Thursday, 30 September 2010

Sarah Palin attacks Alan Grayson via twitter and distorts as usual - Controversy highlights radical religious ties of Dan Webster, Grayson's opponent

Sarah Palin today did what she does best: Send out moronic tweets which distort the truth, and which then backfire on her.

In addition, she involuntarily helped to highlight the radical religious connections of Dan Webster, Alan Grayson's Republican opponent in Florida.

This is a case which becomes very interesting, once you look beneath the surface.

Let's take a look at the chronology of what happened:

On September 25, Alan Grayson published a campaign advert in which he accused his opponent Dan Webster of being like the "Taliban" and a "religious fanatic":

In this advert, Dan Webster is repeatedly quoted with a bible verse which says "she should submit to me." The controversy regarding this advert which then followed revolves around the fact that it's doubtful whether the context in which Dan Webster said these words support the claim that he wants wives "to submit" to their husbands. Watch this clip:

While it's unfortunate that the context of these words is ambiguous, Alan Grayson staunchly defends his criticism of Dan Webster's views - and Grayson is fully justified, as we will see later.

It is noteworthy that in the following clip from MSNBC, Alan Grayson is treated by the anchor Contessa Brewer like all politicians and candidates should be treated in media: Being asked highly critical, even aggressive questions, highlighting critical points or statements, so that the audience, the electorate can decide themselves how well the candidate is doing in defending himself and his viewpoint. This should be standard procedure in the media and in the political arena.

However, for reasons which are still hard to understand, Sarah Palin never ever had to endure such treatment by the media. She already struggled hard with the softball questions which Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson asked her, and she would regard this way of being questioned as nothing but an insult. Sarah Palin hides behind twitter and facebook, and only screeches via Fox News, receiving deluxe softball treatment in Murdoch's kingdom.

Here is the interview which Contessa Brewer conducted with Alan Grayson on MSNBC on Tuesday, September 26:

Sarah Palin, who lives in her very small, very narrow-minded world in which MSNBC would count as "extraterrestrial", tweeted out her own version of reality today:

Well, despite her "all of them, any of them" media consumption Sarah Palin failed to spot that the media HAD indeed make a fact check. There was not only the interview on MSNBC on September 28, but already on September 25, PolitiFact checked Alan Grayson's advert. CNN also conducted a fact check of Alan Grayson's advert today before Sarah Palin tweeted, and Anderson Cooper immediately tweeted back at Sarah Palin and told her that this was the case.

Although PolitiFact concluded that Dan Webster's statement was taken out of context, the researchers at PolitiFact took their job seriously and reported some very inconvenient facts about Alan Grayson's opponent:

Grayson spokesman Sam Drzymala said the audio and video of Webster come from a speech he made for the Institute in Basic Life Principles, which Drzymala described as a "right-wing cult."

The Institute in Basic Life Principles describes itself as a Christian teaching organization that provides training and instruction on how to find success by following God’s principles found in Scripture. Some of its specific teachings are controversial. Among them, the Institute teaches that a mother violates Scripture when she works outside the home, that married couples are to abstain from sex 40 days after the birth of a son, 80 days after the birth of a daughter and the evening prior to worship, and that people should avoid rock and even contemporary Christian music because it can be addictive.

Webster has been involved with the group for nearly 30 years and continues to participate in training and also speaks at seminars.

In a 2003 interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Webster said he home-schooled his six children on Institute curricula and said the group's teachings have had a major influence on his life.

One of those Institute beliefs describes the complementary roles of a husband and wife. "The man provides servant leadership and the woman responds with reverent submission and assistance," according to the group's website, which goes on to quote Ephesians 5:22–33 -- Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. . . . Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it . . . . Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

According to the Institute, a wife is never supposed to "take over," writing that "in response to pressures within the family or within a marital relationship, a foolish wife will take matters into her own hands." A wife also is to "stay beautiful for her husband."

"Resistance or indifference to your husband’s need for physical intimacy is the unspoken crushing of his spirit," the Institute says on its website. In other places on the website, the Institute talks about a wife's need to submit to a husband's spiritual leadership.

In his 2003 interview with the Times, Webster declined to discuss specific teachings and whether he disagreed with any of them.

"I believe what I believe," he said in the 2003 interview. "It has not affected the way I've served. I don't think anyone can tell you that I've forced my beliefs on anyone else."

Jed Lewison comments on the Daily Kos regarding this assessment by Politifact:

"Let me just say this: when those who are defending you nonetheless include a detailed accounting of your 30-year membership in a cultish group of religious extremists with radical views on the relationship between men and women, then you are way, way outside the mainstream."

To clarify:

The speech by Dan Webster from the clip which appeared in Grayson's advert was held at a conference of the so called "Advanced Training Institute International" in 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. This Institute was founded by the "Institute for Basic Life Principles."

Institute - Help your Husband - screenshot

Institute - Help your Husband - screenshot 2

Institute - Help your Husband - screenshot 3

The founder of the "Institute of Basic Life Principles", the organization Dan Websters has been involved with for more than 30 years and for which he conducted for example the speech in 2009, is a man called Bill Gothard.

Dan Webster is undoubtedly a faithful follower of Bill Gothard, as for example the Gainesville Sun reported in August 1996:

Gainesville Sun - August 1996

Gainesville Sun - August 1996 - 2

"Gothard's philosophy is that people should recognize the difficulties of life as part of God's plan and use them for their spiritual benefit. His opening lecture on self-acceptance closes with a prayer to "give God a vote of confidence for how he has made us so far." Next comes family life. Children must be totally obedient. A religious teenager, for example, should not attend a church college if atheistic parents order him not to. As for a man's wife, she "has to realize that God accomplishes his ultimate will through the decisions of the husband, even when the husband is wrong." Citing I Thessalonians 5:18 ("In every thing give thanks"), Gothard even advises a wife whose husband chastises her to say, "God, thank you for this beating." And Gothard adds to Christ's words from the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But you know what you are doing through them to build character in me."

Besides following the chain of command in the family, Christians should also be obedient to their employers and their government, Gothard asserts. Only if an order from a parent, the state or a boss conflicts with God's explicit commandments may it be disobeyed. But first the Christian is supposed to follow six complex steps, beginning with an examination of his own bad attitudes.

On the side, Gothard dispenses assorted fundamentalist opinions. He favors fasting, tithing and Bible memorization, while opposing liberal Bible criticism, much of higher education, highly rhythmic music, working wives, explicit sex education and any sexual arousal before marriage. As for homosexuality, Gothard says that when it is made "a normal way of life, then it's all over for a society, and we are right at that point."

Since Gothard's impact is just starting to be felt in liberal churches, most criticisms till now have been raised by Evangelicals. Wheaton Bible Professor Alan Johnson protests that Gothard's docile acceptance of life "takes the sting out of evil and even transforms it into a good." Johnson's colleague Gordon Fee thinks that Gothard's approach to Bible interpretation is simpleminded. "You cannot just stamp the 1st century culture onto the 20th century and say it is the divine order," says Fee."

