Monday, 28 June 2010

Palingates Weekly Roundup - June 23 to June 27

By Blueberry Tart

Patrick’s post highlights one of Alaska’s true heroes and one of the bravest people around, Andrée McLeod, who continues her quest for accountability in government in Alaska. The post highlights her efforts to get Alaska to reveal the names of the oil and gas companies that received $193 million in tax and capital investment credits. (Hundreds of millions more in ACES credits went to companies already producing oil and gas.) More_Cowbell discovered that tax credits that are not used can be sold. Hmm, is it just me, or does it seem that systems in Alaska are designed to make fraud really easy to pull off (kind of like not requiring building permits, or not having births be public records)?

In this post, Patrick follows up on another attempt by Andrée to make the workings of Alaska’s government more transparent and less corrupt. Andrée argued that the state improperly withheld six emails sent to Todd Palin from public disclosure. AK Superior Court Judge Patrick McKay (whose real convictions have more to do with DUI than with legal principles) ruled against her, saying that the emails to Todd did not constitute a waiver of deliberative process exclusions to public records disclosure. For this, the judge relied primarily on that bedrock principle of jurisprudence, “common sense.” The judge found that the deliberative process privilege applies to consultants and advisors, paid and unpaid, including the spouse of a “head of state.”

In the first update, Sarah’s attorney extols the virtues of a legal decision based on “common sense,” but foreshadows that she will soon “take one for the team.” BlueDogAK reminds us that the Petumenos Troopergate report found that Todd Palin was “a private citizen not subject to the Ethics Act”; this was a crucial part of the Ethics Commission decision clearing Sarah. The third update forecast another legal storm: Geoffrey Dunn reported on HuffPo that the Alaska Fund Trust case may be settled against Sarah.

Later on Thursday, that bombshell hit! Concluding a case brought by Kim Chatman (thank you, Kim!), Tim Petumenos ruled that Sarah’s slush fund, AKA the Alaska Fund Trust, violated Alaska law by using Sarah’s position as Governor to solicit funds that could be used for her personal benefit (and the benefit of her family, friends, staff, hairdressers, plastic surgeons, sycophants, etc.; but I digress). The decision is worth reading.
In the blink of an eye, Meg Stapleton (emerging from dormancy, like a grub) posted on Sarah’s Facebook page that Sarah had done nothing unethical or illegal, suggesting that this ruling was politically motivated (blame Obama!), and claiming that “not a penny” of the money had gone to anyone. The ADN reported that $87K of the $420K was spent; the report says “incurred.”


And, faster than you can say “this is a stickup,” a new fund is already in operation, claiming no ties to SarahPAC (unless you count the same address and phone number, and Timothy Crawford’s fingerprints all over it – standing O for Patrick’s great research!). We also found out that Meg and Sarah were the ones who set up the fund, contrary to prior denials that Sarah was involved. “ I want to be clear on a point that has been misrepresented: The Governor is not and was not involved with the Trust. The Governor has never worked on or with the Trust…” (From Kristan Cole, with H/T to So_many_unanswered_questions)

But of course it’s not her fault; she got bad legal advice (and rejected the advice of her own attorney). As Curiouser11 noted, the report says that, “Governor Palin chose not to accept the advice of Mr. Van Flein, and followed instead the advice of another attorney who recommended against seeking the advice of the Governor's ethics supervisor (the attorney general), who advised to simply contest the "inevitable" complaint when it came.” (Did you follow that? She rejected advice to seek advice, followed advice not to seek advice, which advice was to contest the inevitable complaint…)

AK Dispatch (citing Palingates) highlighted the previously unknown fact that “a contract for legal services was issued by the state of Alaska to [VanFlein’s law firm] to represent Gov. Palin in connection with these matters for up to $100,000 at public expense.”

