Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day 2012, a day of remembrance, not self indulgence

Today is a day that we are supposed to memorialize our war dead. Our heroes and heroines who died in the line of duty while serving their country in defense of freedom. Instead, too many ignore the why of the day, to indulge in self-serving activities that have nothing to do with attempting to demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifice of our war dead.

The veterans of foreign wars are all around us. We may never know who they are, we might note the hat that they wear to show that they served during a time of duress and war, or a jacket. There may be no outward appearance or sign of their prior service. We largely ignore them, giving lip service to their sacrifice by showing “appreciation” to our troops by enduring politicians self-serving speeches.

My father became a Marine at the close of WWII. He served on Okinawa in a Scout Recon Platoon, always referred to as “kid” by his platoon sergeant, never as Marine, because he was underage. In 1947, he was sent to China as part of the Allied Army of Occupation. While there, he spent 9 months as a prisoner of the Red Chinese. He and those captured with him, were beaten daily, suffered depravations, and told upon repatriation to forget it by the USMC, never happened. He was discharged and returned to Arizona, serving in the Army National Guard, until the Korean War, when he once again became a Marine for the duration. He moved his family to Alaska in 1954 upon his release from the USMC. He then again joined the Army National Guard, becoming Alaska’s first fiscal officer. My father did not go to Vietnam, but in 1968 was offered a commission as a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, if he would take a two year tour to Camh Ranh Bay with the Seabees. He declined the offer.

My father’s experience was not really unique. He was of a generation of Americans who faced a terrible war that threatened the very existence of the United States. He continued to serve in one capacity or another with the military until his early 40s. Such service was a matter of course for his generation, and expected. Through my father, his association with aviation, his USMC and National Guard service, and his tenure as an Alaska Territorial and Alaska State Police Officer in the 1950s and early 60s, I was privy to a world of men and women who were of that generation who served in WWII and Korea, and through Civil Air Patrol, those serving in the Republic of Viet Nam.

When Iraq came around, my youngest son, after serving a five year tour in the USMC, had joined the U.S. Army Reserve and was called up to duty as a combat engineer NCO.

While working on a USMC firing range renovation in 2008 on Oahu, I had the sincere privilege to meet young Marines who had been wounded in action, most by IEDs. They had been sent to the unit responsible for the firing range awaiting discharge for their injuries. We were humbled and sobered to be in the presence of those who had done the job and had been severely injured.

Soldiers fight for their buddies. It is all about the guy next to them. Not about country, not about the color of skin, not about where one came from, not about religion, not about anything but doing one’s part, and not letting your buddies down.

The guys in WWII did not serve to see the U.S. become less. They served to end a threat. They did terrible things. They firebombed cities. They shelled cities. They killed soldiers and civilians. They fought a total war. They won. Since, we have put our troops in harm’s way, but our leaders have prevented them from winning.

Today, our troops are under the influence of those whose world view is now very much like the enemy of the 50s-80s. The former Soviet Union and communism.

We have a President who is a product of communists and hard core socialists. People who do not believe that the U.S. is a good place or that its society is unique in the world with our Constitution and our rule of law. People who do not value life, our culture, the preservation of language, our institutions, the supremacy of our Constitution, or the traditional family as being necessary to the preservation of our country and way of life. People who live in the past believing that the U.S. is a place rife with discrimination based upon color and ethnicity and unfairness. People who believe that they have the right to take from those that work and give to those who do not. That the Constitution is nothing but an outdated piece of paper in need of revision to reflect their progressive (anytime progressive is used, read communist) world view. What’s yours is theirs. Abortion, though a tool of eugenics and intended to be used as such against the African-American population, has become a “right” for women who put killing the unborn below protecting a whale. This is not the United States that my father and millions of Americans before and since fought to defend or who sacrificed their lives to protect.

Some of our young American who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places have given five years away from home and family. Some, much more.

There are Gold Star families in Palmer, Wasilla, and Eagle River.

When you see a uniform of our armed services, think of how much time you have given in service to your fellow citizens away from your family. And, remember, what they do is dangerous in of itself with respect to training and daily operations without being shot at.

Be thankful that there are such heroes and heroines willing to do the job of our military. Tell your kids that these men and women are there to protect them and mommy and daddy. Tell your children that those grave stones in our national cemeteries mark the final resting place of someone’s daddy, son, brother, sister, mother, or wife.

May God bless these men and women who serve and those who have served this Great Nation. They stood the line and deserve our respect.

Memorial Day should be a day of respect and quiet reflection.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Are we really closer to a natural gas pipeline? Nah.

In an Anchorage Daily News op-ed piece on May 11, 2012, Governor Sean Parnell extolled that his Administration was closer than ever to a large diameter natural gas pipeline being built, because of the settlement with Exxon over the Pt. Thompson development. One has to wonder just what this guy is on in terms of meds? He must be on the same psychotropic, hallucinogenic medications that the Legislature is on.

