Monday, 31 January 2011

Open thread - Monday

Today we have another great photo of pets. Hum_py wanted to introduce us to Zoey and Beary. They make a lovely pair and look very calm and laid back. Thank you, Hum_py.

Arctic with Bruce Parry vs Sarah Palin's Alaska - A comparison

We've been watching a great 5 part documentary about the Arctic on BBC, presented by Bruce Parry.
Bruce Parry is a former Royal Marine instructor who is now a TV presenter and adventurer, known particularly for the documentary programme series Tribe (known as Going Tribal in the United States), co-produced by the BBC and the Discovery Channel. He has most recently returned from the Arctic, creating a book and TV series for the BBC.
Discovery can make good programs. I suppose they reserve the dodgy ones for TLC.

Last week's episode was filmed in Alaska. It goes without saying that Bruce's Alaska is very different from Sarah Palin's.

Bruce joins the locals in all the activities he encounters, but doesn't make everything about himself. When he does these things, you sense how much he respects the people who engage in these activities as part of their everyday lives.

The Alaska episode was divided in three sections. First he joined a family who makes a living from salmon fishing on their commercial, well equipped boat. It was very different from Todd's outfit and makes a little bit more money. According to past financial disclosures, Todd Palin made under $50,000 a year from his Bristol Bay enterprise. These people fish for 3 months in Prince William Sound and make $1.5 million a year. They do it ethically, respecting their quotas and their fishing vessel is environmentally friendly.

In the second segment, Bruce went diving for gold in the Bering Sea, near Nome. I nearly froze just watching it. He joined a group of people from out of state who spend time in Alaska every year enjoying their personal version of a mini gold rush. There have been a few fatalities over the years. This adventure is not for the faint hearted. Bruce was allowed to keep the gold from his dive and netted $150!

In the final (and best part) of the program, Bruce met the inhabitants of Kaktovik on the North Slope as they prepared for the annual whale hunt. He had mixed feelings in the beginning because of his emotional views on whale hunting. Large commercial whale hunters around the globe nearly decimated the whale population and made it an emotional issue, interfering with the ability of ethical subsistence hunters to sustain their age old way of life. The Inupiat were banned from whale hunting for many years, but the ban was relaxed when the government realized that the Inupiat hunting didn't impact the whale population. They're allowed three whales a year.

The hunt is a spiritual experience. The villagers prepare their storage facilities to welcome the whale. They consist of rooms dug under the permafrost, natural and highly efficient freezers. It's important to clean and tidy up the place, moving caribou legs and other bits and pieces to one side, discarding any debris so they can honour the whale with respect.

There are five captains in Kaktovik and they all go out in their boats when the whales approach. The Inupiat are very suspicious of outsiders, in particular those who arrive with a film crew because they were grossly misrepresented in the past. Nobody would talk to Bruce during his first few days there and they were not allowed to film the actual hunt. Bruce finally managed to get close to the youngest of the captains, who has never caught a whale but had hopes this would be his lucky year and that he would have the honour of being given the whale's tail as a prize.

The villagers keep in touch with the boats via radio, but they don't speak much. They don't talk about the actual hunt and don't mention the whale. They wait to hear a prayer that signals the end of the hunt. They caught a whale on the second day, after the first failed attempt. They believe the whale gives itself to them, to give life and nourishment to their families. Their prayer thanked Jesus Christ and paid tribute to the whale. It sounded like a patchwork prayer to me.

The missionaries beat the original faith out of the Inupiat until fairly recently. Bruce's captain is in his forties and remembers having his hands being smacked with a wooden rod when he was a schoolboy. The missionaires didn't like his beliefs or his native language. The spiritual side of the hunt became a mixture of old and new beliefs. The beauty of their old cultural traditions, of being in tune with the creature that was giving itself up to give them life is now permeated by a disconnected devotion for an imposed God tinged with fear learned through pain.

On a lighter note, I managed to find some footage of Bruce's encounter with some polar bears. In the case of a curious cub, it was a close encounter...

The whale is shared among all the villagers and the polar bears are given their share as well.

By the way, Bruce's young captain didn't get lucky this year. The tail went to a more experienced one.

Bruce has taken us to Siberia, Greenland, Alaska and Canada so far. Siberia was focused on the Sakha horse people and a remote encampment of Eveny reindeer herders in the wild Verkhoyansk Mountains.

The first part of the Greenland episode was very exciting. Bruce joined the last of the traditional Inuit hunters and went on a perilous seal hunt. The second part was about the changes brought by the melting of the ice sheet, revealing vast deposits of minerals now being exploited by an Australian guy. A lot of the locals are abandoning their old subsistence lifestyle to join in this new venture. The size of the mines and the massive explosions involved in the process of getting nearer to the goodies left me with some uneasy feelings and some apprehension.

I have already told you about Alaska. Last night Bruce was in Canada and did Caribou hunting and some fishing. The Gwitchin tribe has hunted migrating caribou in the Arctic wilderness for thousands of years, but this tradition is now under threat from oil exploration. The oil instalations are being built in the path the porcupine caribou take to reach their calving grounds. The locals are giving up on the fishing because the fish are showing all kinds of defects, such as very nasty cysts and are no longer safe for human consumption.

Next week Bruce Parry will close the series in Norway. What I've noticed so far is that as Bruce moved to the west, the native lifestyles appear to have suffered greater impact from interference by people alien to the local cultures, be it missionaries, mining companies or oil corporations. He's very concerned about the environment and the erosion of the lifestyles and cultural traditions of the native populations of the places he visited.

We know very well how Sarah Palin's "free for all" policies encouraged the big corporations to exploit Alaska's rich natural resources without any regard for the original inhabitants or the environment and the wildlife of the beautiful state of Alaska. Their ability to make a living from their traditional activities is still being destroyed by this uncontrolled lust to get every last bit of oil, gold and other minerals out of every possible inch of Alaska. It's not all Sarah Palin's fault. She just followed in the footsteps of the governors who came before her and Parnell is not any better than the rest of them. Sarah Palin's advice to the struggling Alaska Natives was to go to the North Slope or work in the mines. If this trend continues, these dignified, ancient people will become a footnote in the history of Alaska, reduced to selling trinkets in craft markets and being photographed by tourists as exotic, quaint specimens. In my book, that's criminal.

Sarah Palin's disregard for the environment and the wildlife of Alaska was covered many times in the past. For a more in-depth look at these topics, please revisit the labels "Environment" and "Wildlife."

10 months ago I put together a little video entitled Sarah Palin's Alaska, long before we found out that her series was filmed in Alaska but was all about Sarah Palin. I'm not going to embed it here. It would spoil a nice post and pollute it.

We have enjoyed Leadfoot and Bella's recaps of Sarah Palin's Alaska because we didn't want to watch the programs. I think the recap of the episodes about Bruce Parry in the Arctic would make people want to watch the whole series.

It's all in the quality of the material and the stories people tell. Bruce's story is about the various people of the Arctic. Sarah's story is about Sarah...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Open thread - Sunday

Here's our first open thread pet. It was sent in by Grasshopper and I think Katie is a beautiful 14 year old lady. Have a nice break from the last looong post.

Sarah Palin

I started this blog a few months after Sarah Palin returned to Alaska, having lost the election to Obama. She was still the governor and I focused on her record and on her day-to-day "governing." How things have changed!

Today Sarah Palin is the mouthpiece and poster girl for the ultra-conservative movement that gained momentum in the wake of Barack Obama's arrival in the White House. That's a very important detail, a black man at the helm, swimming against the current, with the economy in freefall. Perfect.

But what's Sarah Palin's role? Who is this woman and where did she come from? We have been scratching our heads, asking many questions and looking for the answers since McCain presented her to the world at large. Before that day, there she was chugging along, pretending to govern the largest, wildest state in the US and all that.

