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!





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?





Alaska Needs Your Help! In Which I Explain That the Creature from the Black Lagoon is a Good Guy.

24 11 2008

creature-from-the-black-lagoon

I’ve been talking for weeks now about goings on beneath the surface of Alaskan politics. I’ve fielded dozens of inquiries asking, “What can we do to help?” I’ve answered, “Don’t worry. News is coming. Things are happening. Just be patient.”

I’ve said it’s like bubbles in a pond that start small, and get larger, and clue you in that there’s something down there…and the bigger they get, the sooner you know it’s coming.

Now I want you to imagine a rowboat containing all those Alaskan politicians that don’t want to be held accountable for their actions, all those that have been stonewalling, and twisting the truth, and doing everything possible to stay comfortable right where they are. The boat is large, and the crew is pleased with themselves. They sit under parasols and straw hats, dining on little sandwiches without crusts spread with lies, and tiny cakes glazed with croneyism.

“Do you guys hear anything?….Sounds like bubbles.” says communications director A, with a mouthful of sandwich.

“I don’t hear anything. Can you pour me a glass of lemonade? Ooo…And take my picture!” says politician B, smiling.

“Yeah, I hear it. It definitely sounds like bubbles to me.” says Politician B’s husband.

“What’s that?” (shrieks spokeswoman C, peering over the side of the rowboat at the large growing circle of bubbles)

“Get away from the edge!” bellows Legislator D.

(The occupants all scoot over to the far side of the boat. It lists precariously from the sudden shift in weight distribution, and almost starts to take on water. All of a sudden, a large webbed hand emerges from the bubbles, grabs the rail, and pulls down hard. The boat is now upright again, and the picnickers gape in horror as they realize the boat is about to be boarded. Another webbed hand grabs the rail, and the creature, fueled by the moral outrage of the citizenry pulls its massive body out of the water with a terrible cry. It’s……

Alaskans for Truth! Hooray! (The creature places its webbed hand on its leathery abdomen, extends its leg backward, and makes a sweeping bow. Distant applause is heard over the water.)

The boaters realize with growing dismay that the crowd that has gathered on the shore has not come to help them fight off the beast. They are actually cheering for the creature who has boarded the boat! What can this mean?! Why do they hate us?! Quick, offer this thing a sandwiche or something!

But neither the creature, nor the townsfolk on the shore will be deterred. The creature has made itself quite comfortable on the boat, and is now sitting, and has actually begun to row the boat ashore (Hallelujah!) with the intent of delivering the trembling crew right into the middle of the mob of agitated townsfolk….

It’s amazing what can be brought to life with some good old fashioned community organizing. What all this means is that Alaskans for Truth is now an official Political Action Committee, registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. And they have issued a call to action.

Rather than to try to figure out how to get our creature to pull something out of his non-existant pocket, and read an eloquent call to action, I’ll just give you a link to the Alaskans for Truth website, which spells it all out. What do they want?

  1. Censure of the Governor for violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.
  2. Penalties for the state employees and Todd Palin who ignored subpoenas.
  3. Hold hearings on whether Governor Palin and her husband committed perjury in their sworn statement to Timothy Petumenos.
  4. An independent investigation into Attorney General Talis Colberg’s alleged witness tampering in the Troopergate investigation.

How is this going to happen? In two ways.

First, the call to action involves emailing the Alaska State Legislature and letting them know in no uncertain terms that these things still matter. A governor who is in violation of a state ethics act matters. An Attorney General who tells state employees to ignore legislative subpoenas matters. A Vice Presidential candidate and her husband who may have committed perjury matters. They are trying to tell us that these things don’t matter. But, they do.

And don’t for a minute think, dear Mudflatter, that what you do won’t have an effect. Do you remember when we were all biting our nails, wondering if the Legislative Council would release the Troopergate Report? It was touch and go. That report almost didn’t get released. I was there biting my nails in person, when they voted to release it. And one of the Legislators said, “Maybe I’ll be able to get through my inbox again…….”

That means you mattered. And you can matter again. Alaska is small, and every voice that speaks up may as well be using a megaphone. Nobody gets lost in the shuffle. Everyone is heard.

And don’t worry if you are not from Alaska. Because when Sarah Palin was foisted upon you as a Vice Presidential candidate, and when she was made an international celebrity, and when 77% of Republicans want to see her on the national political stage, this matters to you too. All you need to do is explain that, in case they don’t get it.

And the second way to help, is by donating. Alaskans for Truth wants to get their message out, and that means funds are necessary. The goal is to take out ads in the Anchorage Daily News, The Anchorage Press, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, The Juneau Empire, The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, The Tundra Drums…you name it. You’ll see the big yellow DONATE button on the website.

And here again, your voice matters. Alaska is one of the cheapest media markets in the country. Don’t think that a donation of $5 or $10 won’t matter. Everything will.

