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11 Days ’til the Election: A Study in Contrasts

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A friend passed the following onto me yesterday. I added the Harry Truman quotes, not just because Gramps McCain fancies himself a Harry Truman incarnate, but because they seem applicable.

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What folks were doing 11 days before the election….

 

Obama?  Visiting his grandma, of course.

Biden?  Going to the reddest parts of the country, the parts Democrats
aren’t supposed to even think about, let alone campaign in.
(http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/biden-makes-rare-appearance-in-w-va/?scp=2&sq=biden&st=cse)

McCain?  Begging.
(http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/dont-give-up-hope-mccain-tells-supporters/)

Palin?  Testifying.
(http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/2008/10/24/D940VJB80_palin_troopergate/index.html)

And Teddy Kennedy, who *should* be in bed resting after his surgery
and radiation?  Trying to save the American healthcare system.
(http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/2008/10/24/D940VRE01_kennedy_health_care/index.html)

It’s a nice study in contrasts, I think.

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America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. — Harry Truman

 

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October 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Sarah Palin’s $157,745 Make-Over: Does it Pass the Smell Test?

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I’m going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God’s hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. — Sarah Palin, October 20, 2008

It’s called judgment. Good judgment, to be precise. And good judgment, like class, cannot be bought. To wit: as Mayor of Wasilla, Palin inherited a balanced budget and turned it into a $22 million deficit; as Governor, she charged the state of Alaska per diem for 312 night spent at home; as Vice-Presidential candidate, she went on a $157,745 shopping spree during the month of September, alone. Those who don’t see a pattern here are either deluding themselves, or are so desperate to see Palin elected, they’ll say anything. 

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

The touted numbers quote a $2500 per day average on Palin’s wardrobe when, in fact, the tally works out to $5,258.16 per day. See, we’ve not yet received word on the October expenditures. [UPDATE, 10/24/08: The first October figures are coming in, with Sarah’s make-up artist, Amy Strozzi, reportedly being paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October, alone, which brings Sarah’s make-over tally,  to a tentative subtotal of $180,545.00 for the first six weeks of the campaign.]  Hopefully, by the time the October figures are released, Palin will be little more than a receding dot in our rearview mirror (just click the heels of those ruby slippers together and repeat after me…. ). For now, those of us in America who are in the process of losing our homes, our retirement funds, our life savings, our pensions — or who are on the verge of bankruptcy, or who can’t afford basic medical care, or who are simply struggling to put food on the table…. Well, I guess we’ll just have to content ourselves with chewing on this — bearing in mind that these are only the September expenditures.

  • Shopping spree at Saks Fifth Avenue: $49,425.74.
  • Shopping spree at Neiman Marcus: $75,062.63
  • Shopping spree at Macy’s: $9,447.71
  • Shopping spree at Barneys New York: $789.72
  • Shopping spree at Bloomingdales: $5,102.71
  • Hair and make-up for one month:  $4,716.49
  • Voice lessons: figures not yet released
  • Services of make-up artist, Amy Strozzi: $13,200.00
  • Cost to McCain-Palin’s self-righteous, 6-pack Joe the Plumber platform: priceless

And, besides, haven’t we already been here before? Haven’t we already suffered the beauty queens, corruption, outrageous shopping sprees, the ludicrous lying, the red-flocked wallpaper, enough shoes to sink a battleship, abuse of power, gold-plated faucets, air-conditioned dog houses, pray for money, praise the Lord and pass the buck….

Must we continually forget history, so that we may be doomed to repeat it?

 

 “Never dress down for the poor. They won’t respect you for it. They want their First Lady to look like a million dollars.” – Imelda Marcos

“I take Him shopping with me. I say, ‘OK, Jesus, help me find a bargain.'” — Tammy Faye Bakker

“I think God’s will has to be done, in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that.” — Sarah Palin, June 2008

“You can educate yourself right out of a relationship with God.” — Tammy Faye Bakker

“Win or lose, we go shopping after the election.” — Imelda Marcos

 “I’m the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can’t.” — Sarah Palin, 1996, after a former councilman raised objections about the $50,000 she spent renovating the mayor’s office without approval of the city council

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For those die-hard Palin supporters grumbling that Obama-Biden must have surely committed some equally gross equivalent to Sarah Palin’s September make-over (Hey, what about those Greek columns?), let’s stick to comparing apples to apples (convention expenses vs. convention expenses) and oranges to oranges (clothing & make-up expenditures vs. clothing & make-up expenditures). The Obama-Biden ticket has spent zero dollars from their campaign fund on clothes, make-up, etc. for themselves, their spouses or their children. It’s a good guess that they understand — as most American voters understand — that spending your supporters’ campaign donations on hair, clothes, make-up and other what-nots just doesn’t pass the smell test.

 A sound moral compass can tell you when something is just *not right* even when  (as is said to be the case with Sarah Palin’s $157,745 make-over) it may be technically legal. If you’re the sort who doesn’t understand such things, there’s little hope that you can be taught. And money sure as hell can’t buy it for you. 

On that note, it’s interesting, if not downright grounding, to see the comparisons (see video, below, from June 2008) with the Obama family’s approach to high fashion, frugal budgets and common sense. Again, it all goes back to judgment. Good judgment, to be precise. 

 

McCain’s Bogeyman Politics: The last refuge of a scoundrel

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! A terrorist plane! An Arab! A Muslim! An Islamic extremist! A scary black man! A rock star! The anti-Christ! A commie! A socialist! A traitor! A treasonist! It’s un-American! It’s… it’s….

It’s election year.

And the McCain campaign, ever-desperate for something to run on besides their shoddily repackaged version of the Bush Administration, is grabbing at straws. As such, they’ve amassed the most reprehensible stump tactics in political history and repackaged them into a plank, of sorts: bogeyman politics. A scary mix of race-baiting, red-baiting and kitchen-sink demagoguery, bogeyman politics can turn a garden-variety politician into a scarecrow. By the same token, it can transform a great man into the very embodiment of terror: the bogeyman. History bears this out. The McCain-Palin bogeyman platform pays great tribute to the architects of fearmongering: Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, Westwood Pegler, Paul Joseph Goebbels, Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace.

