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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My apologies to Mexico

From Washington Post

It is barely worth pointing out that Donald Trump's surprise visit to Mexico on Wednesday won't do President Enrique Peña Nieto much good. Peña Nieto is deeply unpopular in his home country, with a quarterly survey from the newspaper Reforma putting his favorability at 23 percent — a figure so low that it makes Trump himself, at 35 percent, seems positively embraced.

That 35 percent is in the United States, of course. In Mexico, Trump's a lot less popular. A June survey showed Trump at 75 percent unfavorability in the country — compared with Hillary Clinton's 6 percent. When Ipsos asked people around the world in June who they'd pick in the American presidential contest, no country saw a wider gap than Mexico. Mexico preferred Clinton to Trump by an 88-to-1 margin — an 87-point spread. (The only countries that preferred Trump were China and Russia.) The next-closest countries were Belgium and Sweden, where Clinton was preferred by 66 points. There's a correlation between Trump's poll numbers and the Mexican economy: When he does better, the value of the peso has dropped.

Less than 12 hours after the news of Trump's visit broke, other Mexican politicians had already weighed in to oppose welcoming Trump to the country. Politico collected some examples. "We are threatened with war and walls, but we open the National Palace," the president of the Mexican Senate wrote, adding that the invitation approved of Trump's "proposal of demagogy and hate." A former diplomat tweeted, "I feel embarrassed as a Mexican thanks to my president." On CNN on Wednesday morning, former president Vicente Fox (who has been outspoken about Trump) disparaged Peña Nieto's decision.

So Donald will go to Mexico to embarrass America and offend Mexicans.  Shouldn't he be getting ready to debate Hillary?

BTW a presidential candidate should not be visiting a foreign head of state.  Wait until after the election if you win.

Sarah Palin still cannot control Trig

It's an old photo taken before the first day of school.  It was posted on Fecebook August 21.

This picture was taken August 15, note how much shorter Trig's hair is.  It would not have grown that fast in six days.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Would someone please give Dakota Meyer a real job instead of grifting?

From Dakota's Fecebook page

Oh by the way Bristol is still on the grifting train too

Then she tries to claim she has a job:

The other night I came home from a long day of work to this 😍 dinner cooked, house cleaned, and my happy little family. So thankful for little things like this from my husband, you are the greatest, love you sweetness 🍰😘

Yeah whatever Dakota and Bristol.  Working for dr Jack Mehoff and grifting are not suitable careers.

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2008...a dark day in our history

Today is the 8th anniversary of John McCain picking you know who as his running mate.  Today I decided to post several clips from Game Change to show the world how close we were to Armageddon.

Monday Meme

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sarah and Todd's wedding anniversary is tomorrow, are they really happy?

They have been married for 28 years but I doubt it's been anything but happy.  Todd's affairs in Glenallen according to Joe McGinness, Sarah's dalliance with Brad Hanson.

In fact they really did plan to break up according to Immoral Minority

The first one, and the biggest reveal, was that Sarah and Todd were planning to end their marriage.

According to Levi yes that was accurate, and it was something that they argued and threatened each other with all of the time.

In fact the reason why the post blew up the way that it did is because my friend Dennis Zaki, who had home phone numbers for some of Palin's former staff members, was able to confirm that the story of their marriage falling apart was well known within that tight circle.

Of course the marriage remains, on the surface, still intact. However I have heard from other sources, not Levi, that the marriage is all for show and that part of the reason they will not simply get a divorce is because Palin refuses to give me, and others, the satisfaction of knowing we were right.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dear Donald Trump

Why I vote, and you should too.

From Women are Watching

This is me after I voted in 2012. It was better than my college graduation and the time I went to the Hershey factory combined! AKA extremely wonderful. On that same day, my father voted, my 100-year-old great aunt voted (RIP Doris), Beyonce voted. It made this whole great nation feel wonderfully small.

Here are the reasons I vote.

1. When you vote, you feel so, so good.

And proud. Yes, proud. You feel a sense of accomplishment because you said this is how the world should be and I’m not just going to sit around watching reruns of Shark Tank and eating Hint of Lime Lime Tostitos and complaining to my friend Joyce. You did the right thing, and you feel joy. You will have the best day just because you voted. I wore fishnets and a little black dress to vote, then walked around with a spring in my slinky step. It lasted for days. I can summon it when I’m blue. It’s more effective than exercise or ecstasy or cheesecake (note: I have never done ecstasy, ok?! I am a law-abiding citizen.)

Seriously, if you’re not registered to vote, or if you’re not sure (it can be confusing, bureaucracy) stop reading this and get it done. Nothing I’m going to say is more important than you registering right now. Do it.

2. I find it incredibly, deeply satisfying that every single vote is exactly equal.

When practically everything in the world feels deeply unfair, it's a pleasure to know my vote is valued just exactly the same as your vote or Ryan Gosling’s vote or yes, even Beyonce's vote. If Blue Ivy was old enough to vote, her vote would be worth just the same. And anyway, the government probably has special dispensation for Blue Ivy. She’s probably running for president next election on a platform of FABULOUSNESS FOR ALL.

Do not, DO NOT decide that your vote doesn't matter. I don't care where you live, or what your reasons, your vote matters. You can’t complain about the status quo or about the crazy medieval attacks on women’s health unless you VOTE. And apathy is so 2008.

3. The crazy and depressing truth is that there are people running for office right now who could actually affect your life. PARTICULARLY your sex life. PARTICULARLY if you’re a woman. Yup.

You might be thinking, how is that even possible? THIS IS 2014! Well, here's how: Colorado’s Cory Gardner, who’s running for Senate? He’s all about letting your boss tell you what kind of birth control your insurance should cover. (Even if your boss thinks the answer is none, shut up and go back to putting the lids on jars you silly girl.) And if Gardner and just five more of his friends win their races, people who agree will be running the Senate and the House. By my amateur calculations, that’s the whole Congress, which means they’re going to get right down to business on the whole blocking-coverage-of-birth-control thing.

When you can't get access to affordable birth control, suddenly your sex life is ruled by fear. And that’s not fair. So if you are a woman, or you love a woman, or you’ve ever met a woman: vote.

4. I vote because the number of backwards, out-of-touch, downright freaking unbelievably anti-women’s health politicians out there right now makes my blood boil.

Like Thom Tillis in North Carolina, who snuck a bunch of abortion restrictions into a bill that was supposed to be about motorcycle safety. YES, MOTORCYCLE SAFETY. And called opposition from people who spoke out against his weird obsession with making decisions about women’s bodies “a bunch of whining coming from losers.” LOSERS! Or Dan Sullivan in Alaska, running for the Senate, who just outright refuses to reveal whether he supports the Violence Against Women Act.

And then there’s Joni Ernst running in Iowa who has tried to block women from getting cancer screenings and HIV tests and whatever else they need at Planned Parenthood health centers; she wants to repeal the ACA, including the birth control benefit that helps millions of women take charge of their fertility and their lives — oh, and while she’s at it just straight up abolishing the minimum wage. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PROCESS THAT. But rather than go deep into a rage spiral, I vote. It’s healthier, more effective and infinitely more pleasant.

BTW, even if you don't live in those states, you can help. Planned Parenthood Action Fund will tell you what to do.

