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NEW YORK — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin enters her debate Thursday with Joe Biden needing to make a strong positive impression on voters, many of whom are expressing serious doubts about her readiness.

A new AP-Gfk poll released Wednesday found that just 25 percent of likely voters believe Palin has the right experience to be president. That’s down from 41 percent just after the GOP convention, when the Alaska governor made her well-received debut on the national stage.

This photo provided by the Palin Campaign shows Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, preparing for her first and only debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Sedona, Ariz., ranch of her running-mate, Sen. John McCain, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008. On the left is McCain-Palin campaign senior policy advisor Randall Scheunemann. The debate will take place Thursday in St. Louis, Mo. (AP Photo/Palin Campaign) (AP)

This photo provided by the Palin Campaign shows Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, preparing for her first and only debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Sedona, Ariz., ranch of her running-mate, Sen. John McCain, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008. On the left is McCain-Palin campaign senior policy advisor Randall Scheunemann. The debate will take place Thursday in St. Louis, Mo. (AP Photo/Palin Campaign) (AP)

Thursday night’s debate in St. Louis gives her a chance to overcome the doubts in a 90-minute showcase, the first time most Americans outside Alaska will see her in a lengthy give-and-take session.

On the other hand, a poor performance against Biden, the Delaware senator, could cement a negative image for the rest of the campaign.

Palin has been preparing at Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s retreat in Sedona, Ariz

Source: Washington Post

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Back to Palin’s folksy tales – if Sarah Palin is good at telling a story so is Joe Biden – the only difference is he actually thinks the facts matter. He would not tell a story to conceal the fact that he knows nothing about the issues – but besides oil – that’s all Palin has been doing.

For all the speculation over how Sarah Palin will fare in the vice-presidential debate Thursday night, her Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, faces a challenge of his own: taking on the Alaska governor without coming across as sexist or a bully.

Barack Obama’s campaign has assembled a team of top advisers, including several prominent female debaters, to help prepare the Delaware senator, known for his tough attacks and candor, to debate the Republicans’ first female vice-presidential nominee. Since Sunday, the team has been hunkered down at the Sheraton Suites hotel in Wilmington, Del.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has been playing the role of Gov. Palin. “I want to beat him up a little, so he does well,” Gov. Granholm told reporters. One Biden aide said Gov. Granholm was chosen to portray Gov. Palin in the preparations because she ran as an outsider and reformer in Michigan in 2002 and 2006. Like Gov. Palin, Gov. Granholm is a former beauty queen and sports mom.

Sen. Biden also has received advice from Democratic primary opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and a number of top campaign aides.

Aides say Sen. Biden will emphasize issues rather than attacks, and debate preparations have centered on making the case for Sen. Obama rather than tearing down Gov. Palin. “I think this will come down to bigger questions than who can throw a sharp elbow. This is a much bigger election” than that, says Patti Solis Doyle, Sen. Biden’s campaign chief of staff.

Sen. Biden recently said reporters are in a “time warp” if they think he will prepare any differently to debate a woman than a man. He cited debating Sens. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Olympia Snowe of Maine and other women in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Biden debated Sen. Clinton 12 times during the Democratic primaries.

“It seems like the only people in the room that think that debating a woman is going to be fundamentally different are people who don’t hang around with smart women,” Sen. Biden said aboard his campaign plane.

Sen. Biden’s 30-plus years in the Senate could open a line of attack from Gov. Palin, who left the campaign trail Monday to prepare for the debate at Sen. McCain’s ranch in Sedona, Ariz., McCain aides said. She could also use Sen. Biden’s experience to portray him as the Washington status quo.

While Biden aides insist gender isn’t an issue, it is rare for a woman to be on the ticket. The last time — and the first time — a woman was on a major-party ticket was in 1984, when Democrat Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate.

Ms. Ferraro debated then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in an encounter that was widely interpreted as having sexist overtones. “Let me just say, first of all, that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy,” Ms. Ferraro replied to one attack. At the same time, strategists say Sen. Biden can’t soften his approach or appear to be changing his tactics because he is debating a woman; that, too, could be perceived as sexist.

