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Mudflats: I’ve been waiting for this one. One of the witnesses called by Stephen Branchflower (independent investigator of the legitimate Troopergate investigation) put herself in a tricky spot.

Murlene Wilkes, owner of Harbor Adjusting Services, and holder of a $1.2 million/yr. contract with the State of Alaska to handle workers compensation claims, apparently told a big fat fib. When Branchflower asked her if the governor’s office had ever asked her to deny a workers compensation claim for Palin’s ex-brother-in-law Trooper Mike Wooten (the trooper in “Troopergate”), she said no. Never. Really.

Mike Wooten, of course, is involved in a bitter custody dispute with Palin’s sister Molly. The Palins do not like him. Some say they have made a vengeful and personal sport out of ruining his career.

Problem is, that there are actually honest people in the world….and one of them works for Murlene Wilkes at Harbor Investments. This unnamed worker made a little phone call to the tip line that Branchflower set up at the beginning of the investigation. According to the tipster, yes indeed, the governor’s office DID put pressure to deny the claim.

Hard evidence contradicting sworn testimony has a certain effect on people. Murlene Wilkes, faced with this situation, decided to change her testimony according to a report in The Public Record. Now, with the little extra incentive of avoiding perjury charges, she has admitted that she was asked to deny the claim – at the direct request of Sarah and Todd Palin.

*chin hitting desk* (a moment of stunned silence)

  • Wilkes has a $1.2 million contract with the state to handle workers compensation claims. Her contract with the state was up but her firm was recently given a new contract despite the fact that there were others who provided the state with a lower bid than Wilkes’s firm. One of the other applicants who submitted a lower bid has appealed the decision. Wilkes told Branchflower she believed it was impressed upon her from Palin’s office that she would lose the contract if she did not deny the claim, state officials knowledgeable about her testimony said.

    Although Wooten did receive worker’s compensation benefits for about three months, his claim was suddenly denied and he was forced to hire a lawyer and appeal the issue, which dragged on for more than six months. It’s unknown if Wilkes played any role in denying Wooten worker’s compensation benefits.

    According to John Cyr, the executive director of the Public Safety Employees Association, the union that represents Wooten and other state troopers, Wooten was approved for workers compensation benefits in January 2007. He filed for benefits due to a back injury he suffered when he pulled a dead body from a wrecked automobile and slipped on icy pavement.

    The same month Wooten started receiving workers compensation benefits, Todd Palin began following Wooten around “snapping pictures of him,” Cyr said.

    “Frank Bailey was getting people to say that [Wooten] was lying on his worker’s comp form,” Cyr said. “The governor’s family was following Mike around everywhere. They forwarded that information to the worker’s comp division.”

    All this information about Todd stalking Wooten came out when Troopergate first broke, well before Palin’s nomination. But, the press here didn’t follow up much. They preferred to focus on the “Is Wooten a Bad Cop?” angle of the story. That was a lot more exciting…you know…tasers, infidelity, drunk driving, illegal moose hunting…

    Troopergate, much to the dismay of the Palins, refuses to go away, and only gets worse, the longer it goes on. Worker’s compensation claims may not be ’sexy’, but some say this may end up being the final nail in the coffin of Palin’s political career.

    Branchflower’s report is due to be released on October 10th. Let the countdown to truth begin.

  • Source: Mudflats

    http://files.myopera.com/Cole2/blog/MagnifyGlass.jpg

    Those waiting for a peek at Governor Sarah Palin’s personal finances are going to have to wait just a bit longer, under an agreement between the Federal Election Commission and the McCain campaign.

    Federal election law requires the vice presidential candidate to file a personal financial disclosure statement within 30 days of their nomination. But, there seemed to be some confusion between the F.E.C. and the McCain campaign over the exact date of her nomination.

    The McCain campaign has said that it believes the 30-day deadline ends on Oct. 3, 30 days after her Sept. 4th nomination at the Republican National Convention. The F.E.C. had said that the 30-day period began on August 29th, when Senator John McCain named her as his running mate and changed the name of his campaign fund to the McCain-Palin Compliance Fund. By the F.E.C.’s calculations, the filing was due on Monday, Sept. 29.

    So, letters between the campaign and the F.E.C. ensued. Trevor Potter, the McCain campaign’s general counsel, also said that Mrs. Palin needed extra time to prepare since she had never done this before.

    “Because Governor Palin has not previously run for federal office, it is clear to us that additional time is required to compile and prepare Govenor Palin’s financial information. As you are well aware, the Executive Branch financial disclosure form is vastly more complex than most state disclosure forms, and requires the assemblage of a quantity and a level of detail far beyond that reported previously by the Governor in Alaska and therefore readily available,’’ said Mr. Potter in his letter.

    The F.E.C, in a letter to Mr. Potter, granted an extension until 30-days prior to the general election, or Oct. 5. Since that is a Sunday, the F.E.C. said the campaign would have until Oct. 6 to comply – but that no extension would be granted beyond that date.

    Source: NYT

    John McCain celebrated his own role in the final federal government bailout package Monday on stage in front of several hundred Ohioans gathered for a campaign rally.

    “I believe that inaction was not an option,” the Republican presidential candidate said. “I put my campaign on hold for a couple of days last week.” To applause, he continued: “I know that many of you have noticed it’s not my style to simply phone it in.”

    That sentiment — not “phoning it in” was the campaign line throughout the weekend. On Friday at the first presidential debate, close McCain confidante Sen. Lindsey Graham praised McCain’s return to Washington. “This is one you just can’t phone in,” he said.

    A McCain spokeswoman on the plane ride to Mississippi expressed the same. “Meeting face-to-face with people is always more effective than phoning it in,” she said.

    And yet, the Arizona senator spent a lot of time on the phone. At the end of last week and over the entire weekend in Washington, he made lots of phone calls, many from his Northern Virginia condo, across the Potomac River from Capitol Hill.

    Let’s rewind the clock and start at the beginning. Last Thursday, McCain returned to Washington and headed straight for Capitol Hill. After a few meetings there, he went to one at the White House and then retired to his condo by 6:30 p.m. to make phone calls.

    30 p.m. to make phone calls.

    Last Thursday, McCain returned to Washington and headed straight for Capitol Hill. After a few meetings there, he went to one at the White House and then retired to his condo by 6:30 p.m. to make phone calls.

    Friday morning, McCain traveled to Capitol Hill for less than two hours then flew to Mississippi for the first presidential debate. He rushed back to Northern Virginia after the debate, getting in well after midnight, but never went to Capitol Hill once during the weekend. Instead, he made phone calls from both his residence and his Arlington, Va., campaign headquarters.

    On Saturday, McCain called a slew of top players, including President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. He also called three senators (Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Jon Kyl or Arizona) and 10 Republican House members including Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

    McCain was spotted several times making the less-than-one-minute drive between his headquarters and his residence — on his cellphone.

    Asked why he wasn’t making the trek to the Hill, McCain senior adviser Mark Salter responded: “Because he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone,” and added, “He’s calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can.”

    On Sunday, during an appearance on ABC-TV’s “This Week,” McCain again said he wasn’t just “phoning” it in. “I did the best that I could,” he said of his work on the package. “I came back because I wasn’t going to phone it in.”

    On Monday, he went so far as to slam his opponent, Democratic contender Barack Obama, for not doing enough. “That’s not leadership, that’s watching from the sidelines,” he said of Obama. “And watching from the sidelines is exactly what got us into this mess.”

    McCain also defended the criticism coming at him. “You know remarkably some people have criticized my decision to put my country first,” he said. “But I’ll never be a president who sits on the sidelines when this country faces a crisis. I’ll never do that.”

    Source: WSJ

    What can we say? At the moment Obama maintains an 8 point lead over McCain and he wants to suspend his campaign again – well` that’s entirely up to him!! It is clear that those friends on Fox and Friends are hinting that he should do just that – looks like the rabbit up their sleeve is showing – if they are planning a trick. McCain suspends his campaign again for little or no good reason and they – and other right-wing press pounce and promote McCain as the responsible leader type – but then they will not be able to spend so much time on their coverage of Palin. I can see the flies surrounding whatever is in that paper bag already

    David Kurtz at TPM writes, “John McCain made the morning show rounds today. On Fox they were virtually begging him to ‘suspend’ his campaign again in the wake of the bailout failure yesterday on the Hill. You know, since it worked out so well the first time. McCain’s answer: He just might suspend again.”