And to anyone who would accuse Rep. John Lewis (GA) of going ‘over the line’ by mentioning George Wallace in his recent rebuke of McCain-Palin for “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” I would ask you to tell me: What are McCain, Palin, their surrogates and supporters doing — in both words and foulness of spirit — that is so different from what we saw during George Wallaces’s campaigns?  

Barack Obama is not even worthy to shine the shoes of John McCain. — PAC member, Deborah Johns, speaking from the pro-McCain-Palin “Stop Obama Tour” October 17, 2008

 

I’m a proponent of the “we must remember history, lest we repeat it” school of thought. Apparently, there are many in this country who have either forgotten, or they’re too young to own a visceral perspective of those bleak lessons that history has so painfully taught us over the past 60 years. Else, how could our media so easily disregard the McCain-Palin campaign’s flirtation with McCarthyism? And how could any American, except die-hard racists, embrace a platform that engages in the scary black man/scary Muslim race-baiting rhetoric (an amalgam of 1950s era racism and 21st century Muslim terrorist fearmongering)? How could anyone embrace a campaign that soils the character of a good man, based solely on the color of his skin and the unfortunate coincidence of his middle name?  

The history books will one day record the McCain-Palin campaign as being every bit as flagrantly ridiculous and dangerous as it truly is. The shame is that that we don’t recognize these destructive campaigns in their time. It is only in retrospect, years after the damage has been done. The demagogues of Nazi Germany, the McCarthy era and White Supremacy did not seize power overnight. That power had to be cultivated — word by word, fear by fear — conjuring forth the darkest elements of human nature to do war against imaginary evils. 

History tells the tale: good men and women can be drawn to do dark deeds, given the incentive of fear. While human beings may never lose their fear of the bogeyman — that amorphous being that hides in the shadows, in closets, under the bed at night and flies planes into buildings — we can choose to become more wise. Great leaders, like Obama, shed light into the dark places. Fools, like McCain/Palin, draw us further into the darkness. Wise men know the difference between the two camps. 

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Billboards showing Dr. King and Rosa Parks attending an integrated event at the Highlander Folk School in 1957 are erected across the South. To the white power structure, integration is a "communist plot" against the "Southern way of life." Therefore, anyone attending an integrated event was — by definition — a "communist."

Billboards, such as the one above, showing Dr. King and Rosa Parks attending an integrated event at the Highlander Folk School in 1957 were erected across the South. To the white power structure, integration was a “communist plot” against the “Southern way of life.” Therefore, anyone attending an integrated event was — by definition — a “communist.”

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers  

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Quotes and other foodstuffs for thought:

George Wallace was fond of red-baiting. In his 1963 inaugural speech, he compared fascist Germany to the Civil Rights movement, and he blamed desegregation and the Civil Rights movement on communism: 

This is the great freedom of our American founding fathers, but if we amalgamate [desegragate] into the one unit as advocated by the communist philosophers, then the enrichment of our lives, the freedom for our development, is gone forever….And may we take note of one other fact…. There are not enough native communists in the South to fill up a telephone booth. — George Wallace

 

They’re building a bridge over the Potomac for all the white liberals fleeing to Virginia. – George Wallace, 1968

I’ve lived here for at least 10 years and before that, about every third duty I was in either Arlington or Alexandria, up in communist country. —  John McCain’s brother, Joe, speaking about two Democratic-leaning areas in Northern Virginia, October 4, 2008

His voting record is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont. — John McCain, when asked if Obama is an extremist, July 17, 2008

I don’t know. All I know is his voting record, and that’s what people usually judge their elected representatives by.– John McCain (same interview) when asked if he thinks Obama is a socialist, July 17, 2008

His answer actually scared me even more… It’s kind of a socialist viewpoint. I don’t want to share my money with other people. That’s not the American dream. — Joe “the plumber” Wurzelbacher, reacting to his discussion on taxes with Barack Obama, October 14, 2008

Then the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror. – Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) describing in March 2008 what would happen if Obama won the presidency

I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button. — Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis (R) said of Obama, April 2008

Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity. — Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, in comparing Michelle Obama to Sarah Palin, Sept 4, 2008

A few years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate. He won and has spent most of his time as a “celebrity senator.” No leadership or major legislation to speak of. His rise is remarkable in its own right – it’s the kind of thing that could happen only in America. — Rudy Giuliani, in his Sept. 2008 RNC convention speech, makes a subtle nod to Affirmative Action as the conduit to Obama’s rise in politics. 

He worked as a community organizer. — Rudy Giuliani on Barack Obama, Sept. 2008 RNC

This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn’t just need an organizer. — Sarah Palin, Sept. 2008

I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that.Sarah Palin, June 2008

Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God. — Sarah Palin, June 2008

As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. — Aldolf Hitler

What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay. He wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America. He’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights? – Sarah Palin on Obama, Sept. 2008

A writer observed: “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity.” I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind…. They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America … They love their country, in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.  – Sarah Palin at the Republican convention, Sept. 2008, quoting Westbrook Pegler, the racist, fascist, pro-Nazi, anti-semitic, pseudo-populist journalist/writer who openly wished for the assassinations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe…. We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom. — Sarah Palin, explaining an early comment regardings areas of the country that are “pro-America” vs. those parts of America that are not. — Oct. 16, 2008

We believe also that there is a reason we all get teared-up when we hear Lee Greenwood sing about America, because we love America and we are always proud of being Americans. And we don’t apologize for being Americans. — Sarah Palin, October 16, 2008

McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled. — Joseph McCarthy during the McCarthy era

I think it should be a states issue not a federal government, mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I’m in that sense a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. – Sarah Palin, October 2008