Aides say Sen. Biden can counter some of the Alaska governor’s down-home appeal by playing up his working-class roots in Scranton, Pa. Sen. Biden, consistently ranked as one of the least-wealthy senators, still lives in Wilmington and takes the train to work in Washington. “I think Biden should use his sense of humor and really turn this into a debate about who’s folksier,” says Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

Source: WSJ

Barely Political: The REAL Sarah Palin!

Palin doesn’t take kindly to being criticized – she has gone out her way to ruin people who she feels have crossed her ….

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a dumpster, but since she didn’t, I should “off” myself.

Click for Spilling the Beans ~ when Palin says the facts and figures don't matter.

Click to see spilling the beans - when Palin says the facts and figures don't matter.

Those are a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down.

Who says public discourse hasn’t deteriorated?

The fierce reaction to my column has been both bracing and enlightening. After 20 years of column writing, I’m familiar with angry mail. But the past few days have produced responses of a different order. Not just angry, but vicious and threatening.

Some of my usual readers feel betrayed because I previously have written favorably of Palin. By changing my mind and saying so, I am viewed as a traitor to the Republican Party — not a “true” conservative.

Obviously, I’m not employed by the GOP. If I were, the party is seriously in arrears. But what is a true conservative? One who doesn’t think or question and who marches in lock step with The Party?

The emotional pitch of many comments suggests an overinvestment in Palin as “one of us.”

Palin’s fans say they like her specifically because she’s an outsider, not part of the Washington club. When she flubs during interviews, they identify with that, too. “You see the lack of polish, we applaud it,” one reader wrote.

Of course, there’s a difference between a lack of polish and a lack of coherence. Some of Palin’s interview responses can’t even be critiqued on their merits because they’re so nonsensical. But even that is someone else’s fault, say Palin supporters. The media make her uncomfortable.

Or, it’s the fault of those slick politicos who are overmanaging her. “Let Sarah be Sarah” has become the latest rallying cry among my colleagues on the right. She’ll be fine if we just leave her alone, they say. Between prayers, I might add.

Not all my mail has been mean-spirited. A fair number of the writers politely expressed disappointment; others, relief and gratitude. Still others offered reasonable arguments aimed at changing my mind. I may yet.

In the meantime, though, I would note that this assault and my decision to write about it aren’t really about me — or even Sarah Palin. The mailbag is about us, our country, and what we really believe.

That we have become a partisan nation is no secret. This week has provided a vivid example of where rabid partisanship leads with the failure of Congress to pass a bailout bill vitally needed to keep our economy from unraveling.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave a partisan speech, blaming the credit crisis on the Bush administration (omitting the Clinton administration’s role in launching the subprime lending debacle). Republicans responded by voting against the bill.

Everyone’s to blame, by the way.

But when you have been in power for eight years – it’s your hands on the wheel – sorry – i.e. that’s the Republicans.

And subprime mortgages will continue – but need to be better regulated – against such things as the lying on the application form – by unscrupulous mortgage brokers – in addition people should be given all the facts about their mortgages – up front – especially where the low interests starters or incentives are concerned.

Such extreme partisanship has a crippling effect on government, which may be desirable at times, but not now. More important in the long term is the less tangible effect of stifling free speech. My mail paints an ugly picture and a bleak future if we do not soon correct ourselves.

The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn’t sound American to me, but Stalin would approve.

Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different from one’s own, we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)

I’m sure it is coincidence that, upon the Palin column’s publication, a conservative organization canceled a speech I was scheduled to deliver in a few days. If I were as paranoid as the conspiracy theorists are, I might wonder whether I was being punished for speaking incorrectly.

Unfortunately, that’s the way one begins to think when party loyalty is given a higher value than loyalty to bedrock principles.

Our day of reckoning may indeed be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.

In that spirit, may Sarah Palin be fearless in tomorrow’s debate and speak her true mind

Source: Washington Post

Source: 23/6

Sarah Palin Vlog #1: Katie Couric Interview

Sarah Palin Vlog #2: Debate Prep

Sarah Palin Vlog #3: Cramming for the Economics Debate

Source: 23/6

Spilling the beans – Palin is quoted as saying – facts and figures don’t matter!

