Friday, October 31, 2008

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Seventy -- Latest Sarah Screwups

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin blew it twice late this week. Here's a link to the audio of today's screwup, regarding the first amendment. Here's a transcript:

Is the news media doing a good job—are you getting a fair shake, are the Republicans getting a fair shake this year?

I don't think they're doing their job when they suggest that calling a candidate out on their record, their plans for this country, and their associations is mean-spirited or negative campaigning. If they convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.

A commenter at a lefty blog wrote, in response to Palin's statement:

i don't think sarah palin is doing her job when she suggests that calling a candidate out on their campaign tactics is mean-spirited reporting. if she convinces enough voters that that is mean-spirited reporting, for someone to call her out on her ad hominem attacks, then i don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of first amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of reprisal from tyrannical wackos.

On Wednesday, outside of a very successful plant that makes photovoltaic products, Palin succeeded in
alienating the plant's workers:

The speech was delivered at Xunlight Energy, a company that produces photovoltaic solar energy cells in Toledo, OH. Instead of offering new ideas to develop clean energy sources like solar, Palin ironically reprised the same old energy proposals that McCain has supported for years, wrapped in new distortions of Senator Obama’s plans and couched in a false clean energy setting. After praising the workers of Xunlight, Palin then belittled their product: “We have many, many new energy sources like solar and wind and geothermal that have not become economic and reliable.

I'm looking for audio or video of the Xunlight gaffe.

El Mejor Piloto? Si? o No?

sent to me by Paul Prebys:

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Nine -- UK TV Looks at Palin's Tailspin

Are McCain-Palin Closing the Gap?

a composite of all U.S. polls, done today.

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Eight -- Colberg MUST Appoint a Special Prosecutor

--- by Alaska Representative Les Gara


Ball Back In Palin AG's Court, AG Called On Again To Assist In Independent Criminal Investigation

ANCHORAGE -- Today the Independent Investigator hired by Alaska's Personnel Board in Alaska's Troopergate investigation told Governor Palin's Attorney General that he, not the Personnel Board, should look into criminal witness tampering questions raised by the McCain Campaign's conduct in Alaska. "The Attorney General should do the right thing. Even campaign staff for a Presidential ticket he and Governor Palin support aren't above the law," said Alaska Representative Les Gara (D-Anch.).

In September and October McCain staff were sent to Alaska to stop the Legislature's Troopergate investigation, and questions were raised whether they had a role in convincing witnesses not to show up for subpoenas - which would be a crime under Alaska law. Last month Rep. Gara called on the State's Attorney General to appoint an independent investigator to look into possible criminal witness tampering. Rep. Les Gara's call came at the suggestion of the Director of the Alaska State Troopers, who called the potential of witness tampering matter "serious."

Governor Palin's Attorney General, Talis Colberg, denied the request, saying the Personnel Board should look into this potential criminal conduct. This week the Personnel Board returned the issue back to the Attorney General, saying he, not the Personnel Board, has jurisdiction over criminal campaign matters.

Director of the State Troopers, Colonel Audie Holloway, suggested in a September letter that the state call on the State Troopers to hire an independent investigator. The letters between Holloway, Colberg, the Personnel Board and Gara are attached.

Over the past two months, McCain-Palin campaign staff tried to stop the Alaska legislature's bi-partisan Troopergate investigation, which recently concluded with a report that that the state's ethics law was broken. See Michael Isakoff, Newsweek, "Can He Stop Troopergate?" (Sept. 16, 2008).

"Until Senator McCain sent campaign staff up here on August 29, everyone, including the Governor, agreed the Legislature's investigation was proper. After the McCain staffers arrived, people who were willing to testify starting violating their subpoenas. It's not rocket science that someone worked to change their minds, and that's a crime under Alaska law," said Rep. Gara.

The legislative investigation was initiated by a bi-partisan committee of 8 Republicans and 4 Democrats in July, before Governor Palin was named to the McCain ticket. On October 10 that committee voted unanimously to release the independent investigator's report, finding one ethics violation, and finding that the Attorney General had improperly withheld documents.

Alaska's witness tampering law makes it a crime to "attempt" to "induce" a person not to show up for a legislative subpoena. See statutes below. Approximately 10 witnesses failed to show for subpoenas during the Legislature's investigation into whether Governor Palin or her staff acted improperly in seeking the firing of her former brother-in-law, a State Trooper. After failing to cooperate with subpoenas, these witnesses have since provided written statements.

Starting on August 29, the McCain campaign tried to create public pressure to stop the investigation with near-daily press conferences, and participated in unsuccessful legal efforts to try to stop the investigation.

A separate investigation by the State's Personnel Board is ongoing.

For further information, contact Rep. Les Gara with questions at (907) 250-0106.

Alaska's 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.

Vice President Sarah Palin's Halloween 2009 Message to The Christianist USA

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Seven -- Mooselini and the Freedom of the Press

Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens - victims of the victim mentality.....?

Happy Halloween!

top image - Mooch the cat; bottom image - from Kokon

Thursday, October 30, 2008

About "Dodging the Question"

The bullshit in the china shop is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. That was about the third thing I realized, on August 29th, when I heard the GOP had saddled us with this burden.

