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April 18, 2014

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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Giessel “Reallocates” Wealth to Donors

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I’m still getting used to seeing the Walter J. Hickel Expressway signs. I still think Wally’s Way would have been better, but it gives me a chance to remember to read “Who Owns America” again. My copy has a brown signature inside. A treasure. So, as I pull onto Wally’s Way, heading south, the voice of Lori Townsend making me feel better about the news on my radio. Seriously. If there’s a meteor bearing down on Earth and we’re all gonna die, she should be the one announcing it-she makes even Alaska news sound better. My phone rings. “Did you…

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(UPDATE) Parnell’s California Dream

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UPDATE: Gov. Parnell’s illegal appointment has “withdrawn his own name,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. “A state law says board and commission nominees must be registered Alaska voters. Mandell told the Daily News he had not lived in Alaska since 1995. Parnell continued to back him, saying the Alaska Constitution required only that nominees be U.S. citizens.” Apparently the quaint notion that we have to follow state law is beyond the governor’s scope. If only he had some basic legal training. Oh, wait. ************************************** $2 billion a year is not enough. Sure they’re the wealthiest entities ever to have existed…

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GOP Tries to Stack the Courts

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When you can’t win, change the rules. I’ve wondered why our legislators have spent the better part of their time on bills likely to struck down as unconstitutional. They are trying to rewrite our constitution to hand public money to schools, deny women reproductive justice and deny citizens the right to weigh in on resource development. Lawmakers will vote on bills that they know will end up in court. That takes money that they don’t have to pay for on either side. Maybe we need an amendment that requires those who vote for bills deemed unconstitutional have to pay the…

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Parnell Stacks the Deck for Oil. Again.

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The muck-raking writer Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” He wrote that after running for governor in 1934. It would seem the business of politics was even more messy than the meat packing industry he exposed. I’d go a bit further than Sinclair. It’s difficult for someone to continue getting a salary if he does understand some things and still acts on them. It’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll give you the skinny. Most of us are familiar with the…

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Ma’o Tosi: Pattern of Poor Judgment

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******UPDATE FEB 20th 11:55 PM****** Yesterday, Ma’o Tosi appeared on Dave Stieren’s KFQD radio show. During the course of the interview, Stieren asked him about his tax issues. Tosi assured him everything was fine: “…Our CPA has filed the extensions for our taxes within the non-profit so those aren’t issues as far as filing…” Really? When LKB spoke to Mrs. Somebody at the IRS (after being on hold seemingly forever) she was very thorough in questioning her about “extensions” and the rules involving 990s. According to the IRS: A) A non-profit’s 990 is due the 15th day of the 5th…

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Oil? Bloated. You? Shrinkage.

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The numbers have been crunched. The “Big Five” oil companies – BP, Exxon-Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Chevron saw a combined profit of $93 billion last year. Profit. Billion with a B. That’s $177,000 every single minute, of every day last year. Profit. Outrageous! The poor babies… Despite what any reasonable person might think about the money pouring in to the most profitable companies ever to have existed on the face of the earth, they would still like to keep their tax breaks, please. And in Alaska, their best buddy in the governor’s office would like Alaskans to keep subsidizing this…

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Guess What Happened to Drew Pritt

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The notorious Caleb (Drew) Pritt, accused of stealing funds raised for a wounded vet and fleeing the state is now running for public office in Arkansas. Pritt became well-known in Alaska when he left the state after a sum of money raised from a drag show to upgrade a home for a wounded veteran went missing. The drag show benefit raised about $3,000 for the project, but the funds were never seen. The wounded soldier was Latseen Benson, son of former Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Diane Benson. He lost both of his legs in a bomb blast while serving in…

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