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Biased Omissions From ABC Report on Troopergate.

I watched a 5 minute, 18 second ABC investigative report on Troopergate in a genuine desire to learn more about Sarah Palin's concerns about the dangerous Trooper who had tasered his stepson, allegedly threatened to kill a member of Palin's family, drank beer in a police car, etc. Palin herself reported the alleged death threat against Palin's father made by Trooper Wooten (her former brother-in-law): "I will kill him. He'll eat a (expletive) lead bullet, I'll shoot him." And Wooten himself admitted that he tasered his 10 [or 11]-year-old stepson, according to some reports justifying it as a training exercise.

Yet some on the internet have suggested that it's not so simple. I, for one, wanted to know more. In Chicago, a big issue over the last decade has been the extent to which police hierarchy looked the other way when dealing with "dirty cops." The press in Chicago is uniformly harsh on officials who treat such serious behavior leniently, as Alaska Director of Public Safety Moneghan appears to have done.

So I was shocked that the entire ABC report made no mention of any reason anyone would want to have a dangerous cop fired. The only reason even hinted at in the entire ABC report was that the trooper was Palin's brother-in-law.

I think that all the reporting that's actually in the ABC report is fine; it is effectively edited to make Palin look like she is shading the truth (at best) — and she probably is. But it is unconscionable for ABC to fail to mention ANY LEGITIMATE REASON why Palin might want the dirty cop fired or any reason to be contacting Mr. Moneghan about it (the threats to kill her family that she witnessed). The ABC report is trying to say that Palin fired the state official because she wouldn't fire her former brother-in-law; even if that were true, don't you think the audience would be entitled to know WHY?

If I were head of ABC News, I would immediately fire or demote the producer of this ABC report. I would then break up the team that did the report and bring some political diversity to ABC's newsroom by hiring a Republican-leaning producer from outside. There is no possibility that an ABC producer could report an entire 5 minute story with extensive clips from past interviews without knowing of the reasons for Palin wanting the allegedly dirty cop fired. To suppress that knowledge from their viewers because it would allow viewers to understand Palin's actions was a breach of simple journalistic ethics. An apology to Palin is due.

That ABC, which has been fairer in this election cycle than NBC or CBS, could act as it did here just suggests how bad things are in journalism today. This is the most biased season of press coverage that I can remember for at least a decade.

And I am not as sanguine as others that the backlash against the press will effectively offset press bias. As ABC's report shows, Palin is probably at least shading the truth — perhaps worse — and fair-minded viewers who know no more than ABC is willing to tell them would likely think even worse of her.

I'm slowly learning more about Troopergate, but I still have a lot to learn. ABC could have been a lot more helpful. Every day I am thankful that the monopoly on the national news has been broken, but the remnants of that monopoly remain powerful.

UPDATE: Flopping Aces has some details based mostly on online sources. According to that site, it turns out that (1) the investigation into Wooten started before Palin even started her run for governor, (2) there were two people who heard the death threat by Wooten, (3) there were substantive reasons given by Palin for her removing Moneghan and offering him another job in her adnministration, and (4) the investigation found that Wooten had behaved improperly:

"The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable, and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession," Col. Julia Grimes, then head of Alaska State Troopers, wrote in [a] March 1, 2006, letter suspending Wooten for 10 days. After the union protested it, the suspension was reduced to five days.

She warned that if he messed up again, he'd be fired.

So apparently Wooten was a dirty cop being treated fairly lightly by his superiors and his union.

2d UPDATE: Some commenters are arguing particular facts below, in particular, some reports that the 10 or 11 year old stepson asked to be tasered, and immediately asked to be tasered again. I have read other accounts that suggest that the child was trying to show he was tough in front of his cousin, one of Sarah Palin's daughters.

You are missing one of the points of my post, made both at the beginning and the end. I want to know what happened. I don't know the details; I want to know them. The press should be of more help. ABC just gave one side of the story, an account that was not even very coherent since it didn't mention why anyone would be concerned about keeping Wooten on staff.

Tasering a child is wrong, whether he asks for it or not. If the tasering was motivated by the stepson trying to seem tough to his cousin -- and Wooten knew this -- then it would show him to be as childish as his stepson. I wish I knew what happened; I wish the national press cared what happened.

Oren:
How often are you going to repeat the taser trope while omitting the critical fact that the child specifically asked to be tased.

"[The child] was inquiring about the Taser and all the ins and outs about it," Wooten said. "I hooked him up to one of the training aides and turned it on for less than a second. I had him on the living room floor with pillows around him and made it as safe as possible. When it was over he thought it was great and wanted to do it all again. He was bragging about it and telling everyone in the family about it."

If this is a crime, then pretty much all of police academy qualifies as severe physical torture.
9.8.2008 4:50pm
Oren:
Also, the phrase "allegedly taser ..." makes it sound like he denies the allegation when, as I quoted earlier from the WaPo (link), he has owned up to it fully.

The way you said it makes it sound like he tased the child in anger and, ultimately, destroys your credibility in a post that accuses others of omitting critical information.
9.8.2008 4:52pm
Boyd G (www):
Yeah, a responsible adult is going to taser a 10-year-old whenever they ask.

Sheesh.
9.8.2008 4:53pm
SeaLawyer:

How often are you going to repeat the taser trope while omitting the critical fact that the child specifically asked to be tased.


Maybe because you don't taser an 11 year old, even if they do ask for it. You really need that explained?
9.8.2008 4:53pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
The mainstream media will keep telling fibs like this about Palin. And the public will keep punishing the mainstream media - and rewarding McCain-Palin - for this despicable coverage.

First victims of the blow-back against the gross anti-Palin coverage: Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews.
9.8.2008 4:54pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
I don't know how many self-respecting parents would be willing to taser their 10 year old child, regardless of how much the child might ask to be tasered.

If his son had asked him to procure some marijuana from the police evidence locker and let him smoke it, would that have been ok?

How about if his son had asked him to hit him with a nightstick?

Pepper spray?

Put him in handcuffs and put him in lockup for 24 hours?
9.8.2008 4:55pm
Oren:
Apparently not, Boyd, since the child wanted to do it again but Wooten refused. At any rate, it's a fair bit safer than many other things (skiing, snowmobiling, dirt biking, ATVing) that parents routinely let their children engage in.

At any rate, even if it is irresponsible, the OP clearly makes it sound like he tased the child in anger, which is clearly child abuse.
9.8.2008 4:56pm
Boyd G (www):
Also, Moneghan himself has stated that neither Palin nor any of her staff ever asked him to fire her ex-brother-in-law.
9.8.2008 4:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If this is a crime, then pretty much all of police academy qualifies as severe physical torture.
They have a lot of ten year olds in the police academy?
9.8.2008 4:57pm
tarheel:

I would then break up the team that did the report and bring some political diversity to ABC's newsroom by hiring a Republican-leaning producer from outside.

I asked this on your previous attempt at media criticism, and I will ask again in hopes that you will answer, Prof. Lindgren. Do you have any actual knowledge of the party registration of the reporters/producers in question or are you just making assumptions based on the content of a report that was insufficiently deferential towards The One? And should I assume that you would have no problem if ABC started asking its job applicants about their party affiliation (or even political leanings) before hiring them in an effort to satisfy the Lindgren Standard of Balance.
9.8.2008 4:57pm
Adam J:
SeaLawyer- obviously its wrong to taser an 11 year old simply because he asks for it. But there's a tremendous difference in wrongdoing between tasering an 11 year old who asks to be tasered and tasering an 11 year old who doesn't want to be tasered. You really need that explained?
9.8.2008 4:58pm
Boyd G (www):

And Wooten himself admitted that he tasered his 10-year-old stepson, justifying it as a training exercise.


I'm unclear on your point, Oren. How does that sentence imply that the tasering was done in anger?
9.8.2008 4:59pm
Oren:

Maybe because you don't taser an 11 year old, even if they do ask for it. You really need that explained?

I feel the same way about dirt bikes, ATVs and hunting and yet somehow I manage to refrain from sanctimoniously judging parents that allow their children to do those things . . .

Tasers are incredibly safe, much more so than even mundane activities like driving to the mall or going for a swim in the ocean. Your attempts to make it seem even remotely risky are absurd.
9.8.2008 4:59pm
DG:
Oren, are you trolling? This is a child. You do not use a taser on a child. You do not use a taser on your OWN child. The lack of judgement this shows is amazing. I can only assume (hope) he did it while drunk, since he seems to be an alcoholic.

The best comment I saw on Troopergate was from an Alaskan newspaper reporter who basically said that the trooper was a very bad cop and needed to go, but there was a question of Palin's particular motives for wanting to be rid of him. If this was a good cop, she should certainly be disqualified from office. In this case, its a happy coincidence that this was a bad cop.
9.8.2008 5:00pm
Loophole1998 (mail):
Don't forget that the little boy is an Alaskan, which I've learned this week is a whole new brand of tough.
9.8.2008 5:00pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Talkleft frequently fulminates against the Taser, suggesting it is far more dangerous than advertised.
And body size is apparently a factor.
So either the Taser is far less dangerous than Talkleft and other far-libs will assert, or tasing a kid is horribly dangerous.
Ask for it or not.
But I like death threats for bad police work. YMMV
9.8.2008 5:01pm
hattio1:
Professor Lindgren,
I can understand why you might want to have potential reasons for Palin to have pushed for firing mentioned, but given that she didn't push for any other troopers firing, and frankly there are a lot worse than Wooten though I believe he deserves to be fired too, it looks like the other potential reason is only theoretical. She could have also sought to have him fired because she doesn't like people with big noses...but that's not the evidence that is out there.

Boyd G.
Read the full quote. Moneghan said he thought he was fired because he wouldn't fire Wooten, but also says that he was never specifically asked to fire Wooten.
9.8.2008 5:01pm
DG:
Tasers are not incredibly safe, except in saying that they don't usually cause death. They do cause extreme pain and discomfort.

Hunting, done right, does neither. ATV's use is by minors is a terrible idea, but at least in that case, the parent is not intentionally harming the child - its negligence.
9.8.2008 5:01pm
DMH (mail):
These aren't just allegations that need more investigation. They were all investigated and the trooper was disciplined after a fair hearing, a 10 day suspension that was later reduced to 5 days. One can argue that he should have received harsher punishment but the abuses were fully investigated and resolved. The problem is that once this process had concluded the Palins tried to use their power over his supervisor to have him fired without any of the due process a state trooper is entitled to and solely because of her position of authority. That is, by anyone's definition, an abuse of authority.
9.8.2008 5:01pm
Oren:
... the allegedly dangerous Trooper who had allegedly tasered his stepson, threatened to kill a member of Palin's family, drank beer in a police car, etc.

Putting the tasering right after "dangerous" and before the death threat clearly attempts to draw a comparison. It is not unreasonable to read just that sentence and conclude that part of the evidence that Wooten is dangerous is that he pulled a taser on his son.
9.8.2008 5:03pm
Oren:
So either the Taser is far less dangerous than Talkleft and other far-libs will assert, or tasing a kid is horribly dangerous.
The former.

Hunting accidents -- one for every 10,858 hunting licenses.
Taser deaths -- 70 in total, out of millions of uses.
9.8.2008 5:05pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Crap.
Nevertheless, it would be good and responsible journalism--aka an effing miracle--if the report had included the reasons this guy was considered a loose cannon and a bad employment liability risk.
He himself has admitted to "problems", so it's not as if this is made up out of whole cloth.

As to knowing the party lineup of the morons who put this together--red strawman smelling strongly of small fish--since the point is, party affiliation aside, this was an obvious hit job, done with malice aforethought. The one thing you can presume about a republican is that one would probably not have done that. WRT Palin, I suppose, anyway.

Do we have special knowledge of the ABC team which put this together? Just the odds. Self-reporting among the MSM.
Most unlikely there's a republican, a conservative, a military veteran, or an evangelical. Might be. Not the way to bet.
9.8.2008 5:05pm
Oren:
[Tasers] do cause extreme pain and discomfort.
Care to explain why the child asked to do it again?
9.8.2008 5:05pm
MD-JD:
Adam J.

Have we heard from the 11 year old? Is this how it really happened?

I do not find it unreasonable to question the assertion by a state trooper that drinks beer in his official state car.

The bottom line is no reasonable parent tasers their child. One that does has serious issues and I would surmise from my experience would have credibility issues.
9.8.2008 5:06pm
Steve P. (mail):
It's important context that the kid asked to be tasered. Even if the trooper's conduct was still reprehensible (who tasers a 10-year-old, even if they ask?), it seems to me that it should be up to the reader to determine that.
9.8.2008 5:07pm
Franklin Bynum (www):
I was in a course at the New York Police Academy where they demonstrated how a Taser works by "tasing" comeone in the crowd. You get a brief jolt, a second or two, which isn't bad. And this was a crowd of civilians, not police cadets.

I did it. I was briefly shocked. No pillows around me, even. It was fine.

(You know what was more uncomfortable? When they sprayed pepper spray at the front of the classroom and I started to tear up. The pepper spray demonstration was much, much worse for me.)

Police can demonstrate the Taser without using the more damaging aspects like the hooks and the longer shock, and it's not harmful at all.

