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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who is Gov. Sarah Palin, and What Does Sen. McCain's Choice Suggest? (Edited & Updated)

Commentary, analysis:

Governor Palin's daughter's current pregnancy should be off-limits (despite mom's opposition to sex education and support of "abstinence only" education) unless it directly ties to misstatements by the candidate.

However, if the Republicans continue to make that pregnancy an issue, as seems likely (seemingly at least partially in an effort to divert attention to the questions regarding Governor Palin's alleged"fifth pregnancy"), Democrats, Independents and other Republicans must be free to discuss related issues relevant to the candidate.

(Editor's note: After having published a version of this story discussing issues related to the story of Governor Palin's "disputed" most recent pregnancy, I have decided, in spite of real doubts surrounding the events of that pregnancy (which was not known to even her closest staff until the Governor was reportedly seven months pregnant) and regarding her flight home from Texas to "deliver" the baby, that further discussion of that situation is not necessary or appropriate here, at this time
. CowHen.Net supports those who continue to investigate and report that story.)

I don't intend to cover all of the issues surrounding Governor Palin and her choice by Sen. McCain. There's just too much there. But there are at least two points to be mentioned.

First, what is the significance of Palin's past support and apparent membership in the Alaska Independence Party -- which supports Alaskan independence from the U.S. (by way of a statewide vote on determination of Alaskan status.)

From Daily Kos:

In this clip, AIP Vice Chairman of the AIP, Dexter Clark reveals that:

"Our current governor who I mentioned at the last conference, the one we were hoping would get elected, Sarah Palin, did get elected . . . .and there was a lot of talk about her moving up. She was an AIP member before she got the job as mayor . . ."

Two quotes from the AIP founder, Joseph Vogler, the first from the above Daily Kos article, the second from TPM:

"I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."
"The problem with you John Birchers' is that you are too damn liberal!"

The Alaska Independence Party discusses their desires for the future in this interview "submitted by Lynette Clark, Chairman, Alaskan Independence Party" in the Russian online publication, Pravda, reportedly on April 20, 2008:

6. What exactly do you envision as a result of self-determination? And what role is the US constitution in this self-determination? What about federal taxation, the military and such?

The people of Alaska are "masters in their own house" and entitled to decide on their own future. Considering the availability of our natural resources and unique character of Alaskans, complete Independence would be the best logical outcome. We have a great respect for U.S. Constitution, most Alaskans see it as divinely inspired document and would like to keep as the Law of the Land. AIP would oppose any oppressive form of taxation and all the expenditures would be legislated locally in correlation with the Nation’s revenues.

7. Do you foresee conducting relations with other countries independently?

As stated in Burlington Declaration, a document adopted during 2006 First North America Secessionist Convention: “Nations once independent should engage in peace, commerce, good will and honest friendship with all nations.” We are prepared to keep good working relations with U.S., while developing strong commercial ties with our neighbors: Canada, Russia, Japan and China. Commerce and Free Trade is one of the hallmarks of a sovereign Nation.

10. Can you familiarize our readers with the international laws you are relying upon to pursue your claims?

General Assembly Resolution 637, 16 December, 1952, (VII), considering the Right of people’s for self- Determination and a basic Human Right makes it clear: “3. The States Members of the United Nations responsible for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories shall take the practical steps, pending the realization of the right of self-determination and in preparation thereof, to ensure the direct participation of the indigenous populations in the legislative and executive organs of government of those territories, and to prepare them for complete self-government or independence”.

The U.S. Government completely neglected its responsibilities to the people of Alaska, which UN considered to be a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and did nothing to inform Alaskans about their Rights under that resolution. By allowing the U.S. Military Personnel and their of age dependents to vote on Alaska statehood on August 26, 1958, the U.S. Government forced its will on Alaskans. We believe that all these actions of the U.S. Government make the “statehood vote” of 1958 illegal and Alaska should retain the status of Non-Self-Governing Territory.

11. As you have presented your case to the UN, have you had any response as of yet from them or the international community?

