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    COVID restrictions aren’t ending anytime soon for Anchorage

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    The extraordinary powers that Anchorage’s unelected Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson enjoys to impose emergency restrictions and mandates on businesses, churches, schools, individuals and other entities will likely continue unabated until at least April, and maybe beyond.

    Anchorage Assembly members.

    With the Assembly’s 8-2 vote on Jan. 12 to extend the declaration of emergency, struggling business will now likely contineu to endure sever limitations on size capacity through the end of winter. Only Assemblywomen Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy voted against the extension, which could be terminated by the Assembly at any time.

    Before the vote, Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson suggested that there may be an even greater need in the months ahead to continue her emergency orders – including mandatory masking, social distancing and limitations on gatherings.

    First she claimed that her mandates have worked to keep case numbers down. She then suggested that her goal is to now “honor the sacrifices” the community has made by “preventing a rapid surge in cases” in the future.

    Quinn-Davidson expressed her belief that she is doing right by a city that has seen roughly 70 businesses close down due to her orders.

    She admitted that there is a significant drop in COVID cases and vastly increased hospital capacity, but then suggested that more troubling times may lie ahead and Anchorage can’t afford to let up.

    “New strains of the virus that are believed to be significantly more transmissable are being detectable across the country,” she said of a COVID variant that originated in England.

    “We do not have evidence (in Alaska) of the UK variant, yet,” she said. “But it continues to be identified in more and more states. The current vaccines are expected to be effective against this new variant but we are very concerned that this varent may spread more quickly than people are vaccinated, and could drive up cases and hospital demand quickly, before we have achieved widespread immunity. Thankfully, we know what to do – wear masks, avoid gatherings and keep physical distance from others.”

    Quinn-Davidson expressed her belief that she is doing right by a city that has seen roughly 70 businesses close down due to her orders. Many will never reopen.

    Quinn-Davidson accused her many critics of “vitrol and hatred.”

    She mentioned all the good things she’s doing to help them, like implementing a “texting alert system” to help communicate to small businesses about new safety regulations and government handouts. She also praised her efforts to help struggling seniors get property tax exemptions, and the city’s new website that informs newly impoverished residents how to access free food.

    Before the Assembly voted to extend her powers, Quinn-Davidson praised them for being able to work together “despite dissagreements that are sometimes very strong.”

    Indeed, the disagreements run deep. Scores of residents continue to spend hours at each meeting criticizing the Assembly for doubling down on crippling mandates that limit some businesses (mostly local) far more than national chains like Walmart, Lowes, Costco and others. Assemblywomen Jamie Allared and Crystal Kennedy have also been critical of the mayor’s decisions.

    Quinn-Davidson accused her many critics of “vitrol and hatred.”

    “Among the many who come to us with genuine disagreements and profound challenges, we are also hearing more and more claims that have little connection to reality and language that describes those who disagree as enemies or worse,” she said, “This system of government works when we recognize that we are working toward the same goals, even as we vehemently disagree on how we get there.”

    Even the attempt to loosen some of the acting mayor’s orders was rejected by the majority of the Assembly on Jan. 12.

    The problem, however, is that many do not “recognize that we are working toward the same goals.” While no one wants a deadly virus to plague the city, many critics of the emergency orders have noted that deaths from the virus are vastly fewer than originally expected, hospitals have never been overrun and there has yet to be a post-Thanksgiving or Christmas surge as city health officials warned. In addition, the mandates have coincided with a rise in attempted suicides and drug overdoses as many are now out of work and socially deprived of basic human interactions.

    Even the attempt to loosen some of the acting mayor’s orders was rejected by the majority of the Assembly on Jan. 12. They have the power to terminate any orders they deem overly burdensome and ineffective. The majority, however, seem to march in lockstep with the acting mayor’s will when it comes to mandates.

    In order to begin moving out of a state of emergency, the acting mayor’s administration argued Jan. 12 that the city would need to see a 60-75% vaccination rate among residents. That poses another challenge as many Americans are leery of a quickly-approved vaccine that skipped traditional trials and testing in order to fast-track its rollout across the nation.

    The reliance on vaccines to ameliorate all fears about COVID may also be ill-founded as state health officials as well as the CDC now claim that the vaccine does not necessarily prevent people from contracting or spreading the virus. They all recommend the continuance of face masks, social distancing and the avoidance of gatherings, even after vacination.

