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Friday, October 29, 2010

Miller is screwed Gott sei Dank

Well a new poll conducted Oct 26th shows that Miller has done what I'm sure most of us knew was possible, he screwed himself into 3rd place. Now to be fair the events that I believe have put Miller into 3rd all transpired before the primary but it was his reluctance to address those issues that allowed them to become the fatal flaw in his bid for Alaska's senate seat. Of course the issues to which I am referring are varied and many but most notably are his receipt of government hand-outs and his transgressions while an attorney for the Fairbanks Borough.

The poll in question now shows McAdams with 29% and Miller with 23%, an certain unnamed write-in candidate ranks first with 34% of the vote. Bravo Mr. Miller. Now I have no illusions that his loss will be laid at the feet of nasty negative ads and of course the vile liberal media working to destroy him, but in all fairness this kind of attitude is why Miller is in third. In this case, the media, liberal or not, did its job and did it well. The media dug hard and uncovered aspects of Miller's past that as we can see have most certainly effected the opinion held of him by voters. These were not engineered stories fabricated from half truths, these things happened and wish as he might they cannot be undone. I for one would not have had a problem voting for a candidate with his past, so long of course as that candidate represented my views, Miller does not.

Miller represents what I feel is a fair position, and I can agree with the Tea Party platform that things need to change in Washington and that the democrats and republicans are unlikely to be able to solve these issues to my satisfaction. However I do not feel that Miller represents the Tea Party movement in anything other than name, the kind of solutions to these issues start at the state and local level, not at the federal level. Until we have made the changes at home, in Anchorage, in Fairbanks, in Juneau, electing federal representatives is a moo point (kind of like a cow's opinion). Electing Joe Miller to the senate serves no purpose, there is still no control, there is still no responsibility, there is still nothing other than the word of a politician and a poor chance that it will be kept.

In other news, Tea Party supporters and pro-palin (? I guess they do still exist?) peoples have flocked in mass (~100? guess that counts) to the division of elections to sign up as write-in candidates hoping to make the list and confuse the hell out of Murkowski voters thus handing the victory firmly to McAdams. Frankly this is absurd and only shows that these folks really are delusional. People only want the list to confirm spelling most likely. I'm sure in the aftermath of this election the dems and gop will challenge any vote they can (hanging chad?). To think someone is going to punch Miller because finding Murkowski is to hard is laughable. For those signing up as an act of civil disobedience, well that's well and good, and a good half hour of your life you won't be getting back.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Court reverses ruling on providing lists of write-in candidates.

A higher court reversed the ruling thus allowing lists of write-in candidates to be provided to voters so long as the voter requests it.

Common sense: 1
Asshat political parties: -1

Monday, October 25, 2010

Is Providing a list of write-in cadidates illegal?

The big political news to kick off this week in Alaska politics is that both the Democrat and Republican parties will be sueing the state division of elections to try and block election workers from providing a list of write in cadidates if requested to do so by a voter. The director of the division of elections has determined that this service falls under providing voter assistance and is something that is only provided if it is requested. The two main parties feel its evidence of the government trying to influence the election. What a joke.

Although it is rare when democrats and republicans agree on issues of policy, its simple for me to see why they are in this case. Both parties are afraid of Lisa Murkowski. Even as a write in she is still perhaps the most electable candidate running. Believe it or not she IS the middle ground. More conservative than McAdams and more liberal than Miller. The democrats are afraid because she polls better than McAdams and the republicans are afraid because she polled most recently neck and neck with Miller.

So are we are the threshold of another election being effectively decided by the courts as it was in 2000? I hope not. Why should it be illegal to provide a list of candidates and instructions on write-in voting if so asked by a voter? We know from experience that the two parties will use even the slightest mistake to get someones vote thrown out thus robbing them of their right (hanging chad anyone?). In fact the parties have already requested lists of votes who may have been made with this assistance provided during early voting last week, I wonder if they are planning legal action to invalidate those votes as well. Election workers provide instrutions on how to fill out ballots all the time, when the integrity of someones vote can so easily be questioned and the vote discarded is it any wonder the responsible voter would request information on doing something most of us have never done? Perhaps even a list of candidates so that spelling will be correct?

