Palin flap on Alaskan separatism reveals media double standard

It looks like someone spoke too soon, accusing GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin of having been a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Now it turns out that she only attended the party’s 1994 convention, and that her husband joined. So the Republicans get to proclaim “false alarm!” Was the overstatement a strategically-leaked strawman in the first place—a spin-control inoculation by Palin’s own allies? Because the truth of the Palins’ links to the separatist movement would have been newsworthy without the overshoot. Now, we don’t have a problem with Alaskan independence per se—although we fear it could just be a scam by the oil and resource industries to weasel out of federal environmental laws. But more to the point—can you imagine the outcry if Michelle Obama had been a member of the Republic of New Afrika?

Details from the New York Times, Sept. 2:

A Palin Joined Alaskan Third Party, Just Not Sarah Palin

In the mid-1990s, the Alaskan Independence Party was experiencing a boom of sorts. A governor had been elected on its ticket in 1990, when the party was not even a decade old. And membership was swelling.

Among the new recruits was Todd Palin, whose wife, Sarah, would later become governor of Alaska. The Palins attended the party’s convention in their hometown, Wasilla, in 1994, according to party officials, where the party called for a revote on statehood and a draft constitution for an independent Republic of Alaska. Mr. Palin joined the party.

Ms. Palin remained a Republican and never joined the Alaskan Independence Party, but returned to its convention in 2006 to speak as candidate for governor. After she had been elected, she recorded a video greeting that was played at the party convention this year. “Good luck on a successful and inspiring convention,” she said. “Keep up the good work, and God bless you.”

Now that she is the Republican nominee for vice president — for a campaign whose motto is “Country first” — the couple’s interaction with the Alaskan Independence Party has gotten attention because of its reputation as a secessionist group.

Alaskan Independence Party officials released a statement Monday saying that Ms. Palin had been a member for two years, from 1994 to 1996, information included in reports in The New York Times and other news outlets. In Internet videos of recent party meetings, other party officials can be seen boasting of Ms. Palin’s past membership.

On Tuesday, though, the party’s chairwoman, Lynette Clark, said the earlier statement was false. Ms. Clark said that she had based it on information another party member had given her, but that a review of the records showed only that Ms. Palin had attended the 1994 conference.

Ms. Clark added that while the review confirmed Todd Palin as a member, it did not indicate that Ms. Palin had been one.

On Wednesday, Ms. Clark released a corrected statement, saying, in part, “I, foolishly, repeated and accepted as fact what an officer of this membership shared with myself, and husband Dexter Clark, over a year ago.”

“I humbly apologize to Governor Palin, and to both national and local press and media,” she added.

Ms. Palin has been registered as a Republican since May 1982, according to the State Division of Elections. Mr. Palin registered as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party in 1995, remaining a member for all but two months of the next seven years, until he registered as an undeclared voter in July 2002.

The McCain campaign has described the Palins as “proud Americans” and called reports of her membership in the independence party “a smear.”

The Alaskan Independence Party’s Web site,, which includes the motto “Alaska First — Alaska Always” in its banner, describes party members as seeking “a range of solutions to the conflicts between federal and local authority,” including “advocacy for state’s rights, through a return to territorial status, all the way to complete independence and nationhood status for Alaska.” It calls for repatriation of lands held by the federal government “to the state and people of Alaska,” as well as, among other issues, the right to home-school children and the privatization of government services.

Ms. Clark objected to descriptions of her party as secessionist, saying it advocates “states’ rights” and “state sovereignty.”

Ms. Clark said she interpreted Ms. Palin’s attendance at the 1994 convention as reflecting an interest in hearing a variety of perspectives. “Her heart is very Alaskan,” she said, “and we have Alaskan issues.”

Jean Craciun, a political consultant in Alaska, said it would not be hard to believe that Ms. Palin had been a member of the independence party, because polls show that people in Alaska often confuse the party with “independent minded.”

Ms. Palin’s political philosophy is also often compared to that of Walter J. Hickel, the former Alaska governor and interior secretary in the Nixon administration who was re-elected governor on the Alaskan Independence Party ticket in 1990. Mr. Hickel, a big backer of Ms. Palin, re-registered as a Republican in 1994.

In her recorded address to the party’s convention this year, Ms. Palin said: “I share your party’s vision of upholding the constitution of our great state. My administration remains focused on reining in government growth so individual liberty and opportunity can expand. I know you agree with that.”

See our last posts on McCain/Palin, the struggle for Alaska and the politics of secession.

  1. Politics of Alaskan “independence”
    Poking around on the semi-literate Alaskan Independence Party website reveals just how wacky they are. They seem to be quite proud of it, at that. Here’s the quote from their founder that is displayed prominently at the top of their platform page:

    “The problem with you John Birchers’ is that you are too damn liberal!”
    ~ Joseph Vogler, Founder Alaskan Independence Party

    Note superfluous apostrophe, missing comma and incorrect use of the upper case. Point 7 of the platform states:

    To seek the complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska in conformance with Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the federal constitution.