I imagine this is in every police department's "meet the public" song and dance. Totally harmless. Chill out, folks.
9.8.2008 5:07pm
SeaLawyer:

Hunting accidents -- one for every 10,858 hunting licenses.
Taser deaths -- 70 in total, out of millions of uses.



So you are comparing accidents to deaths?
Do you have a link to the hunting stats. I am just curious as to what type of accidents they include.
9.8.2008 5:09pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Oren. Is a "hunting accident" the same as being dead? Not that I'm expecting any sharp practice from a passel of attorneys or anything. Just checking.
Maybe I should tell Talkleft to get a new beef.
9.8.2008 5:09pm
MD-JD:
Professor Lindgren:

BTW, CNN's report on this issue lacked essentially the same information that this ABC report lacked.
9.8.2008 5:09pm
Oren:

Oren, are you trolling? This is a child. You do not use a taser on a child. You do not use a taser on your OWN child. The lack of judgement this shows is amazing. I can only assume (hope) he did it while drunk, since he seems to be an alcoholic.

Do you care to explain your arrogant pronouncements or do you imagine that merely stating them would be sufficient to convince me? I see no justification for your statement whatsoever.
9.8.2008 5:09pm
Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon:
I think "biased omissions" is an anagram for Jim Lindgren.
9.8.2008 5:11pm
CB55 (mail):
The worst thing Palin did was to allow her government office and her self to get involved with this case because of "meddling" or the appearance of conflicting interests. She should have recused her self if asked by family, but then this is Alaska.
9.8.2008 5:11pm
Oren:

The bottom line is no reasonable parent tasers their child allows their child to go skiing.

See how stupid it sounds when someone else says it?
9.8.2008 5:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Oren.

On account of, see, there are about 600,000 deer hunters in Michigan during rifle season. Last year, two were reported to be sober, but I never believed it.
So, according to your stats we need to see about, hmm, 57 dead guys. Not close. Not even close. Not by a factor of fifteen, or perhaps twenty. Excluding the heart attacks, of course.
9.8.2008 5:12pm
AKD:
Apparently even Prof. Lindgren has been taken in by the MSM, referring to Palin having Moneghan fired. Moneghan was offered another position in the administration, he declined the position, and then he resigned.
9.8.2008 5:12pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
From my point of view, here are some of the important facts about "Troopergate" that the press are unlikely to tell you:

1. The trooper was never fired.

2. Palin sent private e-mails to the public safety director - complaining about the trooper - BEFORE she was Governor.

3. The Alaskan legislature has no authority to compel testimony by executive branch employees about executive decision-making. It's called the deliberative process privilege. The executive branch has an ethics review process - that Palin has started. The Alaskan legislature can investigate, but they cannot substitute their investigation for that provided by law - which is to take place in the executive branch.

4. The person in charge of the Alaskan legislative investigation - a Democrat - has bragged that he would produce an "October surprise."

5. The trooper's conduct was egregious. That is, Palin was RIGHT right to complain about him. This is probably a perfect example of the "good old boy network" - troopers covering for other troopers who do bad things. As you correctly note, this trooper made death threats against Palin's family, tasered his stepson, and drank beer in a police car - to list just the most egregious examples. Suppose Gov. Palin had said this trooper - with these bad acts - should NOT be fired? There'd be screams of bloody murder for her "nepotism."

6. The obvious point, of course, is that if the press devoted this level of attention and investigatory resources on: (a) Obama's work with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, (b) Obama's loss of $110 million down a rat hole when he was in charge of the Annenberg Challenge in Chicago, and/or (c) Biden's multiple instances of plagiarism ... then we probably wouldn't even have Obama as the Democratic nominee - or Biden as his running mate.

7. As Governor, Palin had the right to fire the public safety director for any reason or no reason. He served at her pleasure. She fired him for failing to hire more troopers quickly enough and for not being a team-player on the budget. These are legitimate bases for his dismissal (indeed - she need not give any reason). The legislature has no authority to look behind her executive decision-making process - no more than she has the right to "investigate" a legislator's - or judge's - decision-making process.

The public is rightly disgusted with the press' obvious double-standard in reporting on the two campaigns.
9.8.2008 5:13pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
ABC should absolutely have mentioned Wooten's disciplinary record, along with the threat against the father they did mention. But, the State Police did not believe his disciplinary record was significant enough to fire him. So why is the Governor pushing for his firing? As part of a campaign to rid the police of bad apples? If so who are the other bad cops she wants ousted? These facts, too, should have been brought out.

No, Wooten was the one cop she wanted fired, the one cop involved in a custody battle with her sister. So the overall impression left by the ABC story was a fair one, as far as it went.
9.8.2008 5:13pm
Oren:
Richard, the hunting accident was merely a 15-second google-search-provided example. I'm sure after sufficient research we could place the relative risk of tasing a child and it would certainly be in the ballpark of hunting, skiing, whitewater rafting and driving across the country.
9.8.2008 5:14pm
RSF677:
I think lost in this discussion of the appropriateness of tasering a child is that ABC was interested in mentioning any of this. I think that was Professor Lindgren's primary point. If ABC also wants to mention that the child was asking for it, I imagine that wouldn't be a problem.
9.8.2008 5:15pm
Gray Ghost:
Oren, can you provide the source of your statistic on hunting accidents? As a hunter I'm interested. Thanks.

GG
9.8.2008 5:15pm
mariner (mail):
And I am not as sanguine as others that the backlash against the press will effectively offset press bias.

Until we CAN be confident of this, the monopoly on national news has NOT really been broken.
9.8.2008 5:15pm
Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon:
The taser was set to a lesser charge, the kind officers use on themselves for training purposes. The kid laughed and bragged to his friends that he had been tasered. The trooper was suspended for a couple days for misusing public equipment (not for any type of assault or abuse). Once he was disciplined that should be the end of any controversy over the tasering. Palin trotted it back out years later once she wanted him fired.
9.8.2008 5:15pm
AKD:
BTW,

Sen. HOLLIS FRENCH
(D) Arkansas State Senate

lol
9.8.2008 5:16pm
Oren:
Hunting statistics.

Btw, the figure I quoted earlier, 1 in 10,000 license, was for the 1960s. It has since improved to 1 in 25,000. Even still, it's a far sight more dangerous than a taser at training setting.
9.8.2008 5:19pm
Ben P (mail):
Maybe if I stop reading this blog and start reading reason more I'll stop seeing so much constant silliness about the election.
9.8.2008 5:20pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

is that ABC was interested in mentioning any of this.

The question presented: By firing the official who would not fire her threatmaking ex-brother-in-law, has the Vice-Presidential candidate abused her power for personal ends?
9.8.2008 5:20pm
Oren:

As Governor, Palin had the right to fire the public safety director for any reason or no reason.

One more reason not to vote for Palin, she's another pol that's swallowed the 'unitary executive' Kool-Aid.
9.8.2008 5:21pm
Kevin Lomax:
This is the first time I've heard the "I did it, but the child asked me to" defense outside of the sexual abuse context; it isn't any more convincing here. I agree that if the child asked to be tasered, that fact should certainly be reported. I'm not convinced, however, that it mitigates the ultimate fact all that much, if at all.
9.8.2008 5:22pm
EH (mail):
You all should lay off of Wooten, cops have hard enough jobs as it is. Why make such a big deal out of one bad apple?
9.8.2008 5:24pm
Mark Field (mail):

But it is unconscionable for ABC to fail to mention ANY LEGITIMATE REASON why Palin might want the dirty cop fired or any reason to be contacting Mr. Moneghan about it (the threats to kill her family that she witnessed). The ABC report is trying to say that Palin fired the state official because she wouldn't fire her former brother-in-law; even if that were true, don't you think the audience would be entitled to know WHY?


No, and the reason is simple: the issue is NOT whether Wooten deserved to be fired. The issue IS whether Palin lied when she denied pressuring Monegon (sp?) and/or giving the reasons for firing him (Monegon). Thus, mentioning the reasons why Wooten might have deserved firing are irrelevant to the only thing that's in issue, which is Monegon's firing.
9.8.2008 5:25pm
Sarcastro (www):
The important question is of course whether this guy is bad or not.

Because bad guys do not get due process, and can be fired anytime.

I believe it's in the Alaska Constitution, the "Total Bastard" clause.

I believe some court cases also say it's okay to lie about whether you were involved in firing a Total Bastard.
9.8.2008 5:25pm
PLR:
Jeez. 46 posts in 31 minutes over a ridiculously trivial piece of internet gossip. November can't get here soon enough.

[But thank God the good people of this country now have The New Yorker, The Smoking Gun, Snopes and Jjim Lindgren to trust, rather than the evil AP/Reuters/McClatchy triumvirate.]
9.8.2008 5:25pm
theobromophile (www):
But, the State Police did not believe his disciplinary record was significant enough to fire him.

That's not a ringing endorsement of the state police. Here's the letter that was sent to Wooten. I can find no reason why they did not dismiss him immediately. (H/T: Patterico.)
9.8.2008 5:27pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):

MD-JD:

Have we heard from the 11 year old? Is this how it really happened?

I do not find it unreasonable to question the assertion by a state trooper that drinks beer in his official state car.

The bottom line is no reasonable parent tasers their child. One that does has serious issues and I would surmise from my experience would have credibility issues.


But he said it was a "training exercise" (training for what?) and the kid wanted to be tased...and even asked to do it again. What possible reason could there be to question his assertion? What possible reason would an 11 year old have for not telling the truth about his step-father's version of events?
9.8.2008 5:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So, Oran. We should have two dozen dead guys. Got a breakdown between "accidents" and "dead guys" yet?
BTW, we don't have two dozen hunters shot dead by other hunters or themselves. We do have heart attacks, auto accidents.
But let's have the dead guys, Oren. Dead guys. As in DEAD, since you were talking up the dead for tasers.
What's the line on death threats?

Suppose, just for supposin's sake, that the gov had been a man and not at all related to the woman in the Wooten case and not addressed it at all. The fems would be all over him for ignoring the good old boys and their domestic violence.

All depends.
9.8.2008 5:29pm
A.W. (mail):
Jim

The report is troubling, but...

First, they do mention that he allegedly threatened the family. It just gets glossed over.

Second, for me what was troubling is there is no effort to ask why the fired official thinks this was the case; no effort to get into what facts drove him to it. you can feel you were fired for whatever reason you want, but if you don't have facts they could just as easily be the sour grapes of a man righteously fired.

Third, at the end, they didn't mention that the release date of the report was moved up, in time to hurt her political career. Ain't that nice?

Oren

Consent is not a defense.

And really, I thought you libs were opposed to police brutality and other official abuses of authority. Well, how do you think we stop this sort of thing? by firing people who do the sort of crap we are talking about.

So even if he was fired for not firing that person, good. I hope every cop who beats his wife or threatens murder is fired… and shot.

Really the cognitive dissonance is truly stunning.
9.8.2008 5:29pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Mpore things Oren and others think appropriate for police officer to do:

11 year old gets shot of Wild Turkey 101 from father. Dad declines to give him second shot. Kid brags about it to friends.

11 year old hits on his fathers bong. (Pot possession is legal in state.) Dad declines to give him second hit. Kid brags about it to friends.

11 year old gets Oxycotin from father though he is not in pain. Dad declines to give him second pill. Kid brags about it to friends.
9.8.2008 5:31pm
Houston Lawyer:
So an 11-year-old has now reached the age of consent in Alaska. Therefore Palin's daughter should be treated like she was 25 or something.

Has ABC played that video that Al Gore put together showing the Biden and Kinnock speeches side by side?
9.8.2008 5:31pm
Hoosier:
Oren:

Oren, are you trolling? This is a child. You do not use a taser on a child. You do not use a taser on your OWN child. The lack of judgement this shows is amazing. I can only assume (hope) he did it while drunk, since he seems to be an alcoholic.

Do you care to explain your arrogant pronouncements or do you imagine that merely stating them would be sufficient to convince me? I see no justification for your statement whatsoever.


Are you saying what I take you to be saying? Please clarify, because I must be reading you wrong(?).
9.8.2008 5:32pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
At this point we only have Wooten's word that the boy asked to be Tasered. I would like to hear from that boy.

As for trying to get a bad cop off the force, what is the difference between any citizen calling to demand that, and the governor, her husband, or a member of her staff doing so? Anyone aware of a bad cop has not just the right but the duty to press for correction, and that includes people with connections.

Moneghan claims he did what he could, which wasn't much, under either the union contract or some kind of civil service regulations. I would like to know which. If only contract, then at most there is a civil breach of contract. But even if there are regulations, they are unlikely to prescribe such a light penalty for what are such serious actions by Wooten. A death threat, if credible, is a felony, at least in most states, and if Palin was the witness, I not only find the report credible, I'm surprised she didn't just arrest him on the spot.

One can argue the best way to have handled the matter was to take a criminal complaint to the grand jury and prosecute Wooten, and that could still be done, but it is slow, and in the meantime, what might this apparent rogue cop do to someone?

This episode does point to an important form of corruption, that makes "law enforcement official" a kind of title of nobility, not subject to the same laws as the rest of us. I find Palin's willingness to take on the "blue wall of silence" one of her most attractive attributes, and reason enough to vote for her (and that old what's-his-name who's running with her).