As EOY and others later noted, the Petumenos report confirms what Palingaters discovered last year: “…Petumenous pointed out that the way the trust was written there was nothing to stop Palin from using the money for anything she wanted… Thus the Trust itself contemplates personal gain and financial benefit’ to the governor in violation of the Alaska Ethics Act.”
The new trust uses the same language and is the same blank check to Sarah, her relatives, and whomever the Trustee decides should get the money. It also says that legal bills of Sarah, her family or staff could be paid from the trust. Phew! Willow and Bristol won’t have to use their money from the VF photoshoot to pay their legal bills. What a relief!

The ethics feast on Palingates continues. I again bow down to Andree McLeod. She is a real crusader, doing the work of 1000 trying to hold Alaska’s officials accountable. This post covers an ethics complaint that she filed charging Bill McAllister with misuse of his position and accepting gifts. Apparently he took an extended, paid vacation in Sweden, immediately after starting work as Palin’s communications director. Andrée also challenged the appointment of Mike Nizich, Palin/Parnell chief of staff, as the public representative on the state Aeronautics Development Board. The level of corruption in Alaska is astonishing. But here is what Sarah Palin had to say about Andrée (a Republican, BTW) back in the day before she had become Enemy#2 (right after President Obama and before Levi Johnston): "Kudos to Andree... she's obviously got tireless energy and desire to keep government and government officials accountable to Alaskans... we need more "Andrees" in this state...

Sorry for such a long recap here, but Friday night and Saturday morning proved to be an incredible time at Palingates – live streaming and an on-line blogging party covering Palin’s appearance at CSU Stanislaus. The campus was in partial lock-down and cordoned off with chain link fencing. The speech itself was an olio of Reagan (mentioned 9 times), the Apostle Paul, our founding eye-dills, her son defending our freedom, an “anticdote” about Margaret Thatcher, the Constitution of Liberty, bendy straws, chastising of the dumpster divers, Glenn Beck’s Founders Fridays, writing on her hand, Adolf Hitler, “our great Republican experiment,” Alexis de Cokeville, President Kennedy (2 quotes), the evil empire, dissing college professors, sunny optimism, pioneering spirit, beacon of hope, don’t apologize, teach 3R’s and “true history,” “only dead fish go with the flow”, the last best hope and the shining city on the hill. Oh, I forgot American exceptionalism. And entrepreneurial spirit.

But the best part came right AFTER her speech, when the cameramen were overheard totally panning her speech as the inane babble, empty rhetoric and stolen quotes that it is – in other words, standard Palin fare. Some of their open-mike quotes:

"Oh my God, I feel like I just got off a roller coaster. Round and round, up and down, shit flying out everywhere and scaring you--"

"It's like when you gotta write a report as a college student, and you just try to jam as many quotes in as possible, you know, from as many random, you know, things as you can…."

"Now I know: The dumbness doesn't come from just soundbites."
Palingates also reported that CSU Stanislaus Foundation president Matt Swanson’s company donated $50K to the event and (at least) 3 other board members donated $10K each (Sarah thanks you from the bottom of her bank account.) Kathleen confirmed some of the extravagant costs of the event and that the campus newspaper was not given media access to the gala.

Professor Patrick Kelly, one of the leaders of the protest movement, wrote on behalf of

“…the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have been so deeply offended by the ‘TERRIBLE CHOICE’ of a small group of people in the CSU Stanislaus Foundation and university administration to select Sarah Palin as being in some way representative of academic excellence…This is more than a joke. It is a deep insult to most who care about the university and it flies in the face of what a university should be about. Our university administration and its partners in this terrible enterprise have done a grave disservice to the institution they supposedly serve.”
OMG, there were already 1186 comments on this post when I first checked in the morning (and hundreds more later)! For those who missed the party here last night, you can have lots of fun reading through the comments …I was laughing ‘til I cried reading through them!

