Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So Let Me Get This Straight-

John McCain says that yesterday's "no" vote by the House which defeated the "Bailout" plan was Barack Obama's fault.

Interestingly, Alaska's Republican House member, and all the Republican House members from John McCain's state of Arizona, voted "no".

I wonder whose fault that is?

Monday, September 29, 2008


I was going to vote for Tina Fey, but now I'm torn...

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Why is it that I always mispell "eratta"?

and, uh- well, "misspell" too, while we're at it.

Tina Fey finds the question shocking.

But not quite as shocking as Sarah Palin finds it-


Ok, how weird and disgusting is this ??

Friday, September 26, 2008

Main Street

I organized one of the protests that were held nationwide yesterday afternoon against the Bush Bailout Bill. About 20 people showed up, not a bad showing for an event that had about 16 hours advance notice. We all brought signs and stood at the main intersection in Northampton from 5 till 6:30. More than half the cars going by were honking and waving and giving us the thumbs up.

Unfortunately in my rush to get out of the house I forgot my camera, which is a pity because there were several cool signs- one woman drew a nice caricature of S. Palin above the line "I can see disaster from my house!". Another guy had a half-mannequin dressed in a business suit which he held up on a pole- the figure had two heads, one Bush, one Cheney. The Cheney head had horns coming out of its forehead.


here's something I wrote on the subject a few years ago-

44th and Sixth

The old man stands like a shadow in some deep South shanty,
beer-swilling, Main-Street town,
as he covers his head for the New York cabbies and bus drivers
who pass him every day on his corner as he stands and waits.

He stands on the corner of 44th and 6th,
stands their every day,
to greet the bank manager and his help
as they rush to work.

Go away old man,
take your stubble-face,
and your hunger-stumble walk,
and your booze-sour breath,
and go away.
We don't want you here.
You're not our fault.

A man in a three-piece Italian suit hurries by
and the old man stumbles across the sidewalk,
a smile on his blank, glassy face;
Hey, old man,
don't stare at me from your corner of the street;
I am not your solution,
and you are not my problem..
I have problems of my own.
My BMW is always in the shop;
my club is admitting Jews and blacks;
my accountant is screwing my accounts,
and my wife too, every Thursday;
so get out of my way, old man,
I'm in a hurry.
I need a good stiff drink.
And don't stare at me, old man.
I am not you.

A passerby gives the old man a dollar
and the last half of an uneaten sandwich from the local deli,
and the banker glares at him through his glass wall,
as the old man stumbles away to eat the sandwich,
and to use the dollar to buy some respite
from his reality.

But he'll be back.
In a day, or a week, or a month,
as you pass there again,
scarf tight against the slicing November wind,
the old man still stands,
head bowed,
like a shadow in some deep-south,
pickup-truck, Main Street town,
lost and at large in his reality,
as the cabbies grind by,
and the buses miss him by inches,
and the banker sits behind his glass wall,
because its not his fault.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Heist- Day Two

So, Day Two of the largest robbery in human history didn't go especially well for Bouncing Ben Bernanke and Henry "The Hood" Paulson on Capitol Hill today, although it is looking more and more as if Congress may ignore the will of the American people and actually give the bastards on Wall Street their blackmail for screwing the economy. The Shrub is going to address the American people tonight and tell you all that this is an emergency- just like the invasion of Iraq was.

How do you know when GeorgeFuk is lying- ?? You all know the answer to that...

I urge everyone to write and call their congressman and tell them to "just say no".

John McCain, down nine points in the polls overnight, suddenly wants to stop Friday night's debate and have both presidential candidates suspend their campaigns. Huh? But he's not done- McCain says we need a "bi-partisan congressional committee" to negotiate a bail-out deal with the Treasury.

Well, excuse me, Senator McCain, but last time I checked we had a "bi-partisan" committee looking at the deal- it's called "Congress". What McCain really means is that it's easier to strong-arm 20 people than 435. Fuck you, Senator McCain.