This nation was never meant to be a unit of one… This is the exact reason our freedom loving forefathers established the states, so as to divide the rights and powers among the states, insuring that no central power could gain master government control. — George Wallace, 1963 [EDITOR’S NOTE: The mention of ‘state’s rights’ has long been code for being anti-Civil Rights/white supremacy. This was a prominent component of George Wallace’s rhetoric, as he tried to assert the state’s right to preserve prejudice as in institution. The above is but one example, from one of his more famous speeches, delivered from the schoolhouse steps, as he physically blocked the door to bar black students from entering]

You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’ — Lee Atwater, explaining the evolution of the GOP’s Southern strategy, 1981

This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America. We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. – Sarah Palin on Obama,  October 2008 

Our opponent is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.  — Sarah Palin, October 2008

My opponent’s touchiness every time he is questioned about his record should make us only more concerned. For a guy who’s already authored two memoirs, he’s not exactly an open book. It’s as if somehow the usual rules don’t apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Senator Obama seems to think he is above all that…. In short: Who is the real Barack Obama? — John McCain, Oct. 2008 [In short, McCain would like us ask ourselves, “Is Barack Hussein Obama a *real* American? Just who is this dark stranger? And what is this scary, black, Muslim-y terrorist-like guy going to do with our country if we elect him?”] 

I play to win. I do whatever it takes to win. If I have to fuck my opponent to win I’ll do it. If I have to destroy my opponent I won’t give it a second thought. — John McCain, spoken before a gathering of GOP operatives at the National Republican Senatorial Committee where McCain outlined his campaign strategy in his senate race.

 It is not truth that matters, but victory. — Adolf HItler

“Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family.” — from a McCain campaign press release, October 2008

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. — Paul Joseph Goebbels on the power of propaganda

“Sit down, boy.” — Shouted at an African American media soundman by a Sarah Palin supporter during a rally  

“Kill him!” — shouted by a McCain-Palin supporter at a Palin rally, Oct. 2008

“Treason!” — shouted by a McCain-Palin supporter at a Palin rally, Oct. 2008

“Traitor!” — shouted by a McCain-Palin supporter at a Palin rally, Oct. 2008

“Off with his head!” — shouted by a McCain-Palin supporter at a Palin rally, Oct. 2008

“He’s an Arab!” — said by a McCain-Palin supporter at a McCain town hall meeting, Oct. 2008

“Commie faggot!” — shouted by a McCain-Palin supporter at a Palin rally, Oct. 2008

The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it. — Adolf Hitler

In the wake of their ongoing, indendiary rhetoric — along with the unchecked, ugly responses from the McCain-Palin rally audiences — Rep. John Lewis of Georgia issued a statement to the McCain campaign, adding his voice to the many, many others (colleagues, media figures and journalists, etc.) rebuking the campaign’s negative tactics. In Lewis’ statement, he reminded McCain of the historical precedence for violent repurcussions in the wake of such dangerous rhetoric. McCain took umbrage at this and chose to turn Rep. Lewis’ reprimand into an attack on Obama: 

Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I’ve always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track. I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America. — John McCain, Oct. 2008

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Perhaps, one day, John McCain will experience one of those death-bed conversions, similar to the one experienced by George Wallace, similar to the one Lee Atwater experienced while dying with a brain tumor. I’ve been around this world long enough to know that there are few burdens too heavy to bear. A heavy conscience is one of them 

I don’t know who will lead us through the ’90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul. It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime.

Mostly I am sorry for the way I thought of other people. Like a good general, I had treated everyone who wasn’t with me as against me…..My illness has taught me something about the nature of humanity, love, brotherhood and relationships that I never understood, and probably never would have. So, from that standpoint, there is some truth and good in everything. — Lee Atwater, 1990

Poor Ol’ Joe the Plumber: McCain’s New Poster Child

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At long last, John McCain has found a star upon which to hitch his wagon: Joe the plumber — poster child for the downtrodden wealthy. Joe couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time. With McCain’s campaign wagon reduced to a wheel-less junkyard contraption, drawing little more than scorn and pity from the masses, the old maverick was in sore need of a lift. Through Joe the plumber, McCain hopes to scare us so bad, that we’ll forget, once and for all, that his campaign is little more than a shoddily repackaged version of the Bush Administration. 

To do this, McCain will need to simultaneously inspire and scare the bejeebers out of us, in a Berlin Wall-esque fashion, to help us realize that we — each and every one of us — are  Joe the plumber. It is our noble and heroic struggle for the American dream that is being squashed by the evil, socialist/commie terrorist Obama, who is secretly scheming to funnel the wealth of hard-working Americans straight into the pocketbooks of cadillac welfare queens. It’s a tall order, to be sure, but if ignorant greed prevails, McCain could soon see a bump in the polls.

The whole thing started when Joe the plumber ostensibly** approached Obama in Ohio and posed the question that has been plaguing so many middle-class Americans during these troubled times: “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Obama acknowledged to Joe that, yes, that may very well be the case. Before the two men parted, Joe the plumber voiced his support for a flat tax. It is only natural that Joe the plumber would be in favor of a tax that — according to factcheck.org, benefits the wealthiest people in the country, while penalizing lower and middle income wage earners. According to Treasury Department figures (see table, left), Joe the plumber would see a 7.6% decrease in taxes, while those earning between $15, 000 and $200, 000 per year would see a .02% to 4.3% increase in their taxes.  

Alternately, under Obama’s tax plan, Joe the plumber would see a relatively modest tax increase. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, punched the numbers and found that — assuming that Joe’s entire taxable income comes from his plumbing business — Joe would see an increase from 33% to 36%, for a tax rise between $0-$900 per year. This amount could hardly be blamed for thwarting Joe the plumber’s aspirations to buy a company that makes between $250,000 to $280,000 per year. But, if John McCain plays his cards right, he may be able to use Joe’s plight to “grow” his campaign’s numbers in the polls. 

