Friday, October 20, 2017

On The Campaign Trail 2018 10/20/2017

Just a few days ago I started doing the first door to door campaigning for my 2018 bid for Alaska House District 40's seat in the House of Representatives. All I did really was go around the block and tell my friends and family that I was running. And most people I talked to wanted to sign my pension to run. Some people don't like Dean Westlake. Some people would actually like some kind of democracy for our elections instead of just handing our seat to whoever wins the Democratic Primary. A lot of people just like me.

I'm far from ready to run but I just wanted to get out and do something. Well I'm also reading How To Win A Local Election by Judge Lawrence Grey and maybe that wasn't the best thing to do.

I didn't know how useful this book would be to me. When I was looking at books I could read on how to run a campaign there were a ton of them! So I decided this should be one of them because most of my campaigning will probably be done in Kotzebue. Certainly I want to go to the surrounding villages and elsewhere in the district but without a road to anywhere it's going to be expensive. But it's not like I'm running for President or Governor. The title grabbed my attention and it got good reviews from both sides of the political spectrum. So I bought it. I got to say for a political novice like me this book has really useful information about the pitfalls someone like me might and probably would have fell into.

I read that the minimum signatures I needed to get was 50. Sometimes I forgot to ask people if they were a registered voter. There were plenty of people who are excited about my bid to run but when I asked them the question if they were registered to vote in they revealed they were either not or were not registered voters in this district.

And to be honest the other day I didn't ask the question. I just let people sign. So what if I got 50 signatures but all 50 were not good? Well my plan was to get 100 signatures so that even if 10 of them were bad I'd still have 90 good signatures and that's more than enough to get me on the ballot. Or so thought.

Reading How To Win A Local Election I'm finding out something like that might have been used to keep me off the ballot. There are examples of people not getting on a ballot because of one or two bad signatures. And there's examples of a candidate losing his shot on getting on a ballot because they got a minimum amount of signatures and one person says they take back their endorsement and that ends their campaign.

If started to gather signatures in May and found out something like this it could have been the end of my campaign. Or even more embarrassing I could have turned in bad signatures and that would have been the end of my run as well. It doesn't matter what good intentions I have. I could have been dead in the water.

I don't think this is all bad either. A way of looking at this is this a system that weeds out bad candidates. If you're not willing to work hard and do it right you don't deserve to be in office let alone run for it.

But we're all human. I imagine I'll make mistakes on whatever road I take. We all do. Thankfully I started early.

I'm not discouraged at all and I don't see the work I did the other day as in vain. Now more people know I'm running and I saw who was excited about me. And lets be real I'd have no chance on winning if all I was planning to do was reach out to 50 people alone. There's many more doors to knock on and more signatures to get.

I'm completely new to this but that won't work as an excuse if I slip up somewhere. I think I'm going to finish this book before I knock on door again.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Does our money belong to us or the government?

Let me ask you something. When you work who owns the fruits of your labor? If you watch KTUU and read ADN you'll see the argument being made that your money really belongs to the government and after they eat their share they'll hand you whatever scraps are leftover.

Well I say if they really want my money they can do my job for me. Then they can keep however much money they want. I wonder how that deal would work for them?

There's some drama going on about The PFD. The State is in a budget crisis and is wondering how to save it. All the solutions I'm hearing from the media is that they need to take the money from either working Alaskans or raise the price of goods. Boy that's quite the deal we're getting!

But what was The PFD supposed to be about anyway? It was giving us the money The Oil Industry made off our lands. Obviously they're not doing so hot right now. Or well it would seem that way if you just watch KTUU. Lets not forget it's a billion dollar industry.

And our government doesn't seem too concerned over taking their money over ours. In fact Dean Westlake voted to give them a 10% tax cut while giving us a income tax. Doesn't seem like he wants us to do the heavy lifting for them?

Anyway let's face the fact that The PFD was not created as a social program where the working folk all pitch in a pot to give everyone $1,000 a year. But that's what our state government wants us to do. The argument is that it'll help the poor. And sure $1,000 is a lot of money but who's going to live on such a amount in the course of a full year?

Don't get me wrong I'm all for helping people out. I'll admit I'm a young guy but in my experience just handing people money who could work doesn't improve their lives. As the old saying goes easy come easy go. My experience is a majority of the time they'll keep coming back for more until you say no.

What's wrong with Alaska's government is that they don't have the backbone to say no. Certainly people say they need The PFD. They also say they need a cigarette or to be spotted $20. Is Dean Westlake going to do that for them as well?

But it doesn't take that much backbone to steal from people. And that's what they want to do! They just call it a income tax or a sales tax. If the government were really concerned with what was right and stand by what The PFD was created for the money being handed out each year in The PFD would decrease. The better the oil industry does the higher it should be. And it should be lower during times like this.

Let's ask ourselves the question are we going to let ourselves be fooled and intimated into something that's unfair? Nobody in the media is serious questioning the move for The PFD from being a form of rent on the oil industry to a social program. And it's not even a good social program!

Education and helping people find jobs in the work place is far more important than The PFD. Welfare for those who actually need it is more important than just giving everyone money every year.

