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Will the NOAA Puget Sound “Party Boat” Story Force Lubchenco Out at NOAA?

6:48 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The story broke beyond a few fishing blogs late this week, with coverage in the Seattle Times and elsewhere:

Federal fish cops in Seattle bought a $300,000 luxury boat to spy on whale-watching tours — but didn’t go through an appropriate bidding process, held barbecues onboard, ferried friends and family across Puget Sound to restaurants and resorts, and used the boat for what one visitor called “a pleasure cruise.”
When confronted, one federal employee in Seattle misled inspectors about how the vessel was used, and one interfered with federal investigators, according to an internal investigation by the Commerce Department. Those documents were released Friday by U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.

At issue is a 35-foot, 14-passenger boat purchased by federal agents with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) using money seized from fishermen who violated the law.

The 2008 purchase wasn’t illegal, according to the Commerce Department, but federal agents manipulated the acquisition process and misrepresented the urgency and need for the vessel.

 Brown is calling for NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco to step down:

On Friday, Brown said the boat was a symbol of wasteful Washington spending and NOAA’s damaged relationship with fishermen.

Brown repeated his request that President Obama fire NOAA Chief Jane Lubchenco.
“This needs to change and accountability starts at the top,” he said. “If not now, when? If not for this, then for what?”

NOAA said it has completely overhauled its enforcement program since the inspector general’s findings.

Why is it being called a “party boat”?

The first time a fisheries-service agent boarded the boat in June 2008, he brought his wife and a friend. They ran out of gas, called Seattle Harbor Patrol and had to be towed back to the Ship Canal.

They refueled and motored the boat through the Ballard Locks to the dockside Boat Shed Restaurant in Bremerton, had dinner and then returned to Seattle.

A month later the same agent took the boat to Poulsbo for lunch and went back to Seattle. He picked up some friends who brought aboard a six-pack of beer and sped down to Gig Harbor for dinner at Tides Tavern. One passenger told investigators the trip was “every bit a pleasure cruise.”

A few days later, the same employee briefly got stranded in the boat in a shipping lane while taking his wife to a restaurant in Everett.

Twice that summer, while the boat was moored at Elliott Bay Marina, a fisheries-service employee grilled burgers and hot dogs with a small group that included at least two other special agents. A supervisor told an employee his wife could come aboard any time and “kick back and watch TV.” One agent later told investigators the gatherings kept up the vessel’s appearance as a recreational boat and not an unmarked-police vessel.

Once in August 2008, the boat ferried around a special agent’s visiting parents, eventually dropping them off at the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Whatcom County. The boat that day blew out a $10,000 engine as a result of what investigators called “operator error.” The boat’s first use in an actual undercover capacity didn’t take place until the next summer.

When internal investigators learned about the boat in 2010, one employee gave such contradictory answers, investigators called the statement “disingenuous and not credible.”[emphases added]

 Here’s Brown’s C-SPAN moment on this:

Back in late 2008, when Obama announced Lubchenco’s appointment to head NOAA, I was thrilled. How novel, I thought, compared to Bush, for Obama to hire a scientist to head a scientific agency.  Some of my friends were more wary, predicting that her time at the Pew Charitable Trust would propel her relentlessly toward privatization of collective fishery resources.  When, on a visit to Nome in mid-2009, Lubchenco professed to not know anything about the serious depletion of Yukon River King salmon through bottom fish trawler bycatch, I began getting more wary of her professionalism.

Later in August 2009, I confronted Lubchenco and others on Obama’s so-called Oceans Task Force, to fix the salmon depletion problem or face the curse of history:

This testimony is offered in memory of Segundo Strongheart of Nunam Iqua, who passed away early this past Tuesday, as he struggled to support his family and heritage.

My name is Philip Munger. I live in Wasilla, and teach cultural history at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I’m best known as a composer of “classically-based” music. In 36 years in Alaska, I have also worked in many other fields, including a 26-year relationship with commercial fishing or other blue water maritime activities. I have a strong love of science, and have raised my two kids to be scientists: One is now a graduate of the Huxley School of Environmental Science. The other is pursuing studies at Humboldt State University in green fisheries restoration.

