Entries tagged as ‘Troopergate’

Palin a Multi-Millionaire, Faces Cold Alaska

November 18, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Sarah Palin appears close to getting a $7 million to $11 million book deal after her unsuccessful run for Vice-President and emergence as the poster-girl for the Religious Right.  Based on her popularity with her base, there seems to be a built-in market for the book.  Personally I’d prefer that she just dictate the book and have it transcribed, along with a Palin-to-English dictionary, so that we’d get some real insight into her thought processes.  My guess is that a ghost writer will shoulder most of the writing burden.

Unfortunately for Palin she has to go back to Alaska and deal with a reality on the cold frozen ground that is very different than it was in August.

  1. Diminished standing of the “Sarah Palin Brand.” All of the national attention certainly brought out home-state pride, but it also highlighted Palin’s inexperience.  Many in Alaska were frankly embarrassed by her performance and the resulting negative image spillover onto Alaska.  Her approval ratings in Alaska have plummeted from their stratospheric heights.
  2. Troopergate fallout. There are many in Alaskan government bitter at the way that Palin and the McCain-Palin campaign handled the Troopergate inquiry.  They may even investigate whether individuals urged witnesses to not appear; something that would constitute witness tampering under Alaska law.  The findings of the independent investigator highlighted a Palin administration that did not follow proper disclosure policies (private e-mail for public business) and seemed obsessed by a personal vendetta.
  3. Questionable Billings to the State. Palin’s claims for per diem payments for time spent at home and her reimbursements from Alaska for family travel (and failing to report those payments as income) could come under new scrutiny.  The legislature is likely to create rules to make clear that these practices are unacceptable.
  4. State Budget. Alaska depends on taxes and fees on oil companies for the vast majority of its budget (no state income tax or property tax exists).  With the price of oil dropping, Alaska’s revenue faces a dramatic decrease.  Palin had governed in a time of easy money; the new economic realities will prove to be a significant hurdle for the Governor.
  5. The Pipeline. Palin trumpeted the natural gas pipeline deal with TransCanada with as her crowning achievement, but it has not been built and may never be built.  She led the effort to spend $500 million by the State to plan for the pipeline, but no other private or public money has been committed for the multi-billion dollar construction of the pipeline, and there is no guarantee that it will be built.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology · Troopergate
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Karl Rove Predicts Obama Landslide

November 4, 2008 · Leave a Comment

While McCain attempts to keep up a brave face, Karl Rove has publicly predicted a  landslide of Obama-Biden at 338 electoral votes to McCain-Palin’s 200 (270 electoral votes needed to win).   This would be the most lopsided win since Clinton’s 1996 379-159 slaughtering of Bob Dole.

And in what has to be the oddest comment ever by a Vice Presidential candidate known for her odd comments, when asked outside the polling place in Wasilla – Sarah Palin answered that she wasn’t telling, but would exercise her right to privacy.  Huh?

And instead of a release of medical records, we get a note from her doctor saying that she’s A-OK?  Remember it was Sarah herself who said that she’d release her records.  What’s up with that?  And she does it right on the eve of the election so that it gets buried in the election coverage.  What is Sarah hiding?

In addition the Personnel Board in Alaska released its own findings that contradicted the conclusion in the Branchflower Report.  If you’ll remember the independent investigator found that Palin had violated Alaska’s ethics laws by using the power of the Governor’s office to try to get her ex-brother-in-law fired as a trooper (Troopergate).  This second report says that she did not violate ethics laws.  The only problem is that the members of the Personnel Board – you bethca’ – appointed by the Governor.  So the Governor rejects the finding of the independent investigator appointed by the bipartisan legislature as biased, but says that the report from people she appointed is unbiased.  Huh?

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics · Troopergate
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Link to Full Troopergate Report

October 21, 2008 · Leave a Comment

For those who’d like to read the full report on “Troopergate” – also known as the Branchflower Report, I’m posting this link to the full 263 page report (pdf format).