The first thing that crossed my mind was that Palin is one of the least qualified choices the GOP had. The second thought was that her presence on the most important ticket in the country, and in the most important national election in more than a generation, would bring national attention to Alaska like nothing since Joseph Hazelwood left the bridge, leaving his crew to challenge Bligh Reef.

The third thought - the bull in the china shop one - had to do with the effect of Palin on Alaska politics, more than upon national politics. I knew immediately that her enormous popularity among Alaska voters would blow out some close races for the legislature Alaska Democrats were hoping for. Palin's Alaska base, so depressed by a constant stream of GOP convicted corrupt bastards - some of them active evangelical Christians - would now show up, blessed and prayed over in their decision, to support Palin.

A lot of other Alaskans figured all that out about as fast as me. Some didn't.

By noon, prominent Alaska politicians - and candidates from the Democratic Party - were praising Palin. For her ethical values and history. I came unglued, as I realized how bad this might get, if I sat on my butt and didn't help get the word out. I wasn't going to "dodge the question - '"is Sarah Palin qualified?'"

But others had to respond. Like just about anyone running for any office in Alaska in October and November elections. Everyone had hers or his own approach. Over Labor Day weekend, there were a lot of reports coming in to me, showing Democrats were continuing to praise Palin for things I knew to be uninformed or untrue.

I sent out a lot of "say one nice thing, then STFU!" messages to candidates, or to their staff or volunteers. I yelled at a couple of campaign people.

As I was yelling on my cell phone to one friend, I realized that Progressive Alaska needed to step back from directly helping Alaska legislative races, or the Begich and Berkowitz campaigns, so that PA could concentrate on helping get the word out on a politician I had known for almost 18 years - Sarah Palin.

In tonight's KAKM/KSKA/APRN debate, both sets of national seat candidates were asked, "Do you feel Sarah Palin is qualified to be vice president?"

Since deciding to step back from directly supporting or fundraising for Berkowitz and Begich, I've asked myself several times, "was that choice the right one?" Listening to Ethan and Mark dodge the question, was mildly frustrating. But listening to them reinforced my belief that it was best to back away from those candidates, spending the recovered time helping others educate the public about Sarah Palin.

We'll see how it goes, if Ethan and Mark are elected (they will be) on Tuesday, when they are asked, sometime next year, "Is Sarah Palin qualified to be Governor of Alaska - yes or no?"

John the Clueless Hunts for Joe the Plumber

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Six -- The Palin Industry

--- by Marcy Wheeler

[Marcy Wheeler, author of The Anatomy of Deceit, and one of the most influential bloggers around, has written the most prescient series of articles I've read on the Palin candidacy. I've been trying to get Marcy and her husband up to Alaska to speak - and fish - since 2007. I have a hunch they'll be here in summer, 2009, covering the end game of Sarah Palin's political career]

I was one of the first to note that Palin's actions suggested she was running for President in 2012 rather than VP in 2008. But that doesn't mean I think she'd be successful. Here are my thoughts why I'm not all that worried about a Palin juggernaut in 2012.

I understand why the right has seized on Palin with such enthusiasm. They were successful with Bush because he allowed them to unify ideologically contradictory stances. Neocon imperialism and its associated crony defense capitalism is not a fiscally conservative position. Moreover, the promise of Compassionate Conservatism could only appease the charitable instincts of a lot of Conservative Christians so long. Mostly, though, Bush was only able to sustain these irreconcilable positions for five years or so by being an empty cipher--appealing to Neocons, fiscal conservatives, and Christian Conservatives--with the force of personality, thereby hiding the reality that at least one of those three groups (as it happened, fiscal conservatives and to a lesser degree, Christian Conservatives) would be ignored.

Palin is similar, only with her, the Republicans get to further obscure the emptiness of her positions with sex appeal. All the calls on Palin to lead the Republicans out of the apparent disaster they're about to undergo are premised on the hope that she can wink and demagogue her way out of the contradictions to the claims they make.

But such hopes for Palin's leadership are most likely to fail.

To understand why, consider first of all the two people who, in 2004, seemed poised to inherit George Bush's mantle: Bill Frist and George Allen. Because you can no longer hide corruption, incompetence, and ugly racism, they were completely forgotten long before the primaries started. Conditions suggest that Palin's going to meet a similar--if not worse--fate.

That's true, first of all, because the exposure of the campaign will bring some unanticipated setbacks to her. The Alaska legislature, for example, will return to consider what to do about the legislative finding that Palin abused her power. Significantly, they may well do so after she loses badly and after Republicans lose a long-held Republican Senate seat to yet more abuse of power; with each day, the reasons Alaskan Republicans would want to protect Palin grow weaker. Then there's the Personnel Board investigation, that looks like it will be way more serious--and critical--than Palin ever planned it would be. Just as potentially damaging to Palin, there are the other abuses of power: the free trips for her kids and the per diems which will be investigated and may well be taxed if not elevated into even bigger ethics problems. Just as likely, Palin may be taxed for her use of the $150,000 wardrobe. (Imagine Palin getting a $30,000 tax bill as her reward for running for VP!)

