Todd Palin Refuses to Comply With Subpoena

It's official. Alaska "First Dude" Todd Palin, husband of Gov. Sarah Palin, will refuse to comply with the subpoena issued last week to testify before the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee on TrooperGate.

Instead of taking the 5th, something we could respect as his constitutional right, he's claiming he can't get a fair hearing. Republican politics as usual.

A state Senate committee is scheduled to meet Friday to take statements from the 12 people they subpoenaed last week, including Todd Palin. But McCain-Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said Todd Palin would not face a "fair hearing" before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


McCain's people have added a new argument:

In a new twist, Comella said Alaska state law bars ethics investigations of people running for elected office. "That law was passed to insulate legislative investigations from exactly the kind of political maneuvering we are seeing in this inquiry," she said.

Of course, she isn't running for state office and the investigation was launched before she was running for vice-president --and she originally said she welcomed the investigation.

The law campaign officials cited appears to apply to candidates for state office, while Sarah Palin is seeking a federal job. But another campaign spokesman, Taylor Griffin, said the subpoenas violate "the spirit of the law, if not the letter."

In addition, state Attorney General Talis Colberg told lawmakers Tuesday that state employees wouldn't comply with subpoenas because the governor "has declined to participate" in the inquiry. Colberg said Sarah Palin's refusal puts them in the position "of having to choose where their loyalties lie."

What it means: A contempt vote must wait until the full Senate convenes in January. So, Palin and McCain have derailed the investigation -- but it also means she will run for Vice-President with a cloud of suspicion of impropriety over her head.

Sarah Palin: Ethically challenged, Polarizer in Chief. Run, Sarah, Run.

Other late Palin related news: Republican Senator Chuck Hagel says she's not qualified to be Vice-President.

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    The rush to judgement (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:21:16 PM EST
    against Gov. Palin strikes me as contrary to the usual stance of this blog.  

    not at all (3.80 / 5) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:31:20 PM EST
    My clients don't get to disregard subpoenas claiming the grand jury or legislative committee won't be fair. They have to take the 5th or go to court and file a motion to quash on some other lawful ground.

    It's called respect for the rule of law. Republicans just don't seem to have it. MCCain and Palin are no different than Bush, Cheney and Rove.

    I'm not suggesting Todd Palin is guilty of anything -- I'm criticizing his and his wife's disrespect for the rule of law.


    Because. (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by lansing quaker on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:40:05 AM EST
    The Democrats are trying to make a haystack out of fertilizer.  The way the media and most of the blogs (not here!) have gone on about benign things will naturally make the Palins stonewall.

    I will say it to my dying day: "Troopergate" is a non-starter.  But if they find anything -- ANYTHING -- to attack Palin with re: personal correspondence, they will.

    Just check what the blogs have done over Palin's Yahoo account being accessed (I refuse to say "hacked" because it wasn't).  It's not about privacy, it's about "GOVERNMENT CORRESPONDENCE VIA PERSONAL ACCOUNT!  LOOPHOLE!!! CORRUPT!"

    Wrong attack.  That account was accessed.  There was no "there" there.  It was just benign personal correspondence.  But the blogs are trying to make hay over it.

    I said it before this incident, and I will again: the Palins do not want to give carte blanche to their e-mails.  The blogs -- and certain media outlets -- are more than willing to make a haystack out of muckraking.  And it's absolutely, 100% bogus, J.

    She is respecting the law, but as has been documented, the "investigation" is compromised via partisan politics over the Federal election.

    Nothing will be found on Monegan.  But a lot of hay will be thrown about anything else, to be darn sure.

    And that's why the Palins are stonewalling.  Mark it.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#43)
    by daring grace on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 09:48:15 AM EST
    That was my first thought as I read this: does anyone else get to claim this ' I won't get fair treatment' argument and get away with it?

    To me, this isn't just about Palin. Palin is part of a larger portrait of public officials and the politically connected (not only politicians, but the well heeled) who get to invoke preferential treatment for themselves when 'ordinary' people do not.

    It's an extension of the Bush-Cheney corrupting of the process and it has a vile stench.

    It would be different if, as some privileged people do, Mr. Palin merely hired a skillful counsel who managed to get him a pass through sharp strategy and paper-clogging the proceedings. But this kind of rarefied tier for special witnesses and defendants needs to be challenged and abolished---or extended to all who are accused or are called to testify.


    Odd statement. (3.33 / 3) (#6)
    by Faust on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:33:41 PM EST
    As far as I can tell Jeralyn is not judging her of anything other than refusing to comply with an investigation that she once said she would be happy to participate with.

