June 15, 2019 / by 

 

Emptywheel’s Famous Trash Talk: Es Caballos de los Muertos Edition

Hey there sports fans, I love ya! Y’all got your swerve on? Because we have week three of the NFL on tap, not to mention the end of the MLB season and, if you are talking the biggest event worldwide, the Singapore Grand Prix. so there is some meat on the table.

If the F1 Driver’s Championship was not already effectively in the capable hands of Sebastian Vettel, and the Constructor’s Championship again to Red Bull, I would surely open with the F1 Circus. But, both of those are true, so we shall begin with NFL fuutball. There are just a slew of great games this week but, really, how could you start anywhere other than with the greatest rivalry in the history of pro football?

That would, of course, be the Packers and Bears. The Cheeseheads return to Soldier Field where they won the NFC Championship last year. Expect the action to pick up where it left off. The Bears can’t protect Jay Cutler for shit, but when he has time, dude can throw the ball. Matt Forte is way underrated, he is an elite back in the league. And Brian Urlacher and the D always comes to play. The loss of Nick Collins, the Pack’s star safety, will really hurt an already porous secondary. It is tempting to take Da Bears for the upset. But I can’t do it.

Another legendary rivalry on tap is the Cowboys and Redskins. Skins are surprisingly solid with Sexy Rexy Grossman at QB and former Cardinal Tim Hightower slamming the run. But if Tony Romo and his ribs can stay on the field, the ‘Boys also have a running game with Felix Jones and that should be enough to win a close one on Monday night. Giants and Eagles is yet another rivalry game, and has many of the same considerations in that the outcome may depend on Mike Vick staying on the field. If he does, it is hard to see how the Gents win.

Okay, mom made me promise to do a couple of things and, really, it will be a pleasure. First the title to this post. It, I think, conveys dead horses. In this case in Indianapolis. Without Peyton Manning, the Colts have become like President Obama, i.e. spineless. This week Indy gets a break. Oh, wait, that break is the Stillers, who may be aging fast, but are still embarrassed about that opening debacle against the Ravens. By the time this game is over, Curtis Painter (who?) may be leading the Colts on their way to slaughter. The other marker left by Miss Marcy is the -gasp!!! – thought that the Circle The Wagons may beat the Patsies. Yeah, I dunno about that, although, to be sure, the Bills are WAY improved and looking solid with Harvard Man Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson providing the goods on offense and a tough and fast defense on the other side of the ball. The Pats may give up 400 yards passing. But Brady will just throw for 500 and Belichick wins another one.

The Heidi game looks to be interesting, as it always is when the Jets and Raiders hook up; may be an upset in Oakland. And, of course, my favorite new team for the year, Teh Kitties. I’m telling ya, these cats are for real, and their confidence is going to grow some more this Sunday with a win over the rudderless Vikings. Say what you will about Grandpa, but the swagger and interest factor simply left with Favre. It is hard to believe that Donovan McNabb is really as done as he appears, but it looks time to put a fork in him if he doesn’t come up big this week. But, I don’t think the Boy Named Suh and Matt Stafford are gonna have any of that. Lions roll to a 3-0 start.

In the professional world of college athletics, the game to watch is the Old Hokeys versus the New Hokeys. Yep, the Randiego State Aztecs invade the Big House to meet the Wolverweenies. Don’t laugh, Brady Hoke built a pretty solid team at SDSU and they may just put a licking on the Maize and Blue, although the home field and crowd may be too much. Should be a great game. Hey, Jim White is going to be in Clemson, where the Seminoles will be taking on the Clemson Tigers in an excellent matchup of two good and ranked teams. Unfortunately, Jim is going to be at a horse show instead of the game, but it should be a good one. We will try to get an equine update. I get a little local excitement with the USC Trojans coming to visit Sun Devil Stadium. The Trojans will probably win, but I gotta tell you, night games in Tempe are really something. Big fun. Arkansas at the Crimson Tide is the only other game even worth noting on a slow Saturday. Tide should roll.

Hey, a shout out to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who clinched the NL West last night with a big win over the defending WS Champs, the SF Giants. We’re gonna have playoff baseball in town! The Brew Crew also clinched in the central, their first division title since the Gorman Thomas years. I am so old, I actually remember that far back. Looks like the Sawx are going to back their way into the postseason, but Beckett and Lester do not look strong enough to take them very far.