Maybe what Congress needs is more bars. I know, I know, many Congressmen have a reputation for being "lit up", but apparently the English Parliament is even more dedicated in that regard. There are 17 bars in the House of Commons building, and if you want to get sense out of many parliamentarians you had better catch them before lunch. A correspondent on NPR told the following tale this week-

A well-known English politician, having had an especially "liquid" lunch, went to an official function afterwards and spotted a shapely figure in a wonderful, flowing purple gown. When he lurched over and asked for the next dance he was rebuffed-

"Firstly" said the object of his affection, "this is a diplomatic reception, not a dance party."

"Secondly, that is not a waltz, it is the Brazilian national anthem."

"And lastly," he was told coldly, "I am not some chorus girl, I am the Archbishop of San Paolo!"

Please, call your Congressperson again and tell them to "JUST SAY NO!"

UPDATE: There are nationwide protests Thursday. Please, for the sake of us all, and your children and grandchildren, we MUST say NO!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No, really-

Congress is getting thousands and thousands of outraged calls and emails AGAINST this scandalous, illegal bailout for Wall Street NeoCons. You REALLY MUST EMAIL OR CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN NOW, AND TELL THEM "JUST SAY NO!!!"

A Letter to Wall Street-

Last Thursday Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson got Congressional leaders together and gave them a message- give Wall Street $700 Billion dollars now or the entire global economy will go belly up within a week.

Today he told Congress that unless we give Wall Street $700 Billion dollars now the American economy may suffer a recession.

Hmm- that's quite a change of story. and pardon me for pointing this out but, as far as the working person goes- we're ALREADY IN A FUCKING RECESSION.

As we have always believed in equal time1 here at MBB, we're proud to present the following message to Treasury Secretary Paulson and all the Wall Streeters who are currently salivating at the thought of having $700 Billion taxpayer dollars to play around with, no strings attached-

Our Message:

Fat fucking chance. You guys have spent the last decade playing fast and loose with the rules, the economy, and even fundamental logic. You discovered that you could create new financial "instruments" faster than the government could regulate them, and then discovered that the government had no intention of even trying to. You discovered that you could make billions off the staid, boring old mortgage market by bundling mortgages, chopping and dicing them, and re-bundling them as "investment-grade" bonds, and then insinuating them into every sector of the economy so that the entire thing would be harder to unravel than the world's largest ball of rubber bands.

You let your street pushers, the mortgage brokers, know that you'd buy -anything- *wink* *wink* that they brought in. You bought those mortgages knowing that your pushers had lied to a bunch of the lendees, telling them that adjustable rate mortgages were actually fixed rate. You bought adjustable rate mortgages that you knew had been sold with the assurance (which you knew was worth nothing) that before the rate went up they could be re-financed at a lower rate, and then you bundled and sold those mortgages on the basis that they would give a rate of return based on the original, adjusted higher rates.

In other words, you and your minions, you and your street pushers, sliced and diced the mortgage market, the economy, and hundreds of thousands of home-owners, and you made billions and billions in profits for yourselves while you were doing it. And now, having brought the economy to the brink of collapse for your own selfish gain, you're threatening to push it over the edge of the cliff if we don't pay you not to.

So here's what we're going to do- first, you can have the fucking money, but there's a price to pay. To begin with, we now own you. We're not giving you money, we're buying you with it. You and your firms belong to us now.

Second- you're fired. All of you, from the top CEO to the last secretary. Ever hear of common responsibility? You have 24 hours to clean out your desks.

Third- those of you at the top, don't go too far, because you're going to be prosecuted for fraud. Your bank accounts, portfolios and property all now belong to the US taxpayer. You can't profit from a crime, remember? So everything you have belongs to us now. Don't worry, you won't need it- you're all going to spend the next 20 years in prison.

So, you think this is harsh, do you? Listen up, fuckheads- you're damned lucky that thousands of middle-class Americans are not descending on Wall Street right now with torches, burning your fancy-ass Republican banker's skyscrapers to the ground and pulling you out of the smoking debris so that we can beat you to death with manhole covers.

So show us a little fucking gratitude, fucktards!

Message over.

1 Well, I know, of course we don't.


I didn't write this -wish I had.


