The Palin Industry

failin.jpgI was one of the first to note that Palin’s actions suggested she was running for President in 2012 rather than VP in 2008. But that doesn’t mean I think she’d be successful. Here are my thoughts why I’m not all that worried about a Palin juggernaut in 2012.

I understand why the right has seized on Palin with such enthusiasm. They were successful with Bush because he allowed them to unify ideologically contradictory stances. Neocon imperialism and its associated crony defense capitalism is not a fiscally conservative position. Moreover, the promise of Compassionate Conservatism could only appease the charitable instincts of a lot of Conservative Christians so long. Mostly, though, Bush was only able to sustain these irreconcilable positions for five years or so by being an empty cipher–appealing to Neocons, fiscal conservatives, and Christian Conservatives–with the force of personality, thereby hiding the reality that at least one of those three groups (as it happened, fiscal conservatives and to a lesser degree, Christian Conservatives) would be ignored.

Palin is similar, only with her, the Republicans get to further obscure the emptiness of her positions with sex appeal. All the calls on Palin to lead the Republicans out of the apparent disaster they’re about to undergo are premised on the hope that she can wink and demagogue her way out of the contradictions to the claims they make.

But such hopes for Palin’s leadership are most likely to fail.

To understand why, consider first of all the two people who, in 2004, seemed poised to inherit George Bush’s mantle: Bill Frist and George Allen. Because you can no longer hide corruption, incompetence, and ugly racism, they were completely forgotten long before the primaries started. Conditions suggest that Palin’s going to meet a similar–if not worse–fate. 

That’s true, first of all, because the exposure of the campaign will bring some unanticipated setbacks to her. The Alaska legislature, for example, will return to consider what to do about the legislative finding that Palin abused her power. Significantly, they may well do so after she loses badly and after Republicans lose a long-held Republican Senate seat to yet more abuse of power; with each day, the reasons Alaskan Republicans would want to protect Palin grow weaker. Then there’s the Personnel Board investigation, that looks like it will be way more serious–and critical–than Palin ever planned it would be. Read more

Down Goes Toobz! Down Goes Toobz!

Where is Howard Cosell when you need him? The Hulk has been smashed by a guilty verdict on all counts in his corruption trial. This is good news for all those that have fought Stevens, Alaskan corruption (Palin is not really one of them either), and the GOP lions that have laid waste to the United States Senate for so long. From The Hill:

Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Senate Republican in history and patriarch of Alaska politics, was found guilty of all seven felony charges for making false statements.

The verdict could spell the end of a 40-year Senate career for a man who rose to be one of the most dominant figures in the upper chamber and who helped transform Alaska in its 50 years of statehood. The verdict was reached after the jury deliberated since Wednesday and found the 84-year-old senator guilty of failing to report more than $250,000 in gifts from Bill Allen, the former head of Veco Corp., and other friends.

Many have been convinced, since the trial started, that the prosecution was intentionally trying to dump the case. Yeah boy, the prosecution tried so hard to tank this trial that they convicted Stevens of all counts.

People may take joy in the verdict if they wish; personally I will take none. My personal distaste for Stevens and his politics, and desire to win his seat, is no match for my desire to have the rule of law followed, due process guaranteed to every defendant, and an honest prosecution with full disclosure and fairness shown to the defendant. Even Ted Stevens. All of those considerations were completely and heinously violated by this prosecution team. The consistent effect over the course of the trial was astounding and the cumulative effect disturbing.

This case should have been dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct before it ever reached the contaminated and bizarre jury process that led to this verdict.

Everybody’s Nailin Palin: LA Times Exposes Cronyism

h/t Larry Flynt/Hustler

h/t Larry Flynt/Hustler

Ouch. If it weren’t for bad news, Sarah Palin might not have any news at all. In the first Troopergate investigation, conducted by the Alaska Legislature, Palin was found culpable of abuse of power as Governor. On the morning of her deposition in the second major investigation, this one by the Alaska State Personnel Board, Sarahdipity woke up to a skewering by the LA Times for rampant hiring of incompetent cronies for critical state offices. Looks like there may be a lot Palin has to answer for in her deposition.

* More than 100 appointments to state posts — nearly 1 in 4 — went to campaign contributors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications.

* Palin filled 16 state offices with appointees from families that donated $2,000 to $5,600 and were among her top political patrons.

* Several of Palin’s leading campaign donors received state-subsidized industrial development loans of up to $3.6 million for business ventures of questionable public value.

