Thursday, 28 April 2011

Sarah Palin - The Art of Grifting and Scamming

Sarah Palin must have this fridge magnet...

Con artists have a way of appearing to have something to sell, with crippling expenses to address.

Sarah Palin is a classic example of a person who makes exaggerated claims in order to move her supporters to reach for their wallets.

She claimed to have enormous attorney bills and had a "legal" fund started by her chum Kristan Cole. Another ally promoted appeals for money: Rebecca Mansour and her barbarians on C4P massaged Sarah Palin's record as governor of Alaska, making her look promising but wronged, urging their readers to donate with abandon. Their creative accounting made their webathon, which was for a limited time, look far more successful than it really was. They asked people to disclose past donations and added them to the webathon total...

When the original trust fund was found to be unethical, another one was formed. Sarah Palin, as usual, claimed that nothing illegal or unethical had occurred. Meg Stapleton wrote on Sarah Palin's Facebook page:

"First off, let’s keep in mind that this is about a legal defense fund. According to the Summary of Findings in the decision released today by the Alaska Personnel Board, nothing illegal and nothing unethical occurred because not a penny has been distributed. Governor Palin did nothing wrong. And in fact, everyone is in agreement that Governor Palin acted in good faith."

Sarah Pac works on more or less the same lines. It's a vehicle for Sarah Palin to blow her own trumpet, to show how worthy she is. What better way to show appreciation than sending some nice green notes her way? Again, the accounting for Sarah Pac is very creative and money is "spent" on some elusive consultants, whose offices don't really exist.

Token donations to candidates and some charities make her appear generous and thoughtful.

A scam is a scam, but some people are blind to the mechanisms of fleecing the innocent.

Sarah Palin quit her job to dedicate herself to a greater cause. Now she has a job of sorts and makes a lot of money. She earned enough in the past two years to be able live very comfortably, but taking other people's money must be addictive.

Her followers believe in the illusion of Sarah Palin as a politician, city manager, ethics champion, journalist... They bought the myth. They fail to see the reality behind the veneer, they fail to see how she formed alliances with her unsuspecting victims, just to discard or badmouth them in her book. She's ruthless, singleminded. I expect some of her former allies chose to distance themselves from her when they realized she wasn't what they believed her to be. Some came out of the shadows and exposed a few facts, others stayed in silence, either too frightened or perhaps thankful to have a peaceful life, away from all the ugliness.

The ingredients that make her schemes work are lies, distortion, misrepresentation, a big ego, some victimhood and a good dose of confidence. Some clever PR to disseminate her brilliance, with touches of how she is wronged by others, complete the scenario.

Her targets are naive, they believe she's working for them. Sarah Palin has worked hard since she quit her job. Her schedule is punishing at times, and that makes her even more attractive to her deluded followers. So they continue to open their wallets to help her with her cause and reward her efforts.

Looking from the outside, it seems amazing that people don't have suspicions when a person with a large income keeps begging for more money. The websites that support Sarah Palin celebrate her cleverness, her ability to raise money this way. They love the fact that she's rich and encourage their readers to keep sending her their own hard earned money.

Well, good scammers are cunning, they know how to manipulate people and avoid putting their hands in their own pockets.

Sarah Palin is not the first con artist in the world and won't be the last. But sometimes they're found out and their fall is spectacular. The people they used as stepping stones may feel vindicated, but those who invested their money in the scam will never recover from their disappointment. Some scammers are never found out, but in Sarah Palin's case there's some hope that her day of shame will come.

It's not going to be pretty...