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Lots of official documents are available which include key information. Here are some crucial facts that jump off the page when those documents are examined. Most of this information is not being widely reported elsewhere, as far as I can tell.

A) TASING THE KID WAS DUMB, BUT HARDLY A VICIOUS ASSAULT

Mike Wooten's stepson Payton was 11 at the time (some reports say 10). He volunteered to be Tased, out of curiosity. The following statements are from police interviews of all four people who were in the house during the incident (pdf):

Payton advised that a year or two ago Mike Wooten had tased him … he [Payton] was in the living room when Mike was showing him and his cousin, Bristol his equipment [Bristol is Sarah Palin's daughter; Bristol was 14 at the time]. He [Payton] stated that Mike asked him if he wanted to try it (the Taser) and he agreed. … Payton stated that he wanted to be tased to show that he's not a mommy's boy in front of Bristol. Following being tased he went upstairs to tell his mother that he was fine.

(Emphasis added.) Besides Wooten and Payton, Bristol is the only eyewitness. Upstairs listening was Molly. Molly is the mother of Payton, and the sister of Sarah Palin, and (at the time) the wife of Wooten. This is what Bristol said:

Molly was bathing the two kids up stairs. Payton and her [Bristol] were looking at items on Mike's belt. When they asked about the Taser Mike advised that it shocks and asked them if they wanted to try it … Payton agreed to try the taser. … Bristol stated that Payton volunteered to be tased, and that Mike had offered to see if she wanted to try also. Bristol refused stating that she was scared.

Bristol was asked why she waited so long and brought the incident up after two years. She then stated "because of the divorce and stuff."

This is what Wooten said:

Wooten stated he had just returned home from Taser instructor school, and that Payton was fascinated with his equipment. Wooten … showed Payton the Taser and what it does. … Payton was riding him about being tased and wanted to try it.

Wooten stated that he used a training cartridge and taped the probes to Payton. He then placed him on his knees and gave him a quick shock and believed it lasted a second at the most. Wooten stated that Payton is an adrenaline junky, and that he was bragging about it to his buddies when they would come over to his house. Wooten advised that he didn't think it hurt Payton and that Payton wanted to do it again.

Wooten stated that Payton is extremely interested in law enforcement. He also advised that he was a father teaching his son. Wooten advised that Molly was up stairs during the Taser incident and knew what he was doing. Wooten said Molly didn't have a problem with it, however didn't want him to do it again.

This is what Molly said:

she was up stairs giving a bath to the kids … Mike was going to show Payton what it feels like and she told Mike that he better not … Mile then tased Payton … Payton was shook up … Bristol was really upset … Mike thought that she was totally overreacting to the event … Payton didn't cry but was upset.

It should be noted that Sarah Palin wrote (pdf) that Molly "aggressively protested during the Taser gun incident." But by all accounts, Molly never interrupted what she was doing (giving kids a bath) to go downstairs. By Molly's own account, she simply "told Mike that he better not." Apparently yelling this down the stairs, while continuing to give kids a bath. This is what Sarah called "aggressively protested."

Some information about what happens during a Taser demo (because that's essentially what it was):

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.

The above police interviews took place in 6/05. The Taser incident apparently took place in 2003. Molly and Wooten became separated in 1/05. Molly filed for divorce in 4/05. It should be noted that no one made a fuss about the Taser incident until the marriage started falling apart. Just like Bristol said.

I think there's no question that Wooten did an idiotic thing (maybe almost as idiotic as something McCain did: pick Palin). But I think it's a distortion to frame this as an assault or an act of child abuse. Of course that's how the usual suspects are framing it.

B) THE ALLEGED DEATH THREAT SOUNDS VERY FISHY

Aside from the Tasing, the other major accusation against Wooten is that he threatened to kill his father-in-law, in 2/05. Who heard that alleged threat? Molly, Sarah Palin, and Sarah's son Track. The latter two were not there in person; they were allegedly listening, over the phone, to a conversation that took place between Molly and Wooten. Wooten says they're lying.

Here's an odd thing about that anecdote: the sisters kept it to themselves for about a month, before telling dad. Even though Sarah said this (pdf):

My fear was that what I didn't want to see was him [Wooten] not only harming MOLLY or the kids but getting back in his rig and running over to my dads house and actually shooting him

Also from a police interview of Sarah Palin (pdf):

Palin was also questioned as to why it took her two weeks to advise her father of Wooten's threat. Palin then stated that it was because Wooten had no reason to shoot her father.

