Did Gov Sarah Palin Abuse Her Office?

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posted on Aug, 29 2008 @ 06:47 PM
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John McCain's new running mate comes with a potentially dangerous issue hanging over her head, specifically the allegation that she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan as punishment for his refusal to fire Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten- the ex husband of Palin's sister.

This issue has several twists and turns however, and frankly I do not trust the Mainstream Media and it's 2 minute drill approach to complex and nuanced stories. So let's figure it out for ourselves here.

I am starting with the problem that Palin had with the State Trooper, her ex-brother-in-law. That will be this whole post.

In my next post I will address the issue from the Trooper's side.

And in my third post I will examine Palin's handling of the issue after assuming office.

This will take a while- the Alaska State Trooper Investigation generated over 400 pages of source material, a fair portion of which I obtained from Anchorage Daily News (www.adn.com). So far I have a good deal of respect for their coverage of the matter and would encourage readers to choose that as one source to familiarize yourself with the issue along with the posts that I will be creating.

The Trouble with Troopers

In early 2005, Trooper Wooten and his wife Molly McCann were having serious marital problems. McCann and her children claimed to be afraid of Wooten, who they characterized as an alcoholic, steroid abuser, and domestic abuser. In a Department of Public Safety interview which took place March 5th 2005, Palin reported the following, as documented in the report of that interview.


A full transcript of the interview is available Here

In February of 2005, after Wooten allegedly threatened to kill McCann's father if he hired a divorce attorney for his daughter, McCann's family, including her father, began efforts to get Wooten fired and/or arrested by reporting numerous alleged incidents of misconduct on his part, including numerous DUI infractions, threats of armed violence and use of his position as a trooper while off duty to intimidate citizens during private disputes- including showing his badge and having another man removed from a bar after arguing with that man.

The efforts became overt on 4/11/05- the day that McCann filed for divorce and a Domestic Violence Protective Order.

This prompted McCann's father to contact the State Troopers on the same day. This resulted in the following memorandum of complain within the State Troopers, dated 4/11/05.
Complaint against Wooten

The Memo concludes that the complaints presented, if substantiated, would constitute violations of the following regulatons (laws violated are not included as the document is not a criminal report).


If substantiated, these actions .wouldbe in violation of OPM chapters 101.070(A)- Unbecomingconduct,
101.070(B)- Personal conduct, 101.070(C) -Conformance to laws, 101.070(F)(2) - Use of alcohol,
101.070(i)(1) - Abuse of position and 103.030(A)- Operation to be prudent and lawful.


The following day the department issued Wooten a non-disciplinary warning in the form of official orders to obey the Domestic Violence Protective Order pending a court hearing regarding that Protective Order which was set for 4/27.

There was an unexplained and thus far apparently undocumented lull in the investigation between Early May and Early August.

A letter from Palin on 8/5/10 addressed to Colonel Julie Grimes of the Alaska State Troopers does reveal that the DVPO was downgraded to a no contact order at some point in the Spring, and complains of inaction by the Alaska State Troopers.

Followup interviews with Sarah Palin and her husband as well as others occurred on 08/08/05, and then on 9/14/05

On 10/11/05 McCann's father wrote a letter to Colonel Julie Grimes of the Alaska State Troopers complaining of the lack of action on the matter over the past 7 months. Although the letter can not be considered authoritative documentation of any of the facts presently missing, the issues raised in the letter seem to suggest that no resolution of the more serious charges was ever made known to the involved parties.
Letter

Subsequent to this August round of efforts, the AST finally did release the following Report which is an incredibly interesting read in my opinion, in that it finds that the threats against the father's life were not illegal, because they were made to others outside of his presence and he was not informed of those threats immediately (most laws require that a reasonable person would believe that the threat will be carried out, and one could argue, though I believe incorrectly, that the threat SOLELY impacted the father, and that he could not possibly find it plausible if he didn't know it even happened, and therefore no crime occurred. This disregards the fact that the threat materially and emotionally targeted McCann, even though the victim of the direct recipient of the threatened violence was named as her father).