    McCain’s comments follow a blog post by William Kristol yesterday arguing, “if this is really ‘a national economic crisis,’ and others have failed to lead, then McCain should lead–by re-suspending his campaign (fine, let observers mock him when he announces this), and leading his party and the Congress towards a solution. They won’t mock if he can pull this off.”

    Watch the video of McCain on Fox News this morning:

    Source: HP

    HP

    Choosing Sarah Palin for his ticket re-energized John McCain's campaign in the polls.

    Choosing Sarah Palin for his ticket re-energized John McCain's campaign in the polls.

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s painful performance in interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric last week rattled some backers of Sen. John McCain.

    One conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker, even called on her to quit as McCain’s running mate.

    “It was fun while it lasted,” Parker wrote last week in the National Review. “But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick.”

    But it’s highly unlikely Palin will be leaving the ticket. Here are eight reasons why:

    1. It would raise fatal questions about McCain’s judgment, which he trumpets as an advantage over Barack Obama.
    [Choosing a VP that doesn't believe in the separation of church and state is questionable - though letting Palin go - would expose McCain to a wide open assault and rightly]

    2. It would put McCain on the defensive for the final five weeks, when he needs to put Obama on the defensive.
    [Bring it on!]

    3. The party’s social conservative base has given Palin its unconditional love.
    [Did she really shoot a moose – as everything else she has claimed has come under some scrutiny. The plight of polar bears in the Alaska don’t concern this lot.]

    4. Who else is going to have a shot with Hillary Clinton voters?
    [The really question is how many Hillary voters - with her backward looking platform? - Equal pay for equal work - not with McCain - pro-choice - only if Palin's own life is in danger.]

    5. Mid-course corrections have a sorry history: Democrat McGovern, who dumped Tom Eagleton in 1972 after learning he’d had electroshock treatment, lost in a landslide to Richard Nixon.

    6. She’s a fundraising dynamo.
    [Give her a script she'd be a great actor.]

    7. She’s a crowd magnet, and without her, McCain rallies could go back to their old sleepy ways.
    [McCain celebrity problem - to the point where they can't campaign separately- no one turns up to see him.]

    8. The Democrats’ veep, Joe Biden, is a gaffe machine too. One whopper and he’s under the microscope, not her.
    [Don't count on it!]

    Source: DAILY NEWS

    Sarah Palin was shown in a video with a Kenyan bishop.

    Sarah Palin was shown in a video with a Kenyan bishop.

    An unusual video showing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, being blessed by a Kenyan bishop against witchcraft has rattled liberal bloggers and fueled scorn among her detractors, but religious experts say the matter has been blown out of proportion by ignorance and intolerance.

    The 2004 video, which began airing on the Internet last week, shows Kenyan Bishop Thomas Muthee calling Palin to the front of a church to lay hands on her and pray to keep her safe from “every form of witchcraft.”

    “Make her way, my God. Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus…Use her to turn this nation the other way around,” Muthee said while placing his hands upon Palin. “Talk to God about this woman. We declare, save her from Satan.”

    The “witchcraft” line in particular caught the attention of liberal pundits and bloggers. Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” called the video “terrifying” and said it made the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the much-criticized ex-pastor of Barack Obama, look “pretty mainstream” in comparison.

    But religious experts said there was nothing untoward in the video, which they said shows a fairly routine religious ceremony. Misunderstanding over it has grown because of the McCain campaign’s refusal to comment on the video, suggesting that the campaign was on uncomfortable footing with Palin’s religion, the experts said.

    Jacob K. Olupana, a religion professor at Harvard, said the campaign appears to have been caught flat- footed when trying to answer questions on Palin’s faith. “I’m not sure they understand it,” he said.

    “What you saw was something very basic that happens in a Pentecostal church,” said Anthea Butler, a religion professor at the University of Rochester. “You would see this in any Pentecostal church on any given Sunday.”

    But while the practice may not have been unusual for Palin’s faith, the McCain campaign did not push back very hard against media’s coverage of the video, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube and got prime placement on top liberal blogs, including The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo. Instead, the campaign has highlighted Palin’s “nondenominational evangelical” beliefs, while rarely mentioning her many years in a Pentecostal church.

    “Why can’t the campaign articulate what she is about?” Butler asked. “I don’t think they knew,” she said, or else they were “trying to mask” Palin’s true views.

    The McCain campaign has not addressed Muthee or his blessing of Palin and declined to comment on the video for this story.

    To see more videos on Palin’s church click here. If you’re in the deciphering mode that is!

    When asked about the Alaska governor’s religious background, the McCain campaign said in an e-mail that Palin was baptized in a Catholic church as an infant, was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in High School, and has been a member of the Wasilla Bible Church — “a nondenominational, evangelical church” — for the last seven years.

    The Alaska governor’s religion gets no mention in her biography on the campaign’s website; campaign officials say that she does not consider herself to be a Pentecostal.

    As a teenager, Palin joined the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church in Wasilla. She was baptized in the church and, along with her husband and children, attended the church until 2002. Since then, the Palins have attended the Wasilla Bible Church, an Evangelical church.

    Butler said that at the Pentecostal baptism, Palin likely would have been expected to speak in tongues. Some members of the Wasilla Assembly of God reportedly do speak in tongues as part of their practice, though officials from Palin’s campaign and the church both say she did not.

    In a statement on its website, Pain’s former church notes that she “has maintained a friendship with Wasilla Assembly of God and has attended various conferences and special meetings here.”

    It was during one of those appearances in June that Palin called the Iraq war “a task that is from God.”

    During that same appearance, Palin credited Bishop Muthee’s prayers for her becoming governor.

    “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me,” Palin said. “He said, ‘Lord, make a way and let her do this next step.’ And that’s exactly what happened.”

    Some of Muthee’s beliefs come from his experiences in Kenya, where he and wife, Margaret, founded a church in a violent area on the outskirts of Nairobi in 1988.

    According to a 1999 Christian Science Monitor article, Muthee decided that witchcraft, specifically a spirit inhabiting a local woman named “Mama Jane,” was responsible for much of the turmoil in the area. To rid the community of the “demonic influence” of “Mama Jane,” Muthee set up a church in the basement of a grocery store where 200 people prayed in round-the-clock shifts. Under growing pressure from the Bishop, the woman eventually left town.

    “Witchcraft is a sad reality in many parts of Africa, resulting in scores of deaths in Kenya over the past two decades,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement that chastised the media for its coverage of the video.

    “Bishop Muthee’s blessing, then, was simply a reflection of his cultural understanding of evil. While others are not obliged to accept his interpretation, all can be expected to respect it. More than that, Muthee should be hailed for asking God to shield Palin from harmful forces, however they may be manifested,” Donohue’s statement said. “And for this he is mocked and Palin ridiculed?”

    “I don’t know why they are making a big thing out of it,” Olupana said of the media reaction to the video. “Witchcraft as part of a belief system is real to the people who live there,” he said, noting that there was “nothing unusual about what happened.”

    The religion professor noted that when Obama came under fire for his ties to Wright, several black religious leaders stepped out from behind the pew to explain their faith and put the reverend’s remarks in context.

    But with Palin’s tie to Muthee, he said, “no one has stepped up to explain this.”

    Source: Politico

    Sarah Palin earned a reputation as a strong debater during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign in Alaska, but she has appeared to struggle in one-on-one sessions with nationally known journalists since being named McCain's running mate. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

    Sarah Palin earned a reputation as a strong debater during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign in Alaska, but she has appeared to struggle in one-on-one sessions with nationally known journalists since being named McCain's running mate. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON – She burst onto the American political scene as Sarah “The Barracuda” Palin, a confident, moose-hunting, hockey-mom governor whose razor-sharp attacks on Barack Obama, Washington insiders and the U.S. media “elite” helped revive John McCain’s presidential campaign in early September.

    But as she prepares for her vice-presidential debate Thursday against Senator Joe Biden, Palin is now fighting to dispel perceptions among some conservatives that she’s quickly becoming a political liability for the Republican candidate.