In the absence of proper vetting from the McCain people, we took it upon ourselves to find out what was behind this hockey-mom of five and lipstick wearing pit bull.

We went way back, to her city councillor and mayor of Wasilla days. I want to have another look at her good old days, but from a slightly different perspective and starting a little bit further back into the past.

In 1983 Linda Menard talked Sarah Louise Heath into entering a beauty pageant to win some tuition money for college. Sarah says she was reluctant (Going Rogue), but decided to give it a try, the tuition money would be worth any embarassement she had to endure. She won the Miss Wasilla leg of the contest and went on to become the second runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, with a Miss Congeniality trophy on her mantelpiece as a bonus. Sarah has a fragile ego, her sense of self is based on the input from people around her. When Linda Menard suggested that Sarah should enter a "who's the fairest of them all" competition, was she really telling Sarah that she was indeed the prettiest girl in Wasilla? Did other people tell her the same thing? I believe they did. And they did it with the best of intentions, their minds were on the tuition money. Strut your stuff, sister, play your flute, that would be neat. Sarah would be able to continue her education and make something of herself. So they flattered and reassured her about what she could achieve.

But Sarah started to believe she was the prettiest (not quite) and also the nicest girl in Alaska. Don't get me wrong, she was a good looking girl and possibly a nice enough lass. But not the fairest of them all... No beauty contest winner is, and probably most of them know it. But not our Sarah. Low self-esteem makes people believe in certain things so they feel better about themselves, they feel bigger and stronger. Sarah wasn't terribly interested in education but went college hopping anyway - feeling pretty and congenial. So far, not much harm had been done.

Moving on to politics, that's when things start taking a less savoury turn. Opportunists can spot a useful tool (fool?) a mile away. I guess the AIP, the Dominionists and the very conservative Texans and Oklahomans who lusted after the Alaskan oil considered this ambitious but vulnerable person a fantastic find. If she was susceptible to the well intentioned flattery of people who loved her, she was just as likely to buy it from these groups. The prize was bigger. It would validate her in a much more desirable sphere, she would become an important person, not just a pretty face. We all know she couldn't do the job and so did she, but that wasn't important to her at that point, she would get around it somehow. Somewhere down the line, she convinced herself that hell yeah, she could not only do that job, but could do bigger ones as well. The people who put her there kept on feeding her illusions, this pretty woman would go far and deliver them what they wanted. Power, what else?

Sarah took aim at bigger and better prizes. She ran for lieutenant-governor and didn't make it, she thought she was going to be appointed to a Senate seat in Washington, DC and didn't make it. She warmed a seat at the Oil & Gas Commission for a while, then decided to go for the top position in Alaska and made it this time. I don't believe for one minute that she plotted her own way into that mansion in Juneau. Our opportunists above had reached their goal and Sarah convinced herself that she was qualified for any job as she cleared each hurdle. Life was good for Sarah.

She was ambitious, enjoyed the good things in life and saw nothing wrong with making the most of her position to score a few state funded freebies for family and friends.

Then McCain won the primaries. His campaign needed a presentable woman so they could bank on the Hillary effect. There were loads of disgruntled women up and down the country who were very cheesed off when Obama beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries. Hey, how about that Sarah from Alaska? Opportunists in shinier suits had spotted her. It had happened again.

Yes, she was ready. No, she didn't blink. Sarah's ego felt warm and toasty. And a myth was born.

Sarah Palin does have a magnetic presence. She evokes strong reactions in people, whether they love her or loathe her. We know that she's reactive, so the criticism directed at her bolstered her ego in the same measure as the flattery she received. She wasn't being criticized bacause she was incompetent, nooo. It was because she was a woman, because she had a large family, because she had chosen to have a child with Down syndrome, because she was loved by so many, because, because...

Election lost, Obama in the White House, back to Alaska.

EDIT: the following paragraph is a scenario I created to illustrate the desire in the part of the "dark forces" to cause an extreme shift to the right. Obama's presence in the White House, whether they started hatching their plan before or after the election, is opportune and serves their purposes.

The Sarah Palin part is a lighthearted way to imagine how a person without too much intelligence and a very fragile ego (who believes in her own hype) can be manipulated.

[I have to open a parenthesis here. The GOP didn't try very hard to win the election. The powers-that-be knew there was a major financial crisis looming even before primaries. They had created it after all. Sarah from Alaska wasn't being used to win the election, but to lose it. They couldn't tell her that, of course. The first black American president was going to occupy the Oval office and they had plans for him and for the country. They didn't need to worry about any financial crisis or deal with any of the fall-out from it. Let that socialist, Kenyan, half-black, half-white Muslim guy deal with all that stuff. They were going to erect obstacles ahead of him every step of the way. Their goal was to create a climate of fear and resentment (they were already specialists in the fear part of it) so they could shift large portions of the country to the extreme right quite unashamedly. They wouldn't be able to do that if the Republicans had won the election. No need to steal the presidency with their diabolical machines and a little help from the Supreme Court on this occasion. They're opportunists, remember? They could bide their time for now. They had a plan. Close parenthesis.]

Back to Alaska. The unofficial vetting of Sarah Palin opened the eyes of many Alaskans to a less than flattering picture of their governor. They found her to be somewhat lacking in the ethics department. The complaints multiplied in rapid succession while she half-heartedly carried out her duties as governor. Maybe the opportunists in Alaska had lost some of their interest in her and she was at a lose end, drifting and dreaming of all the glory that could have been hers.

Some adoring groups had been formed in the Lower 48, notably C4P. The media still liked her, she sold well. Everybody still talked about her. Perhaps things weren't so bad after all. I don't think she could do much more other than dream at that point. A few magazine covers for herself and the hapless Bristol was the best she could hope for.

Enter our sinister characters from outside Alaska. Hey, that Sarah from Alaska seems to be still very popular, couldn't we use her again? Everybody talks about her, people are still talking about pregnancies and her daughter or something like that all the time and those C4P people worship at her feet. The media is doing very well from all her stories. Good or bad, folks can't get enough of this woman and the rest of the clan. Hey, she's still quite hot too. We could repackage the girl and that whole family of hers and they would come in handy, don't you think?

Oh yes, and how! They made her an offer she couldn't refuse. Listen, Sarah from Alaska, we think you would make a great president. But you would have to leave this governor gig behind. We need to raise your profile, make you really presidential. Publishing your memoirs woud be a great start. It worked for Obama and it would put some dollars in the bank. That can't be bad, eh? You need to be seen and heard all the time, how about a Fox News contract? Oh, and speaking engagements, starting with one abroad. Foreign policy credentials, you know? You already have the Twitter and Facebook thingies covered, clever girl! We need to raise money as well, a Pac would be ideal. Anybody who wants to be president has one, what do you say? Oh, you have that covered as well? You clever, clever, clever girl! There might be something in it for your lovely family as well. What say you? Are you with us?

This time she blinked, repeatedly, but it was from excitement, not hesitation. Hell yeah, I'm outta here! Not so fast, Sarah. We need Alaska to build up your image. You know how fascinated those people in the Lower 48 are with this beautiful state, the last frontier, and how much they admire your tough image, you hunt, you fish, you're sooo fantastic.

You know the rest. We had to suffer the tweets, the Facebook notes, the op-eds, Going Rogue, America by Heart, the Tea Party rallies, the Beck/Palin jamboree, the Fox News interviews, the pedophile labels she attaches to her foes, the death panels, the reality show, the crosshairs, the surveyor signs, the abstinence, Candies, Dancing with the Stars and much much much more.

