Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Alaska (and America) Needs You To Vote Your Values Today.

My posts have been rather sporadic of late, but in the last few weeks, if anyone has been reading, one thing should've been made be clear to you:

This is a very important election for Alaska, and the nation.

Every pundit out there has been echoing the same thing, over and over:  A GOP sweep of the House and possibly the Senate as well.  

It's just a matter of how big a sweep.

We are facing the prospect of Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  

Facing a Congress controlled by those that represent the ideology of the Party of No... or even worse.  

A Congress dead set against anything this president will try to accomplish.
A Congress controlled by their corporate sponsors.

During the last two years, in spite of the continual blocking efforts of these two men and their "No!" agenda, Democrats still managed to get a hell of a lot done.

Take a few minutes to watch this video.  MSNBC's Rachel Maddow sums it up far better than I ever could:

With that clip in mind, go to the polls today, and think about the differences between the two parties.

Think about which party has been willing to very possibly lose their power in the next election in order to accomplish some good long-term policy changes for America.

Then go to the polls and vote your values.

If you don't, someone else will make your decision for you... and for the rest of us as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Violence: The GOP/Tea Party Tactic Du Jour For The Mid-terms.

By now, unless you've been living in a cave (or "Dancing With the Stars" is your only television fare) you are no doubt aware of the numerous incidents recently where GOP/Tea Party candidates have had engaged in the use of unwarranted physical force and violence against those they perceive to be "the enemy."

On October 17, Alaska Dispatch editor and reporter Tony Hopfinger was "arrested" and handcuffed by private security guards goons employed by Alaska U.S. Senate GOP/Tea Party Express candidate Joe Miller:
Just what bad thing did Hopfinger do?  
He had the audacity to act like a journalist.  Following a public campaign event at an Anchorage, Alaska school hosted by Miller, Hopfinger tried to ask the candidate questions about ethics violations committed by Miller when he was a part-time assistant attorney for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  
As it turns out, the revelation of Miller records with the N. Star Borough showed that Joe Miller is just another unethical liar.

As outrageous as the Hopfinger incident was, it was mild in comparison to some other events around the nation.

On October 25, at a public Lexington, Kentucky Senatorial debate, Tim Profitt, a (now former) Bourbon County coordinator for GOP/Tea Party Express Senate candidate Rand Paul's campaign, literally stomped on MoveOn.org volunteer Lauren Valle:
What offense did Ms. Valle commit to receive such brutal treatment?
She protested against Rand Paul. She wore a Rand Paul-style blonde wig and held a sign identifying him as a the "RepubliCorp" candidate.  
Tim Profitt doesn't allow THAT kind of crap in Bourbon County!  Yeehaw.
Not only is this "macho man" proud of himself for being one of  the five Rand Paul goons who assaulted a petite young woman, this asshat actually thinks SHE owes HIM an apology!   

Shortly after the Rand Paul - Tim Profitt outrage, another incident has hit the news:
At another public event held on October 25 in Louisa, Virginia for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Doucheville), Mr. Jon Taylor of Louisa County, Virginia was wrestled to the ground and arrested for "trespassing."  

This time, the manhandling was performed by three brave Virginia law enforcement officers (it looks like they hire them by the pound in VA), who implemented a lot more force than seemed necessary, in my opinion.
The courageous trio of cops had Taylor in a double arm-lock, making it impossible for him to "put his arms behind his back" as they ordered, so they fed him the sidewalk and charged him with "resisting" as well:

What was Jon Taylor's real "crime?"
He's a Democrat, and he had the audacity to attend an Eric Cantor's "Victory Tour"... a public event which he'd actually RSVP'd the day before.

It's less than a week until the general election.  I expect to see more of these incidents before then... and if the GOP/Tea Party succeeds in winning majorities in the House and Senate, most likely even more later.

I guess it's their version of "The Real America."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

RE Lisa Murkowski Endorsement: The Anchorage Daily News Editorial Board's Problem Is Obvious

Today, the Anchorage Daily News editorial board endorsed Lisa Murkowski, write-in candidate for the US Senate seat she now holds.
The editors listed their reasons, which seem to consist mostly of loving them some "good old days Lisa," when she behaved like a political moderate.  She isn't anymore.

In what cave have these ADN "political pundits" been living?  It's apparent they've performed no real research, just drank deeply from the Tea Party Express kool-aid... and believed the  "Lisa's a RINO" mantra.

Lisa Murkowski has acted like anything but a moderate, especially in the last two years.  Without Ted Stevens running interference for her, Lisa has become nothing more than a lackey for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On matters of public policy, on votes that have hurt Alaska, she has marched lock-step with the senate GOP (and I use the term loosely) leaders, whose only mission is to block whatever President Obama tries to accomplish.  The GOP doesn't care if they hurt America or (in Lisa's case) Alaska.  "Beating Obama" is their ONLY agenda.