Monitor opinion editor Josh Burek talks with former Alaska state representative and gubenatorial candidate Andrew Halcro about Gov. Sarah Palin’s debating abilities.

Anchorage, Alaska – When he faces off against Sarah Palin Thursday night, Joe Biden will have his hands full.

I should know. I’ve debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times. And she’s a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. Against such charms there is little Senator Biden, or anyone, can do.

On paper, of course, the debate appears to be a mismatch.

In 2000, Palin was the mayor of an Alaskan town of 5,500 people, while Biden was serving his 28th year as a United States senator. Her major public policy concern was building a local ice rink and sports center. His major public policy concern was the State Department’s decision to grant an export license to allow sales of heavy-lift helicopters to Turkey, during tense UN-sponsored Cyprus peace talks.

On paper, the difference in experience on both domestic and foreign policy is like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing a bullet. Unfortunately for Biden, if recent history is an indicator, experience or a grasp of the issues won’t matter when it comes to debating Palin.

On April 17, 2006, Palin and I participated in a debate at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks on agriculture issues. The next day, the Fairbanks Daily News Miner published this excerpt:

“Andrew Halcro, a declared independent candidate from Anchorage, came armed with statistics on agricultural productivity. Sarah Palin, a Republican from Wasilla, said the Matanuska Valley provides a positive example for other communities interested in agriculture to study.”

On April 18, 2006, Palin and I sat together in a hotel coffee shop comparing campaign trail notes. As we talked about the debates, Palin made a comment that highlights the phenomenon that Biden is up against.

“Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, ‘Does any of this really matter?’ ” Palin said.

While policy wonks such as Biden might cringe, it seemed to me that Palin was simply vocalizing her strength without realizing it. During the campaign, Palin’s knowledge on public policy issues never matured – because it didn’t have to. Her ability to fill the debate halls with her presence and her gift of the glittering generality made it possible for her to rely on populism instead of policy.

Palin is a master of the nonanswer. She can turn a 60-second response to a query about her specific solutions to healthcare challenges into a folksy story about how she’s met people on the campaign trail who face healthcare challenges. All without uttering a word about her public-policy solutions to healthcare challenges.

In one debate, a moderator asked the candidates to name a bill the legislature had recently passed that we didn’t like. I named one. Democratic candidate Tony Knowles named one. But Sarah Palin instead used her allotted time to criticize the incumbent governor, Frank Murkowski. Asked to name a bill we did like, the same pattern emerged: Palin didn’t name a bill.

And when she does answer the actual question asked, she has a canny ability to connect with the audience on a personal level. For example, asked to name a major issue that had been ignored during the campaign, I discussed the health of local communities, Mr. Knowles talked about affordable healthcare, and Palin talked about … the need to protect hunting and fishing rights.

So what does that mean for Biden? With shorter question-and-answer times and limited interaction between the two, he should simply ignore Palin in a respectful manner on the stage and answer the questions as though he were alone. Any attempt to flex his public-policy knowledge and show Palin is not ready for prime time will inevitably cast him in the role of the bully.

On the other side of the stage, if Palin is to be successful, she needs to do what she does best: fill the room with her presence and stick to the scripted sound bites.

Andrew Halcro served two terms as a Republican member of the Alaska State House of Representatives. He ran for governor as an Independent in 2006, debating Sarah Palin more than two dozen times. He blogs at http://www.andrewhalcro.com .

A compilation of attacks on Sarah Palin’s record make up a new ad set to run in Colorado and other battleground states prior to the vice presidential debate Thursday.

For Coloradans already bombarded with attack ads this one’s a bit different — schmaltzy music, goofy 80’s-style heartbeat graphics and not a ominous voice to be heard. Oh, and there’s that grainy black and white image of John McCain with arm outstretched in a death pall pose over a chirpy soundtrack of “one heartbeat away.” Yipes!

Source: CI

This is the type of thinking we need to get rid of – Palin is not satisfied with hunting wolves herself in a way that could be compared to shooting fish in a barrel – she wants to offer a bounty for anyone who can bring in the foreleg of a wolf !! Wild thinking!

