Archive for April 2011

Make-a-Buck Cynicism Knows No Bounds

Of course, that’s not news in regard to book publishing today. With fewer people reading, thus fewer people buying books, print publishers are fighting for their lives. The visual image is replacing the written word as the primary unit of communication. No sense bemoaning that: it’s an evolutionary fact. Gutenberg started a revolution in 1450 with the invention of the printing press, and the written word will have had a 700-year run by the time it’s done and dusted a couple of generations from now.

As it sinks, it’s no wonder that its purveyors will do anything to try to keep afloat. As a psychiatrist once told me, “a drowning man has no morals.”

Thus, the imminent appearance of the ghostwritten “Bristol Palin memoir.”

The only thing that surprises me is that it will be published by William Morrow.
Granted, William Morrow is now just one more imprint of Harper Collins, the Rupert Murdoch-owned octopus that has published two ghostwritten “memoirs” by Bristol’s mom.

But here’s a short “inside publishing” story: in spring of 2009, when I was first considering writing a book about Sarah Palin, I met with William Morrow’s editor-in-chief. He told me he thought Sarah was an idiot, and disdainfully said he could never edit a book written about her, because she was simply not worth writing about.

I hope he has a capable assistant with a broader view assigned to edit Bristol’s ghostwriter, Nancy French, who previously wrote a book of her own called Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle.

Just when you think you’ve seen the bottom of the cesspool you find that you’re still on the surface.

Sarah’s Dilemma: Stuck between Rock & Hard Place

Sarah has palinated herself into a very sticky corner. After her egotistical, ignominious, insensitive response to the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon forced her into a phase of unaccustomed silence, she watched helplessly as first Michelle Bachmann and then the even bigger blowhard Donald Trump scooped up the Republican detritus that had comprised her base.

Even Conservatives4Palin had to admit today that “Trump Appears to Have Taken Over 50% of Governor Palin’s Support.”

As she jabbers away to Scientologist Greta Van Susteren and picks up the easy money on the junior college lecture circuit, Sarah has to sense that the freefall of her star is gaining velocity.

One can imagine a sense of panic overtaking her.

The only way she can turn things around is by declaring her candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.

But as soon as she does, the free pass she’s been getting on so many issues–including, but not only the circumstances surrounding the birth of Trig–will be revoked.

On the other hand, every day that passes sees her taken less seriously by the serious.

And if she doesn’t run, she will fade into total irrelevance as soon as the 2012 primaries begin.

I believe she’s going to run, but will try to hold off until fall before making an announcement (that is, if Roger Ailes lets her keep her Fox gig that long.) I don’t think her egomania, aka her “competitive instinct,” will allow her to simply continue her slide toward oblivion as Trump, Huckabee and Bachmann pick up her marbles and start to play.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what I think. If God opens the door, she’ll plow through it.

Something I never understood: if the door has already been opened, why does she have to “plow through it?”

Sarah Cashes In Again

 

DON WARKENTIN:  Junior College President is Sarah’s Latest 100K+ benefactor.

 

 

Even while asking SarahPAC donors for a new round of contributions, (“I know what a sacred trust it is to be asking you to contribute your hard-earned money to SarahPAC,”)–oops, wait a minute, wait a minute, hold it right there:

Asking for donations to a political action committee is a “sacred trust?”

Trust because you have to trust her not to spend the money on herself?

Sacred because Sarah herself is the sacred one God personally chose to prepare America for the return of Jesus, which she has said she knows will occur during her lifetime on earth?

Sacred trust: just one more phrase whose meaning eludes Sarah and her ghostwriting team of C students.

But speaking of C students, Sarah will plump up her personal treasure chest to the tune of $115,000 on Sunday when she speaks at West Hills Junior College in Lemoore, California, thirty miles south of Fresno.

Preparations have reached fever pitch.
The school’s president, Don Warkentin, says proceeds from ticket sales will go toward maintenance of the new Golden Eagle Arena, a $24 million indoor sports facility.

