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May 13, 2021

Alaska Politicians Exposed – Stooges, Shills & Shenanigans

TALL TALES from Juneau

and the DC Debacle

 

AND IT’S ALLLL ON TAPE

Sometimes you know things, but it’s nice to have them proven right out loud, through dramatic and surreptitious means. Such is the case with the immediately infamous “Pebble tapes.” If you haven’t heard them, make yourself a beverage and get ready to be a fly on the wall as your beautiful state and all its salmon get sold down the river (not the beautiful blue Nushagak of today – the contaminated, cyanide-filled Nushagak of tomorrow). We now know what our elected Republican leadership thinks of us, and what the Pebble Partnership thinks of them. According to the top dogs at the Pebble Partnership:

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is all talk, no walk, and will never actually do anything of consequence when it matters
  • Dan Sullivan is spineless and silent, sitting in the corner hoping stuff goes away so he can win his election
  • Mike Dunleavy is a useless shill who will sell out Alaska in a heartbeat for his corporate overlords
  • Ben Stevens is still a Corrupt Bastard™, pulling the strings behind the scenes
  • And the Republican extremists running for the legsialture who just ousted all the Republican moderates in the August primary are naïve tools purchased by Pebble while posing as the candidates of the people

Most of this we knew already – except that last part. But now we do.

And even if you disagree with the Pebble project, which a large majority of Alaskans do, you’ve got to give them credit for accurately describing the politicians at the helm. Well, they’re not really at the helm – Pebble is, and that is abundantly clear. But they’re happy to take their money and your vote, and do exactly what you don’t want them to do. All you have to do is vote for their people.

Hey, don’t take my word for it – listen for yourself. This leadership of the Pebble Partnership confessed on tape that their so-called “small footprint” 20-year project is actually going to be an enormous and growing mega-project that will span the entire region, including the Donlin Gold project, and will last for generations – 160 years according to Pebble CEO, Tom “No One Gives a Rat’s Ass About Alaska” Collier, and Ronald Thiessen, the president and CEO of Canadian Company Northern Dynasty, of which Pebble is a wholly-owned subsidiary. These two asshats laid out the truth of things to undercover Environmental Investigation Agency investigators during August and September after they expressed interest in investment opportunities related to the Pebble project.

Surprise! Looks like someone did give a rat’s ass about what happens in Alaska.

This would be a good time to remind you that Joe Biden has pledged to stop the Pebble projectwhen he gets elected. So has former commercial fisherman, Dr. Al Gross, who is running against Dan Sullivan  – the guy sitting quietly in the corner while it happens. Gross is even keeping count of the days of Dan Sullivan’s silence. (Today it’s 2400 days, if you’re interested.) Alyse Galvin for U.S. Congress is also opposed to the project. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find any Democratic candidate who has sold their soul and endorsed the mine. So there’s that. #VoteBlue #NoPebble

A great wrap-up of all this, as always, can be found from Matt Buxton of the Midnight Sun, here:

Pebble execs say Alaska’s Congressional delegation is gutless and Dunleavy’s in their pocket

 

 

FORMER AGs IN THE NEWS

Nope, this time it’s not 557 inappropriate texts [😘😘😘😘😘😘]– it’s just one gigantic inappropriate request from a different former AG – Craig Richards. Remember him? He’s the one who signed on to an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that saying same-sex marriage bans should be upheld because it would demean the democratic process and cause “incalculable damage to our civic life” if it held.  INCALCULABLE DAMAGE I TELL YOU! – It seems as though the state is still standing, even after two consenting adults who love each other are allowed to tie the knot. But I digress.

That very same Craig Richards is now the Chair of the Board of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC).

Mr. Richards recently had the APFC Trustees look into something for him, and those of you who remember the “Taj MaHawker” (the ethically murky and very fancy legislative office building in downtown Anchorage that caused a massive fiscal fiasco, and was eventually abandoned under a cloud of litigation) may need to sit down. Mr. Richards would like the state to open new offices in Anchorage – where he lives.

No, not kidding.

And guess what this directed investigation found? If you said – it found that the cost to set up an extra office would be about $500,000-$600,000 up front and another $100,000 a year in costs just to maintain, you’d be correct. I mean, it might be more – you know how these things go – but that’s a good average guess.

But what will we GET? I mean, that’s part of it, right? You invest, and you get back. That’s kind of the whole point of the Permanent Fund Corporation, if you think about it.

In this case, the answer to that question is ZERO. $0.00. Absolutely nothing.

APFC jobs are highly sought after, as you can imagine, and those jobs can easily be filled by top-notch talent who would be happy to live in Juneau – and not press the state to spend a bunch of money to construct entire new offices just so they can stay in Anchorage and walk to work on a nice day. But even that may not be enough…

During the last board meeting of the APFC, this was said: “Success of an Anchorage office could potentially open the door to additional offices in regions that would significantly benefit the Fund.” Oh, reeeeeeally! Perhaps Mr. Richards would next like to live in a beach condo on Molokai, and we can just relocate the offices there – or a nice little flat in London… you know, “for the markets.” I mean, it’s only money, right? And Dunleavy has already proven he has money to spend on stuff he wants. No need to waste it all on education, and PFDs, and public safety and stuff.

