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A video of Rep. Don Young every American should see

On Nov. 18 the celebrated historian, Dr. Douglas Brinkley, testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. The committee was taking testimony on another congressional effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration and drilling.

Brinkley was there to suggest that the ANWR be designated a national monument, preserved and protected. Brinkley knows about conservation. Among his award-winning publications and best-selling books is “Wilderness Warrior” about Theodore Roosevelt’s environmental policies. His most recent book, “The Quiet World,” traces the history of Alaska’s wilderness. He’s currently writing a new history on the conservation movement in America.

After Brinkley delivered his testimony, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, walked into the hearing late. Please watch this short clip of what happened:

By way of full disclosure, Dr. Brinkley is a friend of mine, but had Dr. Brinkley been a stranger to me, I would still be mortified that a United States congressman would treat a guest of the House in such a fashion. I hope this piece of video is seen by as many Americans as possible. I shouldn’t like people in other countries to see it. We still have an image to uphold in the world. Young makes it look like the most powerful nation on earth is run by the inmates of the asylum.

You may also notice that Dr. Brinkley doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I talked to him about the confrontation. He told me: “I felt like I needed to hold my own against them. I feel good about it.”

He continued: “I’m a historian and I read a lot of testimony. It is important to me to have an accurate record. I thought I needed to set the record straight for CongressmanYoung. My name is not Dr. Rice, it is Dr. Brinkley.”

That is certainly part of it. It is likely, as well, that Brinkley had studied the history of Congressman Young before he arrived at the hearing. Brinkley told me he knew that Congressman Young, at another hearing, had waved a walrus penis bone at Mollie Beattie, the incoming chief of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Brinkley may have read the Rolling Stone article about Young that quotes the congressman as saying, “Environmentalists are a self-centered bunch of waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots.” The quote continues, “[They] are not Americans, never have been Americans and never will be Americans.”

I don’t think Congressman Young would have dared say such a thing to Teddy Roosevelt’s face.

Missed votes
Brinkley should not have been surprised that Congressman Young showed up late and missed the bulk of the historian’s testimony. Young is often cited as the congressman missing more votes than any other member of the House. Brinkley would have known that Young was the co-sponsor, with discredited Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, of the bill to pay for the infamous “bridge to nowhere.”

Brinkley told me: “Everyone knows that Young is just a menacing blowhard. He has a history of being rude, he browbeats and he’s snotty toward anyone who cares about the environment.”

I asked Brinkley if he was surprised that Committee Chair Doc Hastings took Young’s side and continued lecturing the historian. “No,” said Brinkley. “They are tied together at the hip. They are both oil company factotums. They are a tag team.”

Had Young been in the room for Brinkley’s testimony, he would have heard an interesting history lesson. Brinkley told those present that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had set aside the ANWR, and protected it the same way Ike had protected Antarctica. Brinkley is proposing that President Obama set aside the ANWR as a national monument using the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Dr. Douglas Brinkley
Dr. Douglas Brinkley

“Eisenhower created it as a refuge,” Brinkley said.

So Brinkley suggests a new name and new status for ANWR. “I think it should be called the Dwight Eisenhower National Monument,” he said.

But what about the oil?

According to the United States Geological Survey, there is a good deal of oil beneath the coastal plains of the ANWR. But there is, in relative terms, very little when compared to world demand. Pump it dry and it would be emptied in less than a year.

Another Republican congressman, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, always votes against drilling the ANWR. It makes him unpopular in the caucus room. But the old biology teacher-turned congressman doesn’t object to drilling on environmental grounds. Bartlett told me that he votes against draining it now. He thinks it is smarter to save it for future generations who might need it, and use it more efficiently.

Bartlett doesn’t think it is wise to pump the ANWR dry just to consume it in highly inefficient cars and trucks. Bartlett drives a Prius, which is another thing that drives the caucus a little crazy.

Same argument
Young chided Brinkley by saying that no one ever goes to the ANWR. Brinkley told me, “They used the same argument when considering whether to set aside the Grand Canyon. ‘Nobody ever goes there,’ they said.”

The Grand Canyon is back up for debate, by the same forces who wish to open the ANWR for oil drilling. Congress is considering bills to open up areas near the Grand Canyon for uranium mining. It was being rushed through until someone noticed that the company doing the mining was from Russia, and no one had checked whether there were any safeguards preventing Grand Canyon uranium from going into Iranian nukes.  

