Palin’s Predators

Improving relations between humans is no simple task.

Improving relations between humans and bears is no simple task. It’s dangerous, folks are often hurt, especially as development encroaches.

Yet there are serious efforts and dedicated pioneers, for instance, as one man remembers:

cute polar bear cub thumbSometime during that afternoon I sprawled, belly down, on the kitchen floor.

One of the cubs climbed aboard, crawled up my back, and began to sniff and lick and paw at my neck and head. After a few minutes, he discovered my right ear. Grabbing hold, he began to chew and suck on it, much like (I guessed) he would suckle his mother’s teat.

Suddenly the cub began to purr. The purrs were like that of a cat, except deeper, more rumbling. It was something I’d never imagined a bear might do.

I lay there quietly, breathing in the purrs and the tickling of my ears, and felt as content, even peaceful, as I’d been in a long time.

But many believe that this new frontier to understand and sustain wildlife, to perhaps prevent extinction, is unimportant, and distracting. Sarah Palin has famously said today’s environmentalism is opportunistic, a field where specialists manipulate funding rather than science, a treachery of private agenda using public budgets she will fight to remove.

Thus, Sarah Palin claims to be protecting the environment by adhering to rules and removing fraud. But these claims are dubious at best. What has she done?

Her policies and appointments during her tenure as Governor and before show that she’s fought the old guard merely to become the vanguard of a new ‘domination politics’ in Alaska.

Palin says “Alaskans want hope and opportunity, leaders with vision. They don’t want leaders and candidates who are looking at everything as doom and gloom.”

With her kitchen optimism, she invigorates Alaskans. As old players are tarnished, new decision makers appear, but who are these new captains? A few are local. A few are global. A few are Party and D.C. wonks. Generally, these are replicate men and women, wanting power and prize as her combatants, but along with her, they are stubbornly parading family and freedom – a trick of trumpets that hides the elite and lures loyal followers to ignore who is winning the great favors. This is called politics and business.

Sarah Palin, rifle hunterYes, Sarah Palin is ordinary commerce and old politics. At bottom, studying current Alaska will reveal Wall Street in a bear rug. Nothing important here.

Evidence of her stumbling will continue. Americans may or may not avoid the spin. As time passes, relations with corporate capital and industrial project executives will appear that are far beyond her tiny reform and fungelical principles.

A small sample is her famed and infamous stand against listing the polar bear as an endangered species. Yes, she has changed boards and committees but research is baring more white than merely polar bears on ice floes. She may have only introduced another imperial conquest.

Here’s insight from the Anchorage Press where she confidently re-arranged Alaska’s decision making. Though a small sample, as they say in the Arctic, it’s the tip of an iceberg.

After The Times went out of business in 1992, I stopped being a regular at Board of Game meetings. Even as my attendance has lagged, my involvement in Alaska’s wildlife politics has increased substantially.

The first Board of Game I covered was immeasurably more balanced, moderate, and independent than the one we’ve got today. Its members included a federal wildlife researcher, a filmmaker, an outdoors columnist, a hunting guide, and leaders in the Native community. Their attitudes toward wildlife covered just about the entire spectrum, which provoked lively discussions.

But there was no group think, no larger agenda as there seems to be today, with a board that is dominated by men aligned with the Alaska Outdoor Council, a politically connected group of mostly white, male, urban sport hunters, who are fervent predator-control advocates.

Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears during summers are unreliable, Palin said. It’s her opportunity that only the White House agrees.

They’ve espoused a management system that in recent years has served an ever-narrower slice of Alaska’s population and, at every turn, has increased opportunities for recreational hunters and trappers to kill predators.

Under Governor Sarah Palin the current board would be entirely white, urban, and male, except for an uproar after appointments she made this past winter.

Palin backtracked and added one Native voice with rural roots to the panel. But there’s not a whisper of hope that it might include a non-Native who thinks outside the AOC box, someone who’s more of a wildlife watcher or naturalist or independent wildlife scientist than a hunter or trapper.

Across Alaska, Sarah Palin introduced and held open the door to her new cadre, declaring their purpose was to sweep away inefficient programs, dust away embedded agenda, remove professional malingerers, and bring new prosperity but her housekeeping is almost entirely sheltering big business and often radical proponents of the so-called free market.

“Unfortunately, people vote more for what they don’t want than what they do want,” says Ivan Moore, an Alaska pollster.

