Friday, December 19, 2008

Mother of Palin daughter's boyfriend arrested

AP – Sherry Johnston, mother of Levi Johnston, talks about her son at her home in Wasilla, Alaska in this …

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska state troopers have arrested the mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend on drug charges.

Sherry L. Johnston was arrested Thursday after troopers served a search warrant on a Wasilla home. The 42-year-old Johnston has been charged with six felony drug counts.

Troopers did not identify the drug involved in a brief mention on the agency's Web site.

Johnston is the mother of 18-year-old Levi Johnston. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP nominee for vice president, announced in September that her 18-year-old daughter, Bristol, was pregnant and Johnston was the father.

Sherry Johnston was released from jail in Palmer on $5,000 bail.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Democrats Back Palin?

For a political figure whose campaign got pretty damn surreal (moose hunting in full makeup), it could get even spookier. We checked in with some of the key Republicans who managed to not get Sarah Palin elected vice president a couple of weeks ago. What's going to come of their expensively dressed dame now?

"The GOP is split down the middle right now," remarked one of our top Washington insiders, who breaks bread with these red-state types quite regularly. "One faction wants to cleave closer to the Christian right—and those are the ones who think Palin is as close to the Second Coming as we're gonna get—and the other faction wants to distance themselves from the wack jobs and re-establish the party's strengths in the areas of economic development, smaller government, states' rights and moderate trade policy."

Wack jobs? In the Republican party? Quel joke, n'est-ce pas?

The best case scenario we're hearing from those Republicans who don't want Palin coming back for another stab at national politics: She stays in Alaska, gets a book deal from a conservative Christian imprint and we only hear another peep from her in about a year, and then she goes away.

"However, she's a crafty little minx with Hillary-type ambitions," added our Washington insider, "so don't count her out in any way, shape or form. She could pull a Ross Perot in four years, because she's as nutty and self-absorbed as he is and has the support of a very right-leaning minority with deep pockets who will fund her because Jesus told them to."

Indeed. But did you all know the entire Holy-Rollin' Democratic party is dying for the big-haired hon to re-enter the national race again? Latest Potomac poop is that a bunch of moneyed Washington Dems are secretly planning on funding her race in 2011, now, that's funny.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cold realities await Gov. Sarah Palin in Alaska


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sarah Palin, heralded by some conservatives as the future of the Republican Party, faces some cold political realities in present-day Alaska.

Within days of the McCain-Palin ticket's defeat earlier this month, the unsuccessful GOP vice presidential nominee capped her tumultuous two months on the campaign trail with a whirlwind series of national media interviews and a headline-grabbing appearance at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Florida.

Now it's back to her day job at the state capital in Juneau.

Palin's state budget proposal is due in a month, with plummeting oil prices slashing Alaska's revenues by billions of dollars.
The 1,700-mile natural gas pipeline she bragged about on the campaign trail — "We began a nearly $40 billion-dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence," she said at the Republican National Convention — is nowhere near being built.

Some hard feelings linger over her administration's initial decision to ignore subpoenas in the investigation of whether she abused her power in firing the public safety commissioner who wouldn't oust her ex-brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.

"The main focus is going to be on the gas line and on the long-term financial issues," said Democratic state Sen. Bill Wielechowski. "You're going to see really a clampdown on government services."

Uncertain is whether the bipartisanship that existed during Palin's 20 months as governor can survive the heated rhetoric from the presidential campaign and her own political ambitions, with the 44-year-old clearly signaling that she's open to a bid for president in 2012.

The difficult task at hand "provides the governor with a great opportunity to roll up her sleeves and get back to her job," said Kenneth Khachigian, a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan. "She's got four or five election cycles ahead of her where she can do things. She doesn't have to comment on 2012 or 2016. Being a good governor is the best thing she can do right now."

Among the challenges she faces:

Alaska has no income or sales tax, and a huge chunk of its annual revenue — as much as 90 percent — comes from taxes and fees on oil companies. When oil prices soar, as they did this summer, so do the state's coffers: Alaska in the past two years has socked away billions in its already massive savings accounts.

But one of those accounts, the $28 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, sends every Alaskan a dividend each year — this year it was $2,069. So tapping its income to pay for government is considered political suicide, and falling oil prices can put big pressure on state spending.

The governor's chief economist is working on a new revenue forecast, and many lawmakers expect the state to drastically reduce spending on such things as road projects.

With overwhelming support from Democrats, Palin awarded a license to TransCanada in August to pursue building a pipeline that would carry natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to an existing pipeline network in Alberta.

Although the state granted TransCanada $500 million to plan the pipeline, there's no guarantee it will be built. TransCanada says it won't get financing for the massive project until it has guarantees from oil companies to ship the gas through the pipeline; the oil companies say they won't give such guarantees unless Alaska sets a fixed tax rate on production of the gas, and Palin says she won't approve the rates the oil companies want.

Solving that problem will require not only cooperation from the Legislature, but probably from the oil companies Palin has battled. And her claim to being a national leader on energy issues depends on it.

The episode — and the media spotlight that resulted from Palin's vice presidential nomination — drew attention to practices that simply can't be ignored.

Palin's administration routinely used private e-mail accounts for state business, circumventing public disclosure laws. "We will undoubtedly address that in some form of legislation," said Democratic Sen. Hollis French, who oversaw the Troopergate investigation.

Lawmakers also said they could hold hearings on, and possibly restrict, Palin's practice of charging the state for her children's travel and taking per diem payments for nights spent in her Wasilla home.

Democratic Rep. Les Gara has — without luck — asked the Alaska State Troopers and the Palin's appointed attorney general to investigate whether the McCain-Palin campaign urged anyone to ignore their subpoenas. Under state law, to "induce a witness to be absent" from an official proceeding to which they've been summoned is second-degree witness tampering.

But even Gara, a recently outspoken critic of Palin, said he doesn't want such matters preoccupying the government.

"There are much more important things in this state than rehashing Troopergate," Gara said. "We all have to sit down and let bygones be bygones, but it's going to take some conversations."

Palin in line for big book deal?

Posted by Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian November 18, 2008 08:58AM

Forget the argument over whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the savior of the Republican Party or merely a drag on it. What's important, for her bottom line at least, is that she has become a bona fide celebrity.

And that means she's in line for a big book deal, according to the Times of London. Maybe even $7 million.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Palin wants God to show her way to White House

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Defeated Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin said she hopes God will "show her the way" before she decides on any future bid for the White House.

The Alaska governor declined to say whether she was planning to run for the US presidency in four years, stating in an exclusive interview Monday with the Fox News Channel that 2012 remained too far off.

"I can't predict what's going to happen a day from now, much less four years from now," Palin said in the interview.
However the devoutly religious 44-year-old mother-of-five said that if God wanted her to run for the highest office, she hoped to be shown the way.

"You know, I have -- faith is a very big part of my life. And putting my life in my creator's hands -- this is what I always do," said Palin, who served as running mate to Senator John McCain.

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is," she added.

"Even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door.

"And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."

Palin's faith was scrutinized during the election campaign after an Internet video surfaced showing her being blessed by a Kenyan witch-hunter in a 2005 service at a Pentecostal church in Alaska.

In a separate interview with the Anchorage Daily News she blamed President George W. Bush's administration for the defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket in last week's election.

"I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what had gone on in these last eight years, that Americans were kind of shaking their heads like going, wait a minute, how did we run up a 10 trillion dollar debt in a Republican administration?" Palin told the paper.

"So people desiring change I think went as far from the administration that is presently seated as they could.
"It's amazing that we did as well as we did."

In Monday's wide-ranging interview with Fox News, Palin also appeared to admit for the first time allegations made by anonymous aides to running mate John McCain that she had "gone rogue" during the election campaign.

In the final weeks of the election, reports of tensions between Palin and McCain's advisers emerged, with unidentified sources alleging she had routinely disregarded their advice and made unscripted remarks.

"But being quite independent, just like John McCain is also, yes, maybe there is some characterizing of me going rogue when once in a while I would say something that -- hey, I said it from the heart," Palin said.

"I believed in going off script once in a while in some of the rallies in order to really reiterate, perhaps, something that I believed about John McCain."

"Maybe it wasn't written in the script, but so what? Geez, if this is all going to be so scripted and kind of like a movie screen and we have to follow verbatim everything that somebody writes for you, I don't want any part of that. That's not who I am and that's not who John McCain is either."