    McCain on Monday dispatched his two most senior aides – campaign manager Rick Davis and strategist Steve Schmidt – to his ranch in Sedona, Ariz., to begin three days of intense coaching with the Alaska governor ahead of her 90-minute showdown with Biden at Washington University in St. Louis.

    The decision came amid widespread criticism in the media and – more distressing for McCain – mounting anxiety among Republicans over Palin’s performance during an extended interview last week with CBS News anchor Katie Couric.

    In its aftermath, Palin’s favourable ratings have fallen and she’s become fodder for withering satire on late-night comedy shows like Saturday Night Live – a fate that has hurt presidential candidates in the past.

    “I think that most people looking at Thursday night’s debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are nervous, especially Republicans,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Because 90 minutes is a very long time – and you can only talk about gutting a moose once during that debate.”

    Palin earned a reputation as a strong debater during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign in Alaska, but she has appeared to struggle in one-on-one sessions with nationally known journalists since being named McCain’s running mate.

    In her interview with Couric, Palin offered this explanation of how Alaska’s proximity to Russia enhanced her foreign policy experience.

    “It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as (Russian prime minister Vladimir) Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America,” Palin said. “Where, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there.”

    Kathleen Parker, a syndicated conservative commentator, said the interviews showed Palin is “clearly out of her league” and called on her to step aside.

    “I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly,” Parker, an early supporter of the governor, wrote in a post-Couric interview column. “I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.”

    There is a lively debate among Republicans about whether McCain’s own campaign is partially to blame for Palin’s problems. Advisers have largely shielded her from the media since her breakout performance at the Republican convention, placing extraordinary pressure on the governor in her few high-profile interviews.

    (…)

    The stakes for McCain are high. The latest Gallup daily tracking poll of the U.S. presidential race shows Obama with an eight-point advantage – 50-42 per cent – over McCain.

    “I think this debate is more important than most vice-presidential debates usually are because the McCain campaign is swimming upstream,” Jillson said. “They are down in the polls. And if their vice-presidential candidate looks like she is not ready to be president of the United States, should the requirement fall on her, I think people will again look to Obama.”

    Biden faces many potential pitfalls himself, including the possibility he might underestimate Palin.

    The Delaware senator has made several notable gaffes recently, criticizing one of his campaign’s own anti-McCain ads and flubbing a historical reference to the 1929 stock market crash. He has a reputation for talking too extemporaneously and sounding condescending – which could backfire against Palin.

    “If we’re not going to judge Joe by one sound bite, in one interview – which is fair to Joe – and we’re not going to take a mistake that he’s made and say ‘that that’s a death-defying blow,’ let’s don’t do it for her,” Graham said.

    To help Biden prepare, Obama’s campaign enlisted Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to act as pre-debate stand-in for Palin.

    “How could you lose a debate with Sarah Palin? By running afoul of the gender issues, making women in particular feel as if Sarah Palin was unfairly treated the way some think Hillary Clinton was unfairly treated,” said Jillson. “He’s got to be respectful.”

    Source: Canwest News Service

  • War will be declared on Russia – so Palin can shoot something!
  • Backward looking economic policy – because McCain knows best – and no one should question that.
  • Health care – so long as Leader McCain has healthcare – we should all be happy – there is always good healthcare provided at emergency rooms dotted around the nation.
  • Affordable college tuition – stop speaking in tongues – no one can understand you!
  • Tax cuts for the rich – as tax cuts for the person on an average wage – is a waste of tax payers money. We should be happy McCain gets a tax cut with he and his wife’s $6,000,000 a year income.
  • Foreign relations – we’ll develop an inner circle of nations – rogue nations like Spain won’t be included – and create policies and new doctrines to suit our own interests.
  • Questioning Leader McCain or any war – which he deems worthy enough to undertake – will be considered un-America and un-patriotic.
  • Palin is still clueless – but now wears a lot more makeup – when she couldn’t get as much oil out of ANWR – she implemented a radical plan called ‘Drill Baby Drill’ where an oil or gas well was sunk on every street corner. If there was oil she was going to find it!
  • Oh and the ban was eventually lifted on polar bear hunting.
  • McCain built the 45 newly proposed nuclear power stations in the State of Arizona – he said they make him feel powerful – and the fact that no other State wanted them.
  • On global warming – McCain quietly smiled and then went to sleep – and once Palin took over she said something about – the environment needs to be protected from ‘Witchcraft’ – so she brought in this preach guy to speak on the subject – who said the air needed to be cleared of various impure spirits.
  • See how McCain profited from being a Maverick!

    Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings.

    Enlarge This Image

    BETS Mr. McCain supported tax breaks for casinos over the years, including one that helped Foxwoods in Connecticut. He has also gambled there.

    A lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table. He was throwing dice that night not long after his failed 2000 presidential bid, in which he was skewered by the Republican Party’s evangelical base, opponents of gambling. Mr. McCain was betting at a casino he oversaw as a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and he was doing so with the lobbyist who represents that casino, according to three associates of Mr. McCain.

    The visit had been arranged by the lobbyist, Scott Reed, who works for the Mashantucket Pequot, a tribe that has contributed heavily to Mr. McCain’s campaigns and built Foxwoods into the world’s second-largest casino. Joining them was Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s current campaign manager. Their night of good fortune epitomized not just Mr. McCain’s affection for gambling, but also the close relationship he has built with the gambling industry and its lobbyists during his 25-year career in Congress.

    As a two-time chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Mr. McCain has done more than any other member of Congress to shape the laws governing America’s casinos, helping to transform the once-sleepy Indian gambling business into a $26-billion-a-year behemoth with 423 casinos across the country. He has won praise as a champion of economic development and self-governance on reservations.

    “One of the founding fathers of Indian gaming” is what Steven Light, a University of North Dakota professor and a leading Indian gambling expert, called Mr. McCain.

    As factions of the ferociously competitive gambling industry have vied for an edge, they have found it advantageous to cultivate a relationship with Mr. McCain or hire someone who has one, according to an examination based on more than 70 interviews and thousands of pages of documents.

    Mr. McCain portrays himself as a Washington maverick unswayed by special interests, referring recently to lobbyists as “birds of prey.” Yet in his current campaign, more than 40 fund-raisers and top advisers have lobbied or worked for an array of gambling interests — including tribal and Las Vegas casinos, lottery companies and online poker purveyors.

    When rules being considered by Congress threatened a California tribe’s planned casino in 2005, Mr. McCain helped spare the tribe. Its lobbyist, who had no prior experience in the gambling industry, had a nearly 20-year friendship with Mr. McCain.

    In Connecticut that year, when a tribe was looking to open the state’s third casino, staff members on the Indian Affairs Committee provided guidance to lobbyists representing those fighting the casino, e-mail messages and interviews show. The proposed casino, which would have cut into the Pequots’ market share, was opposed by Mr. McCain’s colleagues in Connecticut.

    Mr. McCain declined to be interviewed. In written answers to questions, his campaign staff said he was “justifiably proud” of his record on regulating Indian gambling. “Senator McCain has taken positions on policy issues because he believed they are in the public interest,” the campaign said.

    Mr. McCain’s spokesman, Tucker Bounds, would not discuss the senator’s night of gambling at Foxwoods, saying: “Your paper has repeatedly attempted to insinuate impropriety on the part of Senator McCain where none exists — and it reveals that your publication is desperately willing to gamble away what little credibility it still has.”

    Over his career, Mr. McCain has taken on special interests, like big tobacco, and angered the capital’s powerbrokers by promoting campaign finance reform and pushing to limit gifts that lobbyists can shower on lawmakers. On occasion, he has crossed the gambling industry on issues like regulating slot machines.

    Perhaps no episode burnished Mr. McCain’s image as a reformer more than his stewardship three years ago of the Congressional investigation into Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Republican Indian gambling lobbyist who became a national symbol of the pay-to-play culture in Washington. The senator’s leadership during the scandal set the stage for the most sweeping overhaul of lobbying laws since Watergate.

    “I’ve fought lobbyists who stole from Indian tribes,” the senator said in his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination this month.