The Palins are likely to be the target of a suit by Mike Wooten's union if not Wooten himself and I wouldn't be surprised if Wooten sought custody of his kids. And then there's the possibility that further investigation of their house will reveal it was a big scam Sarah pulled on the city of Wasilla, or that the emails she has stalled on releasing will include other shockers. In short, Sarah has merely succeeded in postponing most of the repercussions that will come from the increased scrutiny until after the election--and it is by no means clear that she will escape unharmed. At the very least, her claim to be a reformer in Alaska won't fare well.

Then there's the fact that she's got at least two more years as governor before 2012--and there is no evidence that she is any more competent at governing than George Bush. So long as oil prices remain where they are, she's going to have a difficult time meeting the increased needs of an inflation-wracked Alaska. She almost certainly will continue to break her promises on spending cuts. And the only way she will be able to deliver on her thus far premature promise of a natural gas pipeline project is if she gets cozy with the oil companies she likes to claim she has taken on. So the three claims on which she ran this time--that she was a fiscal conservative, that she had taken on the oil companies and succeeded in "building" a pipeline, and that she is a reformer--will no longer be operative in 2012.

Finally, there's the fact that she is unliked by a majority of the country. Her favorability ratings are negative in most polls. She was persistently accused--even by the media--of being a shameless liar. And with WardrobeGate and YouTubes of her appearances, she is a national laughingstock.

Sure, Republicans might ignore her unpopularity. The Neocons and Christianist Industry leaders who would like to make a project of her may convince the party to embrace her anyway (indeed, that seems to be the goal of the post-election frenzy they've got planned). But they're fighting an up-hill battle because her brand is already ruined. I hope they spend a lot of energy investing in that brand rather than focusing on--say--Bobby Jindal or Charlie Crist. But I suspect they're committed to doing so because she excites them sexually, and not out of any rational assessment of whether she's the person to lead the party out of minority status.

So, in spite of all the frenzy surrounding Sarah right now, I doubt she'll be leading the party in four years. I'll do a follow-up on where I think they'll end up going. But for now, at least, Palin's concerns have to be on the immediate future, not four years from now.

this article originally appeared at firedoglake's emptywheel

Thursday Campaign Odds & Ends

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Ted Steven celebrating his latest victory last night at the soon-to-be renamed Ted Stevens International Airport:

Ted's supporters have enough time and money to have nice custom-made messages put on their clothes.

Anchorage blogger extraordinaire, AKMuckraker, from
Mudlflats, got into the Stevens reception, along with the Alaska Report's Dennis Zaki, and Gryphen from the Immoral Minority.

Both AKMuckraker and Dennis have more photos at their sites. Dennis Zaki may be the best political photographer in Alaska history. And we have some good ones here, with lots of great opportunities, especially right outside of court houses, at least for the Republican politicians.

Mark Begich and Ted Stevens hold their last debate this evening. It will be in the Elmo Sackett Theater in the Elmo Sackett Building, the home of KAKM-TV, KSKA Radio and Alaska Public Radio Network. The debates have usually been merely on-the-air affairs, with the debate being held in studios, rather than in the theater.

Tickets sold out Tuesday. They air tonight, on public radio and TV, between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Washington Independent Reporter Laura McGann, who was in Alaska twice, covering Sarah Palin, has been tagging along with Palin's campaign plane for the past week or so, and will remain with her team up through election day. She is filing more than one article per day, and they are all worth reading. Yesterday, she wrote a short entry about Ana Marie Cox, founder of Wonkette, now a Time Magazine contributing writer, joining the reporter pool.

Al Jazeera is sending a team up to Wasilla, to cover the election from here, arriving this weekend, staying through election day. Along with some of our other Alaska bloggers, I'll be helping them.

Al Jazeera English (AJE) has covered aspects of racism in the 2008 presidential campaign better than any other global or US-based network.

images by Dennis Zaki

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Five -- "We Need A Bigger Bus!!!" - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

She didn't actually say it, she was only thinking it. So many bodies, so few tires:

Sen. Murkowski on Rydell - Vote For The Felon!

Alaska GOP politicians and apparatchiks will get increasingly desperate over the next six days, as they haplessly try to craft the message that inevitably will tie them to endorsing both corruption and anti-democratic tendencies in Alaska's political machinery.

One of many examples today was Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's call to Rick Rydell's morning program on KENI-AM, at about 8:45 this morning. She asked people to put their morals aside, and vote for a convicted felon - Ted Stevens. (I know, I know, he isn't officially a felon until the end of his sentencing hearing, that may be delayed until after he is pardoned by W, which would essentially make him NOT A FELON)

But, in my estimation, Sen. Murkowski is committing the gravest public political error of her career in this move, and others she is bound to be making this week, in support of the "Vote for Ted" movement. Here are the reasons:

1) As a Roman Catholic, she is asking voters to commit a sin by doing a demonstrable wrong.

2) Ted is going to lose. Her endorsement of him, in the midst of national Senate GOP abandonment of Stevens, will gain her no creds among DC GOP stalwarts, come January.

3) She is giving her 2012 opponent in Alaska some very ripe fruit for the picking.

4) Any chances of helping Alaskans in the new January U.S. Senate will be considerably diminished by these actions.

5) The MP-3s and videos of her actions over the next few days will be used to document nationally why our state is the poster child of the most selfish entitlement politics in the entire country. Again, and again, and again.

