mean a delivery of that much needed fuel doesn’t arrive for months. The Natives who are getting the fuel need it because they’ve ended up living a partially “white” life and have ended up needing things that cost money (fuel, non subsistance style foods and American style clothing for example) but the economy in the villages doesn’t provide for decent jobs. They are stuck between a rock and a (cold) hard place and, in my opinion, deserve as much help as possible. Not everyone is designed to live in the urban areas of Alaska and maybe with a little socialist help, someone in a village can be a little better off this winter.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

martha, it’s me in Arcata.

28 11 2008
Pacificnwgal

America is not purely captalistic country anyway. We have many social programs from the beginning of our country that makes socialism perfectly acceptable for the when it is applied for the greater good. The politicians knew this. The Republicans are just using “socialism” as propaganda to futher their failing and unrealistic cause. If Chavez wants to help people, more power to him.

Why didn’t Palin use the rebate money to reduce fuel prices overall? This rebate thing is a purely Republican idea of giving money back to people. Many people do not use it to pay for fuel, so what’s the point? Then the native peoples and poor should get extra assistance besides this. I guess they think the only thing people are interested in is almighty buck — straight hard cash. But, this apparently didn’t solve the problem. I wouldn’t call this wise governance. The same with this stimulus check. Ridiculous.

28 11 2008
Martha Unalaska Yard Sign

@ womanwithsardinecan

I’m kinda dense today – and you changed your name! I was thinking of changing mine to Palling Around With Tourists.

28 11 2008
phoebe

To take away Native Alaskans’ lifestyle does not seem like a viable solution. I have no idea what the solution is. As Governor of Alaska this certainly seems like a vital issue that I would be working on with the powers that be…I’d put 2012 on the back burner & keep my tush in Alaska for awhile & deal with the dire problems & needs of the Alaskan people.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

martha, that’s a good name. I forgot I didn’t tell you I changed my name.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

I like how you said my story sounds like yours. lol. yes, it does.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

sorry for the digression, folks. I am Martha’s California sister.

28 11 2008
Sue in Kansas

Phoebe, I don’t think Sarah Palin has the will or the brains to solve the many problems Alaskans are faced with. I’m not sure that empathy is in her limited vocabulary, and she seems not to look past her own self interest. I would be willing to bet that she takes full advantage of any benefits that the first dude is entitled to as part Native.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

Sarah Palin wouldn’t know empathy if it bit her on the butt. And she believes that SHE is the poster girl of Alaska, not those pesky Natives who are always wanting a say in how their state is run.

28 11 2008
phoebe

@Martha & Womanwithsardinecan

Too funny.

28 11 2008
Mired...in the Pine Barrens

I don’t want to seem insensitive to Native Alaskans, so please forgive me if my question shows my ignorance of the issues and realities of daily life in remote areas of AK. And, I am totally against drilling or desecrating natural habitats which provide for their needs. That being said, is this heating oil crisis a result of some recent change in their environment? If not, how was providing heating oil for these areas handled before?

28 11 2008
John Mashey

Within 100 years, there will be almost no petroleum for anyone. Is someone in AK thinking ahead to that time?

28 11 2008
sjk

let them eat moose. it seems that chavez is more in tune with AK than her royal travesty palin.

28 11 2008
yukonbushgrma

NMJ (12:30:54) :
“It’s probably impossible to have much contact with them in winter, but the earlier we can work with them, the better, especially if there’s a movement to recall SP.”

……Most of the villages have pretty good email! …….

28 11 2008
Laurie

@Lara…I am sure you meant no harm with your statement…but it was pretty challenging. I live in an area of my country with the native people are very proud of their lifestyle and thier heritage. I believe it is their right to live as they choose…on lands that belong to them. Heaven knows my ancestors did more than enough damage in years gone by…and to some extent today.

28 11 2008
Regi

We’ve always been somewhere between pure capitalism and pure communism. Hence, socialism. Most people figure that out by fifth grade or at least high school. Then go into denial for political reasons. I know people who gleefully accept social security checks, use public facilities, get on welfare benefits or have family that do, apply for medicare and/or medicaid when they’re benefitless and sick, apply for and grab at any social program or extras that benefit their own children and STILL rail against “socialism”. People are nuts and most just don’t want to pay a fair share of taxes all the while bitching about the state of the economy, our decaying infrastructure, terrorism and anti-war protestors.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

@ Pacificnwgal (12:35:07) :Why didn’t Palin use the rebate money to reduce fuel prices overall?
****************
The money never really got a good debate in the leg. Who was going to argue against it? There were other options, but never saw real discussion. One such option was to subsidize the fuel distributors (of which there are only 5) to 2004 levels. This would have benefited not only individuals, but schools, municipalities, non-profits and businesses. It never saw the light of day because it would not have benefited the Anchorage area where all the political clout resides, and natural gas is available and heats most homes and businesses.

Also, the subsidy idea would have cost about 350 million, while SP’s plan cost 780 million dollors.
Fiscal responsibility and effectiveness had nothing whatsoever to do with the so called “energy rebate”.

28 11 2008
DrChill

We might have to “worry” about socialism if the government owns and operates the means of production. EG: A bailout of GM with strings attached.

What seems to underly the misuse of the term socialism is a misplaced concern and misunderstanding of the nature of government assistance to the poor and needy. Its often a cover-up for racist sentiments.

We heard similar noise about “welfare”. Not the “..and promote the general welfare..” of our founding fathers, but the government program.

Anyone really concerned about socialism should be concerned about a possible bailout of GM, not keeping citizens from freezing.

28 11 2008
Irishgirl Rosebud.

@TheraP,
Do you mind if I post that video on the forum?

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Another side note: Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is immensely popular in his country. You may or may not know the name under which Venezuelan fuel is marketed: Citgo.

Anytime you stop at a Citgo station, you are effectively supporting his country. If he wants to return the favor by giving free fuel back to the needy of this country, why is that any different than what other large corps do?

Meanwhile, we by untold billions of Chinese goods, are in hock up to our eyeballs to the Communist Chinese government….oh hell, none of it makes sense.

28 11 2008
HamletsMill

“Cognitive dissonance” was the religion of the United States for the last eight insane years! It was a growth industry. It is our greatest national product.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

oops! typo: buy, not by. sorry, got worked up there.

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

mired…somebody still in Alaska can probably answer your question better, but I’ll try my convoluted best to take a stab. I think it’s a little like trying to get cheap seafood in Kodiak (is it still like that? I never did get a seafood dinner in Kodiak, except for some clams I got myself). The oil doesn’t stay in Alaska. I”m not sure it is even refined in Alaska (somebody?). The cost of flying stuff around Alaska is prohibitive due to…………….fuel costs! Alaskans, am I getting any of this right? Everything that goes to Alaska has to go by plane or boat, with cost based on weight. Doesn’t a bunch of the crude go to Japan? Anyway, back to the original question about what has changed. The cost of shipping and moving stuff around has gone up up up all over the entire country, not just Alaska. It is just worse up there. And add in that the villages aren’t on routes that are commercially profitable. All cost, no profit. Imagine the irony of paying California prices (or higher it seems) for heating oil when there is a giant pipeline running past your village.
I don’t know how much I got right with this. I just know that when I managed a business in Juneau I lived and breathed shipping costs. And had dreams about the high price of gas (omg, I remember having a dream in Juneau that I yelled at a gas station attendant because gas was $1.59 per gallon!).

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Thank you, AKM for posting this topic. I treasure our Alaska Native culture. It is the pride of my being, and my core to recognize my heritage. I believe that the current energy crisis in Alaska has done more in 6 months than 200 yrs of colonialism, missionaries, land theft, discrimination and disease has attempted to accomplish.

Even tho fuel prices have gone down, and our State’s economy will reflect that, the prices in rural Alaska have not. Fuel is barged in, and price is set when the fuel is purchased. The national average at the pumps now is below $2. In my town, we are still paying over $5, and will until the new load arrives in a couple of months. (Funny, it went up faster, however). We are located on Prince William Sound–Cordova. A small town of 2,000, served by one supplier only. I don’t understand the oil biz, or it’s distribution economics, but we are (as the crow flies), 45 miles from a refinery.

“Socialism” is a no-no, but monopoly is A-OK.

28 11 2008
DrChill

BTW here in New York there is a home energy assistance program ‘HEAP’ for those of us who use oil for heating and can’t afford it.

heap.org

No-one here calls it socialism, but then again NY is pretty ‘blue’.

28 11 2008
Diane

I took great offense when I heard how much “pork” Sarah Palin got for Wasilla and Stevens took home for Alaska yet the state was wealthy enough to get a rebate checks in excess of $1,200.00 from an oil tax?
ANd if Sarah Palin was so smart and an oil expert as she was touted to be, why isn’t oil processed in the state?
And now Rep Lynn thinks that it is a US problem that Alaskans pay so much for fuel?
After Palin tells the nation that ALaskan’s own the oil in their state? Why should the rest of us pay for the people of Alaska to get your own oil?
Is something wrong with this picture that I am not understanding?

Maybe Rep. Lynn should tell Sarah Palin to get to the capitol and start working on Alaskan’s problems instead of running 4 years early for president?

Honestly, if she were my Gov. and was working as little as she is And I was paying her salary, I’d start a recall. Or a public outcry to get her to work.

28 11 2008
banjobailey

Oh, who knows what the designation of “socialism” means anyway. All it is is a Republican talking point designed to scare ignorant people into believing that communism itself still lives.
Stupid. Ridiculous. Completely irrelevant to solving the problems we all actually face. Typical Republicanism.
The people who accuse everyone of being “socialists” act as if they know what the heck it means in the first place. They DO NOT and, furthermore, they would never in a hundred years bother to find out anything whatever about any other political philosophy than their own…..which, truth be told, is NO political philosophy whatsoever. It is simply nativist, knee-jeck irrationality brought to the level of political discourse through rabid, right wing radio jocks.

28 11 2008
Irishgirl Rosebud.

@banjobailey,
I couldn’t agree more.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Diane–you bring up some of the conundrums I think about when trying to reconcile common sense and goodness with the machinations of our governments, both State and Fed. On one hand, it makes sense that Alaska should receive royalties from oil on State land. The problem with that scenario is the political process–the areas with the most political power, the urban centers, get the most from it; hence our rural problem. Never mind the resources come from the rural areas.

The Territory of Alaska was treated as a colony, and in many ways continues to be (particularly by the oil companies). The coming of Statehood helped, but the Feds still had and continue to hold, and great deal of the land base in it’s control. It is a good argument for our “earmarks”, and until we had seniority in the Senate and House, we did not get our due. We did not have to like Stevens nor Young, but we were/are in dire need of the infrastructure the Federal government sends our way.

The argument can be made we are currently a welfare state, but the balance in payments is still in our favor.

28 11 2008
Bev

It all comes down to one thing PALIN!!!
Get her butt back to Alaska and make her earn what you pay her.

She knew winter was coming, why did she not do something before now?
Know why??? She thought she would be living in Washington by now as VP elect and she could just ignore all of you…surprise to her.
And as Alaskans, why have you not protested either in writing, phone calls, emails etc…and get her to either do her job or get her out and put someone else in who “WILL” do the job, everyday!!!!!!!!!!!!

