Thursday, April 23, 2009

Paralyzing State Government, or Reporting the Unreported?

Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin created an alternative universe this January, that conjured an image of herself as victim of "Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie." She was never able to cite the lie.

And early this week, Palin credited these same pesky bloggers with spreading lies that led to the defeat of her nominee for Attorney General. To illustrate her point, she once again failed to cite the lie she believed we had created.

What we have done, though, must annoy her. We have challenged her to the point that she can no longer claim the mantle she once wore as an "ethics reformer."

Between Palin's initial complaint and this week, Alaska bloggers have helped stir interest in the food and fuel crisis in villages on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, watched over her administration's role in the North Pacific Management Council's Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch deliberations, filed ethics complaints against the governor, and played a key role in the defeat of Wayne Anthony Ross, her nominee for Alaska Attorney General.

In January, Palin told Esquire Magazine that, "Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me." At the same time, Alaska bloggers were attempting to send reporter Dennis Zaki to Emmonak on the lower Yukon, to bring back information, and to help organize assistance in that community and dozens of others.

In February, Alaska's progressive bloggers monitored Palin's trip to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta with Televangelist Franklin Graham and Alaska's most prominent homophobe, Anchorage Baptist minister, Jerry Prevo, where they handed out cookies, bibles and blankets. When Palin came back from the trip, suggesting rural Alaska Natives be moved to "cluster villages," Alaska bloggers called it for what it was - patronizing misunderstanding at best, not-so-subtle racism at worst.

In February, we also assisted
keeping the record straight about Wasilla resident Frank Gwartney's success in getting the Palin's to return almost $10,000.00 in illegal travel expenses the Palins had bilked from Alaskans.

In March, one of our progressive bloggers, Linda Kellen,
filed an ethics complaint, based on the Governor wearing Arctic Cat gear that had been part of a promotional package to her husband from the company, at the same time she was officially opening the state's biggest snowmobile race. The overall package with the Palins has been lucrative to them, but far more beneficial to Arctic Cat, the sports product maker.

In late March, through the second half of April, Alaska bloggers were instrumental in the fight to defeat Wayne Anthony Ross for Attorney General. We knew
we were a key part of the battle, but were surprised when she promoted us to her chief foes in the WAR battle.

Most of the serious progressive Alaska bloggers were fairly benign toward Palin until she was nominated as John McCain's running mate. That nomination changed her. And it changed us. Here's how Alaska's leading progressive commentator Shannyn Moore
described our coalition and battles, so far:

Feeling like an endangered species, Alaska progressives are tight. The Alaska Bloggers are tighter. Right after the nomination of Sarah Palin for VP, Wasilla blogger, musician, professor, and all around renaissance man, Phil Munger, threw a party at his home-the first of many. Secrecies were sworn; we were not alone in front of our computers-we had each other; Mudflats, Immoral Minority, Writing Raven, Celtic Diva, Progressive Alaska, Alaska Report, What Do I Know, and myself, Just a Girl From Homer. Documentary crews interviewed us and protected anonymous identities at the time.

What we were going up against was so much bigger than any one of us. We’d email or call each other daily. We’d comment on each other’s blogs. We shared a community and a desire to make Alaska better. We told each other when we were wrong.

As a group, we’re like herding cats. But Sarah Palin is right; we made a difference.

Yesterday, another Alaska progressive, Sondra Tompkins, filed an ethics complaint against Palin. The number of complaints so far against the Governor is now twelve, including one she filed against herself, in an attempt to derail a legislative investigation into her ethics.
Here's a summary of Tompkins' complaint:

“An ethics complaint against Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be filed this afternoon asserting that Palin’s involvement with SarahPAC constitutes “outside employment” and “misuse of official position.” Anchorage resident Sondra Tompkins, child disability advocate and mother of a special needs child, is filing the complaint after observing Governor Palin repeatedly display “a pattern of unethical behavior.” Sondra believes that the tipping point for her was Sarah Palin’s most recent abdication of her role as Governor and apparent conflict-of-interest when she spoke at two outside events in Indiana rather than work with the Alaska Legislature during the most critical time, the end of the session.