Sarah should feel right at home, no doubt reminded of the $18 million indoor sports arena she built while mayor of Wasilla, leaving the city staggering under the weight of long term debt.

But at least one West Hills JC student sees Sarah’s $115,000 fee as money well spent. Deseree Soto told a local ABC station,
“I think it’s actually really good… we always need someone to come down and motivate the students.”

Sarah’s speech will be entitled “More Power to the C Student,” echoing her recent comment to Greta Van Susteren.

The Morlocks and the Palins//UPDATE

The horrific photo above shows Wasilla’s Jeremy Morlock gleefully posing as he lifts the head of an Afghan civilian he’s just murdered.

The New York Times Magazine has just posted an extensive story by Luke Mogelson about Morlock and his psychopathic platoon buddies called “A Beast in the Heart of Every Fighting Man.”

I urge you all to read it, and to bear it in mind the next time you hear Sarah Palin say she’s “the proud mother of a combat vet.”

Sarah’s reference is to her son, Track, who was never actually in combat.
But one of Track’s best friends from high school, Jeremy Morlock, was.
Jeremy’s sister, April, is Bristol Palin’s best friend, often seen with her in LA during Bristol’s days on “Dancing with the Stars.”

And the ties between the Palin and Morlock families are much deeper and more longstanding than that. They go back to Todd Palin’s hometown of Dillingham, and Todd’s relationship with Jeremy’s mother’s twin sister, and extend through the vandalism of Jeremy’s mother’s house by Willow Palin and her friends in December, 2009.

Not to be a tease, but I write about all this in The Rogue and can’t say any more before the book is published on September 20.

Morlock’s lawyer was able to cut him a deal that could see him paroled in only seven years, in return for ratting out his buddies. Shushannah Walshe at The Daily Beast wrote more about Morlock here.

Obviously, I don’t believe in guilt by association. But I wonder whether Sarah, as she praises our troops and tries to identify with them as a Military Mom–the way she used to claim she was a Hockey Mom (or should that be Hokey Mom?)–gives even a passing thought to Track’s old buddy, Jeremy.

Among the many character witnesses to testify at Jeremy’s court martial, the Palins were notable by their absence.

Millions of Americans have fought in wars on foreign soil. Almost all with honor and courage.
I met many when I was in Vietnam in 1967 and again in 1971. They did their best for a doomed and losing cause.

I never met one who would have grinned with pride, as you can see Jeremy Morlock doing, while posing with the body of a defenseless civilian he’d just killed.

Look at that photo again. Does it remind you of another?

 

 

UPDATE:

 

Bristol Palin and April Morlock with Bristol’s son, Tripp


And thanks to a commenter for reminding me that Sarah can’t possibly think it’s unfair of me to call attention to the multi-generational Palin/Morlock relationships.

As she has said:

“I do not think that it is off-base nor mean-spirited…to call someone out on their associations.”

Ball’s in your Court, Sarah//UPDATE:

“Some curious Americans are actually asking the questions. And [the media] are trying to make those curious Americans sound kind of crazy.”

So said Sarah to Van Susteren last night. Clearly, she was talking about Justin Elliott, Jason Linkins, David Weigel and others who are trying to fit Andrew Sullivan for a tinfoil hat. Wasn’t she?

Ready to hold your breath now, waiting for Sarah to produce the birth certificate and medical records that could put an end to the Trig rumors once and for all?

President Obama has put the birth certificate ball squarely in Sarah’s court.

But why is it making that funny ticking sound?

UPDATE:

See Sarah Jones in PoliticsUSA, “The Toe-Sucking Media and the Many Myths of Sarah Palin.”

Ms. Jones tells it like it is, no words minced, no punches pulled.

Take a bow, American Press. You have aided and abetted Sarah Palin’s bullying since the day she took that national stage.