You get what you pay for.

28 11 2008
say no to palin in politics

forgive my ignorance on this topic but I can’t help wondering how the natives survived on their own for hundreds of years without assistance? how did they stay warm, what was their housing/shelter?

also, when a person says a native was plucked does that me abducted? stolen? enslaved? I don’t know Alaska’s native history.

as for Palin and the rebate, she knew full well that move would “buy love, support and votes” creep.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

So, really, it boils down to this: We do not have an energy crisis in rural Alaska; we have a crisis of political will.

If the citizens, if the leadership of this great State, WANTED to fix it, we could.

What DOES that say about us? For one, we are leaderless. For two, we do not care enough.

28 11 2008
Diane

I had to come back and say some more.
I’m horrified that I never even mentioned that fact that people will be freezing this winter and native cultures are disappearing because of this and other economic situations. We see this all over the US where small towns die because the jobs/fuel or whatever are not there to support them.
But it is worse when a culture dies out.

I’m just angry that Palin is getting a free ride and at this point, I don’t hesitate to say, lie about what she has done for Alaska.
And it makes me so angry that again, we have another worthless Republican, that is being hailed as our next savior. God, didn’t they learn anything from Bush?
WHat will it take to expose the fraud for what she is and what she is ans is not doing for the people she supposedly serves?

28 11 2008
ozmud

Welcome Back AKM and I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was a happy one🙂

Karl Marx gave socialism a bad rep. You say ‘socialism’ and most people visualize bread lines and threadbare coats and having to beg for an extra roll of toilet paper.

Chavez helping out his neighbours by giving them something his country has an abundance of, at a time when his neighbour is in great need – how is that socialism again? How is that a threat? If he asks for something in return you aren’t comfortable in giving – then just don’t🙂

But in the meantime – say thanks mister! Take the oil and stay warm because Lord knows your Governor isn’t going to keep you warm this winter!

Lynn-in-Australia

28 11 2008
CRFlats

@say no: My ancestors stayed warm with fur coats and garments. Their houses were made of sod and heated with a seal oil lamp. They were ingenious in living in their environment.

That world is gone, as are most of our ownership of those homelands. We now live in the 21st Century. We are 21st Century Natives attempting to keep alive a culture and continue to live on what is left of our homelands. It is amazing, but we are still here. We have adopted many new technologies, while at the same time, respecting the old.

28 11 2008
Newfoundland Dogs Rule

“For the past three years, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has been donating free heating oil to Alaska villages, and economically depressed communities in 23 states across the country.”

Massachusetts is one of the states that has taken Venezuela’s oil. Thank goodness. Yes, there are part of the state that are well off. There are plenty more that are not. Those are being hit hard this year. Western MA is one of them. We’re sort of forgotten out here. It’s absolutely beautiful, but mostly farm and low tech industry.

In fact, when Romney (remember him?) was running for Gov he made a point of mentioning he’d been over the whole state, Boston to Worchester. Hmmm. We’re an hour away from Worchester and still another 30 minutes to the border of NY.

So it’s good to have the oil, none of the Repubs remember we’re out here.

28 11 2008
say no to palin in politics

yeah, the Chavez giving oil thing…..I wonder if this oil dependency enabling is contrived by “who all”

not that I think the natives should suffer! or die, that’s terrible. Obviously we need to come up with a more green and sustainable solution to empower the native’s self sufficiency.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

About “we need to come up with a more green and sustainable solution to empower the native’s self sufficiency.”

Physician, heal thyself.

28 11 2008
BigPete

Chavez is just trying to embarrass us because this administration has abandoned the poor (see Katrina). WE SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED.

28 11 2008
pvazwindy

Martha Unalaska Yard Sign (12:24:45) :

@ Anonymous

Are you Alaska Pi? What happened – oh no – you are hardly anonymous!

***********************************************************************Are you offended?

28 11 2008
Ashkee Colorado

Thank you AKM for the excellent article. It is to your credit that there is variety in the topics of discussion here.

Thank you for all those who express compassion and empathy for those less fortunate. I would only hope that the new administration might bring with it some of the common sense wisdom expressed here.

28 11 2008
JimK

I have never heard of such a thing! If it is true the real disgrace is that American Citizens should need to take hand outs from a foreign
Power to survive. Things must be worse in the United States than
I imagined. To me the crime is that it’s necessary and I applaud Chavez
For his generosity. I would hope he takes care of his own people as well,
If not then I would boo him .

28 11 2008
ThirtyFiveUp

Somewhat off topic, but this poem was published at Pharyngula today and deserves wider circulation.

“Happy Thanksgiving
Today is the reason,
The gratitudiest season,
For thankfulness, laughter and joy.
To come all together
In all kinds of weather
Our bountiful world to enjoy.
Our turkey-filled tummies
‘And many more yummies,
Remind us how lucky we are.
So here’s to your happies,
All dripping with sappies,
From Anfractuous to y’all, near and far.”

28 11 2008
Frank LI,NY

What happened to the 9 1/2- 10 months when the price of oil was still up there? How can they say rebate checks are not gonna happen. It seems to me that at the very least, going with the $1200,00 per head it should be close to $900,00 a head. NO?

Or does my math really stink?

28 11 2008
womanwithsardinecan

I’ve been watching that saxby chambliss video again (can you say off-topic?). Too much. I dragged my husband in to see it. His jaw actually dropped. Oh Jon and Keith, look what we have for your return. With creepy chambliss and governors flitting around Obama, what a fun week ahead.

pvazwindy, she’s not offended, she’s confused (or was). Note subsequent comments by us.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Frank, Your math may be fine, I don’t know. But the check we received this year was TWO rolled into one: The usual PFD check (which is each residents share of oil royalties returned annually), and this year’s one time “energy rebate” check of $1200 added on. It was purely political (but nonetheless, welcomed by those in need).

28 11 2008
lettersfromeurope

Definitely believe that Natives would not have a problem if “non-Natives” were not consistently encroaching on the land needed to survive and forcing Natives to adapt to non-sustainable lifestyles for Alaska. What a Native is looking at is survival in a harsh environment and the understanding that survival depends on the group. What we “Whites” always look at is how to make a profit of everything, unsharing (as much into my pocket as possible) and we are unwilling (or we don`t know how) to adapt to a harsh environment.

I am oversimplifying of course, but I am disturbed by the thought that there would be “cost” to “keeping” a lifestyle, which in its origins was self-sustainable. The “cost” arises, if you remove the possibility of self-sustainability, the suppport of the group and do not give decent alternatives – Jobs, Education (of course holding tradition and lore in high esteem), Family Support etc.

I can´t speak for Alaska, but this pattern repeats all over the world. Valuable resources are depleted for short term profits. Architectural methods are forgotten or pushed aside, which helped people survive in harshest circumstances, because their tradition is deemed superfluous in the age of air-conditionors and heaters (Example Iran – where houses were built in a way to catch the wind, or Spain – where houses caught all the water on their surfaces and it was collected in underwater grottos – saw one house like that and the water was clean and fresh).

I´ll stop here. I think you can´t expect people to freeze out of an unfounded fear of “socialism”. It does not appear that Chavez is attaching any strings. I hope that all the “Natives” and “Non” will work together and the price (happiness, warmth, sustainability?) will be there for all to share. I know you can do it, if you all throw your knowledge and wisdom in one pot (and be forgiving).

Take care.

Oh and I thank the writing muses that AKM is back.

PS I read about Sod houses in Nebraska. Seems they lasted quite a long time, if well built.

28 11 2008
UK Lady

I hardly know how to articulate how disgraceful I find it that Sarah Palin thought the best way to distribute the oil bonus was to give every man, woman and child $1200 each. This was beyond stupid, and she actually boasts of it.

I am trying to understand (being admittedly ignorant of all the facts), how this was a long term viable use of an awful lot of money. The legistlature must have backed this inane plan.

So, already reasonably well off people with say three to four children got a nice fat cheque, while the struggling people had a short term boost, and then nothing.

How in hell is this called governing? Why isn’t there a huge outcry in Alaska about SP being AWOL! Why are people still defending this woman so loudly (read the comments in ADN for examples).

28 11 2008
Mother Who Thinks

Whoa! Such an absence of understanding about native people and their history among the Mudflatters! I guess that surprises me, though it shouldn’t. History, after all, is written by the conquerors.

Have things changed in rural Alaska since the arrival of non-natives? Can’t “those people” survive like they used to?

Umm….no.

With contact and exploitation came alcohol their systems could not handle, germs and bacteria that devastated their population, enslavement under the Russians, the break-up of families by removing the children to better assimilate them, the “Christianization” by missionaries, the denial of their own spiritual beliefs and the eradication of their mother tongues.

The native people in Alaska had sustainable lifestyles in place as long as 9,000 years ago. They lived all over Alaska before they pyramids were built in Egypt! They developed commerce, systems of law, social safety nets, some of the finest art in all history, a complex cosmology, healthy diets, natural medicines….

That all started deteriorating at a rapid rate subsequent to the arrival of explorers and then colonists under the Russians, 250 years at. The US “bought” Alaska from Russia, though no native people EVER signed treaties relinquishing their lands or their rights.

It was quiet in Alaska under territorial government, until the first part of the 20th century, when serious resource extraction began: gold, timber, salmon, other seafood, other metals and minerals. The exploitation and die-off of native people, started in the Russian era, picked up speed with tuberculosis, influenza epidemics, and other “white man” diseases they had no resistance to.

The insults – economic, cultural, racial, spiritual, environmental–
have not been enough to complete a genocide that was the (mostly) unspoken subtext of the non-native. Basically, the incoming population contented itself with pushing the natives aside, allowing them to struggle and decline, while prospering economically and remaking “THE GREAT LAND” into their own fiefs.

Native people endured and survived and have “renaissanced” in the late 20th century. But they are forever changed. Many, many suffer from a collective post-traumatic stress disorder. So much loss in such a short time! Such durable people with love for their tribes, their families, and their ancestral lands and subsistence lifestyles!

But if the issue is now, “Should they expect assistance in living a native, “village” lifestyle in this modern economy? Should the ‘haves’ pay for the ‘have nots’?” I have an answer.

Stop eating the food Alaskan lands and seas provide. Evacuate the cities. Return to where you came from. Stop extracting the resources that have made you rich. Leave behind your profits. Don’t worry about whether or not they will be cold in their village homes.

The Alaskan natives will figure it out. They’ve survived you over and over again already.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

UK Lady, It does seem obvious, doesn’t it? On the other hand, we are made up of the same electorate that elected W to a second term. The stupidity is not Alaska’s alone.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Mother who thinks: I LOVE YOU! SISTAH!

28 11 2008
Nancy

I just paid $1.829 a gallon for gas in Oregon which is the least I’ve paid since I bought my Honda Fit 2 years ago. I assume that means that the price of oil is the lowest it has been in the Palin Administration. I wonder how her popularity will hold up without a lot of cash to pass out.