    There is also a new resistance among many health officials to recognizing the long-standing consensus that herd immunity to a virus can be achieved through natural infections. Increasingly, this is seen as intolerable and the only potential solution is to create herd immunity through widespread vaccinations.

    Shortly before the Assembly voted to extend the emergency orders until April, Assemblywoman Allard expressed the frustration of countless residents.

    “The only way this is going to stop is when we get a new mayor,” she said. “Or not. It depends.”

    Anchorage will vote to elect a new mayor on April 12.

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    Petition to recall Anchorage Assemblyman Rivera is certified, now court battle looms

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    The effort to remove Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera cleared a key hurdle on Jan. 15 when Anchorage Clerk Barbara Jones certified that the petition had at least 2,735 qualified signatures from Assembly District 4. That’s 25% of all voters in the area.

    Russell Biggs turns in signatures to have Assemblyman Felix Rivera put on a recall vote. The municiple clerk certified the necessary signatures on Jan. 15.

    Next, the clerk will submit the petition to the Anchorage Assembly at its next meeting on Jan. 26.

    Because the next regular election is less than 75 days away, voters will get a chance to recall Rivera from office during the April 6 election.

    But things could get complicated before voters have a chance to weigh in. The clerk’s decision to approve the petition can be appealed in court within 30 days of certification.

    A group defending Rivera, the Midtown Citizens Coalition, has already filed a lawsuit asking the Anchorage Superior Court to order the city to reject the petition. Rivera has worked with this group to raise funds for the lawsuit in order to save his political career.

    Dr. Russell Biggs, who spearheaded the signature gathering campaign, and delivered nearly 5,000 signatures last week, said he is pleased that the clerk certified the signatures, but noted that the court battle still looms. He said it would be a slap in the face to everyone who exercised their legal right to force a recall if the courts throw it out.

    “You can argue about whether or not Rivera needs to be recalled, but to deny it from even going to the ballot – that’s messed up,” he said. “It’s a good day. I’m happy, but I still have a lot of anxiety about where it will go from here. With the court battle, it’s such a wild card once it goes before a judge.”

    Biggs said the certification of the petition is a “good day for democracy.”

    Many in Anchorage are upset with the direction Rivera has taken the city over the past year by empowering the mayor to impose crippling emergency orders that have ruined local businesses, closed churches and schools and sent the city into an economic crisis. The recall, however, deals with a very specific concern – that Rivera failed to perform his duties as Assembly chair when he allowed more than the legal number of people to attend an Aug. 11 Assembly meeting. At the time an emergency order limited indoor gatherings to 15 people or less. There were, however, 17 people at the August meeting. Rivera decided to proceed anyhow, even after this was pointed out by Assemblywoman Jamie Allard.

    “Of all citizens in Anchorage the chair of the Anchorage Assembly should have been scrupulous in obeying the gathering limitation,” the recall petition states. “His failure to do so needlessly endangered the lives of Anchorage citizens, encouraged the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community, and merits recall from office.”

    Biggs said the certification of the petition is a “good day for democracy.”

    “This represents two months of really hard work for a lot of people that were continually being told they don’t represent the community and you are the vocal minority,” he said. “This is a complete repudiation of that by getting the signatures in the time of COVID and in the middle of winter and all the obstructions that were put up against us.”

    If the courts allow the recall to actually go to a vote of the people in April, Biggs said he is optimistic it will succeed. He said a victory would send a clear message to the Assembly.

    “I think this may change the tone a little bit,” he said.

    If Rivera is recalled, he would be the first Assembly member ever removed by the people. At that point the remaining Assembly members would appoint someone to serve out his term, which ends in 2023. Even if they appoint someone with a similar mindset, Biggs said the effort will still have been worth it.

    “Nobody wants to be the second politician recalled in Anchorage,” he said. “That person will be in the hot seat. At the very least it sends the message that Midtown voters have spoken and we disagree with the Assembly usurping the will of the voters.”

    With regards to the lawsuit, Biggs said he is willing to fight for the right to recall all the way to the Alaska Supreme Court, if necessary.

    “At this point, I’m all in,” he said.