5. Voting is kind of a gateway drug to “getting involved.”

And you have to get involved. We need you. “We” meaning women, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, dogs. Everyone. There's SO MUCH MORE you can do to make this whole election thing work for you. If the thought of trying to figure out exactly how to do more for yourself and your community confounds you, I feel you bro. Planned Parenthood Action Fund made a thing called the Actionator that makes it simple as signing up for Tinder. You have no excuse. And neither do I.

I didn’t always vote. And that’s embarrassing, more embarrassing than being naked on TV or being told you look like a “baby giraffe” when you walk in heels at awards shows. I didn’t vote for a lot of reasons: because I thought our mothers had already handled feminism. Because I live in New York City where, I was told, it was all democrats anyway. But mostly because I didn’t feel my voice mattered. But then I realized: if we don’t vote for ourselves, who will? And by voting for ourselves, we vote for each other. I know that’s a tongue twister but it’s real.

So get registered, get involved. Make your own reasons.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Just One | Hillary Clinton

Flashback Friday: One of Palin's upstanding picks while WGE (don't miss the comments!)

One new name is Alan Wilson. He is not a registered Democrat – so he isn’t even qualified to serve as an officer for the Juneau Democrats, much less a senator. He is a former president of the Alaska State Home Building Association, an anti-union organization.

According to APOC (Alaska Public Offices Commission), Wilson has contributed exactly twice to political campaigns. In 2006, he gave $50 to Republican Candidate Sarah Palin. In 2008, Wilson donated $50 to Republican Cathy Munoz in a contentious race against incumbent Democrat Andrea Doll. Munoz won.

Rep. Cathy Munoz, R-Juneau, who was in Tenakee Springs when she heard the news Friday, said relations with the governor should improve under Parnell. "I think he's going to be very good," she said. "I think there is going to be a net gain in relations with the Legislature.


Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said he met with Palin for 45 minutes in Anchorage Wednesday before traveling to Juneau Thursday, and she gave no indication she intended to resign.

"I'm as surprised as all Alaskans by Gov. Palin's decision to step down with nearly two years left in her term," Begich said.

Even more surprised may have been Republican pollster Dave Dittman, who was quoted Thursday in the Christian Science Monitor predicting Palin would not only run for re-election, but win easily.

He was by no means alone, though. blogger Tim Lindell said, "None of us saw it coming and we're the most dedicated political junkies you will find anywhere. It took our breath away."

Juneau Republican Party Chair Ben Brown, who described himself as a "huge fan of Sarah, personally," said stepping down as governor could be a strategic move to run for president in 2012.

"It makes it easier to have an exploratory committee than if she'd remained as governor," he said. "It's difficult in this day and age to be a working governor and run for president."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Yeah Melania Trump is one lucky gal

To be married to someone who looks like that.  And I'm not talking about the young guy either.

Speaking of Melania, she has been MIA until recently.

I personally think Melania's past is fair game,especially if she was an illegal immigrant.  Donald has made such a big deal about immigration.  And since Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton have been attacked mercilessly by the haters, it's only fair.

Here is Bristol Palin's next trial husband

From Oregon Live

Jon Ritzheimer on Monday admitted in federal court that he conspired to impede federal officers through intimidation, threats or force while participating in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January.

The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison, but Ritzheimer faces between 2 ½ and three years under sentencing guidelines, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel told the court. The government will recommend that Ritzheimer, who has no criminal history, be sentenced on the low end of that range, Gabriel said.

The 32-year-old, who lives in the Phoenix area, faced additional accusations of possessing a firearm in a federal facility and theft of government property, specifically taking cameras that belonged to the FBI. The government plans to dismiss those charges at his May 8 sentencing as part of a plea agreement.

The sentencing was scheduled for next spring so Ritzheimer and his defense attorney, Terri Wood, have time to gather materials and information that present mitigating circumstances before the hearing, Gabriel said.

Ritzheimer is the 11th of 26 standoff defendants to plead guilty in the federal conspiracy case that resulted from the 41-day armed takeover at the bird sanctuary outside Burns. As part of the agreement, Ritzheimer will also forfeit a shotgun that federal authorities seized during their investigation.

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown went over Ritzheimer's plea agreement and petition in great detail. She asked whether he understood that he couldn't possess a gun or ammunition with a felony conviction and that he was surrendering his right to appeal.

"This really is the end of your case," Brown told him.

Ritzheimer said he understood. He wore a khaki-colored suit with a white dress shirt. He set his black sunglasses with blue-mirrored lenses in front of him on the defense table.

Before the Burns standoff, Ritzheimer was most widely known for anti-Islam protests he organized last year in Phoenix. They drew hundreds of people and caught the attention of the FBI. He also sold anti-Islam T-shirts through his apparel company, Rogue Infidel. The website now asks for donations to help Ritzheimer and his family.

Ritzheimer last September also threatened to arrest a Michigan senator for treason when he supported a nuclear deal with Iran, prompting an investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police.

Military records show Ritzheimer was in the Marine Corps Reserves from 2002 through 2014, serving two tours in Iraq as a motor transport driver. He has worked as a motorcycle mechanic.

Ritzheimer arrived at the refuge on Jan. 2 and left for home on Jan. 24, two days before Ammon and Ryan Bundy and other co-defendants in the case were arrested as they made their way to a community meeting in John Day.

Ritzheimer surrendered to the FBI in Arizona on Jan. 26 and was brought back to Oregon. A judge in March released him from custody and allowed him to return home to Arizona while his case was pending.

Prosecutors have said Ritzheimer was one of the leaders of the armed takeover. While at the Malheur refuge, Ritzheimer picked up mail, took meals to the other occupiers and served as a personal security guard to escort the Bundys to news conferences and meetings, according to court records.

During Monday's hearing, Gabriel told the court that Ritzheimer was part of the first group to arrive at the refuge, which was closed for the weekend on Jan. 2. He was armed when he and others first entered the headquarters. He then assumed a role as a security guard outside the refuge and told Ammon Bundy that they were "in control" of the property, Gabriel said.

Ammon Bundy and others had been part of a demonstration in Burns, protesting the federal arson case against father and son ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steve Hammond, before they arrived at the bird sanctuary.

Gabriel said that during the takeover, Ritzheimer also used his personal truck to block the refuge gate.

After the prosecutor described Ritzheimer's conduct, the judge asked the defendant to explain what he did.

Ritzheimer told Brown that he was part of a "plan to take a protest to the next level." The judge inquired whether he was protesting because of the Hammonds.

"Yes," Ritzheimer replied. "We were protesting actually two things. Government overreach and the re-sentencing of the Hammonds."

Ritzheimer told that judge that he "forcibly occupied the refuge."

"I can see how my conduct and actions there would be intimidating," he said.

After his plea, Brown agreed to remove the GPS monitoring and curfew conditions from Ritzheimer's release agreement.

Ritzheimer left the courthouse with his attorney and a small group of reporters behind him. Commenting on his plea, he said, "Marines believe in integrity."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Donald Trump's medical records

From Blue Nation Review

Donald Trump, who famously gives cable news interviews from his home because he can’t be bothered to travel across town to a studio, has launched a new attack on Hillary, saying she’s weak and lazy and has no energy – his latest attempt to mainstream a fringe conspiracy theory about how a woman with legendary stamina and work ethic is somehow at death’s door.