Huh? She claims that she heard Wooten issue a death threat, and she was worried about Wooten "running over to my dads house and actually shooting him." But then she says "Wooten had no reason to shoot her father," and that's why she didn't bother calling 911, or even telling dad. For a month (not two weeks). I think she's having a hard time keeping her story straight. And the story was not reported to the police until April, on the same day that Molly filed her divorce.

C) KILLING THE MOOSE WAS ALSO NO BIG DEAL

This also happened in 2003, in the Fall. Wooten went hunting with Molly and a friend. They had a license made out in Molly's name. But when it came time to shoot the moose, Molly demurred. According to Wooten,  Molly said "I don't want to shoot it you shoot it." So Wooten did. This is illegal, because the license is nontransferable, even though it was in his wife's name. Molly was supposed to shoot the moose. Obviously not a big deal, although Wooten did break the law.

This reminds me of someone else who went hunting without "proper hunting credentials:" a man who shot his friend in the face.

The moose incident happened in 2003, but no one seemed to complain or take notice, until the marriage fell apart in 2005. It was only then that the Palin family raised complaints about this incident. Just like with the Taser story.

D) YES, WOOTEN WAS FOUND GUILTY OF HAVING AN OPEN BEER IN HIS PATROL CAR

It seems that Wooten likes to drink. But it should be noted that as far as I can tell, he's never been arrested for drunk driving. That puts him ahead of both Bush and Cheney.

E) THE PALIN FAMILY MADE A BUNCH OF OTHER ACCUSATIONS THAT WERE FOUND TO BE UNSUBSTANTIATED

A thorough police investigation was done (about 15 people were interviewed), and Wooten was finally punished with a five-day suspension in 2006, based on the four items I just described. A bunch of other accusations made by the Palin family were found to be unsubstantiated.

You'll see reports claiming that Wooten has other bad stuff in his file. That's true, but it's minor. Stuff like failing to use turn signals (pdf).

F) PALIN USED TO THINK THAT WOOTEN WALKED ON WATER

In 2000, Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla. The following is a letter she wrote, on her official stationery (pdf):

1/1/2000

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.

Mike has assisted the City of Wasilla with community events … Mike is a strong supporter of the youth in our community … Mike gained respect for his patience and dedication to the young men in his care [coaching football, age 7-9] …

… I have witnessed Mike's gift of calm and kindness towards many young kids … I have never seen him raise his voice, nor lose patience, nor become aggitated [sic] in the presence of any child. Instead, Mike consistently remains a fine role model for my own children, and the other young people in Wasilla. I wish America had more people with the grace and sincerity that mirrors the character of Mike Wooten … we would have a much kinder, calmer, trustworthy nation as a result.

I beleive [sic] the United States Air Force has been fortunate to have the services of Mike these past 10 years. His work ethic, his American patriotism, his obvious dedication to traditional values, and his strong faith in God and truth is witnessed in Mike's everyday living.

It is an honor to know Mike and I am confident he will continue to grow in character and internal strength as he moves through life. I do not hesitate in praising this man …

At the very, very least, Sarah Palin has appallingly poor judgment. Contrast the words above to what she called Wooten in 2005 (pdf): a "loose cannon" and a "ticking timebomb." So why did Palin change her views so dramatically? It's obvious: her sister's marriage fell apart.

G) THE DIVORCE JUDGE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE PALINS WERE TRYING TO RUIN WOOTEN

The judge said this:

It appears for the world that Ms. McCann and her family have decided to take off for the guy's livelihood -- that the bitterness of whatever who did what to whom has overridden good judgment … Aesop told us not to slay the goose who lays the golden egg. For whatever reason people are trying to slay the goose here and it tends to diminish his earning capacity.

H) BOYS WILL BE BOYS

I'm thinking of a person who acts out a lot. Breaks lots of rules. Gets into trouble. Who am I thinking of? John Mccain, in the Naval Academy.

Yes, that's what Wooten is like, too. He's had problems. He's been married and divorced four times.  But he was also in the Air Force for 10 years, and he has served on the state SERT (SWAT) team. And some people have been very impressed with him, like Sarah Palin in 2000.