In the coming weeks, we can expect to hear less about Ayers and terrorism, and more about Marxism. After all, it was Obama and his socialist lending practices that led to the Wall Street crisis. Heaven knows, it was not the reckless policies of the past 8 years, nor the Bush-McCain deregulation orgy.  So get used to words like: socialism, communism, spread the wealth, tax and spend liberals, hard-working Americans, class wars (huh?) and maybe even a welfare buck or two thrown in for good measure. McCain is depending on the fumes from these words to drive his defunct campaign to the finish line, come election day. 

Will the tear-jerking tale of Joe-the-plumber inspire very many of the 95% of Americans who make less than a quarter-million dollars per year (and who would receive some sorely needed fairness and relief under Obama’s tax plan) to vote against their own best interests? It’s entirely possible, if the past 8 years are any indication. But if the past two months are any indication, it’s also possible that Americans have wised up. Regardless, McCain is banking on the stupidity of the American people. From the looks of his campaign and his support base, it appears that’s all he has left to him.       

 

For more reading:

**Washington Post: Joe the Plumber: Not a Licensed Plumber — Joe the Plumber is not exactly a plumber, he’s “not even close” to making the kind of money that would result in higher taxes from Democrat Barack Obama’s proposals and has such an aversion to taxes that a lien was filed against him by the state of Ohio.

Wall Street Journal: Fair Tax, Flawed Tax: Does adding 30% to the price of every house sold sound like a good idea to you? by Bruce Bartlett, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy from 1988 to 1993.

The Yellow Pad Mystery: What was McCain furiously scribbling?

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Twice now in the debates, McCain has entered the stage, done the obligatory handshake with Obama, then scurried over to his yellow pad and furiously scribbled …. What? What in the hell was he writing?

I could tell, just by his demeanor, that it was very, very important, if not vital.

What was it? I spent several days pondering this after the 2nd debate, then finally let it go (more important things to think about), but last night, he did it again. If anyone knows, please share. I haven’t a clue.

Written by canarypapers

October 16, 2008 at 7:32 am

It’s October, and I’m surprised. Should I also be scared?

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Let’s see….  

1. Our economy — that venerable house of cards — is collapsing, and the architects show no signs that they intend to do anything but stack more cards into the rafters (to hell with the foundation, to hell with the people below).

2. The news media essentially serve as a 24-7 infomercial for McCain-Palin, and yet Obama is still ahead — by double digits, according to some polls —  which means that people aren’t lining up anymore to buy the Bush-Cheney line of bullshit.

3. And, lastly, according to a Sept. 30 article in Army Times, George Bush has officially done the utterly unprecedented: He ordered a brigade of troops to to begin patrolling U.S soil, beginning on Oct. 1st, as part of the new NorthCom force. Bush dispatched the brigade in case our country needs help with “civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE attack.”

Should I be scared? I am.

But it’s a safe bet that — since this post isn’t about Sarah Palin — no one will read it, which means that, on the topic of fearful things, I can plant my tin foil hat firmly on my head and talk without fear of reprimand.

According to the Army Times article, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team goes by the incredibly adorable name, “Sea Smurf” — which is the phonetically-correct moniker for it’s official name: CCMRF (the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force). Their mission is slated to last for a year, during which time we can all take comfort in the words of Sea Smurf commander, Col Roger Clouter: “We’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role.”

Different, indeed. The brigade is equipped to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” which includes, “equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.”

If the idea of soldiers patrolling your neighborhood with shields, batons and rubber bullets makes you nervous, take comfort in this: The Army Times article did issue a correction in early October, regarding the use of their non-lethal package. Accordingly, “A non-lethal crowd control package fielded to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, described in the original version of this story, is intended for use on deployments to the war zone, not in the U.S., as previously stated.”

Rubber bullets aside, one strategic problem with the Sea Smurf’s NorthCom mission is that, according to an April 2008 GAO report, Northcom has not bothered to involve local and state officials and governments — much less the National Guard — in their emergency preparedness planning and coordination efforts. In other words, NorthCom appears set to go it alone, leaving legislators, governors, mayors, the National Guard and the media,  to — I don’t know — step in line? 

The unprecedented pre-emptive deployment of NorthCom military troops onto U.S. soil was paved in October 2006 when Bush signed the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.  A few lawmakers, such as Sen. Patrick Leahy, protested — as did governors across the country, who saw blazing red flags in the bills provisions. The governors banded together and repeatedly petitioned leaders on Capitol Hill with letters of protest, which were met, one by one, with silence. One such letter, signed by every member of the National Governors Association, read, in part:

This provision was drafted without consultation or input from governors, and represents an unprecedented shift in authority from governors . . .to the federal government….. We urge you to drop provisions that would usurp governors’ authority over the National Guard during emergencies from the conference agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act

So much for democracy. The bill passed like a hot knife through butter.

The roles of traditional emergency preparedness team workers seem to have been usurped by Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Whatever that means.

On this topic, the bi-partisan group of legislators that released the aforementioned April 2008 GAO report had a few things to say:   

I remain convinced that almost seven years after 9/11, the U.S. Northern Command, as presently structured, serves no real purpose and is a waste of taxpayers’ money. The only hope to transform this sham command into a viable asset for the American people would require major changes.  — Gene Taylor, D-Mississippi 

The United States Northern Command is supposed to be out in front in the Pentagon’s efforts to support civil authorities in emergencies. It should be planning and identifying possible equipment shortfalls. Above all, it should be working closely with state and local communities. Instead, the command is doing very little of this core activity. — Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont

Clearly, a bias against playing a supporting role to civilian authorities has resulted in large gaps in NORTHCOM’s ability to fulfill its stated mission. The fact is, governors and their National Guard are and will continue to be our nation’s first domestic military responders. And until they and NORTHCOM can work together more seamlessly, NORTHCOM’s ability to be of assistance in homeland response will continue to face significant challenges. — Chris Shays, R-Connecticut

NORTHCOM’s duty is to provide military support to States and the Department of Homeland Security, but it hasn’t fully figured out this emergency support mission. Any crack in our emergency preparedness capability today will become a gaping hole in our catastrophic response tomorrow. — Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi

Instead of working with the governors, the National Guard Bureau and the State Adjutants General, Northern Command has held the country’s historic first military responders at arm’s length. Northern Command needs to accept its supporting role or get out of the way. — Tom Davis, R-Virginia
 

It is a curiosity. I mean, For more than 100 years – since the end of the Civil War – deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Unless I missed something, a major hurricane has not hit the mainland in recent days, nor has a spate of riots broken out  in our major cities. And there’s no imminent threat of an impending chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high explosive. Is there?  

