Category Archives: Political

Political babblings from my conservative viewpoint.

100 Years Ago – a War that Never Ended

Who’s ready for a long rambling post?  In 12 minutes Alaska time (as I start typing this),  we mark the official ending of The Great War – the War to End All Wars.  It didn’t end anything.  Didn’t solve anything and didn’t prove anything.  As part of my hangar tours,  I say that there really wasn’t two separate world wars.  Just one conflict between mostly the same belligerents with a 13 or so year armistice in the middle.  (WWII began in 1931 with Japan’s invasion of Manchuria,  not in Euro-centric 1939…)

On 11/11/1918,  most soldiers on both sides had no idea what was happening.  3,000 servicemen died on the morning of November 11th,  as the Americans crossed the Meuse River,  leaving the bodies of Marines behind as they pushed through the fire of the German Maxim guns.  The Americans were seizing the high ground,  pushing the Germans back toward their homeland.  Then everything went silent.  Orders came forward from General Lejeune that our men were to retreat to the position they held at 11 o’clock.  Retreat to a position with our backs against the river with no escape,  should this prove to be just another rumor.  Back – past the piles of bodies,  who until moments ago had been their fellow marines,  friends,  brothers.  All killed AFTER the armistice.

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A 1917 Bond Drive poster from our collection

Japan and England were allies in WWI.  England asked them to strike Germany’s colonial outposts in the far east.  Japan wondered why they were doing this for England and not for themselves…  They spent the next 13 years reorganizing their society and building an army and navy capable of taking over half the world.  Italy too changed sides,  joining Germany and Japan,  after being on the side of France,  England,  Russia and the United States in the Great War.  An end to active fighting on 11/11 didn’t end the anger,  hatred,  jealousy,  coveting and desire for revenge.  Another 100 years passing hasn’t changed that either.

As part of our WWII hangar tour,  I show two infantry rifles from our collection.  One is a Japanese Koishilawa rifle made around 1927 or 1928.  The Japanese stopped making these in 1929.  The other rifle was actually my dad’s hunting rifle.  It is a Smith Corona 30.06.  I call it my “typewriter”,  because it was made by the Smith Corona typewriter company.  These two artifacts together really illustrate the difference in preparedness between Japan and the United States at the start of WWII.  Japan thought they were so well-prepared for their global conquest that they literally stopped making these infantry rifles in 1929!  The US was so ill-prepared,  we had to have typewriter companies like Smith Corona and IBM make WWI-era rifles for our soldiers to carry.

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Um…  we had a US Department of Labor CHILDREN’S BUREAU in 1918???

Our two Coastal Defense cannons on Cannon Beach are WWI guns.  They were supposed to be installed on a new battleship in 1919,  but after signing the Naval Agreement,  the size of everyone’s navies (except Germany and Japan apparently) was restricted.  The new ship was scrapped and the guns placed in storage.  In early 1942,  these guns were pulled out and shipped throughout Alaska.  WWI supplying the defense of Alaska in WWII.

If you go to the Aviation Museum in Anchorage,  look for two framed pieces of WWI aircraft skin on display.  They come from the aircraft of Charles H Russell,  a member of the Lafayette Escadrille in France during WWI.  The Lafayette Escadrille (originally called the American Escadrille,  but the Germans complained and so they changed the name…) consisted of a group of American volunteers flying for France prior to the United States’ direct involvement in WWI.  Basically an all American “French Foreign Legion” group of pilots.  A wonderful book that covers the Lafayette Escadrille (along with Manfred von Richthofen,  Pershing,  Patton) is To the Last Man,  by Jeff Shaara.  The Russells are a very prominent family in Yakutat,  since Charles H’s son moved here about 60-70years ago.

At the end of WWI,  we all held hands and signed treaties to reduce our military effectiveness voluntarily.  We didn’t change human nature.  We deliberately weakened ourselves,  making us vulnerable to aggressive psychos who’s goal was/is to subjugate and dominate the world.  Those people haven’t disappeared after 100 years.  They are still looking-hoping for a weakness to exploit.  Our only defense is a military so strong and deadly that the world fears a conflict with it.  And to keep our own aggressive psychos in check,  an armed populace to strong and deadly that our government fears a conflict with it.

And a hope that we never have to use either.  Thank you to all our veterans on this and EVERY day.

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This 1917 Navy recruiting poster with “Christy Girl” is our most valuable propaganda poster in the collection (so far)

Don’t forget to vote tomorrow!