I) IT'S NOT THE CRIME, IT'S THE COVERUP

The usual suspects are saying that Wooten deserved to be fired, so Palin did the right thing. Trouble is, if Wooten deserved to be fired, Palin should have said that openly and publicly. But she couldn't, because the case was closed, and Wooten had already been punished for the accusations that had been substantiated, and he was doing his job properly. So instead, Palin conducted a covert crusade to get him fired, and then denied doing so. Get your popcorn, because new evidence is popping up all the time. Monegan says he has emails that he's giving to the investigators. Palin might have a shorter half-life than Harriett Miers.

J) SOME KEY DATES

1/1/00. Palin writes "It is my pleasure to provide character reference examples for Mr. Mike Wooten" (pdf).

3/01. Wooten becomes a state trooper.

  1. Molly and Mike get married.

Fall 03. The moose incident. The Taser incident is also sometime in 2003.

1/05. Molly and Wooten separate.

2/17/05. Wooten makes that alleged death threat.

4/11/05. Molly files for divorce. On the same day she decides it's finally time to report the alleged death threat to the police.

5/05 and 6/05. Police conduct lots of interviews, in connection with accusations made against Wooten by the Palins.

8/10/05. Sarah Palin emails Col. Grimes, head of the AST (Alaska State Troopers) making many allegations against Wooten (pdf). There is little or nothing that Sarah witnessed herself. It's mostly double or triple hearsay via her sister and others. Most of those allegations are later found to be unsubstantiated.

10/18/05. Palin announces she's running for governor.

10/27/05. Divorce trial takes place.

10/29/05. Memo of findings clears Wooten of 10 out of 13 charges.

1/31/06. Divorce is final.

2/1/06. Grimes substantiates a fourth allegation (beer in the car).

3/1/06. Wooten is suspended.

8/22/06. Palin wins primary.

9/5/06. Wooten's suspension reduced to five days (from 10) after union files a grievance.

11/7/06. Palin wins election.

12/06. Palin appoints Monegan to a cabinet position.

  1. Monegan is pressured to fire Wooten. Details on front page of today's WP.

7/08. Palin fires Monegan.

7/17/08. Palin issues denial (pdf):

To allege that I, or any member of my family … directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous … Former Commissioner Monegan was not released due to any actions or inaction related to personnel issues in his department

8/13/08. Highly inconvenient evidence emerges: recording of a phone conversation (video, video).

J) SOURCES

Get your news straight from Alaska, here and here.

A Popular Mechanics lab test showing a volunteer being Tased is here (video). I don't think anyone will find the video terribly disturbing. I think Payton experienced a shock of a shorter duration.

Update: Josh Marshall at TPM has just posted an outstanding summary of the whole story. If you read just one article about Troopergate, that should be the one.

Originally posted to jukeboxgrad on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 11:37 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the timeline (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eman, jukeboxgrad, cosette, khereva

    This should be pushed as much as possible.

  •  appreciate the info (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jukeboxgrad, khereva, Alec82

    I'll send a link to the dairy around.  

  •  This doesn't matter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stoneage

    Every one of the four candidates has ethical questions being trumpeted about them, this Troopergate nonsense is far and away the least substantial of all of 'em. Stupid gossip, a non-issue, a distraction.

    My suggestion is that you we let the MSM cope with Troopergate, and inexperience-gate and the-daughter-is-really-the-mamagate; you we let the campaign focus on the issues, and that you we concentrate on raising money and awareness and registering voters.

    Apologies for devaluing all the effort you put into researching this diary, and to the citizens of the great state of Alaska for blowing off their brush with greatness, but, oh, never mind....

    •  It is an issue (6+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry, you may not THINK it should be an issue, or that it won't be picked up, but it is an abuse of political office.  That's a major issue.  

      And um, there's nothing remotely comparable on Obama's end.

    •  Huh? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tundraman, jukeboxgrad, kurt, Alec82, Obamacrat
      What "ethical questions" surround Obama that are not complete right-wing fabrications? In fact, Troopergate is substantial because it demonstrates Palin's propensity to misuse power. The exact charges don't matter. What does matter is that Palin apparently inappropriately injected herslef into a situation. BTW I don't think there are any seriuos "ethical questions" around Biden either. I disagree with some of his stands and his votes, but I haven't heard any serious "ethical questions" except against from the extreme right.