Palin denied however that any of her comments had hurt McCain's campaign.

Meanwhile Palin also dismissed reports following last week's election suggesting she was unaware Africa was a continent, not a country, insisting the question had never arisen during discussions about the region.

"We discussed what was going on in Africa. And never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or is it a continent," Palin said.

"I just don't know about this issue. So I don't know how they took our one discussion on Africa and turned that into what they turned it into."

And Palin denied she ever asked for her much-publicized 150,000-dollar wardrobe during the campaign, saying it was purchased for her by the Republican party and that many of the clothes for her and her family were never worn.

"I did not order the clothes. Did not ask for the clothes," said Palin, saying she "would have been happy to wear my own clothes."

Given the serious issues facing the country, "that turned into a kind of odd campaign issue," she said.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fox News: Sarah Palin "Didn't Understand Africa Was a Continent"


Now that the election is over, Fox News' Carl Cameron -- the beat reporter for the Republican presidential ticket -- says he is able to report on his "off the record" sources who told him there was great tension between McCain staffers and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"There was great concern in the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin lacked the degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, and a heartbeat away from the presidency," he says in an interview (above).

"We're told by folks that she didn't know what countries that were in NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement -- that being the Canada, the US, and Mexico.

"We're told she didn't understand that Africa was a continent rather than a country just in itself ... a whole host of questions that caused serious problems about her knowledgeability," said Cameron.

"She got very angry at staff, thought that she was mishandled... was particularly angry about the way the Katie Couric interview went," he continued.

Added Cameron: "She didn't accept preparation for that interview when the aides say that that was part of the problem. And that there were times that she was hard to control emotionally. There's talk of [throwing] temper tantrums [after reading] bad news clippings."

Meanwhile, Palin is playing coy on a possible run in 2012.

"2012 sounds like years away. What will we be doing then? Enrolling Trig in kindergarten," Palin told CNN of her 6-month-old son.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Palin returns to Alaska, urged to mend fences

By Yereth Rosen – Thu Nov 6, 3:02 pm ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – After two months sharpening her conservative rhetoric on the U.S. presidential campaign trail, Gov. Sarah Palin returned to Alaska a star in the Republican party, but weakened at home where people had known her as more centrist.

Palin's "pit bull" campaign persona and her strident pitches to the conservative base of the Republican Party were a stark contrast to her nonpartisan, populist style as governor, leaving raw feelings among some Alaskans, experts said.

As speculation of a presidential run in 2012 builds, an editorial in Thursday's Anchorage Daily News asked which Palin will return to Alaska: the pragmatic centrist who was wildly popular at home or the highly partisan politician who drew huge crowds to campaign rallies across the United States?

"Her obligations as governor point her in one direction. Her national ambitions point her in another," the Anchorage Daily News said in an editorial.

Prior to joining Republican presidential candidate John McCain on the ticket, Palin boasted the highest approval rating of any U.S. governor, winning favor with her tough stance toward oil companies and championing a handsome payout to all Alaskans as a windfall from high oil prices.

Palin returns to an Alaska where oil prices are less than half the record highs that padded the state treasury with surpluses and where critics have launched various ethics probes alleging misuse of public funds and abuse of power.

This week, a state panel cleared Palin of wrongdoing in the abuse-of-power investigation.

She first ruffled some feathers in her introductory speech on August 29, when she claimed credit for killing the notorious "Bridge to Nowhere" - a contradiction of her past support for the project and her claim, during the 2006 gubernatorial race, that the nickname for the proposed bridge was insulting.

Her claims about cutting Alaska's budget and the size of government also did not sit well with critics since both ballooned under her watch as oil prices surged.

"A lot of people have been stung, or felt stung," said state Sen. Reggie Joule, an Inupiat Eskimo from the northwest town of Kotzebue and part of a mostly Democratic coalition that backed Palin's initiatives on crucial oil and gas issues.

Even her reference to the "Joe Six-Pack" constituency was considered poor form by some Alaskans and insensitive because of the historic ravages of alcohol abuse here, especially in Native villages.


Palin arrived back in Alaska late on Wednesday, greeted by cheering supporters at the Anchorage international airport. She downplayed concerns about how hurt feelings in the state legislature could make it difficult for her to govern.

"Nobody should have hurt feelings. My goodness, this is politics. Politics is rough and tumble, and people need to get thick skins, just like I've gotten," said Palin.

Palin still remains popular in Alaska but her once-stratospheric approval rating has slipped. As of late October, it was down to a 64 percent from a high of 89 percent, according to Anchorage pollster and consultant Ivan Moore.

The key to Palin's success in Alaska has been a focus on popular stances that cut across party lines.

Palin increased oil production taxes and promoted a natural gas pipeline that would, if built, be independent of the major North Slope oil producers that have dominated the energy industry in Alaska and have been blamed for exercising undue influence over the state's politicians.

"The reality of the situation is that Sarah was very strategic in going after things that the public agreed with," said state Rep. Paul Seaton, a moderate Republican from Homer.

"If she continues on that course of selecting issues that have broad public approval, all the same people will agree that these are good for Alaska and will work together again."

(Editing by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Jackie Frank)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

and it worked!

Although the election is over, it sounds like good 'ol Sarah still has plenty in store for us, so stay tuned and feel free to forward any of her craziness our way!

Good job people. We kept the crazy bitch OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cabbage Patch Kids Vice President Candidate Sarah Palin

Current bid: US $3,650.00
End time: Nov-04-08 05:00:00 PST (3 days 16 hours)
Item number: 200267359418

Palin might not be permitted to cash in on fame

By HILLEL ITALIE and ANNE SUTTON, Associated Press Writers

NEW YORK – If her bid for vice president fails, Gov. Sarah Palin could almost surely use her sudden fame to obtain a lucrative book deal or high fees on the lecture circuit, or even get her own TV talk show. But Alaska law might not allow it.

A provision of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act restricts outside employment. It says: "The head of a principal executive department of the state may not accept employment for compensation outside the agency that the executive head serves."
Senior Assistant Attorney General David Jones said the section likely applies to the governor but it's not clear what constitutes "employment."

"Clearly, the intent of the statute is to make it clear these are full-time jobs. If you are a commissioner, for example, you can't be working in the private sector. But does that mean you can't go out and give a speech now and then for an honorarium? I don't know. I don't know that we have interpreted it for that purpose in the past," Jones said.

Palin, 44, was little known beyond Alaska before John McCain chose her in August to be his running mate on the Republican ticket. Although she has been widely criticized as too inexperienced to handle the presidency, Palin consistently draws large crowds and is considered an attractive and dynamic presence, receiving high praise for her appearance Oct. 19 on "Saturday Night Live."

"It's not unimaginable that Ms. Palin, who once worked as a television sports reporter, could someday follow (Ronald) Reagan's path in reverse and cash in her political renown to become a show-business celebrity," New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley wrote.

"One thing everybody can agree on is that Gov. Sarah Palin is qualified — to someday host her own television show."
Palin was elected governor in 2006. Her term is scheduled to run through 2010.

Unlike McCain, or the Democratic candidates — Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joseph Biden — Palin has never written a book. But interest in her has been so high that her nomination made an instant best seller out of an obscure biography, Kaylene Johnson's "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down," published last spring by Epicenter Press, Inc., based in Kenmore, Wash.

Publishers agree that a Palin memoir would bring her a seven-figure advance, should she be permitted to accept it.

"If she is allowed to do whatever she wants, all kinds of things are possible," says Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs, which released the best seller "What Happened," by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

"What you have with her is a situation in which she's a real celebrity, and she's new enough for people to want to read about her."
Anne Sutton contributed to this story from Juneau, Alaska.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Palin looks past Tuesday to her political future

By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 1 min ago

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. – With days still to go in the White House race, backers of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin are talking her up as a possible contender in 2012, speculation that irritates other Republicans who contend she's a drag on the ticket and that her lightweight image — unfair or not — will be hard to shed.

The Alaska governor has done little to quiet the talk. In fact, she fueled the discussion this week when she signaled that she will remain on the national political scene no matter what happens Tuesday. "I'm not doing this for naught," she said in an interview with ABC News.

The telegenic Palin, who burst onto the national stage seven weeks ago, has divided conservatives — some energized by her strong stand on social issues and others embarrassed by her halting interview performances. On the campaign trail, she is a popular draw, attracting numbers that a Republican Party searching for female star power can't ignore.

The divide is clearly evident.