Our friend Leah Burton from "God's own party?" published in a new post a disturbing first-hand account of Bill Gothard's organization:

Vyckie Garrison was involved with Webster ally, Bill Gothard’s teachings for 14 years; after following the fundamentalist teachings of the ‘Quiverfull’ movement, Garrison was subjected to mental abuse and told to ignore medical advice not to have more children because her job as a woman was to obey God by submitting to her husband – an act that allegedly afforded her physical and spiritual protection.
“On the surface, Bill Gothard’s wholesome message seems to promote happy family life, but in actual practice, the lifestyle perpetuates heavy burdens and unrealistic standards for women.
“Gothard’s teachings stress that safe and proper, ‘godly’ living comes from submission to authority. A woman must submit to any and all whims of her husband, including all types of domestic abuse,” said Garrison. “Anyone concerned about women’s equality and empowerment should be alarmed by this religious movement.”
According to Bill Gothard, a man’s wife “has to realize that God accomplishes his ultimate will through the decisions of the husband, even when the husband is wrong.” Citing I Thessalonians 5:18 (“In every thing give thanks”), Gothard even advises a wife whose husband chastises her to say, “God, thank you for this beating.” And Gothard adds to Christ’s words from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But you know what you are doing through them to build character in me.”

In conclusion, there can be hardly any doubt that Dan Webster is extremely closely connected with an organization which teaches exactly what Alan Grayson claims to be the case in the advert. Even if the particular quote might be taken out of context, which I am personally not fully convinced of as we have access only to a very small portion of the speech, Dan Webster has worked for a radical religious organization for more than 30 years which demands the full submission of a wife under her husband. In addition, Bill Gothard's group doesn't even try to hide their views, but openly displays them.

Therefore I side with Alan Grayson 100% on this issue. He has picked the right subject, made the right accusations, just picked an unfortunate excerpt of the speech.

By the way, it didn't take too long to conduct all this research, and I am not even working for MSNBC. Why cannot highly paid anchors like Contessa Brewer do their homework as well, instead of giving the impression that Alan Grayson is a liar, when in fact he was right on target?

Leah Burton emphasizes an additional problem in this case, and I wished that more journalists would take note:

"But here is the problem…most Americans have NO idea how extreme these Christian zealots are!"

Apparently, some journalists have no idea as well, which is sad. It doesn't take a lot of time to research the facts.

I like Alan Grayson and his combative approach a lot. This example shows again that it's necessary to aggressively unmask these religious fundamentalists if they seek higher political office. It also shows that the accusations are more than justified.

Somebody like Sarah Palin would never be able to understand that, as she couldn't think her way out of a box, and Alan Grayson made an additional observation:

Grayson tweets - attention span

In an email and a facebook post to his supporters, Alan Grayson has more to say about Sarah Palin:

"Yesterday, Sarah Palin once again engaged in her chosen form of mortal combat - the tweet - by attacking me, and endeavoring to promote my Republican opponent, Daniel Webster, to Palin's zombie horde."

Her chosen form of mortal combat, indeed. Not giving interviews like real politicians do, because Sarah Palin is a coward and hides behind twitter and facebook.

I wished that the USA had more Democratic politicians like Alan Grayson. Sharp attacks and rebuttals is the only language these right-wing radicals, who have no hesitation to dish out themselves, understand.

Neville Chamberlain already had to learn the hard way long ago that appeasement doesn't work when you deal with political fanatics.

This shall be our lesson for today. ;-)


As a bonus, I would like to present Joe Miller's tweets from today, which he apparently wrote in a state of hubris and then later tweeleted, obviously after he regained his sanity (for how long?). Wingnuts like Joe Miller can often be annoying and disturbing, but they surely provide a lot of quality entertainment. Screenshots of the tweets have survived:

Arrogant tweets

(Original source of the screenshot: Unofficial "WriteInLisa" twitter)

Mr Miller goes to Washington - and tweets garbage.

Maybe he should employ somebody to manage his tweets, but this concept is not fault proof as well, as the Quitter Queen shows us on a daily basis.



We shouldn't forget to have some fun as well! This new clip by Jimmy Kimmel is hilarious and spot-on:


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Short break in Berlin from Sarah Palin - PLUS: Disturbing FBI raids on antiwar activists: Civil liberties under attack

As I mentioned in the comments, I made a short business trip to Berlin, which gave me a nice break from all things Palin. I have to admit that I have been suffering from "Palin Overkill" after continuously writing about that insufferable woman for many weeks. So the trip gave me a welcome opportunity to get some distance from the dark soul of Sarah Palin and let my thoughts flow.

Berlin is a very special place for me. My sister has lived there for about 25 years, and I have often visited Berlin, even before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Fortunately, I had the chance to spend some time in the old East-Berlin, the divided city, before it disappeared. I also visited East-Germany as a child several times before the reunification, as we have relatives in Thuringia. As is the case with many other West-Germans, this gave me an unique opportunity to get good insights into a dictatorship, without actually having to live in one myself. The special situation of a Germany divided in a free part and a dictatorship after the second world war constantly reminded Germans how precious freedom actually is.

Sarah Palin loves to screech "Freedom is not free, freedom is worth fighting for", but what Sarah Palin, other prominent wingnuts and her Palinbots seem to forget in their rage against the "evil liberals" is that freedom can only be achieved if all parts of society respect and tolerate each other. When the East-Germans began their uprising in 1989 against the communist dictatorship, they remembered a phrase of the famous German socialist politician and antiwar activist Rosa Luxemburg, who was murdered in 1919 and later undeservedly became an "official icon" for communist East-Germany: "Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters."

"Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter. Not because of the fanaticism of "justice", but rather because all that is instructive, wholesome, and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effects cease to work when "freedom" becomes a privilege."

These words helped to give dissenters in East-Germany "a leg to stand on" - they gave them a "justification to dissent", as they were originally written by a "communist icon." But apart from that, this definition also seems to me to be a simple but poignant description of freedom: If you don't tolerate the freedom of others, there will be no freedom at all. Rosa Luxemburg clearly would not have condoned the intolerant communist regime of East-Germany.

When we talk about Sarah Palin, it's very easy to get distracted by entertaining but ultimately minor facts: Has the audience really booed, has she sent a moronic tweet again, which comedian has now made fun of her etc. We shouldn't forget the bigger picture as well, especially since the media in the USA seems to be fully preoccupied by the "entertainer", the "celebrity" Sarah Palin and even happily invites her as a "guest commentator" on entertainment shows, ignoring her extremist political views and her proven track record of being a very nasty and divisive person. The media doesn't seem to be able to get past her "pretty face", do they?

Let's take a look at some "souvenirs" from Berlin. One of my favorite place to visit in Berlin each time I am there is the "Kunsthaus Tacheles", a large building in East-Berlin where several German and especially international artists work (and sometimes live) and produce truly alternative art. I introduced Kathleen to the Tacheles, and it's one of her favorite places in Berlin as well.