Of all the ads to have aired this presidential campaign, one of the most successful may have been one of the least remarked-upon.

Weeks ago, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund released a 60-second spot titled “Brutal,” denouncing Gov. Sarah Palin’s support for an aerial wolf killing program as well as a policy that places bounties on the forelegs of killed wolves. It was, according to trackers of voter responses, one of the most effective ads of the cycle.

It also earned the organization $600,000 in donations in the six hours after it was released, and more than $1 million overall. With the extra funds, the organization is now plowing money back into its advertisement.

On Wednesday, the wildlife group will announce that they are expanding the airing of its ad to additional swing states – a measure meant to correspond with Thursday’s vice presidential debate. The ad is currently airing in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Northern Virginia; voters in Colorado and Missouri will soon see it also.

“Defenders of Wildlife has found a more effective critique of Palin than the Obama campaign or Democratic Party,” said a source with the organization. “The ad damages Palin with exactly the voters McCain put her on the ticket to attract — suburban women, moderate Independents.”

The group’s initial spot scored incredibly well among focus groups. A study of 312 Democrats, Republicans and Independents showed that the ad produced “moderate movement among all parties” in Obama’s favor. The spot earned a Political Communications Impact Score of 23.5, making it, according to the site Media Curves, the second most effective ad to have aired this cycle.

And unlike many presidential campaign ads this cycle, the claims made in the Defenders spot are virtually all true, albeit with some caveats, according to FactCheck.org.

“Aerial killing of wolves may not be your standard national election issue, but it is one that helps illuminate an important part of Sarah Palin’s character,” President of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund Rodger Schlickeisen said in a statement. “We believe voters deserve to know about her support for this brutal practice, and we are confident the issue can move votes as we head into the home stretch of this campaign.”

Source: HP


Sarah Palin discusses global warming and its causes, vaguely, on CBS
Sarah Palin clearly was in her comfort zone when she chatted on-air Tuesday with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. As The Ticket noted , she presented a persona and offered some lines that could serve her well in her Thursday debate with Joe Biden.

Tuesday also saw the broadcast of the last of her several interviews with Katie Couric of CBS (we will miss them; they were fast becoming a staple of our daily routine).

The final segment may not spark more calls from conservative commentators that Palin give up her spot on the Republican national ticket. But in front of the television cameras — and in the face of more pointed questioning — the self-assurance that marked her conversation with Hewitt continued to elude her.

One answer by Palin will do little to quell concerns about her position on global warming. As she did with ABC’s Charlie Gibson a few weeks back, she did her best to skirt a direct answer on its causes.

From the transcript:

    Palin's idea for the polar bears is to shot them - literally - Palin and her husband Todd are challenging the Federal Gov. to have polar bears removed from the threatened species list - as their habitat - which is already being eroded by the loss of ice - gets in the way of their and Big Oil’s proposed oil drilling plans, but also to lift the ban on hunting them.

    Palin’s idea for the polar bears is to shoot them - literally - Palin and her husband Todd are challenging the Federal Gov. to have polar bears removed from the threatened species list - as their habitat gets in the way of their and Big Oil’s proposed oil drilling plans, but also to lift the ban on hunting them.

    Couric: What’s your position on global warming? Do you believe it’s man-made or not?

    Palin: Well, we’re the only Arctic state, of course, Alaska. So we feel the impacts more than any other state, up there with the changes in climates. And certainly, it is apparent. We have erosion issues. And we have melting sea ice, of course. So, what I’ve done up there is form a sub-cabinet to focus solely on climate change. Understanding that it is real. And …

    Couric: Is it man-made, though in your view?

    Palin: You know there are – there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, these impacts. I’m not going to solely blame all of man’s activities on changes in climate. Because the world’s weather patterns are cyclical. And over history we have seen change there. But kind of doesn’t matter at this point, as we debate what caused it. The point is: it’s real; we need to do something about it.

Pardon us for asking, but would it not be difficult to devise an effective policy to mitigate the effects of global warming without a firm grasp on what caused it?