But it does point to a problem she and that old dude will confront in DC. A president, and even less a vice-president, has little control over the executive branch, with current civil service protections. Palin is used to being able to fire bad officials on her own authority, but a president can't do that. If she and the old dude hope to carry out their reform agenda, one of the first things they are going to need to accomplish is to reform the civil service system to make it easier to fire more people, or at least reassign them to Antarctica.

As for the bias of ABC reporters, the place to take complaints about that is to ABC, its advertisers, and its associated blogs that allow viewer comment. You're preaching to the choir here, although you may also be activating complainants.
9.8.2008 5:33pm
quixoticneophyte:
Also, has any news organization looked into the fairness of the investigation. A quick LexisNexis search reveals that Steve Branchflower, appointed by Democrat Hollis French, is hardly an "impartial" investigator. Branchflower used to work with Monegan, the fired trooper, and Monegan used to be Branchflower's wife's boss. The wife is even quoted as praising Monegan a few years ago. Yeah... no potential for abuse there!
9.8.2008 5:33pm
Dave3L (mail) (www):
What does the kid getting tased have to do with an alleged breach of power by Governor Palin? The issue here is not whether or not the trooper was a good or bad guy, the issue is whether Palin is someone who breaks the law and then lies about it. Who cares about the trooper? Does it make Plain's behavior any more or less reprehensible whether she was right about her allegations?

This is a nation of laws. Perhaps discomfort with that fact is why the Palins once worked to have their state secede.
9.8.2008 5:34pm
Per Son:
Many commentors on this website make me laugh. I can never get a good fix on people's views. When a black criminal efendent or black civil rights plaintiff claim a cop was abusive - so many come to his defense from the conservatives. Suddenly all the defense of the allegedly bad acting cops disapears with Wooten.

Why is that?

I don't know about all of your news viewing about Wooten, but I generally watch CNN and MSNBC and knew all about the problems regarding Wooten.

Maybe he should be fired, but there is a thing called due process - not executive fiat.
9.8.2008 5:34pm
theobromophile (www):
One more reason not to vote for Palin, she's another pol that's swallowed the 'unitary executive' Kool-Aid.

Oren, presumably, you also have huge problems with Bill Clinton, who fired 93 out of 94 US Attorneys when he took office in 1993. (But for Bill Bradley's intervention, all 94 would have been gone.)

[crickets]
9.8.2008 5:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Jon.
He's also activating apologists.
9.8.2008 5:35pm
Happyshooter:
I was an MP doing law enforcment work for a year in an amry community.

Kids do ask for a lot of stuff, right up through 10 years old. It is hard to say no. Some stuff I let them play with, like the flashlights and overhead light, but what they really wanted to touch was the gun and siren and it is hard to convince a kid to move on.

However, you have to say no. You just have to.

Accepting the facts as given above, sounds like the cop had very poor judgment, and deserved to be punished if not terminated.
9.8.2008 5:36pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Here's the letter that was sent to Wooten

This, in fact, was the State Troopers' response to the Palins' allegations. They decided that the appropriate punishment was not firing, but a ten-day suspension and a warning that that was his last chance.

Apparently he served his suspension and has kept his nose clean since. I presume that other than the issues identified, that he is a good and valuable cop.
9.8.2008 5:37pm
Hoosier:
Bob from Ohio

Let's not forget the old stand-by of liquor and car keys.

But, hey, as long as no one actually sees the kid drinking, we would just have to assume that he was just transporting an open container. On this lap.

The Obamaniacs attacked Palin and her family. It backfired.

Now they are taking to the streets for 'Alger' Wooten. Let's not block the doorway!
9.8.2008 5:37pm
Hoosier:
I presume that other than the issues identified, that he is a good and valuable cop.

True. Other than the stuff he did wrong, he's done nothing wrong.

If a, then ~~a.
9.8.2008 5:39pm
PubliusFL:
Sarcastro: Because bad guys do not get due process, and can be fired anytime.

Of course that's not true, but the badness of the guy who was denied due process can be a mitigating factor. Perhaps even cause for jury nullification, to analogize to another recent topic here. And you might look at the U.S. presidential election like the biggest jury trial in the world. I imagine most people would want to know about such potential mitigating factors.
9.8.2008 5:39pm
rarango (mail):
This thread is now farce. Frankly I don't think the troopergate report, were it delivered by a host of angels from on high and vouching for its accuracy would change anyone's mind judging from the comments on this thread. Lots of minds are already made up it appears.
9.8.2008 5:42pm
Al Maviva (mail):
"The record clearly indicates a concentrated pattern of serious, and at times illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession."

Oh yeah, I can see he was a model cop. Some people would say personal knowledge of such a situation would impose a heightened duty on a leader to ensure corrective action was administered. Not me. Since she had personal knowledge of the guy's activities, she should have recused and instructed that no action be taken against him. Otherwise, it would raise the appearance of conflict of interest, since she's the chief executive of Alaska, with control over the Public Safety chief as well as the troopers. And we can' have that, right?

Ps. Oren - I hear that Halliburton supplies drilling equipment used by oil companies in Alaska. Companies THAT NEGOTIATED OIL RIGHTS WITH SARAH PALIN! You may want to look into that.
9.8.2008 5:46pm
Mark Field (mail):

Oren, presumably, you also have huge problems with Bill Clinton, who fired 93 out of 94 US Attorneys when he took office in 1993. (But for Bill Bradley's intervention, all 94 would have been gone.)


I don't want to divert this thread any more than has been done already, but I did want to note for the record that this is NOT the relevant comparison.

Back to your regularly scheduled denunciations.
9.8.2008 5:46pm
titus32:
Does it make Plain's behavior any more or less reprehensible whether she was right about her allegations?

Yes -- or at least most voters would believe so. Let's assume that Palin abused her position and had the guy fired. If the guy's a real creep, voters will be much more likely to overlook (some even condone) her conduct.
9.8.2008 5:49pm
TruthInAdvertising:
Lindgren is well on his way to making himself into a caricature of the typical Internet fool. On a previous post, he trotted out proof of the liberal media's bias against Sarah Palin. I pointed out that the first article in a Google search he posted was to that bastion of liberalism, the National Review, where one of the Review's "liberal" voices, Andy McCarthy, used the exact words that Lindgren claimed that only the liberals were using against Palin.

Now he foists this joke on us:

"If I were head of ABC News, I would immediately fire or demote the producer of this ABC report. I would then break up the team that did the report and bring some political diversity to ABC's newsroom by hiring a Republican-leaning producer from outside."

That's right, the solution to perceived bias is to interject even more bias into the reporting. Lindgren has failed to respond to the obvious flaws in his claims, instead trotting out even more overhyped claims of bias. Give it up Lindgren, your credibility is heading down the drain.
9.8.2008 5:49pm
tarheel:
Richard Aubrey: Most unlikely there's a republican, a conservative, a military veteran, or an evangelical.

Well, I worked (only briefly) in a major DC news bureau and there most certainly were all of the above. They just had to use a different bathroom than everybody else [that part was a joke].
9.8.2008 5:51pm
AntonK (mail):
What? Bias at ABC News??? I don't believe it....
9.8.2008 5:51pm
MD-JD:
wuzzagrunt:

I sincerely apologize for implying that the assertion of an honorable state trooper of the great state of Alaska might be self-serving.
9.8.2008 5:51pm
titus32:
I don't want to divert this thread any more than has been done already, but I did want to note for the record that this is NOT the relevant comparison.

For that matter, nor does a governor having a state employee fired have anything to do with the so-called "unitary executive."
9.8.2008 5:51pm
Sarcastro (www):
If the American people are cool with the ends justifying the means, then I guess that's all that matters.

//Monarchy now!
9.8.2008 5:52pm
Spitzer:
Oren: I don't disagree that the tasering incident might be small beer, especially if the kid really did consent and no harm was done. But to my knowledge we don't have a public report of the investigation into Gov. Palin's allegations against Wootton, nor do we have a final report into the allegations against Gov. Palin on this issue. Because the tasering incident passes the laugh test (it could be serious, depending on the actual factual circumstances), I don't assume that one can 12b6 the allegation (i.e. dismiss it out of hand). Consequently, I don't think that Gov. Palin's allegations should be glossed over as the issue is reviewed, and so I do not think Jim committed any fouls by making mention of it.

BTW, I understand that the state police did investigate the matter, but my understanding is that the substance of Gov. Palin's complaint is that the investigation itself was flawed.

Finally, what investigation has been done into the allegation linking the firing to the Wootton complaint? It sounds as if Gov. Palin may have had a legitimate complaint (even if an investigation exonerates the trooper), but the bigger issue is whether the firing can be linked to the trooper-complaint. Seems to me that that is the weakest link to the story, at least potentially. If a political gets fired, and carries around an axe to grind, it is not exactly uncommon for that political to claim that the firing was inappropriate and/or politically-motivated.
9.8.2008 5:53pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Other than the stuff he did wrong, he's done nothing wrong.

My experience only the good performer gets clemency in situations like this. I'd expect him to have more than a few attaboys in his file. Else the leadership would have taken this opportunity to get rid of him.
9.8.2008 5:55pm
theobromophile (www):
Mark Field etc., the comment that I quoted from Oren was one in which he responded to someone who pointed out that Palin had the right to fire this person for any reason or no reason. So Oren's choice of words ("unitary executive") was incorrect, but the sentiment - that he prefers to not have an executive who will use such power at will - is the same as I addressed with my comment about Clinton.
9.8.2008 5:58pm
Dan M.:
Oren, do you even know what a hunting license is?

People buy hunting licenses that can last for an entire year, for several years or for their entire life. People don't buy a ticket for every hunting expedition. Comparing accidents per hunting license to taser deaths (and only deaths, not injuries) to every single use of a taser is ridiculous. It would be more appropriate to compare accidents per hunting license to taser injuries per police officer armed with a taser. Do we have 70 million police officers in this country?
9.8.2008 6:00pm
Dave N (mail):
One more reason not to vote for Palin, she's another pol that's swallowed the 'unitary executive' Kool-Aid.
Except, in Alaska, it truly is a unitary executive. Outside of the congressional delegation, Alaska voters choose exactly two statewide elected officials--the Governor and Lieutenant Governor--and after the primary the lieutenant governor is "yoked" to the gubernatorial nominee.

Section 3.1 of the Alaska Constitution states, "The executive power of the State is vested in the Governor."

Section 3.23 allows the Governor to reorganize the executive branch, subject to a Legislative veto. However, if the Legislature does not act, the reorganization takes effect.

Section 3.24 provides: "Each principal department shall be under the supervision of the governor."

Section 3.25 provides: "The head of each principal department shall be a single executive unless otherwise provided by law. He shall be appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session, and shall serve at the pleasure of the governor, except as otherwise provided in this article with respect to the secretary of state. The heads of all principal departments shall be citizens of the United States."

So, yes, there pretty much is a unitary executive in Alaska, and the head of the unitary executive is the Governor.
9.8.2008 6:00pm
Sam Draper (mail):
Mr. Lindgren's solution to this problem seems a little harsh. And this is hardly the worst instance of the media reporting only half of the story with regards to Palin. Just about everything I have heard from NPR in the last week has been much worse.

The whole media theory about this is a little tenuous. After all, Palin didn't fire Wooten, she fired a third party. There is no direct evidence connecting the failure to fire Wooten to the third party being fired. It is all circumstantial, and is undoubtedly true that she had the power to fire the third party with or without cause. Just from what I have heard this week, Palin seems to fire a lot of people.

Wooten has not been fired. These dots don't connect very well.

Reading that report about Wooten, in my jurisdiction he would have been fired for any one of the three "circumstances" listed in the report (tasering kid, drinking in his cruiser, illegal hunting).
9.8.2008 6:01pm
The Ace (mail):
How often are you going to repeat the taser trope while omitting the critical fact that the child specifically asked to be tased.

How often are you going to type the silly fact that the 10 year old child asked as if it means anything?

How often are you going to omit the critical fact the officer was reprimanded for tasering the child?
9.8.2008 6:07pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Oren:

Part of my point was to say that I wanted the details, a point that I repeated at the end of the post, so don't lecture me because I don't have the full story.

That's what I'm trying to get!!!!
9.8.2008 6:10pm
Karan Singh (mail):
October surprise, eh? This ought to be good . . .
9.8.2008 6:10pm
The Ace (mail):
Btw, the figure I quoted earlier, 1 in 10,000 license, was for the 1960s. It has since improved to 1 in 25,000.

Um, those statistics were from 11 years ago.
9.8.2008 6:11pm
The Ace (mail):
One more reason not to vote for Palin, she's another pol that's swallowed the 'unitary executive' Kool-Aid.

What is comical about this is you clearly have no clue what unitary executive means.

Why is ignorance a virtue for the modern left?
9.8.2008 6:12pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Surveys of the national press have been done over the years. Usually, they lean Democratic about 9 to 1.

That understates the bias, however. As I recall, in the rare cases when particular issues are asked, they are usually to the left of what they would be if they were all typical Democrats.
9.8.2008 6:13pm
Sarcastro (www):
James Lindgren liberal ideals do not always equal liberal bias.