George Will, a prominent conservative columnist, suggested "Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain's saddle than is his association with George W. Bush."

Indeed, a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center found that 49 percent of voters had an unfavorable opinion of Palin, compared to 44 percent who viewed her favorably. Pew also found that unlike past vice presidential choices, opinions of Palin mattered to the ticket.

None of that is apparent as Palin campaigns across battleground states in the closing days of the presidential contest. She drew huge crowds to a rally in southern Missouri on Thursday and 16,000 jammed in to see her Wednesday night in Jeffersonville, Ind., many wearing "Sarahcuda" T-shirts and buttons saying "I'm a bitter gun owner, and I vote."

Pell Blakeman, a Palin supporter who now calls himself "Pell the Electrician" in honor of the infamous Joe the Plumber, captured her appeal this way: "She just connects with the people. She's doing a fine job and she'll make a fine president one day."

Palin's future will be a top item on the agenda at a meeting of national conservatives scheduled next Thursday outside Washington. Participants in the meeting have declined to offer many specifics but said Palin's role in the conservative movement, either as vice president or as a 2012 contender if the GOP ticket loses, will be discussed.

To that end, Palin has begun to develop a national political identity that is separate from McCain's.

She's given three policy speeches in the last week, on energy independence, special needs children and the ways in which women are affected by national tax policy. She announced her support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage despite McCain's long-standing opposition to such a measure. And she has publicly questioned some of the McCain campaign's tactics, like the use of robocalls and the decision to pull resources out of Michigan.

Such departures from the script have irked some of McCain's advisers even as the Arizona senator insists he has no problem with Palin asserting herself.

"Sarah's a maverick, I'm a maverick. No one expected us to agree on everything," McCain said on "Larry King Live" Wednesday, adding, "We share the same values, the same principles, the same goals for this country."

If the Republican ticket were to win next Tuesday, Palin would instantly be viewed as a GOP nominee-in-waiting no matter what her stated intentions. She'd also be the most prominent and popular conservative in McCain's sphere — a powerful role, given many conservatives' lukewarm view of McCain.

"You have various legs to the Republican stool, and she'll be a feisty spokeswoman for that part of the party," Republican strategist William O'Reilly said of a potential Palin vice presidency.

But with Democrat Barack Obama leading in the polls, McCain aides are second-guessing many decisions made during the campaign, including Palin's role.

She was poorly vetted for the job, leading critics to say McCain had botched his first major decision as a presidential nominee. And aides are distraught over how Palin's initial rollout turned sour after her well-received speech to the Republican National Convention in August.

In the days that followed, Palin was shielded from the press except for a few cringe-worthy TV interviews in which she was hard-pressed to name a newspaper she reads and said Alaska's proximity to Russia gave her insight into that country's affairs. The interviews helped fuel Tina Fey's widely viewed "Saturday Night Live" impersonations of Palin as charming but clueless.

"I think she may have been ill-served by staff who sequestered her after the convention and gave the Democrats a chance to define her," New Hampshire GOP chairman Fergus Cullen said. "That may have lasting political consequences for her past election day."

Palin's reputation came in for another hit after the Republican National Committee disclosed it had spent about $150,000 at pricey department stores and boutiques to buy clothes for her and members of her family. Palin defended herself as a frugal shopper and called the purchases part of the stagecraft of running a national campaign, but the flap helped tarnish her image as a champion of the middle class.

But Palin's strongest support still lies with grass roots voters, many of whom cite her popularity and executive experience in Alaska as evidence that she could step into the presidency once day.

"I think she's the best thing that's happened to this campaign," 20-year Navy veteran Bill Costello said at the Missouri rally Thursday. "Me and my particular clique — we aren't voting for John McCain, we're voting for Sarah."
Associated Press Writers Liz Sidoti in Washington and Jim Salter in Missouri contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Republican VP nominee Palin eyeing 2012: report

Reuters – Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks at a campaign rally with Republican …

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Whether or not Republican presidential candidate John McCain is elected next week, his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, plans to remain on the U.S. national political scene, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

Asked about 2012, whether she was discouraged by daily attacks on the campaign trail and whether she would return home to Alaska, the Republican vice presidential nominee signaled that she expects to be a player in the next presidential election cycle.

"I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we've taken ... I'm not doing this for naught," Palin told ABC News in a taped interview airing on Thursday.

A campaign spokesperson traveling with Palin in Indiana said the vice presidential nominee was talking about being focused on winning on November 4 and is not going to quit despite what the critics have said.

With less than a week before Election Day, Palin told ABC that she believes in the current Republican presidential ticket and that she thinks "it's going to go our way on Tuesday, November 4."

"I truly believe that the wisdom of the people will be revealed on that day," she said.

Palin has energized the Republican base of supporters. But the Alaska governor has come under withering criticism on a variety of issues, including whether she is qualified to become vice president.

(Writing by Joanne Allen; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


Palin's future causes Republican rift

By Alexander Mooney

(CNN) -- Election Day is still days away, but Republicans are already caught up in a heated debate about Sarah Palin's future role in the party should the GOP ticket fail to win the White House.

Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.

In one corner are some conservatives who believe the Alaska governor has been a detriment to John McCain's presidential bid and threatens to lead the party astray for the foreseeable future.

Another faction says Palin's core-conservative beliefs, demonstrated political acumen, and compelling frontier biography position her to reshape the face of a party now viewed by many voters as out of touch.

It's a debate, somewhat ugly at times, that is beginning to play out in public view as Republicans brace themselves for the possibility of losing the White House and a significant number of seats in Congress come Election Day. And that may leave the party in shambles with drastically reduced influence in Washington. Share your thoughts on Palin

Should that happen, political observers say, the party will face its biggest identity crisis in more than a generation, and Palin may well be caught squarely in the middle of it.

"A civil war that is simmering will break out into the open if McCain loses, and the party will have to decide what they want to be in the post-Reagan world," said Gloria Borger, a senior political analyst for CNN. Watch whether Palin is making a power play »

Palin, whose campaign rally crowds have been noticeably larger than McCain's, will certainly have legitimacy to run for president in four years should she want to. Some McCain operatives, claiming Palin repeatedly veers off script and often disregards the campaign's advice, already believe she is more interested in positioning herself for the future than helping the party win this year.

"She is such a compelling figure, and she has helped, without a doubt, with the Republican base," CNN Chief National Correspondent John King said. "But she's also hurting with key constituencies, like suburban women and independents, and there's a big question that, if McCain loses, does she try to emerge as the leader of the party heading into the 2012 cycle?"

Should Palin ultimately decide to launch her own presidential bid, she will face a massive headwind from an influential group of conservatives who believe the Alaska governor represents the very reasons why the Republican Party finds itself in retreat.

"She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? It's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just ... says things," conservative columnist Peggy Noonan wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal column.

It's an argument that has been echoed by a string of conservatives -- including David Brooks, George Will, Kathleen Parker, and David Frum -- who believe Palin exhibits a poisonous anti-intellectual instinct of the party that threatens to ultimately destroy its foundations.

"Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I'm afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices," said Brooks, a conservative columnist for the New York Times.

Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush who has written that Palin is woefully inexperienced to be president, told CNN the Alaska governor's chances might be slim in a general election matchup.

"She will face the classic problem of being a strong candidate for the nomination, but not such an appealing candidate across party lines," he said. "She has a very intense following among core Republicans, but at the same time, non-core Republicans have reached a very negative verdict."

Frum also pointed to recent polling that suggests Palin's unfavorable ratings have sharply risen in the last two months, and predicted it will be extremely difficult for her to combat a perception among many voters that she is a lightweight, ill equipped for the burdens of the presidency.

"This is a moment where people have formed impressions, they have been watching her closely and paying a lot of attention," he said. "Even if she spends the next two and a half years delivering worthy speeches at the Council on Foreign Relations, the cumulative work that she will do will be seen by fewer people than probably watched the Katie Couric interview or the Charlie Gibson interview, or the debate with Joe Biden."

But even as one corner of the party predicts dire consequences if Palin becomes the Republican standard-bearer, another is strongly behind her.

"I hope and expect that she stays involved nationally, and she can play pretty much whatever role she wants to. She's got momentum now, and I'd be surprised if she didn't play a leadership role in the party," Richard Viguerie, a prominent cultural conservative and chairman of, told CNN.

