I. It is being reported that since earlier in the week, soon-to-be-ex Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's number of twitter followers passed the 100,000 mark. Given the growing knowledge on the left and among aficionados of the unintended internet humor produced by the seemingly clueless Palin, and her ability to come up with endless strings of inanities, it may be reasonable to assume that at least half of her twitter followers are there for the laughs.
This morning - like in the middle of the night - Palin provided more irrational inanity:
Four hours ago: This wk saw add'l violation of law:filer of friv ethics complaint leaks confidential documents out of context 2 create false headlines, pre-
Four minutes later: judge investigation,destroy integrity of process&strip rights;Abuse WILL cont til leaks r held accntble&press reports accurately [re the press - see below]
Seven minutes later: Legal Fees Fund trustee's press conf yest set record straight w/facts/truth re:recent complaint;read transcript in case press chooses not to
To me, twitter is - so far - fascinating from an outsider point of view, because I'm not yet ready to join the band. If blogging is addictive in a way similar to cocaine (as a loose example), twitter may be like crack. Palin just can't keep away from that
A commenter to a recent Media Matters article puts it this way:
Ms. Palin, if I deciphered her rambling comments correctly, resigned for the good of Alaska. I believe that she will have accomplished an improvement in Alaska's prospects, though not in the manner she meant. It is an addition by subtraction.
I think she can do the country a great, again unintended, service by keeping the lunatic fringe, which now seems to be 90% of the Republican Party, supplied with a regular dose of Palinphetamine. This will keep them from coming up with a serious candidate for the White House until it is far too late, if indeed they ever do.
II. The Media Matters article, referenced above, is by John V. Santore, and it deconstructs the recent Time Magazine cover story article on Palin. Totally. Santore's essay deplores Time's inability, in the article, to project any sense of reality into the ambience of Alaska politics, the state of American media today, and the article's writers' lack of good sense in their analysis of the current American political landscape:
Time's David Von Drehle and Jay Newton-Small go to immense lengths to create a story out of thin air. In this case, it's "The Renegade," a tale about an unconventional politician making waves with her unpredictable behavior. The piece is deeply flawed, advancing conservative narratives without challenge and ignoring obvious realities about Palin, her home state, and the problems she faces. It's an account that flies in the face not just of progressive criticisms of the governor, but of a growing chorus of conservative ones as well.
And it is exactly the kind of ratings-driven journalism that is, ironically, making magazines like Time less and less authoritative at a time when serious journalism couldn't be more needed.
In order to allow themselves to argue that Palin's decisions aren't as bizarre as they seem to many observers around the country, the article's authors begin by turning her home state into a land of mystery and wonder that inherently embraces the hands-off philosophy championed by the political right. Alaska is "remote, extreme, unfamiliar -- and free." It is a "land of self-invention, where no one bats an eye at a mom-deckhand-governor-whatever-comes-next." We are told that in Alaska, "you make each day from the materials at hand." The result of the unique realities confronting its citizens is an "ingrained frontier skepticism of authority -- even one's own." Indeed, a "person learns in the Alaska vastness that humans can respond to events but never control them."
Palin is, therefore, supposedly much like her homeland. She is "a modern-day version of the captive specimens hauled back to Europe by explorers of old," someone who "remains, on some level, unknowable." The conclusion becomes unavoidable. If you thought her resignation speech seemed strange, it's just because you aren't from Alaska, for "this was the place where her answer finally made sense."
In many instances, our local media seems to misunderstand us almost as much. Although local media outlets covered yesterday's "press conference" by Alaska Fund Trust trustee Kristan Cole, it has been the blogs in Alaska that have shot Cole's statements full of holes in the 18 hours since the "conference" and issuance of a written statement. First of all, Cole's claim that Palin has had nothing to do with the trust seems to be specious, at best:
Somebody must have written and signed the notes on $arah Palin's behalf, to thank the kind people who donated to that fund that has nothing to do with her, as the very first conversation between the fund's trustee and the governor happened only a couple of days ago...
And Palin's over-the-top string of accusations on twitter, combined with statements made in the past 48 hours by some of her closest advisors and legal counsel, are getting close scrutiny, because of the vitriol such accusations create:
Earlier, Van Flein, Palin’s personal attorney, threatened to sue Kim Chatman. Ms. Chatman had filed the ethics complaint in question.
I know what shrapnel comes with a “by-name threat” from the governor; a bunch of red and rabid kool-aid drinking emails and phone calls. It’s intimidating until you remember THEY ARE WRONG. Palin is the quintessential high school mean girl. Van Flein is the guy who cleans her lunch tray just to sit at her table. Meg Stapleton and Ivy Frye try to “out-mean” each other for the BFF status. I have yet to meet someone who has become their better self after working with Sarah Palin…she seems to bring out the worst. It’s no excuse. Van Flein knows what hellish dogs he unleashes when threatening individual citizens and facts be damned.