This "arthouse" has existed since 1990, when artists occupied the building which was about to be demolished. Later, the occupation was legalized and although the future is notoriously uncertain, the place still exists and is as wild and exciting as ever.

One of the artists is Tim Roeloff, who produces very fascinating montages, dealing with Berlin and international issues. Many of his pictures can be viewed and ordered on his website

Here are two examples, with Berlin as his typical subject matter:

Berlin - Don't fence me in 2

Berlin - Horses in Prenzlauer Berg 2

Another great artists currently "residing" in the Tacheles is the Russian painter Alexandr Rodin. He paints huge, complex and fascinating paintings. A website with good pictures is HERE, and with smaller pictures in English language HERE.

Many years ago, probably in 1987 or 1988, I took some b&w pictures in Berlin, with the wall still standing strong. I only recently rediscovered these old pictures. I took them on a dark, cloudy day, which I now regard as a stroke of luck, as it gives them a dark, menacing look. What these pictures show is history now, and a reminder that freedom is precious:

Berlin Parliament

The building behind the wall today serves as the Parliament for the City of Berlin.

Berlin - Potsdamer Platz

Potsdam Place during the separation: Just a plain, eerie green field.

Berlin - Düstere Mauer

No Freedom here.

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate when it was still a cold, lonely place.


Which brings me to the second part of this post.

There was bad news last week. The FBI raided several houses and a couple of offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina. The official justification was that the FBI was looking for proof that the people living in those houses were involved with organizations that "lent material support to terrorists."

These raids targeted anti-war activists. "Democracy Now!" reports:

"Antiwar activists are gearing up for protests outside FBI offices in cities across the country today and Tuesday after the FBI raided eight homes and offices of antiwar activists in Chicago and Minneapolis Friday. The FBI’s search warrants indicate agents were looking for connections between local antiwar activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East."

Amy Goodman from "Democracy Now!" made an incredibly interesting broadcast about these events. Her guests were:

Jess Sundin, longtime antiwar activist in Minneapolis. Her home was raided by the FBI early Friday morning. She’s a member of the Anti-War Committee, whose offices were also raided.

Joe Iosbaker, employee of the University of Illinois in Chicago and a steward for SEIU Local 73. He helped coordinate buses from Chicago to the protests at the Republican National Convention in 2008. His home was one of two raided in Chicago Friday.

Coleen Rowley, former FBI special agent and whistleblower based in Minnesota. She was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2002.

Joe Iosbaker, one of the targets of the raids, describes in the interview what happened:

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, it’s the exact same story. It was a nationally coordinated assault on all of these homes. Seven a.m., the pound on the door. I was getting ready for work, came down the stairs, and there were, I think, in the area of ten agents, you know, of the—they identified themselves as FBI, showed me the search warrant. And I turned to my wife and said, "Stephanie, it’s the thought police."

AMY GOODMAN: And they came in?

JOE IOSBAKER: They came in, and they proceeded to set up their operation in our living room, and they proceeded to photograph every room in our house. And over the next, I don’t know, thirty or forty-five minutes, they proceeded to label every room and then systematically go through every room, our basement, our attic, our children’s rooms, and pored through not just all of our papers, but our music collection, our children’s artwork, my son’s poetry journals from high school—everything.

AMY GOODMAN: And were they explaining to you what they were doing as they were raiding your house?

JOE IOSBAKER: There was—there were—some of the officers, you know, were telling us what they were doing. Most of them were not. But they gave us some explanation.

AMY GOODMAN: What exactly did they say to you?

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, they—all they said in terms of the content of what they were looking for is that they—you know, they showed us the search warrant, and I was—my wife and I were both subpoenaed, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: What organizations are you involved with, Joe? What do you think they’re looking for?

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, as you said at the start, I’m a trade unionist primarily. That’s how most people know me. I’m also the staff adviser at UIC for the Students for a Democratic Society chapter.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s University of Illinois, Chicago.

JOE IOSBAKER: Correct. And, you know, I’ve been a political activist for thirty-three years, so I’ve been a member of a lot of organizations and campaign.

Alternet comments on the events:

"In short, the government is attempting to criminalize the organizing of antiwar protests. Furthermore, it wants to make opposition to the the government’s assistance in repressing struggles for self-determination illegal. Other repressive actions by law enforcement against US citizens, including the sentencing of a videographer to 300 days in jail for trespass after he tried to film an unauthorized talk in Chicago and the acknowledgement by the Pittsburgh FBI office that it had spied on peace activists and used a private agency to help out, makes it clear that the PATRIOT Act and its excesses are alive and well under the Obama administration. Repression is a bipartisan activity, especially when it comes to the repression of the left.

These raids are a clear and vicious attempt to intimidate the antiwar movement. The grand jury is a fishing expedition, as evidenced (for example) by the warrant asking for papers from no determined time. This intimidation is a continuation of the harassment of the Twin Cities left/anarchist community that began before the 2008 Republican National Convention. As I recall, several organizers had their homes and offices raided prior to the convention. In addition, hundreds of protesters were arrested and many more were beaten by law enforcement thugs. Eight organizers were eventually charged with a variety of charges including conspiracy. As of September 25, 2010, three of those charged had all of their charges dropped and the rest face trial on October 25, 2010.

This is not just about the movement in the Twin Cities, however. The September 24 raids also took place in Chicago and North Carolina. There is a grand jury being convened in October 2010 with the intention of perhaps charging some of the people (and maybe others) subpoenaed on September 24. These raids are an attempt by the federal government to criminalize antiwar organizing . They are also an attempt to make support for the Palestinians and other people fighting for self-determination illegal."

By coincidence, the "National Lawyers Guild" published on the same day an extensive report on "The Policing of Political Speech" (download PDF). The report identifies practices which have a chilling effect on "free speech" - and which came to light also during the raids on September 24:

"Falsely labeling protest rhetoric and political hyperbole as “true threats” to justify aggressive policing and prosecution. “True threat” is a legal standard that provides police with the presumptive justification they need to conduct surveillance, execute search warrants on organizing spaces, and charge individuals with serious offenses such as conspiracy to riot.8 Police portray activists as either “peaceful” or “violent.” Those deemed violent are characterized as security threats that trigger aggressive police and prosecutorial response.

Using grand juries to harass political activists by imprisoning them, without specific criminal charges, for noncooperation with government investigations. This practice reached its height during the Nixon administration, and prosecutors continue to abuse the power of coercive detention to punish protesters. Twenty-two year-old Carrie Feldman sat in jail for four months, refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigation seeking information about a break-in at an animal testing facility that occurred when she was 15 years old and that she has stated she was not involved in.

Prosecuting leaders and those providing support to activists, often before or during events. Over-prosecution of perceived leaders occurred at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia where prosecutors set an unprecedented $1 million bail for an organizer. At the 2009 G-20 Summit prosecutors charged a well-known activist with terrorism-related charges for “Tweeting” about police activities to other protesters.

