You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 30, 2008.


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

    Advertisements

    https://i0.wp.com/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

    September 2008
    M T W T F S S
        Oct »
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    2930  
    Advertisements