Additionally, I am under the impression that publishers tend to lean Republican, if not conservative. Their control is obviously not that of an editor, but there is something of a conterveiling influence there.
9.8.2008 6:17pm
The Ace (mail):
Their control is obviously not that of an editor, but there is something of a conterveiling influence there

Something you couldn't possibly demonstrate factually.
9.8.2008 6:18pm
The Ace (mail):
Sarcastro:

Liberal ideals translate into liberal bias.

Otherwise, I did enjoy this:

MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties


And this:

those at Fox broadcasting and the Fox News Channel combined to give $41,853 to the Democrats, with no listed donations going to the Republicans.


And this,

On June 5, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the News Corporation, gave her presidential bid $2,300. A few weeks later, his son, James R. Murdoch, chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting in London, gave $3,400. Altogether, NewsCorp/Fox executives gave at least $40,000 to the Clinton campaign.

Obama has taken more $14,000 from NewsCorp/Fox executives, although none came from the Murdochs themselves. In the broad network of NewsCorp/Fox holdings, with many Hollywood and entertainment entities, there are a substantial number of Democrats on the payroll.

Edwards received substantially less than Clinton or Obama. His contributions from NewsCorp/Fox executives Louis Supowitz, Jonathan Sarrow, Sean A. Riley, and Jonathan Sarrow total just under $1,000. There was no immediate comment from the Edwards campaign.


But I'm sure they're busy "influencing" news coverage and everything.
9.8.2008 6:26pm
James Lindgren (mail):
I added another update:

Some commenters are arguing particular facts below, in particular, some reports that the 10 or 11 year old stepson asked to be tasered, and immediately asked to be tasered again. I have read other accounts that suggest that the child was trying to show he was tough in front of his cousin, one of Sarah Palin's daughters.

You are missing one of the points of my post, made both at the beginning and the end. I want to know what happened. I don't know the details; I want to know them. The press should be of more help. ABC just gave one side of the story, an account that was not even very coherent since it didn't mention why anyone would be concerned about keeping Wooten on staff.

Tasering a child is wrong, whether he asks for it or not. If the tasering was motivated by the stepson trying to seem tough to his cousin -- and Wooten knew this -- then it would show him to be as childish as his stepson. I wish I knew what happened; I wish the national press cared what happened.
9.8.2008 6:29pm
Dan M.:
Actually, the "illegal" hunting is one that I'll give Wooten a break on. It was true, on a technicality, but petty for Palin and her sister to file a complain about it.

From what I've read:

Sarah's sister had a permit to kill a moose, but she couldn't bring herself to shoot it, so Wooten shot the moose for her. Then since that was technically illegal they tossed that into the complaint.

Since it's technically true, it doesn't cast doubt on the veracity of the other complaints, really, but it's not really an issue that people can use to say Wooten was a bad cop.

I don't think many conservation officers would be all that upset if a hunter shot an animal with someone else's permit, with permission. I don't think my dad would, unless he hated the guy who did it.
9.8.2008 6:30pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Oren:

If you want to make an argument based on statistics you need to provide a link. If you can find something on the web, then you can link to it easily. There is no excuse for not doing so.

I have no idea of how dangerous it is to subject a ten-year old to a Taser jolt. I don't know that all Tasers deliver the same jolt. I also suspect the police models are different from the models available to civilians. If I had to advance an educated guess, I would think the Taser is fairly harmless unless the boy had some sort of medical condition that made him particularly vulnerable. All that being said, I personally wouldn't do it, nor would I advertise that fact if I did. On the surface it looks like poor judgment.
9.8.2008 6:32pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
"Barracuda" redux:

* * *

Ann and Nancy Wilson, the frontwomen of the rock band Heart, are demanding that the McCain campaign stop using their 1977 song "Barracuda" at political rallies after the song was played in honor of vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. Does the McCain campaign have to honor the Wilsons' wishes?

Not if the campaign has the correct license. Like thousands of other songs, "Barracuda" is distributed by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, meaning that any entity that is licensed with ASCAP can play a song without getting the artist's explicit permission.

* * *

Via Slate:

http://www.slate.com/id/2199492/
9.8.2008 6:33pm
Grover_Cleveland:
The issue is not whether Wooten should have been fired. The issue is whether Monegan should have been fired.

Monegan, by all accounts, was doing a great job. By most measures the state police was doing the best it had in years. Then Palin decides to fire him without warning. Her reasons for it have varied day by day, but have included "wanting to take the force in a different direction", not adequately filling vacancies (although the training college was producing the most graduates in years), and not adequately fighting alcohol abuse in the force (if he wasn't fighting alcohol abuse in the force, why on earth would she offer him a new position running the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board?)

Palin has repeatedly and publicly denied that Monegan's firing had anything to do with Wooten. She has repeately and publicly denied that anyone in her administration pressured Monegan to fire Wooten, although she had to backtrack after the recording came out of her flunkey Frank Bailey saying "[Palin] really likes Walt [Monegan] a lot, but on this issue, she feels like it's, she doesn't know why there is absolutely no action for a year on this issue. It's very, very troubling to her and the family. I could definitely relay that."

So she has fired a guy who was doing a great job of great importance, possibly because of an unrelated family vendetta. And she has possibly repeatedly lied about the whole affair. That seems to be a bona fide scandal to me.
9.8.2008 6:35pm
Sam Draper (mail):
In my state, if you shoot an animal using someone else's tag, it is the same as shooting an animal with no tag. It is aggressively prosecuted here as well as in the two neighboring states I hunt in. Such things may have been common 40 years ago (as well as other forms of poaching), but there is a zero tolerance attitude now.

Alaska may be different, but it is viewed as a pretty serious deal everywhere I have hunted.
9.8.2008 6:39pm
Hoosier:
So she has fired a guy who was doing a great job of great importance, possibly because of an unrelated family vendetta.

And the fact that the "guy" says that he was never pressured on this issue means nothing to you because . . . ?
9.8.2008 6:40pm
Sarcastro (www):
The Ace (mail):

Sarcastro:

Liberal ideals translate into liberal bias.


Not always. Lawyers can often argue against their ideals and seem to do fine advocacy nevertheless. I would imagine one might be able to find a journalist or two who is able to perform a similar feat.

And do not publishers have some influence over which stories they publish?

I say that like most institutions the media is capitalist, and biased towards getting people to read/watch them, regardless of the truth or whether they are serving society.
9.8.2008 6:41pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Mark Field,

Sorry, that argument won't wash.

1. ABC did not explain the 3 reasons Palin gave for Moneghan's demotion and resassignment (which he refused), which you must admit were relevant to the report.

2. Without indicating that Palin had heard the death threat against family members, they would not know why she and her family were legitimately contacting Moneghan about the case. Further, did you know that (according to some accounts) Sarah's Security Detail ordered Todd Palin to talk to state security officials about the death threat (when Sarah became Governor)?

So it was relevant, and they omitted the other stuff that even you would have to admit is relevant.
9.8.2008 6:44pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Mark Field,

Sorry, that argument won't wash.

1. ABC did not explain the 3 reasons Palin gave for Moneghan's demotion and resassignment (which he refused), which you must admit were relevant to the report.

2. Without indicating that Palin had heard the death threat against family members, they would not know why she and her family were legitimately contacting Moneghan about the case. Further, did you know that (according to some accounts) Sarah's Security Detail ordered Todd Palin to talk to state security officials about the death threat (when Sarah became Governor)?

So it was relevant, and they omitted the other stuff that even you would have to admit is relevant.
9.8.2008 6:44pm
ejo:
Professor Lindgren is simply prejudiced by reading too many local headlines as to what Drew Peterson got away with. Probably read the last two days worth of articles in the Sun-Times as well (not to mention Abbate, Miedzianowski and various and sundry other lesser villains allowed to ply their trade on the CPD as well).
9.8.2008 6:51pm
ejo:
why would a governor care about a loose cannon on the State Police-isn't the SP part of the executive branch and doesn't the State get to pay both the legal fees and the verdicts/settlements? that has to rank as one of the sillier arguments on the issue.
9.8.2008 6:53pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

So apparently Wooten was a dirty cop being treated fairly lightly by his superiors and his union.


Wooten seems to have been a good old boy going through a messy divorce.

There were no allegations that Wooten abused the power of his office. Aside from the complaints gathered by his ex-in-laws, he broke traffic laws, failed to reimburse the department for cell phone calls, showed up late, took a day off without calling in, and apparently used forms from work to write a court filing on. Most of this stuff (lateness, absence, cell phone calls, use of dept. forms for court filings for personal business) seems related to his divorce, frankly.


in my jurisdiction he would have been fired for any one of the three "circumstances" listed in the report (tasering kid, drinking in his cruiser, illegal hunting

A couple of these are malum prohibitum laws: Party hunting is legal, in for example Minnesota. There was a time when drinking and driving was legal in many states, too (Texas for sure, and Missouri if I remember correctly). Tasers are new, but when I was a kid we used to crank up a field phone to I don't know how many volts for the thrill of getting shocked.
9.8.2008 6:54pm
Federal Dog:
It is telling that Obama supporters must resort to this level of desperate, one-sided smear to save his candidacy.

Oh, and DG -- of course he's trolling.
9.8.2008 6:54pm
subpatre (mail):
Alaska's pretty big. I don't imagine a state trooper is always around his home, especially one who socializes somewhat like Wooten admits.

Little kids will do the damnedest things to get a bit of their step-dad's attention.
9.8.2008 6:58pm
ejo:
TT-did you forget the death threats? wouldn't those be relevant to the "boys will be boys" analysis?
9.8.2008 6:58pm
josh:
Wow. This nearly first sentence, "I watched a 5 minute, 18 second ABC investigative report on Troopergate in a genuine desire to learn more about Sarah Palin's concerns about the dangerous Trooper who had tasered his stepson, allegedly threatened to kill a member of Palin's family, drank beer in a police car, etc." demonstrates a strong bias before even viewing the report.

So you knew that the brother-in-law of the governor of Alaska and VP candidate for the GOP was a "dangerous Trooper who had tasered his stepson, allegedly threatened to kill a member of Palin's family, drank beer in a police car, etc." but you neded to watch a show to learn more about Palin?!?!

This concerned anger about media bias really has to go. You sat down with pre-determined conclusions about a non-public figure to supposedly "learn" more about someone who is the chief executive of one of 50 states and soon may be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Really, for someone who write blog posts linking stock market slides to Barack Obama's clinching of the nomination (but fails to make the same correlation/causation mistake when the DOW swoons after Palin's acceptance speech), you really ought to sit down, take a deep breath and try to contemplate the obviously strong biases you bring to your reading and viewing.
9.8.2008 6:59pm
Federal Dog:
"Really, for someone who write blog posts"

Exactly: He writes blog posts. ABC alleges that it engages in journalism.
9.8.2008 7:03pm
josh:
"You are missing one of the points of my post, made both at the beginning and the end. I want to know what happened. I don't know the details; I want to know them."

Do you? It seems you know so much about them already ... at least with respect to Wooten.
9.8.2008 7:07pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):
The interesting thing about the tasing incident is the timeline of it. The investigation into Wooten was conducted in 2005, but, per the Alaska Daily News, the tasing incident occured:
One day -- maybe a year or two before the investigation --
In other words, this issue wasn't brought to the attention of the state police until 1-2 years after the incident, and after the divorce fight had begun. While I can't excuse Wooten for tasing the kid, trying to use this as a rationale to press for his dismissal is tainted by the time lapsed between the incident and the complaint.

Out of the whole Troopergate incident, one thing is clear: Palin, if she felt that strongly that Wooten had been inadequately disciplined, should have focused her efforts on reforming the disciplinary procedures of the state police. Also, assuming that Wooten is as poor of a trooper as he has been characterized to be, could have been readily dismissed for nearly any new out of line behavior as he had already been put on notice from the disciplinary decision. Again from the same ADN article:

"This discipline is meant to be a last chance to take corrective action," Grimes wrote. "You are hereby given notice that any further occurrences of these types of behaviors or incidents will not be tolerated and will result in your termination."
9.8.2008 7:07pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
ejo - did you read the suspension letter theob linked to? The "death threats" were nowhere mentioned. Assuming the alleged death threats were told to the investigators along with the Taser incident, the cow moose incident, and the beer in the cruiser incident, the investigation considered the remarks to be neither a violation of law nor a violation of department regulation:

Dated March 1, 2006

On April 11, 2005, an administrative investigation was initiated regarding allegations of improper conduct committed over a two year period that occurred between yourself and various members of your immediate and extended family. I have reviewed the entire file, to include the "Memorandum of Findings", all recordings and interviews conducted in this administrative investigation. The pertinent sections that were sustained include the following:
...
/s/ Colonel Grimes
9.8.2008 7:09pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
notwithstanding the issues being discussed here (which have little or nothing to do with the actual subject of the post itself), what I find most interesting is that this report is the perfect set-up for Palin's interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson. One 'gotcha' question from Charlie, and Palin can go off on the media, citing ABC News for its complete venality in this report, turning the tables on Gibosn and demanding to know if he thought the report was fair, etc....
9.8.2008 7:12pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

The interesting thing about the tasing incident is the timeline of it.

