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Parnell Chickens Out – Again


If you squint really hard, and clear your mind, you’ll be able to see a new sign in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau.

The author of the legislative fisheries newsletter Laws for the Sea, Bob Tkacz, is one of my favorite reporters in our state’s capital right now. He and several others attended the Governor’s press availability in the Capitol last week. He, like many Alaskans, had watched in dismay as the Governor’s Cruise Ship dumping bill as it sailed through the legislature, despite massive amounts of misinformation.

One particular example Tkacz cited in his question for the Governor was the fact that the Advisory Panel was told that their report was simply preliminary, and would not be used to craft legislation. Well, the panel got “Lucy with the Football-ed” and their report was indeed used for the very thing they were told it wouldn’t be used for – creating really awful legislation that nevertheless sped on through the legislature, currently filled with Parnellian Sock Puppets.

Now, Senate Democrats are pointing out inaccuracies in the Governor’s oil tax bill and information surrounding it. Tkacz wanted to know what the Governor had to say for himself about these past proven inaccuracies, and how the public was supposed to know what was true and what wasn’t. Good question, right?

Tkacz begins by pointing out that the Governor has made a statement about the fact that his oil tax bill has had a lot of hearings already. He points out that the Governor is misrepresenting what has happened, and it’s not like one committee has had 26 hearings in 45 days about the same bill, with new information being discussed, and new questions answered each time. So, the public shouldn’t be duped into thinking that this bill has had an extraordinary amount of scrutiny and discourse. It should have that, considering how much the state stands to lose, but it has not had that yet. Of course, it behooves the Governor to make people think that it’s been under the microscope in an unprecedented and historic way – but it hasn’t.

Parnell, during his interaction with Tkacz, proceeded to play every trick in the book to blame, deflect, deny, avoid, project, and distort. It was a cornucopia of Freudian defense mechanisms, and transparent debate techniques that was both popcorn-worthy, and maddening at the same time.

Thankfully, we had someone who called out the Governor with tough, substantiated questions. Kudos to Tkacz, and to Lisa Demer of the Anchorage Daily News for following up.

You can check out the video HERE, and read the transcript below, which is conveniently numerically marked so you can easily identify the defense/coping/debate mechanism at the end.



Tkacz: Governor, on your numbers, you said 26 hearings is a lot. The Senate has had three committees that have had hearings on oil taxes – the TAPS throughput Committee, the In-state Energy Committee, and the Resources Committee. And I think Finance has had at least one hearing. The House has had a number of hearings in House Resources. I’m not sure if the House Energy Committee has had it. But that’s at least four committees into 26 hearings in 45 days. That’s not a remarkable amount of hearings on one bill. It’s a lot of people going over what is very often the same material presented by your administration. And your administration…

Parnell: So, you’re saying there’s too much public process right now, is that what you’re saying? [1]

Tkacz: No.

Parnell: Right. (laughs) [2]

Tkacz: I’m saying that you are over inflating the amount of attention given to it, given the fact that a lot of hearings are repetitive, and there are a lot of people. It’s not as if a committee is doing a lot of hearing on one bill. Your Department of Environmental Conservation’s hearings were proven to be pretty inaccurate on the Cruise Ship Bill that were told to the advisory committee that claimed you would not use their preliminary report for legislation – your transmission letter says that.

Parnell: Do you have a question, Bob? [3]

Tkacz: Yes. You’re about to reject my proposition, so I’m laying the foundation.

Parnell: Okay.

Tkacz: On Tuesday, the Senate Democrats presented what Sen. Wielechowski said was a lot of misinformation from your people on the oil tax bill. There seems to be a continual record of your agencies giving inaccurate information on different bills. How do you react to those charges?

Parnell: I think they are false allegations. And if you would, you know… We could do line and verse, but I’m not going to do it right here. But I just, I reject the premise, so… [4]

Tkacz: Well, when would you do that? You don’t want to talk to Sen. Wielechowski. He has asked to debate you any number of times. How does the public…

Parnell: He hasn’t even asked for a meeting to talk with me, so… I mean, what the heck? [5]

Tkacz: Well, would you debate him?

