Sep 11 2008

Was she for it or against it?

Published by under Election

Of all the things I have to say annoys me about politicians is how they will stretch the truth in order to make themselves look good. In the case of Sarah Palin…it’s pretty much an outright lie. At the GOP convention last week Sarah noted that she opposed the “Bridge to Nowhere”

““I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress “thanks, but no thanks,” for that Bridge to Nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, we’d build it ourselves”

(KCTV, “Full Text: Palin Accepts Nomination“, KCTV5.com, Kansas, City, KA, September 3, 2008 )

Unfortunately Sarah’s not telling the truth. The facts are that she supported the “Bridge to Nowhere” (a project to link Ketchikan, AK with its airport on Gravina Island) while campaigning for the post of Governor of Alaska. So much so that in a debate as a gubenatorial candidate she said that she would fight for the earmark to build the bridge (Bernton, Hal and David, Heath, “Palin’s earmark requests: more per person than any other state“, The Seattle Times, September 2, 2008 ). Not only that but she supported many other earmarks for Alaska both as Governor as well as Mayor of Wasilla, AK. As governor she requested $499,900 to assess halibut harvesting as well as money to light airports in the Alaskan bush. All these earmark requests were coming at a time when the Federal deficit was soaring under the Bush administration and Alaska’s coffers were overflowing with money because of soaring oil prices and a major tax increase which Governor Palin signed into law in late 2007! (Bernton, Hal and David, Heath, “Palin’s earmark requests: more per person than any other state“, The Seattle Times, September 2, 2008 )

As Mayor of Wasilla she hired Washington Lobbyist Steven Silver, a former aide to Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, to represent the town. After Silver was hired the town received earmarks from the Federal government for several projects including:

  • $600,000 for a city bus facility
  • $1.5 million for a local water and sewer project

(source: Hamburger, Tom, “Palin relied on earmark system she now opposes“, LA Times, September 1, 2008 ). The total amount of earmarks which then Mayor Palin received amounted to a total of $27 million dollars!

Now claiming on the campaign trail that as Governor of Alaska she has slashed earmarks from $550 million dollars down to just under $200 million dollars (a reduction of two-thirds!). Unfortunately that also is a lie. In 2007 Alaska requested a total of $254 million dollars in earmarks for an actual reduction of around 22% — not the 66% that Governor Palin claims. (Bernton, Hal and David, Heath, “Palin’s earmark requests: more per person than any other state“, The Seattle Times, September 2, 2008 ) And for 2009 it continues (and here she is out on the campaign trail decrying the earmark system) some of the earmarks that Alaska has requested from the Federal government include $25 million dollars for “Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery” and $3.2 million dollars for seal and sea lion research. (Hamburger, Tom, “Palin relied on earmark system she now opposes“, LA Times, September 1, 2008 ).

In the end it appears that not only is Governor Palin lying about her record she is also what the Republicans call a “flip-flop” — one day she’s for it, the next day she’s against it. Will the real Governor Palin please stand up?

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Sep 11 2008

Sarah Palin — Hockey Mom or Pit Bull?

Published by under Election

So it seems that everyone on the Republican side is mesmerized by Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska. Here’s a woman, the first one on a GOP ticket, who no one knows about except that she can tell them the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull — lipstick. No one seems to be bothered that this woman, who is vehemently against abortion — even in cases of rape and incest — has no problem announcing that her 17-year old, unmarried daughter is currently pregnant. Didn’t she teach her daughter about abstinence?

But that’s not the focus of this opinion. The focus here is the question of whether Gov. Palin is for or against the first amendment. My question arises from the fact that the good governor, when she was simply the mayor of sleepy Wasilla, Alaska questioned the town librarian as to whether the she (the librarian, that is) would be comfortable with removing “questionable” books from the town library should she be asked to do so. A few months after Mary Ellen Emmons, the well liked town librarian, told Mayor Palin that she would definitely not be alright with such an idea she

got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go.

(White, Randi, “Palin Pressured Wasilla Librarian“, Alaska Daily News, September 4th 2008 )

Palin didn’t ask Ms. Emmons just once on a whim but several times — 3 total. Once before she was sworn in as the Mayor of Wasilla, the second was in October of 1996 during a city council meeting. As related by Anne Kilkenny who attends city council meetings occasionally

“Sarah said to Mary Ellen, ‘What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?” Kilkenny said.

“I was shocked. Mary Ellen sat up straight and said something along the line of, ‘The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.'”

(White, Randi, “Palin Pressured Wasilla Librarian“, Alaska Daily News, September 4th 2008 )

It seems that Sarah Palin has a problem with the first amendment in terms of freedom of expression. It remains unanswered as to which books then Mayor Palin wanted banned but the fact that she asked the librarian three times — once in a city council meeting — and that indicates that this wasn’t just a passing fancy. The interesting thing is that now that items like this have come more and more to the surface I’m no longer sure whether there really is any difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull.

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