I’ve observed the degradation of the overall habitat upon and around the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers, as the ongoing catastrophe has accelerated. It is increasingly clear that unless something radical is done soon to assure far higher returns of salmon to these and other areas, the runs will be ruined forever.

Of particular concern is the decimation of the Yukon River Chinook and Chum salmon stocks. I am one who strongly believes the bycatch paradigm of the Bering Sea trawlers has crossed the area from very poor policy to cultural genocide.

Salmon are the basis of some of the most beautiful, long-lasting and resilient of the world’s existing cultures. The Yupik are emblematic.

• When the Phoenicians and others were cutting down the vast cedar forests in Lebanon, the Yupik were beginning to fish the lower Yukon.

• When the Roman Empire and vernacular Latin were dying, people had been speaking a language today’s Yupik would recognize as their own for over a thousand years.

• When the Norse navigated the North Atlantic, the Volga and the Black Sea, the Yupik were expanding up the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers.

• When a language we can now recognize as English began to exist, Yupik culture was thousands of years old.

Yet, within the mere past 25 years, the foundation of this vibrant culture has been ripped apart.

I have never seen a better example of how cross-governmental jurisdictional problems can be used by an industry to destroy one of America’s first peoples.

Nancy Sutley – Dr. Jane Lubchenco – David Hayes – Admiral Thad Allen – Heather Zichal — and, YES – Sen. Mark Begich and President Barack Obama:

Unless you act very soon, and very, very sternly to end the depredation of the Bering Sea and other Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, the miserable survivors of this once-proud, vibrant culture, will soon sing imprecatory, damning songs to your eternal memories, blaming you for their Holocaust.

Lubchenco’s reign at NOAA has been increasingly criticized.  Obama’s proposed reorganization of several Federal departments includes the possibility of moving NOAA from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Interior:

When President Obama last spring released a video soliciting ideas on modernizing government to better compete in the 21st century economy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was about to get thrown into the mix. “Move NOAA from DOC to DOI,” read a suggestion tagged No. 1979 and ranked No. 1439 in the White House compilation. “I think it paints a bad picture when we are supposed to be managing and conserving marine resources and we are under the Department of COMMERCE” rather than the Interior Department, an anonymous NOAA employee said in the submission.

Months later, after a lengthy consultation process, such a transfer ended up a part of the Obama administration’s proposal to seek congressional approval of authority to consolidate six major business and trade agencies.

It makes sense, so it probably won’t happen.  In regard to fisheries, the big ocean pirates that represent the offshore trawl industry do not want NOAA moved, as they’re able to manipulate the regulatory regimes there very well under Lubchenco’s unwatchful eye.

Both of Alaska’s U.S. senators (Alaska area catch of seafood represents half of U.S. landings) are deeply indebted to the 1%ers who run our offshore vacuum cleaning trawl fleets.  Lisa Murkowski even coddled her fisheries assistant, Arne Fuglvog, after her staff knew he was about to be indicted for years’ worth of criminal fisheries violations.  Mark Begich, mouthing the desires of the ocean pirates, defended keeping NOAA in the hands of Commerce’s corrupt paradigm:

On Capitol Hill, a skeptical view came from Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. On Jan. 13, he said he was “not sure burying NOAA in an already overburdened Interior is a good idea.” Noting Alaska is “producer of more than half of the nation’s seafood,” he said, “the proper management of our fisheries is vital to thousands of jobs in Alaska and to protecting this precious resource . . . I’ll be asking tough questions as this proposal moves forward.”

 Tough questions like “Do you know the mailing address of my PAC?”

As Write-Ins Get Counted in Alaska, Miller Brings on More Sleaze

1:03 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The counting of votes in the 2010 Alaska U.S. Senate race is moving along fairly briskly.  On Wednesday and Thursday, absentee votes for Joe Miller cut into Lisa Murkowski’s large lead.  On Thursday the Miller campaign was challenging Murkowski write-in ballots so aggressively, they were flagging ballots on which one of the letters in Murkowski’s name was in cursive.  And they challenged another where the person had written in “Merkowski,” and then had written a “u” over the “e.”

