Palin’s Future Son-in-Law Heads to GOP Convention?

2 09 2008

Here are the headlines right now on the Anchorage Daily News website: (God, I love Alaska)

  • Bristol Palin’s Boyfriend Heads to Convention
  • FBI taped more than 100 Stevens Calls (Indicted Senator Ted Stevens that is)
  • Palin Leaps to National Stage and Ever-Increasing Scrutiny
  • Electronic Scarecrows Haze Ravens from Utility Equipment (Hey…it’s news.)

Yes, that first headline is right, apparently.  It took me a while to get my palms off my face so I could check it out, but it’s true.  I know we’re not supposed to interfere with the personal lives of candidates’ children.  I know that many people, including myself, feel sorry for Bristol and the fact that she was hurled out in front of the nation with nothing to cover her secret expanding midsection except a baby and a giant blanket.  I even heard Barack Obama ask us all to drop it.  But, inviting the boyfriend to come to the convention in the middle of all this?  Who has brought this, and him, right into the most glaring of bright lights, in front of the hugest of audiences?  How to create a distracting, embarrassing spectacle with one plane ticket. The mind reels….I think.   It’s been reeling since Friday, so it’s hard to tell any more.

And for those of you who have wondered what you’ll do with yourselves when the Palin fiasco is over (and there are more and more media outlets speculating that it will be long before November), take heart.  Read that second headline up at the top of the page.  Ted Stevens will be the methedone for your Palin addiction.  Trust me.

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Sarah Palin’s Preacher Problem. End Times Coming?

2 09 2008

Good Lord. Another ‘gate’. Just talked to one of our local progressive radio talk show hosts (yes, we have them in Alaska!) and she said her head is spinning. Mine is too. No one knows where to turn. Keeping up with the tidal wave of what’s hitting the fan in Alaska is fast becoming a full-time job. It feels like that old-time video game “Centipede”. It’s easy at first to blast those little centipedes as they work their way down the screen, but the longer you play the faster they come and bigger they get, and the more you have to work to keep them in check.

There’s fundraising for indicted senator Ted Stevens’ 547, not actually knowing “what the VP does all day”, her affiliation with the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, earmarks after earmarks for her small town projects, zero international experience, Troopergate, Babygate, Dairygate, Bridgegate, Toddgate, and now…..Churchgate.

I’ve picked this particular centipede today, (shall we call it the Jesus-pede?) because this is something that crosses the line between a candidate who is unqualified, and a candidate that is not using the same play book as most of the rest of us.

I did a drive-by of Palin’s church when I was traveling through Wasilla yesterday, not realizing the furor that would be churning the blogosphere less than 24-hours later about a speech Palin delivered there only three months ago. Here’s what she said regarding the war in Iraq.

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.”

Let that sink in a minute. A task that is from God. Sarah’s war is a holy war. It’s not, apparently from the God that says “turn the other cheek” or “I am my brother’s keeper” or “the greatest of all these is love”. It’s not about diplomacy, international relations, figuring out why we are so despised in the Middle East, keeping Israel secure, revamping how the U.S. deals with its unsustainable dependence on foreign oil, combating poverty and desperation that leads young men to terrorism. Nope. This war is God’s will. It’s God’s holy war. She went on:

That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.

So the plan is to pray for a plan? Perhaps it would have been better to pray for a plan beFORE we went to Iraq. Better still to sit down and create a plan – a thoughtful, intelligent, human-type plan.

Knowing that Palin has only been out of the country once, in 2007, to visit the Alaska Guard in Kuwait, we rightfully wonder what might influence her international policy. How will her decisions be made? What is her style of governance? Well, folks, this might just be it. Pray for a plan and hope it’s the right one.

Beyond that one speech she made in June, what else do we know about Palin’s church? Good question. Anchroage residents, who comprise the vast majority of the population in this region of Alaska, know that Wasilla is the heart of Alaska’s Valley Bible Belt. This is evidenced by the dozens and dozens of roadside churches, the Christian schools and bookstores, and how many people are wearing crosses in the local supermarket. But I, and most others I know really don’t know much more than that. But, the press, bloggers, and curious citizens are now McCain’s post-facto vetting team, and they are opening can after can of worms.

Let’s break the vacuum seal on that latest can, shall we? (giant sucking sound, behold worms) This is from Ed Kalnins, the senior pastor of Wasilla Assembly of God. Palin attended here for most of her adult life, until her new affiliation with a similar church in the state’s capitol, Juneau:

What you see in a terrorist — that’s called the invisible enemy. There has always been an invisible enemy. What you see in Iraq, basically, is a manifestation of what’s going on in this unseen world called the spirit world. … We need to think like Jesus thinks. We are in a time and a season of war, and we need to think like that. We need to develop that instinct. We need to develop as believers the instinct that we are at war, and that war is contending for your faith. … Jesus called us to die. You’re worried about getting hurt? He’s called us to die. Listen, you know we can’t even follow him unless you are willing to give up your life. … I believe that Jesus himself operated from that position of war mode. Everyone say “war mode.” Now you say, wait a minute Ed, he’s like the good shepherd, he’s loving all the time and he’s kind all the time. Oh yes he is — but I also believe that he had a part of his thoughts that knew that he was in a war.