On that grounds the conduct unbecoming charge and poor personal conduct charges were upheld but failure to conform to laws charges were dismissed.

The report accepted the results of a drug test privately obtained by the accused despite acknowledging that they did not know if the test covered the full range of illegal steroids. Thus another charge of failure to conform to laws was dismissed.

All charges related to the alleged altercation in a bar were dismissed based on inconsistent statements by the bartender, who both said that Wooten was intoxicated and then said he was probably below the legal limit and showing no outward signs of intoxication.

Charges of domestic violence were dismissed on the grounds that they were not brought forward until divorce proceedings began, and the credibility of Palin and her son was questioned based on inconsistencies between their respective stories unrelated to the actual threats and violence themselves- specifically the son giving a contradictory reason for listening in on the conversation in question.

The Tazering of his son was described as being done "in a training capacity" but still resulted in conduct unbecoming and a few other minor charges.

Subsequently on Feb 1st 2006 Colonel Grimes overturned portions of that Report, deciding that Wooten probably did commit DUI.

Ultimately a 10 day suspension was imposed by Grimes, but that was reduced to 5 days upon appeal by the union.


It is alleged that Palin was dissatisified and upon becoming governor, began to pursue the matter through her official office. That will be covered in my third post, after a fair say is provided for Trooper Wooten.




posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 11:34 AM
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reply to post by The Vagabond
 


Both the Democratic and Republican pundits say this is a non-issue. In fact, one of the most liberal pundits said she would go and taser the state cop herself after hearing what he had done. I don't think this will matter in the long run.
I belonged in a union, and our union president told me he hated to have to defend the garbage in the union (the majority of members are hard workers). His job was to give the support and file whatever appeals the worker asked for, and he did his job to the best of his ability. Do not attack the union for this, as they have a system of due process to protect the workers. Even the sleazy ones get the same due process, and the union stewards will hold their noses when they work with him.



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 03:29 PM
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You're preaching to the choir- I'm a 3rd generation union man. I'm just saying that right wrong or indifferent the union was forced to go to bat for a bad cop, and that's going to present Republicans with an opportunity to attack public servants' unions if anyone dares raise the issue of what Alaska papers were for a time calling "troopergate".



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 05:46 PM
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I should avoid this as I live here and know the parties either personally or casually. This is a non-issue as was mentioned above. There is no here here. A disgruntled, deservedly fired appointee grasping at straws. It lost all of its steam almost immediately locally. The Trooper is still working, in fact double duty on Labor Day Weekend. The only question is why he was not fired based solely on his behavior by Monegan.

Palin not only agreed to an investigation she insisted. Monegan, from what I got from him on radio programs and reports on local radio talk shows, said it was unrelated one time and then changed his tune later on. It is impossible to post anything because most of what went on occurred on local talk radio programs and the local Newspaper, a dyed in the wool Left Wing, out of state owned paper, reported little and can't be trusted anyway.

Politics is different here. The players come on the local radio shows at a moments notice and often call in while they are going on. Alaska is huge but the population is like a small town bunch.

I'm positive both Parties will ignore this and it is a non issue for good reason.

I did not vote for Palin and disagree with her often, but she is known to be honest locally. In fact too honest and she has been cleaning house and that upsets the crooks as they go down. She seems to not care about Party ties at all when it comes to crooks. This is Alaska and not the Beltway. Secrets don't last long here.

I wonder if McCain realizes he picked a person who would blow a whistle on him if does wrong in a heartbeat?

[edit on 8/30/2008 by Blaine91555]



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 05:57 PM
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Originally posted by The Vagabond
Alaska papers were for a time calling "troopergate".


There is no genuine Alaskan Paper. Out of state owned and controlled, like so much of the media is these days. Local reporting is heavily biased and distorted and ALWAYS favors one Party, the Democrats. The Right gets one page per issue. I'm not joking. It was from some kind of settlement when the old local conservative paper was forced out. One page!

