Palin’s Clear and Transparent Stonewall.

11 09 2008

Well, she’s told us right from the beginning what to expect. When Palin ran for governor, she touted how her new leadership would be “clear and transparent”. We’d had it with corruption, and we’d had it with her predecessor, Frank Murkowski. Palin was squeaky clean. She was new, she actually discussed ethics, and she promised us that business as usual would be business no more. The Good Ol’ Boys were in her crosshairs and they’d better start worrying.

Then came Troopergate. People started feeling uneasy. What was going on here? We needed to give her the benefit of the doubt. She was the reformer, Murkowski-slayer, and ethical Wonder Woman from Wasilla! There had to be more than met the eye. This Wooten character must be pure evil, and she was justified. But, as in the case with all scandals, there came a steady drip…drip…drip… of new information. All sorts of things started surfacing, like emails, and conversations that, according to Palin, never happened. Palin looked into the camera lens and into the eyes of every Alaskan and said, “Hold me accountable.” “I welcome the investigation.” That’s why we liked her. Open, honest, transparent and accountable. What’s not to love?

The bipartisan legislature took her at her word and started talking about an investigation. Then Palin assured us that, really, no investigation was necessary. She’d be happy to answer questions without the investigation. She looked a little panicked. The legislature voted unanimously for an investigation.

THEN Palin asked Talis Colberg, the Attorney General to start talking to anyone who might know anything about “troopergate” before Stephen Branchflower, the legislature’s investigator got there. A little bit of preemptive sleuthing so she’d know what to expect. That’s when people who were paying attention started to go ballistic.

Enter McCain and the gang. Palin gets a lawyer. The lawyer says the investigation is unconstitutional. The lawyer says the players are biased.

That’s where we were yesterday.

Now we’re looking at seven members of the Palin administration who are facing subpoena’s because they have refused to testify. At least, that’s what we think. We’ll know tomorrow. Thats when the House and Judiciary committees are meeting in Anchorage to make decisions about the subpoenas.

But this week, the state Department of Law – representing Department of Administration employees – threatens in a seven-page letter to go to court to block the subpoenas, thus widening the conflict to all three branches of government.

The letter is signed by Michael Barnhill, senior assistant to Attorney General Talis Colberg, and is addressed to state Sen. Kim Elton, the Juneau Democrat who heads the legislative panel that initiated the Troopergate investigation.

So, to all those naysayers who say that Palin is no longer clear and transparent, I say, yes she most certainly is.

Now… the first details of Palin’s interview with Gibson are reaching Alaska….I’ll be back.

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Palin Praises Obama’s Energy Plan!?!

11 09 2008

Unbelievable! Check out this press release from Governor Sarah Palin’s office.

Fairbanks, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today responded to the energy plan put forward by the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

“I am pleased to see Senator Obama acknowledge the huge potential Alaska’s natural gas reserves represent in terms of clean energy and sound jobs,” Governor Palin said. “The steps taken by the Alaska State Legislature this past week demonstrate that we are ready, willing and able to supply the energy our nation needs.”

In a speech given in Lansing, Michigan, Senator Obama called for the completion of the Alaska natural gas pipeline, stating, “Over the next five years, we should also lease more of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas production. And we should also tap more of our substantial natural gas reserves and work with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska natural gas pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process.”

Governor Palin also acknowledged the Senator’s proposal to offer $1,000 rebates to those struggling with the high cost of energy.

“We in Alaska feel that crunch and are taking steps to address it right here at home,” Governor Palin said. “This is a tool that must be on the table to buy us time until our long-term energy plans can be put into place. We have already enjoyed the support of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, and it is gratifying to see Senator Obama get on board.”

Wow. I am floored. I mean, Palin has been bashing Obama mercilessly. She’s not only belittled him, she’s even mocked community organizers during her snarky finger-pointing stump speeches. And now she’s gratified and pleased at his policy proposals?? Why the turnaround? What could possibly have happened?

Oh…wait.

(palms on face)

I’m sorry everyone. I am SO embarrased. This press release was issued LAST month.





She’s Baa-aack! Palin in Alaska. What She Didn’t Say.

11 09 2008

Sarah Palin returned to Alaska yesterday, and was greeted in Fairbanks by a crowd of 3,000 cheering fans.

She said a lot of what you’d expect. She giddily told the crowd about everyone in the Lower 48 chanting “Drill Baby Drill!” everywhere she went. Remember that Alaska is a pro-drilling crowd of the highest order. One of the reasons John McCain came in dead last in the Republican primary, after Ron Paul, is his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He also didn’t wow evangelical voters either. But he seems to be tip-toeing his way in the “pro-life”, pro-drilling direction lately. Go figure.

Palin also made reference to the $1200 energy rebate that’s about to land in the bank account of every Alaskan man, woman and child. This amount is in addition to the $2069 permanent fund dividend check from oil profits in the state that also goes in to the bank account of every man woman and child. As you can imagine, handing out wads of cash to people doesn’t hurt your approval ratings. The Permanent Fund Dividend (pfd) is something Alaskans have gotten every year since 1980, and has ranged from a few hundred dollars to this years biggest check ever. The energy rebate, though, is something new. Energy prices in Alaska are outrageously high. Despite our proximity to all this fossil fuel, we have the highest gas prices in the nation, and rural communities out in bush Alaska can be paying $6-$8 a gallon for gas. Winter is just around the corner here, and people are justifiably nervous about staying warm.