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    1.15 > A Struggle for Liberty

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    The sum total of current events leads to the inevitable conclusion that newly empowered liberal elites are prepared to dramatically tighten the noose on citizens, businesses, churches, media outlets and other organizations.

    As this great struggle for liberty unfolds, the Alaska Watchman is determined to provide a stark alternative to the mainstream media, but we need your help.

    This week we closed our Twitter page, and lost access to our Parler account when that platform went down. While our followers are surging on Facebook, we’re not sure how much longer they will let us publish content.

    Moving forward we want to increase our email list so we can reach readers directly. You can also sign up for our RSS feeds and follow us on MeWe.

    In the year ahead we must make strong, reasoned arguments for the principles on which this nation was founded.

    Open letter challenges statement by 12 Anchorage pastors regarding D.C. violence and Trump’s role

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    Poetry quill writing pic
    Poetry quill writing pic

    Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted to the Watchman in response to a Jan. 12 statement by 12 Anchorage pastors which condemned the Jan. 6 violence in at the U.S. Capitol building and also blamed President Trump for inciting the crimes. The pastor’s orginal statement can be read here. A follow up clarification from one of the pastors (Tim Davis) can be read here .

    OPEN LETTER

    Dear Pastors,

    I read your letter to the community. One of my pastors in on the list of signatories. Before I begin, I want to say that he and I have spoken about his reasons for signing the letter and even though we disagree about one portion of it, we still love and respect each other. I believe in free speech and his right to express his opinion in this way. Free speech is important and needs to be protected no matter the content. Without that we lose a vital part of what makes America great and that is under attack in many ways right now.

    I am still quite saddened and disturbed about the portion of the letter calling out the “Commander-in-Chief’ and his responsibility in his use of words and actions. As faith leaders, you are also responsible for your words and you signed a letter with the names of your church effectively signing it for everyone associated with those places of worship. Did they agree and consent? I did not. I do not.

    As I pondered the reason for my unrest and pondered the conversation I had with my pastor, I came to realize that the reason I, and others, are so upset is because the portion of the country they chose to chastise is largely disenfranchised right now. The letter is unbalanced. My pastor stated their intention was to address the one event however that leaves us readers asking, “Why THIS event?” People died. Yes, they did. Death is always tragic. People have been dying all summer.

    We have watched as violent protests have raged on, and National Democratic leaders have told us that it was deserved, it was a response to pain, they shouldn’t let up, that there should be unrest in the streets. Where were you then pastors?

    Yes, you spoke out against racism and that was beautiful and wonderfully done. But where were you condemning the nightly violence and the attacks on police officers just because of their occupation? Billions of dollars in damage were done in this country in the name of protest, and you sat silent. Kids were killed in the crossfire of increased violence relating to the defunding of police but that did not spur you into action. Why? I am so very sad and confused.

    I have a feeling that a balanced letter of reproach would have been more well received and the message you truly hoped to share.

    Anchorage has been squashed, ignored, condescended to on a local level from the Assembly. Anchorage has been placed under an iron-thumb of economic control time and time again. Medical freedom is being stripped away. The open meetings act is being manipulated. CARES Act funds are being spent in areas that hasn’t benefited the community. Businesses are closing. Where are you condemning the actions of the iron fist of the Assembly?

    I propose to you that perhaps instead of choosing the events of Jan. 6, 2021, your letter could have addressed the responsibility of ALL speech happening in our nation. I propose that when you choose to call out one area of hypocrisy that you need to balance it with all hypocrisy within that subject matter. Hypocrisy does not land on one side. It does not affect one person. This incident at the Capitol building was not a product of simply one person irresponsibly using their power of speech.

    Teaching and preaching the whole Bible means you call all sin sin and call out all sin, not just one you deem is the most offensive at the time. I have a feeling that a balanced letter of reproach would have been more well received and the message you truly hoped to share – repenting of sin and moving to love – would have been heard.

    Please continue to use your convictions and free speech. I thank you for that. As a congregant, lover of Jesus, and a disenfranchised American I implore you to take a final look at your statements and ask if it is fairly representing the whole of the subject.