And that leaves…..The Singapore Grand Prix. The show from Marina Bay is the only night race on the Circus schedule. It is a rather garish track, but the racing under the lights makes for a strangely compelling, if goofy, scene. Would hate to see the concrete corridor in the daytime though. Well, at any rate, Mark webber and Jenson Button were fast in practice, followed by Vettel and Alonso. Qualifying is just about to go off as I post; I will update a little after Q3.

So that’s it, let rip. Music this week is by the CDB. a couple of old but really great songs, Caballo Diablo and Birmingham Blues. It is not the greatest recording of the latter, but man was that a great piece live back in the day.


SEC: CoxSlackers & BushWackers Fiddled While Wall Street Burned

The big outrage de jour making the rounds in the media currently is the porn scandal at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This report from the Washington Post is typical of the reporting coming out of the main media:

Republicans are stepping up their criticism of the Securities and Exchange Commission following reports that senior agency staffers spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were supposed to be policing the nation’s financial system.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it was “disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at porn than taking action to help stave off the events that put our nation’s economy on the brink of collapse.”

He said in a statement Thursday that SEC officials “were preoccupied with other distractions” when they should have been overseeing the growing problems in the financial system.

Would it be too much for the media to actually think for a moment before they perform stenography for alarmist Darrell Issa? Because even a moment’s pause would yield the realization that Republican outrage on this is absurd and duplicitous. In fact the SEC – IG report produced for another of the Republican howlers, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, proves the pornification of the SEC was born and grown during the Bush/Cheney Administration and the leadership of Republican stalwart and longtime Issa colleague and friend Chris Cox. The IG Report also demonstrates quite clearly that the vast majority of the incidents occurred during Cox’s reign during the second Bush term, although there were some that continued on during the Obama Administration.

But it is not just that the problem was born and matured under Bush and Cox, it is the fact that it is symptomatic for the emasculation and gutting of the SEC which occurred at their hands and express direction. It was not a bug, but a feature. As Bloomberg News reported last year:

Under former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, the agency instituted policies that slowed cases and led enforcement-unit lawyers to conclude commissioners opposed fining companies, the Government Accountability Office said in a report today. An unidentified attorney said it was “widely felt” commissioners prevented the division from “doing its job,” according to the report.

“Some investigative attorneys came to see the commission as less of an ally in bringing enforcement actions and more of a barrier,” the GAO said. Cox’s policies “contributed to an adversarial relationship between enforcement and the commission.”

The non-partisan GAO report on the Bush/Cox SEC found poor management, determination to not pursue cases, lack of transparency, and collusion with business interests. It was the Republican philosophy and direction which neutered the SEC. It is little wonder they took to surfing the net for porn, they literally had nothing else to do under Republican “leadership”.

So perhaps the media stenographers ought to remember this when suddenly howling duplicitous Republican shills like Issa and Grassley want to tar, feather and undermine the SEC now that Democratic leadership, led by Mary Schapiro, have cleaned the agency up, turned it around and put it back to work doing its oversight and enforcement job.

On a related note in things financial, our friend Selise is going to be along in comments to discuss her Seminal Diary on financial reform and the commendable Fiscal Sustainability Conference and Teach-In occurring next week in Washington DC. This is a worthy effort and is supported by a variety of progressive interests including Jamie Galbraith and my friend and former colleague, Ian Welsh.

(graphic by nathan bransford)


Obama to Shelby (and Others): Let Those Hostages Go

graphic: twolf1

Apparently, Obama told Mitch McConnell that if the GOP didn’t start releasing their hostages, he would recess appoint the whole lot of them. And, as a result of a direct threat, McConnell and his buddies released 27 of their hostages.

But Obama is calling for the Republicans to release all their hostages.

Today, the United States Senate confirmed 27 of my high-level nominees, many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months.

At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination. In most cases, these holds have had nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications or even political views, and these nominees have already received broad, bipartisan support in the committee process.

Instead, many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator’s state or simply to frustrate progress. It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people.

And so on Tuesday, I told Senator McConnell that if Republican senators did not release these holds, I would exercise my authority to fill critically-needed positions in the federal government temporarily through the use of recess appointments. This is a rare but not unprecedented step that many other presidents have taken. Since that meeting, I am gratified that Republican senators have responded by releasing many of these holds and allowing 29 nominees to receive a vote in the Senate.

While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.

Sure, it reads like a sternly-written letter. But with recess upon us in just over a week, it may not be an idle threat. I’ve asked for clarification, but the general read on this is that Obama is not going to recess anyone this time around.

