Steal Back Your Vote. Tomorrow is E-Day!

3 11 2008

Most progressives are feeling reasonably confident going in to this election.  The latest numbers show Obama leading in the national numbers by 7 points and in the electoral college by a fairly wide margin.  The mood is good.  But the mood was good in 2000, and it was even better in 2004.  Remember when those early exit polls had us all convinced that we were about to elect President Kerry?  And yet, we ended up with another four years of an administration that many would argue was not legally supposed to be there in the first place.

In the last presidential election over 3 million votes were cast and NEVER COUNTED.  The next president, senator or congressperson may not be chosen by counting the votes, but by blocking the voters.

Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., are on the case.  Check out the  Steal Back Your Vote website.  Learn about six ways your vote can be stolen, and seven ways you can steal it back!  They’ve put together a fun comic book that shows how to deal with problems in the polling place.  The comic book is non-partisan, so you can take it into the polling place.  Pass it on to someone else in line when you’re done, or print multiple copies for those waiting.

Are you feeling a little stealthy, Mudflatters?  Black Box Voting has some great suggestions about what you can do to expose election fraud.  Most poll locations in the US require that the paper printouts from voting machines be posted on the door of the polling place after the polls close.  If you go to the polling place and video these original tapes as they hang on the door, you capture the “official” numbers as they should be recorded. 

These votes goes through several sets of hands before the results are released to the public.  Sometimes those final numbers don’t match the ones coming out of the polling place….go figure. But, if you’ve got those original numbers on video, you can upload them to the “Video Your Vote” site and get it on the record!   Then, if there are problems, you’ve documented them and put them in the proper hands.  Here’s a video that shows the process.


Send Your Condolences to the Obama Family.

3 11 2008

As most of us know, Barack Obama suffered the loss of his grandmother Madelyn Dunham on Sunday night. 

HONOLULU (AP) — Barack Obama’s grandmother, whose personality and bearing shaped much of the life of the Democratic presidential contender, has died, Obama announced Monday, one day before the election. Madelyn Payne Dunham was 86.

Obama announced the news from the campaign trail in Charlotte, N.C. The joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said Dunham died late Sunday night at her Honolulu apartment after a battle with cancer.

“She’s gone home,” Obama said as tens of thousands of rowdy supporters at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte grew silent in an evening drizzle.

“And she died peacefully in her sleep with my sister at her side. And so there is great joy as well as tears. I’m not going to talk about it too long because it is hard for me to talk about.”

But he said he wanted people to know a little about her — that she lived through the Great Depression and World War II, working the latter on a bomber assembly line with a baby at home and a husband serving his country. He said she was humble and plain spoken, one of the “quiet heroes that we have all across America” working hard and hoping to see their children and grandchildren thrive. [snip]

“She’s the one who taught me about hard work,” he said. “She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me.”

Michelle Obama’s voice choked with emotion during a campaign appearance in Colorado as she asked people to remember the woman her husband called “Toot,” a version of the Hawaiian word for grandmother, tutu.

“Say a prayer for Toot and thank her for raising Barack Obama. I think she did an amazing job,” Obama told about 2,500 people at a suburban Denver high school gym.

Please use this thread to send out wishes of support, and condolence to the Obama family. 

I will make sure that the Obama campaign in Alaska is aware of the thread and ask that they send your messages and prayers to the Obama family as they try to process their grief in this bitter-sweet time, just one day before the election.

If you would like to light a virtual candle, please click HERE.

*Note – Posts which are not messages of condolence to the Obama family will be deleted from this thread.  If you have something to say on another topic, please use the last thread, the forum board, or the chat room.

Troopergate II Report to be Released at 3:30 Election Eve – Updated.

3 11 2008

Independent Investigator Tim Petumenos, who was hired by the Personnel Board just said he will release his troopergate report at 3:30 p.m. today. This is the second report, following on the heels of a Legisltative Investigation whose report last month indicated that Palin had abused her power in the firing of former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan.  This investigation was initiated by Palin, who filed an ethics complaint against herself to make sure that the investigation happened in this venue.