Sarah Palin and her family are in our faces all the time, day after day. We direct all our venom at the Palins. We talk about Sarah's wigs, her lips, her boobs, her clothes. We talk about Todd and question his cojones, we call Bristol a fat slut, we say Willow is a vandal, we wonder who fathered Track, we went from seeing Piper as a cute little button to seeing her as a sullen little brat who wears make-up and wears a bumpit under her highlighted hair. We wonder about Chuckles, we have loads of theories about everything. We have also worried our heads about Levi, Sherry and Mercede. Awww... we still love Trig and Tripp.

Any of these things may or may not bring Sarah Palin down. I think not. Dissecting the Palins, finding fault in eveything they do helps us vent our spleen and direct our frustrations at someone. I admit that it's a lot of fun at times. We need a break from the anger every now and then. While we do that, our sinister friends are satisfied, rubbing their hands in glee. Everything is going according to plan. While we watch Sarah and her family, we fail to see the real villains. We know they are there, but we can't see them very clearly and can't direct our anger at them. That's what Sarah Palin is for. They put her out there to screech their talking points at every possible opportunity and to absorb the criticism, the insults, anything we can throw at her, as long as none of it reaches them. We started to find out who they are and asked questions on a few occasions, we started to pay attention and were beginning to make some progress in the right direction but they were b-o-o-o-ring and oh? What's that over there? Yay! Another Sarah Palin tweet! She screeched again, is that a wig? Back to the Koch Brothers... hello? Is Bristol preggers? Did Sarah have another facelift? Black bra under a white t-shirt? Honestly! Ah, ok, Koch Br... wasn't that a terrible tweet by Ram? Is Todd ill? Was that Bristol or Willow? What were we talking about? Yes, the Koc... Abstinence my ass! This new woman of Todd's must be Trig's mother. Does she have a cold sore or is that a scar?....... It. never. stops.

Meanwhile, the corporate citizens move the country to the right, to the right, to the right, they whip up the passions of people full of fear and not much intelligence, they make the vitriol emanating from their talking heads appear normal and acceptable. We talk about all these things, we worry, but we are too easily distracted. People who are sincere Republicans and wish to embrace different values shake their heads in despair, with nowhere to turn to in order to validate their own concerns.

I have been distracted as well and enjoy a bit of gossip as much as the next person. But when I did a retrospective to compare where Sarah Palin and I were two years ago to where we are now, prior to jumping back in, the penny dropped. I saw the whole picture for the first time.

Does the fact that neither Sarah Palin nor her family are ultimately responsible for all the ugliness we've seen in the past two year absolve her? Probably not, not entirely. But the deluded beauty queen from Wasilla is not going to be president of the United States. She's been duped. Again.

Do we keep holding her feet to the fire? Yes, we do. But her fall won't be a complete victory unless we challenge the rest of the culprits. When she falls, they will be done with Sarah from Alaska, ready to replace her with a less colourful, less tabloidy figure who would repeat exactly the same talking points, using exactly the same rhetoric, but this person would sound credible, sober and balanced. People who wouldn't buy it from Sarah Palin might buy it from this new serious, intelligent sounding character. Sarah would have accomplished her mission, she would have made all the junk she spewed ad nauseam for two years a big part of the political discourse already and nobody would bat an eyelid.

That's the story as I imagined it to be. It's not accurate in the detail, but not too far fetched when we look at the whole. After two years with Sarah Palin, fiction appears to be more believable than reality...

We should still keep our eyes wide open. But we could do better if we closed our eyes to shiny objects, myself included. There's room for snark and humour, of course. But let's us not take our eyes off the ball for too long or we'll lose this game.

I will need some help navigating the dark waters where the elusive characters behind the scenes sail their yachts. I specialized too much in one particular subject, but whilst she may be the star of this play, she didn't write or direct it. I'm very interested in the production as a whole.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Open thread - Saturday

Today we have another spectacular sunset, sent in by Myrtille02. It was taken from her deck on Savary Island.

It's great to be able to "catch" a good sunset. They change in a matter of seconds.

SarahPAC Fourth Quarter 2010 Summary

By mxm

The PAC released its fourth quarter report in installments; to see the big picture you need to consider information from each of the 3 installments. Having multiple parts to combine, when none ends at a rational point makes the job of analysis much more difficult. This 4th quarter analysis is compiled using common sense and arithmetic. One pass is made as the reports become available, no effort is expended to go back in time and recalculate or summarize
information as updates or corrections are made. This should be considered an overview, as the sums do not match exactly the final year end Summary Reports – 2009 -2010 issued by Treasurer Crawford.

During the 3rd quarter, Treasurer Crawford received several deficiency letters related to previous reporting. The responses are not available on the FEC site. Wouldn’t you love to see those responses? The FEC deficiency letters detailed multiple issues from arithmetic errors to questions related to the various items that the PAC had paid for. These included an offset from Pie-Spy LLC, clarification of expenditures for fundraising consulting, expenses attributed to
postage, clerical consulting, office supplies, photography, video production and much more.

Cash flow

To model 4th Quarter monthly incoming cash, the daily receipts from each of the installment reports were calculated and monthly estimated receipts were then estimated.

(Please click on the images to enlarge)


Here are the big ticket expenses (and credits) for 2010.

The Brain Trust

To start, it is very interesting to see who has come and gone over the 23 months that the PAC has been in existence. Political watchers and reporters have observed that the PAC is not employing the caliber of professionals that would advise a serious presidential contender nor is it attempting to raise money in a serious fashion. The analysis from this citizen observer confirms that opinion.

In the combined Q2-3 analysis, the current advisers were identified and some background information was captured, if you need a refresher, you can find it here.

Nobody got a raise this quarter, unlike previous quarters. Lindsay Hayes was again paid for speech writing services in October (Ten PM Medial). As a reminder, Michael Gross reported in his Vanity Fair article that Hayes left his gig with Palin in April. Nothing to worry about though, as a new speech writer has surfaced: Chriss Winston of Pomfret, Maryland was paid $4000 on November 5th for speech writing. Ms. Winston appears to be an accomplished and respected speech writer, working for both the Reagan and first Bush administrations. She is also a real author. One wonders how hard it must have been for her to work for Palin. I bet we won’t see her again.

Joshua Livestro remains on the payroll and we can see that he probably has been around since July. Beardog did the legwork on Paideia and his work resulted in the discovery that Joshua Livestro was Paideia. Elaborate lengths were employed to conceal his identity. Does the lack of transparency on both sides suggest that there is embarrassment or shame in the consulting relationship? If not, perhaps there really should be. Beardog’s own site has disappeared in
recent days. A YouTube video of his investigation is available. Beardog also looks into the secrecy surrounding the addition of Joshua Livestro as one of Sarah Palin's advisor.

Ivy Frye has remained off the PAC payroll. Her guardianship of Bristol during the DWTS series was not paid for by the PAC. Marilyn Lane did however get reimbursed for $2623 for correspondence and postage on October 27th. Did we see her in the audience at a DWTS contest around that time or was it the other long-time family friend who also happens to be on the PAC payroll, Carol Ryan? Does anybody remember?

In one of the last PAC installments, RAM’s job description was again expanded. Her responsibilities grew to include “Quick Response”. RAM was very quick to respond in defense of Palin following the tragic mass shooting in Tucson, as reported by Alaska Dispatch. We have speculated on RAM’s silence in recent days and some may worry about her silence and her welfare. Would she have any unemployment benefits should she ever lose her job with SarahPAC? The answer to that is a big NO. It’s interesting that RAM has never been paid for any expenses. No postage, no travel, no nothing. I wonder if she has ever met with Palin in person.

The average consultant spend continues to run around $300,000 per quarter.

Internet Fund Raising

In 2009, SarahPAC spent $279046 on internet fundraising. For 2010, Upstream Communications has been the primary
SarahPAC internet fundraiser. This company took over from Edonations in December 2009.