So it is, indeed, a sternly-written letter.


Supreme Court Unleashes Corporate Campaign Cash In Citizen's United Decision

images5thumbnail1.thumbnail11The stunning and decisive loss by Martha Coakley to Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate special election has already caused a tsunami of fear among Democrats, and corresponding joy among Republicans, heading toward next fall’s midterm elections. If you think this is cause for concern for Democrats looking forward to the 2010 midterm elections, picture the scene if the Republican party were also able to benefit from removal of restrictions on corporate and financial industry cash infused into their electoral coffers heading into the midterms and 2012 Presidential election.

As I wrote back last August, the Supreme Court took very unusual steps in a case by the name of Citizens United v. FEC to craft a case – originally argued on separate grounds – into a vehicle to make a Supreme Court declaration on the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions and regulations. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times put it:

If the ban is struck down, corporations may soon be writing large checks to the same elected officials whom they are asking to give them bailouts or to remove health-and-safety regulations from their factories or to insert customized loopholes into the tax code.

Citizens United v. FEC was originally argued on March 24, 2009; but subsequently noticed for re-argument on the new grounds involving the opening of corporate campaign contributions on September 9, 2009. The general consensus among the cognoscenti is that the Justices were leaning heavily toward blowing up the regulations and restrictions on corporate campaign contributions. For a complete blow by blow procedural and substantive history leading up to the decision, see Lyle Denniston’s SCOTUSWiki on this case.

Well, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission is in and attached hereto. As you can see, it is a 5-4 split decision with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion. The decision below is reversed in part and affirmed in part, and the seminal case of Austin v, Michigan is hereby overruled as is that part of McConnell v. FEC which upheld the resitrictions on independent corporate expenditures. In dissent, and/or partial dissent is Justice Stevens, joined by Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer. Justice Thomas also filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Today’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC abolishes the previously settled distinction between corporate and individual expenditures in American elections and would appear to apply to state and local elections as well as Federal ones given that the Court recognizes such a First Amendment right. This is literally an earth shattering change in the lay of the land in campaign finance, and it will have ramifications in every way imaginable for the foreseeable future.

Quoting a very interested observer, Senator Russ Feingold, he of McCain-Feingold fame, John Nichols had this to say in The Nation:

But U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who has been in the forefront of campaign-finance reform efforts for the better part of two decades, is worried.

“This would be in my view, a lawless decision from the Supreme Court,” says the senator who gave his name to the McCain-Feingold law. “Part of me says I can’t believe they’ll do it, but there’s some indication they might, and that means the whole idea of respecting the previous decisions of the Supreme Court won’t mean anything anymore.”

A lawyer who chairs the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feingold notes with regard to controls on corporate campaigning: “These things were argued in 1907, when they passed the ban on corporate treasuries. It was argued in 1947, Taft-Hartley did this. The Supreme Court has affirmed over and over again that it’s not part of free speech that corporations and unions can use their treasuries (to buy elections).”

If the court does overturn both law and precedent to advance a corporate agenda, Feingold says, “It’s just an example of activism, and legislating by a court, if they do this.”

It is, as well, dangerous for democracy.

Says Feingold: “If they overturn a hundred years of laws, it means that corporations or unions can just open their treasuries (and) just completely buy up all the television time, and drown out everyone else’s voices.”

Looks like we will be swimming in danger just like Russ Feingold feared. And when you couple the newly unleashed and unfettered corporate cash with the resurgent masters of corporate symbiosis and subservience, the Republican party, you have a recipe for the Democratic party heading into the perfect storm.


Arpaio And Thomas: The Most Unethical Sheriff And Prosecutor In America Conspire To Abuse Power And Obstruct Justice

In addition to some of the finest weather and most spectacular natural beauty in the US, Arizona is also home to two of the biggest and most virulent self serving political hacks imaginable, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. For years, there has been an escalating turf war between the Siamese twins of local law enforcement oppression, Arpaio and Thomas on the one hand, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Maricopa County judiciary, who keep trying to reign in the out of control officers, on the other hand.

Last week, Arpaio and Thomas upped the ante in the war by filing a civil racketeering suit in Federal court. From The Arizona Republic:

Alleging widespread conspiracy, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday against county administrators, elected officials, judges and attorneys. Those defendants, they say, are violating federal racketeering laws by hindering criminal investigations and depriving their offices of resources.