Viguerie, as well as many other cultural conservatives, point to Palin's core beliefs on key issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage and say she represents a fresh face, from a different region of the country, who has the potential to reshape the conservative movement.

"Palin, as best I can describe it, exudes a kind of middle-class magnetism. It's subdued but nonetheless very powerful," Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes recently wrote. "Whether they know it or not, Republicans have a huge stake in Palin. If, after the election, they let her slip into political obscurity, they'll be making a tragic mistake."

Conservatives across the party are slated to meet in Virginia in the days after the election to discuss the future of the party and Palin's role is expected to be a topic of conversation.

"Palin will certainly be a discussion point," a conservative who will attend the meeting said. "While the Washington establishment and some of the New York academics may not like her, a lot of the country and the conservative movement's base does."

Factors out of Palin's control could ultimately control her fate.

The political landscape in 2012 may look markedly different than it does now, depending on the success of a President Obama should the Illinois senator win. Unforeseen developments in the economy and the war in Iraq will also likely have an effect on whether Palin rises to the forefront of her party in the next election cycle.

But one thing is clear: If Palin wants to mount a serious bid for her party's nomination in 2012, she has a lot of groundwork to do.

She has yet to form relationships with many key conservative groups at the local level, whose support would be instrumental in ultimately capturing the Republican presidential nomination. She knows few party chairman in the key early primary states where the race will likely be decided.

"She needs to get out there and get to know conservative leaders at the national, state, and local level," Viguerie said. "She needs to introduce herself in a way she hasn't had the opportunity to do so far."

And should McCain lose next Tuesday, the Alaska governor will have little time to take a breath.

"She would have to start the day after the election if she wants to run for president -- there is no period where the election isn't going on," Frum said.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Palin allies report rising campaign tension

Ben Smith – Sat Oct 25, 8:27 am ET

Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign's already-tense internal dynamics.

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain's camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain's decline.

"She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane," said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.
"I think she'd like to go more rogue," he said.

The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.

"These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," a McCain insider said, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin's campaign. Palin's partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin's avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News' Katie Couric, the sometimes painful content of which the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.

"A number of Gov. Palin's staff have not had her best interests at heart, and they have not had the campaign's best interests at heart," the McCain insider fumed, noting that Wallace left an executive job at CBS to join the campaign.

Wallace declined to engage publicly in the finger-pointing that has consumed the campaign in the final weeks.

"I am in awe of [Palin's] strength under constant fire by the media," she said in an e-mail. "If someone wants to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most graceful thing to do is to lie there."

But other McCain aides, defending Wallace, dismissed the notion that Palin was mishandled. The Alaska governor was, they argue, simply unready — "green," sloppy and incomprehensibly willing to criticize McCain for, for instance, not attacking Sen. Barack Obama for his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Palin has in fact performed fairly well in the moments thought to be key for a vice presidential nominee: She made a good impression in her surprise rollout in Ohio and her speech to the Republican National Convention went better than the campaign could have imagined. She turned in an adequate performance at a debate against the Democratic Party's foremost debater.

But other elements of her image-making went catastrophically awry. Her dodging of the press and her nervous reliance on tight scripts in her first interview, with ABC News, became a national joke — driven home to devastating effect by "Saturday Night Live" comic Tina Fey. The Couric interview — her only unstaged appearance for a week — was "water torture," as one internal ally put it.

Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn't ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn't forcefully object. Moments that Palin's allies see as triumphs of instinct and authenticity the Wright suggestion, her objection to the campaign's pulling out of Michigan ”they dismiss as Palin's "slips and miscommunications," that is, her own incompetence and evidence of the need for tight scripting.

But Palin partisans say she chafed at the handling.

"The campaign as a whole bought completely into what the Washington media said — that she's completely inexperienced," said a close Palin ally outside the campaign who speaks regularly to the candidate.

"Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised," the person said. "Recently, she's gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts."

Palin's loyalists say she's grown particularly disenchanted with the veterans of the Bush reelection campaign, including Schmidt and Wallace, and that despite her anti-intellectual rhetoric, her closest ally among her new traveling aides is a policy adviser, former National Security Council official Steve Biegun. She's also said to be close with McCain's chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, who prepared her for the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate.

When a McCain aide, speaking anonymously Friday to The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, suggested that Palin's charge that Obama was "palling around with terrorists" had "escaped HQ's vetting," it was Scheunemann who fired off an angry response that the speech was "fully vetted" and that to attack Palin for it was "bull****."

Palin's "instincts," on display in recent days, have had her opening up to the media, including a round of interviews on talk radio, cable and broadcast outlets, as well as chats with her traveling press and local reporters.

Reporters really began to notice the change last Sunday, when Palin strolled over to a local television crew in Colorado Springs.
"Get Tracey," a staffer called out, according to The New York Times, summoning spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, who reportedly "tried several times to cut it off with a terse 'Thank you!' in between questions, to no avail." The moment may have caused ulcers in some precincts of the McCain campaign, but it was an account Palin's admirers in Washington cheered.

Palin had also sought to give meatier policy speeches, in particular on energy policy and on policy for children with disabilities; she finally gave the latter speech Friday, but had wanted to deliver it much earlier.

She's also begun to make her own ad hoc calls about the campaign's direction and the ticket's policy. McCain, for instance, has remained silent on Democrats' calls for a stimulus package of new spending, a move many conservatives oppose but that could be broadly popular. But in an interview with the conservative radio host Glenn Beck earlier this week, Palin went "off the reservation" to make the campaign policy, one aide said.

"I say, you know, when is enough enough of taxpayer dollars being thrown into this bill out there?" she asked. "This next one of the Democrats being proposed should be very, very concerning to all Americans because to me it sends a message that $700 billion bailout, maybe that was just the tip of the iceberg. No, you know, we were told when we've got to be believing if we have enough elected officials who are going to be standing strong on fiscal conservative principles and free enterprise and we have to believe that there are enough of those elected officials to say, 'No, OK, that's enough.'"
(A McCain spokeswoman said Palin's statement was "a good sentiment.")

But few imagine that Palin will be able to repair her image — and bad poll numbers — in the eleven days before the campaign ends. And the final straw for Palin and her allies was the news that the campaign had reported spending $150,000 on her clothes, turning her, again, into the butt of late-night humor.

"She never even set foot in these stores," the senior Republican said, noting Palin hadn't realized the cost when the clothes were brought to her in her Minnesota hotel room.

"It's completely out-of-control operatives," said the close ally outside the campaign. "She has no responsibility for that. It's incredibly frustrating for us and for her."

Between Palin's internal detractors and her allies, there's a middle ground: Some aides say that she's a flawed candidate whose handling exaggerated her weak spots.

"She was completely mishandled in the beginning. No one took the time to look at what her personal strengths and weaknesses are and developed a plan that made sense based on who she is as a candidate," the aide said. "Any concerns she or those close to her have about that are totally valid."

But the aide said that Palin's inexperience led her to her own mistakes:
"How she was handled allowed her weaknesses to hang out in full display."

If McCain loses, Palin's allies say that the national Republican Party hasn't seen the last of her. Politicians are sometimes formed by a signal defeat — as Bill Clinton was when he was tossed out of the Arkansas governor's mansion after his first term — and Palin would return to a state that had made her America's most popular governor and where her image as a reformer who swept aside her own party's insiders rings true, if not in the cartoon version the McCain campaign presented.

"There are people in this campaign who feel a real sense of loyalty to her and are really pleased with her performance and think she did a great job," said the McCain insider. "She has a real future in this party."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RNC shells out $150K for Palin fashion

By JEANNE CUMMINGS | 10/22/08 5:47 PM EDT Updated: 10/22/08 5:47 PM EDT

The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission's long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use.

Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment on Monday, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.

Spokeswoman Maria Comella declined to answer specific questions about the expenditures, including whether it was necessary to spend that much and whether it amounted to one early investment in Palin or if shopping for the vice presidential nominee was ongoing.

“The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent," she said.
But hours after the story was posted on Politico's website and legal issues were raised, the campaign issued a new statement.

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

The business of primping and dressing on the campaign trail has become fraught with political risk in recent years as voters increasingly see an elite Washington out of touch with their values and lifestyles.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore took heat for changing his clothing hues. And in 2006, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was ribbed for two hair styling sessions that cost about $3,000.

Then, there was Democrat John Edwards’ $400 hair cuts in 2007 and Republican McCain’s $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes this year.

A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.

