Tag Archives: Big Oil

Sarah Palin’s Real Estate Impropriety (Video)

By popular demand, I am reposting this story about Mayor Sarah Palin eliminating building permits before her personal home AND the Wasilla Sports Complex were constructed in Wasilla, Alaska.  The post originally appeared on the Sarah Palin Truth Squad back in October 14, 2008.

The original title was The Book of Sarah (Palin): Contractors Awarded Wasilla Sports Complex Contract Built New Palin Family Home.”

Although this is old news, it’s good to remember the personal ethics of Sarah Palin as she moves forward into her latest career.

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Sarah Palin winking to the cameras.

Sarah Palin winking to the cameras.

Wayne Barrett, investigative journalist and senior editor for the Village Voice, published a brilliantly illuminating exposé on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and the building of her new Wasilla family home by the same contractors awarded the contract to build the new, multi-million dollar Wasilla sports complex. Also, throughout Sarah Palin’s political career, she has worked closely with lobbyists, promoting the interests of big business and oil corporations. Barrett was interviewed by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Countdown as to the possible conflicts of interest these connections might have posed for Gov. Palin.

Along with the winks and folksy “doggone” moments early in her debate with Joe Biden last week, Sarah Palin repeated her familiar claim to the title of “maverick,” declaring that “as a governor and as a mayor,” she’s had a “track record of reform” and has now “joined a team of mavericks.”

Despite the free fall that her polling numbers went into after her disastrous interviews with Katie Couric, that branding as a “reformer” has been resilient. Introduced skillfully before tens of millions during an intense surge of interest six weeks ago, it’s been hammered home with repeated soundbites.

But the label doesn’t hold up under close scrutiny. From the controversy that catapulted her to the governorship, to her ties to the indicted patriarch of Alaska’s GOP, to the multilayered nexus of lobbyists and Big Oil interests around her, and, finally, to the Wasilla sports complex that capped her mayoral career, the myth of Sarah Palin, reformer, withers under inspection.

Wasilla, Alaska Sports Complex

Wasilla, Alaska Sports Complex

PALIN’S CLAIM to fame as an Alaska reformer-that she risked her career to expose the chairman of the state GOP-is revisionist. In fact, Palin supported the methane-drilling project that helped sink GOP boss Randy Ruedrich before she later decided she was against it-a mirror of her flip-flop on the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. And her reversal had more to do with seizing a political opportunity than following her conscience.

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Inheriting Palin’s Pipeline Ambitions

Gov. Sarah Palin, center, awards a state license for development of her natural gas pipeline initiative to Canadian pipeline builder TransCanada last December. As Ms. Palin steps down, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (to Ms. Palin’s right above), will inherit the program.

Gov. Sarah Palin, center, awards a state license for development of her natural gas pipeline initiative to Canadian pipeline builder TransCanada last December. As Ms. Palin steps down, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (to Ms. Palin’s right above), will inherit the program.

In the wake of Sarah Palin’s surprise announcement to step down as Alaska governor, questions linger over her signature energy initiative: the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to markets in Canada and the Lower 48.

Ms. Palin campaigned for governor with a pledge to completely rethink the state’s approach to the megaproject – instead of negotiating directly with the three major North Slope producers, Ms. Palin promised to essentially put the project out to bid.

As governor, she did just that, offering a suite of incentives (including $500 million in seed money) in exchange for certain commitments meant to protect the state’s interests. State lawmakers approved her Alaska Gasline Inducement Act in 2007, and last year awarded a state license under A.G.I.A. to Canadian pipeline builder TransCanada.

Exxon Mobil has since teamed up with TransCanada, and BP and ConocoPhillips are pursuing their own pipeline project separately.

But there’s no assurance that either line will ever get built.

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Palin Pipe Dreams

Note: On July 26, Sarah Palin resigned as Alaska governor, citing concerns that ongoing ethical investigations and her decision not to seek a second term would limit her effectiveness in office. What she did (or didn’t do) to promote the development of a $40 billion gas pipeline will be a crucial part of her short history in office. This story, which was first published on March 17, delved into the long and complicated history of a pipeline that doesn’t exist.

Sarah Palin at Lake Lucille in Wasilla, Alaska, in 2008.

Sarah Palin at Lake Lucille in Wasilla, Alaska, in 2008.

For more than 30 years, a natural-gas pipeline had been the great white whale of Alaskan resource development. Tens of millions of dollars had been spent in the quest for it. The names of collapsed consortiums and failed legislative initiatives littered the tundra like the bleached horns of long-dead caribou. Then, last summer, Sarah Palin said she had harpooned the whale.

“I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history,” Palin said at the Republican convention. “And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural-gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.”

During the vice-presidential debate, she said it again: “We’re building a nearly $40 billion natural-gas pipeline, which is North America’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever.”

And to Katie Couric, she said, “We should have started 10 years ago, but better late than never.”

To many outside of Alaska, it may therefore come as a surprise to learn that not only does such a pipeline not exist, but—even as Alaska’s deep winter darkness gives way to the first light of spring—the prospect that it will be built within Sarah Palin’s lifetime grows dimmer by the day. ( View a slideshow hitting the highlights of Governor Palin’s travels.)