When all the information JL wants is revealed, here's how this will look, I predict: Whether to keep Wooten from getting custody, or just to make him suffer, the Heath girls decided they were going to try to get him fired. They tabulated everything they remembered that they could try to stick him with, including the time he angrily yelled at their dad. Luckily one of the neighbors remembered when Wooten took a beer out of their garage fridge and drove off in his cruiser.

But the State Troopers did not fire him, they only suspended him for ten days. Frustrated, Palin persisted in her attempt to get her ex-brother-in-law fired, even ordering up his personnel and workman's compensation record to look for further excuses.

The motive for Monegan's firing will become irrelevant.
9.8.2008 7:19pm
LM (mail):
Whether Palin behaved legally or not, involving herself as Governor in Wooten's employment status at the very least created the improper appearance of a conflict of interest.
9.8.2008 7:37pm
Kazinski:
ABC is just carrying water for the McCain-Palin campaign. It is obvious that they learned the lesson of the 2004 campaign, that one bogus and inflamatory news story will completely innoculate the public so they will tune out addtional negative coverage. CBS's bogus TANG documents were a huge boon to the GOP then, and Troopergate and Triggate are providing the same service this year.
9.8.2008 7:39pm
LM (mail):
Sarcastro,

You omitted the brackets. Your identity is exposed.
9.8.2008 7:39pm
LM (mail):

CBS's bogus TANG documents were a huge boon to the GOP then, and Troopergate and Triggate are providing the same service this year.

Yes, as that proved, Republicans are very good at convincing people the real news is a press blunder on an inessential document, not the rest of the story which remains valid.
9.8.2008 7:45pm
Floridan:
Wow, JL is good -- although a little passive-aggressive for most red-meat Republicans. I'm sure he's a great defense lawyer.

I'm also sure that if a Democrat had suggested Wooten was a "bad cop" it would be proof that the liberals don't support our brave policemen and women.
9.8.2008 7:46pm
Blar (mail) (www):
You can't expect the news media to report details that aren't being pushed by any of the main players on an issue. Imagine if Palin had come out and said "It's important not to have bad cops on the force. When I happened to learn first-hand about the infractions of one trooper, I tried to make sure that the department would treat them with the seriousness that they deserved. I fired Moneghan because he didn't seem to be concerned enough about keeping the police department clean." Then the media had better report on the allegations against Trooper Wooten, because they're central to the story.

But that's not what Palin said - she said that she never pressured Moneghan to about Wooten, and that she fired Moneghan for unrelated reasons. So the specific allegations against Wooten are beside the point - what's at issue is whether she really did pressure Moneghan or fire him because of this.
9.8.2008 7:52pm
AKD:
TT, the death threat was investigated and substantiated:

The other incident happened in February 2005. Both McCann and Palin gave troopers detailed accounts of what happened. Wooten was headed home in a rage, McCann said.

She called Palin and put the phone on speaker so Palin could listen when Wooten got there and get help if things got bad. Palin had her teenage son Track listen in, too.

As McCann remembered it, Wooten said if their father got a lawyer for her "he would eat a f'ing lead bullet. I will shoot him."

Palin was interviewed by troopers too.

"Mike in the conversation never did get to the bottom of what, what the foundational issue he was dealing with, he just kept screaming, "I'm gonna F'n kill your dad if he gets an attorney to help you," Palin told troopers, according to the transcript.

Track told troopers he heard the comment, too.

Palin drove over and watched through the window. She and McCann both said Wooten was all wound up. A neighbor who stood watch as well later told troopers that Wooten looked angry but that McCann wasn't cowering or anything.

Wooten told troopers he never said anything like that about his father-in-law.

The investigation concluded he did. It wasn't a crime, because he didn't threaten Heath directly. But it did violate trooper policy, the investigation found.


http://www.adn.com/politics/story/476430.html
9.8.2008 7:52pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
IMO the tasering is not an issue. I agree with the discipline there - it was misuse of official equipment.

The combination of the death threat and drinking on the job is very troublesome. Wooten was a law enforcement officer. Those two offenses, together, dramatically escalate the potential threats of each considered alone. My day job involves, among other things, litigation arising from discipline of law enforcement officers. I had one of those cases cross my desk last month.

Absent significant impeachment evidence going to the credibility of the accusations, or evidence of exetnuating circumstances, those two offenses together could justify termination under California law, and Palin had every right to use every lawful means available to protect her family.
9.8.2008 7:52pm
Sarcastro (www):
LM yeah, I decided to let people guess when I was being sarcastic.
9.8.2008 7:54pm
Oren:

11 year old gets shot of Wild Turkey 101 from father. Dad declines to give him second shot. Kid brags about it to friends.

Then the ENTIRE INTERNET condemns father and just about accuses him of reckless child abuse. Sound about right?

Tasers are new, but when I was a kid we used to crank up a field phone to I don't know how many volts for the thrill of getting shocked.
No duh. Wooten did not provide the child with anything he could not do himself (e.g. give him whiskey). It's not hard to build a DIY "tasers" out of disposable cameras and other assorted parts.
9.8.2008 7:58pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
"Could" justify termination, not "would". It's not mandated. There is a range and an officer's record of merit and/or past discipline would be important.
9.8.2008 7:58pm
Ken Arromdee:
Tasering a child is wrong, whether he asks for it or not. If the tasering was motivated by the stepson trying to seem tough to his cousin -- and Wooten knew this -- then it would show him to be as childish as his stepson.

Even if this is true (which I don't buy), this certainly changes the degree of wrongness. Just saying that a police officer tasered a kid implies that he did so in order to restrain or punish the kid. It's misleading wording, even though it's literally correct.
9.8.2008 7:59pm
Dan M.:
I stopped being a "law and order" Republican a long time ago.

I think Palin's points in her e-mails that the police officers need to be held to a higher standard and that they shouldn't be exempt from firearms laws. As a religious reader of the War on Guns blog, comments like that from Sarah Palin just make me like her more.
9.8.2008 8:02pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

The investigation concluded he did. It wasn't a crime, because he didn't threaten Heath directly. But it did violate trooper policy, the investigation found.

Then I wonder why Colonel Grimes left it out of Wooten's letter of reprimand? Surely if it had been a policy violation, she would have put it in the document along with Wooten's improper use of department forms and failure to use turn signals. No reasonable State Trooper colonel could possibly conclude that a death threat was less less important to include in a disciplinary record than failure to signal a turn. So I must conclude that Wooten's words did not constitute a death threat, and were not worth mentioning.
9.8.2008 8:04pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
What Wooten did is really immaterial when looking at Palin's actions. Wooten was taken to task by the proper authorities and investigated internally. Just because he is or isn't a bad cop doesn't make Palin's actions ok.

She was involved personally with the office via family connections and it was not her place to try to get him ousted after the investigations took place. By nature of her relationship she should have stayed out of it and not actively tried to get Wooten pulled for the force by leveraging her position as governor.

Wooten actions are a side story, because who cares about this guy, he isn't running to be Vice President
9.8.2008 8:05pm
Oren:

why would a governor care about a loose cannon on the State Police

If the governor showed any real sign of attempting to fire any other "loose cannon" aside from the one that happened to be having a nasty divorce with her relatives, let me know. Otherwise, it's hard to believe that motivation.
9.8.2008 8:08pm
Smokey:
Oren:
"One more reason not to vote for Palin..."
Ah. Now the true motive comes out: Let's try to get Gov. Palin on this, not the bad cop. Throw everything up against the wall, and hope something sticks, right? Even if it makes you an apologist for a bad cop who tasers kids.

Maybe if the kid had asked the cop to help him inhale some harmless marijuana smoke, that would be A-OK, huh? Maybe snort a little cocaine, just like Barry? The kid would probably laugh about that, too, and brag about it to his pals at school. Child abuse is child abuse. Adults are supposed to protect kids, not taser them. No matter what a 10-year old may think he wants.

Some folks will use any pretext -- even deliberate child abuse by a bad cop -- to attack the Governor of Alaska, a lady who never asked for the VP slot, and now is subjected to these scurrilous Liberal attacks simply because she accepted. It's for the children, right?

If this is the best libs can do, count me unimpressed. And disgusted.
9.8.2008 8:09pm
Dan M.:
I'm all for giving cops who threaten to kill people a free pass.

It's comforting that threatening to kill somebody, but not saying it to his face, isn't worth firing a police officer. I'm sure the same standard would be used right now if a Secret Service officer told Michelle Obama that he was going to fucking kill her kids.

I'd prefer to just kill the fucking cop myself if he threatened to kill a family member of mine.
9.8.2008 8:09pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

When a black criminal efendent or black civil rights plaintiff claim a cop was abusive - so many come to his defense from the conservatives.
Can you give some examples? Radley Balko, for example, has been all over one such example. Certainly, conservatives are prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to a police officer accused by a person with a criminal history. But that's all. There's plenty of abuse of power by government employees, and we aren't dramatically more sympathetic to one that wears a uniform instead of a business suit.
9.8.2008 8:10pm
Dan M.:
I don't know that Palin herself ever tried to get Wooten fired, as governor. Her e-mails to Monegan mostly indicate a general distaste for the troopers union and their special privileges. She probably cared her own gun for protection and told the state troopers to stay the hell away from her.
9.8.2008 8:13pm
Hoosier:
"Wooten did not provide the child with anything he could not do himself (e.g. give him whiskey). It's not hard to build a DIY "tasers" out of disposable cameras and other assorted parts."

Say it with me: "Alger Wooten


"Alger

[dramatic pause]


Wooten"
9.8.2008 8:19pm
Oren:
Smokey, tasering is more comparable to being tackled in a game of football than smoking dope (certainly it has no long term effects!). My point about the tasering was best made by Ken:
Saying that a police officer tasered a kid implies that he did so in order to restrain or punish the kid. It's misleading wording, even though it's literally correct.

Doubly so in a post where Jim hoists ABC for not presenting all the relevant facts.
9.8.2008 8:19pm
Oren:
Can someone please explain to me why using a taser on a willing child is abuse? Is it the danger of death? The pain or physical discomfort? Is it the lack of positive benefit to the child?
9.8.2008 8:26pm
Smokey:
The Ace provided a great link above. The ~90% of scribblers/talking heads who give to the Democrats include -- wait for it -- the ethics columnist at The New York Times!

Ethics takes sides. Could election parody get any better than that?
9.8.2008 8:27pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Oren,

Would it be OK to taser folks at Guantanamo? If it were done, would it constitute torture?
9.8.2008 8:28pm
asdfqwer:

So she has fired a guy who was doing a great job of great importance, possibly because of an unrelated family vendetta.

And the fact that the "guy" says that he was never pressured on this issue means nothing to you because . . . ?


Monegan did not say this. He says that no one explicitly told him "Fire Wooten". They did just about everything short of that. See, for example, here or here
9.8.2008 8:31pm
Smokey:
Per Son:
Maybe he should be fired, but there is a thing called due process - not executive fiat.
The disciplined cop got due process. He filed a grievance, and the grievance settlement reduced his suspension.
9.8.2008 8:31pm
Oren:


Would it be OK to taser folks at Guantanamo? If it were done, would it constitute torture?

If you did it in one second intervals, asking if they wanted to continue between each administration -- go right ahead!
9.8.2008 8:34pm
Mike @ Naught Relevant (mail) (www):

some reports that the 10 or 11 year old stepson asked to be tasered, and immediately asked to be tasered again

My nine year old asked to drive the car. I said no. If she asked me to Tazer her (I am a cop and carry one), I would say no.

he is an idiot. He is the adult. He is supposed to know that act was wrong.
9.8.2008 8:35pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
In what universe is "she had her sister's loser ex-husband fired" a political liability?

The only real political problems for Palin here are that he wasn't fired and that apparently she didn't actually try to get him fired.

If it comes up in an interview, she'll add 1-2% to the McCain vote by answering something like "You know, my Mother is still mad at me about this. A couple of months after the election, she asked me why Wooten was still a trooper. I told her 'Momma, being Governor doesn't mean that I can fire my sister's ex-husband. He was investigated and punished for {acts} before I took office and that's where I have to leave it.' I'm Governor, not King."

Hint: compare the "loser ex-husband and sympathizers" demographic with that of "folks who had to deal with aftermath of loser ex-husband".
9.8.2008 8:48pm
enjointhis:
My $.02. I'm sure Gov. Palin identified every single thing Wooten ever did wrong once the divorce proceedings started. I'd do the same thing if I were her. It DOES suggest to me that the tasering and cow moose shooting were relatively small beans. Is tasering stoopid? Unquestionably yes. Warrant firing? Dunno, but I doubt it. The cow moose? I'm a hunter &wouldn't do it &don't think it should be done, but if you believe Wooten's story, it seems minor.

What I find absolutely chilling are the threats of violence against Mr. Heath. Coupled with a seeming problem with alcohol, that for me warrants termination &a prohibition against possessing firearms.