    You find nothing problematic with the way the McCain/Palin camp is behaving with regard to this issue?


    I'm still curious as to whether (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:40:54 PM EST
    the current investigative body is the one Gov. Palin sd. she would cooperate with.  Was any investigation already in place when she sd. that?  

    Assuming the body that issued the subpoenas had the authority to do so, yes, of course, those who will not honor the subpoena should use the legal means available to challenge the subpoena, not just ignore it.  


    You don't get to (3.00 / 3) (#14)
    by befuddledvoter on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:57:17 PM EST
    pick and choose which investigations you choose to comply with.  It is not Stop & Shop procedure.

    But every single time Troopergate (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 11:54:12 PM EST
    is discussed, Palin's statement she would cooperate with an investigation is included.  Is this the investigation with which she stated she would cooperate?  Seems like an easy question but I've never received an answer.

    If you're so certain it isn't (none / 0) (#25)
    by Faust on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:06:11 AM EST
    why don't you construct an argument with some evidence?

    If it wasn't the original investiation don't you think that would have been floated as a legal argument? If not, why not?


    Actually, if I knew the answer, I wouldn't (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:07:27 AM EST
    have asked the question.

    Time Magaine reports (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:50:40 AM EST
    Only a few weeks ago, Palin had promised full cooperation with the legislature -- "Hold me accountable," she told Alaskans -- including testifying in front of the inquiry, which is also looking into allegations that her staff improperly accessed Wooten's personnel file. She also requested that the state attorney general conduct his own investigation alongside the legislature's probe. But Thomas Van Flein, the lawyer she had to hire because the attorney general, Talis Colberg, also called Monegan about Wooten and therefore could be a witness, had Palin take the unusual step this week of filing an ethics complaint -- against herself.



    Again, J. (3.66 / 3) (#36)
    by lansing quaker on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 02:10:10 AM EST
    The dynamic is different.  Open-access is giving carte blanche to smears on the McCain-Palin ticket.

    ANYTHING in her Government e-mail will be open to personal scrutiny.  Anything.  And if you really believe that something in there won't break to the national media, then I have a Bridge to Nowhere to sell you.

    She is stonewalling over Republican correspondence.  Not over Monegan or Wooten.  The Monegan/Wooten thing is a rumor started by Andrew Halcro who has an axe to gind against the Republicans in general, and Sarah Palin specifically.

    Nothing will come of this on Monegan/Wooten.  I fervently believe there may be something salacious in Palin's correspondence -- either by her or others sending it to her -- that could affect the G.E.  But not about Wooten or Monegan.

    That's why there is this interest in denying access.  In citing Executive Privilege.  Im denying her husband's role, and protecting his e-mails, too.

    Surely even you can understand this.  Before the VP nod, Palin was all "Investigate me!" and it spun in neutral.  Now it's a different game.  They don't want info out on the election.  And that is more than fair.

    The time to investigate the "Trooper SCANDAL!" has passed.  Nothing was found for weeks.  Nothing will change that.  The charges are little more than a tabloid rumor and a reason to access her Government accounts which are more likely than not to turn into attacks on the R ticket for political -- not ethical, legal, or policy -- reasons.

    Surely you understand this.  

    If Palin had wanted to stonewall, she would have from the outset.  She didn't.  Now she is that everyone wants to see her executive, government correspondence.  

    Occam's razor.


    Only a few weeks ago, she was not (3.00 / 1) (#37)
    by andrys on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 02:58:03 AM EST
    chosen yet to be the VP nominee, running with McCain against Obama/Biden -- when the manager of that investigation happens to be an active Obama supporter and has already said the investigation might result in an "October Surprise" - great attitude, Not !

      The stakes are higher, the motivations suspect.

      And the basic foundation of the investigation is very shaky, since (as I've said) she had the authority to remove Monegan from that position without giving a reason.  In the last few days they've submitted email backup for complaints  that Monegan was going around the administration's rejection of something he wanted and decided to go after on his own, and that's reason enough by the law.

      The rest of it is witchhunt and there are so many better reasons to go after Palin -- narrow belief-set that she might inflict on others via a Supreme Court appointment someday if McCain is suddenly not here (and he'd do it himself anyway), quite anti-gay rights, almost no exposure to global dynamics and little interest in them, etc.  She's said she was busy running a state and (though she didn't say so) running a family which neighbors and residents describe as always with her no matter how young.

      However, whatever the reasons she didn't pay attention to foreign affairs, people will tend to want someone with more experience than she has and interest in the rest of the world.

      But all this troopergate focus is a waste of time and while it's easier to find and sling mud that might be there (might not), it's better to use some more solid material and explain this to those who are Undecided.

