Sunday, August 20, 2006

“He's leaving on a jet plane…”

Charismatic Frank has an aversion to traveling with the Great Unwashed, even in first class, and has been using “his” jet* for campaigning. Although Frank claims it's all been business, suspiciously no campaign money has been used for travel, and the number of state appearances by the Gov at local fish frys and boy scout weenie roasts has suddenly shot up. But stupid me, why should Frank “Friend of Big Oil” Murkowski have to pay for something when he can get it for free? After all - he’s worth those sorts of perks – and entitled to campaigning on the state’s dime. Oops, nope, guess it's more than just a dime considering what jet fuel must be going for now that Murk’s buddies suddenly discovered corrosion in their pipes!

Simultaneously, someone is taking out ads pleading for the state jet’s life. A couple of days ago in the Fairbanks Snooze Minus, an ad appeared exhorting candidates of all political stripes not to make selling the state jet a plank in their platform. It's OK to object to the Gov doing an end run around the legislature and buying his jet through a line of credit at Key Bank, reasons the ad, but “Please don’t resent the state jet itself. It’s a hardworking machine that is needed and is doing a good job for Alaska. “ It's hard not to get a little pang of sympathy for that quasi-anthropomorphized jet that might get put out to pasture very soon.

The state jet supporter makes some good points about the efficacy of having a jet at the disposal of state business, although his principal one – that it is used to transport prisoners from Alaska to Arizona brings up a bigger issue that this blogger would like to see addressed by the next governor and legislature…the matter of Alaska inmates – the overwhelming majority of whom are Alaska Native – being incarcerated thousands of miles from their homes in a privatized prison facility (and thus feeding some bloated corporation on the misfortunes of a people terribly disadvantaged by the present legal and political system.) Given Alaska’s population – it seems incredible that money can't be found to expand our correctional facilities (we aren’t talking needing a facility the size of Sing Sing or Rikers Island here) so that people doing their time can do it where their families and friends have a better chance than a snowball’s in hell to regularly visit.

Hmmm…nearly three million buckeroos can be found for a private jet for Frank – loosely using the excuse of prisoner transport for its raison d’etre, but no money can be found to expand correctional facilities here, or more importantly, to fund sufficient law enforcement and social services in Alaska’s rural areas so that the core problems of drug and alcohol related violence, domestic assault, and child abuse are addressed and treated. Much better to buy a jet and warehouse, out of the state, these reminders of the problems plaguing the Native villages. Out of sight, out of mind.

We can only hope that come this Tuesday, Frank the Bank will also be out of sight, out of mind. But hey, who is paying for this frigging jet? A line of credit is a line of credit – it means the State still owes the money. So it really doesn’t matter that the legislature didn’t approve the purchase, does it? Alaskan residents still foot the bill for that little ego-booster toy of Frank’s.

* Despite Frank’s “compelling reasons" why he needed a jet to conduct his bizness as the Guv, in a moment of fiscal clarity, the State legislature refused to appropriate $2.7 million for Frank’s jet. Frank, in the way of all spoiled children, refused to take no for an answer so used a state line of credit to buy his toy. Wow. Wish I could get me some o’dat special state line of credit!

1 comment:

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Some other interesting items: I received, like most of Alaska's residents, some very glossy shiny fliers ostensibly aimed at "informing the public" from the Public Outreach dept. of the state, but they really looked quite a lot like Murky's campaign materials. Very much like his campaign materials. In fact, the most recent one, talking about BRAC, education, the Pogo Mine/Northern Environmental Center brouhaha (taking credit for something Dave Guttenberg was instrumental in negotiating), and so forth, followed Murky's campaign lit point for point and in the same order.

Murkowski is as corrupt as they come. Isn't it a felony to use state funds for private purposes? The man ought to be prosecuted for this, whether he wins the primary (har har) or stays a lame duck.

I also received a phone call from a "pollster" (really Mr. Charismatic's campaign) claiming that "polls showed Murkowski leading" (WHAT polls?) and that the Alaska media endorsed his candidacy, for example the Voice of the Times (or VECO--big surprise there). They're SHAMELESS! Oh, yeah, and did I know, the mechanical pollster asked, that Sarah Palin and John Binkley haven't been straight with Alaska voters? The computer voice didn't ask me if I realized that Murkowski had been downright untruthful, deceptive, and arrogant toward Alaska voters. Guess they knew I could figure that out all by myself.

And a final point: we wouldn't have so many people to house in jails if we got in line with our constitution and decriminalized marijuana. How about officially legalizing the commercial production and sale of hemp and recreational marijuana? we could make TONS of money on hemp clothing and fabric, hemp oil, hempseed (very nutritious!), and, of course, on THC and plain old mary jane. Tax the heck out of it! we'd diversify our economy, put people to work, clear out our prisons, and it would be a lot safer for the public. And all those cancer and pain patients would have a good source of an excellent medicine. Doing well by doing good!

But Murkowski is all for making it utterly and completely illegal. More profitable that way for private enterprise, I suppose. Like the mob.