Palin also was not about to be pinned down …

… by Couric on the subject of her reading habits. Here’s the exchange:

    Couric: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

    Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

    Couric: What, specifically?

    Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

    Couric: Can you name a few?

    Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Palin may well ace her final on Thursday (especially if much of the public decides to grade on the curve). But following the debate, we think it far more likely her future bookings will tilt heavily toward tete-a-tetes with friendly radio types than sit-downs with the likes of Gibson and Couric.

— Don Frederick

Source: LATimes

Will looking good be enough!! Without a teleprompter how will Palin communicate the facts?

She’s clearly good at making up a story or two – perhaps this might be one of her solutions.

But we should all look to getting behind Joe Biden – so far every reporter that Palin has had an interview with has been accused of beating her up – it’s the workman who blames his tools for the Republican spin artists.

Joe Biden when asked how would he deal with Palin – he said “respectful” – what more can she hope for – but this in no way should mean he should give her an easy ride.

The only easy ride she should get is from McCain!!

*

Not since Dan Quayle took the stage in 1988 have debate expectations for a major party candidate been as low as they will be on Thursday for Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

A newcomer to the national scene, Ms. Palin has given little indication that she has been engaged in a serious way in the pressing national and international issues of the day.

But a review of a handful of her debate performances in the race for governor in 2006 shows a somewhat different persona from the one that has emerged since Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, named Ms. Palin as the vice-presidential nominee a month ago.

Ms. Palin, a former mayor who had become a whistle-blower about ethical misconduct in state government, held her own in those debates. (There were almost two dozen in the general election alone; she skipped some, and not all were recorded.)

She staked out a populist stance against oil companies and projected a fresh, down-to-earth face at a time when voters wanted change. That helped her soundly defeat Frank H. Murkowski, the unpopular Republican governor, in the primary and former Gov. Tony Knowles in the general election.

Her debating style was rarely confrontational, and she appeared confident. In contrast to today, when she seems unversed on several important issues, she demonstrated fluency on certain subjects, particularly oil and gas development.

But just as she does now, Ms. Palin often spoke in generalities and showed scant aptitude for developing arguments beyond a talking point or two. Her sentences were distinguished by their repetition of words, by the use of the phrase “here in Alaska” and for gaps. On paper, her sentences would have been difficult to diagram.

John Bitney, the policy director for her campaign for governor and the main person who helped prepare her for debates, said her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.”

These tendencies could fuzz her meaning and lead her into linguistic cul-de-sacs. She often used less than her allotted time and ended her answers abruptly.

When questioned about the nuts and bolts of governing, Ms. Palin tended to avoid specifics and instead fell back on her core values: a broadly conservative philosophy and a can-do spirit.

“My attitude and my approaches towards dealing with the complexities of health care issues,” she said in an AARP debate in October 2006, “is a respectful and responsible approach, and it’s a positive approach. I don’t believe that the sky is falling here in Alaska.”

These patterns could help explain why the McCain campaign negotiated for less time for discussion in her debate Thursday with Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware than the presidential candidates had in their debate last week.

Ms. Palin was not always at her best when questioned by her opponents in the governor’s race.

In the AARP debate, Mr. Knowles and Andrew Halcro, an independent, double-teamed her to press her about how she would pay for health care.

In response to Mr. Knowles, she mentioned “certificates of need” and said they had been inflexible, “creating an environment where a lot of folks are lacking the receiving of their health care that is needed in some of the areas, especially in some of our larger markets.” She added, “The State of Alaska needs to be looking specifically at that inflexibility that exists today in order to fill some of the market needs that are out there in Alaska in our larger markets.”

She then added, “I can’t tell you how much that will reduce monetarily our health care costs, but competition makes everyone better, it makes us work harder, it does allow reduction in costs, so addressing that is going to be a priority.”

Mr. Knowles was nonplussed, saying that he did not understand her answer and that Ms. Palin had missed the point.

Mr. Halcro asked how she would pay for critical health care programs.

“Well, the point there, Andrew,” she said, “is that these are critical, and again it’s a matter of prioritizing and it’s a matter of government understanding its proper role in public safety, is health care, so it’s a matter of priorities.”

Mr. Halcro called her answer “political gibberish.”

