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Joe McGinniss Issued Cease and Desist Order for Distributing Rival’s Palin Manuscript – Updated

3:47 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The Beverly Hills law firm, Bonfante Steinbeck, has issued a cease and desist order to author Joe McGinniss.  McGinniss has been identified by numerous sources as the originator of copies of the manuscript to an unpublished draft of a book on Sarah Palin by her former confidante and state official, Frank Bailey.  Bailey was Palin’s Director of Boards and Commissions, an office more powerful than that of the Lieutenant Governor.

Representing Bailey and his collaborators on the book, Ken Morris and Jeanne Devon, Bonfante Steinbeck attorney Dean M. Steinbeck writes:

February 20, 2011
Ken Morris, Frank Bailey and Jeanne Devon

Joe McGinniss


Dear Sir:

I write on behalf of Ken Morris, Frank Bailey and Jeanne Devon (collectively, the “Copyright Owners”). The Copyright Owners are co-owners of the copyright in the unpublished manuscript entitled “Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of our Tumultuous Years” (the “Work”).

Between February 16, 2011 and February 18, 2011 you were the recipient of an unlawfully distributed version of the Work. Although you knew that the Work was (i) distributed to you in strict confidence, and (ii) an unpublished manuscript, you choose to unlawfully distribute the Work to multiple news outlets, bloggers, political activists, and any one else you felt might be interested.

As a result of your actions, hundreds of articles and blogs have been published detailing the Work. Some of the publications have summarized the Work in great detail, and others have reproduced the Work’s content verbatim. As an author, you are well aware that your actions have significantly impaired the Copyright Owners ability to market the book.

The Copyright Owners believe your actions were done with the single intent of destroying the marketability of the Work. It is no secret that you are writing your own “tell-all” book about Sarah Palin. By releasing the Work prior to publication, you have limited the actual interest in the Work and thereby salvaged the marketability of your own book. This matter appears to be no more than that of a jealous author sabotaging a competitor via unlawful and unscrupulous means.

The Copyright Owners are currently reviewing their legal options and I can assure this is not the last time you will hear from them. Besides showing an utter lack of professionalism, you have, at a minimum, willfully caused significant damages by engaging in unfair competition and violations of copyright law. In order to minimize the damages caused by your actions, the Copyright Owners hereby demand that you cease and desist from distributing any portion of the Work. Additionally, the Copyright Owners demand that you provide a full list of the parties to whom you distributed the Work.

Several bloggers and news sources received the manuscript from McGinniss very early Friday morning last week.  Many of us have written to McGinniss, asking him why he sent the manuscript out.  To my knowledge, he hasn’t yet answered anyone.  Some articles have been pulled or heavily modified since Bonfante Steinbeck issued a general cease and desist letter late last weekend to media outlets that were carrying extracts from what the authors claim to be a rough draft.  Within the past few hours, Craig Medred’s article at the Alaska Dispatch, Why did Palin name a pro-choice judge to the Alaska Supreme Court, has been pulled from the Alaska Dispatch Blog.  Medred’s article’s subject was the same issue I tackled in my only post before this one on the manuscript’s unauthorized release:

The item that caught my eye most, though, is this one, posted at Jesse Griffin’s Immoral Minority:

“In BLIND ALLEGIANCE TO SARAH PALIN: A Memoir of our Tumultuous Years, Bailey explores such key events as Palin’s gubernatorial victory, Troopergate, illegal coordination with the Republican Governor’s Association, never-before-revealed scandals such as a judicial appointment as payoff for a favorable child custody ruling for Palin’s sister.”

That, I believe, is a serious felony in the State of Alaska. Could it be that the State, by holding onto Palin’s emails for so long – they say the emails will be released in May – is covering up this crime and others by the Palin family until the statute of limitations makes prosecution improbable or impossible? If that is the case, then we need to see the emails the state has on why they’re holding onto her emails.

McGinniss’  release of the manuscript has been vexing to the Alaska bloggers who supported him while he stayed in Alaska last year.  I’m not one of them, though.  After setting up his security perimeter at the house he rented next to the Palin cult compound on Lake Lucille last May, he and I had a disagreement, resulting in no further contact.  Jeanne Devon, one of the parties to the book, helped McGinniss extensively throughout his stay here, though, and is deeply hurt by the author’s action.

McGinniss, it has been reported to me, has all but finished his book on Palin, as has author Geoffrey Dunn.  Unlike Bailey et al, McGinniss and Dunn have publishers lined up.  Supposedly the manuscript found its way to McGinniss, after it had been sent out to a number of publishers by the author, hoping to find a buyer.