So, ADN "pundits," since you're too lazy to do a little fact-checking, here's part of Lisa Murkowski's "moderate" pedigree:

  • Lisa voted to spend the entire Social Security surplus. 
  • Lisa put tax cuts for the rich ahead of shoring up the Social Security Trust Fund. 
  • Lisa voted to allow using the Social Security Trust Fund to pay off the national debt. 
  • In 2007, Lisa voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. 
  • Lisa voted to kill an amendment to allow government to negotiate drug prices through Medicare.
  • Lisa voted to cut Medicare by $6.4 Billion and Medicaid by $4.8 Billion. 
  • Lisa voted for GOP Budget that cut $10 billion from Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Lisa Voted Against $26.1 Billion In Medicaid And Education Funding For States That Was Paid For By Closing Foreign Tax Loopholes.
  • Lisa voted against important Alaska projects in her position on the Appropriations Committee:
• $2 million for Alaska coastal communities to combat coastal erosion
• $500,000 for the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
• $1 million for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to buy medical equipment for the medical center
• $1 million for the Alaska Railroad
• $500,000 to replace a community health center in Anchorage
• $500,000 to fund an Alaska Medicare clinic in Anchorage
• Millions for harbor and dock infrastructure projects in cities like Bethel, Coffman Cove, Homer, Kenai, Kodiak, Petersburg, Port Lions, Soldotna, and Valdez
On Alaskan Native Health Care:
  • Lisa Voted Against Funding for IHS. 
  • Lisa Opposed Billions for Indian Health Clinical Services.  
  • Lisa voted against the Reauthorization of the Indian Health Services. 
(An aside - Nice job of canceling a candidate's forum and just endorsing Lisa, AFN.  She's really looking out for the people you're supposed to represent.)

  • Lisa voted against $10,000,000 in funding for the Denali Commission (but she continues to claim credit for bringing home the bacon - her campaign posted a statement on 10/15/10 that continues to claim credit for the funding that she voted against).
  • Lisa voted against $400,000 in funding for a sexual assault response team center in Anchorage that she had earlier praised Lisa voted against an essential funding bill that provided $400,000 specifically for a Sexual Assault Response Team Center in Anchorage. However, Lisa had issued a press release lauding the money that she then voted against.
  • Lisa voted against $200,000 in funding for Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis, in Anchorage, that she earlier praised. Lisa voted against a funding bill that included $200,000 to improve infrastructure at a center that serves victims of domestic violence. Lisa issued a press release claiming credit for securing the money that she then voted against. 
  • Lisa Voted Against The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009 ... BUT takes credit for it: According to her Official Senate website, “Senator Murkowski is pleased that many Alaskan School Districts are also using federal funds from the stimulus bill, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to establish preschool programs in their schools.” 
  • Lisa voted against funding for Head Start and better after-school programs Lisa repeatedly voted against funding for Head Start, a program that provides important educational, health, and nutritional services to low-income children.
  • Lisa sided with corporations and against Alaska’s kids Lisa voted against closing corporate tax loopholes and using that money to increase Pell Grants, which help Alaskan students attend college. In the same plan, she voted against increasing student loan forgiveness for math and science teachers that would help improve school performance while encouraging Alaskans to become teachers.
I could go on, but unless you're a complete idiot, I think you get my drift: 
Lisa has performed exactly like his supporters expect Joe Miller to perform.
Weirdly, the ADN "sages" dismissed Scott McAdams thusly (emphasis mine):
Her Democratic opponent, Scott McAdams, is articulate and reasonable. He has grown in this campaign from electoral cannon fodder to credible candidate. Alaskans will see more of him on the political stage, and that's good. But this is not his time. A half-dozen years as a small-town school board member and mayor in a weak-mayor system is too thin a resume for the challenges of the U.S. Senate in 2010.
So explain to me, exactly, ADN smart people:  Since God Forbid, the last thing we want is an "articulate and reasonable" U.S. Senator, how is it that Murkowski's "experience" helps her meet the "challenges of the U.S. Senate in 2010"?

Bowing and scraping to Mitch McConnell is hardly "a challenge." 

Standing up for Alaska is.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lisa Sméagol/Gollum Murkowski: IT'S MY PRECIOUSSSSSS! MINE MINE MINE!

In the general election Tuesday, November 2, there will be two major party candidates for United States Senate on the ballot:

Joe W. Miller, Rebublican, and Scott McAdams, Democrat.

As we grow closer and closer to the election, Joe Miller's candidacy is in the throes of a self-induced melt-down. He has demonstrated that he is a fraudulent, lying, hypocritical grifter with an ethics problem.  See details in my previous post.

Scott McAdams on the other hand, has been steadily more and more impressive.  
Starting out as the sacrificial lamb offered up by the Democrats against Lisa Murkowski, the "assumed" Republican nominee (and we all know what happened there), McAdams has become a viable candidate.  
He's knowledgeable on the issues, and gives a straight answer to a straight question. As of October 19, McAdams has raised over a million dollars - and over 88% of that is from small donors.

Scott's campaign is focused on Alaska, because no matter what Joe Miller might say, this race isn't about building a Berlin Wall around America or getting rid of "unconstitutional" federal programs (most of which Miller's taken advantage of).

It's about having a reasoning, reasonable U.S. Senator who will represent Alaska in Washington DC, not some ring-wing nut-job ideology.