Kyle Hopkins from the Anchorage Daily News is on the scene.

He said the report would cover Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of Walt Monegan as well as a separate complaint from Anchorage activist Andree McLeod alleging alleges that state hiring practices were circumvented for a Palin supporter.

Petumenos has two staff members with him, and each has a thick, yellow-bound document on their lap. I should note that when I called
Personnel Board chair Debra English before the meeting to ask about
the Palin investigation, she didn’t say anything but recommended
showing up.

Buckle your seatbelts.

*****UPDATE – In a complete stunner that actually shouldn’t surprise us, The Personnel Board’s investigation of Palin, which she initiated herself, has concluded  that she did nothing wrong. At all.  Ever. And neither did any of her cronies.

Several members of the Alaska State Legislaure who are also attorneys have stated over the past weeks that they would be very surprised if the results of the Petumenos investigation initiated by Palin herself differed significantly from the Branchflower investigation initiated by the Alaska State Legislature. Hmmm.   I guess they are surprised.

The state Personnel Board-sanctioned investigation is the second into whether Palin violated state ethics law in firing her public safety commissioner, and it contradicts the earlier findings by a special counsel hired by the state Legislature.


Both investigations found that Palin was within her rights to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.


But the new report says the Legislature’s investigator was wrong to conclude that Palin abused her power by allowing aides and her husband, Todd, to pressure Monegan and others to dismiss her ex-brother-in-law, Trooper Mike Wooten. Palin was accused of firing Monegan after Wooten stayed on the job.


Petumenos wrote the Legislature’s special counsel, former state prosecutor Steve Branchflower, used the wrong state law as the basis for his conclusions and also misconstrued the evidence.

His findings and recommendations include:


– There is no cause to believe Palin violated the state ethics law in deciding to dismiss Monegan as public safety commissioner.


– There is no cause to believe Palin violated the state ethics law in connection with Wooten.


– There is no cause to believe any other state official violated the ethics act.


– There’s no basis to conduct a hearing to “address reputational harm,” as requested by Monegan.


– The state needs to address the issue of using private e-mails for government work and to examine how records are kept in the governor’s office. Palin used her Yahoo e-mail account for state business until it was hacked.

This investigation agreed with the findings of the Legislative investigation that Palin was within her rights to fire Monegan, who was an at-will employee. Monegan himself has never disputed Palin’s right to fire him.  However, the Personnel Board’s conclusion that Palin did not abuse her power is in direct contradiction to the Branchflower report released by the Legislative Council.

The fact that this report concludes there is no cause to believe that any other state official violated the ethics act is one that should raise eyebrows.  Nobody thrown under the bus, even?  Everyone is squeaky clean, angel-faced and pure as the driven snow…..yeah, right.

But here’s the killer.  Walt Monegan was denied his request for a public hearing to clear his name, after Palin and her “Truth Squad” dragged his reputation through the mud by saying that he had a “rogue mentality” and committed acts of “outright insubordination”.  Unbelievable. 

Since the Personnel Board has now refused to grant his request, this means that he has now, officially, exhausted all administrative possibilities in his case, and is basically now free to file a lawsuit.

So here’s your quick recap of the investigation:

The Legislature decides to investigate Palin for ethics violations.  Palin says she will cooperate, so no subpoena is issued.  Palin sends out Attorney General Talis Colberg to interview witnesses in advance of the Legislature’s investigation, so she knows what they’re going to say.  Palin discovers a taped phone call made by her administration pressuring Troopers to fire Wooten.  Palin says she is surprised by phone call and concedes it looks bad. Palin files ethics complaint against herself so that the Republican governor appointed Personnel Board, made up of people that she can fire,  will be the group that investigates.  Palin says Legislative investigation has become partisan and refuses to cooperate. Attorney General tells state employees they don’t need to comply with Legislative subpoenas.  They don’t show for depositions.  At the last minute they provide written testimony, but Palin still does not cooperate because she was not subpoenaed.  Legislature releases report that says Palin abused her power and violated the Executive Ethics Act.  Then, the day before the election, The Personnel Board releases a report clearing Palin and all state employees of everything.

