Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Crazy Dots

Hmmmm..... let's play Connect the Crazy Dots.

Let's see. Dot 1: the US Senate is currently considering the "nuclear option," yanking the filibuster out its rulebook for votes on federal judge confirmations (an horrific idea regardless of your ideology, but that's not what this post is about. not at all).
One of the key votes the rule-changing Republicans need to pass that rule change is none other than the otherwise inconsequential junior Senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski. Senator Murkowski's highly Crazy road to her current post has been well chronicled here and elsewhere.
Senator Murkowski, who if she does anything well, it's vote as she's told, has a superb record as being an automatic vote for whatever the Establishment Republican Leadership wants (keep in mind, her "boss," as she's publicly called him, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, is very much a heavy-hitter in that Leadership).
Why, then, this week is she acting so coy on this highly-charged, hyper-high profile vote?

Meanwhile, in what we can all safely assume is utterly unrelated government lawmaking minuteau (sp?), reps from other states are starting to ask a question that Alaskans have comfortably not asked themselves for many years: Just what in the hell is going on with all these Alaskan Indian companies?
And that is VERY bad news for Alaska's well-documented federal pork habit and, nominally, for Alaskan Natives.
Dot #2.
Here's a Mother Jones article that nails it completely, but very briefly, thanks to Ted Steven's legal acumen, Alaska native tribes (DON'T call them Eskimos... (read to "Mascot")) can set up corporations that are utterly exempt from government contracting laws - they get special access to no-bid projects, and the projects have no legal size limit. They can also sign up to do these contracts with "partners."
This is true, in all of Federal contracting law, ONLY for Alaska Native Corps.
On the upside, it beats forcing natives into the casino game (which would likely be doomed in, say, Nome).
On the downside, it puts Halliburton and similiarly sized (and connected) firms, through the 'partners' loophole, bypass nearly every line of defense between them and the Republic's Treasury.

Alaska is still the great untamed land in nearly every resepct, as I hope this blog chronicles - and it certainly is true for politcal gouging.

So now let's draw our line....
A couple of relatively tough reps from state's not lucky enough to have licences to steal start poking around Alaska's and Ted Steven's Golden Rule.
And, out of nowhere, the unknown, powerless junior Senator from deeply-red Alaska appears to get a case of the vapors at the notion of playing hardball.