Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


There's yet another danger "out there" to contend with: Telephone Caller Identification spoofing. I crafted a bill, HB308, as a first step in dealing with this problem and, today,it received its first committee hearing. Following is the statement I presented today to the House Judiciary Committee:

"Madame Chair, and Honorable Members of the Judiciary Committee.

Warning! You’d better be careful when you check the name and number on your telephone Caller ID – it could be phony. Well, it could be a prank – like the Caller ID reads President Bush, or Sharon Stone, or maybe even Elvis Presley - that may be irritating, maybe even funny, but it’s not that dangerous, not likely to cause a major problem.

But, there is an ominous and dark side to a phoney name on your caller ID. A child molester could be calling your kids, and the name on the Caller ID could be that of a trusted person. Or the Caller ID may indicate the police, or the school, or your doctor’s office, when it’s not. That is scary stuff.

For those of us in public office, or campaigning for election - some bad actor could use your name on the Caller ID and send out a political message that destroys your good reputation. Congressman Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania is on line in Washington DC to tell you about his bad experience with Caller ID spoofing.

The power to create serious mischief with Caller ID spoofing technology is almost unlimited – from simple pranks, to spying, to telemarketing and fraud, to enticing victims to dangerous locations for rape or murder.

There are two kinds Caller ID spoofing: commercial spoofing operations that originate in other states, and even other nations. These commercial operations advertise their nefarious services all over the Internet.

There are some samples of that in your packet. These out-of-state commercial operations are basically a problem facing the Federal Communications Commission and the FBI, and there’s not much we can do about it here – except to publicize the threat.

On the other hand, Alaska can take a small but essential step to combat the problem. That’s what this bill is all about. The technology and programming that enables Caller ID spoofing is fairly simple to anyone in Alaska who is a computer geek and telephone savvy. Such an Alaskan could, in fact, set up a commercial spoofing operation here. That’s possible. But more likely, such a person could conduct a private spoofing operation that could mirror commercial operations – and thereby mirror the dangers of spoofing from outside Alaska. This is the person this bill is aimed at.

Actually, a person doesn’t have to be that computer savvy. They could purchase a spoofing calling card and insert it into a Caller ID here.

HB 308 will make it class B misdemeanor – which means they can be imprisoned for up to 90 days - for any person who inserts false information into a Caller ID system, except for legitimate law enforcement agencies.

HB 308 is a simple measure. It doesn’t get into the technological complexities of exactly how the spoofing gets from the hand of the culprit, to the display on your Alaska Caller ID. With this bill, very simply, if you insert false Caller ID information into a Caller ID system, however you do it, a crime has been committed.

Your support of this timely, proactive, cutting edge legislation is respectfully requested. Thank you."

NOTE: House Bill 308 was successfuly passed out of Judiciary Committee. Next stop in the legislative pipeline is the House Finance Committee.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Alaska state law currently requires a "Certificate of Need" from the state government to open certain medical facilities. I think that's improper, and I'm one of the prime sponsors of an initiative to address the question. I have also sponsored a bill on the same subject, HB287, that would eliminate the need for the initiative to continue. Following is my testimony introducing my bill to the House Education and Social Services Committee (HESS):

Mr. Chair, Honorable Members of the HESS Committee:

Thank you for hearing HB 287 today. I’m the prime sponsor of this bill, and Representatives Coghill, Chenault, and Kohring are co-sponsors. As a matter of disclosure, I’m also a sponsor of an Initiative on Certificate of Need issues, along with Representative Kohring and Mr. Paul Fuhs - and that initiative has already been certified for the ballot. The principal difference between the bill and the initiative, is that the initiative pertains to every place in Alaska, and my bill pertains only so places with a population exceeding 25,000. However, I want to focus only on my bill, as that is the subject before the committee.

I would ask the committee to consider this bill from three different, but complementary, viewpoints.

1. Protect traditional American free enterprise;
2. Increase availability of medical care and choice of provider; and
3. Create potential cost savings for patients and worker’s compensation costs.

Personally, I think protecting free enterprise is as American as apple pie. If we want to go in business together, we shouldn’t have to go “hat in hand” to the government and beg for a Certificate of Need. It shouldn’t matter whether that Certificate of Need is for a hot dog stand, a grocery store, or a medical facility. The free market should decide if a health care facility, or any other business, is needed – not some self-serving government bureaucracy. A Certificate of Need, in effect – and for example - gives Anchorage and Fairbanks hospitals a government de facto monopoly. We need more competition, not less. Free enterprise motivates excellence, encourages lower prices through competition, and benefits consumers.

