You are browsing the archive for Anchorage Daily News.

Alaska Native Women React to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Racist Vote on VAWA – Updated

11:02 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Portait of Lisa Murkowski

Alaska's Senator Lisa Murkowski continues to defend a Violence Against Women Act special rule that many call racist.

A battle is brewing in Alaska over how to interpret Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s involvement in, and final vote upon, Senate Bill 47, the Violence Against Women Act.  Murkowski was a co-sponsor of the bill, and has been proclaiming for weeks her progressive role in this important legislation. On February 27th, her main media supporter in Alaska, the Alaska Dispatch posted:

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lisa Murkowski reached out to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) along with two of her Senate colleagues and urged the Speaker to take up the Senate-passed S.47 Violence Against Women Act reauthorization act.

The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization – which Senator Murkowski co-sponsored –passed the Senate two weeks ago with the support of 78 Senators and over 1300 organizationsrepresenting domestic and sexual violence groups like the AWAIC shelter in Anchorage. A champion of this legislation, Murkowski joined Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) in writing a letter to Boehner advocating for action on the Senate version of the bill.

Yet, as the bill approached final voting and passage, Murkowski insinuated herself into its structure regarding the vast majority of Alaska Native women:

Our senior senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, added a “Special Rule for the State of Alaska” to the VAWA. That rule effectively bars 40 percent of American tribes from being able to protect their women. Our senator excluded 229 Alaska communities from that part of the act.

The Association of Village Council Presidents and the Aleut community of St. Paul Island spoke out against the Alaska exclusion. The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council said it “objects to anti-Alaska Tribal Provisions in the Violence Against Women Act.”

The Tanana Chiefs Conference opposed it. The Native American Rights Fund led the charge against it.

The AFN wrote to the senator: “Although Alaska Natives comprise only 15.2 percent of the population of the State of Alaska, they comprise 47 percent of the victims of domestic violence and 61 percent of the victims of sexual assault.”

Murkowski ignored their requests.

The above, written by Anchorage Daily News opinion columnist Shannyn Moore, got under Murkowski’s skin.  On Facebook, she wrote:

I am discouraged by Ms. Moore’s research and I am disheartened by the attempt to score partisan points on an issue that should be above politics.

Apparently, Murkoski had second thoughts, because the comment is no longer there.  See Update.

The Native American Rights Fund issued this statement on Murkowski’s racist stance:

Almost 100 tribes in Alaska had opposed this exclusion. The Association of Village Council Presidents (A VCP), representing 56 tribes, and the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (ACSPI) had both issued very clear and direct press releases opposing the Alaska exclusion. The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), representing 37 tribes, also opposed the Alaska exclusion. Taken together, this represents one sixth of the tribes in the United States that demanded the Alaska exclusion be removed. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who authored the Alaska exclusion apparently at the urging of the Alaska Attorney General’s office, rebuffed all requests to remove the exclusion.

“We are tired of the separate but equal treatment that Alaska tribes receive from courts and Congress,” said NARF Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth. “They are tribes just like tribes in the Lower 48 and they are entitled to be treated like all other tribes. These exclusions, which have found their way into numerous bills over the years, say to Alaska’s tribes that they are different and lesser than other tribes. In the case of VAWA, it means that Alaska Native women are less deserving of protection, less important. I find that unconscionable.”

Commenters at Moore’s ADN op-ed are livid:

As an Alaska Native woman, I feel personally “targeted” by Murkowski’s move to leave so many communities (229!), mine included probably, out of the Violence Against Women’s Act. As one of her constituents, I feel that she did me a great, and very personal, disservice! I hope that those who practically moved little bits of heaven and earth to get her re-elected remember it at the next election.

It also doesn’t seem “kosher” for a governor, and Attorney General of a state, to NOT push for more safety measures to fight violence against women, anywhere. So much for Parnell’s “choose respect” campaign. Not only is his stance disrespectful to women of a certain race, it is going against the very “choose respect” stance that he says is so important in rural Alaska. All of their actions smack of blatant disrespect, in more ways than one. Elected politicians are to seek and ensure protections for their constituents, not obstruct them.

Many other commenters expressed similar concerns.

Shopping today in Anchorage, I bumped into a longtime friend, an Alaska Native woman, employed by a large Native corporation, dependent upon Murkowski’s Senatorial largesse. Asking her about the Senator’s vote, she all but spat out, “That bitch!  She Fucked us!  Don’t quote me on this….”

Why did Murkoski fuck over Alaska Natives in this racist way?  Moore explains that it is over resources and the senator’s ties to the Parnell administration:

Read the rest of this entry →

Alaska Blog and Media Coverage of the Kulluk Grounding – Updated

4:12 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Kulluk aground

A number of Alaska bloggers have been making efforts to inform their regular readers and others drawn toward the news story of the grounding of and salvage efforts toward the Shell Alaska drilling rig, Kulluk.

In alphabetical order:

Just a Girl from Homer:  Shannyn Moore posts most of her essays first at the Anchorage Daily News, in her weekly op-ed, then at The Mudflats. (see below)

Progressive Alaska:  I’ve been writing articles at PA and at Firedoglake on aspects of Shell’s Arctic Drilling plans since last summer.  Since the Kulluk debacle began unfolding on December, I’ve posted a dozen articles here.  They are easy to find at the bottom right hand border of the blog, as they have been the only articles posted here since December 30th.  Most of those articles were cross-posted at the national progressive blog, Firedoglake.  And some of the Firedoglake articles have not been cross-posted here.

Of those, the most important was probably the one I wrote last night, List of Questions on Shell’s Alaska 2012 Arctic Drilling Fiasco Grows Longer by the Day.  I’m going to use some of that article as the basis for another one at PA, perhaps later today.

Of the articles I’ve posted at both places, the one that seems to have drawn the most attention was my interview with Alaska marine environmental icon, retired University of Alaska Prof. Rick Steiner.  You can read it here.

Because of my background, mostly in the distant past, working at sea in Alaska, on small and large fishing boats, as a charter boat operator, and as a deckhand on oceangoing tugs, including towing one of Shell’s key components of their drilling scheme – the Arctic Challenger – from Seattle to Barrow, and having participated in several salvage operations, I’m able to offer a little more to this subject than some might.

The Immoral Minority:  Jesse Griffin has posted three articles on the grounding.  They can be found and followed at IM under the tag, Shell Oil.

The Mudflats:  This high traffic blog has posted articles by both Jeanne Devon and Shannyn Moore.  Beginning December 31st, The Mudflats has offered two articles by Devon, one by Ryan Marquis,  from I Eat Gravel, one by Thomas Dewar, and an op-ed by Moore.  Four can be found under the tag Shell Oil.  Moore’s op-ed, which is a Must Read, can be found at this link.

Moore’s op-ed raises an interesting point that I don’t think anyone else had yet brought forth:

The 1990 Oil Pollution Act has a limited liability clause. It limits the amount non-tanker vessels can be forced to pay in the event of an accident. So, after Shell has incurred $28 million in expenses, it may be able to invoke its liability limit.

I quoted Moore in my Firedoglake essay on questions.  The questions that the limited liability clause bring to mind immediately are along the line of “how is it determined who has spent what?” and “how soon will we be able to corner Sens. Begich and – especially – Sen. Lisa Murkowski on this?”

Murkowski’s views are important, as she is a key figure in why this liability limit is so absurdly and unrealistically low.  And she is also a major recipient of political contributions from the builder of the vessel most responsible for this debacle, the Aiviq.

Like me, Moore has a maritime background in her past.   With her network of contacts that rivals the best investigative reporters in Alaska, as was illustrated in her breaking of the strange hiring of “Judge” Paul Pozonsky, Moore will probably have a lot more to add to the Kulluk debacle.

What Do I Know?  Once again, Steve Aufrecht has provided several fresh views of the response to the Kulluk debacle, from his viewpoint as a distinguished professor of public administration.  Steve has written seven articles on this, beginning on January 2nd.  His articles are important enough to be listed here by their individual titles, which are intriguing, as well as inviting: Read the rest of this entry →