I once compared Alaska Bloggers, and citizens on both sides of the aisle who wanted the truth to get out to “Whos”, from the Dr. Seuss book Horton Hears a Who. Those little Whos, living on a dust speck, had to raise their collective voices to be heard by the outside world, and save themselves from doom. We in Alaska have been doing our best since August 29th to tell you our story, and to make sure that the rest of the country learned the truth. Just like the Whos, we have been yelling “We are here! We are here! We are here!” Do you hear us?

If so, then climb on board the rowboat, go to Alaskans for Truth, and start emailing and donating. The time has come to hold Alaska’s leaders accountable. The time for action is now.





Prominent Alaskans Demand an Apology from the McCain-Palin Campaign.

1 11 2008

One of the most interesting things about living in Alaska is that you get a true appreciation of how large and how small it is – large geographically, and small socially.  The fact that there are so few people means that it’s almost impossible to spend a day doing errands without running in to someone you know, it’s common to find out that two of your unrelated friends actually know each other, and that engaged citizens can really affect positive change in the political process.  Another consequence of this “smallness factor” is that those who hold public office, and do a good job, become very well respected in the community.  Everyone knows who they are, and when they have something to say, people listen.

People generally respect one another here.  You learn quickly that you’d better treat people well or it might come back to haunt you. The guy you just told off will undoubtedly end up being your kid’s soccer coach, or the guy who pulls over to help you change a tire when it’s 20 below zero.  The woman that just made you land on the horn in traffic is undoubtedly going to be standing next to you in line wherever you’re going, or will be serving you your lunch.

This is why Alaskans, regardless of their political affiliation, watched in horror as Megan Stapleton (former local newscaster turned Palin spokeswoman) and attorney Ed O’Callaghan (an ‘outsider’ hired by the McCain campaign) started giving press conferences, calling themselves the “Truth Squad”.  The Truth Squad’s purpose it seemed, was to sully the reputation of former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan.  According to the independent investigator hired by the Alaska State Legislature, Palin abused her power in his firing.  She wanted Monegan to fire her ex-brother in law, an Alaska State Trooper who she felt had wronged her family.  Monegan couldn’t legally act, because the matter was already closed.  Palin fired him anyway. 

It was either going to play out in the media that Palin abused her power, or that Monegan deserved it.  So the Truth Squad got to work, and they broke the cardinal rule in Alaska – treat people well.   Monegan is well-loved, and respected across the board.  So, for Palin’s story to stick, the McCain-Palin campaign had to make this look like Monegan’s problem.  Enter the Truth Squad.  According to them, Monegan had a “rogue mentality”,  and he committed acts of “outright insubordination”.  Try to get a job in law enforcement if the Governor of the state has called you an “insubordinate rogue”.

So, when Representative Les Gara, in an epic piece of video footage, demanded that Meg Stapleton (former news anchor turned Palin spokeswoman) apologize to Walt Monegan, and the other Legislators that had gotten smeared by the “Truth Squad”, he wasn’t kidding.  This wasn’t some quaint, old-fashioned request, nor was it just a PR stunt.  He really did think she owed them an apology.  So did a lot of other Alaskans.

Now, two other prominent Alaska lawmakers have joined in the formal request for an apology.  Gail Phillips, former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chancy Croft, former Democratic President of the State Senate released a press release yesterday, that has already received wide coverage in the state, on radio and in today’s Anchorage Daily News.  This is one more thing that will be waiting on Governor Palin’s desk when she gets home.  It’s a good letter, and it sums up eloquently what many Alaskans feel.  Here it is reprinted, by permission, in its entirety:

October 28, 2008

Dear Senator McCain:

We are writing because we believe an apology is owed from your campaign to Alaskans and our former Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan. As former legislative leaders of both major political parties in Alaska, we haven’t always agreed upon political issues. However, we adamantly agree that Mr. Monegan, who is well respected in Alaska by people of all party affiliations, is owed an apology. The attacks against Commissioner Monegan for his role in administering a personnel issue, now known statewide as “Troopergate”, were unwarranted and wrong. Mr. Monegan is a former U.S. Marine, a front-line police officer, was Chief of Police in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, served as our State’s Commissioner of Public Safety and served both Republicans and Democrats with professionalism and honor.

This summer Governor Palin fired Mr. Monegan as Commissioner, which was within her purview. However, in July, the Legislature, through unanimous action by the bi-partisan Legislative Council, voted to investigate Commissioner Monegan’s termination and whether his refusal to fire Trooper Wooten played a role in his termination. The investigation had nothing to do with your campaign.

After Governor Palin was named as your running mate, your campaign stepped into the fray. In an effort to discredit and stop the bi-partisan legislative investigation into whether or not Governor Palin acted improperly in seeking the termination of her former brother-in-law, Trooper Wooten, your campaign engaged in a near-daily course of personal attacks against Mr. Monegan and members of the legislature. It’s obvious to many of us that you probably were not aware of these attacks by your campaign committee; however, since the final responsibility is yours, we feel Mr. Monegan is owed an apology from you.

