Palin Investigation vs. Palin Investigation. The Basics.

23 09 2008

You may be hearing about how Sarah Palin has decided to cooperate with the Troopergate investigation. Most people who haven’t been following the ins and outs of this whole sordid affair, may think that this is a good thing. They may think she’s had a change of heart. They may have heard something about another investigation, but believe it to be ‘partisan’ and a Democratic witch hunt. Well, it’s time to leave the witch hunting to the pastor who prayed her into the governor’s mansion, and explain exactly what’ s going on with these two, very different, investigations. Here are the basics:

Investigation #1: The Alaska State Legislature/The Legislative Council

First, it’s important to know that the investigative powers of the Legislature are plenary. This means they can investigate anything they want, whenever they want, if they vote to do it. Period. This investigation began with a unanimous vote of 8 Republicans and 4 Democrats. This group unanimously chose Democrat Hollis French to direct and organize the investigation because he was the right person for the job, and they all agreed. He recruited former Alaska prosecutor Stephen Branchflower who was living out of state, to come back to do the investigation. The council unanimously approved him too, because he’s very very good, and very very impartial. Otherwise, the vote wouldn’t have been unanimous, would it?

Palin herself supported this investigation and pledged to cooperate fully….until August 29th, the day she was tapped by John McCain as his VP pick. At this point, the investigation mysteriously became ‘political’, ‘partisan’ and a witch hunt.

The storm rages, and Branchflower soldiers on, conducting interviews, and preparing a report. The report will be finished by October 10th. Have you marked your calendar? I have.

Investigation #2: The Personnel Board

The personnel board is made up of three people, all Republicans, all governor-appointed, and all working for Palin. She can fire them at any time.

The McCain campaign hoped that after they started calling the first investigation “tainted”, the State Legislature would drop the ball. Palin and her newly acquired legal staff attempted to end the Legislative investigation, and begin an investigation by the aforementioned Personnel Board.

For this board to begin an investigation, there first had to be a complaint filed against Palin. So, Palin filed a complaint…..against herself. Later, she asked that this complaint be dismissed stating it was groundless. Now she’s changed her mind and says she will cooperate with the board that she asked to investigate her.

I promised the basics, and there they are. There are MANY subplots, and twists to the Troopergate story. I’ve tried to tease these out in other posts and will continue to do so in the future. So, as tempted as I am to go on, I won’t.

The bottom line:

Bipartisan, unanimously endorsed, Palin-sanctioned investigation by the Alaska State Legislature

vs.

Republican, 3-member board, governor appointed, working directly for Palin, McCain sanctioned investigation.

You make the call.

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Palin vs. Press

23 09 2008

Sarah Palin finally got to meet with a foreign head of state! Her crash course in international diplomacy has moved from the memorization of talking points, to actual face-to-face meetings with several world leaders at the U.N. Palin and McCain plan to meet with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko. Palin was then to “fly solo” meeting separately with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Columbian President Alvaro Uribe, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

So finally, an opportunity for the press to observe and report on Palin’s self-proclaimed “readiness” to handle foreign policy issues. She’s ready because she’s confident! She’s confident in her readiness! She’s on a mission, and the mission is to not blink! Bring it on! Stump the candidate!

So, how will the press cover this? What will Palin have to say when she’s in real-life interaction with those who will potentially be her partners in international affairs that affect the world? We learned this morning that the McCain campaign had banned the press. The TV producer, print and wire reporters in the press pool that follows Palin as she travels the country, were told that they would not be admitted to the meetings. There would, of course be photographers and a camera crew to capture iconic images of the events so we can see Palin meeting with these world leaders, without actually knowing what anyone said. Convenient for the McCain campaign.

The Associated Press, and at least one other news organization objected to the decision, but were told it was not subject to discussion.

In a surprising move of chutzpah, CNN, who was to provide the TV news outlets with footage, pulled its camera crew from the first meeting between Palin and Hamid Karzai, denying the McCain campaign the high visibility (with accompanying convenient silence) they were seeking for Palin. But, after agreeing to allow a CNN producer to accompany the camera crew, CNN relented, and joined the meeting.

According to the CNN producer who was let into Karzai’s hotel suite with the photographers just before noon, Karzai was talking about his son. Palin was nodding, and asked what his name is. Karzai replied his name was Mirwais and explained that it means light of the house.

The media were escorted out after about 40 seconds.

Ah. Now we’ve learned that Palin likes talking about other people’s kids names. I wonder if Palin volunteered that her children are named after sporting events, motor vehicles, and Alaskan towns? Surely our problems in Afghanistan are over.

Campaign aides subsequently announced that reporters would be allowed to accompany photographers into the later sessions with Uribe and Kissinger.

At that point, campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said it was all just a “miscommunication.” Earlier, she had said, “The decision was made for this to be a photo spray with still cameras and video cameras only.”

A photo “spray”? Is that what happens when the decision to ban the press hits the fan?

Stay tuned, America. We may find out whether Henry Kissinger played hockey as a kid, or if Alvaro Uribe knows how to field dress a jaguar! Spray on!