Secondly, people suffering health problems need more choice of medical providers, not less. When I get sick, I want to be able to choose my own caregiver – and not have the government limit my choices with a Certificate of Need, that limits my choice. When I go shopping for a new computer, things usually turn out better if I have a wide range of dealers and models to choose among. Of course, finding the medical provider with the best service, and with whom we have the most trust, is infinitely more important, and perhaps even aids one’s successful recovery.

Third, medical costs in Alaska are reaching crisis levels, and it hurts everybody. Passage of this bill should help lower the escalating costs of Worker’s Compensation, and the overall costs of medical care for the state, companies, and families. Typically, monopolies increase costs. Competition lowers costs. That’s Economics 101.

Lastly, there’s been some major differences of opinion over fiscal notes – what is legitimate to include, and what is not. For example, the original fiscal note for the initiative – almost identical to my bill, except for no population exemption – came in at an incredible 41 million bucks. When questioned, we were told that the fiscal note would be lowered to about half that figure. Saved about 20 m illion with on e question. Good thing I asked the question! And, as you will hear from witnesses, we think that figure is also unrealistic, and way on the high side. This bill should not be compromised with unsustainable fiscal notes –that’s inappropriate, that’s not fair.

In summary, please evaluate this bill on its merits. Those merits pertain to the medical availability, choice of health provider, legitimate cost savings to all concerned, and especially the time-honored principles of American free enterprise. HB 287 is my designated priority legislation, and your support of this bill is respectfully requested.

NOTE: Several people testified on both sides of the issue. The bill was held for another hearing.

Monday, March 27, 2006


The proposed changes in oil taxes, and later gas pipeline proposals, are the most important issues that will be before the legislature in many decades. The governor has proposed changes to the oil tax, and those changes are being hotly debated in both House and Senate Committees.

I am not on the House Resource or House Finance Committee, so therefore have not been a direct party to the debate. I have sat in, however, on some of the briefings. When the oil tax bill, and later the gas pipeline bill, reaches the House floor, I’ll have to cast what will undoubtedly be the most important vote I’ll likely cast in my entire legislative career. At this point, there is no way to know exactly what form the bills will be when they become finally become available for a House floor vote.

I do, however, have concerns about the best way to structure a new oil tax. The producers want fiscal certainty as the foundation of future explorations and operations. That makes sense. And, obviously, they want the tax rate to be as low as they can negotiate. That’s only good business. On the other hand, the state wants to obtain the maximum possible in revenue from oil – without “killing the goose that laid the golden egg.” The appropriate tax must be a “win-win” for all parties concerned, and most importantly the people and future of Alaska.

Without oil production, it doesn’t matter how high the tax rate - i.e. 100% of zero equals zero. Production is as important as tax rate. So, the oil tax must be crafted so there is proper incentive for exploration and for increased production. We also need to encourage reinvestment of oil profit back into Alaska. We are in competition with oil producing nations around the world. Our producers are multi-national companies, and they will go where the can make the highest profit with the least amount of problems. Alaska isn’t the Lone Ranger when it comes to oil and gas natural resources. Alaska must compete in the world market.

That said, I am concerned that the tax rate is being computed on the basis of the producer’s net profit, rather than gross. We will soon be filing our personal federal income taxes – and most of us will be attempting to demonstrate to the government how little we made, not how much. We want our tax bill to be as low as we can get away with. It would seem that the oil producers could act in a similar manner.

It could be difficult for the state to get a grasp on legitimate expenses that affect a net profit, especially if expenses are inflated in Alaska, and made up for in some foreign nation. I'm concerned that Alaska could be at a disadvantage in getting savvy auditors at a price Alaska can afford, as compared to tax experts hired with big bucks from the producers. I’m told that the producer’s federal tax returns will be available to state auditors, so maybe there isn’t as big a problem as I fear. Hope springs eternal.

The governor has proposed a 20% tax (he had previously wanted 25%), and the producers accepted 20%. The question for the legislature must be whether the 20% was an opening low ball figure for negotiation, or it was a rock solid take-it-or-leave percentage. I suspect there’s some wiggle room for negotiation by the legislature. That should be reasonably expected from both the governor and the producers.