Even with such challenges as those Murkowski’s lead over Miller early Saturday is about 10,050, with most of the regular write-in votes now counted:

The count stands at 98,565 write-ins and 87,517 votes for Miller after Friday’s tally of absentee and questioned votes. That tally slightly widened the margin of write-ins over Miller to 11,048 votes.

Nearly 98 percent of those write-ins are being counted for Murkowski so far. More than 90 percent of Murkowski’s write-in votes are not being challenged.

The Miller campaign has successfully challenged just 1.5 percent of the 69,249 write-in ballots that have been reviewed. The ballots unsuccessfully challenged by Miller are being segregated in boxes, and the courts could have the final say.

Miller has filed a lawsuit asking federal courts to force the state to throw out ballots that misspell Murkowski’s name. He argues state law doesn’t allow misspellings. But even if Miller’s lawsuit succeeds, Murkowski could still have enough votes to win.

The Division of Elections has finished going through the write-ins for nearly 72 percent of the precincts in Alaska. That doesn’t count the absentee and early vote write-in ballots, which will be reviewed this weekend and into next week.

Late Thursday, Miller’s new campaign strategist, Floyd Brown, entered the scene.  Brown is the creator of the Willie Horton ads, run against presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.  He was heavily involved in creating false stories about Bill Clinton’s past in Arkansas, and was a co-founder of Citizens United.

Soon after Brown took over aspects of Miller’s campaign, their camp began playing a race card, suing to obtain voter roles from several small towns and villages, composed mostly of Alaska Natives.  The majority of Alaska Native organizations, including the very influential Alaska Federation of Natives, backed Murkowski over Miller and Scott McAdams in the election.  Several Native corporations assisted Murkowski materially, especially in October.  Although a few Native precincts around the state went for McAdams, none came even close to going for Miller.

At a news conference in Juneau Friday afternoon, Brown asserted that write-in ballots in Cordova had “the name “Lisa Murkowski” all written in the same handwriting. Miller adviser Floyd Brown said the campaign would be asking for a handwriting analysis of those ballots.”

Brown also complained that the security firm hired by the state to assure ballot security in Juneau has allowed illegal access to the ballot storage boxes and stacks.  The security firm is owned by a local Juneau Native corporation:

Goldbelt Security is handling the ballots. It is a subsidiary of Goldbelt, the local Native corporation for Juneau. Brown hit on the fact Murkowski has a bill to benefit Sealaska, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, and that Sealaska officials backed her campaign.

In today’s story about this in the Anchorage Daily News, anti-Native commenters are crawling out of their holes, just as Brown is hoping.  Here’s a sample:

I cant help but notice a high number of Native looking people in the photographs. Are they members of the Native Union who threw its support of Lisa. I hope someone is watching.

The Alaska Division of Elections is hoping to process all the write-in, absentee and early ballots that have arrived so far by the end of this coming week.  Although absentee ballots must be postmarked by election day, the state will not stop accepting them from overseas until November 17th.

It should be noted that in the 2008 Alaska U.S. Senate race, Mark Begich’s votes did not pass those of Sen. Ted Stevens in the late counting until early November 18th.  That race was much closer, with higher voter participation than in this mid-term election, and with a completely different dynamic than this strange 2010 Senate race.  I expect Murkowski’s lead to hold.

I’m working with a group that is seeking to have Joe Miller disbarred for illegally hacking, altering and deleting files from his fellow attorneys’ computers in Fairbanks back in the winter of 2008.  The information came out in October, due to the media lawsuit compelling release of some of Miller’s personnel records while working in Fairbanks as a municipal attorney.  I’m also trying to get the handcuffs that were used to cuff Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger at a Joe Miller event on October 17th.  I’m going to get them bronzed for Tony.  The Alaska Dispatch lawsuit and the illegal arrest of Tony probably did more to change public perception of Miller than anything else.

Alaska Democrat Scott McAdams Brings in $1 Million as Miller and Murkowski Campaigns Founder

4:55 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Senate candidate Scott McAdams of Alaska

Democratic Party nominee Scott McAdams announced today that his campaign has raised over a million dollars so far, in his quest to pull off a surprising victory against two opposing candidates who are entering stages of terminal infighting.