Labeling, and stigmatizing, activists as “domestic terrorists.” The broad language of the USA PATRIOT Act9 and a rash of local and federal anti-terrorism legislation including the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act10 use this term, and prosecutors have begun charging protesters under these laws. Several animal welfare advocates were sentenced to prison for running a website that posted information about protest activities around the country.

False statements by police, and laws prohibiting the photographing of police. Independent media has documented incidents revealing how some police officers have falsely reported events to shift blame from police officers to activists. In New York, police actually altered a videotape that showed officers arresting an individual who was not participating in protests. Laws in 12 states forbid the photographing of police on duty, making it a crime to document police misconduct.

Preemptive actions by police in the absence of illegal activity, including the entrapment, arrest and detention of large groups of innocent people, often for days, until protests are over.

Repression based on “evidence” fabricated by the police. Since the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, police in D.C. and St. Paul have told the media, with much fanfare, that they found Molotov cocktails and buckets of urine at organizing spaces— high-profile claims that have been disproved or retracted but that perpetuate demonization of protesters.

Police-initiated violence and abusive use of less-lethal munitions against civilians, often in violation, or absence, of departmental policies on use of such weapons. The misuse of less-lethal munitions and other forms of police-initiated violence have been verified and criticized by several after-event independent review boards.

Negative media coverage, fostered by the police, continues to portray activists as prone to violence and mayhem, reinforcing law enforcement’s distinction between “good” and “bad” protesters used to justify excessive security measures and unnecessary displays and use of force."

The police, meanwhile, is equipped with heavy armor and terrifying devices in order to strike against protestors. Pictures from the report of the National Lawyers Guild:

Police in riot gear 2

Caption: An officer at the Pittsburgh G20 Summit stands ready with a face-shield,
a less-lethal munitions launcher and flex-cuffs. Photo by Jenna Piasecki.

Police with Acoustic Device 2

For more information about "less-lethal weapons" read here. This article includes a picture of a young woman named Sri Louise Coles being shot in the face by less-lethal ammunition at an antiwar demonstration in Oakland in 2003. I found the documents of the following court case against the City of Oakland HERE. Press report HERE. In total, 58 peaceful protestors were injured at this protest in Oakland through "less-lethal ammunition" without having given any cause for the police action. Further press report HERE.

So why am I writing about this topic on Palingates? It's simple: The broad, vague provisions of the Patriot Act and similar laws together with a terrifyingly armed police force are just an invitation for extremists in Government to strike against their enemies. The raids on antiwar activists by the FBI on September 24 happened in "Obama-country." I don't even want to imagine in detail what would happen if Sarah Palin and her friends, who hate and despise everything which could be considered "liberal", came to power. They certainly will not be concerned about the freedom of liberals or the freedom of dissenters. One of the most frightening aspects of this scenario is that Sarah Palin wouldn't even need to create emergency laws, as they are already in place and also open for abuse, as the laws directed against "terrorists" can be widely interpreted.

These hypothetical scenarios and real-life events should remind us what the political fight against Sarah Palin is really all about: It's a fight to preserve freedom - which already is under heavy attack in the USA, although you won't hear about it when you turn on Fox News, and I am not sure that the other main channels are any better in this respect. It's also a fight to preserve peace - which is another thing that Sarah Palin is not concerned about at all.

Therefore, let's not get sidetracked with the daily distractions. Shame on ABC that they willingly give a radical and hateful politician like Sarah Palin a platform on a TV-show which is designed to provide light entertainment. Have they forgotten that ABC is part of the "lamestream media" which Sarah Palin loves to attack at any given opportunity, in her ongoing attempt to intimidate the media, so that she continues to be treated by them with kid gloves?

Shame on them.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Palingates Weekly Roundup - September 19 to September 25

By Blueberry Tart

This post reports on Sarah’s 9/16 screech in Louisville, KY (with H/T to the blog Barefoot and Progressive). In the speech, and others later in the week, new inconsistencies emerge regarding the stories of the pregnancy and Trig’s birth. In the Kentucky version, a doctor performs the ultrasound, not the ultrasound technician she wrote about in Going Rogue. She also now says that Trig was born at 7½ months, not 8½ months; that’s a rather glaring change from the “official” story. The post ends with a funny new video clip showing Sarah running from the media! (Maybe there is some truth to it when she says she’s a runner.)

Bristol’s latest trick is her debut on Dancing With The Stars. This is what passes for modesty and family values in the Palin household, in case you were confused by her come hither, slutty appearance and false eyelashes that weigh ~5 lbs each. I could barely bring myself to watch this display of utter hypocrisy from the born-again revirginated “teen abstinence advocate,” who criticizes her ex for seeking tabloid fame. She is the one who called herself a slut, and she certainly looks like it to me.

What a brilliant documentary lidia17 made to show how Sarah’s story of the “Wild Ride” is a travesty, a lie and a hoax. This video should get an Academy Award! Please watch this, and send the link to others. Can this be submitted to the various documentary award committees? Patrick adds some new material to the post, including a letter from Sondra Tomkins, a nurse who raised questions in spring 2008 about the wild ride. The post includes many updates, including new tweets by Kim Chatman calling out the faked pregnancy. PG also revisits Sarah’s latest attempt to rewrite the birth history, now saying she gave birth in Anchorage. Now the time (morning or evening?) and location (Anchorage or Palmer?) are muddled, just like the date and the actual birth mother. Obviously Palin intends to have so many different versions of the story out there that those watching from afar can’t tell fact from fiction.

Patrick sets the stage with Monte Python’s court skits, to create the appropriate mood to delve into the latest regarding the David Kernell case. Thanks to a generous reader, Palingates obtained Bristol Palin’s testimony in the trial. The transcript reveals that Bristol may actually have some talent as an actress, or at least a drama queen. She claimed it was a terrifying experience to be alone with the other children, out in the woods, her cell phone the only way to communicate with the outside world. Unless you count the Secret Service, the land line, email, and (if all else failed) the Best Western almost next door. The transcript indicates that Fox’s report that Bristol referred to her newborn child was apparently erroneous, as the transcript refers to her baby brother. She also deftly avoids perjury on several questions regarding Trig’s age and the stage of her pregnancy. Patrick looks into whether this cell phone is the same one later implicated in Sherry Johnston’s drug bust, but the evidence is as yet inconclusive.

Koch brothers

The subject of this post is the malignment of President Obama’s character and personal history in a new article published in Forbes Magazine. The latest smear job against the President is another ad hominem attack, devoid of facts but filled with false, demeaning and inflammatory comments. The updates include an expose by of the Forbes’ author, Dinesh D’Souza, and critiques of the article by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Economist, decrying this yellowest of journalism. Patrick also continues to cover the influence of the Koch Brothers and how they use this influence to reap financial rewards, reminding us of parallels to the rise of the Third Reich.

Comments of the Week

(Memo to self: do not get 4 days behind on the comments again! I only got through half of them; sorry!)