Parnell: No, it’s not about a debate, it’s about doing the people’s work here in this building. [6] (pointing finger at Tkacz) And when you minimize the work of legislators by saying that these 26 hearings are pointless, and they’re ridiculous… [7]

Tkacz: I didn’t minimize the work of legislators, Governor.

Parnell: You did! You said 26 hearings are really nothing, because you’re going over the same information over and over, you are minimizing Republicans and Democrats. I love this institution of the legislature. It was created by the people, and we will keep it that way. [8]

Tkacz: I’m saying that you are claiming there were a lot of hearings in a short amount of time. It wasn’t a short amount of time and there were a lot of people working on it. And it seems to be another one of the ways that you are misrepresenting numbers.

Parnell: Why don’t you go… Bob…

Tkacz: And now all you’re saying is we’ll talk about it later. When do we get an accounting of the misrepresentations which have been documented?

Parnell: Just like the Democrats – you’re making bald allegations with no specific statements. [9]

Tkacz: I gave you a bunch of specific ones. That’s exactly what I was doing when you tried to cut me off before.

Parnell: Okay… Lisa? (Pointing to Lisa Demer of the Anchorage Daily News) [10]

Tkacz: The director of the DEC…

Governor’s staffer: Bob, we’re going to move on.

Demer: I’d like to follow up quickly on that, and then go to another topic. Just very quickly, he had asked and I didn’t hear the answer. Would you debate Sen. Wielechowski, and if not, why not? On oil taxes. It’s probably your top priority this session. Why not have a debate?

Parnell: The debates are happening in the halls of this legislature. His job as a legislator is to debate those topics in the halls of this legislature or with the people who represent me on this topic. He is one of 60 legislators, and those debates need to happen within the halls of this building with 59 other legislators.

Demer: Don’t you think that going head to head with someone on the other side, so the public can hear you directly articulate the point…

Parnell: I think the public is hearing me directly. I think they’re hearing him directly. In fact, they’ve heard probably more of him through your newspaper, then me. [11] But in these halls here, the point is that the debates occur through the committee process. That’s the nature of things. That’s what’s happening. [12]


[1] Strawman – Distorting your opponent’s position and then fighting against a position they don’t hold.

[2] Derision – Mocking another’s statement, regardless of its accuracy, to make yourself appear right.

[3] Deflection and feigned exasperation at another’s attempt to get to the unflattering point.

[4] Denial – Refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening; arguing against an anxiety-provoking stimulus by stating it doesn’t exist.

[5] Blaming others for not asking you for something you clearly wouldn’t have done anyway.

[6] Delegitimizing criticism – It’s not about what you asked me, it’s about something completely different.

[7] Distortion – A gross reshaping of external reality to support your own claims.

[8] Emotional claims of patriotism! I love the legislature, therefore you do not.

[9] Extreme Projection –  The blatant denial of one’s own moral or psychological deficiency, which is then attributed as a deficiency in another individual or group.

[10] Avoidance/Flight – When you’re losing, run away!

[11] Passive aggression – Aggression towards others expressed indirectly or passively.

[12] Because I’m the Governor, that’s why.

Now, there are some of you who are thinking to yourselves, “Of course the governor isn’t going to debate Bill Wielechowski. It doesn’t make political sense. First of all, he’s the governor and he doesn’t have to do it. Second, he’d get his butt kicked.”

Why? Because Senator Wielechowski uses another debate technique with which the Governor is unfamiliar. It’s called “Telling the Truth.”  This method is highly effective as long as you know the subject matter well. You must learn and remember lots of facts and figures and be able to keep them straight. And, most important, the truth has to be what you really want your audience to hear, and believe.

So, naturally, when you’re trying to make your audience believe the interest of the oil companies over the people of Alaska; when you are trying to get constituents to subscribe to policies that run counter to their best interests; when you are trying to give away billions of dollars to the most profitable corporations on earth with no strings attached;  of course you don’t want to debate someone with the opposite position.