I'm registered undeclared by the way. I have no horse in this race so to speak.

Party ties don't necessarily define politicians here. For instance our Mayor, Mark Begich, is running against Stevens. Even though he is a Democrat, he is for drilling in the Preserve and very conservative.



posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 04:53 PM
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It seems Sarah Palin may be facing yet another Ethics Investigation. This time, for improperly disclosing information from personnel records.



The GOP candidate for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, may be facing yet another ethics investigation back in her home state of Alaska. An ethics complaint obtained by NBC News was filed Wednesday by the police officers union in Alaska, requesting a probe into possible wrongdoing by the governor or her office. It was brought on behalf of state trooper Mike Wooten, an ex-brother-in-law of Palin who is at the center of the "Troopergate" scandal.



posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 04:27 PM
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I don't think this is a non issue.

However, I myself would have just tasered the bad cop. He sounds like a complete loser, but no public official should use the office that they were elected to to force a firing. It's a mis-use of the office and it's shameful.



posted on Sep, 10 2008 @ 08:56 PM
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This may not be a non-issue after all.

Source



Gov. Sarah Palin is being asked by a local Republican activist to release more than 1,100 e-mails she withheld from a public records request, including 40 that were copied to her husband, Todd.

Palin had claimed executive privilege for documents copied to her husband, who is not a state employee, in responding to an open records request in June made by Andree McLeod, an activist in Anchorage.

The administrative appeal filed Tuesday by McLeod’s attorney, Donald C. Mitchell, argued that by copying Todd Palin on sensitive state correspondence, the governor and her aides shattered the privilege rightly afforded elected officials.


Executive Privilege, huh? That sounds familiar.

And three years ago, a judge warned Palin to stop harassing the trooper in this story.

Source



An Anchorage judge three years ago warned Sarah Palin and members of her family to stop "disparaging" the reputation of Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten, who at the time was undergoing a bitter separation and divorce from Palin's sister Molly.

Allegations that Palin, her husband Todd, and at least one top gubernatorial aide continued to vilify Wooten—after Palin became Alaska's governor and pressured state police officials to take action against him—are at the center of "Troopergate," a political and ethical controversy which has embroiled Palin's administration and is currently the subject of an official inquiry by a special investigator hired by the state legislature.

Court records obtained by NEWSWEEK show that during the course of divorce hearings three years ago, Judge John Suddock heard testimony from an official of the Alaska State Troopers' union about how Sarah Palin—then a private citizen—and members of her family, including her father and daughter, lodged up to a dozen complaints against Wooten with the state police. The union official told the judge that he had never before been asked to appear as a divorce-case witness, that the union believed family complaints against Wooten were "not job-related," and that Wooten was being "harassed" by Palin and other family members.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 12:38 AM
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I figured from the beginning that Palin had acted inappropriately. It was pretty much already in black and white that Palin had worked to get the guy fired and then lied about it and been caught lying about it.

The fact that the guy seemed to deserve it was what seemed most likely to make it a non-issue in my mind. I still haven't found time to find a lot from this Wooten character's side, so maybe there's more to it that would change my view on that underlined portion, but I don't know. It turns out that people take a much greater interest in the Governor's side of the story than in the side of an alleged renegade cop/spouse abuser.

And again, that's why it's kind of surprising that the issue is gaining any traction. At the outset of this, I was thinking, OK, so who's going to be the good soldier for the Democrats and stand up and say "Madam Governor, leave that poor chauvanist alone!" for Barack Obama's benefit?

In retrospect, the names of a few pundits should have sprung to mind almost instantly.

Personally, although this incident fits a pattern of conduct on Palin's part that I find undesirable (she wasn't kidding about the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull it turns out) this incident taken entirely on its own would not be something I could fault Palin for. It sounds very familiar to me. It reminds me of what it took to deal with the cops who botched the investigation of my grandfather's murder, and it reminds me a lot of what it took to get my drug-running, wife-beating stepfather arrested. Some people have a gift for skirting the law, and some people just need to be dealt with, by hook or by crook.

