Palin’s Clear and Transparent Stonewall.

11 09 2008

Well, she’s told us right from the beginning what to expect. When Palin ran for governor, she touted how her new leadership would be “clear and transparent”. We’d had it with corruption, and we’d had it with her predecessor, Frank Murkowski. Palin was squeaky clean. She was new, she actually discussed ethics, and she promised us that business as usual would be business no more. The Good Ol’ Boys were in her crosshairs and they’d better start worrying.

Then came Troopergate. People started feeling uneasy. What was going on here? We needed to give her the benefit of the doubt. She was the reformer, Murkowski-slayer, and ethical Wonder Woman from Wasilla! There had to be more than met the eye. This Wooten character must be pure evil, and she was justified. But, as in the case with all scandals, there came a steady drip…drip…drip… of new information. All sorts of things started surfacing, like emails, and conversations that, according to Palin, never happened. Palin looked into the camera lens and into the eyes of every Alaskan and said, “Hold me accountable.” “I welcome the investigation.” That’s why we liked her. Open, honest, transparent and accountable. What’s not to love?

The bipartisan legislature took her at her word and started talking about an investigation. Then Palin assured us that, really, no investigation was necessary. She’d be happy to answer questions without the investigation. She looked a little panicked. The legislature voted unanimously for an investigation.

THEN Palin asked Talis Colberg, the Attorney General to start talking to anyone who might know anything about “troopergate” before Stephen Branchflower, the legislature’s investigator got there. A little bit of preemptive sleuthing so she’d know what to expect. That’s when people who were paying attention started to go ballistic.

Enter McCain and the gang. Palin gets a lawyer. The lawyer says the investigation is unconstitutional. The lawyer says the players are biased.

That’s where we were yesterday.

Now we’re looking at seven members of the Palin administration who are facing subpoena’s because they have refused to testify. At least, that’s what we think. We’ll know tomorrow. Thats when the House and Judiciary committees are meeting in Anchorage to make decisions about the subpoenas.

But this week, the state Department of Law – representing Department of Administration employees – threatens in a seven-page letter to go to court to block the subpoenas, thus widening the conflict to all three branches of government.

The letter is signed by Michael Barnhill, senior assistant to Attorney General Talis Colberg, and is addressed to state Sen. Kim Elton, the Juneau Democrat who heads the legislative panel that initiated the Troopergate investigation.

So, to all those naysayers who say that Palin is no longer clear and transparent, I say, yes she most certainly is.

Now… the first details of Palin’s interview with Gibson are reaching Alaska….I’ll be back.





Palin Leaves Campaign Trail. Flees North.

4 09 2008

Well this is interesting. Chuck Todd dropped a little bombshell this afternoon.

CHUCK TODD:Well Ron, We’ve been able to see that there are a few folks who are saying [Palin is] actually going to hole up in Alaska for a little, she’s got to see her son off who’s going to be deployed to Iraq, so we may not see her on the campaign trail for a little while.

RON ALLEN: Yes she hasn’t been home for a long time, and she’s obviously got some business to deal with there.

Hole up in Alaska? I was thinking to myself after her polished but snarky performance at the Republican National Convention, “I wonder who will get the first interview?” Because obviously, questions need to happen. Nobody even knows who she is. She read one prepared statement twice in a row, and then gave a speech written by Bush’s speechwriter. Unless you’re on the internet searching compulsively for YouTube videos of obscure Palin moments in churches and assembly meetings, or diving head first in to the blogosphere, you haven’t got a clue.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the desire to see your child off as he heads to Iraq. So do thousands of other parents who are shipping children off to Iraq. I mean, I hate to be rude, but don’t you have anything else you need to be doing?? You will potentially be one heartbeat away from being commander in chief of the armed forces. Shouldn’t you be out there telling people why you think you can do that job, and earning the trust of the nation that is turning over their own sons and daughters to fight this war? Can’t the hug good-bye happen now??

There are 60 days left before the election. Track ships out on September 11th. That’s one week from now. That’s more than 10% of the available time left, that she’ll be on hiatus “holed up” in Alaska, dealing with “things”. So what’s the real story?

First, and most obviously, fleeing from the media probably sounds pretty good right about now.

Second, remember when Palin told the Alaska State Legislature through her new attorney Thomas Van Flein that she wouldn’t be around to testify because she’d be too busy? And remember when Van Flein said that she shouldn’t even be investigated by the Legislature at all, but rather by a 3-person panel which she herself appointed? And remember when she filed ethics charges against herself to force this plan to happen?

Well…TPM Muckraker talked to former Alaska Attorney General John Havelock (I know him! Good guy.) who said basically that the Legislature can investigate whatever it likes. Van Flein knows this, undoubtedly, but is trying to stall things so the ruling comes after the election on November 4, instead of on the planned date of October 31st. In addition, Frank Bailey (the guy in Palin’s administration who was tape recorded by the Troopers applying pressure to axe the governor’s ex brother-in-law, Mike Wooten) has now refused to testify. So, he will have to be subpoenaed. And now that the governor is back in this neck of the woods, does that mean she will testify? Or will she refuse too, and need to be subpoenaed?

In addition, there are new developments just breaking that the Police Officers Union of Alaska has filed an ethics complaint on behalf of…you guessed it…Trooper Mike Wooten. NBC News says:

The complaint alleges that the governor or her staff may have have improperly disclosed information from Wooten’s personnel records. The complaint alleges “criminal penalties may apply.”