But when billions of our dollars and the future of our state are at stake – and we know that the governor would get creamed in a debate, and be unable to effectively advocate for his one big issue – then isn’t that the point?




12 Responses to “Parnell Chickens Out – Again”
  1. Zyxomma says:

    It’s fascinating to watch this unfold from an island off the other coast of the continent. I’m so sorry that Alaska re-elected SP2.0.

    Here in NY, I’m grateful that our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has taken a measured, wait-and-see attitude toward fracking our portion of the Marcellus Shale:

    I’m hopeful that we won’t be poisoning our agricultural lands, our water, and our air.

  2. Alaska Cod Piece says:

    Thanks to Bob Tkacz, Shannyn and AKM for asking the tough questions and making Alaskans aware of how Parnell and Party are trying to stick it to us without us even knowing about it.

    TKacz is always relentless in demanding straight answers and always has his facts right.

    Assuming Capt Zero has the balls to have another press conference, I hope Tkacz (and Lisa Demer) will ask him why he has introduced so many bills this session that cut public notifications and public comment out of the process prior to permitting large development projects. All of them have to do with protecting waters/lands. Parnell might as well come right out and say that he supports the Pebble Mine, despite the prolonged opposition of the majority of Alaskans.

  3. WakeUpAmerica says:

    Did Captain Zero go to the same law school as Michelle Bachmann?

  4. Jag24 says:

    And he can run again. Does he have three more years? Who of the Dems are going to take him on? I know it’s a gamble, but he/she needs to be working on his/her personal resume now, as should the spouse be doing. I am speaking of personal resume as in what they do in their free time. Know from where you are getting your votes, Person. You will need to attract voters who you would normally not have to pander if the state were sane.

  5. Why debate when the ‘simple truth’ is that everything is a function of taxes? As long as he can keep the issue as simple as that — there are no other inputs, just taxes. Petroleum reservoirs are a bottomless pit and the lower taxes are the faster the oil comes out of the ground — he wins.

    • EatWildFish says:

      Petroleum reservoirs are not bottomless pits. Otherwise, good point.

  6. Nancy Allthrop says:

    “All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole.” (from the Alaska Constitution)

    Treason is a betrayal of trust and the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance. Parnell the Pirate and his gang of thieves.

    • Betcha Didn't Know... says:

      INTERPOL and UN have carnal knowledge about the State Of Alaska, the Catholic Church, HUGE money,
      Koch Brothers and the all those human rights and financing corruptions…let’s see…Russia blew a gasket…the Pope resigned…we got new investigations into banking and the Catholic Church…we got new international investigations and hearings in Geneva about the USA and their negligence’s…Parnell is a pike in a ocean of peronnas…he will be eaten eventually…
      And those that stand guilty of abiding such atrocities will stand trial in Geneva at the United Nations courts…so sad too bad…for Parnell…and Palin…ect ect ect…they will all get tossed to sea…bonvoyage!!!

      • Bick Pentameter says:

        Gawd I’m glad you aren’t a decision-maker ( you aren’t are you?).

  7. Mo says:

    Parnell can be contemptuous, dodgy, and dismissive of the press because Republican voters will elect his oil company sock puppets no matter what. They could be shackled, enslaved, have their homes and guns confiscated, and be sent to Siberia under a mining and oilfields worker exchange program and they’d still vote Republican.

    Then there’s our so-called “Independent” Republicans, and Democratic Republicans [remember the Murkowski re-election?].

  8. unionguy56 says:

    Parnell is a treasure hunter and pirate, robbing Alaskans of their rightful wealth. Pirate Parnell should be set adrift or made to walk the gangplank for his treasonous actions against Alaskans.

    • COalmostNative says:

      He’s lined his pockets with ill-gotten loot from the cruise ship and oil industry lobbyists, right matey?

      Aarrgh! Parnell’s the scum in the bottom of a chum bucket!

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