Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mr. Whitekeys' First Big Post-Quitter Era Show Friday in Palmer

Best Mudflats Book Cover Ever

It certainly has some competition. But this one is truly a gem: Palin, pallin' around in Chinese Communist-ruled China, where the Palinbots' fears of communism and fascism co-mingling actually have come to pass.

More Palin Flotsam & Jetsam

As much as PA would like the Crazy Woman to just go away, that isn't going to happen. At least, not soon. If anything, she's getting more persistently peevish, more obnoxiously perilous.

Newsweek had the audacity to write about what Alaska's progressive bloggers have been writing for months, and the Alaska traditional media continues to scrupulously avoid questioning:

One key question: Who has been ghostwriting the Facebook messages and op-eds signed in Palin’s name?

In many ways, I could care less. But the dark reality of this is that this semi-fictitious Palin continues to be a pivotal rallying figure in attempts to build blind hatred that could well lead to the assassination of the President of the United States of America. Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times Wednesday:

I hate to write about this, but I have actually been to this play before and it is really disturbing. I was in Israel interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just before he was assassinated in 1995. We had a beer in his office. He needed one. I remember the ugly mood in Israel then — a mood in which extreme right-wing settlers and politicians were doing all they could to delegitimize Rabin, who was committed to trading land for peace as part of the Oslo accords.

They questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all. And in so doing they created a poisonous political environment that was interpreted by one right-wing Jewish nationalist as a license to kill Rabin — he must have heard, “God will be on your side” — and so he did.

• We've had
a pastor exhorting his congregation to show up at Obama events, armed with loaded semi-automatic rifles.

• We've had a guy with Palin "porn" on his computer walk into the Holocaust Museum and start shooting and killing.

• We've had sworn Palin supporters sporting pictures depicting Obama as Hitler.

• We've had Palinbots accusing Obama of treason.

• We've had Palin herself accusing Obama of contemplating a holocaust against the elderly and disabled.

In Alaska, our progressive bloggers and - bless his heart -
Wally Hickel have had the honesty to call this danger what it is:

During the presidential primaries last year, I liked what I saw in Barack Obama. I didn't see him as black. I saw him as a young American with a deep understanding of what America was meant to be and how we could regain our moral standing in the world.
When Gov. Sarah Palin surprised us by joining Sen. John McCain on the Republican ticket, I agreed to support her, sticking to my commitment to put "Alaska first." When she took the podium at the Republican National Convention, however, I was greatly disappointed. The race-against-race and class-against-class message of the McCain/Palin campaign was transparent.

I urged Sarah to take control of her message and appealed to her in this column "to rise above the worn-out, negative tactics of presidential politics and assume the role of stateswoman." (Op Ed of September 14, 2008).

My hopes were dashed. Palin became the spokesperson for the divisive voices in American politics. She dismissed the greatness of our immigrant heritage, indeed of today's Alaska, where in Anchorage alone nearly 100 languages are spoken in the homes of the children in our public schools.

She missed a golden opportunity to challenge the rest of the country to adopt the welcoming spirit of the Alaska frontier and the message of mutual respect championed by Bridge Builders of Anchorage and the School District that helped us win All-America City honors in 2002.

I believe that Alaska can be a model for America. We have much to offer, but we will fail if we don't deal with prejudice, not only against newly arrived immigrants but against anyone. [emphasis added by PA]

When will the Anchorage Daily News' editors call out Palin for her responsibility for the increasing divisiveness we are seeing?

When will the
Anchorage Daily News acknowledge her pivotal role in the increasing worries the Secret Service is enduring, as the high percentage of the truly unbalanced among Palin's followers, may be drawn over that dark edge by the Becks, Steven Andersons and worse, after constantly being led by the nutty right closer and closer to Thomas Friedman's fears:

I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.

What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, “Should Obama be killed?” The choices were: “No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.” The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.

Maybe the
ADN will address these issues and admit that by never calling Palin on the incredible divisiveness she has enabled on the national level, they share in the responsibility for its growth. I doubt we will see that level of courage coming from the editors of the Anchorage Daily News.

The cynic in me thinks, "their circulation might go up if a Palinbot tries to kill our president."
At least temporarily, and that seems to be a major limitation on the mindset in the editorial rooms at the ADN. They're trapped in their lame, short-term reactions to one bad decision after another. They've consistently failed to recognize the larger ramifications of their long-term love affair with this intensely polarizing, inauthentic and nihilistic figure.

We're canceling our subscription.