Not that there’s a damned thing we can do about it. But I’m just saying….

Of course, it’s my prerogative to speculate on such things. After all, I am part of the tin-foil hat brigade, and have been since falling prey to tertiary Lyme Disease in 2002. Ever since, I’ve been on the vanguard with those who have long-believed in such unspeakable things as a Wall Street catastrophe, not to mention bizarre theories about bio-warfare pandemics, a second (and maybe a third) stolen election, 9-11 as a false flag operation, the Patriot Act, Dick Cheney’s oil imperialism agenda, the ascent of mercenary armies, martial law, internment camps, government-controlled media, geophysical warfare and so on — complete with all the legislative frills and scary, terrorist-bullying jargon necessary to making these newworldorder-ish things alternately possible, invisible, overt, covert and, ultimately, unstoppable.

 

Granted, a single brigade of Sea Smurfs dispatched to the blood red soils of Georgia, USA hardly seems like an overwhelming threat. But it is unprecedented, and it is also, um, un-American. So it’s only natural that I’d jump on board, in full-tin regalia, fully unsurprised — yet as surprised as the next person — by the house of cards, the McCain-Palin infomercials and the Sea Smurf Brigade. Only, unlike the steadfast tin soldier, I don’t feel so brave. And my heart’s not doing so well, either.    

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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Army Times: (Sept. 30, 2008)  Brigade Homeland Tour Starts October 1st

Salon.com: (Sept. 24, 2008) Why is a U.S. Army Brigade Being Assigned to the “Homeland”?

Patrick Leahy: (April 16, 2008) GAO: NORTHCOM Failing in Civil Support Mission

CQ.com: (Dec. 1, 2006)  Fine Print in Defense Bill Opens Door to Martial Law

Global Research: (October 9, 2008) FEMA Sources Confirm Coming Martial Law

The Progressive: (October 7, 2008)  Leahy Concerned About NorthCom’s New Army Unit

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Having created the conditions that produced history’s biggest bubble, America’s political leaders appear unable to grasp the magnitude of the dangers the country now faces. Mired in their rancorous culture wars and squabbling among themselves, they seem oblivious to the fact that American global leadership is fast ebbing away. A new world is coming into being almost unnoticed, where America is only one of several great powers, facing an uncertain future it can no longer shape. — From Asia Times  (October 10, 2008)  Wall Street: A New Iraq War

The Sarah Palin – Troopergate Timeline: A Sordid Trail of Corruption, Squalor and Lies

with 3 comments

I take no relish in re-tracing the squalorous, trashy trail of Sarah’s Palin’s corrupt political life. In fact, I resent like hell the need to do this. It’s exhausting, maddening, sickening, depressing, dirty work. Were the evening news, the cable news and the press doing their job in presenting the full facts of this case, outright, it would not be up to rinky-dink bloggers like me to cob together these facts, as they exist, into a cohesive body of truth. 

On that note, here is the convoluted and excruciatingly long timeline on Troopergate — but one of many scandals littering the short (up to this point) span of Palin’s political career. The links at the bottom of the page substantiate every single word in this post. Palin’s quotes are in red:

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April 11, 2005

Eighteen months before Sarah Palin was elected governor, her sister, Molly McCann, filed for divorce from her husband, Mike Wooten. This marked the beginning of a fierce custody battle and an investigation into allegations made by the Palin family against Trooper Mike Wooten. According to state documents, Palin and her husband, Todd, hired a private investigator shortly thereafter (approx. June 2005). Sarah also wrote a letter to Alaska Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, alleging that Trooper Wooten had threatened to harm her sister and father, and had engaged in numerous instances of misconduct, including using a stun gun on his 10-year-old stepson.   

March 1, 2006

After a yearlong investigation (actually, there were more than 20 internal investigations into the Palin family allegations), Wooten was found guilty of 4 misconduct charges: killing a moose while using his wife’s permit, drinking a beer before driving a state vehicle, having an open beer can in the vehicle, and violating state policy by demonstrating the Taser’s test setting on his son. Wooten acknowledged the moose and Taser charges, but denied the beer charges. All four charges were nonetheless sustained. Regarding the Taser incident — which had happened several years earlier— Trooper Wooten told investigators he had, at his son’s request, showed him how the Taser felt, by using the test-setting, which is said to be weaker than an electric fence charge, and is the setting that troopers use on themselves, as a training aide. At the time of the incident, Wooten’s wife, Molly, was at home — as they were still married. According to testimony in the case, the son thought it was fun and wanted to do it again, while wife, Molly, along with the rest of the Palin clan, thought the incident to be humorous — or, at least they thought so until the divorce, a few years later. According to the internal police investigation, Wooten’s misconduct was not his demonstration of the Taser’s test-setting on the son, but was using state property for personal use. Wooten said, in retrospect, that he deeply regretted the incident. The investigation failed to sustain the death-threat allegations waged by the Palin family. Wooten was disciplined for the 4 (above mentioned) misconduct charges with a letter of warning and a 5-day suspension beginning on March 1, 2006. The letter warned that if he “messed up again” he’d be fired.

December 4, 2006

Sarah Palin was sworn in as Governor of Alaska.  

January – February 2007

In January 2007, Todd Palin invited Public Safety Commissioner Monegan to the governor’s office, where Todd Palin urged Monegan to reopen the Wooten case. After checking on it, Monegan said he informed Todd Palinthat he couldn’t do anything because the matter had been processed and the case was closed. In an interview with the Washington Post, Monegan said that a few days later, the governor also called him about the Wooten matter and he gave her the same answer. Monegan said Gov. Palin brought the issue up again in a February 2007 meeting at the state capitol, prompting him to warn Gov. Palin that she should back off. 

