Thursday, 10 March 2011

How Sarah Palin deals with a crisis

I have slowed down the review of Sarah Palin's gates as there aren't many left to refresh. I looked at the list and clicked on Indifference, which could well be renamed "Couldn't-care-less-gate." How did Sarah Palin react when her constituents faced a crisis? Did she use all the resources at her disposal to alleviate their plight? In some cases she could have been proactive and prevented a crisis. Did she act? I found four examples of her "actions."

Let's look at the crises that could have been prevented:

- Spring 2009 - When Mt Redoubt started rumbling and spilling ash, there were six million gallons of Chevron crude oil cleverly stored at the foot of the volcano, putting Cook Inlet at risk of a major spill. Did Sarah Palin ask Chevron to drain the tanks and move the oil elsewhere? Did she act quickly before the volcano erupted? She was aware of the volcano's behaviour and was happy that people had time to take some steps to protect themselves:

"Fortunately Redoubt has been giving us signs that it was bound to blow sometime this spring," Sarah Palin said. "These warning signs gave Alaskans in Southcentral time to protect their belongings, educate their families, and stock up on air filters and other essential protective gear."

How about Cook Inlet? At the time, Jeanne Devon wrote:

And what is the governor of the state of Alaska doing about this? Well, so far, nothing. A look at the most recent press releases on the State of Alaska website reveals she's been concentrating more on the "Latest Bogus Ethics Complaint", and commenting on the "President's Remarks on Leno" than stepping up to the plate and demanding that Chevron drain their tanks, and get the oil out of harms way.

Perhaps it's time to help Governor Palin prioritize, and urge her to listen to Cook Inletkeeper and citizens who are calling on Chevron to draw down the oil in the tanks.

In the end, Chevron did drain most of the oil, but not because Sarah Palin decided to reconsider her priorities, the pressure to make them act came from others.

- December 2006/July 2009 - During her short tenure as governor, a total of 256 vulnerable Alaskans died due to the mismanagement of Medicaid/Medicare programs in the state.

A particularly alarming finding concerns deaths of adults in the programs. In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help.

Did she review the management of the programs in the two and a half years she served as governor? No, but in June 2009, a month before the scandal hit the headlines in Alaska, she tweeted this:

The two other instances were not preventable and involved freak weather conditions:

- April 2008 - Crisis in Juneau:

An avalanche damaged a major electrical power line near Juneau, Alaska, on April 16, 2008.

Heavy snow knocked out a substantial section of the primary power line to Juneau on April 16, record snowfalls buried Juneau on the morning of April 17 and the record cold temperatures of April 18 would have prompted Juneau residents to jack up their thermostats. On April 17 Juneau city government declared the loss of its hydroelectricity a disaster, then asked the state for aid.

What did Sarah Palin do?

The dates will inevitably make us remember a certain wild ride and the birth of a miracle from God to enrich Sarah's life. She was very busy with her own personal crisis, but we know she was tough, as signed bills in her hospital bed and returned to work three days after the miraculous birth. Immediately after the avalanche and the power loss, Juneau's legislative delegation sent a letter to Governor Palin supporting a state disaster declaration. She dragged her feet and finally, on May 2, there was an announcement that Governor Sarah Palin had rejected a request from the city of Juneau to issue a disaster declaration in response to the city's power crisis.

- January 2009 - Emmonak and other villages in Western Alaska appealed for help due to an energy and food crisis. They were having to choose between heating their homes and eating. The fishing season had been bad, the barge bringing oil to the villages couldn't reach them because the river froze too early and the prices of everything had soared.

Did Sarah Palin leap into action and declare a disaster so federal and state dollars would be available to help the villagers? No, but six weeks later she showed up at the wrong villages, bearing cookies and Evangelical pamphlets, accompanied by Franklin Graham's Evangelical circus. She dished out the cookies, the literature, some supplies and... insults. She told a village elder (from Emmonak, a place she carefully avoided) that they had to get off their butts and head to the North Slope, just like her Native Alaskan husband had done, instead of insisting on an outdated way of life and relying on government help.

These days Sarah Palin is not indifferent to anything, but empathy and sympathy are in short supply. If these crises above were to happen now, she would probably blame the people for fishing near a volcano and the Beluga whales for chosing to live there; she would say the inhabitants of Juneau are not tough enough because they considered cranking up their thermostats to keep warm in record low temperatures; the elderly and disabled have only themselves to blame for not working hard enough to make provision for their old age, they shouldn't count on government handouts through socialist programs. Perhaps she wouldn't say anything about the villagers in Western Alaska. She has already insulted them enough.