Meanwhile, Trump has provided one laughably inadequate letter addressing his medical history and current health. This is the entirety of the medical report offered by Trump:

It is so ridiculous on its face, so wholly incomprehensive and sounding nothing like a formal letter penned by a doctor, that the hospital with which Dr. Jacob Bornstein is affiliated, Lennox Hill Hospital, was obliged to tweet what essentially functions as a disavowal of the report.

Dr. Jen Gunter detailed the many things she finds concerning about Trump’s medical letter, concluding: “All I can say is typos and weird links and mentions of nonexistent sections of gastroenterology and nonsensical medical information aside, the letter provides essentially no medical information.”

Listen, if Trump had any kind of health issue that didn’t interfere with his ability to fulfill the duties of the presidency, I frankly could not care less. It would so low on my list of concerns about Trump that it would hardly register, given the myriad non-health issues that interfere with his ability to fulfill the duties of the presidency.

I do, however, care that he’s flogging the right-wing’s gross, disablist conspiracy theory about Hillary, no less while he has provided zero transparency on his own medical status. He’s not merely accusing Hillary of being sick, but implicitly accusing her of being a liar who conspired with her doctor to deceive the public about her health – which seems to be shaping up to be another fine bit of projection.

Last night, Rachel Maddow delved into Trump’s typical mendacity on his medical records, going through the letter from “a gastroenterologist; from a doctor who specializes in digestive problems; a doctor who apparently has a Gmail address and a website that does not work.”

A recent Rasmussen poll found that “59% of voters also now believe all major presidential candidates should release at least their most recent medical records to the public.” Trump is the only one of the two major party candidates who has failed to do so.

Unless you count that preposterous letter. Which I don’t.

The poll also found that “67% of Likely U.S. Voters think all presidential candidates should release at least their most recent tax returns to the public,” and, again, Trump is the only one of the two major party candidates who has not done that.

If nothing else, Trump is consistent in his utter lack of transparency.

There are legitimate debates to be had about whether candidates should be obliged to release medical reports and tax returns, but the fact is that it is a common modern practice. Every presidential candidate, though not legally required to make these disclosures, is nonetheless expected to.

Trump has sniffed at these expectations – and his zero interest in complying with the conventions of a presidential campaign is yet another indication that he’s not even running for president anymore, if he ever was.

Yes Donald Trump's medical letter is about as real as this one:

Sarah Palin back to spewing bullshit on her Fecebook

She is back to linking posts on Fecebook

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Steve Bannon like Donald Trump has a filthy mouth too

From Daily Beast

Donald Trump’s new campaign boss—the guy white supremacists are so excited about—once described D.C.’s top Republicans as “cunts.”

Stephen Bannon, the Trump campaign’s new chief executive as of  Wednesday, used the phrase two years ago in emails with Breitbart reporter Matt Boyle. Bannon ran Breitbart at the time, and the two schemed about how to get activists to “turn on the hate” as part of a plan to “burn this bitch down.” 

The emails, obtained by The Daily Beast, are just another reminder that the Trump campaign’s new management is unlikely to play nice with party leaders.

The exchange was on December 16, 2014. In it, Bannon flagged a Roll Call story about a private meeting Rep. Jason Chaffetz held for about a dozen Capitol Hill reporters. Chaffetz was about to become chairman of the powerful Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the meeting previewed his plans for the committee.

“Were we invited to this?” Bannon emailed.

Matt Boyle, then a Breitbart reporter and now its Washington Political Editor, replied that he wasn’t.

“To be honest, completely between us, I think Chaffetz is a sniveling little shit and deserves to have his ass kicked in the conservative media,” Boyle continued. “This is something that leads me very heavily in that direction.”

“Leadership are all cunts,” he wrote. “We should just go buck wild.”

Then he wrote, “Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that’s the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty.”

Boyle concurred.

“You know I agree,” he replied. “Let’s just not hurt ourselves in the process. If we’re gonna burn this bitch down, to quote the great Louis Head, we need to make sure the fire doesn’t burn us in the process. I’m working on plans with people right now to make it happen.”

Now that the Olympics are over, what's Sarah Palin gonna do now?

The RIO Olympics are now a thing of the past.  The athletes have gone home, and now people are back paying attention to the election and the NFL pre season.  Where does that leave Sarah Palin?

She isn't welcome on the Trump campaign.

Here is an interesting article on her irrelevance:

Sarah Palin’s latest effort to unseat a Republican leader fell short when House Speaker Paul D. Ryan cruised to a victory in his primary, easily dispatching the insurgent Mrs. Palin had backed.
It’s the latest episode in which the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has seen her star fall as the tea party movement she championed has splintered and the former Alaska governor’s populist appeal has been overshadowed by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s far more outspoken campaign.
Mr. Trump, who welcomed Mrs. Palin’s endorsement ahead of the Iowa caucuses and deployed her on the campaign trail for him in Florida, has kept her at arm’s length since wrapping up the race. She didn’t speak at the Republican National Convention and has been pushed to the side as a surrogate as Mr. Trump elevates more centrist Republicans such as former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“She speaks to a part of the GOP primary base, but when it comes to general election messaging, she can really complicate things,” said Craig Robinson, a former GOP consultant who runs “The Iowa Republican” website. “So I think a lot of people stay away.”

That hasn’t quelled her own support for Mr. Trump, and she continues to defend him — and fire at liberals, the media and her other critics from atop her Twitter perch, with its 1.28 million followers, and elsewhere online.

In a July column for the Independent Journal Review, Mrs. Palin said her endorsement of Mr. Trump cost her jobs and attention.

“I’ve been asked all year questions like why it seems I’m ‘relegated’ to outsider status of current political machines; why there’s no longer a seat at the talking heads TV table; why previous ‘friends’ commence public condemnation of me despite me never changing my values, priorities or loyalties to the right causes,” she wrote.

But she insisted she is more committed than ever to the cause of upsetting the establishment.
After her vice presidential run, some analysts predicted Mrs. Palin would be in the running for the top of the ticket in 2012 or 2016. But she took a pass. Instead, she has fired shots from the sidelines, albeit with less of an audience.

“Five years ago, she would have drawn 25,000 people to an event, and today she would do well drawing 2,500,” said Ken Crow, a tea party activist in Iowa.

Mr. Crow said Mrs. Palin remains a beloved figure — though some were turned off by her decision to back Mr. Trump over Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, whom many see as the ideological chief of the grass-roots movement.

“Although we realize her political stock is not what it used to be, her devotion to country and conservatism is stronger than ever,” Mr. Crow said. “We do love her, but realize that she will never be president. We realize that she will never be vice president, but she is one of the moral and emotional leaders of the tea party movement and she always will be because she preaches conservative values.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to emails seeking comment about the role she will play in the general election campaign, and Mrs. Palin could not be reached for comment.
On Twitter, she has spent recent weeks mixing politics with praise for U.S. Olympic athletes.
Her chief political cause, besides attacking the press, had been boosting Paul Nehlen, the tea partyer who challenged Mr. Ryan in the primary for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District seat.
“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be Cantored, as in Eric Cantor,” Mrs. Palin said during an appearance on CNN, alluding to the former House majority leader’s stunning 2014 primary loss in his Virginia House race. “His political career is over, but for a miracle, because he has so disrespected the will of the people.”

After hesitation, Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Ryan, who went on to win a stunning 84 percent of the vote.

Mr. Robinson said it appears that as far as elected politics go, Mrs. Palin’s “role has been diminished to the point where she is a role player in primaries.”