      This is a huge deal- among many other huge deals surrounding Palin.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:05:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I should add (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jukeboxgrad, kurt, Obamacrat
      that the very fact that you say "ethical quesations are being trumpeted' about all four candidates is proof that we need to trumpet this. The right is using debunked charges (Rezko) against Obama so when we have something real, it needs to be slammed. Sarah Palin should be no where near power.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:07:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You must live somewhere really small (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stoneage, Obamacrat

        to think that Troopergate is an issue worth fighting about. I mean, there's no arguing that Sarah Palin "should be nowhere near power," but IMHO, this is not a "huge deal," and I still think that the way to keep her away from power is to use your energy to GOTV.  

        BTW I don't think there are any seriuos "ethical questions" around Biden either.

        I think this might not be "a huge deal," either, but it's certainly more problematic than Troopergate:

        Business dealings of Biden family could be problematic for him

        •  Go back where you came from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Obamacrat

          Turning this into a thread about alleged problems with Biden is not going to help convince anyone of your sincerity.

          •  Your straw grasping (0+ / 0-)

            isn't convincing me of your sincerity, either.

            •  History (0+ / 0-)

              I don't have to prove my sincerity. I have a track record here. Take a look. You don't. But you're doing a nice job of developing one. Just the wrong kind.

              •  No, mine's the right kind (0+ / 0-)

                I'm on point about what's going to win this election, and that's sticking it to them on real issues, but you're distracted by and scared of Sarah Palin, and that's pathetic.

                •  Sorry did I miss the part of this campaign (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jukeboxgrad

                  where judgment has not been defined by both campaigns as a "real issue"?

                  It may be "pathetic" on both the Obama & McCain campaigns according to your view, but well, I guess they didn't check in with you..?  

                  •  The "judgment" (0+ / 0-)

                    to be questioned is McCain's for having chosen this person to run with him. Her judgment is, at best, a secondary issue.

                    •  Well, it's the lead for a WaPo article (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      jukeboxgrad, Alec82

                      his judgment in picking a person who has exercised such questionable judgment that she is under and a state ethics investigation.  

                      The Washington Post reports, "Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is an ethics reformer under an ethics investigation that is plowing through private domestic matters.

                      MSNBC

                      What's confusing for you here?  The only reason this is a story outside of Alaska is because John McCain recklessly and idiotically picked a person who is under an ethics investigation. What part of "VP choice under ethics investigation" did John McCain miss?  It has been said, ad nauseum, in the past few days (Doris Kearns Goodwin said it last, I think) that a candidate's VP selection is the first Presidential act of a Presidential nominee.

                      I understand that you disagree with this diarist, WaPo, NYT, MSNBC, Doris Kearns Goodwin, etc about the importance of Palin's judgment.  Got it.

        •  I live in a county (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jukeboxgrad, kurt, Obamacrat
          with double the population of Alaska. I am FROM Chicago. Michelle Obama and I attended the same elementary school. You obviously have issues but you're starting to sound like a condescending troll.

          We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

          by anastasia p on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:28:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The time to let the MSM deal with things is over. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jukeboxgrad, kurt

      We have to take things like this in our own hands.

      Remember, we are the ones we have been waiting for.

      We don't let things, we do things.

      By McCain's logic, Europe had 100,000's concentration camp survivors ready to lead their countries after WWII.

      by Calouste on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:19:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You've got to be kidding (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      I think Troopergate is her area of greatest weakness. There is an ongoing investigation. New evidence is going to emerging on practically a daily basis. The investigators are due to deliver a final report right before election day. We can hit her with this like a ton of bricks. It's just going to get better and better.

      In terms of being vindictive, ruthless, and corrupt, she's another Cheney. This is the story that proves it. But she's not as smart or experienced as Cheney.

      By the way, I looked at your history and noticed that you showed up here about 10 minutes ago, more or less. Hmm.

    •  Hmm, no one seems to heed your advice, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jukeboxgrad

      even the Alaska state legislature

      A bipartisan committee of the state legislature voted unanimously to hire a retired prosecutor to investigate. His report is due in October."

      MSNBC

      and a few major US media outlets like the Washington Post, the New York Times, you know, more folks who don't have the sense to listen to and understand your wisdom on this and drop it as

      Stupid gossip, a non-issue, a distraction.

      I am sure Sarah Palin, however, really appreciates your incisive political instincts and general sentiments.