“Our park lands, our treasured areas are under attack,” Brinkley told me. “We fought hard to protect these wild places and that makes the United States unique. China is destroying its landscape. We have a history of preserving ours.”

Brinkley believes Young and his ilk have another reasons for going into the ANWR, and it has nothing to do with oil. “I think they believe,” he said, “if they can open up the ANWR, molest it piece by piece, they will demoralize the whole environmental movement.”

Brinkley believes, as Young has made clear, there are members of Congress who see people who would protect wild places as the enemy of the country. “The Coastal Plain of the ANWR has an unbelievably rich marine environment,” Brinkley said. “It is where the caribou calve. It is where the polar bear den.”

To Congressman Don Young’s ears, such talk borders on treason.

Brinkley has a ready response. “Congressman Don Young is a low-grade Joseph McCarthy.”

Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/22/2011 - 12:10 pm.

    Your relationship to Dr.Brinkley overshadows any point to the article, as does the fact that the clip begins mid-sentence.

    • Submitted by richard scroggins on 02/25/2012 - 03:55 pm.

      Douglas Brinkley

      Don’t any of you find it the least bit embarrassing to be defending Young? If this is representative of the behavior of our elected officials it’s time for a revolution.

  2. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 11/22/2011 - 12:16 pm.

    This is how the 1% talks to the rest of us

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/22/2011 - 12:35 pm.

    ~Nuff said.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/22/2011 - 12:39 pm.

    Here’s an idea: Why don’t we let people who live in the state decide? I suppose Brinkley’s argument would be that they’re too stupid to be trusted not to foul their own nest and only people who’ve never been there can be enlightened to manage it. Or something.

  5. Submitted by Howard Salute on 11/22/2011 - 12:48 pm.

    I conclude Dr. Brinkley’s behavior was inappropriate for the hearing. And now he resorts to calling Don Young a low-grade Joseph McCarthy. Dr. Brinkley’s behavior would not be tolerated if he were in the public sector.

  6. Submitted by Pat Thompson on 11/22/2011 - 01:05 pm.

    The expression of the blonde woman sitting behind Rep. Young is priceless.

    I think this clip would be seen completely differently by audiences from either side of the environmental issue. Brinkley’s attempts to talk over both Young and the chair sound like a bad TV pundit clash, rather than anything I’ve seen in a Congressional testimony setting (although I admit I haven’t watched that much CSPAN). But Young’s manner is equally off-putting.

    Young’s speech, though, will sound completely reasonable to many people. Since we don’t get to hear any of Brinkley’s testimony, his point of view is completely absent.

  7. Submitted by Derrick Schluck on 11/22/2011 - 01:17 pm.

    I ask the questions here…..

  8. Submitted by Rich Ahrens on 11/22/2011 - 01:20 pm.

    Don Young is a class A jerk. Has been for years. I’ve met him (in Alaska) and he was totally full of himself. He’s also regularly listed as one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

  9. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/22/2011 - 01:23 pm.

    What is how what 1% talks to the rest of who? This article? Congressman Young? 1% economically? 1% academically? Whatever 99% you’re in, you’ll do better by it by communicating more clearly.

  10. Submitted by Lance Groth on 11/22/2011 - 01:26 pm.

    Bill (#2) has it right – “just sit there and shut up”, that’s how the 1% lectures the 99%.

    I don’t know how these rubes get elected. Unintelligent, uneducated, rude, vicious bullies. Plain old nasty.

    No wonder Congress has an approval rating of 9%.

  11. Submitted by Deborah McLaren on 11/22/2011 - 02:10 pm.

    Unfortunately, Rep. Young speaks like this to the Native people (they are, in fact, the Caribou people) in Alaska trying to protect the Caribou herd’s fragile and extremely important nursery grounds from oil exploitation. Remember the BP spill? Can you imagine what will happen in that isolated area if there is any kind of spill? No nearby assistance what so ever. Remember that it’s a protected wildlife area? He boldly lies about the people in the region that are pro-drilling. They have raised millions over the past decades to protect their lands and educate the rest of the world about the importance of not drilling. This video of Rep. Young should be a wake-up call. Please go to the Native Alaskan’s own website to hear their story:

  12. Submitted by rolf westgard on 11/22/2011 - 02:15 pm.

    Thank you Don Shelby for exposing this jerk Congressman.
    Actually no one knows how much oil is under the north portion of ANWR. A big problem is that nearly all the recent discoveries in the region are gas rich. the adjacent Point Thompson field is an example. Since there is no gas pipeline and we don’t flare now, it is limiting production from areas like Point Thompson.
    IMO we can drill at ANWR without damage to the environment. But what’s the hurry. There’s no oil shortage, and that oil won’t be cheap.
    As the Saudi king said recently when there was a new discovery in the Saudi western desert, “Just leave the oil. Our grandchildren will need it.”