But all the spending by other candidates pales in comparison to the GOP outlay for the Alaska governor whose expensive, designer outfits have been the topic of fashion pages and magazines.

As clock ticks, hope dims for McCain savior
Democrats' gloom deepens
California gives most to Obama camp
What hasn’t been apparent is where the clothes came from – her closet back in Wasilla or from the campaign coffers in Washington.

The answer can be found inside the RNC’s September monthly financial disclosure report under “itemized coordinated expenditures.”

It’s a report that typically records expenses for direct mail, telephone calls and advertising. Those expenses do show up, but the report also has a new category of spending: “campaign accessories.”

September payments were also made to Barney’s New York ($789.72) and Bloomingdale’s New York ($5,102.71).

Macy’s in Minneapolis, another store fortunate enough to be situated in the Twin Cities that hosted last summer’s Republican National Convention, received three separate payments totaling $9,447.71.

The entries also show two purchases at Pacifier, a top-notch baby store, suggesting $196 was spent to accommodate the littlest Palin to join the campaign trail.

An additional $4,902.45 was spent in early September at Atelier, a high-class shopping destination for men.

Editors' note: In earlier versions, a purchase at Steinlauf & Stoller was inaccurately described as a baby item.

A Drag on the Ticket?

from Yahoo...

Old conventional political wisdom dictates that vice presidential picks don't change the outcome of a race. When Sarah Palin received larger fanfare than John McCain a month ago, the pundits cautioned, "people vote for President, not for Vice President."
Well, vice presidential candidates may not win elections, but this year it's looking increasingly likely that Sarah Palin may help lose one.

In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last night, the number one concern about McCain was Palin's perceived lack of qualifications.

Today Show/NBC News graphic

This morning, NBC's Political Director Chuck Todd explained McCain's "Palin problem":
"Speaking of Palin, her numbers have plummeted in our poll. For the first time, she has a net-negative fav/unfav rating (38%-47%), the only principal [candidate] to carry that distinction. What's more, 55% think she's unqualified to serve as president if the need arises, which is a troublesome number given McCain's age. (Have worries about McCain's age risen because of Palin? Seems to be the case)."

Other polls reflect this perception problem for the McCain/Palin camp as well. Pew released its latest poll that echoes many of the NBC/WSJ's findings about voters' perceptions of Palin and their effect on McCain. Pew's headline doesn't mention Palin specifically -- "Growing Doubts About McCain's Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct" -- but it has this telling observation in the write-up:
"Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama's running mate."

Then ABC pulls McCain's poll problems together with this nugget explaining its most recent poll: "Fallout continues from McCain's pick of Sarah Palin for vice president, with 52 percent saying it weakens their confidence in his judgment."

Obviously, the McCain people aren't loving this and Politico reports that the candidate himself says he's "amazed" by the reaction to his VP pick. Politico writes:
"She is a governor, the most popular governor in America," McCain said. "I think she is the most qualified of any that has run recently for vice president."

"I'm amazed. I'm amazed. Which is better? Serve 35 years in the United States Senate and say you've got to divide Iraq into three different countries, or be governor of a state and a reformer and give people their tax dollars back and bring about reform in the way that your state does business? Which is better?"

Palin buzz -- good and bad -- has lit up the Internet over the past 24 hours. Our friends at Yahoo! Buzz have the details.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Powell endorses Obama, calls Palin pick a disappointment

Monday, October 20, 2008 5:58 AM EDT
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Colin Powell, a Republican who was President Bush’s first secretary of state, endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president Sunday and criticized the tone of Republican John McCain’s campaign.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said either candidate, both of them senators, is qualified to be commander in chief.

But he said Obama is better suited to handle the nation’s economic problems, as well as help improve its standing in the world.

“It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Sen. McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that,” Powell, interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said of his longtime friend, the Arizona senator.

But, he added: “I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Sen. John McCain.”

Powell’s endorsement has been much anticipated because he is a Republican with impressive foreign policy credentials, a subject on which Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, is weak. Powell is a Republican centrist who is popular among moderate voters.

At the same time, Powell is a black man and Obama would be the nation’s first black president. Powell said he was cognizant of the racial aspect of his endorsement, but said that was not the dominant factor in his decision. If it was, he said, he would have made the endorsement months ago.

Powell expressed disappointment in the negative tone of McCain’s campaign, his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate and McCain’s and Palin’s decision to focus in the closing weeks of the contest on Obama’s ties to 1960s-era radical William Ayers.

McCain seemed dismissive of Powell’s endorsement, saying he had support from four other former secretaries of state, all veterans of Republican administrations: Henry Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Lawrence Eagleburger and Alexander Haig.

“Well, I’ve always admired and respected Gen. Powell. We’re longtime friends. This doesn’t come as a surprise,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Sarah Palin's college years left no lasting impression

Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath, left, with classmate Stacia Crocker at a dorm party at the University of Idaho.

In the five years of her collegiate career, spanning four universities in three states, Palin left behind few traces. Not many professors or students even remember her.
By Robin Abcarian
October 21, 2008

Reported from Moscow, Idaho -- What can we learn about our political stars from impressions they made in college?

Sen. John McCain is remembered as a passionate contrarian who won the hearts of his classmates at the Naval Academy. Sen. Barack Obama, who attended Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School, is remembered as a daunting scholar and calming influence. Sen. Joe Biden, who had a brush with plagiarism at Syracuse University College of Law, is remembered fondly by professors who found him charming.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, however, is barely remembered at all.

In the five years of her collegiate career, spanning four universities in three states, Palin left behind few traces.

"Looking at this dynamic personality now, it mystifies me that I wouldn't remember her," said Jim Fisher, Palin's journalism instructor at the University of Idaho, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in journalism in 1987.

Palin, he said, took his public affairs reporting class, an upper-division course limited to 15 students. "It's the funniest damn thing," Fisher said. "No one can recall her."

"I don't remember her," said Roy Atwood, Palin's academic advisor at the university.

Indeed, interviews with a dozen professors yielded not a single snippet of a memory.

Most were perplexed and frustrated that they could offer no insight into a woman who has become their most famous former student. Only a few classmates recalled her, and those with the strongest memories were people she had grown up with in Alaska.

Some of her college anonymity is understandable. "She enrolled in and finished my class, American government, but I have had 12,000 students in my career, and maybe remember 400," said political scientist Tony Stewart, now retired from North Idaho College, which the future vice presidential candidate attended in 1983. Palin, he added, was not among them.

The former classmates who do recall her paint a portrait of a young woman who, like many freshmen, went from hometown stardom to college obscurity.

Friends described her as a serious, unassuming student who showed only brief flashes of the outsized political personality that would one day emerge.

"She wasn't out to get attention," said Michelle Carney Overstreet, a hometown friend and classmate at the University of Idaho. "She kept to herself."

At home, she was known as Sarah Barracuda, the ferocious point guard who led her high school team to a state basketball championship her senior year. But the standout athlete never joined a college team.

As soon as she graduated from Wasilla High School in 1982, she set her sights on leaving Alaska.

"Everybody who grew up in that town at that time was looking for a way out," said Overstreet, one of the few college classmates who had anything like a real memory of Palin. "We wanted to be more and do more."

Palin's parents -- a high school science teacher and school secretary -- could not afford the college tours so common today. Their four children were expected to, and did, work their way through college.

"We didn't have the luxury of spending a week driving around visiting universities to see what they're like," said Kim "Tilly" Ketchum, a high school friend. "We were looking at pictures of campuses."

Palin and Ketchum picked the University of Hawaii at Hilo from a brochure.

Only after arriving in Hawaii did they realize that Hilo had rainfall approaching 100 inches a year. "The rain," Ketchum said, "was disturbing."

They attended orientation but never even enrolled.

The Wasilla girls soon moved to sunny Honolulu and enrolled in Hawaii Pacific University, a small private liberal arts school. They lived in an apartment in the Waikiki Banyan and took a bus to school.

Palin, a school spokeswoman said, attended full time as a business student.

The girls studied on the beach, tried surfing and pulled straight A's, Ketchum said. "We took the basic classes -- chemistry and biology, this and that."

But there was a problem. "When you're used to having some cooler weather, you get tired of the heat," Ketchum said. "We went one semester there before we realized we needed to go someplace else."

They transferred to tiny North Idaho College, on the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Palin's older brother, Chuck Jr., had gone there before transferring to their father's alma mater, the University of Idaho in Moscow.