I'm Really Beginning to Like Rep. Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson (D. Orlando FL) is a freshman member of the U.S. Congress. To get readers up to speed, you need to realize that before the episode yesterday:

I told the truth about the Republican health care plan. The plan is simple:

1. Don't get sick.

2. If you do get sick...

3. Die quickly.

Grayson had taken on the Obama administration's top banking and finance administrators. Grayson, like me, is extremely pissed that, after eight months of the Obama administration, you still can't tell the bankers from the robbers. First, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke:

Soon afterward, he takes on a Federal Reserve functionary attorney:

Here, he takes on the Federal Reserve's Inspector General:

So, people like Bill O'Reilly, who are calling Grayson a "pinhead":

may not know what they've got on their hands.

Grayson, a very progressive Florida congressman, is getting into subjects that the teabaggers have generally appropriated - Obama administration inadequacy and Federal monetary policy, for instance. He even appropriates one of the teabaggers' favorite slogans - "Read the Bill!" - when responding to Wolf Blitzer's question, comparing Grayson's "If you get sick, die quickly," to the Crazy Woman's "Death Panel" meme:

Grayson is also very articulate and out-of-step with Obama (and our own Alaska Washington DC delegation) on the Afghanistan War. Last week, Howie Klein quoted Grayson as saying to him:

"We are using a 19th century strategy to fight a 14th century opponent, " he told me yesterday. "Does anyone seriously believe that the best way to defend our borders is to send a quarter of a million Americans 10,000 miles beyond them?" He also told me he thinks we can change Obama's mind and turn this thing around. "He's too smart," said the congressman, "to let someone else's war ruin his presidency."

I predict Alan Grayson will:

1) Continue to assert himself whenever he sees a problem facing the American people.

2) Be strongly chastised for the this by the Democratic Party leadership.

3) Call them out - the Democratic Party leadership - for being "Knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

Rep. Alan Grayson Apologizes

Scott Ritter Was Right on Iraq - He's Right on Iran - Obama May Be Leading Us into Another Illegal War

The GOP Health Care Plan Revealed

What Transpired in the Senate Finance Committee Yesterday Was Designed to Protect and Enrich the Medical-Industrial Complex

More on this from emptywheel and Digby:

(Considering the bipartisan whorishness of our current political system, it's almost a guarantee that there won't be the kind of regulation needed to give security to average people. We've just seen that you can nearly destroy the world economy and wipe out more than a decade of accumulated wealth with unbridled greed and they won't [subsequently] properly regulate you.)

I think Blanche Lincoln, Kent Conrad and Max Baucus all have plenty of constituents who make 30k a year just like Rockefeller. But they'd rather see them suffer than risk being called a socialist by some confused teabagger or lose a big campaign check from Blue Cross. It's a choice. And what they choose tells you a whole lot about the character of those making it.

[emphasis and bracketed word added]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Whitekeys to Go Rogue?

  • • Will Mr. Whitekeys go rogue, as he announces his 2010 Alaska governor SPAMpaign this Friday?

  • • Will Mr. Whitekeys invite William Shatner to join his ensemble, along with bongos and subdued lighting?

  • • Will Mr. Whitekeys challenge Ethan Berkowitz, Hollis French, Bob Poe and Sean Parnell to a harmonica-playing challenge?

  • • Will Mr. Whitekeys unveil his voter initiative, banning the naming of any public building other than a correctional center after a living politician in Alaska?

If you come to his show Friday at Raven Hall at the Palmer Fairgrounds, you can find out.

This is his first post-Quitter big show, folks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mat-Su Borough Election - PA Endorsements Part Two

Borough Mayor: Either write in someone you believe in (I'm writing in Katie Hurley), vote for John Leiner, or skip the box. I wrote earlier today about why I feel Talis Colberg is totally unfit. Since then, I've found out even more that disqualifies him. more on that later.

Assembly District 3: Michelle Church. Re-elect Michelle. She has proven herself to be a listener who cares about the long-term survival of homeowners, kids, seniors, our schools and is helping our community grow.

Assembly District 6: Jim Colver. Rob Wells was interesting at the Mat-Su Democrats' candidate forum, which Jim couldn't attend. I've sometimes disagreed with Jim, but like Michelle, he has the Borough's residents' long-term interest at heart, and he works very hard at the elected positions he has held.

School Board Seat A: Adam Boyd. Adam has proven himself, over the years, to be solidly pro-union. He has never let that get in the way of larger responsibilities, though. Opponent Dunleavy was closely scrutinized this past week in an article at The Alaska Report and elsewhere. If you had been considering voting for Mike, you should read the excellent article there, by Susan B. Andrews and John Creed.

School Board Seat B: Sarah Welton. Sarah did well at the Mat-Su Democrats candidate forum, and has been endorsed by the Mat-Su Educators Association.

School Board Seat E: Erick Cordero. Erick has worked harder on local issues than anyone I have witnessed in Valley office in years. Erick is fairly progressive, but he can craft a workable compromise in very hostile conditions, fixes problems, and listens to constituents. He is easily the most qualified candidate for this seat.