This is sad, because I have a lot of respect for Sen. Murkowski. I suppose she is trapped into having to do this, but we shouldn't cut her any slack on this sick, slick move on her part.

What If Sarah Palin Was Black? - Interview With Sarisha Palin

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Four -- The Frank Gwartney Ethics Complaint

Oct. 24, 2008

Talis Colberg
Attorney General
P.O. Box 110300
Juneau, AK 99811-0300
1031 W. 4th Avenue, Suite 200
Anchorage, AK 99501-1994

RE: Ethics Complaint

Dear Attorney General Colberg,

Please accept this letter as an Ethics Complaint against Governor Sarah Palin under Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act (Alaska Statute, Title 39, Chapter 52),stating as follows:


Sec. 39.52.120. Misuse of official position

(a) A public officer may not use, or attempt to use, an official position for personal gain, and may not intentionally secure or grant unwarranted benefits or treatment for any person.

(b) A public officer may not

(3) use state time, property, equipment, or other facilities to benefit personal or
financial interests;

Gov. Palin attempted to and in fact did use her official position for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits for her daughters by, among other things: charging the state for her children to travel with her to events that they were not invited to and to which their presence served no legitimate state purpose or business. Gov. Palin later amended travel expense reports to give the appearance that the presence of her daughters at these events constituted legitimate official and/or state business. [see AP INVESTIGATION: Alaska funded Palin kids' travel]


The Governor‟s children accompanied Palin on trips and to events that they were not invited to and to which their presence served no legitimate State or official business or purpose. In some instances, upon arriving to events that they were not invited to and to which their presence was not expected or required, roles for the Governor‟s children were created. See Washington Post article dated September 9, 2008 (

The Governor charged the state $2,741.26 to take Bristol and Piper to Philadelphia for a meeting of the National Governor‟s Association, listing the official purpose as “NGA Governor‟s Youth Programs and family activities.” A spokeswoman for the sponsor said that was basically childcare. The girls had their own room for five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for $215.46 a night, expense records show.

In all, the State paid for 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights for Palin's daughters Bristol, 17, Willow, 14, and 7-year-old Piper. In some cases, Palin also charged the state for the girls' hotel rooms.

According to a Washington Post article dated September 9, 2008
dyn/content/article/2008/09/08/AR2008090803088.html): “Asked Monday about the official policy on charging for children's travel expenses, (State Finance Director Kim) Garnero said: „We cover the expenses of anyone who's conducting state business. I can't imagine kids could be doing that.

A State of Alaska Attorney General's opinion dated September 30, 2004 and Redated for Publication on 3-9- states: “If the Governor were to allow the spouse of an administration official to accompany the official on the King Air at no cost, the Governor would be granting a benefit to that official. Free air travel is a valuable „privilege‟ or „service‟ or „advantage‟ because the state official would avoid the cost of paying airfare for his or her spouse to undertake what is essentially a personal trip for the spouse. Thus, free air travel on the King Air for the spouses of administration officials would be a „benefit‟ under the Ethics Act....

“Therefore, under current law, the Ethics Act precludes the spouses of administration officials from flying on the King Air unless the official reimburses the state the cost of a coach fare ticket for the spouse.” Governor Palin‟s use of State resources to pay for her daughters‟ travel and hotel rooms are no different.

While the September 30, 2004 Opinion refers to spousal travel and not children, the Ethics Act defines a personal interest as “an interest held or involvement by a public officer, or the officer's immediate family member . . . from which, or as a result of which, a person or organization receives a benefit.” AK Statute Sec. 39.52.960(18). The Governor's daughters, like the Governor's spouse, are immediate family members. Accordingly, just as air travel for a spouse is considered a valuable privilege or service so is air travel for a child. In addition, as reasoned in the Opinion, Governor Palin avoided the cost of having to pay for, what essentially were personal trips of her daughters.

State law requires that “the official reimburses the state the cost of a coach fare ticket” for flying on state aircraft. By extension, the law requires an official to reimburse the costs of family members flying on commercial aircraft when they are not traveling on state or official business.


Reacting to public records requests for travel documents, including the trip to Philadelphia for the NGA conference, Governor Palin asked that the travel documents be altered to give the appearance that her childrens‟ attendance was for legitimate state or official business or purposes. See

A public agency should not alter records that have been requested under the Public Records Act (AS 40.25.110), and then provide the altered records. The alteration of these documents constitutes an improper use of the Governor's official position. Additionally, given that the purpose of the alterations may have been to disguise violations of the Ethics Act, the circumstances leading to the alteration - including the identity of all persons involved with the alteration -should be fully investigated.

Based on the facts set forth above and publically reported by the Associated Press, Governor Palin violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Governor Palin intentionally secured unwarranted benefits for family members, improperly used state property to benefit her personal and financial interests, and illegally altered documents that were the subject of a Public Records request.

I am requesting that the state Personnel Board investigate Gov. Palin improper and illegal use of her official position for personal gain.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this.


