Here We Go… RNC Watch Open Thread.

3 09 2008

Here we go everyone.  I’m sitting here in Anchorage with  my cocktail, my bucket of popcorn, and my Pepto Bismol.

Rudy is taking the stage.  Did anyone at the DNC have to wait for the applause on applause lines?

Did you guys know that John McCain was a POW?

I see what we’re in for.  Barack Obama bashing, line by line down his resume.  Community Organizer (laughter), celebrity Senator, no executive experience.  Never had to lead people in crisis…. is he going to say 9/11?

He just actually said, “This is no time for on the job training.”  Ummm…. what about Sarah?

Lots of reform talk, but no specifics.   Put government on the side of the people, shook things up, …

Oh Good God.  They’re chanting “Drill Baby Drill”. And they won’t stop.

September 11th!  He said it!  Everyone take a drink!

Terrorists, Islamic extremism, ….more terrorists, surge, Democrats afraid to insult terrorists.

He just said Joe Biden should get ‘that VP thing’ in writing.  In case Obama flip flops.  That’ll be a great clip to play back if Palin is asked to leave. leaves gracefully.

Obscure negative references to the U.N.  Tries to start the U-S-A chant…semi-successfully.

HA!  The spin:  Obama looked back by choosing experience.  McCain “looked to the future” when he picked young and inexperienced.

He’s “sorry that her home town isn’t cosmopolitan enough” for Barack Obama.  “The first day she was mayor she had more executive experience” than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined.  Where’s my drink?

 Here we go. Palin is on.  Crowd goes wild.

Why does she keep saying John” S”. McCain??   Mom of a troop.  Deployment on 9/11.  More U-S-A chanting.  Family introductions. We’re just like you.  Special needs children need special love. (*Note to self.  make a post about how she cut funding in Alaska for special needs education).

Lukewarm applause for Todd being a steelworker.  Intro of parents.  Hardworking small town people are always proud of America. (as opposed to whom?)

The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull?  Lipstick.

Piper is licking her hand and wiping it on Trig’s head.  Ew.

“A small town mayor is something like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities”.  The ‘bitter’ comment is resurrected.  Big boo for ‘the media’ who thinks she’s unqualified.  Doesn’t care about their opinion, she’s going to Washington to serve the country.  (Pepto Bismol)

She talked about putting Murkowski’s luxury jet on Ebay and selling it.  (OK, that was a good move).

Talked about her vetoes.  Didn’t mention that it included housing for unwed mothers in crisis and special ed. 

For the THIRD TIME she’s taken credit for scuttling the bridge to nowhere, even though it’s completely untrue.  Also says Alaska has a budget surplus.  Don’t think we’ve ever NOT had one.  Lots of oil $ here.

Iran sabre rattling and energy independence.  Take it from a “gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska”, we’ve got plenty of oil.

Obama only uses the word “victory” when talking about his own campaign.  Talks about the dreaded “columns” at the DNC convention. “What does he do after holding back the waters and saving the planet?” Big government.  (more Pepto Bismol)

“Al Qaeda is plotting to inflict catastrophic harm, and [Obama] is worried that someone won’t read them their rights”.  (pounding head on desk) Now lots of tax talk.

“Some use change to promote their careers.  Others, like John McCain use their careers to promote change.”  High flown speechmaking, self-created presidential seals….

Hey, did you guys know that John McCain was a P.O.W.?

Whew.  We survived.   And here’s the whole family.  And that’s one ginormous flag.

And here’s John McCain.  “Don’t you think we made the right choice for the next Vice President of the United States?”   Ummm….

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Alaska Progressive Radio is Online! Breaking News.

3 09 2008

The revamping of local Anchorage progressive talk radio station KUDO 1080am came at a bad time. Little did they know Palin would be in the national and international spotlight this week.

But, they now have a live feed. The local programming is excellent and will give you a good idea of Alaska reaction.

7am-9am – Cary Carrigan Show

3pm-6pm – CC and her show Cutting Edge.