Dear American:

I was given your name as a trusted person I can write to and ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude and most importance for your attention.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for immediately large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, I can promise it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe and contains no risk to you.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance by our enemies. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Comments welcomed-

Do you suppose P. Diddy's kids call him Daddy Diddy?

Veronica Lake isn't sure...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's that giant sucking sound...?

Editorial note- As many of you have responded with your own memories, and most of you did not have stocks then -neither did I. My own response to this crisis, aside from the sheer drama of the event, was involved in the fact that as antiquarian booksloggers we have, as customers, many folks involved in the financial markets. They lose money, we lose sales. That was my main concern as the story went forward. Obviously we made it to today, and NOW we have canned tomatoes and firewood... I also want to thank the several new MMB Commenters who shared their thoughts with us -Many Thanks!

Suddenly the stock market seems to have everyone's attention. Yesterday's 500 point loss was certainly dramatic, but represented less than 5% of the NYSE value, and it's what comes next that has really analysts worried. Suddenly everyone knows what AIG stands for.

The current brouhaha brought back my memories of a really impressive melt-down, that of October 19, 1987. On that Monday, the NYSE plunged 22% -to equal that, todays market would have to lose 2,400 points in a single day. Ouch.

I can remember exactly where I was on Monday, October 19th, 1987- I was on a train to Chicago, where I was going to attend a big book auction on Tuesday. I've never been crazy about flying, so Sunday evening I got on an Amtrak train and headed from Boston to the Windy City, planning to arrive sometime after lunch on Monday and go over to the day-before-auction preview.

Back in Ye Olden Dayes, of course, we didn't have cellphones or WiFi or anything, so when you were on a cross-country train you were essentially cut off from all news of the outside world. When I rolled into Chicago around 1 pm I hadn't heard a word of news all day.

I grabbed a taxi for a ride to the auction house, and got a chatty driver. This was one of the big-city fancy-schmancy auction houses, so I'd put on a tie, and was carrying a briefcase which had my jammies & toothbrush in it, so I probably looked like a disheveled bond trader or something. The driver immediately started making cryptic remarks about "what a crisis, huh?" and "ever seen anything like this before?".

In situations like that I have this odd reflex reaction of trying not to look stupid and playing for time until I can figure out what the Hell is going on, so I made a few non-committal remarks, and we were suddenly at the auction gallery.

I got out of the cab with the odd sensation that the world was ending, and everyone knew it but me.

Big city fancy-schmancy auction houses are not the sorts of places you go up to someone and ask "pardon me, but have you heard a newscast lately?", so I got my catalog and started previewing. All round me the gallery front-office staff, which at places like this is mainly composed of attractive, well-bred young women trolling for well-off art-collecting husbands, had a hushed feeling of dread. They were whispering things to each other like, "my fiance sold all his positions this morning but we got wiped out anyway," and "well, my boyfriend works at the Board of Trade, and he says this could be the end of it ALL".

hehehehehe... I thought- I got to get me to a radio...

...and I eventually found one, playing softly in one corner of the gallery. The newscasters were using comforting phrases like "the worst disaster since the 'Crash of '29".

At times like that I am thankful that my business of buying and selling century-old books lends me a certain long-term perspective on such things. Well, the books and a few stiff scotch-and-waters did, anyway. And the good news was that on Tuesday everyone was completely spooked and I got some good buys at the auction.

And, of course, the markets went back up eventually. So a 500 point drop, or even a 1,000 point drop isn't something to worry about. It's that AIG thing that has me hoarding canned goods and being thankful we have 4 acres of cuttable firewood out back.

And I'm staying off trains.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin-

Not sure how long this video will be up, but while it is, it's well worth watching-

Staying fit-

Many of us sit at desks all day, and are past an age where physical fitness is an easy attainment. A friend sent me this excercise suggestion, and I thought I would pass it along. My friend suggested doing it three days a week. Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides, and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax. Each day, you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb. potato sacks. Then 15-lb. potato sacks, and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 25-lb. potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

Once you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Offering Doom-

We are all waiting to hear from our friend Thomas, at Casa Doomcake, who was right in the path of the hurricane...