Even if you don't accept these endorsements, please - VOTE NEXT TUESDAY!

image - new Mat-Su Borough promotional poster.

Mr. Whitekeys to Kick Off His 2010 Gubernatorial Spampaign This Friday

Mat-Su Borough Elections - PA Endorsements - Part One - Mayor - Write In Katie Hurley

The two seriously enduring charges against Talis Colberg's term as Attorney General of the State of Alaska are the willful suppression of scientific information, and the key role he played in reshaping our state's executive department into a farcical lie machine (calling itself the "truth squad"), run by Ed O'Callaghan. Sadly, his pivotal roles in both of these dishonest policies have been linked together. The picture isn't pretty. It IS disgusting.

I've listened to a short segment from an Alaska Public Radio Network report (May 19th, 2008) on the state's refusal to share scientific information on how the status of the Polar Bear was decided amongst scientists employed by the state, several times this morning. In it, Colberg knowingly lies, as he states:

"It's not unique to this case, it's done all the time, and by attorneys who work for the Department of Law, and the purpose of it is to protect the "give-and-take" of the deliberative process when you have career state employees who are being asked to give their candid views in their assessment on things. Uhm, one of the things that helps them be candid and give their views is to understand that what they're doing is working through a process that won't necessarily intimidate them from saying what they want to say or how they want to approach some things."

In the same report Prof. Rick Steiner responded by observing, "That's an entirely bogus claim. They know it. Everyone in the scientific community knows it. Their staff biologists know it."

Steiner was hassled by Colberg, his staff and by other state employees for months. Steiner was un able to get the scientific information he wanted. After trying to charge Steiner about #400,000.00 for the information, the state then refused to provide it under any means. Soon afterward, Steiner received the same information the state denied him from the Federal government. For free.

Yereth Rosen wrote for the Christian Science Monitor about how this suppression of scientific information and any other information about the business of the people of Alaska being performed by members of the executive department, was an intentional move. The goal was to create a dishonest, falsely positive image of how our citizens' governor's employees performed their duties. Colberg's role in this new view of our state government was key:

If public-records requests are expensive, the Palin administration’s practices help make them so, says Gregg Erickson, a Juneau economist and former state revenue official who publishes a specialized newsletter on Alaska budget issues.

“They have taken the position that a lawyer has to look at every single record before its release. If a lawyer has to look at it and review it, and maybe write a legal opinion on it, well, that’s going to be expensive,” says Mr. Erickson. Court fights also add to the costs, he says.

Citizens and journalists who sought public records have been socked with huge bills. At one point, the Palin administration presented the Associated Press with a bill of $45 million for copies of official state e-mails sent to Palin’s husband, to the McCain campaign, and to federal agencies.

That practice predated Palin’s ascension to the national stage.

In December 2007, when University of Alaska marine scientist Rick Steiner sought reports detailing state biologists’ assessments about then-impending Endangered Species Act protections for polar bears, he received a $468,784 bill from the state. After a few months of haggling, Dr. Steiner turned to the Bush administration. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, which had its own copies of state biologists’ reports, readily complied.

“They didn’t charge me a dime,” Steiner says. The reports showed that state biologists, contrary to Palin’s assertion, did not dispute a threatened listing for polar bears, Steiner says.

That and other episodes prove the Alaska Public Records Act should be reformed, says Steiner. Citizens cannot be expected to pay huge fees to view public documents, and secrecy exemptions should be narrowed, he says. Even if the state bears financial costs, he says, “that’s the cost of open government.” Given modern information technology, “it shouldn’t be that expensive at all.”

Regarding the takeover by the State of Alaska Executive Department by McCain campaign operatives, with the full acquiescence of Colberg, in the first days of September, 2008, this excerpt from a September 22, 2008 article in Mother Jones, by David Corn, is quite telling:

Over a week ago, McCain campaign aides began handling the investigation for Palin. The campaign dispatched Edward O'Callaghan, who recently had been a terrorism prosecutor in the Justice Department, to Alaska to oversee Palin's legal strategy. O'Callaghan then declared she would not cooperate with the inquiry. (Before becoming the GOP vice presidential nominee, Palin had repeatedly vowed to cooperate. At one point, she said, "I'm happy to comply, to cooperate. I have absolutely nothing to hide.") And last Thursday, O'Callaghan announced that Palin's husband, Todd, would not heed a subpoena to appear before a state legislative committee to testify about his role in Troopergate.