    But interviews and records show that lobbyists and political operatives in Mr. McCain’s inner circle played a behind-the-scenes role in bringing Mr. Abramoff’s misdeeds to Mr. McCain’s attention — and then cashed in on the resulting investigation. The senator’s longtime chief political strategist, for example, was paid $100,000 over four months as a consultant to one tribe caught up in the inquiry, records show.

    Mr. McCain’s campaign said the senator acted solely to protect American Indians, even though the inquiry posed “grave risk to his political interests.”

    Read it all..

    Source: NYTimes

    I knew McCain was kind of old – but ‘McCain walks with dinosaurs’ sounds great – at least that is what I think about his thinking and his outlook for America’s future.

    The LA Times reports:

    Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago — about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct — the teacher said.

    After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

    Palin told him that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time,” Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said “she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks,” recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.

    The idea of a “young Earth” — that God created the Earth about 6,000 years ago, and dinosaurs and humans coexisted early on — is a popular strain of creationism.

    Though in her race for governor she called for faith-based “intelligent design” to be taught along with evolution in Alaska’s schools, Gov. Palin has not sought to require it, state educators say.

    In a widely-circulated interview, Matt Damon said of Palin, “I need to know if she really think that dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she’s gonna have the nuclear codes.”

    Source: Huffington Post

    Will they stop at anything to get a vote – a forced marriage in the hail of a political campaign –

    Incredible – because people are going to vote for them because what they are saying is the right thing for the country – not because a child who was partying and having a good time – got pregnant and then under political pressure – got married.

    The marriage of the vice-presidential candidate’s pregnant teenage daughter could lift a flagging campaignSarah Baxter in Washington
    In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

    Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

    There is already some urgency to the wedding as Bristol, who is six months pregnant, may not want to walk down the aisle too close to her date of delivery. She turns 18 on October 18, a respectable age for a bride (..)

    The selection of Palin, 44, the moose-hunting governor of Alaska, as his running mate was one of McCain’s biggest gambles. It paid off handsomely at first, but she could benefit from a fresh injection of homespun authenticity, the hallmark of her style, provided by her daughter’s wedding after appearing out of depth away from her home state.

    Source: Timesonline

    Alaskans speak out at the ‘Alaskans For Truth’ protest which got on its way – with a bang !!

    By the look of the signs it is clear some Alaskans are feeling bullied – by McCain -n- friends efforts to quash the legal proceedings in the Alaska Troopergate case which Palin is knee deep in. But like many others outside of Alaska there seems to a sense of disgust – at Sarah Palin’s blatant lies and untruths. The ‘Alaskans For Truth’ protest sent a clear message home to Sarah Palin – in her own state.




    Source: Mudflats, Daily Kos

    Touching – totally moving – the Iraqi war from a US Marine’s point of view and why he supports Obama.

    I’m not kidding.

    Paraguay President Fernando Lugo, while attending both the United Nations General Assembly meetings and the Clinton Global Initiative, shared with friends over dinner some of the other meetings he had been having in New York.

    He met this head of state. . .and that head of state. . .and so on. . .

    . . .but then the room went silent and then broke into subdued laughter when he confided that he was approached about meeting with GOP Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

    President Lugo turned the meeting down.

    With all due respect to Paraguay and its great citizens, something is really wrong when the Paraguayan President won’t even hang with Palin.

    But note to world leaders, PLEASE start meeting with her.

    Otherwise, she’ll never get any credible international experience.

    – Steve Clemons

    Source: Washington Note

    PRINCETON, NJ — Barack Obama leads John McCain, 49% to 44%, when registered voters are asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, according to the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update.

    These results, from Sept. 24-26, are almost entirely based on interviewing conducted before Friday night’s first presidential debate. This suggests Obama was moving into a slightly better positioning as the two met in Mississippi to debate foreign policy matters and the economic crisis. The five percentage point lead for Obama in today’s update is one of his best in recent weeks, just short of the six-point advantage he had in Sept. 17-19 polling. McCain had been running ahead of Obama since the Republican National Convention earlier this month, but as the financial crisis deepened Obama regained the lead positioning he had enjoyed through much of the summer. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.)

    The initial impact of the debate — and perhaps more importantly, the political spin in the days after — on voter preferences will be apparent in the next few days of Gallup Poll Daily tracking, with Tuesday’s report the first for which all interviews will be conducted after the debate. — Jeff Jones

    Source: Gallup Daily

    Several people commented the John McCain never glanced over once to look at Obama – McCain’s debating style indicates that he is depending of some sort of old guard force – to be there to automatically back him up – which will be there to assist him in getting others to see why Barack Obama should not be standing next to him in this debate.

    What he fails to comprehend and perhaps is most afraid of is that Obama represents – the new guard – what we saw in the turn out of 200,000 people in Germany – what we saw on the last day of the Democratic Convention and with his acceptance speech – that Barack Obama is leading the charge as the new guard – with a new vision – that this can’t be put down with a few sarcastic old guard remarks and condescending phrases. Either way the new reality is Obama’s – like it was also Gore’s and Kerry’s – as it’s time move away from the old way and in a whole new direction.

    The first Presidential Debate kitted off tonight between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.

    A skilled Barack Obama held his own – against the more experienced but narrowly focused McCain.

    McCain attempted to use his campaign stump – condescending phrases to outline his superior judgment on matters – but found it very difficult to undercut Obama’s steady focus and confidence.

    McCain looked authoritarian at times – and almost fossilized – age can be accounted here – though it is more John McCain’s frame of mind – which could seem frozen in the past. Particularly when McCain says he looked into Russia leader Putin’s eyes and he saw three things K G B – then quickly added that he doesn’t think we should go back to the cold war – which is not what he said in his speech – at the GOP Convention.

    Barack Obama called it – looking at it through the prism – of Iraq – and then he broadened that and said that we need to have wider diplomatic focus – as for example China is now beating the US at their own game.

    While McCain talked about – utilizing allies in Europe for war – and if like Spain there is some difference (over Iraq) – he is prepared to cast them aside – even a NATO ally – Barack Obama talked about bringing in European allies together to negotiate – with thugs for example in Iran – and if America needs to attack – then it comes down to a consensus – and the US military doesn’t have to virtually go it alone – but more – Barack Obama believes respecting our allies – and something he has talked about before – on hearing their allies concerns – and taking those into account as a part of US foreign policy.

    When the US goes it alone – and it appears that no one else can have any input – then you end up with situations like the already suspicious Russia becoming aggravated – and then worst – the new alliances which form out of that aggravation – such as the partnerships with Venezuela – and the lack of full support on Iran by Russia.

    America with all its military capability can’t come off looking like the aggressor. With the either you’re for us or you are against us – black and white US diplomacy – which McCain still holds on to with regards to Spain – you can’t build allies – you are going to make enemies anyway – there is little that can be done to please the Iranian leader or satisfy Hugo Chavez – but building as broad a base of allies can’t be overlooked. In addition it restores America’s image in the world as it comes across looking fairer – with the added benefit of more people sharing a similar view.

    Obama sees a chance to use America’s influence – not only as a police force – around the world – (and I might add concentrating only on those areas which have to do with oil and gas) – but to extend America’s influence by seeing more investment in improving people’s everyday lives – like in areas of education so that more children have the chance to go to school (and the eradication of malaria in places like Africa) – around the world.

    Here’s Obama undoing McCain’s bluff-it style – where he uses his age to promote confidence in is judgment even though he could be completely wrong – Obama should be wary of McCain’s over confidence – where he appears to have it under control – likely he doesn’t – as Obama showed in the following clip.

    John McCain confidence on issues – belies his lack of foresight – Obama takes advantage

    McCain Wins Debate Before It Happens!!

    McCain Wins Debate Before It Happens!!

    We certainly know what he was planning!

    After days of saying that John McCain would not attend Friday’s presidential debate unless an agreement on a bailout package for the markets was “locked-down,” the McCain campaign has gone back on its word.

    On Friday, it announced that the Senator would head down to Mississippi even though, as they readily admit, much work remained needed on the bailout agreement.

    The whole episode left even conservatives admitting that the McCain campaign looked erratic and a bit foolish with no apparent direction or guiding principle.

    “It just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology,” said Republican consultant Craig Shirley, who advised McCain earlier in this cycle. “In the end, he blinked and Obama did not. The ‘steady hand in a storm’ argument looks now to more favor Obama, not McCain.”