In an effort to halt the bi-partisan investigation, your campaign staff tried to vilify Commissioner Monegan. Before Governor Palin was selected to your presidential ticket, she had agreed to the investigation; she publicly said it was justified and that she and her staff would cooperate with the investigation. She stated to the press that the public had a right to be concerned whether or not her administration may have placed improper pressure on the State Department of Public Safety to fire her former brother-in-law.

Following Governor Palin’s selection as your running mate, your campaign sent staff to Alaska to try to stop the investigation that Governor Palin had previously agreed to. Your campaign staff accused the legislative action as partisan in spite of the fact that the unanimous vote of the Legislative Council was bi-partisan.

Your campaign accused Mr. Monegan of being a “rogue”, of being insubordinate and other defamatory statements. To justify your involvement in this Alaskan issue and the Governor’s termination of Commissioner Monegan, your campaign continually changed the excuses for his termination. The various and changing excuses given by your campaign speaks clearly to the lack of credibility in its involvement.

Despite your campaign’s efforts to stop the investigation in court, and by public pressure, the investigation was recently completed. On October 10th the investigative report was released and the independent investigator, Steve Branchflower, concluded that the Governor had violated the State’s Executive Ethics statute by pressuring for the termination of Mr. Wooten from his position as an Alaskan State Trooper. The investigation also found that one of the probable reasons Commissioner Monegan was terminated was his refusal to fire the Governor’s former brother-in-law.

We acknowledge the authority the Governor has for terminating Commissioners; however, your campaign’s interference into this State matter and attempts to discredit Commissioner Monegan for campaign purposes is very troubling. Both the vilification of Mr. Monegan and the attempts by your campaign to stop the investigation were wrong.

We respectfully request an apology from your campaign to Mr. Monegan. He is a good man who has put his life on the line for Alaskans many times and he deserves better treatment from you and your campaign. Not only have the personal attacks from your campaign deeply affected and hurt the Monegan family, but also the people of Alaska who care and respect Mr. Monegan.

Sincerely,

Gail Phillips
Former Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives

Chancy Croft
Former President of the Alaska State Senate

Alaskans for Truth, the organizers of the huge rally in downtown Anchorage last month, and the organizers of the petition demanding the resignation of the Attorney General Talis Colberg for his botched handling of the Troopergate investigation, has issued a call to action.

They ask that any and all people, from inside or outside the state, who agree with the above letter, and are disgusted by the treatment of this decent, hard-working man who has served his country and his state with honor, please send a postcard to the McCain campaign adding your name to those respectfully demanding an apology for their behavior.  Then, let Alaskans for Truth know you did (alaskansfortruth@gmail.com).  It’s a small act, but it may help to restore something important that was taken from a good man.

Postcards can be sent to:

Honorable Senator John McCain
John McCain 2008
P.O. Box 16118
Arlington, VA 22215

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Countdown to Truth – Sarah Proclaims Own Innocence! Real Report Due Out Tomorrow.

9 10 2008

More developments in the Troopergate story.

Palin has become very fond of the preemptive strike.  Once again, in a less than shocking pre-emptive power play, Governor Palin’s Personnel Board has concluded Palin’s investigation of herself.  That’s right, she decided to just jump right in there and investigate herself, because the bipartisan Legislative investigation just couldn’t be impartial.  Like her.

So, drumroll please……Palin has declared herself INNOCENT!  She’s done nothing wrong!  Boy that was a nail-biter. 

But now, we leave Sarah’s Fantasy Land and come back to reality.  After overcoming every hurdle, every stonewalling tactic and every flimsy legal challenge imaginable, the report is in the hands of Legislators.   Tomorrow, the Alaska Legislative Council will decide what to do with the results of the real investigation – the one that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather you not see.  For weeks now, Special Investigator Stephen Branchflower has been investigating Palin’s firing of the Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan to see if she abused her power as governor to fire him because he, in turn, would not fire her ex-brother in law because of a family squabble.  Questions were also asked about the Palins’ role in what appears to be interference in a workers compensation claim filed by the ex-brother-in-law, Trooper Michael Wooten.

But before the report is released, the Legislative Council must vote to do so.  There is EXTREME pressure coming from very high in the Republican Party to keep this report from coming out.  If this report is released to the public tomorrow, it will be because of the principled bravery of a majority of members of the Legislative Council, particularly the Republicans who will have had to stand up to their own party.  And that’s where we stand.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note…

This brings us to our final installment of the Countdown to Truth, and the Top 10 Reasons the report should be released:

10: Maybe once the report comes out people will stop naming their pitbulls “Sarah” and making them wear lipstick.  Because that is just all kinds of wrong.

 

 

9: It will give Meg Stapleton the opportunity to stop lying about Walt Monegan and Troopergate, and to start lying about why Sarah Palin got her ass handed to her in the debate.