Meanwhile, state Attorney General Talis Colberg, a Palin appointee, said that he would instruct state employees subpoenaed in the case to refuse to testify (after his Department of Law had already arranged for the state employees to cooperate). And Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein--who once was being paid by the state government and who now says he is being paid privately--last week released official state emails that the Palin camp pointed to as proof that Walt Monegan, the dismissed public safety commissioner, had been fired because of insubordination. (A month earlier Palin had given a reporter a much different account of what had happened with Monegan, and Monegan has produced records he claims undermine the insubordination argument.) Van Flein also sent a letter to Troopergate investigator Steve Branchflower saying that one reason Todd Palin was not complying with the subpoena was that the proceeding "with an ethics investigation involving the Governor during a period in which she is involved in a campaign for public office" is a violation "of due process under the Alaska Constitution." That is, a governor cannot be investigated for an ethics violation whenever he or she is campaigning for an office.

Ever since the McCain operatives became involved, the pushback against the investigation has been fierce. Five Republican legislators filed a lawsuit to stop the investigation, which had been unanimously endorsed by a bipartisan council of the state House and Senate. They claimed the probe was "a 'McCarthyistic' investigation" and was compromised because Democrats who supported the investigation were Obama backers. A Texas-based conservative legal outfit called the Liberty Legal Institute has been representing these lawmakers. Six Alaskan residents filed a similar but separate lawsuit. And the Republican Speaker of the House, John Harris, stepped back from his previous endorsement of the investigation.

The campaign against the investigation has been reminiscent of the Florida recount.

So, there you have it. Colberg was instrumental in the suppression of public information when it suited him and the aims of a very secretive, intensely dishonest chief executive. And he abetted the perhaps illegal leaking of similarly held information, when it suited him, and this perhaps sick individual, for whom he slavishly worked.

At this time, I can't imagine having anything to do with Colberg in government. I'm even evaluating how I might perform my role in organizations that seek to accomodate him in the Mat-Su Borough government.

I recommend either writing in some honest person like Katie Hurley for Mat-Su Mayor, or skipping that race entirely when in the ballot booth tomorrow.

images - Katie Hurley; Phil Munger & Talis Colberg

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two Interesting Photos I Caught Today

Steve's montage of images of Max Blumenthal speaking at the University of Alaska Anchorage Saturday night. Steve wrote about his impressions of Max's talk at WhatDoIKnow?

An image capture screenshot of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, taken ten days before the birth of her son, Trig. The screen shot is from a long FOX News video on Palin, and the date of the shoot is April 8th, 2008. Trig was born April 18th, 2008.

Having seen Palin in the late stages of two of her previous pregnancies, I find this image disturbing. I've written here before on which of the four Trig birth scenarios I subscribe to, but this image leaves me unsettled.

More here and here.

Fixed It....

Dennis Zaki's Question for Sen. Begich on the Public Option

Alaska Senator Mark Begich on the "public option" from Dennis Zaki on Vimeo.

Max at The Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Today

Author, journalist, videographer and blogger, Max Blumenthal, will be speaking at the Anchorage Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship today, at 12:30 p.m. It will be an informal, brown-bag lunch setting.

Last night, after speaking to an audience at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Max showed this YouTube he created last April:

This morning's Anchorage Daily News had an op-ed by Wally Hickel, about some aspects of what Max addresses in the above video, and on some of the material Max may touch upon in his talk today.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Max Blumenthal at UAA Tonight at 8:00

Come join us this evening at the University of Alaska Anchorage at 8:00 p.m. as award-winning author, journalist, videographer and blogger, Max Blumenthal talks about his new book, Republican Gomorrah.

8:00 P.M.
UAA Arts Recital Hall (in the Fine Arts Building)
Open Question & Answer Session after Max's presentation
Signed copies of Republican Gomorrah will be available for sale

Here are two of my favorite YouTubes by Max:

Max will be on the Shannyn Moore Show on KBYR-AM this afternoon, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

They'll be live blogging the show at The Mudflats.

Our Last 2009 Neklason Lake Water Quality Monitoring Trip

It was a bit chilly, but beautiful out on Neklason Lake today, as Judy, Strider and I did our fifth and final water quality sampling trip onto our little lake:
The sky was threatening to clear up as we took our measurements and samples:

Congratulations - Henkimaa

Mel Green has a great set of photographs up, with a short essay, on yesterday evening's True Diversity Dinner.

Congratulations, Mel!

What IS White Culture?

Back in late July, FOX TV's most popular nutcase, Glenn Beck, began the movement to boycott his employer's sponsors, by saying:

This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don't know what it is.

Perhaps Beck was noticing something I had missed. A lot has been written about Beck's comments since then. Most have centered around the "hatred for white people" part of his sentence. But yesterday, on the anniversary of Katie Couric's memorable interview with now-ex Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Couric managed to concentrate on the "white culture" part of the sentence, while interviewing Beck:

I teach a college course in cultural history: Music Appreciation. The historical part of the course looks at and listens to the development of Western art music from around 450 AD to the present. Up through the end of the 19th century, the content is what one might describe as "white culture." I've never described it as "white culture" to my students, though. I don't think I'll start doing that now, either.