      Maybe that's harder but time is disappearing.


    Why Troopergate Is a Valid Focus (none / 0) (#44)
    by daring grace on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 09:59:05 AM EST
    for the media and the blogs, if not for the Obama campaign itself:

    1. Eight years of Bush-Cheney and their antics in office and egregious avoidance of taking responsibility for those antics by failing to respond to congressional investigative efforts.

    2. If, as you argue, Palin was within her rights as governor to fire Monegan for any reason, why not just present that and be done with all this? Why on earth would she or the McCain campaign continue to do this tortuous dance of avoidance that makes this whole thing drag on and on day after day? Their stonewalling makes it look like there's something there to be investigating.

    because, as others have pointed out, (none / 0) (#49)
    by andrys on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 10:13:35 PM EST
    it's an opportunity for investigators to ask any question they want, and the manager of the investigation is an active Obama supporter, who has already made statements that should disqualify him from continuing (predicting that the investigation could result in an "October surprise") but he remains the manager, so it is WAY tainted.

      They can judge on what's been given them and by the law.

      They geared up once she was part of a national team running against Obama -- and a photo shown has indicated that Monegan and the actual investigator (Branchwater) are also Obama supporters.  That would be just ridiculous at this point.

      The declaration to investigate away was before she became part of a presidential team and obvious resulting presidential  politics (with ObamaTeam sending a horde of investigators up there) gave this too much of an opportunity for playing politics.  I can see why anti-Palin people will want this done in the worst light though no matter what though.

      The Personnel trio also involved as an alternate review team are hired by the governor, but they were hired by the previous governor.

      Whatever, email has now been given re conflicts with Monegan while he was in the job, and that is enough because,  by the law, no reason is needed to be given for his firing (in his case a transfer to another job that paid less).  The Governor has the right to hire/fire in that position at will.  This is pure politics.


    If You Say So (none / 0) (#50)
    by daring grace on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 12:49:25 PM EST
    Governor Palin strikes me as a fairly effective speaker and has apparently shown herself (from the little I've read about her) to be a skillful artist at the thrust and parry of debates and politics in Alaska. The presence of 'Obama supporters' in the investigation doesn't negate the fact that she has peers on the committee too, and that if she has an argument to make on her own behalf she can keep making it, regardless of how others might try to twist it.

    This course, stonewalling the investigation until after the GE and crying foul as far as the fairness of the investigation strikes me as a weak play for her, because it plays into her opponents' image of her as not transparent and looking like she has something to hide. But maybe it will work for her.

    As I said earlier, I think the climate in this soon to be post Cheney/Bush era works against her, though. People are so tired of watching politicians try to wriggle out of facing questions.


    Fifth Amendment? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by bayville on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:42:42 PM EST
    What is all this talk about the Constitution, Fifth Amendment and complying with subpoenas? Didn't you get the memos? This all so Pre-9/11.

    The new "law" states: "if a Republican official doesn't want to honor a subpoena, they don't have to. And there is nothing the legislative branch can do about it."
    I think it's the Amendment to the Amendment formally known as the Fifth Amendment (see: Miers, Bolton v. US Congress).

    Palin Is Going To Reform Washington? (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by john horse on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 07:09:03 AM EST
    Lets think about this.

    In order to reform Washington you select as you VP running mate someone who is under an ethics investigation.  Makes me wonder about the type of people that McCain would hire if he got elected.

    Refusing to cooperate with an investigation is the same game that the Bush administration played.  In his nomination speech, McCain talked about how the Republican party had lost the trust of the American people and the need for the party to restore its principles.  

    Well, doesn't trust have to be earned?  What has Palin done to earn our trust?

    Shouldn't Todd Palin's Lawyer (4.00 / 3) (#2)
    by MTSINAIMAMA on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:23:55 PM EST
    go to court and try to quash the subpoena? Since when is saying Palin can't get a "fair hearing" a reason to ignore the summons?

    And where the heck is Talis Colberg, the Alaskan AG? Since Tuesday he has been on vacation in Kansas, after reneging on a deal he had to have the aides testify while giving them immunity.

    Judging from the reaction in Alaska, this is going over about as well as McCain in Spain.

    Palin on judicial nominations... (4.00 / 2) (#3)
    by lawstudent on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:29:55 PM EST
    The law campaign officials cited appears to apply to candidates for state office, while Sarah Palin is seeking a federal job. But another campaign spokesman, Taylor Griffin, said the subpoenas violate "the spirit of the law, if not the letter."

    So much for "strict constructionists," eh?