At North Idaho, Palin and Ketchum found what they had missed in Honolulu. They lived on campus before moving to separate apartments their second semester. "It was all very quaint," Ketchum said. "You kind of felt safe."

Ketchum could remember only one out-of-character incident.

"Someone pulled the fire alarm next to my door," she said. "We all were told there is an invisible dye that squirts onto your hand when you pull the alarm and you're not going to be able to hide. And Sarah looked at her hands, and said, 'Oh my God, look!' And she went and confessed."

Ketchum discovered there that Palin was a natural in front of a camera, a quality that helped her land her first post-college job as a weekend sports reporter at an Anchorage television station. For a journalism class, they videotaped themselves giving a 30-minute speech for classmates to critique.

"She didn't have the kind of fear most kids would have had," Ketchum said. "I could barely handle it."

In 1984, after two semesters at North Idaho, Palin transferred to the University of Idaho. There, she continued her low-key life. A visit to the University of Idaho library here yielded little more than a senior photo of Palin from the yearbook. Though she majored in journalism, her name appears nowhere in the archives of the campus newspaper, the Argonaut.

During summers, Palin worked in an Italian restaurant and a seafood cannery and fished for salmon with high school boyfriend Todd Palin on his boat. While still enrolled in the University of Idaho in fall 1985, she moved home for a semester, taking classes at nearby Matanuska-Susitna College to save money.

Tuition at the university ranged from $485 a semester to $520 by the time Palin graduated. Generous educational loans from the state of Alaska helped her pay her way. So did beauty pageants.

"I razzed Sarah about it at the time," her brother said. "But she looked at me straight-faced and said, 'Hey, this is going to help pay for my college education.' "

Maryline Blackburn, who beat Palin for Miss Alaska in June 1984, said Palin, who competed as Miss Wasilla, earned at least $1,250 when she placed third and was named Miss Congeniality. The following year, Palin competed as Miss Big Lake and did not place, said Blackburn, a professional singer in Georgia.

"Everybody liked her, but I could tell she was very calculating," Blackburn said. "We were all very secretive about our talents and how we were going to present ourselves. She was always asking questions, figuring out what she needed to do to get ahead."

Stacia Crocker Hagerty, 42, lived on the same dorm floor as Palin and considered her a good friend. Still, the Coeur d'Alene lawyer and real estate agent said she had only a few random memories of Palin and a couple of snapshots -- including one at a 1986 "kegger" in which they sport big hair and wide belts over untucked blouses.

Palin was a calming presence who offered to pray for her when Hagerty had boyfriend troubles. "She was so 'steady Eddie,' so rock solid," Hagerty said. "She didn't make a big deal out of things like other people did. She talked about politics and history and what was going on in the world. I was like, whatever, I don't care about that stuff."

Until 1987, the Idaho drinking age was 19, and the university had a reputation as a top party school. Hagerty said Palin "was upbeat and fun but not a heavy partyer."

When she ran for Alaska governor in 2006, Palin admitted that she had smoked marijuana, but Hagerty said she never saw her friend do drugs.

Hagerty said Palin was good friends with Jill Loranger, their resident advisor for two years.

When reached at her home in Hailey, Idaho, Jill Loranger Clark was mystified.

"I can honestly tell you I have no idea who she was," said Clark, a middle school teacher. "If she had been a big party animal, I would have remembered her."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Church Lady - this is so scary.

A video of Palin speaking at her church a couple months ago.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Palin has checkered history on ethics issues.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose reformer image took a hit in a report concluding she abused her powers to settle a family score, has skirted state ethics rules before for personal benefit and used her office to help friends and supporters, according to an Associated Press review of records.

Palin's first try at statewide office, after six years as mayor of Wasilla, was an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 2002. To raise money, she improperly used her City Hall office and equipment, city records show. A year later she would make headlines by blasting a fellow Republican for, among other things, improperly using his government position to boost his campaign.

Then, in 2006, Palin won the governor's race with a vow to reform state ethics. But in less than two years, she has repeatedly taken actions that violated her own stated standards for ethical behavior — if not state law. In the process, the Republican vice presidential nominee has become much like the old-school politicians she attacked during her rise to power.

Some examples:

_She pummeled opponents for giving oil companies and other businesses too much control of state government. Yet she appointed the founder of an engineering firm that received $6.8 million in state business as head of the transportation department.

_She has accepted dozens of gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars since taking office, including two free trips last year that she failed to report on disclosure forms, despite criticizing state legislators for the gifts they take.

_She is under another investigation, accused of misusing her office to campaign against a voter referendum calling for tighter mining regulations. Her husband, Todd, has accepted free trips from a mining company to look at their proposed new site.

_Another ethics complaint, unresolved, accuses her staff of finding a state job for a friend and campaign contributor.

Last week, an investigation by the Alaska legislature found that Palin, running mate to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, abused her powers when she and her husband improperly pressured the state public safety commissioner to fire her sister's ex-husband, a state trooper. The brother-in-law was never fired, but Palin fired the commissioner in July.

"It's all about the power, and it frightens me," said state Rep. Beth Kerttula, a Juneau Democrat who like many in the minority party have supported Palin on some issues, including energy policy. "She doesn't seem to know where the boundaries are."

Even critics concede that Palin deserves credit for working with legislators to toughen state ethics laws and for providing more information to taxpayers about state spending. She advocated restrictions on lobbyists' giving, increased disclosure requirements for public officials and posted state spending details on the Internet.

Palin also risked her own political future by exposing unethical behavior by other public officials, even those in her own party.

But they say she often claims the ethical high ground when she hasn't been above questionable behavior herself.

"She's very good at reading the public's discontent and pandering to it," said Larry Persily, who worked in the governor's Washington, D.C., office until resigning earlier this year.

Palin faced questions during her 2006 gubernatorial race about her use of the Wasilla mayor's office four years earlier to run for lieutenant governor. Palin used city staff and office equipment — including a fax machine, computers for e-mail and a City Hall phone number — to run her campaign, according to city records.

She apologized for those transgressions in 2006, but only this month acknowledged to the AP that the city initially paid for a campaign flight in that 2002 race and that weeks later she reimbursed the city.

"According to people who worked with her at the time, the travel agency inadvertently billed the city rather than her personally," McCain campaign spokesman Taylor Griffin said in a written statement. "To ensure that it was corrected immediately, she reimbursed Wasilla and the campaign later reimbursed her. It's an example of Gov. Palin's commitment to the highest standards of ethics."

Palin brushed the issue aside when she ran for governor, arguing it was nothing more than an opponent's smear campaign.

She has cast herself as Alaska's ethics watchdog. In her most dramatic move, she revealed in 2003 that the state's Republican Party leader was campaigning from his state job. She then challenged incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski two years ago on a platform of government reform.

After her victory, though, Palin reverted to political tradition, rewarding even marginally qualified friends and campaign backers with high-level positions.

A friend from her Wasilla High School class was named to manage the state's agriculture office after a career in real estate. A family friend and campaign worker became head of the state agency that invests Alaska's oil revenue. Her real estate agent's husband received an appointment to the state real estate board.

Palin's biggest political splash was from attacking the big oil companies that she said ran the state. She challenged their political power, and promised voters that her administration would avoid cozy relationships with business.

But one of her first cabinet appointments didn't live up to that pledge.

Leo von Scheben, a co-founder of Anchorage-based USKH Inc. engineering firm, took over the state's Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and his firm's state business increased, records show. USKH received $6.8 million in state transportation contracts last year, up 13 percent from $6 million the year before.

Von Scheben stopped taking a salary and all benefits from the company when he stepped into the state job. But he didn't sever all financial ties. Von Scheben receives annual stock payments that he arranged before he left the company in 2007 that will continue for 10 years, according to his financial disclosure forms.

Von Scheben said he has recused himself on projects pursued by the firm and that others in the agency select companies to receive state business. He said he believes his appointment may have cost his former company state business, although he doesn't regret taking the job.

"If the state can't draw on some private sector people, they're missing out," he said.

Palin claims passage of broad ethics reforms as an accomplishment following state corruption scandals. But Palin didn't report as gifts two free trips she received in 2007 as legislators were debating the new ethics law.

"This is simply a rare oversight, nothing more," campaign spokesman Griffin said when asked about the omissions by the AP.

Palin has, in fact, reported most of her gifts on her annual financial disclosure forms, something her predecessor never did, according to Alaska Public Offices Commission records.