Otherwise, how could one reconcile the Legislature’s seemingly mindless following of Rep. Mike Hawker’s and House Speaker’s Mike Chennault’s incredible determination to wipe the 2002 vote and mandate of 138,000 Alaskans off the record, to remove same from State Statute, and to prove that the State will expend hundreds of millions to demonstrate that LNG from Russia can be imported cheaper to south central than their pipedream. This in the face of $14/tcf-$17/tcf LNG delivered in Japan.

What is it about the all-Alaska natural gas pipeline option that causes it to never be spoken of by our Governor and by our Legislature, never considered as a viable option, never mentioned by the Press, yet, demonstrated by the market as being incredibly prescient, given that this option was voted on and passed—you know, mandated—by the vote of 138,000 Alaskans way back in 2002? The only Republican candidate to champion this option was Bill Walker with his run for Governor in 2010.

Governor Parnell has asked nicely for TransCanada and the Producers to consider the LNG option to Valdez under AGIA. TransCanada and Exxon said sure, and now, studies will be made to determine the viability of that option through December of this year, and beyond. Is that not all that Governor Frank Murkowski’s so called contract achieved? A promise to “study”?

In the meantime, prices in Japan are $14/tcf-$17/tcf for LNG delivered to Japan. The cost of Alaska LNG delivered to Japan estimated by the Wood-Mac report for AGPA was $8.50/tcf. The proposed all-Alaska natural gas pipeline to Valdez championed by Bill Walker’s run for governor in 2010 called for a 3bcf per day pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez with 250mcf being taken off at Glennallen and delivered by a spur line to the Enstar Hub at Palmer. That left 2.75bcf per day for delivery to world markets. Under Walker’s proposal, the gas liquids would have been retained in Alaska for use to build a petrochemical industry and to provide alternative fuels for the Bush.

Every day, the governor has his head up his posterior, the Legislature is entranced by Hawker’s and Chennault’s Pied Piper routine, the State denies itself $15,125,000 at a sale price of $14/tcf delivered. Over the course of a year that is $5.52billion. Kiss another $5.52B good-bye by December 31 of this year.

The oil companies down south are moving, developing, and continuing to explore based upon $2.02/tcf of methane. Methane that may be exported, which will compete with Alaska gas and may even displace our gas in Asian markets, given our governor’s and our Legislature’s inability to see the handwriting on the proverbial wall.

Japan is shutting down its nukes, and Alaska has a market for our natural gas, if we want it. Two delegations from Japan have come to talk with the State, the first rebuffed by our Governor just after the 2011 earthquake.

Our DNR Commissioner met with the most recent Japanese delegation, our Lt. Gov. had dinner with them, but . . . nothing. Our DNR Commissioner goes to the PRC to investigate the LNG market, but not to Japan. After 41+ years of trade in LNG to Japan, Alaska is unwilling to discuss the potential with the Japanese.

Unlike our governor and his administration, Senator Lisa Murkowski is trying to do just that with her recent meetings with the Japanese Prime Minister and members of the Japanese Diet. Murkowski is trying to sell Japan on Alaska LNG, but is wasting her time in the face of a hostile Parnell Administration.

What's wrong with this picture, Alaska?

The Legislature with CB9 and CS9 have told the people to stick it with our 2002 vote, that our vote meant nothing. We have been proven right in the market, but our State leaders have shown their contempt for our will by completely ignoring what we mandated.

This governor and our Legislature have ignored us, when we were right all along.

Yet, now, Governor Sean Parnell extols that Alaska is closer than ever before to getting a pipeline??!!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


The following would seem to indicate that Alaska has some degree of protection for the unborn.

AS 11.41.282. Assault of an Unborn Child in the Second Degree.

(a) A person commits the crime of assault of an unborn child in the second degree if
(1) with intent to cause physical injury to an unborn child or to another person, that person causes serious physical injury to an unborn child;
(2) that person recklessly causes serious physical injury to an unborn child; or
(3) that person recklessly causes serious physical injury to an unborn child by repeated assaults, even if each assault individually does not cause serious physical injury.
(b) Assault of an unborn child in the second degree is a class B felony.

AS 11.41.282. Assault of an Unborn Child in the Second Degree.

(a) A person commits the crime of assault of an unborn child in the second degree if
(1) with intent to cause physical injury to an unborn child or to another person, that person causes serious physical injury to an unborn child;
(2) that person recklessly causes serious physical injury to an unborn child; or
(3) that person recklessly causes serious physical injury to an unborn child by repeated assaults, even if each assault individually does not cause serious physical injury.
(b) Assault of an unborn child in the second degree is a class B felony.