    REW, member AAPG

  13. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 11/22/2011 - 02:48 pm.

    The sorry part is: they actually managed to shut the professor up. Even about what his own name was, and what his university’s name was.

    By they, I mean this ignoramus from Alaska and the committee chairman, who rebuked Brinkley for interrupting Young to tell him that his name was not Rice.

    This is a powerfully revealing video clip.

  14. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 11/22/2011 - 02:48 pm.

    Thanks for the support, Lance. Apparently I wasn’t all that unclear. To be more clear for Rachel’s sake I will clarify what I mean. I mean that is how the power elite – this congressperson, the Kochs, the rich Bankers, the cops who pepper spray people exercising their first amendment rights, the big box store managers who decide their profits are more important than the families of their employees, all the rich powerful people and their minions (perhaps you)- talks to the rest of us as our heritage is sold down the river for their personal economic gain. Rachel, you can disagree with me but you can’t claim to misunderstand me.

  15. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/22/2011 - 03:18 pm.

    What you people are missing is that Rep. Don Young was elected to congress by his neighbors to represent their interests in Washington. Dr. Brinkley is just an academic with an agenda.

  16. Submitted by Matthew Steele on 11/22/2011 - 03:46 pm.

    Dennis, you’re absolutely right, this guy wants to represent his district and squander our Federal resources (We the People) in order for his district to realize economic benefit.

    There are 434 other reps who are obligated to *their* constituents not only to protect our shared environment, but to protect the assets (such as millions of acres of land paid for by We the People with the named intent of providing refuge to wildlife).

  17. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 11/22/2011 - 04:05 pm.

    @Dennis Tester #15:

    No, Don Young was not elected by his neighbors; he was elected by the people of Alaska. Ostensibly, he’s supposed to be representing their interests, but it’s quite obvious he’s the one with an agenda, and it has nothing to do with the welfare of Alaska residents.

    Academic prowess is what makes people intelligent enough to learn and use critical thinking skills. Young is one of those narrow-minded “idiots” who would rather despoil the environment because he sees no value in it, or doesn’t realize the value of it. After all, what good is a used up world and how cold it be worth having?

    Both Don Young and Dennis Tester have amply demonstrated to all that they lack the capacity for intelligent thought.

  18. Submitted by Anita Newhouse on 11/22/2011 - 04:13 pm.

    Wow, Matt stole my comment out from under me!

  19. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 11/22/2011 - 04:29 pm.

    Mr. Brinkley was not the only one acting like a snob in this video. Mr. Rice acted like a snob also!

  20. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 11/22/2011 - 04:30 pm.

    At what point did Minnpost allow the postings insult users. I realize it insulting a conservative but seriously, “…Dennis Tester have amply demonstrated to all that they lack the capacity for intelligent thought.”

    We should just modify the Terms of use to be…the right to remove postings that include the use of foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that may be libelous or interpreted as inciting hate or sexual harassment (unless they are a conservative).

  21. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/22/2011 - 04:35 pm.

    I don’t disagree with you. It seemed better to ask you to clarify than to take you the wrong way. You could have been referring to several different things, and depending on which you were referring to, I would very much disagree. Just because someone assumed that you meant something that they agreed with doesn’t mean that someone looking to be offended would have assumed that you meant something offensive. It turns out that what you meant to imply was something I agree with, but it could have been the other way. It also turns out that you were not referring to the same 1%, at least strictly speaking, that I would have thought you were, no matter what direction you were intending to direct your comment.

    Communication is important. Don’t assume I’m dense because I refused to assume something you didn’t mean. I did you a favor by not jumping down your throat for something you didn’t mean.

    One thing that really irks me is that there are plenty on the left, the center, and the moderate right with great ideas and points, but are incapable of communicating them with the clarity (or at least seeming clarity) of the far right.

  22. Submitted by Dave Thul on 11/22/2011 - 05:07 pm.

    My Shelby, the fact that you can’t see that both men were being rude to each other shows how biased towards your agenda you are.

