Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Alaskan loyalty...and fear of retribution: Why Palin stories didn't break before the nomination -- my Firedoglake post

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Alaskan loyalty...and fear of retribution: Why Palin stories didn't break before the nomination -- my Firedoglake post

Here's my post up at Firedoglake:

It was clear that Editor and Publisher was peeved at the Alaska media for sitting on a story for weeks, even months...the pregnancy of Bristol Palin. I can understand why a reporter from a large media outlet in a populous city would be baffled by all of the secrecy. Understand that NO ONE was saying ANYTHING on the record and the blogs (and the Anchorage Daily News) had to make due with emails and on-line comments. Also understand that there is a reason no one was saying anything and one must appreciate living in Alaska to get the full picture.

I like to explain the State of Alaska as a small town (600,000 +) broken up by great distances into many VERY small towns. Alaskans will snicker if someone from the "lower-48" assumes we know their second cousin thrice removed on their mother's side just because he happens to live up here. However, we're also quite accustomed to running into our politicians and other "celebrities" in line at the grocery store, coming out of a movie theater, dip-netting for salmon on the Kenai River, etc... Folks from other parts of the country don't understand our nonchalant familiarity as was evident by the chuckle I had with progressive radio talk-show host, Cary Carrigan, when I was reporting on his show from the Democratic Convention. He recounted a phone call that he received from an Obama campaign worker (probably an intern) who was "excited" to tell Cary that he could "get him some media time" with former two-term Democratic Governor, Tony Knowles. I later was able to laugh about it with Governor Knowles, who was at my breakfast table.

So on one hand, Alaskans feel a connection to their politicians because those politicians are more available to their constituents. This breeds loyalty. The next reason for silence and secrecy, however, is not filled with "lollipops and rainbows." As a matter-of-fact, it has people fearing for their jobs and believe it or not, their lives.

Friday, July 11th, the highly-respected Walt Monegan was fired as the Commissioner of Public Safety for undisclosed reasons by a Palin underling, not by the Governor herself. Many of us who had been at least guarded supporters of Palin on some issues were perplexed and outraged. Walt Monegan seemed to be working towards actual solutions to serious problems with more than just a band aid. Plus, there were indications from the very first press event that the new appointee, Chuck Kopp, could end up being a disaster. (He was...he lasted 10 days.) It was around that time that many of us were starting to write highly critical articles of the Governor that her spokesperson, Sharon Leighow, started "selectively" handing out press releases. One day, while a number of us were waiting by our email accounts for the Governor's statement regarding Chuck Kopp, I got a phone call from a friend at progressive radio, declaring "Dan Fagan (conservative talk-show host) is reading the statement on the air NOW!"

The Governor's spokesperson, Sharon Leighow, was Dan Fagan's radio partner on his talk show before she worked for Palin.

So, as you can see, Sarah Palin and her spokesperson do the George W. Bush (and now John McCain) practice of punishing those they don't like and rewarding those they do. As a result, Alaska MSM...a business that depends on getting timely information...has been putty in her hands.

The media manipulation is just a small demonstration of how she does business in Alaska. The Monegan firing and then ensuing information regarding the attempt to get her ex-brother-in-law fired is only the most recent example of what she does when she perceives that someone has "crossed her." She also has a history of exactly the same behavior.

When she was Mayor of Wasilla, she fired the police chief, Irl Stambaugh saying that he "intimidated her." Palin also wanted to ban some books from the library and when library director Mary Ellen Emmons fought her on it, she fired her as well. Her explanation:

“I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment …” (The Anchorage Daily News, via nexis)
Ultimately, Palin let the library director have her job back; though Stambaugh’s position was not returned. The police chief took the matter to court, where a judge sided with Palin, saying city law allows the mayor to fire the police chief without cause.

When questioned by the Anchorage Daily News at the time, Palin refused to give details on how Stambaugh had not supported her, saying only: ”You know in your heart when someone is supportive of you.”
According to the nationally-touted comments (read on the Randi Rhodes Show today) in the Washington Independent article from Wasilla resident, Anne Kilkenny:

She [Palin] has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.
The fear has escalated now that Palin is in line to potentially hold the second-highest position in the country.

A blogger told me that he needs to back off the more sensitive Palin information because he's afraid of getting shot by some of the more fanatical, hard-core "Palin-bots." I've been told that when media representatives attempted to speak to several members of Palin's former church, one member wouldn't speak out of fear of his/her life and the other declined out of fear of potential treatment by law enforcement who are also members of the church.

Wow. Can you imagine Sarah Palin with full access to all Departments of the Federal Government? Perhaps G.W. Bush wasn't the worst we could do after all.

There may be some Alaskans who are incensed by the deluge of national media into our state, especially Wasilla. However, I am grateful for their help and I offer my assistance to anyone who needs it. After all, what we are all looking for is change and unless for you that means a power-mad, inexperienced, vindictive former Alaska Governor one step away from the Presidency (and the button), we can use all of the research help we can get.

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Blogger bacalove said...

You can always Post on Daily Kos, they would love to have you.

9/04/2008 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question from a confused Virginian. It seems as if the Palins reside in Wasilla since the children go to school there. But it looks as if Wasilla is almost 19 hours away from Juneau and the Governor's mansion? What am I misunderstanding?

9/04/2008 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush is from texas, but his office is in DC.

palin is from wasilla, but her office is in Juneau.

Got it?

9/04/2008 12:47 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

I am linking a small excerpt from your post at my blog.

Can I add you to my blogroll?

