Sunday, September 28, 2008

Support the Windsor University Faculty Association

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Support the Windsor University Faculty Association

We support the Windsor University Faculty Association in their quest for justice and human dignity as they struggle, not only to defend the own rights and livelihood, but workers everywhere who struggle for justice and dignity.

Just across the border in Michigan, adjuncts employed by Northern Michigan University have no rights, are paid sub-poverty salaries, have no health care, no child care and have not had a raise in years in spite of escalating food and gas prices and huge debts incurred in obtaining their own educations with pitifully little in the way of receiving upgrading in their teaching skills. The WUFA, in struggling for their own rights against a very anti-labour Administration/Management sets an example for those employed in universities like Northern Michigan University and universities everywhere.

As workers employed in the Indian Gaming Industry who are forced to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without ANY rights under state or federal labor laws--- where these corrupt managements completely ignore even the most basic international labor laws--- we are especially appreciative of the WUFA setting a stellar and exemplary example of how to struggle for the rights of labour.

We support a quick negotiated settlement with the Windsor University Faculty Association [WUFA] and we urge you to get back to the negotiation table. The University of Windsor works because WUFA does; we teach, research and counsel. Faculty, sessionals, and librarians are the hearts and minds of the University of Windsor.

We urge you to drop your demands for concessions on wages, benefits, working conditions, and promotion, tenure, and renewal, and offer WUFA members a fair and equitable contract that embodies the principal of sector parity, that embraces employment equity, and that preserves the quality of education at the university. we urge you to end this strike, which hurts your students, your members, and the reputation of the University of Windsor.

We urge working people everywhere to support the struggle for justice and dignity being waged by the Windsor University Faculty Association by clicking onto the CUPE web site and signing on to a statement of solidarity condemning the shameful actions of the Administration of the University of Windsor in trying to weaken the Windsor University Faculty Association.

Click on to the CUPE web site to show your support for the Windsor University Faculty Association in their struggle for justice:

http://cupe.ca/action/cupe-supports-wufa

In addition to the struggle of the WUFA, we appreciate the Canadian Union of Public Employees bringing this struggle to our attention with a request for solidarity,

Yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

58891 CR 13
Warroad, Minnesota USA 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell Phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

CUPE supports Windsor faculty

The Faculty at the University of Windsor is now entering its second week of strike.

In the hope of helping WUFA get a fair deal, Paul Moist offered CUPE’s support to WUFA’s bargaining team. “We offered them our support dealing with their strike campaign and we had a very positive relation with the committee, said Moist. I hope they can benefit from CUPE’s vast experience in the post-secondary sector. This is a perfect example of public sector workers who need our support in these crucial times.”

On campus, CUPE locals 1001, 1393, 4580 and 1281 are coalition partners, working closely with WUFA.

WUFA president, Professor Brian E. Brown said “Too much misinformation has been released by the university giving an entirely unjust view of the situation. The truth is that 47% of our Faculty are part time staff. They are underpaid, overworked and increasingly treated as casual labour. We can’t attract and keep the best new faculty with uncompetitive salaries and poor working conditions. Pay equity and employment equity imbalances are important issues that have to be addressed.”

Brown also noted both the Graduate Student Society and the University of Windsor Students' Alliance have voted to support WUFA. "Too much is at risk at this institution. Students and faculty have united to preserve quality education at the University of Windsor."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cliff Kincaid's friend offers voters advice on Palin: Don't vote for this drug abuser

The right-wing "journalist" and blogger, Cliff Kincaid, employed by the Nazi-lover Melon-Scaife, whose friend, Joyce Nalepka, president of Drug-Free Kids: America’s Challenge, offered voters some good advice... Kincaid often quotes Nalepka who, asked about Palin's admitted use of marijuana and other mind-altering drugs, has stated:

Even if Palin took and passed a drug test, Nalepka says she would never vote for her, explaining, “It appalls me at the thought that people would be na├»ve enough to vote for someone who admits drug use.” She says this view stems from 30 years of “watching parents wail and cry and talk about the hell their families went through” because of marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.