Tomorrow is November 6th…  Get out and vote,  if you haven’t already done so.  And just to get you in the mood,  here is a little video that’ll inspire…

John James is a veteran and rising star in Michigan politics.  Here is a great voicemail left by a reporter.  After asking for an interview appointment for Wednesday to talk about the election results,  she THINKS she hung up the phone.  She didn’t.

City and Borough of Yakutat Elections 2018

Our local elections are coming up in about 3 weeks.  We have 7 positions open on the assembly and school board including the mayor position.  Go to the city office to register as a candidate.

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If you are looking to declare candidacy,  you have till September 26th at 5pm local to do so…  Election takes place October 16th.

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You can be the mayor of the largest city in the world (by area)…

Life in a Village

Ever since I was attacked via e-mail by someone over my website for my guide business that mentioned “waterfowl hunting” as a service (how could anyone hunt you evil person you…),  I have tried to be somewhat careful when blogging about some of the things we do around here.  Not for fear of getting verbally attacked by some PETAphile (they are pretty easy to wind up and drop),  but a lot of fly fishermen lean toward the foo-foo animal-lover crap that could be turned off by some of the realities of life in a remote Alaskan village.

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Hey,  if I’m gonna be shocking,  may as well start with this!  You are looking at two full chest freezers.

 

Ya,  I’m pretty much over that now.  If what we do and what I type bothers you,  please feel free to visit another website,  or another village for that matter…  Life is far too short to get worked up over things that have zero impact on you,  thousands of miles away from you.  Specifically,  trapping is something that built our nation,  brought the first people to most of North America and especially Alaska.  It is what clothed and fed our ancestors for thousands of year and without it,  most of the people who get upset over things like this wouldn’t exist to whine and protest,  because their great great great great grandparents would have died of exposure and/or starvation long before they produced whiny protesty offspring.

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Twin rodents going for a boat ride

 

That said,  although I’m not a trapper and don’t get a thrill out of killing animals,  I sure love to eat.  We subsistence hunt a moose every other year to feed our family and a few others in our community,  along with the salmon,  halibut,  clams,  shrimp,  ducks,  geese and other tasty critters that populate our neighborhood.  They all taste yummy.

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4 otter pelts drying on their stretchers,  with a couple beaver pelts on the left and beaver tails for making wallets on the right

 

But…  our family favorite remains beaver.  Tanis traps them for their fur,  but we save off the hind quarters and backstraps for a special treat.  We are planning to harvest more of the meat in the future,  because I think beaver will make an exceptional sausage without having to add suet.  The hindquarters have a lit of stringy tendons and cartilage running through them,  so we put them in a small pressure cooker for 20 minutes and the meat just falls away from the bones and tendons.  Backstraps just get sliced and fried as fajita meat,  or just eaten before it can escape the pan and onto a plate.  You don’t even get splinters in your tongue when eating beaver,  even though sawdust is all they eat…

I’ll do a separate post about Tanis’ trapping adventures,  but  a couple days ago he came back from floating the Situk with three respectable rodents in the truck.  Two were small and not worth the effort,  but the big one yielded about 1 1/2 pounds of backstrap.  Teen bought a new jumbo food processor this winter,  so we decided to shred the meat and make beaver burgers.  Too bad it only made two patties…  McDonalds doesn’t offer a 3/4 pounder?  They should!

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Moose is about as fat-free a meat as you can get.  It doesn’t make a patty that holds together unless you add a bunch of stuff (like fat,  oatmeal,  etc) to make it stick.  The nice thing about the food processor is it shreds the meat and holds together nicely.  But moose is a dull reddish brown,  pretty dark and lifeless looking when raw.  This beaver meat looked like it was glo-in-the-dark red with neon lights behind it.  Really weird looking.

But oh,  what a yummy burger!  Toasted bun,  swipe of horseradish,  smoked cheddar,  leaf lettuce,  tomato slice and half an avocado.  Unfortunately we’re all out of bacon,  but I don’t think even bacon could have improved on our beaver burger as I was.

Years ago when she was cute and little,  Eden made a special request for a special birthday dinner…  Beaver and brussel sprouts.  I’m raising very strange kids!

But they will be kids who will be able to survive WWIII and probably enjoy the journey.