The complaint alleges:

a) Governor Palin has entered into a contract outside of her official duties with the donors, employees, partners and any or all other participants involved in Sarah PAC.

b) The recent partisan trip to Indiana by the Governor was purely to benefit personal interests, had no benefit for the State of Alaska and was in direct conflict with her official duties.

c) The Governor left the State to participate in these events during the most critical end-of-session Legislative activities, at a time where the legislators themselves are not permitted to leave.

Late yesterday, Palin
issued a statement on the complaint:


Latest Ethics Complaint Deemed Outrageous April 22, 2009, Juneau, Alaska – The Office of the Governor today expressed outrage that yet another baseless ethics complaint has been filed as part of an alarming new development in Alaska politics.

“In the past several months, we have seen an orchestrated effort by the governor’s opponents to make differences of opinion and ideology almost criminal,” said Mike Nizich, the governor’s chief of staff. “Governor Palin has spent a considerable amount of time and money fighting ethics complaints – and no charge has been substantiated. I hope that the publicity-seekers will face a backlash from Alaskans who have a sense of fair play and proportion. I served six previous governors, and I’ve never seen anything like the attacks against Governor Palin.”

The latest ethics complaint against the governor alleges that she entered into a “contract” outside of her official duties in regard to a political action committee and that her recent trip to Indiana also conflicted with those duties.

“These allegations are categorically false and ridiculous, and are an abuse of the Executive Ethics Act,” Nizich said.

“We are blessed to live in a democracy in which everyone has the right to free speech, to petition their lawmakers, to vote, to run for office and, yes, to allege misconduct by public officials,” said Bill McAllister, the governor’s communications director. “But obviously the purpose of this complaint and the previous ones is to distract the administration and the public, and to paralyze the Department of Law and the executive branch.

Wow! The Governor thinks that this ragtag group of pathetic, annoying bloggers want to "paralyze the Department of Law and the executive branch." And I only thought we were trying to report on the unreported and seek transparency in government.

Meanwhile, Alaska's pathetic bloggers
are covering ComFish 2009 in Kodiak, where, Thursday evening, ex-Sen. Ted Stevens will give his first speech since electoral defeat, conviction and dismissal of charges. He'll be addressing the largely Japanese, Norwegian, Korean and Seattle-based factory fishing ship fleet owners he enriched through control of a combination of earmarks and possession of seats on the rule-making North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

Flying down to Kodiak, at state expense, will be Sarah and Todd Palin.


Unknown said...

Watching the decline of Sarah Palin, from August, 2008, to present, I believe she is now exhibiting borderline psychotic behavior. If she really believes the stuff she spews out to the public, then she is the only one living in that fantasy, and the borders are closing in on her.

I will bet that WAR is having similar thoughts about Palin. What kind of governor runs off and abandons her Attorney General choice right at the moment of the vote to appoint? That is truely bizarre behavior. Like Walt Monegan, I bet WAR is sorry he every heard the name 'Sarah Palin.'

Regardless of Nizich's oh-so-predictable-paid-and-therefore-unconvincing comments to the contrary, I think most Alaskans believe Sarah Palin is not paying attention to the needs of Alaska. I think most Alaskans believe Palin has dragged Alaska through her personal mud into the equivalent of an extended Jerry Springer special which we cannot seem to stop.

Anonymous said...

When will the Governor get the mental health help she so desperately needs? The whole world is watching.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. At first I believed she was either a sociopath or a borderline personality.
Over the past 7 months, it is becoming increasingly obvious and very apparent that GINO suffers from NPD; narcissistic personality disorder.
Unfortunately individuals with NPD do not get better. They get worse. They are very damaging to themselves and others, particular anyone who challenges them. They are egomaniacs and require the love of everyone at all times.
A NPD individual cannot stand criticism, dissent or disagreement.
From the way she is disintegrating especially over the last 2 months, she needs urgent mental health help.
Whether her family recognizes her illness and is willing to do an intervention is a real question.
When she crashes and burns, she will take a lot of people with her.

