Note: Two people - my father and a friendly fellow Viner - have expressed concerns that the following opinion piece may actually fall under the definition of libel. I appreciate their warnings and had already carefully considered the idea when writing this. As I understand, libel against a public figure involves publishing allegations that one knows to be false or likely false. None of the rumors/allegations/facts about or against Sarah Palin are original, and none of it is known to me as false or likely false. I do not write this out of "malice," but rather as my duty, right and pleasure to hold public figures accountable for their actions. But for the record, unless otherwise stated, some of what I've written is most definitely true. The rest involve allegations that even the mainstream media has addressed.
I'd already been browsing Newsvine last night when a notice from Sarah Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, appeared. It threatened legal action against a broad offender: The Internet.
To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as "fact" that Governor Palin resigned because she is "under federal investigation" for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those "responsible for the abuse of that right." Alaska Constitution Art. I, Sec. 5
http://ltgov.state.ak.us/constitution.php?section=1. These falsehoods abuse the right to free speech; continuing to publish these falsehoods of criminal activity is reckless, done without any regard for the truth, and is actionable.
Gosh, I'm so scared and frightened, also, too!
After Sarah Palin's hasty press conference Friday, wherein she announced her resignation as Governor of Alaska, people were left scratching their heads in wonder. WHY? Palin wasn't very specific (but when is she ever?), but did allude to the fact that investigations against her are costly to both taxpayers and her family, so she would "pass the ball," in order to spare Alaskans time and money.
When someone like Palin, with big political aspirations, makes a very bad political move, with very little explanation, it naturally leaves room for speculation. One rumor was resurrected in the wake of Palin's announcement: the idea that perhaps the Palins took advantage of her position as mayor of Wasilla, and used the construction of a sports complex to siphon off materials and labor to build their own lakefront home. And one of the folks to examine this rumor was Shannyn Moore, an Alaskan blogger.
I read Ms. Moore's piece on "The Huffington Post," and the blogger referred to the potential scandal as a rumor. Palin's attorney claims she, amongst others, referred to this rumor as "fact." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see it.
It's curious, indeed, why the rumor, of all things, would become the focus of this July 4th legal threat. Why is this subject more touchy than, say, the rumors that Trig was actually Palin's grandson, rather than her son? Could it be that the Palin family has no way to prove these rumors false, so they're attempting to intimidate us all against discussing it? (That was speculation - not a statement of fact, for the record.)
Her attorney writes, "The Mayor of Wasilla, be it Sarah Palin, or her successor, did not handle the funds, or the materials, for this project. To thus suggest she 'embezzled' is as false as it is impossible," adding that the Palins purchased their own materials from the same suppliers.
Ah, well, there's the problem. It's NOT impossible to commit embezzlement without personally handling the funds or materials! It's called a "favor." What's missing here is something to the effect of:
Sarah and Todd Palin purchased their own materials and contracted their own labor and have already provided, to the media, all invoices, receipts and other documents to prove it.
Since they haven't put this speculation to rest by providing such documents, these rumors grew legs. Sometimes, some people read speculation and take it as truth. Subsequently, they discuss, with others, such speculation as if it were a proven fact. It can be devastating to a person's reputation. Sarah Palin knows this because she did it to Obama with her, "Pallin' around with terrorists" rhetoric. But Obama's a different kind of politician. Rather than waste his time trying to swat every fly Palin unleashed upon him, he stuck to his message, without whining and, what do you know? He won.
As for facts, here's a couple: One of the ethics complaints against Palin involved misuse of state funds for travel expenses. Palin agreed to repay thousands of dollars for nine trips taken with her children and billed to Alaska. Additionally, Palin owed state taxes on a per diem expense allowance which is supposed to be used for work-related costs, but which Palin accepted even while she remained at her Wasilla home.
Another fact: Palin spent at least $150,000 of RNC money to dress herself and her family for the McCain/Palin campaign. Not only was it a ridiculous amount of money to spend on clothing and hairstyling, but the clothing was to be returned to the RNC or donated to charity. But, OOPS! Somehow, at least some of the clothes ended up "in the belly of the plane," Palin would later explain. This prompted an FEC complaint, and Palin was let off the hook, though the FEC recommends that Congress enacts legislation to prevent campaign funds for being used for such lavish, personal gain. Nobody seems to know what happened to those clothes, but they certainly aren't becoming to the Palin family, anymore.
Conclusion? Sarah Palin seems to have sticky fingers. This is why the rumors about the construction of her Wasilla home - known as "The Iceberg Scandal" - spread like wildfire. It didn't help that Palin is making an abrupt departure from her job as Governor. Palin's got a big pot of water on a stove. And she turned on the burner. While this may not result in soup, it's certainly a great start. Nobody really knows if this will end up being just some boiled water or the thickest chowder one has ever tasted, but as the steam rises, one can't help but wonder, "What's cooking?"
I am one of those who believes/speculates/hypothesizes that Sarah Palin's resignation has nothing to do with the cost of inquiries into her activities. These inquiries could continue even after Palin steps out of the Governor's office for the last time. I am not alone in suspecting that Ms. Palin is bailing out in advance of some very unflattering news about her "ethics." I could be wrong. But I have my suspicions. And, the last time I checked, I was an American and, in America, citizens have the right to free speech.