And speaking of Gov. Dunleavy, did I mention that Craig Richards happens to be Gov. Dunleavy’s lawyer, fighting the recall effort? And that four of the other five trustees on the board are Dunleavy appointees?

High cost, no benefit. Just what we want out of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

Have we “restored trust in government” yet?

If you’re feeling like you wish you could give them all a piece of your mind, you may participate via WebEx tomorrow morning at 8:30am:  LINK HERE

 

 

BART LEBON – MAN OF MANY COLORS (BUT SETTLING ON RED)

Supposed moderate centrist Republican Bart LeBon of Fairbanks seems to be associating with a new crowd these days. He’s the one standing behind the Trump sign and with the Dunleavy/Sullivan crowd, hoping you won’t notice. But, WE DID!

Birds of a feather

If you’d like to vote for someone who knows where he stands (and it’s not next to the slash and burn governor), we suggest checking out Christopher Quist for House District 1.

 

 

DIVISION OF ELECTIONS WHACK A VOTE

It’s hard to keep up with all the shenanigans and oopsies going on at the Division of Elections these days, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence – especially when they all seem to benefit one party. (SPOILER: Republicans)

First there’s the lawsuit brought by disabled Alaskans challenging their voluntary mailing of absentee ballots by the state ONLY to senior citizens “because of covid” but not to everyone else – also because of covid! There are lots of covid-vulnerable groups, but senior citizens tend to vote Republican in larger numbers than Democratic.

Then there was the decision to require a witness signature but not allow postal workers to act as the witness to a voter’s absentee ballot signature. This tends to affect absentee voters (mostly Democrats), especially in bush communities (mostly Democrats).

Then there was the decision to strip candidates’ party affiliation from ballots because the Director of the DoE, Gail Fenumiai, decided that the “most important” thing to have on the ballot was the primary that the candidate was in – or simply listing them as “petition candidate” (affecting undeclared, non-partisan, and Libertarian candidates). The court admitted this was wrong, but the DoE waited so long to inform anyone that the change had been made, and ballots were printed –  so they basically just got away with it.

Gail Fenumiai, Director of the Division of Elections

Also, Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer suggesting that maybe, just maybe Anchorage should have more than one or two drop boxes in the entire city to make it easier for people to vote in Anchorage (mostly Democratic).

Now, just yesterday we discovered that all the emailed ballots for District 28 (South Anchorage Hillside, Girdwood) going overseas and to the military were sent out with the wrong candidate’s name for State House. The Democratic Party had a candidate drop out of the race to pursue studies at seminary, and he was replaced by candidate Suzanne LaFrance in plenty of time before the deadline to change candidates. But nevertheless, all the ballots were sent with the wrong name (affecting the Democratic nominee who also happens to be Non-Partisan in her voter registration).

But wait, there’s more! The DoE now says that there’s no room to have election observers from the parties anymore because of covid, and they won’t accommodate virtual observation, or any other method or location, and they were really only letting us in there all those other times “as a courtesy” anyway, so… They’ll take care of it. No worries, it’ll be fine. You just run along.

ADP Chair Casey Steinau had this to say to that in a letter asking for clarification from the Lt. Gov. Oh, those pesky statutes!

Seeing a pattern?

It’s kind of difficult to trust a group of people, or a Republican Lt. Gov. who’s running the show over there, when they make surprise unconstitutional changes under cover of night, can’t even proofread their own ballots before clicking ‘send,’ and don’t want you to observe their count.

 

 

MEL GILLIS SAID WHAAAAT?

Dunleavy appointee, cigar-chomping big game guide Mel Gillis, had an interesting call with the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association last week. Journalist Dermot Cole did a great job bringing that to light in this piece on Reporting from Alaska. The gist of the conversation was that Rep. Gillis said he thought it would be nice to hire off-duty Anchorage cops to rough up protesters at the commemoration of the anniversary of the March on Washington in Anchorage’s Town Square Park. Gillis, when asked, neither confirmed nor denied he said it. The APDEA has endorsed Gillis’ opponent, Calvin Schrage for House District 25.

Of course, despite the right’s running around with their hair on fire, freaking out that the CEOs of ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter were flying in from Portland to burn Anchorage to the ground, the rally was both well-attended and peaceful. There were great speakers, there were cool signs, and it was a celebration of beloved community. Well, except for the counter-protesters on Gillis’s side, revving their truck engines and making noise in an attempt to drown out speakers, and interrupt the right to peaceful assembly.

 

BINGO!

The Alaska Landmine has updated its Team Dunleavy bingo card after AG Kevin Clarkson resigned his post amid his KrazyStalker™ texting scandal a few weeks ago. It isn’t technically a bingo card, but we have to say that the double cross-out of Dave Stieren (conservative radio hack with a cushy ‘thank you’ job) and Ben Stevens (veteran of Corrupt Bastards 1.0 and active duty Corrupt Bastard 2.0) would make a pretty exciting Bingo. And this year, we can use all the Bingos we can get.

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