Doing some google checking this morning, I did locate a group that DOES seek to define some things as "white culture." And I thought Beck was just catering to the Teabaggers. Nope, he's using secret language copied from Storm Front.

The guy who Beck has claimed saved his life, was W. Cleon Skousen. Beck wrote the forward to the most recent edition of Skousen's The 5,000-Year Leap. About another of Skousen's books, The Making of America, there has been much controversy:

Toward the end of Reagan’s second term, Skousen became the center of a minor controversy when state legislators in California approved the official use of another of his books, the 1982 history text “The Making of America.” Besides bursting with factual errors, Skousen’s book characterized African-American children as “pickaninnies” and described American slave owners as the “worst victims” of the slavery system. Quoting the historian Fred Albert Shannon, “The Making of America” explained that “[slave] gangs in transit were usually a cheerful lot, though the presence of a number of the more vicious type sometimes made it necessary for them all to go in chains.”

From my perspective, as a music historian, what has made the United States great worldwide as a musical or cultural center has certainly NOT been our "white" culture. Rather, it has been the struggle of non-white, Jewish and otherwise oppressed musicians to bring their voices to the fore.

Our first great composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, was a mixture of Jewish, black Haitian and other heritages. More highly regarded in Europe and Latin America than in the USA during his lifetime and for long afterward, his music is left out of most texts for the course I teach. So is the music of our second great composer, Scott Joplin, who was African American.

When the rest of the world became attracted to American musical culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it wasn't our Eurocentric composers who excited the planet. It was our Black composers like Joplin, Armstrong and Ellington. It was our Jewish composers like Gershwin, Copland and Bernstein. When visiting composers, such as Antonin Dvorak came to the United States in the late 19th century, when they referred to American musical culture in their work, it wasn't to our fuddy-duddy White composers, it was to Native American song, and to Negro spirituals.

Here are two YouTubes that illustrate how little Beck understands of American culture, from his "white culture" perspective.

A Night in the Tropics, from around the time of the beginning of our Civil War, was Gottschalk's greatest orchestral hit. Over 150 years ago, the great Creole composer used a huge Latin American percussion section in this vibrant work:

Magnetic Rag, written in 1914, was one of Scott Joplin's late masterpieces. He combines some of the new jazz elements he had been picking up in New York City, with his keyboard classicism. The composition almost magically conjures both Jellyroll Morton and Franz Schubert:

I don't know what "white culture" is.

Do you?

Busy Friday Recap

A busy Friday.

I planted five varieties of garlic to over-winter in the garden and practiced trombone this morning and early afternoon. Then I headed into Anchorage for parts of or all of four events.

The first was Sen. Mark Begich's health care forum at Bartlett High School. I had attended Sen. Lisa Murkowski's similar forum at Dimond High School, back in August.
Like Sen. Murkowski's forum event, the security was professional, and the senator's staff was very professional. Unlike Sen. Murkowski's forum, Mark seemed to relish the challenges thrown at him by some of the contentious questioners, selected from the audience. And, unlike Sen. Murkowski's forum, I didn't get the gut feeling that some of the people called upon had been huge Begich contributors.
I had to leave early.

Then I drove by the Anchorage Hilton, to check out the picket line, getting ready for Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan's farcical anti-union "Unity" dinner.

Then, it was off to UAA, to warm up, and perform in Mickey Belden's memorial concert. The concert was very moving, beyond touching. I wish I had played better. We raised over $2,000.00 for the Mickey Belden Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Then I stopped by the Snow Goose Theater, and caught up on the endings of the post-True Unity Dinner dance. I told Sen. Begich that I thought he had dealt with random audience questions at the health care forum rather well. He admitted that he has more to learn, more to read, more to question on this set of issues, every day. I told him the Alaska bloggers have his back when it comes to the anti-union stuff emerging locally.

After catching up with Diane Benson and some other friends, it was back home to the Valley.

Here's Shannyn Moore, dressed up to deliver the keynote address at the True Diversity Dinner, on MSNBC's Countdown, discussing what ex-Gov. Sarah Palin may or may not have learned about foreign policy over the past twelve months:

Update - Saturday morning: Steve at WhatDoIKnow? has a nice video recap he made at Mickey Belden's memorial concert yesterday evening at UAA. I'm the guy in the middle in the first clip, playing with the UAA Trombone Trio.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scenes from the G-20 Mayhem in Pittsburgh Today



Illegal LRAD Sound Cannon Use:

Max Blumenthal Coming to Anchorage Tomorrow & Sunday

"We Took Her at Her Word" -- When Will People EVER Learn?