    In other words, good-bye ANWR. Just in case there is any doubt, check this passage from the party’s memorial page to Founder Vogler:

    Vogler challenged the federal government’s practice of owning land in Alaska or any other state outside the original limits of the United States Constitution. Vogler believed that federal claims of land for preserves and parks is outside of the original intent of the framers of the Constitution and that the federal government has no right to own land in the western states except for “forts, arsenals, dockyards and other needful government uses.

    Quote fails to close, of course. (Maybe they should be more concerned with improving their education system than challenging draconian federal control of public lands up there in Alaska.) Note the usual DIY pseudo-constitutional theories (no federal lands permitted in western states? huh?), which just happen to be convenient to BP and Amoco, with their designs on the federally protected areas of the North Slope. Who funds these guys anyway? We’d sure like to know. We’ll bet they aren’t so interested in “independence” from the oil cartel…

  2. Heart slaps back at GOP
    This is lacking a little context here. It seems “Sarah Barracuda” was Sarah Palin’s high school basketball team nickname. The Heart in question is the self-consciously Zepplinesque ’70s rock band (from the Seattle area, 20 years before the “Seattle sound”). From Entertainment Weekly, Sept. 5:

    Thursday afternoon, Heart e-mailed out a statement regarding vice-presidential candidate Sarah “Barracuda” Palin’s use of their similarly monikered song at the Republican National Convention: “The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission,” it read. “We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored.”

    But after McCain finished his speech accepting the GOP’s presidential nomination tonight, Palin joined him on stage, and the song was used again: Heart’s “Barracuda” played as balloons fell. With that elephant in the room, Heart’s Nancy Wilson felt compelled to personally respond. “I think it’s completely unfair to be so misrepresented,” she said in a phone call to after the speech. “I feel completely f—ed over.” She and sister Ann Wilson then e-mailed the following exclusive statement:

    “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.”

    It actually gets better than that. Here’s the pithy but hard-hitting statement as it appears on Heart’s website:

    Rock Group Heart Condemn the Use of the Song Barracuda at the Republican Convention
    Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart have informed the McCain/Palin Campaign that Universal Music Publishing and Sony BMG have sent a cease-and-desist notice to not use one of Heart’s classic songs “Barracuda,” as the congratulatory theme for Sarah Palin.

    The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission. We have asked the Republican campaign not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored.”

    1. music music music
      Interesting to note that while the Dems had Stevie Wonder and others in Denver according to ABC anchor Charles Gibson the Republicans had a band named: “Hookers and Blow”

      … makes you wonder if they covered ‘Higher Ground’.

      1. Hookers and Blow?
        I don’t believe they actually played the RNC, did they? That would just be a bit too much cognitive dissonance… San Jose Mercury News indicates they were the house band at some ancillary affair in Twin Cities hosted (appropriately enough) by the NRA.

        1. No but how cool would that be …
          They weren’t in the convention but ABC had a piece on lobbyists on the semi-canceled first night so along with some footage of Bush in a sweat stained shirt we got partying Republicans in a club with ‘hookers and blow’. It was amusing to hear the band name on the national news broadcast.

  3. Seperatist for Veep
    I do believe John McCain could have done better in choosing a Vice Presidential Nominee had he selected Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro.
    While Staten Island, has a mere 477,000 poplulation while compared to Alaska’s 720,000 it did launch a formidable secessionist campaign in it’s attempt to sever its ties to New York City. Additionally, Molinaro is a member of the New York State Conservative Party, which would appeal to the base which McCain wishes to mobilize. And as far as being ready to take over the helm at a moments notice … Well … He is a President.

  4. Palin’s (abysmal) record on Native Alaskan rights
    In addition to clearing up the rumors that Palin is married to an Native Alaskan, the Native American website Turtle Talk offers the following dossier on Sarah Palin’s Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues:

    1. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Fishing
    Perhaps no issue is of greater importance to Alaska Native peoples as the right to hunt and fish according to ancient customary and traditional practices, and to carry on the subsistence way of life for future generations.

    Governor Sarah Palin has consistently opposed those rights.

    Once in office, Governor Palin decided to continue litigation that seeks to overturn every subsistence fishing determination the federal government has ever made in Alaska. (State of Alaska v. Norton, 3:05-cv-0158-HRH (D. Ak).) In pressing this case, Palin decided against using the Attorney General (which usually handles State litigation) and instead continued contracting with Senator Ted Stevens’ brother-in-law’s law firm (Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot).

    The goal of Palin’s law suit is to invalidate all the subsistence fishing regulations the federal government has issued to date to protect Native fishing, and to force the courts instead to take over the role of setting subsistence regulations. Palin’s law suit seeks to diminish subsistence fishing rights in order to expand sport and commercial fishing.

    In May 2007, the federal court rejected the State’s main challenge, holding that Congress in 1980 had expressly granted the U.S. Interior and Agriculture Departments the authority to regulate and protect Native and rural subsistence fishing activities in Alaska. (Decision entered May 15, 2007 (Dkt. No. 110).)