The unreported paid trips:

_The $2,988 cost of Palin's April 2007 flight and hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a four-day conference was paid by the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute of North Carolina, a nonprofit education policy group. Palin received the same free trip as dozens of other governors invited over the years to attend the annual summit, institute spokesman April White said.

_A May 2007 overnight visit with her three daughters and her parents attending a family reception at Mt. Chilkoot Lodge in Skagway, Alaska, was paid for by friend and former deputy campaign treasurer Kathy Hosford, one of the lodge's owners.

"We weren't open and it was just on a friendship basis," Hosford said.

The Palins used two suites valued at $150 each, said Sharon Leighow, a spokeswoman in the governor's office.

The same day Palin visited Skagway, executives of the Anchorage-based VECO Inc. pleaded guilty to offering bribes to five legislators. Palin, mingling with old family friends and town residents, spoke briefly with local reporters during her visit, calling the corruption developments "atrocious" and promising change.

"There are problems in state government," Palin told The Skagway News, "and on our watch it is our responsibility to show people that we are going to clean things up."

Persily, who said he left Palin's administration because he didn't enjoy working in Washington, said Palin is skillful in "attacking the 'good ol' boys.' The good ol' boys that Palin is talking about are those that can't help her politically."

Democratic state Rep. Mike Doogan said Palin, even as she bends or breaks the rules herself, acts as if she invented ethics in Alaska.

"It's insulting to those of us who have always done the right thing," he said.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Palin defiant after probe jolts McCain campaign.

By Myriam Chaplain-Riou

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AFP) - Vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin denied wrongdoing Saturday after a probe found she had abused voters' trust as Alaska governor, in a new blow to John McCain's trailing White House campaign.

Republican McCain was embroiled in turmoil of his own meanwhile, after he was booed late Friday by supporters and appeared to undercut his own campaign strategy by calling time on personal attacks on Barack Obama.

Alaska Governor Palin rejected the findings of a bipartisan legislative probe which found she violated ethics rules by letting husband Todd pressure top officials for the firing of her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper.

Asked by a reporter in Pennsylvania if the charges were true, Palin replied: "No, and if you read the report you will see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about it. You have to read the report."

The report said that Palin had "the authority and power to require Mr Palin to cease contacting subordinates, but she failed to act."

But in a phrase seized upon by the McCain camp, the report also said she acted within her "constitutional and statutory authority" in the case.

The probe was the latest blow to Palin, who electrified the Republican Party when she was first picked, but has seen her impact, especially among undecided voters and women diminish amid questions about her qualifications.

The damaging report could make it tougher for the McCain camp to portray Palin as a crusading reformer set to flush out corruption in Washington.

McCain meanwhile took to the campaign trail in Iowa, for the first time after he had to step in at a town hall meeting in Minnesota Friday, when one woman said Obama was an "Arab" and a man said he was "scared" of the Democrat.

Critics say the seething anger seen at McCain rallies, with shouts of "treason" and "kill him" heard from some crowds, has been whipped up by campaign ads which have accused the Democrat of associating with terrorists.

"He's a decent family man (and) citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about," McCain said at the town-hall meeting in Lakeville, Minnesota.

McCain told the man who said he was "scared" to bring his new baby into an America ruled by Obama that the Democrat was a "decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States."

McCain's comments drew boos from some of his supporters and appeared to directly undercut the thrust of his aggressive negative ad campaign which has question whether Obama has a character befitting a president.

The campaign has accused Obama of not telling the truth about what he insists is a passing acquaintance with William Ayers, a 1960s radical who is now a college professor.

Palin, who has been cast in the role of attack dog by the campaign, did not repeat her criticisms of Obama over Ayers during an appearance in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Obama meanwhile acknowledged McCain's attempt to cool things down, but charged his rival with running a negative campaign to try to distract voters from the number one issue -- the tumbling US economy.

"Now, I want to acknowledge that Senator McCain tried to tone down the rhetoric yesterday in his town hall meeting and I appreciate his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other," Obama said.

"I have said it before and I'll say it again -- Senator McCain has served this country with honor and he deserves our thanks for that," Obama said, as McCain's name was greeted with boos at Obama's rallies in Philadelphia.

But McCain's spokesman Tucker Bounds immediately responded: "The tone of this election is not fueling voter outrage, it's that Americans are frustrated" at Obama's "plans to raise taxes during a down economy."

Just 24 days before the election, time appeared to be fast running out for McCain to change the trajectory of a campaign which has seemed to be slipping away ever since the onset of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

Obama led McCain 52 percent to 41 percent among registered voters nationwide, according to a new Newsweek survey, which a month ago had the race locked at 46 percent.

As many as 86 percent of voters said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going in the United States, and only 10 percent said they were satisfied -- a grim omen for Republicans.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sarah, Sarah, Why You Buggin' 4?

From the Associated Press:

Alaska panel finds Palin abused power in firing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded Friday. The politically charged inquiry imperiled her reputation as a reformer on John McCain's Republican ticket.

Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report by a bipartisan panel that investigated the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.

The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.

The report found that Palin let the family grudge influence her decision-making even if it was not the sole reason Monegan was dismissed. "I feel vindicated," Monegan said. "It sounds like they've validated my belief and opinions. And that tells me I'm not totally out in left field."

Branchflower said Palin violated a statute of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.

Palin and McCain's supporters had hoped the inquiry's finding would be delayed until after the presidential election to spare her any embarrassment and to put aside an enduring distraction as she campaigns as McCain's running mate in an uphill contest against Democrat Barack Obama.

But the panel of lawmakers voted to release the report, although not without dissension. There was no immediate vote on whether to endorse its findings.

"I think there are some problems in this report," said Republican state Sen. Gary Stevens, a member of the panel. "I would encourage people to be very cautious, to look at this with a jaundiced eye."

The nearly 300-page report does not recommend sanctions or a criminal investigation.

The investigation revealed that Palin's husband, Todd, has extraordinary access to the governor's office and her closest advisers. He used that access to try to get trooper Mike Wooten fired, the report found.

Branchflower faulted Sarah Palin for taking no action to stop that. He also noted there is evidence the governor herself participated in the effort.

Now It's Personal...

Stay the F@&* out of Cleveland, Palin. The city has been through enough bullshit - it doesn't need you parading your ignorant ass around town. If I still lived there, I would have thrown those empty beer cans at your head (this is not a threat, it was said in jest). This is your last warning, you have 24 hours... (this is also not a threat, as there was no stated ultimatum).

CLEVELAND (AP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said more than one person has whispered in her ear in Ohio that John McCain needs "to take the gloves off" in his campaign against Democrat Barack Obama. Before a friendly crowd of Republican fundraisers Friday, the Alaska governor did that herself.

Palin said Obama was exploiting the economic crisis for political gain, "instead of trying to find solutions and work together to deal with it."

She also accused Obama of proposing a trillion dollars in new government spending without explaining where that money will come from.

"Media, don't know why they're not asking him: 'Where is that money gonna come from?'" she said. "He's got to raise taxes."

Obama has said his new spending will be paid for by ending President Bush's tax cuts for the 5 percent of Americans who make more than $250,000 a year, savings from withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq and greater government efficiency. He pledges tax cuts for those making less than $200,000 a year.

Speaking to about 200 supporters in a ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton in downtown Cleveland — her second fundraiser of the day in hard-fought Ohio — Palin defended the Republican campaign's effort this week to ask the public and media to take a closer look at Obama and his associations.

"With only 25 days to go, it's not negative and it's not mean-spirited," she said.

Palin led a campaign rally in Wilmington in southwest Ohio on Thursday, and attended a fundraiser Friday morning at a private home in the upscale Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill.

In Cleveland, she immediately turned folksy, telling the cheering crowd to sit down and keep eating.

"We'll just be a big happy family here, just like my own family," Palin said.

Palin also cited a disputed report, first in the New York Post and in Friday's editions of the Washington Times, that said Obama tried to influence negotiations with Iraqi leaders.

"If it is true, what Barack Obama attempted to do there, it is a stunning example of putting ambition before country," she said to applause.

Obama and the lawmakers who accompanied him to Baghdad have said the reports are not true.

"This ridiculous charge is completely false, and has been disputed by independent fact-checkers and bipartisan members of Congress. Barack Obama's consistent position is simply that any agreement about our long-term troop presence in Iraq must be reviewed by the United States Congress to ensure bipartisan support from the American people," said Obama spokesman Tom Reynolds.