Lets stand up for the working class who should be able to keep the fruits of their labor. Lets make a better budget aimed towards a better future for Alaska. Lets balance the damn thing too.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

People living in The Arctic know Climate Change is happening

Oh Thursday I went to The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center or as most of you know it The New Museum. The University of Alaska put on this little presentation of their project called Northern Alaska Sea Ice Project Jukebox. What they're doing is gathering up an oral history of Arctic sea ice. They have audio files that date back to the 1970s.

And from all the interviews that they done and we can go back to what did they find out. Well it just proved what we knew already. The ice is getting thinner every year. There's no question about it. You should go onto their site and check it out. Our culture has a long history of passing information on via oral communication. So what UAF is doing is very cool. I suggest checking out their website and maybe lending them a helping hand. They said next month they'll be looking for someone to fly a drone in Kotzebue to take footage of the sound.

Project Jukebox's website

In the May 18th edition of The Arctic Sounder there was a story about when The Arctic Nations met up with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

At that meeting Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Elisabeth Wallstorm cited that the economic costs of climate change is 90 trillion dollars!

And many other voiced their concern for a warmer climate. Here's Rex Tillerson's response to them:

"You should know we are taking the time to understand your concerns. We're not going to rush to make a decision. We're going to make the right decision for The United States."

The right decision for The United States... What does that mean? Maybe to him that means opening up ANWR for oil exploration. Maybe it's protecting his besom buddies in Exxon from scientists.

That's right The Republican Congress is opening up scientists to be sued by corporations that poison our environment. If you ask their priorities are backwards. Why should they be allowed to sue? It was decided to Kialina didn't have the right to sue Exxon for all the damage they had done.

So what's everyone else doing? China and India are trying to hold their end of the deal of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Something needs to be done.

Friday, May 5, 2017

When big money is spent in political campaigns our voices get faded out

When money talks democracy walks. When special interests and lobbyists pay off our politicians we lose our voice. That isn't their first amendment rights being protected that's ours being stomped on.

Have you ever donated to a political campaign before? Politicians ask for money all the time because they need it to run their campaigns. And they pay attention who's giving them money. You don't think that's true then put yourself in their shoes. So you get 12 emails from 12 different people from your district. Maybe you don't have time to go through all of them. You see who sent them and one of those 12 gave $1,000 to your campaign while you were running. Who are you going to listen to?

That's just the reality of our political system.

Okay so lets move you from being the politician to the person that gave $1,000. Maybe that's a stretch for you. Who's got the kind of money to be wasting on a campaign? You got bills to pay for and there's things that you want to get to enjoy your life. But lets say what this person said really grabbed you and you decided they spoke to you in such a way that you needed to give them $1,000. I bet it would make you really happy that person got elected.

Well with The Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling back in 2012 and the creation of Super PACs the super rich have been able to hand politicians millions of dollars. That would have been illegal a year or two before that ruling!

Okay back to our scenario. You gave a candidate $1,000. But is he or she going to win with that alone? No you need to get your friends involved. Will they be willing to give $1,000? Probably not. Heck I be there are some friends you can't even get to spot you $10. But for the sake of argument lets say you guys and gals are really behind that person so you each give $1,000 to a candidate. That would be $12,000.

Giving money to a candidate to get them to pay attention to you works. It really does and I kind of had to happen to me before without knowing that I would get some attention.

Bernie Sanders ran for President last year. I was all for him so I donated several hundred dollars to his campaign. I was so excited about his campaign that I switched my party affiliation to The Democratic Party so I can vote for him in Alaska's Democratic Party Primary. And something weird happened. I got a call about someone who wanted me to campaign for Sanders. I was excited about it and even though it was 20 below outside I knocked door to door telling people why they needed to support Sanders.

But why was his campaign interested? This was Kotzebue, Alaska after all. A town of only 3,000 people. I only gave a few hundred dollars. Well I talked to the other people campaigning for him and they also gave money and some were in the hundreds as well. Because we collectedly gave money to The Sanders Campaign from Kotzebue it got us noticed. We were never really asked what our opinions were. They just wanted to know if we'd get more involved in helping Sanders win Alaska's primary. And several us were all for helping out even more.

So what about Hillary Clinton? Did she send someone to Kotzebue to help the people show her side and what she stood for? No it didn't happen.

Why wasn't she campaigning as strongly as Sanders was in Kotzebue?

It's not for a lack of support. In the caucus she nearly split the delegates. Had she got a few more people to go to her side Sanders won't have gotten all the delegates in our caucus. Why wasn't that important to her?

The conclusion that we came to was there wasn't a significant amount of money coming from Kotzebue to Hillary for her to care. That's logical. She had to concentrate on winning primaries that she could win. If her supporters there were not interested enough in giving a little bit of money than she can't waste her resources trying to fight an uphill battle in a state that hasn't voted Democrat in half a century.

It's better than thinking she just didn't care at all. Maybe she really did think she had the election in the bag and that's why she didn't go to states like Michigan.