* Palin picked a donor to replace the public safety commissioner she fired. But the new top cop had to resign days later under an ethics cloud. And Palin drew a formal ethics complaint still pending against her and several aides for allegedly helping another donor and fundraiser land a state job.

Some of her appointments make "Heckuva Job Brownie" look like Einstein. Tavis Colberg, Palin’s childhood buddy, was installed as the Alaska Attorney General in spite of the fact that he was barely qualified to appear in local Wasilla courts on worker’s comp claims. Franci Havemeister, another of Palin’s childhood friends, was made director of the Alaska State Agriculture Division. Havemeister was previously a part time real estate agent who stated a childhood love of cows as a qualification for the job. In multiple cases, Palin installed both husband and wife of family friends to cushy, well paid state positions for which they were unqualified.

As the New York Times has previously stated, Palin’s Wasilla High School yearbook now doubles as a veritable directory of state government.

Turns out Palin is to nepotism what McCain is to narcissism.

And, when it came to her friends and donors, Palin was as loose and generous with Alaska’s public coffers as she was executive jobs.

In one case, Jae G. Lee, a former Los Angeles businessman who is the proprietor of Party Time, a rundown grocery store and bottle shop in Anchorage, sought a $2.7-million state loan to buy an aging strip mall in midtown Anchorage. It was on the market Read more

The Goldwaters Endorse Obama

Ever since the primary campaign for President began, what seems so long ago, I have related to readers of Emptywheel and FDL just how strong of a distaste that long time native Arizonans have always had for John McCain. It is not just the "new McCain", that is a euphemism for silly big time journalists that got snookered by the self serving kiss up, beat down blowhard. The John Sidney McCain III that you see lashing out in anger and careening wildly is the same McCain we have always known. And the "we" includes legendary Arizona conservative Republicans Barry Goldwater and John Rhodes. John McCain does not possess the personal honor or character necessary to lead this nation.

Today, the direct descendants of Barry Goldwater vote the conscience of their conservative grandfather. CC Goldwater has this damning message to the McCain Campaign:

My grandfather had undying respect for the U.S. Constitution, and an understanding of its true meanings.

There always have been a glimmer of hope that someday, someone would "race through the gate" full steam in Goldwater style. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened, and the Republican brand has been tarnished in a shameless effort to gain votes and appeal to the lowest emotion, fear. Nothing about McCain, except for maybe a uniform, compares to the same ideology of what Goldwater stood for as a politician. The McCain/Palin plan is to appear diverse and inclusive, using women and minorities to push an agenda that makes us all financially vulnerable, fearful, and less safe.

When you see the candidate’s in political ads, you can’t help but be reminded of the 1964 presidential campaign of Johnson/Goldwater, the ‘origin of spin’, that twists the truth and obscures what really matters. Nothing about the Republican ticket offers the hope America needs to regain it’s standing in the world, that’s why we’re going to support Barack Obama. I think that Obama has shown his ability and integrity.

After the last eight years, there’s a lot of clean up do. Roll up your sleeves, Senators Obama and Biden, and we Goldwaters will roll ours up with you.

And Alison Goldwater Ross chimed in with another devastating blow to the gut of the dishonorable cad that falsely claims the mantle of her grandfather:

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s "Political Insider" blog reported Tuesday that Alison Goldwater Ross, another granddaughter, already cast an early ballot for Obama in Read more

Shaddegg Sends Jethro Bodine To Spy On Dems

maxbaerjr1.thumbnail.jpgThe once smooth, efficient and ruthless political machine that was the Republican Party has turned into a pathetic low brow sitcom. In yesterday’s episode, we saw John and Cindy Drysdale McCain move in with the Palins Clampetts. In today’s show, Arizona Representative John Shaddegg, part of the GOP House Leadership, sends Double Naught Super Secret Agent Jethro Bodine on a deep cover spy mission to an Arizona Democratic Party office.

Democrats are demanding that Rep. John Shadegg fire his deputy campaign manager after learning that he accessed a Democratic Party office using a fake name and fake address.

Party officials believe that Ryan Anderson, who has claimed that he was at the party office to purchase a bumper sticker, provided the fake name and address. Anderson was only discovered because he left the Shadegg campaign’s credit card in the Democratic party’s office.shadegg_credit_cardimg_assist_custom.thumbnail.jpg

Records show that a person with the name "Bryan Anderson" filled out a contribution form, which is a legal document that the Arizona Democratic Party uses to report contributions to elections officials. The purchase of a bumper sticker is a contribution.