“More Power to the C Student”

That could be Sarah’s 2012 campaign slogan, previewed last night in her interview with Greta Van Susteren, FOX News’ resident Scientologist.

“What the heck is wrong with asking the President of the United States to disclose what his college thesis was, what some of the Harvard Law Review papers were that he wrote? I don’t care about his grades. I don’t care if he was a C student. You know, more power to the C student. What I care about is what goes into his thinking today?…A lot of that could be reflected in the writings that he produced as a college and a grad student.”

That got me wondering about college theses.  Has anyone ever asked Sarah for hers?  Do you suppose the University of Idaho required her to write one before awarding her a degree?  Wouldn’t it be fun to read that?

Do you suppose Sarah’s college writings offer clues into the roots of what passes for her “thinking” today?

Forget Trig’s birth certificate:  Trump should demand to see Sarah’s college thesis.  He could send his investigators straight from Hawaii to Idaho.

William Shatner could give it a live reading, with bongo drum and bass accompaniment.

Sullivan Stays Skeptical

THE ILLUSTRATION ABOVE IS NOT MEANT TO SUGGEST

THAT ANDREW SULLIVAN IS AN ATHEIST.  HE IS NOT.

HE DOES NOT QUESTION THE BIRTH OF JESUS.  ONLY TRIG.

 

Andrew doesn’t need me linking to his new Palin posts. He does quite well on his own.

But what he says today is so pertinent to what he and I and others said yesterday, I’d be remiss not to urge you to read it.

He’s rightly merciless about the self-serving mainstream political media in this country. Someone remarked to me just yesterday that they chase around after each other like hamsters in a wheel, not recognizing that the wheel is not the universe. They write as much to impress one another as to communicate insight and truth. And they talk mostly to each other, thus finding reinforcement among like minds for their pre-existing opinions. This is hall of mirrors journalism, in which every image they see is in some way a reflection of themselves. Hall of mirrors journalism is practiced with particular avidity in Washington, D.C. and among those political journalists living outside the Beltway only because they can’t find a way in.

Sullivan asks,

“are we skeptics supposed to just sit back and be mocked by a pathological liar putting her own credibility against ours?…It seems to me that when some simple, readily available medical records could end this excruciating debate in one easy swoop…it is professional negligence that MSM won’t even ask for such proof, and devote far more energy to defending their own past than the facts at hand.”

Here’s one simple question for Sarah Palin, which does not involve the release of medical records: Why did you say last September that Trig was born in Anchorage, not Wasilla?

In regard to medical records and actual eyewitness testimony–as opposed to the recovered memories of Quinn and Loy–I had a brief and typically futile Twitter exchange earlier today, as follows:

@FeistyShelia

I’m friends with a nurse who was there when Trig was born, watched Sarah push him out. You’re an idiot.

@joemcginniss

I’d like to talk to her, on the record. Can you please have her get in touch with me?

@FeistyShelia

she would lose her job because of HIPPA. Sarah would have to sign a release. She would LOVE to go on record!

@joemcginniss

Why wouldn’t Sarah sign a release? She could get rid of this story once and for all?

@FeistySheliah

no it wouldn’t. Why would anyone ask? It’s ridiculous. People would doubt validity, make excuses. Better to ignore crazy.

@joemcginniss

Too bad. A true eyewitness to the birth could make the whole issue go away overnight.

@FeistyShelia

People wouldn’t believe she was telling the truth. Can’t argue with lunatics…then you become the crazy one.

 

There you have it:  a delivery room nurse who actually witnessed Sarah give birth to Trig.

But will she talk?  Nope.  Far better to insult those sincerely interested in learning the truth with words like “crazy,” “lunatics” and “stupid.”

It would be different if Sarah had a reputation for truthfulness. But how can people be asked to take her at her word on this issue when her lies about so many others are documented.