Celtic Diva managed to get to some of Thursday's quarterly meeting session of the Alaska Public Offices Commission. In the meeting, the issues of ex-Gov. Sarah Palin's request for a waiver from personal disclosure of how much she and her family had received from snowmobile manufacturer Arctic Cat, resurfaced. All the fallout involving this ongoing waiver exemption request is a result of Linda Kellen having filed a citizen's request for clarification on how our laws dealt with the ex-governor's mixing of her public responsibilities with her family's personal profit making. The findings of the investigators into Kellen's request will have ramifications for all major members of our state's executive branch in the future.

Linda gave full run-down of the meeting at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, and you should read it. What struck Linda as especially absurd, in the statements made by various people presiding or testifying, was a statement by one of the State of Alaska Department of Law attorneys assigned to getting to the truth of the matter, one Tom Dosik:

-- Palin claims the confidentiality clause of the contract prohibits her from knowing the information. Frederick stated that would be very unusual, that most contracts of this nature allow the immediate family to share in the information. Frederick asked if anyone had requested a redacted copy of the contract so that they could see that confidentiality clause.

It appeared that there was hesitation on the part of Anderson and Dosik. Hickerson rephrased the question several times. She asked them how they could be sure as to the nature of the confidentiality agreement. The incredulous, (literally) forehead-slapping moment for me was when Tom Dosick from the AG's office stated:

"We took her at her word."

(That so perfectly sums-up my experience with the Attorney General's Office as well as the Personnel Board...there is no investigation, they simply "take her at her word.")

So, let me get this straight. The people investigating a person widely regarded as an inveterate pathological liar, "took her at her word." In case you've forgotten how much this crazy woman lies, here's a reminder:

Palin lied when she said the dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, had nothing to do with his refusal to fire state trooper Mike Wooten; in fact, the Branchflower Report concluded that she repeatedly abused her power when dealing with both men.

Palin lied when she repeatedly claimed to have said, "Thanks, but no thanks" to the Bridge to Nowhere; in fact, she openly campaigned for the federal project when running for governor.

Palin lied when she denied that Wasilla's police chief and librarian had been fired; in fact, both were given letters of termination the previous day.

Palin lied when she wrote in the NYT that a comprehensive review by Alaska wildlife officials showed that polar bears were not endangered; in fact, email correspondence between those scientists showed the opposite.

Palin lied when she claimed in her convention speech that an oil gas pipeline "began" under her guidance; in fact, the pipeline was years from breaking ground, if at all.

Palin lied when she told Charlie Gibson that she does not pass judgment on gay people; in fact, she opposes all rights between gay spouses and belongs to a church that promotes conversion therapy.

Palin lied when she denied having said that humans do not contribute to climate change; in fact, she had previously proclaimed that human activity was not to blame.

Palin lied when she claimed that Alaska produces 20 percent of the country's domestic energy supply; in fact, the actual figures, based on any interpretation of her words, are much, much lower.

Palin lied when she told voters she improvised her convention speech when her teleprompter stopped working properly; in fact, all reports showed that the machine had functioned perfectly and that her speech had closely followed the script.

Palin lied when she recalled asking her daughters to vote on whether she should accept the VP offer; in fact, her story contradicts details given by her husband, the McCain campaign, and even Palin herself. (She later added another version.)

Palin lied when she claimed to have taken a voluntary pay cut as mayor; in fact, as councilmember she had voted against a raise for the mayor, but subsequent raises had taken effect by the time she was mayor.

Palin lied when she insisted that Wooten's divorce proceedings had caused his confidential records to become public; in fact, court officials confirmed they released no such records.

Palin lied when she suggested to Katie Couric that she was involved in trade missions with Russia; in fact, she has never even met with Russian officials.

Palin lied when she told Shimon Peres that the only flag in her office was the Israeli flag; in fact, she has several flags.

Palin lied when she claimed to have tried to divest government funds from Sudan; in fact, her administration openly opposed a bill that would have done just that.

Palin lied when she repeatedly claimed that troop levels in Iraq were back to pre-surge levels; in fact, even she acknowledged her "misstatements," though she refused to retract or apologize.

Palin lied when she insisted that the Branchflower Report "showed there was no unlawful or unethical activity on my part"; in fact, that report prominently stated, "Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."

Palin lied when she claimed to have voiced concerns over Wooten fearing he would harm her family; in fact, she actually decreased her security detail during that period.

Palin lied when asked about the $150,000 worth of clothes provided by the RNC; in fact, solid reporting contradicted several parts of her statement.

Palin lied when she suggested that she had offered the media proof of her pregnancy with Trig to "correct the record"; in fact, no reports of her medical records were ever published; and the letter from her doctor testifying to her good health only emerged hours before polling ended on election day, even though there was nothing in it that couldn't have been released two months earlier.