Just when Mr. Vogler had letter in hand confirming UN sponsor contact, he was kidnapped and murdered. We start again.

12. Can you expand upon the official statement which alluded to the United States and the theft of natural resources in Alaska?

The AIP founder Mr. Joseph E. Vogler, described the situation the best: “An Alaskan economy (except for oil and government employment, financed by oil royalties and taxes) is practically non-existent. We are not allowed to process our oil before exporting it to the United States, and as mentioned before, they have the audacity to openly state that, ‘the production of Alaska's resources will create a great many jobs in other states, where they will be taken for manufacture and distribution.’ Alaska is nothing more than a colonial warehouse of natural resources to fuel the factories of the United States”. Today the situation remains pretty much the same.

13. What will become of US military assets or bases located in Alaska?

As an Independent Nation, and, with the understanding of the strategic location of Alaska, it would serve Alaskan interests to maintain a U.S. presence. The military have been good neighbors. However, as a sovereign nation, Alaska could broker the leasing of the land and air space reserved for military installations and set the requirements for environmental responsibility in the use of that land. We would also insist that all environmental damage as a result of past military activities be comprehensibly addressed and remedied.

14. What reaction if any have you had from the US government about secession plans?

None. Which leads one to believe either AIP is correct, or we're all under surveillance!

Palin was apparently only interested in taking the V.P. position if someone could tell her what the vice-president does, and she then determined that it would be good for Alaska:

The Alaska Independence Party calls Palin their choice for governor, talk of how their members should infiltrate the major parties to get the job done. Palin's husband was a registered member of the Alaska Independence Party from for about seven years.


Secondly, Governor Palin's apparent support for ultra-conservative Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign (unless it is believed that Palin wore a Buchanan button just to make Buchanan feel more comfortable during his visit to Alaska) also says something. Pat Buchanan says that she and her husband were"brigaders for me in 1996"- apparently supporting his campaign in 1996 and again in 2000. (Others are reporting that Palin supported Steve Forbes in 2000.)

From The Nation:

From an AP report in 1999:

"Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan's strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage."

Buchanan himself told me he was thrilled by the choice, saying as soon as I mentioned it: "It's great for the base. I'm pretty sure she's a Buchananite!" (Emphasis added.)

Other issues of note:

Gov. Palin was an incorporator and director (until 2005) of an "independent 527" committee supporting now-indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

And, Palin was for "the bridge to nowhere" before she was against it. From the Anchorage Daily News, the largest newspaper in Alaska:

Palin touts stance on 'Bridge to Nowhere,' doesn't note flip-flop

When John McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, her reputation as a tough-minded budget-cutter was front and center.

"I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere," Palin told the cheering McCain crowd, referring to Ketchikan's Gravina Island bridge.

But Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.

"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government. (Emphasis added.)

McCain is just fully vetting her now. Teams of Republican lawyers are swarming Alaska doing background. The New York Times reports that:
A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice. The campaign was still calling Republican operatives as late as Sunday night asking them to go to Alaska to deal with the unexpected candidacy of Ms. Palin.
Todd Harris, a Republican media consultant who had worked for Sen. McCain in his 2000 presidential campaign, yesterday (September 1) said in an interview (heard live on the streaming video / analysis from the Republican convention) that this choice is classic McCain. He said McCain is a big gambler -- he likes to sit at the tables in Vegas, playing the dice for hours on end. And he gambles on his other choices as well, going with his gut instinct.

McCain reportedly only met Palin once, six months ago at a governor's conference. Apparently the gut feeling was strong enough for McCain to refer to Palin as his "partner and soulmate."

And we haven't even mentioned Troopergate.

A large part of what seems to be happening in the concerns about Sen. McCain's V.P. choice is that most people in the nation don't know Sarah Palin. There isn't a resevoir of good will for her to call upon. People are trying to understand who this woman is -- is she ready to be President if need be? Will she be an embarrassment to the country? Is her word good? Do I trust her? How radical are her political views? What does her Pentecostal religious background and upbringing mean to me? Will she impose her beliefs on us? Will she look first toward the good of the country?