    Was the Congressman late, and did he get the gentleman’s name wrong? Sure. But that is no excuse for Dr Brinkley constantly interrupting, raising his voice, and speaking with clear contempt in his voice. I’m pretty sure you would never have put up with that in an interview, let alone in the US Congress.

    It all comes down to this-Dr Brinkley was in that room testifying about ANWR in an attempt to persuade those Congressmen that his opinion was correct. Did he accomplish that? I think not.

  23. Submitted by Lance Groth on 11/22/2011 - 05:53 pm.

    @21 – Rachel, I guess Bill figured that with all the news coverage of the Occupy movement, the 1%/99% tie-in wouldn’t require a lot of explanation. That’s certainly how I took it. As a lifelong member of the 99%, I’m reminded daily who is getting shafted, and who is doing the shafting.

    As for communication from the Left, be careful what you wish for. I venture to guess that you would agree that the “clarity” of right wing communication only seems so, and is accomplished with equal parts obfuscation, “truthy” sounding untruths, fear-mongering, anti-science denialism, derision, jingoism, and in some parts of the country, bible-thumping. All delivered to a base that laps it up without even a hint of critical thinking.

    Is that what you want from the Left? It is a true-ism that the more you know, the more your realize how little you really know. That old nuance thing, that the Right used to good advantage against Kerry. Simplicity and clarity certainly work in political movements, as Adolf Hitler and Julius Caesar knew very well. If, as leftists tend to, you want to apply comparative analysis, judicious appraisal, consideration of trends, probability of outcomes, i.e., an appreciation of the objective complexity of the real world, well, it just doesn’t play well with Joe Sixpack, or Joe the Plumber. Almanac vs. a football game, if you will. Not that what the left has to say can’t be used to populist effect. Bill Clinton had a very effective way of connecting with people; JFK knocked it out of the park; so too FDR. But one must be careful. Obama promised more than he could deliver, and that is not helpful.

    I guess I prefer the infinite grey shadings of a nuanced view of reality to the falsely black & white “clarity” of Rush Limbaugh’s worldview.

  24. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/22/2011 - 06:05 pm.

    Now that I’ve had a chance to watch the clip, I have to admit that they both come off as asses.

    That being said, Congressman Young is being more than a little deceitful, here. Of course a large number of Alaskan citizens want drilling to happen. Each and every Alaskan citizen gets a check every year based on how much oil was recovered. You drain Alaska in a year and Alaskan citizens will get a huge government check and then they’ll get nothing. For many people, it’s a way to live in Alaska (with all the questionable benefits) without having to be fully employed.

    While I generally don’t disagree with the concept of using the profit earned from licensing out natural resources to private companies to pay citizens, I don’t think that the group of people that stand to profit from the ANWAR oil reserve are the smartest people to poll about how they feel about depriving forevermore the world of a pristine environment. If you think that Alaskans are more fair-minded than than simply money-driven, keep in mind that Alaska manages to rake in more than 5X the money they spend on federal taxes. We’re not talking about a state that’s pulling itself up by its bootstraps.

    The country as a whole would not benefit, let alone profit, off of drilling the ANWAR reserve. Only Alaskans and whoever drills the land. The oil, barring some truly strict legislation (which would seem antithetical to people like Congressman Young), would be sold to the highest bidder just like pretty much all oil around the world.

  25. Submitted by John Zoz on 11/22/2011 - 07:30 pm.

    Bravo, Bravo, Douglas Brinkley, you have done what so many of us would like to do, tell a pompas congressman like Don Young what needs to be said. He works for us, not the other way around. Thanks for sticking up for ANWR, our wilderness and each of us as individuals. Cheers!

  26. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/22/2011 - 09:05 pm.

    There is no excuse for the behavior or attitude of Don Young. No one holding public office should behave that way, particularly in a Congressional hearing, where you have the “home court advantage.” But as repulsive and odious as I find Young’s behavior, that does not excuse Dr. Brinkley (whom I think referred to himself as “Mr. Brinkley” throughout the clip). He did not acquit himself or his message very well by quarreling with these Congressmen. They are abusing their office but they do hold office and I think proper protocol while in a hearing like this is to show proper respect for the office regardless of the clown happening to fill it at the moment. There are better ways of handling crude and obnoxious Congressmen than getting into the gutter with them.

  27. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/22/2011 - 09:17 pm.