Shows are listed Alaska time, which is one hour earlier than Pacific time.

CC is on right now talking about the Republican party’s calling our legitimate questioning of the Palin choice as a “phony media scandal to destroy her.”

Also breaking news on the Monegan case. Palin has just filed an ethics complaint against…herself. This is not a joke. This is the only way she can activate the 3-person Palin-appointed board whose job is to deal with ethics complaints, thereby circumventing the Alaska State Legistlature’s investigation that she thinks may come down against her. I just heard a caller say the word “impeachment”.

Check it out – HERE





The Alaskan Independence Party. We Are Outta Here!

3 09 2008

The Alaskan Independence Party…. Everyone is wondering what it’s all about.

First, it’s important to understand that Alaskans’ party affiliation is quite different than the rest of the country. More than 50% of registered voters are registered as Independent or Non-Partisan.

Alaskans don’t like being put in a box. And although political opinion varies widely, there is a common thread that runs through most Alaskans, regardless of their party affiliation, or lack thereof – Libertarianism. You’ll find Conservative Libertarians, Liberal Libertarians, and Independent Libertarians.

Living in Alaska is very much like living in another country as it is. We are geographically, financially, and philosophically isolated and we like it that way. People don’t live here because they want to be connected, and in the middle of it all. It is not uncommon for Alaskans traveling to other states to say, “I’m going ‘to the states'”, or “I am going outside” (and they don’t mean to the backyard). This is something that doesn’t sink in with most tourists and visitors. We love tourists and visitors. But we like it when they leave, and Alaska gets back to normal.

When I first moved to Alaska, I was astounded by how often people talked about being Alaskan, doing Alaskan things, supporting Alaskan owned businesses, ….Alaska Alaska Alaska. I thought, “What’s with all this Alaska talk?” After almost two decades, I realize that being up here, thousands of miles from the nearest U.S. city, fosters a ‘band of brothers’ mentality. For those of you who have never been here, imagine boarding a plane in Seattle and flying four hours north. We may be technically part of the U.S., but we are far far away. Hawaiians may understand what I mean.

Many old time Alaskans who were here long before statehood, look back on those days fondly. They reminisce fondly about the time before the Federal Government locked up our land, told them where and when they could hunt, fish, mine, and where they could use all terrain vehicles. Things were just fine up here before the damned government stuck their noses into our business and started running our lives. Those over-educated, elitist, radical environmentalists are out to rob us of our way of life….grumble, grumble. This is how many Alaskans, especially rural residents, think. The term “radical environmentalist” is used routinely, mostly by the republican party, in stump speeches, TV interviews, and campaign materials as an example of everything that’s wrong up here.

So. That being said, I asked my spouse, who was born way up in rural Alaska, before statehood, about the AIP. “What a bunch of wackos”, was the answer. Don’t get me wrong, no one is going to lock up their children if they see the AIP coming, but they are kind of like the craziest uncle in a family of crazy uncles. You love your crazy uncle, but he’s still a crazy uncle.

The party was founded by Joe Voegler, a true Alaskan ‘character’, and captain of the crazy uncles. Voegler, an uber-Libertarian, was known by many old timers who were here before the pipeline days in the 1970s that brought in all the ‘oil people’ from Texas and points south. Real old timers don’t like THEM either, but that’s another story for another day. The 70s also saw huge areas of Alaska land locked up as Federal, and Native lands.

Alaska was given a choice in 1958 to vote on one of the following:

1) Remain a Territory.
2) Become a separate and Independent Nation.
3) Accept Commonwealth status.
4) Become a State.

The vote never happened, but we did become a state. The AIP feels gyped, and wants that vote. They have been holding this lack of closure close to their hearts for the last 50 years, and they will. not. give. it. up. Now, obviously Alaska did indeed become a state. So it’s pretty obvious that if #4 was a popular choice with the AIP, they would have no need to exist. There may be those out there that would cast their vote for #1 or #3, but I’ve never met them. I know a few people who are members of AIP, and they are all pro-secession. If they could wave a magic wand, Alaska would be its own country. Pling! (magic wand noise)

The reason they are not regarded as dangerous anarchists is because of the pervading philosophical climate of Alaska, and it’s naturally independent streak. They are just one end of the ‘normal’ political spectrum here. If you lived in Colorado, and joined a political party that was seeking to make Colorado its own country, it would fall much farther outside mainstream thinking.