Frank Gwartney
P.O. Box 90227
Anchorage, AK 99509-0227
(907) 243-7632

Palin Featured in New Obama Ad

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Three -- Not a "Whack Job," a Ruthlessly Cynical Whack Job

Progressive Alaska covered Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's evolving statements about what Alaska Senator Ted Stevens should now do, yesterday and Monday. Essentially, she is now asking him to step aside, but in an undefined way, that appears to mean he should stay on the ticket next Tuesday, somehow win, and then immediately step down, allowing for a later special election. In the 90-day interim, she would be able to appoint a temporary successor to Stevens' seat, including herself, if she so chooses.

But, unlike Alaska GOP Communications Chief, McHugh Pierre (seen above left, with Gov. Palin last summer), or the Stevens campaign, she didn't specifically ask people to vote for $t. Ted. Why be specific, anyway? It is far too late for his name to be removed from the November 4th ballot.

So far, the Alaska media seems to be content with categorizing her Tuesday morning Stevens statement as being something it really isn't. They are printing that it is her request for him to step aside, or down. It isn't. It is her veiled request for him to stay on the ticket until it suits both her and the Alaska Republican Party. Anyone who thinks she will defer to Alaska GOP preferences for a Stevens successor, over her own wacky ideas, is a fool.

image by Dennis Zaki

Alaska Women for OBAMA - The Video

This video is so cool! Alaska bloggers have been asked to publish it and encourage others Outside to spread it around too.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred Sixty-Two -- Sarah Palin, the Real Socialist

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-One -- Wasilla Project - The e-mail Scandal

The fourth and final installment of the Wasilla Project:

McCain to Stevens - "Now Step Down"

John McCain this morning:

"It is a sign of the health of our democracy that the people continue to hold their representatives to account for improper or illegal conduct, but this verdict is also a sign of the corruption and insider-dealing that has become so pervasive in our nation's capital.

"It is clear that Sen. Stevens has broken his trust with the people and that he should now step down. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will be spurred by these events to redouble their efforts to end this kind of corruption once and for all."

Meanwhile, Ted's campaign chief has other plans:

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share a few thoughts with you about today's news.

First, the Senator is committed to stay in this fight. He will be home soon and he will be campaigning hard around the state.

Second, Alaskans should decide who our senator is. It should not be up to 12 people who have never been to Alaska to decide who represents us in Washington, D.C.

Third, because of overzealous prosecutors, Senator Stevens was deprived of his rights. The prosecutors, operating independent of the normal Justice Department process, spent millions of dollars to try to get Ted Stevens. They could only come up with charges that claimed he failed to file accurate paperwork. They presented an indictment that was false. They insisted on trying this case thousands of miles from Alaska. They, apparently intentionally, failed to follow the law and failed to turn over to Stevens' defense team evidence that tended to show he was not guilty. They sent a witness back to Alaska without telling the Judge or the defense, knowing he had been subpoenaed by the defense. They presented evidence to the jury that they knew to be untrue. The judge said, according to The Hill newspaper on October 8, 2008, “It is very troubling that the government would utilize the records the government knows were false.” There are numerous examples of their misconduct.

Remember that the Alaska Public Offices Commission just last month determined that our opponent had failed to file accurate disclosure statements. He has admitted this was not the first time. He failed to report a gift he received in 2002. When he ran for Mayor in 2003 voters did not know of that gift.

So this race is not about who accurately reported gifts. This race remains about who can best represent Alaska in Washington—who has the proven record of fighting every day to do what is best for Alaska. We all know that Ted has that record. And we need to re-elect him so he will continue to stand up for all Alaskans.

How can you help? First, tell your friends and neighbors that the prosecutors overstepped—that this verdict should not decide who our senator is. Second, make the same point in a letter to the editor, a call into a local radio program, or by posting comments online. Finally, we can still use your donations to help us pay for the ads we will need to air. Make a donation today.

Lets let Alaskans decide who should represent us. Don't let the misguided efforts of these zealous prosecutors tell us what to do. Lets fight for Ted because he has always fought for us.


Mike Tibbles
Campaign Manager

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Sixty -- Will Sarah Vote For Ted?

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin refused to ask Sen. Ted Stevens, upon his felony conviction today, to step aside. She merely told us she expected him to do the right thing:

"I'm confident that Senator Stevens from this point on will do the right thing for the people of Alaska."

In Japan, doing "the right thing" in such a situation might involve a very sharp knife in the hands of the person who has to do it, but in Sarah's world, it usually involves a very large bus with studded tires year-round. She drives it.

She just hasn't figured out how to do it yet. She's trying to find allies on this at the same time she is making her 2012 allies, from town to town.

The chief spokesperson for the Alaska GOP was all over the media late this afternoon, saying:

"We need to continue to support Sen. Stevens. We need to vote for him because a vote for him is a vote for a conservative candidate, a Republican who best represents the interests and beliefs of Alaskans. … We don't know what happens in the future. But if you don't want Mark Begich, you vote for Ted Stevens."

I realized this evening, sitting at a Valley board meeting, that there's an incredible cognitive dissonance here. Unless Palin comes out against Stevens, if asked further about it before the coming weekend, she's endorsing her state party spokesperson's recommendation to vote for the poster child of the group most often linked with the crackdown on Alaska political corruption.

This is very big, for Alaska and the country.

