Our last 1955 delegate to the Constitutional Convention just died. Vic Fisher was a born-and-bred Leftist, even as his parentage escaped Stalinist Russia. Like Ted Stevens, yet another lauded “great” Alaskan, men of their educational pedigrees could not help but be noticed by the Deep State for grooming and assignment.

Let’s take a look at some of these men.

Ernest Gruening: An editor of the Leftist The Nation, Gruening somehow went offside with the Democratic Party and was “kicked upstairs” by being banished to Alaska as governor by FDR in the late 30s. His tenure during the war, with very little to work with, proved his resourcefulness and ability to improvise with the military commanders. That and his efforts toward statehood were unquestionably patriotic, but his much-praised speech before the ’55 convention might be analyzed in a different light.

True, it laid out Alaska’s legitimate grievances with federal control. Borrowing from the style of the Declaration of Independence, it listed them: from the Jones Act, which escalated the cost of living for Alaskans, to the unregulated squandering of our fisheries by Outside corporations, to federal control over our resources, it fully ensconced the idea that statehood would be the panacea for all our troubles.

The problem is nothing has changed. The Jones Act has never been repealed, Alaska still cannot control its resources and while fisheries were unlinked from Outside plundering, we are still contending against DC lobbyists of the fishery industries, ineffective patrolling of our waters from fish piracy – and squabbling amongst ourselves from contentious commercial, sport and subsistence priorities.

So, the unanswered question is: Was Gruening merely playing the role of champion, only to lead us into a Dead End?

Willie Hensley: A Kotzebue native, was sent to a posh boarding school in Tennessee, and subsequent collegiate career at George Washington University in DC. He was groomed to bring us the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), coached village voters where to cast their ballots and make them permanent dependencies of the Native [read: Federally subsidized] corporations. Thus, the falsely praised departure from the Indian Reservation system has kept rural Alaska in Third World poverty.

Ted Stevens: An army pilot who flew over the dangerous Himalayan “Hump” in World War II, Stevens then attended Harvard Law School. When unable to get the Interior Dept job he wanted, he worked for a Beltway law firm with ties to Usibelli Coal in Alaska. He moved to Fairbanks and in just six months received the appointment as district attorney over longer-tenured Alaskan lawyers. Returning to DC with the job he wanted at Interior, he illegally wrote much of the statehood act … which gave Alaska the veneer of statehood without changing our status as an American colony. He cemented its trajectory by accepting the tyrannical Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act [ANILCA], then “rescued” our straight-jacketed economy temporarily with gigantic influxes of federal monies.

Vic Fisher: Fisher’s role in the 1955 constitutional convention was to play the Leftist gadfly. However, he nailed down something quite important, likely for the wrong reasons.

Many citizens have no idea why almost all state constitutions clone the federal Bill of Rights. This is because they don’t realize that the Bill of Rights is completely misnamed. They ought to be called, “The Bill of Limitations on Federal Power.” A reading of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights (not the same as the Preamble to the Constitution) will explain that. We do not get our rights from the government. We get them from God.

The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law …” It does not say, “Congress and the states, counties, municipalities and school districts”. Thus, the amendment should apply only to federal laws. But it does not, because citizen ignorance allows the Supreme Court and also the insidious 14th amendment to make us think otherwise.

So, to limit tyranny by each individual state, the people of yesteryear demanded that the states copy, at least roughly, the promise of the first 10 amendments to not interfere with pre-existing rights. For the later-arriving states, this was also done merely from the habit of imitating earlier generations – generations that were more savvy about the nature of government.

Our state’s history, its relationship with the federal government and our constitution is a story that is still being built.

So, let’s look at Article 1, Section 5 of the Alaska state constitution:

Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.

Vic Fisher noted that the wording guaranteeing Freedom of Speech was quite different from the other guarantees, which begin with “No law shall be made …” or “No person shall be deprived …” This recognizes that the rights were not given by the state, but were instead a promise not to interfere – a big difference.