Billy’s Boy Puts Sarah on Spot

Sarah Palin’s most favorite evangelist for getting publicity with, Franklin Graham, was on ABC on Easter Sunday, saying that President Obama wasn’t a true “Christian” and pouring fuel onto the Birther fire by saying he didn’t know why Obama “can’t produce” medical records to prove he was born in the United States.

Uh-oh. Sarah has traipsed around half the world with Franklin Graham–from Native villages in western Alaska, to Haiti, to the bedside of Franklin’s ailing father, Billy–to buttress her evangelical/dominionist base.

But now he’s come home to roost in her chicken coop. (The chicken coop, incidentally, is just beyond her “garden” and next to her “private swimming hole” that I spent last summer peering into from my perch next door.)

What is Sarah to do with Graham’s denunciation of the president for not providing medical records extensive enough to satisfy him?

She has a certain problem of her own with failing to produce medical records (although she claims she did) that document the parentage of her son Trig.

She can hardly join Graham in his quest for Obama birth records. Yet she can hardly denounce him for the inanity of his comments on ABC.

Between a rock and a hard place is where Graham has put Sarah with his remarks. And maybe not unintentionally, given that only a couple of days earlier he opined that Sarah would not run for president next year and that he was leaning toward supporting that paragon of Christian charity, Donald Trump.

Like father, like son. I write in The Selling of the President about going with Roger Ailes to Richard Nixon’s suite in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York the morning after election day in 1968, when it had just become apparent that Nixon had won. Roger and I were sipping coffee in the living room of the suite when, as I wrote:

Billy Graham…came breezing past, an overcoat slung over his arm.

‘We did it,’ he said, grinning, his blond hair neatly waved. He went directly to Nixon’s room, without explaining whether ‘we’ meant Billy Graham and Richard Nixon or Billy Graham and God or perhaps all three together.

And now Billy’s son is raising the issue of medical records in regard to birth?

With friends like that, Sarah doesn’t need the rest of us.

More from Andrew Sullivan Soon: UPDATE: He’s Delivered…

He writes today: “I’ve been struggling to write a long new post on this entire thing, and am almost happy with it.”

I can say this about Andrew: he recognized from the start that the combination of Sarah Palin and the bedazzled media’s failure
to expose her for the fraud she was and is represented a genuine and grave threat to democracy. At the time, the 2008 election result was far from certain. In her Christian dominionism, her ignorance, her willfulness, her petulance, her spitefulness and her unbalanced belief that God really had annointed her to impose her narrow view of Christianity on a sinful, secular nation, Palin posed a clear and present danger to our way of life.

And we are by no means out of those woods yet. I have no doubt that she is currently preparing for a Fall Offensive that she thinks will carry her into next year’s primaries on a wave of fresh momentum. Given the weakness of the GOP field (Donald Trump?!!) , she could still become the Republican candidate.

The campaign that would follow that calamity would tear this country apart as maybe nothing has done since the Civil War.

So be grateful that Andrew Sullivan is standing watch.

UPDATE

…and many won’t like what he says.

From the start, Andrew has made an effort to be scrupulously fair about the Trig question. For being willing to consider even the possibility that Sarah’s story was a hoax, he was derided. Today’s post is further evidence of his scrupulousness, and although I disagree with him about many things (he is a Republican, after all) I’ve never found him to argue from false premises.

However, I’m less persuaded than he is by the belated first-person accounts of Quinn and Loy.

Loy wrote the original ADN story that said what a shock it was to learn that Sarah was pregnant, because she never looked it.
Now, three years later, he suddenly remembers that, yeah, actually, she did look pregnant, I just didn’t notice it at the time? A good cross-examiner could have fun with that in a courtroom.

As for Quinn, it was widely rumored that he was romantically involved with Palin aide Ivy Frye while covering Sarah as governor for AP. He doesn’t work for AP any more. I don’t know why, but I’ve heard the story of his relationship with Fry often enough and from enough different people without axes to grind that, at the least, it gives me pause in regard to Quinn’s credibility.