    Notwithstanding this ruling, Palin continues to argue in the litigation that the federal subsistence protections are too broad, and should be narrowed to exclude vast areas from subsistence fishing, in favor of sport and commercial fishing. Palin opposes subsistence protections in marine waters, on many of the lands that Natives selected under their 1971 land claims settlement with the state and federal governments, and in many of the rivers where Alaska Natives customarily fish. (Alaska Complaint at 15-18.) Palin also opposes subsistence fishing protections on Alaska Native federal allotments that were deeded to individuals purposely to foster Native subsistence activities. All these issues are now pending before the federal district court.

    2. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Hunting
    Palin has also sought to invalidate critical determinations the Federal Subsistence Board has made regarding customary and traditional uses of game, specifically to take hunting opportunities away from Native subsistence villagers and thereby enhance sport hunting.

    Palin’s attack here on subsistence has focused on the Ahtna Indian people in Chistochina.

    Although the federal district court has rejected Palin’s challenge, she has carried on an appeal that was argued in August 2008. (State of Alaska v. Fleagle, No. 07-35723 (9th Cir.).)

    In both hunting and fishing matters, Palin has continued uninterrupted the policies initiated by the former Governor Frank Murkowski Administration, challenging hunting and fishing protections that Native people depend upon for their subsistence way of life in order to enhance sport fishing and hunting opportunities. Palin’s lawsuits are a direct attack on the core way of life of Native Tribes in rural Alaska.

    3. Palin has attacked Alaska Tribal Sovereignty

    Governor Palin opposes Alaska tribal sovereignty.

    Given past court rulings affirming the federally recognized tribal status of Alaska Native villages, Palin does not technically challenge that status. But Palin argues that Alaska Tribes have no authority to act as sovereigns, despite their recognition.

    So extreme is Palin on tribal sovereignty issues that she has sought to block tribes from exercising any authority whatsoever even over the welfare of Native children, adhering to a 2004 legal opinion issued by the former Murkowski Administration that no such jurisdiction exist (except when a state court transfers a matter to a tribal court).

    Both the state courts and the federal courts have struck down Palin’s policy of refusing to recognize the sovereign authority of Alaska Tribes to address issues involving Alaska Native children. Native Village of Tanana v. State of Alaska, 3AN-04-12194 CI (judgment entered Aug. 26, 2008) (Ak. Super. Ct.); Kaltag Tribal Council v. DHHS, No. 3:06-cv-00211-TMB (D. Ak.), pending on appeal No 08-35343 (9th Cir.)). Nonetheless, Palin’s policy of refusing to recognize Alaska tribal sovereignty remains unchanged.

    4. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Languages

    Palin has refused to accord proper respect to Alaska Native languages and voters by refusing to provide language assistance to Yup’ik speaking Alaska Native voters. As a result, Palin was just ordered by a special three-judge panel of federal judges to provide various forms of voter assistance to Yup’ik voters residing in southwest Alaska. Nick v. Bethel, No. 3:07-cv-0098-TMB (D. Ak.) (Order entered July 30, 2008). Citing years of State neglect, Palin was ordered to provide trained poll workers who are bilingual in English and Yup’ik; sample ballots in written Yup’ik; a written Yup’ik glossary of election terms; consultation with local Tribes to ensure the accuracy of Yupiik translations; a Yup’ik language coordinator; and pre-election and post-election reports to the court to track the State’s efforts.

    In sum, measured against some the rights that are most fundamental to Alaska Native Tribes—the subsistence way of life, tribal sovereignty and voting rights—Palin’s record is a failure.

  5. Palin on “God’s will”
    Just in case you missed it. From AP, Sept. 3:

    Palin: Iraq war ‘a task that is from God’
    ANCHORAGE — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a “task that is from God.”

    In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it “God’s will.”

    Palin asked the students to pray for the troops in Iraq, and noted that her eldest son, Track, was expected to be deployed there.

    “Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

    A video of the speech was posted at the Wasilla Assembly of God’s Web site before finding its way on to other sites on the Internet.

    Palin told graduating students of the church’s School of Ministry, “What I need to do is strike a deal with you guys.” As they preached the love of Jesus throughout Alaska, she said, she’d work to implement God’s will from the governor’s office, including creating jobs by building a pipeline to bring North Slope natural gas to North American markets.

    “God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,” she said…

    Palin attended the evangelical church from the time she was a teenager until 2002, the church said in a statement posted on its Web site. She has continued to attend special conferences and meetings there…

    The Assemblies of God, which claims nearly 3 million members, is one of the biggest Pentecostal groups in the U.S… The section of the church’s Web site where videos of past sermons were posted was shut down Wednesday, and a message was posted saying that the site “was never intended to handle the traffic it has received in the last few days.”