Ultimately, I think we have to remember that state troopers are a tightly-knit clique who will look after their own. I'm sure Palin was frustrated by the lack of effective disciplinary action, and I tend to agree that discipline was unreasonably light. And I probably would have done the same thing as her, if I were in her shoes. But on the other hand, Wooten's not been fired &not shot anybody yet, so maybe it worked...
9.8.2008 8:51pm
cboldt (mail):
-- To suppress that knowledge from their viewers because it would allow viewers to understand Palin's actions was a breach of simple journalistic ethics. --
.
ROTFL. "Simple journalistic ethics" is an oxymoron. The function of the press is to FORM opinion, not INFORM. Oh, and to sell hotdogs and bier while at it. Trusting the press is folly. If they get something right, it is a coincidence or an accident.
9.8.2008 8:51pm
Smokey:
Oren:
Can someone please explain to me why using a taser on giving marijuana to a willing child is abuse? Is it the danger of death? The pain or physical discomfort? Is it the lack of positive benefit to the child?
Oren, I'm not trying to pick on you, but you make it too easy. In your desperation to try to cost Gov. Palin a few votes by employing the arguments you make here [and that is without a doubt your prime motivation], you deliberately blind yourself to what child abuse is.

We saw the result of a full-grown adult being tasered here a few months ago. After what appeared to be about a one-second jolt, the guy fell flat on his back, stiff as a board. Are you saying there was zero danger of the kid cracking his head on something hard, or sharp?

It is the responsibility of adults to protect kids, not taser them. IMHO, that cop should have been terminated.
9.8.2008 8:55pm
jccamp (mail):
I think that the first thing to establish is, as per the OP, what the facts about Wooten are.

He was found guilty of making death threats against his father-in-law because the father in law hired an attorney for Wooten's wife, of using his issued taser to shock a minor who was not under arrest, of drinking while driving his patrol car, and of illegally shooting a moose on his wife's tag.

He was investigated for drinking in a bar, intervening in someone else's boyfriend-girlfriend dispute, and, after identifying himself as a trooper, throwing the boyfriend out. The bartender called the police about Wooten, who stopped Wooten while he was driving home. The trooper who stopped him made him park the car, and then gave him a ride home, but later denied that he thought Wooten had been drinking or was impaired. The trooper was not able to explain why he made Wooten park the car. Wooten was cleared on this complaint.

Wooten was also accused of driving drunk on more than one occasion. The investigator cleared him of all of this, since no one but the family saw him drunk, and the family was not considered impartial.

At the time Wooten shot the moose, he was actually a wildlife trooper with responsibility for enforcing fish and game laws, who would have (or should have anyway) cited a civilian for the same thing he did. It was not a meaningless violation.

He was accused of shooting a wolf from a moving snowmobile, and was cleared because he had crossed into an area where that sort of thing was legal, even though it is illegal in most of the state.

He has a history of alcohol abuse, and was subject to mandatory anger management classes and mandatory alcohol counseling prior to being employed a as trooper.

This all happened prior to Palin being the governor.

Since then, Wooten claimed an on-duty injury prevented him from working, so he was missing work while being paid disability pay. During the time he claimed he couldn't work, he was able to go on a wilderness moose hunt. He was also accused of being in bars and bragging that he was beating the system. One of Palin's aides (Bailey) also accused him of hiding a pre-existing medical condition and a history of alcohol abuse in his original application for employment. Normally, such applications are confidential. In that recorded telephone call, Bailey says he learned of the application because Wooten was claiming to be disabled.

As far as I can tell, no investigation into the new allegations has ever happened.

The head of the state police had differences with Palin, other than that about Wooten. She offered him a job as the head of the state's alcohol control board, which he turned down. He then resigned after being told Palin no longer wanted him as head of the state police. He says himself that no one pressured him to fire Wooten, but that he received a number of complaints about Wooten's continuing behavior. He also says that he feels the real reason he was forced out was over Wooten, although he has no way to demonstrate that other than his gut feelings.

Palin says she never asked the head of the state police to fire Wooten. He agrees with this. Palin also says she never asked anyone on her staff to pressure the head to fire Wooten.

In the much ballyooed recorded telephone call, Palin's aide (Bailey) repeatedly asks a Trooper lieutenant why Wooten has been allowed to commit so many violations without action by the agency.
9.8.2008 9:00pm
barney the liberal purple dinosaur:
are we sure what happened here? If so, why won't Palin cooperate with the investigation? Isn't that the question you right wingers were asking about Big Bill back in the 90s?
9.8.2008 9:01pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

He was found guilty of making death threats against his father-in-law because the father in law hired an attorney for Wooten's wife,

According to the Anchorage Daily News, but this was not mentioned in Wooten's official letter of reprimand.


He was accused of shooting a wolf from a moving snowmobile,

Where do you get this other stuff from?

According to the Washington Post, Palin complained to Monegan last February, that "This trooper is still out on the street, in fact he's been promoted," said a Feb. 7, 2007, e-mail sent from Palin's personal Yahoo account and written to give Monegan permission to speak on a violent-crime bill before the state legislature.

"It was a joke, the whole year long 'investigation' of him," the e-mail said. "This is the same trooper who's out there today telling people the new administration is going to destroy the trooper organization, and that he'd 'never work for that b****', Palin'.)"


If new allegations kept turning up against him, why did he get promoted?
9.8.2008 9:08pm
jccamp (mail):
I'd only like to add this:

if this trooper - Wooten - had been involved as a key witness in a big trial, was the affiant on a contested search warrant, or was involved in a use of deadly force, based solely on what is in my previous post, there would be liberals all over the State Police for not firing such a moron, or for allowing him to do anything important. He's clearly not suited by temperament or personal behavior to be a law enforcement officer.

Palin says she (and her family) made a number of complaints about Wooten. i can see why. Frankly, if the head of the state police didn't recognize Wooten as a potential time bomb for his agency, he should have been fired.

BYW, in that same recorded phone call, the lieutenant says something to the effect that Moneghan didn't fire Wooten because he was afraid he would be accused of firing the trooper because of the governor. What he said - if the lieutenant quoted him correctly - was that Wooten somehow had immunity from job action because of the relationship between his ex-wife and the Governor.
9.8.2008 9:10pm
Mark Field (mail):

Mark Field etc., the comment that I quoted from Oren was one in which he responded to someone who pointed out that Palin had the right to fire this person for any reason or no reason. So Oren's choice of words ("unitary executive") was incorrect, but the sentiment - that he prefers to not have an executive who will use such power at will - is the same as I addressed with my comment about Clinton.


Fair enough.
9.8.2008 9:14pm
jccamp (mail):
Tony,

"If new allegations kept turning up against him, why did he get promoted?"


Good question. we should ask the former head of the state police.An even better question is why the new allegations were ignored.

As for all those details, the actual IA reports (4 or 5 as I recall) from the State Police are on-line somewhere. I read them last week when this all started, because I was curious about where the truth lay. If you bother, I especially recommend the IA investigators treatment of the bar incident. It's amazing for the pretty evident fact that Wooten's conduct was whitewashed, and the bartender pressured to change his statement.
9.8.2008 9:19pm
jccamp (mail):
Barney,

The current (stalled) investigation was under the control of a Democratic state legislator, who hired a friend of the fired agency head, who would be solely responsible for investigating. The legislator has been quoted as saying the report would be a new "October surprise" for the governor. The report was due to be released just a week or two before the election. Since then, an attorney for one of the aides has filed a suit, seeking to determine who actually has the statutory right or authority to investigate, so the initial investigation is in limbo until resolution of the suit.

I'm assuming Palin would like nothing better than to put this to rest, but under these circumstances, would any politician in his/her right mind cooperate with such a potential for rigged results?
9.8.2008 9:28pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I think I'll just let a few more facts develop here before making any strong claims. Speaking of facts, though, I think it's worth pointing out that several parts of the Flopping Aces article that is linked in the update are "refutations" only if Palin and her allies are automatically assumed to be telling the truth in case of testimony conflict. Example.

Problem is, Palin directed none of these people to intercede her her behalf [with Director Moneghan--AJL]… either personally, or professionally. In fact, until someone presented her with the phone transcript of Bailey's call, she had no idea these events had occurred… putting her in a more embarrassing position.
Well, we pretty much have only Palin's word plus that of her husband and other close allies for that, not even under oath at that.
9.8.2008 9:30pm
Mark Field (mail):

Mark Field,

Sorry, that argument won't wash.

1. ABC did not explain the 3 reasons Palin gave for Moneghan's demotion and resassignment (which he refused), which you must admit were relevant to the report.

2. Without indicating that Palin had heard the death threat against family members, they would not know why she and her family were legitimately contacting Moneghan about the case. Further, did you know that (according to some accounts) Sarah's Security Detail ordered Todd Palin to talk to state security officials about the death threat (when Sarah became Governor)?

So it was relevant, and they omitted the other stuff that even you would have to admit is relevant.


I agree with you that item 1 should have been included.

Your second item is the crux of the dispute and you're wrong. Taking your last point first, having Todd Palin "talk to security officials", if true, isn't the same thing as pressuring Monegan to fire Wooten. For one thing, that's a simple fact conveyed in a single conversation, and not necessarily with Monegan (though possibly). For another, it doesn't explain the apparently numerous communications from people purporting to speak for Gov. Palin implicitly telling Monegan to fire Wooten. Finally, it doesn't get to the issue of whether Palin herself was behind that pressure, which is the key fact she has denied.

Your first point in item 2 suffers from essentially the same flaw. She may have had a legitimate reason for talking to Moneghan. But (a) "talking to Moneghan" is not the same as pressuring him to fire Wooten; and (b) it doesn't explain the apparently repeated approaches to Moneghan by the Governor's staff claiming to speak for her.

It would be a different story if Gov. Palin had said something like "You bet I wanted the guy fired. He did X, Y, and Z and shouldn't be a state trooper." If that were her defense, then all of Wooten's bad acts would be relevant. That's not her position, though. Her position is a denial that she had anything to do with it. Under those circumstances, what Wooten actually did is irrelevant.

I'll add, too, that the case facts are a bit unclear. The initial reports I saw had Gov. Palin denying any contact with Monegan at all. That, obviously, undercuts your argument entirely. More recent reports, such as the WaPo article linked above, report her claim that she did speak to him but only related to family matters (a claim that, frankly, the facts don't support very well). If she has changed her story, that could also be significant.

Having said all that, I personally think Gov. Palin is irrelevant to this campaign. The issue is McCain v. Obama. I've said so since the day he selected her; my only purpose in commenting in response to your post was to note what I believe is a problem with your reasoning. Frankly, I don't give a damn about Gov. Palin, Monegan or Wooten.
9.8.2008 9:39pm
Bryan C (mail):
It's really inspiring to see such an outpouring of sympathy on behalf of this much-maligned cop. I'd gotten the impression that some people on this forum expected the police to meet some ridiculously high standard, demanding serious penalties (or even firing) for repeated misconduct and a record of unprofessional behavior. These isolated incidents might even be tallied up as "poor judgment" or "warning signs" and unfairly held against a cop who slips up and screams death threats at family members while someone else is listening. Thank heavens for this brave, besieged Public Safety Commissioner.

I hope our whit is following this thread, I'm sure he'd be shocked and amazed by this newfound understanding for the wacky antics of our boys in blue.
9.8.2008 9:42pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
This is one of the bigger he-said, she-said situations I have run across.

This television station site has a lot of primary documents on it.

You can find out that He was accused of shooting a wolf from a moving snowmobile by his ex-father-in-law. It turns out that his ex-fil had shot and wounded the wolf, so Wooten humanely chased after it on the snow mobile and dispatched it. Kind of harsh for a man who couldn't dispatch his animal to charge the man who put it out of its misery with a game law violation.
9.8.2008 9:48pm
iambatman:
I would like to see numbers backing up the assertion that we are seeing the "most biased" election coverage in years. I'm no fan of the media, but it seems to me they're doing like they always do: chasing ratings. Without any numbers to look at, why should any one of us abandon our subjective impressions?
9.8.2008 9:51pm
jccamp (mail):
Tony,

I actually found the original case files on-line, which included all the typical "I then proceeded to so-and-so's domicile was was unsuccessful in locating him. I then telephonically contacted etc etc." I don't think those were on the TV station site. I'll go back in my browser history and see if I can find the links.

And it is mostly he-said, she-said, but it does demonstrate a scary pattern of behavior, even when you take it with a grain of salt.

I wouldn't think that one could fairly judge the governor's behavior, without first ascertaining if she had a valid issue with the State Police's handling of her family's multiple complaints.
9.8.2008 10:03pm
rarango (mail):
What a thorougly revolting threat--grown men are suggesting that tasering a 10 year old is OK--do you people have any shame at all? Or is the whole world nothing but a political event that furthers the success of your candidate. Repulsive
9.8.2008 10:04pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I'd gotten the impression that some people on this forum ... demand[ed] serious penalties (or even firing) for repeated misconduct and a record of unprofessional behavior.