28 11 2008
UK Lady

Mother Who thinks

Just wanted to say – that post was awesome. Thank you so much for enlightening me.

28 11 2008
fawnskin hussein mudpuppy

thank you, mother

28 11 2008
katanalori

Welcome back AKM, missed you! Mother Who Thinks – yes, awesome post.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

Lara (11:15:33) :
On a different, and perhaps less politically correct and palatable note:
Can we (U.S./Alaska/indigenous cultures) afford to have teh indigenous cultures in Alaska continue living their traditional lifestyle. Is it the best use of our resources to sustain their lifestyle.

Lara and the rest of the mudpups-
Thoughtful questions and insightful responses; Lara, as I reread your choice of words, two phrases jumped out at me:”can we afford” and “our resources”. If the lower 48 was completely subsidizing the Alaskan Natives’ lifestyle- all costs- then “we” might be able to make that decision. But “we” are not. We, the majority, the whites, the English, the pioneers- have made this decision before, wiping out Native American tribes, eradicating languages through boarding schools, because we couldn’t “afford” their lifestyles. In some cases native cultures vanished; in others, American Indian tribes have tried to adapt, fighting alcoholism, high unemployment, and other ills.

I didn’t get the sense that the state of Alaska was footing the entire bill for their native lifestyle, just that they needed help, as the state neglected to build roads, other infrastructure to get them the fuel they need.

Perhaps a statistic from an editorial in today’s Denver Post may shed some light on this issue:

“In the midst of America’s financial turmoil, it’s stunning to read that over the past 20 years the U.S. has created the largest gap between the wealthiest and poorest, particularly large since 2000 (surpassed only by Mexico and Turkey). No wonder we’re in such a mess.
This day after Thanksgiving, we should recall that about 691,000 children in America went hungry sometime in 2007, more than 60 percent above 2006’s number. Nationally, 36.2 million adults and children struggled with hunger last year.” (Joanne Ditmer)

I know the issue is fuel oil for heating, but it really is the same issue: I believe it is in our best interests to use America’s resources wisely for the benefit of all its citizens, not just the wealthy or the easily-helped.

Shame on SP, the Alaskan Legislators, the Republicans, any of us who begrudges an offer of help, no matter its motivation, if we aren’t willing to make the same offer ourselves.

Does Chavez’s offer smack of socialism? No, it smacks of the Golden Rule.

28 11 2008
katanalori

This is a good read, written about 2 months ago by an Alaskan Native:
http://www.opednews.com/articles/An-Alaska-Native-speaks-ou-by-Evon-Peter-080910-216.html

28 11 2008
angelle2

The woman ran as an “energy” expert?

Alaska – do the rest of us proud and expose her sorry soul for what it is!

Please pursue the building of her home. I am certain based on her seeming sense of entitlement that it was not outside of her radar screen to be in bed with contractors in unethical behavior.

28 11 2008
wired differently

Mother Who Thinks, Feels, Understands, Articulates so eloquently– I wish you were the Governor of Alaska.

28 11 2008
Val

If I lived remote and couldn’t afford it, I’d move.

28 11 2008
Lee323

I suspect that Chavez has been donating heating oil the last three years to depressed areas in our country because….first, he can…..and, second, the gesture makes a beautiful mockery of our government disguised in a Trojan horse of benevolence. The publicity of his benevolence reinforces his popularity at home and increases embarrassment for the US abroad.

For those who derive the warmth from the heating oil, a “rose by any other name is a rose.”

Shame on the US government that ANY of it’s citizens should not be able to keep warm in the winter, put food on the table, send their kids to college, or obtain adequate health care for their familes… without paupering themselves! Socialism. shmocialism.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

lettersfromeurope (15:31:02) :

Yes, sod houses lasted a long time in Nebraska; you can still see some of them today. (I grew up in Omaha).

I can’t remember who brought this up, but in Colorado, we have some of the same issues with oil/gas production and costs. Most of our oil and gas is shipped out-of-state; it depends on the price companies are willing to pay. We have a big oil refinery in Commerce City (northeastern Denver metro area), but don’t have cheap prices- sometimes that gas goes elsewhere, or sometimes the gas mix refined is not appropriate for mile high Colorado.

Plus: the oil/gas belongs to whomever owns the property, owns the mineral royalty rights for that property, and what company was purchased the rights to drill. A royalty tax is paid to the state, but it is not Colorado’s oil- it exists under our state. Those are the basic rules in any state, I think-

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

oops- too much turkey has muddled my brain:

My last paragraph should be-
The oil/gas belongs to three: whoever owns the ground level property ( could be private individual, state, fed govt), plus whoever owns the mineral rights under that property, plus whatever company has purchased the drilling rights.

28 11 2008
Plastic

I wanted to respond to Lara’s comments. I respect your courage in raising that question, and I’m afraid a lot of people would have a knee jerk reaction to it. The truth is, we all are losing our culture. I was born at home in McGrath mid-century (and am a Native Alaskan, but not an Alaska Native). My life today is nothing like the life I had as a child. Granting or taking privileges from some based on their ancestory seems strange to me, and not very logical. But life, and the world, is constantly changing, and it seems to me the key is to view culture as a constantly evolving thing. It is not something petrified. That said, all of us have lost the way of life of our ancestors. I think it is illogical to assume that the way the ancestors of some lived is more important to this generation than the way the ancestors of others lived. Most of us have accepted that those experiences are lost to us, that we can’t hold onto that life because the growing population and exploitation of the world is constantly squeezing out those opportunities. We also accept that if we take the benefits of the “new” society, we also must live with the “detriments”. I think the wise thing is to look to what is important for human beings — not just certain groups of human beings — and try to structure society and culture in the future to create healthy opportunities for all people. I don’t think we can long sustain exclusive cutlural groups — in fact, we have seen the barriers fall in many areas in the last century: e.g. in education, in housing, in marriage.
Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful question.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Val (16:29:42) :
If I lived remote and couldn’t afford it, I’d move.

******************

And many are. Those of us who are not, choose instead to stay and fight. We love the lands our grandparents gave to us. We live in our homelands, and those before us did too, for 10,000 yrs. It is a beautiful place, and we do not ask for more than our counterparts in urban areas; indeed, we ask for much less. Simply the means to have affordable energy, so that we might create viable and sustained economies. We provide seafood and other natural resources to the world, and wish our communities to be real communities, not just summer camps to extract the goods and close up each year. Our homelands are our life and livelihood, not just a place to “afford”.

28 11 2008
Val

CRFlats – Great! How did your ancestors stay warm? They didn’t use heating oil, that’s for sure.

28 11 2008
WOW

I just want to say that I love this blog. So many of the posts are so thoughtful and well written. Thank you! This is a treasure and it makes me feel very hopeful.

28 11 2008
seachele99

I have little doubt that President Chavez immensely enjoys being the good hearted president to Bush W’s cold hearted president, but I find it hard to believe that that is his only motivation. If for no other reason, he has continued to put his money where his mouth is for US citizens, even after all the press died down and went away.
President Chavez was the first foreign leader to offer aid after Katrina in 2005, but Bush flippantly rejected his honest gesture for help to a natural disaster. That same winter, when many American’s were facing harsh freezing conditions and astronomically high heating oil prices, Chavez worked behind the scenes with various state officials in the North and North East to make sure low income people got the heating oil they needed either free of charge or at a huge discount. He began these actions in 2005, and has continued to assist several US states in continuing to get heating oil to low income citizens.

I personally think making a “Thank you President Chavez” video, makes more sense than paying for a “Thank you Sarah Palin” commercial. A commercial that I understand was to air on Thanksgiving day during the football games? I bet that was expensive. But I guess, unlike me, there are still people with money to throw away on stupid frivolous things. I have far more respect for Hugo Chavez than I have for Sarah Palin.

As for socialism, Marxism, communism, or capitalism, they all have their good and bad points, and all, (in their intended and organic form) are feasible forms of government. However, any type of government in the wrong hands, mismanaged, or taken to an extreme will exploit certain members of a population. Extreme, unregulated capitalism has not been working out that well for the majority of the US population lately, and the word “socialism” personally does not frighten me. What frightens me, is the current hateful divisive dialog on the right, and the fact that 64% of registered Republicans think Sarah Palin should be the leading candidate for the Republican party.

28 11 2008
Lara

@ CO Almost Native

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will ponder it more, but I just got back from a couple of hours at urgent care for stepping on a very pointed, very sharp pencil, and am starved, so I’m off to eat shortly. I’m just visiting Mudflats while dinner heats up.
You are right, “we, the whites, the conquerors” have done much harm to many native peoples, in the lower 48, in Alaska, and Hawaii. ABroad too. I mean to justify none of it.
What I didn’t know was the history of the native people in Alaska. You (the generic “you”) can argue I should. You might be right. Wouldn’t change reality – and I’m willing (I think) to learn. I appreciate your mini-history lesson.
off to eat.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

Plastic:
I think the wise thing is to look to what is important for human beings — not just certain groups of human beings — and try to structure society and culture in the future to create healthy opportunities for all people.

CRFlats:
It is a beautiful place, and we do not ask for more than our counterparts in urban areas; indeed, we ask for much less. Simply the means to have affordable energy, so that we might create viable and sustained economies.

Thank you both for your responses. Although from different perspectives, you both echo the same thing: we need thoughtful governments to use resources for the betterment of all its peoples.

28 11 2008
jyd

I reject the premise of this thread. The question posed is dishonest. The implication, whether intended or not, is that socialism would cure the problem of people freezing. Even a casual study of Russian or Chinese history will prove the failures of socialist policies.

28 11 2008
drmitton

Wouldn’t the AK energy rebate quality as a tax rebate? In other words giving the residents back a portion of what they’ve given. It’s a far cry from socialism.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

Lara (16:58:26) :

I hope you are ok- sharp objects imbedded in the foot are not fun! I hope you will come back and read Plastic, CRFlats, and other mud pups- many are more eloquent that I, and speak from personal experience. Especially Plastic- she tagged ideas onto you that made me stop to think.

And that’s a very good thing, when we listen to each other, respect each other, and learn from other…a refreshing change from the last few years of government:)

28 11 2008
SMR

I think that Palin first floated her idea of the $1200 checks around in June. I could be mistaken about the month, though. There were many Alaskans who were against it, but not enough, of course. Greed is always dominant in any state/town/etc.

A search of the ADN site could bring up the info. There were many letters to the editor and thoughtful editorial pieces from ADN staff and other Alaskans opposing the idea. I suggest looking those up if you want a complete picture.

I always thought it was a stupid idea, that the money would be better used for long-term energy solutions, but our Gov doesn’t think long-term about anything, that’s why Alaska is particularly screwed right now on so many fronts.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

jyd (17:02:07) :

I didn’t see the premise of this thread as espousing socialism; I saw AKM’s question as a way of making us look at the actions of Chavez, Palin, Alaskans, and even our Lower 48 selves in relationship to how we treat others in need.