  6. Palin garbles Lincoln
    From the Associated Content blog, Sept. 13:

    Nailin’ Palin: Does Sarah Palin Misquote or Simply Not Quote Abraham Lincoln?
    The Quote She Thinks She Quoted May Not Be the Words of Abraham Lincoln

    Sarah Palin sat down with Charlie Gibson of ABC News this past week in her first major interview since being nominated… [W]hen Charlie Gibson zeroed in on her remarks made at the Wasilla Assembly of God at a commencement ceremony in June, a video of which has received enormous view totals on YouTube, Governor Palin explained her remark by saying that her words were a “repeat” of words quoted by Abraham Lincoln.

    The exchange, courtesy of

    GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

    PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

    GIBSON: Exact words.

    PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words.

    But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.

    That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie. And I do believe, though, that this war against extreme Islamic terrorists is the right thing.

    Not only was Palin’s original comment a bit disturbing, her explanation for it smacks of a preparedness and pat answer that really does not jibe with what she actually said. First of all, she said her words “repeat” President Abraham Lincoln’s, when they do not even come close. They’re not even a good paraphrase for the Lincoln quotation:

    “I care not if God is on my side. My constant hope and prayer is that I may be found upon God’s side.”

    The problem with the Lincoln quotation is that it has never been proven to actually have been said by the president. The earliest mention of it being attributed to him is in a book published nearly a hundred years after his death (1943), and it is commonly believed by historians to be a complete fabrication.

    And if you read and/or listen to Palin’s remarks from that speech in the Wasilla Assembly of God, they do not even come close to resembling that quote, fictitious or not.

    Nor any other quote of Lincoln’s that anyone can seem to find.

    Good work, although we’d like to know the name and author of the 1943 book. And the headline cuts Palin too much slack. It should say “the quote she says she quoted,” not “thinks she quoted.” She was obviously coached, and some McCain advisor came up with the Lincoln idea as a face-saver. What Palin actually said contained none of the humility of the putative Lincoln quote…

  7. Palin pawn of petro-oligarchs
    Will Yong writes for Iran’s Press TV, Aug. 30:

    Palin: Big Oil’s new champion
    For many, John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for presidential running mate came as a surprise… McCain’s choice may not have been predictable but it shows him moving further towards the interests of the industry most concerned about a Republican victory this November—Oil.

    US oil firms have given John McCain three times more declared campaign money than to Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. Big oil contributions to the Republican Party outweigh oil money to the Democrats by a similar ratio.

    Sarah Palin hasn’t been in the game long enough to have shown all her political colors but on one key issue she has made herself abundantly clear. Oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

    Palin describes it as “nonsensical” that the president should have to “ask the Saudis to ramp up production of crude oil” while “sister state” Alaska has the oil that “hungry markets” in America need.

    “But these lands are locked up by Congress, and we are not allowed to drill to the degree America needs the development.”

    Palin has also expressed support for a USD 30b gas pipeline project and called listing polar bears as an endangered species a “significant threat to development.”

    Palin’s answer to America’s “hungry” markets? Bring more oil to the table.

    McCain himself certainly opposed drilling in Alaska before he came out in favour of it. In the past he has expressed views more in line with Al Gore than George W. Bush.

    In 2005, John McCain voted for a ban on oil-drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). He has even gone on record criticising America’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol.

    The Republican Party’s Big Oil backers must have been quaking in their cowboy boots when they heard McCain talk about devoting efforts to alternative energy—which he described as “the ultimate answer to our long-term energy needs.”

    Even as late as May 2008, McCain was saying that tapping America’s coastline for the nation’s energy needs would be an inefficient waste of time.

    But by June, McCain had put his energy policy into a very different gear and began to call for the federal government to lift restrictions on America’s own reserves.

    “As a matter of fairness to the American people, and a matter of duty for our government, we must deal with the here and now, and assure affordable fuel for America by increasing domestic production.”

    This, despite a recent study by the US Energy Information Administration which found that “access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.”

    So much for the “here and now”.

    In the month that McCain made his Big Oil turnaround oil and gas industry executives donated USD 1.1m to his campaign – compared with just USD 116,000 in March, USD 283,000 in April and USD 208,000 in May.

    Sarah Palin’s strong support for drilling in the ANWR is no great surprise considering her all-Alaska background. It is hard to win office in the “last frontier” state without backing increased exploitation of natural resources.

    Palin’s husband is also an employee of British Petroleum—the British oil giant with significant interests in Alaska’s oil wealth. That said, Palin, like the new McCain, has come out in favor of reaching beyond Alaska to America’s coastlines.

    “There are even bigger sources of crude than ANWR…such as offshore areas like the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea. Congress can help us with those areas right now, bringing even more energy than ANWR and bringing it quicker.”

    Few would have been tempted to put money on Sarah Palin being chosen as John McCain’s running mate, but for US oil industry interests, she appears to be a safe bet.

  8. They aren’t all idiots up in Alaska, thank goodness
    From Mark C. Eades’s blog on OpEdNews, Sept. 14:

    Palin Protest in Anchorage: A Taste of Things to Come?
    I hope that Saturday’s anti-Palin demonstration in Anchorage will prove to be a taste of things to come for the Wacko from Wasilla. Organized by a local group known as “Alaska Women Reject Palin,” the demonstration drew a crowd of around 1,500 – quite large for the sparsely-populated state, and in spite of attempts by local right-wingers to intimidate the organizers and preempt the event.