“In [2008], I think people were looking at her as the future of the party, and I don’t think anyone is looking at her like that today,” he said. “Maybe she knows her role and that she can be useful in a primary setting.”

Another question, why hasn't she condemned the actions of Ryan Lochte?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Question for Sarah and Todd Palin

Sarah why have you not released Trig's birth certificate?

Todd have you ever been with or hung out with hookers in Anchorage?

Monday Meme

At least America was able to see yours Rand.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin try to shame President Obama and Hillary Clinton

Yeah that's what Louisiana needs right now, a blowhard handing out playdoh.
                                                                                   At least one Louisiana resident isn't buying Trump's bullshit.                

And Sarah Palin tries to shame as well.  So Jason Recher is now writing for IJR?  Interesting.  Guess he got laid off by Sarah Pac too.


Justice Palin style

Track has a hearing tomorrow.  Every single hearing he has had has been "continued".  He is allegedly in rehab right now and the charges might have already been dropped.  But what's with the constant continuation in Vets Court.  Even Diana Palin's case didn't drag out this much.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Paul Manafort is OUT!

From ABC

With the resignation of campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign is now without a single senior figure who has ever run a campaign.

Donald Trump's team has always been a lean operation fueled by the candidate himself rather than the organization around him, but from the very beginning the Trump campaign included people who had at least some experience running political campaigns.

But now the top ranks of the team include family members, conservative media executive Stephen Bannon and Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, the new campaign manager.

None of them have experience managing a campaign. And aside from Conway, who is widely respected in Republican circles and spokesman Jason Miller who formerly served as Ted Cruz’s spokesman, the Trump campaign inner circle is now without anybody with significant ties to the what was once known as the leadership of the Republican party.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, was an outsider, but he did run the re-election campaign of Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) in 2002. The campaign later hired Rick Wiley, who had run Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and Ed Brookover, who had run Ben Carson’s campaign.

All of them had experience running campaigns and all were forced out.

In fact, the Trump campaign has sometimes looked a little like Trump’s old reality TV show, "The Apprentice" -– a series of tryouts facing a familiar fate: Trump telling them, “You’re Fired.”

You know most national campaigns have staff that have worked for a POTUS, campaigned for a POTUS, or had some kind of political job.  You would think Donald Trump would value experience.

Oh and by the way, Sarah Palin had to jump on the bandwagon:

Course we all know Sarah Palin has never been held accountable for anyone, and neither has her spawn.

So Sarah Palin where's that lawsuit against Azealia Banks?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Flashback Friday: Lynn Gattis and her party throwing

From NY Times

Sarah and the Pit Bulls. Although this Civic Festival is ostensibly nonpartisan, it is billed on the Web as a “victory celebration.”

At the same hour in Washington — 7 p.m., East Coast time — the doors to the New Bethel Baptist Church will be flung open for what the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, a former aide to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., calls a “watch-night service,” also replete with food and televisions (but minus the alcohol).

“I am cautiously optimistic that before the night is out,” said Mr. Fauntroy, the church’s pastor, “I will experience what I do at weddings: someone singing, ‘This is the moment.’ ”

On the evening of Nov. 4, true believers from each party will gather at churches, meetings halls, block parties, bars and parks between Wasilla and Washington, anticipating a communal exaltation of historic dimension.

But for millions of others, it will be a night infused with body-quaking fear on a seismic scale, about the economy, employment, war. Conversations last week with quotidian voters — as well as not-so-quotidian ones — suggest that many people may want to gather less for a party than for a huddle, a support group. Republicans are hedging their bets. Democrats say they are wary, skeptical, superstitious even. Judging by them, and not the polls that favor Senator Barack Obama, if there’s a donkey braying in the land, that would be Eeyore.

“I don’t know anyone who is planning to whoop it up,” said Diane Asadorian Masters, an Obama supporter from West Lafayette, Ind.

Continue reading the main story
Kyle T. Smoke, chairman of the College Republicans at the University of Texas at Dallas, said that his group will not attend the student government’s bipartisan party. Instead, members will watch with the grown-ups at the Dallas County Republican Party’s gathering. “Tensions are high,” he said. “We think it’s in the best interest to be with our own people so we can either celebrate or sulk together.

”By contrast, the ebullience of organizers of Tuesday night’s events in Wasilla and Washington seemed unassailable. Perhaps that was because they will be celebrating themselves as much as their candidates.

In Wasilla, Mr. McCain and the Republican Party seem like afterthoughts, wafting after what is essentially a love-fest for Sarah Palin and small-town Alaska.

Typically on an election night, said Lynn Gattis, an organizer of the Wasilla event, “We go to a local bar or watch on our own TVs, but this one is a big hoo-hah.”

The festival will feature gun-safety sessions, a flag ceremony from the Boy Scouts and vendors hawking Palin memorabilia, including wineglass charms — trinkets to identify one’s glass at an event — in shapes like lipstick and high-heeled shoes. The Colony High School Marching Band from nearby Palmer will perform what Mrs. Gattis contended would be a special preview.

“The band is going to the inaugural parade!” Mrs. Gattis said. “We bought their uniforms on eBay, and they’ve been practicing. I’ve got my inaugural ball gown, tan-spray can and all.”

Since 2008 Sarah has slid into obscurity, and Lynn Gattis has been voted out of office:

"Washington, D.C.—Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called on Alaska’s U.S. attorney and attorney general to investigate Alaska state Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla) and her husband, Richard Gattis, for taking $65,225 of taxpayer funds in exchange for an easement on their land that they had no right to grant. 

After the Gattises were caught, the easement was released but the couple declined to return the money."


"CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan asked, “How is it that a public servant gets away with pocketing $65,225 in taxpayer dollars in exchange for absolutely nothing? Lynn Gattis didn’t sell the Brooklyn Bridge, but the deal she made isn’t far off. She sold an easement she had no right to sell and then kept the taxpayers’ money when she got caught. This is exactly the sort of self-serving conduct Alaskans have seen far too much of in recent years.” 

The Gattises purchased land from the state of Alaska at a reduced rate because its use was restricted to agricultural purposes. Later, the couple took out loans from an Alaska agricultural fund. A term of one the loans was that they could not transfer any interest in the land that contravened the farming only covenants. Despite the restrictions, in September 2011, the Gattises sold the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough an easement to build a temporary road on the land for $65,225, in violation of the loan provision and the farming only covenant.

Rep. and Mr. Gattis insisted the easement agreement include a provision holding them harmless if anyone came after them for violating the restrictions. After Alaska’s State Division of Agriculture discovered the easement in the spring of 2012, it asked the Attorney General’s office to enforce the restrictions, which resulted in the Gattises being warned to remove the easement or repay the loans within 30 days. The Mat-Su Borough released the easement and the road was never built, but the Gattises kept the money."

More on the easement:

"Gattis, a freshman lawmaker running for a second term, issued an angry statement Monday calling the request a politically motivated attack and "old hash served up warm again."

"My family did not 'decline' to return the money that the borough paid us. The Borough is honoring a business contract and we were never asked to give the money back," the statement said. "I have great distain [sic] for Washington DC getting involved in Alaskan projects, especially in such a baseless and inflammatory manner.""

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Donald Trump resetting, again

From NY Times

Donald J. Trump named as his new campaign chief on Wednesday a conservative media provocateur whose news organization regularly attacks the Republican Party establishment, savages Hillary Clinton and encourages Mr. Trump’s most pugilistic instincts.