Which brings us to write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.  
The fly in the ointment, if you will.
The Gollum in the punchbowl.

In J.R.R. Tolkien's middle-earth fantasy works (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings) a hobbit named Sméagol came into possession of the "One Ring."  Slowly, The Ring's malevolent power transformed Sméagol into Gollum, a pathetic, evil creature totally enslaved by the ring... and when Tolkien's protagonist, hobbit Bilbo Baggins "relieved" Gollum of the ring, Gollum went apeshit.  He was willing to engage in any sort of treachery to regain and keep it... exactly like Lisa Murkowski and the Senate seat she lost.

You can almost hear Lisa screeching, "Thief! Thief, Baggins Miller! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!!"

Refusing to accept her surprising primary defeat to Miller, Murkowski has acted as the spoiler in this race. She has engaged in a slash and burn write-in campaign that distorts her record, utilizes gigantic sums of money from industry and corporate PACs, and attempts to siphon Democrats and rational, thinking voters away from McAdams, the only sane candidate in the race.

The fact of the matter is, in the last couple years, Murkowski's votes are no different than Joe Miller's votes would have been.  Without having Ted Stevens' coattails to ride on, Lisa has marched lock-step with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, whose only agenda is to keep President Obama from accomplishing anything.   
She is a stalwart of the "Party of No," and most of her "no" votes were to detrimental to Alaska.

When she's not bashing Miller, or painting herself as a quasi-liberal to seduce Democrats, she's repeating her "McAdams can't win" litany.  She's wrong.

If you're a Democrat like me, there should be no question at all about how to vote.  You have a candidate, and if he wins, a Senator of whom Alaska can be proud.

But if you're a moderate , thinking voter (even a Republican), please don't get sucked into Murkowski's shell game.  Don't allow the "McAdam's can't win" mantra to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

McAdams can win, but rational voters of every party affiliation, or no party affiliation, need to support him.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Curious Case of Joe Miller

Over the last few weeks I've watched (admittedly, with some glee) the US Senate candidacy of Joe Miller unravel.

Mr. Miller shocked the powers that be in the national GOP, and all the election-watching pundits, when in the August primary election, he wrested the Republican party's nomination from Lisa Murkowski.

Miller's victory also stunned many Alaskans, myself included.

With a huge "gulp," the national GOP accepted him (what else could they do?) and NRSC actually sent him money.

Prior to the Primary Election, not much was really known about Mr. Miller. He was endorsed by self-anointed political power Sarah Palin... and, just like Palin, Miller's rhetoric consisted of Tea Party talking points, espousing the  "cut government spending, go back to the Constitution, no more socialism, blah blah blah."  
With the funding and assistance granted him by the Koch brothers through the Tea Party Express, Miller's campaign launched a series of attack smear ads against incumbent Republican Murkowski, accusing her of being a closet liberal, a RINO (Republican in name only), and cited all her "votes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi" (whom ALL Republicans, Tea Party or not, love to demonize).

Not that it was exactly true, of course.
It didn't matter that Murkowski has voted consistently with the GOP.
She did the bidding of Senate Minority Lead Mitch McConnell more than 90% of the time (even to the detriment of Alaska).  I'll have a post in the next few days dedicated to Senator Murkowski's candidacy, but in the meantime, if you'd like you can check it out here.

But for Joe, and the Koch brothers, this was not about anything as mundane as the truth.  It was about winning.

Unfortunately for Joe Miller, but fortunately for Alaskans (and America), his general election campaign  peaked just a little too soon.

Between the Primary election and the General election, Mr. Miller's past has caught up with him.

Since his arrival in Alaska, Joe has received medical benefits he's decried as "socialist." He's received free hunting and sportfishing licenses with a questionable claim of "indigence."  As a federal magistrate, he hired his wife... and then had to fire her because it violated nepotism guidelines.  Of course, she immediately collected unemployment, another  "entitlement" program he's repeatedly condemned as "unconstitutional."   So, one thing has become clear in the last couple months: Joe Miller is pretty damned good at gaming the system he publicly condemns.

Then, questions arose about Joe's activity during his employment as a part-time Fairbanks North Star Borough attorney in 2008.  According to what anyone can find out (much of Borough personnel records are sealed, and rightly so), Joe was the leader of an attempt to oust state Republican Party chief Randy Ruedrich.

As part of this effort, Miller used other employees’ computers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough for online polling.  He then cleared the memory cache on the computers he used, figuring that no one would be the wiser.  Of course, as any good IT techie can tell you, with a local area network like most municipal  governments use, that simply doesn't work.  Your tracks aren't erased.  Eventually, Joe was found out.

So Miller left the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  Whether Joe was terminated, asked to resign, or left of his own accord remains unclear, because as I noted - some parts of the personnel records are sealed.

However, Jim Whitaker, former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor (and big-time Republican) maintains that Joe was a hairsbreadth away from being fired.

So Miller's response to all this?  Like Republican / Tea Party Express-backed candidates Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell and Jan Brewer, candidates who have been brought to task for their hypocrisy, ignorance, or questionable behavior, Joe has blamed "the media" for his problems.