A local Alaskan has said, “I own a home in Sarah Palin’s hometown and lived there during her rise to power. I am amazed by the ease by which people like Palin can espouse distrust in government while simultaneously expand its grasp.

Palin was part of a movement that included her, Scott Ogan, Vic Kohring and the gang that told us government is bad, unless it is feeding our pet interests. The movement adopted its own lexicon which made things like public schools (renamed government schools) sound sinister and intruding.

Most importantly, the playbook involved the ‘divide and conquer’ approach. Government was responsible for all ills of society. The Palinistas were the true believers who would, in their great benevolence, build a great society where anyone who wasn’t like ‘us’ would be penalized.

John McCain seems to have picked up on this divide and conquer approach. His playbook to win the presidency is to appeal to our lesser dem ons and tell us the cause of all of our problems are the unorthodox (liberal leaning thinkers) among us and that government is what is holding us down. He’s recruited our woman Sarah to be his cheerleader in this cause.

She will be a great help to him in this strategy. She is of the ‘if you are not for us, you are against us’ school and will appeal to the part of our nation that believes we can change society by teaching creationism, ending a woman’s right to choose and defining good government as that which promotes the self-interest of a select few.

Another superb comment:

This Sarah Palin must truly be a noble soul, right? She’s going to prioritize the sanctity of life. She’s going to live up to her reputation as a crusader for “family values”. She must be absolutely inexhaustible. As governor of a state of such crucial importance to the rest of the nation, she must call upon her extensive education and experience to look out for the interests of all US citizens, and not just the tens of thousands who elected her to office. And that’s not all. Now she’s agreed to take on a bigger role of service to our country. She’s willing to accept the nomination to be our Vice President. Why is that? Well, as of the beginning of this month she didn’t even know. In her own words “I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?”

Stumbling with science, economics and social administration, not many other national leaders bring as many quaint omissions of urbane wisdom as Sarah Palin. Her candidate questionnaire for the Alaska 2006 gubernatorial race tells us her depth:

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

Palin: “Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.”

A comment at DailyKoss about Palin’s naive answer said, “Reminds me of the story of Ma Ferguson, first woman governor of Texas (1925). She is often credited with the saying: ‘If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it ought to be good enough for the children of Texas.'”

The headlines say we mustn’t worry about mundane Tweed-favored Alaskan arrangements. We are at war. Sabers rattle in hidden caves. Oil oligarchs haunt our garage and only our power and virtue can repel these dreads.

So in a manner most excellent as if Victoria comforts our retreating Empire, Cindy McCain tells George Stephanopoulos, “[R]emember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake here.”

Cindy Hensely McCain speaks to remind us that our foreign policy challenges are along the frigid coasts of the Czars. This Sarah did know as a child. Why then would Sarah falter in the heady halls of statesmanship and intellect? Pip, pip, pass the bubbly.

Oh America, my friends, let’s talk, don’t you see? Sarah Palin comes across so strong. She will assuage our nerves, rake our sloth, invoke our initiative, keep our conscience, bond our medical records, and, oh yes, look, from the highest hill in Fairbanks you can see, she will fill our gas tanks for a few months or a year….

Wasilla is the new wow!

But something is very wrong with this nomination! Sophistication is missing. Competence is missing. The steel and compassion and restraint of diplomacy is missing. Pure hard study and grasp is missing.

Palin’s father recently bought t-shirts hawked at the State Fair, the event of the year just down the highway from Governor Sarah Palin’s town of Wasilla: “Alaska: The Coldest State with the Hottest Governor”. Tonight the Fair closes, the booths are broken home, and TIME reports that there have got to be 500 people packed into a beer-soaked clapboard called the Sluice Box listening to honky-tonk.

“Here’s to the girl from the great Northwest,” he sings, “with tits as hard as a hornet’s nest.”

The crowd whistles its new prowess and approval.

Will Americans approve McCain-Palin?

As the days go by, citizens and journalists and legal watchdogs of our social weal will ask if Palin’s fjord diplomacy is adequate foreign policy and will study Palin’s appointments of government and commercial predators in Alaska.

High School, 1982, Sarah PalinThere may be other predators too.

Global predators with billions ready to engineer resources none of us will enjoy except to purchase.

Political predators that rearrange budgets no less tax drawn than scientists and green research.

Religious predators that gild new pulpits along the oh so persecuted remote.

A question more important than Sarah Palin, or the strength of political stumping and electoral sloganeering, is whether McCain and these Republicans are predators too. Are both Sarah and we their scent of blood?