One can read about Gov. Palin and sense a likability to her (such as in this article in the Anchorage Daily News) or her qualities as a campaigner, such as in this article in the Anchorage Press. The New Republic - in The Plank blog, advises the Democrats not to underestimate this virtual unknown from Alaska:

Sarah Palin... is a true political savant; a candidate with a knack for identifying the key gripes of the populace and packaging herself as the solution. That keen political nose has enabled her to routinely outperform her resume. Nearly two years into her administration, she still racks up approval ratings of 80 per cent or better.

One might reasonably ask to what extent her local popularity is buoyed by the high price of oil (and thus, a budget surplus, and thus, the ability to carry a stick into meetings with big oil). One might speculate about the durability of her anti-corruption stance in light of her conflict of interest in the dismissal of her director of public safety. And only the truly feckless would not concern themselves about her dearth of foreign policy experience. But in probing this candidate, it would behoove the Democrats and the pundits to shed the notion that they are dealing with some dimwitted bumpkin (Dan Quayle seems to come up a lot lately) who’s going to start crying when they ask her to name the president of Azerbaijan; or that Palin is the townie who was brought into the Skull & Bones initiation night for the amusement of all; or that somehow the prom queen ballots got mixed up with the Alaska gubernatorial poll. Trivialize her at your own peril.

Sarah Palin is a living reminder that the ultimate source of political power in this country is not the Kennedy School or the Davos Summit or an Ariana Huffington salon; even now, power emanates from the electorate itself. More precisely, power in 2008 emanates from the working class electorates of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Sooner or later, the Obama camp will realize that the beauty pageant queen is an enormously talented populist in a year that is ripe for populism. For their own sake, it had better be sooner. (Emphasis added.)

Hang on for what is almost certain to be a wild ride from here to November 4!

(Editor's note: This article has been substantially edited from it's first appearance earlier today. This editing process took place after contemplation, review and discussion with others I trust, and was not affected by any outside influence.)


Anonymous said...

A couple of observations:

You've included the videos of the speeches from the RNC. However, you've failed to include the text, as was done for all the speeches from the DNC.

Additionally, you've apparently jumped on the "pre-judge and condemn" Sarah Palin bandwagon. If you're seeking employment perhaps there's an opening at US magazine.

At least you didn't follow MSNBC's lead and devote an overly large portion of your Hurricane Gustov coverage to replaying clips of Huricana Katrina's aftermath and re-criticizing Bush for something that happened three years ago.

Alan said...

Sometimes, I just need a life!

You'll note that the texts of the DNC speeches weren't always provided at the same time as the video... some were addenda to the video, others posted separately, IIRC. (Not going to take the time to look at it all now.) Hope to get the texts up before too long, along with the video of Fred Thompson's speech. (What, didn't notice that omission?)

I've tried to avoid prejudging or condemning Gov. Palin. I have pointed out concerns, but included links to both "positive" and "negative" stories and information about her. I think she'll be an interesting candidate, though I'm concerned about her ideology.

I didn't get to the new information on Palin's quest for a little old fashion book- burning (okay, banning) at the local library, pressure on the librarian when she seemed to resist. Also didn't really touch on the connection of the AIP and its role as "the Alaska conduit for the Constitution Party, which has as its goal "to restore American jurisprudence to Biblical common-law functions" Or Gov. Palin's church / pastor problem:

"...just two weeks ago, when Palin's church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus [...]
"Brickner's mission has drawn wide criticism from the organized Jewish community, and the Anti-Defamation League accused them in a report of "targeting Jews for conversion with subterfuge and deception."

"Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity."

Palin was reportedly present in church for the guest sermon; unknown if she has repudiated Brickner, his actions and statements.

(There's much more related to Gov. Palin's religious beliefs and the extent she wishes to impose those beliefs upon others. She's obviously free to believe anything she wants.)

Above quote from D-Day, who also has a good taken on what to expect with regard to the view of Palin in the short term. His site is at .

I wouldn't concern myself too much with supermarket tabloids. Except, of course, the question of who the alien is going to endorse.

Thanks for your comments.