Sometimes it’s the company you keep

Not being close enough to the party to catch and keep one of the balloons, the Canadian and British
press are still pondering some of the revelations made earlier in the week about Sarah Palin.

Was she, or wasn’t she, a member of the secessionist group, the Alaska Independence Party? Founded by the late Joe Vogler, their slogan is “Alaska First – Alaska Always.” Indeed, Vogler famously said:“I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.” How patriotic!

Joe was right!

Palin certainly courted with the Alaska Independence Party. She spoke at the 2006 convention and sent an encouraging video to the 2008 convention. Chair, Lynette Clark, and former vice-chair, Dexter Clark, both seem confused whether she was or wasn’t herself a member in 1994-1996. But, it seems clear that Todd “First Dude” Palin was a card-carrying AKIP member from 1995-2002.

So, what does the Alaska Independence Party stand for? According to their platform, they seek:

• the complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska in conformance with Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the federal constitution.
• to prohibit all bureaucratic regulations and judicial rulings purporting to have the effect of law,

• to support the privatization of government services.

Not the biggest fans of the federal government, eh? Yep, that’s the same federal government for which Palin seeks to become CEO-in-waiting!

So, what would it look like if Alaska did become an independent nation? Well, they’d have to give up around $7.6 billion in annual federal spending. For a state of a bit less than 700,000 residents, that’s about $11,000 per citizen. (Twice the size as federal tax collections from the state). One in three jobs in Alaska depends on current federal spending. And, they’d have to stop putting in for those $750 million earmark requests, as they did this year (by far the largest per-capita request in the nation).

Frankly, I don’t want to see our union begin to unravel. We have become all too familiar with the Balkanization of Europe and of the countries inside the Russian sphere of influence. I rather like Alaska (I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this year!), and I rather like Alaskans.  Can’t we just be friends?

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