    Be blessed,

    Sara Jokela, Anchorage

    Anchorage pastor clarifies statement condemning D.C. riots and Trump’s words

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    Editor’s note: The following statement from Pastor Tim Davis, of Chapel by the Sea, was submitted in response to a Jan. 14 Watchman article about a statement that was signed by 12 Anchorage pastors (Pastor Davis included). The pastors’ original statement addressed the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Click here to read the Watchman article and original Jan. 12 statement from the pastors.

    Pastor Tim Davis, Chapel By the Sea

    As one of the authors of the statement in question, this response represents only myself.

    I voted for President Trump two times. Given the binary political choice we have in our nation, I do not regret either of those votes. However, as a leader, I can not stand by and let the illegal actions that took place in our national house go unaddressed. I can tell you with complete certainty that the focus of the pastors’ statement was primarily on those few law-breakers who stormed the Capitol building leading to the reported deaths of at least five people. The patriotic rally prior to those events and those of good-will who attended it to voice obvious concerns were in no way countenanced in the statement. If that was not clearly enough delineated in the statement, please forgive the unintended implication. 

    In regard to President Trump’s role in this, in his speeches leading up to January 6 and on that day, it is clear that he was frustrated and angry, maybe even justifiably. Time will tell. Having read his entire speech several times, I do not disagree with much of his content. Further, I do not agree his actions warrant impeachment. What I do take issue with is his imbalanced emphasis that undoubtedly had the impact of inciting the actions that took place after the rally.   

    Only one time in the course of his speech did the President encourage peace when he said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” But on the other hand, how many times did he emphasize the notion that we the voters have been violated using the rhetoric of “stolen, rigged, theft, illegal, unconstitutional, defrauded, false, cheated, fraud, etc.”? These are evocative words that in the context of an emotionally charged situation can undoubtedly become provocative words.

    It is the responsibility of all leaders, especially the President of the United States, to get out in front of those who would wrong-headedly take his calls to action too far. As leaders, we need to own the influence of our statements. When a leader says something loud enough, long enough and strong enough over the course of time, his views can foment unintended responses. I believe President Trump is too savvy to have missed the influence his words would be having on the most impassioned of his supporters in the crowd that day. While the president may not have called for, intended or supported illegal behavior, he could not have missed the potential and likelihood of the violent actions in question. Insofar as this is the case, President Trump provoked this reckless assault on our capitol. If you read the pastors’ statement that is the extent of our statements concerning the president.

    Finally, if any one listened to the press conference where this statement was released, they were involved in a prayer meeting. It was a time of confession and repentance, not just for the events of January 6, but for our nation’s move away from God and the godly principles upon which this nation’s founding fathers stood. 

    As a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, we are all complicit with what happens in our country. Therefore, I close with a mea culpa. 

    Almighty, you have witnessed how we have been treating each other. You have seen the illegal and violent riots in our cities on the West coast, in the heartland and now on the East coast. You hear the hateful angry rhetoric falling off the tongues of people from every party and position that foments illegal and vicious action.  And even more You listen in on the private musings of our hearts, hearing the naked sentiments that fuel our public behaviors. If our words and behavior are any indication of our hearts, we are in trouble before You. Break our hearts for the immorality, selfishness, discourtesy, and hatred of others that plagues us as a nation. Forgive us and help us to listen to Your voice, to find peaceful and dignified ways to move our nation forward to be one nation, under God. I ask this in the strong and holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

    Sincerely,

    Pastor Tim Davis

    Sen. Murkowski praises House, says it ‘appropriately’ impeached Trump

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    Unlike her colleague Rep. Don Young, who voted against impeaching President Trump, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski praised the U.S. House of Representatives for its hasty impeachment vote on Jan. 13. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi the House voted 232-197 in favor of removing the president. Ten Republicans joined all the Democrats in approving the move.

    Murkowski said this second impeachment (following last year’s) “stands in stark contrast” to the 2020 vote which she called “partisan from the beginning.”

    Trump and his supporters strongly disagree that the president incited the small number of demonstrators who turned violent on.

    “For months, the President has perpetrated false rhetoric that the election was stolen and rigged, even after dozens of courts ruled against these claims. When he was not able to persuade the courts or elected officials, he launched a pressure campaign against his own Vice President, urging him to take actions that he had no authority to do,” she stated shortly after the impeachment vote. “On the day of the riots, President Trump’s words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans – including a Capitol Police officer – the desecration of the Capitol, and briefly interfered with the government’s ability to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence and the House has responded swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment.”