 

8: If it doesn’t come out then what will Alaska Progressive bloggers write about all weekend?

 

7: This investigation has cost Alaskans $100,000. The last time Alaskans spent that kind of money with nothing to show for it, was on exotic dancers and cocaine back in the oil drenched 1980’s.

 

6: Because the McCain campaign does not want the report to be made public, and when was the last time ANYBODY told Alaskans not to do something and we listened?

 

5: Once this report is finally out we can all stop pretending to like Dan Fagan.

 

4: The report will undoubtedly convince the Palins that they need to return home where surely they will be inspired to add yet another offspring to their brood, perhaps this one to be named “Phlegm Wingnut Palin”?

 

3: It will allow Alaskans to stop focusing on this distraction and get back to watching for Russians trying to come over the border so that we can shoo them back to where they belong.

 

2: Once it is released perhaps it can be given as reading material to poor little Bristol Palin who apparently is secreted, along with Cathy Baldwin-Johnson and hockey stud Levi Johnston, in a secret vault deep under the White House, or in a bear cache in the wilds of Wasilla, until her mother’s doomed run for Vice President comes to an end.

 

1: It will clear the name of Walt Monegan and make his mother, possibly the sweetest woman in Alaska , very happy.

 So this is the last day to send your emails urging that the report be released.  The Legislative Council will meet tomorrow at 9:00am Alaska time (1:00pm EST, 10:00am PST).  At this point it really could go either way.  Great forces are at work here, and we’ll have to just wait and see.  Thanks to all who have been helping from near and far.

Email addresses are in the comments.

 (h/t to Gryphen, our Top 10 Guy)

 





State Employees Will Now Testify in Troopergate Probe.

5 10 2008

The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot, and turn up the heat slowly enough, the frog will not realize it’s being cooked until it’s too late.  But if you turn up the heat suddenly, it will spring to its senses and leap out of the pot, thus saving its life.  I give you, Alaska State Attorney General Talis Colberg.

Talis Colberg, the erstwhile Mat-Su Valley lawyer specializing in worker’s compensation claims, found himself hitched to Sarah Palin’s rising star.  When she was tapped to be McCain’s running mate, his reaction was “Wow. I work for her.”  >>>>HOCKEY BUZZER<<<<<  Actually, the Attorney General is supposed to be working for the people of Alaska.  To help our Governor and our AG remember this, a grass roots group spontaneously emerged, calling themselves Alaskans for Truth.

This group, organized a rally in part to demand the resignation of Talis Colberg for telling state employees that they didn’t need to comply with legislative subpoenas issued as part of the ethics investigation that has become known as “Troopergate.”  This smacked a little too much of Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Meiers for many Alaskans, and 2000 signatures were toted down to the Governor’s Anchorage office and presented to Palin spokesman Bill McAllister, (when Lt. Governor Sean Parnell chose to remain in the comfort and safety of his office).

The rally and the petition drop-off were covered quite well by our local news media, and thanks to this and the efforts of several determined and ticked-off bloggers, it got some national play as well.  Multiple complaints have been filed against Colberg to the Alaska Bar, and despite a lawsuit claiming the subpoenas are illegitimate, a judge’s ruling this week said, basically, “I don’t think so.”  An emergency appeal was filed with the Alaska Supreme Court which will be heard this coming Wednesday.

So there’s the set up for you.  Talis Colberg = frog.  Pot of water = Blissfully lounging in Palinworld and feeling all invincible.  Flame turned suddenly up to the highest setting = Alaskans for Truth + media + the law.

It seems as though the old adage has worked, because Colberg has suddenly launched himself out of the pot, and landed squarely on his soggy rump.  Seems like those seven state employees who were told by Colberg that showing up was optional, have had a change of heart.

All seven employees have decided, in light of Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski’s decision, to cooperate with the legislative investigation, according to a statement today from Colberg’s office.

“Despite my initial concerns about the subpoenas, we respect the court’s decision to defer to the Legislature,” Colberg said. “We are working with Senator Hollis French to arrange for the testimony of the seven state employee plaintiffs.”

How about that… Can a frog tuck its tail between its legs?

Meanwhile, Alaska First Dude Todd Palin is now back in Alaska.  He has agreed to testify to the other investigation into Troopergate by the State Personnel board.  Palin initiated this investigation of herself, claiming that the legitimate investigation which came about through unanimous, bipartisan approval had become “political” once she joined the McCain ticket.  Will the Supreme Court ruling have any affect on whether Todd has a change of heart and testifies to the Legislative Council?  And how much will this delay the report? Further developments are anyone’s guess.





Alaska Republicans vs. Gandhi

3 10 2008

“First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you. Then you win.” So said, Mahatma Gandhi. How can it not make a person chuckle when the McCain-Palin crew makes you think of Gandhi?