He gave us updates until the power went out. The most we ever get here in New England is much less that that. We do winter storms that will make you quake, but hurricanes are another story altogether.

Carry on, Thomas, and please, let us know you are ok.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the late eva cassidy, & 9-11-

Back in high school in Concord, in the late '70s, I knew a guy named David Filipov. We weren't buddies, but we had buddies in common, so we knew each other, and he was a cool guy. The one outstanding thing about David was that he was one of a dozen kids at CCHS who took Russian, a course they discontinued when Reagan was elected and all the school budgets got cut.

David went on from there to become the Russian correspondent for the Boston Globe, and marry a Russian woman. I was used to reading his columns in the Globe, and hear him every so often on NRP's Boston affiliate radio station, reporting from Moscow. That in itself was very cool- here's a guy I knew in high school who really made something of himself.

Then we had 9-11, and within a few days I heard that one of the victims of the first plane was David Filipov's dad.

David wrote a very moving piece in today's Boston Globe that I'd like to share-

Seven years ago today, terrorists flew the plane carrying my father into the World Trade Center.

The crash of American Airlines Flight 11 was an extraordinarily public event. The death of the man who gave me my passion for sailing, baseball, playing the guitar, and telling a story is my private tragedy. I've never wanted to mix the two, the public with the private.

Everyone has seen the grainy video of the Boeing 767 slamming into the North Tower and exploding into flames. I've seen it far too many times. Every Sept. 11, countless memorial services, blood drives, and charity events commemorate the day. I've never been to any of them. Tens of thousands have paid their respects at ground zero. I had never been able to bring myself to come here.

Until now.

As a son, I decided it was time to finally visit the place where my father died, and try to move on. And what I saw is that ground zero has moved on, too.

In some ways, the locus of one of America's greatest tragedies has become just another storied block in this storied city, as normal as the passenger planes that descend over the Manhattan skyline on a clear September morning like silver dragonflies.

The place where the World Trade Center once stood is a cavernous construction project surrounded by bustling streets where vendors hawk photos of the burning towers and other Sept. 11 memorabilia to passing tourists; bankers and brokers rush to and from their offices with barely a glance toward the site where the foundations for buildings are being laid; and the roar of buses and tractors drowns out ordinary conversation.

As I watched men in orange hats navigate the warren of concrete and gravel, a spectator spoke up. "When do you think it will be finished?" he asked.

His name was Walter Saravia, a student at New York City College of Technology. When the first plane hit, Saravia was nearby. He couldn't get the smoke and the sirens out of his head for days. He had been by the memorial a number of times, but yesterday was the first time he had stopped to really look.

"It's like a bad memory you subconsciously avoid," Saravia said as he stared through a mesh wire fence at the giant ramp leading down to the floor of the site, lined by the flags of the nations whose citizens died in the Sept. 11 attacks. "When you're from the city, you start to take for granted what is here."

Today, families of the victims will be allowed to go down the ramp and lay flowers at the site. But the rest of the ceremonies will be held on a stage across the street from ground zero. They started doing that last year, instead of marking the day in the pit, according to Victor Valdez, a security guard at the site.

"It's a construction site now," Valdez said. "But it's also a meaningful place."

Valdez lost three friends here. Part of his job is to escort family of the victims to a small trailer inside the fence where, in a quiet and secluded spot, they can leave pictures and other mementos of the ones they lost. So I went in, and for a while, I searched the walls for a picture I knew I would not find.

Back outside the fence, in contrast to the solitude, ground zero seemed even more of a tourist attraction. Two young women from Kazakhstan, stopping by on their way to see the Statue of Liberty, pored through a picture book they got from a vendor depicting the explosions as the planes crashed into the towers, their collapse, and the grim aftermath in agonizingly graphic detail.

An Italian couple, Paolo and Danila Beraldi, stopped by the site to snap a picture of the construction cranes over ground zero; they had arrived in New York on Tuesday night, and "we felt we had to come here," Danila Beraldi said. The Sinclair family, of Belfast, took in the site during a layover on their way to Florida for a vacation.