    Trump and his supporters strongly disagree that the president incited the small number of demonstrators who turned violent on Jan. 6. The overall crowd that came to protest election fraud was estimated at between 200,000 to 250,000. Only a tiny fraction of protesters turned violent and entered the Capitol building. Even these were denounced and hindered by many in the crowd that day.

    “No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence,” Trump emphasized.

    Shortly after the impeachment vote, Trump posted a video condemning the violence and saying no true supporter of his would ever condone such actions.

    “I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week,” Trump said. “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement. Making America great again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nation’s most sacred traditions and values.”

    He added that mob violence goes against “everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for.”

    “No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag,” Trump emphasized. “No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans. If you do any of these things you are not supporting our movement. You are attacking it and you are attacking our country.”

    The president added that those who engaged in the Capitol attacks will be brought to justice, and that he was “shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol last week.”

    Murkowski, however, is looking forward to a post-inauguration impeachment trial in the Senate, saying it is a “weighty and important responsibility.”

    After praising and defending the House vote, Murkowski said during the upcoming Senate trial she will “listen carefully and consider the arguments on both sides, and will then announce how I will vote.”

    The timing of an impeachment trial in the Senate will be a bit odd, as it will take place after the president has already stepped down. In this sense it will have little political power, except to exclude him from ever running for president again.

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    12 Alaska faith leaders condemn D.C. violence, blame Trump

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    Twelve Anchorage-based religious leaders issued a joint statement condemning what they called “unthinkable mutiny” at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

    The Jan. 12 statement begins by affirming the “right to assemble and peacefully protest,” but then goes on to call the acts at the Capitol a sin. The pastors do not distinguish between the hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters, many of them religious believers, and the much smaller fraction that perpetrated vandalism and violence, including the tragic death of a police officer who was on duty that day at the Capitol.

    “Whether driven by the sin of hate, the sin of racism and white supremacy, the sin of self interest, the sin of the abuse of power, the sin of violent anger over perceived injustices in an election process, the sin of arrogance, the sin of pushing God out of our lives, all of these sins stand equally condemned,” the pastors state. 

    Video footage from Jan. 6 shows some peaceful protesters trying to stop the violence and others calling out for Antifa to leave the gathering as one man tries to break a window. The letter issued by the Anchorage pastors makes no mention of this but it does take issue with Christians who attended the Jan. 6 gathering.

    The event began with patriotic songs and speeches by major conservative leaders, including President Trump. Among those in the massive crowd were religious believers who held pro-God and pro-life flags and signs. It’s not clear if the pastors’ condemnation was narrowly directed at those who committed crimes or also at the larger crowd of peaceful attendees who were protesting election fraud.

    The pastors claim that “there were signs carrying Christian slogans displayed that have been associated with this sad event. Propagating scripture and Christian statements in such a manner as this is blasphemy. The violent actions of these individuals are not the Christian way and Jesus would not approve of being used in such a way. We condemn those who would seek to use the Bible to their personal or political advantage.”

    “It is not the American way and the provocation of these acts by the Commander-in-Chief is a disgrace to the foundational moral fabric of our nation.”

    Towards the end of the letter the pastors turn their ire on President Trump, blaming him – as did all Democratic representatives in the U.S. House –  for provoking the violence. House Democrats – joined by 10 Republicans – voted to impeach the president on Jan. 13. The main charge was that he incited the smaller group of protesters to commit violence.

    “These rioters can only be categorized as domestic terrorists who sought to steal and destroy our democracy,” the Alaska pastors wrote. “It is not the American way and the provocation of these acts by the Commander-in-Chief is a disgrace to the foundational moral fabric of our nation.”

    Video footage of Trump’s speech, however, show him restating his belief that the election was stolen, but then urging protesters to hold a peaceful rally. One eyewitness in the D.C. crowd that day was community college prof and 24-year Navy veteran Thomas Smith. He wrote a lengthy essay in the American Thinker describing the rally with President Trump as “docile except for the cheering, clapping and flag waving.” He added that “the only ones guilty of causing trouble were the ones who stormed the Capitol – not us, not the hundreds of thousands at the rally, not Rudy, Kimberly, Eric, or the President.”