There’s no doubt that the Alaska Republican Party is not amused by the massive anti-Palin rallies that have been taking place here in the great city of Anchorage. The “Hold Palin Accountable” rally, which drew a crowd of about 1800 was the largest in Alaska history. It broke the record set two weeks earlier by 1500 who assembled at the “Alaska Women Reject Palin” rally. What was the third biggest? No one even remembers.

And then there was the delivery of the petition to remove Attorney General Talis Colberg from office for telling state employees to ignore subpoenas, and furthering the stonewalling of the ethics investigation known as “Troopergate” which looks into Palin’s alleged abuse of power.

They ignored the first rally, but they couldn’t ignore the second one, or the petition, which garnered much more media attention.

The second rally was dismissed by McCain-Palin as being a “pro Obama rally and nothing more,” or so said Meg Stapleton. Stapleton, Palin’s mouthpiece, and member of the “Truth Squad” was the subject of several of the scathing signs present at last week’s rally. She is now reviled by many Alaskans for slandering respected public figures who have dared to speak truth to power regarding Palin’s ethics investigation.

So, (counting on fingers)…that’s ignoring, and then mocking….what’s next? Ah…now they fight you.

Well guess what landed in my inbox last night? A plea from the Alaska Republican party! Please enjoy the email in its entirety:

****************************************************************

Alaskans Call to Action

3 Ways to Show Your Support for Governor Palin!

Thank you for supporting the McCain-Palin ticket. Right now, we are calling upon all Alaskans to help in three simple ways.

  • 1. Sign our petition in support of Governor Palin. Barack Obama‘s operatives have attempted to smear and politically damage our Governor. Please print, sign and fax in the petition below to show your support. We need as many signatures as possible to put a stop to this politically motivated injustice.
  • 2. Join us for a McCain-Palin Victory 2008 vice presidential “debate watching” party at our Alaska Headquarters tonight, October 2nd, as Governor Palin and Senator Biden debate in St. Louis! The debate starts at 5:00 PM, so the party will start at 4:30 PM at our Anchorage Headquarters (307 East Northern Lights Blvd.). Don’t miss this important and historic opportunity to show your support for our Governor!
  • 3. Join us for a McCain-Palin Victory 2008 rally to “Support Governor Palin” this Saturday, October 4th! It will take place at the Anchorage Christian School Gymnasium (6401 E. Northern Lights Blvd, at the corner of Northern Lights and Baxter Rd) at 1:00 PM. All are encouraged to attend.

This is your call to action, and please forward it to friends. Please help us show Alaska’s support for Governor Palin to the nation and world. Thank you.

Petition in Support of Governor Palin:

Please print, sign, and fax to the Alaska Republican Party at (907)276-0425.

We the undersigned voters of Alaska, herby [sic] call for an immediate end to the Obama operative led inquiry in the Alaska Legislature, whose sole purpose has been to smear and politically damage Governor Sarah Palin. The Legislative Council’s Walt Monegan investigation has been hijacked by Obama supporters and as a result no longer has the support of its own committee. We urge our elected officials to stand up and put an immediate end to this political circus that is wasting countless taxpayer dollars and tarnishing the fair reputation of the great state of Alaska.

Print Name: ______________________

Signed:__________________________

No fax machine? You can also drop off your signed petition at one of the following places:

McCain-Palin/Victory 2008 Alaska Headquarters
307 East Northern Lights Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99503

Alaska Republican Party Headquarters
1001 West Fireweed Lane
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

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I just can’t stop smiling. I’m not sure how many people will show up at the Anchorage Christian School Gymnasium for the Pro-Palin rally, or why they have scheduled it at exactly the same time and day as the Alaska statewide Obama rally, which may break a record again. I also don’t know where these petitions are going to end up, or what they are actuallly asking for. But I am proud of them for providing the high-tech “fax it in” option for those who can’t drive to the Republican Party headquarters to submit them in person. Soon they will have mastered the spell check on their email, and it surely can’t be much longer after that before they master the free online petition.

And as for “tarnishing the reputation of the great state of Alaska”? I think Alaska politicians are doing a fine job of that without the help of “Obama operatives”. I wonder what conservative Republican Wasilla resident and State Senate President Lyda Green will think when she finds out she is an Obama operative? How about right wing radio pundit and columnist Dan Fagan? I wouldn’t want to be in THAT room!

OK….(fingers again)….that’s ignore, mock, fight… There’s only one left.





Open Thread – Homework!

1 10 2008

Alaskans are working their tails off to bring focus and attention to the stonewalling of the Troopergate investigation by Palin and the McCain campaign. We’ve organized and pulled together the largest rally in the history of the state. We’ve gotten thousands of names on a petition. We’ve delivered the petition to the Governor’s office. We know there is information that needs to get out!

Stephen Branchflower has been interviewing many people concerning the firing of Walt Monegan from the position of Commissioner of the Dept. of Public Safety, and concerning Palin’s alleged abuse of power in several areas of government. All Americans have a right to know the findings of this investigation before they cast their vote on November 4th. This is no longer just an issue for Alaskans.