But set aside questions about the motivation of these two, suddnly key “eyewitnesses,” who decided in unison to go public last week. As all cops, prosecutors and defense attorneys know, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. How about eyewitness testimony three years later?

I’m a Trignostic. I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I don’t agree with Sullivan that the “recovered memories” of Loy and Quinn (neither of whom I know, by the way) should be accepted as having significant weight.

Not only is eyewitness testimony unreliable, but these were young male reporters covering the most dazzling & sexy political figure in Alaskan history. Sarah invites them to view her (veiled) belly in private? And now–contradicting what they wrote at the time–they both decide retroactively that she was obviously pregnant?

Something about that smells like fish to me: and not like fish that even Todd Palin could sell commercially.

Sullivan says the Loy and Quinn accounts “buttress–powerfully–the case that this whole thing is a tempest in a spatula.” He finds Loy and Quinn “persuasive.” I don’t.

He’s also persuaded by this conversation that Laura Novak had with a pediatric specialist, who argues that Sarah Palin is not “weird” enough to have fabricated her whole story.

Hmm. I’m not so sure. That reminds me of the argument that friends of Jeffrey MacDonald made in his defense: he couldn’t have murdered his wife and children, because he’s not the kind of man who could have done that. Turns out that he did, and he was. So a long-distance psychological evaluation of Sarah by a pediatric specialist who’s never met her doesn’t rise to the level of evidence either.

My verdict? Jury still out. But we thank Mr. Sullivan for his testimony.

In LA Times, Meghan Daum Admits Cold Feet about Sarah Palin

Meghan Daum–always incisive, often funny, occasionally brilliant–wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times last week that I first noticed because of the Hall-of-Fame correction appended to it:

FOR THE RECORD:
Politics: In Meghan Daum’s April 17 column on Sarah Palin, Palin was misspelled as Pain in one reference.

Daum is a terrific writer.  A decade ago, she published a gloriously rambunctious collection of essays titled My Misspent Youth.

I’m eager to read her imminent confession about succumbing to real estate addiction and other forms of materialism and status-envy after her move from Nebraska to LA: Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House .

And having read her whole LA Times column now: “Why Sarah Palin doesn’t get what she deserves” I’m struck by a couple of things she says.

Daum writes, “Palin has gumption…But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have gone after her harder on many fronts. I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to come across as a mean-spirited smarty pants.”

She also admits, “Because the Palin machine ingeniously rebrands any criticism…as bilious emanations of the ‘lamestream media’(this being code for liberal elitist, which is code for educated…) it’s all but impossible to challenge her without being discredited…”

I think we should read and re-read the above. One of the hottest Gen-X writers on the radar screen says she pulled her punches at Sarah because she was afraid of being attacked by Palinists. Now that she sees Sarah as down and probably out (“Sarah Palin probably isn’t running for president”) she expresses remorse, because she feels it’s safe to do so.

While we might not applaud her careerism, we should at least give her credit for ‘fessin up, even at this late date. Very few of the many worse offenders have had the courage to do so.

She writes that when attacking Palin “It’s impossible not to feel like we’re punching shamefully below our weight…Palin lacks the intellectual, analytical and rhetorical skills to have a competent discussion about policy or much else…She is, in terms of the political arena, easily outclassed.”

Yes, but: you’re only kicking her now when she’s down. In 2008, when it mattered, you shied away for fear of being “discredited.”

Meghan Daum is not the writer of whom I’d make an example in that regard. And her fresh burst of candor shines a light on the dark, wormy cellar of fear and ambition that dictates the parameters of so much MSM discussion of politics. Why is Matt Taibi one of the few political journalists worth reading today? Because, like Hunter Thompson and Jimmy Breslin back in the day, he writes it as he sees and feels it.

Meghan Daum’s admission that she did not should be applauded. Never too late to return to the true faith of writing without fear or favor.

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