This is the kind of thing that bothers me about the police. No citizen has complained that Wooten violated his civil rights during a stop or an arrest. Surely if Wooten were a bad cop, after all the Palin-Monegan-Wooten hubbub, someone he had arrested or detained would have stepped forward and complained. Instead, only Palin's blood relatives, and their neighbors the Lanes, have ever complained.
9.8.2008 10:05pm
Maybeline:
If you were so, so concerned with what really happened you'd have read that Flopping Aces post 10 days ago rather than having to link it in an update after you posted this. Clearly you don't really care that much at all.
9.8.2008 10:07pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

suggesting that tasering a 10 year old is OK

Even though the boy wasn't harmed, tasing the boy was ill-advised, however brief and mild the pulse. It fit in with the pattern of minor stupidities listed in his letter prescribing his ten-day suspension.
9.8.2008 10:12pm
jccamp (mail):
Tony,

here's a link with all of the pdf files about the various allegations.

if you read the file about the bar incident, it does seem to be alleging that Wooten overstepped his authority. As for anything else, it would be interesting to see how many arrests Wooten has actually made. You don't get complaints if you're lazy and never take enforcement action.

Even if he hasn't been accused of violating someone's constitutional rights, would you agree the sustained allegations alone demonstrate a disturbing pattern of behavior?
9.8.2008 10:22pm
MDC (mail):
I've read enough reports of police corruption, the blue wall of silence, and generally covering up for other officers that I believe this story can actually be both stories at once. That is, the guy really is scum and should be fired (and prosecuted), and he only got fired because he dissed the governor's family.

I saw him admit on CNN to tasering the kid, there is *nothing* else necessary to know - that alone is grounds for dismissal and prosecution and he admits that he did it.

At the same time, probably the only thing that could get him fired would be the governor making it happen. In other words, he probably did lose his job due to her, as it's unlikely that the other people in his department or the DA in his area would have done the right thing on their own accord.
9.8.2008 10:23pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
As IANAL, this is a serious question... why does everyone keep mentioning due process? I mean, he got fired, right (although that seems to be contested too)? He didn't get thrown in jail or have his car confiscated by the police. How is he entitled to due process? Again, this is a serious question, it just seems to be taken for granted by those criticizing Palin, and I would've figured it wasn't applicable (although contractual obligations may have been violated).
9.8.2008 10:24pm
crack (mail):
It is OK to take umbrage at what you perceive to be bias in the report (regardless of whether it is your own bias that colors your analysis), but your recommendation for action goes off the deep end. "Fire them and hire some Republicans" is your suggestion for ABC News? Really? I mean, really?
9.8.2008 10:31pm
Hoosier:

This is the kind of thing that bothers me about the police. No citizen has complained that Wooten violated his civil rights during a stop or an arrest. Surely if Wooten were a bad cop, after all the Palin-Monegan-Wooten hubbub, someone he had arrested or detained would have stepped forward and complained. Instead, only Palin's blood relatives, and their neighbors the Lanes, have ever complained.

He's a fine cop, a fine father, and a fine man.

Alger Wooten
9.8.2008 10:34pm
jccamp (mail):
The head of the State Police serves at the pleasure of the Governor, who can hire him, fire him, whatever at will and without cause. In this case, Palin offered the state police head another state job which he refused, and then accepted his resignation when he realized she did not want him any longer at the State Police and resigned.

Normally, the governor of Alaska would not have to justify or explain a firing of the state police head.
9.8.2008 10:38pm
jccamp (mail):
Hoosier wins again.
9.8.2008 10:39pm
GM Roper (www):
Adam J. (and possibly others of the same mind set): "SeaLawyer- obviously its wrong to taser an 11 year old simply because he asks for it. But there's a tremendous difference in wrongdoing between tasering an 11 year old who asks to be tasered and tasering an 11 year old who doesn't want to be tasered. You really need that explained?"

Adam, that is the slimyest comment I've seen on this subject or any subject involving, frankly, child abuse. Lets say that an 11 year old girl want's sex from an adult vs. an 11 year old that doesn't. Isn't there a "tremendous difference in wrongdoing?

Did you really need to have that explained? MY GOD, what are supposed adults coming to when they can excuse this kind of behavior for whatever damn reason? Have we no shame?
9.8.2008 10:48pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

He's a fine cop, a fine father, and a fine man.

Hoosier, take a look at this
I nearly crapped my pants.

It is my pleasure to provide character reference examples for Mr. Mike Wooten. Since I have become acquainted with Mike, I continue to be impressed with his integrity, work ethic, community spirit, and trustworthiness.
...
I have never seen him raise his voice, or lose his patience... I wish American had more people with the grace and sincerity ... of Mike Wooten.

/s/ Sarah Palin, Mayor [of Wasilla]
9.8.2008 10:57pm
AST (mail):
"the State Police did not believe his disciplinary record was significant enough to fire him."

Well, who among us hasn't wanted to Taser a 10 year old or make death threats against former in-laws? Palin may have been imprudent to take her family's word ahead of Trooper Wooten's, but if facts are as stated by Flopping Aces, it seems prudent to get rid of this guy before he ended up costing the state a few million in a civil rights law suit.

What the Commissioner's motives are, I don't know, but a person who makes death threats, even in the context of a domestic dispute, seems to need some kind of counseling and psychological assessment at the very least. Col. Grimes' findings make me wonder how long-suffering the department was with employees like Wooten in a position to exercise its police powers.

The rule which the press seems to be lobbying for, intentionally or not, is that former in-laws of politicians can never be fired, lest it be perceived as abuse of power. I thought that nepotism, not its opposite, was main problem with rural politics. Or maybe the real rule is that conservative politicians can do nothing right, particularly if they stand to hurt the chances of a media darling.

This whole issue is really beneath the level of presidential politics, since it seems to have become so muddied that nobody in the position of a disinterested voter can really tell where the whole truth lies. That is what Washington and National media love to drive into scandal, but what bearing does it really have on the job of Vice-president?

If this is the best the left can come up with, it is a case of endorsement by faint objections.

It also seems compelling to me that a Governor Palin has an 80% approval rating in Alaska. Presumably, this dispute has been heard and considered by the people of her state in making that assessment.
9.8.2008 11:03pm
AST (mail):
Disclaimer: The letters A, S and T are my actual initials and I have no connection whatsoever with the Alaska State Troopers.
9.8.2008 11:06pm
TDPerkins (mail):

I wish I knew what happened; I wish the national press cared what happened.


Mr. Lindgren, I submit the Tutins, llamasexes, and jukeboxgrads, et al--and the MSM honestly don't care.

Nothing can be permitted to prevent the 0ne from taking the White House.

It really is that simple.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.8.2008 11:07pm
bobby b (mail):
Someone's likely already said this and I missed it, but . . .

Have you ever SEEN so many hardcore Liberals fighting for due process and substantive fairness for a cop who tasered a small kid?

A bit counterintuitive, to me.
9.8.2008 11:09pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

[W]hat bearing does [using public office to punish personal enemies] really have on the job of Vice-president?

Taking a walk down memory lane...

Nixon's Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President Richard Nixon's major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell [1] (assistant to Colson, special counsel to the White House) and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as "Opponents List" and "Political Enemies Project." The official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel's Office, was to "screw" Nixon's political enemies, by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating "grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc."
9.8.2008 11:12pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

I submit the Tutins,...don't care. Nothing can be permitted to prevent the 0ne from taking the White House.

I voted for Mitt Romney in the primary -- a fine man, he would be a fine vice president.
9.8.2008 11:21pm
jccamp (mail):
On the other hand, just because she has now been elected to public office, she does not have to stop making complaints about a bad cop. If anything, she now has an even greater responsibility to see that this fellow doesn't do to some innocent citizen the same he's been accused of doing to her extended family.

If she believed with cause that Wooten should not have been a State Trooper,would one not expect her to pursue that even more as Governor than as previously as a private citizen? I suppose it could be called "negligent retention."

Bet that the last letter of recommendation she ever writes for her sister.
9.8.2008 11:25pm
Oren:
Well Smokey, there's just no two ways about it -- my parents abused me terribly by letting me join the wrestling team. Having been both tasered and put in a full nelson, I can certainly say that the latter is much more painful. The risk of serious injury is at least comparable.

It's such a shame too, I had such a high opinion of my parents before the internet finally revealed the truth to me.
9.8.2008 11:31pm
Mark Field (mail):

Have you ever SEEN so many hardcore Liberals fighting for due process and substantive fairness for a cop who tasered a small kid?


2-3 is "so many"? I mean, c'mon. FWIW, though, I disagree with Oren on this issue. I don't think using the taser on the kid was appropriate. What really surprises me is that there are "so many" conservatives willing to criticize a cop for using a taser regardless of the circumstances.
9.8.2008 11:41pm
Deagle (mail):
Oren,

You are a strange fellow... I hope you do not have kids!
9.8.2008 11:46pm
Deagle (mail):
Mark,

The thing is that Oren has no problem tasing a kid for the fun of it. If that is your position, you also are a strange fellow.
9.8.2008 11:48pm
jccamp (mail):
Actually, I think the personal preferences about tasing small kids among posters is really irrelevant. The only important consideration is whether the trooper violated his own rules when he did it, and did the violation indicate a greater lack of judgement that might carry over into other areas of his professional (re: his profession. not implying he's professional) life. Considering this entire case, I'd suggest that every single sustained violation is indicative of poor impulse control and poor judgement, not exactly what you'd like to see in a cop. This fellow really needs to be in another line of work.
9.8.2008 11:54pm
chad (mail) (www):
It is my pleasure to provide character reference examples for Mr. Mike Wooten. Since I have become acquainted with Mike, I continue to be impressed with his integrity, work ethic, community spirit, and trustworthiness.
...
I have never seen him raise his voice, or lose his patience... I wish American had more people with the grace and sincerity ... of Mike Wooten.

/s/ Sarah Palin, Mayor [of Wasilla]


Yeah that was also written 5 years before the incidents in question.
9.8.2008 11:58pm
Deagle (mail):
jccamp,

There were rules against tasing younger individuals. Not sure of the age, but there were rules that he violated. That of course does not include the idiocy of his actions.
9.9.2008 12:02am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Shame for Palin that the guy didn't taser someone in Guantanamo Bay. The liberals would have went nuts!
9.9.2008 12:03am
jccamp (mail):
Deagle,

I'm in total agreement. He probably had rules that forbade the use of his taser except in clearly defined circumstances that justified use of force. He also probably had rules against using the taser on juveniles in any circumstance. Although he did not taser the kid with malice, he was demonstrably stupid. It's the inability to control his own actions that is so disturbing.

Given the Governor's popularity within her own state, I suspect most of the people there agree with trying to can this fool. He's exactly the kind of overbearing bully that gives cops a bad name. Well, maybe a worse name...
9.9.2008 12:10am
Deagle (mail):
Jccamp.

Can't disagree with that! He actually needed to be removed and I just wish that Palin had accomplished the action.
9.9.2008 12:14am
David M. Nieporent (www):
What does the kid getting tased have to do with an alleged breach of power by Governor Palin? The issue here is not whether or not the trooper was a good or bad guy, the issue is whether Palin is someone who breaks the law and then lies about it. Who cares about the trooper? Does it make Plain's behavior any more or less reprehensible whether she was right about her allegations?
Yes, of course. How could it not be more reprehensible to lie to get someone fired than to tell the truth to get that person fired?

Out of curiosity, what "law" do you think she broke?


Apparently he served his suspension and has kept his nose clean since. I presume that other than the issues identified, that he is a good and valuable cop.
Yes, other than the crimes and abuses of authority. Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln...



Actually, the "illegal" hunting is one that I'll give Wooten a break on. It was true, on a technicality, but petty for Palin and her sister to file a complain about it.

From what I've read:

Sarah's sister had a permit to kill a moose, but she couldn't bring herself to shoot it, so Wooten shot the moose for her. Then since that was technically illegal they tossed that into the complaint.

Since it's technically true, it doesn't cast doubt on the veracity of the other complaints, really, but it's not really an issue that people can use to say Wooten was a bad cop.

I don't think many conservation officers would be all that upset if a hunter shot an animal with someone else's permit, with permission. I don't think my dad would, unless he hated the guy who did it.
Er, except at the time, he was in charge of enforcing those laws. If an ordinary person breaks a minor law, I think it's worth ignoring. But when LEOs do the same, I don't.

Of course by itself it's not a serious crime, but it shows a pattern of refusal to obey the law, which makes him unfit to be a LEO.
9.9.2008 12:16am
Bob R (mail):
Nephew:

I'd like to show my girlfriend how brae you can be when you're waterboarded. Please put me on the waterboard.

Uncle:

How about being beer boarded?
9.9.2008 12:20am
Smokey:
"Even though the boy wasn't harmed, tasing the boy was ill-advised, however brief and mild the pulse."
The 0bama apologiststs never give up, do they?
9.9.2008 12:21am
mariner (mail):
I don't think many conservation officers would be all that upset if a hunter shot an animal with someone else's permit, with permission. I don't think my dad would, unless he hated the guy who did it.

Last month I met a guy buying a fishing license.

He was cited and fined for holding someone else's fishing rod while the owner took care of some personal business, because in the interim a fish bit, and he didn't have a license.
9.9.2008 12:27am
Donna B. (mail) (www):
The one thing I've not seen discussed here is that the Governor's security detail is made up of state troopers. I'd certainly hope that Wooten never got that assignment if I were Palin.
9.9.2008 12:30am
MD-JD:
From the Anchorage Daily News:
TASING THE STEPSON

One day -- maybe a year or two before the investigation -- Wooten showed his stepson his Taser. He had just been to Taser instructor school. Wooten told Sgt. Wall that the boy was fascinated and pleaded to be tased.