So many of you have been asking, “What can I do?” Here’s your answer. Your homework, should you choose to accept it, is to write one letter about why you want the Branchflower Report accepted and released to the public once it has been received by the Legislative Council. It doesn’t have to be long. It just has to urge the members of the Council to vote to release the report. Once you’ve got your letter, save it. Then email it to the 14 members of the Legislative Council below. (Sorry…You’ll have to cut & paste…I cannot put an email link in the post).

In the subject line of your email, remind them about the Countdown to Truth. “9 Days”, “8 Days”, “7 Days” and so on, until October 10th.

All of the members of the Legislative Council who were present at the last meeting have already voted to do the right thing once. These people are under tremendous pressure to vote against the release of this report. They need our support, and they need to be reminded that this issue is important not only to Alaskans, but to all Americans.

Have at it Mudflatters!

Countdown to Truth: October 1 thru 10

The Branchflower Report on the independent “Troopergate” investigation is due to the Legislative Council on October 10.

Alaskans for Truth has been informed that the members of the Legislative Council have been put under incredible pressure by the McCain Campaign to VOTE AGAINST releasing the report to the public.

The Legislative Council MUST accept and release to the public the final report from Independent Investigator, Stephen Branchflower. All Americans have the right to know the results of this ethics investigation.

What we can do: TAKE ACTION!

· Starting Wednesday, October 1st email and/or call all 14 members of the State Legislative Council each day! (contact information listed below)

· Respectfully urge the legislators to stand up for truth and vote YES to accept Branchflower’s report and make it available to the people!

· Alaskans, call and email the legislators from your districts. Send the message that you expect them to support the Legislative Council’s investigation and reject the McCain campaign’s attempt to stonewall the democratic process!

The McCain campaign is attempting to stonewall, subvert, and remove the Legislative Council’s investigative rights through lies, smears, and legal wrangling.

KNOW THE FACTS and include them in your emails and phone calls:

LIE: The State Legislative Council is a group of partisan Democrats.

FACTS:

· Ten Republicans and four Democrats are voting members of the State Legislative Council.

· All Council members who were present (eight Republicans and four Democrats) voted unanimously to hire Stephen Branchflower, a former prosecutor, to investigate possible wrongdoing by the Governor’s office

SMEAR: Walt Monegan was fired for poor job performance.

FACTS:

· Sarah Palin has changed her explanations as often as she changes her shade of lipstick. Since July, she has claimed that a) she didn’t fire Walt Monegan — he quit, b) she did fire Walt Monegan but it was only in order to go a “new direction,” c) she claimed it was for poor job performance; and the latest one d) Walt Monegan is insubordinate and a rogue cop. She seems unable to make up her mind.

· Walt Monegan has a record of 30 years of exemplary public service to the State of Alaska, including his role as of Commissioner of AK Dept. of Public Safety.

LEGAL WRANGLING: Talis Colberg, on the advice of the McCain campaign, has filed suit to quash legislative subpoenas.

FACT: This is an attempt by Colberg to protect himself from the consequences of his blatant and possibly illegal intrusion in the legislative investigation, and to prevent the release of the Branchflower report!

Urge our lawmakers to accept Steve Blanchflower’s report on October 10 and promptly make it available to the public. U.S. voters deserve this information!

Members of the Legislative Council:

Kim Elton (D) Senator_Kim_Elton@legis.state.ak.us 907-465-4947

Bettye Davis (D) Senator_Bettye_Davis@legis.state.ak.us 907-269-0144

Lyda Green (R) Senator_Lyda_Green@legis.state.ak.us 907-376-3370

Lyman Hoffman (D) Senator_Lyman_Hoffman@legis.state.ak.us 907-269-0269 (Not present at the last vote)

Gary Stevens (R) Senator_Gary_Stevens@legis.state.ak.us 907-486-4925

Gary Wilken (R) Senator_Gary_Wilken@legis.state.ak.us 907-451-5501

John Cowdery (R) Senator_John_Cowdery@legis.state.ak.us 907-269-0222 (Not present at the last vote)

John Coghill (R) Rep_John_Coghill@legis.state.ak.us 907-488-5725

Nancy Dahlstrom (R) Rep_Nancy_Dahlstrom@legis.state.ak.us 907-622-3783

Max Gruenberg, Jr. (D) Rep_Max_Gruenberg@legis.state.ak.us 907-269-0123

John Harris (R) Rep_John_Harris@legis.state.ak.us 907-269-0129

Ralph Samuels (R) Rep_Ralph_Samuels@legis.state.ak.us 907-269-0240

Bill Stoltze (R) Rep_Bill_Stoltze@legis.state.ak.us 907-376-4958

Peggy Wilson (R) Rep_Peggy_Wilson@legis.state.ak.us 907-747-4665





‘Truth for Lunch’ Delivered to Sarah Palin’s Anchorage Office.