In this case, Chavez’ offer, if you label it socialism (doomed to fail), is only a band aid on a problem, a temporary fix; to quote AKM:

Bingo. It’s time for Alaskans and Americans to stop screaming “Socialist!” like it was a four-letter word and get over the reactionary knee-jerk rejection of an entire political philosophy because of the fear of a label. Fear of freezing should trump fear of a word. We need to address these problems using concepts with long-term solutions, and not be afraid to use what works because of how it sounds. And we need to recognize where the need exists most and focus our efforts there.

The discussion has been focused on why there is this problem, and how to begin to tackle it (or boot out politicians, and elect some who will tackle it)

I hope you take the time to read all of the other responses…

28 11 2008
seachele99

@drmitton (17:03:30) :
Wouldn’t the AK energy rebate quality as a tax rebate? In other words giving the residents back a portion of what they’ve given. It’s a far cry from socialism.
______________________________________________________________________
A tax rebate is getting back something you have paid in. The energy check is given to every man, woman, and child and does not require a job or any taxes to be paid in. If you are a qualifying resident of Alaska, you get a portion of it.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Alaska Natives, and American Indians are not just a “cultural group”. We are the only group mentioned in the US Constitution. The “special rights” recognized there was because the founders wanted to create a county of laws, while understanding that they were, in fact, taking land that belonged to another government without due compensation. That is why Natives work more closely with the Federal Government than the State Governments. Never a perfect relationship, but, especially in more modern times, the best we could do. The State & Fed governments often have competing interests in land with the tribal governments. That is when the Judiciary is where we turn. Our relationship is not based on race, or even culture, it is based on the rule of law, and the prior ownership of land. Check out the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.

As to “treating every one equal”–this is an argument often brought up regarding Alaska Native subsistence rights for hunting and fishing, among other things. Once again, the Natives have something the Non-Natives want. The State gives special rights to all kinds of citizens: children, clergy, military, fishing permit holders, and elderly. But gawd forbid that Natives should be able to hunt and fish were their ancestors did for eons. That is why we now have a State that does not recognize the hunting and fishing rights that the Federal government does–right here in the State of Alaska. Just another one of Alaska’s crazy political twilight zones.

28 11 2008
SMR

The $1200 is taxable, so there will be plenty who did not plan ahead and are going to be stuck with a whopper of a tax bill.

It was not in any way a tax rebate. It was purely socialism, as I have been saying on this site for over 2 months now.

Alaska is about as close to a socialist state as is possible: annual dividends paid to citizens, the funds for which come from extracted natural resources, NO state income tax, NO sales tax in the majority of the cities/towns/etc, and very low property taxes. Almost the only taxes that Alaskans pay are those mandated by the federal government. Ironically, one of the only cities that has a sales tax? Wasilla — and that sales tax was either instituted by or increased by Palin to cover the cost of her sports complex…

28 11 2008
Ashkee Colorado

Thank you Mother Who Thinks and CO Almost Native for your thoughtful comments. An enlightened citizenry is the long term answer to a lot of these miserable problems propagated through ignorance and bigotry. Enlightenment is also the Kryptonite for Republicans.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Actually, In my small Alaska town, we pay 6% City Sales Tax on EVERYTHING, including rents, services, electricity, heating fuel and groceries. We also pay a hefty property tax of almost 15 Mil, scheduled to increase this year. Because everything except what we hunt and fish is imported, we also add at least 20% cost of living for freight over Anchorage prices for goods. We pay heavily for basic services such as City water, sewer and garbage. Our electricity is over .30/KWH and is a taxable commodity as well (compare to Anchorage @ about .14, or Seattle at .04. Not all Alaska towns are treated equally. Small constituency = little say in State Legislature. So, yes, we pay more to live here, and there will come a tipping point, and my little community will no longer be viable, in spite of the fact we export tens millions of dollars of seafood product.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

writing too fast—not “tens of millions of seafood product” but should say
“hundreds of millions of dollars of seafood product”.

28 11 2008
seachele99

@CO Almost Native (17:14:50) :
jyd (17:02:07) :
I didn’t see the premise of this thread as espousing socialism; I saw AKM’s question as a way of making us look at the actions of Chavez, Palin, Alaskans, and even our Lower 48 selves in relationship to how we treat others in need.
_______________________________________________________________________
Very well said!!! I am not an Alaskan Native, in fact I do not even live in Alaska. But, based on Sarah Palin’s own definition of socialism, the energy rebate check is socialism, and she is handing them out.

However, its time to stop demonizing the words in our language, time to stop being a partisan snob/brat, and its time to start looking at what is best for each and every individual American citizen, and time to start making sure that citizens in the richest nation in the world are not freezing or starving while our “governors” quibble over stupid policy. Call it whatever you want (socialism, Marxism, capitalism), get help from where ever you can (state or local government or Hugo Chavez), we should not sacrifice one single American citizen to hunger or the elements for some ridiculous political principle. This blog does not endorse one thing at the expense of another, it provides a forum for people to discuss important issues and an opportunity to discus viable solutions. If anyone is bothered by what you read hear, before you criticize, perhaps you could provide an alternative solution or a “constructive” criticism.

28 11 2008
mmboucher (Florida)

Shouldn’t the rebates be based on households instead of per family member, and if the out skirts pay higher prices shouldn’t they get higher rebates? Why isn’t the rebates based on income, and wheather you are native or not?

28 11 2008
CRFlats

MMboucher,
Because our SHE GUV said it would not be treating everyone “equal”. That is her simple view of the world, and unfortunately, it resonates enough if you don’t look at the issue critically.

28 11 2008
mmboucher (Florida)

Well do you think your She Guv with a 7 member household, and a $250,000 income should recieve $3200+ per member check, while the distant natives are freezing and have no infustruture?

28 11 2008
Greytdog

Curiosity here – but are the Native Alaskans politically in touch with the politics of the native Americans in the Lower 48 ? I know that Rosebud Reservation still has high unemployment, high substance abuse problems, subpar housing, etc. . . and little representation in Congress (even McGovern rarely spoke out on the Seven Nation issues when he was at the top of the Democrat Party) And I know that those reservation shanties in SD (Pine Ridge and Rosebud) are paper thin, poorly heated (if heated at all) and while the Plains winters don’t equal the winters in Alaska, I think the issues are the same – so what can we do to bring about the equal rights of the First People?

28 11 2008
Wasilla women

they just demonized the word to trick those of little intelligence to be AFRAID be very AFRAID!!!! same old fear tactics from the republican party.. and with them that’s as good as it get’s!!! the sad part is people fall for it.. and we ALL pay the price

28 11 2008
CRFlats

mm, problem with your argument is that it makes sense. Alaska politics, and especially that of SP and her ilk, makes no sense. It’s always about what is best for them.

28 11 2008
Dazzler

Palin could donate all those fancy duds she looted on the campaign trail to the Natives and let them burn them for heat…..just a thought.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Greytdog,
The good news is that PE Obama has extended an invitation to speak with several delegations from Alaska Natives, Hawaians and lower 48 Natives. He also has an American Indian on his transition team.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

Mother Who Thinks (15:42:22) :
Whoa! Such an absence of understanding about native people and their history among the Mudflatters! I guess that surprises me, though it shouldn’t. History, after all, is written by the conquerors.

Thank you for your insights; I (and other Lower 48, or Flatlanders, or whatever we/they are called) are more knowledgeable about Native issues in our own states or regions. I have knowledge of the tribes that lived in Nebraska and Colorado, but the tribal issues in the Four Corners area (Utes, Southern Utes, Ute Mountain Utes, some Navajo, Hopi…) are very different from the Native American issues in urban Denver.

The county I live in, Arapahoe, was the original tribal home of the Arapaho people, most of whom now live on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The high school I taught at/my daughters attended, Arapahoe High School, has a long-standing relationship with the tribe, one that began when the tribal elders objected to our mascot- a cartoonist Indian, actually a Mohawk-dumb us, we didn’t know any better. Our principal (1/4 Indian from Detroit), the staff, and students began a dialog that led to visits, a new mascot created by a very talented Arapaho artist, and a dedication of our gym and new mascot by a visiting delegation of elders in the early 1990s. Ever since, we have exchanged visiting groups, students from the tribe have graduated from our high school, students from AHS have gone to work on projects on the reservation/taken school supplies, and we all worked hard to build understanding and support for each other.

A very small action, taken by one group and one tribe- but I know the ripples of this have extended way beyond us.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

Dazzler (18:10:32) :

heh heh lol; you funny:)

28 11 2008
priscillamontana

Your blog resonates a number of issues we deal with in Montana but fortunately we have a tuned-in functioning governor we are proud of…I’m so in support of your mission.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

CO, Almost Native,
Thank you for that wonderful account. You are what I love about Muddies!

28 11 2008
Wasilla women

great to hear PE is thinking about our native people, seems to me sometimes politicians give them little thought or the respect they deserve.. GREAT MOVE OBAMA!

28 11 2008
wilsonrofishing

With all due respect, the logic of this post is faulty.

Reaction to the Venezuelan U.S. Heating Oil subsidy has nothing to do with preferences between socialism and capitalism, even if that is the way narrow-minded politicians frame it.

The fact is that the Chavez regime is increasingly at odds with the national interests of the United States, and this heating oil scheme is purely propaganda aimed at achieving a political effect here; anyone who views this as altruism on the part of Chavez is dangerously naive.

I don’t blame people who call the Joe Kennedy Hotline and take the subsidy; winters are cold, heating oil is expensive, and free stuff is free stuff. I would take the free oil too, rather than let my family go cold in the winter. Propaganda does not seem as nefarious when it is keeping your house warm in December.

But the fact is that Hugo Chavez is a leader whose regime is increasingly authoritarian, repressive, and aligned with world powers at odds with the United States. In the past several years he has silenced critics by shutting down television stations, and seized private property of Venezuelans without warning.

Three days ago, Chavez urged OPEC to reduce oil output in order to keep prices between $80-100 (almost twice what they are today) which will directly impact everyone, including the less fortunate who cannot qualify for his vaunted program. If Chavez were such a humanitarian, he would not have urged higher prices for this precious commodity; after all, if prices for crude oil decrease enough, this would obviate the need for the free oil program, no?

So if you qualified for the Uncle Hugo’s oil this winter and your house is warm, more power to you. But call a spade a spade, and don’t confuse the propaganda of an authoritarian like Chavez for anything more than what it really is.

By the way, if we all luck out (especially all of us who don’t have what it takes to qualify for free oil this Winter!!) and oil prices continue to fall, let’s see how much longer Chavez can keep subsidizing the American poor.

acreofindependence.com

28 11 2008
dowl

South Side Chicago

Thanksgiving makes caring human beings thoughtful about the plight of those less fortunate. It is important that this particular discussion continues and that those (mudflatters and others) do what is within their own power to address. Part of the reason that I’ve visited here so often is that I see a whole ‘nother community that cares. It is encouraging.

Native culture whether in Alaska, lower 48, Hawaii, or Aboriginal Australia, the Blacks in South Africa and beyond (think colonized cultures left to only paying back huge debt from ‘first world’ countries), ends of getting the short and bitter end of any policy that benefits only those in power. Those in power (think Manifest Destiny) over the last centuries have been ethic Europeans who by policy insured that power would remain with the dominant culture.