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Tsiu River Action

I’m going to cut and paste some info from our State Representative Louise Stutes.  She is the Rep for House District 32,  serving Kodiak,  Cordova,  Yakutat and Seldovia.  This comes from her newsletter regarding actions being taken regarding resource allocation on the Tsiu River.  In a nutshell,  the State of Alaska Board of Fish put restrictions through on one user group to benefit another user group,  without giving proper public notice and allowing adequate opportunity for public comment.  For years,  ONE lodge has been working to eliminate commercial fishing on the Tsiu.  This year,  they were successful in getting additional restrictions on the commercial fishery through some shenanigans instead of an open public process.

If you have been along for this ride for a while,  you know my odd and sometimes contradictory beliefs…  Yakutat is a small village with a very limited economic base.  For Yakutat to survive,  we need both the commercial fishery and the sport fishery.  If you are of a bent that would love to see the commercial fishery end so you get exclusive use of the resource for sport fishing,  you’ll find yourself unable to get here,  due to not enough passenger traffic to justify our twice-daily jet service.  Be careful what you wish for…  You need the cargo hold filled with fresh-market salmon for the plane to keep flying,  just as the commercial fishery needs your sporty butts in the seats to ensure that cargo hold still comes in every day for their catch.  Without both,  we lose both.

From Rep Stutes’ newsletter:

Board of Fisheries

At their recent meeting in Sitka, the Board of Fisheries passed a proposal that myself, Senator Stevens, and Cordova District Fishermen United are very concerned about.

Proposal 165, as noticed, was viewed by user groups as a housekeeping measure to adjust the marker, but what was ultimately voted on after it was amended by RC 331 was a very substantive shift in allocation that will cripple the set net commercial fishery on the Tsiu River.

To view Proposal 165 and RC 331 please click the following links: Proposal 165 RC 331

Basically, the public notice did not align with the intent of the Alaska Administrative Procedures Act as no one would have known that the proposal would affect allocation. The result was that there was a lack of representation at the meeting from the community of Yakutat.

Myself and Senator Stevens wrote a joint letter to the Board urging that they address this at the upcoming Board meeting on March 6th.

Cordova District Fishermen United also wrote a letter to the Board requesting identical action.

Specifically, we requested that the Board of Fisheries take up reconsideration of the proposal as amended or make a board-generated proposal to readdress the situation on the Tsiu River. If reconsideration is no longer possible, we requested that they formulate a board-generated proposal at the meeting that mirrors the original language in Proposal 165, put it out for public notice, and hold a special meeting in April to take up the proposal before the commercial fishery this fall.

This effort to segregate commercial and sports fishermen on the river through the Board process is nothing new. It has been attempted multiple times and has been fully discussed, considered, and defeated or overturned under reconsideration every time. Proposal 301, which failed 3-4 upon reconsideration, as well as ACR 9, which also failed 3-4, at the 2012 October work session were nearly identical to Proposal 165. Another Proposal, 247, which failed 1-6, in March of 2013 was much of the same. Because of this ongoing effort, a group of local entities and individuals approached the Board and set in place a process to form the Tsiu River stakeholders working group.

This group was formed with the expressed purpose of engaging in a collaborative process with all stakeholders on the river to address concerns of user groups. Participants include lodge owners, Yakutat Seafoods, guide businesses, subsistence users, commercial and sports fishermen, Yakutat Coastal Airlines, the City and Borough of Yakutat (CBY), and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Since the formation of the working group, annual meetings have been held in accordance with the agreement with the Board and conflicts have not been evident. All stakeholders were invited to participate, and it has been very successful in resolving any conflicts that have arisen between user groups.

I am very concerned about the precedent set when proposals are amended to the point where the public notice wouldn’t actually provide a reasonable person of notice of what would be voted on. Moreover, in this case, there is seemingly a subversion of an agreement with the Board of Fisheries, as well as a collaborative public process that has been effective in keeping user groups happy with access to their respective fisheries.

Hopefully, the large volume of letters that the Board received on this issue are enough to prompt their reconsideration of Proposal 165.

I intend to take a look at legislation in the future regarding how the Board of Fisheries notices and amends proposals to ensure that the public is kept in the loop about potential changes that could affect them.

A Wonderful Life

We have so many blessings to be thankful for.  2017 was a tough year for us,  but as we see the year come to a close,  we are reminded of the wonderful friendships we have through the shop and the blog and our vast extended family.  Thank you all.  I certainly have a big backlog of things to say and I always promise to spill all and end up too busy to do it.  Just know how much you are in our thoughts,  prayers and hopes for the coming year.