I see this whole event as a desperate effort by the parties to disenfranchise as many voters as possible (as long as they aren't their voters). Frankly I find it disgusting and can't wait for the courts to strike it down. If they don't I plan on taking tuesday off and standing outside my polling place (at least 200ft) handing out write-in instructions with a list of write-in cadidates. My way of flipping the bird to the establishment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Miller urged to answer questions about his past BY REPUBLICANS!

Well Joe Milelr may not realize that a press blackout about his background is a mistake but it seems the members of his own party have. It seems a group of about 40 high ranking Alaska republicans have written and signed a open letter to candidate Miller urging him to answer questions about his past.

Of course on this blog we have already covered the folly of such a stance as well as the hipocrisy of faulting Lisa on her past while refusing to disclose your own. Do I think Joe will bend on this matter? I doubt it. In the long list of people Joe doesn't trust, his own party is only a couple places under the media. As it is even though it would help his chances with the undecided voters I'm sure Joe is viewing this as some kind of trap despite the lack of Admiral Akbar being present.

Joe is quickly working to destroy his own momentum anyway possible. Laying blame at the feet of the media and party establishment makes for great talk radio and often gets the head nod from the furthest right among us. Unfortunately, it has a rather poor record of drawing undecided and independent voters in, which as well are often reminded, are the real ones that decide elections.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Joe Miller staying quiet about his past, is this move smart or suspecious?

So as of Friday senate candidate Joe Miller will no longer be answering any questions about his or his family's past. Now, people can still ask about it, he just won't be answering. Miller is taking this position under the guise of keeping the election about the issues, not about a persons personal past. Unfortunately for Mr. Miller, his past is not only an integral part of who he is, but it is also perhaps the only thing we have to judge him on aside from what he says he supports or will support if elected.

Personnally I place more weight on a person history than I do their speech, ESPECIALLY when that person is a politican. How often are we reminded of a politician that says one thing (especially during an election) only to do another afterward. I think Mr. Miller's history is perhaps more important and speaks more about him than he could ever say himself. As Aristotle once said "We are what we repeatedly do." Is one of the great philosophers of human history wrong when it comes to Mr. Miller?

Perhaps it is just me, but it feels more as if Mr. Miller is attempting to hide his past than to focus on the issues. Lisa Murkowski's past is certainlty available for scrutiny and has been the focus of many of the ads against her re-election. Lisa's past is often used to provide evidence that she believes this or doesn't believe that, that she will push this agenda and ignore another. Are we as voters not entitled to have the same history on Joe Miller so we can draw similar conclusions?

I think it is time that Mr. Miller faced up and accepted that as a public figure his private life is essentially over. It is important that the details of his past be revealed so that the voters can make informed decisions on who they would like to represent them in Washington D.C. Mr. Miller has said that 'he is not perfect, no one is perfect' and I agree and accept that. However, the information still needs to be available so that voters can make their own determination.

Perhaps I am being unfair, perhaps the media is really 'out to get' Mr. Miller. Or, perhaps his lack of disclosure only adds fuel to the fire and blood in the water, even if nothing is there it still encourages people to dig deeper, just in case.

P.S. This brings me back to a though about repealing the 17th admendment and giving selection of senators back to the state governement. It Mr. Miller did supress his past and win the election, then afterwards something immoral, unethical, etc. was uncovered, how would we bring him back? The voting public would have very little recourse, we have almost no protection from something like this.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finally! Something I can support Joe Miller on!

I was reading in the usually news sources that I frequent many times a day and ran across an interview with Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller where he supported repeal of the 17th amendment. While I don't think he will win my vote based on this issue alone I do think it would be worth discussing why I think this amendment was a mistake and why I support his opinion that it should be repealed.

For those who are not familar with the 17th amendent, the 17th amendment was introduced in 1912 and ratified in 1913, it modified the constituion with regards to the election of state senators and filling of vacancies in the senate. Essentially the 17th amendment changed the method of electing Senators from a function of the state legislature to a fuction of popular election. It also gave the Governor of the state the responsibility of filling any senate vacancies.

Maybe with any luck we can return to a time where the interests of the states were represented in the senate, where the merits of a person were debated instead of advertised, and where the daily schedule of the senate did not revolve around fund raising.

Popular election? Whats wrong with that? Well let's get started.