The use of ‘minority’ when referring to nonwhites cemented the perception that for people of color, only a westernized culture is true civilization. Of course, this is a crock considering that ethic whites are in the global minority.

Perception becomes reality when empathy with other human beings is overtly discouraged even by the Christian Church. There is a way out of this quandary that we have found ourselves. Some of it has to do with obscene forms of capitalism. And the other has to do with ‘socialism’ only for those who are not subsistence poor and/or who are so close to it that they are bamboozled into thinking that one day they will be a part of ‘the majority.’

Socialism becomes a horror when those in power are afraid that they might have to really share the wealth. President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama probably feels like ‘chickens coming home to roost’ by those who have been so callous and evil-intended to those who do not look like themselves.

Thanks for letting me have my say!

28 11 2008
mlaiuppa

One of the problems with the label “socialist” is that those most critical of it don’t know the difference between a Socialist, a Fascist or a Communist. (And many of the critics *are* fascists).

28 11 2008
Plastic

I understand very well the relationship between the Federal government and native tribes, or people. I am aware of the kind of thinking that went on at the time that relationship was created. I also know that at one time there was a unique relationship in this country with another group of people — those who were forcibly brought from Africa to serve others. And there have been other groups treated differently for one reason or another. The point I would like to make is that the purpose of laws is to regulate relationships between people. Laws must evolve as society evolves. To rely upon a definition that was workable for the society in which it was created, or a product of the society in which it was created, ignoring changes since then, does not seem wise to me. I dislike the “us” and “them” tension it creates, and the many inequities. Of course I have many more thoughts on this issue, but I will let it rest there.

As to the socialism issue, I agree that it is just a word. The idea of sharing the wealthy comes with another idea — sharing the work. As I understand it, the early American settlers experimented with socialism in their communal larders and gardens.

28 11 2008
Plastic

Correction to last post: sharing the “wealth”, not “wealthy”…although I guess we could share the wealthy, too.

28 11 2008
Moose Pucky

It might be useful to consider that a $1200 energy rebate (and permanent fund distributions) for families making $10,000 per year, give or take some, is a huge help for those most in need and, as such, could perhaps be considered one of the more progressive actions of any state. So, in that respect, permanent fund distributions and energy rebates could be considered more progressive types of “socialism” than, say, trillions of dollars for financial institutions and insurance companies and industries based on fossil fuels.

It may be a bit over the top to include rebates for every child? Perhaps up to two children per family would be more reasonable? Ditto for tax deductions per child–only up to two children seems a reasonable policy? The world does have a human population problem. No doubt such concepts will be controversial.

It does seem that “right to life” also involves “responsibility for life” and an understanding that human life and other life forms must remain in balance for any kind of life to be sustainable. Wandering into the slough here.

28 11 2008
Mired...in the Pine Barrens

Plastic (16:46:08) :

But life, and the world, is constantly changing, and it seems to me the key is to view culture as a constantly evolving thing. It is not something petrified. That said, all of us have lost the way of life of our ancestors.
_______________________________________

Thanks for contributing this insight to the conversation. Many of us struggle to keep our cultural heritage alive and pass it on to our children and grandchildren whether through our religion, holiday traditions, songs, customs, language and stories. Those of us whose ancestors came here from other countries have lost much of our ethnic heritage. After emancipation, many African Americans from the south sought jobs and new opportunities elsewhere. But, we recognize that the spirit of hope and optimism in their evolutionary process was to provide a better life for their children. Life, and the world, is indeed changing. And change is never without challenges.

The problem here is socio-economic not geographic or cultural and certainly doesn’t just affect those in rural or remote areas of the country. There are people in the Northeast corridor within five miles of Interstate 95 who appeal to county and state agencies for assistance with heating fuel. I believe DE and NJ have policies in effect that prevent power disconnection in winter months, especially for the sick and elderly. Federal aid for many of these programs have been severely cut back recently so the burden has fallen on the state and local social service agencies.

The bottom line is that it’s shameful for anyone, especially children, in this country to be homeless, hungry or without heat. And if the solution is socialism, then so be it.

28 11 2008
dowl

South Side Chicago

Mother who thinks, thank you! I wrote my response BEFORE I read yours and others that updated as I posted.

You put into words what I only contemplate. Again thanks AKM & Mighty Mudflatters…

28 11 2008
Plastic

Thanks, Mired … hey, I know of the Pine Barrens. Isn’t that where Tom Brown roamed with his old teacher? Anyway, I was digressing from the topic, responding to something Lara had initially said waaaaaaaaay back in the threat.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

I know we are suppose to stay OT, but so much is interrelated. Just a quick thank you for all the insightful and thought provoking discussion. I do run on sometime, and I apologize if I get wrapped up. When discussing rural Alaska and Native Alaskans in particular, I get pretty passionate. It is great to converse and share with parts unknown and distant as well as those closer to home.

Onward Muddies!

28 11 2008
Lara

To CO Almost Native:
Hi. My foot is fine. My arm should be sore tomorrow from the tetanus. My gut will be onery from the prophylactic antibiotics for about a week, maybe. But nothing was left in the foot so I didn’t need for them to get it out. I’ll be fine in a week. Couple hours of my time, modern medicine, and I’ll hardly remember this ever happened in a month.

There have been many thoughtful responses to my question, and some that seem to miss my point. But we are all on different journeys, with different questions and answers, and I learn from all of them.

28 11 2008
grant czerepak

Socialism is a better system than the traditional American system. It’s socialism that is preserving what’s left of the American economy. And it will be socialism that will afford every American healthcare.

28 11 2008
mmboucher (Florida)

crflats:
If you produce all of that seafood why doesn’t your area get the profits, just like alaska gets profits from the oil?

28 11 2008
Hoosierbrad

I love this talk about Socialism as it is applied to Alaska. Alaska as it is now constituted could not exist without Socialism. Gov. Palin talks about the fact that Alaska owns its natural resources, such as oil and gas. That sounds a lot more like communism than socialism. The State of Alaska doesn’t own the oil and gas deposits anymore than I do. These oil and gas deposits are found on land owned by the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! As a citizen of the U.S., I own as much of this oil and natural gas as any citizen of Alaska, and I for one am tired of my tax dollars being sent in ever bigger chunks to support the State of Alaska.

If federal dollars were sent to Alaska in an amount proportional to most of the states, the economy of Alaska would implode and its native peoples would be forced to return to their old way of life. The rest of Alaskans would head south where the climate is more temporate.

28 11 2008
Sauerkraut

There is, unfortunately, a large chunk within the population of the lower 48 – mostly notably within the so-called conservative community – that believes all the ills of the world (including the perception of being really, really cold) can be cured by working harder. As in, go out and cut down some of them trees that are dieing due to climate change keeping the permafrost from being permafrost. I suppose those same work-harder theorists believe that it’s better to be a person of permafrost than to accept “free” oil.

28 11 2008
Mired...in the Pine Barrens

Lara (19:34:01) :

I’m glad to hear you’ll be fine, but I can’t help asking a stupid question. How did you happen to step on the point of the pencil? I’m trying to picture it.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

Lara (19:34:01) :

Good to hear from you; I was picturing you: with this yellow #2 pencil, looking like you had another toe…never mind:)

Of course we sometimes miss each others’ points; that’s the difficulty with blogging- and the beauty of it; I get to chat, listen, learn, debate, think with all of these mud puppies around the world.

Amazing!

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Hoosierbrad (19:54:54) :
I love this talk about Socialism as it is applied to Alaska. Alaska as it is now constituted could not exist without Socialism. Gov. Palin talks about the fact that Alaska owns its natural resources, such as oil and gas. That sounds a lot more like communism than socialism. The State of Alaska doesn’t own the oil and gas deposits anymore than I do. These oil and gas deposits are found on land owned by the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! As a citizen of the U.S., I own as much of this oil and natural gas as any citizen of Alaska, and I for one am tired of my tax dollars being sent in ever bigger chunks to support the State of Alaska.

If federal dollars were sent to Alaska in an amount proportional to most of the states, the economy of Alaska would implode and its native peoples would be forced to return to their old way of life. The rest of Alaskans would head south where the climate is more temporate.
***************

I really must come to the defense of my state. We may receive a lot of Federal dollars compared to our population, but compared to our land mass, we receive much less than other states. And yes, the Feds do pay out more than we return in taxes, but that does not take into account the value of our resources that are exported, helping with the hugh imbalance of payments we now face in the world. Since Alaska was acquired, most of the value extracted from these lands has left, not stayed here. After Statehood, Alaska received some state lands, but not nearly as much as other states. Resources such as fish, mining and oil are owned by large multinational companies that provide jobs, but the profits leave the State.Most of the Federal lands are tied up as National Parks. I’m not saying that is a bad thing in the long run, but in the present, it means Alaska does not have the exploitable land that other States do. It is the State owned lands from which we receive oil revenues in the form of royalties and taxes, as does the Federal Government. The difference here, is that the State has become wholly dependent on the oil revenue, and hasn’t done a good job of managing that largess or diversifying the economy. We could use some good leadership, no doubt.

28 11 2008
Regi

Sauerkraut (20:02:08) :

There is, unfortunately, a large chunk within the population of the lower 48 – mostly notably within the so-called conservative community – that believes all the ills of the world (including the perception of being really, really cold) can be cured by working harder. As in, go out and cut down some of them trees that are dieing due to climate change keeping the permafrost from being permafrost. I suppose those same work-harder theorists believe that it’s better to be a person of permafrost than to accept “free” oil.

Most of the conservatives I know have cushy jobs and some serious vacation time. Many also have enjoy healthy pensions, excellent benefits and a sense of entitlement a mile wide.

28 11 2008
Regi

Most of the conservatives I know have cushy jobs and some serious vacation time. Many also have enjoy healthy pensions, excellent benefits and a sense of entitlement a mile wide.

And I should add if THEY fell on hard times or needed assistance would probably have no problem accepting it.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

wilsonrofishing (18:36:55) :
With all due respect, the logic of this post is faulty.

Reaction to the Venezuelan U.S. Heating Oil subsidy has nothing to do with preferences between socialism and capitalism, even if that is the way narrow-minded politicians frame it.

With all due respect back at you, there are numerous threads of logic winding through this post; some in direct response to the political use of the term “socialism”, others jumping off from the initial query and sharing ideas and perspectives on what they saw as bigger, but related issues.

Few of us have any illusions about the motivations of Chavez’ generosity, and of course he is going to ask OPEC to maintain a floor under the price of oil- he’s a petrodictator, petrodollars are how he keeps in power.

That’s not the point; the main focus of the comments was why/understanding the nature and roots of the dire heating problem for the Alaskan Natives and poor, what is not being done and why, and how does this relate to each of our own experiences in other parts of the country- and, finally: what can be done, how can we help.

But thanks for sharing your perspective- all are welcome on the mudflats:)

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

CRFlats (20:29:05) :

Great response. Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana, and other Western states are like Alaska, in that each state has a great proportion of land in National Parks, National Wilderness, and National Forest. For the most part, it is a good thing- these are places of great beauty, and need to be preserved. However, there are conflicting views of land management- in CO we have had Republican administrations that wanted more development, therefore more money in the state coffers.