I do like the concept of the sliding tax rate scale proposed by the House Resource Committee, but the percentages on that scale are debatable. The question is, how far should the rate slide in both directions? I would also like to see a bottom percentage that would be in place, however low the price of oil might drop, so that at least some amount of revenue always accrues to the state,

I must say it’s disturbing that we are in the position of negotiating an oil tax, with the gas pipeline proposal hidden from view. The governor and the producers know all about the presumptive gas pipeline deal, but the legislature does not. That puts the legislature in the position of attempting to represent our constituents without having all the cards on the table, and I don’t like it. It stinks.

We have some very good people in the both the House and the Senate negotiating the oil tax question. They are asking some of the right questions, and are coming up with some sensible proposals.

When push comes to shove on the oil tax question, I’ll have to push a “Yes” or “No” button and vote for whatever comes to the House floor, remembering that the governor proposes and the legislature disposes. Hopefully, my constituents will weigh in on the issues, and communicate with me and help me make represent my district in the best manner possible under the circumstances. The better the communication the better the representation.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


House Bill 300, sponsored by another representative, was taken up today on reconsideration (it had failed March 6th on a vote of 20 "Yes" 15 "No" 4 "Excused" 1 "Absent" - I had voted "No." A ""Yes" vote of 21 was required to pass.

The three member Alaska Oil and Gas Commission consists of a petroleum engineer, and petroleum geologist, and a member of the public.

House Bill 300 proposed additional special qualifications for the public member over and above current law - as if some previous public member didn't have appropriate qualifications. Those who pay attention to this sort of thing may remember that some members of the Oil and Gas Commission left their office after allegations of political activities by a petroleum engineer member, and allegations of political motivations of the public member.

House Bill 300 appeared to me as a political potshot at a previous public member who left the commission.

Today, another representative presented an amendment to the bill prohibiting certain political activities of a commission member. The amendment appeared to me as a political potshot at a previous petroleum engineer member of the commission. To me, qualifications for membership on the commission didn't need fixing because it wasn't broken. Both the bill and the amendment seemed to be political "monkey business." The following is my floor speech opposing the amendment.


I’m going to vote against this amendment for the same reason I’m voting against the bill itself. The issue should be the qualifications of the public member of AOGC, and nothing more. This amendment takes a political potshot at a previous member of the commission. The bill itself takes a political potshot at another pervious member of the commission.

We don’t need this kind of monkey business. We have important business to do down here, and the commission has important business promoting oil and gas development. Again, I’m voting against this amendment for the same reason I’m voting against the bill. It’s time to move on, and do what’s right.

NOTE: The amendment failed 16 "Yes" to 24 "No." I voted "No." The bill itself passed 25 "Yes" 15 "No. I voted "No"

NOTE: As I said in my March 15th blog, "The real purpose of a bill isn't always obvious." I rest my case.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Following is the testimonhy I presented to the House Committee and Human Services in support of my House Bill 258.

Madame Chair, Honorable Members of the Committee:

My name is Representative Bob Lynn, District 31, Anchorage. Thank you for hearing House Bill 258, that makes a rape or sexual assault by a person with HIV or AIDS an aggravating factor for sentencing.

The key words here are rape and sexual assault, and the question is whether the court should consider it an aggravating factor if the perpetuator convicted of a rape had HIV/AIDs. That’s what this bill is all about, and nothing more.

How or why a perpetuator of rape or assault acquired HIV/AIDS, or the particular sexual orientation of the perpetuator, or any perceived stigma someone might claim against anyone – guilty or innocent of anything – because of being infected with HIV/AIDS is irrelevant to the bill we are considering today. Those topics have nothing whatsoever to do with this bill.

This bill is only – repeat only - about whether or not being infected with HIV/AIDS should be an aggravating factor for the court to consider at the sentencing of a rapist or sexual assaulter. I think it should, and I hope you agree.

Some might ask why should only HIV/AIDS be considered in this bill? What about Herpes C? What about syphilis or gonorrhea, or other sexually transmitted disease? Or what about every other disease known to modern medicine? Why not include those diseases in this bill? The answer is simple. HIV/AIDS is a potentially fatal disease. No only does the victim suffer the horrific consequences of rape or sexual assault, the victim of rape or assault must suffer the effects of a delayed death sentence – because, the fact of the matter is, HIV/AIDS is fatal and it’s victims usually have a shorter life span than criminals condemned to death on death row.

