Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

By Karla Fetrow:

The circus has begun, and it looks like this will be the biggest mud-slinging campaign for a Senate seat since the early days of the Alaskan pipeline, when every carpetbagger, entrepreneur and opportunist who had ever dreamed of rubbing shoulders with the oil industry lined up for a political spotlight.

In ring one, we have incumbent,  Lisa Murkowski, who failed to win in the primaries, but who is still campaigning on a write-in ticket.  Does Murkowski really have a ticket to ride?  No candidate has won a write-in ticket in over fifty years, but the polls show her riding the storm just a little ahead of her rivals.  One of the questions she was asked was how her supporters would remember to write her in at a time when people are accustomed to just punching in a candidate.  She answered that she would pass out wrist bands as a reminder.  Forgetting that she won the previous term to office  by popular vote, the Republican Party has decorated her ring with a Princess background to remind the forgetful that she was first placed into office by her daddy.

In ring two, we have Democratic hopeful, Scott McAdams, from Sitka.  While his platform is based on experience as a fisherman, involvement with the Alaskan Native Community, and years of service to education, this may not be enough for a campaign that so far has thrived on sensationalism.  The most titillating remark he has given is that he, as a Democrat, supports the opening of ANWR and believes the President will be more easily persuaded by a Democrat than by a Republican.  Without any outstanding corruption charges against him, he’s having a very difficult time attracting the spotlight as a viable candidate for the Senate seat.

In ring three, we have Republican nominee, Joe Miller, who puts on a spectacular performance, courtesy of tea party hosts, Sarah Palin and Glen Beck.  Hailed as a champion of Alaskan self-determination, we now present the star of the show… But wait a minute.  It’s a no show.

Joe Miller hasn’t seemed to be very fond of making public appearances since winning the Republican Convention.  He didn’t appear at the October 18 meet the candidates debate, sponsored by the Alaska Dispatch, and featuring lots of tough questions by the moderators and audience.  This could have been awkward, except Murkowki and McAdams did show up, keeping the entire event lively if not particularly thought provoking.  According to his spokes person, Miller wasn’t a no show.  He had never planned to be there, due to a long-standing conflict.

Ad lib “of interest” next to conflict.  Joe Miller claims the Alaska Dispatch is covering him in an unfairly negative way.  The day before the event, his hired military body guards handcuffed and detained Dispatch editor, Tony Hopfinger, for a half hour until Anchorage Police arrived and released him.

Miller said Hopfinger blocked his access to a school exit, and he and an aide had to turn back the other way. Hopfinger “physically assaulted another individual and made threatening gestures and movements towards the candidate,” Miller’s campaign said.

Hopfinger said he was surrounded by hostile people and shoved someone to get some space. Hopfinger said he was being aggressive but not improperly so.

William Fulton, Drop Zone owner and Miller’s chief guard at the event, said he then arrested Hopfinger for trespassing and assault. He said he had the right to arrest him for trespass because the campaign had rented the space from the school district and had the right to exclude anyone, though the district said it rented the cafeteria, stage and parking lot, not the hall where the arrest took place.

After reviewing the case, Anchorage prosecutor, Albert Patterson, said no charges would be filed against Hopfinger or the Drop Zone guards.  Hopfinger has yet to decide whether to pursue a civil case against Joe Miller for assault and illegal detainment.

The issue isn’t really whether or not Hopfinger behaved properly, but the moral integrity of a political figure that bars the press from town meetings held on public property. When Lisa Murkowki’s campaign manager, Kevin Sweeney accused Miller of falsely making claims on Murkowski’s financial disclose, he also pointed out that Miller had failed to file his public disclosure form on time.  As other details emerged concerning Miller’s failure to repay the federal government for $13,677 he received for subsidies and interest for the 1990’s, reported by the Alaskan Dispatch, and accusations arose that Miller was caught using other employees’ computers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough for online polling and then emptying the cache on the computers so the users wouldn’t know what he had done, Alaskans everywhere have been wondering just what Joe Miller has to hide.

Hiding has become the political ploy of a disturbing movement that wants to place a majority of their style of Republican representation into the White House, beginning with the Senate seats.  The opinion among this radical set that likes to paint themselves as true upholders of the Constitution is that all media coverage of their presentation should be favorable.  Sarah Palin set the bar when she demanded a full apology on David Letterman for spoofing one of her daughters.  Her campaign trail, which she initially said was simply for promoting her book, has not been literary at all, but markedly political.  It’s been a cunning path of collecting supporters from around the country who will finance favorable media coverage.  She leaves the sticks and stones of intellectuals, conscientious reporters and human rights advocates alone.