As a reminder, Upstream is the company founded by Karl Rove, as Karl Rove + Co., in 1981. He sold the company to Ted Delisi and Todd Olsen in 2000, so that he could dedicate himself to Bush. The company is tightly woven into the fabric of
TX and GOP politics.

Direct Mail and The Mama Grizzly

The PAC has again invested in direct mail efforts to raise funds. The costs of direct mail campaigns likely include printing, postage, thank-you correspondence, and direct mail firm services. It is unclear if Passcode developed a new video to promote Palin, or if the 2 payments seen in the 4th quarter are remaining amounts due from the Mama Grizzly video.

Four entries documenting likely duplicate transactions appear on page 4 of 5, Schedule B Itemized Disbursements, 11/23 – 12/31. These are big amounts but it is just sloppy, very, very sloppy. There are only 11 or 12 entries per page and just 5 pages total. Timothy Crawford, McLean, VA was reimbursed for postage in the amount of $980 on 12/02/2010. The Arlington, VA postmaster was paid $980 for stamps on 12/17/2010. The Wasilla, AK postmaster was paid $456 for PO Box rental and postage on 11/22/2010. Marilyn Lane, Wasilla, AK was reimbursed for PO Box rental and postage in the amount of $456 on 11/24/2010. They sure look like dupes to me, or were they acutally paid twice?

Trinkets and Meat

The PAC did not invest in any trinkets, photos or holiday gifts during the last quarter. Wasn’t there a book tour? Notrinkets? No photographs? I am not going to talk about the meat again.

Books and More Books

What do you read?

The second book didn’t do so well. Our friend Jason Easley at Politicususa summarized the doldrums surrounding America By Heart.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The PAC is still not itemizing expenses covered under the Visa bill; 24% of travel expenses are not itemized as required by FEC regulations. Three private charters were used during the fourth quarter. There are no travel expenses for December. Again, it looks like Palin runs a tab with airlines and hotels. Or she is getting someone else to pay?

PAC Business

There were credits for uncashed checks to the Michele Bachmann for Congress, MN, campaign (2500) and the Coffman for Congress, CO, campaign (5000). Did these candidates have scruples?

Several small reimbursements were made during the quarter to SarahPAC contributors.


A big thank you to mxm for doing this analysis with such good humour. You can uncross your eyes now, mxm. Give them a good rest.


Patrick and Kathleen have become homeowners and their bright new house is open to old and new friends and they will welcome all with open arms, I'm sure.

In the meantime, I have a lot of work to do after my tenants moved out. I have to rearrange the furniture, dust the corners, brighten up the place a bit and prepare some dishes and refreshments for my own guests. I have a juicy piece of beef in the oven, getting ready to be served. But if I have to keep running backwards and forwards because I keep hearing loud noises of people fighting in the main room, dinner will be delayed or spoiled.

Analogies and metaphors over.

I'm going to state this very clearly:

Palingates is not involved in any confrontations going on elsewhere. I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on my own blog, trying to prepare new posts and get on with my own work when there are very distracting things going on in the comments. Other people's battles are being enacted in the wrong place.

I made it very clear that my decision to shake things up wasn't based on a single event and I can't allow the final single event to fester and infect Palingates. I did what I believed was right. If there are ramifications elsewhere which coincide with one or more of the factors that influenced my decision, I have no control over any new developments.

Do you want to take Gryphen's side? Go and tell him on Immoral Minority. Do you want to take Patrick's side? Go and tell him on Politicalgates. Do you want to remain neutral? Stay on Palingates.

I don't do blog wars.

This is yet another post that strays from our aims. I hope it will be a case of third time lucky.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Open thread - Friday

The view from my window (should I send it to Andrew Sullivan?)

Following a suggestion regarding the chatty bits on the threads, I'm going to post a daily open thread alongside a main post (there's a beefy one in the works, but it's not ready yet). I'm not anal about people going O/T on the main posts, but don't forget the open threads, a dedicated space for cats, dogs, canaries, other pets, surgeries, recipes, snow, traffic, speeding tickets, er... have I forgotten anything?

As I have already borrowed from Andrew Sullivan, perhaps you would like to send me photos of your pets, grandchildren, a favourite place or anything that takes your fancy to illustrate the open threads? We could have a nice new feature.

Things I need to say

I expected a strong reaction to my last post, but some comments took me by surprise! I'm going to address some points in this post and then I hope to be able to move on and actually attempt to achieve something on the Sarah Palin front. Palingates is not about me, after all. And it's not a fan club. I will say all I need to say about myself and this situation this time only, then try to resume normal business (if I can).

Let me start with a well known fridge magnet quote, in honour of the original subject of Palingates: "You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs."

Anybody who has followed Palingates since the very early days will know that I'm a reasonable person. I started this blog to look into Sarah Palin's record. The research involved in compiling the list of gates was relatively simple. I would choose a topic, ask Google, hit the links, double check the facts for any contradictions, try to spot any inaccuracies and write my posts. Choosing the pictures was the fun part and I still love it. Life was simple and the worst that happened in those days was the odd palinbot showing up to contest my findings or accuse me of being French (some will remember dear old Videmus Omnia, a C4P founding father) and one very abusive e-mail telling me to keep my nose out of Alaska and wishing me some unpleasant diseases.

The blog grew steadily and gained some respectability. It was still a small blog when I was contacted by Patrick, a well known name from Palin Deceptions, a blog where I spent many hours, fascinated with the research skills of their team. I was in awe of Patrick and Kathleen and very curious and excited to meet them. They spent a few days with us, met my elder son, my husband, our cat, and were charming, intelligent people. We had a very good time together.

I thought their talents were wasted and suggested they start their own blog. They said many times that they didn't want the responsibility of running a blog. I invited Patrick to write guest posts about Babygate, a topic that I had touched in passing a few times, just to keep it alive. I didn't have any new material and my own research skills were very pedestrian for tackling a topic so full of twists and turns. He agreed and I thought I had hit the jackpot, scoring a "celebrity" guest poster.

We had just sold the little houseboat we had back in England and with that money we paid all our outstanding debts and booked a trip to Australia to visit our younger son after two years apart. I asked Patrick if he could hold the fort during my absence. He was happy to step in and his name was added to the list of authors, with full admin powers. This period coincided with the "Going Rogue" book bus tour. A now former friend of Palingates spotted the tail numbers of a private jet which was in fact Sarah Palin's "bus" and Patrick wrote a post that found its way into the MSM. I couldn't contain my excitement about this great development.

When I returned from the trip, Patrick was well established as a co-blogger on Palingates and happy to continue to be part of it. The blog grew and everything was looking good. In February 2010 the Andrea Friedman episode of Family Guy was aired, among a lot of controversy. I was contacted by a reader who had a copy of Andrea's press release e-mail, which I quoted in the post about the episode. Some people challenged the contents of the e-mail, implying that I had added the controversial paragraph about Sarah Palin carrying Trig around like a loaf of French bread, because it had not appeared in an article on the New York Times on the same subject. I published my very first screenshot as an update to the post. It was the most successful post on Palingates in terms of pageloads and was linked by major news outlets. I think Patrick was spurred on and determined to beat the record, so he worked harder than ever, producing many more widely linked posts and getting further mentions in the media.

In March there was an incident involving The Mudflats. There was some crisis about attribution concerning the post about the Venezuelan company Mystik Oil sponsoring Todd Palin in the Iron Dog race. Without my knowledge, Kathleen had sent an e-mail to Jeanne Devon, protesting that she had spent over eight hours researching the post and Mudflats had used the material, including a video, on the blog and on Huffington Post, without proper attribution. This e-mail gave Jeanne a two-hour deadline to remedy the situation or the matter would be brought to the attention of the editors of the HuffPo. I was taken aback but stood by Kathleen and asked that in future, any correspondence related to Palingates be run by me first. I wrote to Jeanne apologizing for the incident, received a very nice reply and thought that was the end of the matter. Most of the Alaskan bloggers dropped their links to the blog, harsh words were written about Palingates and we lost some important allies. I wrote a post trying to defuse the situation, didn't drop the links to the AK bloggers and hoped to move on.