If I'm wrong, I will apologize. But from my point of view, this is one dangerously ill woman.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who's more full of themselves, "progressive" bloggers or SP.

I'll bet that if I walked down the main street of the town i'm in right now, Ketchikan, and asked ten people if they've ever read the "progressive blogs" that not a single one of them would even know who you are.

You remind me very much of Rick Rydell, a full-of-himself blowhard.

clark said...

PA, diva, mudflats, shannyn, et al are in a different class than rydell because they provide links to back up their opinions. each of them provides a lot of details and brings a lot of experience to the discussion.
i do think it counterproductive to speculate on sarah palin's mental condition.
it's distressing enough to read those official press releases on the state web site -- they read like a note someone would pass you in an eighth grade classroom.
i feel like i did for the last three years of the bush administration -- november 2010 can't come soon enough for me, and i am sure i am underestimating the damage that can be done in the intervening time.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Anonymous said...

I don't know who's more full of themselves, "progressive" bloggers or SP.
April 23, 2009 8:12 PM
Anon palinbot eff off!!!!!
Phil I found your blog through a mutual friend Pamalah...I was horrified at GINO and sending out newsletters and she wrote to me suggested your blog, then I found Mudflats and All the other Alaskan progressive blogs! And I thank god everyday to find y'all!!!!! If GINO doesn't like it too bad! She wants to ban books & Free speech like Hitler did.
Although palinbot's will say you guys are "Obama Operative" you are just speaking out against corruption and injustice. YES! I think you All Alaskan progressive bloggers helped America dodge a bullet.
Bless you all! Thank you for not being afraid and telling the TRUTH ABOUT GINO!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Problem is I'm not a Palin bot.

Didn't vote for her, never would.

True, Rydell blows a lot of smoke that isn't backed up most of the time.

My point is Clark, that Phil, et al want to give themselves more credit than is due.

And Palin is more than happy to blame them.

Phil tends to paint these larger-than-life pictures of himself and his colleagues, and my point is that you're not as big as you think you are.

You're preaching to the choir and whatever Palin Trolls come here to see what's going on.

I have the afternoon off today, perhaps I should take a stroll downt the boardwalk and test my theory out.

10 people.

I'll bet not a single one of them reads this or the other "progressive

F off, eh ?

Grow some thicker skin people, thou does protest too much.

Don't get me wrong, PA is a great blog, that's why I read it. Phil is a very good writer with a keen insight into the lives we lead in Alaska. Although a bit over-dramatic at times, and extremely rude to people who try and reach out to him, I'd say that he still has a pretty good blog.

Anonymous said...

here, report this

Fay said...

You poor vile, pathetic, misguided people! For your sake and Alaska's sake, I hope you wise up and come to your senses.

clark said...

My point is Clark, that Phil, et al want to give themselves more credit than is due.all of 'em deserve credit. how much, i don't know. not sure it even matters. their efforts during the mc cain campaign were significant. palin was perhaps her own worse enemy. but the interface of national reporters and bloggers with local progressive bloggers was a crucial cog, seems to me. i don't know how the lower 48 journalists would have been able to fathom alaska politics otherwise.
the fact that mudflats was getting more hits than ADN during the campaign can't have been lost on the MSM.
palin, doogan and others try to say that AK progressive bloggers are NOT important, and do not have credibility, while at the same time blaming them for their own problems. remember what doogan was saying? They're taking little pieces off her. [must be the same as being "nibbled by ducks" as WAR put it.] it's a really strange situation -- cognitive dissonance. either they have influence or they don't. either you can prove them wrong or you can't. it's getting increasingly difficult to deceive, in this age where pretty much everybody is net savvy.

Philip Munger said...

I'd be very surprised if anon from Ketchikan would find anyone from the first ten or first fifty people on the Ketchikan BW who would know who the heck any or all the progressive AK bloggers are.

I'm not sure what sort of point that might prove, one way or another.

If PA or Just a Girl from Homer or CDBO or Andrew Halcro covers a story nobody else does, that proves to be of consequence, it doesn't matter if the first 500 people on the Ketchikan BW knows who we are or what we are trying to do.