Ethan Berkowitz - Brains Over Bluster

[Terry Haines at the Rogue Wave wrote what I consider to be the best article about Ethan Berkowitz since the Alaska primary. I asked him if I could reprint it here. Terry's cool with that]

-- by Terry Haines

Fishermen's Hall in Kodiak Alaska is a Political Lion's Den

Many of the candidates or board members or councillors who have met local fishermen there may have felt poorly protected sitting behind the United Fishermens Marketing Association's long formica table. The notoriously "politically engaged" citizens of Kodiak have a tendency to gather their chairs into a tight predatory semicircle around the table, stroking beards and waiting with glowing eyes take turns gnawing at the candidate or councillor. Many who come here fear "open" events, preferring private sessions in the homes of true believers.

But Ethan Berkowitz looked comfortable behind the big brown table yesterday as I entered the Hall. He was talking about Adam Smith and ethics in capitalism. And the lions were listening.

Berkowitz has a talent for defining the overarching philosophy that drives his politics, which is unusual among successful politicians. Being specific takes away the wiggle room essential to so many pols- most feel the need to be a fan of both Rays and Phillies, depending on the audience. But Ethan's defining characteristic as a politician is his iron insistence on principle over pragmatism. In the last governor's race here he disappointed many in Kodiak when he chose to run as lieutenant to his friend Tony Knowles. He had slowly gained a great deal of support here, and many considered him the superior gubernatorial candidate. But he had promised to step off if Tony decided to run, and Ethan honored his commitment. As he told us yesterday "Never compromise on things you believe in, or your loyalties. Legislatures are like shark tanks. Once you get cut they will eat you alive. You have to stand up for what you believe in."

Maybe that's why he fits in so well around here. Fishermen are famously firm in their beliefs and loyalties. And he is also a confirmed capitalist and fishermen were the very first freemarketeers. His reference to Adam Smith was part of a theme: that there is a big difference between capitalism and cutthroat business. He is a big proponent of the former- but he repeatedly makes the point that our government often isn't. In response to a question about the new program that privatized Alaska's crab and locked out the free market he said "True capitalists should be opposed to monopolies."

He also takes exception to other interferences in the free market. In favor of removing subsidies for oil and gas production, he also points to hindrances to development of renewable resources that should be eliminated, suggesting that our energy policy has been dominated by monied interests, not in providing an "even playing field" for everyone. In favor of developing ANWR, he is not in favor of the position of thr proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of the greatest salmon run on earth, nor is he in favor of offshore oil and gas development in Bristol Bay. But he stressed the need for Alaska, and America, to be energy independent both for quality of life and national security reasons. So he is in favor of responsibly extracting more of our reserves while making sure we have a wide open field to develop alternatives.

When asked about the trouble our rural communities are having, especially with the cost of heating oil, Berkowitz pointed out that while Anchorage is Alaska's center of business and population, the wealth of Alaska comes from its far away places and we have a responsibility to communities there. For years I assumed the Republican Party was the place to look for responsible capitalists. I found one, but he's a Democrat.

On The Issues:

Fish: In favor of a federally funded observer program. Leery of Crab Ratz type programs for their tendency to curtail both opportunity and free markets. "You don't want absentee investors controlling your fisheries."

Resources: "We still act like a colony. We extract the raw product and ship it away, where most of the value is taken."

Health Care:"We compromise our moral integrity" when we put pharmaceutical companies profits before the health of our citizens. "People who are sick should be able to get treatment, people who provide it should be able to get paid." Says Denali Kid Care could cover 20,000 more kids in Alaska. Says Medicare reimbursement levels are so low doctors often take a loss on those patients.

Education: "We need an education system that teaches every kid as an individual." Quoting Yeats on learning: "It's about lighting a fire rather than filling a bucket."

Earmarks: Rather than working earmark by earmark, Berkowitz calls for a distinct strategy on health care, energy and education. By planning ahead you can fully fund programs rather than reactionary knee jerk earmarking.

The Economy: Beyond bailouts, Berkowitz favors a federal infrastructure investment, especially in energy and communications, as well as a commitment to rebuild our health and education systems, to provide a solid base for future economies.

On Don Young: Ethan doesn't talk about Don much, except to say "I've heard a lot from Don Young about how he doesn't like the people he works with. We've got to get past that. Personal attacks trivialize the real issues."

On Term Limits: Against them. He thinks its up to the voters to limit terms.

"I like to think I am Don Young's term limit."
I'll end with a quote from Adam Smith. I think it's pretty obvious Ethan is familiar with it. I wish Mr. McCain was:

"To attain to this envied situation, the candidates for fortune too frequently abandon the paths of virtue; for unhappily, the road which leads to the one, and that which leads to the other, lie sometimes in very opposite directions. But the ambitious man flatters himself that, in the splendid situation to which he advances, he will have so many means of commanding the respect and admiration of mankind, and will be enabled to act with such superior propriety and grace, that the lustre of his future conduct will entirely cover, or efface, the foulness of the steps by which he arrived at that elevation."

image by somewhere in Alaska

Alaska GOP to Alaska Voters - "Vote for Ted, "Cause He Can't"

“We need to continue to support Sen. Stevens. We need to vote for him because a vote for him is a vote for a conservative candidate, a Republican who best represents the interests and beliefs of Alaskans. … We don’t know what happens in the future. But if you don’t want Mark Begich, you vote for Ted Stevens.”