    FULL STATEMENT FROM ANCHORAGE FAITH LEADERS

    It pains our hearts to hear and watch the devastation that took place at our nation’s Capitol on January 6. While we fully affirm the right to assemble and peacefully protest, we condemn without hesitation the acts that led to this unthinkable mutiny. We as Christian leaders, must call it what it is, SIN. Whether driven by the sin of hate, the sin of racism and white supremacy, the sin of self-interest, the sin of the abuse of power, the sin of violent anger over perceived injustices in an election process, the sin of arrogance, the sin of pushing God out of our lives, all of these sins stand equally condemned.

    Furthermore, there were signs carrying Christian slogans displayed that have been associated with this sad event. Propagating scripture and Christian statements in such a manner as this is blasphemy. The violent actions of these individuals are not the Christian way and Jesus would not approve of being used in such a way. We condemn those who would seek to use the Bible to their personal or political advantage.

    Finally, the incident at our capitol was reckless and thoughtless. These rioters can only be categorized as domestic terrorists who sought to steal and destroy our democracy. It is not the American way and the provocation of these acts by the Commander-in-Chief is a disgrace to the foundational moral fabric of our nation.

    We call on God in times such as these to bring healing and peace to our nation. We also acknowledge our own shortcomings in not humbling ourselves, seeking God, turning from our wicked ways, so that God can hear us, forgive our sin, and heal our land.

    We firmly believe the Lord Jesus Christ remains the only solution for individual and national peace!

    Signed by:

    Pastor Undra Parker, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

    Rick Benjamin, Pastor, Unite Church

    Dr. Patricia Wilson-Cone, Pastor, First American Baptist Church

    Pastor Andy Bartel, St John United Methodist Church

    Pastor Tim Davis, Chapel By the Sea

    Dr. Joel Kiekintveld, Reclaim Christian Spiritual Community

    Dave Kuiper, Pastor Emeritus, Crosspoint Community Church

    Dr. Jeff Anderson, Wayland Baptist University

    Pastor Criss Mitchell, First Covenant Church of Anchorage

    Pastor Murray Crookes, Every Nation UMC

    Pastor Martine Robinson, Present Hope Church

    Pastor Yolanda Jackson, First CME Church

    Rep. Young votes against impeachment, calls on all sides to ‘tone down rhetoric’

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    The longest current member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against impeaching President Trump on Jan. 13. Rep. Don Young joined most of his fellow Republicans in refusing to hastily remove their president.

    The vote came one week after a small fraction of a massive crowd of protesters who marched to the Capitol Building to protest election fraud turned violent. The chaos resulted in one unarmed woman being shot by police and a police officer dying after being assaulted.

    The impeachment vote still passed 232 to 197 with 10 Republicans voting in favor. It now heads to the Senate where it will not be taken up until after Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. That means the Senate will hold its impeachment trial after Trump vacates the White House, making the entire effort more of a statement than political necessity.

    The article of impeachment charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection” and blamed his Jan. 6 speech to protesters for the violence of a few that took place later in the day. Trump’s speech, however, explicitly urged supporters to hold a peaceful protest rally.

    In a statement following his vote against impeachment, Young said he did not “believe impeaching a president in the last week of his term is the best way forward.”

    “We must lower the temperature of our political climate, and begin to recognize that our toxic discourse can have dangerous consequences,” he added. “As I have said before, it is on all of us, including President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to tone down the rhetoric and help foster a political climate worthy of this great country.”

    On the day of the impeachment, Trump released a video condemning the violence and urging peace across the nation.

    REP. YOUNG’S FULL STATEMENT

    Today, I voted against the Article of Impeachment of President Donald Trump. This past week has been a difficult one for our nation, and it will undoubtedly go down as a sad moment for the institution and country I love. What transpired at the Capitol on January 6th was an act of terror against American democracy, law enforcement, and Members of Congress. We must send a clear message by bringing the perpetrators of violence to justice, and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law. Our nation must recover from the deep wounds of division that have driven us apart over the past few years, but I do not believe that impeaching a president in the last week of his term is the best way forward.