1 10 2008

Today at lunch time, about 30 Alaskans gathered downtown outside the Atwood building to “Deliver Truth for Lunch” to Governor Sarah Palin’s Anchorage office. The core group of organizers for Alaskans for Truth were there, talking to reporters, as the crowd gathered. At about 11:30, the group, led by Linda Kellen Biegel entered the building and rode the elevators to the 17th floor, where the Governor’s office is located.

Kellen Biegel asked if the group could speak with Lt. Governor Sean Parnell. The very efficient front desk lady said she’d see if he was “available.” After a moment, we were told that Palin spokesman Bill McAllister would be out shortly. (Imagine Sean Parnell pulling the blinds, locking the door, turning out the light and sitting behind his desk with saucer eyes until everyone left).

McAllister emerged, and listened as Linda read aloud the petition demanding the resignation of Attorney General Talis Colberg. He made some official, “I-am-accepting-the-physical-petition-but-not-what-it-stands-for” statement, and then stayed for questions, many of which came from Phil Munger of Progressive Alaska and local Air America Radio personality  Shannyn Moore. Alaskans want to know who, exactly, is running our Department of Law, why the Attorney General is telling state employees to ignore subpoenas, and what the Governor intends to do about it. Several news cameras and reporters were on the scene.

So, to all of you who signed the online petition, your names are now in Sarah Palin’s office. It’s kind of like when you sign one of those online NASA things, where they put your name on a chip and send it to a comet…OK, it may not be quite that exciting, but it’s much more important.  And to those of you who haven’t signed yet, click HERE so you can join us in spirit, and take a virtual journey to Sarah Palin’s desk.

Whereas, Alaska Attorney General Colberg has tampered with witnesses subpoenaed to testify in the Alaska Legislative Council’s independent investigation of Troopergate and the pressuring of Walt Monegan to fire Trooper Wooten.

Whereas Attorney General Colberg has an admitted conflict-of-interest in the Troopergate investigation due to his acting on behalf of the Governor to pressure Walt Monegan to fire Trooper Michael Wooten.

Whereas Attorney General Colberg is obstructing the ongoing Troopergate investigation being conducted by the Alaska Legislative Council’s independent investigator Stephen Branchflower, reneged on his written commitment to the Alaska Legislative Council to cooperate fully with the Troopergate investigation, and has instructed witnesses subpoenaed to testify not to appear or comply with their subpoenas.

Whereas, Attorney General Colberg has allowed outside influences from attorneys Edward O’Callaghan and others of the McCain campaign to influence the Attorney General’s Office in the Troopergate investigation.

This petition is to demand the removal of Talis Colberg from the office of Attorney General of the State of Alaska.

About 900 signatures were gathered at the two-hour Hold Palin Accountable Rally last Saturday.  Another 1200 were gathered online in the past two days.

An interview with Linda Kellen Biegel can be seen HERE, and more coverage will be out in the next few days.  I’ll post more links as they become available.

Alaskans for Truth are not finished yet.  Stay tuned for more information.


*Pictures may be used with credit and links to Mudflats. Thanks!





Brutus Speaks! Palin’s Reaction to Alaskans for Truth Rally.

29 09 2008

truth14.jpg

Sunday, organizers and rally-goers were basking in the afterglow of the “Hold Palin Accountable” rally. The rally got front page coverage in the Anchorage Daily News, and was featured on local and national broadcast news. It was also picked up by newspapers across the country. This was a big step up from the coverage of the last anti-Palin rally. We are being heard.

Shortly after the rally, we heard the official response from Sarah Palin, via Meg Stapleton. For a little background, Stapleton was a former news anchor at KTUU, Alaska’s most widely viewed news station. She has at various times also been Palin’s press secretery , and special assistant. She was offered and accepted a position as mouthpiece for the McCain-Palin campaign in August. People used to like Meg Stapleton, the way you do news anchors and assistants to popular governors.

Since Stapleton’s faustian bargain with the McCain campaign, she has been the smirking, smearing, condescending, fib-telling face of the “Truth Squad.” The very name of the Squad is Orwellian, and so is Stapleton. She keeps saying, “2+2=5”, and expecting the world to believe it. Not only has the Truth Squad been dishonest, but they have systematically and surgically attacked well-respected public servants, for doing their jobs with integrity and the best interest of Alaskans at heart.

Here’s a good summary from The Anchorage Press (9/25/08)

“Today, we reiterate and emphasize the ongoing cooperation in the truly independent investigation involving the only legal forum in the state for the Monegan inquiry,” Stapleton said Monday. “As you know, that is the Personnel Board.”

Except that we don’t know that. And that was never asserted prior to Palin’s August 29 selection by McCain as his running mate.

And that’s not the least of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies being peddled by Stapleton and O’Callaghan.