County officials dismissed the claim as frivolous, saying Arpaio and Thomas have routinely lost on similar claims in state and local courts.

In the lawsuit, Thomas and Arpaio name all five members of the Board of Supervisors along with County Manager David Smith, Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson, four Maricopa County Superior Court judges, director of the county’s civil-litigation division, two attorneys and a law firm.

The suit, in essence, reiterates all of Thomas’ battles with the courts and county since 2006, including accusations of conspiracy by Judges Barbara Mundell, Anna Baca, Donahoe and Fields, claiming that the dispute began with the court’s opposition to Thomas’ immigration policies. It revisits the questions Thomas raised about the new $341 million court tower. Donahoe removed Thomas’ office from that investigation, and the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld Donahoe’s decision. Coincidentally, on Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court refused to reconsider that case. (emphasis added)

The last part in bold is key. Thomas and Arpaio have waged war against Maricopa County, the courts, elected officials and anybody else that dares to question or restrain their use and abuse of power. The issue here is a local concern, under purely Arizona state law, on which Thomas and Arpaio have resoundingly lost at every level of Arizona court, all the way to the Supreme Court of Arizona. With disdain and contempt for any court disagreeing with them, which is pretty much every court that reviews their conduct, they have now tried to counter the rule of law by tying the entire Maricopa County government in knots through spurious and unethical application to the Federal court.

The Judge Donahoe referred to in the Arizona Republic quote above is Maricopa County Superior Court Presiding Criminal Judge Gary Donahoe. Arpaio and Thomas have a special vendetta against Judge Donahoe and, today, doubled down on their crusade by criminally charging Judge Donahoe with bribery, hindering prosecution and obstruction based, amazingly, primarily on the same complaints and facts that the entire spectrum of trial and appellate courts in Arizona have previously rejected. From a late breaking story today by The Arizona Republic:

The escalating legal battle between county officials manifested itself in more criminal allegations Wednesday when Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed charges against Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe.

The direct complaint alleges that Donahoe participated in a scheme to commit bribery, hinder criminal prosecution and obstruct a criminal investigation.

The charges center on Donahoe’s role in the sheriff’s and county attorney’s investigation of the criminal court tower under construction in downtown Phoenix. The complaint also pulls in a host of other issues related to the judge, including the prosecution of Supervisor Don Stapley and Donahoe’s recent ruling on a sheriff’s detention officer who took documents from a defense attorney during a sentencing hearing.

The charges were released hours before Donahoe was scheduled to hear arguments on whether the Board of Supervisors and county administrators have the authority over appointing a pair of outside prosecutors to investigate allegations against Stapley. County officials have tried to block funding for the “special prosecutors” Thomas had appointed and asked a court to rule on the issue, which Thomas said was related to the obstruction allegation against Donahoe.

This battle royale spilled into the national consciousness in early October when Thomas and Arpaio, frustrated at having their heavy handed attempt to criminally prosecute one of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors summarily dismissed by the court, tried to hire the expensive and controversial husband and wife right wing partisan hit team of Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, from Washington DC, as special prosecutors to further investigate and refile charges against the Supervisor, Don Stapley.

That attempt ground to a halt in light of the fact that County Attorney Thomas did not have authority to hire out of state counsel, was planning on funding the gambit from inappropriate draining of seized RICO funds and, of course, the pesky little fact that diGenova and Toensing are not licensed to practice law in front of Arizona state courts. Andrew Thomas is no stranger to improper abuse of the RICO funds; he has previously depleted the account for purposes of proselytizing his pet religious and faith based initiatives (See the Phoenix New Times here, here and here).

Given the sordid history of Thomas and Arpaio’s war of intimidation and attrition on Maricopa County and its courts, you would hope they would have the minimal character and ethics to not charge the Presiding Criminal Judge for Maricopa County with felony crimes of dishonesty without substantial factual and legal basis, but that would appear to be asking far too much.

From Paul Rubin of the Phoenix New Times, who was at the dog and pony press conference Thomas and Arpaio held to announce the charges:

But Thomas couldn’t offer any evidence to the assembled media scrum that Donahoe actually had accepted a bribe of any sort. Instead, he and Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who stood next to Thomas at the lectern) offered the same vague allegations they have made for nearly a year regarding the county’s planned court tower, currently under construction.

In fact, the county attorney said no evidence exists that the veteran judge personally has received anything in the way of a personal financial benefit during the flap over the $347 million construction project.