Palin lied when she said that "reported" allegations of her banning Harry Potter as mayor was easily refutable because it had not even been written yet; in fact, the first book in that series was published in 1998 - two years into her first term - and such rumors were never reported by the media, only circulated as emails.

Palin lied when she denied having participated in a clothes audit with campaign laywers; in fact, the Washington Times later confirmed those details.

Palin lied when asked about Couric's question regarding her reading habits; in fact, Couric's words were not, "What do you read up there in Alaska?" or anything close to condescension.

Palin lied when she mischaracterized the "$1200 check" given to Alaskans as the permanent fund dividend check; in fact, that fund had yielded $2,069 per person, and she claimed otherwise to obscure the fact that Alaskans also received a $1200 rebate check from a windfall profits tax on oil companies - a tax widely criticized by Republicans.

Palin lied when she claimed to be unaware of a turkey being slaughtered behind her during a filmed interview; in fact, the cameraman said she had picked the spot herself, while the slaughter was underway.

Palin lied when she denied having rejected federal stimulus money; in fact, she continued to accept and reject the funds several times.

Palin lied when she claimed that legislative leaders had canceled a meeting with her to hold their own press conference; in fact, they only canceled it after being told she would not participate, and the purpose of the press conference was very different from the meeting's.

Palin lied when she announced on the news that she never holds closed-door meetings; in fact, she had just attended a closed-door meeting with the legislature earlier that day.

Palin lied when she said that former aide John Bitney's "amicable" departure was for "personal" reasons; in fact, Bitney said he was fired because of his relationship with the wife of Palin's friend, plus a Palin spokesperson later claimed "poor job performance" for his firing - without elaborating.

Palin lied when she said she kept her running injury a secret on the campaign trail; in fact, her bandaged hand was clearly visible in photographs and the story was widely talked about.

Palin lied when she claimed that Alaska has spent "millions of dollars" on litigation related to her ethics complaints; in fact, that figure is much, much lower, and she had initiated the most expensive inquiry.

Palin lied when she denied that the Alaska Independence Party supports secession and denied that her husband had been a member; in fact, even the McCain campaign noted that the party's very existence is based on secession and that Todd was a member for seven years.

Took her at her word, indeed. When will people ever learn?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Lesson on Why Alaska's Progressive Bloggers Are Essential

I. Anchorage's mayor, Dan Sullivan, may not be the sleaziest mayor in Alaska history, but Skagway "mayor" Soapy Smith may have to move over real soon.

Tomorrow Sullivan will cross a union picket line to preside over a highly partisan "Unity" dinner, that will replace Anchorage's annual "Diversity" dinner. Meanwhile, two blocks away, a "True Diversity" Dinner will be presided over by Anchorage assembly member, Elvi Grey-Jackson.

Wednesday, ethically challenged Anchorage assembly member Bill Starr accused former Anchorage mayor Mark Begich of manipulating city policy, perhaps in a criminal way, to negotiate union contracts that Starr claims leave the city in a precarious position. Although the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU-TV covered the story yesterday, including the late-breaking statement by a representative of one of the unions involved, neither traditional outlet put Starr's veracity to the question it surely deserves.

It took Alaska blogger, Shannyn Moore, to do that:

Hmmm. It’s hard to put much stock in anything coming out of Mr. Starr’s mouth. He asked us a few years ago to ignore what he’d said in a “private” conversation between him and Assemblyman Dan Coffey. Coffey “butt dialed” Assemblyman Allan Tesche’s home phone and inadvertently left a damning message several minutes long. You can listen for yourself here.

Their conversation was laced with vulgarity and Mr. Starr had some nasty things to say about the police union.

In the first part of the recording, Coffey and Starr discussed raising money for their favorite “conservative” candidates. They were doling it out $250 at a time to “show they cared.” In the case of Dick Traini, who was running for re-election, it would be used as leverage to ensure Traini voted the way they wanted him to. After the tape went public, Coffey claimed it was just a joke. They referred to Dan Sullivan as “Sully” and were giving him money to hold. Funny joke.

In another section of the recording, Starr was mad the Anchorage Police Department’s union (APDEA) wasn’t endorsing him. Starr had supported a shooting range, but had been against them driving their police cars home to the Valley at night.

Mr. Starr: “…You go my way or the freeway, you know. Here’s–I got a call from Del Smith today and I’m going to tell those sons-of-bitches to fuck themselves…”

Mr. Coffey: “.
..down on the mudflats…and up your ass…”

Wow, Mr. Starr…Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? When the “butt dial” recording went viral, you told us your own voice and words caught on tape weren’t true…so why would anything you say now be gospel? You have been a muppet for Dan Coffey and Dan Sullivan for years. Your contempt for the unions is articulated in your own words. Your willingness to compromise the truth for “Team Dan” is evident. Your family values seem a little fetish.