I must tell you, I’m very proud of the work and considerable research my staff has done on the aspects of this bill. You can see some of the results of this research in your bill package – especially the question and answer paper. Mike Sica of my office has become very knowledgable on this subject, and I believe you would be well served, and I would request, that you listen to his testimony before you ask me any questions. Again, this bill is about victims of rape or sexual assault, and whether the fact that the perpetuator of the rape or assault had HIV/AIDs should be an aggravating factor at sentencing.

NOTE: A representative of the Alaska AIDs Assistance Association in Anchorage testified, by teleconference, with outrage against my bill, claiming that the bill "stigmatised" victims of HIV/AIDS, and that HIV/AIDS is not a deadly disease.

NOTE: The House Committee on Health and Human moved this bill, with all members recommending "Do Pass," to the House Judiciary Committee.


Following is my speech on the House Floor in support of my House Bill 343 that establishes minimum penalties for assault of anyone with bodily fluids:

Mr. Speaker,

This bill provides increased sentences for those who would throw blood, semen, urine, saliva, mucus, vomitus, feces - bodily fluids - use your imagination - against any of us, but especially against law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, and first responders – all of whom are on the front lines of public safety for every one of us.

Currently, most assaults with bodily fluids can be charged only as a Class B misdemeanor, with a penalty no different than the penalty for shoplifting lip gloss, or writing a bad check for $25 bucks. HB343 increases the penalty for the disgusting and dangerous act of throwing bodily fluids from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A, and mandates a minimum 60 day imprisonment if the bodily fluids are thrown at law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and other emergency responders.

Inmate assault of officers with bodily fluids is a problem that needs to be addressed. Twenty-six states have enacted laws to help address the problem, and 19 states classify these assaults as a felony

PENALTIES: Against anyone: From imprisonment from 0 to 90 day, to imprisonment from 0 to 1 Year. Against Law Enforcement: Increases imprisonment from 0 to 60 days, to imprisonment from 60 days to 1 year

If it were practical, I’d keep these creeps in jail and throw the key away. However, the legal people tell me that increasing this particular offensive behavior to a felony, doesn’t fit a felony as well as it fits a Class A misdemeanor – so I took their advice. If you can’t trust attorneys, whom can you trust???

The bottom line is, any increase in penalty for assault with bodily fluids of anyone is a step in the right direction. Public safety people deserve our help, and I ask for your “yes” vote on this bill.

NOTE: Bill passed the House on a vote of
35 Yes, 3 Excused, 2 Absent

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


1) The legislature tends to make good people better and bad people worse.

2) The more distant from your home district the more knowledgeable people think you are.

3) Being a parent of battling teenagers is great preparation for being in the legislature.

4) There's a distinct legislative "culture," similar to the culture aboard a life boat of 60 egotists, isolated in the middle of the ocean. Legislators must tolerate each other to survive in order to reach a destination – any destination.

5) What the governor, political party establishment, fellow legislators thinks about a legislator can make things "interesting," but the reality is that legislators are elected by the voters in their own district.

6) A legislator's popularity can be dependent on the legislator's last vote.

7) Every bill is controversial to someone.

8) The more innocous a bill appears to be, the more dangerous it may be.

9) The real purpose of a bill isn't always obvious.

10) How a legislator votes is more important than why they voted like they did.

11) Even good bills can have unintended consequences.

12) A legislator is responsible both politically and morally for a vote cast. The outcome of the vote is another matter.

13) There may be no relationship between how friendly a colleague is and how much they like you.

14) Oft times on a 38 to 2 vote in the House, the two dissenting votes come from the most liberal legislator and the most conservative legislator, but for different reasons.

15) Some of the people I disagree with most on political issues are some of the people I like best.

16) Political enemies will stab you in the front; political friends will stab you in the back.

17) The principal differences between the House and the Senate are length of term and size of the egos.

18) Lobbyists do actually occupy the lobby.

19) Most lobbyists are very, very nice to legislators. Well, duh!!!

20) Ninety percent of the people who visit a legislator's office want money for something, and the "something" is usually a very good thing.

21) The quality of a legislator's office staff can be more important than the quality of the legislator (my office staff made me say this).

22) What happens in committees is usually more important than what happens on the House floor.

23) It’s important to learn how to yawn with your mouth closed at boring committee meetings.

24) Legislators watch Gavel-To-Gavel on their office televisions to make sure their colleagues show up first in the House chambers. Since everyone is watching for their colleagues, no one shows up.

25) There's a direct correlation between the length of a legislator's comments in committee and the number of TV cameras and reporters in the committee room. Ditto: House floor.