    We must lower the temperature of our political climate, and begin to recognize that our toxic discourse can have dangerous consequences. As I have said before, it is on all of us, including President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to tone down the rhetoric and help foster a political climate worthy of this great country. President Trump has committed to a peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Biden, and next week, we will begin an orderly transition as we have for over 200 years. National unity and accountability can go hand-in-hand, and I call on both Republicans and Democrats to work on keeping their own houses in order so that we can begin to heal.

    This is a challenging time for our country. People are out of work, children are facing greater obstacles to learning, and small businesses across the country are shutting down for good. People are suffering, and if we are to get through this as a nation, we need to get back to the people’s business. No matter what party controls the White House or the Congress, America will always be great. May God Bless America and may God Bless Alaska.

    Dunleavy restores Alaska court funds he vetoed over abortion dispute

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    The ACLU of Alaska is celebrating Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s capitulatation to a court order that he restore money he vetoed from the Alaska Court System last year shortly after the Supreme Court said his administration had to pay for elective abortions.

    Dunleavy originally used his constitutionally guaranteed line-item veto power to cut $334,700 from the court’s 2020 budget. This was the exact amount the Supreme Court ordered the state to spend on abortions through Alaska’s Medicaid program. The governor made the same cuts to the 2021 court budget.

    While many were expecting Dunleavy to appeal this case to the Alaska Supreme Court, he did not.

    The ACLU brought suit against the state, claiming Dunleavy’s vetos threatened the independence of the court when it comes to ruling on controversial issues like abortion. Last month Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson said the governor’s actions were unconstitutional and ordered him to void his $334,700 veto to the 2021 court budget.

    While many were expecting Dunleavy to appeal this case to the Alaska Supreme Court, he did not. The ACLU, one of the leading proponents of abortion in Alaska, bragged about its victory and used the occasion to accuse Dunleavy of “brazen and repeated attacks on our state.”

    “From President Trump to Governor Dunleavy, we’ve seen our elected servants try to shred the core tenets and fundamental fabric of our democratic republic,” a Jan. 12 statement by the ACLU claimed. “Two years after we sued Governor Michael J. Dunleavy for retaliating against Alaska’s courts for upholding their Constitutional oath and illegally vetoing $334,700 from their budget, we conclusively won: the courts’ money has been restored, Governor Dunleavy’s vetoes were declared unconstitutional, and he’s not going to appeal.”

    The dispute over state-funded abortions is likely to come up again when the 32nd Legislature convenes later this month.

    Dunleavy’s original veto was inspired by an Alaska Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to foot the bill for low income women who wanted elective abortions. The high court ruled against a law passed by the Legislature that strictly limited such funding to instances when the mother’s life is in danger or when the baby was conceived through rape or incest.

    Dunleavy didn’t stop state funded abortions outright but did make a statement by docking the court by the exact amount it insisted the state pay for elective abortions.

    In reality, however, Dunleavy’s administration has no authority to fund elective abortions since the State Legislature has strictly forbidden this in budgets it has passed. By complying with the Supreme Court ruling and funding abortions anyway, Dunleavy is effectively spending money in a manner not authorized by the Legislature.

    The ACLU said its lawsuit was about protecting the ability of pregnant low-income women to “choose whether they want to be a parent.”

    “We’re proud of our win, but we would have been happier if we hadn’t had to sue in the first place,” the ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua Decker said. “It’s wrong that Governor Michael J. Dunleavy used his personal views about abortion to threaten the independence of Alaska’s judges.”

    Decker added that the ACLU’s lawsuit was “able to set a precedent that in Alaska, might doesn’t make right, and holding a powerful position does not allow you to break the law and threaten peoples’ rights without consequence. With your help, we defended American democracy, and now more than ever, that’s a victory for all of us.”

    The question of state-funded abortions is likely to come up again when the 32nd Legislature convenes later this month. Sen. Shelley Hughes has re-introduced a resolution for the upcoming legislative session which calls for a constitutional amendment. It state: “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution may be construed to secure or protect a right to an abortion or require the State to fund an abortion.” If the resolution passes, the proposed amendment would be placed before voters at the next general election.

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    OPINION: Elections Still Matter

    17

    This past week has been traumatic. Last Wednesday protestors forcefully entered the United States Capitol building and occupied offices and the chambers in an illegal act of defiance over the 2020 presidential elections. These people were not terrorists, they were not anarchists, but their actions were illegal and very disruptive to our democratic society.