"You couldn't come to New York and not see it," said Avrill Sinclair, who remembers The Troubles in Northern Ireland, which her three children are too young to have lived through. "When you look at it, it's hard to imagine such a terrible thing. It's a day we'll never forget."

John Morabito, a New York City firefighter with Ladder 10, isn't likely to forget the day, either. He was in the lobby of the North Tower when the South Tower collapsed, causing a shock wave that threw him in the air. He was amazed he walked away with no injuries. Yesterday Morabito was yucking it up with visitors, selling Ladder 10 T-shirts and posing with tourists for pictures.

So this was the place where the wars I covered for the Globe in Afghanistan and Iraq began. I watched this scene and wondered whether I should be trying to grieve in this public place. Even here, especially here, my thoughts were dominated by the grainy video of the plane. How and where did he die? On the ground? In the air? What was he thinking in those last moments? Where is he? Authorities found only a bit of bone, which they sent us in 2002 and we buried in a coffin smaller than a mailbox. What became of the rest?

Perhaps, as the parents of another victim suggested near the scene, his ashes were spread all over New York.

Across the street, I walked into a small museum dedicated to the tragedy of the towers and, again, searched through hundreds of pictures in vain.

Before I walked back out into the busy crowds and the bustling streets with the silver planes floating overhead like harmless dragonflies, before I left ground zero behind, I turned to a corner where, under the words "In Memoriam," a list of the victims was etched in stone.

That's where I found Al Filipov's name. I guess that's what they call closure.

- -

So, I dedicate this song by the late Eva Cassidy to Al Filipov, and all the others lost on 9-11...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Don't Miss These!

The television networks are rolling out their new Fall shows, and I'm sensing a trend-

Where's Sarah? - Tina Fey stars in this new ABC comedy about an Alaska housewife-turned-Governor who divides her time between defending the state against Russian invasion, gutting moose, and keeping her lovable husband (John Goodman) from starting an Alaskan war for independence.

McCain & Hussein - From Fox we have a completely fictional action series- Vietnam War veteran and ex-POW Jack McCain (Chuck Norris) spends each week chasing B. Hussein Osama (Tony Shaloub), a secret Islamic agent posing as a respectable American politician who is plotting to destroy America.

Palinpalooza - This new Bravo channel offering gives contestants a chance to win points by throwing pork at a giant map of Alaska. Michael Moore hosts.

And what would an election season be without toys & games?

Coming this Fall from Mattel, the Keating Five Action Figure Set. This set comes with realistic plastic figures of all the Keating Five senators, including a John McCain figure whose arms move up and down to accept bribes. Accessories include black bags full of play money and a Flexible Ethics Accessory PakTM for each figure.

Also from Mattel, check store shelves for TwisterTM "Election Edition". Players contort themselves into unusual and impossible shapes as they try to keep both hands and feet on colored circles marked "Experience", "Change", and "Patriotism".

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Hurricane of (18)'15-

It's hurricane season, and we apparently even have one headed this [New England] way for the weekend. It reminded me of an interesting passage in the 1859 book "Two Hundred Years Ago; or, A Brief History of Cambridgeport and East Cambridge" by Sophia Simpson. The "Great Gale" she describes so vividly was in fact the Hurricane of September 23rd, 1815, which meteorologists today estimate was a category 3 storm. Sophia starts out-

"On the 23rd of September, a violent gale of wind destroyed a large amount of property. At sunrise the clouds seemed to be gathering, and there was every indication of an approaching storm-

We've got a picture of the book here.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dear Senator McCain-

Ccongratulations on finally becoming the Republican party's official Presidential nominee! I know this has not been a great week for you, with the hurricane, and your veep imploding and all, so I wanted to write to cheer you up before tonight's big speech-

-I was happy to hear that you have had more contact with your new Veep selection than any of us had previously thought, since it turns out she made your Shameful Pork Spending List three years running when she was mayor of Wasilla. Damn, it's a small world, isn't it?

-I hear she's pretty smart too- you might have her look at a map and see if she can find that Iraq-Pakistan border you keep talking about.

-Don't worry about her First Dude and his wanting to secede Alaska from the United States. That's nothing that a few years at Gitmo won't cure.