    Shirley added, “My guess is that plasma units are rushing to the McCain campaign as we speak to replace the blood flowing there from the fights among the staff.”

    Adding to the rocky perception was a McCain campaign web ad released this morning declaring “McCain Wins Debate!” — put out even before the candidate had announced he was planning to debate.

    Aides to Barack Obama were not, generally, surprised by the announcement, though nonetheless pleased. One called the Arizona Republican’s gambit – of leaving the trail to supposedly forge a compromise on the bailout – a “failure.” Other Democrats were equally biting in describing the moment.

    “It means that people think he went back on his word,” said Howard Wolfson, formerly the communications director for Hillary Clinton. “John McCain’s presidential campaign has been in a death spiral since the Wall Street collapse and this summit gambit was an attempt to pull out of it. But it hasn’t succeeded because McCain hasn’t done anything to move the ball forward.”

    Allies of McCain tried to put the best spin on the announcement, saying that while the bailout legislation was not yet completed, McCain thought it best to address the nation.

    “What’s more important than anything that when we go to Mississippi tonight, both candidates can say that the Congress is working,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham

    But others couldn’t help but admit that the Arizona Republican had mismanaged the whole scenario, basically walking himself into a corner, stuck with the choice of looking either scared or unprincipled.

    “He will been seen as blinking first,” Shirley declared, “since it was he who said he wasn’t going until the crisis is averted. Hobson’s choice, painted in a corner, bollixed — pick your poison, or pick your cliche.”

    Source: HP

    Drill Baby Drill – though there is a big question that keeps coming up – Drill What?

    According to experts even in Palin’s ANWR oasis – over one hundred test wells have been sunk around the area and have yet to produce the dream find that Palin believes the US could be dependent on. Oil leaving the Alaska pipeline is now half the volume of its peak. But while Palin fools herself – she strikes out to convince others of the same.

    By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    I was water-skiing with my children in a light drizzle off Hyannis, Mass., last month when a sudden, fierce storm plunged us into a melee of towering waves, raking rain, painful hail and midday darkness broken by blinding flashes of lightning. As I hurried to get my children out of the water and back to the dock, I shouted over the roaring wind, “This is some kind of tornado.”

    The fog consolidated and a waterspout hundreds of feet high rose from the white ocean and darted across its surface, landing for a moment on a moored outboard to spin it like a top, moving toward a distant shore where it briefly became a sand funnel, and then diffusing into the atmosphere as it rained down bits of beach on the harbor. For 24 hours, a light show of violent storms illuminated the coastline, accompanied by booming thunder. My dog was so undone by the display that she kept us all awake with her terrified whining. That same day, two waterspouts appeared on Long Island Sound.

    Those odd climatological phenomena led me to reflect on the rapidly changing weather patterns that are altering the way we live. Lightning storms and strikes have tripled just since the beginning of the decade on Cape Cod. In the 1960s, we rarely saw lightning or heard thunder on the Massachusetts coast. I associate electrical storms with McLean, Va., where I spent the school year when I was growing up.

    In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today’s anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don’t own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.

    In those days, I recall my uncle, President Kennedy, standing erect as he rode a toboggan in his top coat, never faltering until he slid into the boxwood at the bottom of the hill. Once, my father, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, brought a delegation of visiting Eskimos home from the Justice Department for lunch at our house. They spent the afternoon building a great igloo in the deep snow in our backyard. My brothers and sisters played in the structure for several weeks before it began to melt. On weekend afternoons, we commonly joined hundreds of Georgetown residents for ice skating on Washington’s C&O Canal, which these days rarely freezes enough to safely skate.

    Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil and its carbon cronies continue to pour money into think tanks whose purpose is to deceive the American public into believing that global warming is a fantasy. In 1998, these companies plotted to deceive American citizens about climate science. Their goal, according to a meeting memo, was to orchestrate information so that “recognition of uncertainties become part of the conventional wisdom” and that “those promoting the Kyoto treaty … appear to be out of touch with reality.”

    Since that meeting, Exxon has funneled $23 million into the climate-denial industry, according to Greenpeace, which combs the company’s annual report each year. Since 2006, Exxon has cut off some of the worst offenders, but 28 climate-denial groups will still get funding this year.

    Corporate America’s media toadies continue to amplify Exxon’s deceptive message. The company can count on its hand puppets — Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, John Stossel and Glenn Beck — to shamelessly mouth skepticism about man-made climate change and give political cover to the oil industry’s indentured servants on Capitol Hill. Oklahoma’s Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe calls global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public.”

    Now John McCain has chosen as his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a diligent student of Big Oil’s crib sheets. She’s something of a flat-earther who shares the current administration’s contempt for science. Palin has expressed skepticism about evolution (which is like not believing in gravity), putting it on par with “creationism,” which posits that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.

    She used to insist that human activities have nothing to do with climate change. “I’m not one … who would attribute it to being man-made,” she said in August. After she joined the GOP ticket, she magically reversed herself, to a point. “Man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming,” she told Charles Gibson two weeks ago.

    Meanwhile, Alaska is melting before our eyes; entire villages erode as sea ice vanishes, glaciers are disappearing at a frightening clip, and “dancing forests” caused by disappearing permafrost astonish residents and tourists. Palin had to keep her head buried particularly deep in an oil well to ever have denied that humans are causing climate change. But, as Upton Sinclair pointed out, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    Palin’s enthusiastic embrace of Big Oil’s agenda (if not always Big Oil itself) has been the platform of her hasty rise in Alaskan politics. In that sense she is as much a product of the oil industry as the current president and his vice president. Palin, whose husband is a production operator for BP on Alaska’s North Slope, has sued the federal government over its listing of the polar bear as an endangered species threatened by global warming, and she has fought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaska’s coast to oil drilling.

    When oil profits are at stake, her fantasy world appears to have no boundaries. About American’s deadly oil dependence, she mused recently, “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem.”

    I guess the only difference between Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney is … lipstick.

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an environmental lawyer and a professor at Pace University Law School.

    Source: latimes

    I got the feeling that’s what McCain’s insistence on moving the debates was all about. Palin needed more time to prepare. By the look of her interviews – I’d say the McCain camp is in deep water.

    But then if McCain got rid of Palin – how would that look on his judgment!! I’d bet he doesn’t change his direction and would contemplate or get the public ready for a Bush style debate where the expectations are set so low that if she opens her mouth – to say her state is near Russia – she wins the debate.

    Radio talk show host Ed Schultz reports:

    Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin. The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as “disastrous.” One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, “What are we going to do?” The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is “clueless.”

    Source: HP Original Ed Schultz

    Out of her depths – and possibly dangerously inexperienced if she were replace John McCain for any reason as president.

    But it’s the GOP’s campaign – more John McCain’s campaign – and I don’t think anyone will pull him away from his `wittle Sarah. Especially not members of that elitist right wing press – who doesn’t see Sarah Palin as a part of the Washington in crowd or that she never appeared on Meet the Press or those other Sunday Talk Shows. For McCain—of course they will attack her – she’s a Maverick like him – she’s sold a plane on eBay, she’s…….

    At least there seems to be a consensus growing that Sarah Palin should not be in the position of the highest office.

    Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, admitting that until recently she was a vocal supporter of Sarah Palin, now says the vice presidential nominee should bow out:

    Some of the passionately feminist critics of Palin who attacked her personally deserved some of the backlash they received. But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick — what a difference a financial crisis makes — and a more complicated picture has emerged.

    As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.

    Parker says her turnaround came from watching Palin in interview. Like other critics, she wasn’t impressed:

    Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

    No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

    Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there.

    Read it all…

    Source: HP Original NRO

    Palin for women

    There’s saving money and there’s saving money – between cutting funding for teen mothers when Palin was governor and charging for rape kits when Plain was mayor (or ignoring the fact that these women were being charged – how could she have not known) – shows an emerging pattern that Palin does not walk the walk when it comes to women’s issues.

