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So long as Palin is in Alaska ~ then I’m okay with that! Go Todd!!

The last public event at which Gov. Sarah Palin was accompanied by Secret Service agents during the 2008 campaign was on the day after the election, when she arrived home in Alaska on the McCain-Palin campaign plane. As the governor greeted supporters on the tarmac outside a charter jet hangar, agents formed the usual protective wall around the former vice-presidential candidate.

But that was not, apparently, the last the Palins saw of at least some of the agents.

On Thursday, according to the governor, her husband Todd, a four time champion of the Iron Dog snow machine race, took some of the agents out for a taste of his favorite subarctic sport.

“They were dying to know, ‘Well, what is that all about up there in Alaska?’” Ms. Palin said at the end of a brief interview in her office on Friday. “Well, they escorted us up to Alaska, so Todd took them out on machines. That was a blast.”

Could there have been more to it than just fun? Was the Secret Service thinking ahead, preparing for a possible future administration? Had Ms. Palin become vice president, questions loomed over whether agents would have had to accompany Mr. Palin the next time he competes in the Iron Dog, a 2,000 mile race across the tundra each February. The race is unforgiving, to say the least. This year, Mr. Palin broke his arm when he was thrown from his machine with 400 miles to go, though he got patched up and still came in fourth.

Then again, maybe the Palins just befriended some of the agents. The governor often joked on the campaign trail that her husband, an oil production supervisor on Alaska’s North Slope, “looks like one of the Secret Service guys”

thecaucus75

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One could mention – that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones – but I don’t think Sarah Palin would listen.

While Palin digs into – Barack Obama’s “palling” around with Vietnam protesting terrorists – others look at her relationship and seeming support for an Alaska secessionist group and her patriotism.

Palin’s Attack On Obama’s Patriotism Legitimizes Questions About The Palins’ Association With Group Founded By America-Hating Secessionist

Sarah Palin attacked Obama’s patriotism today over his association with former Weatherman Bill Ayers — a move that makes it perfectly legitimate to raise questions about the Palins’ associations with a group founded by an Alaska secessionist who once professed his “hatred for the American government” and cursed our “damn flag.”

In Colorado today, Palin seized on the big front-page New York Times story about Ayers and Obama, which concludes that the two men “do not appear to have been close,” to launch her most vicious attack yet on the Illinois Senator — a harbinger of what’s to come.

“This is not a man who sees America as you and I do — as the greatest force for good in the world,” Palin said. “This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.”

If Palin is going to say this, it is now perfectly legitimate to point out that she repeatedly courted a secessionist group founded by someone who openly professed hatred of the American government, cursed our flag, and wanted to secede from the Union. Sarah’s husband, Todd Palin, was a member of this group, which continues to venerate that founder to this day, for years.

As you already know, the group is the Alaska Independence Party, which sees as its ultimate goal seceding from the union. Todd was a member, with a brief exception, from 1995 until 2002, according to the Division of Elections in Alaska.

And though Sarah Palin herself was apparently not a member of this group, there’s no doubt that she repeatedly courted this secessionist organization over the years. In 1994, Palin attended the group’s annual convention, according to witnesses who spoke to ABC News’ Jake Tapper. The McCain campaign has confirmed she visited the group’s 2000 convention, and she addressed its convention this year, as an incumbent governor whose oath of office includes upholding the Constitution of the United States.

Sarah Palin addresses the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) convention.

The founder of the AIP was a man named Joe Vogler. Here’s what he had to say in a 1991 interview, only a few years before Palin attended its convention: “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.”

He also said this: “And I won’t be buried under their damn flag. I’ll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.”

Vogler has also said: “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.”

McCain apologists will argue that Sarah Palin was not a member of this group. But Obama wasn’t a member of any Ayers anti-American group, either. And again, Palin repeatedly courted the AIP, and her husband was a member for years.

The main takeaway from today’s Times story is that Obama’s ties to Ayers are, if anything, less substantial than commonly alleged. So if the Ayers association means Obama “palled around” with “terrorists,” as Palin put it today, surely Palin can be said to have “palled around” with a secessionist party whose founder openly professed hatred of America.

If Palin is going to directly question Obama’s patriotism over his association Ayers, surely all these facts are now fair game and freshly relevant

Source: TPM


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

    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

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