Troopergate I Shares Documents With Troopergate II

18 10 2008
Sen. President Lyda Green and the Giant Binder of Confidentiality.

Sen. President Lyda Green and the Giant Binder of Confidentiality.

Think of it as a changing of the guard.  The first Troopergate investigation (the one from the Alaska Legislature) has concluded, finding that although Palin was within her legal rights to fire Walt Monegan, the Commissioner of Public Safety, she DID abuse her power and violate the state’s ethics code. 

The new guard is another investigation, prompted by Palin herself, from the Personnel Board.  Presumably Palin went to the extraordinary lengths of filing an ethics complaint against herself because she felt that the Personnel Board would be a friendlier investigative body.  This may or may not be so.  Crackerjack Anchorage prosecutor (and Democrat) Tim Petumenos has been hired by the board as the special investigator. 

Petumenos has asked the Legislative Council to turn over the confidential information from their special investigator, Stephen Branchflower.  The Legislative Council made public a 263-page tome with the snappy title: “Report of the Investigation of the Circumstances Surrounding the Termination of Former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan and Potential Abuses of Power and/or Improper Actions by Members of Governor Sarah Palin’s Administration, Volume I, Public Report.”  It’s Volume 2 we’re talking about.

Volume 2 makes Volume 1 look like a flimsy paperback, and contains information utilized to come to the conclusions that were stated in the public report. Everything in Volume 2, is not for public consumption.   I didn’t even know they made binders that big.

So, meanwhile, the Personnel Board and its investigation, which operates out of the public eye, marches on.  We don’t know when they will be finished, we don’t know when they will release the report, and we don’t know what the report will say.  But every once in a while, like a surfacing whale,  we catch a glimpse of this mysterious investigation, before it sinks out of sight again.  And we wait.

Media frenzy as the Legislative Council Releases the Branchflower Report.

Media frenzy as the Legislative Council Releases the Branchflower Report.

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The Dangerous Fantasy of ACORN and “Vote Fraud”

18 10 2008

The Democrats know it.  The Republicans know it.  If there is a high voter turnout this election, the Republicans will lose.  Let me rephrase….If there is a high voter turnout, AND all the votes are counted properly, the Republicans will lose.  This shouldn’t be making anyone planning to cast a vote against the Republican ticket feel better.

I’ve been working on a post that elegantly ties in the escalating attacks on ACORN, vote fraud vs. election fraud, the U.S. Attorney firings, David Iglesias, the massive coordinated effort between the Bush administration, the RNC, and the McCain-Palin campaign to suppress voter turnout, and their attempt to create a monster under the bed, named “vote fraud” as their last attempt to steal this election.  It culminated by citing McCain’s over-the-top reference at the last presidential debate to the fact that ACORN and vote fraud was “a threat to the fabric of our democracy.”

Then I watched Countdown with Keith Olbermann… (I throw a metaphorical pile of papers in the air).  He said everything I wanted to say, and more.  So, here’s what I wouldhave said if I had a paid staff, a TV camera, and the on-air presence of Keith Olbermann.

I had the privilege of sitting in on a conference call with Robert Bauer, Counsel for Obama for America on Friday.  The situation, I think,  is in good hands.  And the very fact that this strategy, that we’ve seen before, was anticipated, and is not going unchallenged is a very very good thing.  Attached is a copy of the letter sent by Bauer to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.  But, this shouldn’t make anyone planning to cast a vote against the Republican ticket feel better either.  letter-to-mukasey2

The general public, while feeling a bit isolated and distant from the inner workings of the Justice Department, is wondering what to do.  If there is one thing we have learned from this election cycle is that the following progression applies, when the information is correct, and if people think the issue is important enough.  (Imagine a set of falling dominoes)   Information > individual person > blog > bigger blog > every blog > readers pressure media for coverage > media reads blogs and gets lots and lots of email and phone calls> media covers issue > issue percolates into national awareness.  Also not to be underestimated is the nice low-tech letter to the editor.