Maelewis: "Every time that Palin lies, another angel loses its wings."

Lilybart: Funny, now the new phrase is, instead of I didn't inhale, it's ....."I didn't join the coven.”

Mrsgunka had a nice (longer) reply to a moving comment from Chakalipankhi: Please know that REAL Americans are loving and we welcome you here to find love and peace you so deserve…

Lilylake: the words "easy, easy EASY" really strike me now because she was using them BEFORE the delivery. "It's just been so EASY, as she pats her tummy. Then, after the delivery, she said "IT WAS EASY, THE EASIEST ONE"..... Now, who would fly to Dallas, give a speech, have broken water, contractions, have to catch 2 planes, travel 12 hours, drive to still ANother hospital, GIVE BIRTH for 6 hours, AND CALL IT EASY!!!!!?????? I'm sorry, but there is NO woman who would think that is easy!!

AKRNC: I don't know of any woman who has had pitocin to induce labor and then called it the easiest labor she had. Absolutely NOT! She is full of b.s. (and later) Being a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner…the minute I heard the wild ride story, I literally LOL! No way in hell would a woman risk all that to give birth in Alaska, especially having given birth four times previously. What I can't help but wonder is what is going on with CBJ. If she indeed gave advice like this, she'd be guilty of malpractice and at the very least negligence… If this had been a true story, with Sarah actually being pregnant and something had gone wrong at any time during delivery at Mat-Su, the first thing asked would be what was she doing delivering as a high risk patient at a local hospital that won't even deliver twins??

Redwood Palinizer: I totally agree with your points, especially about the doc's and hospital's insurance. There is no insurance company in the land that would insure a hospital or doc that takes the kind of risks involved with Sarah's wild ride delivery of Trig. Sarah Palin is lying and CBJ and the Mat Su hospital are complicit.

Ivyfree (from longer comment Wednesday): Sarah's lie…invalidates the birth mother's experience. It disappears her. She no longer exists as a factor in the child's life... and all of this was done for what reason? Why, for political advantage. For Sarah's brand. "Pro life, Mother of a Down Syndrome kid..." and I hate that. I hate that Trig gets categorized that way… (and later): Look, this is actually quite a straightforward medical situation for the doctor to be in. A woman calls with leaking amniotic fluid and contractions, she's five weeks preterm, the answer is "go to the hospital." Any questions? Okay, "Right the fuck now." And that's it. That wasn't what the doctor said? Then Sarah wasn't pregnant, wasn't leaking amniotic fluid, and the phone call was about something else.

JoeChristmas: … I have been in acute care medicine for the last 24 years. I am in good-standing and am 100% willing to bet my medical license that SPalin is NOT the biological mother of Trig…A start for any MSM "journalist" with any guts would be the fact there are only three scenarios that accompany the wild ride. 1.) SPalin is a reckless idiot willing to risk her life, a child's life, and everyone on a couple of commercial airline flights -- as well as the vanity factor of "legs akimbo, praying to the patron saint of anesthesia, the biggest joke of the century." 2.) CBJ was grossly negligent in her phone advice. 3.) The wild ride is an utter fabrication. Take it from there.

Cheeriogirl: Palingates deserves nothing less than a Pulitzer for breaking this TRUE story, WIDE OPEN. And to think all of this was put together without one whit of help from our MSM, who chose to ignore this story, rather than report it- to the peril of our once great nation.

Curioser11 (in a long post Wednesday) detailed more discrepancies in Sarah’s many accounts of the pregnancy, labor and birth.

Christine Bennett: I knew Paylin was a liar of epic proportions the first time I heard the wild ride story. At two weeks early, my son was 6 lbs 14 oz, and he was the biggest of all my babies. The baby in the picture held by Paylin's mother at the hospital is NOT in that range--that's a full term infant.

Disqusux noted: So Bristol changes her story from: "Our only source of communication was through a cell phone" to: "[email] was one of our only sources of communication". One hopes the sentencing judge reviewed the testimony.

Madam Deal had an excellent post mid-Friday on how Bristol’s testimony reveals Palin’s poor parenting.

Micmac: Absolutely cannot get over Palin leaving her 17 year old pregnant daughter 'alone' without adult supervision (other than Secret Service agents, total strangers!!!) or compassionate company while she was on the campaign trail. Just stunning. Who among us would EVER EVER leave a 17 year pregnant CHILD by herself with no one but strangers to tend to her in this most vulnerable point in her life? This is worse than the Wild Ride, even.

Cheeriogirl: I hope it's not too late for Willow to have a little chat with family values spokesperson Christine ODonnell. Christine seems to be hell bent on managing other people's sex lives, and Todd and Sarah don't seem to have time for trivial things like parenting. This could be a match made in heaven!

Bastet: …Bristol's testimony was pointless, could've been left out entirely, possibly was an attempt to inflame the jury, has inconsistencies from previous statements given publicly and really had no effect on David's conviction.

Maelewis: …there are two courts. There is one in Tennessee deciding the fate of a youthful prankster. There is also a court of public opinion. That is where we really do have influence, because there have been other crimes…which have gone unpunished, and deserve to be revisited.

Later she recommended a documentary called “God Spoke” on DOC, the Documentary Channel.

Leadfoot_LA debunked the latest smokescreen about Bristol’s “breast reduction” surgery (p.m. Sat.)

Kellygrrrl: We are now supposed to believe these conservative common sense fish pickers have their teen daughter in a plastic surgeon's office in the middle of the school year, all while she is supposedly recuperating from a major case of mono.? W T F ? ? ? Something's def not adding up here.

Regina found this interesting quote: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” ~ John F. Kennedy

ProChoiceGrandma (with assist from Aview999): Abstinence is a great idea. In knocked-up hindsight.

Mrsgunka had an excellent long post about how Sarah is stuck in the high school barracuda phase; she ends with: Their life is so sad. No love, no living, no reality. Just her one memory of being a barracuda on a basketball court. She thinks she is special and the GOP is still paying the bills for her to be Queen for a Day. Sarah, your day has passed!

Witsendnj: When I first heard of Sarah Palin and learned her nickname in high school was "Sarah Barracuda" I thought it was because she was such a great basketball player. Now of course I realize it is because she is ruthless, vicious, and vindictive.

Sickntiredofpalin (on the high winds in AK yesterday): Aaah...too bad the house wasn't picked up in the high winds so it could fall back to earth and land on Sarah. ...nothing sticking out but Sarah and her red Naughty Monkeys. I could pluck them off her feet, put them on me and click my heals three times. Click. Click. Click. *Magically* (insert lovely music) the evil witch would be gone forever and we all could go back to our real sane lives and live happily ever after! If it were just that easy. I can only dream.

Micmac had a great comment Sunday on how the benefits of health insurance reform, mortgage help and other programs are beginning to kick in and affect people’s lives.
Mrs TBB: As editor of the far-right Dartmouth Review, and since, he took pride in his nickname "Distort D'Newsa."