It would seem, however, that I misjudged how in sync I was with the feelings of others in that regard.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 08:00 AM
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I absolutely think it's one incident in a pattern for her and that's where the importance lies. For me.

The fact that the guy deserved it (according to her) doesn't really count with me. If a man tasered his son, then the law (which she was in a position to influence) should have been called in. I mean, we can't be vigilantes and just take illegal and immoral action against people who break the law. Edit. I don't men she should have influenced the law, I mean she could have called for an investigation.


I still feel we don't know the whole story, but more is coming out all the time.

Edited for clarity.



[edit on 11-9-2008 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 08:19 AM
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Finally this is making some news here in ATS, that was one of the first issues that I try to bring in after Palin got nominated occurs no on a thread of its own but by posting under her credentials on already ongoing threads.

Thanks for bringing the issue.

All I can say is a person that uses their office for revenge is not a good person to govern anything as their tempers are short.

I wonder what she will do with all the power she will have in the office of the VP I can not even imagine in the office of president.

But as long as she goes against her own family members on a revenge at least she will stay away from going into a war with a foreign nation.

I think when it comes to her decisions or misguided ones she is not to be trusted.



posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 06:20 PM
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Just another update on this.

Alaska Lawmakers Vote to Subpoena Todd Palin



ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The abuse of power investigation against Sarah Palin, Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, took a potentially ominous turn for her party on Friday when state lawmakers voted to subpoena her husband.

Republican efforts to delay the probe until after the Nov. 4 election were thwarted when GOP State Sen. Charlie Huggins, who represents Palin's hometown of Wasilla, sided with Democrats. "Let's just get the facts on the table," said Huggins


So, it appears as though those 40 emails that Sarah copied to her husband and is withholding may be brought out for discovery and the GOP won't be permitted to postpone this probe until after the election.

I think it's best to get it out in the open. They can clear her name if she's innocent or if this is a non-issue. And if it's not... it's best people know the truth before the election.



posted on Sep, 15 2008 @ 09:18 PM
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Update. September 15.

After first welcoming the investigation and promising to meet with the investigators in the Trooper Wooten issue, Palin has now changed her mind and refuses to talk with investigators because, she said, the case has become "tainted" and has been hijacked by Democrats, even though lawyers who are investigating are of both parties.

Palin Won't Cooperate with "Troopergate" Investigation



posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 12:28 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


It may be a strategic move, to use this to blame the Democrats. I would think they would want to get this over with otherwise.



posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 06:10 PM
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This most certainly is not a non issue. MAYBE this one isolated incident is but the fact is this is not an isolated incident.

So we have troopergate.

Dairygate:

Then we have her firing the entire board of agriculture because they wouldn't turn over the ruling by the Creamery Board to shut down a dairy plant that was going under.

State board votes to replace Mat Maid CEO



Source


Since then, Gov. Sarah Palin, who expressed disappointment with the dairy closing, replaced the entire membership of the Board of Agriculture and Conservation, which oversees the Creamery Board. The new agriculture board then installed itself as the Creamery Board. The new Creamery Board chairwoman, Kristan Cole, said after the meeting today that Van Treeck agreed with the decision. But she acknowledged that Van Treeck had originally recommended shutting down the dairy, and that current board members had questioned his commitment to finding a way to keep it open. “


So they installed themselves as the new creamery board and even acknowledge that the CEO decided maybe it was a good idea to keep it open but they still fired him because of a question of commitment??

Then she fired the police chief for "stepping on the toes of her campaign contributors".

Another Controversy for Sarah Palin



Source


Gov. Sarah Palin is already facing ethical questions over her firing of the Alaska public safety commissioner, and now she faces questions over the firing of a longtime local police chief. New reports raise questions about the firing of a local police chief.