The facts reveal that Miller is a man severely lacking in ethical standards.  A man who who has repeatedly used the very system he calls corrupt, bad, and unconstitutional. A man who thought his own hypocrisy and engagement in fraudulent, if not illegal, behavior would never come to light.

Joe even went so far as to "draw a line in the sand" and refuse to answer questions about his "background and personal issues."  You know, questions about his hypocrisy and ethical problems.  

By Joe's twisted logic, Alaskan voters have no right to know about any of this before they elect him to an elite group of 100 Senators... one of the most powerful offices in United States.

Now, Joe Miller's campaign saga becomes even more bizarre.  
On Sunday, October 17, Joe sponsored a "town hall" candidate meeting at Central Middle School in Anchorage. The event was open to the public.  
After Joe finished with the audience in attendance, Tony Hopfinger, an editor and reporter for the online publication The Alaska Dispatch attempted to corner Mr. Miller, and persuade him to answer questions about the Fairbanks North Star Borough episode. 
Joe didn't want to be bothered with that, so employees of the security company Joe had hired (Drop Zone Security - which deserves a whole separate posting by itself) detained and handcuffed Mr. Hopfinger, telling  telling him he was trespassing.  At a public event.  In a public building.

Why Mr. Miller needed "security" is beyond me... except to keep reporters away from him.

By the time it was all over, the Anchorage police (who released Mr. Hopfinger) were called, Joe Miller and his campaign called Hopfinger a "left-wing blogger" (he's not - he's a free lance reporter/editor with some very solid journalist credentials), Miller claimed he was "assault" by Hopfinger (he wasn't), and the whole incident hit the national spotlight.

But one thing productive DID come from this event: As a spin-control measure, Joe Miller finally admitted to CNN he was indeed "disciplined" for his breaches of ethics while employed by the North Star Borough.  Of course Miller said this was all in the past and he's "moved on and learned from his mistakes."

I have news for you, Joe:  
So have Alaskans.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Job Killer" Joe Miller: Let's Abolish The Minimum Wage Law!

We all know that Joe W. Miller believes that Unemployment Insurance is "unconstitutional," because the power to collect for it and pay it is not specifically "delegated to the United States."

Back in the primary election, Carpetbagger Joe also noted in the Project Vote Smart Survey that he opposed "increasing the federal minimum wage."

Pretty standard Republican - keep rich folks rich and poor folks poor.

However, recently, in an interview with ABC News, Miller went a couple steps further 

Joe refers to (and paraphrases) the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution as the basis for this insanity.

Before I get into the 10th Amendment,  I'm going to refer Joe to the original document itself, starting with the Preamble:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." (emphasis mine)
I'm also going to refer Joe to Article 1, Section 8... specifically Clause 18:
The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. (again, emphasis mine)
When the first 10 amendments ("The Bill of Rights")  were drafted and eventually ratified, there was much hoopla and argument about the specific wording of the 10th Amendment

The upshot of the ruction was that the 10th Amendment as worded and ratified did NOT negate  "necessary and proper" as listed in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18.

So, whatever federal powers that are actually curtailed by the 10th Amendment have been largely decided upon by the U.S. Supreme Court, on pretty much a case-by-case basis.

Using Joe's logic, the U.S. Air Force should be abolished. The US Constitution authorizes the federal government to create an Army and a Navy... but there's no mention of an Air Force.

Of course, even though he is an graduate of the ELITE Yale School of Law , demonstrating whether or not he has an actual understanding of the Constitution is unimportant to Mr. Miller.

Repeating Tea Party Express talking points and keeping Tea Party Express billionaire financiers the Koch brothers happy is what's important. 

The "back to the Constitution" rhetoric plays well to low-information tea-party voters (who are pretty sure they're mad about something), and it keeps those ultra-conservative's campaign bucks coming in.

Just like the evangelist who cherry-picks holy scripture to back his rant against homosexuals, or to "prove" why women should be subject to a man's whim, Carpetbagger Joe cherry-picks the Constitution to support his financer's extremist views.

Based on his history of gaming the system on a number of fronts, Joe Miller should be seen by Alaskans for what he is:
A fraud and a hypocrite.

h/t to Packy for the graphic.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Municipal Election is Tuesday, October 5. A Few Words About Voting, Candidates and Issues

Voting is a responsibility not enough people take seriously.
There's an old saying - "ALL politics are local.."  And they are.

Well, there's a local election on October 5th, and your participation will help to determine what future course our local governments will take.

In the 2009 municipal elections, the voter turnout was 19.16%. Less than 1 in 5 registered voters bothered.

Now, even if you don't feel civic-minded, think about this: If you don't take part, a small minority will decide for you who represents you on local government bodies, and what ballot propositions may affect you long-term...so looking out for your own interests coincides with executing your civic responsibility.

If you don't care, stay home.

I'll be happy to let my vote make your decisions for you.

With that in mind, I'm making a few candidate and ballot proposition recommendations... and hoping it doesn't jinx who and what I support.  When it comes to candidates, I'll be sticking to Kenai, since I live there.

Kenai Mayor:  Two candidates vying for a 3-year term.

