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.

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Todd Palin Subpoena Dump & the Latest from the “Truth Squad.”

8 10 2008

Well, here’s the official subpoena response from Todd Palin through his lawyer, Thomas Van Flein.

Click HERE.

And here is the latest video from…..The “Truth Squad”

Click HERE.

I suggest aspirin for the first, and Pepto Bismol for the second.

Cheers.





Criminal Witness Tampering in Troopergate?

24 09 2008

Alaksa State Representative Les Gara (D) of Anchorage, just released the following press release, plus a big stack of supporting paperwork. Another shout out to Les Gara, who has been fearless and forceful about speaking up in this matter.

Here’s the press release in its entirety, and a link below to the .pdf file of the supporting documents and criminal statutes for those of you who just love document digging!

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

LEGISLATOR ASKS TROOPERS TO LOOK AT POSSIBLE WITNESS TAMPERING

Palin cooperation ended with VP nomination

ANCHORAGE — Today a State Representative called on the Alaska State Troopers to look into possible criminal witness tampering in the state’s bi-partisan legislative Troopergate investigation. Since Gov. Sarah Palin was named to the McCain ticket on Aug. 29, the McCain campaign has sent campaign workers to Alaska to obstruct this investigation.

“Until McCain campaign staffers flew to Alaska to stop this investigation, the Governor and her staff agreed to comply with what we all know is a bi-partisan investigation. After Aug. 29 the campaign started working to block this investigation, and witnesses began joining that effort by ignoring their subpoenas and risking jail time. Something obviously changed the minds of these witnesses after Aug. 29th,” said Rep., Les Gara (D-Anchorage), a State Representative and Former Alaska Assistant Attorney General.

Alaska’s witness tampering statutes prohibit any person from “inducing” a witness to fail to comply with a subpoena. Almost daily, McCain staffers have called press conferences and made efforts to stonewall the legislative investigation. Prior to Aug. 29 no witness had stated they’d refuse to comply with the investigation, and the Governor in fact promised she and her staff would comply.

Last week three witnesses, Palin Administration Officials Ivy Frye and Randy Ruaro, and Palin’s husband Todd, refused to show up for legislative subpoenas. Also, Attorney General Talis Colberg, whose office had agreed that another seven state employees would comply with the investigation, changed position and said they wouldn’t. Those seven witnesses have been subpoenaed and are scheduled to appear Friday before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

McCain operatives have spun this as a partisan investigation. The facts show otherwise. Both Committees voted for the subpoenas last week. Six Republicans and four Democrats voted in favor, and only two Senate members voted no. The investigation was started this summer before Palin was named to the McCain ticket, by a unanimous vote of eight Republicans and four Democrats.

The witness tampering statutes follow:

Alaska Statute 11.56.545 –

“(a)Tampering with a witness in the second degree: A person commits the crime of tampering with a witness in the second degree if the person knowingly induces or attempts to induce a witness to be absent from an official proceeding, other than a judicial proceeding, to which the witness has been summoned. (b) Tampering with a witness in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. (Emphasis added).

AS 11.56.540 has similar elements, and is a felony.
Please see attachmed letter and statute for more details.
Click HERE for letter and statute.




Todd Palin Refuses to Testify? Shocking! Shocking, I say!

18 09 2008

Ed O’Callaghan, erstwhile top terrorism prosecutor from Washington D.C., now holed up in Anchorage Alaska giving legal advice in the Troopergate investigation, announced that the “First Dude” will not be cooperating.  He will ignore his subpoena, O’Callaghan says, because he no longer believes the investigation is “legitimate.”   Why?  Didn’t say.  It must have something to do with that hideously partisan unanimous vote by a council of 8 Republicans and 4 Democrats.  Those damned Democrats wielding their minority power all over the place, forcing consensus!  Who do they think they are? (Big red “Illegitimate” stamp slams down on document) Those buncha <grumble grumble grumble>…..

Todd, along with other witnesses, can stall without penalty for months, pushing this investigation well past election day.  To bring contempt charges, which are punishable by a fine up to $500, or up to six months in jail, the full  Legislature must be in session.  That happens after Christmas.