But today’s announcement that Donahoe now faces felony charges — when the only evidence of “wrongdoing” on the judge’s part is a series of rulings that Thomas and Arpaio vehemently disagree with — is unprecedented even in Maricopa County.

Donahoe also is the same judge who ordered detention officer Adam Stoddard to jail last week for swiping a defense attorney’s notes — drawing Sheriff Joe’s ire.

Even the Valley’s usually compliant press corps seemed incredulous with the announcement of criminal charges against the highly respected Donahoe, who is retiring from the bench in the near future.

A quick explanation of Rubin’s reference to the Adam Stoddard matter yields yet another example of the contempt and abuse of office by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his partner in conspiracy Andrew Thomas. Stoddard is a Maricopa County Detention Officer; the detention officers are employees of the Sheriff’s office responsible for staffing Sheriff Joe’s jails, transporting defendants and security at Maricopa County Superior Court complexes and courtrooms. Stoddard, while on duty in a criminal courtroom, stole privileged work product from a defense attorney’s file at the defense table while the attorney was up arguing her client’s case. Stoddard then had the material copied and tried to surreptitiously place it back in the file.

Arpaio, instead of disciplining his employee for the outrageous conduct, belligerently supported him and tried to slander the attorney by associating her with unrelated criminal conduct she had nothing to do with. Judge Donahoe, as presiding criminal judge, found Stoddard’s acts improper and tried to give him an easy out by ordering him to apologize. When Stoddard refused (reportedly at Arpaio’s urging), he was held in contempt of court and jailed. In response, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s detention officers petulantly staged a “sick out” (during which a bomb threat curiously and suspiciously was made) effectively shutting down the entire Maricopa County criminal court system.

Today, Arpaio and Thomas filed and announced their criminal charges against Judge Donahoe just hours before he was scheduled to hear a petition by the County Board of Supervisors to disallow once and for all the publicity stunt Thomas and Arpaio tried to pull with the attempt to inappropriately hire the unlicensed partisan hit team of diGenova and Toensing. When the bogus Federal racketeering suit did not get the removal of Donahoe like they wanted, they upped the unethical ante yet again and filed bogus criminal charges against him.

The foregoing is the consistent and unrelenting method of operation for Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas; they use and abuse their positions of authority and public trust to pursue personal and political desires and vendettas and, if questioned or challenged, use their offices to attack and cripple their enemies, whether they be private individuals or elected officials and judges. It is a corrupt and craven fiefdom they are running in the fourth most populous county in the United States.

This reign of intimidation and abuse of office has been going on for years. Conspiring together, Arpaio and Thomas have created a power center that is uncontrollable and dismissive of any and all local authority and law; they answer to no one, and will attack anyone in their way. You have to wonder where the Feds are, and how the conduct is allowed to continue.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, another victim of Arpaio’s wrath, has repeatedly sought intervention by the Department of Justice, even going so far as to travel to Washington to seek assistance. The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee implored Eric Holder and Obama’s DOJ to intervene against the abuses and described the situation as a:

…repeated course of conduct, which values publicity opportunities over the civil rights of residents of Arizona, is too disturbing to leave enforcement of the civil rights laws to private litigants. There are several tools at the federal government’s disposal to address these allegations, and we urge their prompt consideration and application.

But nothing ever bears fruit, even from the vaunted Department of Justice, and the oppressive conduct maintains unabated. In October, the Phoenix CBS news affiliate, KPHO News5, did an outstanding and comprehensive investigative story on Arpaio’s abuse of authority to carry out personal and political vendettas. Unable to get a get any response or traction with the DOJ with their powerful compilation, CBS News5 retained former US Attorney David Iglesias to review and evaluate the investigative materials. Iglesias’ response was:

“I’ve been in and around law enforcement for about 20 years — state, local and federal level (and) even some military prosecution work. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Iglesias said after he looked through 5 Investigates’ research and did some on his own.

If he were handling the case, Iglesias said, “I would work very closely with the civil rights division in Washington, D.C., and based on the information I have, I would seek an indictment.”

The video from the KPHO CBSNews5 investigation is excellent and is attached above.

Any rational Federal prosecutor would do the same as Iglesias suggests, but that, of course, would require the DOJ and its vaunted Civil Rights Division to be willing to do their job. There has been scant evidence of that willingness or ability to date. The refusal to take on a powerful right wing wildcard like Arpaio, and his legal henchman Thomas, might have been understandable under the emaciated Bush DOJ Civil Rights Division, but Barack Obama and Eric Holder took office swearing to restore the pride and primacy of the most critical division for protection of the rights of the public and rule of law.