Mike Boyle.  As a 5-year veteran of the Kenai City Council, Mike has demonstrated solid judgment.  His 2+ decades as a vocational education instructor and participating member of KPEA lend him a perspective that's more encompassing and reality-based than the "whatever is good for the Chamber of Commerce is good for Kenai" view that incumbent Mayor Pat Porter seems to hold.

Kenai City Council:  Four candidates, two seats available.  3-year term.

Hal Smalley:  Without question, Mr. Smalley should be re-elected.  Hal has a long and distinguished history of service, from the Kenai City Council to the Alaska Legislature to the Borough Assembly.  The various capacities in which he's served - Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, the Alaska Municipal League - give him a solid grasp of good long term public policy that few others have. That alone makes him a valuable member of any governing body.

Terry Bookey:  Mr. Bookey was born here, and his family has been active in both political and civic activities since the 1960's.  They helped bring about many of the good things you see in Kenai today.  Steeped in that family spirit, Bookey demonstrates a similar dedication and caring.  Terry will bring an energetic, progressive voice to the council, moderated by his knowledge of Kenai's history and his genuine concern for its future.

Borough Ballot Propositions:

Proposition No. 1:  Education Capital Improvement BondsShall the Kenai Peninsula Borough borrow up to $16,866,500 through the issuance of general obligation bonds?

Vote "Yes." 
This is sort of a no-brainer.  The Kenai Peninsula Borough schools are a valuable investment, and frankly, many of the structures are getting old.  Over the years, roofs have been diligently maintained, and the Assembly has appropriated funds for limited replacement, but that funding has not matched the need.   There simply comes a time when maintenance is not enough, and major replacement is required to prevent failure and loss of the building and its contents.

Since bonding for each roof project will not occur unless steps are taken to ensure that the project qualifies for 70% debt reimbursement from the state, there is strong reason to believe the Borough indebtedness will be reimbursed if the Alaska Legislature makes funds available.

Under that scenario, the property taxpayer's cost to retire the debt is $5.78 per $100,000 of assessed real or personal property value (in my case, about $8.67) per year.

What happens if the Alaska legislature DOESN'T come through, and the Borough picks up the whole tab to retire the debt?  Then it will cost the property taxpayer $19.28 per $100,000 of assessed property value (in my case, about $28.92) per year.

Realistically, it's a pretty small price to pay to protect Borough educational facilities worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Proposition No 2: Adopting A Manager Plan Of Government To Be Effective After The 2011 Regular Election.  Shall the Kenai Peninsula Borough adopt a manager plan of government, effective upon certification of the regular October 2011 election, where the chief administrative officer is a manager appointed by the assembly instead of the current form where the elected mayor runs the borough administration?

I could easily argue either side of this issue.

Over the years, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has been pretty lucky in that the mayors we've elected have either been pretty damned good municipal managers, or they've been smart enough to hire and/or retain smart, capable people who kept everything running on a pretty even keel.

Unfortunately, the ability to win an election is completely unrelated to the ability to serve.

Bluntly, the fact that this is even on the ballot says more about the management ability (or lack thereof) of the current Borough Mayor than it says about the pros and cons of a Manager vs strong Mayor form of municipal government.

Voting "Yes" will replace the Mayor as the day-to-day manager of the Borough with a professional hired by the Borough Assembly.  A professional manager will be, logically, more responsive to the Assembly than he/she will be to the public at large.

Voting "No" will retain the current system, wherein the Borough is managed by an elected Mayor, who is, logically, responsive to the general public, but who can often be be at odds with the Assembly.

I'm conflicted on this one.
As readers of this blog know, I have no confidence in the current administration. 
On the other hand, I also feel that this is sort of a drastic,  long-term solution to a temporary situation.  
The current mayor has not said whether he's running again, but if he does, based on his performance, I find it impossible to believe he would win re-election.

So frankly, I'm not sure how I will vote on this issue on Tuesday.
Just like you, I'm still thinking it over.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another From Miller Lie: Ethics Laws Don't Apply To Him, Either

Just in from Think Progress: (all emphasis mine):

Miller’s campaign endorsement page features Alaskans praising him for having higher ethics and a greater commitment to transparency.

However, ThinkProgress contacted the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate Office of Public Records yesterday and discovered that Miller has not filed a personal finance disclosure as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, as required by law. According to Title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 and Senate Rule 41.1, candidates for U.S. Senate must file a disclosure form within 30 days of raising or spending $5,000. According to the Federal Elections Committee, Miller raised well over $5,000 as early as April of this year. Asked again today by ThinkProgress if Miller has filed his personal finance disclosure, or has contacted the Senate Office of Public Records with any request for an extension to file, a staffer with the Office responded:
“We haven’t received anything from him. He hasn’t sent us anything.”
According to law, “failure to file or report information required to be reported by section 102 of the Act may subject” Miller — a Yale Law School graduate — to a “civil penalty of not more than $50,000 and to disciplinary action by the Select Committee on Ethics and/or any other appropriate authority.” As of today, Miller is at least five months late with his disclosures.
So... it isn't only Alaskan laws that Joe Miller figures do not apply to him.