    Following a press release by the organizers to Anchorage media outlets, local right-wing talk show host Eddie Burke broadcast their names and telephone numbers on the air. “They’re a bunch of socialist maggots…,” Burke told his listeners, “…a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots.” After Burke’s broadcast the organizers began receiving harassing and threatening phone calls (see KTUU TV, Alaska Public Radio). Another anonymous Palin supporter contacted local media on Friday posing as one of the anti-Palin organizers and told them the rally had been cancelled; and yet another faxed a forged document saying that the Secret Service had cancelled the permit for the demonstration. It seems there was nothing to which local Republicans wouldn’t resort to silence their fellow Alaskans.

    he protest went ahead as planned, however, drawing a crowd that may have been the largest ever in the state’s history. Most of the demonstrators were women committed to making it clear to America that Sarah Palin does not speak for them. Signs carried by protesters included a host of highly uncomplimentary slogans directed at the Alaska governor: “Bush in a Skirt” … “Hey Hockey Mom: Keep the Puck out of DC” … “Pro-Woman, Anti-Palin” … “Another Alaska Woman NOT for Sarah Palin” … “Keep Your Church Outta My State” … “Flip-Flop Sarah” … “Great Performance, But We’re Not That Stupid” … “Don’t Insult My Pit Bull” … “Women: Vote Issues, Not Gender” … “My Daughter Deserves Better” … “Palin=G.W. Bush with Lipstick” … “We Love Alaska, Not Palin” … “Wrong Woman, Wrong Message” … “McCain/Palin: Unstable/Unable” … “Hockey Mama for Obama” ….

    I hope to see many more such events as Palin travels the country attempting to convince voters that McSame is somehow McDifferent.

  9. Sarah Palin: War with Russia? “Definitely… perhaps”
    The scariest part of Palin’s Sept. 11 interview with ABC News’ Charles Gibson, via Raw Data:

    GIBSON: Let me ask you about some specific national security situations.

    PALIN: Sure.

    GIBSON: Let’s start, because we are near Russia. Let’s start with Russia and Georgia. The administration has said, we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

    PALIN: First off, we’re going to continue good relations with Saakashvili there. I was able to speak the other day and giving my commitment, as John McCain’s running mate, that we will be committed to Georgia. And we have to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have asserted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable. And we have to keep …

    GIBSON: You believe unprovoked?

    PALIN: I do believe unprovoked. And we have to keep our eyes on Russia. Under the leadership there.

    GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions particularly in the last couple weeks does the proximity of the state give you?

    PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.

    GIBSON: You favor putting Georgia and Ukraine into NATO?

    PALIN: Ukraine definitely yes. Yes. And Georgia. Putin thinks otherwise, obviously he thinks otherwise.

    GIBSON: Under the NATO treaty, wouldn’t we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

    PALIN: Perhaps so. That is the agreement. When you are a NATO ally, is, if another country is attacked, you are going to be expected to be called upon and help.

  10. Palin plan for Alaskan annexation of Bering Sea?
    Is she just fudging the facts, or does this seeming slip mask territorial designs on the Chukotka Peninsula? Just asking. From AP, Sept. 30, links and emphasis added:

    Campaign tries to explain Palin’s Putin comment
    Gov. Sarah Palin cites vigilance against Russian warplanes coming into U.S. airspace over Alaska as one of her foreign policy credentials. But the U.S. military command in charge says that hasn’t happened in her 21 months in office.

    “When you consider even national security issues with Russia, as (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where — where do they go? It’s Alaska,” the Republican vice presidential nominee said in an interview last week with CBS News’ Katie Couric.

    The spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign, Maria Comella, clarified in an e-mail to The Associated Press that when “Russian incursions near Alaskan airspace and inside the air defense identification zone have occurred … U.S. Air Force fighters have been scrambled repeatedly.”

    The air defense identification zone, almost completely over water, extends 12-mile past the perimeter of the United States. Most nations have similar areas.

    However, no Russian military planes have been flying even into that zone, said Maj. Allen Herritage, a spokesman for the Alaska region of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

    “To be very clear, there has not been any incursion in U.S. airspace in recent years,” Herritage said.

    What Palin might have been referring to was a buffer zone of airspace that extends beyond the 12-mile strip. Although not recognized internationally as America’s to protect, the military watches it.

    That zone is where there has been increased Russian bomber exercises — about 20 incidents in the last two years. When Russian bombers enter that expanded area, sometimes called the outer air defense identification zone by the military, U.S. or Canadian fighter jets are dispatched to check them, Herritage said.

    Asked about Herritage’s statement, Palin’s foreign policy adviser, Steve Biegun, insisted the candidate’s position was correct. Russia’s “old behaviors” of aggressively flying into U.S. airspace have been exhibited recently, he said.

    “Governor Palin told me that when Russian aircraft buzz American airspace and U.S. aircraft are mobilized at Elmendorf Air Force Base, she is informed by her National Guard commander,” said Biegun, who did not offer any additional explanation for the contradiction.