During this same time period, Sarah and Todd began what has been termed a “rogue investigation,” that was to last for months, over a worker’s compensation claim made by Wooten. The Palins alleged that Wooten was faking a job-related injury he claimed in January 2007, when he suffered a back injury while pulling a dead body from a wrecked automobile and slipped on icy pavement. After Wooten started receiving workers comp, Todd Palin began following him around “snapping pictures.” Palin’s office added these pictures to a dossier of information against Wooten, which they turned over to the state’s workers compensation board, purportedly to prove that Wooten was not too sick or injured to work.

April 2007

Seemingly our of the blue, Trooper Wooten’s workers comp claim was contravened, which means he received a letter saying he wasn’t entitled to benefits anymore. According to amended state documents, his injury was deemed to be the result of a preexisting condition from the his days in the U.S. Air Force, and notfrom the slippery ice fall he sustained. According to John Cyr, executive director of the Public Safety Employees Association which represents Wooten and other state troopers, Wooten “hired an attorney and filed a counterclaim against the state.”

August 2007

Several days before the Alaska State Fair, Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan got a phone call from the director of Palin’s Anchorage office asking that the trooper, Mike Wooten, not be assigned to work at a state fair, where he had volunteered for duty in full costume as “Safety Bear,” a child-friendly mascot. The reason provided by the gubernatorial aide was that Palin “was also planning to attend and did not want the trooper nearby.”

November 2007

According to John Cyr, there was a settlement in November 2007 in which Wooten underwent a back operation. In Cyr’s words, “This was a serious injury and he was flat broke and had to file for bankruptcy because his claims were denied.” Cyr accused Palin of abusing her power. “There was absolutely a personal vendetta against this trooper by the governor and the governor’s staff.”

July 11, 2008

Palin fires Commissioner Walt Monegan. In her statement on the firing, Palin said that she wanted “a new direction.” The firing took place, via an intermediary, while Palin was at a meeting in Philadelphia. Monegan alleged that his failure to fire Trooper Wooten may have been a factor in his firing. He stated that Palin’shusband, as well as members of the governor’s administration, had talked with him about the accusations against Wooten, which he considered improper. Palin responded that she had “never put pressure on Walt Monegan to fire – hire or fire – anybody.”

July 17, 2008 

At a Public Safety Employees Association press conference, Wooten’s released his packet of investigative papers (482 pages plus hours of recorded interviews) asking the public to read them and judge for themselves. Included in the packet was a letter written by Palin, in which she enumerated the earlier allegations against Wooten and suggested that many consider Wooten a ticking time-bomb. Palin continued to maintain, at this time, that Monegan’sfiring had nothing to do with his refusal to fire Wooten. On July 28, Palin’soffice issued a statement that she “will cooperate fully” with the investigation.

July 28, 2008

The Alaska Legislative Council – a bipartisan panel composed of 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats — authorized, by unanimous vote, a probe into the “Troopergate” allegations. 

July 31, 2008

 In a CNBC interview (her infamous “What is it exactly that the VP does every day?” interview, see video below) Sarah Paln responded to questions on Troopergate, saying that she looked foward to an investigation into the charges against her: “A couple of lawmakers who were pretty angry with me for replacing him, an at-will political appointment who was serving in my Cabinet — which every governor does — a couple lawmakers who weren’t happy with that decision certainly were looking at me as kind of a target right now and wanting to probe and find out why I did replace this, uh, Cabinet member, and it’s cool. I want them to ask me the questions. I don’t have anything to hide and, um, didn’t do anything wrong there, and it is a governor’s prerogative, a right, to fill that cabinet with members whom she or he believes will, um, do best for the people who we are serving, so I look forward to any kind of investigation or questions being asked because I’ve got nothing to hide.”

When asked why she fired Monegan, she said,

“I’m glad that you’re asking, because I never tried to fire a former brother-in-law, who’s been divorced from my sister for quite some time. No, it was the commissioner, uh, that we were seeking more results, more action to fill vacant trooper positions to deal with bootlegging and alcohol problems in our rural villages especially, just needed, uh, a new direction, a lot of new energy in that position, um, that is why the replacement took place there of the Commissioner of Public Safety. It had nothing to do with an estranged, former brother-in-law, a divorce that had happened some years ago.”  

August 13, 2008

An audio tape surfaces, proving Monegan’s claims that — while he was never directly told by Palin or anyone to fire Wooten — he was contacted many times by Palin, members of her administration and her husband, Todd Palin, in calls and emails that raised issues about Wooten’s employment. One of the recorded calls took place between Frank Bailey, Gov. Palin’s Director of Boards and Commissions, and an Alaska state trooper serving as a liaison to the Legislature. Bailey is heard saying, “Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, why on earth hasn’t, why is this guy still representing the department? He’s a horrible recruiting tool. … You know, I mean from their perspective, everyone’s protecting him.” (the Troopergate news begins at 0:33 on the video below).

August 14, 2008

In the wake of the audio-tape’s ‘gotcha-moment,’ Palin was forced to acknowledge on August 14th that at least dozens (three dozen, as the investigation would later show) of calls were made from her staff members to Monegan’s office, questioning Wooten’s employment, which “could be perceived as pressure.” Gov. Palin denied orchestrating the calls.

August 21, 2008

It was one week before John McCain announced his selection of Sarah Palin for the VP candidacy. A routing slip, dated August 21, indicated that Wooten’s workers comp file had been pulled from the Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development and sent to the attention of Mike Mongale (not to be confused with Walt Monegan), a state manager with the workers compensation division. The routing slip was marked: “Wooten, as requested,” and was made out tot he attention of Mongale. According to a note faxed to John Cyr from the workers compensation division: “A request came in to return all of Wooten’s [workers comp] files to Juneau [the state capital]. The person who asked to route the files was told the files were being copied for the governor.”