-I was happy to hear about her national defense experience, Russia being across the Bering Strait and all, but you might want to update the Wikipedia page on Alaska history- some liberal has evidently deleted all references to her standing on Attu Island with a 30-30 and taking pot shots at Vladimir Putin when he tried to invade last summer.

-I know it's hard to figure out and remember how many houses you have. Here's a tip- if some liberal press flunkie tries to trip you up on it, make up a number between 5 and 10. If they try to call you a liar, remind them that you were a POW.

-Keep working on getting Wikipedia to change their entry on The Keating Five to be about the punk band. I'm sure they'll give in eventually.

Well, have fun Senator, and remind the floor manager not to play "Barabara Ann" at any point while you're on stage.

-your pal, CC

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

BREAKING NEWS- oooooh my...

On live mike [which he didn't think was live], John McCain's former campaign manager calls decision to choose Palin "cynical".

Well, this ain't gonna help them...


It's all Palin, all the time, on the Web.

Just hours before Gov. Sarah Palin's speech tonight in St. Paul, Minn., the latest YouTube video making the rounds captures off-the-cuff comments from prominent conservative columnist Peggy Noonan and former John McCain campaign manager Michael Murphy following a segment that aired today on NBC with Chuck Todd. Thinking that the microphone had been turned off -- or, perhaps, that the video signal had stopped transmitting -- Noonan and Murphy ripped into Palin as a political choice who would weigh down the GOP ticket.

"It [McCain's campaign] is over," said Noonan.

Asked if Palin was the most qualified woman for the Republican running mate slot, Noonan replied, "The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives and [inaudible] the picture."

Later, she continued, "Every time the Republicans do that because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at and they blow it."

Added Murphy, "You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism and this is cynical."

Book Banning?

Good morning fellow campers, just a few updates on PalinWatch this a.m.-

There's a very good article in the New York Times this morning, which delves into S. Palin's years as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. It seems that one of the talking points of S. Palin supporters was that S. Palin would be Wasilla's "first Christian mayor", which came as news to the last 7 mayors, all of whom had been Christian, but none of whom were born-again Christian. It also flabbergasted S. Palin's Lutheran opponent, whose name happened to be Stein.

Once elected, S. Palin approached the town's Library Director to discuss removing some books from the town library which S. Palin found morally objectionable. When the Library Director refused, she was fired, only to later be reinstated after a public outcry. Today Party spokesmen argue that the conversation about banning books was merely "rhetorical", but it does seem a bit unusual to bring up such a "rhetorical" discussion upon taking office, and to then fire the librarian who refused to have anything to do with your "rhetorical" suggestion.

The article then relates- "Once in office, Ms. Palin asked many of [the former mayor's] backers to resign — something virtually unheard of in Wasilla in past elections. The public works director, city planner, museum director and others were forced out. The police chief, Irl Stambaugh, was later fired outright."

"When Ms. Palin completed her second and final term, in 2002, her stepmother-in-law, Faye Palin, was running to succeed her. It seemed like a good idea, except that Faye Palin supported abortion rights and was registered as unaffiliated, not Republican, people who remember the race said. Sarah Palin sided instead with Dianne M. Keller, a religious conservative and an ally on the City Council. Ms. Keller won."

And there's a bit more on the Alaskan Independence Party- the Los Angeles Times reports this morning that although GOP officials continue to insist that S. Palin was never a member of the party (the AIP continues to disagree) S. Palin's spouse was a member for 7 years, from 1995-2002. It also reveals that S. Palin addressed the AIP Convention not only in 2008, but in 2006 as well. The article also contains what is sure to become a famous quote from the party's founder, Joe Volger- "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

This continues to be an interesting story -can you imagine the brouhaha that we would be hearing about this from the GOP if the tables were turned and we were talking about an affiliation concerning B. Obama's spouse? If B. Obama's spouse had been a member of a party like this from 1995 to 2002, and if B. Obama had addressed the party convention twice, and told party members to "keep up the good work", it would be all John McCain could talk about. I can't even imagine the vitriol, and partisan patriot-baiting that would be occurring.