      It's nice of you to have an opinion, though, and thanks for sharing.  

      •  You're quite welcome! (0+ / 0-)

        As to the major media outlets that have picked this story up, that's all well and good, but preaching to the choir here about it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again is a waste of bandwidth.

        Whether or not Sarah Palin appreciates my political instincts or not makes no difference to me, Uncle Moji, because I don't give a shit about her and her dealings, but most Kossacks seem to agree, which is why diaries on this subject never make it to the Rec list and why this diarist only has 10 recs in his tip jar.

        Have a great weekend!

  •  consider this: (0+ / 0-)

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:04:10 AM PDT

  •  Misreading the narrative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DelRPCV, FiveSecondRule

    I really don't think you're going to win this in the court of public opinion by trying to debate about this point for point. Most people are going to hear "tased a kid" and make up their minds instantly. I mean, take a deep breath and read the headline you wrote and imagine saying it on TV: "TASING THE KID WAS DUMB, BUT HARDLY A VICIOUS ASSAULT." You want Senator Obama or anyone who represents him to go on TV and defend a wife-beater who tasered a kid? Cuz that's how it's gonna read.

    Slow down. Go at her on the issues. She's bad for women. "She's no Hillary Clinton." Let this play out a little. Let Joe Biden do his job. Don't. Make. Her. Look. Like. A. Victim. (At least not of anyone but John McCain.)

  •  thank you (5+ / 0-)

    for explaining the circumstances of the tasing. I was very curious about what happened and why the police were so lenient on Wooten. It's obviously relevant that the kid volunteered, bragged about it to others, and even asked to do it again.

    As for Sarah Palin, I'm appalled by her spelling. That's supposed to be a letter of recommendation? "Aggitated"? "Beleive"?  She is of course one of the most qualified and experienced Republican politicians in the country, so perhaps that makes up for it.

  •  Are we kidding?? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DelRPCV

    I'm voting for Obama, but I gotta point out a few issues with this diary:

    1.  Wooten displays an utter lack of common sense when he uses police-issue non-lethal weapons to taze an 11 year old kid
    1.  Wooten poaches a moose and compromises his integrity.  Remember the officer in Georgia who had a hand in that bigfoot-in-a-freezer hoax?  Fired, because his supervisor cannot put the officer on any witness stand and expect a jury to take him seriously.
    1.  Wooten carries open beer in his patrol car, another integrity issue.

    Are we suggesting that Wooten should not have been fired for these serious breaches of common sense and professional ethics?  I'm more than a bit pissed that it took so long to get rid of the slug.  If anything, failing to get rid of him sooner reflects badly on Palin.

    •  Try again (0+ / 0-)

      With all due respect, you're poorly informed about a number of things. Here's one:

      "I'm more than a bit pissed that it took so long to get rid of the slug"

      Nobody got rid of Wooten. He's still on the job.

      Aside from that, you're focusing on one version of the facts, even though there are two sides to a story, especially in a messy divorce.

      And the issue isn't Wooten, or whether or not the punishment he was given is adequate. The issue is that Palin claims she wasn't trying to get him fired, even though there's a growing mountain of evidence that she was doing precisely that. This is about Palin abusing power, and then trying to cover it up.

      •  Points taken... (0+ / 0-)

        However, the Dems need to sell this to a public that might not have time to root out every scrap of information.  If you go into this portraying Wooten as any sort of victim, this argument becomes an instant loser.

        It's unfortunate Wooten didn't get canned.  He's confirmed that the tazing incident did occur, and the beer incident is confirmed.  Never mind whether or not the poaching incident is a case of he-said-she-said, the first two don't make for the sort of character we expect in law enforcement officials.  I doubt you'll find many people who would be comfortable with this sort of person on a police force.

        As for Palin, she could simply claim the first time she heard of Wooten's conduct was when it came up during divorce proceedings and felt she had a duty to report it.  Now, if you can show that Palin had prior knowledge of Wooten's conduct and chose to do nothing until the divorce issue came up, then you have something that is radioactive for the 'Pubs.

        Like it or not, Wooten's character is going to soften the impact of Palin's misconduct unless she had prior knowledge and did nothing until it was in her interest to act.

        •  The VICTIM is Public Safety Director Walt Monegan (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jukeboxgrad, Alec82

          who refused to illegally fire someone simply because he was being repeatedly pressured by Sarah Palin, her husband Todd, and members of her senior staff.