Links of the Week

Patrick: CREW published 81 pages of evidence against COD:


It’s the GOP…that Palin is killing

Come On, People

Murkowslki’s Last Stand?

Maddow on GOP Pledge to America

Lilybart (from NYPost): …she has no interest anymore -- zero -- in becoming P or VP. She now rakes in $45 mil a year speaking, lecturing and etcetering…

Lilylake: Joe Klein on the Iowa speech

Wes in Oregon: Did Saxby Chambliss aide leave threatening slur?

Wayofpeace: Tea party may run its course into ditch

Lilly-lily linked to Malia Litman: B.S. Prayer to Prayer Warriors Re Trig

CaliGirl22 and others linked to Tracy Schaffer on HuffPo: Those Palin Babes

and to Jon Stewart

Witsendnj: Tea Time with Sarah Palin

Austintxx: Van Jones in Think Progress on the Koch Brothers

and to LA Progressive on Poverty on Rise in America

and more on the Koch Bros

Wesinoregon had some C’OD inspired humor HERE and HERE

Kathleen and kellygrrrl linked to Grayson ads.

Here is a link to Mudflats’ Joe McGinniss’ interview

and to Progressive AK on anti-science among the candidates for Senate

wayofpeace: WaPo on Tim Kaine's GOP cannibal quip

juicyfruityy: American Fascists The Christian Right and the War on America and this on mainstreaming Palin’s religious values

Regina posted a link regarding October 2 events

Sickntiredofpalin linked to report of appeal in Kernell case and this on the DWTS publicity stunt and more on the Koch Brothers: HERE and HERE

Thanks to BellPeppery for posting the contact info for Forbes; here is the email to send your comments:

BellPeppery also linked to MediaMatters debunking Forbes article

anonPoster linked to politicususa on the Forbes smear

guest (among others) had a good photo comparison of Bristol

and AKSandhills linked to ADN on Bristol, Ballas and DWTS

Tweets of the Week

KaJo (with assist from PCG): Jeopardy Answer: @SarahPalinUSA Jeopardy Question: Which US politician’s career was blessed by Kenyan witchhunter?

Sunnyjane: I sent some tweets earlier. Don't retreat, RETWEET!
@sarahpalinusa: You R second again, Loser. Your protégé Christine O. is crazier than you are but it’s a toss-up on the cheater/liar thing.

@SarahPalinUSA, Advise RAM prepare heartwrenching speech why u FAKED pregnancy in 3, 2, 1… #palingates #tcot #p2

And of course there are some few good ones in Patrick’s post on Twitter being hacked, and Sarah’s nonsensical tweet about Acorn; here is one:

@Twitter confirms nonsensical tweets by @SarahPalinUSA @ChristineOD@fredthompson are real, not caused by Javascript hack #p2 #p21 #news

ProChoiceGrandma (with sdilmoak): High winds in Alaska on 9/24/10, is Palin’s 14 ft anti-neighbor fence still standing? Curious minds want to know! #Palin #IsAnIdiot

Open Thread - Happy Birthday, Kathleen!

Today is Kathleen's birthday and this is a little collection of virtual gifts to make her day special.

Let's have some music:


A beautiful picture:

Melanie and Me Swimming 1978-9 - Michael Andrews (1928-1995) Tate Britain


A poem:

Diego had never seen the sea.

His father, Santiago Kovaldoff, took him to discover it.

They went south.
The ocean lay beyond high sand dunes, waiting.

When the child and his father finally reached the dunes after much walking, the ocean exploded before their eyes.

So immense was the sea and its sparkle that the child was struck dumb by the beauty of it.

And when he finally managed to speak, trembling, stuttering, he asked his father:

“Help me look!”

~Eduardo Galeano, The Book of Embraces (original, in Spanish)


Some of Kathleen's favourite food:

And finally, a bit of humourous wisdom:
"Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway..."

Happy birthday, Kathleen!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

US politics today: The Koch brothers profit massively from "socialism" - and Forbes Magazine jumps the shark with bizarre Obama cover story - UPDATES!

American politics in 2010 is nasty business, thanks to the noisy right-wing extremists, who receive generous support by the infamous Koch brothers. More fascinating facts regarding the Koch brothers further below.

First, I would like to mention the new cover story in Forbes Magazine about Barack Obama, which I think is supposed to be published in print on Monday. "HOW HE THINKS" screams the cover...

Forbes cover

...and it promises to examine the roots of "Obama's big problem with business."

Well, I don't know too much about Forbes Magazine, apart from the fact that it's a major business magazine, but if you want to see an example of biased, manipulative journalism, you just need to read the opening paragraphs of the article, which was published online already several days ago:

"Barack Obama is the most antibusiness president in a generation, perhaps in American history. Thanks to him the era of big government is back. Obama runs up taxpayer debt not in the billions but in the trillions. He has expanded the federal government's control over home mortgages, investment banking, health care, autos and energy. The Weekly Standard summarizes Obama's approach as omnipotence at home, impotence abroad.

The President's actions are so bizarre that they mystify his critics and supporters alike. Consider this headline from the Aug. 18, 2009 issue of the Wall Street Journal: "Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling." Did you read that correctly? You did. The Administration supports offshore drilling--but drilling off the shores of Brazil. With Obama's backing, the U.S. Export-Import Bank offered $2 billion in loans and guarantees to Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras to finance exploration in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro--not so the oil ends up in the U.S. He is funding Brazilian exploration so that the oil can stay in Brazil."

Wow! So Bill Kristol's "Weekly Standard" said that Obama's approach is "omnipotence at home, impotence abroad?" I guess it has to be true then. How thankful we are that Forbes educates us on this point.

If you think the article gets off to a bad start, it get's worse - much worse:

"Theories abound to explain the President's goals and actions. Critics in the business community--including some Obama voters who now have buyer's remorse--tend to focus on two main themes. The first is that Obama is clueless about business. The second is that Obama is a socialist--not an out-and-out Marxist, but something of a European-style socialist, with a penchant for leveling and government redistribution."

Sure, he is a socialist. Didn't we already know it. Europe is apparently full of them, also, too.

But wasn't there something else? Barack Obama, he is, well, not REALLY one of "us", right?

"But we have been blinded to his real agenda because, across the political spectrum, we all seek to fit him into some version of American history. In the process, we ignore Obama's own history. Here is a man who spent his formative years--the first 17 years of his life--off the American mainland, in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan, with multiple subsequent journeys to Africa."

So he spent his "formative years" in rather obscure parts of the world. Forbes Magazine, we are just dying to hear more...

"A good way to discern what motivates Obama is to ask a simple question: What is his dream? Is it the American dream? Is it Martin Luther King's dream? Or something else?

It is certainly not the American dream as conceived by the founders. They believed the nation was a "new order for the ages." A half-century later Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of America as creating "a distinct species of mankind." This is known as American exceptionalism. But when asked at a 2009 press conference whether he believed in this ideal, Obama said no. America, he suggested, is no more unique or exceptional than Britain or Greece or any other country."