When Stapleton alleged that Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage) decided not to subpoena Palin’s former chief of staff Mike Tibbles, KTUU’s Jason Moore pointed out that it was actually Fairbanks Republican Representative Jay Ramras that requested Tibbles not be subpoenaed. Following that report on KTUU, according to TPMMuckraker.com, Stapleton called Moore’s wife and told her that Moore was calling Stapleton and O’Callaghan liars, then followed up by calling KTUU news director Steve Mac Donald to complain.

In trying to paint Commissioner Monegan as a rogue, the Truthers alleged that Monegan had sought to go to Washington, D.C. in July to seek federal funds to fight sexual violence in Alaska without the administration’s approval (the campaign called this “the final straw”). However, ABC News unearthed the travel authorization—signed by Palin’s chief of staff Mike Nizich—authorizing Monegan to go to Washington to attend a meeting with Senator Lisa Murkowski.”

OK, now we’re ready for the official response from Meg Stapleton about the rally that saw more than 1500 people converge in a downtown Anchorage Park. It is conveniently color coded for you in a lovely shade of muck…just to beat the point to death.

“Clearly this was an Obama rally and nothing else. The rally proves the point of partisanship which the Governor has been trying to remove from the investigation in an effort to get a fair and just result.

The Governor remains an open book and is fully cooperating with the non-partisan Personnel Board and its independent investigator, which are statutorily authorized to conduct an investigation.

As you no doubt noticed the personal attacks at this rally, it is unfortunate that while we discuss the Governor and her record, the Obama campaign is resorting to personally attacking those who will continue to stand with the Governor and Alaskans and against personal smears.”

Now you know why several people at the rally had signs directed squarely at Meg Stapleton. When Alaskans start quoting Julius Caesar’s “Et tu, Brute?” (Even you Brutus?) you realize the extent to which she is seen as the ultimate betrayer.

Strangely, the last time Meg Stapleton got national media attention was during her days at KTUU when a story she was filming made it to Jay Leno. While she was reporting a human interest story, at Christmas time, she knelt down by one of Santa’s reindeer. It got spooked and literally ran her over. Sometimes animals have pretty amazing instincts.






“Alaskans for Truth” are Hopping MAD!

24 09 2008

Shhh. Those of you in the Lower 48 (+Hawaii)…be verrrry quiet…. Hear that? You may just be able to make out the sound of a whole lot of Alaskans throwing open their windows, leaning out, and yelling, “WE’RE MAD AS HELL! AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!” (Remember that movie?)

Who’s yelling? Progressive talk show hosts and Conservative talk show hosts, Democrats and Republicans, Indpendents and Non-Partisans, Libertarians and Librarians, Lawyers and Teachers, Politicians and Political Junkies, Hockey Moms and State employees, Legislators from both sides of the aisle, and ….pretty much anyone up here who is paying attention. Those are the kind of people that always seem to gum up the works for those who try so hard to get away with things. We’re such an annoyance, us damn attention-payers…

This contingent of strange political bedfellows have just about had it with Sarah Palin, John McCain and the shenanigans they are pulling with our state government, specifically the department of law. They’re also sick of watching the insidious influence of nasty national politics (in the form of McCain lawyer Ed O’Callaghan) turning once respected local journalists like former KTUU reporter, now Palin mouthpiece, Megan Stapleton into vicious attack wolves who seem to have no qualms about sinking their teeth into the necks of revered public servants and giving them a good shake. To quote a certain presidential candidate, “ENOUGH!”

So what’s an angry mob to do? There have been letters to the editor, opinion pieces in the Daily News, open letters from Legislators, ceaseless clacking on the keyboards of inflamed bloggers, talk show hosts that sound like they’re going to have cardiac arrest…but it just didn’t feel like enough. People kept asking, what can we DO??

Enter “Alaskans for Truth”, a grassroots organization that has come together to give Alaskans a venue to come and vent. Sometimes there’s just nothing like torches and pitchforks signs and bullhorns. A major rally is being organized that will take place on Anchorage’s Park Strip, a downtown park with plenty of grass and plenty of visibility. Guest speakers are planned.

So, if you are in Anchorage, or within driving distance of Anchorage, mark your calendar, make your sign, bring your friends, and bring some good ol’ moral outrage.

Here’s the official press release:

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Hold Palin Accountable Rally

Saturday, September 27th, Noon – 2:00 pm

Downtown Park Strip between I and L Streets, and 9th and 10th.

Main Stage at the Veterans’ Memorial, east end of the park.

Join your Alaskan neighbors in demanding that:

  • Gov. Palin uphold her promise to us for an “open, honest & transparent” government.
  • Gov. Palin uphold her promise to us to cooperate fully with the independent investigation as initiated by the bi-partisan Legislative Council.

We, the People of Alaska, also

  • Demand the immediate resignation of Attorney General Talis Colberg.
  • Demand the McCain campaign immediately remove itself and its influence from our state and local government.
  • Demand the McCain Campaign ends its attorney, Ed O’Callahan’s unlawful intrusion into our Department of Law.