Where are they?


Hal Turner: Allegedly Inciting Violence for FBI from 2002 to 2007

Hal Turner’s lawyer revealed his strategy today for getting Turner off on charges that he incited violence. Basically, he’s going to argue that he was paid to do just that by the FBI from 2002 to 2007, that he learned where "the line" was between legal and illegal incitement, and his recent comments have not crossed over that line.

In asking Gold to allow Orozco to represent Turner, Turner’s Connecticut lawyer, Matthew R. Potter, said Orozco has a long-term legal relationship with Turner, plans to bring a complicated First Amendment defense and is familiar with Turner’s background as an FBI informant.

That role as an informant for the FBI is a key part of the defense, Orozco said outside court.

Orozco said Turner was trained by the FBI as "an agent provocateur."

[snip]

Orozco said Turner worked for the FBI from roughly 2002 to 2007.

"His job was basically to publish information which would cause other parties to act in a manner that would cause their arrest," Orozco said.

His lawyer claims he left the FBI on his own. 

Wow. This could go one of many places. We might see a graymail defense, in which the FBI prevents Turner from testifying about what the fuck he was doing, if he indeed was. But the thing is, we know that FBI really hasn’t targeted the kind of nutters that Turner incites.

And I do wonder–who Turner is being funded by right now.


Palin Misrepresents Ethics Complaint Dismissal Record

Ever since the stunning decision to quit her elected office, and abandon her constituents, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has been relentlessly repeating the line that she has been victorious in every ethics investigation against her. This ABC News report is typical:

But she said a major factor in the decision was the mounting legal bills she and the state have had to incur to fight ethics charges from her political adversaries. None of the accusations have been proved but, she said, the costs of fighting them have been enormous.

This is a demonstrably false statement and, yet, every major media source has allowed her to utter it without contravention and many have blindly repeated it.

Perhaps Sarah Palin has forgotten the most extensive and professional investigation performed of all, the one by longtime Alaska prosecutor Steven Branchflower, appointed by the Legislative Council of the Alaska State Legislature, which found that Sarah Palin Unlawfully Abused Her Power:

Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired. She had the authority and power to require Mr. Palin to case contacting subordinates, but she failed to act.

Such impermissible and repeated contacts create conflicts of interests for subordinate employees who must choose to either please a superior or run the risk of facing that superior’s displeasure and the possible consequences of such displeasure. This was one of the very reasons the Ethics Act was promulgated by the Legislature.

The Branchflower report was not the only problem Palin had before she quit her brief tenure as Governor. Oh no, there is also the matter of the travel expenses she attempted to bilk her state out of and that she was forced to repay:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will repay her state for travel expenses for nine trips with her children as part of a settlement of a 2008 ethics claim, the attorney who investigated the matter said Tuesday.

Anchorage lawyer Timothy Petumenos said Palin’s office is still adding up the costs, but "I’m told it’s running about $7,000." Palin acknowledged no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and her attorney said she has been "fully exonerated" by the investigation.

Complaints that Palin improperly took her children on state-paid trips emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Palin was the Republican nominee for vice president. The state Personnel Board hired Petumenos to investigate that claim and others filed during Palin’s time on the GOP ticket.

Now, in fairness, by entering into a plea bargain settlement agreement with the state, and agreeing to promptly repay the ill begotten travel allowances, Palin was able to have the official record read that there was no abiding ethics violation, but the simple fact is if there was no wrongdoing, she would not have had to enter an agreement and repay the funds.

So, and perhaps the mainstream media should pick up on this, when Sarah Palin blissfully states she has been completely exonerated on all ethics complaints, and that she is oh so poor and picked on, it is a lie.

UPDATE: Edward Teller in comments gave a link to this information (h/t Henkimaa) on Palin that is further evidence of the dishonesty Sarah Palin has been engaging in with her convoluted and evolving explanations of her grounds for quitting:

Palin’s claim that $2,000,000 taxpayer (or rather, oil revenue dollars — this is Alaska, after all) have been spent on responding to ethical complaints against Palin.

Problem? Just two days before, on July 1, the Anchorage Daily News, the Juneau Empire, and the Associated Press all reported on figures released by the Alaska Personnel Board about the actual costs of its investigations into ethical complaints against Palin & members of her administration. The costs were considerably less than what Palin claims: $296,042.58.