But the views of Nalepka and others in the campaign against illegal drugs have been ignored by media anxious to accept Palin's word that she has quit dangerous mind-altering drugs.

“We worked long and hard to close those drug paraphernalia shops in the 1980s and long and hard again to get student drug testing in the schools so we could get drugs out of the schools,” she said. “And we’re going to allow someone to come in to the White House of the United States of America who was a drug user?


Ok, there you have it.

Rita

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I woke up this morning and turned on my computer.

I read a commentary like I have never read before.

Alan Maki has spoken out as forcefully and clearly as anyone can on an very sad problem in China.

I would encourage everyone to read this. This should be disseminated and distributed as far and wide as possible.

I don't know what else to say. Read this for yourself.

Rita


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chinese dairy knew milk fault weeks before recall

Does anyone really believe, that the "market economy" and capitalist thinking introduced and pushed by deviant and corrupt Chinese leaders whose perverted world outlook has been shaped by backroom payoffs in the same manner as received by any American politicians from the Wall Street coupon clippers working in league with the likes of capitalist sooth-sayers such as Alan Greenspan in the name of the wonderfully sounding "harmonious development," which is said to be part of "Chinese culture," as the right-wing, reactionary Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation "educate" a "new generation" of Chinese youth in "business administration," rather than, the Communist Party of China doing its job in educating the working people and peasants in Marxism where socialist humanism is elevated to the highest level, can escape these kinds of atrocious, uncaring and anti-human aspects of a "free market economy" as working people are told, for some unstated reason--- and without any basis or substance to back it up--- that working people will have to wait for twenty to one-hundred years to attain their very basic and fundamental human rights?

It is because the "leaders" of China have pushed down, rather than raised up, the working class and peasantry to suit the interests of the profit gouging capitalist corporations of the West, that China now finds itself entangled in the same web of corruption and working class repression as any capitalist country... including the most corrupt and repressive of them all--- the United States of America.

This problem of contaminated milk powder went on for weeks making hundreds of babies sick simply because working people and peasants in China have been removed from the decision making process and no longer feel free to bring forward and report this kind of wrong-doing... no different than the more than two-million casino workers employed here in the United States in the Indian Gaming Industry who--- working without ANY rights--- have even less rights than Chinese workers and peasants; who, too, like Chinese workers, are now too intimidated and bullied to tell law enforcement agencies about prostitution, drug dealing, loan-sharking, and the illegal gambling operations that are now bringing corruption even to the youth in American high schools as these illegal betting rings operating out of the casinos make pay-offs to high school quarterbacks and pitchers to throw the games and manipulate point spreads for these bookies to make profits.

As both socialist Minnesota Governors, Floyd B. Olson and Elmer A. Benson, repeatedly pointed out, it is the epitome of naivete, to think or suggest, that the corruption which permeates every facet of our lives--- from the church to the schoolroom to the corporate boardrooms to the offices of mayors and the Sate Houses and Halls of Congress--- can be eliminated as long as capitalist greed is the dominant force and motivator of any society.

Both Floyd B. Olson and Elmer A. Benson were very clear on this point: For humanity to rise above the corruption and decadence of capitalist society, a new system of cooperative socialism would have to be brought into existence by working people and farmers, united, who were sincere in desiring real change... the Minnesota Farmer Labor Party, like the Chinese Communist Party tried to make the needed change--- both met stiff opposition from the same very powerful capitalist class of Wall Street coupon clippers.

One would think that working class Communists and peasants in China would have come forward already and said the same thing Barack Obama is saying about the situation here regarding eight long years of the Bush-Cheney Administration--- the most corrupt in American history: ENOUGH.

Simply taking these crooked and corrupt culprits in the management of this Chinese dairy enterprise out in a cow pasture and putting a bullet in their heads is not enough... because those who do the bribing and foster the corruption are being placed on a pedestal and elevated to positions of high power and influence.

Chinese workers--- like workers, peasants and farmers everywhere--- need to get rid of capitalism rather than give in to the perversions of "market socialism" and "new thinking," which are nothing more than code-words for allowing capitalism and all forms of exploitation and corruption to thrive.

Again, as Barack Obama has pointed out, "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough."

The same thing can be said of "harmonious development" and "market socialism" which is nothing more than putting lipstick on someone like Sarah Palin... call it what you will, capitalism is still capitalism... capitalism is the same corrupt, rotten system no matter what pretty words are used to try to disguise it... no different than a pretty face with lipstick intended to hide what comes out of the mouth as the most backward and reactionary ideas of warmongers and the Wall Street coupon clippers of the military-financial-industrial complex who have built state-monopoly capitalism into a vast web of imperialism now infecting even socialist China with its poisonous corruption.

Certainly, if the American people "have had enough," the Chinese people don't want more of what we want to get rid of.

Alan L. Maki


Chinese dairy knew milk fault weeks before recall


Sep 13, 7:22 AM (ET)

By JOE McDONALD


BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese dairy that sold milk powder linked to kidney stones in infants and one death knew weeks before it ordered a recall that the product contained a banned chemical, the Health Ministry said Saturday.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday that the dairy, Sanlu Group Col, was ordered to stop production as the number of sick babies rose to 432.

A Health Ministry statement gave no indication why Sanlu Group Co., China's biggest milk powder producer, failed to warn consumers immediately. Employees who answered the phone Saturday at the ministry's news office and at China's product safety agency said they had no more information.

In August, Sanlu's testing revealed melamine in the milk powder, a ministry statement said. Melamine is a toxic chemical used in plastics that contaminated pet food last year.

The ministry did not say when Sanlu alerted authorities about its findings but the dairy ordered a recall Thursday of 700 tons of formula made before Aug. 6.

A New Zealand dairy cooperative that owns part of Sanlu said Friday it believed none of the tainted powder was exported.

Kidney problems in infants were reported as early as mid-July but authorities failed to launch a food safety investigation, Xinhua said in a separate report. Another news report said the dairy received complaints as early as March.

Investigators are questioning 78 people about the contamination, which occurred when dairy farmers added melamine to the milk, possibly to make its protein content appear higher, Xinhua said. Melamine is rich in nitrogen and standard tests for protein in bulk food ingredients measure nitrogen levels.

The incident reflects China's enduring problems with product safety despite a shake up of its regulatory system following a spate of warnings and recalls about tainted toothpaste, faulty tires and other goods.

The biggest group of victims is in China itself, where shoddy or counterfeit products are common. Infants, hospital patients and others have been killed or injured by tainted or fake milk, medicines, liquor and other products.

The number of infants suffering kidney stones after being fed Sanlu formula has risen to 432, Xinhua said. It did not give a breakdown of where in China the cases were.

Xinhua cited a Gansu provincial health department spokesman as saying he received reports on July 16 that 16 infants under a year old, all of whom drank Sanlu milk, were suffering a rare kidney ailment. He said the Health Ministry launched an epidemic survey.

"However, there seemed no food and safety survey had been done. Otherwise, the health, and even lives, of many infants could have been saved," Xinhua said.

A Sanlu manager quoted by the newspaper Beijing News said the dairy received complaints in March and June but could not track down the problem.

Another Sanlu manager quoted Friday on the Web site of a leading Chinese business magazine, Caijing, said it refrained from making an announcement because some grocers refused to return tainted powder. The report did not say why that prevented a warning.

Sanlu buys milk from a nationwide network of suppliers that includes 60,000 family farms, according to the company's Web site.

In Taiwan, officials said they had seized thousands of pounds of milk powder produced by Sanlu after Beijing authorities notified them the product was tainted.

Liu Fang-ming of the Taoyuan county government said the shipment, which arrived in June, contained 55,115 pounds of milk powder, but only 21,660 pounds have been recovered so far.

Officials did not say whether any of the milk powder, which is used in baby milk formula and baked goods, had been consumed in Taiwan.

Taiwan has not reported any illnesses from the powder.

It was China's second high-profile case in four years involving harmful baby formula.

In 2004, more than 200 infants suffered malnutrition and at least 12 died after being fed phony formula that contained no nutrients. Some 40 companies were found to be making phony formula and 47 people were arrested.

---

Associated Press researcher Bonnie Cao in Beijing contributed to this report.
Posted by The creators of China and Socialism Blog... at 7:12 AM

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Palin team stocked with Bush veterans

Now every attack on Sarah Palin is going to be called a
"viral Internet attacks from the left"
by the main stream media.

For eight long, long years the working class has had to endure an attack by corporate America without a single mention from this same media while corporate pigs like Halliburton have gorged themselves at the public trough as working people suffer and die.

These corporate pigs have gorged themselves at our expense in the supermarkets and the gas stations.

With or without lipstick, Sarah Palin is a "corporate pig." Palin's reactionary, right-wing views faithfully serving corporate America reflect the advanced decay of American society and a total rejection of intelligence and rationality.

If the McCain/Palin administration would not be a continuation of the past eight years of Bush/Cheney then why has the McCain campaign chosen so many of the Bush staffers to try to put lipstick on this pig to make her more appealing to the public?

The corporate pigs have lined up at the feeding trough waiting for a McCain/Palin victory... better hold your nose.

I'm glad the left has finally begun to attack McCain and Palin... Obama should be attacked in the same manner for the fraud he is.

Barack Obama said,

"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough."


Maybe he was speaking about Palin. Maybe he was speaking about Bush. Either way, for a change, Obama said something right.

How come the main stream media has ignored lie after lie being peddled by the likes of decrepit creeps like Cliff Kincaid, the McCain/Palin surrogates, who one would be afraid to have loitering around the school yard where their children play as Palin tries to ban the books they read?

While Kincaid's AIM disdains the media bringing forward Palin's husbands Driving Under the Influence conviction twenty years ago, Kincaid has been obsessed with with Barack Obama's Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, who has been dead for over twenty years.

While the fascist Cliff Kincaid and his AIM are offended there is the suggestion that Sarah Palin pretends to be the mother of baby Trig to cover up her sixteen year old daughter may have actually given birth to the child, Kincaid spreads lies about Frank Marshall Davis having sex with a thirteen year old girl as if Barack Obama is the rapist.

"Palin power"? Why not call it what it is, "Pig Power".

Rita



Palin team stocked with Bush veterans

By: Jonathan Martin

Wed Sep 10, 2008



With Sarah Palin facing unrelenting press scrutiny and enjoying off-the-charts excitement from voters, John McCain’s campaign is quickly moving to augment her staff and put in place an infrastructure that can address the unexpected wave of interest.

This team of aides and advisers is tasked with preparing Palin for media appearances, including her first on ABC later this week, her debate against Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden early next month, pushing back against near-daily accusations from liberal activists as well as inquiries from mainstream journalists. They are also offering the sort of support provided to any vice presidential pick.

Since McCain made his pick in the final days before announcing it to the public — and since many aides were not told until the night before or morning of the rollout — the campaign has been forced to hire and hastily put in place a cadre of staff to deal with the unprecedented onslaught of questions from reporters, requests from Republicans and
viral Internet attacks from the left
. And McCain’s campaign is not done hiring staffers to respond to the Palin deluge. Even more will be brought on in the days ahead, say aides, to respond to the flood.

This new team of aides and advisers brings years of experience in Republican politics, and includes many who worked for President Bush in the White House and on his two campaigns. They will bring a similarly aggressive mindset as campaign chief Steve Schmidt, also a veteran of the disciplined Bush-Cheney effort. In this, they’ll move to get off defense, a position Palin has been in since her unexpected announcement, and try to keep her on the offensive, using her to launch ever-more sharp attacks against Barack Obama and Biden—attacks that will present the challenge of responding without being labeled sexist.