Neither do federal ones, either.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Miller Lie? Whatever He Thinks You Want To Hear. After All, Joe Thinks You're Stupid.

In the primary race, US Senate candidate Joe Miller said lots of things.  Things straight out of the corporate giant Koch brothers-funded Tea Party Express playbook.

They were fraudulent, jingoistic positions he espoused, quite simply, to solidify his ultra-right wing base, and wrest the Republican US Senate nomination from Senator Princess Lisa Murkowski.

It worked.

The problem is that now, Carpetbagger Joe has to appeal to not only the extreme right wing, but to more moderate Alaskans as well.  Alaskans who are worried about his "scorched earth" concept of ending federal programs and spending that are a major part of Alaska's economy and infrastructure.

So, in an effort to win over moderates (he only needs a few) Carpetbagger Joe Miller has been dancing the old soft shoe, to the tune of "that's not what I really meant."

In the September 24 edition of the Anchorage Daily News, Joe Miller backpedaled and bobbed and weaved.  A lot.

In the Aug. 4 Project Vote Smart candidate survey, Carpetbagger Joe Miller said
  • He favors eliminating federal funding for education.
In an interview last week with the ADN, Miller "explained" that he didn't really mean that.  What he MEANT was that he wants Alaska in the near-term to "get the same $360 million in federal education money -- just not to be told by the federal government how to spend it."  
Give us the money, but we want it with no strings attached.
To Project Vote Smart, Miller said 
  • He favors eliminating federal agriculture subsidies
Of course, from 1991-1997, Joe received more than $7,000 in subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for land that he owned in Kansas. Now he's against it, because, after all, he got his.  Others must now take the hurt.
To Project Vote Smart, Joe Miller said
  • He does not support the federal government providing college students with financial aid.
(I'm going to let slide the fact that this guy has a West Point education, worth $250-300K and paid for by our tax dollars... more of the "I've got mine, screw you" mentality.)
Joe Miller "clarified"  his views on this matter:  He said what he means is that student loans "should be administered by the state and not the federal government."
Huh.  More "give us the money, but we want it with no strings attached."

In the interview, Miller also said he doesn't want to immediately cut off all government spending, but that spending must be reduced because "because of the fiscal state that we're in as a nation. No one can argue with the fact that we're broke." 
In the same Project Vote Smart Survey, Miller said
  • He favors eliminating ALL taxes.  Alcohol taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, corporate taxes, ALL personal income taxes, federal estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and  taxes in pretty much any other category, too... while increasing or maintaining ALL defense spending (not to mention the spending he's now said he doesn't really want to cut).
So... the country is broke, and his answer is to cut off all government sources of revenue?  If you don't get that logic, you're not alone.

Carpetbagger Joe is NOT stupid.
According to his own website, he graduated from West Point with honors.  He has a degree from  Yale Law School, and has a Master's in economics from the University of Alaska.

So - if he's not stupid, how can one explain his contradictory, simplistic stances on issues important to Alaska, and to America?


To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, it's apparent that Carpetbagger Joe Miller is a fraud.  

A political chameleon, willing to assume any appearance in order to get elected.

That alone is reason to give him a wide berth, no matter your politics.

h/t to packy for the graphic.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stephen Colbert, Comic Genius, Testifies Before Congress. Steny Hoyer, (D-Tight Assville), Doesn't Get It. No Surprise There.

There was a lot of hoopla the last couple days concerning the fact that Stephen Colbert, the comic genius who anchors "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central testified Friday before the House Judiciary committee's subcommittee on immigration.

Over the years, Colbert has brilliantly created a character that is a scathingly sarcastic, over the top portrayal of tone-deaf, extreme-right  news/talk show "pundits."  His character demonstrates sort on an insanely clueless illogical logic, and in his character's mind, there is no intellectual disconnect, because intellect plays almost no part in his forming his beliefs.

The Colbert character's beliefs are based on "Truthiness,"  which can be loosely defined as "speaking from the gut" rather than using one's brain.

His performance is one of the most on-target, deadpan serious, seriously funny things on television.

During the Bush years, Colbert was invited to speak at the 2006 White House Correspondent's Dinner.  Four years later, people are still talking about it.  I doubt he will ever be invited back, because not only was President Bush lampooned, so was (oh, the horror!) damned near everyone in the room... and most of the people in that room still take themselves very seriously.

So when California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) invited Colbert to speak at the subcommittee hearing, Colbert fans were pretty sure they were in for a treat.

While Colbert is a funny man, the invitation was not a joke.  Colbert's invitation came after he and Lofgren both took part in the United Farm Workers' "Take Our Jobs" campaign, which challenged all Americans to experience the hard menial work that immigrant farm workers do.  Lofgren apparently figured that having a celebrity like Colbert testify might generate public interest in the subject. She was correct.

Colbert appeared with United Farm Workers (UFW) President Arturo S. Rodriguez, and stayed in character as the clueless arch-conservative from his television show.  His testimony started off with "I certainly hope that my star power can bump this hearing all the way to C-SPAN 1." (The hearing aired on C-Span 3).
Here's a clip.