Last night (as we always do on Christmas Eve),  we watched the greatest Christmas movie of all again…  A very good friend of ours is actually Frank Capra’s grandson,  which is a wonderful connection to my all-time favorite Hollywood director.  Every time we watch a Capra movie,  we stuff a dollar into a jar to pay for the lapsed copyrights on Frank’s film catalog.  The jar is overflowing and someday will go to the family for keeping his legacy alive (we watch these things a LOT).  It may not amount to much and won’t save the historic family cabin in the Sierras,  but…  Someday when we have the museum done and have our theater,  I want to have a Frank Capra marathon,  see if one of the movie channels would coordinate with it,  have the family here to talk about the moves for our very own special features documentaries and commentaries,  etc.  With historic artifacts on display like his three Best Director Oscars,  etc.

Lots of online articles featuring It’s a Wonderful Life today – including some idiotic feminazi claiming the movie is sexist and pushes a misogynist message to oppress women.  Such a ridiculous claim because in reality it is Mary who is the strong rock and hero of the picture…  Not the troubled lead character contemplating suicide…  An article written by a truly sexist idiot who can’t see an unconventional heroin by modern standards save the life and soul of a man (she goes on to say men should stop acting in lead roles altogether – way to go CNN,  you beclown yourselves again-I’m not linking to it because you really don’t need to read this crap).  But most of the other articles respectfully proclaim the movie to be the treasure it is.  And several that delve deeply into the troubled actor Colonel James Stewart who struggled in his post-WWII civilian role as so many war veterans did and still do today.  I urge you to read Jimmy Stewart – Bomber Pilot

I’ll end my babble quoting one of the articles and a long quote from the director himself,  on why be made the film and attitudes that shaped most of his successful career:

“I didn’t give a film-clip whether critics hailed or hooted Wonderful Life. I thought it was the greatest film I had ever made. Better yet, I thought it was the greatest film anybody ever made. It wasn’t made for the oh-so-bore critics, or the oh-so-jaded literati. It was my kind of film for my kind of people. …

A film to tell the weary, the disheartened and the disillusioned; the wino, the junkie, the prostitute; those behind prison walls and those behind Iron Curtains, that no man is a failure!

To show those born slow of foot or slow of mind, those oldest sisters condemned to spinsterhood, and those oldest sons condemned to unschooled toil, that each man’s life touches so many other lives. And that if he wasn’t around it would leave an awful hole.

A film that said to the downtrodden, the pushed-around, the pauper, “Heads up, fella. No man is poor who has one friend. Three friends and you’re filthy rich.”

A film that expressed its love for the homeless and the loveless; for her whose cross is heavy and him whose touch is ashes; for the Magdalenes stoned by hypocrites and the afflicted Lazaruses with only dogs to lick their sores.

I wanted it to shout to the abandoned grandfathers staring vacantly in nursing homes, to the always-interviewed but seldom-adopted half-breed orphans, to the paupers who refuse to die while medical vultures wait to snatch their hearts and livers, and to those who take cobalt treatments and whistle — I wanted to shout, “You are the salt of the earth. And It’s a Wonderful Life is my memorial to you!”

From the article:
https://stream.org/frank-capra-wonderful-life/

Yakutat’s Local Election – 2017 Edition

We had our little local election for assembly and school board on Tuesday.  Preliminary results are as follows:

Yakutat Borough Assembly – 3 two-year seats…  We had four candidates:
84 regular ballots cast,  6 “question” ballots and 10 “absentee” ballots

Nick Holcomb – 65 votes
Daryl James – 64 votes
Adam Kohne – 56 votes
Carol Pate – 23 votes

Yakutat School Board – 2 three-year seats and 1 two-year term remaining on a three-year seat…  There were no candidates who applied to be on the ballot:

Write-in Rose Fraker – 22 votes
Write-in Justine Wheeler – 9 votes

We also had 7 write-in votes for Rose Fraker for the two-year term.

One School Board seat will remain vacant unless someone has a significant number of absentee write-ins,  or they appoint someone.  With all the budget woes and declining enrollment at the Yakutat School District,  it is sad that no one bothered to put their name in as a formal candidate and that we can’t fill three seats in our community.  But of course I didn’t put my name in either,  so I can’t really say too much…

The Canvass Committee will meet Thursday  October 26th,  2017 at 3pm at the City and Borough Office to open the absentee ballots and evaluate the question ballots.  16 votes can’t change the outcome of the election,  so although these results are technically unofficial,  this is official…

2017 Unoffical results October 17 in PDF

Canvass Comm Notice 10-26-2017 in PDF