    “The point she was making is that the geographical location of Alaska has unique attributes. This doesn’t happen to many states in the union,” Biegun said. “Her point was that she’s pretty up close to some of the big issues of international affairs.”

    Herritage said Air Force officials discussed with Palin instances of Russian planes entering the buffer zone and the U.S. response during their annual statehouse briefing in February.

    It could not immediately be determined how many times Palin had been notified in real time of Russian planes having entered the buffer zone. Major General Craig E. Campbell, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, did not immediately return calls and e-mails.

  11. Palin to play ball with Big Oil
    That’s CNNMoney‘s headline, not ours. Oct. 2:

    NEW YORK — Sarah Palin gets a lot of credit for standing up to Big Oil in Alaska, but if she and John McCain win the White House, don’t expect some of her more populist policies to survive the move to Washington.

    In her two years as Alaska’s governor, Palin is credited with being tough on big oil, to the benefits of her constituents and bucking her own party.

    In late 2007 Palin succeeded in raising the tax on oil companies from 22.5 to 25% of net profits. Alaska also added a clause increasing the tax for each dollar oil goes above $52 a barrel – essentially, a windfall profits tax.

    Palin also killed a deal struck between Exxon Mobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips and Alaska’s previous governor to build a natural gas pipeline across the state and into Canada.

    Analysts said corruption tainted that deal.

    Palin renegotiated a new deal with a Canadian company, TransCanada, to build the $26 billion pipeline, which analysts say – if completed – is better financially for the state.

    But analysts – and the McCain campaign itself – are quick to note that Palin will toe the line on the energy policies of her potential boss, who unlike Barack Obama does not favor a windfall profits tax…

    The McCain campaign, which speaks for Palin, confirmed that stance.

    “The governor supports the campaign’s positions,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a McCain senior advisor.

    Palin certainly has experience in dealing with energy issues in Alaska. But despite her drill baby comments, it’s hard to tell if the oil industry will see her as an ally – al la Dick Cheney who ran Haliburton, an oil services company – or whether her previous tax and pipeline decisions will label her a threat.

    “It’s mixed, I haven’t picked up a consensus view,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, a fellow in energy studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

    Exxon Mobil, which currently has an $800 million lawsuit filed against the state over the revoking of a gas field permit, declined to comment on Palin. Calls to Conoco and BP were not returned. The American Petroleum Institute also declined comment.

    Jaffe said Palin shouldn’t get too much credit for raising the oil tax, noting that everyone from Hugo Chavez to the Canadian government hiked taxes as oil prices skyrocketed.

    “Even the Bush administration raised royalty fees,” she said. “She didn’t do anything everyone else didn’t do.”

  12. Palin: cause of global warming “kinda doesn’t matter”
    From the Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 1:

    In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric that aired Tuesday, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said that it “kinda doesn’t matter at this point” if human activity is responsible for climate change…

    Couric: What’s your position on global warming? Do you believe it’s manmade or not?

    Palin: Well, we’re the only Arctic state, of course, Alaska. So we feel the impacts more than any other state, up there, with the changes in climates. And, and certainly it is apparent. We have erosion issues, and we have melting sea ice, of course. So, what I’ve done up there is form a sub-cabinet to focus solely on climate change. Understanding that it is real, and…

    Couric: Is it man-made, though in your view?

    Palin: You know there are – there are man’s activities that can be contributed [sic] to the issues that we’re dealing with now, with these impacts. I’m not going to solely blame all of man’s activities on changes in climate. Because the world’s weather patterns are cyclical. And over history we have seen changes there. But it kinda doesn’t matter at this point, as we debate what caused it. The point is: it’s real; we need to do something about it.

    Gov. Palin’s response is similar to the one she gave last month when ABC News’s Charlie Gibson asked her the same question. Mr. Gibson pressed the issue harder than Ms. Couric did. Here’s how that exchange went:

    Palin: I believe that man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. Here in Alaska, the only Arctic state in our Union, of course, we see the effects of climate change more so than any other area, with ice pack melting. Regardless, though, of the reason for climate change – whether it’s entirely, wholly caused by man’s activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet, the warming and the cooling trends – regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we got to do something about it, and we have to make sure that we’re doing all we can to cut down on pollution.

    Gibson: But it’s a critical point, as to whether this is manmade. He says it is. You have said in the past it’s not.

    Palin: The debate on that even really has evolved into, “OK, here’s where we are now: Scientists do show us that there are changes in climate. Things are getting warmer. Now, what do we do about it?” John McCain and I are going to be working on what we do.

    Gibson: Yes, but isn’t it critical as to whether or not it’s manmade? Because what you do about it depends on whether it’s manmade.

    Palin: That’s why I’m attributing some of man’s activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now.

    Gibson’s point – that humanity’s response to global warming should be informed by its cause – is a valid one. If greenhouse gas emissions are changing the earth’s climate, then efforts to protect ourselves from the effects of climate change should include curbing these emissions. If global warming is caused only by natural cycles, then curbing emissions will do nothing and humanity should focus on adaptation.