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McCain Led Republican Group Had Ties to Blackwater, Lehman Bros., Lobbying Groups & Big Oil Companies

International Republican Institute

International Republican Institute

According to an Associated Press article from October 2007, Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s time as chairman of the International Republican Institute connected him to a wide range of international interests.  We now know this included Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi, whom the McCain-Palin campaign is smearing in the press in an attempt to dissuade Americans from voting for presidential candidate Barack Obama.  Additionally, McCain and the IRI had a long list of corporate donors, including Blackwater USA, the paramilitary security firm responsible for killing 11 innocent Iraqi civilians, investment bank Lehman Bros., corporate lobbying firms and big oil companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP.

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Palin Shocker: McCain Won’t Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Coal burning smokestacks emitting pollution

Coal burning smokestacks emitting pollution

Given Senator John McCain’s past Senate voting record AGAINST clean energy, it should come as no surprise to anyone that if he and Republican vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin are elected on November 4th, a McCain-Palin administration does not plan to regulate greenhouse emissions in an effort to reduce global warming.

Voters who care about either global warming or clean energy have only one choice — and it isn’t McCain-Palin.

It’s time to stop trying to guess whether the latest McCain campaign gaffe revision on global warming means the Arizonan has walked away from his previous support for mandatory government control of greenhouse gases. He has.

That should have been clear from McCain’s repeated rejection of the word “mandatory” to describe his program, his choice of a global warming denier for vice president, and his failure to even mention global warming during his acceptance speech. Most recently, his chief economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said on Sunday that McCain does not agree with the Supreme Court decision that labels carbon dioxide a pollutant and requiring EPA to regulate it. He labels Obama’s decision to obey the Supreme Court decision “a draconian regulatory approach.”

Now the McCain campaign has decided to eliminate the ambiguity entirely in the desperate and erratic final days of his campaign. In her big greenwashing energy speech at an Ohio solar energy company, Palin was as blunt as possible in her prepared (and delivered) remarks:

And we will control greenhouse gas emissions by giving American businesses new incentives and new rewards to seek, instead of just giving them new taxes to pay and new orders that they must follow — “so says government”.

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin delivers energy policy speech

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin delivers energy policy speech

The final three words were ones she added, but the prepared text alone leaves no room for doubt. A McCain-Palin administration will not be issuing new orders that businesses must follow to control greenhouse gas emissions. It will use a voluntary or incentive-based approach, one that has never worked in any country to restrain emissions growth.

McCain and his campaign have made a concerted effort to reassure conservatives he’s not going to take strong action on climate, while hoping that moderates would be fooled just like some Bush voters were in 2000 ignore all this talk, which itself is a core campaign strategy of doubletalk (see “Memo to media: McCain doubletalks to woo conservatives and independents at the same time“).

The Palin speech was the last piece of the puzzle. For one last time, let’s consider the increasingly sorry history of the McCain campaign on climate and clean energy:

Remember, it was Bush’s Vice President, Dick Cheney, who called Bush’s promised to regulate utility carbon emissions “a mistake” in March 2001, and Cheney is probably the main reason Bush walked away from his commitment.

So perhaps we should start listening to McCain’s VP choice, as well as McCain himself, and all of his advisers, on climate and clean energy issues.

If you care about global warming, the gravest preventable threat to the health and well-being of all Americans, and if you care about clean energy, the greatest potential source of new jobs and new industries in the coming decades, then you must vote Obama-Biden.

Palin Shocker: McCain Won’t Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Governor Palin Reserved In Reaction To Senator Stevens’ Verdict

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens

Journalist Matt Apuzzo, writing for the Huffington Post, notes the reluctance of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to call for the resignation of Senator Ted Stevens, convicted today on all counts of corruption.  Gov. Palin is running for the Republican vice presidency as a reformer who takes on the ‘good old boys’ of her party while standing up to Big Oil and fighting corruption in Alaska.  So why not stand up to Ted Stevens now that his trial has concluded?  Sen. Stevens is still very popular in Alaska and may win his reelection, but should he lose his appeal, Gov. Palin would have to name his replacement.  One can only wonder at the GOP vice presidential candidate’s current masterplan.  Could the reserve Palin exhibits be her contemplation of occupying Stevens’ Senate seat herself in order to gain more Washington experience before the 2012 presidential race?  Could Sen. Stevens, Gov. Palin’s former mentor, have some damning information about her she would rather not have public?  Or could she have grown a heart and decided not to throw him under the same bus she has tossed so many others before him? 

WASHINGTON – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has crafted a corruption-busting image as part of her Republican vice presidential campaign, wasn’t talking tough Monday after Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted in a corruption case.

Palin did not call on Stevens to resign or drop out of his tight re-election race.

“I’m confident Senator Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska,” Palin said in a statement.

Just weeks ago, when John McCain tapped her to be his running mate, Republicans trumpeted her ability to stand up to her own party. They said that proved she could stand up in the face of crisis.

“If you can take on Ted Stevens and that crowd in Alaska, you can handle the Russians,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C, told ABC News.