"Bryan Anderson’s" address is a near-match to Ryan Anderson’s. Every number in the street line of the address is one digit off. Democrats will not release Anderson’s home address.

Anderson, a veteran Republican operative, previously worked at a major Republican lobbying firm in Phoenix. He also worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

This is so stupid it hurts. Unless Jethro Bodine Anderson was going to put a desktop computer down his pants before he fled without the Shaddegg Campaign VISA Card, it is pretty hard to imagine what they sought to gain from their double super secret covert mission.


The Rule Of Law: Excising The Local NeoCon Rot

The FDL family has had a profound positive impact on the federal scene on issues surrounding the rule of law. We are all hurt when justice is politicized. As I pointed out in Deceit In The Desert, the problem with politicization at the state and local level in many places is every bit as bad, and the effects every bit as ruinous.

In Maricopa County Arizona a battle to turn the tide and restore the fair and equal rule of law is in full tilt in the last two weeks leading up to the election. In the video, governor Janet Napolitano, former Arizona Attorney General and United States Attorney for Arizona, describes the critical significance of the office of county attorney, and how Tim Nelson will repair it. Let me tell you about the guy that broke it and who must be ejected from office.

Andrew Thomas has been the theocratic right wing tool in office as the Maricopa County Attorney since 2004. Attorney Gerald Richard, who represented the Phoenix Police Department and law enforcement interests for over 19 years, had this to say about Thomas:

As County Attorney, he has diverted resources away from prosecuting violent criminals to persecuting immigrants charged with “smuggling themselves.” His wiretapping of the Serial Shooter suspects without a court order could jeopardize the expected convictions in the case. Thomas has cut training for his staff attorneys by 90-percent, creating Read more

Deceit In The Desert: Arizona GOP Stoops To New Low

Thomas and Evil Sheriff Joe

Thomas and Sheriff Joke

Hello from the state that has brought you John McCain. Sorry about that. You would think that would be enough shame for the Arizona Republican Party. Sadly, they have much more to offer. Reprehensible does not start to describe the efforts of the Arizona GOP and their poster boy of hate, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. You may remember Thomas, he was behind the blatantly unconstitutional arrest and attempted prosecution of the two publishers of the local independent investigative weekly newspaper, The New Times.

Andrew Thomas is a young, extreme right wing, fundamentalist nightmare, and he, along with his best friend Joe Arpaio, are the law in Maricopa County, the home of Phoenix and the fourth most populated county in the United States. Here is the latest morally repugnant bile out of Andrew Thomas and the Arizona GOP:

An official with the Arizona Republican Party says he pulled an innuendo-heavy ad linking Tim Nelson, the Democratic candidate for county attorney, to defense lawyers in child- pornography and child-murder cases.

The ad refers to suggestions made in news releases, news conferences and interviews generated by Rose’s agency.

In mid-September, one of Rose’s associates issued a news release saying that a lawyer who defends pornographers contributed to Nelson’s campaign. Nelson donated the $390 in question to a charity for parents of murdered children.

"It’s sickening that they have sunk to a new low," Nelson said.

Nelson characterized Thomas’ attacks as "personal, mean and with false innuendo."

The Nelson ad opens with images of children riding tricycles and eating dinner at a family table.

"They deserve a safe neighborhood, a secure home," a woman’s voice says. "They deserve the innocence of childhood and all of its wonder. And they deserve to be protected."

Then there’s a drum roll and a frowning photo of Tim Nelson flashes on screen.

"But can they count on liberal ACLU lawyer Tim Nelson?" the woman continues. "He took money from a child pornographer and from lawyers who defend child murderers. Liberal Tim Nelson isn’t just wrong. He’s dangerous."

What are Tim Nelson’s crimes? That fully upstanding citizens, that happen to be employed as criminal defense attorneys, contributed to his campaign. Oh, yes, and that over ten years ago, the firm that Nelson worked at was appointed by the court to assist an indigent defendant with a death penalty appeal. Not Nelson personally understand you, just his firm. Wonderful. Read more

Charlie Keating Helps Sarah Palin With Couric’s Tough Questions

(Original Photo; color by twolf)

Charlie Keating keeps crashing his old best friend John McCain’s election party. People are starting to get the picture. Today, Keating arrives to help Sarah Palin get the answers she promised to Katie Couric.

When Katie Couric’s questions turn you into quivering Jello, you have a problem. Houston, Sarah Palin has a problem. In Wednesday night’s CBS interview of Palin, Ms. Couric asked Ms. Palin to explain her claim that McCain was a reformer that championed oversight. After Palin rumblin, bumbin and stumblin through a bunch of gibberish, Couric finally demanded a real answer:

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.