Friday, August 29, 2008

John McCain announces his selection of Sarah Palin to fill the VP slot on his ticket. Sarah Palin hires attorney Thomas V. Van Flein to represent herself and the Governor’s Office in the investigation. Van Fleinreleased a statement that read, “We fully welcome a fair inquiry into these allegations. Please know that we intend to cooperate with this investigation.”

Simultaneously, Palin — via her attorney Van Flein — moved that the ethics investigation be dismissed, using the argument that the investigation should be turned over to the State Personnel Board (staffed by Palin’s political appointees, who would be subject to firing by Palin, if she so chose) , instead of being conducted by the Alaskan Legislative Council. Gov. Palin was to later expainthis move during her ABC interview with Charlie Gibson: “Our state statute says, if there’s a question about actions of the governor, you go to the Personnel Board. So we’ve said all along that that’s appropriate.” 

August 30, 2008

The McCain campaign releases a statement that reads: “Governor Palin dismissed Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because of an honest disagreement over budget priorities – that’s it. The allegation that Governor Palin retaliated against Commissioner Monegan for not firing Trooper Wooten is cut from whole cloth. [Gov. Palin] did nothing wrong and has nothing to hide.”

September 1, 2008

Replying by letter to Friday’s letter from Palin’s attorney, State Sen. Hollis French (appointed by the legislature to manage the investigation) explained to Van Flein that — while the Personnel Board investigates complaints brought under state ethics laws — “the Legislature, of course, has its own separate powers of investigation. I hope you are not suggesting that the legislature does not have the authority to investigate potential violations of law by members of the Executive Branch.”

Sen. Hollis French also noted that the Legislative Council had not yet received a response their request for an interview with Gov. Palin. “I am requesting that you set a September date for the Governor’s deposition … by the close of business this Friday,” French wrote. “Delays in witness interviews will jeopardize the timely conclusion of this investigation. Indeed, delays would cause me to convene a meeting of the Judiciary Committee and ask that subpoenas be considered.”

The McCain/Palin campaign did not reply to questions about whether Palin would voluntarily provide a deposition, and her attorney did not return calls requesting comment, although McCain campaign spokeswoman, Maria Comella, did issue a statement: “The bottom line is Governor Palin has a proven record championing transparency in government and we are confident in that record.”

 September 2, 2008

The McCain campaign began questioning the legitimacy of the Legislative Council’s investigation, as McCain spokesmen and allies in Anchorage began contending that the probe had become “tainted” and “politicized” by Obama supporters

September 13, 2008

Investigators decide to subpoena 13 witnesses in the Troopergate case, including Todd Palin, to investigate whether pressure was applied from the governor’s office to deny Trooper Wooten’s workers compensation claim. Investigator Steve Branchflower said he wanted to interview Gov. Palin, but stopped short of issuing her a subpoena, because it would look bad to have the Governor or future Vice President subpoenaed. 

September 16, 2008

McCain campaign lawyers try to either end the investigation or delay it until after the election. Former Justice Department prosecutor Edward O’Callaghan, now working for the McCain campaign, told reporters that Palin was “unlikely to cooperate” with the Alaskan legislative inquiry into Monegan’s firing because it had been “tainted” by politics. O’Callaghan stated that the McCain campaign was directing an aggressive legal strategy to shut down a pre-election ethics investigation. 

In this spirit, Van Flein and O’Callaghanfiled a new motion with the Personnel Board. This one argued that, after a review of the evidence, including internal e-mails within the governor’s office, the governor’s lawyers had determined there was “no probable cause” to pursue any ethics inquiry into Palin at all. As a result, it argued, the previous motion for an ethics inquiry (which Van Flein himself had filed just two weeks earlier) should be dismissed. According to O’Callaghan, “There was no Ethics Act violation and there is no need to go forward with this.”

 October 1, 2008 

(Here, the squalor grows even more corrupt and complicated. These developments are very important to understanding Palin’s “governing style,”in general, and Troopergate, in particular). 

In a bombshell development, Murlene Wilkes, a key witness in the “Troopergate” investigation was forced to reverse her earlier (August) testimony in defense of Sarah Palin, after it was revealed she’d lied in her earlier statements to Steve Branchflower (lead investigator in the Troopergate probe). MurleneWilkes is the owner of Harbor Adjustment Services in Anchorage Alaska — a company that contracts with the state to handle all workers compensation claims for the State of Alaska. In Murlene Wilkes Augusttestimony, she had initially denied ever talking to anyone in the governor’s office about the Wooten file, and also denied ever seeing the photos Todd Palin had taken of Trooper Wooten. 

Forced to back off of her earlier defense of Palin, Murlene Wilkes admitted in her October 1st testimony that the governor’s associates had, indeed, applied pressure to deny workers compensation to Wooten. In her corrected testimony, Wilkes admitted to a state investigator that she had received phone calls and personal visits from advisers to Palin, including her husband, Todd Palin, the officials said. Further, Wilkes testified that she was told to deny workers compensation to Trooper Mike Wooten, because he supposedly was lying about his physical condition.  

This particular twist in the story is important because — in the wake of denying Wooten’s workers compensation claim in 2007 — Wilkes’ company,  Harbor Adjustment Services, received a renewal of their $1.2 million contract with the state, only the renewal was raised to $1.5 million, and was awarded despite lower competing bids. One losing firm has since appealed the contract award. 

October 2, 2008

An Alaska judge refused to block the state ethics investigation. Judge Peter Michalski threw out the lawsuit filed by five Republican state legislators who said the investigation had been tainted by partisan politics and was being manipulated to damage Palin shortly before the Nov. 4 presidential election. “It is legitimately within the scope of the legislature’s investigatory power to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the termination (of) a public officer the legislature had previously confirmed,” the judge wrote in his decision.

Judge Michalski also threw out a lawsuit filed by Palin aides seeking to dismiss the subpoenas compelling their testimony in the investigation. The aides argued that the subpoenas should not have to be honored, because they shouldn’t have been issued in the first place. 