Joe Miller, who has had a succession of "worst week yet" weeks, is in the middle of the worst one yet. Not only did his Sunday evening arrest on of an award-winning news editor at a public event by unlicensed goons working for a company that itself is unlicensed go viral nationally, it has since gotten worse.

Yesterday, the blog Palingates detailed the extensive links between the illegal company’s owner and a sordid array of militia characters only two steps removed from Timothy McVeigh. Multiple contacts between the company’s owner and Miller himself are now starting to trickle out. As Palingates put it in their post on Monday:

Joe Miller chose a security firm for his campaign event which is not only unlicensed, but also right at the heart of an extreme militia group, with the owner of the security firm being a local commander of the militia and also the main supplier. This Alaskan militia is headed by the notorious Norm Olson, who played a major role in the radical militia movement in the 1990′s in Michigan, a movement which is at least partly to blame for the Oklahoma bombing.

It isn’t going to get better for Miller. The usually supine Alaska media is genuinely riled at Miller’s increasingly obvious odious nature, dishonesty and manipulative financial past – and present.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

In Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich’s Brother Explains How Scott McAdams Can Beat Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski

9:14 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alaska artist and political wonk, Tom Begich, was on Moore Up North today. Tom is U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s brother. Along with brother Dr. Nick Begich, Jr, Tom is far more progressive than Mark. Tom borrowed my classroom blackboard from the University of Alaska Anchorage to illustrate two important things – why Sen. Lisa Murkowski cannot win on November 2nd as a write-in, and how close Scott McAdams may really be.

Here’s Tom’s segment from the show:

The rest of the show – a long, detailed and sometimes quite humorous interview with Democratic Party U.S. Senate candidate Scott McAdams – may be viewed here.

Joe Miller keeps on getting slammed in the Alaska press and blogs, perhaps more than any GOP candidate in a statewide race since John Lindauer, back in 1998.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Joe Miller’s Alaska U.S. Senate Campaign Goes Into Free Fall – Now Down 8 Points to Sen. Murkowski

9:57 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Five consecutive polls, three of them with Sen. Lisa Murkowski being polled as an active write-in candidate in a three-way race show Teabagger Joe Miller at 50%, 47%, 42%, 36% and now – 30%. The last one, taken by fairly accurate pollster Craciun, puts Joe the Teabagger 11 points behind incumbent Murkowski, who he beat in a fairly closed GOP primary, back in late August.

Miller has lost .6 percentage points per day since the primary.

Unfortunately for progressives, Democratic Party primary nominee, Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams has stayed in the mid- to low-20s pretty much through all the polls. McAdams’ best hope is for Miller-Murkowski to stay tight enough that they go so negative, voters end up choosing McAdams, who might seem the only adult in the room among the three.

Murkowski didn’t poll well against Miller in the first polls to emerge early last week, when she announced her write-in candidacy. Late last week, and through this one, a series of disclosures about questionable actions by Miller in the past, and the poor way Miller’s campaign has handled his attempted transition from Tea Party hero, to some sort of moderate that might appeal to the majority of Alaska voters who are not party members, have combined to make likely voters turn against him quite rapidly.

His campaign may be about to enter a free fall, down into the mid-20′s, as one of the latest scandals sinks into the consciousness of Alaskans. He appears to have broken Alaska Department of Fish & Game laws in the way he and his wife applied for a moose hunting permit back in the mid-1990s, about the time they moved here from the mid-Atlantic area and Kansas:

And is it just me, or is anyone else a bit skeptical that Mrs. Miller went out and shot her own moose? Now, I’ve known many a fine Alaskan woman who has shot and killed moose and various other wildlife, and many more who are far better fisherpersons than I am, so it is certainly possible. But how likely is it that a recent Alaskan transplant, who apparently spent the greater part of a decade pregnant or recovering from giving birth, went out and shot her first moose in 1995?

The penalty for knowingly making a false statement or omitting a material fact in an application under AS 16.05 is a class A misdemeanor. AS 16.05.420(b); see also AS 11.56.210 (unsworn falsification). There is absolutely no question that Joe Miller was not a resident of the State of Alaska when he applied for these resident permits. It is likely that his wife was also not a resident when she applied for these same permits. Joe Miller should be penalized for lying on his application and saving himself $245, and his wife should likely be punished as well.