Sounds good, doesn't it.  Protecting the unborn, right?  Our gov and the Legislature did good, right?  BS.

AS 11.41.289. Applicability of S 11.41.280 and 11.41.282.

AS 11.41.280 and 11.41.282 do not apply to acts that
(1) cause serious physical injury or physical injury to an unborn child if those acts were committed during a legal abortion to which the pregnant woman consented or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf consented, or for which consent is implied by law;
(2) are committed under usual and customary standards of medical practice during diagnostic testing, therapeutic treatment, or to assist a pregnancy; or
(3) are committed by a pregnant woman against herself and her own unborn child.


Pregnant woman is using methamphetimines and other illegal drugs during pregnancy.  The child is later born, the damage to the unborn is life-long from the drugs, and results in an obligation upon the State to provide healthcare and mental services for the child.

According to 11.41.289, because it was the woman doing the drugs, the unborn has no say, no rights, but the rest of us have to deal with the mess if the child is born. (????!!!!!)  The mother should be held accountable.  Period.  Using drugs is illegal in the first place.  How is it that when your drug use harms another, you are not held accountable? 

I am certain every male pothead, methhead, and dope fiend in Alaska laments "Oh, to be a pregnant female."


Pregnant woman is living with an abusive spouse or boyfriend.  The child is harmed by physical abuse, resulting in the miscarriage of child.  Should the woman be held accountable under the law?  YES.  She enabled the abuser by failing to get the authorities involved. 11.41.280 needs to be expanded to cover enabling.  Letting the guy or gal beat on her is her problem up until the pregnancy, afterwhich, the issue becomes the harm to the child.  Her silence is assent to the harm to the child.  She has a greater duty to the unborn, because the child is helpless, than in protecting her abuser.  Again, society pays the price.


Where were our Republican legislators' and their respect for life in the aforementioned statutes?
So much for the Gov's pogrom on abuse.  Kind of dropped the round short, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Unlike the Gov, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is trying to sell LNG to Japan

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) raised the prospect of Japan buying Alaska natural gas to overcome the shortfall in power generation with the shutdown of 51 of Japan’s 53 nuclear reactors after the 9.0 earthquake off of the coast of Japan last year. Sen. Murkowski spoke with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at a State Department Dinner hosted by Sec. of State Hilliary Clinton. Sen. Murkowski is the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Japan Interparliamentary Group. Sen. Murkowski has used this opportunity and her position to discuss the prospect of using Alaska natural gas in Japan in her discussions with her Japanese counterparts in meetings over the last week.

Senator Murkowski is meeting today with the acting secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan.

Senator Murkowski has also asked President Obama to support the export of Alaska natural gas to Japan and to write a letter to the Japanese Prime Minister expressing his support Japan’s purchase of Alaska natural gas.

Sen. Murkowski seems to be doing something that our Governor and his administration have not bothered with. Sen. Murkowski is attempting to do the Governor’s job of selling Alaska’s natural gas to a viable customer who needs a reliable, long term supply of LNG.

Unlike Governor Sean Parnell, has refused to meet with two Japanese delegations sent to Alaska seeking to discuss the purchase of Alaska natural gas. The week after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, a Japanese business delegation came to Alaska to meet with Governor Sean Parnell. Parnell refused to meet with them. The week of Feburary 27th , a Japanese delegation again travelled to Alaska and attempted to meet with leaders of the State government. Two members of the Japanese delegation met with Dan Sullivan, Commissioner, Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR). Nothing was disclosed by Sullivan regarding the discussions other than to say that the meetings were of an “introductory nature” rather than defining any business goals. Bloomberg was reporting that Japan was sending delegations to Louisiana and Texas to discuss the possibility of buying U.S. natural gas to meet their energy shortfalls from the shutdowns of their nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, the only meetings the Japanese were able to hold in Alaska were with the Commissioner, DNR, that produced nothing of any consequence. On February 29, 2012, Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell had dinner with the Japanese delegation. Nothing has been disclosed since regarding any outcomes of those meetings with State officials.

Alaska has a 41 year history of exporting natural gas to Japan from Nikkiski. This is a history and partnership that can be used to Alaska’s benefit in marketing our gas to Japan. Yet, Governor has ignored this opportunity and advantage. Keiretsu and face are major components of the Japanese business deal. If one has good keiretsu (business associations, dealings, reputation) and good face (character, reliability, solid, honest), then one is in a very good position to do business in Japan. Alaska has such a relationship with Tokyo Power and Light, the customer for Alaska’s natural gas over the last 41 years. Yet, our governor and our Legislature ignore this fact and act as if Alaska has no interest in Japan as a market. When Dan Sullivan went to Asia recently to inquire about the viability of a market for Alaska natural gas in Asia, he did not go to Japan. Like the all-Alaska natural gas pipeline to Valdez championed by Bill Walker during his gubernatorial campaign supported by both the Alaska Gas Development Authority and the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA), the idea of selling gas to the one reliable, long term customer that needs it, Tokyo Power and Light, is ignored by the Parnell Administration.