Katie Couric was a reporter last night; that is all you can ask for. Fair questions with a persistence for a legitimate answer. As you can see above, Sarah Palin had a startling lack of rational or cogent answers.

Since Sarah Palin is going to try to hunt down a polar bear examples of McCain "pushing for more regulation" so she can "bring them to" Ms. Couric, let’s help her out. Here is a prime example of John Sidney McCain III working hard on strict regulation; from the November 15, 1989 Arizona Republic :

Sen. John McCain, while a member of the House, twice supported scrapping a rule that limited risky investments by savings and loans, records show.

McCain’s efforts came after he accepted at least $21,000 in campaign contributions [and] … McCain and his wife, Cindy, vacationed at Keating’s private resort on Cat Cay in the Bahamas. That was the first of several such trips for which McCain did not reimburse Keating, as required by Senate rules…

McCain, as is so often the case, finally partially reimbursed Keating after getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar by the Senate ethics investigation. Read more

Sarah Palin: Gibberish We Can Believe In?

Energy is supposed to be Sarah Palin’s strong point, right? After all, she is the Governor of Alaska, and more to the point, was the chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the agency that is supposed to "protect the public interest in exploration and development of oil and gas resources, while ensuring conservation practices, enhancing resource recovery, and protecting the health, safety, environment, and property rights of Alaskans." But when she was asked about ensuring that the fruits of domestic oil drilling would go to the domestic market, her answer was complete gibberish. By now, most of you have seen the video or read the transcript of her answer:

Read more

John McCain Still Living The Keating Five Lush Highlife

John McCain was never the principled steadfast man his false front public image painted him to be; although it is true that he really has been in a downward spiral of dishonor and deception during this year’s campaign. Even many of his staunchest supporters in major media are starting to realize the brutal truth for what it is. Joe Klein, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Matthews, a host of journalists at ABC, Andrew Sullivan … each day brings a familiar voice admitting that they can no longer harmonize the McCain persona with the truth in front of them. Thank you to each and every one of them, and welcome to my world. As a native Arizonan I have been witnessing what you are now realizing since John McCain plopped his carpet bag down and set up shop here in our state.

John Sidney McCain III would have you believe his Charlie Keating Five Scandal days of corruption and influence peddling are all a thing of his distant past and that he is some sort of legendary reformer now. Nothing could be further from the truth, he is still hard deeply entrenched in the lavish, exotic trappings of swag and influence peddled by the modern day equivalents of Charlie Keating.

In fact, new reporting by Ari Berman and Mark Ames of The Nation, in their article The McCain-Follieri Love Boat, which just hit the presses at the end of last week details how McCain has spent yet another birthday, his 70th, vacationing with a criminal con artist, Hollywood celebrities and big money lobbyists on a yacht in Montenegro. It shows what Arizonans have known all along: McCain is still the same old glad handing, do anything to serve his own raw ambition, politician who celebrated his birthdays with Charlie Keating and other power brokers at Keating’s private Bahamas resort two decades ago.

Before we delve into the recent foray of John Sidney McCain III into political influence swag land, a refresher on McCain’s malfeasance in the Keating Five Savings & Loan Scandal is in order. From a Keating Five Scandal retrospective by The Arizona Republic:

McCain already knew Keating well. His ties to the home builder dated to 1981, when the two men met at a Navy League dinner where McCain spoke.

After the speech, Keating walked up to McCain and told him that he, too, was a Navy flier and that he greatly respected McCain’s war record. He met McCain’s wife and family. The two men became friends.

Charlie Keating always took care of his friends, especially those in politics. McCain was no exception.

In 1982, during McCain’s first run for the House, Keating held a fund-raiser for him, collecting more than $11,000 from 40 employees of American Continental Corp. McCain would spend more than $550,000 to win the primary and the general election.

In 1983, as McCain contemplated his House re-election, Keating hosted a $1,000-a-plate dinner for him, even though McCain had no serious competition. When McCain pushed for the Senate in 1986, Keating was there with more than $50,000.

By 1987, McCain had received about $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and his associates.

McCain also had carried a little water for Keating in Washington. While in the House, McCain, along with a majority of representatives, co-sponsored a resolution to delay new regulations designed to curb risky investments by thrifts such as Lincoln.

The first meeting, on April 2, 1987, in DeConcini’s office, included Ed Gray, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Read more