You can decide for yourself, but I don't think Colbert's testimony made light of the plight of immigrant farm workers... he instead lampooned himself,  the clueless "Truthiness" of Congress, and the inherently clueless "Truthiness" practiced by much of the American public.

This offended the sensibilities of some of the oh-so-proper Congress members present, some of whom actually DID get that they were the butt of much of his humor... and they take themselves very seriously. Too much so for THAT shenanigans!

Apparently, Colbert also offended the sensibilities of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who told Fox News Sunday that Colbert's appearance was "an embarrassment."

It should have been an embarrassment, Mr. Hoyer.  For YOU and most of Congress.

Colbert's testimony underscored the fact that the House Leadership in particular, and Congress in  general has done little to improve the plight of the immigrant farm worker, or to even address problems with illegal immigration at all.

When asked by Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) why he chose to testify, Colbert actually dropped "out of character"   for his answer:
"I like talking about people who don't have any power...I feel the need to speak for those who can't speak for themselves....We ask them to come and work, and then we ask them to leave again. They suffer, and have no rights."
Colbert also quoted Matthew 25:40:
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
I think that about sums it up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Princess Seeks Clarity On Write-In; The Carpetbagger Follows Sarah To California For Bucks

In today's Anchorage Daily News, write-in candidate Senator Princess Lisa Murkowski seeks a clarification as to whether or not a misspelled version of her name on the November ballot will be counted as a vote for her.
It's a valid concern for the princess, because according to Ben Smith at Politico, even her own campaign staff can't get it right.  Check out the web address at the bottom of the picture.  It's apparently been corrected, but not before someone managed to get a screen shot of it.

In other news, Joe "Carpetbagger" Miller is still clinging to Sarah Palin's skirt, being the keynote speaker at a fund raiser in that well-known Alaskan town of San Diego CA, (not to mention other hob-nobbing with the right-wing-elite of the GOP):

Two things about the picture above strike me.  The first:  "Combat Veterans for Congress."  Is that the name of the organization, or do they want people to combat the idea?

The second is that referring to Carpetbagger Miller as (R-Senate-AK) kind of makes him sound like the incumbent.

I'm guessing that was no accident.

Meanwhile, back home, Scott McAdams keeps plugging away, getting hosed by the PACs that SHOULD be supporting him, had not Princess Lisa decided to be a spoiler.

After your Murkowski endorsement... if (or when) you wind up with Senator Joe Miller, you'll have no one to blame but yourselves.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Per The Mudflats' Request

Why the DSCC Loves Sarah Palin

It’s mind-boggling how the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hasn’t shown up for Scott McAdams, Alaska’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
They’ve had weeks to help secure a now open seat they didn’t think they had a prayer to take. Why aren’t they fighting for Alaska? Lisa Murkowski asked McAdams where his DSCC support was. When it didn’t show, she threw back in as a write-in candidate.
The front page of their website features a picture of Sarah Palin. Fear of her brand of crazy has been an ATM for the DSCC. They’ve raised millions off of Palin word salads with guano dressing. The DSCC website also has a link to Palin’s anointed Alaskan proxy for US Senate, Joe Miller, but they haven’t supported his opponent.
Alaska is the cheapest place in the country to run a campaign. One hundred dollars of campaign money in such a small market is equivalent to $2,000 for a race in Texas. With Palin’s negative numbers over 50%, her candidate, Joe Miller, is vulnerable. The Tea Party is recruiting people with “Lisa M” type names to run a write-in, and every Murkowski vote will be challenged by their attorneys. It will make the Franken/Coleman recount look like play-dough hour in kindergarten.
52% of Alaska’s voters are registered independent or undeclared. Nate Silver thinks Murkowski could win a write-in campaign?  He’s wrong about Alaska – again. Ask NOT-Congressman Ethan Berkowitz. Silver projected Ethan would best incumbent Don Young in 2008.  He didn’t.
Nationally, both Democrats and Republicans are underestimating Sarah Palin. The DSCC and others do this at their own peril. There is a chance to drive a political stake through the heart of the Palin king-maker meme. I realize Palin is a money maker, but neutering her politically by electing a Democratic Senator in Alaska is priceless.
Please help Alaska take our state forward. Save yourselves. Support Scott McAdams for U. S. Senate.  Contribute to Scott McAdams campaign.
Call the DSCC and ask them to FINANCIALLY support Alaska’s democratic candidate. 202-224-2447 Email them at info@dscc.org
Mudflatters – I don’t often make a direct ask of you. I know time and energy is valuable, and not everyone finds it easy to pick up a phone and make a call.  But I am asking.  Alaska bloggers work hard to make a difference, and this time we need your help.  We need EVERYONE to pick up the phone and call.  And then email too. And if you haven’t done it yet, donate to Scott McAdams at the link above in the text.
Also, if you have a blog, cut and paste this.  If you have a Facebook account, share it.  If you have a Twitter account, tweet it.  If you have a progressive email list, email it. We need all hands on deck.  Thank you so much.

I couldn't agree more. 

Thanks, AKMuckraker.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Dunce Cap of the Week" Award Winner: NEA-Alaska! Representing Educators? I Must Have Missed Something.