She talked about how this type of energy rebate is “unheard of in other states”. That one had to be for the national media, because, of course it’s unheard of in other states… the only reason we’re getting it is because the price of oil is so high, and as the oil companies make more money, so does our permanent fund, and so do we. We all know that. It got applause anyway – it’s cash. She went on to say:

“But we believed that you believed you could spend that money better than government could spend it for you.”

Also a bit strange, because Palin’s original idea was to give Alaskans an energy debit card that would have a certain amount each month and had to be used for energy expenses. Eventually, she was talked out of it, and just decided to stick with cold hard cash… which means many Alaskans are probably going to be getting big screen TVs and freezing their butts off this winter. But that’s another story.

So what didn’t she say? She didn’t use her famous, “commyuunity orrrganizer” line, and pulled back on the snarky comments about Obama. Obama won 75% of the caucus votes in Alaska, and turned the state (until recently) into an actual ‘swing state’ for the first time in memory. Don’t underestimate Obama’s support in Alaska.

She also didn’t say, “And I said ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ on that Bridge to Nowhere.” It’s tough to lie to the home town crowd. Besides, it wasn’t on the teleprompter.

Another thing that wasn’t seen was the crowd of Obama supporters that showed up at the rally. One Mudflats reader in Fairbanks estimated the Obama crowd at 70 or more. The Anchorage Daily News said it was more than two dozen. I guess 70 is more than two dozen. Either way it’s a good turnout considering only Palin supporters were encouraged to attend. One rally-goer, who made it into the hangar where Palin was about to speak, held up a sign that said “Palin: per diem fraud.”

Alaska State Troopers subdued him and escorted him outside at the request of the rally’s hosts, the state Republican Party.

“Subdued” him? I don’t have any details on that, but it doesn’t sound like, “politely asked him to leave.”

So, fellow Alaskan Republicans must have been really excited to see one of their own become such a rising star, and the darling of the Republican Party, right? Let’s hear from Fairbanks Republican Representative Jay Ramras who was at the event. What do you think about our Sarah, Jay?

“It’s dangerous up here to do any truth telling — we all want to have a future and she’s going to control the state for the next four years whether she’s vice president or governor or senator or turning the wheels from home in Wasilla. I mean she’s a powerful woman.”

Hmmmm.





September 11, 2008

11 09 2008

It’s difficult to believe that it’s been seven years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. My family and friends are all in the New York area, and I’d been in the World Trade Center many times. I remember as a child, standing on the banks of the Hudson along the New Jersey Pallisades with my Dad, and watching as the towers were being built, growing taller and taller before my eyes. Having grown up there, I had a different perspective than most Alaskans who were trying to wrap their minds around what had happened so very far away.

We’re all thinking about it today. Here’s an amazing post from regular Mudflats reader Arkangel3 who is a survivor of the attacks in New York City. It’s worth a read. As with all tragedies, it serves as a poignant reminder of how quickly life can change on a day that starts out feeling like any other day. It reminds us that no matter how much we may be embroiled in our day to day struggles, never to lose sight of those things and those people for whom we should be grateful.

So thanks Arkangel3. You put it well.

Let us work together to seek justice for those who have been killed or injured. Let us offer a hand to those who need it, whether or not they have been there first hand. Let us all show the strength of humanity and compassion that we are all capable of. Let us rebuild our city, our nation, and our fragile planet.





Palin’s Lawyer is at it Again.

11 09 2008

Investigator, Stephen Branchflower

Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein

Palin’s lawyer is at it again… Remember him? Thomas Van Flein?  Last time I wrote about him, I talked about my irresistable urge to pronounce his name with an accent.  It’s such a good villain name.  Well now, not only am I typing his name with an accent, but in light of his new shenanigans, I’ll add a thin twirly moustache.  So what have you been up to now….Van Fleinnn??

After his last attempt to derail the ethics investigation into Palin’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan falied, he’s trying again.  This time, instead of Senator Hollis French, he’s going after retired prosecutor turned special investigator Stephen Branchflower.

“Steve Branchflower is a highly respected prosecutor and public servant,” said Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage. “If there were wrongs committed, he will find them. If there were not, he has the professional experience and good judgment to say so.”

Apparently Mr. Van Flein has another opinion.  He says that both Hollis French, and Stephen Branchflower are friends of Walt Monegan, but didn’t say upon what he was basing that statement.  He also requested copies of all emails having to do with the hiring of Branchflower, and emails among the legislative council to Branchflower and French.

In July, Palin said she did nothing wrong and that she welcomed an investigation.  Now, after becoming McCain’s running-mate, and with the outcome of the investigation set to come on October 31, just 5 days before election day, any roadblock will do.  No more welcome wagon.

So far, the Legislature has successfully dodged attempts to delay the investigation.  Will they be able to fend off Van Flein’s latest diabolical scheme?  Stay tuned.