        •  Stand with Monegan, not Palin (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alec82

          "the Dems need to sell this to a public that might not have time to root out every scrap of information"

          Of course. That's why we have to make it simple, clear, and truthful.

          "If you go into this portraying Wooten as any sort of victim, this argument becomes an instant loser."

          People are not quite that stupid. We don't have to reduce the whole story to heros and villains. We're not making Wooten a victim. We're simply saying he's guilty of certain things and not guilty of other things. In other words, we're upholding the findings of the police investigation, and we're standing with Monegan. I think it's very important to point out that most of the claims Palin made against Wooten were found to be unsubstantiated, after careful investigation. This tells us a lot about who Palin is: someone who is willing to spread unsubstantiated rumors for the purpose of ruining an enemy.

          "It's unfortunate Wooten didn't get canned."

          You're obviously entitled to your opinion, but the police investigators reached a different conclusion. And when you claim they're wrong, even though they examined the facts much more closely than you did, you're playing Palin's game. When you promote the narrative that Wooten should have been canned, then you're painting Palin as the hero of the story.

          "the beer incident is confirmed"

          That's borderline. Palin presented a long list of drunk-driving allegations, but most of it was found to be rumor and exaggeration. In the end, Wooten was indeed found guilty of carrying a beer into the patrol car. But the asterisk next to this finding is that the only witnesses are people close to Palin's dad. One of them was a student of his way back in Idaho. In the end, the investigators decided to believe this witness. But there is reason to take the story with a grain of salt.

          "Never mind whether or not the poaching incident is a case of he-said-she-said"

          I think this is another part of the story that you don't understand very well. There is no "he-said-she-said" regarding the moose. All parties agree that Wooten shot a moose, and all parties agree that the hunting tag (the right to shoot this moose) was in Molly's name. She was right there. If she had shot the moose, there would be no problem. But she asked Wooten to shoot the moose.

          This has to do with fine print in hunting regulations. Some allow a "proxy," which means assigning my tag to someone else, like my spouse. Wooten interpreted the regulation incorrectly. He thought a proxy shooting was allowed, under the terms of this hunting tag. Especially since the tag was made out to his spouse, and his spouse was sitting right there, and his spouse has specifically asked him to shoot the moose on her behalf. This is very much a technicality, and I think it's misleading to call it "poaching."

          "I doubt you'll find many people who would be comfortable with this sort of person on a police force."

          Monegan is respected, and was police chief in Anchorage for years. And he was indeed "comfortable with this sort of person on a police force." You are discrediting him, and you're failing to explain what makes your judgment more valid than his, in this situation. If you're not standing with Monegan, you're standing with Palin.

          "As for Palin, she could simply claim the first time she heard of Wooten's conduct was when it came up during divorce proceedings and felt she had a duty to report it."

          You are raising a very interesting point, which is mostly relevant with regard to the Tasing incident. But the problem is this. Either that incident truly upset Molly at the time, or not. If the former, it's not plausible to imagine that she would not tell her sister. By all accounts, the two are close. But if the latter, then this makes us wonder what kind of mom Molly is, and it casts doubt on the credibility of all her claims. And most of the allegations Sarah made against Wooten had no basis outside of hearsay via Molly.

          Recall that according to Sarah, Molly "aggressively protested during the Taser gun incident." But by Molly's own account, she didn't even bother to go downstairs to intervene directly. And then she didn't tell her sister for two years? These pieces don't fit together very well.

          Anyway, you're right that we're not in a position to prove that Sarah failed to report the Tasing incident for two years (although we know that's true about Molly). But with regard to the alleged death threat, Sarah admittedly failed to report that promptly. So that's a problem for her.

    •  The issue here is Palin's abuse of power (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jukeboxgrad, Alec82

      The kid was allegedly tasered in 2003 or 2004.

      The urgent report was made in summer of 2005.

      An investigation deposing over a dozen people was conducted, concluded, and re-opened at least once.  

      The trooper was disciplined through normal channels.

      Sarah Palin, after being elected governor, along with her husband Todd and her senior staff began putting pressure on the state police chief in 2007.

      As the divorce court judge clearly stated - the Palin family was going after this guy's job.

      •  Yes, abuse of power is the key issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alec82

        "2003 or 2004"

        There is indeed some conflicting information on this point, but I think it was 2003.