    Dorothy Samuels at the New York Times dug into the story that Wasilla charged rape victims for forensic exams and rape kits while Sarah Palin was mayor — or at least she tried to. Apparently the McCain campaign is stonewalling:

    If Ms. Palin ever spoke out about the issue, one way or another, no record has surfaced. Her campaign would not answer questions about when she learned of the policy, strongly supported by the police chief: whether she saw it in the budget and if not, whether she learned of it before or after the State Legislature outlawed the practice.

    All the campaign would do was provide a press release pronouncing: “Prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault is a priority for Gov. Palin.”

    There’s more circumstantial evidence that Palin knew of the policy, which Samuels lays out below. You can read her full piece here.

    Eric Croft, a former Democratic state lawmaker who sponsored the corrective legislation, believes that Wasilla’s mayor knew what was going on. (She does seem to have paid heed to every other detail of town life, including what books were on the library’s shelves.)

    The local hospital did the billing, but it was the town that set the policy, Mr. Croft noted. That policy was reflected in budget documents that Ms. Palin signed.

    Mr. Croft further noted that right after his measure became law, Wasilla’s local paper reported that Ms. Palin’s handpicked police chief, Charlie Fannon, acknowledged the practice of billing to collect evidence for sexual-assault cases. He complained that the state was requiring the town to spend $5,000 to $14,000 a year to cover the costs. “I just don’t want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer,” the chief explained.

    “I can’t imagine any police chief, big city or small, who would take on the entire State Legislature on a bill that passed unanimously and not mention to their mayor that they’re doing this,” Mr. Croft said. Even if he didn’t inform her, the newspaper article would have been hard for her to miss.

    Source: HP

    No witchcraft around here – not that I know of !!

    Raw Video: Palin Saved From ‘Witchcraft’

    Sept. 25 – A video on her hometown church website shows Gov. Sarah Palin being blessed three years ago by a Kenyan pastor who prayed for her protection from ‘witchcraft’ as she prepared to seek higher office.

    AP

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has made a crackdown on gift-giving to state officials a centerpiece of her ethics reform agenda, has accepted gifts valued at $25,367 from industry executives, municipalities and a cultural center whose board includes officials from some of the largest mining interests in the state, a review of state records shows.

    The 41 gifts Palin accepted during her 20 months as governor include honorific tributes, expensive artwork and free travel for a family member. They also include more than $2,500 in personal items from Calista, a large Alaska native corporation with a variety of pending state regulatory and budgetary issues, and a gold-nugget pin valued at $1,200 from the city of Nome, which lobbies on municipal, local and capital budget matters, documents show.

    About a quarter of the entities bestowing gifts on the governor are represented by one of Alaska’s most influential mining lobbyists, who said in an interview that she was not involved in the tributes. The lobbyist, Wendy Chamberlain, has a relationship with the governor’s family through the friendship of their teenage daughters.

    On forms disclosing the gifts, Palin, who is the Republican vice presidential nominee, routinely checked “no” when asked whether she was in a position to “take official action that may affect the person who gave me the gift,” and a spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign said the gifts had no undue influence on her.

    In response to e-mailed questions, Meghan Stapleton, who is based in Alaska for the McCain-Palin campaign, wrote: “Throughout her career Governor Palin has stood for the highest standards of ethics. She spearheaded new ethics reforms in Alaska and took on her own party and entrenched interests to return Alaska’s government to its people.”

    Records show that 23 of the gifts were offered during Palin’s early months in office, when she was pushing the legislature to address a state corruption scandal by passing a package of ethics reforms. She accepted 18 gifts after the law passed in July 2007. Among other provisions, the law forbade executive branch officials from taking gifts from lobbyists or from interests with pending state business.

    Gift rules for elected officials vary among states, with some such as Wisconsin banning all gifts and others with no applicable rules other than anti-bribery statutes. When former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) ran for president this year, he faced questions about his acceptance of more than $150,000 in gifts during a decade in office.

    The Alaska attorney general’s office contends that gifts to a governor must be evaluated on “a case-by-case basis,” Assistant Attorney General Judy Bockman said. Some are offered as “a courtesy,” she said, to newly elected officials and are not considered an ethical issue.

    Palin has noted that passage of the tough ethics law was a proud accomplishment. She took office amid a widespread federal investigation of influence-peddling by Veco, a now-defunct oil pipeline services and construction company, that had led to indictments of prominent state legislators and eventually to charges against Ted Stevens, the state’s senior Republican senator, who is now on trial in Washington.

    Palin forwarded her ethics proposals to the legislature in January 2007, her first month in office. That month, she accepted three gifts from Calista’s chief executive, Matthew Nicolai: a $2,200 ivory puffin mask, a woven grass fan worth $300 and a $150 ivory necklace. Nicolai, who did not return phone calls, runs the large corporation, which profits from a multibillion-dollar gold-mining operation on its land.

    Palin, who holds significant sway over budgetary issues affecting cities, also accepted for “personal use” the gold-nugget pin from Nome. Mayor Denise Michels said the memento was meant to remind the governor that “Nome is a historic mining community.” Palin approved about $6 million in funding this year for a public safety building in the city. “Anything our state can do to help us in capital projects, we’re very grateful,” Michels said.

    Palin has also reported as gifts two fact-finding trips that mining companies sponsored for her husband, Todd. The trips were among several sponsored by mining companies for state officials

    Todd Palin accepted an $805 charter flight from Barrick Gold and a $200 flight from Red Dog Mines. Both companies are clients of Chamberlain, a top lobbyist with Legislative Consultants, which led the state in lobbying income last year.

    Red Dog is the sole taxpayer to the Northwest Arctic Borough, an Alaskan jurisdiction represented by Chamberlain that received $10.9 million from the zinc mine in 2007. The borough gave Palin a whale baleen basket valued at $300.

    Read more

    Source: Washington Post

    Here’s John McCain is full fixing mode – off to fix the financial crisis – in the meeting with the President Obama and others John McCain’s voice was barely audible!

    Obama did attend on the request of the President – who has been making such a big deal about suspending his campaign – in order to deal with the problem – had almost nothing to add – given the perfect opportunity.

    Let’s see how long this charade can continue – will he or won’t he show up for the debate tonight?

    That he also wants to postpone the VP debate is telling – a Biden vs. Palin debate – everyone can’t wait to see that – could McCain think she needs more time to prepare?

    We would love to hear more about the Russian Alaska connection.

    Wise words as John McCain is not to worried about the party’s image–just winning and it seems at any cost. There has been a whole push around – should Barack Obama have picked Hillary as his running mate – but not talked about as much is – if John McCain had brought in Romney–how this would have added real weight to the GOP ticket. And on the economy Romney is better versed than John McCain.

    Appealing so narrowly to the Evangelical vote – has worked out well for the Republicans – one could even accuse them of using religion to get elected – but what has worked in the past may work out to be their down fall this time. As a Mormon Romney was rejected by the Evangelicals Right – whereas Palin – with her radical (she belongs to an underground church which has aims to take America and set up God’s Kingdom on Earth) Christian beliefs – is more appealing to them – but compared to Romney on so many policy issues Palin would be beaten hands down. Though the same can not be said about Biden.

    When Palin seeks to justify her ridiculous assumption that her state’s proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience – she struggles with the word caricature – and wonders why her claim would be made fun of.

    Half of Europe lies next to another country – can we say that every local leader – purely by their country’s closeness to another – gives them foreign policy experience?

    Lack of intelligence – should exclude her from the highest office.

    Here’s a 23/6 caricature Palin might like:

    Obama Release “A Stronger Economy” Ad ~ As McCain Withdraws Ads

    We can be sure that McCain’s deregulation efforts on an economy he had no understanding of – has brought the country to its knees ~

    McCain has now chosen to suspend his campaign ~ so we thought ~ because so far since suspending his campaign he has had time to do at least one press interview ~ as well as to make a speaking appearance (which was at least in part political) at the Clinton Global Initiative ~ although this was for a good cause. While Palin very publicly tours ground zero – attracting media attention!

    McCain wants to have it both ways ~

    Whereas Obama has stated that he is prepared to be where he is needed.

    We need to shown a new direction ~ aim of putting the Republican theories of the trickle down – help the rich – first economy to bed for good.

    Eight years is enough !!

    While John McCain was giving his economic speech I actually noticed his left eye acting strangely. And you got the sense that he wasn’t well – not with the flue – but sick ~ with something. I surprised to hear people talking about it today – it directs attention to his health.