The change in the last few years: Conservatives, environmentalists, sportsmen, and ranchers have combined forces to try to prevent the Bush administration’s push to lease/drill in pristine areas that benefit more from hunting, fishing, and tourism. Add the Dem governor is working on broadening our economy: alternative energy (wind turbines), biomedical research…

We are sort of mini-Alaskas…well, sort of…very, very mini:)

28 11 2008
mudflats: would you rather freeze to death, or be a socialist? « angryXer

[…] November 28, 2008 by angryxer Who knew? This is the first I’ve heard about Chavez’s largesse extending to the United States. Read the whole of AKM’s excellent post here: […]

28 11 2008
CRFlats

I know earmarks have gotten a bad rap lately. Some deservedly so, some not. But one such earmark was the Denali Commission funded by Mr. Stevens and others. It provides much needed infrastructure to the rural communities in Alaska. Stevens got tired of going through the BIA and other Fed. programs that ate up the funds in bureaucratic red tape, and created this as a fast track to get some serious problems addressed. Not all is as simple as black and white, and credit where credit is due. My little town got it’s only 2 elevators under this earmark. We have two public buildings now ADA compliant, and would never have been able to afford it without the help.

28 11 2008
Forty Watt

I’ve followed this fascinating and informative discussion avidly. I have only one thing to add.

Like capitalism, socialism is an economic concept, in broad terms, involving public ownership of the means of production and distribution. However, many people in the US make a link between the economic and the political in such a way that capitalism ends up belonging with democracy and socialism with authoritarianism. Some also make a link between socialism and atheism.

For the person whose emotional response to the very word socialist is that he/she is anti-democracy and Godless to boot, the question what is socialism will never be asked.

28 11 2008
Mired...in the Pine Barrens

CRFlats (20:29:05) :

Most of the Federal lands are tied up as National Parks. I’m not saying that is a bad thing in the long run, but in the present, it means Alaska does not have the exploitable land that other States do.
—————————————————————-
I realize this subject doesn’t lend itself to simple explanations and solutions. But, it seems that having vast areas of land owned by the Federal government as National Parks would provide protection of these lands from the kind of exploitation that many Alaskans are saying is one of the problems. It seems like you’re saying that if these lands were not “tied up” in the hands of the Feds, there would be more “exploitable land” available. I’m not following you. Also, I’m not sure you can justify the amount of Federal tax dollars coming into AK based on land mass rather than population.

28 11 2008
Kelly M

The PFD and 1200 dollar oil rebate were not given to every man woman and child. You had to qualify for the 2008 PFD to get the rebate. That means being in the state for a specified amount of time starting at a certain time of the year. It’s also considered unearned income on a tax return, so will be a bit of a surprise to many people April 15th.

28 11 2008
Giselle

Freezing to death would be quite painful!!! I guess I would prefer to be a socialist just for that reason!!!😉 It is like having to choose between the devil or the deep sea!

http://4mgiselle.wordpress.com

28 11 2008
Lacy Lady

Speaking of leaders that are “off limits”—-why do we trade with China?
It is a communist country. And yet, we have nothing to do with Cuba, because it is a communist country. Bush has banned travel to Cuba–where relatives can not visit family or send them money. I don’t get it. Does anyone have an answer?

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

Mired…in the Pine Barrens (21:08:40) :

I don’t live in Alaska, but maybe I can lend some light from a Colorado perspective. Land controlled by the federal government does not generate tax money. Other land does, even if it is farm land, or a dude ranch, or a ski area. All of those uses try to preserve the land, but they each generate some amount of tax money- for roads, bridges, schools- and CRFlat’s town’s elevators.

Much of the income from extractive industries in Colorado go out-of-state; we get some royalties, but often not enough to mitigate the impacts. There are always fights over charging more royalties, and the oil/gas/mining companies saying no,no.

I think Congress needs to come up with a more transparent way of getting moneys to states/projects that need help quickly.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

@ Mired:
Land mass vs. population: Alaska has only 10 highways, but they traverse some of the most inhospitable land imaginable. All are State run/maintained but built largely with Fed. dollars. Many still are gravel topped. We have no Federal Highways. The Alaska Marine Highway is run by the State and receives some monies to build vessels and some operations, but not nearly enough. Our distances are vast, and the costs are huge. All the Federal Agencies that operate in Alaska require larger budgets due to the vast areas they must manage: Parks Service, Forest Service, FAA, USCG (safety and homeland security on the high seas), TSA (we have 8 agents at our little airport that gets a jet twice a day), military bases, etc., etc. We are talking huge, and costly, at every turn.

Tied-up lands: This was a big part of the negotiations concerning land ownership at the time of state-hood, and the 20+ yrs afterward when we were still wrangling with the Federal Government over who go what: Native lands (being returned), State owned and Federal Lands. 94% of the State at the time was “owned” by the Feds, and they were stingy giving it up. Most was settled by politics and some by the courts. The trade-off for “tying-up” lands for conservation was that the Feds would help Alaska develop it’s infrastructure and economy. Remember, we are only talking about the last 30-50 yrs. Alaska is still a very young state. That is why Stevens lasted as long as he did. He knew this, and held on to that promise. Do not make me an apologist for Stevens, I would have preferred he retired some time ago, but he did bring much needed Federal help to areas of the State that otherwise would never have received it.

28 11 2008
CO Almost Native

New thread, if you are so inclined…

28 11 2008
Hick Town in W PA

Times of economic and political upheaval are always hardest on marginal peoples. By marginal I mean those with few resources and little power. I think Obama has a good handle on the inequities that have been championed in the name of “the American way of life”. He also has to be aware of some of the insanities required to actually get help in this country (reference the need for the Denali Foundation) from his community organization days.

He is concerned that people work on ways for self help. I know that is a hard to conceptualize sometimes. I was reminded about the Barter Theater in Abbington, VA. Actors bartered performances for food during the depression. (see http://www.bartertheatre.com/about/history.php) Perhaps with this change the right people can be freed to come up with new ideas and ways of doing things that do not destroy human dignity (anyone seen what a family has to go through to get assistance?) and provide a path to long term solutions rather than emergency stop gaps. There has to be hope to sustain any positive change at all. When people are made to feel that any help they get is somehow a crime against another group of people, all that is left is hopelessness or sociopathy or both.

28 11 2008
Alaska Pi

Mother Who Thinks-
On my grammy’s bones! I thought I was hearing her voice and she’s 40 years gone! Bless you neighbor…especially the “um- no”
Co Almost-
Glad to see your note that western states tend to have a higher proportion of federal lands… Source of much friction all over the west at times. Folks in Alaska really get their shorts in a twist about it- sensibly sometimes, ofttimes not…
CR Flats- Whew . You’ve said most of what needed to be said. For so many , in the bush, the decision to move means abandoning more than their homes. It means leaving their identity behind…They take on the aspects of uprootedness and disorientation common to refugees.

Some folks here have talked about how society and law and identity evolve. Some – maybe all of it -is true…but it’s all at the idea level. The human cost, at the individual level, is where we should check whether our goals are humanly necessary or viable.
I hope my neighbors in the bush ask for Chavez’ oil if they need it. I want us to develop the political will to work on long term solutions for affordable energy – in the bush and statewide.
Oil is a finite resource. Tying our state’s forseeable future to it makes me uncomfortable .
It could get me shot up here- but I have never applied for , so have never received the PFD dividends. I feel like it was a great idea but the wrong method for Alaskans to realize some of the gain in extraction of resources. Part of our gain should be plowed into regional solutions to affordable energy… windmills ? Part of our gain should be plowed into regional methods of travel…ferries in southeast and the islands are the best, let’s take care of them? roads where roads work? riverboat travel where that works?

28 11 2008
kvass

For the last three years he has been sending heating oil to Maine. Before calling him all sorts of names check the record. He is a self admitted social democrat. Nothing wrong with that. Half the population of Europe and Canada are social democrats. Get used to it because western civilization can not long exist with the five per cent of the population holding 90 percent of the wealth.

28 11 2008
kvass

For the last three years Chavez has been sending heating oil to Maine. Before calling him all sorts of names check the record. He is a self admitted social democrat. Nothing wrong with that. Half the population of Europe and Canada are social democrats. Get used to it because western civilization can not long exist with the five per cent of the population holding 90 percent of the wealth.

28 11 2008
Mired...in the Pine Barrens

CRFlats (21:29:11) and CO Almost Native (21:26:05) :

Thanks for your explanation about the Federal land issues, and I now understand that there was a quid pro quo in play here with respect to Federal dollars. It seems that the conservation of the land held by the Federal government prevents the State of AK from benefiting from it somehow. I think.

I don’t think many outside of AK are aware of how this situation originated or continues to evolve. Thanks for the insight. Now that the issue of Federal dollars in the form of earmarks going to AK is “out there” and Ted Stevens is no more, AK may be forced to find other sources of revenue. The road will not be easy for your newly-elected Senator Begich.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Alaska Pi,
Isn’t this the greatest thread?
I, too, didn’t at first apply for the PFD, even tho born and raised here. Didn’t like the intrusive questions. Then I had a family, and really couldn’t pass it up. It has been a boon for my very elderly mom, as well. I have always been a fan of Jay Hammond, so think, all in all, he was right about the PFD. Especially given the dearth of statesmanship within our State Gov. Can’t look to them to do the right thing. It will be interesting if they pick up the mantle of leadership now that the Executive Branch is MIA.

28 11 2008
CRFlats

Mired, You are right….we are in for some seriously lean times. I can only hope that Begich gets some mileage out of the important roll he plays by defeating Stevens, and returning a Dem to the seat after nearly 30 years.

28 11 2008
Hick Town in W PA

Democrats in the Senate will want Senator Begich to succeed. Look at how they went out of their way for VA for Web and now have 2 senators. Look to him to have PR impact that definitely takes away from the witless gov.

28 11 2008
Hick Town in W PA

By PR impact I mean have his name on things and be instrumental on bills that will benefit Alaskans.

28 11 2008
Alaska Pi

CRFlats (22:38:44) :

Alaska Pi,
Isn’t this the greatest thread?

It sure is! More real questions and information flowing here than I have seen anywhere for a long time.
I agree Gov Hammond was basically right about the PFD . I just wish we had a way of getting some of the things we need to do done – like alternate affordable energy solutions – that we could fund without the fed .

I sure HOPE the Legislature steps up to the plate now. We have too many issues facing us to let them get mired down in the puffery that has marked so many recent sessions. Agh.

28 11 2008
GJ in ID

Good grief, if Chavez wants to send oil to the villages in Ak and has the means and a way to get it there, in the next few days or weeks, take him up on it. I can see letting folks in the villages sit there a freeze while the Gov and Legislature make political hay in there nice warm houses, as they condemn socialist or liberalist. A few oil dumps one way or other are not going to corrupt the villagers this winter. Perhaps after 10 yrs of being in Chavez pocket they might turn into social democrats, but it isn’t going to happen over night and freezing will if they don’t have any heat.