Joe Miller has plenty to hide.  The security company Joe Miller hired for his private performance is tied to an extremist militia group and didn’t currently have a license, according to Palingate, an Alaskan blog that says it serves as a watchdog over Sarah Palin.  The blog states, “Dropzone Security Services” is not just a company run by people who are not very clever, but the company is also right at the heart of the “Alaska Citizens Milita” – a group commanded by Norm Olson, who once rose to “fame” as the founder of the Michigan milita. Part of Norm Olson’s history are also contacts to Oklahoma bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who trained with the Michigian Milita in the past.”

We must question the moral integrity of a candidate running for political office who would willfully censor the press through unlawful intervention.  It would make us no different than China, who the US accuses of suppressing free speech.  It can’t just be the free speech want to hear, but the equity of all honest opinions.  Benjamin Franklin understood this when he worked with his older brother on America’s first newspaper, “The New England Courant”.  He understood it even better when England was displeased with his unfavorable coverage and attempted to destroy the press.

The administrator of Subversify magazine, Mitchell Warren, states, “free press is the only protection the weak have from the rich and powerful.  it is the only thing that guarantees not only our freedom but also the responsibility of those in charge”.  While Tea Party advocates insist they wish a return to the Constitution, their activities have undermined the basic fundamentals of the Constitution.  Free press can only be guaranteed as long as the press has the right to observe and report, as long as opinions are allowed to be expressed, whether or not they reflect favorably on the subject, as long as transparency truly exposes the policies and agendas of its social/ political leaders.  Hoppfinger was wrongfully detained and handcuffed by an unlicensed security group whose sole purpose was to prevent unfavorable press coverage.  The Anchorage District Prosecutor was negligent in his duties by not filing a complaint against the office of Joe Miller.  A civil suit is in order, not just for the personal injustice done to Tony Hoppfinger, but for the rights of independent press to speak freely, without fear of reprisal.

By karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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10 thoughts on “Joe Miller’s Press Detention, Release and Dispatch”
  1. Handcuffs????? Just wait!…..this crazy SOB will start enforcing his 2nd amendment rights at public meetings very soon! He’s a genuine NUTCASE!

  2. What you guys need is a fourth candidate – one who’s one (and only) platform is that all politicians need to be shot the minute they abuse their power…

  3. Christopher, i had to suppress myself enormously from giving a pitch response to your comment at The David’s article when you wrote, “I suggest that you start looking more locally for people not corrupted by the poisons of politics.” I actually see McAdams as a rather unspoiled candidate in his current position. Sitka is a very small town on an island, isolated from the mainland and its strident politics. He has as much experience with battling the big boys as a parlor game novice has with sitting down to Monopoly with a group of avid, serious players. I’ve actually come to a moral dilemma, thanks to the Miller campaign. I usually vote for the candidate i feel best qualifies for the position, even if i know that person won’t win, or in cases where i think they’re all full of hog manure, not vote at all. This time, however, i feel a necessity for voting, simply because i can’t think of anything more terrible than allowing this Nazi advocate to win, but i feel the only way we’ll shove him out of the state is by uniting under a single candidate. The split vote will weaken both oppositional parties. As much as i’d like to see McAdams win, i don’t see him as someone strong enough to battle corporate Alaska yet, and considering his degree of naivete, it’s difficult to say at this time whether or not McAdams would succumb to the temptations of corporate corruption. Lisa Murkowski has the greater power and is our best chance for upsetting the tea party.

    Wayne, the advocates for Miller have already expressed their desire for their second amendment rights by a) showing up at a public meeting discussing National Health Care reform with guns strapped to their waists, b) the exhibition of guns through armed guards at their rallies, and c)expressing an intention to show up at the libraries with guns to protect their second amendment rights. This last intention has not followed through because the parents of children who use the libraries, as well as the opposition to the Tea Party move have declared that if these advocates show up at the libraries carrying guns, they will also have theirs. The right to own guns have never been an issue in Alaska. They are as much of every household’s tools as rakes, shovels, hammers and axes. However, the right to flourish guns at a public rally is a whole different ball game. We defend the second amendment, but we also defend the right to free speech. We defend the right to know what goes on at secret meetings, held in public buildings, designed to affect public policy.