    James (#1) after reading your comment I had to go back and see what exactly the relationship was that overshadows any point to the story (I missed it the first time through). Does Don Shelby have a financial interest in Brinkely’s work (or vice versa)? Was there some other conflict of interest in place?

    Um, no. Don Shelby’s disclosure was that he and Brinkley are “friends.”

    James, you are really trying too hard.

  28. Submitted by r batnes on 11/23/2011 - 12:06 am.

    (#22) On November 22, 2011, Dave Thul says:
    “My Shelby, the fact that you can’t see that both men were being rude to each other shows how biased towards your agenda you are.

    Was the Congressman late, and did he get the gentleman’s name wrong? Sure. But that is no excuse for Dr Brinkley constantly interrupting, raising his voice, and speaking with clear contempt in his voice. I’m pretty sure you would never have put up with that in an interview, let alone in the US Congress.”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Speaking with “clear contempt” in his voice? As opposed to Young telling Brinkley that he could “call him anything he wanted” and to “keep quiet?”…..please. Young was way out of line and Brinkley was quite correct to remind Mr. Young exactly who pays his salary. Young is an embarrassment to the United States Congress and the poster boy of why they have a 9% approval rating.

  29. Submitted by Jim Dawson on 11/23/2011 - 03:08 am.

    Dr. Brinkley was invited to testify. Rep. Young didn’t bother to be in the room for the testimony, which was rude, then didn’t get Dr. Brinkley’s name right, which indicates he and his staff hadn’t done the usual background work on the testimony. Then, without having heard the testimony, Young called it garbage.

    Given that reality, I think Dr. Brinkley was restrained. He was exactly right to point out that Young doesn’t own him and that he pays Young’s salary. Again, that seems a restrained response given Young’s actions.

  30. Submitted by Sean Kinn on 11/23/2011 - 03:11 am.

    A couple of things: I hope it’s not true that Dr. Brinkley formed an opinion based on one (1) camping trip to the Alaskan area in question. That’s an old (weak) journalist trick that never works, once exposed; i.e., one trip does not a statistical study make. And, I *think* Rep. Young said he was “out on the floor voting.” Isn’t that something that could be checked? Just thinking out loud. SK

  31. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/23/2011 - 09:34 am.

    It’s not safe to assume anything. People like the good Congressman Young (and our very own posters Mr. Swift and Mr. Tester) would readily twist the 99% and 1% into something different. In fact, Congressman Young called the people who visit the ANWR refuge “elite” with a sneer. Yes, “elite” with a sneer. A word usually used to describe the best of a group, and sometimes used to describe the economic 1%. Yet, he uses “elite” with a sneer to condescend against some group that probably doesn’t fit the dictionary definition. Especially after watching the clip, I would not be surprised if someone identified the 1% as those “intellectual know-it-alls” that talk condescendingly down to the 99% of us. Dr. Brinkley’s behavior certainly did come off pretty badly. Without context, I didn’t know if Mr. Schletzer was a Mr. Tester or one of the many posters here that tend to hold an opinion that aligns well with my own.

  32. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/23/2011 - 09:55 am.

    It’s always funny when Republicans in Washington and on discussion boards create a nasty tone and then complain about it when the get a like response. Typical bully behavior. It’s particularly funny because most of these folks profess to be “good” Christians yet the whole “do unto others” thing constantly escapes them. I guess we liberals just don’t understand the rules- they get to be rude and condescending, and we’re not allowed to respond.

  33. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/23/2011 - 10:00 am.

    Why not let Alaskan’s decide? Read the Constitution Dennis. Alaska was admitted to the union as state in 1956. They are not a sovereign nation unto themselves. Guys like Young don’t seem to have trouble taking advice from outside experts or consultants that agree with him, many BP executives actually live in England. However if want to disagree with him suddenly you have to live in Alaska.

  34. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2011 - 10:50 am.

    “Without context, I didn’t know if Mr. Schletzer was a Mr. Tester or one of the many posters here that tend to hold an opinion that aligns well with my own.”

    And yet you feel confident including yourself among a fictional 99%….personally, I’m a proud 53%er…you know; those that actually pay the federal income taxes that go to support the freedom of many of the remaining 47% that don’t to spend weeks camping out in public parks.

    Context Rachel; it’s all about context.

  35. Submitted by Adam Scoll on 11/23/2011 - 11:07 am.

    Boorish behavior is not only accepted, but encouraged within the 21st century GOP. The party of Lincoln now follows the tenor of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly on how to conduct themselves in public forums. Rather than engage in civil debate, many conservatives choose to demean and antagonize as a mean to express opposing views. Why offer rebutals when you can just insult your opponent?