Branchflower Troopergate Report

Stephen Branchflower was asked by the Alaska Legislature to research the long-standing allegations of the misuse of power by the Governor and her husband in attempting to get ex-brother-in-law Wooten fired from his position as a Trooper, and the subsequent firing of Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

The summary of the findings:

  • Sarah Palin committed an ethical breach by using the power of the Governor’s office in pursuing a personal vendetta against Wooten.
  • Palin’s firing of Monegan was not illegal because the position is appointed by the Governor, and can be replaced at will.
  • Palin’s firing of Monegan demonstrated poor judgement and an ethical breach of her duty as Governor.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Todd · Troopergate
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Alaskan Newspaper Slams Palin's Troopergate Response

October 14, 2008 · Leave a Comment

The Anchorage Daily News published an appropriately harsh editorial on Monday calling Palin’s claim that the Legislature’s report on Troopergate vindicated her “Orwellian.”

In no uncertain terms, the newspaper appropriately said that the report said that she had violated state ethics law in using the power of the office of Governor to prosecute a personal vendetta.  They conclude that the offense does not rise to the level of impeachment or indictment.  But it most certainly is not vindication.

Poor judgement, misuse of power, lack of accountability to the people, dishonesty.  Hardly the qualities we need in a Vice President – or, God forbid, a President.

Read the editorial from the Anchorage Daily News:  “Palin vindicated?  Governor offers Orwellian spin.”

Categories: Palin
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Troopergate Report Released – Palin Abused Power

October 11, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I’ve yet to get my hands on the full Troopergate released by the bipartisan committee of the Alaskan legislature, but when I do I’ll write about it here.

Here’s what I can distill from the various reports:

  • Palin abused the power of her office in pursuing a personal vendetta against officer Wooten (her ex-brother in law).
  • Palin’s husband Todd and other surrogates of the Governor acting on behalf of the Governor pushed the head of Alaska’s Public Safety Department to fire or otherwise discipline Wooten outside of the rules and regulations.
  • Palin was within her legal right as Governor to dismiss Walt Monegan (that position serves at the request and whim of the Governor).
  • This behavior is consistent with what Alaskan critics of the Governor have been saying for a long time: that Palin and her administration were bullying, with a “take no prisoners,” “for us or agin us” mentality.

Bottom line:  Palin exercised poor judgement continuously over a long period of time.  Palin lacks the maturity and discretion to properly exercise power.  Palin was an impetuous and disastrous pick for McCain, although this is in keeping with his self-described penchant to mak quick decisions from the gut – right or wrong – and then to try to live with the consequences.  It would seem that he picked a running mate cut out of the same cloth.  A McCain-Palin administration would be dangerous for America and for the world.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology · Todd · Troopergate
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Sarah Palin Should Scare You. A Lot.

September 23, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Here are just a few of the biggest reasons to worry about Sarah Palin and the McCain-Palin ticket:

* In her first year Palin asked for over $550 million in earmark requests.  Smell pork?  Source:  AP.

* Sarah Palin was for the “bridge to nowhere” until… she was against it.  Source:  CNN.

* The people who have worked with her in city and state government say Sarah is inflexible and a bully.  Source: US Magazine.

* She asked the city librarian about banning books when newly mayor of Wasilla.  Source:  Time Magazine.

* She struck rape kits from the budget of the police, forcing victims to pay for their own rape kits (up to $1200).  Source: US News contributing editor Bonnie Erbe.

* Palin is against abortion even in cases of rape and incest.  Source:  Lifenews.

* She is “proud” of her 17-year old unmarried daughter’s decision to keep her baby, but wants to prevent other women from being able to make that choice.  Source:  CNN.

* She got her first passport last year. Incurious? Provincial? Have to think so.  Source:  New York Times.