I do realize that this short term solution isn’t the answer, but it could at least help this winter or until the Pres-Elect and your new Senator get their feet on the ground and figure out what to do next winter.

28 11 2008
Socialism vs. Alaska « Oregonfortruth’s Weblog

[…] Would You Rather Freeze to Death, or Be a Socialist? […]

29 11 2008
Mired...in the Pine Barrens

CRFlats and Hick Town, I hope you’re both right about the Democrats in the Senate looking out for Begich. I wish him and AK well.

As for Plastic, you nailed the Pine Barrens and Tom Brown.

I still don’t know how Lara happened to step on that pencil point. Maybe tomorrow. For now, thanks everyone for the great discussion.

29 11 2008
lisaree

Hi. I’ve been lurking since September, but this is my first post.

I was really interested in the responses to Lara’s question:
“Can we (U.S./Alaska/indigenous cultures) afford to have the indigenous cultures in Alaska continue living their traditional lifestyle. Is it the best use of our resources to sustain their lifestyle.”

I think that with the growth of the global population and the depletion of natural resources and global warming, the time will come when everybody in the developed coutries will need to ask this question about their own lifestyles.
The fact is that living in a large house with central heating/air conditoning with a swimming pool, driving gigantic SUVs and eating all the beef that you want-beef is the most resource expensive food there is- just because you can afford it, is not a sustainable lifestyle and people all over the world are probably suffering because of the few who insist that they are entitled to this way of life.

29 11 2008
pearl89

In NC, we have an energy assistant program for the poor. We don’t send a check to everyone, tho. The energy assistance program has been in effect for about 20 years. The money goes directly to the energy providers not the recipients. That way they are assured of heat and the other residents know that the money goes for heating, not for spending at Wal-Mart.

I have worked in that program for several years and it feels good to help people. We check the incomes + family size of all those who apply to make sure only those in need receive assistance.

I think the citizens of AK, should take the help from Chavez. How can you stand on a principle when people are freezing? I don’t think a person would care where it came from as long as it came. I bet if Chavez was sending to money to everyone, there would be no problem.

29 11 2008
Penny

WAIT!! Forget Chavez….here’s my issue with this “energy rebate” check to Alaskans.
In order for the oil companies to keep lots of money in their pockets, the cash for these checks comes from oil prices………THAT I PAY IN THE LOWER 48!!
Additionally, Alaska’s money from the feds is highest per capital than anyone else, right? And they are handing out checks to individuals…….rather than use the oil rebates for Alaska projects…..wait a minute…….THAT’S MY MONEY TOO!!
So, the way I see it, my tax dollars are supporting welfare for every citizen of the state of Alaska!!

29 11 2008
crystalwolf a.k.a. caligrl

Ok I just had to read AKM post again…The people rejecting Mr. Chavez kind gesture remind me of Rudy Guiiani the day or two after 911…A Prince of UAE had sent a check to HELP people and he ripped it up on TV! It made me hate him even more his arrogance at someone trying to help. Same here. I have read about a month or two ago of a whole Native Village that had to relocate because the town couldn’t pay its heating bill. The Whole town!!! Where is Barbie in all this????Blabbing that SHE is the expert on all things energy…she give rebates to people that unless they have a zilliion kids they have to pay back most to afford oil. And these idiot people who say “well what did they do before oil?” Please!!!! You wouldn’t say that to your New York friends would you?
These are major issues going on in Alaska, Barbie has brought them to light, its like a rudderless ship up there. The people new new legislature. New everything. Because no one is running anything thing up there except corruption for themselves and don’t give a whit about the people.

29 11 2008
Tabbie

Excellent post! You have stirred the kettle of discussion very well indeed.

29 11 2008
Diane

“But the fact is that Hugo Chavez is a leader whose regime is increasingly authoritarian, repressive, and aligned with world powers at odds with the United States. In the past several years he has silenced critics by shutting down television stations, and seized private property of Venezuelans without warning.”
Wilsonrofishing

Does this not sound a little like bush and the last 8 years of Republicanism?
We have lost many of our precious rights under Bush.
The MSM lack of ability/criticism for the 1st 6 years of his administration I would venture to call a press blackout.

Chavez may not be lily white, but US aid under Bush administration always came with strings attached.

29 11 2008
say no to palin in politics

I’m not sure if this thread is still active. Are there any groups working with the natives to help from within? Personally I’d love to donate whatever I could to help.

Is there anything we can do?

29 11 2008
imarxists

Even socialists keep one eye on Chavez, there’s a bit of a personality cult going there. He may well have an agenda, but if he has, the kind of blatant neo-liberal attitude to economics that leaves people to go hungry and cold for the sake of profit, is his greatest aid.
All the cold war brainwashing of the public in order to get them to recoil in terror at the mere mention of the word ‘socialism’, has been extremely successful. Yet just talking to ordinary people it’s clear that many Americans support a lot of what might be otherwise called ‘socialist doctrine’, it’s just difficult to actually accept the word. Perhaps it needs a new name.

29 11 2008
tzugidan

A dose of socialism is not a bad thing. We are socialists here in America… Just give it some thought. We balance our capitalist ways with a helping of socialism. Social security, medicare, medicaid, aid to mothers with dependent children, tax credits etc… are all forms of redistribution, and we’ve done it forever. It’s not all bad and we need to come to the collective conclusion that it’s good for our nation as long as we balance it with capitalism.

Just think about it… unchecked capitalism leads to greed, and now we see what unchecked greed leads to…it’s bad, very bad, and now we’re experiencing the fallout from so many years of unchecked greed brought upon us by capitalism.

The same would be said for unchecked socialism. It would more than likely lead to a decrease in interest of innovation and invention and entrepreneurship. And the nation would suffer other consequences.

I do not fear the word socialism nor capitalism…they both have worked well to balance each other in our nation, so long as we keep them balanced.

29 11 2008
Julian Boone

Regarding the question of becoming a socialist, or freezing to death, I offer my two cents.

With due vigilance, Capitalism is now, and will continue to heal providing those whose sole job of oversight, are held accountable to do their damn job!

I would rather do neither. We put a man on the moon with our creativity arriving through determination, creativity and engineering years ahead of other nations, inspired by effective leadership, undertaken by men and women educated and steeped in a capitalist system that encouraged competition, personal reward commensurate with individual effort, satisfaction that comes with excelling and becoming all we can be.

Capitalism may not be the best system there ever will be, but it is the best there is in freeing people to rise to the highest level of personal achievement they are content to discover within themselves. and being rewarded accordingly.

It is lame government officials, many of whom have been sucking the sugar tit of the American taxpayer for decades, people who have never really experienced a life in which they are required to work and be rewarded in proportion to their efforts and accomplishments, that interfere excessively with the creative, ambitious and energetic predisposition of those wishing to be left alone to accomplish great things.

The finger points straight to those whose sole ambition is to grow great hair, view themselves on TV and have an all consuming need to remain insulated from the forces of Capitalism due to their limited cerebral content by hiding in plain sight of those who would elect them time after time. These “government officials” would be trampled to death in an effort to compete among those outside of government using their limited talent and predisposition to do much more than beat up on one another, regulate by passing laws that often stifle the strength and incentive of others, and that muck up the machinery of Capitalism.

Government is not the answer to the problems arising from a Capitalist system, they are a large part of the problem. Mr. Cris Dodd and Mr. Barney Frank whose sole committee job is to be vigilant in overseeing the great giants of corporate America and preventing economic catastrophe had to have been smoking something very strong to miss the greatest FUBAR in 60 years.

Each had one single job in their oversight capacity, yet a short six months ago, they and their committee “foresee nothing in the immediate future brewing that would give rise to concern” that the whole economic system was about to be toppled through the coming together of enormous forces within the financial system. Though they failed the nation enormously, unlike all the rest of us who would commit such a grave error, their insulation from the Capitalist system leaves them untouched from any form of reprimanded or censure or rebuke for a preventable wrong that was heaped on the savings of millions of us who know the meaning of accountability.

Those of us with real jobs, committing such an unpardonable error would be scrambling to find a new job. Put the same level of accountability in the congress of America and the board rooms of the corporate giants and then the same forces acting on the little man, would cause these intellectually challenged to feel the forces of the system they are there to oversee.

We need government to oversee and prevent excesses which Capitalism sometimes permits while bloated corporate sows go unchecked by those whose very job is to point them out and root them out. Capitalism permits the unethical, immoral and unlawful actions of a few, taking advantage of the many and such will continue with two blind mice the likes of Dodd and Franks.

Aside from that, government led by men granting themselves a standard of living, a barrel of perks, free health care for life, pensions for life equal to the wages they made while working, and some who view themselves as overseers of the free market system, yet failed miserably in their primary role of forecasting the catastrophe as huge as anything to befall the system, a mere sixty days before the collapse on Wall Street. One need not be an Alan Greenspan to pick up a book from a library, read the causes of the Great Depression and keep a sharp lookout to prevent its recurrence.

These “leaders” are not living within the same system of those they govern. They continue to deny the very responsibility they sought in being named to their respective committee oversight responsibilities. Yet through their enormous failure now clear in the aftermath, still no accountability is forthcoming.

It is there, in our own government a covey socialist, safe in spewing a “collective” blame to oversee and legislate Capitalists that is where in the problem lies.

The committee of intellectual pigmies needs a jolt of Capitalism. If they are faithful public servants, that works. Otherwise their colleagues should bring down on their own, the same consequences we who rise or fall in this economic system we chose to live our lives. Those who chose a life of “government service” should be judged by the quality of that service. In the case of the financial collapse, those entrusted with economic oversight should be told by their colleagues and constituents alike, to fold up their tents and steal away into the night leaving Capitalism all the better for it.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

29 11 2008
Lara

Lisaree- thoughtful post, and I agree. ONe of the ideas I’ve thougth (but KNOW will never go anywhere) is the central air (and maybe room air conditioners) be outlaws for residential structures. The malls, theaters, restaurants can keep their A/C. People will go outside and meet their neighbors again. A/C was a major contributor to the lessening of community in many neighborhoods. People can get cool in community places.
There may need to be exceptions for people who are not mobile.
I think it might be the equivalent of requiring people to carpool or use the bus. It doesn’t just change energy consumption (for the good) but restructures the community in good ways. I LOVE the independence of Americans. But I don’t think it always serves us well.

29 11 2008
Lara

@ Mired…in the Pine Barrens: …but I can’t help asking a stupid question.

The quesiton isn’t nearly as stupid as the answer!
I have a pail of art supplies next to my bed. There was a very sharp pencil, with hte point sticking up in the pail. The floor space is limited, and I was looking for something. I put my heel down on top of the pencil (sans shoes)! It was so sharp I initially thought it was the pointy part of a compass. But the compass point was at the bottom of the pail, so I figure it must hvae been the pencil. Plus, my foot had a black dot on it. I thought it was blood at first, but now I think it was the graphite – there’s not a lot of blood in one’s heel. The good news is that because my foot was about a foot above the floor, I wasn’t using the force you would expect when taking a step, so I pulled up, the pencil didn’t stay stuck in my foot. My arm is sore today – but I’m using as an excuse to not get much done (I had planned on some spring housecleaning) so it’s all good : )

29 11 2008
Alaska Pi

Penny-
The feds extract royalties for gas and oil on federal land Outside… and in the NAME of Native groups Outside. There’s a whole ‘nother discussion in the latter- as the feds cannot account for the dollars they theoretically hold in trust for First Americans…

We ALL pay, all the time.