But other times, she gave direct answers that appealed directly to her audience. The candidates were asked in a debate on Aug. 17, 2006, by a rural resident via video whether they would restore a longevity bonus for senior citizens, a payment intended to keep them from leaving the state.

“No,” Mr. Murkowski said gruffly. John Binkley, a third candidate, said yes. Ms. Palin’s response was filled with emotion.

“Yes, our precious, precious elders,” she said, looking into the camera. “For those who were prematurely lopped off, I am so sorry that that has happened to you.”

But generally, her voice carried surprisingly little affect.

“In tone, manner and sometimes even language, she treated every issue exactly the same,” Michael Carey, the former editorial page editor of The Anchorage Daily News, wrote in an essay about Ms. Palin. “She gave no suggestion that some issues are of higher priority than others. Her voice was cheerful, up-tempo, optimistic, never off key but always in the same key.”

Perhaps her strength in debating was coming across like an average person who understood the average person’s needs and would not be expected to have detailed policy prescriptions.

She also neutralized some of her conservative social views. She said intelligent design should be taught in schools — along with evolution. She said she favored the teaching of abstinence — along with the teaching of sex education. “Let the kids debate both sides,” she said.

She was not a particularly aggressive debater, and she rarely took an opportunity to challenge her opponents. But when pressed, she could be tough. In a roundtable discussion in October on the “Bob and Mark Show,” Mr. Halcro suggested that Ms. Palin had not attended enough debates.

“It’s been a year today that I’ve been on the campaign trail,” Ms. Palin responded, “attending many, many more forums, more debates, than either one of you, Tony and Andrew, because I had a primary opponent. You know, you got to have the balls to take it on in the early part of a campaign, and not just go right to the big show.”

Source: NYT

At the moment just expect everything Sarah Palin says to be either a bold face lie or a half truth. Including all things to do with her finances – actual accounts will be released on Oct 6 ’08.

This defines being out of touch. On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Sarah Palin calls herself “an everyday working class American” — but the truth is that her family income is $250K and she owns five properties, two watercraft, and an airplane.

Here she was on Hewitt’s show:

Todd and I, heck, we’re going through that right now even as we speak, which may put me again kind of on the outs of those Washington elite who don’t like the idea of just an everyday working class American running for such an office.

HP

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has introduced her family to the nation as small-town common folk since she burst onto the scene as the surprise pick for the Republican vice-presidential nominee last month. A check of financial records, though, shows the Palins live anything but a common life when compared with their fellow residents of their hometown of Wasilla.

Their combined income of nearly a quarter-million dollars last year was five times the median household income for Wasilla’s 7,000 residents. They own a single-engine plane, two boats, two personal watercraft and a half-million-dollar, custom-built home on a lake that is worth three times the average of other homes in town.

For the future, they also have a 401(k) retirement account compliments of Todd Palin’s years as an engineer with oil giant BP.

“Gov. Palin’s story is emblematic of the American dream,” McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said.

The Palins have been hugely successful by most standards in both their public and their private lives, according to the records.

“As a person, she’s consistent, honest and warm,” said Cheryl Metiva, executive director of the chamber of commerce in the Palins’ hometown of Wasilla. “As a politician, she’s focused, direct and clear. And she’s done a tremendous job of balancing her family life and with her public duties.

“You underestimate her at your peril,” she said.

The couple’s house was appraised this year at $552,100, which, according to Alaska magazine, was designed and built by Mr. Palin.

Mr. Palin, known in Alaska as the “First Dude,” is a longtime commercial fisherman who maintains a highly sought-after commercial-fishing permit that has been handed down in his family from generation to generation. A native of Dillingham, Alaska, his mother is one-quarter Yup’ik Eskimo and his maternal grandmother is a member of the Curyung tribe, which is the source of the permit.

“Hard work and principled convictions have allowed her to catapult to being the most popular governor in America,” Mr. Porritt said of the Republican candidate.

Source: Washington Times


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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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:

    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

    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.

    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!

    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

    Strangely the Republicans – sound like they are all using the same broken record !!

    I’ll bet it’s called The Fumbles.