How will the Republican party and the pundits handle Palin’s “Reverend Wright Moment”? Did McCain vet her on matters of her religious ties, knowing how devastating the impact of his church selection turned out to be for Obama? You’d think. But maybe McCain knew all along, and thought it was no big deal. Which scenario is more sobering? And how do non-Christians in the rest of the country and in Alaska feel about the “end times” philosophy of this church?

Is this one more step toward the End Times of the McCain-Palin ticket? Let us pray.





Palin is Lawyered Up and Ready to Joust.

2 09 2008

Take a few hours off, and see what happens? Apparently it’s not possible to blink these days without missing the latest bit of Palin drama. While I was out snapping photos of the governor’s home town of Wasilla and its environs, the state of Alaska was busy running an errand for Sarah – finding her a lawyer. Yes, she’s lawyered up. And the sparks are flying already.

It all goes back to Troopergate. If you need to consult the Troopergate Primer, go HERE. We’ll wait….

Now, we’d like to welcome our newest player to the growing cast of characters in our little drama – Thomas Van Flein. Mr. Van Flein (don’t you just have to say that with an accent?!) has been hired to represent Palin in the upcoming legislative investigation into the firing of Commissioner Walt Monegan.

“But wait!” you may be asking, “What about the state Attorney General? Why can’t he handle this?” Why not AG Talis Colberg? Well, he’s the one that Palin sent out to do a pre-emptive sleuthing campaign to see what the Legislature was going to find out when they investigated her. Just so she’d have a heads up. So now Colberg, who has already been talking to everybody and his uncle about the Trooper, including Walt Monegan, has now opened himself up to being called as a witness! So he’s out. (And incidentally, he’s also going to take over the role of Governor of Alaska should Palin end up as the VP, and her Lt. Governor Sean Parnell win his bid for Alaska’s sole House seat. My head hurts).

Now that John McCain has gotten his mits into this mess, the McCain/Palin campaign has put together a four-page statement saying that her husband Todd Palin and members of her administration had simply inquired “about the appropriate Department of Public Safety procedures for dealing with someone they considered a dangerous person and rogue trooper.” No pressure, just simple friendly inquiries. BUT, they say, keep in mind that Sarah Palin herself only became aware of her husband’s and all those other people’s ‘inquiries’ very recently, long after they were made. Because married people don’t talk about things like exacting vengeance on dastardly ex-brothers-in-law (on whom they’ve filed dozens of complaints) with each other. Todd did it all on his own. That rogue!

Here’s where the gloves come off. Van Flein, Palin’s new lawyer, says that the state legislature shouldn’t be handling the investigation at all. It would be much better, he says, if the state Personnel Board (a three person board appointed by Sarah Palin herself) did the investigation. And Van Flein also asked for all witness statements, documents and other materials collected in the course of the legislature’s investigation.

Hollis French, the state senator, and former state prosecutor who is heading up the investigation said, “No.” and “No.” French reminded Van Flein that Palin has been saying she has nothing to hide all along, and is Palin aware that Van Flein seems to be questioning the legislature’s legitimacy? (That was the first No.) Then he said that Palin had sent the Attorney General out to do the dirty work of talking to all the witnesses first anyway, so go get the information from him. And he told Stephen Branchflower, the real investigator, not to give any info to Van Flein. (Second No.)

Palin and Van Flein vs. French and Branchflower. Doesn’t that sound like some kind of epic medieval jousting match? Good analogy.

Van Flein saddles up. He says, “Our concern is that Hollis French turns into Ken Starr and uses public money to pursue a political vendetta rather than truly pursue an honest inquiry into an alleged ethics issue.”

OHHHHH. Name calling metamorphosis imagery and conservative hot button issue! FOUL for Van Flein!

And now French galloping at full speed…. “How does Van Flein explain the unanimous vote (to pursue the investigation of Palin) by the Republican-dominated Legislative Council?” OUCH! Van Flein is off the horse. Boy that had to hurt.

OK, now Branchflower is ready to take on Palin for some questioning. But…where is Palin? Is Palin in the house? (looking around) Ohh that’s right…busy with that Vice Presidential thing.

Van Flein, dusting himself off, pipes up: The investigation is “bad timing” in the middle of a presidential campaign!

Methinks the presidential campaign is “bad timing” in the middle of an investigation. But that’s just me.

BREAKING NEWS 9/2/08 4:35 LOCAL TIME:

Palin has just released documentation indicating that she will attempt to scuttle the investigation by the Legislature and steer it to the control of the State Personnel Board, a 3-member board that Palin herself appointed.  The stall tactics begin.  The McCain campaign does NOT want a Legislative investigation, and they don’t want the results of that investigation to come 5 days before the election as it is scheduled now.  More shenanigans to come, I’m sure.