Here's a link to the transcript of the entire Coffey-Starr-Sullivan shakedown cruise butt-dialing episode, at the Alaska Report.

Why can't our local mainstream media put the continuing corruption of this gang into better perspective? Reason one that our progressive bloggers need to be here.

Wednesday Linda Kellen attended the quarterly meeting of the State of Alaska Personnel Board. She will be returning for the rest of the session's meetings. No Alaska media covered day one. Perhaps they will be covering the continuing hearings. Today the board will probably take up the matter of the exemption from the3 laws on financial disclosure requested by former governor, Sarah Palin.

Here is some of what Linda wrote about the probable material to be covered in today's hearing:

The staff will present their recommendation to the Commissioners tomorrow, immediately before the public comments period. I called the APOC staff and they do not know if the Commissioners will deliberate and make a decision before the public comments or not.

1) No one as of yet has made a complaint regarding specific gifts missing from Palin's 2008 gift disclosure. I'm not sure if they will be able to act on anything unless they have specific evidence of missing gifts.

2) Regarding Arctic Cat...following the Staff Recommendation sets a dangerous precedent regarding disclosure for ALL public officials in Alaska. A spouse of ANY public official could simply choose NOT to tell that official about their income (wink, wink) yet still use that income for the benefit of the family, including that public official.

3) Business could "pay" these spouses in "discounts" to avoid disclosure.

4) Even if these "discounts" from Arctic Cat do not qualify as "income," they most certainly qualify as "gifts" which directly benefit Sarah Palin. While "other income" must be reported if it is over $1,000 (according to POFD instructions), gifts over $250.00 must be reported...this includes the amount.

5) Sarah Palin has NOT answered any direct questions about the Arctic Cat income, though she DID report it in 2007...that means she consciously witheld it. Sarah Palin did not provide the sponsorship amounts from ANY Iron Dog sponsor on her 2008 POFD.

Sarah Palin in NO WAY has satisfied the questions about the Arctic Cat sponsorship. IN NO WAY has Sarah Palin followed the disclosure laws regarding the Arctic Cat sponsorship per APOC's POFD form instructions.

Public Comments are accepted in written form as well as verbally in front of the Commissioners.

III. Mel at Henkimaa, in a post on the True Diversity Dinner vs. the un-Diversity Dinner, after giving some astute analysis of Moore's post on Sullivan, presses on, on the importance of understanding this ongoing battle against organized labor and the middle class:

But what’s this got to do with True Diversity Dinner and the Mayor’s Unity Dinner?

(Besides, that is, the fact that Shannyn Moore will be the keynote speaker at the True Diversity Dinner.)

This: that Mayor Sullivan’s dinner will be held at the only hotel in Anchorage under boycott by workers because of bad faith negotiating by Columbia Sussex, the Hilton’s owners. I hadn’t known about this situation before, & thank Shannyn for providing that context. I got additional information through an article penned in June by Brendan Joel Kelley of the Anchorage Press,[Ref #3] while I was preoccupied with the battle for the Anchorage equal rights ordinance. The mayor’s choice of venue goes hand-in-hand with the union-busting tactics being used against IBEW and the police union (and one must also hasten to wonder about Mayor Sullivan’s valuation of the city’s other first responders in the Anchorage Fire Department, about which Brendan Joel Kelley has also written [Ref #4]).

Mayor Sullivan appears to care as little about fair terms for Anchorage police, fire, electrical, and hotel workers as he does about LGBT workers. Are unionbusting, bad faith bargaining, and unilateral attempts to get out of contracts part of the Mayor’s platform of diversity — or rather, er, unity? As for me, I think a strong diverse workforce is rather essential to both, and unions are part of that.

Shannyn also points out the partisan credentials of the Mayor’s keynote speaker, former Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann, who will also be getting a hefty fee for headlining a Republican fundraiser while he’s in town. “Unity”? Looks more like Republican party-building to me.

True Diversity Dinner program

Meanwhile, planning for the True Diversity Dinner proceeds — and we’re almost there! Our speaker line-up includes Rev. Marquita Pierre, Diane Benson, Elvi Gray-Jackson, Shannyn Moore, and more. We’ll also have performances by Yup’ik dancers and singer Steven Alvarez, plus a dance afterwards. We’re gonna have a great time!

Plea$e help!

But here’s time for a plea for help: the $10 being charged for tickets to the dinner only begins to cover the dinner’s cost; much of the cost has been coming out of our pockets. Any help you can give will be appreciated — just go to the True Diversity Dinner web page and use the handy Donate button.