So, Sec. 5 actually makes freedom of speech and the press a government created right. And the ominous clause about abuses of that right need never have entered the constitution. Laws against libel and slander were already on the books and in common law. We can see that “misinformation,” a term wielded very promiscuously during Covid, could easily fall under the tyranny of Section 5.

Fisher was a Leftist, living in the era of the Red Scare, and he was well versed in the Hollywood blacklisting of major stars and writers. He saw a threat to the performing arts as well as to political speech. Fisher was perceptive enough to notice that the wording was novel and open for abuse.

But he was alone. The convention transcripts show that he was told, “Idaho has already done it this way,” or words to that effect. It is still there in Idaho’s Art. 1, Sec. 9 – word for word.

Our state’s history, its relationship with the federal government and our constitution is a story that is still being built.

And much of it needs to be unraveled, and re-done.

With regret, the Soros-bought propaganda campaign against a constitutional convention succeeded. Freedom of speech was just one area that needed to be fixed.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Taking stock of ‘great’ Alaskans

Bob Bird
Bob Bird ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and 2008. He is a past president of Alaska Right to Life, a 47-year Alaska resident and a retired public school teacher. He has a passion for studying and teaching Alaska and U.S. constitutional history. He lives on the Kenai Peninsula and is currently a daily radio talk-show host for The Talk of the Kenai, on KSRM 920 AM from 3-5 pm and heard online


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    If you keep the masses in the dark they will never know anything. Most are too lazy to read the state Constitution and just take what people say for fact. These brief stories on these people tell a big picture. I say it’s more half thought through ideas by democrats. This is exactly why our country(state) is so screwed up. Go read the constitution for yourself. You might be surprised about what it really says!

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Representative government. The collective has the power. We are divided like never before. What is one thing the collective could agree on and accomplish?

  • fedupwithleftistBS says:

    We act like politics has been good until now, the truth is it has been corrupt forever and will never change. Politicians have never been nor ever will be for the people. They are for themselves first and foremost and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply one of them or foolish.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Well then if “that’s the way it’s always been “ how much corruption is too much? After all it’s normal right?

  • Lucinda says:

    This may be the nadir of Bob Bird’s self-initiated proof to Alaskans that he is the flag-bearer of the farthest, deepest, nearly out of sight far far Right.

    Smart people, and Republicans too, will note Bird’s extreme views and will properly dismiss him as irrelevant.

  • John H Slone says:

    Funny, I thought I could smell Bob Bird from the beginning of this article and sure enough, there at the end , lo and behold – his name!! Alaska watchman sure gets a lot of mileage out of this guy or is it the other way around!! How about trying some other conservative for local editorials for a change!!

  • Tom J says:

    Wow. He said what I thought my party would think as unconscionable…. Throw out and unravel the Constitution?
    It is frightening to see that social media and other media outlets have made statements like this seem “normal” and even “ok.”

    • Toscano says:

      Tom, you mean you DON’T want federal control over our state unraveled? You DON’T want a more strongly-worded protection for the right to free speech and press? One could easily say, to copy your own words, “It is frightening to see on the comments that people think the status quo is perfectly fine, and that it is normal and OK.”

  • Sterling Crone says:

    Bob Bird is the only man standing up speaking to these points we could all consider thoughtfully. Moreover, he offers this with both literate and historical review. The point has already been made as how most Alaskans have not, cannot, or will not ever read the state Constitution. Alongside that observation and voter participation rates we might all agree that, deep down, we know most Alaskans are either too stupid, too lazy, too self-absorbed, or just don’t care. And if the younger generations coming up are any indication, it won’t be changing any time soon.

  • Gunner says:

    well, one thing for sure. After Bob Byrd dies, he sure as hell won’t make the “great alaskan” list.

  • Me says:

    Ah yes, a bunch of dehydrated old white dudes.

  • Mark Regan says:

    It’s “Fischer,” not “Fisher.”