Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"Rising Sun," "Spirit Bear"

Alaska Rule of Evidence 608(b) reads: "If a witness testifies concerning the character for truthfulness or untruthfulness of a previous witness, the specific instances of conduct probative of the truthfulness or untruthfulness of the previous witness, may be inquired into on cross-examination."

It could be the sunset for the fishing industry as we've known it too.

There is some talk of taking the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to task for untruthfulness and "character of witness," not to mention "abuse of discretion." The members of the Council are appointed based on their knowledge of the industry, therefore they are witnesses. They also happen to be jury and judge, quite a nifty little arrangement if they are all in one club. Maybe conflict of interest can be legislated out of the Council process, but not character and truthfulness.

Talk about serving two masters! It just isn't working, serving the big processors and the public too. Well, I should say it works pretty well for a tiny fraction of the human beings involved in the industry. And I'm not sure if you can call Japanese executives in Tokyo, involved.

Under the current governor of Alaska and it's Congressional delegation, excepting maybe one, the State and it's people are being subjected to modern feudalism. This is why some researchers are preparing to revisit the circumstances that led up to the American Fisheries Act, that gave away the pollock, and the crab rationalization plan that gave the king crab to these same people.

So they make billions of dollars by getting the raw product free and in other cases at anit-competitive prices. Then they squeeze out more fishermen, and ratchet down the wages for processing work so only recent immigrants will take the work. This is why another idea that keeps getting tossed out would be such a shocker, make a movie about it. One version of it starts out in Tokyo. It would be a cross between "Rising Sun," with Sean Connery, and "Spirit Bear."

The plot of "Spirit Bear" had a high schooler mobilizing teens all over to protest clear-cutting the home of about 600 blue phase black bears in British Columbia. About now I wouldn't care if they did lock up the Bering Sea for the most part. Is there an analogy to oil here? There's some short term construction dollars in building plants, then that's the last of much of any benefit to the State. It's like the resource never even existed. It get's put on American President Lines ships in Dutch Harbor as soon as it's stabilized for shipping. Maybe that's why they want the Gulf resources so bad too; they can slip it out of the state through Dutch without much public notice. When's the last time you saw a news article from Dutch Harbor?

The Unalaskans are used to all this by now, but it looks different when you add all the pieces of the puzzle together. And you don't get it from just one vantage point. This is the kind of thing the big processors count on. That and keeping quiet.