Palin’s “Actual Responsibilities” as Madame Mayor

4 09 2008

. . .surely need national-level journalistic scrutiny if her true story is that they involved firing the town librarian for refusing to ban whichever books Palin personally deemed “morally or socially objectionable.”

This is The One Un-American Act.
Guess it would qualify her to be America’s Censor-in-Chief, though . . .

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled.
Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.

Is this a good time to mention BANNED BOOKS WEEK is almost upon us again? Will McCain-Palin be ready? I’m picturing a series of town meetings to explain how they know best for all of us, and we should just trust they’ll tell us whatever they feel we can be trusted with, when the time is right (obviously no questions would be allowed):

“Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas”
[Last year’s theme was “Free People Read Freely!”]
September 27- October 4, 2008

In 1996, Ms. Palin suggested to the local paper, The Frontiersman, that the conversations about banning books were “rhetorical.”

Ms. Emmons was not the only employee to leave. . .

And don’t even get me started on this!

. . .Bad questions. Bad media. Bad.

It is not our job to ask questions. Or it shouldn’t be. To hear from the pols at the Republican National Convention this week, our job is to endorse and support the decisions of the pols.

. . .Sarah Palin wanted the media to report on her teenage son, Track, who enlisted in the Army on Sept. 11, 2007, and soon will deploy to Iraq. [More controversy on this here. And she explicitly offered up her newborn son Trig in her nomination acceptance speech, promising if elected to be an advocate for other parents like her. ]

Sarah Palin did not want the media to report on her teenage daughter, Bristol, who is pregnant and unmarried.

Sarah Palin thinks that one is good for her campaign and one is not, and that the media should report only on what is good for her campaign. That is our job, and that is our duty. If that is not actually in the Constitution, it should be. (And someday may be.)

The official theme of the convention’s third day was “prosperity,” but the unofficial theme was “the media are really, really awful.”

We are both women, both moms with public sector executive experience and strong policy views, but also Sarah Palin and I both are public university journalism graduates — although apparently only one of us got an actual education in journalism and thinks of it as an actual responsibility.

And only one of us seems to understand the First Amendment as part of America’s “actual responsibilities” — even in tucked-away small towns where one well-armed, well-dressed pitbull in lipstick might believe herself picked by God, to take over and control everybody’s story.

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12 responses

4 09 2008
JJ

Just had a creepy thought, rereading this author interview in which young Palinesque conservatives tried to silence not just her books but HER, by questioning her morals to her face — what if this all fits together? Not just the anti-science, anti-woman, anti-homosexual part of the agenda but the pro-god and pro-war and guns parts, too. The Republican Party NEEDS to control and censor all the ideas and stories we read about and discuss, or at least limit access so there’s a critical mass of gullible they do control and then keep us intellectuals generally discredited and distracted, or else how could they ever win an election?

More from the Ann Patchett censorship interview. . .:

In the face of provocative television news segments, an inflammatory full-page ad in The Greenville News, and an outpouring of letters from angry parents and alumni calling for the cancellation of the author’s scheduled appearance on Clemson’s campus, Patchett decided to speak to the Clemson class of ’06 anyway—even though that meant accepting protection from a bodyguard.

On stage in Littlejohn Coliseum, she spoke of the right to read and the importance of drawing one’s own conclusions. She made note of all the great works of literature that had, at one point or another, been similarly criticized as morally unsuitable, and she wondered aloud what purpose higher education served if not to acquaint oneself with the complex, real world:

“If stories about girls who are disfigured by cancer, humiliated by strangers, and turn to sex and drugs to escape from their enormous pain are too disgusting, too pornographic, then I have to tell you, friends, the Holocaust is off-limits. The Russian Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia, the war in Vietnam, the Crusades, all represent such staggering acts of human depravity and perversion that I could see the virtue of never looking at them at all.”

The speech and visit won substantial support and applause, though not from all young members of the audience—some of whom took it as a public opportunity to question Patchett’s own morals to her face.