26) The only things more dangerous than bills are amendments.

27) If you don’t have the votes keep talking. If you have the votes shut up and call for the vote.

27) A few legislators appear to wait to vote on the House floor on a contentious issue until the outcome is obvious, and then vote on the winning side.

28) It's an exercise in futility to try to figure out why certain legislators vote the way they do.

29) Old age, skill and cunning can trump youth, ambition and a full head of hair.

30) Good legislation has a longer life span than good legislators.

31) A legislator who never has second thoughts on their vote is probably a legislator who doesn't exist – or shouldn’t.

32) The flattering newspaper article of today will be in the bottom of birdcages and litter boxes tomorrow.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Today I carried Senate Bill 224, a bill to establish Older Alaskans’ Day, on the House floor. The following isn’t a verbatim of my floor speech, but it’s the script I spoke from.

Mr. Speaker

It's my honor to carry this bill establishing Older people Day, in recognition of the contributions of Alaskans over the age of sixty. I suppose at this point, some would say I should declare a conflict of interest because of my age. But the fact of the matter is, there shouldn’t be a conflict between the older and the younger - because each generation truly has so much to learn from the other.
Older Alaskans have lived the history younger people have only heard about - and it gives us a totally different frame of reference.

I grew up during the great Depression – and that history contributes to the fiscal conservatism of many older Alaskans.

Folks my age remember Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, 1941, like yesterday – that was the 9/11 of older Alaskans – and the World War II of my youth instilled a basic patriotism and support of our troops that younger people didn’t experience – and certainly no one in those days talked about timetable to bring the troops home from World War II.

When President Roosevelt died, Harry Truman became president. Personally speaking, he’s one of my favorite Democrats – a plainspoken man of the people who didn’t take guff from anyone. In the youth of older Alaskans, the difference between Republicans and Democrats was mainly differences in the theory economics and taxation. Democrats and Republicans were in basic agreement about the social issues - if any politician in either party had espoused some of the things we hear today, voters would have come after them with a butterfly net.

Every older Alaskan was also touched by experiences of the great civil rights activities of the fifties and sixties. Personally, I was told to get out of a restaurant in Arizona because I walked in the front door with a Negro friend. On another occasion I almost got arrested for mistakenly sitting on a “colored” bus bench in Mississippi. Older Alaskans sometimes have a difficult time keeping up with the politically correct names for races – seniors try to keep up with “correct” terms: colored, negro, black, African-Americans – but can find ourselves one term behind younger people. As other examples, a flight attendant may be still a stewardess to a senior, and the “Human Resources Department” the Personnel Office.

Miscommunication sometimes occurs because different generations have different life experiences. For example, the other day, someone wanted me to ask a certain questions in a committee, and I joked, "Do you think I'm Charlie McCarthy? And are you Edgar Bergen?" And they answered, "Who's that?" I was shocked - but it taught me a good lesson. Generations should exchange information. I grew up on listening to the radio. They didn’t. Things older Alaskans take for granted, younger folks may have never heard about. But these kinds of experiences give seniors a kind of "institutional knowledge" that can be very helpful to younger people as they chart their way.

There’s a debate going on about building some bridges in Alaska. Well, there’s one bridge that should certainly be built – and that’s a bridge of information and respect between generations.

Mr. Speaker, this is a little bit of what Older Alaskans Day is about, and I ask my colleagues to join with me in voting yes on this bill.

Note: Passed 30 Yea, 5 Excused, 5 Absent

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Legislators learn many things in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Today I learned, to my dismay, about automobile “dealer reserves” and “document fees.” What’s that? I hear you ask.

HB383 was heard in the House State Affairs Committee. We learned that “document fees” charged to car buyers are nothing less than unadulterated profit, with no relationship whatsoever with vehicle license and registration fees, or anything else other than padding the pockets of dealers.

Furthermore, when a car dealer arranges credit for the buyer at a local bank or credit union, the interest rate quoted is typically higher than what the buyer would pay if they went to the bank directly. Nothing is wrong with any of that – so long as it’s disclosed to the buyer.

During the hearing an interesting exchange took place among committee members and witnesses who testified. Excerpts follow:

Lynn: Question to Bill Sponsor - What’s the difference between these practices (non-disclosure) and misrepresentation?

Bill Sponsor – That’s a very good point actually. A lot of lawyers out there think it’s a very unresolved issue. ….

Committee Member: I’ve been manipulated (before) – it’s like that song that just won the Oscar the other night and …

Lynn: What song was that, I didn’t watch the show?