"So we went in our living room and I had him get down on his knees so he wouldn't fall. And I taped the probes to him and turned the Taser on for like a second, turned it off. He thought that was the greatest thing in the world, wanted to do it again," Wooten told the investigator. The boy flinched but nothing more, he said. The boy was about 11 at the time.

In his interview with troopers, the stepson said it hurt for about a second, according to Wall's report. The boy said he wanted to be tased to show his cousin, Palin's daughter Bristol, that he wasn't a mama's boy. The probe left a welt on his arm, he said. His mother was upstairs yelling at them not to do it, the boy said.

As Bristol remembered it, the jolt knocked the boy backward, the trooper report says. She said she was afraid.

The probes are attached by thin wires to the Taser cartridge. In the field, an officer fires the probes into a suspect's skin or clothing and the suspect receives a jolt of electricity for five seconds, said Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Taser International, which makes the devices. They are only incapacitated during that time. In demos, the probes might be taped to a person so that they don't accidentally strike an eye or injure the volunteer, he said. If the Taser is fired for just a second, it would feel like your funny bone was hit but the quick jolt wouldn't knock you over, Tuttle said.

---------------------------------------------

This is a guy that you would want on the public payroll?
9.9.2008 12:37am
David M. Nieporent (www):
By the way, I just want to reiterate what the letter to Wooten from the state troopers says:
As the letter notes, "It is nearly certain that a civilian investigated under similar circumstances would have received criminal sanctions."
9.9.2008 12:39am
Mark Field (mail):

The thing is that Oren has no problem tasing a kid for the fun of it. If that is your position, you also are a strange fellow.


Since I expressly said I disagreed with Oren, I'd call your post a radical interpretation of the text.
9.9.2008 12:57am
lyarbrou (mail):
To those arguing that tasers are harmless, note the reports below. Individuals with cardiac disease such as cardiac channel defects, for example Long QT syndrome or other diseases of the the cardiac electrical system, could be especially sensitive to cardiac rhythm effects that might prove lethal. To me it seems nuts to taser a child, whether requested or not.

Acad Emerg Med. 2008 Jan;15(1):66-73.
TASER X26 discharges in swine produce potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias.
Walter RJ, Dennis AJ, Valentino DJ, Margeta B, Nagy KK, Bokhari F, Wiley DE, Joseph KT, Roberts RR.

Cook County Trauma Unit, John Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA. rwalter@cookcountytrauma.org


J Trauma. 2007 Sep;63(3):581-90.
Acute effects of TASER X26 discharges in a swine model.
Dennis AJ, Valentino DJ, Walter RJ, Nagy KK, Winners J, Bokhari F, Wiley DE, Joseph KT, Roberts RR.

Department of Trauma, Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
....11 standard pigs (6 experimentals and 5 sham controls) were anesthetized with ketamine and xylazine. The experimentals were exposed to two 40-second discharges from an EID (TASER X26, TASER Intl., Scottsdale, AZ) across the torso.
RESULTS: Two deaths were observed immediately after TASER exposure from acute onset ventricular fibrillation (VF). In surviving animals, heart rate was significantly increased and significant hypotension was noted. Acid-base status was dramatically affected by the TASER discharge at the 5-minute time point and throughout the 60-minute monitoring period. Five minutes postdischarge, central venous blood pH (6.86 +/- 0.07) decreased from baseline (7.45 +/- 0.02; p = 0.0004). Pco2 (94.5 mm Hg +/- 14.8 mm Hg) was significantly increased from baseline (45.3 mm Hg +/- 2.6 mm Hg) and bicarbonate levels significantly decreased (15.7 mmol/L +/- 1.04 mmol/L) from baseline (30.4 mmol/L +/- 0.7 mmol/L). A large, significant increase in lactate occurred postdischarge (22.1 mmol/L +/- 1.5 mmol/L) from baseline (1.5 mmol/L +/- 0.3 mmol/L). All values returned to normal by 24 hours postdischarge in surviving animals.
9.9.2008 1:04am
Hoosier:
Amrk Field:

Spare us the phalogocentric heteronormative heuristic that privileges intentionality as a hegemonic discourse for (en-)gendering textual interpetation.
9.9.2008 1:05am
Hoosier:
And DON'T seek impose an essentialist "spelling" of your "name."
9.9.2008 1:07am
AKD:
MDC,

That is, the guy really is scum and should be fired (and prosecuted), and he only got fired because he dissed the governor's family.


He was never fired. He got promoted.
9.9.2008 1:07am
Kevin P. (mail):

Tony Tutins:
But, the State Police did not believe his disciplinary record was significant enough to fire him.


Tony, the State Police gave him a sweetheart deal and they are and should not be the last word on the subject. The thin blue line is notorious for taking care of its own, even when its own are pretty bad apples, as appears to be the case here. I hang out on the ar15.com site, where the resident cops will almost always defend their own, even in the most egregious examples of official misconduct.

The police must be accountable to the elected branch, or else every citizen is in trouble. I personally think that elected officials in the executive branch should have the power to directly fire any public servant at any level, while doing so in a transparent manner and taking the consequences in the next election. I wouldn't mind the legislative branch having the power do so either, subject to the normal veto process.
9.9.2008 1:17am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Jim, there's a difference between "lousy cop" and "dirty cop". I'd advise maintaining a distinction between a cop with behavioral problems and a cop on the take.
9.9.2008 1:26am
good strategy (mail):
Wooten is pretty obviously a loser that ought not to have been in law enforcement.

If Palin asked Moneghan to take a look at his case simply because she knew he was no good, well, whoop de do, anyone would have done that, including every lib, liberal, or pinko on this blog. Asking once might or might not be by the pure ethical book but few people would consider the intervention so heavy handed as to compromise the appearance of impartiality by Moneghan.

The allegations are not that simple. There is evidence that she might have mounted a campaign to get Wooten fired. If true, it shows that she was either unaware or unconcerned with the perception of a conflict of interest. Moneghan's firing is more troubling still. Considering some of the stories about her tenure as Mayor, it fits into a narrative of someone unwilling to compromise who will purge dissenters.

As someone who finds the idea of a Palin Presidency deeply disturbing, "Troopergate" isn't much of a scandal. I suspect the investigation was being cooperated with because Palin knew that ultimately it wouldn't amount to much. As part of a larger pattern of being in over her head, however, it is troubling. That mayoral executive experience? Turns out that she ran the major project of her tenure into the red by being sloppy and ignorant -- being too much in a hurry, and not listening to people.

If she shows some depth in the coming weeks she will be a formidable politician this season and beyond, even if the GOP loses the Presidency. So far there isn't much to hold onto... what does a VP do? Fannie Mae? A variety of non-corrupt pols in Alaska who criticize her unwillingness to engage the complex details of policymaking? Someone who lies repeatedly about pork spending while running for office as a reformer? Troopergate is just not something to get worked up over. All it shows to me is that she didn't have the political savvy to take this total thug loser of a cop down in a quiet way because she was so eager to flex her new power. Not a good trait.
9.9.2008 1:43am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
@good strategy: good comment.
9.9.2008 1:56am
Tony Tutins (mail):

The police must be accountable to the elected branch, or else every citizen is in trouble.

Very reasonable and I agree completely. But Palin concealed evidence of all of Wooten's transgressions -- the tasing, the cow moose shooting, drinking beer in the cruiser -- until the breakup. What does that say about Palin's character?

A smarter ex-sister-in-law would have tried to avoid the appearance of conducting a personal vendetta, by having an independent agency investigate the outcomes of all investigations into complaints against state troopers. By singling out her ex-brother-in-law, instead of looking like an effective executive, she just looks like a loyal, vindictive sister.


By the way, I just want to reiterate what the letter to Wooten from the state troopers says:

As the letter notes, "It is nearly certain that a civilian investigated under similar circumstances would have received criminal sanctions."

David, what letter is that? That's not what the letter of reprimand from Colonel Grimes says.
9.9.2008 2:02am
David Warner:
Good Strategy:

Excellent summary of her downside, especially in light of her predecessors in the GOP tradition (W, Nixon). I don't know that you do justice to the upside, however - her willingness to take on corruption in her own party (and her success in so doing!), her ability to take out both Murkowski and Knowles in the governors race, her satisfaction of 80% of Alaskans in her governorship, the generally libertarian way in which she secured it (perhaps lessons learned from her mayorality), and her sheer energy, which the country, not to mention the GOP, sorely needs.

The contrast between her willingness to take on the GOP and Obama's unwillingness to do the same with his party is a stark contrast.
9.9.2008 3:34am
ros:
Haven't read all comments but I would imagine that as many are reading the official documents they would have come across Wooten's excuse that the kid was n adrenaline junkie, like all child abusers he doesn't get it.
What I haven't been able to find is the url for, much to my irritation, a radio program on radio KUDO Alaska with CC in Cutting Edge, 17th. Both Monegan and Hollis were on the program (demonstrating Hollis's objectivity, he threw the possibility of criminal charges against Governor Palin into the show)

The really shocking statement I heard was CC reporting that the union's position was that the tasering of the child by a trooper was not a dismissible offence because it was hardly an UNUSUAL thing for a trooper to do. This generated no concern from the host or Monegan. That force has some major issues. Will continue to look for the audio of the program.
9.9.2008 4:10am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Not unusual. Those troopers have some tough kids.
9.9.2008 9:02am
David M. Nieporent (www):
David, what letter is that? That's not what the letter of reprimand from Colonel Grimes says.
Yes, it is. Page 3 of the letter.
9.9.2008 9:24am
good strategy (mail):

her satisfaction of 80% of Alaskans in her governorship,


I believe her more recent numbers were 60%. That doesn't impress me, given the state of Alaska politics.


The contrast between her willingness to take on the GOP and Obama's unwillingness to do the same with his party is a stark contrast.


Surely you jest! Obama took on the identity politics victim-trip crowd (Jesse Jackson, some of the Hillary people) and criticized African-American absentee fathers. He avoided the entrenched big-money people in the party. He defeated the Clinton machine. He acknowledged that Reagan had some good ideas. He isn't a pacifist or a pretend-militarist. He isn't perfect, but comparing Obama to Palin is inane IMO as he is obviously way more thoughtful on way more issues.

I also don't understand why people call her libertarian. I am open to believing that she is willing to put aside her own religious views on sex ed and gay rights, but her actual views don't seem all that respectful to individuals. Libertarians that are mostly focused on economics are rank hypocrites IMO, but that's another story.
9.9.2008 10:39am
David Warner:
"Surely you jest! Obama took on the identity politics victim-trip crowd (Jesse Jackson, some of the Hillary people) and criticized African-American absentee fathers. He avoided the entrenched big-money people in the party. He defeated the Clinton machine. He acknowledged that Reagan had some good ideas. He isn't a pacifist or a pretend-militarist. He isn't perfect, but comparing Obama to Palin is inane IMO as he is obviously way more thoughtful on way more issues."

Thought vs. action. Generalities vs. specifics. Expedience vs. courage. Interest vs. principle.

I'm voting for Obama in an attempt to drive a stake through Rove's heart and because I think he has the sense to resurrect the DLC approach ritually sacrificed by the nutroots. He's an American Blair. But Palin has shown the stones to be the more transformative force long term.
9.9.2008 11:15am
Tony Tutins (mail):

Yes, it is. Page 3 of the letter.

You're right, thanks. I thought you meant it was near the discussion of the tasing incident. Although I did read through the document, that sentence didn't leap out at me, being in the middle of one of the concluding paragraphs as it was.
9.9.2008 11:32am
Hoosier:
David Warner

I'm voting for Obama in an attempt to drive a stake through Rove's heart

A wasted vote then. Rove cannot be killed by any means known to folklore, let alone political process. Even the Gypsies have given up trying.

By the way, this is going to be the basis for the next Indiana Jones movie. Mutt Jones and the Imortal Campaign Strategist. (Frankly, they really need to work on the name.)
9.9.2008 11:32am
Mark Field (mail):

Spare us the phalogocentric heteronormative heuristic that privileges intentionality as a hegemonic discourse for (en-)gendering textual interpetation.


Can I quote you in the next debate over originalism?

Oh, and LOL. But if you don't spell my name right, I'll come after you like Gov. Palin goes after a wolf.
9.9.2008 11:55am
Hoosier:
Mark Field

Hey, be my guest and quote away. Just bear in mind that the received discursive "meaning" of a text establishes no essentialist relationship between signifier and signified.

I am, by the way, reviewing a monograph by postmodernist historian as we write. And spending gobs of time on VC, because I can't bear the pain of actually finishing reading the book. ("Text"?)

I will, of course, demolish it. And then pistol-whip the author before nailing his ears to my garage door. As per usual.

I know I should be in jail for this approach to reviewing academic-press books. But the perpetrators--I am the victim here--always insist on a post-structuralist prosecution strategy as a condition of cooperating with the state. So it's by definition impossible to meet the burden of proof. Or even speak of it without doing those "quote mark" things with the DA's fingers. (Usually the state's entire case consists of showing the jury the director's cut of "Blade Runner.")

Which is nice for me.
9.9.2008 12:21pm