Mr. Trump’s decision to make Stephen K. Bannon, chairman of the Breitbart News website, his campaign’s chief executive was a defiant rejection of monthslong efforts by longtime Republican hands to wean him from the bombast and racially charged speech that helped propel him to the nomination but now threaten his candidacy by alienating the moderate voters who typically decide the presidency.

It also formally completed a merger between the most strident elements of the conservative news media and Mr. Trump’s campaign, which was incubated and fostered in their boisterous coverage of his rise.

Mr. Bannon was appointed a day after the recently ousted Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes, emerged in an advisory role with Mr. Trump. It was not lost on Republicans in Washington that two news executives whose outlets had fueled the anti-establishment rebellion that bedeviled congressional leaders and set the stage for Mr. Trump’s nomination were now directly guiding the party’s presidential message and strategy.

Mr. Bannon’s most recent crusade was his failed attempt to oust the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, in this month’s primary, making his new role atop the Trump campaign particularly provocative toward Republican leaders in Washington.

Party veterans responded Wednesday with a mix of anger about the damage they saw Mr. Trump doing to their party’s reputation and gallows humor about his apparent inability, or unwillingness, to run a credible presidential campaign in a year that once appeared promising.

“If Trump were actually trying to antagonize supporters and antagonize new, reachable supporters, what exactly would he be doing differently?” asked Dan Senor, a longtime Republican strategist who advised Mitt Romney and his running mate, Mr. Ryan, in 2012.

“He’s an embarrassing candidate and they’re an embarrassing blog who both play to the lowest common denominator of people’s fears,” said Terry Sullivan, who ran Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. “It’s a match made in heaven.”

For Mr. Trump, though, bringing in Mr. Bannon was the political equivalent of ordering comfort food. Only last week, Mr. Trump publicly expressed ambivalence about modifying his style. “I think I may do better the other way,” he told Time magazine. “They would like to see it be a little bit different, a little more modified. I don’t like to modify.”

Mr. Bannon’s transition from mischief-maker at Breitbart to the inner circle of the de facto leader of the Republican Party capped the second shake-up of Mr. Trump’s campaign in two months.

Kellyanne Conway, a veteran pollster and strategist who was already advising Mr. Trump, will become his campaign manager and is expected to travel with the candidate, filling a void that opened up when the combative former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was fired on June 20.

Mr. Trump’s loyalists put the best possible face on the changes announced Wednesday, but their timing, after a New York Times article detailing his advisers’ frustration at trying to impose discipline on him, underscored why so many in the party have soured on his prospects: His decisions are often made in reaction to news coverage.

Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, will retain his title but was widely seen as being sidelined: Mr. Bannon and Ms. Conway have both developed close relationships with Mr. Trump, and Mr. Bannon is likely to be more amenable to letting him run the sort of media-focused campaign he prefers.

“This is an exciting day for Team Trump,” Mr. Manafort wrote in an internal staff memo. “I remain the campaign chairman and chief strategist, providing the big-picture, long-range campaign vision,” he added.

On a conference call Wednesday morning, Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, said the moves had been well received, pointing to favorable coverage on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”

Under Mr. Bannon, Breitbart News has been an amen corner for Mr. Trump, and perhaps more relentless than any other conservative outlet in its criticism of the Republican establishment.

But what most distresses mainstream party strategists about the union of Mr. Trump’s campaign with Breitbart’s guiding vision is the brand of populism that the website has advocated, and that Mr. Trump has championed.

against what it sees as the threats of free trade, Hispanic migration and Islamist terrorism.

“This is Trump going back to the nativism and nationalism that fueled his rise in the primary,” said Lanhee J. Chen, who was Mr. Romney’s policy director in 2012. “But it’s very dangerous to the future of the party because it only further narrows the appeal of a party whose appeal was already narrow going into this cycle.”

Mr. Chen called Mr. Trump’s shift “a base reinforcement strategy” and noted that it was very different from the tack of most party nominees, who use the final months of the presidential race to broaden their appeal in hopes of winning over the maximum number of voters.

But to those on the right who are hoping to permanently shift Republicans away from free-market conservatism and toward a harder-edged populism, the addition of Mr. Bannon was a victory for the “America First” approach they want to ingrain in the party.

“He doesn’t need any help formulating his message — his message is perfect,” the conservative author Ann Coulter said of Mr. Trump. Referring to Mr. Trump’s policy adviser, speechwriter and warm-up speaker, she added, “Maybe he could use 10 more Stephen Millers.”

As comfortable as Mr. Trump may feel with Mr. Bannon’s style of politics, their unconventional alliance, and the possibility that the coming weeks could resemble a conservative publicity tour more than a conventional White House run, fueled speculation that Mr. Trump was already looking past November.

Indeed, in recent months, Mr. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have quietly explored becoming involved with a media holding, either by investing in one or by taking one over, according to a person close to Mr. Trump who was briefed on those discussions.

At a minimum, the campaign’s homestretch offers Mr. Trump an opportunity to build his audience and steer his followers toward the combative Breitbart site. Even before announcing the staff shake-up, Mr. Trump intensified his criticism of the mainstream news media in a speech on Tuesday night in which he declared that he was running against the “media-donor-political complex.”

Mr. Trump’s elevation of Mr. Bannon and Ms. Conway also highlights the growing influence of Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, conservative donors from Long Island. The Mercers are investors in Breitbart, and their foundation funds a host of other conservative activist groups. They spent millions on Senator Ted Cruz’s behalf during the Republican primary, an effort Ms. Conway helped lead. And they began bankrolling a pro-Trump “super PAC” in recent weeks after becoming friendly with Mr. Trump, his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Mr. Kushner.

At Breitbart and its sister foundation, the Government Accountability Institute, Mr. Bannon ran a hybrid between a news organization and an opposition-research operation aimed at discrediting Mrs. Clinton. The institute sponsored a book about Mrs. Clinton’s financial entanglements, “Clinton Cash,” which spawned various articles in mainstream newspapers last year, including in The New York Times.

Rival conservative news organizations viewed Breitbart as something of an outlier, which was evident in the title of an article the Weekly Standard writer Stephen F. Hayes wrote on Wednesday: “Trump Has Decided to Live in Breitbart’s Alternative Reality.”

“It’s the merger of the Trump campaign with the kooky right,” William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, said of Mr. Bannon’s new role.

Mr. Bannon has now joined with Mr. Ailes in a common cause on Mr. Trump’s behalf, a mission that Breitbart never pretended to deny. But Mr. Ailes’s direct involvement casts a new light on how his network handled Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

In the weeks before the Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed the sexual harassment lawsuit that led to Mr. Ailes’s forced resignation, Mr. Ailes had at least two meetings with Mr. Trump, people briefed on the sessions said.

While meetings between a presidential candidate and the chairman of an influential television network are hardly unheard-of, especially with Mr. Trump, Mr. Ailes’s direct involvement in the campaign raises new questions about whether the sessions involved more than the usual complaints about coverage.

Before Mr. Ailes’s ouster, some of the network’s most prominent journalists and contributors privately complained that Mr. Ailes was pushing them to be more supportive of Mr. Trump. This drew particular umbrage from longtime Republican staff members and contributors who either opposed Mr. Trump’s candidacy on ideological grounds or believed it demanded tough reporting on journalistic grounds.