    Mind you George Bush’s eyes looked pretty perturbed during his address to the nation on the current financial crisis. He deserves to be shocked -

    and for that matter so does McCain – when a million homes are in foreclosure and you are saying that the economy is strong – here’s a reality check for the self styled Deregulation John.

    He probably needed to suspend the campaign to slow down and get a needed medical check. That eye didn’t look good.

    Obama Will Make Debate A Townhall If McCain Doesn't Show

    Obama Will Make Debate A Townhall If McCain Doesn't Show

    UPDATE: An adviser Barack Obama says he expects John McCain to attend:

    “I actually think he’s going to come to the debate,” the adviser, Robert Gibbs, told reporters in Washington on Thursday.

    And echoing a talking point that Senator Obama used in his press conference on Thursday, Mr. Gibbs added: “I think he will decide that a president is capable of doing more than one thing at a time.”

    Barack Obama is committed to hosting a public, televised event Friday night in Mississippi even if John McCain does not show up, an official close to the Obama campaign tells the Huffington Post.

    In McCain’s absence, the Senator is willing to make the scheduled debate a townhall meeting, a one-on-one interview with NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer, or the combination of the two, the official said.

    Such a course of action could make life incredibly difficult for McCain, who has called for the suspension of the debate in light of the current economic crisis. Should he stay in Washington D.C. — if a bailout is not completed by then — and let Obama alone reach tens of millions of television viewers?

    A lot, of course, depends upon what the debate commission decides to do. At this point in time, there is no indication that they are going to postpone the affair, as the McCain campaign has asked.

    Separately, on Thursday, Obama himself said he was intending to go to Oxford, Miss for the scheduled debate and called on McCain to be there with him.

    “The American people deserve to hear directly from myself and Sen. McCain about how we intend to lead our country,” Obama said. “The times are too serious to put our campaign on hold, or to ignore the full range of issues that the next president will face.”

    Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on Thursday that he expected the debate to go forward as planned.

    Source: HP

    Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    It’s a long and winding road to the suspension ~ of the McCain and Plain’s campaign. Last night he found time to appear on a TV interview and this morning he found time to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative. Why insist Barack slow down or put on hold his campaign when he has not stopped himself? And today Palin ~ toured ground zero in New York ~ this smacks of control freak ~ McCain is grappling to control not only what Palin might say off the top of her head ~ he is also trying to control the Obama campaign.

    NEW YORK — John McCain expressed confidence Thursday that Congress and the Bush administration can reach consensus before markets open Monday on a $700 billion bailout plan to rescue financial institutions from crippling debt.

    His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, also called for prompt bipartisan action.

    McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, told the Clinton Global Initiative in New York that it’s often difficult to act quickly and wisely. But he said that is what’s required now to come up with a plan that can achieve bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

    “Time is short and doing nothing is not an option,” McCain said. He headed to Washington after his speech.

    Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking to the same audience by satellite later in the morning, agreed that it was imperative to act now in a bipartisan manner.

    “Now is the time to come together, Democrats and Republicans, in the spirit of cooperation on behalf of the American people,” Obama said.

    But Obama made clear that his schedule this week included the first presidential debate. He said he would be in Mississippi on Friday for the debate with McCain after joining legislators in Washington on Thursday. McCain has called for postponing the debate, set to be on foreign policy issues, if no deal has been reached on the bailout by then.

    Both presidential candidates received high praise from former President Bill Clinton.

    Clinton praised McCain on the environment: “When most people in his party had been thinking that global warming was overstated … he decided to look into it.”

    In lauding Obama, Clinton referred to a conversation the two men had earlier this month at Clinton’s Harlem office.

    “Eighty percent of the conversation had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the responsibilities of the next president for the welfare of the American people and the future of the world,” Clinton said.

    The candidates were equally gracious to Clinton, thanking him for his work with the initiative.

    Source: HP

    Should the intellectually challenged be elected ~ If Palin is to follow Bush what types of foreign and national disasters can we expect

    Should the intellectually challenged be elected ~ If Palin is to follow Bush what types of foreign and national disasters can we expect

    Yes, I Can: Refusing to hesitate isn’t a primordial truth of wise governance

    Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin’s performance at the Republican convention. Given her audience and the needs of the moment, I believe Governor Palin’s speech was the most effective political communication I have ever witnessed. Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones “God and country.” If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could.

    Then came Palin’s first television interview with Charles Gibson. I was relieved to discover, as many were, that Palin’s luster can be much diminished by the absence of a teleprompter. Still, the problem she poses to our political process is now much bigger than she is. Her fans seem inclined to forgive her any indiscretion short of cannibalism. However badly she may stumble during the remaining weeks of this campaign, her supporters will focus their outrage upon the journalist who caused her to break stride, upon the camera operator who happened to capture her fall, upon the television network that broadcast the good lady’s misfortune—and, above all, upon the “liberal elites” with their highfalutin assumption that, in the 21st century, only a reasonably well-educated person should be given command of our nuclear arsenal.

    The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth’s surface (she didn’t have a passport until last year), or that she’s never met a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a straight-faced claim that Alaska’s geographical proximity to Russia gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history.

    The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin’s lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. “They think they’re better than you!” is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. “Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!” Yes, all too ordinary.

    We have all now witnessed apparently sentient human beings, once provoked by a reporter’s microphone, saying things like, “I’m voting for Sarah because she’s a mom. She knows what it’s like to be a mom.” Such sentiments suggest an uncanny (and, one fears, especially American) detachment from the real problems of today. The next administration must immediately confront issues like nuclear proliferation, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and covert wars elsewhere), global climate change, a convulsing economy, Russian belligerence, the rise of China, emerging epidemics, Islamism on a hundred fronts, a defunct United Nations, the deterioration of American schools, failures of energy, infrastructure and Internet security … the list is long, and Sarah Palin does not seem competent even to rank these items in order of importance, much less address any one of them.

    Palin’s most conspicuous gaffe in her interview with Gibson has been widely discussed. The truth is, I didn’t much care that she did not know the meaning of the phrase “Bush doctrine.” And I am quite sure that her supporters didn’t care, either. Most people view such an ambush as a journalistic gimmick. What I do care about are all the other things Palin is guaranteed not to know—or will be glossing only under the frenzied tutelage of John McCain’s advisers. What doesn’t she know about financial markets, Islam, the history of the Middle East, the cold war, modern weapons systems, medical research, environmental science or emerging technology? Her relative ignorance is guaranteed on these fronts and most others, not because she was put on the spot, or got nervous, or just happened to miss the newspaper on any given morning. Sarah Palin’s ignorance is guaranteed because of how she has spent the past 44 years on earth.

    Source: Newsweek

    McCain spins a tall tale about fixing Washington and earmark spending ~ but says little if nothing about the lobbyist in operation behind the scenes in Washington ~ or even the group running his campaign.

    All lobbyist can’t be bad ~ but the lobbyist is a paid interest ~ a paid concern for a group or corporation. I might care about poplar bears ~ but they are paid to care about polar bears ~ but more likely the lobbyist with most influence will be those of corporate concerns ~ and they have a record of seeing that their interests are placed over the interests of the American people. And the problem is that John McCain is so closely tied so closely to them, because they represent the interests of the few.

    Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, has remained the treasurer and a corporate director of his lobbying firm this year, despite repeated statements by campaign officials that he had ended his relationship with the firm in 2006, according to corporate records.

    The McCain campaign this week criticized news stories disclosing that, since 2006, Davis’s firm has been paid a $15,000-a-month consulting fee from Freddie Mac, the troubled mortgage giant recently put under federal conservatorship. The stories, published Tuesday by NEWSWEEK, The New York Times and Roll Call, reported that the consulting fees continued until last month even though, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement, neither Davis nor anybody else at his firm did any substantial work for the payments.

    Read more Newsweek


    Source: HP

    Let's Postpone VP Debate Too

    McCain: Let's Postpone VP Debate Too

    The greatest show on earth campaign mangers call for time out ~ but time out for McCain to go Fix Washington’ aah..that’s ‘Fix the Economy’ is one thing ~ but asking for that same time for Palin ~ ‘ready to lead on day one’ is another. And this is where this comes down to a game.