The issues are larger than the dollars we pay at gas pumps. If you need a scapegoat, it is us… each and every one of us -we went to sleep after things levelled off in the late 70s. We had fair warning and we went to sleep.

Oil is a finite resource- no matter how many barrels are still strung here, there, and elsewhere. We must plan for the day the last drop falls into our bucket…

In the meantime, all over this country folks are struggling to stay warm and get to work.
Here in Alaska, we will be sorting out what our funds-in-common mean to us for quite awhile.
I am unwilling to let even one neighbor freeze to death on some altar of philosophical high-horsiness.

29 11 2008
Squabbles

I rather like Chavez :O

29 11 2008
Vlad the Im Palin

I think too many Americans have been raised to ‘be afraid of the Commie Pinkos” and many confuse communism with socialism with whatever else pops into their minds. I live in Canada with my American husband and we are soooooooo sick and tired of those few in the United States who not only have never been outside their own borders, but obviously seldom read anything educational. I can’t begin to tell you how many undereducated people think Canada is a socialist country because we, like virtually every other civilized country have ‘socialized’ programmes for our citizens (ergo, we have programmes to ‘try’ to take care of those less fortunate). Every time an under-educated person from the United States is caught on TV which plays around the world, yakking about ‘socialism’ and how ‘evil’ it is and basically insulting every other western industrialized county on the planet (I can’t think of another western country that doesn’t have socialized programmes actually), this person does a huge disservice to those in the United States who know better and this helps to further alienate those already skeptical the sincerity of the United States. My husband (who is a retired US Naval Officer) and I are so thrilled that Mr. Obama has been elected. Finally! ! Someone who is world-wise, probably speaks more than one language, enormously intelligent and seemingly sincerely diplomatic, and secure enough in his own skin to listen to others and learn from them. This is a golden opportunity for the US to stride into the future with a fresh outlook. We, and I include my own country here, simply must educate our children (and adults) better for if we do not, we will foster more ignorance which breeds suspicion and fear which culminates in more needless bloodshed and war.

Let’s quit with the name-calling which is just a way of advertising our own ignorance and learn about that which we don’t know. (The exception being Sarah Palin, of course – she will always remain fair game!!)

29 11 2008
Sauerkraut

Lacy Lady (21:24:31) :

Speaking of leaders that are “off limits”—-why do we trade with China?
It is a communist country. And yet, we have nothing to do with Cuba, because it is a communist country. I don’t get it.
_______________________

The differences in relationships has as much to do with proximity as it does socio-economic reasons and political reasons, none of which are easy to explain.

Throw in the massive amount of US treasuries purchased by the Chinese and it becomes even more complicated. One thing we need to come to terms with is the massive amounts of our national debt held by China.

29 11 2008
Sauerkraut

Lara (09:43:43) :

ONe of the ideas I’ve thougth (but KNOW will never go anywhere) is the central air (and maybe room air conditioners) be outlaws for residential structures.
_____________________

cough cough

speechless. almost speechless.

I’m a northern boy living in an almost southern state. You try surviving in the dog days of summer with no a/c down here. 90+ degree temps and dew points in the 70’s. What you suggest is akin to suggesting the people do without their furnaces in the dead of winter. Which is why your “idea” is going absolutely nowhere. If people are really that interested in meeting other people, they’ll get off their ample behinds and go meet them, but don’t go blaming the a/c for laziness.

29 11 2008
Sauerkraut

Alaska Pi (10:09:24) :

“Here in Alaska, we will be sorting out what our funds-in-common mean to us for quite awhile.”
________________

May I make a suggestion?

Take some of that money and build some sort of in-state refinery that will not only keep the raw product in Alaska but also provide in-state jobs and a reduced cost for the finished product. Why keep shipping the raw product out-of-state for refining only to reship in back to Alaska for use? Take out that expensive transport middle man.

29 11 2008
Frozen or Socialist: The Scarcity of Ideas « the Self Evident One

[…] by selfevident1 A very popular Alaskan blog posed an interesting multiple choice question today: Would you rather freeze to death, or be a socialist? This is a very serious dilemma, indeed. No one wants to die, especially by freezing to death. But […]

29 11 2008
USpace

.
Chavez is garbage. His own poor people are starving more. He has destroyed the farms. There are more and more food shortages. He should be selling his oil to make money for his country to feed his people, not give it away to Americans so gullible people will think that he or communism is benevolent, or cares at all about ‘regular’ people.

Sweden is running out of money, people there don’t have much spending cash. Everything is very expensive, much more so than in the US. Their healthcare is also a huge bureaucratic mess. It’s not FREE either, not by any means.
http://gummihund.blogspot.com/2008/11/whohoo-surgery.html

Not that Government should seize any profits, but what are ‘excessive profits’ anyways? Certainly not the less than 10% the Oil companies made. Obama’s personal profits on his book are probably at least 99%.

These Leftist Pols are dangerous.
.
absurd thought –
God of the Universe says
profit is EVIL

try to make less money
so government won’t steal it

.
absurd thought –
God of the Universe says
keep people all worked up

about global warming
despite inconvenient facts

.
absurd thought –
God of the Universe says
NO MORE oil for you

rarely may you drill for it
limit refining of it

.
Will Biofuel Madness Starve Millions?
.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
.
Help Halt Terrorism Today!
.
USpace
🙂
.

29 11 2008
Sauerkraut

“Obama’s personal profits on his book are probably at least 99%.”
______________________________________
99%? No author receives 99%.

29 11 2008
Lara

@Sauerkraut: You try surviving in the dog days of summer with no a/c down here. 90+ degree temps and dew points in the 70’s.

Hi. One of my premises is that the south survived for many years(/decades/centuries) without air conditioning – not even a/c in community structures. I lived in the midwest for several years – without air conditioning in my home – in typical 90 – and 100 wasn’t all that remarkable – degree weather and high humidity. I’ll admit I did go to the office during the day where there was air conditioning. Massive air conditioning is a recent trend. It’s one reason why there has been more migration to southern states – and more energy consumption to help all those people adapt to the heat. I’m not convinced the southwest can sustain all the people that have moved there for decades to come.
I imagine there will have to be accommodations for health reasons. Perhaps certain parameters could be established. I haven’t worked out the details because I know it will go nowhere.
There are similarities to the north going without heat. However heat is a lot less expensive than air conditioning, and probably more essential (although I’ll concede there are deaths from air conditioning too.)
Please don’t get too excited. I think the idea is worthy of discussion, but I don’t think it’s been fully thought out (actually I know it hasn’t because I haven’t heard any one talk about it, and I know I haven’t taken the time to think it through and create more targeted parameters – because it’s an idea that’s going nowhere.)
I also think there are other things we could do – perhaps more meritorious – like get rid of any car can’t get “x” miles/gallon. better public transit, etc. etc. etc. But more than one good idea/tool is good.

29 11 2008
Lara

CORRECTION TO: (although I’ll concede there are deaths from air conditioning too.)

I meant lack of air conditioning.

29 11 2008
Alaska Pi

Sauerkraut (11:01:46) :
“Take some of that money and build some sort of in-state refinery that will not only keep the raw product in Alaska but also provide in-state jobs and a reduced cost for the finished product. ”

There is/are instate refining capabilities. CRFlats mentioned some of the issues around that last evening.

Refining is one thing. Distribution in this far flung state is another. The longer I ponder this the more I think we need to , at least partially , abandon the way of thinking we have worked from for a long time. CRFlats has addressed the realities of distance and connectedness here very well. We don’t have the kind of infrastructure Outside does and we have long thought we should…We should have a lot more roads and so on.

I think we need to drop a lot of that and focus on regional solutions for energy and transportation- with an eye on over-lappedness (apologies- sounds like an SPism type word…) to keep us all woven together.

I live in Southeast. Reality is that it is cheaper, because of the VOLUME of freight coming from that direction, to get fuel from Seattle direction.
That being said- many of my neighbors in smaller outlying villages and communities in southeast are seeing their options for receipt of fuel and goods diminsih because of the relative low volume they consume. As many of these neighbors are the backbone of our fishing fleet and so on , it is unwise to strand them over sheer lack of will to meet their expectations for inclusion in other commerce…
I hear a few kindred voices here about investing in our WHOLE way of life and what dividends it would generate- here and away. I think we need to yell louder and vote differently.

29 11 2008
Alaska Pi

oops- multiple spellos in last post. Maybe I need new glasses…

29 11 2008
GJ in ID

I guess trolls would rather the poor just freeze….as long as they get the spoils….I mean the oil profits.

29 11 2008
CRFlats

Waaaay back in this thread someone asked if there was way to directly help.

THERE IS!! United Way Anchorage is accepting donations.

There was a grass roots effort when the “Energy Rebate” came out, to donate it to United Way for distribution in the Villages. Many people participated. A little goes a long way in Alaska. I don’t know the name of the program, but it was a partnership between an existing org. that works with the villages, and United Way Anchorage. I would guess any donation marked “fuel for Alaska Villages” would be dedicated there:

http://www.liveunitedanchorage.org

29 11 2008
dsgawrsh

Freeze to death. And to say anything nice about a dictator like Chavez reveals how indoctrinated and dumbdowned you have become. Try living in Venezuela for awhile and see how great he is – or maybe that is why the people are trying to overthrow him there presently.

29 11 2008
lisaree

Thinking about this post again, I think the problem is not about capitalism versus socialism, communism. It’s about greed, selfishness, dishonesty and imcompetence versus compassion, common sense, honesty and competence.

We have universal health care where I live which I am really thankful for because without it we would have probably gone bankrupt when my mother passed away with cancer. Unfortunately I think that there are a lot of people-bureaucrats, pharmacutical companies, doctors, patients- who have no qualims about milking the system which leads to a enormous deficit and a breakdown in the system itself. On the other hand I’ve heard alot of nightmare stories about healthcare in the US probably because of people who run the system have to be more concerned with the bottom line rather than efficient quality healthcare.

Would you rather live in a society run by honest, competen,t compassionate socialists or greedy, dishonest, stupid capitalists?
Would you rather live in a country filled with corrupt selfish socialists or hardworking, charity-donating capitalists?

29 11 2008
Top Posts « WordPress.com

[…] Would You Rather Freeze to Death, or Be a Socialist? On Thanksgiving weekend, when Americans are thinking of all they have to be grateful for, many are also burdened with […] […]

29 11 2008
USpace

Sauerkraut
99%? No author receives 99%.

I didn’t say he received 99% as his royalty rate, I said his profit might be 99%.

The point was that there aren’t any legal profits that the government should steal, other than through reasonable taxation.

1 12 2008
Snowplow Shovel Palin fka olay biscuit Palin

Would that we could weed out the incurious gene in our society- we’d have less George Bush’s and Sarah Palins.




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