There was, though, one prominent conservative voice unambiguously in Mr. Ailes’s corner since the beginning of the sexual harassment scandal: Breitbart.

The website emerged as a singular defender of Mr. Ailes, with a piece about a planned walkout by network stars loyal to him should he be forced out — it never came to pass — and one by Mr. Bannon ridiculing the “minor Murdochs” (the 21st Century Fox chief Rupert Murdoch’s sons and co-executives, James and Lachlan), who were seen as leading the push for Mr. Ailes to resign.

Oh the irony.  An accused sexual harasser helping a rapist, and the head of a low rent blog helping an even lower rent politician.

Sarah's house is still in pending status

Check it out on Redfin

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dakota Meyer is a man without honor

From McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — With Dakota Meyer standing at attention in his dress uniform, sweat glistening on his forehead under the television lights, President Barack Obama extolled the Marine sergeant for the “extraordinary actions” that had earned him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor.

Obama told the audience in the White House East Room on Sept. 15 that Meyer had driven into the heart of a savage ambush in eastern Afghanistan against orders. He'd killed insurgents at near-point-blank range, twice leapt from his gun turret to rescue two dozen Afghan soldiers and saved the lives of 13 U.S. service members as he fought to recover the bodies of four comrades, the president said.

But there's a problem with this account: Crucial parts that the Marine Corps publicized and Obama described are untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, according to dozens of military documents McClatchy examined.

Sworn statements by Meyer and others who participated in the battle indicate that he didn’t save the lives of 13 U.S. service members, leave his vehicle to scoop up 24 Afghans on his first two rescue runs or lead the final push to retrieve the four dead Americans. Moreover, it’s unclear from the documents whether Meyer disobeyed orders when he entered the Ganjgal Valley on Sept. 8, 2009.

The statements also offer no proof that the 23-year-old Kentucky native "personally killed at least eight Taliban insurgents," as the account on the Marine Corps website says. The driver of Meyer’s vehicle attested to seeing “a single enemy go down."

What's most striking is that all this probably was unnecessary. Meyer, the 296th Marine to earn the medal, by all accounts deserved his nomination. At least seven witnesses attested to him performing heroic deeds “in the face of almost certain death.”

Braving withering fire, he repeatedly returned to the ambush site with Army Capt. William Swenson and others to retrieve Afghan casualties and the dead Americans. He suffered a shrapnel wound in one arm and was sent home after the battle with combat-related stress. Meyer’s commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Williams, commended him for acts of “conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”

But an exhaustive assessment by a McClatchy correspondent who was embedded with the unit and survived the ambush found that the Marines' official accounts of Meyer’s deeds — retold in a book, countless news reports and on U.S. military websites — were embellished. They're marred by errors and inconsistencies, ascribe actions to Meyer that are unverified or didn’t happen and create precise, almost novelistic detail out of the jumbled and contradictory recollections of the Marines, soldiers and pilots engaged in battle.

The approval of Meyer’s medal — in an unusually short time — came as lawmakers and serving and former officers pressed the military services and the Pentagon to award more Medals of Honor because of the relatively few conferred in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Only 10 of the decorations have been awarded since 2001, seven of them posthumously.

Meyer is the first living Marine since the Vietnam War to be awarded the honor. It was first bestowed in 1863.

The process for awarding the medal — designed by Navy rules to leave “no margin of doubt or possibility of error” — involves reviews by commanders at every level of the nominee’s chain of command and then by top Pentagon officials. The nominating papers — known as a “medal packet” — typically comprise dozens of sworn witness statements, maps, diagrams, a draft citation and a more detailed account of the nominee’s deeds.

As the Afghan and Iraq wars wind down, senior Marine Corps officials conceded the pressure to award more medals, and to do it quickly. One senior Marine official told McClatchy that the service felt that it deserved the decoration after having served in the toughest, most violent areas of Afghanistan and Iraq.

In response to McClatchy's findings, the Marine Corps said it stood by the official citation that was produced by the formal vetting process. Asked to explain the individual discrepancies and embellishments, the Marines drew a distinction between the citation and the account of Meyer's deeds that the Marines constructed to help tell his story to the nation. They described that account as "Meyer's narrative of the sequence of events," which Marine officials said they didn't vet.

Hours before this McClatchy report was published, the Marine Corps inserted a disclaimer into its official online account of Meyer's heroic actions. The Web page now reads that the summary "was compiled in collaboration" with Meyer and Marine Corps Public Affairs.

A prominent historian of military medals, Doug Sterner, expressed disbelief at the idea that the Marine Corps would publicize an account of a complex battle based solely on the recipient's recollections.

"Give me a break," Sterner said. "A recipient is responsible for writing his narrative? I have never heard of such a thing."

The Marine officials, who requested anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, acknowledged that portions of the narrative were changed from the account Williams submitted. They said that the changes occurred between July, when Obama approved Meyer’s medal nomination, and the September White House ceremony. Inaccuracies were written into the citation and the narrative of Meyer’s deeds, although the narrative contained far more errors and exaggerations.

The president's version drew on materials the Marine Corps provided but it was written in the White House, the Marine officials said. While there's no indication that the White House knew that Obama was narrating an embellished story — to an audience of several hundred Meyer family members, top officials, lawmakers and service members — the revelations could tarnish one of the signature moments of his time as commander in chief.

The White House said Obama's remarks were based primarily on "extensive documentation provided by the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps," including sworn testimony from Meyer and other eyewitnesses. It also relied on news reports and on a 2011 book, "The Wrong War" by Bing West. However, McClatchy found that the book's account of the battle is riddled with inaccuracies.

Sterner said errors in citations had always haunted recipients and that many Medal of Honor winners had been cited for things they didn't do. He added that the mounting pressure to find a living recipient has made mistakes in details almost inevitable.

"Did this man deserve the Medal of Honor? If the answer to that is yes, then the details of the citation become secondary," Sterner said. "But we do need to keep the record as accurately as we possibly can."


The fallout could obscure Meyer’s genuine acts of heroism and threaten a book contract, speaking engagements and other deals that have lifted him from the obscurity of rural Greensburg, Ky., to fortune and national renown, including famously having a beer with Obama at the White House the day before the ceremony.

Reached by telephone Wednesday, Meyer declined to comment.

McClatchy found that the claim that Meyer saved the lives of 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers couldn’t be true. Twelve Americans were ambushed — including this correspondent — and of those, four were killed. (One wounded American would die a month later.) Moreover, multiple sworn statements affirm McClatchy's firsthand reporting that it was the long-delayed arrival of U.S. helicopters that saved the American survivors.

There are no statements attesting to Meyer killing eight Taliban as recounted on the Marine Corps website. The driver of Meyer’s vehicle, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, reported seeing Meyer kill one insurgent.

No sworn statements — including one Meyer gave to military investigators five days after the battle — refer to him leaping from the Humvee’s turret to rescue 24 wounded Afghan soldiers on his first two runs into the valley. Rodriguez-Chavez attested to nine Afghan soldiers getting into the Humvee by themselves while Meyer remained in the turret.

Four sworn statements, including Rodriguez-Chavez’s, undermine the claim that he and Meyer drove into the valley against orders. And the documents indicate that it was Swenson who led the final drive to retrieve the fallen Americans, taking command of Meyer’s Humvee after ditching his bullet-riddled Ford Ranger. Meyer rode in the Humvee’s back seat.