Well, actually, yes, I can. remember, one GOP talking point is that B. Obama isn't a patriotic American because B. Obama doesn't like beer.

UPDATE: IRAQ WAR- A MISSION FROM GOD: Sometimes it's hard to keep up with this stuff. Huffington Post has unearthed a video of S. Palin speaking to the graduating class of commission students at her church, Wasilla Assembly of God three months ago. In it she said-

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sorting Things Out-

It's been a frenetic few days here in America, with hurricanes and conventions and a Veep candidate imploding, so let's take a moment to stand back and see where we are-

To begin, it may seem to some people, especially those reading from other countries, that bloggers and the press are piling onto S. Palin, Republican candidate for Vice President. I don't really think that's what's going on- nobody I've heard or read has anything against S. Palin personally, and I'm sure we all would wish S. Palin well in all S. Palin's future endeavors, were S. Palin not a current candidate to be the nation's Vice President.

However, S. Palin is a candidate, and so needs to be looked at critically, and we also need to look at S. Palin in the context of the fact that John McCain, who wants to be our President, chose S. Palin as a running mate. We need to know more about S. Palin so we can better understand how good John McCain's judgment is, since he wants to be in charge of the country.

S. Palin was, quite literally, completely unknown to a good 95% of Americans before being introduced last Friday. Since then we have been able to ascertain the following facts concerning S. Palin's political career, and we can use them to decide whether John McCain has shown good judgment in picking S. Palin to be Vice President of the United States-

- In 1994, before getting into politics as a candidate, S. Palin joined a fringe Alaskan political party called The Alaskan Independence Party, whose declared purpose is to hold a vote among Alaskan citizens to declare independence from the United States and to seize Federal lands in Alaska and hand them out to private citizens in Alaska. In the 1970s Joe Vogler, the party's founder, declared, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." S. Palin attended at least one party convention and remained a member for two years.

- In 1996, S. Palin left the AIP and joined the Republican party, and ran for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population about 7,000.

- Upon being elected mayor, S. Palin fired the Chief of Police and Library Director over personal disputes. The firing sparked a citizen's recall petition, and the library Director was re-instated.

- Although S. Palin has a self-styled reputation for being a fiscal conservative, and a champion of small government, during S. Palin's 6-year term as mayor, S. Palin hired a lobbying firm which brought $27 million dollars in Federal "earmark" funds to Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of about 7,000 people.

- Despite having brought in $27 Million in Federal earmark funds, S. Palin, who had inherited a balanced budget from the previous mayor, left the town with a $12 Million dollar deficit at the end of S. Palin's term.

- When S. Palin ran for Governor of Alaska, and when S. Palin was Governor of Alaska, S. Palin supported the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere". S. Palin congratulated the state's Congressional delegation for getting the money earmarked by the Federal government for the project. When Congress voted to kill the project, a deal was worked out to let the Alaskan government keep the money that had already been paid out, which was about half the total amount.

- Despite the record being quite to the contrary, last Friday S. Palin declared, regarding the bridge, "I told Congress, thanks but no thanks! If we want a bridge we'll build it ourselves!"

I in 2000, S. Palin was an ardent supporter, and fundraiser, for Pat Buchanan, an ex-Republican, Hitler-admiring Holocaust-denier seeking the American Presidency.

- As a mayor and Governor, S. Palin has compiled a fairly lengthy record of firing government employees for personal reasons, including the already-mentioned Library Director and Chief of Police, her liaison with the Alaska Legislature who had started to date her husband's best friend's ex-wife, and the Alaska State Public Safety Commissioner for not firing a state trooper who was in the middle of a child-custody battle with S. Palin's sister.

- In 2007 S. Palin fired the entire Alaska Board of Agriculture after it had voted to close a state-run dairy. S. Palin then appointed a new Board of Agriculture which included many well-connected Alaskans who all had strong financial ties to the dairy or its suppliers and had a vested financial interest in keeping it operating. Unsurprisingly, they voted to keep the dairy open.

In 2008 S. Palin once again became involved with the the Alaskan Independence Party, addressing them at their annual convention via video, and telling them to "keep up the good work".

And so it goes.