Kudos to Patrick and Kathleen for staying up all night to cover this and capturing the open mike-gaffe. H/T to the Modesto Bee for great photos of the protest, to Sarah Jones at politicususa and to our own honestyingov, who protested with these signs:

One side - " $100K ...& bendy straws for Sarah. NO scholarships for the STUDENTS "
Other side - " Hey Tweet-e...YOU LIE. Todd's BP caused the Oil Spill... NOT Environmentalists”
" The QUITTER lies...Palingates tells the TRUTH.” (with PG url and flying pig logo)

Patrick was not done yet! Later Saturday, he wrote another excellent blog post, reminding us all of why we do this. Yes, Sarah is a vapid nincompoop who can’t string together a sentence, but she is also a shill for rich powerbrokers who are using her for their own purposes. Palingates got a shout-out from DailyKos (AnnetteK) and was cited for coverage of CSU Stanislaus story by the SF Weekly blog (in May). Though they called PG a “Euroblog,” Patrick also applauded the guest writers, researchers and readers, most of whom are from the USA. (And we’re all citizens of the world.)

Reader dr patois was very brave and transcribed Sarah Palin's entire CSU speech. A transcript helps immensely, protecting sensitive ears and displaying the usual word salad in all its glory. Regina did some fact checking and discovered that Sarah Palin is still inclined to pander to local audiences by saying the first thing that comes to her head, such as California being Ronald Reagan country and moving Eureka College all the way from Illinois to the sunny state of California. Quotes and anecdotes in her speech were either inaccurate or taken out of context. Sarah has great difficulty with names: O'Biden, Naija, Nadia, oh heck! The three posts about the CSU gala and protest complement each other perfectly, giving the readers a good overall picture of the whole event, with the added bonus of extra research to put it in perspective.

Comments of the Week (there were SO MANY good ones…)

espresso4me posted this gem from Emptywheel.

Along with rewriting history, the Texas Board of Education changed the Pledge of Allegiance:

“I pledge allegiance to the barrel
of the capitalist states of America
and to the destruction for which it stands,
still oozing, undeniably,
with flooding and heat waves for all.”

macandcheesewiz coined a brilliant new term: “whacktose intolerant” and told of her confrontation with a belligerent woman who had parked in a handicap-only spot. Many ((())) from Palingaters to macandcheesewiz!

ontohertricks discusses the hypocrisy of so-called fiscal conservatives who also push more military spending (and by extension oil consumption): “…we would actually be a much more prosperous nation – by far – were we to pursue peace as a national objective – worldwide – and merely use our military only defensively and only when actually necessary…"

There was no shortage of opinions and conjecture about the scuttlebutt about Mercede, Levi and Bristol. BanditBasheert: “There must be a backstory.”

Fawn218, Bandit and RipleyinCT (among others) brightened my day with their idea about how Sarah is being set up for an “epic fail.”

trisha observed how Palin constantly picks fights, and sdilmoak reported that it was the same in AK when she was governor: “…a new fight and a new drama every single day… can you imagine her picking fights with World leaders everyday?”

laprofesora commented about how hostile Sarah’s tweets are, to which EyeOnYou responded: “Her tweets aren't about reaching ‘reasonable’ people. They are to feed her cult members and keep them coming back for more. She loves the adulation she gets from them, and this is her way of reaching out to them. This is her 'pitbull with lipstick' shtick. The thing is we all know that she is a coward at heart.”

LouieCypher: “Sarah. WhooHoo!! you are like a solution machine, that whole divine intervention thing, Did you learn that when you were becoming an energy expert?”

Sunnyjane: “...Actually, if God's talking to her, He's probably saying "Get the message, dumbbell: I said "no" to your election, and I'm trying to tell you "NO!" to drilling for oil. When are you going to start LISTENING?"

Lillibird, Sjk, cheeriogirl and SalG let us know about the hazards of, and legal exemptions for, “fracking” for natural gas.

The McChrystal scandal generated many strong opinions (strong consensus: he is a warmongering a**hole and should be court-martialed for his remarks). Kellygrrrl linked to Alan Grayson, whose message on McChrystal is: “Fire him.”

Ennealogic: “War is for killing. We are killing all kinds of people in Afghanistan, people who have no relationship to anyone responsible for "the event that changed everything" on 9/11/2001, people who never did anything to us or asked for anything from us except to be left alone. …The irony is that the Taliban is virtually no different from the Xtreem Fundies here in the US…”

Litbrit: “As a veteran friend of ours says, "Afghanistan is where empires go to die."