CERTAINLY not the AMERICAN dream as conceived by the FOUNDERS. Yes, we are still reading the article in Forbes Magazine, and not one of Sarah Palin's speeches. The USA is not "exceptional?" AN UNBELIEVER! Not a REAL American.

So the business people dislike Barack Obama, he is a European style socialist, spent much of his younger life in some weird countries. Wasn't there something else?

He had a father...

"So who was Barack Obama Sr.? He was a Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya and studied at Harvard. He was a polygamist who had, over the course of his lifetime, four wives and eight children. One of his sons, Mark Obama, has accused him of abuse and wife-beating. He was also a regular drunk driver who got into numerous accidents, killing a man in one and causing his own legs to be amputated due to injury in another. In 1982 he got drunk at a bar in Nairobi and drove into a tree, killing himself."

In 1965, Obama Sr. wrote an "important" article with "anti-colonial" content:

"Obama Sr. wasn't a doctrinaire socialist; rather, he saw state appropriation of wealth as a necessary means to achieve the anticolonial objective of taking resources away from the foreign looters and restoring them to the people of Africa."

Therefore, having already concluded without providing any evidence that Barack Obama is a business hating European-style socialist, who doesn't behave like the founding fathers would like him to behave, according to Forbes Magazine - then why not jump to even more conclusions, again without offering any evidence or supporting facts:

"It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.

For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for."

You get the picture. Barack Obama is "anticolonial", and that's the main motivation which drives Obama. We don't really need more facts, it all falls nicely into place, doesn't it: With such a strange father and having lived his "formative years" in even stranger countries, how can Barack Obama possibly please the "Founding Fathers?

I guess this article which in my opinion is completely devoid of any facts, logical thought and reasoned thinking and paints Obama as one gigantic "self fulfilling prophecy" will probably be part of the the next edition of Texan textbooks. With this peculiar black man in the White House, America can never be pure and exceptional again. It almost feels like America's honor has to be restored. Can it be that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were right? You betcha, Americans! Let's take the country back from the evil socialist with the even more evil father! Says Forbes Magazine, if I understand it correctly.


Speaking of Socialists:

The Koch brothers - they hate socialists. Really, they do. They are currently "waging a war against Obama", using their seemingly endless funds, recently also massively donating to one of Karl Rove groups, providing 91% of its funding.

They are supporting the "libertarian" Tea Party parrots like Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell and Joe Miller, who are all running on the Republican ticket and would like to dismantle social security, and while we are at it, who needs healthcare anyway? Real Americans don't get sick. And if they do, it's their own fault if they are not stinking rich and can pay for it themselves. Who needs all these ugly poor people who would like to have healthcare anyway? Certainly not the Koch brothers.

Despite that fact that they apparently hate nothing more than evil socialism, the Koch brothers seems to have quite a cozy relationship with the benefits of "socialism" - as the New York Observer reports, giving seven well researched examples.

From socialist shipbuilding, investments in Venezuela, subsidies for ranching and ethanol production - Koch Industries loves state aid and state subsidies. This is contrary to the libertarian dogmas of their own Cato Institute "brain trust", but who cares - it's all about making money in the end, isn't end?

If you do real research, if you report real facts, you will find surprising answers.

If you just want propaganda, then you don't need those pesky facts which are just standing in the way of "American purity."

The hypocritical Koch Brothers are by far not the only industrialists who finance extremist right-wing movements for their own gain.

It happened before. Adolf Hitler already knew:

"Millions are standing behind me!"

John Heartfield Montage - Millionen stehen hinter mir - Hitler financed by Industrialists

(Montage by John Heartfield, 1932)



"Campus Progress" has a very detailed portrait of the author of this Forbes article, Dinesh D'Souza.

Some excerpts:

"A darling of the right-wing-campus-newspaper-backing Collegiate Network, D’Souza helped found the infamous ultra-conservative Dartmouth Review as an undergrad. Under D’Souza’s “leadership,” The Review ran notoriously tasteless, bigoted, and just downright offensive articles of all stripes. Among his signature pieces: a parody of African American students at Dartmouth entitled “This Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro”; an interview with a Ku Klux Klan member featuring a graphic of a hanged black man; and selected words of wisdom from Adolf Hitler. The Review consistently referred to gay men as sodomites, and D’Souza himself publicly outed one gay student in an article based on stolen correspondence between members of the Dartmouth Gay Student Alliance.

With his journalistic career on the upswing (if not the up and up), D’Souza was hired as the editor of Prospect, a magazine started by a conservative Princeton alum. D’Souza’s stint as editor helped him expand his already outrageous repertoire to include a sexist attack on the field of women’s studies. Also while he was editor, the magazine published an expose of a female undergrad’s sex life without her permission.

In 1987 his free-flowing conservative prose, which by now included a glowing biography of Moral Majority Leader, Jerry Falwell ironically titled “Jerry Falwell: A Critical Biography,” got him a job inside the Beltway as a domestic policy analyst for Reagan. He served in the administration for only about a year, which was long enough for him to collect enough material to write his second celebrity bio ten years later, this time a fawning portrait of his former boss, titled Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader.

By 1989, he began receiving annual grants from the Olin Foundation, which funds the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research amongst other conservative intellectual beacons. He now seems to be on Olin’s permanent payroll, receiving annual payouts, often of upwards of $100,000."


Not surprisingly, the piece by Dinesh D'Souza encountered some harsh criticism. The "Economist" published a very informative response: "How D'Souza thinks", in which the "Economist" gives a lot of details about D'Souza's personal and ideological background. The conclusion:

"But I think we do better when we criticise people's ideas and programmes on their own terms, rather than seeking out mysterious causes in their childhoods. There's no need to search for abstruse reasons why an extreme movement conservative like Dinesh D'Souza might oppose raising taxes on the rich or defend privilege in access to education. And it's not surprising that a centrist liberal like Barack Obama thinks people earning more than $250,000 per year ought to be paying more taxes. In fact, that conviction is shared by a majority of the American electorate. If Mr D'Souza finds it bizarre, it's not Mr Obama who's out of touch with America."

The "Columbia Journalism Review" called D'Souza's article "shameful" and adds:

"So it’s come to this: Forbes cover story on “How Obama Thinks” is a gross piece of innuendo—a fact-twisting, error-laden piece of paranoia. This is the worst kind of smear journalism—a singularly disgusting work.
Forbes for some reason gives Dinesh D’Souza the cover and lots of space to froth about the notion popular in the right-wing fever swamps that Obama is an “other”; that he doesn’t think like “an American,” that his actions benefit foreigners rather than Amurricans. It’s too kind to call this innuendo. It’s far too overt for that."

Dinesh D'Souza was as a guest on the Colbert Report in January 2007, and let's just say it didn't go to well for him:

Friday, 24 September 2010

Bristol Palin's testimony in the David Kernell trial - Lying with the stars? - UPDATE!