    The latest news on Joe Miller: a Supreme Court judge has decided the public’s rights to know what happened while he was a part-time attorney using his office for political campaigns supersedes his rights to privacy. This decision was produced under the petition of Alaska Daily News, The Alaska Dispatch and the Fairbanks Miner, who demanded full disclosure. It’s not yet known whether or not Miller will appeal the decision.

  4. It’s good to know that whenever someone in America tries to suppress freedom of the press, smaller presses expose the injustice. As it should be. If people like this are allowed to continue in office, we’re no different than Communist China. Not that the U.S. has ever been better than China, morally, but still it makes the government look more hypocritical than usual. Good job, Karlsie.

  5. This voting dilema of which you speak; the decision to vote for a candidate that will win rather than one who can do the job, which is a luxury of a decade past is one we are all facing. Albeit not on such a crazy-train scale as it seems you are looking at in your state right now.

    Voting our conscience is fast becomeing a thing of the past and that itself troubles me. It’s as if voters are being driven to this decision which will set up a new set of rules for our political landscape.

    But what to do? Nobody wants an insane person in there we have to carefully weigh the costs of our voting habits. We are at a turning point.

    And thank goodness for us and others like us who still can and will say whatsoever we please.

  6. @ Karlsie,

    I find it hard to believe that any member of the political class is unspoiled by corruption, but for the sake of argument we’ll assume that McAdams never had a corrupt deal with anyone in his whole career. Let’s just say that this guy hypothetically wins the election and gets a seat in the Senate (a place that’s ripe with corruption) – keep in mind that, now that he has attained a seat of power, his one and only goal is to hold onto that office. Do you really think that he’s going to remain pristine when he’s bargaining with other members of the Senate for support for his causes (even if they are “pure” causes)? I find such odds to be so infinitesimal that they’re not even worth calculating.

    When I refered to finding leadership amongst those not poisoned by politics I wasn’t refering finding some one to vote into office – rather I meant to express the idea of building a new society from scratch while the old one dies. I have no desire to waste my time voting people into offices that don’t serve the interests of people like myself, so instead I will construct my own solutions to the problems that face me: be they “legal” or not.

  7. Grainne, my moral dilemma may get decided for me. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are pressing for restrictions on write-in ballots. Most of the time, i really wouldn’t care one way or another, but i’m not inclined to agree with a party that wants to brandish guns while taking away the rights to free press. Whatever it takes to weaken Miller’s position is fine with me.

    Christopher, i’ve already seen the results of naivete within politics. One of the legislators that was thrown into prison for corruption charges was from my home town. He was really a nice guy. When he was first elected to office, it was because he was a blue collar worker (a carpenter)whose platform was a representation of the little guy. He actually represented the little guy rather well. Unfortunately, he also accepted a bribe for voting in favor of certain lobbyists for the oil companies. His bribe didn’t amount to much; at least not compared to the fat purses other legislators had built up for the same type of bargaining, but he was guileless and easily caught up in the federal corruption snare. In fact, it was obvious he was nothing more than a patsy, but some heads had to roll in order for the federales to muscle their way in to Alaskan politics, and he was a low man on the totem pole, so shamelessly easy to use as a scapegoat.

    No, i don’t believe at all that anyone who walks into our political arena will come out unscathed by corruption. My dear ole daddy used to say, “any honest man who goes into politics will no longer be honest when he comes out.” He should know. He was friends with our earliest governor, William Eagan, and even knew King Ted Stevens on a first name basis. He was urged many times to run for office, but refused because of his personal convictions.

    I agree, our greatest hopes are in building the inner communities. The dysfunction of the government structure has even reflected in our schools and our charities. Every social organization, from volunteer woman support groups to a paid position in school administration is a door for an aspiring political candidate. Every charitable organization that receives matched federal funding, immediately must begin going by their guidelines. Any volunteer charitable organization that receives no funding is constantly hammered by municipal codes and regulations. The squeeze is on, even for the charitable of heart.

  8. Not a big Murkowski fan. Don’t like people that want to make a career out of politics. Don’t like nepotism — would rather kids made their own mark on the world. That being said, I think a dehydrated turnip is better than Palin protege Joe Miller.

  9. […] suggests that the U.S. Government wants whistle-blowing to become a thing of the past.  Joseph Miller, who ran for the Alaskan Senate this year, lost all sympathy with his possible supporters when he […]

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