Keegan’s search for a safe house from Palin-mania led to Palingates: “If blogs are virtual houses, I wanna be adopted by the Palingate family. Now I know it was terribly rude of me to just move in without proper introduction so I'm not above bribing you with flattery if you wish!” Peacepax and many other Palingaters extended a warm welcome: “Welcome to 'safe haven.’ We are all pilgrims as we travel on our way. We are all equal here.”

Lilybart: “ Normal people can't just repeat lies over and over, way after they have been debunked. Normal people don't think they are qualified to lead the Free World because their husband managed state affairs by email while they were sort of gov.”

SickntiredofPalin had an interesting post about how Todd, Sarah and their extended family have raised manipulating and bullying the press to an art form; this began (at least) during the gubernatorial campaign, when they tried to get a reporter fired. Several readers commented about Todd’s and Sarah’s reputations for nasty tempers.

More_Cowbell: “So much for Palin's ‘Actions have consequences’ mantra. Once again we see that in Alaska, actions have NO consequences if your name is Palin.”

Pallotine: “Her staffers will probably ask donors, instead of a refund, how about just transferring your donation, to the newly established trust fund.” Ginger50 and others agreed.

Myrtille: “This is the email they send to people to encourage them to give more money:
‘My friend, this is a witch hunt, pure and simple. So today we are starting over. Her legal bills are still there and growing. Will you please help her and give your very best gift to The Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund today? It is urgent that we help relieve this crushing legal burden.’"

Annes_123 speculated that Sarah quit because she would be able to keep any funds received once she was no longer Governor. Several readers agreed.

Aha: “Maytag could take a lesson from these people's spin cycle...”

sjk: “…let me see if I understand....tawd paylin, a private citizen working for bp, was acting as an advisor to the sitting governot? then he was just a private citizen when it was convenient, then he was an advisor with executive privilege when it was convenient? Ok...I thought so.”

Kasha Knish: “Maybe we should have a holiday calendar just for Palingates? There are many moments that we might want to observe. Quitter's Day would be just one of many. What might we call the time frame between Quitter's Day and the actual final day of governance - Ju-"lie"???”

Helen picked up this idea: “So kick off the long weekend with a little "4th of July Eve" celebration for those people who can share the special political joy of the occasion.

Party menu suggestions:
Quitter Quesadillas
Lipstick Pigs In Blankets
Chips Are Down
Granny Meltdowns
Grifter Fries
And for cocktails? – Teabagger Sunsets”

Laprofesora: “I'll bring the Mandation Margaritas!”

and espesso4me: “I'll mix up some Salade d'Word!”

historygoddess (quoting Bob Cesca on HuffPo): "I never thought I'd write this, but I think we've discovered a new level of stupid below the heretofore impenetrable Sarah Palin floor… the idiot curve is now redrawn in her favor." SoCalWolfGal posted some more quotes from this hilarious article.

More_Cowbell: “Common sense is ‘rarely used’ because it's not a legal principle in any way. Why should justice depend on one judge's ‘common sense’ rather than on precedent and established statutory and common law? He really IS an idiot.”

Ginger50: “… I can't remember how I came to find this blog, but I wish all Alaskans would find it. I wish I could copy these posts and take them to every restaurant, hotel, hospital, court house (haha) and Taco Bell in Anchorage... I agree with others that have said Palingates should be a book, including all of the comments. Palingates and Andree McCleod are my heroes.”

KarenJ (from WaPo comments): “Had to laugh at this comment under that article: ‘Sarah, Glenn and Rush are the vuvuzelas of the GOP. Republicans love their noise because they have no plan, no direction and no soul...’” Posted by: Hawkestreet1 | June 24, 2010 4:22 PM

Sdilmoak: “ …Remember Kristan Cole had stated that Palin was not involved in the establishment of the fund....she said she did it on her own. She said Palin was not aware. But then remember all the Palin fans who posted photos of the hand written thank you notes they got for contributing to the trust fund.......written by the Queen herself?”

Guest: “I find it interesting that the attorney Kristan Cole used for the Trust Fund, Jon Givens is the very same attorney used in the Dairygate lawsuits.”