  36. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/23/2011 - 01:38 pm.

    I am a member of many groups.

    Economically: I grew up in the 47%. I am currently in the 99%, closer to the 1% than I ever thought I’d be thanks to the contributions of the 53% AND the 47% (because the 47% pay taxes, too). I am also part of the 20% (working on being part of the 5%), contributing to the 17% and the 87.3%.

    Biologically: I am in the 52% of Americans 18 and over that are female. I am in the 67% in the age group between 15 and 64. I am below the median age and above the average intelligence.

    Educationally: I am a 1%er (at least according to 2005 statistics).

    That being said, you’ve made my point. You managed to twist the statistics out of context and then make a smart-alec swipe at context.

    You know what, let’s take the numbers out of it. Let’s make up a new group called the Swifters. Conveniently, this group bears a great deal of resemblance to the Swift Boat Veterans group both politically and nominally. The group also fits the once commonly used sarcastic/ironic phrase “swift one.” I am proudly NOT part of this group.

  37. Submitted by Lance Groth on 11/23/2011 - 05:37 pm.

    LOL – game and match to Rachel. Very nicely done. Sting a bit, does it, Swift One?

  38. Submitted by rolf westgard on 11/23/2011 - 06:37 pm.

    Bravo Rachel. But then the mentally challenged congressman and his supporters aren’t exactly top level competition.

  39. Submitted by martin morones on 11/23/2011 - 08:14 pm.

    Republican Congressman Don Young’s contemptuous behavior towards renowned historian Douglas Brinkley is reprehensible an should not be tolerated by the institution.

    The fact that Rep. Young’s behavior was not condemned by Chairman Hastings is also reprehensible. It doesn’t speak well of the Republican-led House of Representatives.

  40. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 11/23/2011 - 09:09 pm.

    C-span made the following notation:

    Brinkley was unapologetic when we reached him, calling Young “a crazy zealot for molesting the refuge” and saying he wished he “could have gone mano-a-mano” with him. “I was hoping for the chance to get into a heated debate with him, but, alas, it’s hard in that forum.

    Mr. Brinkley seems like such a nice, tolerant person.

  41. Submitted by Fenna Grunden on 11/25/2011 - 01:20 pm.

    As an Alaskan who has had years of doubts about Don Young, I plan on voting for Young next election due to this video. His points of view expressed, if any of you heard them, do reflect the way we view our State and our State’s resources. His “bedside manor” is lacking but so was Prof Brinkley’s conduct.

    I consider myself a liberal! but I am put off by the bias in the blogs and your article and Prof. Brinkley’s comments like “polar bear dens and reindeer calve” – way too romantic- Of course they do! We have so much bloody wilderness that few of you could survive any duration in any direction out of any of our small towns or villages. And they are virtually all small. We have an enviable tiny proportion of humans here. Your world is different – overpopulated, to start with.

    Did you hear him cite how small the footprint of ANWR development would be? Most of this State is already locked up for reindeer and polar bears etc!

    I resent that you from the crowded and polluted states believe you have the right to dictate what happens here with your very superficial understanding of our land. Hey I don’t trust BP et al but I do believe things can be done right, with State required safeguards. Heck, that can be put in the Congressional language…name some terms.

    And how do you rationalize driving around in your traffic with imported oil? Everyone who says no to ANWR should be on bikes. Or is it the guilt that compels your no-development mindset.

  42. Submitted by Jay Rasco on 11/26/2011 - 02:41 pm.

    Bravo to Doug Brinkley and jeers to the over zealous jerk known as Don Young. Any Congressional Representative that can be that crude and rude to ANYBODY who was invited as a guest to a congressional hearing should be disenfranchised. No office commands respect just on the basis of the office. Every so called leader must earn respect by being courteous, respectful intelligent, honest and willing to do his best for the whole country. That is why we are the United States of America. BOO to Don Young. Bravo to Doug Brinkley. time to boot these kinds of idiots out of Congress. Doug Brinkley you have my respect as one of the 99%. Stand firm. Stand for justice. Stand for the people.