Palin was greeted by protesters at both Friday stops. There were at least 20 when she arrived in Cleveland, with one holding a sign that read, "Like Bush's economy? Hire McCain."

The group chanted "Bush-McCain! More of the same!"

Earlier in Indian Hill, a few neighbors stood along the street to greet Palin with supportive posters and American flags. About a dozen protesters gathered nearby wearing "Joe Six-pack" nametags and holding empty beer cans.

Palin has said she appeals to "Joe Six-pack," meaning everyday people who buy beer.

The Battle Plan II: Sarah "Evita" Palin, the Muse of the Coming Police State

-Naomi Wolf
The Huffington Post

Please understand what you are looking at when you look at Sarah "Evita" Palin. You are looking at the designated muse of the coming American police state.

You have to understand how things work in a closing society in order to understand "Palin Power." A gang or cabal seizes power, usually with an affable, weak figurehead at the fore. Then they will hold elections -- but they will make sure that the election will be corrupted and that the next affable, weak figurehead is entirely in their control. Remember, Russia has Presidents; Russia holds elections. Dictators and gangs of thugs all over the world hold elections. It means nothing. When a cabal has seized power you can have elections and even presidents, but you don't have freedom.

I realized early on with horror what I was seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal, but this time without restraints. I heard her echo Bush 2000 soundbites ("the heart of America is on display") and realized Bush's speechwriters were writing her -- not McCain's -- speeches. I heard her tell George Bush's lies -- not McCain's -- to the American people, linking 9/11 to Iraq. I heard her make fun of Barack Obama for wanting to prevent the torture of prisoners -- this is Rove-Cheney's enthusiastic S and M, not McCain's, who, though he shamefully colluded in the 2006 Military Tribunals Act, is also a former prisoner of war and wrote an eloquent Newsweek piece in 2005 opposing torture. I saw that she was even styled by the same skillful stylist (neutral lipstick, matte makeup, dark colors) who turned Katharine Harris from a mall rat into a stateswoman and who styles all the women in the Bush orbit --but who does not bother to style Cindy McCain.

Then I saw and heard more. Palin is embracing lawlessness in defying Alaskan Legislature subpoenas --this is what Rove-Cheney, and not McCain, believe in doing. She uses mafia tactics against critics, like the police commissioner who was railroaded for opposing handguns in Alaskan battered women's shelters -- Rove's style, not McCain's. I realized what I was seeing.

Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is "dialed in" to the McCain campaign. Rove's protégé Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain's vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.

What's the plan? It is this. McCain doesn't matter. Reputable dermatologists are discussing the fact that in simply actuarial terms, John McCain has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer. It is the elephant in the room, but we must discuss the health of the candidates: doctors put survival rates for someone his age at two to four years. I believe the Rove-Cheney cabal is using Sarah Palin as a stalking horse, an Evita figure, to put a popular, populist face on the coming police state and be the talk show hostess for the end of elections as we know them. If McCain-Palin get in, this will be the last true American election. She will be working for Halliburton, KBR, Rove and Cheney into the foreseeable future -- for a decade perhaps -- a puppet "president" for the same people who have plundered our treasure, are now holding the US economy hostage and who murdered four thousand brave young men and women in a way of choice and lies.

How, you may ask, can I assert this? How can I argue, as I now do, that there is actually a war being ramped up against US citizens and our democracy and that Sarah Palin is the figurehead and muse for that war?

Look at the RNC. This is supposed to be McCain's America. But you see the unmistakable theatre of Rove's S and M imagery -- and you see stages eight, nine and ten of the steps to a dictatorship as I outlined them in The End of America. Preemptive arrest? Abusive arrest? "Newly released footage, which was buried to avoid confiscation, shows riot cops arresting and abusing a giant group of people for nothing."

Journalists were arrested -- for reporting. Amy Goodman and ABC producers were arrested. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and others were forced to lie face down as armed agents tied their hands behind their backs. The riot police wore the black S&M gear of the Rovian fantasy life and carried the four foot batons cops carry in North Korea. All this is not John McCain's imagery or strategy: it is Karl Rove's.

In McCain-Palin's America, citizens who are protesting are being charged as terrorists. This means that a violent war had been declared on American citizens. A well known reporter leaked to me on background that St Paul police had dressed as protesters and, dressed in Black -- shades of the Blackshirts of 1920 -- infiltrated protest groups. There were also phalanxes of men in black wearing balaclavas, linking arms and behaving menacingly -- alleged "anarchists." Let me tell you, I have been on the left for thirty years and you can't get three lefties to wear the same t-shirt to a rally, let alone link arms and wear identical face masks: these are not our guys. Agent Provocateurs framing protesters and calling protest "terrorism" constitutes step ten of a police state:

"In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism... [they] 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty."

"Paid, confidential informants... infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provocateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence."

Under the Palin-Rove police state, you will see escalating infringements on your access to a free internet:

"Sarah Palin was baptized at Wasilla Assembly of God...Last Sunday our research team released a video, a ten-minute mini-documentary, focusing on the Wasilla Assemblies of God and the video seemed on the verge of a massive "viral" breakthrough when YouTube pulled it down, citing 'inappropriate content'. At the point the video was censored by YouTube it had been viewed by almost 160,000 people. The short of it is that YouTube has censored a video documentary that appeared to be close to having an effect on a hard fought and contentious American presidential election..."

Under the coming Palin-Rove police state, you will witness the plans now underway to bring Iraqi troops to patrol the streets of our nation. This is not McCain's fantasy: it is Rove's and Cheney's.

Under the Palin-Rove police state, there will be no further true elections. Mark Crispin Miller has done sensational and under-reported investigating t o establish that -- as I warned -- indeed the GOP staffers on the US Senate Judiciary Committee have been .

The evidence is also buried on the Website of the Majority House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

WASHINGTON -- Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe. >From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications witho ut a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

-- "Senate panel's GOP staff spied on Democrats" By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | January 22, 2004

Do you think that spying like this will ever end under a Palin-Rove regime? Dream on. If she and McCain are elected, then every single strategy memo and speech and debate prep note from every opposition candidate from now and on into forever will be read by the regime in power while it is still in the computers of the challengers.

Under the Palin-Rove police state, citizens will be targeted with state cyberterrorism. Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda, a former Reagan official, warned me three years ago that the Bush team went after a Republican who had crossed them through cyberstalking: they messed with his email, messed with his phones and I believe messed with his bank account -- he became a cyber-pariah, unemployable and haunted. With modern technology, there really is less place to hide from the state than there was in East Germany in the Cold War era. I remember feeling a chill: of course. That is the wave of the future once we breach the protections around citizens of FISA and the fourth amendment. That way lies the abyss for us all.

Am I trying to scare you? I am. I am trying to scare you to death and ask you to scare your Republican and independent friends most of all. How do you know when it is war on citizens? When there are mass arrests, journalists are jailed, the opposition is infiltrated, rights are stripped and leaders start to ignore the rule of law.

Almost everyone I work with on projects related to this campaign for liberty has been experiencing computer harassment: emails are stripped, messages disappear. That's not all: people's bank accounts are being tampered with: wire transfers to banks vanish in midair. I personally keep opening bank accounts that are quickly corrupted by fraud. Money vanishes. Coworkers of mine have to keep opening new email accounts as old ones become infected. And most disturbingly to me personally is the mail tampering I have both heard of and experienced firsthand. My tax returns vanished from my mailbox. All my larger envelopes arrive ripped straight open apparently by hand. When I show the postman, he says "That's impossible." Horrifyingly to me is the impact on my family. My childrens' report cards are returned again and again though perfectly addressed; their invitations are turned back; and my daughters many letters from camp? Vanished. All of them. Not one arrived. Try explaining that to a smart thirteen year old. Try explaining it in a way that still makes her feel secure and comfortable.

I am not telling you this because it's about my life. I am telling you this because it is about your life -- whoever you are, Conservative or Liberal, independent or evangelical. Your politics will not protect you in a police state. History shows that nothing portects you in a police state. This is not about my fear and anxiety: it is about what awaits you and everyone you love unless you see this for what it is:

Scharansky divided nations into "fear societies" and "free societies." Make no mistake: Sarah "Evita" Palin is Rove and Cheney's cosmetic rebranding of their fascist push: she will help to establish a true and irreversible "fear society" in this once free once proud nation. For God's sake, do not let her; do not let them.