After taking over as Mayor of the small town of Wasilla, Palin fired the longtime local police chief. The former police chief, Irl Stambaugh says he was fired because he stepped on the toes of Palin's campaign contributors, including bar owners and the National Rifle Association.

Stambaugh's lawyer, William Jermain, says the chief tried to move up the closing hours of local bars from 5 a.m. to two a.m. after a spurt of drunk driving accidents and arrests.

"His crackdown on that practice by the bars was not appreciated by her and that was one reason she terminated Irl," said Jermain.

In his 1997 lawsuit, Stambaugh also alleged that his stand on restricting concealed weapons upset the NRA.


Unfortunately, it seems the Mayor can fire the police chief for any purpose so Stambaugh lost his suit.

I have other incidences but I don't have time to look up some good sources to back it up with.



posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 09:57 PM
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Good post, nunya. I also just learned that Alaska Republicans filed a lawsuit to stop the investigation altogether.



Five Republican state legislators filed a lawsuit in Alaska state court on Tuesday seeking to block Democrats from investigating whether vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in firing a state trooper feuding with her family.

The lawsuit claims the probe into Palin's July firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan is unconstitutional and politically tainted because it is being managed by Democrats trying to undermine Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Palin, his running mate.


The panel in Alaska consists of 5 people. 2 Democrats and 3 Republicans.



If the investigation is not halted, the attorney representing the five lawmakers said, at the least the two Democrats and Obama supporters on the committee and special investigator Steve Branchflower should be removed from the case.


It appears they are trying to stop this before the election. If she's innocent, it seems to me that would be good news to come right before the election.



posted on Sep, 17 2008 @ 06:34 PM
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First of all, the investigation was started before she was even picked to be VP. So this can't be just a ploy to tear her to shreds during the election. Granted, it is now being used as fodder against her, but you can't suddenly want to stop it because it's being used in such a way. Now if it was started after she was selected, that would be a different story.

Second, I don't know why they are saying it's run by democrats because it a bi-partisan Board.

Source


On Monday afternoon, the Joint Legislative Council, filled with Republicans and Democrats, voted 12 to 0 to formally call for an investigation against Governor Palin in a manner—that they are stressing—will be unbiased and done in a timely fashion


But apparently Sarah thinks that it is "extra-constitutional" for the legislature to even be holding the investigation.

Gov. Sarah Palin: Investigation into possible abuse of power heats up



Source


Tuesday, the governor went on the offensive as she made a legal filing to have the Alaska personnel board review her firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. According to the governor's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, the subject of whether Governor Palin abused her powers is not in the jurisdiction of the Legislature and in fact is up to the Alaska personnel board to investigate.

"I believe that the legislative council is acting extra-constitutionally that there is no statutory basis or constitutional basis for the Attorney Thomas Van Flein legislative council to act as a secret grand jury," said Van Flein.


Apparently there's only THREE people on the Alaskan Personnel Board:

Source


State of Alaska Office of Boards and Commissions Roster

PERSONNEL BOARD (077)

Debra E. English

Laura Plenert

Alfred L. Tamagni, Sr.


It does state that their duties entail looking into ethics matters:

Source


Function: Approves/disapproves amendments to personnel rules; considers extensions of the partially exempt and classified service; hears appeals under A.S. 39.25.170; and hears complaints under the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.


I don't have time but maybe someone can look into exactly who these people are. Maybe she has personal ties to them and wants them to look over the matter because they will obviously be biased. That's pure speculation though.



posted on Sep, 17 2008 @ 07:23 PM
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Originally posted by nunya13
I don't have time but maybe someone can look into exactly who these people are.


Debra E English was re-appointed by Governor Palin.



One board member, Deborah English of Anchorage, was reappointed by Palin in January, according to the Alaska state government Web site. Board member Laura Plenert of Ketchikan, is up for reappointment in 2010; the third member, Alfred Tamagni, Sr. of Anchorage, is up for reappointment in 2012.