But the seeds of discord were sown and things didn't improve very much from then on. Other differences in approach between P & K and myself started to emerge. I wanted the blog to focus on politics and Sarah Palin, leaving stories about the Johnstons to other blogs. When Mercede Johnston launched her blog, something that can only be described as a pissing match (between Patrick on this side and Dennis Zaki and Gryphen on the other) erupted in the comments. I asked Patrick to stop it and to try and stay out of the comments. Posting links, clarifying some points was OK by me, but chit-chat and comments about other bloggers was not OK.

I think this coincided with the story about Bristol's condo in Anchorage, when a post showing a photo sent by a reader had the added bonus of showing photos of Mercede's car, questioning her ability to afford it. Here I must say that there was an agreement in place: We should run our posts by each other before publication. I sent copies of my posts for discussion by e-mail. P & K outlined their posts on the phone. I never saw copies of the final drafts beforehand. Some internal rules were being broken and I was becoming very stressed, repeating myself constantly and unable to assert myself properly because of the stress.

They still wrote fantastic, information rich posts, kept coming up with up-to-the minute news, stayed up all night updating posts, networked like mad and greatly contributed to the blog's visibility out there.

Then the trigger-happy banning started. I had to reinstate a perfectly genuine reader who had disagreed with Kathleen and banned as a result. I wrote to the person and blamed it on a Disqus hiccup. The reader returned and is a very valued and respected contributor. The Mercede episode moved a certain SarahHalfTime to make some challenging comments. A joker started posting comments using a similar handle and identical avatar at the same time, just for fun, which confused things further. P & K wanted to ban the original SarahHalfTime and we had a big argument about it. They also wanted to introduce guidelines for commenting. Call me naive, but I believe that establishing rules for commenting would inevitably bring out the devil in some and turn us into enforcers. I had faith in the readers and expected some degree of self-regulation. After all, our readers are intelligent adults, capable of critical thinking and I really believed things would eventually settle down. P & K said I didn't know how to run my blog. But SarahHalfTime stayed.

I couldn't cope with all these arguments and long, heated phone discussions anymore. So I decided to leave the blog. I had to make a choice and made the wrong one. I couldn't match their stamina or their ability to come up with hot news or their resources for deep research. I thought they had much more to offer to the now fairly large community of readers than I could ever hope to offer. I wanted a clean break and asked them to start another blog, import the contents of Palingates and start afresh. But Paypal sends receipts which clearly identify the recipient. Patrick didn't want to risk losing his anonymous status, so all the accounts stayed in my name. I wrote a goodbye post full of white lies and took a backseat.

I love Palingates and couldn't stay away for very long. I started doing some bits and pieces and writing the odd post, always deferring to Patrick as the editor. But I was resentful, regretting my decision to give up my blog. My husband spotted some comments that implied I was a quitter and a couple of comments by Kathleen made me a bit more unhappy and bitter. I sent them a very explosive e-mail which I now regret. My protective husband, watching from the sidelines and unable to console me, sent them an e-mail as well. I was told I could have the bloody blog back. Kathleen calmed things down and it was decided that I would come back writing posts again, with an implicit agreement about sharing editorial decisions. I was happy to be back and let little remarks about how they had always left the door open for me go by the wayside. It was still my blog, I didn't need to be invited into my own home. The joint editorial thing turned out to be the same joke it had always been, one-sided. A few bits and pieces were sent to me for my opinion, but not all the main posts.

The Shailey Tripp post was quickly outlined over the phone, I made some suggestions and went to bed. I can't describe my horror when I woke up to that post and the comments that ensued. My inbox was full of shocked reactions to the post. I spent all day exchanging e-mails with Kathleen and in the course of this correspondence, I understood how all the information in the post came to light and why some names had been mentioned. The post was unethical, out of any meaningful context and exposed too many details about a person who has no relevance in the political landscape. If Sarah Palin falls as a result of this scandal, all the credit belongs to the National Enquirer and Shailey Tripp. This story fell completely outside the remit of a political blog. My e-mails were met with evasiveness and Kathleen's last reply opened with a zinger: "You're entitled to your viewpoints..." I wrote a final e-mail, spelling out my reservations very, very clearly. There was no reply to that one at all. I slept on it and the next morning it became very clear to me that they had to go. I prepared the post and rang Kathleen. She became very distraught and couldn't listen to what I had to say. She told me to stop talking over her and let her finish what she had to say. So I listened. She said "I'm glad, I'm really glad. Thank you very much." Then she hung up and I hit "publish." The two minute notice should read as seven months or longer. The post has been deleted because it impacted the lives of people other than Shailey Tripp, and who have no bearing on any Sarah Palin related issue.

I made mistakes. I failed to assert myself when I should have and now I'm faced with this mess. I wrote an economical post to explain it and it didn't work very well.

There are two sides to every story and I think Patrick and Kathleen must have found me to be just as annoying and stubborn as I found them. It was the case of a working relationship that couldn't survive and the above are my reasons for the split. I wish it had not happened this way and that I didn't have to offer any explanations. On a personal level, I'm still very fond of both of them and wish them well.

This is a far from economical post and the last one I intend to write on this subject.

In the heat of yesterday's events, I said I bought a fridge with my share of the Paypal money. Let's clarify this Paypal business once and for all. I never wanted to make a single penny from this blog. Many people suggested placing ads or a Paypal button on the blog long before Patrick and Kathleen showed up. I wouldn't do it. I only gave in to the Paypal idea because they were in financial difficulties. My husband and I live on an income of exactly £900 a month. We want for nothing and have a modest but comfortable lifestyle. If we were rich, we would have offered to lend some money to P & K ourselves. We don't have it, so the Paypal button was installed and it was agreed that I should take a share for my own efforts. I would take 40% and they would take 60%. When I "left" the blog, I didn't want any of it, but my husband thought it was unfair, as I still had to deal with a lot of administrative matters and we had to make some trips to the nearest larger village to send them urgent money via Western Union. My percentage dropped to 15%. Yes, I bought a fridge with my ill-gotten gains. It's not a very big fridge, but it has a larger freezer than the old one. I like it. And we spent 4 days in Paris in a very small hotel. If anybody would like their money refunded, please send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you immediately.

The Paypal button is gone, never to return. There will never be another moneyblast and I will never have to be reduced to tears again when donations as small as US$2 arrive. If anybody feels like sending me money, it would have to be as a reward, not for expenses. Running this blog never cost me a penny. The only thing I spend on it is my time.

A note to the self-appointed guardians who patrol the comments: None of you speaks for me or for Palingates. I created an open forum, where people are free to express their thoughts. Ironically, I seem to be the only person without the freedom to express my own thoughts about the comments. Every time I say anything, at least half a dozen people jump on my neck. A lot of readers started asking me if they had offended anyone. No, the vast majority of readers have not offended and are incapable of offending anybody. I expect the real offenders know who they are (they do) and I would like to ask them either to stop doing what they're doing or pick up their belongings and look for another unmoderated forum to patrol. When I invite people to think before they post a comment, I'm not accusing all the readers of insensitivity or trying to impose any censorship. It doesn't mean people can't have a sense of humour. There's a huge difference between a bit of snark and an outright offensive, thoughtless comment. Things may come to the point where I'll have to introduce some guidelines and create more work for myself, watching the threads for breaches and deleting comments. It goes against the grain with me, but c'est la vie....