    Alaska’s Climate Change Sub-Cabinet, which Palin established in September 2007, does take up issues of mitigation, but most of its focus is on adaptation – such as how to help remote Inuit communities deal with coastal erosiion.

    Which is, of course, right in line with the Bush dogma.

    1. she’s got a case though
      Does the cause matter that much?
      Nobody is saying that emissions plays no role… at least she isn’t in those quotes so, if we put aside that strawman, are you saying that nothing should be done about any “natural” changes emissions-wise? Do you really think that these groundless concepts we have about culture and nurture, humanity and nature and stuff actually matter when it comes to climate and other physical phenomena?

      And since merely curbing emissions is not likely to make much difference in the present situation (what do you think that would do?), yes, it makes much sense seriously work on mitigation.
      Like I argued about population: there is simply no workable plan to stop climate change. If you have one, please share it. We can hope that some day somehow such a plan will be developed and we can rail about capitalism in the meantime but, unless and until there is such a plan, it would be ill-advised to bank on it. Instead, mitigation plans should be made and implemented. I understand the Dutch are doing just that, as they should. Surely you are not suggesting that we should pretend that hope is good enough for those who can’t possibly pay for their own mitigation?

      Let’s focus on what works.

      1. No she doesn’t
        I have no idea what you mean by “groundless concepts,” but the imperative thing is to dramatically reduce carbon emission now. Mitigation measures—such as relocating Alaskan villages that are slipping into the sea due to coastal erosion—are necessary in the interim. But failing to address the roots of the crisis—which there is overwhelming consensus on in the scientific community—will condemn future generations to an uninhabitable planet. Palin is throwing one of her notorious winks to the oil company dogma of mitigation as a substitute for addressing the roots of the crisis.

        1. it may be too late for the roots
          Dramatic reductions would have been called 15 years ago as a first step.
          I thought the current consensus required not only reducing or even stopping emissions but actually taking CO2 out of the atmosphere somehow… a tall order. In any case, that is a goal, not a plan.
          Reducing emissions now could be a first step, and certainly one that I would favour… but it’s not clear how one would build upon that. Cutting frivoulous waste only goes so far. And we know waste wouldn’t go down without taking some needs with it. Each reduction would be more painful than the one before, and not only for evil corporations.

          I don’t mean to sound callous, but the worst about this story you linked to is not the relocation but the methane that was likely released by the thawing.
          Methane is being released from the sea as well on the Siberian coast now. There’s not much time left, if any.

          Thankfully, “unhabitable” is over the top. There are limits to these warming effects.

          1. I ride a bicycle, what about you?
            There are so many things wrong with this response that I hardly know where to begin.

            Yes, we are committed to climate change now. But the question remains of how much. If you have smoker’s hack, you’ve probably already damaged your lungs, but it would be pretty absurd to use that as an excuse to keep smoking. Somehow I doubt you’d hear this kind of cynical prattle in the Maldives or Marshall Islands, which are in danger of disappearing under the waves due to sea level rise.

            Why am I always expected to have a “plan”? No critique of Palinesque denial is legitimate unless I have a utopian solution? That said, I think a big step in the right direction would be to plant the interstates with grass seed and bring back the interlocking trolley systems that existed in this country before they were dismantled in a (yes) conspiracy by General Motors and Standard Oil.

            Uninhabitable” is by no means over the top. Unfortunately.

            1. Eye on the ball, please
              In the interests of keeping this already rather lengthy item focused on the inimitable Ms. Palin, I am creating a separate page for Anonymous Coward’s further responses (just in case anyone is interested).

  13. Palin: fuck the polar bears
    From AP, Sept. 4, emphasis and links added:

    Environmentalists can’t corral Palin
    WASHINGTON — At the National Governors Association conference where she first met John McCain, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had other business: making her case to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne against classifying the polar bear as a threatened species.

    Months later she sued Kempthorne, arguing that the Bush administration didn’t use the best science in concluding that without further protection, the polar bear faces eventual extinction because of disappearing sea ice as the result of global warming.

    Palin, McCain’s vice presidential running mate, has had frequent run-ins with environmentalists.

    In her 20 months as governor, Palin has questioned the conclusions of federal marine scientists who say the Cook Inlet beluga whale needs protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

    She has defended Alaska’s right to shoot down wolves from the air to boost caribou and moose herds for hunters, and — contrary to a view held by McCain — is not convinced that global warming is the result of human activity.

    Environmentalists have nicknamed Palin the “killa from Wasilla,” a reference to the small town where she formerly was mayor.

    “Her philosophy from our perspective is cut, kill, dig and drill,” said John Toppenberg, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, maintaining she is “in the Stone Age of wildlife management and is very opposed to utilizing accepted science.”

    While acknowledging the climate is changing, Palin expresses doubt as to whether emissions from human activities are causing it. McCain, on the other hand, supports legislation to reduce heat-trapping pollutants, primarily from the burning of oil and coal.

