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WHAT A YEAR IT WAS: 2003 IN A NUTSHELL, PART 2

By FREEDOM WRITER
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
Jan., 2004

This beginning year commentary is a follow-up sequel to my Dec. 2003 commentary from issue #28 as time & space did not permit me to finish all of my thoughts until now.

Folowing up on the local scene in Anchorage, AK, newly elected liberal Democrat Mayor Mark Begich continued his pursuit of the $30 million plus bike trail (Knowles Coastal Trail extension), disregarding citizen wishes & budget dilemmas that jeopardize public safety & education employee slots. This ill-conceived trail expansion would use the force of "eminent domain" to procure from tax-paying private property owners enough land for the trail & its rights-of way, at first without sufficient notice to those landowners affected, until local talk radio publicity made the public aware. Assemblyman Doug Van Etten failed to resign after being fined by APOC for incomplete & incorrectly filed disclosure forms & the municipal ethics board failed to recommend censure or removal either. So much for accountability of politicians & those on certain governmental ethics boards, heh? There was continued talk of a possible sales tax or sales tax in lieu of property taxes, the latter of the two may be worth considering, possibly. There was also talk of restricting non-profit organizations' & religious organizations' ability to keep their property tax-exempt status. Did you know that, rather than just the house of worship & the sole home of the religious leader (rabbi, pastor, etc.) being exempt, that other non-profit & profit-making arms of some churches, etc., & all other property owned by those religious organizations are also being exempt from paying property taxes? No wonder the Anchorage property owner feels the burden of the community on his/her back. The high point was country artist Toby Keith's May 24 visit to Anchorage at the Sullivan Arena where OVER 8000 fans (a new attendance record for that facility for a concert) enjoyed his many years of hits & his patriotic "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)" hit from early in the year.

Following up on the state level, the failure of the GOP-led legislature to reduce state spending prompted newly elected GOP Governor Frank Murkowski to show some leadership when he started cutting in some areas, but not all, bumbling while doing so. There was the continued failure of the state's congressional delegation to get a portion of ANWR opened to oil development where it met liberal Republican & Democratic opposition in the US Senate. This occurs even after another year of $30 million lobbying funded by the State. Why don't we just bribe the liberals into voting for energy independence instead ... it would be cheaper?!?! Ending on a good high note was another country star who visited Alaska to perform at the State Fair in Palmer just before Labor Day weekend. Aaron Tippin performed his hits & his encore patriotic song that followed 9-11: "Where the Stars & Stripes & the Eagle Flies".

Following up on the national level, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office by State Supreme Court after he ignored orders by a federal court to remove the 10 Commandments display from his courthouse. Why does a federal court have any jurisdiction on this state matter? There was overwhelming popular support nationwide for Justice Moore's stand. Should Moore have resigned first before he fought the court order? Extremist liberals, led by the ACLU, pursued anti-American thrusts in the courts over gay marriage, Christian symbols, the Boy Scouts, the "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, & just overall traditional American & family values. It's the secular humanists versus the traditionalists in the culture war being fought in America!

Following up on the international scene, The UN & most of Europe pursued anti-US policies vis-a-vis anti-terror campaigns in Middle East/Southwest Asia. There were unearthed discoveries of French, German, Russian, Polish, & Syrian arms connections or business contracts to Saddam Hussein's regime, but there was no unearthed discoveries of WMD yet. Only a few countries stood with America during this on-going fight on terrorism as most of our other traditional allies succumbed to their past economic ties to the terror dictators.

While 2003 was definitely an exciting year, the battles being fought at all levels of society & government -- of more government oppression versus less government & freedom, of secular humanism versus traditional American & family values, of on-going terrorism versus peace & prosperity -- continue into 2004 with no end in sight. Lack of political leadership by many who did espouse the "less government is best" campaign rhetoric have also succumbed to the status quo of the governing elite at both the corporate & public office levels. Never more true was the saying of one of our nations' Founding Fathers -- Thomas Jefferson: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty".

Freedom Writer
Jan. 2004.

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