What’s more, nearly two-thirds of that amount was attributable in no small part to an ethics case Palin filed against herself. As explained by Patrick Forey in his Juneau Empire story,

[T]he timing, scope and other factors of the single largest expense appear to fit the case Palin filed against herself that cost $187,797 to investigate. That’s almost two-thirds of the total $296,042 of all Personnel Board investigations in the last two years.

The self-reported complaint was a means to have a legislative investigator’s findings in the “Troopergate” case reexamined by a Personnel Board investigator. She said publicly that her self-reported complaint was without merit. [Ref #6]

Without merit, huh? Do I hear the word frivolous?

Sarah Palin is engaging in terminal misrepresentations with nearly every word she utters; and, yet, the mainstream media laps it up as gospel. Basic research of the facts on the ground in Alaska would put the lie to her disingenuous spiel, but that appears to be too much to ask of the worthies.


Palin Accused Of Moose Homicide!

As Edward Teller has reported, there are rumors of a criminal indictment involving Sarah Palin. I have obtained a copy of news hot off the press on this:
.
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Okay, that is a bit o humor for the holiday. The graphic was around as a joke during last fall’s election; not sure of the original source (today’s version lifted from Dkos).

That said, if there is an indictment and I had to bet on the grounds, my money would be on the Palins giving hush money to Levi Johnston and/or his family to keep him in the fold in the lead up to the general election last fall.

Keep in mind that Levi’s mother, Sherry Johnston, has drug charges pending relating to possession and sale of oxycontin, a DEA scheduled narcotic. It has been reported by the AP that she is set to enter a plea to a single count of possession with intent to deliver. Makes you wonder if Sherry, whose family has no love lost whatsoever for the Palins at this point, might have been busy behind the scenes. Stay tuned, this may turn out to be a busy holiday weekend.


Palin: Is There A Scandal Or Is She Just Abandoning Her Office And Constituents

The same week she is blasted by staffers of her former running mate, John McCain, Sarah Palin has resigned:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) stunned political observers Friday by announcing she will resign the governorship after just two and a half years in office.

The first-term governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee made the announcement at her home in Wasilla. Some political observers had expected Palin to forgo an opportunity to seek re-election, but few expected Palin to resign office. Her reason for stepping down was not immediately clear.

Alaska’s NBC affiliate, KTUU, was the first station to report that Palin would leave office. Her departure paves the way for Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell to be sworn in; KTUU said he would take office at the end of the month.

The move, coming nearly a year before she would be forced to reveal her plans by filing deadlines, is sure to lead to widespread speculation that Palin will devote herself full-time to a presidential bid in 2012.

Analogizing herself to a crafty "point guard", Palin said in her announcement (transcribed from MSNBC) that she was resigning:

…So that Alaska may progress, I will not seek reelection as governor. And so, as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn’t run for reelection, and what that means for Alaska, I thought well about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks – travel around their state, maybe travel to other states, maybe take their overseas international diplomatic trade missions, so many politicians do that. Then I thought that’s what’s wrong – many just expect that lame duck status, they draw a pay check and milk it and I’m not going to put Alaskans through that.

I promised efficiencies and effectiveness, that’s just not how I am wired. I promised that four years ago, and I meant it. That is not what is best for Alaska at this time.

I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and not so comfortable

My choice is to take a stand and effect change and not just hit our head against the wall and watch valuable state time and money – millions of your dollars – go down the drain in this new political environment.

We know we can effect positive political change from outside government at this moment in time and actually make a difference for our priorities, and so we will.

Okay, that is just a partial and hastily done transcript of Palin’s speech.

So, what is up here? Todd have his balls in a vise? Another daughter is preggers? Some other family scandal? More Alaskan corruption about to break? Is delicate Sarah just tuckered out? She needs the time to figure out where Putin’s head is?

This is bizarre. Listen, the baloney on MSNBC about her doing it to "free herself up to run for national office in 2012" is pure unadulterated horsepucky. Her term was up in 2010; plenty of time to honor her duties and still run for national office in 2012. Nor is the excuse now heard on teevee that she "needed a break". She is walking away from her job and duties, how is that going to read on her resume for national office? This lady doesn’t care about her constituents, her job, or anything else but herself. A narcissist to the core. If she is not done as a GOP political candidate, they are dummer than even I gave them credit for.