    “John McCain was all about global warming and the integrity of the science. The selection of Sarah Palin is a complete reversal from that position,” said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., who traveled to the South Pole with McCain in 2006 to visit with scientists studying climate change. “She is disturbingly part of the pattern of the Bush administration in their approach to science generally and the science of the environment in particular.”

    The McCain campaign Wednesday characterized Palin as a leader on climate change, noting she set up a sub-cabinet office to map out state response strategies and sought $1.1 million in federal funds to help communities threatened by coastal erosion and other effects.

    Palin’s administration relied in part on research from scientists funded by the oil industry to fight against the polar bear’s listing, arguing that the impact of global warming on the bear 20 years from now can’t be predicted. But e-mails obtained by a University of Alaska professor show that the state’s marine mammal experts supported the federal government’s conclusions on the bear.

    On Thursday, the federal government announced that there was enough scientific evidence to consider listing three ice seal species that inhabit the waters of Alaska as threatened and endangered species because of melting sea ice. The seals use the ice to give birth and raise their pups.

    Doug Vincent-Lang, Alaska’s endangered species coordinator, said the state had not yet taken a position on the ice seals’ status.

    But he stressed that while there were differences in opinion about the science, the state has supported the protection of other endangered species and its position on the polar bear “was not a decision to protect resource development in the state.”

    Supporters say Palin, a self-described hockey mom who knows how to handle a gun and dress a moose and once worked as a commercial fisherman, is simply a reflection of her home state, where the extraction of oil, natural gas, gold, zinc, fish and other natural resources is the primary source of state income and jobs.

    The polar bear isn’t the only wildlife issue where Palin’s administration is at odds with environmentalists and at times with the Bush administration and members of Congress.

    For example:

    *Her administration disputes conclusions by the federal National Marine Fisheries Service and its science advisers that the beluga whale population is in critical danger. The state argues that 2007 data shows the whale rebounding.

    *Palin opposed a state ballot initiative to increase protection of salmon streams from mining operations. It was defeated.

    *She also opposed a ballot initiative barring the shooting of wolves and bears from aircraft except in biological emergencies. It was also defeated.

    Under Palin, the state Board of Game authorized for the first time in 20 years the shooting of wolves by state wildlife officials from helicopters. The order resulted in the controversial shooting this summer of 14 one-month-old wolf pups taken from dens on a remote peninsula 800 miles southwest of Anchorage — an act that environmentalists claim was illegal.

    State officials characterized the killings as humanitarian, saying the pups would have suffered and eventually died without the care of their parents. Environmentalists argued they were killed to boost caribou populations to the benefit of hunters.

    Like many other Alaska officials, Palin argues her critics don’t understand the North Country.

    Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who has complained Alaska is killing more wolves than necessary and has pushed a bill that would put additional restrictions on the aerial killing of predators, has been among Palin’s targets.

    Miller “doesn’t understand rural Alaska, doesn’t comprehend wildlife management in the North, and doesn’t appreciate the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that gives states the right to manage their own affairs,” Palin said in a press release a year ago.

    See our last post on the struggle for the Arctic.

    1. she’s got a future in show business
      Larry Flint’s on this but your title is better.

      Producers put out a casting call on CraigsList in L.A. almost immediately following the Republican National Convention. The ad offered $3,000 for “a Sarah Palin look-alike for an adult film to be shot in the next 10 days.”

    1. Has it occurred to you…
      that less than 1% of the readers are likely to get your sophomoric pop-lyric reference? This is about communication, not cryptic little in-jokes.

  14. More rock stars dissent from Palin exploitation
    First Heart, now Bon Jovi! From AllVoices, Oct. 18:

    Bon Jovi to Sarah Palin: Don’t give my song a bad name
    Rock star Bon Jovi has become the latest musician to complain that the Republican presidential campaign of Senator John McCain is using his music without permission. In a statement released on Wednesday, Bon Jovi objected to the use of his song ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’ at rallies featuring Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee. In the statement, Mr. Bon Jovi said, “Although we were not asked, we do not approve of their use of ‘Home.'”

    “We are surprised to hear that our song, ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’, was used by the McCain campaign at rallies yesterday and today,” the statement said. “We wrote this song as a thank you to those who have supported us over the past 25 years. The song has since become a banner for our home state of New Jersey.” Bon Jovi is a committed Obama supporter and even hosted a fundraising dinner for him in September.

    Earlier this week, the Rolling Stones’ track, ‘Start Me Up’, was played at a McCain rally. A spokesman said: “The Stones were not asked permission by McCain to use their song ‘Start Me Up’.”

    The music industry, by far, has been quick to disassociate themselves from the McCain-Palin campaign. Other than Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters and Jackson Browne have also protested the use of their music at John McCain’s events. Meanwhile Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama has garnered immense support from the music industry, with artists including Sheryl Crow and Bruce Springsteen stepping on the Obama bandwagon. Barack Obama even released a CD with songs that had been done for his presidential campaign. With less than three weeks left for the US presidential election, the race is heating up on all fronts!