Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's just a coincidence. I swear!

But every time I Google on a combination of "Blogging Tory" and "Holy screeching stupid," I end up here. Yes, that would be one Paul E. Marek of Saskatoon, taking the position that Sarah Palin's resignation speech made perfect sense, if by "perfect sense" you mean complete crap like, oh, this:

It's that our administration is so stymied and paralyzed because of a political game that has been chosen to be played by critics who have discovered loopholes in the ethics reform that I championed that allows them to continually, continually bombard the state with frivolous ethics-violation charges, with lawsuits, with these fishing expeditions. We win the lawsuits, we win the ethics charges, we win all that — but it comes at such great cost. The distraction, the waste of time and money, the public's time and money — it's insane to continue down this road. And Alaskans who have paid attention to what's going on, they understand that. (Read "How Sarah Palin Mastered Politics.")

Now, there's been some frustration with some in the media not fully reporting what's been going on, so this may come as a shock to some Alaskans. We have sat down with reporters, showed them proof of the frivolity, the wastefulness — you know, millions of dollars this is costing our state to fight frivolous charges. And countless, countless hours from my staff, our department of law, from me every single day just trying to set the record straight.

Oh, noez!!11!1! "Millions" of dollars in defending against ethics charges! How awful! Curiously, I'm guessing that the same people who are totally outraged about all that "wasted" taxpayer money never had a problem with the Bill Clinton investigation, which cost upwards of $70 million in public funds to investigate. Even more curiously, one wonders about the thought processes of all those right-wing "law and order" types who don't think law-breaking should be prosecuted because it will, you know, take time and cost money. What an odd and unexpected sentiment, don't you think?

Ah, but the real entertainment value kicks in when someone actually does some research and makes Mr. Marek look like the stultifyingly ignorant prat he is. Let's read along:

Gov. Sarah Palin, explaining her stunning resignation announcement, has repeatedly said attacks on her since she ran for vice president have cost state government "millions" of dollars.

"That huge waste that we have seen with the countless, countless hours that state staff is spending on these frivolous ethics violations and the millions of dollars that Alaskans are spending, that money not going to things that are very important, like troopers and roads and teachers and fish research," Palin said this week.

Yes, that's the claim she's making. So, Sarah, let's see some numbers. Oh:

Palin administration officials provided the Daily News with a breakdown of what it says are $1.9 million in costs.

Um ...OK ... it takes a bit of an imagination to describe the precise figure of $1.9 million as "millions of dollars" when it doesn't even reach the technical value of what would make it plural. But then the hilarity truly begins:

Most if it is a per-hour accounting of the time state employees, such as state attorneys, have spent working on public records requests, lawsuits, ethics complaints, and issues surrounding the Legislature's "Troopergate" investigation last summer of Palin.

"Is it a check that we wrote, no, but is it staff hours, yes," Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Palin, said of the expenses related to state employee work.

Those state employees would have been paid regardless.

Ha ha! Yes, you read that correctly. Not only is a good deal of that expenditure related to Sarah Palin's unethical behaviour, but all that alleged expense would have been paid to those state employees, anyway! State expense? What state expense? By all means, read the whole piece, but pay close attention to this nugget:

Anchorage activist Andree McLeod is suing in an attempt to obtain state e-mails sent to Palin's husband, Todd, who Palin critics have claimed is a "shadow governor." The e-mails have been withheld based on the claim of executive privilege, with the argument that Todd, while not a state employee, is an adviser to Palin. McLeod also filed a lawsuit meant to force the administration to abandon use of private e-mail accounts, like Yahoo messages, saying that can put state policy information off limits to public records requests.

"The high cost Palin keeps talking about is a function of Sarah Palin's refusal to secure, preserve and protect the state of Alaska's public records and (her circumvention of) state servers and public record laws," said McLeod, who said she offered to drop the suit over private accounts if Palin would ban them.

All of that would be describing this incident, where Palin was using non-governmental e-mail accounts (specifically, a Yahoo account) to conduct official government business with the clear intent of evading accountability and bypassing public record laws:

A hacker claiming affiliation with the group Anonymous has broken into GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin's Yahoo e-mail account, subsequently posting the account password to an online chat forum. Information from the hacked account, including screenshots of several individual e-mails, a pair of family photographs, Palin's contact list, and header information from her inbox, were posted on the site Wikileaks earlier Wednesday.

The break-in comes amid controversy over the Alaska governor's use of the Yahoo e-mail account for state business. Internal documents obtained by reporters allegedly show Palin staffers discussing the possibility of using unofficial channels, such as personal e-mail accounts, as a means of evading subpoenas and requests under the state's open records law targeting her official account.

Though criticism of Palin's use of the Yahoo account had largely focused on worries about transparency, Donald Mitchell, the attorney for an Alaska citizen-watchdog who had been seeking disclosure of the governor's e-mail records, also broached security concerns. "There's a reason the governor should be using her own official e-mail channels, because of security and encryption," Mitchell told The Washington Post, "She's running state business out of Yahoo?"

I could go on, of course, but I believe I've made my point. All of Palin's grief is entirely self-inflicted, and only truly, truly stupid people like Paul E. Marek of Saskatoon are going to man the battlements for an unethical, law-breaking twit like Palin and whine about how much it's costing to nail her sorry ass to the wall.

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