Update – Tuesday 7:00 a.m. PST:

1.  Joe McGinniss emailed me late yesterday afternoon, declining to answer my query on why he released the manuscript.  He wrote “Now that Jeanne [Devon] has got lawyers involved, I’m just not able to comment.”

2. In the Tuesday edition of the Anchorage Daily News, an unsigned article notes that GOP activist and longtime Palin foe Andree McLeod:

is charging that Bailey, Morris and Devon are acting unethically by trying to make money off a book based on e-mails Bailey collected as a state employee. McLeod first filed an ethics complaint against Bailey last year when she found out he was working on the book.

The executive ethics act bars current or former public officials from using information gained during the course of their work for personal gain if the information hasn’t been publicly disseminated. Most recently, McLeod wrote Alaska Attorney General John Burns on Friday asking what he was going to do about it.

McLeod emphasized that Bailey’s agent wrote that the e-mails are “not subject to FOIA requests and therefore will not be included in the email correspondence scheduled to be released by Alaskan officials this May.”

Morris last week said that Bailey had thousands of e-mails from the Palins. The state is reviewing Palin’s e-mails for an expected spring release in response to public records requests, including those from news organizations and McLeod.

This is more of the kind of bizarre aftermath Palin’s sloppy tenure as governor has saddled upon Alaskans.  One Alaska blogger, Jesse Griffin, has finished the manuscript.  He writes this morning:

If you thought Sarah Palin was vindictive, you will not be disappointed by this book.

If you thought the personal mythology about her family was bullshit, this is the book for you.

And if you thought that Sarah Palin uses her looks to get away with everything just shy of murder, this book will make that an absolute certainty.

Exxon Valdez Oil on Alaska Beaches – July 4th 2010

12:45 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Last weekend, while millions of Americans gorged on hot dogs, burgers, beers, cokes and fries, 2009 Alaska Muckraker of the Year, Jeanne Devon, 2009 Steve Gilliard Award winner, Shannyn Moore, and environmental writer-blogger Zach Roberts gagged on the fumes of oil that still reeks and seeps out of the intertidal zones on the shores of Knight Island, in Alaska’s once pristine Prince William Sound. Here’s Jeanne’s video:

Jeanne, Shannyn and Zach have all posted articles and photos at their blogs, and Shannyn will be talking about their experience on her radio program-webcast today, beginning right about now (12:10 p.m. PDT).

By the way, here’s a photo of the blighted denizen of Bligh Reef, the Exxon Valdez, uh – the Exxon Mediterranean, uh – the Sag River Mediterranean, uh – the Mediterranean uh – the Dong Fang Ocean. No matter how far the vessel can be distanced from its benighted name, Knight Island is still spoiled and polluted from the Exxon Valdez’s spewed cargo.

21 years and four months later.

A pre-FDL Saturday Book Salon Review of Going Rouge: Sarah Palin – An American Nightmare

3:22 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Jeanne Devon, aka AK Muckraker, creator of the Mudflats community, and recent winner of the Alaska Muckraker award for 2009 from the prestigious environmental organization, Cook Inletkeeper will host firedoglake’s Saturday Book Salon. She will introduce Richard Kim and Betsy Reed, editors of Going Rouge: Sarah Palin – An American Nightmare, the salon’s topic this Saturday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Three days after John McCain announced his pick of Sarah Palin as his 2008 running mate, my wife Judy and I were canvassing in Wasilla, Alaska for Barack Obama. We’d been scheduled to do it for a week. Over the weekend since the August 29th announcement, I had been barraged by dozens of phone calls and hundreds of emails from reporters wanting information from a blogging progressive who could almost see Palin’s house from my neighborhood.

Judy, who had listened to many of the conversations, and had read most of the emails, kidded me. "I can’t believe how much you’ve forgotten about her over the years, " she laughed. At the time, I’d known Palin for over 17 years

Three weeks later, after we had assisted scores of journalists from the Lower 48, and had hosted both Max Blumenthal and David Neiwert (two of Going Rouge‘s contributors) at our house, as the latter two investigated Palin’s ties to the John Birch Society, the Alaska Independence Party, Rev. Thomas Muthee, and to eliminationist groups tied to various Christianist sects, Judy admitted, "I can’t believe how much I’ve forgotten about her!"

After Palin abdicated, even though I could no longer forget about her, I really wanted her to disappear from the national stage.

I wasn’t alone.

Her facebook ghost writer’s "Death Panel" early August post was the first sign that this wouldn’t happen. That posting, which was picked up by the national media, and turned out to be the most emblematic midsummer turning point in the health care debate, was the beginning of her re-entry re-insinuation into the national dialogue.

Going Rouge: Sarah Palin – An American Nightmare, is a direct response to the book, Going Rogue, published last month under Palin’s name. Going Rouge is a very large collection of short essays examining aspects of Palin’s pre-2008 campaign record, the campaign itself, her subsequent activities, and some takes on what this might represent in terms of the current state of American politics.