My contacts at Alaskans for Truth, who were involved in supporting Walt Monegan in his request for a hearing, are not pleased.  This isn’t over by a long shot.  It’s unlikely that this grass roots group is going to let Palin skip off into the sunset without a fight.

Stay tuned for updates as they become available.  I expect we’ll be hearing from members of the Legislature soon.


Palin Returns to Alaska to Vote. Democrats Will Greet Her!

3 11 2008

Calling all Mat-Su Valley Progressives, and early birds within driving distance from Wasilla!

In the wee hours of the night, Sarah Palin will fly in to Alaska to vote first thing Tuesday morning at her home polling place in Wasilla, then she will fly back out immediately afterward to be with John McCain for Election Day.

Those irrepressible Mat-Su Democrats have put out the call to join them for a sign waving event between 7am and 8am by Wasilla Lake! Bring your best signs, and join in! This is the best chance you’ll get to make an “in your face” election day statement.

So set that alarm clock (you’re not used to that extra hour of sleep anyway, right?), grab a thermos of coffee, hit the road, and join the rest of the intrepid souls that will be using all that great election day energy on the side of the road in a town that never knew it would be famous.

Anyone going, please send pictures ASAP and I’ll get them out there to a wider audience.

Push-Poll to Nowhere. GOP Starts to Panic About Alaska!

3 11 2008

We’ve had an interesting new development here in the Last Frontier, as we approach election day. A few days ago, I found out that a rash of robocalls and push-polls were going out in the state of Alaska. When I heard about this, I was irritated for the same reason that other progressives are irritated at this tactic – spurious accusations of Obama being a terrorist sympathizer, a socialist, a Marxist, an elitist, and someone with blatant anti-plumber tax policies. All nonsense, but some people actually listen to nonsense.

Then the bigger picture hit me like a ton of bricks. Why on Earth would the Republican National Committee, or any Republican group have to robocall and push-poll Alaskans about the presidential race!? With only slightly more than hours to go, surely they have better things to do than preach to the choir.

Well, apparently, the choir has stopped singing. They’re kind of standing around, staring at the hymnal and looking at each other thinking, “Do we really want to sing this?”

The fact that the Republicans are robocalling Alaskans means they are worried. They may or may not be worried about actually losing the presidential race in the state, but they are worried about the margin of victory. At this point, it’s all about saving face for the party, and for Sarah Palin. Yes, the Sarah Palin who said that robocalls were “annoying”.

So, where are these calls happening? Ted Stevens’ neighbors in the sleepy chalet-filled hamlet of Girdwood, have been getting them. Summarized by one one Girdwood resident, the call reiterated Stevens’ assertion that he is not a crook, and threw in a few fun facts about how Barack Obama is a “terrorist who will run this country into the ground.”

But my favorite was a push-poll to Ketchikan. Ketchikan is the infamous “Nowhere, Alaska,” where that bridge was supposed to go. And yes, Ketchikan residents are rightfully miffed that they got labeled with that nickname, and then got thrown under the bus so Sarah Palin could have a talking point. You can hear the real story of the bridge from Bob Weinstein, mayor of Ketchikan, when he spoke to Rachel Maddow way back on September 2nd.

Back to the push-poll.

One resident of Ketchikan was the recipient of a fairly sophisticated interactive push-poll from After identifying himself as an Obama supporter, there were two main pushes. First, Obama’s association with, and acceptance of funds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – Would it make a difference “if you knew that?”

Second, “If you knew Obama supported the biggest tax increase in history, averaging more than $2000 for an average family, would that make a difference?”

This is the standard leading misinformation we have come to expect. So, why do I love this call? The Obama supporter they called was the aforementioned mayor of Ketchikan himself, Bob Weinstein!