    LOL (4.00 / 2) (#16)
    by befuddledvoter on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:58:33 PM EST
    You are sooooo correct.  Ironic, n'est ce pas?

    I'm shocked (4.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Nevart on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:46:11 PM EST
    I'm shocked -- shocked and stunned -- to find out that the Palin-McCain campaign is trying to stall the investigation till after the election.

    NO (4.00 / 3) (#13)
    by befuddledvoter on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:55:55 PM EST
    I agree with Jeralyn.  None of my clients get this kind of treatment. I cannot imagine a client saying he "can't get a fair hearing" as justification for not complying with a subpoena.  Why is Todd Palin even stating HE can't get a fair hearing.  Is he even charged with anything?    

    "Fair Hearing" (3.66 / 3) (#35)
    by lansing quaker on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:51:30 AM EST
    I agree with Jeralyn.  None of my clients get this kind of treatment. I cannot imagine a client saying he "can't get a fair hearing" as justification for not complying with a subpoena.  Why is Todd Palin even stating HE can't get a fair hearing.  Is he even charged with anything?

    "Fair hearing" is open to interpretation in this climate.  It isn't fair when the Obama campaign and the national media fly to Alaska to muckrake on any and everything possible.

    As I said upthread: when the story of Palin's personal e-mail being accessed, we heard cries of "SECRET GOVERNMENT E-MAILS BEING SENT VIA PRIVATE CORPORATION TO AVOID OPEN DISCLOSURE LAWS!"

    But there was nothing there.  Carte blanche into Palin's government accounts allow for probable disclosure on any number of campaign e-mails re: McCain/Palin, and not necessarily Monegan.  And it will be leaked.

    This is why they're stonewalling.

    There is no evidence Palin dismissed Monegan because of a personal vendetta against the Trooper.

    She was all "Investigate me!" and the investigation spun in neutral.  Naturally, now that she is the VP candidate, there is more interest.  

    But they will not allow access into e-mails that may compromise the National election via correspondence about McCain, strategy, Obama, Clinton, or what-have-you.  It's natural.  

    Maybe if Obama or Biden said they would allow unfettered access into their own personal correspondence as "open disclosure" you may have an argument.

    But to say only Palin should under the guise of "TROOPERGAAAATE!" is disingenuous.  I doubt anything will be found on Monegan.  But I am sure there may be much else that is noteworthy that isn't about him.

    Otherwise Palin would have stonewalled from the beginning.  

    Occam's razor.


    I deleted that comment (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 11:03:20 PM EST
    for falsely stating that I "hated" Palin. I've never said that and it's not true. It's nothing personal. I have been very careful to criticize her on her record, her lack of record, her lack of relevant experience for the second highest office in the country, her lack of preparedness to assume the Presidency if need be, her position on issues and ties to to the radical right. There's no "hate" involved.

    It does seem as if the McCain campaign (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by hairspray on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:38:49 AM EST
    took over the defense of the Palins.  I personally think the whole thing is a pile of manure and I do believe that when you look at some of the characters (both Democrats and disgruntled Repubs) who have made some rather inflamatory statements before any investigation was concluded one must believe that it is not black and white.  I think there is probably a weak case against the Palins and that a couple of bad actors have stirred things up for "their side" and now there is no such thing as a clear issue.  The "Hunting of the President" was a story about how the Right wing went after Clinton and drummed up weak stories into major scandals.  Get them on other issues.

    animus? (none / 0) (#30)
    by prittfumes on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:26:31 AM EST
    Ah, (4.00 / 2) (#15)
    by shoulin4 on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:58:09 PM EST
    following in Dick Cheney's footsteps, I see.

    Talk about stomping on the constitution . . .

    How exactly (none / 0) (#5)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:31:27 PM EST
    does a material witness have a fair or unfair hearing?  

    Heck, Jeralyn, how could he even invoke the 5th Amendment when no criminal charges are even being considered for ANYONE?  I guess he could invoke it but that would certainly be curious.  

    It's an example of a valid (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:34:17 PM EST
    legal ground to refuse to comply. There doesn't have to be a criminal proceeding or investigation underway to take the 5th. You can take the 5th in a civil case. If your testimony in any proceeding  could incriminate you, you can take it.

    Right (none / 0) (#8)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:37:19 PM EST
    I understand the 5th argument.  I think it would look very bad but, as you said, he could invoke.

    I really don't get the unfair hearing argument though.


    No one claimed anything, here, (none / 0) (#18)
    by Radix on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 10:59:32 PM EST
    about guilt or innocence. The argument is Palin's grounds for refusal, nothing more.