Of course, there is an additional issue: did Joe Miller lie about his income in order to get a further reduction in the cost of his falsely-obtained resident permit? (From $55 to $5) Perhaps the Alaska State Troopers need to take a look at Mr. Miller’s income in 1994 — I would suggest starting with his 1994 mortgage application and his tax returns for that year. I’m sure that the military has records of the payments it made to Mr. Miller for his service in the reserves, and I’ll bet that the USDA has a record of the farm subsidies that Joe received. There is also the small matter of the Kansas farmland that the Millers claimed to have sold off to buy their house, and whatever subsidies Kathleen received for home schooling whatever portion of their brood of children existed at the time.

Fish and wildlife are not just important in Alaska; they are fundamental to our lifestyle and our identity as Alaskans. Thousands of Alaskans rely on subsistence hunting and fishing to feed their families, and Joe Miller gamed the system to get permits illegally. He lied and cheated to save himself $295 and he stole a moose and an unknown number of fish.

Joe Miller is a poacher and a liar.

Just days before that, it was revealed that Miller took thousands of dollars of Federal farm subsidies on some Kansas land, for leaving it fallow. He had the money sent to the same post office box he’d set up in Anchorage, to get the moose permit as a state resident, while still going to Yale Law school, and supposedly not making enough money to pay the same I would for mine.

Today it was revealed that he hasn’t yet filed the mandatory Federal Election Commission personal finance disclosure reports. They were due in April or May. His campaign is claiming it is an oversight, and Joe, confronted Wednesday outside a DC fundraiser, by Politico.com, refused to answer questions:

Alaska GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller refused to answer questions Wednesday about his failure to file personal financial disclosure documents that were required by law to be filed several months ago.

While entering a high-dollar fundraiser in Washington D.C., on Wednesday evening, Miller stayed silent when questioned by POLITICO about the missing documents that were supposed be filed when he began his campaign for Senate in April.

There has been a lot of scrutiny about his finances. He seems to want to hide personal information in a number of ways, and he has a large staff. His staff’s story, late Wednesday afternoon, that the failure to file the disclosure was "an oversight," is most likely bullshit. Everyone in Alaska knows that Ted Stevens got taken down for not making such disclosures.

More likely, there is information he or his campaign feels would hurt his chances, that they were hoping could slide by until later.

Rasmussen: Joe Miller Down from 47% in PPP Poll, 50% in Early Rasmussen to 42% in Today’s Rassie Poll

8:52 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Prior to information emerging yesterday that Fairbanks divorce attorney Joe Miller took thousands of dollars in Federal farm subsidies for apparently doing nothing on Kansas farm land while Miller resided in Alaska, a new Rasumussen Poll shows him losing 8 points of support in 18 days, in the first post-Murkowski write-in campaign poll made public. At this rate, Miller could easily be in the 30-something point area soon, should media questions about why he was discharged early from his military obligation reveal more about the pattern of evasiveness so uncomfortably shown in his responses to investigations by The Mudflats and The Alaska Dispatch.

Dispatch had earlier linked a Joseph W. Miller — Miller’s legal name — to farm subsidies for land in Kansas sent to a post office box in Anchorage when Miller was working in the city as an attorney. Miller’s campaign was asked last week whether the candidate was the Joe Miller who got those funds but refused to answer until late Monday. Since the question was asked, Alaska Dispatch linked candidate Joe Miller to that address — P.O. Box 112926 in Anchorage.

This is the Anchorage address at which the attorney and his family received Permanent Fund dividend checks; it is the address Miller used on his state hunting and fishing licenses; and a Freedom of Information Act request has now revealed it is the address to which the U.S. Department of Agriculture mailed 61 farm subsidy checks worth a total of $7,235 from 1991 through 1997.

The Miller campaign’s response to queries from The Dispatch on the subsidy payments show a disturbing trend from a candidate who is already fully disliked by 52% of Alaska’s voting public:

[Miller spokesman Randy] DeSoto said that it was standard practice for farmers to receive the subsidies in Kansas and that the nation was in a much better financial situation at the time that Miller received the funds.