First popular elections are expensive and time consuming undertakings, the require alot of preparation and support to make happen where as the state legislature is already formed and need only add it to their current list of business.

Second, because the senators are choosen by the state legislature they are in this case indirectly elected by the people, assuming that the legislators are following their constituents.

Third, the senators have experience in politics and have ample opportunity to debate their choice for senate where as most popular elections are consumed with advertising and mud slinging.

Fourth, (and I like this one alot) should it be necessary the legislature can recall a senator at the snap of a finger, all it takes is a vote. There is no long drawn out petition process and then waiting for an election cycle for the public to vote on it. With the current system the public has almost no recourse against a Senator who is not properly representing the people other than threatening not to re-elect them or starting the lengthy recall process.

The current system has turned being a U.S. Senator into a perpetual fund raiser. You need to money to out advertise your opponent and win the vote of the public. Rarely is an election about the issues as it is about the public's perception of the candidate. The biggest donors get the most time and since states rarely donate to candidates the states themselves are at the back of line for their own Senator's time. Who's at the front? The special interest groups and corporations that give the most money. State Governments have no lobbyist of PACs.

Sadly, I find it hard to believe that Senators elected via a popular vote would choose to change that system. It would be akin to slashing their own throats which is basically what the states did in ratifying the 17th amendment in the first place. The 17th amendment is in direct conflict with the balance between state and federal government and until this power is given back to the states, the people will forever be at the mercy of the federal government and most their senators will forever be the pawns of those who paid for their elections.

EDIT: In response to comment #1, politicians have the reputation of being liars and untrustworthy, saying whatever is necessary to be elected even though their loyalty seems to remain with whomever finances their campaign. In its most basic form a repeal of 17 would eliminate most of this at least in regards to senate seats. It would no longer be necessary to 'sell' oneself to the public by promising this and that and the other and then having no accountability after the fact.

In addition I think that politicans at the state level are far more reliable, trustworthy, easier to contact, and easier to hold accountable. In addition because of the smaller size of house and senate districts, it is much easier and less expensive to run for state government than a larger office. Even if 17 were repealed it would not fix the system immedeatly but would be a certain step in the right direction.

Thanks for the comment

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Late Blog Post: The illusion of personal responsiblity......

Today in the news was the story of a man who's home he watched burn to the ground with a group of fire fighters by his side. The man had decided it was not necessary to pay the $75 fee a nearby town charges to extend fire service coverage into the rural area of Tennessee where he lives. When he initially called 911 he offered to pay 'whatever it takes' to save his home. Still the fire fighters did not intervene until the fire threatened his neighbor's property. The neighbor had paid the $75 fee.

No one was inside, no one was hurt, but the man did lose everything. (Lets just hope he didn't skimp on insurance)

This reminds me of a story in the Alaska news a while back of a family who's home was burning and as the fire fighters approached the family was able to watch in horror as the engines turned off their lights, and sirens and turned around. This family was just outside the fire service area, and as I recall had also decided against paying the fee/tax whatever you want to call it.

So this brings up a very important question. Do have the right to refuse services if they want to, and does society owe it to them to provide those services even if they are not paying into the system. In my mind it comes down to 2 words, personal responsibility. The idea that people are responsible for their own actions and decisions and that no one is obligated to save them from it. Now in both cases I understand why the firefighters chose not to intervene. In the Alaska situation as I recall it had to do with them not being insured to fight fires outside the service area if it was not being paid for, and I am fairly certain that a similar circumstance is in effect in the more recent case. In other words the fire fighters were taking personal responsibility. I'm sure it was a hard decision to make, but when its only a loss of property is it worth the possibility of injury or death with no insurance? They seem to have decided its not.

Now we need to ask if the home owners were taking personal responsibility....the answer is no. In these cases the home owners decided a small cost savings was worth the risk of not having fire protection or better yet perhaps thought that if the need ever did arise that they would receive the service anyway. I would not be surprised if, ironically enough, these folks thought of themselves as very 'independent' and 'self-sufficient'. There is a price to pay for such avarice, and if someone does want to walk that path they must be prepared to be RESPONSIBLE for what they may find.

