The picture we Alaskans and the rest of America have of Governor Palin is becoming clearer by the day. It’s now widely known that the Governor of Alaska went on a $150,000 shopping spree courtesy of the Republican National Committee. $150,000! That’ll buy a lot of blouses. Certainly, the GOP has the right to dress their candidate up anyway they like. However, it flies in the face of the faux image they’re trying to project of Sarah the Hockey Mom appealing to Joe Six Pack or more recently, Joe The Lying Unlicensed Plumber who votes against his own best interests. In early October, before the infamous and excessive shopping spree was public fodder, I ran into a radio friend of mine who is famously good friends with Governor Palin. Wanting to keep the conversation positive, I mentioned how cool it must be for the governor to have all of this exposure and new found world wide fame. I told him I was most envious of the new wardrobe Palin has; I mean, as the Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate, it must be an awesome perk. Certainly the GOP will spend a few thousand bucks to dress up their new golden girl. My friend said no, not at all. He told me the McCain Campaign offered, but, in true Maverick Fashion, Sarah declined. He said she told them she had plenty of clothes for the next several weeks of non-stop campaigning. Hhhhmmmm. We know Sarah Palin loves gifts. Free is a very good price my friend. Sarah put herself and her daughter up in a posh $700 a night New York hotel on Alaska’s dime. She took 300+ days of per diem while working from her home. She flew her family around the state and the Lower 48 on “state business” and expensed $20,000+, again courtesy of the State of Alaska-even though her family was not invited and it was certainly not state business. Apparently, this clear and transparent governor accepted $25,000 of gifts-most of them from multinational mining interests and she hasn’t even been in office 2 years.
A good portion of those gifts were from mining interests representing The Pebble Partnership. Those interests represent a trifecta of foreign owned multinational corporations; Northern Dynasty, Rio Tinto and Anglo American. These corporations hold the leases to the proposed Pebble Mine. This copper and gold mine has deposits worth an estimated $500 billion dollars. It will be one of the largest open pit mines in the world and precariously sit at the headwaters of the largest wild salmon fishery on the planet, Bristol Bay, in one of the largest seismic and volcanic zones on earth. This mining gift discovery by Outside Media provides a glimpse into Palin’s motivations last August when she unethically and controversially “took her governor’s hat off” and told Alaskan’s she was going to vote no on ballot measure 4.
Her sound bite speak, which we now know is just about the only way the governor can communicate in public, now seems like a well orchestrated multi media campaign. Especially in light of the revelation that the lobbyist for the Pebble Partnership, Wendy Chamberlain, is friendly enough with the governor that she took Palin’s daughter Willow on a family vacation to Mexico. The week before the state wide election on Tuesday, August 26th, Palin called a press conference. At the conclusion, during the question and answer part, someone asked Palin how she would vote on Ballot Measure 4-the clean water initiative. Palin responded, “Let me take my governor’s hat off just for a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop 4 — I vote no on that. I have all the confidence in the world that the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) and our DNR (Department of Natural Resources) have great, very stringent regulations and policies already in place,” Palin said. “We’re going to make sure that mines operate only safely, soundly.” At that time, Palin had an approval rating of nearly 90%. The next morning and every day until the election, Alaskans were bombarded with a print, radio and direct mail campaign showing Governor Palin, herself a sometime commercial fisherman, holding a Bristol Bay Salmon and reassuring Alaskans everything would be fine and that we didn’t need stronger regulations because stringent regulations were already in place; if only that were true.
Truth be told, Palin has her unpopular predecessor, Frank Murkowski to thank for her popularity. A vegemite sandwich would be wildly popular following the arrogant and secretive Murkowski Administration. One of Republican Governor Frank Murkowski’s more unpopular decisions was Executive Order 107. With one swipe of the pen, Murkowski collapsed the Habitat Division from the Department of Fish & Game into the Department of Natural Resources. Habitat Biologist were charged with insuring that proposed leases from the Department of Natural Resources (on behalf of the oil and mining industries) met stringent environmental standards. Habitat approved 99% of the DNR leases. After EO 107, the fox, DNR, was charged with guarding the henshouse (Habitat). In addition, mixing zones were created that allowed industry to pollute salmon spawning streams. To Palin’s credit, after intense public pressure, she moved Habitat back to Fish & Game. She did not, however, eliminate “mixing zones”. After lobbying the legislature to change the laws to no avail, Alaskans for Clean Water wrote Ballot Prop 4, the Clean Water Initiative. This initiative restored the environmental regulations to Pre Murkowski standards.
With the conviction of Ted Steven on seven felony counts, Sarah Palin was asked how she would cast her ballot.
Q: So will you cast your ballot for Ted Stevens and are you encouraging others to do so? […]
PALIN: I’ve never told people who I have voted for before because I see that as a very precious freedom in our country. Free and fair and uh – elections allow us to cast a secret ballot behind the voting booth curtain so that’s the way I’m going to keep it.
She lied. Again. She has told people how she would vote.
Being a fisherman is something you are, not something you do. Governor Palin’s disregard for the lives of so many Alaskans can be put on a long list of self serving decisions. Bigger still is her “dodging” the question about how she would vote for Senator Stevens. It wasn’t a dodge, it was a lie.