But Monday, Palin wasn’t taking on Stevens. She said it was a sad day for Alaska and said it highlighted the corrupting influence of Big Oil in Alaska.

Stevens was convicted of seven counts of lying about $250,000 in home improvements and other gifts from oil contractor Bill Allen.

“I will carefully monitor this situation and take any appropriate action as needed,” Palin said. “In the meantime, I ask the people of Alaska to join me in respecting the workings of our judicial system.”

Stevens has not said what he plans to do and Palin’s reluctance to call on him to step down may reflect just how powerful the Alaska senator remains. He is still popular and could win re-election.

Palin Reserved In Reaction To Stevens’ Verdict

Math-Challenged Mommy: Palin Should do Her Best to Wave that Special-Needs Flag

Associate editor/poetry editor of the Wasatch Journal magazine Melissa Bond wrote a poignant op-ed on motherhood with a beautiful special needs baby while sharing her concerns on the readiness of Governor Sarah Palin for the vice presidency of the United States. 

As the mother of a four-month-old boy with Down syndrome, I can relate to Sarah Palin. I mean, really, when she held Trig up after her speech at the Republican National Committee last month, offering him to the television cameras like a piece of prime elk and saying that she understood and that she’d be my boy’s advocate in the White House, I wanted to melt. Look at that kid in his striped jammies, I thought. I wanted to believe her. And honestly, I think that she’d do her best to wave that special-needs flag. I can see her jogging giddily through the White House halls, can even imagine a cheer or two complete with high-kicks, while she and President John McCain jump on the couches in the Oval Office. Go, Trig, go!

The problem isn’t that I think Palin is insincere. It isn’t that I have questions about who’s caring for Trig and giving him the extensive therapy that’s recommended for Down syndrome kids while she’s out playing Gidget Goes to the White House. It isn’t even that this wolf -killing, Miss Alaska runner-up confuses her facts about Obama and her own running mate-Obama has authored several major ethics reforms and McCain is not the prince of regulation. It’s simply that I have a serious question about the governor’s math skills. With the current eye-popping national deficit of more than $9 trillion, with a systemic financial crisis that’s costing taxpayers more than $700 billion (and that’s just for starters), and with a foreign policy that keeps notching its belt with unsupported wars, where does Palin think the money will come from? Medicaid is being pummeled. Social services of all kinds are being pummeled. Rome is burning, and while the Republicans have hedged their bets that this country will eat the American pie narrative about the average-Alaska-supermom-who-makes-it-big, I’m not buying it.

Despite her home-cooked persona, Palin just doesn’t have a good head for numbers. That jet that she claims she sold on eBay? Oops! Good story, but it was sold to an airline broker at nearly a $600,000 loss to taxpayers. And that $15 million hockey arena that was her signature accomplishment as Wasilla’s mayor? Oops again! She broke ground without finalizing the city’s purchase of the land. Taxpayers had to suck up an additional $1.3 million dollars to pay for the fiasco. Bummer. Sorry, guys. And that’s just as mayor of a small town. The thought of Palin as vice prez, drooling over every earmark like a pit bull in the ring, simply terrifies. And even if Palin is a quick study, I just don’t feel great about letting her learn on the job.

I haven’t even mentioned anything about foreign policy. But then again, neither has Palin. Except for Russia, of course. She and Vladimir Putin must blow kisses from across the divide. They’re that close.

Even if Palin boned up on her math skills, there still would be the problem with her rhetorical strategies. She’s almost winning in her repetitive enthusiasm for untruths, but the facts of Troopergate (Alaska’s bipartisan investigative committee on the issue gave her a big thumbs- down for ethics violations) and her terrorist accusations (Obama may be black, but honey, he’s no Arab) will not go away. She’s like the little engine that could, painted lips smiling at the cameras and saying maverick, maverick, maverick while members of the press fold up their note pads and grow tired of asking her to answer straight-up for once. Please. We of the Joe Six-Pack variety can’t follow her barrage of words. We just need her to speak clearly for once, and, for heavens sake, stop long enough on the way to the next campaign stop to answer the questions.

If McCain and Palin actually beat the growing odds against them and make it to the White House, I’ve no doubt Palin will continue to espouse her hockey-mom ministries. And Trig will be the face that will eclipse all doubt. He will draw us to her like maternal moths to the flame. We’ll forget that while she talks tough on the campaign trail about takin’ on the big oil companies, she took nearly half of her contributions while running for governor of Alaska in 2006 from oil and gas company lobbyists ($13,000 of the more than $24,000 from registered lobbyists, according to campaign records). We’ll forget about that stuffy ol’ notion that separates church from state, and we’ll have prayer groups dictate policy.

We’ll put the knowledge that she’s-so-in-over-her-head-it’s-scary away somewhere, and focus on the fact that she wants to keep our gasping consumer paradise alive at any cost. Drill, drill, drill. And, as for my boy? I’m sure she’ll keep him in mind. Maybe she’ll send him a card. Or, save the stamp-they’re getting expensive!- and send an e-mail.

Math-Challenged Mommy: Palin Should do Her Best to Wave that Special-Needs Flag