Okay so lets continue our scenario from before. You and your friends given a candidate $12,000. That's a lot of money. Think of the things you could have done with $12,000 otherwise but you got together and decided you needed to support this person in getting a political office. So why did you give that money. Lets just take a random issue. It's just a scenario after all. Let's say Gun Rights. You and your 11 friends are hunters. You go out every year to help feed your family and you don't want your second amendment right to a fire arm to be messed with.

So you and your 11 friends got together and raised $12,000 to give to this candidate since he or she they will stand your second amendment right to own a fire arm.

Well your candidate decides he or she needs a Super PAC to raise more money. And because they created a Super PAC maybe one rich person who doesn't like the second amendment decides to give them one million dollars.

Okay lets say one group gives you $12,000 and a person with a different view giver you $1,000,000. Who are you going to listen to?

That one rich person has drowned you and your friend's voice with money. How are you supposed to compete with that? That isn't them expressing their first amendment right. That's a infringement on yours.

To prove a point back in the 2012 election Bill Maher announced he gave one million dollars to Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Like Bill Maher or not is this what you want? The super rich getting together and making demands of our politicians rather than we the people?

So why did Bernie Sanders take notice of us? Well he decided the moral thing to do was not start up a Super PAC and raise money from the people in the traditional way that was done before the 2012 ruling of Citizens United.

So Sanders needed to go to the people for his campaign cash. Hillary Clinton on the other hand did have Super PACs and got money from them. We never saw her people come to Kotzebue.

I was talking to this to one of my co-workers and asked how are campaigns going to raise enough money for TV ads. Like they didn't exist before. And I asked him back is that what we really need was more campaign ads. Just look at this one.

The ad played over and over again before the 2016 election. Is that more of what we need?

Syria is in a 4 way war that we shouldn't be involved in

Just who's side are we on when it comes to The Syrian Civil War? We all know for sure that we don't like The Islamic State. We have also bombed The Syrian Government recently. So that leaves the two rebel groups.

Our Turkish allies don't get along with our Kurd allies. What are we going to do about it? Why do we have to do something about it? How is helping Syria helping us? How did helping South Vietnam help us? How did rebuilding Iraq help us? How did creating a void of leadership in Libya help us? Why do we have to involve ourselves in foreign conflicts that have absolutely nothing to do with us?

Also why are we trying to make enemies out of counties that are no threat to us what so ever?

When are we going to stop getting ourselves needlessly involved?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Our government is being bought

Last night I started reading When Money Talks by Derek Chessman and I have to say it's a real eye opener. The book covers the money spent on politics and the bogus argument that money is speech.

Going though chapter 1 it's interesting to see how our free speech is regulated and rightfully so. You know you shouldn't be yelling profanities while going down the street. While there's many other ways it's regulated such as the volume we speak or where we do it. And it's all justified to protect other's property rights and their well being.

But what has happened recently is that our voice is being drowned by large corporations thanks to The Citizens United ruling by The Supreme Court.

It shouldn't be no surprise to any of you that our congressmen are being bought off. My question to you though is why do we take it? Well I say it's time to take action and people are as you are reading this.

I announced that I'm running for office and I know it's going to be hard. I'm someone who has worked for everything I have. And I feel that people will be behind me if this state income tax does pass and it begins to hurt them in their pocket books.

Recently former President Barack Obama has taken $400,000 to make a speech to the same Wall Street bankers that crashed our economy back in 2008.

We elected him to do something about the banks that crashed our economy. Instead what happened was they got a bail out and now the too big to fail banks are bigger than ever!

This is why I left The Democratic Party. They were supposedly for the people but that ended up not being very true. I'd rather get my support from the people rather than trying to line my own pockets from special interests.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dean Westlake is trying to pass the buck onto us

The Alaska State Government is trying to figure out a new income tax. I understand what their thinking is. We're facing a budget crisis.

But what about the oil industry?

Well lets be a little fair here. The House is trying to lower or get rid of subsides for the oil industry. Which is great news. We're all in this together and we should all give up something to help the team right?

"HB 111 also lowers the profits tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent."
 Oh well look who won the pony there.

The working folk gets taxed more with a new state income tax while the oil industry gets a lower tax rate at 10 percent!?!?

I want someone to comment and defend this. Go ahead tell me how it's fair.

It's not just taxes. I have a commercial driver's licence. I live in Kotzebue, Alaska. Five years ago I got my licence in Kotzebue. But now with there being no DMV where I live I have to pay hundreds of dollars to get a flight down to Anchorage. Oh and if I feel like it maybe I could pay for a hotel and some food too.

And imagine if you live in one our the surrounding villages! You have to pay for a flight to Kotzebue then another to Anchorage.

So we get taxes more while getting less. The oil industry gets less taxes.

You might be telling me "Oh well they get less subsides. So they're giving up something too."

 Well look won the pony there.

Dean is looking not only to give them a lower tax rate but he's also looking to open ANWR for the oil industry where they could make billions and billions of dollars off our oil.

Dean Westlake didn't go to Juneau to fight for you and me. He's helping the oil industry take our land. If you ask me I think it's about time to dump Dean.