This all has to do with the aforementioned phone call. Bailey, while being recorded talking to Trooper Rodney Dial, dished all kinds of personal information about Wooten – shooting the moose, driving under the influence, etc. Wooten says the only way he could have known this is by accessing his personnel file improperly.

Palin…er…The McCain Palin campaign says that there was nothing illegal here because Wooten had signed a waiver allowing a divorce attorney to look through his records. So the info went down the line from file, to divorce attorney, to Molly McCann (Palin’s sister), to Todd Palin, to Frank Bailey, to Trooper Dial, and then back to Mike Wooten….who is now filing a complaint. And Bailey does say that Todd Palin was the source of the damaging information on Wooten that he passed along. And Sarah Palin knew NOTHING about this. That’s her story and she’s stickin’ with it. Hmph.

So, there you have it. Is it legal? We’ll find out. Criminal penalties may apply.

(And McCain knew all about this, right?)

Now that you’ve slogged through all that, sit back and enjoy this excellent summary of Troopergate (minus the new developments) from ABC News. Hat tip to Gryphen at The Immoral Minority, one of my favorite local blogs, for finding the clip.

UPDATE: Palin and McCain were at a rally in Cedarburg, WI today. No sign of her here yet. I’ll update when I know more.





Bailey Under Bus. Todd on Couch?

21 08 2008

Kerthunk… That was no speed bump, that was the sound of Frank Bailey being thrown under the bus. Frank ‘The Pressurizer’ Bailey was the one in the Palin administration whose phone call strongly voicing the displeasure of the Governor and her husband, that Walt Monegan hadn’t fired their ex-brother in law Trooper Mike Wooten. You know the whole story by now… This chapter of the Palin bad novel was recorded and retained by the DPS, so it’s aaallll on tape. Jeez. If it weren’t for all that damned recording equipment, Republicans would have a much easier time of it up here in the Great Land.

In any case, now that Frank Bailey has been ‘put on administrative leave’ (with full pay during the investigation), we have to ask ourselves, “What about the other times Palin’s people did the same thing. Palin, at first, denied that ANY of these contacts ever took place, but now apparenlty it seems to have happened over 20 times! And at least one of those times, the contact came from Todd Palin. Uh-oh. Does this mean Todd will be put on ‘administrative leave’ too? I know he’s not technically part of the administration, but since he’s been holding meetings in her office while she’s away, I just thought…. Maybe he’ll just have to sleep on the couch.





Palin’s Self-Investigation Bears Fruit!

13 08 2008

The governor lost no time today.  Mere hours after announcing that she had launched her own preemptive investigation of her own firing of Department of Public Safety Chief Walt Monegan, she also announced that she has discovered something!  Eureka!

It seems that despite the fact that Palin repeatedly claimed no one on her staff ever ever pressured anyone to fire her ex-brother-in-law Trooper Mike Wooten…er….they did.  Dozens of times.  As a matter of fact, (oh gosh this is SO embarrassing) one of the phone calls was tape recorded by the the DPS!  BUT, the governor tells us with a straight face, that she knew absolutely nothing at all about it.  Nothing.  Really.  Although she did know something about some of the other ones, which she forgot she did before, but now she remembers.  But not THIS one that was recorded.

The phone call “Pressurizer”, long term Palin staffer Frank Bailey, has even come out with a statement that says he acted alone.   He decided to pressurize all by himself.  He’s a lone wolf.  No direction from the governor.  None. Completely spontaneous.  AND, he “can’t stress it enough.”  Wow.  So he reeeeally must be telling the truth.

I don’t know whether Palin really thinks we are all that stupid, or whether her options are just running out.  I suppose the administration is thinking that it looks better to turn over the damning evidence themselves.  That sort of looks honest, right?   

ADN’s Kyle Hopkins’ notes from today’s press conference: (emphasis is mine)

— Palin and Attorney General Talis Colberg say there were at least two dozen phone calls from members of Palin’s staff asking about Wooten.

Colberg said he had a conversation with Monegan about Wooten.

— One of the calls came from Palin’s husband, Todd Palin.

Many came from Palin’s former Chief of Staff, Mike Tibbles.

— Palin says she didn’t know about Bailey’s phone calls, but did know about at least some of the other calls.

— Just after the press conference, Palin’s team was to meet with the independent investigator hired by the Legislature to look into Monegan’s firing.

— Palin said Monegan’s firing wasn’t about Wooten, who kept his job even as members of the governor’s staff kept asking about him. She says Monegan wasn’t “a team player” when it came to the budget, asked for more money while failing to fill vacant job positions, and wasn’t doing a good enough job combating alcohol issues such as rural bootlegging.

— Monegan turned down the governor’s offer to head up the Alcoholic Beverages Control Board.

— Monegan’s replacement, Chuck Kopp, was paid a “severance package” of $10,000, after quickly resigning.

— Palin said no decision has been made yet about what happens to Bailey.


So, we’ve gone from firm statements that nobody from the administration ever talked to Monegan about Wooten, to dozens of calls?  It’s amazing how recording devices and investigations can trigger the memory.

And she fired Walt Monegan in part because of his inadequacy in combatting alcohol issues, and then in the same breath offered him the head position of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Board?

And the other reason is because he wasn’t filling empty trooper positions, and also because he had the nerve to ask for money to do it?

Have we entered the Bush/Cheney Whitehouse at some point?  Black is white, and white is black.   2+2=5.  And it’s all lies, I tell you, LIES!