Alaska AG Says None Will Testify in Troopergate Probe.

16 09 2008

Well, if anyone had any doubt about how dirty this would get, wonder no more. The Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg (3rd in line for the Governor’s throne should Palin win the VP slot, and Lt. Governor Sean Parnell win the House seat) has announced that none of the 13 people state employees who were issued subpoenas in Palin’s ethics investigation into the “Troopergate” scandal will testify, unless there is a unanimous vote from the full Senate or the entire Legislature.

In other words, the Attorney General has stated that nobody who is subpoenaed will show up.

Either the AG and the McCain campaign are genuinely afraid of what this investigation will uproot, or they are just trying once and for all to illustrate that the guy at the anti-Palin rally in Anchorage on Saturday who held aloft a sign reading “Bush in a Skirt” was right. My money is on the former.

Oh, and five private citizens from the Fairbanks area today filed suit to halt the investigation on the grounds that the entire thing is unconstitutional. And of course Palin herself has folded her arms, crinkled her nose and said she will no longer be cooperating in this investigation that she “welcomed” just a few short weeks before she was assimilated into the world of Republican politics on the national scale.

I keep searching for the appropriate Alaskan metaphor for overkill. Swatting a mosquito with a sledge hammer? Shooting a moose with a cruise missile? Whatever metaphor you choose, the message is the same. There’s a whole lot of legal muscle, big league strategy, and nasty DC Rovian politics descending on our poor little town in the Last Frontier. Makes you wonder what exactly there is to find, and how desperate they are to make it go away.

And, of course, there always has to be an official reason given for the stonewalling. And it’s usually a good laugh line, so here it is, from AG Talis Colberg:

“This is an untenable position for our clients because the governor has so strongly stated that the subpoenas issued by your committee are of questionable validity.”

Ahh. It would be uncomfortable to testify because the governor doesn’t want them to. Now, I get it.

The silver lining in all this? The more paper they throw, the more tantrums they throw, the guiltier they look. Long ago, Rep. Les Gara suggested to Palin that she confess to a bad judgment call, and hire Monegan back. She didn’t listen. And now the act of firing Monegan, which has gone so far to illustrate her temperament, her decision making ability, and her judgment, has come back to haunt her, with help from the McCain campaign.

There is a growing sense in the blogosphere, in local and national media, and among people I know, that the bloom is off the Palin rose.

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Blizzard Warning. Palin Halts Traffic.

16 09 2008

STORM WARNING! The legal paperwork blizzard has arrived. Today we are expecting accumulations of 10-12″ of legal stall tactics, creating hazardous conditions for those trying to navigate through the Palin scandal we have come to know as “Troopergate”. So, before proceeding, make sure you’ve got your studded tires on, and a good shovel. Ready?

Today, we learned that five Republican lawmakers filed a lawsuit against not only Democratic Sen. Hollis French, who is overseeing the investigation; not only Juneau Democratic Sen. Kim Elton, who heads the Legislative Council, and not only independent investigator Steve Branchflower, but the bipartisan Legislative Council itself. The suit seeks to delay the infamous ethics investigation until after the election on November 4, or to remove French and Elton.

“There is no nonpartisan reason to complete this investigation until after the election,” said Anchorage attorney Kevin G. Clarkson. “We just want to take the politics out of it and bring fairness back into it.”

****(Chuckle break)**** Ohhhh my. (dabbing eyes with a Kleenex) We’ve got to give some points to Kevin Clarkson for saying that with a straight face. We can’t have this getting all “political” can we? That would be just plain outRAgeous!

That hideously ‘partisan’ Legislative Council, made up of four Democrats and eight Republicans voted unanimously to investigate Palin’s dismissal of the Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan.

So, the situation now is that we have five Republicans who are filing suit against members of their own party to stall this investigation. Methinks they have gotten a hint of what it might be like to be “in” with someone who could end up with real power, and they like it. Remember these names – Representatives Wes Keller, Mike Kelly, and Bob Lynn, and Senators Fred Dyson and Tom Wagoner. These Republicans (also known as ‘future ambassadors to obscure nations’ or God forbid something more important) have shown their cards, and made their stand. They have let us know who they are.

But perhaps the most disturbing thing to Alaskans on a local level are the new tactics coming from the McCain campaign which are directed squarely at Walt Monegan, former Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Yesterday, McCain-Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton eviscerated him, saying he had a “rogue mentality” and accusing him of “insubordination,” “obstructionist conduct” and a “brazen refusal” to follow proper channels for requesting money.” Sounds like some good sound bites for those who have no idea what’s really going on.

Walt Monegan was, in a word, beloved. He was beloved by the troopers he lead, the people he served, and basically anyone who had the privilege of working with him. He cared about people, the important issues, and he was the real deal. There are many Alaskans today thinking, “Who do these people think they are to come here, and tear down the likes of Walt Monegan?” You have to remember, the rest of the country is “outside”. We are “inside”. That feeling defines Alaskans. We don’t like the government coming in here and telling us how to run things, dammit. And we don’t like outsiders ripping apart respected public servants in our town.

Palin has used every excuse in the book for dismissing Monegan, including (in roughly chronological order) – she just wanted someone to take the department in a “new direction”, Monegan wasn’t doing enough to address alcohol issues in bush Alaska, he wasn’t doing enough to recruit new troopers, he wanted too much money in the budget for frivolous things like domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. Through all of this flip-flopping and grasping at straws, Palin has never hit below the belt. Until now. When Monegan was employed, Palin praised him, and when he was dismissed, Palin adamantly insisted that this was not over personality issues. She knew how well-respected he was, and how it would affect Alaskans’ opinion of her if she slammed him. Now, she doesn’t have to worry about Alaskans anymore. We’re only 3 electoral votes. So now, she has stooped to the “rogue cop” defense.

And wait, there’s more. Remember when Sarah Palin filed an ethics complaint against herself in order to bully the Legislature into allowing a 3-person governor-appointed review board do the investigation? Well, she just asked for the case to be dismissed. That’s right, Palin’s lawyer Thomas Van Flein is asking the Personnel Board to find no probable cause for that ethics investigation. There are no words.

As the rest of the country is brought up to speed on Palin and all her shenanigans, Alaskans are seeing a side of her that many had not seen before. Her latest approval numbers may have been up because of the “Hometown girl makes good” factor, but these ugly Rovian “win at all costs” tactics will chip chip chip away at her support here.

I know this as sure as I know I’m going to need real studded tires soon.





Mudflats Evolves!

16 09 2008

Just a quick note to let you all know that some changes are coming to Mudflats!

Little did I imagine when I started writing my little blog, all alone up here in Alaska, that things would unfold as they have. I remember on the morning that Sarah Palin became McCain’s VP pick, and I tapped out a post about it, wondering if I’d get higher traffic than usual that day. I did.

I’ve been overwhelmed with the response to the blog. The result of the last two and a half weeks has been two and a half million hits, more than 25,000 comments, so much email I can hardly read it, and best of all, a community of intelligent, committed, thoughtful individuals who knock my socks off every day.

It’s become obvious to me that my humble little WordPress blog needs some overhauling to keep pace with this flourishing community. With the help of my amazing tech guru from half a world away, Mudflats is about to become a lot more “user friendly” for all of you. There will be new features, among them discussion forums that will facilitate conversations, and keep it all a bit more organized and easy to follow. In the meantime, I’m going to post an open thread when I pack it up for the day (still gotta sleep!) to relieve some of the comment congestion.

So, thank you all for your incredible outpouring of support, and your commitment to becoming informed and engaged about the issues before us in this incredibly pivotal time in history.

Look for changes hopefully coming within a week!