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September 17, 2014

Pebble Mine is Really Sorry (They Got Caught)

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These past few weeks have been bad ones for the Pebble Partnership and its attorneys. Here’s the statement issued last week by Pebble Limited Partnership, the Pebble Mines Corp. and Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens, their law firm, the defendants, and the Renewable Resources Coalition, the plaintiffs, in a long-running lawsuit. RELATED: AK Beat: Billionaire mining investor says Pebble “will not be built” The “Renewable Resources Coalition and Pebble Limited Partnership have today announced a settlement of their litigation pending in Los Angeles. In that litigation, Renewable Resources Coalition alleged that Pebble had unlawfully purchased its confidential records and information from…

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The Naked Baker Must Go

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If you are a Mudflats reader, you know him as The Naked Baker. Bill Stoltze may have earned his moniker by his unfortunate hobby of baking cookies for charity auctions in the nude, but sadly this is not the most horrifying thing about this Alaska legislator. Stoltze figured heavily into the book I co-authored, “Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin” (with Frank Bailey and Ken Morris, Simon & Schuster, 2011), for something worse. He was the force behind the coordination of the 2006 Sarah Palin for Governor campaign, and the Republican Governor’s Association then headed by Mitt Romney. Sounds important, like…

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Parnell Ignored Guard Rape for Years

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“This culture of mistrust and failed leadership in the Guard ends now,” according to Gov. Sean Parnell, the failed commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard for the last four years. Unfortunately, if you’ve been paying attention, you know there isn’t the slightest chance that Parnell will hold himself accountable for ignoring years of guardsmen pleading for his help — in some cases with soldier rape victims and their advocates almost literally banging on the door of his office. Instead he’s in weasel overdrive in an attempt to escape responsibility for his inaction and blatant lack of concern. You…

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What Could Go Wrong? This.

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There’s a game most of us play. It’s called “What Could Go Wrong?!” You know, like I’m going to hand my nine year old an automatic weapon – “What Could Go Wrong?!” Or, why not go bare-headed and drive a motorcycle really fast? “What Could Go Wrong?!” Then there is the always present, Why don’t we build a giant mine at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishing run in the entire world? “What Could Go Wrong?” Many Alaskans have asked this question over the last decade regarding the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. When the state government…

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Big Brother Feels Bad. Really.

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Remember 1984? The book, not the year. You probably read it in high school. It’s a dystopian novel, published in 1949, that takes place in a world of perpetual manufactured war, state sponsored torture, omnipresent and intrusive government surveillance, and propaganda posing as news, all controlled by an elite and privileged “Inner Party” bent on squashing independent thinking and dissent in order to keep itself in power. The whole shebang is controlled by a powerful, merciless entity called “Big Brother,” who may or may not be just one person. No really, it’s just a novel. The hero of the story,…

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Sullivan Fails to Stand His Ground

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I support the Second Amendment. I have guns and, because we have some lunatics on the loose in this state, I conceal carry. But I didn’t support the so-called “Stand Your Ground” law that allows people to shoot those they fear without trying to retreat first. If you can retreat safely, you should — rather than take someone’s life. It was a controversial bill that many believed would lead to more violence, so you can imagine my happy surprise when Sarah Palin’s then-attorney general, Dan Sullivan, opposed the bill and helped kill it in 2010. I was impressed that Sarah…

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Judge Confirms Lt. Gov’s Incompetence

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The job of Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor really has only two duties to speak of. 1) Care and maintenance of the state seal. Not the animal – that would be hard, and require lots of work. I’m talking about the little round metal disc that turns stuff official. I don’t really know what care and maintenance that seal requires, but I’m guessing there might be buffing involved, or maybe some kind of chemical paste and a soft lint-free cloth. Perhaps it’s nestled in a velvet-lined wooden box, and needs to be checked on from time to time, to make sure nobody’s…

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The Floodgates are Open

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This week I listened to one of the right-wing sock puppets yammer on about what a victory for freedom the most recent campaign finance court decision was. Honestly. The guy was more about “free and dumb” than freedom. The court, in yet another 5-4 decision, basically created eBay for elections. What we didn’t need was more stinking money in our election process but the five say otherwise. Freedom of speech is now equated with how much money you have and are willing to spend. Of course, the reverse doesn’t work. You can’t walk into a store and purchase items with…

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GOP Leader Threatens Sexual Assault Council

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Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) is throwing rape victims under the train to get the governor’s out-of-state buddy on an Alaska gasline board. You’ve got to hand it to him; the lengths to which he will go to demonstrate his lack of common decency are not half-assed. In a state where 37 percent of women report having experienced sexual violence, and where rape statistics are three times the national average, Mike Chenault proves that for those like himself, there are more important things. Like getting the governor’s Texas buddy on the gasline board. The premise of Chenault’s latest legislative…

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Social Media Wins & Fails of AK Politicos

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ANCHORAGE, AK— There are two types of Facebook stati: those providing the reader with value of some sort—informational, cautionary, or even just escapist entertainment value—and those benefitting only the writer: appeals for sympathy or money, self-congratulatory piety, boastful one-upsmanship, you know all the flavors. The second type is never in short supply, but here are three examples of effective social media use by public officials which—while of benefit to constituents and the public, indeed for that very reason—will also pay dividends when the candidate makes an ask around campaign time. The Feedback Loop Fairbanks Rep. Scott Kawasaki’s approach highlights an…

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