5 09 2008
JJ

From a commenter on Snook’s Banned Books Week post, here’s a letter ostensibly from Anne Kilkenny putting Palin’s story as a book-banning ideologue in context with the rest of this “thrilling” unknown celebrity’s claims. Here it is a story of Palin’s casual ignorance and incompetence as hands-on executive, how she reformed nothing — merely replaced an old corrupt Republican gang with her own new Republican cronies dependent on her and ruled with two ruthless fists on the wheel (sounds like the Bush Republican Party to me! If so, she’d fit right into Bad Old Washington; poor old desperate John McCain animated by that Gingrich-Rove ideological army of young male go-getter veep vetters, actually may not realize he’s responsible for lying to his own party about her.)

Also this letter adds context and content to my judgment that while Palin is certainly the “hottest chick” GOP coots get to hoot for, she’s no feminist — she’s more good old boy herself, than she is advancing strong women in government generally. Apart from personally mocking Lyda Green in the radio interview I linked elsewhere, this letter (also from a woman!) points out that Palin refused to endorse her own mother-in-law for office.
*************************
She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or 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.
*********************************
[Because a few things about Palin’s political “experience” have mysteriously been scrubbed from the intertubes after I linked them, here’s another big chuck of the letter that has the ring of truth to me, after my own public career:]
*********************************
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.

. . .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 to
global 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. . .
However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it. . .

•”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. . .

5 09 2008
JJ

Ooh! Opportunity knocks!
The vice-presidential debate will be DURING Banned Books Week on October 2, and the moderator of that debate is someone we can trust to care about freedom of information and objective coverage — Gwen Ifill of PBS. I say we help get the first amendment and books and journalism (and keeping god’s politics out of secular government personnel firings and school science curriculum!) on the radar as at least one question for Biden and Palin that night.

5 09 2008
COD

And ironically, these oh-so-moral conservatives are presently celebrating a out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy.

6 09 2008
JJ

Indeed. And what about bearing false witness, that’s on the list of sins somewhere, I’m pretty sure.

(That plane she sold on Ebay? She didn’t.)

The media won’t be allowed access to ask her about seven witnesses who suddenly became unwilling to testify in her ethics investigation back in Alaska, now that the Bush-Cheney Republican war machine has turned its full force on them. Newsweek has a story today about um, honor and fair play and reforming corrupt Republicans? What a price Once-Upon-A-Time Maverick McCain seems willing to pay, this is really depressing to watch.

Oh dear, just occurred to me — remember his oft-repeated story about waiting his turn as a POW, how their mutual code of honor was not to jump ahead out of the established sequence even though he paid a heavy price? That might have equal meaning to him in political warfare, that Bush dishonorably jumped ahead of him in 2000, and now by god it’s his TURN to be president, that his party and country all OWE it to him or else we’re the dishonorable ones??

7 09 2008
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[…] simultaneously exploiting and enjoying those abundant resources, with relatively little demand from “actual responsibilities” to interfere. It’s unreal, almost, as we hear the story […]

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[…] organize ideas, sort of like Palin’s pentecostal PTA pitbullying as leadership, except with ACTUAL […]

18 09 2008
JJ

St. Petersburg Times-Congressional Quarterly politifact check on Palin’s book-banning predilections

27 09 2008
It’s Banned Books Week — Read Something Shocking! « Cocking A Snook!

[…] For more: Palin’s “Actual Responsibilities” as Madame Mayor” […]

7 10 2008
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[…] herself of course, living in her own carefully constructed reality-free Palinworld, shows no fear that her character assassination politics may provoke ACTUAL assassination — […]

27 09 2009
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[…] point of personal privilege, let’s include Sarah Palin’s “actual responsibilities” for book-banning as mayor . . […]

15 11 2010
Private Power of Story in Censorship « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Palin’s “Actual Responsibilities” as Madame Mayor […]

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