As of this date, Todd Palin and several other top aides had still not testified, refusing to appear, despite the subpoenas. Todd and Sarah Palin, along with some of her staff, continue to assert that the legislative investigation has been compromised by politics and that they would only cooperate with a separate investigation run by the Alaska State Personnel Board (whose members, remember, could be fired by Palin, if she so chose).

October 3, 2008

The Alaska Supreme Court agreed to hear an emergency appeal from lawyers seeking to shut down the Legislature’s Troopergate investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin. The action came one day after Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski threw out their lawsuit attempting to halt the Legislature’s investigation into Troopergate. The suit was filed by Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute and Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Alaska Republican state legislators opposed to their colleagues’ investigation. 

 

October 9, 2008

The Alaska Supreme Court rejected an attempt by a group of six Republican legislators to shut down the Legislature’s investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin. This meant that Steve Branchflower, the investigator hired by the Legislative Council, would release his report as scheduled on October 10th. 

In a related development,  the McCain campaign released its own “report,” clearing Palin of any wrongdoing. In their 21-page statement, the McCain campaign alleged that the whole Troopergate investigation was a plot between Trooper Wooten and an angry blogger, saying: “It is tragic that a false story hatched by a blogger after drinks with Trooper Wooten led the legislature to allocate over $100,000 of public money to be spent in what has become a politically driven investigation.” 

Although the McCain campaign’s statement described Wooten as a separate issue from the Monegan firing, the McCain campaign went into great detail about the “rogue” trooper and his “long history of unstable and erratic behavior.” Seemingly oblivious to the fact that Wooten had already been investigated and alternately disciplined/cleared in March 2006 for the charges waged against him by the Palin family, the McCain campaign nonetheless described allegations of violence, including threatening Palin’sfamily and shooting his stepson with a stun gun. The McCain campaign statement also included allegations that Wooten cheated the workers’ compensation system. Todd Palinwas now saying that he’d had numerous conversations with government officials about why Wooten was allowed to stay on the job.

According to a McCain campaign statement: “The Palins make no apologies for wanting to protect their family and wanting to bring attention to the injustice of a violent trooper keeping his badge and abusing the workers’ compensation system. But Todd Palin said he never pressured anyone, including his wife.”

The McCain campaign also said that the investigation has become “muddied with innuendo, rumor and partisan politics.”

October 10, 2008

INVESTIGATION FINDS SARAH PALIN GUILTY OF ABUSE OF POWER

Sarah Palin abused her power when she fired her Public Safety Commissioner this July, a state investigation has concluded.

“I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch ethics act,” Branchflower said in the 263-page report to the Legislative Council released Friday afternoon.

“Alaska statute 39.52.110(a) provides ‘the legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust,'” Branchflower continued.

His findings were presented to the Legislative Council Friday morning. The Council then met in a closed-door executive session for more than six hours as it reviewed the report. Friday afternoon the council voted unanimously to release the report to the public.Branchflower concluded that Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Mike Wooten, Palin’s former brother in-law, was “likely a contributing factor to his termination” but “not the sole reason.”

Still, Palin’s dismissal of Monegan “was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads,” Branchflower said in the report. Branchflower also said Palin’sattorney general failed to provide him with emails of Palin’s that he had requested as part of the probe.

The report also found that Wooten’s workers’ compensation claim was handled properly, and that Wooten “received all the workers’ compensation benefits to which he was entitled.”

The above words, that Monegan’s refusal to fire Wooten was “not the sole reason”  will surely be parroted for all eternity, or the next few weeks (whichever ends first) by the McCain campaign.

SEE FULL 263 PAGE REPORT

[Editor’s note: It is unlikely the votes would be there for impeachment, but some censure is possible, if not likely. More, if anything, on this later….]

October 12

Spin City, here we come.

According to an ABC news report, Palin Makes Troopergate Assertions that Are Flatly False, “Palin spoke on the phone with Alaska reporters about the report. The McCain-Palin campaign only allowed one question per reporter. The journalists came from the Anchorage Daily News, KTVA-Channel 11 and KTUU-Channel 2. No follow-ups were alllowed.”

[No follow-ups? Huh?]

In this call, Palin said, “Well, I’m very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.” 

[On this note I’m putting a punctuation point on this Troopergate timeline. As Forrest Gump might say, “Squalor is as squalor does.”]

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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 BONUS RESOURCE ON TIMELINE: In case you missed it, Bellflower has an excellent and succinct “Super duper Troopergate Timeline” that includes a few details I overlooked.  

ABC— Palin Denies Monegan Firing is Connected to Wooten Custody Battle

Washington Post: Palin’s Ex-Brother-in-Law Says He Regrets Bad Blood

McClatchy: Did Alaska’s Palin try to force firing of her ex-brother-in-law?

Huffington Post: Palin Hires Lawyer for Troopergate

Daily KOS: Palin files complaint against herself in a bid to stop investigation

AP: Troopergate probe running into new resistence

Anchorage Daily News: Lawmakers to Subpoena 13 in Troopergate — Investigators want to know if a workers compensation employee was pressured

mudflats: New McCain Stall of Troopergate Investigation: Part Karl Rove, Part Laurel & Hardy

Consortium News: New Witness Said to Implicate Palin

Newsweek: Can He Stop Troopergate? A McCain lawyer scrambles to block a Palin ethics inquiry

New York Times: Palins repeatedly pressed case against trooper

Huffington Post: McCain camp clears Palin of any wrongdoing in Troopergate before the State’s report is even issued

CBS: Judge Lets Palin Troopergate Probe Proceed

Anchorage Daily News: Judge Refuses to Halt Troopergate Probe

Anchorage Daily News: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Troopergate Appeal

Anchorage Daily News: Supreme Court Won’t Block Troopergate Inquiry

KTUU News (Alaska) : Branchflower: Palin Abused Power

see also:

canarypapers: The Categorical Lies of Sarah Palin, Categorically Arranged