The inflated versions of events were prepared at the Marine Corps' Public Affairs office at the Pentagon by a special working group assembled for the task, a knowledgeable official said. The group consulted Meyer’s former commander, Williams, as it drafted the citation, but it didn’t confer with him in assembling the account posted on the Marine Corps website, the official said.

The Marines excluded Williams — who was shot and wounded in the left arm during the battle and won a Bronze Star for valor — from Meyer's ceremony at the White House. Also excluded was Capt. Ademola Fabayo, who won the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor, for his role in Ganjgal. Williams and Fabayo declined to be interviewed for this article.

Many of the exaggerations appear in “The Wrong War” by West, a Marine veteran and former senior Pentagon official-turned-bestselling writer.

West, who frequently embeds with troops and has testified before Congress on military strategy, spoke with Meyer a few days after the battle. The pair recently signed a contract with West’s publisher, Random House, to co-write Meyer’s memoir, due out next July. They received an advance that a well-informed publishing industry executive, who asked not to be identified because he wasn't authorized to disclose the information, described as being in the “mid-six figures.”

West didn't respond immediately to telephone messages seeking comment.

Meyer's own public retelling of the battle hasn't always been accurate. In a CBS "60 Minutes" interview that was taped before the White House ceremony and aired Sept. 19, he recounted: “Me and Capt. Swenson kept driving this unarmored truck through this valley. The rounds are going everywhere through it. You’ve got both windows down, you could hear them whizzing through.” But the sworn statements show that Meyer didn't ride in the unarmored Ford Ranger pickup that Swenson drove through Ganjgal Valley.


Obama held up Meyer as embodying "the best of a generation that has served with distinction through a decade of war." But even beyond individual heroism, the military prizes the Medal of Honor as recognition of the contributions of the recipient’s unit and branch of service.

In recent years, some lawmakers and active and retired military officers have questioned whether the relatively few medals awarded since 2001 are the result of a quiet toughening of the criteria.

A March 2009 study by the Army Times found that from World War I through Vietnam, the medal was awarded at a rate of 2.3 to 2.9 per 100,000 service members. But only five Medals of Honor were awarded between the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the publishing of the study, a rate of 1 in 1 million. All five were posthumous. Since that study, five medals have been awarded, three to living recipients.

In January, a congressionally mandated Pentagon study found that Medal of Honor criteria hadn't been tightened. Instead, it said, the development of high-tech, long-range weapons and insurgents' increased use of improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers had reduced face-to-face combat.

The findings, however, didn’t end the controversy.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a former Marine who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in an Oct. 4 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that he "categorically disagreed with the notion that warfare somehow changed and those who were taking and holding ground from the enemy, and often engaged in close-quarter combat, were in some way ineligible for the nation’s highest military award for valor."

Hunter urged Panetta to review four cases in which service members had been nominated for Medals of Honor but received lesser decorations. They included Marine Cpl. Rafael Peralta, whose 2004 medal nomination for covering a grenade with his body in Iraq and saving his colleagues' lives was downgraded by the Pentagon to a Navy Cross. The decision was based on a finding that Peralta had been shot in the head and therefore wasn't acting voluntarily — and it infuriated the Marine Corps.

A senior Marine official told McClatchy that after that decision, the Marines were determined that one of their own would earn a Medal of Honor by the time Commandant James T. Conway retired in 2010. The official described Peralta’s case as a learning experience that the Marines didn't want repeated.

The frustration may have prompted Conway's successor, Gen. James F. Amos, to breach Pentagon guidelines against “premature disclosure" of information about Medal of Honor nominations. During a visit to Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Nov. 6, 2010, Amos announced that Conway had approved a living Marine for the decoration. While he withheld the name, the Marine Corps Times identified the Marine as Meyer two days later.

Amos said he was moved to tears when he read Meyer's citation, according to the Times. "I read it cover to cover, and it watered my eyes," he was quoted as saying.

Conway's approval came before he retired on Oct. 22, 2010, eight months after witnesses to Meyer's acts were interviewed. Marine Corps guidelines allow up to five years from the time of the incident for which the Medal of Honor is awarded to investigate and approve the nomination.

A Medal of Honor nomination for Swenson, who's since left the Army, was submitted in December 2009 — months before Meyer’s — but it remains under review after being lost for 19 months, according to the Army. The account of the battle in Swenson's nomination is sharply at odds with the Marines’ account of Meyer’s deeds, McClatchy learned.

Swenson — a 33-year-old Seattle native nominated to be the first living Army officer to earn the Medal of Honor in the Iraq and Afghan wars — declined to be interviewed.


McClatchy’s findings are based primarily on statements by participants in the battle that were taken under oath in two official investigations, known in military parlance as 15-6 investigations, and the sworn statements that many of the same witnesses submitted voluntarily in support of Meyer’s nomination. This article also relies on copies McClatchy obtained of the Army’s draft citation and account of Swenson’s actions from his medal nomination.

The battle in Ganjgal — a redoubt of stone and rock-hard mud in Kunar province — began as a goodwill mission by Afghan troops and their American trainers. It erupted into some seven hours of searing combat that produced two Medal of Honor nominations, two Navy Crosses, eight Bronze Stars and nine Purple Hearts.

Five Americans and 10 Afghans were killed; 22 U.S. and Afghan troops were wounded.

The battle also prompted the two 15-6 investigations that resulted in career-killing reprimands for dereliction of duty for two officers with the 10th Mountain Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1-32 Infantry, the Army unit responsible for the area. The officers were cited for denying repeated requests from the ambushed Americans for air and artillery support and refusing to send in troops to rescue them. The two officers told investigators they were unsure of the friendly and enemy forces’ positions.

The operation, dubbed "Dancing Goat II," was part of the U.S.-backed effort to weaken the Taliban-led insurgency by promoting local aid projects.

Located at the closed end of a U-shaped valley near the border with Pakistan, Ganjgal overlooks a sweep of descending terraced fields partitioned by waist-high stone walls. The only drivable access is a rutted track that runs up a boulder-strewn wash. Afghan forces were to conduct a routine search of Ganjgal and then meet tribal elders to discuss making improvements to the local mosque in return for the establishment of a police post — a small but unequivocal statement of the village’s acceptance of the Kabul government’s authority.

Word of the operation, however, reached the wrong ears.

As sunlight hit the fields at 5:30 a.m., some 60 Afghan troops and 30 border police officers, nine U.S. Marine and Army trainers, and this correspondent walked into a three-sided ambush by 50 to 60 attackers. The insurgents unleashed barrages from assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and a recoilless rifle from houses, trenches, the slopes overlooking the village and a U.S.-funded school.

Three Marines — 1st Lt. Michael E. Johnson, of Virginia Beach, Va., Gunnery Sgt. Edwin W. Johnson of Columbus, Ga., and Staff Sgt. Aaron M. Kenefick of Roswell, Ga. — and a Navy corpsman, Petty Officer 3rd Class James R. Layton of Riverbank, Calif., were trapped in a house on the edge of the village along with several Afghans. Forced out by enemy fire, the Americans and an Afghan soldier later were found dead in a trench to which they'd retreated.

The Afghan and U.S. personnel scattered for the cover of terrace walls, boulders, trenches and buildings, and fired back. Pinned down and denied artillery and air support, they began taking casualties.