To the people spreading rumours and innuendo about Patrick and Kathleen, please stop. I'm not party to P & K's interactions with other people on the internet and can only speak for myself. In all the months we worked together, I may have found them annoying at times, but they have never behaved in a menacing way or given me any reason to suspect that they were dangerous, sinister characters.

There are no legal issues involved in the split. There weren't any threats. The corresponcence I received complaining about various uncomfortable situations didn't come from concern trolls or palinbots, they were from people who have followed Palingates for a long time. I haven't been paid off by the Palins.

If these ugly things persist, I'll have no options left and will have to shut down the comments until things settle down.

I hope this extended version of War and Peace will make things clearer to everybody and hopefully the last time I have to write a post about myself or people who have nothing to do with politics and Sarah Palin. If it upsets you, I can't help it. But at least you won't be confused.

I have walked on eggs for a long time, then I realized I could pick up some of them and make an omelette.


I'm going to tidy up the sidebar. The archives will stay intact and I will not delete anything of which Patrick hasn't saved copies for himself.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Brace yourselves

Today marks a turning point for Palingates. I asked Patrick and Kathleen to leave the blog due to irreconcilable differences in editorial approach.

I take full responsibility for my decision and for the inevitable consequences of this move. Palingates is a fairly popular open forum and its contents often used as a point of reference by a number of people. What goes on here matters and certain lines should not be crossed.

Despite any disclaimers about who is responsible for the editorial decisions and contents of Palingates, the overall responsibility rests with me. All the accounts relating to it are in my name: Blogger, Disqus and Paypal. I cannot shirk my responsibility for the sake of an increase in pageloads or for the growth in the number of readers and commentators.

I am not detracting from all the hard work and the many hours Patrick and Kathleen put on the blog. I would like to pay tribute to their dedication and enviable skills as researchers and networkers. Palingates was transformed through their input, evolving from a modest, sleepy blog to a minor sensation in some circles. But we are not on the same page on a number of issues.

I do not know if Palingates will appeal to readers after Patrick and Kathleen's departure. I do not have the skills they brought to Palingates and may not be able to offer what people want from it.

Will Palingates survive? It may have had its natural lifespan and could simply become a reference blog. I cannot guess what the future holds.

There is a Palingates community. It is a dynamic group of very diverse people who are proud of the close ties that were formed in the last few months. Unfortunately, this caring community does not always live up to this caring label and at times some insensitive comments are posted. Anybody who dares to express their concern regarding any insensitivity is met with aggressive and dismissive responses by some.

I have received a number of e-mails asking me to do something about it. To that end, I wrote two posts addressing the issues of commenting and how to deal with the trolls. They were very well received by the majority of readers, but there was an inevitable pushback and the problem persists, as may be observed in the thread about Shailey Tripp. (Sorry, it can't be observed anymore, the post was deleted)

Again, the dedication and hard work of Palingates contributors has to be commended. But it became apparent that members of this admirable community need to re-evaluate themselves from time to time and ask themselves a few questions. Palingates would be a much better community if people paused to read their own comments before clicking on the "post" or "reply" buttons.

I could not ignore the pleas of people expressing genuine concern for Palingates. I could no longer sit on my hands and hope for the best.

Palingates is a political blog with a purpose. This purpose is to find ways to prevent Sarah Palin having influence in the political landascape of the US, which affects us all in this global new world. Is Palingates going to stop Sarah Palin at all costs? Are we going to publish anything and everything about Sarah Palin and anybody connected with her, however incidental the connection?

I will always be the first person to rush to my keyboard to take apart Sarah Palin's speeches, point out inconsistencies found in the pages of her books and share any discoveries of unethical or criminal behaviour in her part. I will criticise the way she uses her children to score political points. But if I came across a notebook containing poems written by her, personal poems that reflected a deep hurt or pointed to some painful events in her early life, I would never publish any of these poems. They belong to Sarah Palin the woman, the human being, not Sarah Palin the politician, the Fox News talking head.

If I did that, everything I ever wrote about Sarah Palin the politician would become tainted by my lack of compassion for Sarah Palin the woman.

I cannot run a blog about another human being without compassion. If this blog was about the efficiency of internal combustion engines, UFOs or simply a blog to share recipes, none of the things described above would be an issue.

On this blog, words matter. That's not negotiable.

Full explanation about the split HERE

Sarah Palin and President Barack Obama Get It On

By Kathleen

A long awaited pairing of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama has at last taken place. Unpredictably it was a sweet one as the two dimensional pair were observed sharing a chocolate milkshake together in the Chok’lit Shoppe, Riverdale. Yes, Sarah and Barack found common ground over their love of a chocolate milkshake on the cover of the popular comic “Archie”.

The storyline has a recurring and somewhat topical premise -- even people with opposing views can find common ground if they truly want what is best in a given situation.

The story is spread over two issues #616 which was released on December 22nd, 2010 and #617 which was issued yesterday and concludes the story.

In the comic world of Archie, President Obama is the President and leader of the Democratic Party and Sarah is the somewhat less than subtle apparent leader of the GOP. They visit Archie and Reggie who are opponents in the contest for student body president of Riverdale High and together find common ground regarding what it is that is really important.

Back in the three dimensional world, Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher, believes that Sarah and Barack want the same thing, which is the best thing for everyone.It certainly worked out fine in the comic. The best thing for all was achieved without bitterness.

If only life could so easily reflect that which is portrayed in two dimensional Riverdale.

The comments at the ADN rock with regard to this topic!

Several readers brought to our attention the outstanding article that Andrew Halcro wrote regarding who is responsible for Sarah Palin. And no, he did not say that it was all Chuck and Sally’s fault. He was talking about her political career. And he blames Alaskans.

Andrew makes the case loud and clear that Alaskan voters made Sarah Palin’s political career by “rewarding her shallow campaigns and soundbite governance with thanks and praise.” Although he believes that she is now unelectable due to “her downed lines of communication to critical segments of the voting public" and that "her historical inability to bridge that divide seems insurmountable" it also appears that he is issuing a warning to all voters that they have to see beyond who she is and that they should rather focus on what it is she actually knows before they cast a vote for her.

You can read the full article here:

Reader Kasha Knish has revealed the release date of the long awaited Joe McGinniss book regarding Sarah Palin.

"The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin" by Joe McGinniss - Release date Sept. 13th - pre-orders on Amazon now!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Palingates Weekly Roundup - January 17 to January 22, 2011

By Blueberry Tart

Palingates honored Martin Luther King Day with a post recalling his inspiring words, calling on Americans to stand up to evil and fight hate with love. The timing of his message resonates so strongly with the calls to renounce violent rhetoric in the wake of the Tucson tragedy. The violence that Dr. King saw first-hand and that eventually claimed his life could best be overcome by non-violent resistance – both parts, non-violence and resistance against injustice and evil, being equally important. Kathleen offers some wisdom about putting oneself in the others’ shoes and really trying to see their point of view, and also reminds us of the huge cost of violence, such as the history of Northern Ireland.

Patrick got us very excited with a post about his phone conversation with Kim Chatman, who has heard that there will be a big scandal relating to emails from Palin’s short tenure as Governor of Alaska. Kim, whose credentials include having filed the successful ethics complaint about Sarah’s slush fund, the Alaska Fund Trust, has heard from her sources that the emails contain damaging information on a variety of topics. Kim expects that damaging info on the Palin’s will be released “very soon,” although the exact timeline is not yet known. The comments were abuzz with speculation about which of Palin’s many skeletons will be the focus of this upcoming scandal. Best collective guess: more than one scandal will emerge.

