FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Troopergate in Alaska

by DAVE LINDORFF

There are many reasons why most Americans should be turned off by Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s last-minute choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

She’s an evangelical Christian who believes in creationism and thinks this fantasy belongs in the school science curriculum alongside evolution. She’s opposed to the right to abortion. She thinks global warming is not a proven phenomenon. She favors drilling for oil in the Arctic Refuge and damn the environmental consequences. This supposedly family-centered “hocky mom “is happy about sending her 18-year-old son off to war in Iraq, even as Iraq is trying to shoo us out of the country and even as the president is tacitly admitting that the whole thing is a bust by agreeing to a timetable for withdrawal.

But the real reason Palin, the former mayor of little Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 5000 when she was there) and two-year governor of Alaska, is a disastrous pick for the vice presidency on a ticket headed by an ailing 72-year-old presidential candidate who has suffered two bouts of melanoma and who is showing early signs of dementia, is the evidence that she has abused power as governor.

We’ve had eight years of a president and vice president who have abused their executive power, using the awesome capabilities of the state to spy on Americans, inserting fake news in the media, pressuring news organizations not to run important stories, silencing protests by penning in all critics in remote “free speech” zones, attacking individual critics with White House-directed campaigns that border on treason, as in the case of the outing of CIA undercover operative Valerie Plume, whose husband had criticized a Bush argument for invading Iraq, and threatening government scientists who wanted to report their legitimate findings on climate change.

We have seen over these past eight years just what abuse of power can do to destroy democratic government and a free society.

So now we have Gov. Palin, whom evidence suggests may have abused her power as governor of Alaska to fire the state’s public security director after he blocked her efforts to destroy the career of a low-level state trooper who happened to be her former brother-in-law, because she wanted to avenge a sister engaged in an ugly post-divorce custody dispute.

Published allegations would show that both Gov. Palin’s husband Todd Palin, and members of her staff, repeatedly called and harangued state Public Safety Director Walt Monegan, who says he was “pressured” to fire the brother-in-law, Officer Mike Wooten. The Palins have charged that Wooten drank beer in his patrol car, hunted moose illegally and that he once fired his taser at his 11-year-old step son—charges that Wooten has denied. They have also claimed that Wooten threatened Sarah Palin’s father—also denied by Wooten.

Also interesting—the charges that were made against Wooten were for things that he allegedly did years before, and for which, where appropriate, he had already been disciplined or exonerated by his employer. That taser incident, if it happened, was when the stepson was 11. The boy, now 17, reportedly lives these days with the allegedly trigger-happy step dad. The alleged beer and hunting incidents also predate the divorce, which raises questions of why, if those charges warranted Wooten’s firing from the police force, the supposedly ethics-obsessed Palin would not have raised them back at the time with his superiors.

Palin has improbably denied that she had “anything to do with” her husband’s calls to Monegan. She subsequently fired Monegan and got his successor to fire her sister’s ex from the police force. (Her pick to replace Monegan is being accused of sexual harassment!).

The Republican state legislature has voted $100,000 to fund an independent investigation into the abuse of power charges against Palin, and there is talk of a possible impeachment proceeding, too. Palin has denied that she did anything wrong. The investigation, which is expected to take three months to complete, will drag on through the entire presidential election campaign.

One thing is clear: Whatever Palin’s troglodyte social and political views, Americans don’t need another vice president who views public office as an opportunity to abuse his or her power for personal or political vendettas.

The other thing that is clear in all this is that McCain, who is running for president in part on a claim of competence, has certainly demonstrated a lack of same in his naming of Palin, whom he reportedly only decided on this past week and after only speaking with her last Sunday by phone. (His campaign says he also met her once briefly last February at a state governors’ convention in Washington.)

The Alaskan “troopergate” abuse of power scandal, which will now play out through the coming weeks, clearly was not vetted by McCain and his staff, and no doubt will turn off a lot of one natural Republican constituency: law enforcement officers, who expect to have any charges leveled against them handled by due process.

If even some of the charges against Palin are true, her actions should make her unfit for the office of vice president, particularly on the ticket with a man who is pushing the actuarial envelope in running for president.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net

Your Ad Here

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail