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October 11, 2008

Sarah Palin's radical rightwing buddies

My colleagues Max Blumenthal and Dave Niewert investigate Sarah Palin's ties to Alaska's far-right separatist movement with support from the Nation Investigative Fund.

So long as Alaska remained under the boot of the federal government, said Chryson, the AIP had to stand on guard to stymie a New World Order. He invited a Salon reporter to see a few items inside his pickup truck that were intended for his personal protection. “This here is my attack dog,” he said with a chuckle, handing the reporter an exuberant 8-pound papillon from his passenger seat. “Her name is Suzy.” Then he pulled a 9-millimeter Makarov PM pistol — once the standard-issue sidearm for Soviet cops — out of his glove compartment. “I’ve got enough weaponry to raise a small army in my basement,” he said, clutching the gun in his palm. “Then again, so do most Alaskans.” But Chryson added a message of reassurance to residents of that faraway place some Alaskans call “the 48.” “We want to go our separate ways,” he said, “but we are not going to kill you.”  [Salon, watch the video.]

So, there you have it, the Alaska Indpendence Party is not going to kill me. Sweet! Thanks, armed separtists.

Why hasn't anyone asked Sarah Palin what she'd have to say about Alaskan independence if she were elected. One of the main planks of the Alaskan independence movement is that Alaska should retain control of its natural resources. How does Palin's longtime sympathy for the AIP mesh with her energy "expertise"--what kind of deals would she cut for Alaskan oil?

This is not an idle question. The last two vice presidents, Al Gore and Dick Cheney, have both put major stamps on American energy and environmental policy through their influence on the Department of the Interior, which oversees trillions of dollars of public assets from oil and gas on public land. Bill Clinton signed executive orders strengthening Gore's authority over the DOI and Cheney continues to draw on those powers.

As you may have read, the official troopergate report concludes that Sarah Palin abused her power as governor to undermine her former brother-in-law, a state trooper embroiled in a custody battle with Palin's sister.

Palin has misused her authority and she doesn't deserve a promotion.

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Good post, but having spent some time in Alaska the fellow on the salon video seems typical of lots of Alaskans. Armed separatists? Well they are separatist and they are armed but so is almost everyone in Alaska. I'm a liberal and I own a shotgun, a rifle and a pistol. I guess that makes me an armed liberal.

I've got nothing against guns. I technically own one myself, though I've yet to actually see it. It's a handgun that I inherited from my dad, who inherited it from his dad, who kept it as a reminder of his stint as a bank manager during the Great Depression.

The bank started passing out weapons to managers on the Canadian prairies because of credible fears that local farmers would storm banks--which were repossessing people's land right and left.

My grandfather was so disgusted at the prospect of being asked to shoot other working people in defense of a bank that he quit. He kept the gun and went on to become a radical (technically armed) right wing populist in Social Credit movement, which was dedicated to the abolition of banks...and which also flirted with notions of Western successionism.

It's not just that Chryson, quoted above, owns guns, nor even that he claims to have enough weapons at home to raise a "small army. Chryson has a fundamentally adversarial relationship with the US government and he sees his weapons as near-term political tools to assert his independence against the state. His arsenal and his politics are explicitly intertwined. So, I think it's fair to call him an armed successionist.

Here's more on AIP and old Joe, including details of his dignified, all-American, and not-at-all-sordid end.

"AIP's creation was inspired by the rabidly violent anti-Americanism of its founding father Joe Vogler, 'I'm an Alaskan, not an American,' reads a favorite Vogler quote on AIP's current website, 'I've got no use for America or her damned institutions.' According to Vogler AIP's central purpose was to drive Alaska's secession from the United States. Alaska, says current Chairwoman Lynette Clark, 'should be an independent nation.'

"Vogler was murdered in 1993 during an illegal sale of plastic explosives that went bad. The prior year, he had renounced his allegiance to the United States explaining that, 'The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.' He cursed the stars and stripes, promising, 'I won't be buried under their damned flag...when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.' Palin has never denounced Vogler or his detestable anti-Americanism.

"Palin's husband Todd remained an AIP party member from 1995 to 2002. Sarah can be described in McCarthy-era palaver as a 'fellow traveler.' While retaining her Republican registration, she attended the AIP's 1994 convention where the party called for a draft constitution to secede from the United States and create an independent nation of Alaska. The McCain Campaign has reluctantly acknowledged that she also attended AIP's 2000 Convention. She apparently found the experience so inspiring that she agreed to give a keynote address at the AIP's 2006 convention and she recorded a video greeting for this year's 2008 convention."

(www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/alaskan-independence-part_b_133261.html)

See? Its just like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.


So when Alaska secedes someone, presumably the oil companies, will have to take up the slack when the federal U.S. largesse is cut off. The oil corporations won't be happy about that. Will the AIP nationalize Alaska's oil assets? That would be kinda, you know, socialist. They'll still have to sell their oil to someone who can refine it, or will Alaska build its own refineries? Will the citizens of the new Alaskan nation be willing to give up their yearly oil revenue checks to do so? What if Russia or someone else (Canada, Japan, Korea, U.S.A.) starts poaching fish in Alaska's portion of the Bering Sea and North Pacific? Is the Alaska Department of Fish and Game ready to take over patrol and enforcement duties from the Coast Guard? Or, speaking of the Coast Guard, how will the new Republic of Alaska handle another Valdez oil spill?

I'm sure the AIP's august brain trust has it all figured out, otherwise super smart people like Sarah Barracuda and "First Dude" Todd Palin wouldn't be supporting them.

I'm a leftist progressive in California who think it'd be a very good idea for California to secede, or better yet, just dissolve this archaic broken-down union completely. There are active independence movements in most of the western states. They include all kinds of people, those on the left, on the right, in the center, all walks of life. We're kinda tired of working hard and sending our money back east. And if you think there is something illegal or immoral about self-determination, freedom and independence I suggest reading the Declaration of Independence.

The ol' USA had a good run. But it's over. Let's move on.

I guess the Colorado basin should prepare for a resource war to make the Mideast look positively dull. As a distant bystander, I just hope someone bombs Glen Canyon Dam along the way.

Lindsay Beyerstein

Yes, I agree, the AIP seems harmless but armed successionist is correct. As to the guns, truth be told, except for the pistol, which I sold, I got mine from my father as well and never use them. I do think the McCains relationship with Gordon Liddy deserves more scrutiny.

California has a large enough population and economy that we would be a respectably sized country on our own, yes. On the other hand, we have some seriously broken politics. (Largely due to having a poorly designed Constitution, as far as I can tell.) Maybe independence would force us to get more serious, but if not, it would be a disaster.

Boy, we better fear the "armed secessionists" that number probably 15-25 who are going to war against the US gov't from Alaska! I know I am scared! Their being so close the lower 48 and all. Oh the horror!

"Boy, we better fear the 'armed secessionists' that number probably 15-25 who are going to war against the US gov't from Alaska!"

Yes, we all know how silly these groups can appear (I saw an official Republic of Texas vehicle in the Hill Country last spring- possible late 70's Impala to my untrained eye), and we're all aware, as well, of the legitimate role of plastic explosives in hunting caribou. The point of Lindsay's post was clearly not the AIP itself, but the possibility that someone equally batshit has a real shot at the office of Vice President. And that's not so funny.

Cass is right. I not fearful of Sarah Palin and her pals, I would be worried about the country if she was president.

Oh, I see. So we should fear the fact that she may associate with terrorist like people or groups who are capable of committing acts of terror within the US. I see. But that doesn't work both ways I take. American voters should have no qualms with Obama's association with Bill Ayers, right? I mean, if Obama wins, who's to say Ayers would not get a cushy cabinet post or ambassodor-ship. Is this a man we want representing our country in either capacity?

As an aside, I am no fan of Sarah Palin, so I am not trying to defend her, merely pointing out how ridiculous the inferences of this post are. Also, isn't she running for VP? The left is making it out to be that she is actually running for President.

Yes, these militia types are more than little worrying, given their track record with people like Rudolph and McVie.

It doesn't take much to put people like that, who are armed to the teeth and couple it with the growing narrative on the right that "The blacks caused our economic crisis (low income housing loans) and they're stealing our election (voter "fraud" via ACORN) and they're putting a Muslim terrorist in office who can't possibly be winning fairly," and see that the more whacked out members will become even more unhinged and violent.

You also see very little made of Palin's Dominionist leanings as well, which are also a direct threat to democracy.

"So we should fear the fact that she may associate with terrorist like people or groups who are capable of committing acts of terror within the US. I see."

No, no, no. The word I used was "batshit"... batshit in enjoying the company of separatist wierdos, batshit in believing humans walked next to dinosaurs, batshit in trying to put obstacles in the way of rape victims seeking justice. Most of all, batshit in believing you're qualified to be President and affect the fates of billions of human beings solely because you have the one true God as your best friend.

"I mean, if Obama wins, who's to say Ayers would not get a cushy cabinet post or ambassodor-ship."

Indeed. And really, who's to say he doesn't appoint Don King? And who's to say aliens from Alpha Centauri don't get pissed with our choice and decide to invade?

"Also, isn't she running for VP? The left is making it out to be that she is actually running for President."

First of all, it shouldn't be necessary to spell out that VPs by definition need to be qualified to be President within the hour, if necessary. Second, she's running on a ticket with an elderly man with a history of very serious skin cancer (who refuses to release his medical records), and whose father and grandfather were already dead by his age. (And no, I don't damn well don't want her to be in a position to break any ties in the Senate, either.)

Cass, pay no attention to the troll ... he's either joking (poorly) or if he's serious, then he's too ignorant to be worried about (unless armed and constituting a danger to himself or others).

This right wing obsession with Ayers is rather comical.

Perhaps a man who killed children by bombing civilian villages in the Vietnam War ought not call others "terrorists."

It's hypocritical for Sarah Palin to assail Obama for his tenuous ties to William Ayres when she has her own questionable associations. Her associations to a separatist movement are far more relevant to her qualifications to be vice president. VPs don't have a lot of official power, but Bill Clinton signed a bunch of executive orders giving Al Gore significant power over the environmental and energy policy. Those orders are still in effect and Dick Cheney has taken full advantage to influence energy policy through the Department of the Interior. We saw how Cheney paid off his buddies in the West by diverting water from the Klamanth salmon run against the advice of scientific experts. McCain has pledged to give Sarah Palin the energy portfolio if she's elected VP.

Sarah Palin has ongoing, substantive ties to a group that is organized around maximizing Alaskan petro-wealth for Alaskans. (She even tried to appoint some of these guys to posts in her administration as mayor of Wasilla. She would have put a guy known as black helicopter Steve on the planning commission, if the city council hadn't blocked her.)

That's be a blatant conflict of interest.

"It's hypocritical for Sarah Palin to assail ... "

Of course it is Lindsay, but that's not saying much, or at least pointing out the obvious to people like you and me and anyone who's been paying attention to the way a vast swath of America acts.

To me, a lot of this is tied up in the concept of American exceptionalism, both externally, and internally.

For decades, this country has acted like the rules don't apply to us because we're somehow different or have a perceived blessing that other countries do not enjoy. We feel it is our Right, if not our outright Duty, to send our brave, brave warriors to go fuck their shit up if another country so much as looks at us sideways .. and hey, don't you even THINK about saying we shouldn't, cause we're AMERICA!!

That exceptionalism is also turned inward.

Look at the exceptionalism with which we have been governed in the past; Nixon said, "If the president does it, then it is not against the law" and now Cheney has helped to codify that notion INTO law.

Palin (and a large majority of the right wing of America) is just a systemic manifestation of that inward exceptionalism.

"The Law shall be applied to all transgressors without Mercy ... except for me, or my friends, or anyone that I say it shouldn't be applied to if it becomes inconvenient."

Hunter Thompson said that this nation isn't going to be the country it promises to be until we start applying the laws of the land to those who are in power FIRST and we, The People, second.

And damn if he's not right (again).

So TB, raising legitimate points is now trolling? Hmmm. Glad to see you liberals are encouraging open conversation and idea sharing! I have said nothing that would amount to trolling. Just questioning, that's all.

"I mean, if Obama wins, who's to say Ayers would not get a cushy cabinet post or ambassodor-ship."

"I have said nothing that would amount to trolling. Just questioning, that's all."

Yeah.

Right.

It's hypocritical for Sarah Palin to assail Obama for his tenuous ties to William Ayres when she has her own questionable associations.

Running mates exist to attack the other side's candidate, no matter what their own record is. In the VP debate Biden attacked McCain for his position on issues on which they voted or argued the same way - e.g. the bankruptcy bill, and clean coal.

"I mean, if Obama wins, who's to say Ayers would not get a cushy cabinet post or ambassodor-ship."

"I have said nothing that would amount to trolling. Just questioning, that's all."

Yeah.

Right.