Some have been dispatched to Alaska to handle issues on the ground there relating to Palin’s background as mayor of Wasilla and governor, while others will join her on the road or work on her behalf from the McCain campaign’s headquarters in Virginia.

Their first priority: getting Palin ready for her first network interview since becoming John McCain’s running mate.

Newly hired aides are briefing her on likely questions and topics when ABC’s Charlie Gibson sits down with her later this week in Alaska.

The intensive prep session includes staffers going through footage of previous interviews by the "World News Tonight "anchor, according to an aide.

McCain aides declined to say whether they’re readying Palin by asking mock questions.

“We’re preparing her for the interview as you would prepare any principal,” said this aide, noting that Palin prefers concise briefing material and topics addressed on notecards and in bulleted fashion.

“She has clearly given a lot of thought to a wide range of issues,” added the aide. “She has engaged everybody who has briefed her.”

Numerous McCain aides are involved in the preparation, and staffers stressed that all under the McCain-Palin umbrella were operating as one unit.

Traveling with her and working with the press are Tracey Schmitt and Tucker Eskew. Each is taking a leave from private sector public relations-related jobs to work the final stretch.

Schmitt worked on both Bush campaigns and ran the Republican National Committee communications shop before leaving a year ago to work for a biopharma company. Eskew is a longtime GOP strategist who was a top aide in the first Bush campaign and later worked in the White House before co-founding his own public affairs firm.



They’ll be joined at times by Nicolle Wallace, the former White House communications director who has served as a senior adviser to the McCain campaign since spring. Mark Wallace, Nicolle Wallace’s husband and another veteran of Bushworld, will lend a hand to Palin by prepping her for the lone debate against Biden, Oct. 2 in St. Louis.

Offering policy counsel will be Steve Biegun, a seasoned foreign policy specialist who did stints as a senior member of Bush’s National Security Council and as national security adviser to former Sen. Bill Frist, when he was Senate majority leader. He’s taken a leave from his position as a government affairs executive at Ford Motor Co.

Also helping on the policy front is Joe Donoghue, a longtime McCain aide who has worked for years in the Arizonan’s Senate office. He’ll travel with Palin and serve as a liaison to the campaign headquarters on issues.

Joining the road show is a loyalist from Palin’s inner circle, Kris Perry. Also a native of Wasilla, Perry managed Palin’s gubernatorial campaign and is her closest aide. With her familiarity of her boss’ record and background, she’ll help answer questions that arise about Alaska.

Back at the campaign’s Arlington, Va., headquarters, Maria Comella will work with reporters. She worked for Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 and was a top spokeswoman in Rudy Giuliani’s primary effort. Another Bush veteran and press aide, Ben Porritt, is largely focused on going after Biden, but will also assist the Palin effort.

Also detailed to the mothership will be a trio of staffers tasked specifically with responding to the sort of viral attacks that have been popping up about Palin’s background and record in Alaska.

These aides include Mark Paoletta and Edward O’Callaghan, both Republican lawyers, and Brian Jones, a former top RNC aide who served as McCain’s communications director until a campaign shake-up last summer.

The public face for this pushback, though, will be woman Republican politicians, a “truth squad” team designed to highlight attacks on Palin and draw sympathy to her side.

Then there is the campaign’s Last Frontier satellite: Taylor Griffin, another Bush administration veteran who had been focusing on doing press on economic issues, has been detailed to Alaska to oversee the campaign’s operation there as reporters from across the world descend on Anchorage, Juneau and Wasilla to probe a political figure who is turning out to be anything but an ordinary vice presidential nominee.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

About Sarah Palin: A Letter From Anne Kilkenny

About Sarah Palin: A Letter From Anne Kilkenny


What follows is an open letter written by a resident of Wasilla, Alaska named Anne Kilkenny.

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because she is a “babe”.

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months. She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby. She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit. Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans. Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters. She’s smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents. During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once. These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city. As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideasor compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job.

In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.

They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked toglobal warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President. There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she. However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.

CLAIM VS FACT

•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

CAVEATS

I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

2008, Sarah Palin, Vice President