Surely there will be other nuggets of intrigue to come, but few doubt at this point that the final chapter of the Troopergate tale will be told until after November 4. (puts reading glasses away, and closes the Troopergate book.  For now.)  The damage that this stonewalling has had on Sarah Palin’s “image,” that the out-of-state lawyers and the McCain campaign were trying so fervently to craft, has yet to be measured.





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 Power Trip – The Plot Thickens

19 07 2008

Break out the hip waders.  The mud storm over the Governor’s mysterious termination of Walt Monegan continues, with no signs of letting up.  The more we learn, the smarmier it gets.

Recall yesterday, when Governor Sarah Palin released a statement that included the following:

To allege that I, or any member of my family, requested, received or released confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper, or directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous.

Well, newly ex-commissioner Walt Monegan has spilled the beans, stating “They can’t fire me twice.”  According to the Anchorage Daily News, Monegan says he was pressured to fire Trooper Mike Wooten, a cop of questionable character, and ex-husband of Palin’s sister Molly.  Ugly divorces are nasty, but ugly child custody battles are nastier.  Ask anyone who’s had the misfortune of being involved in one, or knowing someone who has.  We Alaskans are now privy to more information than we ever needed or wanted to know about Mike & Molly and the divorce from Hell.  It’s all out there in black & white – Drunk driving, foul language, illegal moose hunting, extramarital affair, neighbors peeking in windows, private investigators, death threats, snowmachining on sick days, verbal abuse, and yes, dry tasering an 11-year old so he could see what it felt like. 

But the real issue at hand is:  Did Palin fire Walt Monegan because he refused to can Trooper Wooten, and settle an old personal Palin family score?

She says no.  He says maybe.  Discuss.

According to Walt Monegan, in addition to discussions with Palin herself, he was pressured by Palin’s former chief-of-staff (and current campaign manager for Sen. Ted Stevens) Mike Tibbles, Department of Administration Commissioner Annette Kreitzer, and director of boards and commissions Frank Bailey.  And what did these three have to say?  The classic trifecta:  No comment.  It never happened.  I don’t recall.

‘First Dude’ Todd Palin, who admitted having a conversation about Wooten with Monegan right after he was hired said, “I know I’ve never told him to fire Wooten.”  So….does Todd Palin actually have the power to ‘tell’ or ‘not tell’ the Commissioner of Public Safety to do ANYthing?  Disturbing also is the fact that this meeting with Monegan took place in the Governor’s office.  So, although it wasn’t “telling”, it sure sounds like “pressuring”, especially in light of the fact that calls, complaints and coversations had been occuring from the point of his hire until a month or two before his unexplained termination.

Let’s go back and parse the Governor’s statement.

To allege that I, or any member of my family, requested, received or released confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper, or directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous.

This gets back to the telling vs. pressuring point.  No one may have “directed” that Wooten be fired, but there’s a lot of grey area, and plenty of room for inappropriate behavior on the part of the Governor, her husband, and her staff.  They march on a slippery slope.

And if, as reported, material from Wooten’s confidential Administrative Investigation file is now in the hands of Palin’s sister Molly McCann and her attorney, wouldn’t that mean, contrary to the Governor’s statement, that a member of her family DID receive confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper?  So far, no one can imagine how that can possibly have happened (blink blink).  We wait for the next leak.

Speaking of parsing words… Monegan’s replacement, Chuck Kopp, answering questions about a sexual harrassment charge in his past says (my emphasis),  “There is absolutely nothing in my record that I’m ashamed of.”   Stay tuned.





Palin’s Power Trip – Off With Their Heads!

17 07 2008

Is this it? I’ve been wondering what it will be that sinks the so-far unsinkable ship of Sarah Palin. So far, despite little chinks here and there in her teflon armor, Sarah the Magnificent has emerged fairly unscathed. Until now, perhaps.

There’s been all sorts of buzz and inuendo and rumor about the real reason Sarah Palin fired Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan. The administration’s official reason was that they wanted to “go in a new direction”. Alaska Public Safety in a new direction? Like….letting the criminals go free? Abandoning rural Alaska to fend for itself? Martial Law? Anyone who’s been paying attention has been pretty impressed with Walt Monagan’s integrity, work ethic and genuine commitment to the Troopers and the people of Alaska. New direction? We didn’t get it.