That's intended mostly to show how tenuous the Palin-AIP connection stories are. And suppose they're not tenuous - the top of the ticket is still the most important part. Who cares about the VP? Biden sold American debtors off to his creditor cronies in Wilmington. I still think he should be VP, because the amount of damage he can do to borrowers there is limited.

To hear a liberal descend on any Republican whose standards of ethics fall short of LaGuardia's is like to hear a conservative claw at any reporter who says something negative about Republicans.

"That's intended mostly to show how tenuous the Palin-AIP connection stories are. "

Except of course, the Palin/AIP connection is anything but tenuous.

If Michelle Obama was a paid member of a Louis Farrakhan backed separatist party, that was also well armed, do you think Barak would have made it out of the primaries? Do you think he would have been considered as an "acceptable choice" by anyone in the national media or any of the two parties?

"And suppose they're not tenuous - the top of the ticket is still the most important part. Who cares about the VP?"

I dunno, I bet anybody with a functioning cerebral cortex would start to care pretty quick if President Maverick McTumor, oh, I dunno, died of cancer midway through his first year. Not to mention that you care about the VP when it's really a candidates first presidential decision, and McCain fucked it up as bad as choosing an idiot like Palin. Good choice there, that shows a real careful thought process. Shows lots of logic and rationality.


" Biden sold American debtors off to his creditor cronies in Wilmington."

No fucking shit Biden sold credit card holders down the river. He's a thieving pigfucker for doing it. But, at least he is demonstrably less corrupt, less volatile, less likely to, oh, nuke Tehran for "justifiable" reasons than either of the republican idiots.

At this point in time, if you're seriously considering McCain & Palin as a good choice, you shold be scooped with a net and studied by Philip Zimbardo.

Wow TB, that's what your going with. OK. You're an idiot, officially. That is not trolling. That is posing a legit outcome if Obama wins. I see to disagree with you or to pose a viewpoint that differs with your own results in you flaming on people and calling them trolls. Real nice way to converse with people.

Good choice there, that shows a real careful thought process. Shows lots of logic and rationality.

Yeah, so McCain's first decision that has real potential consequences if he wins is to select a superstitious high school prom queen as a running mate. On its face that choice is so radically bizarre that serious doubts about his mental health cannot be avoided. We've already had one superannuated fossil with a moth-eaten brain in the White House, do we really need another?

But of course McCain-Palin is still the better ticket, because, gosh darn it my friends, they're mavericks, and, as the ever erudite Rush Limbaugh pointed out the other day, Obama was "mentored" by Bill Ayers. You know, when he was in junior high school (The Holy Islamic Martyr Memorial Terrorist Vocational Madrassa for Boys in Indonesia or Hawaii or some place not American), right about the time Sarah Palin was first developing her passion for history and foreign policy.

Re: McCain's promise to give Palin the energy portfolio. - No need to worry, she's an energy expert, remember? Didn't she do a post-doc at the Colorado School of Mines? No? Maybe I've been misinformed. Whatever, she's an expert and a maverick! You betcha!

Thing thing is Frosty, from what I was hearing at the time, Palin wasn't McCain's choice, but was foisted on him by Schmidt at the urging of Kristol (who's a big fan of Palin) and Rove.

McCain originally wanted either Lieberman or Tom Ridge, but Schmidt & Kristol talked him into Palin, and he said yes, literally after meeting her for 15 minutes.

It was a flyer of a choice, it galvanized the base, but drove 80% of the independents towards Obama.

It ewas a stupid move in a campaign filled with them.

If Michelle Obama was a paid member of a Louis Farrakhan backed separatist party, that was also well armed, do you think Barak would have made it out of the primaries? Do you think he would have been considered as an "acceptable choice" by anyone in the national media or any of the two parties?

Probably. Clinton would've hit Obama on that, and Obama would note that it was in the distant past, that they both rejected and denounced Farrakhan now, and that unlike with the Clintons, he wasn't intending on making his wife his co-President.

Yeah, so McCain's first decision that has real potential consequences if he wins is to select a superstitious high school prom queen as a running mate.

First, who cares what Palin was in high school? That's way more tenuous than saying that I'm unqualified to have any position that requires responsibility because my first year of grad school I blogged too much.

Second, the part about her not believing in evolution is embarrassing, but let's stop pretending everyone in the world gives this issue the same priority as Richard Dawkins.

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