- McHugh Pierre, chief spokesman for the Alaska Republican Party.

Q: I was convicted of a felony, but have served my time and am on probation. Can I register to vote?

A: No. A convicted felon may not register to vote unless unconditionally discharged from custody. When you are no longer on probation, a copy of your discharge papers will allow you to register.

- that's from the State of Alaska Division of Elections web site.

“This is a sad day for Alaska and for Sen. Stevens and his family. The verdict shines a light on the corrupting influence of the big oil service company that was allowed to control too much of our state. … As governor of the state of Alaska, I will carefully monitor this situation and take any appropriate action as needed. In the meantime, I ask the people of Alaska to join me in respecting the workings of our judicial system. I’m confident Sen. Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska.

- Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska

Let me see if I have this straight:

1). The chief spokesperson for the Alaska GOP is telling Alaska voters that their best choice is to vote for a convicted felon, in spite of this glaring set of facts:

Tom Anderson : Naughty Gray Bar Hotel
Bill Allen: Very, Very, Very Naughty Plead Guilty
Rick Smith: Naughty Plead Guilty
Pete Kott: Naughty and Easy Gray Bar Hotel
Bruce Weyhrauch: Naughty Indicted
John Cowdery: Naughty Indicted
Vic Kohring: Naughty Gray Bar Hotel
Ben Stevens: Very Naughty In the Bag
Ted Stevens: Very, Very Naughty and Haughty CONVICTED!
Don Young: Naughty and Rude Under Investigation and Spending $ Like Crazy
Frank Murkowski: Naughty and Slow Give 'im rope
Jim Clark: Very, Very, Very Naughty Plead Guilty

2). That felon - Ted Stevens - cannot even vote for himself next week.

3). The state's Governor, even though campaigning on a so-called "anti-corruption" platform, refuses to openly call for Stevens to step aside.

4). Stevens' conviction assures the elections of Mark Begich and Ethan Berkowitz. Ethan was probably already there, but this helps.

5). This will probably help our state races, too. Especially if we all push that idiot, McHugh Pierre's plea. Does anyone have any pictures of Palin pallin' with Pierre? If you do - send 'em to me.

6). We'll see how this effects November 5th, 2008.

I can't wait!

Comedy Interlude No. Twelve

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Fifty-Nine -- $t. Ted & $arah - So Much Alike

Alaska GOP Leaders Probably Meeting Right Now

Sen. Ted Stevens has been found guilty on all seven felony counts, eight days before he is to stand for re-election. He will surely lose to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich now, even in Alaska.

The rumor I heard last week from a friend who used to be on the Alaska GOP Central Committee, is that should what happened this morning happen - the guilty verdict - the top Alaska GOP leadership will seek to remove Stevens from the ticket, and have a replacement - most likely Mead Treadwell - put onto the ballot in Stevens' place.

No doubt President Bush will pardon Sen. Stevens.

image by Darkblack

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Fifty-Eight - frsbdg's Great DailyKos Bunker Diary

Anchorage DailyKos diarist, frsbdg, put up a diary there this morning that pokes fun at yesterday's Kinkaid Park bunker Palin rally. The rally in the bunker was a klunker, at best. It was so emblematic of how the wheels are shearing off of the McCain-Palin clown car. I can't believe KWHL had anything to do with this, but they did.

Reading Wesley Loy's Anchorage Daily News story about this yesterday, one doesn't get an accurate impression of what this must have been like - at all. The story just sat there yesterday, gathering very few comments. But after frsbdg put up his Kos diary, with a link to Loy's story, it picked up quite a few. Here's one, from AK_Finngirl:

I was at the event. It was BEYOND lame. I assumed that there would be enough people there so I could watch inconspicuously, but there was practically no one there. like the other posters said, MAYBE 50. Of course the news article says it was about 200 throughout the whole four hours, and I didn't stay.

The entertainment/singer/comedian was frankly, bizarre. The event had all the energy of a dying tree stump.

Here's frsbdg's YouTube of the t-shirt counter and almost-empty bunker:

I've seen more people in that bunker waxing skis on rainy weekday. You can go to his diary and listen to the lame band. I'd rather not post it.

image by frsbdg

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Fifty-Seven -- Sarah Flailin'

Comedy Interlude No. Eleven

makes me want to stop complaining about our local media....

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Fifty-Six -- The Wheels ARE Coming Off the McCain-Palin Clown Car

The last full week of the 2008 political campaign season opened with John McCain trooping a bunch of his "economic advisors" onto a stage, for "An announcement" on the economy. It was a pathetic attempt to get some free air time. As blogger Jane Hamsher observed:

John McCain is on my TeeVee right now, having asked for time for a special announcement.

He's assembled Mittens, Meg Whitman, Michael Steele, Tim Pawlenty and a host of others on the stage with him so he can blather about his tax cuts that will spur growth.

"I can't compete with Barack Obama to buy air time, so I'm going to pretend I've got something new to say so that I can get my face in front of the camera."

This is pretty transparent. If I was CNN I'd put the meter on.

How short are they getting on money? Here's from yesterday, in New Mexico:

Mark Salter, a senior McCain adviser, said 1,400 people went through security to get to the Albuquerque event. And he said it costs a lot of money to build large crowds — money the McCain campaign doesn't have.