NEA-Alaska proudly proclaims they are "More than 13,000 teachers and education support professionals are working to create a bright future for Alaska’s children… and all Alaskans."

NEA-Alaska cheered when Congress passed H.R.1586 - the "Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act," a measure that will send some $23.5 million to Alaska to help support education jobs.

Then, on Friday, NEA-Alaska, in the persona of NEA-Alaska President Barb Angaiak, gushingly endorsed Senator Princess Lisa Murkowski in her desperate bid to retain her inheritance.


The same  Senator Princess Lisa Murkowski who voted AGAINST H.R. 1586?  She voted AGAINST you, and you're now endorsing her? Are you people NUTS?

Dear NEA-Alaska members:

Your President's actions will help split the sane vote, furthering the cause of Tea/Carpet Bagger Joe Miller, who wants to ELIMINATE the Department of Education.

The Democrat in this race, Scott McAdams, has a track record of supporting education:
He's been President of the Sitka School Board, Vice-Chair of the Mt. Edgecumbe School Board, and President of the Association of Alaska School Boards.

Plus, he's a Democrat.  You know, Democrats usually have pro-union stances (and Scott does)?

Is NEA an acronym for "Not Exactly Astute?"

Perhaps Ms. Angaiak will attend the "Teachers for McAdams" event this afternoon at McAdams' headquarters, and explain to Scott, and to her membership present, just why she doesn't have their best interests at heart...  and if you think she will, I have some beach front property in Omaha to sell you.

NEA-Alaska members should consider getting some new leadership.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Coming Soon To An Election Near You: The Princess, The Carpetbagger, and the Small-Town Alaskan Mayor

After a lengthy, self-imposed hiatus, I’m back.

Recent political events have spurred me to once again wade in and offer my comments, on the outside chance that in some small measure, it may sway rational individuals out there to give the upcoming Alaska US Senatorial election some serious thought (yeah, I know I’m kidding myself, but I have to give it a shot) 

THE PRINCESS:  Not willing to accept the fact that the inheritance her father granted had been unceremoniously stripped from her,  Senator Princess Lisa Murkowski has rejoined the fray, running a write-in campaign in a last-ditch effort to retain her seat in the US Senate.

Of course, the opponent Lisa has her sights set on is the guy who handed her her stinging loss:  

THE CARPETBAGGER:  Sarah Palin-endorsed Joe Miller, the Tea Party Express (the astroturf organization financed by corporate giants the Koch brothers) candidate.

Joe Miller is a walking contradiction.  He decries ALL forms of government spending "not mandated by the constitution" yet has no problem availing himself of that spending.  Despite his "elitist" law degree from Yale, it becomes obvious that he really has little knowledge of Alaska history, or of US History and the Constitution. When pinned down, Miller has no answers other than the "mad as hell, scream and yell!" Tea Party Express talking points.Of course, yelling and screaming about "Taking Our Country Back" and "Everything Is Unconstitutional" plays well to the Tea Party base.  

The problem is, Joe Miller isn't really a Tea Party believer. He's a fraud.  He's  a hypocrite.  He's one who takes advantage of government largess and then tries to make a career of denouncing that opportunity for others (only AFTER he's "got his," mind you).

He's the perfect example of a political chameleon, willing to don whatever colors necessary to win.  A Carpetbagger from Kansas.

Which brings us to the third major player in all this:

The Small Town Mayor: Scott McAdams is currently the Mayor of the City and Borough of Sitka.  He grew up in Petersburg, Alaska.  He's not as "inexperienced" as his opponents portray him to be.
He's been Chairman of the Southeast Alaska Conference of Mayors and a member of the Alaska Municipal League Board of Directors.  Prior to being elected Mayor, he served as President of the Sitka School Board, Vice-Chair of the Mt. Edgecumbe School Board, and President of the Association of Alaska School Boards.

Unlike the Princess who wants to keep her crown, and unlike the intellectually dishonest Carpetbagger who desperately wants to BE somebody, McAdams is the real deal.

When there was no personal gain for him, he's given time freely to his and other Alaskan communities.
When it looked like any relatively unknown Democrat would just be another Sacrificial Lamb to be slaughtered on the Murkowski Altar, McAdams was willing to step up because he believed he had something to offer: An ego in check, a grasp of reality, and a willingness to work hard.

Does this sound like an endorsement of McAdams?  Well, it should, because it is.  I've met him, spoken with him one-on-one in a non-public arena, and believe he would be an excellent Senator.

In an Rasmussen poll conducted immediately following Murkowski's original concession to Miller:
Miller - 50%
McAdams - 44%.
From the article:
"Ninety percent (90%) of Democrats back McAdams while 79% of Republicans throw their vote behind Miller. McAdams holds a 22-point lead among voters not affiliated with either major political party." (emphasis mine).
Remember: More than 50% of Alaskan voters are not unaffiliated with any party.

In a heads-up against Miller, McAdams had a real shot. He had nowhere to go but up, and would have closed that 6% gap... and now Murkowski has thrown a real monkey wrench into it.

She will likely NOT win, but could certainly siphon off enough of the rational voters to ensure a Miller win.

Thanks, Princess Lisa.