Gotta Share-


Please see the following points on Gov. Palin's family.

* Governor Palin and her husband Todd have a loving family and their children mean everything to them. When their oldest daughter Bristol came to them with news that she was expecting a child they embraced her and gave her unconditional love and support.

* This is a very personal matter for the family. We should all respect the love they have for the child and the desire all parents would have for their children's privacy.

* The media should respect Bristol's privacy. That's always been the tradition and practice when it comes to the children of candidates.

* (If pressed) The children of candidates do not choose to run for office and be thrust into the spotlight.


Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno.

-John McCain, 1998

[Chelsea Clinton was a minor, age 17, the same age as Bristol Palin, at the time]

And There's More...

And they just keep coming...

Last week S. Palin stood up with John McCain and decried Congressional earmarks, which are a long bugaboo of his. She even took credit for saying "thanks but no thanks" for Federal funding for the Bridge to Nowhere. Now, of course, as has been well documented, that particular claim was a lie, since she supprted the bridge funding as Governor, and the state actually kept the money, but never mind. It now seems that Alaska's Governor has a bit more experience with earmarks that any of us could have suspected-

The Washington Post reports this morning that during her tenure as mayor of the tiny hamlet of Wasilla, Alaska (population under 7,000) S. Palin employed an Alaskan lobbying form with close ties to indicted Congressmen Ted Stevens, and that as a result she brought in more than $27 MILLION in earmarks for the tiny town. In 2002 alone, Wasilla took in $6.1 million in earmarks -for some perspective, this year Boise, Idaho, with more than 190,000 residents, got $6.9 million in earmarks.

My my my... can we all say Pork Barrel Queen?

(well, of course there's an update). S. Palin's new [about-to-be] son-in-law has been identified by the New York Daily News as Levi Johnson, a resident of Wasilla whose now-removed MySpace page proudly declared "I'm a f---in' redneck. I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing. [If anyone messes with me] I'll kick ass."

Sounds like a great addition to the White House Christmas Card photo. Johnson, in adition to plying hockey, is also an aspiring juvenile delinquent, and was arrested last year for poaching king salmon.

A Mole???

Good morning happy campers, welcome back from Labor Day! We're going to ignore the entire BabyGate issue this morning, although I have my own opinions on the matter, and they're quite cynical. Of perhaps more importance is a new question regarding the loyalty of John McCain's new Veep, who it appears was not vetted at all (the FBI has now stated they never did a background check on her, even though such a check is always pro-forma for any potential Veep, and the McCain campaign angrily asserted yesterday that the FBI had vetted her. It turns out that was a lie, but we're quickly getting used to those coming from the McCain campaign).

News has broken that S. Palin has decade-long ties to the Alaska Independence Party, whose platform is to seize Federal lands in Alaska and secede the state from the United States. It would be easy to get over-hyped and paranoid about this weird story, so we're just going to do a brief recitation of the facts, as they have so far come to light. Let's role the videotape-

-The Alaskan Independence Party was formed in the 1970s. It's motto is "Alaska First - Alaska Always". They claim that the 1958 vote admitting Alaska as a state was illegal, because it did not give Alaska residents the choice of becoming independent. Their goal is to force a new vote on statehood, with the option of becoming an independent nation. They also seek "the complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska".

-S. Palin and her husband joined the AIP 1994, and were active in the party, attending at least one convention, until she left it to become a Republican and run for mayor of Wasila in 1996.

-S. Palin remains close to the party. This summer she addressed the party's annual convention via video, telling them- "I share your party's vision of upholding the constitution of our great state" and told members to "keep up the good work".

-In a video shown at the same convention this summer, Dexter Clark, the party's vice chairman, told the party members "The situation is completely out of hand, the decay of the federal government is totally complete" and urges members to "infiltrate" the mainstream parties. "Whichever party in that area [in which you are] you can get something done, get into that political party," he says.

So there we are- S. Palin maintains close ties to a party seeking the independence of Alaska and seizure of Federal lands there, whose Vice Chairman has stated the goal of infiltrating members into mainstream political parties. So, I just gotta ask- Has John McCain unwittingly selected a mole to be Vice President?