    It is clear Palin needs more time to prepare for the VP debate with Joe Biden.

    It’s John McCain and his party’s deregulation that has brought the country to it’s knees ~ now he wants to appear presidential going off to fix it.

    Mortgage crisis state by state

    Mortgage crisis state by state

    How could John McCain think the economy was sound ~ for who?

    He has admitting in the past ~ not understanding the economy ~

    And Palin is clearly clueless. She spent 88 days working as governor out of 19 months. Palin once walked in to a meeting of Alaska’s Mayors ~ where they had just taken a vote ~ on whether anyone of them had met with her ~ few raised their hands ~ the story goes that Palin entered the meeting spoke for a few minutes ~ then told everyone there she had to cut the meeting short as she was on her way to an anti-abortion rally. The whole thing is being to look way too maverick!

    TERRY FINNEGAN
    I am forced to admit a fatal fascination with Sarah Palin. I think that some very sharp Republican operatives have ensnared me in a magician’s trick. Boy, that ol’ maverick John McCain really gambled on this one. And it looks like he has come up all aces. Polls tighten, and Electoral College estimates swerve close enough to concern anyone hoping to end our current Bush nightmare.

    So let’s review what is at stake. Maverick claims that only he can define victory in Iraq, regardless of Iraqi sentiment, U.S.-Iraq agreements, or popular yearnings. Maverick claims he will institute new energy initiatives after a career of voting down alternative energy development. Maverick claims that the Bush tax cuts are the only means to getting us out of our current economic woes, even though he vigorously opposed them seven years ago during a much stronger economic phase.

    You can add your own list of horrors that we will continue to struggle with-health care, growing income inequality, warfare in place of diplomacy, torture, executive overreach, court appointees. But hand it to Karl Rove’s doppelganger-we are talking Sarah, not talking issues.

    So the Republicans gamble all on a little known woman, hoping that her unseemly side stays hidden for 60 days. Let me posit an election guess. Somehow, the potential bombs that are strewn throughout her Alaskan story will fail to ignite. McCain will carry this newfound enthusiasm pulling down enough states to scare prayers out of Democratic secularists. However, he will not crack the glass ceiling of 270 electoral votes. He would need to run the table of all possible states in play and just like Gore and Kerry he will get tripped up somewhere. My guess would be Ohio as the Dems control the state voting apparatus this time.

    So what gives with the Palin fascination? Mrs. Palin clearly shows how reckless Senator McCain has become, how little he is in personal control of his party’s agenda. Much has been made that her vetting was short on depth and length. He wanted Lieberman or Ridge, politicians who unfortunately were DOA for large segments of the Christian right. Who controlled this VP pick? Who is running the show?

    What happens if Sarah Barracuda becomes president shortly after winning the election? Can anyone safely say? This election is not about the issues per the Republican campaign chief. Smart move, as focusing on the issues will bring the GOP nothing but electoral disaster.

    I foresee a real possibility that Sarah Palin will blow up in the Republicans’ face. The pastiche she has cobbled together is full of holes. She “sold the plane on eBay”? No, she listed it there, but sold it at a loss through a broker. She said “thanks, but no thanks” to Congress on the bridge? No, in fact Alaska kept the money. She wants privacy for her pregnant daughter? Then why parade said daughter and fiancé in front of the nation?

    Yes, my fatal fascination with Mrs. Palin has all the earmarks of watching a car crash. Will she escape serious harm? Troopergate? Whose-babygate? National Enquirer snooping? Will the entire charade blow up with some level of proof about their allegations of an affair? McCain’s gamble on the inexperienced Mrs. Palin is only troubling given that we have a scant two months to know if she can handle the job. It is possible that this gamble will backfire catastrophically and harm the Republicans for years. I’ll be watching closely, fatally fascinated, yet praying that Barack keeps his focus on the issues.

    Source: Wednesday’s Journal

    If we live in a society ~ and a world ~ everyone is a part of it. As someone responsible for making laws you should consider how changing one part will affect another ~ John McCain only thought about how the changes he made or supported would affect the corporations and those on Wall Street – putting into law ways that they can make more profits over benefits to the average person in wider society.

    Imagine giving a corporation a tax break for shipping jobs overseas ~ this in essence penalizes those who would keep jobs in the US. Job losses coupled with the rogue mortgage selling, meant more money for Wall Street ~ but if you don’t have job and can’t pay your mortgage ~ and if 1 million people don’t have a job ~ then the debt on these mortgages ~ which is sold on to institutional buyers of debt ~ doesn’t get paid and neither does the insurance covering that debt. No wonder AIG had a cash short fall.

    John McCain’s ideas on deregulation amounted to tinkering ~ and pottering around for corporate benefit. While he was trying to protect/increase corporate profits ~ he and his party’s efforts have left everyone out of pocket and in a position to cover this corporate debt.

    D should also be equaled to God help us!
    This lady is scrambling to put anything logical and thoughtful together ~ just like Bush.

    Who talks like that?

    And did you notice how she ended it ~ I’ll get back to you.

    When she was elected in Alaska and knew nothing about the subject matter ~ and when questioned on what she might do ~ she patted a pile of papers (the same ones they were trying to give her a crash course in) and said something like the answers are in this stack of papers.

    Woe!

    As McCain tries to keep up the appearance of the in control commander and chief ~ over the mess that his 26 years in Washington allowed him to be in a position to create ~ he abandons the campaign trail and rushes back to Washington to advise on the Fixin’ of the economy. Perhaps this is a little too Maverick ~ for what both America and the world needs at this time.

    Gov. Sarah Palin could not name a single instance in which Sen. John McCain has advocated for more regulation of the market — a position that, in the wake of crisis in the housing and financial markets, the Arizona Senator has adopted as his own.

    Appearing on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Palin briefly discussed McCain’s call for greater oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the two beleaguered mortgage houses – as evidence that McCain doesn’t always shy from a firmer government role in the economy. But when pressed, she could not name an actual instance where McCain supported regulation.

    Source: HP

    President Bush poses for photographers after delivering a prime-time speech from the White House on the ailing financial markets, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008, in Washington. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

    WASHINGTON — President Bush said Wednesday that lawmakers risk a cascade of wiped-out retirement savings, rising home foreclosures, lost jobs and closed businesses if they fail to act on a massive financial rescue plan. “Our entire economy is in danger,” he said.

    “Without immediate action by Congress, American could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold,” Bush said in a 12-minute prime-time address delivered from the White House East Room that he hoped would help rescue his tough-sell bailout package. “Ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.”

    Said Bush: “We must not let this happen.”

    Source: HP

    More information is emerging about the peculiar religious upbringing of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

    On Tuesday, progressive writer and documentarian Max Blumenthal reported on visits he had made to Palin’s former church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, in late September, and the sermons of the controversial visiting pastor, Thomas Muthee.

    “Muthee implored his audience to wage ‘spiritual warfare’ against ‘the enemy.’ As I filmed, a nervous church staffer approached from behind and told me to put my camera away. I acceded to his demand, but as Muthee urged the church to crush ‘the python spirit’ of the unbeliever enemies by stomping on their necks, I pulled out a smaller camera and filmed from a more discreet position. Now, church members were in deep prayer, speaking in tongues and raising their hands. Muthee exclaimed, ‘We come against the spirit of witchcraft! We come against the python spirits!’ Then, a local pastor took the mic from Muthee and added, ‘We stomp on the heads of the enemy!’”

    Read more
    Source: HP

    Saturday, September 27th, Noon – 2:00 pm

    Downtown Park Strip between I and L Streets, and 9th and 10th.

    Main Stage at the Veterans’ Memorial, east end of the park.

    Join your Alaskan neighbors in demanding that:

    Gov. Palin uphold her promise to us for an “open, honest & transparent” government.

    Gov. Palin uphold her promise to us to cooperate fully with the independent investigation as initiated by the bi-partisan Legislative Council.

    We, the People of Alaska, also

    Demand the immediate resignation of Attorney General Talis Colberg.

    Demand the McCain campaign immediately remove itself and its influence from our state and local government

    Demand the McCain Campaign ends its attorney, Ed O’Callahan’s unlawful intrusion into our Department of Law.

    Source: Mudflats

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