Jenny Sanford Lays The Wood To Lovey Govey

Holy smoke Batman. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape; you don’t spit into the wind. And you don’t mess around with Jen.

AP’s Bruce Smith has, through Yahoo News, put up an interview with Jenny Sanford; and it is a doozy. Do go read the entire piece, it is totally deserving. Many key questions are addressed, and Jenny Sanford puts on a tour de force.

How did Jenny find out about her husband’s affair:

Sanford said she discovered her husband’s affair early this year after coming across a copy of a letter to the mistress in one of his files in the official governor’s mansion. He had asked her to find some financial information, she said, not an unusual request considering her heavy involvement in his career.

Fascinating, and it means Jenny was not the one who forwarded the salacious Romeo/Juliet emails to The State newspaper, because The State received them in December of 2008. I have a feeling that eliminates her father too, and militates in favor of someone in the South Carolina state government, probably around the Governor’s office.**

What does Jenny think of Mark having gone to Argentina to see Maria?

That he had dared to go to Argentina to see the other woman left her stunned. "He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," she said in a strong, steady voice.

Heh, well maybe not that stunned because:

…her husband repeatedly asked permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his affair.

Oh. My. That’s gonna leave a mark. It is not the kind of thing you put out on the record unless you are leaving a serious marker to own the narrative, and boy is Jenny Sanford doing that. And Jenny is not blind to anything going on here either; she has a grip.

On her philandering husband’s pelotas.

Think Jenny has any illusions about the extended stroll Mark just took through Buenos Aires? Nuh uh. Asked whether she thinks he has ended the tryst with Maria:

"I guess that’s what we will have to see. I believe he has," she said. "But he was down there for five days. I saw him yesterday and he is not staying here. We’ll just see what kind of spirit of reconciliation he has himself."

As Marcy emailed a bit ago:

The State had reported yesterday that he was at the Island with the family.

I guess that didn’t last long. And I guess she’s got the same doubts we do that a man books a ten day trip to Argentina to break up.

No kidding. Hey King David Sanford, I don’t think you are exactly married to Bathsheba. What, on the other hand, does the once and future Skill Power Tools heiress have to say for her efforts in the case at bar?

"You would think that a father who didn’t have contact with his children, if he wanted those children, he would toe the line a little bit," she said.

and

"I’ve done everything in my power possibly to keep him from going to see her and to really make sure she was off the table, including asking him to leave."

and

"Parenting is the most important job there is and what Mark has done has added a serious weight to that job," she said.

Well okay then; guess that about sums it up. There are other nice little facts of the story, such as the State of South Carolina never had any intention or plan to have an Argentina leg for the South American trade development junket. The one in 2008 which Romeo Sanford created on his own desire.

What a delicious passion play we have brewing in the Palmetto State.

I wonder what kind of battery of lawyers the heiress to the SkilSaw fortune has? Man, if Mark Sanford was smart, he would pack his bags, write out his resignation and head for the pampas of Argentina. Tonight. There is nothing left for him now. Jenny Sanford owns him. Lock, stock and steely cold chain around the cajones. And don’t forget, even according to Mark Sanford, it was Jenny’s skills and money that won him every election in the first place.

South Carolina elected the wrong Sanford Governor; it should have been Jenny.

**UPDATE: Per FrankProbst in comments, the New York Times has a timely new story out on the source of the juicy emails suppied to Columbia South Carolina’s newspaper The State:

The mystery of who revealed Gov. Mark Sanford’s e-mail messages may finally be solved. A business associate of Mr. Sanford’s Argentine mistress said Friday that private messages between the two lovers had been sent anonymously to a South Carolina newspaper last December by an Argentine man the mistress had briefly dated.

The associate, who asked not to be identified, is a Buenos Aires television executive involved in hiring the woman, whom he identified as María Belén Chapur, a producer at the television network America from 2001 to 2002.

Last December, the executive said, Ms. Chapur was dating a young Argentine a few months after her affair with Mr. Sanford began. The man happened to see the e-mail messages being exchanged between the governor and Ms. Chapur, said the executive — who said he had direct knowledge of the situation — and hacked into her e-mail account to see the rest.

Infuriated, the man sent the messages to The State, the newspaper in South Carolina’s capital, Columbia.

Wow. This just keeps getting better and better. It was Maria’s young cougar bait that ratted her and Sanford out to the press. Booyah.

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/hollinger-international/