Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah Palin Report: Pro-corporation With No Regard for the Environment, Nepetism, Half-truths, Bullying, and Bush-like Secretism.

Looking at our presidential candidates over the past few weeks, along with their new running mates, has caused a flurry of media attention, especially with the introduction of formerly unknown Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin. While I admit up front that I am an Obama supporter, I feel a certain due diligence is in order to review what our possibilities could be and see what we could have in store if McCain and Palin are elected.

The media has been frankly ridiculous, hanging on every comment with the right-wingers uncharacteristically pulling the sexism card at every opportunity and playing up the "downhome" quality of Palin's background, going so far as calling her husband "The First Dude" almost exclusively. The less biased mainstream media has been pretty harsh as well, playing the usual game of digging up every possible piece of dirt that they can find. The truth is, we need to look at Palin's qualifications and her political record thus far. Although there has been media attention focused on her past record, but much of this has been drowned out by the starry-eyed wonder with which many conservatives and women voters are looking at Palin.

The NYTimes article entitled "Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes," is a chilling tale of secrecy, nepotism, and Bush-esque politics, describing how Palin and her staffers have used alternative communications methods outside of government email systems to be less trackable, avoid being subpoenaed, and reduce accountability. It describes how Palin has hired many friends, most without proper qualifications, to various state political positions - my favorite example is Palin's high school classmate hired to head the Alaska Department of Agriculture who listed a "childhood love of cows" as a qualification for the job. This article, along with the now-infamous blog of Alaskan conservative Sherry Whitstein, details the strong-arming and bullying that Palin, her family, and her supporters have used to manipulate opponents in her seemingly desperate quest for political power. There are tales of phone calls from Palin's staff, her husband and other family members with yelling, cursing, and threats, to reporters, interviewers, and opponents, basically trying to bully those who speak out against her actions or policies. This tactic comes up over and over with their camp, from the librarian who she tried to get fired for not banning books, to the "Troopergate" scandal, it seems that Palin thinks it fine to use her political power inappropriately as a means to her own ends, be they "moral", personal, or political.

Meanwhile, it seems that during Palin's reign in Wasillia, Alaska, she reversed much of the work that was being done by the previous Mayor to limit commercial growth and reduce the pollution of the town's lakes. Under Palin, big-box retailers were given what sounds to be free reign, building complexes next to the lake and allowing toxic parking lot runoff to drain into an already polluted lake system. Add the pro-drilling stance, the disbelief in human-caused climate change, a bear pelt over her interview couch, and a wonderful photo of her entire family ensconced in fur, demonstrates clearly that Palin is no friend to the environment and will choose a money-making opportunity with corporate deals regardless of any potential environmental impacts.

Deepak Chopra, M.D., the renowned mind-body physician has written an article entitled "Obama and the Palin Effect" about the psychological phenomenon that makes Palin so appealing to so many, then discusses in plain terms what she stands for:
  • "Small town values — a nostaligic return to simpler times disguises a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
  • Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
  • Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be needed.
  • Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
  • Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.
  • ”Reform” — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology."
There is, unfortunately, much more to say, but The S.E.E.P.'s official position on Palin is that although she is attractive to a large section of our conservative citizens, much of her appeal is on the surface and there are some very concerning issues in how she has conducted her politics in Alaska and this is not the type of people we want leading our country, as Vice-President, or for the remote possibility of President. Her environmental record is abysmal and we can only hope that conservative Americans do not misinterpret her being "outdoorsy" and a hunter with being remotely concerned with the environment. We need more integrity and openness, we need someone who will work for the will of the people, not someone who plans to push their own personal agenda, especially if they feel that the ends justify the questionable means.

via NYTimes


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