From the AIP website:

The Alaskan Independence Party can be summed up in just two words:

ALASKA FIRST!

Until we as Alaskans receive our Ultimate Goal, the AIP will continue to strive to make Alaska a better place to live with less government interference in our everyday lives.

That’s the message. ALASKA FIRST, in contrast to the theme of the convention at which Palin will speak tonight, ‘Country First’. Reports are conflicting about whether Sarah Palin was a member of the AIP. The current party chair says yes, but the official records don’t jibe. But her husband Todd was a member of AIP for several years, and his membership clearly implies a preference for secession. Otherwise, why join?

The thing to remember here is that the Alaska First mentality runs deep in Sarah Palin. When she first was asked on camera about her opinions on becoming the VP candidate, and after saying she’d need to find out “what it is that the Vice President does every day”, said that she would only accept if she thought her position there would be “fruitful” for the state of Alaska. Her son Track has a tattoo of the state of Alaska (and a Jesus fish tattoo). Do people from California, or New Mexico, or Pennsylvania have tattoos of their state map? Probably not. Here? Pretty mainstream. Even her children all have “Alaskan” names. Bristol? Bristol Bay. Piper? Piper Cub airplane. Willow? The town north of Wasilla. Trig Paxson? Another town further north of Wasilla. Track? Generic outdoorsy, but we’ll take it.

When Alaskans travel outside the country, and people ask us where we’re from, we don’t say The United States. We don’t say “We’re Americans”. We say that we are Alaskans. We really think of ourselves as Alaskans first. (And people in foreign countries tend to not hate us as much).

The other important thing to note is that Sarah Palin did deliver the opening address at the 2008 Alaskan Independence Party convention saying that the Alaskan Independence Party “plays an important role in state politics” and that she “shares [the party’s] vision of upholding the Alaska constitution”, with the implication that she supports ‘the vote’, and wishes them luck on a successful convention. She was present, and encouraging and supportive.

So, should everyone down in “the states” be concerned about Todd and Sarah’s affiliation with this group? Alaskans would probably say no. ‘Outsiders’ would probably say yes. There’s no real chance that AIP candidates will take over the state, and Alaska will secede from the union. AIP candidates don’t win elections. All 50 stars will remain on the stars & stripes, so no need to race out and buy stock in flag manufacturing companies just yet. But understand that the “Alaska First” mentality is very real, and that Sarah Palin was born and raised with this mentality and has a fierce loyalty and dedication to all things Alaskan (except polar bears). For a country of people who have, until recently, barely even given Alaska a thought, understand that Alaska will be very very high on the priority list of your potential next Vice President. Alaskans know this and that is why many Alaskans are so supportive of this candidacy. Many feel sad at the prospect of losing her as governor, but this is mitigated by the fact that they know Alaska’s priorities will become top of the list. Although Alaska is geographically the largest state by far, Sarah Palin has lived in a very small world. And that world is very self-focused and for the most part looks at the rest of Americans as distant cousins.

Some here would call AIP a group of independent mavericks. Some would call them whack jobs. Some would argue there’s a fine line. Most would agree with the “Alaska First” slogan.

So, if the AIP got their way and had that vote they never got in 1958, would we vote for secession? Probably not. But, it might be closer than you think.





Destination Alaska. They’re Heee-eere.

3 09 2008

Alaska State Senate President, and Wasilla Republican Lyda Green

Our sleepy, uneventful state in the upper left corner of the continent has suddenly, strangely, become the center of the political universe. Tourist season is technically over, but media season has now begun, and has brought with it a host of outsiders.