MarvinM: “Pay your dang debts and stop whining. Asking other to fork out to pay for what you can afford to pay is extremely tacky.”

Numerous English-speaking readers were offended by this sentence from Sarah’s new bilk-the-sheeple scheme: "They know she is making a difference in her work to return America to the Constitutional principles that made it the great and exceptional nation it remains."

LouieCypher made us LOL again: Hey Sarah, sorry about the little fund thingy being illegal an all, but after reading Meg's fb post it all makes sense. Like you pretty much ever bad thing that happens in my life guess who's behind it? OBAMA!! I stubbed my toe this morning, why? I tripped over my Nike's guess who endorses Nike's, Michael Jordan, who's played for Chicago, guess who else is from Chicago, OBAMA!! The other day I got a speeding ticket the officer's name Bob Osborne, guess who else's initials are B.O.? OBAMA!! It doesn't take hardly any "common sense" to see what's going on here, like you that guys out to get me!! …

Saskat picked up the theme: “And when you forget to use deodorant and you get B.O., well, we all know who's fault that is.”

Clairey: From the report: "In addition, the Trust contains a so-called "Crummy Provision" that permits a beneficiary under the Trust to demand withdrawals from the Trust for any reason whatsoever…”

Disqusux (quoting from Petumenos report): "the degree of delegation to Ms. Stapleton ..... was troubling" (para 23) "the degree of BLAME-SHIFTING to Ms. Stapleton ..... was troubling"

Ontohertricks: "’Ongoing legal challenges faced by the Palin family’? You mean like, who is the daddy of the new baby? Or defending vandalism charges?”

Curiouser11 (another bombshell from the report): “Sarah ignored legal advice to have the trust reviewed by the AK Attorney General and she chose instead to INVITE an ethics complaint. This implies she knew there was a problem.”

GrannyJ spoke for many readers: “Excellent post Patrick. I love the way all of you are able to discover the connections. You really put the main stream media to shame.”

Cheeriogirl, curiouser11 and others raised the question of Sarah’s claim of $500K in legal expenses and the later claim of “millions.”

Espresso4me: “Palin is a shell of a person, an absent parent and a fraud. People who see through this charade, this con game are frustrated and bewildered with how this uneducated idiot continues bilking people, while seemingly getting a free pass when it is obvious that she was complicit in whatever lie or con was perpetrated.”

Mxm’s excellent bullsh*t translator was working overtime on Meg & VF’s posts.

Indy_Girl (quoting from HuffPo comments): "Sarah Palin is the Seinfeld of politicians... She's the show about nothing."

Elizabeth: “By setting up a new fund and asking for more money, isn't she saying ‘Yes I have millions now but I'd rather spend MY money on goodies like cars, new houses, and boob jobs. I know the economy is tough, but why don't you send me some of YOUR money to pay for the boring stuff like lawyers.’"

WesinOregon had an interesting post on techniques of Nazi propaganda, which seems to also reveal the template for Sarah’s speeches (his comment includes much more detail):

“A number of techniques are used to create messages which are persuasive, but false... Appeal to fear; Appeal to authority; Bandwagon; Obtain disapproval; Glittering generalities; Rationalization; Intentional vagueness; Transfer (projecting positive or negative qualities); Oversimplification; Common man; Testimonial; Stereotyping or Labeling; Scapegoating; Virtue words; Slogans”

Cheeriogirl reminded us that: “Prohibiting free speech and freedom of assembly is exactly what led up to the Kent State University murders. Is history doomed to repeat itself?”

Maelewis: “Putting up a security fence to keep out students and faculty who have a right to be on their campus, prohibiting free speech and use of police force to intimate protesters-- that really looks like Hitler's Nazi government.”

Helen: “Cleopatra had an asp, Marie Antoinette had the guillotine, and the Quitter Queen has Palingates. : D”

Espresso4me: “ … There are many like her though. They are in prison or mental institutions.”

Laprofesora: “Hey, these people got their money's worth: Word Salad Supreme with BS croutons.”