“This was back in the 90’s, the situation the country was in was far different than now,” he said.

Hey, Joe! I just pulled out my well-thumbed copy of the U.S. Constitution. I’m looking for the consitutional argument for taking Federal farm subsidies for not growing anything, and living a few thousand miles away from the land. Looking in the index for the term "standard practice," I’m drawing a blank, Joe.

Joe’s lies and distortions about his past and present bode ill for the Tea Party prima donna. The only things he has going for him at this point are the supine nature of Alaska’s mainstream media outlets, especially the Anchorage Daily News, and the Alaska voting public’s strange love affair, amply demonstrated over the years, for crooks and liars.

Hats off to The Mudflats and The Alaska Dispatch for their work on this.

Democratic Party nominee Scott McAdams has a tough fight ahead, as the Rasmussen poll clearly indicates. But the Murkowski campaign is just getting started, and their target will not be Sitka Mayor McAdams. As a commenter at Daily Kos observed the other day, briefly encapsulating Murkowski’s probable motive for fighting on:

She wants to fuck up Palin and the dude that called her a whore…

Stay tuned. There is no way in the world Joe the Teabagger’s negatives are going down at this point in the race.

Sen. Murkowski to Announce Write-In Campaign Within Hours

12:31 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s campaign office, largely dormant since her loss to teabagger Joe Miller in the August GOP primary, is coming back to life yesterday and today, with signs being put into delivery trucks and this e-mail announcement Friday morning:

"Join us at the Kick-off of Senator Lisa’s campaign — with a theme of "write in her name in and fill in the oval."

"Denai’na Convention Center, third floor and hopefully out on the sunny deck, 5 pm. Bring your family including children, friends and business associates. We plan to make history!"

Alaska progressive blogger, Steve Aufrecht obtained photos yesterday of Murkowski campaign workers recovering large, 4′ X 8′ signs from an Anchorage recycling depot.

Let the three-way U.S. Senate race begin.

Meanwhile, yesterday in Juneau, Teabagger Joe and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams had their first post-primary faceoff, in a Chamber of Commerce forum that was supposed to concentrate on problems unique to Southeast Alaska. The local paper, the Juneau Empire covered the debate from that angle:

The two hottest politicians in the state, Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller and his Democratic counterpart Scott McAdams, appeared in Juneau to debate before a packed Chamber of Commerce audience Thursday

The group heard Republican nominee Miller offer a conditional approach to keeping Juneau as the state capital, calling it a state decision, in contrast to McAdams’ unequivocal support.

Miller said studies suggest it would not make economic sense to move the capital, and the state government currently wants it in Juneau.

"The state supports it and therefore I do," Miller said.

"Over my dead body," McAdams said of a capital move, saying it could have negative effects all throughout Southeast Alaska, including increased shipping costs and decreased plane flights, if the capital were lost.

But then the Chamber audience, long backers of a road north out of Juneau, heard Miller give strong support for the Juneau Access Project while McAdams waffled.

"I absolutely support it," Miller said, but said the local community also needs to support it as well. It is hard to open up new rights of way without strong local support, he said.

Rolling back environmental regulations make such projects more costly and lengthy, but Miller said his efforts at regulatory relief will also make such projects more likely to happen.

"Unequivocally I support it," he said.

McAdams, mayor of the island community of Sitka, didn’t answer moderator Richard Burns question about the road, but instead talked of his support for ferries, a common strategy for road opponents over the years.

"I’m a big Marine Highway guy," he said, without saying whether he was for or against the road.

The Associated Press covered the forum from a different perspective:

The tone was set early, with McAdams taking aim at Miller, and Miller sticking close to his talking points.

McAdams has cast himself as a centrist against Miller, a self-described constitutional conservative.

Miller has said the federal government is on the brink of bankruptcy, the era of big spending and earmarks is over and that Alaska must be weaned from its dependency on the government. He advocates that the state be given the ability to develop its resource base — and, therefore, to take greater control of its own future.

McAdams said the state deserves its fair share and that saying no to earmarks is a threat to Alaska.