We’ve had an influx of trolls lately, so Regina reminds us that we need not respond to their comments; in fact, please just ignore them. Much like the way that President Obama ignores Sarah Palin, this is the best way to handle trolls. Even the one pictured is really quite harmless, albeit not very pleasant to look at! One other request is to please be careful in labeling someone as a troll; sometimes this label may be WRONG, as happened, ironically, on this very same thread. In fact, if you follow Regina’s advice (please), the second problem will not BE a problem. No need to worry about defending Palingates; we are secure.

Get yourself settled with a bowl of popcorn and your favorite beverage, because it’s movie time! This post includes a great assortment of videos from the past week. We start with the fawning Sean Hannity and his softball questions, allowing Sarah to stick to her obvious script. Stewart and Colbert are priceless; do not miss! Dylan Ratigan points out the utter hypocrisy (up is down) of Sarah’s claim that it is her critics whose words are “reprehensible,” not her own words. Joan Hamsher says that it is a fair question to ask whether Palin acted responsibly in putting up the map and using the words she did, as violence was directed at Congressional offices right after HCR was passed. If I heard right, Joan Rivers called her a Nazi on Joy Behar’s program; Joan and her daughter have obviously been following Sarah’s antics and had some interesting comments. David Frum: “she’s madder than she is sad…it’s hard to imagine [her] coping as President with a tragedy like this.” David Corn called out her blood libel comment where she equated criticism of her with genocidal persecution; he also said, “She’s the last person…to be preaching a…Kumbaya approach to political discourse.”

Kathleen not only questions the idea that Sarah Palin is finished politically in the wake of the Tucson shootings, but she shows polling data indicating that Palin’s appeal remains largely unchanged, except for a small shift in some of her support from “very positive” to “somewhat positive.” The rest remains steady, at least in the NBC-WSJ poll cited. This does not mean that Sarah Palin stands a strong chance of being elected; her favorable:unfavorable ratio among the people at large, and among independents, remains very weak. But it does thrown some cold water on the notion that we can stop worrying about her as a political force.

Comments of the Week

Omomma: ". . . her rise to the top?" Top of what. Pinocchio Mountain? Who writes this crap.

AzureGhost and elizabeth44 were on the case late Sunday, investigating Friends for Palin 2012 (Sarah Palin, President) and its connections to people with what appear to be shady dealings in NV.

Nomadicjoe: So they are comparing her to both Ronald Reagan AND Martin Luther King!?! Sheeeesh, that's quite a stretch. I would have stuck with Evita Peron and left it there.

Later: I watched a documentary online the other day. "Five Steps to Tyranny" and it listed how a sane society can be lured into a fascist one. Step One, create a "US and THEM" and Step Two, dehumanize the opposing side.

CR46: Dr King's words and thoughts are and always will be meaningful, in today's society or in any future generation. The horrible racism and segregation that Dr King and many others fought against in the 60's was not an easy fight. We must ALL be willing to step up to the plate and let our voices be heard. I will not stand by and let evil overtake the great strides that have been made ( and a few more need to be made) in civil rights for everyone. As long as Teabaggers target politicians with violence, the woman's right to vote, child labor laws....we must stand and be heard.

MadamDeal: The Fairness Doctrine is the new "attack on freedom of speech." The day after Obama's Tucson remarks, Rush said "Civility is the new censorship."

There were many thoughtful comments about this and other tumultuous times in American history and Dr. King’s legacy.

Elizabeth44: …I firmly believe that love is light, and light overcomes the darkness… Those who have chosen evil will fight us every inch of the way, because it is their method of obtaining power. Those who are cooperating with evil out of fear, love and caring can help. Where do we start? Our families, friends, and neighbors.

Nin1963 implored God to spare us from Palin… other ‘Gaters joined in her prayer.

Juicy76 has a brilliant new nickname: Sarah "I have a scheme" Palin, that great civil rights leader.

Espresso4me: After all these years I still have a dream, Martin. One in which the fires of hate, violence, bigotry and ignorance are not stoked by those who have their own selfish personal and financial agendas. One where the voices of reason, peace, respect, and intelligence are strong, sound, and unfaltering...

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
Martin Luther King,

More_Cowbell: Could you ever have imagined that we'd be talking about Facebook and Twitter as being the main communication strategies of someone who thinks she's a viable candidate for President of the United States?

Nin1963: Carl Bernstein on Morning Joe said in response to Joe's question: "Should the media report every thing Palin says on her facebook as if it came from Mt Olympus" and Carl responded: "The media needs to treat her for what she is, a demagogue." Couldn't agree more. She has NO real solutions, only soundbites and quips and is a populist whore. She needs to be treated for what she is.

Later, Nin had a long list of traits of NPD and it sounded like Sarah’s biography.

Leota2: As I'm having a quiet morning---I just googled PALIN WHINES and giggled at the over half a million hits. . . . That's a lot of whining.

Later Leota said: …there is a serious problem with the Palin women's need to label any male who disagrees with them a pedophile. That is some serious Freudian baggage those sick puppies are dragging around.

Tan: …this was the perfect opportunity to [reach out to those outside her base] in a sympathetic manner. She could’ve expressed her innocence whilst also admitting regret in her poor choice of words and symbolism and followed up with a pledge to unite. She also should've apologised for the choice of 'blood libel'… But her mental illness is just too strong and compels her to - an explosion of rage and spite and hate. Sickening!

Live blogging Sarah’s Hannitizing ritual with 59 people on chat was apparently a blast!

BanditBasheert: difficult [week] for all of us but obviously no one has suffered more than Sister Sarah. She is the "biggest victim" of them all. She got caught being exactly "WHO" and "WHAT" she is.

Patrick’s post on Tuesday opened the floodgates for VERY excited comments by ‘Gaters dreaming about what fate our Sarah might endure… the most enthusiastic seemed to involve an orange jumpsuit.

Casey’s Mom: Breaking news: Wasilla Wal-Mart announces an unexpected shortage of canned goods. Details at eleven. ;o)

Wayofpeace: Who so diggeth a pit shall fall therein. –Proverbs

ProChoiceGrandma had a good list: Oh, so many choices….
How about the mysterious 15 oil & gas explorers who received $193million?
The Pipeline always seems to involve bribery.
Dairygate is another big one with criminal consequences.
Housegate would also involve bribery/favors/theft.
But please let the emails at least show how she lied about Trig’s birth! Insurance fraud.

Femme7 calmed us down: I'll get excited AFTER the damaging emails are released.....IF they are released. I just have seen this impending "iceberg" story too many times to get too worked up. Sorry I'm a party-pooper but I remember after Palin quit and the big iceberg stories were running wild and nothing ever came of them… But…I do think that once there is a crack in the dam, I think Alaskans will come out of the woodwork to tell their Sarah and Todd stories.

Ltl1: She is the real victim here! Ignore all those dead and wounded people over there in Tucson! Look at poor, poor Sarah and the threats she must deal with!

Juicyfruityy found this Hubert Humphrey quote, which seems apropos: "You cannot go around and keep score. If you keep score on the good things and the bad things, you'll find out that you're a very miserable person. God gave man the ability to forget, which is one of the greatest attributes you have. Because if you remember everything that's happened to you, you generally remember that which is the most unfortunate."

Peacepax: I found a quote on that web site which made me think of palingates. “Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.” - Robert F. Kennedy

Drpatois: Regina, did you find those trolls under the bridge to nowhere?

Alembic had a good summary of all the reasons why Independents will never vote for Sarah.

Monkey99 had several excellent comments; here is part of one: …I have gone to Pro-Palin blogs, and can't believe the level of childish thinking and use of offensive language. The level of fear (mostly hidden by bravado) and mistrust of pretty much everything is a far cry from what I am used to. The field of combat is not something you can exactly argue with, but if any of these Palin supporters were to be thrust into it, I'm not sure I could trust them with a weapon. I commend you all for making Palingates a class act!