Committee Member: I’m not going to say what it is – check the article.

Lynn: Just as an aside, I don’t know what song you’re talking about, but it’s odd that we’re giving awards to songs that you can’t even mention in public testimony.

Car Dealer: I do believe there are many other industries with the exact same practices . . .

Lynn: (Well, perhaps so) but if you can’t try to fix a problem in one industry until we fix problems in every other industry in the world, we wouldn’t do any kind of legislation down here if we did that. We try to fix problems as they come before us in various bills, but to say we can’t fix anything until we fix everything else in the universe just doesn’t make common sense to me . . . Is it all or nothing?

Lynn: I have paid doc fees in the past, but I didn’t know it was pure profit … (This is) another thing where full disclosure is required – disclosure shouldn’t only be for legislators and elected officials, but also for people who’re doing business with the public for consumer protection.

Moral to all the above: Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)

Friday, March 03, 2006


I hereby proudly announce the birth of our newest grandchild, and his name is Boaz Mathias Wainscott, born March 3, in Lafayette, Indiana. He's the son of our daughter Marla and her husband Lance Wainscott. Baby Boaz Matthias is doing well, so are his parents, and so are his grandparents Marlene and I.

The name “Boaz” comes from the Old Testament Book of Ruth. Boaz, translated from the original tongue means “swift” or “strong.” The middle name “Matthias” means “Gift of God” and that’s what babies are.

Marlene and I are now the grandparents of eighteen grandkids, and one great-grandchild – and I should point out two of our grandkids are younger than our great grandchild!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Today came forth House Bill 416 in the House Labor and Commerce Committee, of which I’m a member, to lower the current $200 business license fee back down to $25. A “fee” translated to plain talk means “tax.” Anytime the government lowers a tax, it’s remarkable indeed.

An amendment in the committee was proposed to raise the proposed new $25 tax up to $100. I objected, argued against the amendment and, praise be, the amendment was defeated.

In 2003, I reluctantly had supported the governor’s proposal to raise the business license fee up to $200 because, plainly put, the state needed more revenue. Today, state coffers runneth over, so the $200 tax is no longer needed. Removal of the unnecessarily high current tax back down to $25 sends a positive message to the business community, especially small business.

So I awarded myself two grades of “A” today. One “A” for defeating the amendment to raise the tax to $100, and another “A” for making the motion to move the tax reduction bill out of committee and for marking my recommendation as “Do Pass.”


International trade is good, and keeping allies smiling is likewise great, but neither benefit trumps commonsense - which apparently isn’t so common.

It’s common sense not to contract with the government of Mexico to guard America’s southern from illegal immigration, and common sense not to outsource to foxes to guard our chickens and – “same same” – not common sense to outsource major ports (or any American ports for that matter) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Homeland security is critical to the public safety of all Americans, and the survival of the United States as a nation. That’s more important than other issues: money, political party, world popularity, whatever.

Granted, the UAE is among the “better” nations in the volatile Middle East, but that’s akin to saying Iran is better than Syria – or vice versa - but UAE is better than both. Well now. The problem with the UAE controlling ports has nothing to do with the Arabic race, but a lot to do with most of this dangerous corner of the globe being homeland to extremism exemplified by al-Qaeda and religious “nutsos.” Currently the UAE is classified an “ally” of the United States in the War on Terror. Will it remain so? I’m not in favor of gambling.

Specifically, putting the UAE in charge of ports creates too many opportunities for the bad guys to cultivate UAE company insiders, thereby gaining intelligence on how to defeat security measures and launch a well-planned terrorist harbor attack. Too many terrorist connections have a UAE link. Some 9/11 hijackers used the UAE as their financial and operational base. Some say the UAE has been used as a transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

If – God forbid –a terrorist attack occurred in one the UAE operated American harbors, what access to UAE records would American investigators have? Could the non-USA based employees be interrogated by the FBI? Probably not.

Critics also note that some of the 9/11 hijackers used the UAE as an operational and financial base. In addition, they contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya. This is scary stuff.

The proposed agreement with the UAE has to do with ports back east, not in Alaska. But the principle is the same, wherever the port. If it can happen somewhere else in the United States, it could happen in Alaska.

I support my president, but he’s not infallable and that’s the case here. We live in a global society, but it’s not always a sane society. When I went to Air Force flying school, my instructor told me, “If in doubt, bail out.” I think that applies here.

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