David Kernell's sentencing is expected for today. Hopefully the judge will not be too harsh on David, who had the audacity to guess Sarah Palin's cunning password "Wasilla High" for her yahoo-account and then post some screenshots and the password on the infamous "4chan" internet forum. More importantly, after realizing that he had done a very foolish thing, David then immediately deleted the obtained files on his computer, an action which resulted in a felony conviction due to "Destruction, Alteration or Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations."

Here again are the exact details of the conviction - in the worst case, David Kernell could have received four felony convictions, but due to the impressive efforts of his defense lawyers, he was convicted of "only" one felony and one misdemeanor:

David Kernell Jury Verdict 30 April 2010 - page 1

David Kernell Jury Verdict 30 April 2010 - page 2

I have just watched a few hours of Monty Python's celebrated court sketches, which somehow provide the right mindset when dealing with the next topic - the testimony of Bristol Palin in the David Kernell trial from April 21, 2010, which Palingates obtained, thanks to a generous donor.

The reason why Monty Python is the right preparation is that nothing involving the Palins is ever clear, unambiguous and straightforward. There are always slightly surreal elements in what they do and say, and it's the same with this testimony.

John Cleese court

The main reason why Bristol Palin was called to be a witness at this trial was the fact that her cell phone number was included in the published emails which appeared in several outlets such as Gawker, and several strangers then started to ring her.

From the very beginning, the questioning gets off on a slightly weird note:

Testimony 1

Shortly afterwards follows a strange statement by Bristol Palin:

Testimony 3

This again is an odd line of questioning, because what has it to do with the incident in question? When Sarah Palin's email was hacked, Sarah and Todd were on the campaign trail. Sarah Palin for example famously had two blackberries: One with her personal yahoo-account, over which she also routinely conducted state business, and a second one with the state email account. So what prevented Bristol from sending Sarah an email, or sending Todd an email? What about using Willow's cellphone? Surely she had one as well? Or why couldn't she borrow a cellphone from the secret service agents who were protecting her?

Let's move to another excerpt. Bristol than is asked where she obtained the cell phone from:

Testimony 4

OK, Bristol confirms that she couldn't sign a contract, so her "boyfriend at the time" got it for her, in May 2008. The boyfriend at the time was of course Levi Johnston. Nice way of avoiding mentioning his name.

But this part of Bristol's statement, as unimportant as it might seem at first, opens a huge can of worms, and I don't think we will be able to solve the mystery today, as we haven't got all the details.

Which mystery?

On September 7, 2010, Mercede Johnston published on her blog a post about "the man who set my mother up." In this post, she explained some of the details about the phone her mother used:

"It is still a mystery as to how Junior got my mother’s phone number because the phone she was using was originally Bristol’s phone. (My mom bought both Levi and Bristol new phones right after she found out that Bristol was pregnant because Sarah refused to pay for hers anymore. But after one of Levi and Bristol’s many fights she SHIPPED her phone back to my mom in the MAIL. Since my mom had been using an old brick phone she decided to upgrade to Bristol’s Blackberry and got rid of her old one). So I don’t know whether Bristol was in contact with Junior, or if he just did his research to find my mother’s number. We are still confused by the circumstances leading up his initial contact."

From the description it's pretty clear that Mercede is talking about the same phone, because initially, the timeline fits. Bristol and Levi told Sarah that Bristol was pregnant at the beginning of May 2008. According to Mercede, Sarah refused to pay for Bristol's phone any more. Was this because Sarah was upset? Possibly, we don't know for certain.

A this point, the two descriptions still match.

But apart from that, not much seems to fit together. Because later in the testimony, Bristol then states:

Testimony 8

So Bristol turned the phone over to the Secret Service on September 25, 2008. When did Bristol receive the phone back? When was it sent back to Sherry?

Is Bristol telling the truth when she says that this is the phone that Levi/Sherry purchased for her?

Are we then going to believe that Sherry afterwards used this number for drug deals, despite the fact that this number was published together with Sarah Palin's hacked emails?

I am unable to clear this confusion. Maybe Mercede or someone else can explain.

Let's have a look at more parts of Bristol's testimony:

Testimony 5

Bristol didn't know how old Trig was at the time?

Well, it's her "brother", and she was at the hospital on April 18, 2008, when Trig was officially born! How could she not know how old Trig was?

Was she trying to avoid to go on the record with a specific birth date for Trig?

Let's move on to the next stage of her testimony:

Testimony 6

Bristol receives scary voicemail messages, in the middle of the night, people tell her over the phone they are at her doorstep - frightening, isn't it?

But didn't Bristol have secret service protection at this time? According to Gryphen, who quoted Sherry Johnston, Bristol enjoyed 24-hour protection by the secret service during the course of the campaign.

Bristol conveniently sidestepped mentioning this fact. The jury must have thought that a poor seventeen-year old girl was scared to death. Maybe they would have viewed the situation differently if they had known that Bristol never was in any danger?

Then comes the kicker, and this statement was already extensively discussed immediately after the trial:

"That is scary because we live in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. We live in the woods."

Sorry, Bristol, that's simply not true.

"Last time I checked, the Palin’s growing compound in Wasilla was a stone’s throw away from a major highway on one side, and the Best Western Lake Lucille on another side. The zoning is designed to maximize the number of lots around the lake, so plenty of neighbors. And didn’t her mom keep talking over and over about how Wasilla was a thriving city, and the fastest growing community in Alaska?"

It seems that Bristol Palin wanted to ensure that the situation appeared in the grimmest light possible - when in reality, it's frankly not true at all that there was any point of "danger" during this whole episode. Bristol just had to switch her phone off to avoid the nuisance, that's all.

In addition, the "communication problems" seems to be greatly exaggerated.
But what impression did the judge receive? One can only guess and hope that he didn't take these exaggerations too seriously!

Finally, Bristol makes another rather strange statement:

Testimony 7

One of "our only sources" of communication?

I try hard to have sympathy with Bristol, because she is a victim of her mother like many other people. However, these terribly ambiguous statements, which seem to be specifically tailored to make Bristol appear like a poor Gretel alone in a house deep in the woods, crying because she cannot communicate to anyone any more is so utterly ridiculous and distorted, given the real situation in which Bristol was in, that she really deserves no sympathy for this terrible testimony.

Furthermore, I sincerely believe that she didn't come up with these statements on her own. The goal was to make the actions of David Kernell appear in the worst light possible, and we can only hope that Bristol didn't succeed.

This is usually the moment when in the Monty Python court sketches, everyone starts to sing a really silly song. ;-)

Please download Bristol Palin's testimony HERE.



We just received the information from Knoxville that the sentencing of David Kernell has been postponed to October 29, 2010. This has been confirmed by the media in Knoxville as well as by the lawyers of David Kernell. We don't know the reasons for the postponement.


This new article in explains the latest developments in the trial:

"Kernell faces sentencing Oct. 29. His penalty range is likely to be 15 to 21 months, and Davies is expected to push for probation."