        "deposing over a dozen people"

        I think it was about 15 people. It was police interviews, not depositions.

        Just some very minor clarifications.

        As you said, the key issue is abuse of power. And then lying about it and covering it up. In this regard, she's perfectly suited to help give us Bush's third term.

  •  Umm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ThatBritGuy

    I'm gonna be wicked pissed if any Obama surrogate trots out a "The kid was asking for it!" defense of this guy.  This is quite possibly the worst advice I have ever seen.

    It misses the point entirely.  Governor Palin has a long history of firing her personal enemies, including the Police Chief and Town Librarian of Wasilla.  Their crime?  Supporting her opponent in the election.  They were not political appointees, and the Chief sued.

    A petty, vindictive extremist.  Sound familiar?  More of the same, indeed.

    •  Undue squeamishness is a mistake (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alec82

      You're obviously correct that it would be a mistake to try to turn Wooten into a hero. At the same time, we mustn't let the other side distort the facts for the purpose of turning him into something worse than what he is. That's exactly what Palin has been doing, for years, and it's exactly what McCain's supporters are trying to do at this exact moment. It's a big mistake to let them get away with that, because the result is that Palin will look like a hero. We just need to insist on telling the story correctly.

      Wooten should be seen as what he is, no better and no worse. We're not defending Wooten; we're defending the investigative process that looked into the allegations against him, and found that most of them were unsubstantiated, and found that a five-day suspension was the proper punishment for the ones that were considered proven. That investigative process did indeed take into account the fact that "the kid was asking for it." That was one of a long list of facts that was considered. We mustn't let the other side erase that fact, or any facts.

      We obviously shouldn't frame the story as Palin vs. Wooten. The story is Palin versus a system of justice that already gave Wooten a fair and complete punishment, years ago. Palin didn't like the outcome, for personal reasons, so she's been abusing her power to try to force the outcome she prefers. And now she's lying about and trying to cover up her abuse of power.

      I realize there is a very strong tendency to be squeamish about saying anything that sounds like we're blaming the kid. Or that we're approving of Wooten's behavior. But we're not doing those things. We're just insisting that the story is told truthfully and completely.

    •  See Josh Marshall (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eman

      He just posted a superb article explaining why whe shouldn't be afraid to pursue this story.

      •  Big difference between pursuing the story (0+ / 0-)

        And trying to defend the guy.  That's a messy, slippery slope that the Republicans are only too happy to jump onto.  As Josh points out, it's completely irrelevant.  I agree completely with Josh.

        Your diary is filled with talking points about why Wooten was railroaded.  Maybe, maybe not.  We're on much stronger ground assuming that all the charges against him are true.  It doesn't change a thing.  "Insisting that the story is told truthfully" is a waste of time.

        •  insisting on the truth… (0+ / 0-)

          … is never a waste of time.

          And if we allow the claim that "all the charges against him are true," then we're handing the other side a big opportunity to paint Palin as a hero, someone who will hound a bad cop to the gates of hell. That's exactly the story they're trying to sell.

          Wooten, like anyone else, deserves to be blamed for charges that are proven, and not for anything else.

        •  Also (0+ / 0-)

          I have said nothing to imply that Wooten was "railroaded." That would mean that he didn't earn his suspension. Of course he did.

          We should not see this in terms of standing with Wooten, or defending Wooten. We should see this in terms of standing with the police investigators, and with Monegan. Their position is that Wooten's suspension was a just and sufficient punishment, and that it's time to move on. This is the position we should support.

          •  I agree with this part (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jukeboxgrad

            We should not see this in terms of standing with Wooten, or defending Wooten. We should see this in terms of standing with the police investigators, and with Monegan. Their position is that Wooten's suspension was a just and sufficient punishment, and that it's time to move on. This is the position we should support.

            Fair enough.  I think a lot of the points in your diary get us into the weeds, but the simple point that Wooten was investigated by the department and they determined that he had been sufficiently punished is a good one.  Don't get into the details beyond that.  Say, "this is a matter for the Alaska State Police, not a political issue - but she made it one."

            •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Alec82

              You summed it up well.

              "Don't get into the details beyond that."

              The problem is that when the other side presents the story in a misleading manner, we have to be prepared to counter with correct details. That's why I present so many details. But you're absolutely right that often it's better to just stick with a simple point and avoid the details.

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