All three were appointed by Palin's Republican predecessor, Frank Murkowski. The state's Web site did not list the board members' party affiliations, but under state law, no more than two board members can be of the same party.


Source



Tamgani donated $400 to Palin for her 2006 race for Governor.


CBS



posted on Sep, 17 2008 @ 07:47 PM
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I think one of the problems here is that she inherited a State Government of Good Old Boys and corruption.

As far as I can tell there still is no story to this other than the normal attack by the opposing Party. She can fire these people for no reason at all without doing anything illegal. In fact Clinton did a similar house cleaning when he took office as President.

All I see happening is that the Democrats are buying everything being presented by the Democrats. Politics as usual I'm afraid.

I'm disillusioned by both Parties. The attacks on Obama were mostly nonsense and now the attacks on Palin are more of the same. I'm sure the vast majority of the voters can see through this to the truth.

It would be refreshing to read more about actual policies as presented by McCain and Obama instead of this airing of meaningless dirty laundry. The same people who were defending Obama are now attacking Palin in the same way and visa-versa. SSDD

I'm deeply saddened that Lower 48 Politics is grabbing hold of Alaska. This was a State were Democrats and Republicans worked together for our best interests. This has forever changed that. The other States could have learned from us, but instead the bad guys win again. Whatever Palin was, she will never be the same again; now that she has looked into the belly of the beast in the Beltway.

I think Sarah is being used. I hope she does not join the Dark Side and comes back unchanged. We needed her and her cleanup of the Good Old Boys Network.

I did not vote for her, but after seeing how she started cleaning up the mess, I'm almost sorry I did not. Had McCain kept his hands off, it would have been much better for us. We already have Beltway groups who keep their membership secret, putting stuff on our ballots.

We have far more freedoms than other states, a genuine right to privacy, no taxes, no gun laws and a relaxed lifestyle. Everyone claims to want that, but when they noticed it; they set out to destroy it.



posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 07:44 AM
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Originally posted by Blaine91555
She can fire these people for no reason at all without doing anything illegal.


I agree with this. If she wanted to fire Monegan, she could have done so. But (assuming this story is true), she and her staff pressured Monegan to take a certain action (fire Wooten) and when the pressure didn't work, she abused her power by firing him. In other words, she used her power to get revenge. That's not ethical.



It would be refreshing to read more about actual policies as presented by McCain and Obama instead of this airing of meaningless dirty laundry.


Having an affair, whose baby is whose, a fake religion, a racist preacher... THOSE are dirty laundry. An abuse of office, being performed many times, is not, in my opinion, "dirty laundry". It shows how a person operates in high office. I think at least it should be investigated and not swept under the rug.

I'm sorry to say that I agree that she's being used. And it IS sad. I told my husband just last night that I feel sorry for her. She once welcomed this investigation and maybe she's really innocent, but since she's gotten involved in the politics of Washington, I'm afraid they're pulling the strings now. Any power she had doesn't hold any weight in Washington.

I am not under the illusion that she is making the decisions to pull out of this investigation. That has "Washington" written all over it. I don't think she CAN fight the Good Old Boys in Washington if she wanted to, although I think she would probably like to, and may have had designs to.



We have far more freedoms than other states, a genuine right to privacy, no taxes, no gun laws and a relaxed lifestyle. Everyone claims to want that, but when they noticed it; they set out to destroy it.


That's REALLY sad! And I don't think anyone has set out to destroy anything, though. They just want Sarah for the votes and enthusiasm she can bring. She is being further tainted by the political corruption in Washington.

But this investigation and public scrutiny is only normal and expected. She's brand new on the scene and like a bunch of puppies with a new animal in the room, the people are going to go over her with a fine tooth comb. Sorry about the mixed metaphor, but you get my idea...

To expect the people to just stand back and "trust" that she's all right and vote her into the (possibly) highest position in the country, without a thorough examination of her and her official duties is asking a bit much, I think.





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