Palin buddy and brand-new Commissioner of Public Safety Chuck Kopp, (who replaces Monegan, the ‘chucked cop’) made a statement mumbling something about “looking forward to moving forward” and not commenting on prior leadership…which is code for “There’s a story here, and I’m not going to tell you what it is.” That usually means the story is worth knowing. Bloggers and other interested parties began pricking up their ears, and waiting for the inevitable leak.

Well, the leak turned out to be a tsunami in the form of a blog post from Andrew Halcro titled “Why Walt Monegan Got Fired: Palin’s Abuse of Power.” I strongly urge everyone to read it. Here’s the gist of what he claims.

Palin wanted Monagan to cut the budget for the State Troopers. Already underfunded and stretched to the breaking point, he said no. (gasp)

But the second, and far creepier reason, the one that surely will be setting the blogosphere on fire and accelerating her fall from the ivory tower if it is substantiated, is this. Let me preface this by saying that no…I’m not making this up. Stay with me. Sarah Palin’s younger sister Molly used to be married to Mike Wooten. Mike Wooten has been an Alaska State Trooper for the last 8 years. Molly and Mike went through a messy divorce. The Palins were not pleased. Halcro relates a truly bizarre series of events that can only be described as ‘stalking behavior’ committed by the Palin family against Trooper Wooten. Notes on windshields, threatening phone calls, Todd Palin (Sarah’s husband and Alaksa’s ‘First Dude’) taking pictures and sending them to Wooten’s supervisor. There were a total of 25 complaints filed against Wooten. Each time, an Administrative Investigator would review the complaint, find it unfounded or not substantiated, and dismiss it. The other side of the story is that Wooten is no angel…extramarital affair, dry tasering his step-son (he says at his step-son’s request),…..it goes on and on. Another Alaskan political bad movie.

Fast forward to 2008. Now, Sarah Palin is the Governor.

“Twice in the last few months complaints were filed by the governor’s office accusing Wooten of improperly using his patrol car. Both times he was visiting his kids at school and both times he had permission from his sargent. The last complaint came in May after Todd Palin saw Wooten pulling out of the school parking lot and six days later the complaint landed on Wooten’s supervisor’s desk.

During the legislative session this past spring, Palin reportedly told Commissioner Monegan to fire Wooten because he was giving Troopers a bad name. However Monegan said he would do no such thing.

A short time afterwards, it was discovered that confidential material in Wooten’s Administrative Investigation file had been released to his ex-wife and her attorney. This drew outrage from the Public Safety Union as well as the Commissioner. AI files are strictly confidential and can only be released with the written signature of the Trooper, but yet no one could explain how the detailed confidential information was released.

Reportedly, both Commissioner Monegan and Colonel Audie Halloway warned that if they found out the file was leaked by the governor’s office, they would pursue charges.

Unfortunately, Commissioner Walt Monegan has been fired and word on the street is Colonel Audie Halloway’s days are numbered as the new commissioner brings in those who won’t object when the governor uses the Troopers as her own private security force.”

You may now pick your chin up off the desk.

Where will this all go from here? Local mainstream media is picking up the story, as is the Associated Press. Will this little nugget be featured in the upcoming Wall Street Journal article on Palin? How about People Magazine? Is the image of the squeaky-clean, hockey mom who hands out cash forever sullied? Have her VP chances just gone up in a puff of smoke? Will she be thrown under the Straight Talk Express Bus?? One can only wait and speculate. In addition to Halcro, Celtic Diva is hot on the trail with a report from the latest press conference, as is Anchorage talk radio, including KUDO 1080am which should have plenty to say tomorrow.

Governor Palin herself has just released a statement. “critics have taken this to rediculous extremes”, “false allegations”, “outrageous” and my favorite, “It is unfortunate, as we seek to address a growing energy crisis in this state, that this matter has been raised now.” Yes, perhaps it would have been more polite to wait until we have a gas line to talk about why Monegan was fired? Nice try. You can read the governor’s entire statement HERE.

And to Ethan Berkowitz and Diane Benson, I say, lean back, enjoy the popcorn and see how Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell fares in his House race if Palin goes from Queen of Light, to millstone around the neck.

We live in interesing times.