  43. Submitted by Diane Witt on 11/26/2011 - 04:58 pm.

    As an (lifelong) Alaskan I feel the need to correct some misconceptions here. First off let me say, Don Young does NOT represent most of Alaska. He works very hard for a few commercial interests. Namely the Alaska Native Corporations who have graced the nation’s headlines recently – and not in a good way. Second, we are not averse to resource development in Alaska. It is a very very large state with an abundance of resources, some much more accessible and responsible than others. Now I’ll respond to some specific comments on this board. “That being said, Congressman Young is being more than a little deceitful, here. Of course a large number of Alaskan citizens want drilling to happen.” Wrong. The section of ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge) that Rep. Young (and Alaska’s entire congressional delegation wants developed) is narrowly owned by the largest, most powerful, and certainly corrupt Alaska Native Corporation – Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). After years of negotiations post-ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 1971) ASRC won the rights to this section, along with the status that they do NOT have to “revenue share” with the other regional Native corporations. So one corporation, that holds the contract to maintain and operate the TransAlaska Pipeline, also holds the contract to manage the Strategic Petroleum Reserves in Louisiana, in addition to multi-billion dollar defense contracts with numerous agencies of dubious purpose, is the sole beneficiary of developing this particular section of ANWR. “Each and every Alaskan citizen gets a check every year based on how much oil was recovered.” Wrong again. The Permanent Fund Dividend is based on the market performance of the fund itself. Long story short, the balance of the fund depends on royalty and tax revenue but the dividends are paid out of earnings on that principle only. “While I generally don’t disagree with the concept of using the profit earned from licensing out natural resources to private companies to pay citizens,” The citizens of Alaska OWN the resources on state land in common, just like the citizens of the U.S. collectively own ANWR and the federal lands of which many oil and gas leases are developed in Alaska. “I don’t think that the group of people that stand to profit from the ANWAR oil reserve are the smartest people to poll about how they feel about depriving forevermore the world of a pristine environment. If you think that Alaskans are more fair-minded than than simply money-driven, keep in mind that Alaska manages to rake in more than 5X the money they spend on federal taxes.” No one polls Alaskans on what they want, ever. Our elections are extremely corrupted to the point that it appears a small group of people get together and literally fill in our ballots for us and throw the real ones out. Seriously. This is a huge problem. Many, many complaints have been filed with the DOJ over election integrity and *crickets*. The corruption is just too deep and too wide and all originates from the Beltway.As for federal spending in Alaska, it is a myth that the “people of Alaska” benefit from an excess of federal largesse. There is a very deep and wide military presence in Alaska with a very high level of sophistication. The payroll for active duty service members alone is anywhere from $2 to $3 billion per year in Alaska. Consequently, there is also a great deal of contract spending via the DoD in Alaska. But the really BIG contracts go to the likes of Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton who, to my knowledge, have no economic investment in Alaska if you don’t count Lisa Murkowski (her Daddy Frank Murkowski’s former aide John Moseman – the chief of staff to George Tenet’s CIA – is a principle at Booz Allen Hamilton post-public service career). “Only Alaskans and whoever drills the land. The oil, barring some truly strict legislation (which would seem antithetical to people like Congressman Young), would be sold to the highest bidder just like pretty much all oil around the world.” Only some Alaskans, and not who you think. “We’re not talking about a state that’s pulling itself up by its bootstraps.” Alaskans are criminally dis-served by our political leaders, and real Alaskans work very very hard, which makes it very difficult to attend our kids’ activities let alone dive into a perverted and corrupt public process. We exist in a state that is 2.5 times the size of Texas with a population of a little over 600,000… and yet middle class or poverty line Alaskans are expected to show up to political forums that can be 1000 miles apart, separated by vast mountain ranges with no roads? In the same breath you deride Alaskans for being lazy but expect us to have superhuman powers to fight against vast global resource pirates (oil, mining, timber AND fish). What you saw here is the REAL Don Young… if he is willing to put his gangster-bully personality on public display, I wonder how he talks in private? Ask Jack Abramoff.

  44. Submitted by Bob Schiesel on 12/01/2011 - 10:11 pm.

    Watching the antics of Reps Young and Hastings makes me think more about the merits of term limits. Arrogance and high octane hubris was on full display. All too many politicians are demi gods to staff and lobbyists. Thanks to gerrymandering of congressional districts and the Citizens United decision, we are often represented by people who have little to fear at election time. Eight years of Don Young, Charlie Rangel, Michelle B., should be enough.

    I wonder how much of this oil would serve the U.S. Doesn’t most petroleum go on the world market? Japan would be a likely customer.

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