First, is the belated McCain vetting team, that landed yesterday, presumably to fan out across the state, talking to Republican party officials, Palin insiders, and critics, to do some fact finding, damage control, and bargaining. Will Lyda Green, the State Senate President, fellow Wasilla Republican, and harsh Palin critic suddenly stop talking and become the next ambassador to Palau?

Then there’s progressive talk show icon Ed Schulz. He’s hosting a town hall meeting at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. A thousand Alaskans will cough up between $25 and $100 to stand before the microphone and tell the world exactly what they think of Sarah Palin. The show will be played back on September 15th. Should be interesting. And yes, I’ve got my tickets.

Next, are the folks from The Nation magazine. They know exactly what the McCain team is up to, and they will be doing damage control on the damage control, and reporting as much as possible on the back room dealings that are sure to be happening very soon.

And of course, the ultimate vetting team, The National Enquirer, is already here. Who knows, they may have even been here first. We don’t know. They work in mysterious ways. After the Edwards debacle, in which the Enquirer scooped the entire Main Stream Media, and gave themselves a peculiar sort of political ‘cred’, people will be listening closely to what they have to say. These are the folks who have no hesitation getting down in the dirt and asking all those questions that make the main stream media, and most bloggers cringe. It’s hard to draw the line between what’s off-limits and what can be used legitimately to illustrate judgment, and decision making ability. To the Enquirer, nothing is off-limits. They will be busy people… The newest rumors starting to get teeth involve Track Palin and 3 friends being arrested for vandalizing several school buses. Troopers showed up. And yes, this is Mike Wooten’s area. Bus-gate. And despite the admission that Bristol is pregnant, rumors that Trig is not Sarah’s baby persist.

Not used to being in the spotlight, or feeling like anyone is particularly interested in what we have to say, I’m sure there will be many Alaskans perfectly pleased to spill their guts to whoever asks a question. The media will have a field day. Whatever happens with the election, Alaskans will be talking about this for years.

Helpful hint: If any of the media wants to stay under the radar, they’d better not show up in suits, ties, or makeup. Dead giveaway.





Fellow Navy P.O.W. Speaks About McCain.

3 09 2008

Wow.

In addition to raising important issues of temperament, this also raises health issues that people may not be thinking about. My dad was a P.O.W., and I remember when he got ill during my childhood, my mother quoted his doctor as saying that after going through that experience, he “wouldn’t make old bones”. My dad passed away at 65. John McCain just turned 72.

McCain has said that sometimes he makes rash decisions, and that sometimes they come back to bite him, but he always takes responsibility and lives with the consequences. That’s nice, but what happens when it’s not just McCain, but the world that is asked to live with those consequences?

There has been lots of discussion about John McCain’s judgment in choosing Palin as a running mate. To be honest, I am still amazed that Sarah Palin actually accepted this position in the first place, and what it says about her judgment. I have mentioned before, that many Alaskans, including State Senate President Lyda Green (a long time critic of Palin) have questioned her qualifications to be governor. “She’s in over her head” was a common sentiment on the blog comments in the Anchorage Daily News well before the VP rumors began to swirl.

So, knowing that she was facing investigation, knowing that a significant chunk of Alaskans questioned if she was ‘over her head’, knowing that the media is ruthless in its ‘vetting’ process of candidates, knowing that Alaska is facing some pretty big issues of its own (new pipeline project), and knowing that every waking moment of her time will be spent trying to get up to speed while her family, her friends, and her town are put under a giant magnifying glass…she took it. Knowing that she has 3 school age children, a pregnant unwed teen and a special needs infant that will need a tremendous amount of love and care, she took it. Knowing that she’d only been out of the country once, in 2007, knowing that she held a journalism degree and has no foreign policy background or experience, and knowing that she’d have to be on national television debating Joe Biden, she took it. Knowing that historically, she has a statistical 1 in 3 chance of being the president of the United States by succession, not including the four bouts with skin cancer and the P.O.W. factor, she took it.

Would you have taken it? I’m guessing that most of us would think, “Are you kidding? No way!” And we would be right, and prudent, and we would be putting our country first.