    Since then, uber-liberal Silicon Valley Big Tech has used this event as an umbrella excuse to wage war on conservative voices across all social and electronic media. It has gone so far as Amazon Web Services shutting down Parler, the conservative social conversation site without any reference to an actual violation of company protocols. This is twenty-first century Orwellian censorship at its finest.



    Democrats are salivating over destroying President Trumps legacy by pushing a second impeachment process, expedited without any hearings or the opportunity for the president to defend himself, in an effort to force the Senate to take action before he is no longer president. Exposing their true disdain for Trump, as well as for our constitutional processes, some are now even suggesting conducting an unprecedented impeachment trial after Trump is no longer president. There is no legal precedent for this, but to the Left, who cares.

    the events of the 2020 election were the unintended consequences of past actions done by both liberal and conservative politicians at the state and local levels.

    Next we can impeach President Jefferson because he was a slave owner, and maybe even Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln ordered the execution of 38 Dakota Indians convicted of a massacre in the 1862 Dakota War. The cleansing will never stop under the despotic leadership of this current socialist movement.

    Elections have consequences. We have always understood that fact. But when the election was fraudulent, rigged, and then disregarded by the court, why should we care about ever voting again. Many are telling me they have lost confidence in the election process. To this, I counter that the events of the 2020 election were the unintended consequences of past actions done by both liberal and conservative politicians at the state and local levels.

    Let me offer some examples: The legislatures of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan were all controlled by Republicans. Not only that, but Georgia had a Republican governor. Do you see a pattern here? These are the swing states Republicans needed to win to keep the Presidency and the Senate. Joe Biden beat President Trump in each of these states. To make matters worse, Senator McSally lost her seat in Arizona and both Senators Perdue and Loffler lost to Democrats in Georgia.

    we do have a radical court system that in the eleventh hour eliminated the requirement for witness signatures

    Elections are run by states, not the federal government. The rules for elections, such as mail-in and absentee requirements, signature verification, requiring an ID to vote, same day registration allowances, early voting timelines are all set by state legislatures. The defeat of President Trump and the loss of the Senate to Democrats rests squarely on the failure of these five states to legislate voter requirements and process that protected the integrity of the election.

    Alaskans faired a wee bit better. While we have a very liberal absentee process, we do not have universal mail-in voting as is done in five other states. However, we do have a radical court system that in the eleventh hour eliminated the requirement for witness signatures, using some loosely worded rational related to the coronavirus. What a bunch of boloney. That’s called judicial activism, another problem we face in ensuring election integrity.

    The 32nd Alaska Legislature convenes this coming Tuesday, January 19th. If we want to improve our election process, it needs to start with the legislature creating statutory requirements for voting. Might I suggest keeping voter ID requirements for all in-person voting; prohibiting universal mail-in balloting, restricting mail-in voting to the absentee system previously used; and reaffirm mandating witness signatures on all absentee ballots as a start.

    In general, Alaska has a fairly good election system. The outcome of this election is a result of other states that had Republican leadership who allowed a manipulated process ripe for corruption. It is futile to sit back and complain that we lost an election we actually won. If we want to change the process, it must be done at the state and local level.

    Anchorage has universal mail-in voting, making it ripe for corruption and ballot harvesting.

    It is as clear as a moonlit night that Republican leadership in five Republican states cost Donald J. Trump a second term as our president and opened the door to a Democratic President, Senate, and House of Representatives. The result being a hard turn towards institutional socialism, censorship of conservative values and voices, and an expansion in the size of government and government spending that has never been witnessed before in America. Hold on, this ride is going to be rough.

    Let’s not abandon the exceptionalism of the constitutional provisions of our American democratic republic based on some incompetent politicians. Let’s start changing elections by electing conservatives who stand for the rule of law and will enforce election integrity at the state and local level.

    Our next chance to make a difference in Anchorage happens on April 6th. Anchorage has universal mail-in voting, making it ripe for corruption and ballot harvesting. Conservatives must rally together and turn out in record numbers to elect a conservative mayor and four conservative school board members. This may be our last opportunity to keep democracy alive in America.