The Alaskan White Knights are Waffling, and We Have Homework to Do.

25 11 2008

waffle

I have a couple questions.

What do you do when your Governor is accountable to your Attorney General, and your Attorney General is accountable to your Governor, and neither one of them will either acknowledge or administer consequences for bad behavior.  It’s like a kid whose Mom says, “Go ask Dad,” and whose Dad says, “Go ask Mom.”  Neither one of them wants to be accountable, and neither one of them has any  intention of answering the question.  They are hoping the kid will go away.

Now I have another question.

What do you do when the Legislature, the voice of the people who hired the Governor, also refuses to administer consequences for bad behavior, and simply stands mute?  And what do you do when that silence then turns into statements that run not only counter to the expectation of the people, but to their job description, and the bounds of ethics and the law? 

What do you do when your “voice” no longer speaks for you?

I have a small understanding about how people with Tourette syndrome, or muscular spasms must feel.   It must feel like a betrayal of mind and body when the things that are meant, on the most basic level, to represent you  (your voice, and your actions) are hijacked by unknown forces, leaving you making declarations and gestures that have no connection with your true intent. 

When the Alaska Legislature starts talking about how we’re all weary of Troopergate, and Governor Palin, Attorney General Talis Colberg, and those who ignored legislative subpoenas should just be able to continue without facing any consequences for violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, and the law,  I feel like shouting, “This is not me!  I’m not saying this!  I’m not doing this!”

I have often compared the Democrats of the Legislature to white knights. I’ve been blown away at times by their bravery, their conviction, and the fact that they put themselves out on a limb to do the right thing. And I’ve also given a pat on the back to Republicans who have planted themselves on the right side of the fence despite their party affiliation. In some ways the Repulicans had the harder job. When the bipartisan Legislative Council voted to make public the Troopergate report whose first finding was that Sarah Palin abused her power and violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, I was amazed. I began to…dare I say it aloud….have faith in my Legislature.  All of them.

Now, after the election, as Sarah Palin gets back to the business of the state (when she’s in town), I am beginning to lose that faith.  The white knights are starting to pull their punches, the horses are rearing like they’ve seen a snake, and the villagers are getting a horrible sinking feeling. We are wondering what happened to them? We wonder if they are breaking their vows to us, and justifying the betrayal in the name of “moving forward and working together on the issues that really matter.”

Call me crazy, but I think ethics really matters.   If you polled voters and asked if they’d rather have an ethical politician or an unethical one, you’d get the obvious answer. And if you broke down the results of this poll by party affiliation, I don’t think you’d find much difference.  Everyone wants ethical politicians. So, why, after a candidate has been elected, would anyone want to stop a process that was designed to find out if that politician is corrupt?  Why would you budget $100,000 for an investigation to find out whether a politician violated the ethics act if you were going to ignore the finding?  And why, if the findings showed that the politician had indeed violated the ethics act, would you decide to give them a free pass?  And why, if witnesses, and perhaps the head of the Department of Law violated…..the LAW, would you be just fine with that?

For right now, I’m going to give our White Knights on both sides of the aisle the benefit of the doubt.  I, on behalf of the villagers, am going to accept some responsibility for their waffling.   Perhaps we just haven’t been doing a good enough job of letting them know we’re here, and that we’re going to back them up.  Maybe they really think people don’t care.  Perhaps they feel like they’re headed off to battle with no ammunition.  That has to be scary.

So here’s your homework Mudflatters…  As a Thanksgiving present to the Alaska State Legislature, I want you to give them some ammunition.  Every email you send, every letter you write, every phone call you make is an arrow in their quiver.  Phone calls count as two arrows…maybe even three.

I want our white knights to be armed to the teeth.  I want them to ride into battle feeling invincible.  I don’t want them to feel like they were abandoned by the village.  Let’s hang a garland of flowers around their necks, and sent them off with a full quiver of public outrage.

I’m not willing to throw them under the horse just yet.

For emails to all Alaska State Legislators – Click HERE – then cut & paste them all into your email address bar.

For phone numbers of the Alaska State Legislators – Click HERE

Giddyup!

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Alaskans for Truth Makes a Splash!