* Palin is under investigation in Alaska for abuse of power in “Troopergate” where she tried to get her brother-in-law fired (he was in a bitter divorce and custody dispute with her sister), and when the head of public safety refused, she fired HIM instead. Now she, her husband, and her staff are refusing to cooperate with the investigation or answer subpoenas, claiming “executive privilege.” Sound familiar (see George Bush, Karl Rove, et al).  Source:  ABC News.

* She used personal e-mail for public business, but now is hiding something; claiming that communication is privileged.  Source:  Washington Post.

* Last year Palin charged the state for the per diem travel expense for over 300 nights spent in her own home.  Source:  Washington Post.

* She took a debt-free city and left it with big debt.  Source: Atlantic.com.

* She raised money by creating an oil company windfall profits tax, but now is running on a ticket against such taxes.  Source:  Bloomberg.

* Sarah didn’t know what the Bush doctrine was in her first big interview with Charlie Gibson after her selection by McCain (it says, very ominously for international order and without recent precedent, that a country can engage in a preemptive war, without any aggression or provocation, if it believes that a threat exists and a hostile act might be forthcoming).  Source: Sarah Palin Holds Forth on Bush Doctrine, Pakistan.

* Sarah Palin believes that God is on her side in the war.  Her pentecostal/evangelical beliefs give her great certainty that her positions are sanctioned by God, and that all means are justified in rooting out “evil.”  The Republican handlers got her to claim that her statement was her take on Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote, but any reasoned comparison quickly falls apart.  Source:  Time Magazine.

Categories: Current Facts · Palin · Palintology · Politics · Troopergate
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Iron Dog Todd.

September 22, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Todd Palin.  You’ve seen his handsome smile and athletic build.  His fierce devotion to Sarah.  But how much do we really know about Todd and his role in Sarah’s administration in Alaska, as well as his roles in Troopergate, his affiliation with the Alaskan Independence Party, and his background? For an excellent backgrounder, see the recent Washington Post article ‘First Dude’ Todd Palin Illustrates Alaska’s Blend of Private and Public.

Todd Palin photo from Iron Dog

In Alaska, the two were widely considered to be a pair in governing – “two for the price of one.”  In fact, Todd Palin served as Sarah’s de facto Chief of Staff.  He was often present in the legislature.  He was routinely copied on e-mails detailing state business.  In a small state, as in a small town, the line between the political and the personal is fine, and often transgressed.  See CNN’s ‘First Dude’ or ‘Shadow Governor?’ And the political can quickly become personal, as we have seen with the details available so far on “Troopergate.”

Unfortunately, under the supervision of the McCain campaign, Palin’s promise to cooperate with the investigation into ethical breaches in the Troopergate scandal have fallen by the wayside.  Now Sarah, Todd, and other staff members have refused to cooperate with the investigation, refusing to honor the subpoenas.  Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that the final report has long been scheduled to be released on October 31st, just four days before the general election?

Did you know that Todd has been something of an Alaskan celebrity for quite some time?  He’s won the “Iron Dog” snowmobile racing competition, coming in first place four times.  See the Iron Dog website.

Not only is he rough and rugged, he’s a bit of a wild card, with a family that epitomizes the independent Alaskan streak.  Maybe a little too independent.  Todd was a member of the Alaskan Independent Party from 1994 – 2002.  The party is a fringe party, that has vacillated between advocating for secession from the United States, settling to its current position, calling for a popular vote to decide whether Alaska should:

1.  Remain a Territory.

2.  Become a separate and Independent Nation.

3. Accept Commonwealth Status.

4.  Become a State.

See Alaskan Independence Party website.

One of the concerns that I have, is that Todd Palin is thought of in Alaska as Sarah’s “protector and enforcer,” and seems to have a much bigger role in what many see as the abuses of power exercised by her administration, including the Troopergate scandal.  In addition to continuing to vet Sarah Palin, we need to vet Todd Palin, given his apparently fairly involved and unique role in her administration.

The one thing that I’ve seen that I really like about Todd Palin?  It seems his mom might vote for Barrack Obama.  

Categories: Current Facts · McCain · Todd
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