I got into this blogging, first, to cover a trial with another person who had the opposite view of mine as to the innocence of the person being tried.

I started PA to create a site that had links to many other progressive sites, and tried to help them connect. And to try to become a better writer.

Nobody's blog that gets thousands of unique visitors per day, knows exactly what direction the readership is going to take the blog.

I don't think any of the lefty political blogs in Alaska are saying we're a major force. I'm only claiming here that we probably have had a measurable impact this winter on both how stories have been covered here, and on how some long-term developing stories turned out.

basheert said...

As someone from the Lower 48, who has spent a great deal of time reading and learning from the Progressive Alaska Blogs, I am grateful to all of them for helping many of us realize just how dangerous and destructive, (ok and nutsy) your GINO is.
During the election, the information that filtered through blogs (including Kos and HuffPo) were critical in making sure that SparklePlenty kept her mental health issues in Alaska and was not allowed to infiltrate the Lower 48.
She will never be a player in national politics - she is quite simply unelectable.
Bringing her continued kookiness out in the sunlight is critical to ensure that GINO never has any influence in our Country's political direction.
Thanks to all the bloggers for your intelligence, insight and determination to bring the truth to light in spite of continued attacks by the PalinBots.
If she had not accepted the VP invite, she would have been simply your problem. The minute she allowed her monstrous ego to think she was qualified, she became OUR problem. Every voter needs to know who and what she is.
It is not the bloggers fault that Your GovernorInNameOnly cannot stand up to scrutiny.
She's yours - you have her, and for heaven's sake, KEEP HER.

Anonymous said...

Trying to be on topic this time.

I'm a democrat. Period.

But perhaps I'm a second class democrat because I don't blog and I'm not a legislator. You bloggers and legislators might want to tune in to the rest of us Americans who have declared your party on our voter registration. I've tried communicating with you (legislators and bloggers) and it hasn't worked well. I'd almost get the impression I'm nuts, (or inferior or perhaps all democrats who are not legislators or bloggers are nuts). But I have to tell you-- I'm not dumb, crazy, or anything else-- I'm just a crummy mediocre low life democrat who's not a legislator or a blogger. Must I be a blogger or a legislator before I may be heard by my party?

Anonymous said...

One addendum:

Does this mean most democrats are inferior?

Anonymous said...

I love it, so now if you're critical in any way whatsoever of the "progressive" bloggers, you're labled a Palin Bot.

Can't you do better than that ?

I happen to agree with Doogan, so there.

What's really funny is that Phil and I have many friends in common; one I've known for over 20 years, the other has been a friend of the family for over 40.

When I reached out to him he was nothing but dismissive of me.

Needless to say, I lost a lot, A LOT of respect for his "progressive" outlook on things.

He's still a good writer though.

Just a tad rude.

Philip Munger said...

here we are again, back in a labyrinth of people who don't want to create a pseudonym.

basheert said...

Philip: It is increasingly obvious that the naliP supporters consider bloggers the enemy even though no one makes things up and blog stories/articles are carefully sourced.
I don't believe anyone minds disagreement. I understand there are people who like her. That is their business.
On the other hand, they tend to be the ones who come onto the Progressive blogs and attack people who post comments about nilaP.
The minute SP took up the VP slot she became vulnerable to anything she had done that was negative. And for that lady, it was volumes.

As I see it, she simply cannot stand up to scrutiny. All the stories have a basis in fact.

The minute she opened herself up as a National Candidate, her lack of intellect, education, and her strangeness became something everyone had a right to know about, read about and see.

All the progressive bloggers are doing is reporting her actions. No one is making her behavior up. She does all the craziness herself.

clark said...

note to 7:59 pm.
the people in the ak democratic party run a wide range -- from near commies like me to people who would probably be republicans if the GOP hadn't absolutely lost it. how much anyone in particular might want to listen to you would depend on a lot of varibales...
i made it a point to live in a democratic district [was one of my requirements when looking for a house to buy] and i communicate with my legislators [gruenberg and wielechowski] quite a bit and they always reply.
maybe you should blog, eh. it takes about five minutes to set one up and start putting up posts.