About 150 yards before the house where the four Americans were trapped, Williams, five other U.S. and Afghan personnel and this correspondent dived behind a terrace wall. They later were joined by Swenson, Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook and Swenson’s translator. Westbrook, of Shiprock, N.M., was wounded and died about a month later from blood transfusion complications. Meyer and the Mexican-born Rodriguez-Chavez were outside the valley for almost the entire 90-minute ambush, about a mile west of the village standing guard over vehicles left by the Afghan-U.S. contingent that had hiked up to Ganjgal.


The official accounts of what happened next contain so many disparities and contradictions that they tarnish the genuine valor that Meyer and others displayed.

As Obama related the story, Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez asked four times for permission to drive into the valley to help repel the attack and rescue their trapped colleagues, and “four times they were denied. It was, they were told, too dangerous.”

The sworn statements, however, raise questions about that account.

Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez, the statements say, received no responses to their initial requests, which were being relayed to Williams, his first sergeant, Christopher Garza, and Fabayo through two Marines in an “overwatch” position on a mountaintop. Eventually, Garza sent word that they should stay put.

But later, after failing to raise Garza again, Staff Sgt. Guillermo Valadez — one of the Marines on the mountaintop — and Rodriguez-Chavez agreed that Rodriguez-Chavez and Meyer, who was then a corporal, should drive into the valley. Marine Corps doctrine authorized the two staff sergeants to take that initiative.

Rodriguez-Chavez said, “We raised Staff Sgt. Valadez on the radio and told him we were going in no matter what was going on; we just needed him to assist us into the valley.” Valadez, he continued, “agreed with the decision taken by Cpl. Meyer and me.”

Valadez recounted: “I told Staff Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez to go in because we had injured guys in there."

In a telephone interview eight days after the battle — while he recovered in a U.S. military hospital in Germany from a concussion he'd suffered from a rocket-propelled grenade explosion — “Garza recalled that he called Cpl. Meyer and Staff Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez forward to start collecting the wounded," according to a memorandum of the interview.

Rodriguez-Chavez and Meyer then set out in a Humvee on the mile-long drive up toward Ganjgal, running into “a blizzard of fire” — the former behind the wheel, the latter in the turret, according to the accounts read by Obama and posted on the Marine Corps website.

“Coming upon wounded Afghan soldiers, Dakota jumped out and loaded each of the wounded into the Humvee, each time exposing himself to all that enemy fire,” the president said. After driving those casualties to safety, he and Rodriguez-Chavez went "back into the inferno," Meyer again jumping out and loading up more wounded Afghans.

The medal citation read by a military aide after Obama spoke put the number of Afghans rescued on those first two runs at two dozen.

But Rodriguez-Chavez recounted in his statement for Meyer’s medal nomination that the Afghans got into the vehicle themselves on both runs. He said Meyer stayed in the turret, firing a Mark 19 automatic grenade launcher. Rodriguez-Chavez’s marks on an accompanying satellite photograph show both runs ending just short of the ambush zone.

Seeing Afghan National Army troops trying to take cover, Rodriguez-Chavez said, “I drove up to their position, while Cpl. Meyer was providing cover fire. We saw five wounded ANA soldiers and Cpl. Meyer signaling them to get into the truck. Three ANA took the empty seats in the truck, and the other two opened the trunk and climbed into the trunk.”

After dropping off the Afghans about 150 yards back down the track, the pair returned, stopping just before the first location. Four more Afghan soldiers piled into the vehicle.

The official account doesn’t explain how the pair could have evacuated 24 Afghan soldiers given that no more than five people — three inside and two in the trunk — could have fit in the vehicle with Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez. A senior Marine Corps official acknowledged that the figure was misleading.


The official Marine account also credits Meyer with saving the lives of 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers.

In all, only eight Americans directly embroiled in the ambush survived: six trapped in the "kill zone" and two on a nearby ridge. Army Capt. Raymond Kaplan and Marine Cpl. Steven Norman had led a group of Afghan soldiers to an “overwatch” position on a ridge nearly a half mile southwest of the village, where they were engaged in heavy firefights with insurgents on nearby hilltops.

Five other U.S. personnel played supporting roles but were even farther away.

Valadez and Marine Gunnery Sgt. Chad Miller were on the mountaintop about three-quarters of a mile northwest of the village; a three-man Army sniper team was on a mountain about one and a half miles to the southwest. Their statements make clear that they made their own way back to their base after Meyer left the valley with the bodies of his four fallen comrades.

Witness statements agree that it was the long-delayed arrival of U.S. helicopters that allowed Williams’ group to escape. Williams and Norman attested that Rodriguez-Chavez and Meyer arrived in the valley after Kiowa Warrior helicopters had reached the scene.

One pilot, Ryan Elliott Neal, with the Palehorse squadron of the Army’s 7-17th Cavalry, said in a statement recorded two weeks after the battle that after his helicopter began strafing enemy positions, "the enemy fire ceased long enough for (Williams’ group) to begin moving to their southwest." Neal’s rank was redacted.

The Nigerian-born Fabayo told 15-6 investigators that after a Kiowa Warrior suppressed the insurgents’ fire, “we shot back a few times once in a while, but we started walking like we weren’t in a battle zone anymore."

According to the narrative read by Obama, Rodriguez-Chavez and Meyer saved the group by pulling their vehicle between the group and the village, “wedging (it) right into the line of fire,” allowing the Americans to escape.

Rodriguez-Chavez and Fabayo referred to this maneuver in February 2010 statements that were included in Meyer’s medal nomination. Their statements, however, make clear that the group already was exiting the ambush site, though the fighting continued into the midafternoon.

Finally, there is no report in any of the statements, including his own, of Meyer killing eight Taliban — the number cited on the Marine Corps website.

Miller, watching from his mountaintop position, said that as the Humvee drove up the wash, he radioed Meyer: “You have enemy at your 9 o’clock, driver’s side.” Valadez sent a similar warning after he saw the vehicle “get swarmed by people.”

Rodriguez-Chavez recounted that Meyer quickly started firing the Humvee's .50-caliber machine gun but that the barrel couldn’t be swung low enough to hit his targets. He then heard Meyer firing his M4 assault rifle.

“I saw a single enemy go down from a round hitting him in the head,” Rodriguez-Chavez continued.

This incident would've had to occur while there were U.S. helicopters overhead, loosing rockets and machine guns at any insurgent target they could find. Eight Taliban leaping down the waist-high walls as they charged across the terraces toward Meyer’s Humvee almost certainly would have been seen by the helicopter pilots, whose statements indicated that they were monitoring the vehicle.

Only three bodies later were retrieved from the track: those of Williams’ translator and two insurgents, according to Rodriguez-Chavez’ marks on the satellite photo.

If the two were among the eight insurgents whom Meyer is credited with killing, the six others would've had to have been carried off. But that would have required at least 12 fighters — two to each corpse, each probably toting a rifle — charging across the terraces and down the walls, retrieving the bodies and returning.

And all that without being blasted by the helicopters.

Other reasons Dakota is a man without honor:

Didn't mention his first marriage in his memoirs

After fighting Bristol for rights to his daughter, he is now trying to keep Levi from Tripp.

These pictures:

He uses his MOH to make money

He jumped into bed with the Palins

He tried to get a guy to take the rap for a fight he got into.

He is also a drunk.

Dakota Meyer you are no Audie Murphy.