Like many quickly put together works, there are some textual and editing errors. It is, however, a powerful collection of truthful essays, written from a dynamically progressive perspective. Most have been published elsewhere, but having them under one cover is more important than we might yet realize, especially as Palin’s backers hope to catapult her to some next stage in early 2010, after the attention from the book tour starts to die down.

We’ll see.

Some events unfolding in Alaska over the last ten days may be eclipsing some of the most dynamic contributions to Going Rouge. One example is John Nichols’ contribution, Why Troopergate Matters. Originally published in The Nation on September 24, 2008, under the title McCain’s Troopergate Scandal, it describes how the McCain campaign, with the help of national GOP political operatives, took over the front office of Alaska’s executive branch, to attempt to change the narrative of what was then Palin’s biggest scandal – her and her family’s longstanding campaign to get back at her ex-brother-in-law, an Alaska State Trooper. Many wrote about this then, but Nichols’ take is compellingly tight and remains a bit shocking.

As authoritative as Nichols’ article was, this past week, a huge amount of emails and other internal State of Alaska communications have finally been released by the State of Alaska, in response to two document requests that aren’t directly tied to Troopergate. They emphasize what Nichols observed – that Palin is ethically a huge crock of shit – but these new revelations may have far more staying power than "Troopergate." Once again, we’ll see.

Thousands of documents have been released by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration that clearly show how often people working directly under Palin in the executive branch were routinely ordered to violate the same ethics codes Palin complained about being violated by Oil and Gas Commissioner Randy Ruedrich years ago. Palin’s complaint at that time, lavishly covered by Alaska media in ways that seemed to praise Palin, were the keys to her political rise beyond the Wasillasphere.

Why is Parnell starting to quickly sign off on the release of these long overdue requests that were made back during the Palin administration? He’s holding on to other, more longstanding requests. The Alaska media, by and large, are softballing this, and not consulting with the recipients of the released documents.

The most powerful sections of Going Rouge are two sets of essays written by feminists, Lipstick on a Faux Feminist and A Woman’s Right to Lose. Ten women look at at least a score of dimensions to the falsity of Palin’s claim to resonance with issues concerning women in America or anywhere.

The weakest aspect of the book’s overall structure may be a lack of focus on Palin’s rapidly growing role in anti-science iconography. Palin’s place there may be the most significant ever for a modern woman. She is the anti-Marie Curie. The DNA of the family charged with keeping the Triceratops off the Ark may be the steering oar of her essence.

Among the essays I hadn’t read before is one by Naomi Klein, called Capitalism – Sarah Palin Style. It is a print version of a speech given by Klein last spring, in which she explains that Palin, as with her role among those who mistrust science, is the perfect tool for people who are afraid to face the seriousness of the economic mess we are in:

…..before she came along, the U.S. public, at long last, was starting to come to grips with the urgency of the climate crisis, with the fact that our economic activity is at war with the planet, that radical change is needed immediately. We were actually having that conversation: Polar bears were on the cover of Newsweek magazine. And then in walked Sarah Palin. The core of her message was this: Those environmentalists, those liberals, those do-gooders are all wrong. You don’t have to change anything. You don’t have to rethink anything. Keep driving your gas-guzzling car, keep going to Wal-Mart and shop all you want. The reason for that is a magical place called Alaska. Just come up here and take all you want. "Americans," she said at the Republican National Convention, "we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. Take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska, we’ve got lots of both."

And the crowd at the convention responded by chanting and chanting: "Drill, baby, drill."

Watching that scene on television, with that weird creepy mixture of sex and oil and jingoism, I remember thinking: "Wow, the RNC has turned into a rally in favor of screwing Planet Earth." Literally.

Going Rouge is the most important book yet that focuses on Palin’s shortcomings, past and present. Anyone wanting a slam dunk chunk of solid facts on Palin, doesn’t need to hunt further.

As to the book’s relevance in the immediate future, the collection concludes with four recently written quick takes on Palin’s prospects, called What is Sarah Palin’s Future in American Politics? The authors are Jane Hamsher, Christopher Hayes, Amanda Marcotte and Michael Tomasky. Their essays observe that though Palin’s capabilities are certainly limited, the power she has over her base is continuing to be quite phenomenal. Hamsher says the GOP for 2012 is stuck with Palin, Huckabee or Romney. Since she wrote that, Huckabee has been Willie Hortoned out, and one of Romney’s key people has popped his green balloons all over the national press.

As much as we’d all like to forget about Palin, it is still important to be well informed about what she really is and what she represents. Going Rouge, which is already available on the web, will soon be available in book stores.