Murkowski’s entry into the race this evening will change the landscape of this contest markedly. Polls of a possible three-way contest, taken immediately after Murkowski’s concession, showed her winning a three-way race as a candidate representing an established party. No recent polls have yet been released, but there will probably be fresh ones out by Sunday afternoon. The history of write-in campaign candidates on Alaska shows little hope for Murkowski, even in a three-way battle.

On Wednesday, a 527 group, America for Americans (disclosure – I’m helping them raise money for this campaign), came out with an anti-Miller TV ad that is beginning to get some airplay here:

In Alaska, Lisa Murkowski Concedes to Teabagger – End of the 30-Year Murkowski Family Reign

11:04 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The numbers started to go Sen. Murkowski’s way this morning. Alaska election officials were counting absentee and questioned ballots from last week’s GOP primary for her U.S. Senate seat. Trailing Tea Bag Express favorite, Joe Miller by less than 2,000 votes, she didn’t close the gap enough by late afternoon today to make the numbers add up. Late in the afternoon Murkowski conceded.

Though polls were released over the weekend showing Murkowski might handily win a three-way contest as a Libertarian Party candidate, Sunday that party’s governing board in Alaska voted 5-0 to not offer her a rent-a-party slot (something that has been done in Alaska before, resulting in the election of Wally Hickel in 1990).

Sen. Lisa Murkowski replaced her father, Frank, in the U.S. Senate by being appointed to a vacancy by the governor. Frank Murkowski had had to leave his senate seat to become that governor, creating the vacancy necessitating the appointment.

One of the candidates interviewed for the vacancy had been newly out-of-work Wasilla mayor, Sarah Palin. Since Frank’s appointment of his daughter to the seat over the less qualified Palin, the latter has been chafing for revenge. The first episode was her defeat of Frank in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. Gov. Murkowski had been terribly inept. Today was the final episode.

I predicted the strong possibility of Joe Miller’s victory over Murkowski in this primary back in July. So I wasn’t "stunned," as were many.

Actually, I had hoped for it. Joe Miller is not Alaska. He wouldn’t have beaten Lisa Murkowski without a huge infusion of campaign cash from the Koch Brothers and a ballot proposition designed to bring out fundamentalists and evangelicals to the polls.

The Alaska and national Democratic Party apparatchiks have yet to digest what a gift Miller presents them. As Howie Klein, one of the most savvy progressive analysts of politics in the country observed Sunday:

McAdams isn’t a conservative corporate shill and isn’t interested in enriching himself at the public’s expense. The DSCC doesn’t know how to deal with that kind of candidate.

Grassroots Alaskans do.

Our most dependable correspondent in Alaska, Phil Munger, has been raving to me about McAdams for months. And this week I finally spoke with Scott on the phone. He seemed committed to a kind of economic populism that results in winning campaigns in the West. In other words, Scott McAdams is more interested in solving real problems real American families face than in staking out ideological positions.

If the Alaska and national Democratic party organization can energize McAdams’ campaign, he will beat this teabagger who looks and thinks a lot more like the unibomber than he resembles any of our constitutional founding fathers he is do fond of ripping off.

Scott McAdams will be this coming Saturday’s Blue America guest at Crooks & Liars. 11:00 a.m. Pacific time Saturday.Howie will host Scott for two hours of questions. Who knows, maybe even Teabagger Joe Miller will show up to ask a question or two. Whatever, check Scott out then.

Murkowski – Miller GOP Primary Vote Count Today – Race Tightening

2:57 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Teabagger Joe Miller’s lead over incumbent GOP U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has contracted today, as most of the remaining ballots are now being counted. Miller’s lead has dwindled from 1,668 to about 1,294. Murkowski is getting 57% of the votes counted today. She needs 55% of the remainder to pull ahead.

The Anchorage Daily News is keeping reporter Sean Cockerham in the counting area.

The Alaska Division of Elections web site is offering fairly timely updates.

It probably won’t be decided until Friday or later, though.

Speaking of later:

Yesterday it appeared the Miller campaign was coming unglued. Echoing Josef Stalin’s quote (which may or may not be an urban myth), Josef Stalin Miller seems to be saying, "It’s not who votes who counts, it’s who counts the votes!"