25 11 2008

Alaskans for Truth has hit the ground running. I used the metaphor of the Creature from the Black Lagoon yesterday, and if we decide to hold to that metaphor, then we’ve got to say that the Creature made a splash! There was some good coverage in the Anchorage Daily News, albeit in the same article as the “Thank you, Sarah Palin” Thanksgiving ads that are airing in Alaska and soon across the country.

Alaskans for Truth was launched as an informal group this fall, organizing an Anchorage anti-Palin rally in October that drew more than 1,000 people and calling for Attorney General Talis Colberg to lose his job.

On Monday, group leaders said they want the state Legislature to follow up on an investigation into Palin’s firing of her public safety commissioner that found the governor abused her power in allowing her husband and top aides to push for the firing of her former brother-in-law, a state trooper.

That finding came from an investigator hired by the Legislative Council. After her selection as McCain’s running mate, Palin refused to cooperate, with her local campaign officials saying the probe had become a witch hunt by Obama supporters.

She did, however, give a statement in a subsequent investigation by the state Personnel Board, which eventually cleared her of wrongdoing.

Alaskans for Truth says lawmakers should stick with the original report and is pressing legislators to:

• Censure Palin for breaking state ethics rules.

• Seek contempt-of-court charges against Palin’s husband and others for refusing to honor legislative subpoenas.

• Hold hearings on whether the Palins committed perjury in their statements to the Personnel Board.

The message, on the Alaskans for Truth Web site, complete with e-mail addresses for each lawmaker, echoed across Alaska political blogs Monday.

Legislators need the push, said Camille Conte, radio host for KUDO 1080 AM and chairwoman of the group.

“My sense is that there is not the political will to do the right thing because it’s not comfortable,” she said. “It’s sticky. It’s about holding the highest office in our state accountable.”

Ms. Conte also appeared on KTUU, channel 2 News talking about the group’s mission.

And the Associated Press wrote a piece that has started to be picked up nationally. It also contains (drum roll) the official response from Palin spokesman Bill McAllister.

“There are a lot of questions in comparing the two reports,” said Linda Kellenbiegel, spokeswoman for Alaskans for Truth. “There needs to be some follow through, further investigation or follow-up on the fact that Branchflower determined there was an ethics violation by the governor.”

Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said lawmakers are more interested in working with the Palin administration on pressing state business, including the budget.

“Troopergate is over,” McAllister said. “It is our understanding from many legislators in both houses of the Legislature that they are not interested in prolonging this.”

“We are not hearing from them they intend to take any of these steps recommended by this far left wing group.”

Ahh. The dreaded “far left wing group” defense. I wonder sometimes, if we tallied up all the “far left wing” groups and “far left wing” blogs and “far left wing” politicians that the Republican claim are responsible for any and all criticism leveled against them, then the sheer number of them would have to mean that they really aren’t that far-left after all.

So, we’ve heard from Bill McAllister about his understanding. But what does the Governor herself have to say? Let’s not bug her now, though. She’s probably really busy catching up on all the work she missed while she was on the campaign trail all that time. She and Piper both have some make up work to do! I mean we’re struggling with energy issues, the gas pipeline, the budget, and the general business of the state that needs some attention. We’ve been without a governor for a while, so she’ll probably be burning the midnight oil for weeks.

>>>>Hockey Buzzer<<<<<<

Actually, we’ve learned that Sarah Palin believes the best use of her time this coming week will be taking a little jaunt to Georgia to campaign for Republican Senate Candidate Saxby Chambliss. She jets off to get a fix of the adoring crowds and to get some real work done. Alaskans, don’t you feel special?





Bedtime in Alaska – Night Kitchen is Open!

25 11 2008

KTUU, the NBC affiliate in Anchorage had an online poll this evening.  It’s now closed.

Should the Legislature punish the Palin administration for the abuses of power found in the Legislative Council’s investigation?
Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far.
Yes 48%
No 52%

Yes, a majority of Alaskans feel that she should not be punished for abusing power.  However, it’s close, and what I take from this is that with some education, this can be changed.  I’m interested to see what the Governor’s approval ratings are these days.

And, as always, the Night Kitchen is Open!