Alaskan Patrinots

Having determined that the kid papering my neighborhood with literature from the  “Conservative Patriots Group” was clueless about U.S. history, civics and government (apparently because he was home schooled by a member of this group), I thought I had better see who was responsible for this horrendous educational miscarriage.

CPO has a web site (  that simply reiterates much of the nonsense one is accustomed to hearing from the ultra radical right.

CPG’s Directors/Officers include both Frank and Jennie Bettine; Frank is an engineer and attorney listed by the Bar as located in Houston and his wife Jennie, the President, who describes herself as a JD (i.e. she has not passed the Alaska Bar) is arguably a better dog musher than lawyer.  These folk are regarded as “crazy” even by people who live in Palin country (for an example of responses to the Bettines see, .)  CPG’s Vice -President is David Jenkins, apparently not the tea party wonk living in Virginia ( but a Palmer resident not otherwise on the radar. Also on the Board is Amy Thomas. Ms. Thomas apparently has a checkered history of involvement in the health industry (one wonders if this is the same Amy Thomas refused an Alaska nursing license for failure to disclose a prior drug related conviction.)  The web site indicates that Rick Bryant is also a Director, but State documents indicate that the seat is held by Kevin Hite, President of the Alaska Snowmobile Association.  As the group has incorporated both as a for profit and as a non-profit corporation in Alaska, the names and addresses of the officers/directors identified at are available here and  here , together with the articles of incorporation.

Moving through the site one sees that this organization is linked by cross-membership with the “Free Range Patriots” whose web site can be found at  One avid participant is Jon Watts of North Pole (, whose web site offers further evidence of the groups perspective.

The good news is that in a State that competes with Texas for having the craziest electorate (though the folk that elected Congresswoman Bachmann have to get a nod here)  this group has less than 150 members.  The bad news is that like Eddie Burke, these folk don’t want to hear anything that might disturb their delusional alternate universe.

What Mrs. Otte did Not

8th Grader Victoria Granado wrote in to the Anchorage Daily News with her policy advice about addressing sexual assault and asking for “support” (see,  I offer the comment below.  I would have expected that Mrs. Otte already explored most of what I am about to say to you, Victoria,  (that would be her obligation) so if you have already addressed the points below, my apologies for covering the same ground again.

First off, it is very difficult to get any sense of what you are actually proposing.  As 8th Graders I am sure your class had something more to vote on then the simplistic argument that we will defeat sexual assault via sting operations.  In as much as your teacher is aware that she could have used ASD’s Google Apps  Domain to facilitate your creation of a variety of web pages on this issue to which you could refer the public it is most unfortunate that you did not take the opportunity to actually present some sense of your policy deliberations as well as the width and breadth of the debate that led to your resolution.

Had you published a bit about your efforts, I am sure I would have noted your acknowledgment of the relative frequency of sexual assault within the family or among close friends and would have addressed how you would interpose a sting into such circumstances.  Likewise, I am sure we would have been able to view how you addressed the impact of non-physical aggression,  which is the overwhelming domain of women in our society according to most recent research, and the possible trigger such assaultive behavior  may become.

In light of our local political scene, I am sure you must also have explored the economic issues presented by your proposed policy.  Who will pay for your program? How much will it cost? Will your parents vote to lift the tax cap to fund more municipal services? Will your class be opposing local candidates claiming they support property tax relief and more services since your class would clearly understand that such a stance is utter nonsense?

And while it’s not PC to ask, you undoubtedly also explored the whole concept now promoted by teabaggers that one must be responsible for oneself and that typically people get what they “deserve” at the hands of a personal and interceding God. Are you suggesting that persons the victim of sexual assault didn’t deserve to be assaulted? Does alcohol and drug abuse contribute to an environment which might condone such behavior? And what about the current practice of spitting on Congressmen and throwing bricks through windows? In a society where a major political party is slow to condemn such violence, wouldn’t one be led to believe that violence IS an appropriate form of “speech”?

I could go on, Victoria, but I hope I have made my point that your presentation in the newspaper was shallow and that was unfortunate in that I am sure your efforts in school were not. This reflects on Mrs. Otte, however, not on you, as she is the person who was responsible for your project, and I am sure, for promoting your letter to the editor.  Wanting to be the best citizen you can be is a wonderful aspiration, but as we have seen over the past months with respect to the health care reform debate, being a good citizen involves more than sounding off; it involves rational and critical thought, civil discourse and respect for one’s peers. Best of luck next year in high school.