One can only wonder what could cause the Governor and the Legislature to ignore a certain customer with a very real need? Japan has been paying as much as $17 per thousand cubic feet of LNG delivered to Japan. Domestic U.S. price of natural gas was recently $2.02 per thousand cubic feet. There is no domestic market for Alaska natural gas in the lower-48.

The portent of the return of 300,000 barrels of North Slope Crude oil to the oil terminal at Valdez by the Alaska Explorer 11 April, 2012 should be a wake up call that Alaska is facing much larger problems than just a competitive natural gas market. Alaska’s literal fiscal future is at stake with oil flowing through a pipeline that may have to be shut down, not because of a lack of oil on the North Slope, but because of a glutted domestic market for oil.

Alaska will become a much quieter place in the near future if our Governor cannot bring himself to kill AGIA, to end the fiscal idiocy of committing another $200 million to a pipeline concept that cannot make money, and commit the State to build the all-Alaska natural gas pipeline to Valdez. Negotiating the best price for our gas and a long term commitment with Tokyo Power and Light and Mitsubishi would give Alaska the anchor customer necessary to finance the project.

Governor Parnell and this Legislature have done an incredible job of ignoring reality. That reality is about to bite all of us in the proverbial . . . posterior. Alaska’s future is growing dim and distant, with its youth and young adults the beneficiaries of a lack of foresight and concern that is incredible in the face of the information available to those in leadership positions.

Thank you, Sen. Lisa Murkowski for trying to the right thing for Alaskans in the face of a Governor and a Legislature that continue to ignore the obvious.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The oil glut just caught up with Alaska's oil dreams . . .

The shale oil revolution in the lower-48 has finally impacted Alaska.

On April 11, the 940 foot oil tanker Alaskan Explorer returned to Valdez from a two week journey to a refinery in Washington state after delivering almost 1,000,000 barrels of Alaska crude from the North Slope. For the first time since the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) began transporting North Slope crude to the Alyeska Pipeline oil terminal at Valdez, 300,000 barrels (12,600,000 gallons) of Alaska North Slope crude oil was being returned to Valdez for the first time. (1 barrel = 42 gallons)

The day the crude oil was returned to Valdez by the Alaska Explorer, the oil storage tanks at Alyeska’s oil terminal were 90% full. The oil storage tanks have not been this full since the start of oil flowing down TAPS. Having to return oil added to the lack of capacity. This is a serious situation with respect to maintaining the oil flow from the North Slope.

One of the major concerns of Alaska’s politicians has been when will North Slope oil production fall to such a level that the TAPS will no longer be able to move the oil? This amount has been estimated to be a little as 300,000 barrels per day to as much as 500,000 barrels per day. If TAPS operations has to be stopped at present levels due to an oil glut in the lower 48, there is a very real possibility that TAPS operations may not be able to be restarted.

Last year, Thomas Barrett, the president of Alyeska Pipeline Company, warned the Legislature that any shut down of TAPS that lasted for more than three days could result in a permanent shut down of TAPS. The automation of TAPS in the 1980s removed the pumps from some of the pump stations, thereby reducing the ability to pressurize the pipeline. Present volumes are marginal with respect to restarting TAPS. The estimate of the shutdown volume was 300,000 barrels per day until 2010, when it was admitted by Barrett that the actual shut down volume could be as much as 500,000 barrels per day.

The reason the oil was returned to Valdez has been the increasing volume of oil produced from the Bakken Shale deposits in North Dakota and from other shale deposits in Texas and Pennsylvania. The same technology that has increased the natural gas reserves of the United States to as much as 200 years at present rates of consumption has now allowed access to oil previously considered unrecoverable.

Another factor is the reduction in the use of gasoline in the U.S. due to higher mileage vehicles. This has led to a decreased demand for crude oil in the face of increased supplies. The U.S. is now exporting refined gasoline in quantities not seen since the 1960s to Central and South America.

The Parnell Administration failed to publically note the return of Alaska crude to Valdez. To have made the public aware that Alaska crude was returned because of an oil glut Outside might have caused a problem for an Administration that has been heavily criticized for its lack of progress on a natural gas pipeline.

One thing is for certain, due to high international demand for crude in Asia, the price of gas is not going down appreciably anytime soon. The domestic price of crude is set by the international market.

The return of Alaska’s oil to Valdez has serious portent for the future of TAPS and for the market for Alaska’s crude. It would truly be ironic for TAPS to have to shut down because there is a glut of oil in the lower-48.