(A big hat-tip to Mayor Weinstein for bringing this to my attention, and a shout out to all the wonderful Mudflatters in Ketchikan!)

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Race Tightening in Alaska!?!

3 11 2008

Go ahead and rub your eyes, and look at that graph again. You saw it right. Less than 3 points separating the candidates in Alaska, as of yesterday. These are the latest numbers released by Alaska’s Hays Research Group. With Obama-Biden nipping at the heels of McCain-Palin, can we be considered a battleground state again?

In Alaska, it’s not unreasonable to expect an “enthusiasm factor” to come into play. Imagine you are an Alaska Republican. (Don’t worry, this won’t last long). Imagine that Senior Senator and Republican icon Ted Stevens just got hit with seven felony convictions and his numbers have slid off a cliff. Then imagine that your lone Congressman Don Young, another Republican icon, has spent $1.2 million of his campaign money on legal fees, and his indictment is coming as sure as the seasons change and the sun rises. His rival, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, has a comfortable lead. Then imagine that your presidential ticket, McCain-Palin is sending out spokespeople saying that they’re still sort of in the race if they win (insert long list of states, and statistical improbabilities here) AND mange to pull it off in (another long list of states and statistical improbabilities). Then add the fact that you’ll have to go stand in line with a bunch of happy, optimistic Democrats, and you may decide to just sit this one out. Too depressing. And you may have the makings for a single digit race in Alaska.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Obama loses in Alaska by single digits, it is a LANDSLIDE victory. Remember that. And if he actually wins? You’ll hear the cheering from the Lower 48 (AND Hawaii)!

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Ted Stevens AWOL Juror Lied! Fled Trial to Watch Horse Race!

3 11 2008

More from the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Department. Remember Juror #9 – the one that all the other jurors wanted off the jury because of her violent outbursts and rude behavior? We thought SHE was the wingnut juror… Not so. Turns out the honor goes to Juror #4 – the one who disappeared during deliberations, later saying that she had to fly to California to attend her father’s funeral.

Her name is Marian Hinnant, and it turns out – no dead father, and no funeral.

Instead, Hinnant had a plane ticket to see the Breeder’s Cup at the Santa Anita race track and didn’t want to miss it, she told the judge this morning, in what sounded like completely irrational and perhaps even delusional remarks.

“I just wanted to go to the Breeder’s Cup,” she told reporters after a hearing the judge held to find out why she left town and lost contact with him, forcing him to replace her as a juror just hours before the jury found Stevens guilty.

Hinnant also told reporters that she would have found the Alaska senator guilty had she remained on the jury.

“He was guilty, but these other guys are just as guilty,” she said, referring to other members of Congress.

Yup, she just wanted to see a horse race and took off, abandoning the political trial of the century that would determine the fate of the longest sitting Republican member of the Senate. Yup, she had a ticket and didn’t want to miss it. In a trial that Stevens has referred to as a “circus”, no doubt he will try find some way to use this bizarre story to try to add legitimacy to his appeal of the verdict.

“She apologizes to the court. In fact, her father did not die,” her attorney said. “The story about her father was just one that popped into her head.

But Hinnant cut in, and in a thick Kentucky drawl, gave a rambling, incoherent and baffling monologue about her former employers in the horseracing industry in Kentucky. She mentioned drugs, wiretaps and horseracing, but made little sense.

“I’m not the one who was selling the drugs, I’m not the one who was doing the drugs,” she said.

The judge let Juror #4 go stating, “I’m convinced you were not able to deliberate.”

Even after it’s over, this trial is still the gift that keeps giving, and it only get’s more bizarre. I know Stevens will complain, but it seems to me he ended up getting a break by getting this wingnut OFF the jury!

Stevens, in a last ditch effort to regain his lost momentum will air a two minute infomercial in Alaska tonight. Is he perhaps hoping to turn this back into…..a horse race?

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