It is the responsibility of American citizens to hold their media accountable.  We have no revered avuncular anchorman anymore to tell a generation of Americans a story that we can believe to be more or less correct.  I don’t think we ever did.  But now, in the age of instant dissemenation of knowledge, we are beginning to realize it.  

So, we watch the crowds of frantic Republicans screaming “VOTE FRAUD!!!” as they tear their hair and run around in circles, trying to convince us that somewhere out there thousands of voters will risk committing a felony, and attempt to cast their ballots under the name “Mickey Mouse” to destroy America.  And we watch, amazed,  Americans beginning to believe it.

So if this issue is important, and if Americans who are actually paying attention want the rest of America to realize that the thing that is being stolen is their fundamental right as Americans – their right to vote – then it’s up to them to take the next step, and pressure the media to start reporting on the real story of election fraud.


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Ted Stevens Takes the Stand

18 10 2008


Ted Stevens took the stand.  He was reminded by Judge Emmett Sullivan that he didn’t have to take the stand, but Stevens said, it was “an honor and a duty.”  Well, it wasn’t a duty (the whole point of not having to do it), but he did it anyway.  After extensive questioning by his own defense team, who asked about his life and times, and great moments in his political career, it was the prosecution’s turn.

Ted tried to convince the  jury that either:

a) he had no idea what was going on because his wife handles everything “inside the teepee”

b) he knew what was going on, but had no power to stop being gifted against his will

c) Lies, I tell you!  It’s all lies!

Baited with rapid-fire challenges to his integrity, honesty and credibility, Stevens mainly answered “yes” or “no” before a jury that will soon be judging him, and keeping to his story that he didn’t believe he received any gifts from the oil-field service company Veco or its chairman, Bill Allen.

Earlier Friday, questioned by his own attorney, Stevens dismissed earlier testimony from Allen that the senator once acknowledged owing the Veco boss money for the work. He called what Allen said in court “an absolute lie.”

By late Friday afternoon, jurors had gotten a taste of the testy 84-year-old senator, who once called himself “the meanest man in town.”

“Aren’t these e-mails really what you’re doing, you’re covering your bottom?” asked Brenda Morris, the lead Justice Department prosecutor on his case, asking Stevens about how he handled a 2004 press inquiry into who paid for his renovations. The question referred back to the most memorable line of the trial, when Allen testified Oct. 1 that Stevens was just “covering his ass” in asking for invoices he had no intention of paying.

“My bottom wasn’t bare,” Stevens snapped back at Morris.

If the jury, like me, was taken off-guard with an unexpected and unwanted mental image of Ted Stevens’ “bottom”, it can’t be good for the senior Senator.

The growing number of odd gifts, with Stevens explanation in parentheses has grown to include a metal staircase (ugly, didn’t want), giant black furniture (ugly, didn’t want, had cigarette burns), a Viking gas grill (fire hazard), and a massage chair (just borrowed it for seven years…wasn’t really a ‘gift’), and Christmas tree lights (didn’t want the fancy rope lights put up, wanted the ones in the garage that he bought second-hand).

Stevens bristled at times during the cross-examination, having to wait for a question before he could reply. Sometimes the judge intervened. Stevens showed his disdain for Morris’ questions by occasionally responding with inquiries of his own.

“I think you better rephrase your question, your question is tautological,” he lectured Morris in response to a question about renovations to his deck.

And for a brief moment, Stevens and Morris traded roles.

Morris said he knew he was getting gifts when he sought a bill.

“If it’s a gift, why did I ask for a bill?” said Stevens, redirecting the question to Morris.

“To cover your butt,” she replied.

“That wasn’t fair, ma’am,” Stevens said.

Dennis Zaki of The Alaska Report who was at the trial, drops tantalizing clues that the testimony and attitude of Catherine Stevens, and Ted himself, didn’t go over well with the jury.  Check the Alaska Report later today for Dennis’ update….but he says “Ted’s toast!”