9/04/2008 12:48 PM  
Blogger Gryphen said...

Palin is bully used to getting her way by presenting a sweet Mary Kay representative next door image while stabbing everybody who crosses her right between the shoulder blades.

But that crap only works if people let it work.

Her constituents stood up to her when she fired the very popular librarian, and she was forced to give her job back.

And even after a few "anonymous" threats i till did not back off of the "babygate" or "troopergate" story even when I was just about the only Alaskan blog covering it.

And by the way when she is kicked off of the McCain ticket, comes back to an impeachment hearing here in Alaska, she will be just like the rest of us. Except we will still be able to show our faces in Anchorage and Wasilla, and she won't dare.

9/04/2008 2:36 PM  
Blogger CelticDiva said...

Hey, Gryph:

You are exactly right. And yeah, I got those "anonymous threats" too regarding the "Troopergate" issue. However, as a stay-at-home mom whose husband works for the Feds, it would be pretty hard for her to do anything to me.

And I also don't live in Wasilla.

However, if Sarah Palin had access to all-things-Federal, I think a whole bunch of us who really aren't in her "scope" right now would be then, which is another good reason to get the truth out.

And Kathy, I happily give you permission to add me to your blogroll! Thanks for thinking of me!

9/04/2008 3:11 PM  
Blogger Gryphen said...

Well don't you fret Diva, there are literally thousands of us talking about this and we are getting stronger and more educated everyday.

And if the RNC convention is any indication then the Grand Old Party is a mere shadow of its former self.

I am still not convinced that Alaska will vote for Obama, but I have great faith in Begich and Berkowitz.

9/04/2008 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a brave woman, Diva. Thank you for getting this information out.

Now you know why I always post without my real name.

I used to not care for you much because of your comments to the guy in Eagle River that was running for Assembly. But I like you now. :)

Take care and lock the door so you can keep the Palinbots out! We need you here writing the truth.

9/04/2008 5:30 PM  
Blogger Writing Raven said...

To "anonymous" confused Virginian.

You are correct to be confused - Palin has indeed settled her life and her family well away from the capitol of Juneau - ticking off more than a few Southeast Alaskans (the region Juneau is in.) It was just one more decision she made, ina long strong of them, to show how much the Mat-Su Valley - the region she is from - would be coming first in her book. She has shuttled money, jobs and her own little circle to the Valley.

It is not a matter of commuting - Juneau is unreachable except by sea or air.

Every once in a while a group gets fired up again about moving the capital to the Southcentral region, closer to Anchorage. I expected her to begin this argument after she won a second term, despite the cost and harm it would do to Juneau and the Southeast Region.

9/04/2008 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much appreciate the education and insight, Fighting Raven. Am an obvious ignoramous about Alaska because I assumed your capital is Anchorage, which appears quite close to Wasilla. Embarrassed when I learned in a news report that the capital is really Juneau and curious because Juneau is so far from Wasilla. On another note, I am quick becoming addicted to Alaska's excellent progressive bloggers! Celtic Diva, Mudflats, Progressive Alaska are all enthusiastically bookmarked. Any other suggestions?

9/05/2008 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. correction to above. Many thanks WRITING Raven. Still have "fight" on the brain after hearing it so many times in McCain's speech :)

9/05/2008 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Palin's home church and pastors:

See www.talk2action.org, "dogemperor"'s posts, for very detailed background on Palin's churches, pastors, and general information on how Assemblies of God denomination and similar non-affiliated neopentecostal churches operate and about their belief system.


Basically, Palin's religious influence is from Dominionist churches that want to dismantle the secular nature of US Constitution and government. Her church is an End-Times oriented church that interprets events in Israel and neighbors as showing that the Apocalypse/Second Coming of Christ is near. They believe that the Second Coming will occur when Israel occupies all territory it held in Biblical times. This translates to a foriegn policy of supporting Israel's elements opposed to the peace process, and promoting subjugation of neighboring nations such as Iraq, Syria, Jordan, etc.

9/05/2008 6:01 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

I too am confused about Palin's commute. I have seen stories about how she drives herself to her office in Anchorage but know the capitol is in Juneau which is a (1 hour?) flight away. I understand her family lives in Wasilla.

Does her office in Anchorage act a "remote" office away from the capital so she does not have to be there as often? Does she only stay in Juneau during the time that the legislature is in session?

If she does commute back and forth between Juneau and Wasilla on a daily basis, is this normal for other legislators and past govenors?

9/06/2008 9:15 AM  
Blogger Writing Raven said...

For the commute, she doesn't travel to Juneau on a daily basis, or even on a frequent basis, for a governor, INCLUDING when the legislature is in session.

Before becoming governor she supported a proposal (shot down by Alaskans) to move the capitol closer to where she lives. During her time as governor, she has been criticized by lawmakers and Southeast Alaska residents for trying to get the legislature to meet in Anchorage or Wasilla, including during the regular session.

And no, nobody else does this, as far as I know. Certainly no governors.

I have also heard the defense that Palin's two oldest daughters didn't like the capitol because "other kids treated them bad, because they were the governor's daughter" and that's why she didn't want to be there.

I went to school with former Gov. Tony Knowles' son in Juneau, and he was very well liked - yet at the same time just one of many kids who go to public school that have parents in a political office. Doubt very much the reasoning behind that.

Palin really, really likes her hometown, and will do anything to stay in it. I don't know what she would do as VP, maybe lobby to get D.C. moved as well.

9/07/2008 3:08 PM  

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