A lack of personal responsibility, or perhaps the illusion of it, is incredible rampant today in American society. We have an entire culture built around escaping blame and pushing it onto others. Its to the point where we can't be responsible for spilling coffee on our self, its not our fault if the coffee wasn't so hot I could have spilt all I wanted to and not burned myself. So I better sue. Or perhaps that its not our fault we lost our home to foreclosure, its not because I purchased more than I could afford its because the loan agent lied about my income to get me the loan. Yes I knew the information was wrong but that's not my fault either.

See where this is going? Nothing bad that ever happens to anyone is their fault, it's always someone else's. Well bad news. Your responsible.....hell your even responsible for things you can't control! Car ran a red light and hit your motorcycle and broke your back? Guess who should have seen it coming? YOU. Someone comes into your yard and is bitten by your dog. Guess who should have had the dog chained? YOU. Someone picks a fight with your son at school and your son ends up hurting the other kid? Guess who should have taught their son not to stick up for themselves. That's right.....YOU.

Sure you can take any one of those examples and try to push the blame on someone else. But the fact of the matter is you are responsible and in most cases the only reason why you'd have a problem is because the other party won't take responsibility. 'Motorcycles are so hard to see', or 'He was speeding!' (how this changes running the red light I don't know...). Nevermind that person should have never been in your yard anyway and was probably up to no good, and nevermind that the other kid started the fight with your son. Their failure is your liability.

Life is most like a game in that its only fun when everyone plays by the same rules. Those who refuse to take responsibility for themselves are a burden on all the rest of us and are often the ones who believe themselves the most responsible, or in the right. However, for the most part (some exceptions exist) they deserve to reap the fruits of their illusion, however rotten they may be.

P.S. I bet he wished he paid the $75 and I'm sure there is a lawsuit in the works against the fire department.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sarah Palin: Lisa Murkowski backers are Liberals and Union Thugs

So begins the mud slinging. Sarah Palin was on the radio show of Mark Levin on Friday and offered this to describe Lisa Murkowski, that she was backed by democrats and "union thugs" whos backing McAdams? Sarah Palin hasn't liked Lisa Murkowski in a very long time. Sarah ran very hard against Lisa's farther Frank and as with most elections there was some mud slung. Of course Lisa was able to get her jabs in as well stating she was very 'disappointed' when Sarah quit as governor.

Alaskans seem fairly well divided over Sarah, I think most people can appreciate what she tried to do but even if you agree with her politics its hard to support a quiter. I admit to being a Palin supporter on most issues (mainly AGIA and oil/gas tax reform) but when she quit because of the ethics complaints I lost alot of respect for her.

As for Lisa Murkowski being a left wing nut job.....I'm pretty sure she's rather right than McAdams and I am VERY sure she is farther left than Miller. So I suppose if you were looking at her from the perspective of the darling of the Tea Party (Palin) she would appear left. However, I think most Alaskans see her as being a moderate.

Either way this is turning into another case of the pot calling the kettle black, no matter how you look at it both candidates are using money from less than perfect sources. Miller even refuses to tell how much he raised and from whom during his recent trip to Washington D.C. There is plenty of out of state money flying around in this election to make any politician blush. Cheers to you Sarah for going to bat for your candidate but couldn't you find some issues to attack her on instead of pandering to fear of liberals and unions? But I guess that is what gets the Tea Party vote out.

You betcha.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Slightly Off-Topic, RE: Rutger's student suicide shows how dangerous the internet is.....

Please, if anything it shows how hurtful people can be....but we already knew that. While, I mean no disrespect to the family, friends, and loved ones of Tyler Clementi, this is not a proper event to use as a call to arms for internet regulation. For those of you not familiar with the story you can Google it, but basically the young man committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington bridge after he was recorded in his dorm being intimate with another man and this recording was broadcast using a internet service.

Now despite what some may think. The internet was not out to get this youngman and did not maliciously search him out and plant the camera in his room then broadcast it. No, this was perpitrated by his roommate, who did it either out of malice or perhaps boredom. As it seems people need to be reminded so often that the internet is a tool, and as a tool the potential for misuse is always present and the ethics of the matter are left to the users.

While I do abhore the fact that this persons privacy was violated in such an extreme way, we need to focus on punishing those individuals responsible instead of pushing the responsibility onto the internet. We as Americans need to begin taking responsibility for our own actions. We have cultivated such a culture of blame that it paralyzes us from actually being able to solve problems and move forward. The person actually responsible is being charged with a felony which I think is more than appropriate. Although I am saddened at the loss of life and that those responsible did not have the decency to let this man be, we are all in the end responsbile for our own actions.

I applaud the family of Mr. Clementi for having the strength of character and wish them the best.

Murkowski write-in damages McAdams more than Miller, recent poll shows.

When Lisa Murkowski first announced her write-in campaign, it was understood that it could go one of two ways. Either Murkowski would divide the republican vote, or she would take support from McAdams the democratic nominee in the form of independents and moderates. Well, according to a poll recently released by Ivan Moore (a local political consultant and pollster) it seems to be the latter.

The recent polls show that Murkowski is drawing support from those who would have more likely voted democrat had she not been in the race, while Miller's support is maintaining solidarity. This is quickly becoming the situation that many Murkowski supporters had feared. If support was leeched from Miller it would only strengthen Lisa's chances. However with the support coming from McAdams there is a chance that it will divide the anti-Miller vote to the point that neither candidate will be able to prevail over him. According to the pull 30% of democrats polled said they were supporting Murkowski while 15% remained undecided. The poll also shows Miller leading followed closely by Murkowski.

Whether or not these polls are to be taken as representitive is always up for debate. This is of course the same pollster that showed Murkowski easily winning the Republican primary election. The polling was primarily done with 'super-voters' (those who have voted in the last 3-4 elections) and make it difficult to gauge the effect that newly motivated voters (Tea Parties?) might have on the outcome. Even while McAdams is shown as trailing both Murkowski and Miller the Alaska Democratic Party maintains that they believe the race is still 'wide-open'.

Regardless of how correct these polls are they do highlight an important reality. The supporters of Joe Miller are in a much better position. By being the candidate of the far right and the far right being very mobilized he has a stronger base to work with. Murkowski on the other hand is coming from being a conservative but not conservative enough for many Tea Party supporters. As a result Miller could very well win the election on the count of neither McAdams nor Murkowski being able to generate enough votes individually, although I do believe that their votes combined would hand him defeat. Unfortunately I don't see a remedy for this other than either McAdams or Murkowski dropping out. Sadly for McAdams, even if Murkowski dropped out I don't think he would have the votes to win, and sadly for the anti-Miller crowd, I dont' see McAdams dropping out at all.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Alaska's Senate seat does not belong to the Tea Party....

True, Alaska's seat belong to Alaskans.

As some may have read, Lisa Murkowski made this statement during an interview on Friday, October 1st, and I agree completely. Alaska's Senate seats belong to Alaskans, and every few years ago we elect two people to conduct our business with them. Now, I know that some folks that may not like Lisa Murkowski may be saying "Well, it's not your seat either Lisa!", and that true it isn't.

What Lisa is referring to is the effort underway by the Tea Party Express to directly affect the Senate election here in Alaska. They are, as I write this, supposedly sending buses of people from Califronia to Alaska to work at getting Joe Miller elected. Frankly I can't see why there is no outcry against this. Nearly every election cycles has some protestation against 'outside' influences in our elections, be it money, or some other support. I see this as being no different, and feel just as strongly to speak out against it.

It is my opionion that the Tea Parties are composed of the kinds of people who would be the first to speak out against outside influences in elections. I am sure they were/are some of the most vocal opposition to the prospect of corporations and forign governments exercising influence in our elections, so why is this any different? Is it just because the Tea Party is a grass roots movement that it is allowed such behavior? Is this another case of do as I say not as I do? or do they see the desired ends as justifying their actions? Whichever way they attempt to justify it, I find it unacceptable. Can you imagine the outcry if the Obama campaign had bused supporters up to Alaska?

I love what the Tea Parties are trying to do. I want to see more rights to the states and a smaller Federal government. I think its great that we have so many grass roots movements popping up all over the country supporting the Tea Party movement. However, I feel that the Tea Party Express is trying to nationalize the movement, which I would think goes against what the Tea Party movement stands for. If Alaska's Tea Party organizations are not able to create enough support for their candidate to win, then it is irresponsible for a much larger tea party orginaization to come in for the sole purpose of proping up that candidate.

I think the Tea Parties is scared that even with the GOP nomination Joe Miller won't be able to win.