    I find this language somewhat (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 11:56:00 PM EST

    Sarah Palin: Ethically challenged, Polarizer in Chief. Run, Sarah, Run.

    just the opposite (3.50 / 2) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:02:35 AM EST
    "ethically challenged" vs. unethical

    I think I'm being charitable. What would you call her refusal to allow her staffers or husband to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena.?

    Polarizer refers to her effect on voters. It has nothing to do with Guilt. Run, Sarah, Run is also unrelated to an accusation.

    Criticism is not an accusation.


    I understood the staffers were advised (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:05:20 AM EST
    by the AG not to cooperate with the investigators.  Does Alaska have marital privilege?  Is Todd Palin represented by separate counsel?  

    come on (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:14:27 AM EST
    The quote is right in the post and the article:

    In addition, state Attorney General Talis Colberg told lawmakers Tuesday that state employees wouldn't comply with subpoenas because the governor "has declined to participate" in the inquiry. Colberg said Sarah Palin's refusal puts them in the position "of having to choose where their loyalties lie."

    and we have posts up (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:15:32 AM EST
    about how Palin's lawyer was representing the employees and the Palins and now is only representing the Palins and no longer paid by the state and the conflict of interests that may have arisen.

    'Night Oculus (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:16:41 AM EST
    See you tomorrow, you are always welcome here, I'm not trying to criticize you.

    Probably be better if (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:35:05 AM EST
    I didn't read the stuff here about Gov. Palin.  

    You're ignoring an important fact. (none / 0) (#42)
    by ChrisO on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 08:54:50 AM EST
    Palin's government e-mail account shouldn't be used for personall or, especially, campaign business. I dojn't know the exact law in Alaska, but I recall Al Gore and "no controlling authority", where he allegedly violated campaign laews by making fundraising calls from the White House. If an official commingles campaign correspondence with official government business, it's not the obligation of investigators to treat the situation with kid gloves. Don't mingle the two, and then complain that the government wants to see your personal e-mails.

    In addition to which, any half intelligent person knows that in this day and age, you don't commit to e-mail that which you don't want anyone to ever see, especially using a government account. I am in public relations, and I had a client engaged in an anti-trust lawsuit several years ago. Not only were my client's e-mails subpoenaed, but all of my firm's e-mails concerning the client were subpoenaed, as well, even our own internal correspondence. Since that time I've told anyone who works for me that you don't puit in an e-mail anything you don't want others to ever see.

    I also find it interesting that you seem to base your objections on the fact that the investigation will reveal no wrongdoing. Perhaps you should notify the authorities in Alaska that you've already conducted the investigation. It might save them a lot of time. You do realize how weak an argument it is to say that an investigation shouldn't take place because the investigators won't find evidence of wrongdoing, don't you?

    What is a (none / 0) (#45)
    by JavaCityPal on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 11:29:17 AM EST
    Senate Judiciary Committee? Is that a court of law?

    to testify before the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee on TrooperGate

    Doesn't this happen all the time? I recall so many complaints that the current administration ignores their subpoena's - everyone from Karl Rove to Harriet Meiers.

    yes, and it's being handled by the courts (none / 0) (#46)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 11:37:38 AM EST
    In this case, it is unlikely to reach the courts before the election in November because further action requires full Alaska Senate action which can't happen until the full Senate reconvenes in either December or January.

    Harriet Miers, Karl Rove, etc. have legal counsel making arguments in the courts challenging the Judiciary Committee's subpoenas and judges are deciding whether their refusal to testify is excusable.

    That's one reason the Palin-McCain actions are classic stonewalling.


    Can the same process apply in a Senate (none / 0) (#47)
    by JavaCityPal on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 11:43:56 AM EST
    Judiciary Committee as in a court where the attorney representing the "defense" can request the "case" be thrown out?

    I really am amazed by watching this. Read yesterday that the commissioner actually resigned because he had been offered a different job that he was more qualified for and he rejected it.

    Is this entire topic run by the former commissioner's "gut" feeling he was asked to take a different job for reasons other than what he was given?


    Todd (none / 0) (#48)
    by greenriverkate on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:08:45 PM EST
    If the common person thumbed his/her nose at a subpoena, we'd go to jail. He is NOT  first "dude". They are trying to hide and run from a problem that has become their duty to Alaska to clear up. Like Bush, they think they are above the law. She was representing Alaska and a governor, she should want to clear this up and clear her and her husbands name. This is a sham on the american people. They do not have rights above us and neither of them hold office in the lower 48. I could never vote for anyone that thought they were better than us and above the law. I guess I will have to go with "where there is smoke, there is fire" until they act responsible and clear this up