Ontohertricks: “I saw a bumper sticker today that said something like, "Using war to promote peace is like using sexual intercourse to promote virginity." I laughed because I know a famous person who believes in both of those concepts – as do her followers – and is taking her money to the bank in a wheelbarrow by promoting them.”

BlueDogAK (quoting George Orwell): “As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.”

Curiouser11 picked up on Orwell theme: "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind."
"Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."

The last one is in honor of the courageous dumpster divers who sought truth and uncovered lies.

LouieCypher: “WooWhee Sarah what a speech, I can only describe it as the sound of 1000 vevesulas going off right next to my ear in a closed room! I see you got that book of quotes I sent you, fabulous! I especially like were you brought up lynching as a way of solving cultural differences!! Oh and work ethic nothing says work ethic like showing up late speaking for 20 minutes taking you 90K and getting the hell out of there! …”

Links of the Week

Patrick was on a roll posting links this week; here are a few. He started with an excellent excerpt from this New Yorker article, quoting Steve Schmidt referring to Palin:
“…showing [Sarah Palin] as an entertainer instead of a serious thinker”

Next was a link to a good post on Political Carnival with excellent Rachel Maddow videos.

He flagged a great piece in DailyKos on being offended by Palin’s unwillingness to engage in dialogue with critics or even those in the middle. Sarah Palin has run from defending her views for a year and a half now, and unless that changes radically, I cannot respect her opinions enough to take them seriously, and neither should you.

This is the fascinating video clip in which Robert Redford speaks out for a new energy policy.

Here is an older link from MSNBC with a great Olbermann clip on Redford.

Newsweek has published a huge piece about "Sarah Palin's most controversial tweets".

Mad Magazine made a new parody about Sarah Palin! :-)
Page 1

Page 2

Sorry don’t recall who posted this excellent link calling out Sarah for her lie about Rahm Emanuel.

Kilob posted Olbermann’s dissection of the GOBP.

Wonkette on Sarah asking for divine intervention

Honestyingov w/H/T to AKM: "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind"

Patrick: Anger grows across the world at the real price of 'frontier oil'

Say No to Palin in Politics: Here a great video that needs to be passed around.......get this out there gators! Note the big BP/AK connection.

Here is a link to Fresh Air (on NPR), which aired an excellent program explaining the science of deep-sea drilling, and what happened to cause the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

IWantToKnowTheTruth: O/T but I saw this wonderful little video on drill baby drill on Buzzflash

Finny: "But the more interesting point to be made about Palin is how toxic she's become among the broader electorate. In fact, buried in the internals of the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is an amusing number: A majority see a Palin endorsement as a clear negative."


By Patrick:


You have certainly seen already our brand new, state of the art toolbar! Let me explain:

You have various options to share posts and easily to connect to social networks.

You can also view our recent posts.

OK, in detail, from left to right:

1. CONNECT: You can connect for example to facebook and then update your status, it will then say in your status on facebook automatically that you are reading this post on Palingates. Perfect for easy sharing!

2. SEARCH: Make a google search of the blog!

3. RECENT POSTS: Terrific! See our lasts posts in an overview and click on them!

4. VIDEOS: Currently linked to my doublegrandmapalin youtube account

5. PHOTOS: Currently linked to my flickr account

6. PEOPLE ONLINE: See how many people are online, which posts they are reading and from which countries they come from!

7. LIKE ON FACEBOOK: Well, in case you like us!

8. SHARE: Share the posts on various sites (facebook, digg etc.)

9. TWITTER: Twitter our posts in an instant! And see our own twitter messages, which we will now start again.

10. BUZZ: Share on Google Buzz

11. JOIN CHAT: Yeah, we have a chat now! Please be aware that the chat is NOT monitored, and please NEVER share any personal details on the chat like real names, email addresses etc. Also, be aware that anybody can login with any nickname. If you are in doubt that somebody has the "correct" identity, ask him to leave a comment on disqus. I will ALWAYS leave a comment on disqus before I go on the chat.

You can open several windows of the toolbar at the same time, you have to click them down with "_" instead of closing them ("x").


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