The question of why Palin attorney Thomas van Flein hasn't yet billed the state of Alaska for the time he spent dealing with aspects of Troopergate has been strenuously brought up in the comments at The Mudflats, Just a Girl from Homer and The Immoral Minority. Andrew Halcro notes this at the conclusion of his essay posted earlier today, questioning why there has been no billing:
The governor's private attorney hadn't sent in a bill to be reimbursed by the state, for work he did ten months ago?
But yet these folks are begging cash off fixed income seniors in Iowa through their legal defense fund?
It sounds like Van Flein doesn't need more billable hours, sounds like he needs a billing clerk.
And just a few questions; is the amount that the state has already agreed to reimburse Van Flein part of the $500k in fees his clients owe him? And how much of his $500k in bills includes the first dude's share?
Lets face it with Todd Palin grousing about his former brother in law to everyone who would give him three minutes; his impact on Troopergate legal fees must have been staggering. Think about it; no Todd Palin would mean no depositions from Bitney, Tibbles, Monegan, Glass, Bailey, Frye, and four thousand other state employees who had to endure Todd Palin's obsession with State Trooper Mike Wooten.
Seems to me it would be nice for to see an itemized bill but then again if public money isn't paying a dime, it's a personal expense.
Brad Friedman at the national blog, Bradblog, has noted something so far missed by Alaska media:
A brief, two paragraph statement [PDF] by the private attorney of Alaska's very-soon-to-be-former Gov. Sarah Palin was posted on the governor's official public state website on Monday.
Attributed to "THOMAS VAN FLEIN --- Personal Attorney for Governor Palin," the statement posted to the Governor's officially run state website at www.gov.state.ak.us decries the latest ethics complaint filed against Palin --- alleging the improper disclosure of gifts and the receipt of free services --- as an abuse of the state Ethics Act.
That the official state website would be used to publicize the private response of Palin on Monday to another ethics charge is somewhat ironical, given Tuesday's leak of a preliminary independent report [PDF] from a state ethics commission investigator finding "probable cause" that Palin's "official" legal defense fund violated the Ethics Act in that it made use of her "official position for personal gain."
Citing Alaska Statute 39.52.120(a) which states that a "public officer may not use, or attempt to use, an official position for personal gain," the state's independent investigator, Thomas M. Daniel notes that "personal gain" is defined by law as "a benefit to a person's or immediate family member's personal interest or financial interest."
Friedman goes on to speculate on the jeopardy Palin and her attorney may be in:
In attorney Van Flein's statement responding to the leak of the report, as posted on Palin's Facebook page yesterday, he may have defamed the complainant, Alaska resident Kim Chatman, by declaring, as fact, some action of hers to have been "illegal."
"All options are open in terms of legal remedies," Van Flein threatened, in response to his apparent belief, as ABC News characterized it, that Chatman is the one who leaked the confidential preliminary report. "It is a clear violation of Alaska law that Mr. Daniel explicitly reviewed with Ms. Chatman prior to her illegal actions. We will be contacting the appropriate authorities for review and action."
It's unclear whether Van Flein was asserting that the alleged "illegal action" of Chatman was the leak of the preliminary report, as ABC implies, and, if so, what his evidence is for that. None is given. But he has very clearly stated, as a fact, that Chatman committed "illegal actions."
By the time Alaska's mainstream media gets around to investigating the holes in Kristan Cole's statement, or get an answer from van Flein about why the state hasn't been billed for the time the attorney spent dealing with Todd Palin's involvement in Troopergate, Alaska's bloggers will have probably uncovered more questions about this affair.
Update: Linda Kellen has just posted a scathing analysis of the Palin-van Flein reaction to the leaking of the Daniel Report:
SHE WAS TOLD NOT TO SPEND THAT MONEY or the consequences would be that she WOULD be found to have done wrongdoing if the complaint went against her. She probably was ALSO TOLD to stop collecting money...probably around the time that SOMEONE had C4P do the dirtywork for her!
The reason I'm so sure of this is I have the emails between my investigator and Van Flein for my own (Arctic Cat) complaint, as well as the emails my investigator sent me. There is a constant dialogue that goes on, giving the Governor every opportunity to protect herself. I know this because of my experience with my investigator who, by the way, was Tom Daniel.
It's the same reason that I believe that she knew what was coming. Her glaring self-interest made her resignation far from altruistic; she resigned because SHE WANTS THAT MONEY. She resigned because little Sarah doesn't feel she should HAVE to spend her hard-earned book deal cash for the hours and hours Van Flein spent being her spokesperson on Eddie Burke, MSNBC, and for the time he was doing work she could have done but didn't want to do.
It's amazing! The more we see behind the curtain, the more we find that Sarah Palin isn't a mystery at all!
image - H&HT