In order to help contain Palin's legal expenses, I have decided, for her convenience, to create a list of some of the speculation and assertions I have published over the last year. This list may not be complete. If further evidence against me is needed, please, Sarah, just have your attorney drop me a note, also, too, and I will, free of charge, examine my own articles for things I may have omitted here, too, also.
1. I believed it was possible that Trig was actually Sarah's grandson. Mostly because it really doesn't matter much to me, at this point in time, and partially because the time between Trig's and Tripp's birth barely leave time for Bristol to have had two babies, I have since dropped the issue. However, it does leave me with one assertion: the story of Trig's birth, as told to us by Sarah and Todd, is a saga of reckless endangerment. Palin was in a high-risk pregnancy, due to her age alone. This was complicated by the fact that Trig had Down's Syndrome, and Palin knew it. Yet, when her labor began, one month early (another high risk), while she was in Texas for a speaking engagement, she did not go to the nearest, best Dallas hospital. Instead, she flew back home to Alaska, with a stop in Seattle to check with a doctor. According to Sarah, her membranes had ruptured. Any mom knows that when the water leaks, it's ON. Also, there is no way of telling how long labor will last. The baby could come in minutes or hours. It is my ASSERTION that it is a FACT that Palin displayed recklessness and neglect with her unborn baby's very life, as well as her own.
2. I believe it's VERY possible Palin's home was built using labor and materials from the Wasilla sports complex project. I do not KNOW this to be true, but I BELIEVE Palin is the kind of person who would do such a thing. Also, I do not have any proof that the Palin's bought their own materials and hired their own construction help, and until I see such proof, I will always consider that home a POSSIBLE "gift" from taxpayers.
3. I believe Palin is completely unqualified for national public office. She showed a complete aversion to talking about issues and, when forced to try, she failed horribly. I've met bar flies who know more about national and international history and issues.
4. I believe Palin turned the other cheek when Wasilla police enforced a policy, wherein rape victims were forced to pay for their own forensic examinations.
5. I believe Palin willfully and aggressively tried to siphon as much RNC money for her family's personal benefit as possible.
6. I KNOW Palin ran a negative campaign against Obama, filled with blatant lies (such as the notion that Obama had close ties to domestic terrorists) because she could not speak, in any detail, about her own ticket's ideas.
7. I believe Palin's latest bouts of outrage (Letterman, the Photoshopped photo, etc.) are intentionally manufactured, for the purpose of getting her name in the headlines. I believe she's done this for publicity's sake - and that publicity was to come in the form of sympathy, not criticism, in Palin's eyes. I KNOW that any mother who wants to protect her children from media scrutiny does not make things worse by purposefully stirring up even MORE media scrutiny. I believe that Palin has continuously used her children in an effort to boost her public image.
8. I believe Palin has resigned because another shoe is about to drop, whether it's "The Iceberg Scandal" or something else or both.
9. I believe Palin is much less interested in what's good for the people of Alaska and America than she is in her own career advancement.
10. I KNOW that Palin has a warped view of freedom of speech. On more than once occasion, Palin has over-used HER freedom to say whatever she feels (be it true or not), but she does not believe that right should be extended to other Americans if she and her family are the topic - even when she has actively solicited the public spotlight. (My tag line, "Bored, anonymous, pathetic blogger who lies," is taken from a direct quote by Palin, herself.)
11. I believe this legal threat is a bogus attempt at intimating people against exercising their freedom of speech. I KNOW that publishing such a threat on July 4th is one of the greatest oxymorons I've witnessed in politics.
That's all I can think of at the moment. As I mentioned earlier, I will be happy to expand this list as I recall other assertions I have made. And again, Sarah, if you'd prefer that this list be longer, I will personally go through every article I've ever written in an effort to find omissions. By the way, I shall be representing myself, as I've fallen a victim to trickle-down economics and cannot afford an attorney.
As for our settlement, be it in court of out of court, I don't have much, but I'm willing to offer the following:
1. An 11 year-old male cat who urinates inappropriately.
2. A laptop destroyed by aforementioned inappropriate urination.
3. A broken washing machine.
4. A collection of outdated and/or broken computer equipment.
5. Cans and bottles I've yet to redeem for their nickel-per-unit value.
6. Obama campaign gear - oh, wait, you probably don't want that.
7. Two or three broken VCRs, one including a dysfunctional DVD player.
8. A stack of bills.
9. Random items of clothing I got from a shopping spree (a stuff-a-bag-for-$10 sale.)
10. Scented candles.
11. I do have a car, however I ask for your mercy in letting me keep it. If not, I must warn you that it needs work and probably won't make it to Wasilla.
Thanks, Sarah. I'll look forward to threatening letters from your attorney.
CoH - spirited debate and disagreement welcome, but please stay on topic. Though I personally prefer to respond to differing opinions, as I have no desire to hide from my own views and beliefs, a Newsvine staff member recently scolded me for doing so. Therefore, any response that personally attacks other Viners, or is otherwise hateful or inappropriate, will be deleted. Sorry, not my rules.