Lilylake was hopeful: I think this is the "tipping point" for Sarah Palin. We have witnessed it. Things are downhill for her now; no one in their right mind wants to listen to her nonsense, much less support Sarah Palin for national office.

There was a mini-thread on why Sarah won’t sue the NE – because what they have printed is true and also a suit would expose her to depositions and other discovery. I just want to make sure this comment by Patrick is not lost (referring to NE report on an affair that Sarah had with Todd’s then-partner): The Brad Hanson story is true, confirmed to us from several very good sources, including a member of Brad Hanson's family.

Mmboucher had us ROFL with a quote from C4P “refudiating” the NE article, including this gem: “Given what we know about the Palin family, and their transparency in how they conduct themselves, this story is ludicrous on it’s [sic] face.” OMG, they are SO delusional!

Lilybart: Two nights ago I was at a NYC media party talking with a Vanity Fair reporter about Palingates etc...he was very interested in babygate. I enticed him with the things that most reporters would find odd....that the McCain campaign asked for proof of Trig's parentage and she refused. Why would anyone who is chosen from obscurity to be the VP nominee not provide everything asked of them? And the ADN reporter Lisa Demer who tried to put the rumors to rest, and again, she would not cooperate. He kept asking questions.....he also said that VF has too many stories in the can, backed up, so I don't hope this will be a story, but I am sure they will talk....

KatieAnnieOakley: When people spoke out about G.W. Bush, they were traitors; when people speak out about Obama, they're Patriots.

Nomoosestew: She is the real victim here!! People were shot, killed, and now Gabby is fighting to get well but people weren't nice to Sarah. Have you no heart?

Alex posted this quote from Mark Shields on PBS: "This is America, where a white Catholic male Republican judge was murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon, all eulogized by our African American President."

AKRNC had another great comment with insider info on Friday afternoon; here is a snippet: It seems that due to her refusal to communicate with these people who are ready to invest millions in her, they now have cold feet and are looking elsewhere. They had been told many times prior to this that Palin did not take direction from anyone but they had thought with their investment in her, she would listen to them. She has them running scared because they realize now how uncontrollable she is.

Wesinoregon: I think I officially have "Palin Fatigue". (that should be a new medical term)

Indy_girl: Well, Sarah *is* as important as Jesus, Mohammed, the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas, St. Patrick, Buddha, Allah, and the great Pumpkin....all rolled into one narcissistic package, dontcha know! *wink*

Maelewis and others provided info on the fact that Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose the income his wife received from the Heritage Foundation. This, along with Thomas’ and Scalia’s failure to recuse themselves from the Citizens United decision, points to the direct connections between right-wing power brokers and the SCOTUS, and the apparent conflicts of interest of these justices.

Emily Peacock, responding to Ripley in CT: Exactly. It's the emails. They've fought tooth and nail over releasing them using every legal trick in the book. They MUST be very incriminating.

Kilob was inspired, dubbing Sarah the “self appointed Demander in Chief” – excellent!
Palingaters send our love to Mr & Mrs Gunka.

Links of the Week

From HIG and others, here is the link to Frank Rich’s NYT opinion piece.

Need a laugh? Amy1 has this for you: Hi Mrs Gunka -- Here's me doing my pageant walk. (note by Regina: We lost the original link, so I searched for a similar one, just for the laugh. Sorry, Amy1... I hope you like this one.)

Sjkfromthebellyoftheplane linked to Daily Kos: Sarah Palin Is Not Responsible. Sarah Palin Is Irresponsible.

Juicyfruityy had a great link to smirkingchimp on MLK.

MrsTBB linked to Dion singing Abraham, Martin and John.

TruGal/wayofpeace linked to an interesting NYT piece.

Palinized pointed out this Media Matters piece on violent rhetoric.

Juicy76 found another Frum takedown of Palin.

And this British bit on What is a Sarah Palin.

I love me a good Sarah smackdown, like Business Insider did here; thanks to HopeforAmerica for the link.

Quite a few ‘Gaters posted this link to the Young Turks showing the Sarah Palin song (to Battle Hymn of the Republic]; it’s an instant classic!

Wesinoregon found some links to interesting international coverage of the Palin map-crosshairs-violent rhetoric-rise of the right wing themes. HERE and HERE

Politicususa on “blood libel.”

Aview found this in WaPo; seems even the Repubs don’t think Sarah is handling things well. and here is a WaPo poll that doesn’t look good for Sarah. Aview also found a post from Malia Litman on the snow machine tweet and several good posts at politicsdaily.

Soapydog linked to the Colbert Report on “Mika’s Palin Fatigue.” Must see!

HopeforAmerica found this on Sarah’s “sobbing meltdown” because she was afraid the blistering criticism in the wake of Tucson would derail her presidential ambitions.

And this good article on RAM in The Daily Beast.

These 2008 articles (H/T nomoosestew and MadamDeal) never get old. HERE and HERE

Cheeriogirl found this great link on the Congress themselves requiring health insurance in 1798, signed by President John Adams. Fascinating!

Paradigm Shift linked to witsend on pollution affecting trees and ecosystems.

Older_Wiser: CNN piece on Palin fatigue.

TurtleTears linked to firedoglake on Loughner’s defense team possibly using Sarah’s rhetoric and map, among other things, in an insanity defense.

Austintxx linked to PolitiFact’s Obamameter.

Wanda found that Andrew Sullivan doesn’t buy the Palin news-blackout idea. No surrender.

KatieAnnieOakley pointed out “Sarah Palin’s Pregnancy Decision Map.”

Tweets of the Week

ProChoiceGrandma (with H/T to xboxershorts): Palin feels she's being unfairly blamed for the actions of an extremist. Maybe she can ask Muslims for advice on how to deal with that. #P2

On @MorningJoe Carl Bernstein says we need 2 fact-check @SarahPalinUSA. @Palingates ahead of you, Carl. #P2

History would be different if there had been Hitlergates. We have @Palingates to expose crazy demagogue #P2

HIG: Progressives to ‘uncloak’ the secret financers behind the Tea party

HIG also highlighted NewsHounds: Fox News Throws A Pity Party For Sarah Palin, The Martyr Of The Arizona Massacre: On Martin Luther King Day (1/1...

BellPeppery: @SarahPalinUSA MLK preached & practiced nonviolence; reflect on that and recommit to peace - PULL DOWN YOUR HIT LIST!

ParadigmShift found this tweet: @sarahpalinusa The party's over for you.

KashaKnish: 4 $arah #Palin "Everybody's Talkin'@ me-I don't hear a word they're sayin'-only the echoes of my mind."

Dedicated 2 Sarah #Palin - "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" Elton John @sarahpalinusa

@sarahpalinusa The Party's Over -"It's time 2 call it a day-it's time 2 wind up this masquerade ..." - #Palin

ThanksABunchJohn with H/T to sjk: @SarahPalinUSA You may not shut up but you may have the right to remain silent - verrry soon! #iceberg coming

KatieAnnieOakley: Scientists studying Palin's travels. Hoping 2 learn about flight patterns of an elusive species: Wild Alaskan Dingbats.

The Last Word

Toccaro had a powerful comment on Palin’s attempt to co-opt Dr. King, including: This woman knows nothing about the real legacy of King and those like me who were there and experienced that awful time in history…We are of all persuasions, political leanings, cultures, countries, colors and more, but the common thread, I believe, is that we believe in the good of mankind and that good will triumph evil. Like King did. We dream of a better tomorrow.

And here are some cartoons:

Maelewis pointed this cartoon out:

And this one that Joe Christmas found in the WaPo is excellent:

(Click to enlarge)

Annettek pointed out this mother lode of cartoons.