Unless the tracking polls begin to show some sort of a McCain-Palin trend, expect Gov. Palin to continue to concentrate on her own agenda for 2012, rather than upon following specific instructions from the McCain camp. This could get good.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Fifty-Five -- Sarah & Ted -- "It Isn't Mine, I Just Use It"

from Talking Points Memo:

What is it about Alaskan politicians? Palin is given a $150,000 wardrobe, which she wears, but doesn't own it. Stevens was given furniture, but he doesn't own it, yet it still sits in his home. Stuff is given to them, but they don't own it? Steven and Palin must attend the same seminars on electoral ethics, or is this just an Alaska thing?

I suppose it is "an Alaska thing" more than most realize. This YouTube of Palin and Stevens, giving a joint press conference before the 4th of July weekend, shows their chuminess on another level. Stevens calls this the "Sarah and Ted Show":

Update - Monday morning: Amanda Coyne, at Alaska Dispatch, has this to say about comparisons between the Stevens and Palin excuses and protestations:

What’s worse, the reader might point out, is that barely anything is mentioned of this in our local media. Nor of the fact that at least one of those politicians can stare straight into the camera and flat-out lie. The Anchorage Daily News in its Obama endorsement today, said, rather woefully, that Palin was unprepared to be president.

Unprepared? That’s it? How about all those lies that she's told since she's been on the trail?

Awesome Obama Rally Picture in Anchorage Yesterday

Saradise Lost - Chapter One Hundred-Fifty-Four -- Sarah's Worst Week Yet

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin had already become a national joke before this past week, but beginning with her vapid, almost clueless appearance on Saturday Night Live, back on October 18th, and ending with her comments in Indiana yesterday, about being "annoyed" with Katie Couric, Palin has continued to give uncommitted and independent voters the best reason they've had in years to vote for a Democrat for President. McCain, for sure, has done badly enough for himself this past week, but Palin seemed to have something new to detract from his campaign, every single day, this past week.

Saturday, October 18th - Saturday Night Live appearance: Here's Gryphen's analysis:

It is impossible to tell if Sarah Palin is just a very good sport, or if she does not truly realize that they are insulting her.

My guess is the second one. She is simply too ignorant to know that she is participating in her own political destruction.

Sunday, October 19th - Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama, criticizes Palin:

Powell expressed disappointment in the negative tone of McCain's campaign, as well as in his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee. Powell says he does not believe Palin is ready to take over as president, if necessary.

Monday, October 20th - Alaska Rep. Les Gara announced his request that the Alaska Attorney General appoint an independent investigator:

“I would note that while I believe criminal conduct may have been committed by campaign staff who worked in Alaska to stop the Troopergate investigation, I do not believe you or your staff have engaged in such conduct,” Gara wrote. “Nonetheless, your office, as counsel to many witnesses who did not show up for legislative subpoenas, and counsel for the Governor, would appear to have at least conflicts on this matter. Those potential conflicts would suggest the appropriateness of an independent investigator."

Tuesday, October 21st - Palin proposed U.S. Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage. And the Associated Press dug deeper into Palin's travel expenses as governor, coming up with this gem (among others):

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

On Tuesday morning, the story of $150,000 spent on behalf of Palin by the RNC, for clothes and accessories from Saks and Nieman-Marcus, started to gain national momentum, while at the same time, new polling details showed her to be the single main feature in the turn away from the McCain campaign, in the minds of many independent voters.

On Tuesday, Palin also muffed a simple question - from an elementary school student - on what role the Vice President plays in the U.S. Senate.

Wednesday, October 22nd - Details began to emerge of the level of feuding breaking out between the Palin and McCain factions in their campaign. And on Wednesday, the Ku Klux Klan endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket.

Thursday, October 23rd - Criticism of Palin's "real America" meme deepened nationwide. Obama delivered speech in Indianapolis, where he declared:

"There are no real or fake parts of this country, we are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation—we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it, patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women from Indiana and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America—they have served the United States of America."

Friday, October 24th - In St. Louis, Sarah and Todd Palin testified under oath before Alaska investigator Timothy Petumenos, about their roles in attempting to get Public Safety Director Walt Monegan to get their ex-brother-in-law illegally fired from the Alaska State Troopers.

Saturday, October 25th - More details continued to emerge from within the McCain-Palin campaign, about the growing perception that not only is Palin inadequate for the role she's being put through, but that the campaign perceives her to be quite selfish, and a "rogue" to boot:

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser, “she does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” a Republican source said of Palin.

And yesterday, In Fort Wayne, Indiana, a petulant Palin told a crowd:

“Last time I was here I got to tell a crowd that I had to give a national interview that didn’t go so well. And it was because I was kind of annoyed with the questions that I was being asked because I thought they were kind of irrelevant to, you know, national security issues and getting our economy back on track, so I kind of showed some of that annoyance.”

Today, the Anchorage Daily News endorsed our Governor's running mate's rival. Also, today, Obama drew another huge crowd in Florida - 75,000. Palin, who two weeks ago, even a week ago, was drawing huge crowds too, drew 5,000 in Orlando, Florida.