I agree. But his supporters are all but accusing the Murkowski camp of using telepathic messages and astral projection to change the outcome of Alaska’s closely contested GOP primary race for the 2010 U.S. Senate seat slot in the final. Their nuttiness is showing even more than their magic underwear.

Frankly, should Miller win in November, we’ll be closer to a Stalinist reality than the purported quote above might indicate:

In the late 1930s, during the height of the Stalinist purges of the Communist Party and Red Army, Stalin gave a speech to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. It was a long, incredibly polemical speech, as was and is the habit of Communist leaders. After Stalin completed the speech, the hall, with about 1,400 members present, erupted in enormous applause. It kept growing louder for minutes. It went on for at least a half an hour before members started looking around and craning their necks to see if anyone had already stopped. None had. All kept clapping for a while longer. Finally one member stopped. Soon everyone began putting their tired, reddened hands down.

The next day, nobody could find the first member who had stopped applauding. They never did.

That is closer to what a Joe Miller kind of government would be than what we now have.

I have an image that Joe is waiting for the call from Sarah Palin in which she asks, "Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?"

Of course these machines – the Diebold Accuvote system – can be manipulated. It’s quite funny that it is finally wingnut Teabaggers who are bringing the long-known flaws in the machines, how they are used and how the votes are collated and tabulated at higher levels to the fore in the Alaska press:

The Division of Elections investigated and found the most alarming allegation in the Van Flein complaint was unfounded. Van Flein alleged Roman used the state computer at the Division of Elections office in Wasilla and that for 20 minutes "this Murkowski observer was in the state’s voter records viewing private information and, we are told, accessed the state’s election management system."

Van Flein wrote in the complaint that the state’s Diebold voting software "contains vulnerabilities that may allow someone to install malicious software to discount votes." Van Flein suggested that there may need to be a hand count of ballots or an IT computer audit in order to verify that Roman didn’t do anything like that.

Elections officials said Roman did request access to the computer with the state’s voter registration system but was not allowed. Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said he would have not been able to compromise the system anyway. "There is no GEMS server in the Wasilla office, so there’s no way the state ballot tabulation system was compromised," Fenumiai said.

Van Flein said Monday night that the complaint was verified by Miller election observers on the scene. "We have a statement from an eye witness establishing that the Murkowski observer in fact was using the Division of Elections desk top computer for up to 10 minutes," he said.

Alaska Division of Elections Director Fenumiai disputed that, saying the observer did not use any state computer.

Elections officials said Roman did break the rules by texting from inside the ballot room. He also tried to bring a large bag into the room, against instructions, which Miller campaign lawyer Van Flein described as a potential way to make ballots "disappear."

It’s obvious to me that all the GOP ballot votes need to be seized. They need to be gone over by a panel of experts, inch by inch. Micron by micron, under a spectrograph (there may be fake ballots in there, you know). Bev Harris should be called up here to head a commission appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell to investigate it.

Thomas van Flein, on instructions from Sarah Palin and Glen Beck can talk about it hourly on FOX. They should investigate, deliberate, lie, threaten and sue at least through the third week of October.

All Miller’s supporters in this should be allowed to carry semi-automatic weapons with two extra clips into all the deliberations.

New Poll Shows Scott McAdams Can Win in Alaska Senate Race

6:58 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

[Ed. note: We aren't advocating for a candidate, but the Alaska Senate race is worth more attention since it represents a potential seat pick-up for the left by a candidate with personal knowledge about Big Oil Co. clean-up.]

On Sunday, the North Carolina-based polling firm, Public Policy Polling published their findings about Alaska’s current political climate. The poll concentrates on possible two-way and three-way matchups in Alaska’s November 2nd U.S. senate seat election, 63 days away. According to PPP’s report, "PPP surveyed 1,306 likely voters on August 27th and 28th."

On the 26th, we had an election.

On the 27th people were just beginning to figure out who Scott McAdams is.

On the 28th – over a weekend – questions were just beginning to emerge about Joe Miller’s automobile accident Friday morning in Fairbanks. Until somebody uncovers the exact time of the accident, and connects that to his phone records for tweets and calls, what we may have here is another low information Alaska political poll that will end up being meaningless by the middle of the coming week.

Here are some important figures that came out in this poll:  . . . Read the rest of this entry →