Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mrs Mooseblaster's book bag

As so often in the life-and-times of Governor Sarah Palin (left, with irony), there seem to be variations embroidered on a theme.

Garance Burke, for AP, seems to have as straight an account as we have yet had:
Shortly after taking office in 1996 as mayor of Wasilla, a city of about 7,000 people, Palin asked the city's head librarian about banning books. Later, the librarian was notified by Palin that she was being fired, although Palin backed off under pressure. Palin's alleged attempt at book-banning has been a matter of intense interest since Republican presidential nominee John McCain named her as his running mate last month. Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said Thursday [11th September] that Palin asked the head librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, on three occasions how she would react to attempts at banning books. He said the questions, in the fall of 1996, were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled. Records on the city's Web site, however, do not show any books were challenged in Wasilla in the 10 years before Palin took office.
That same article indicates that one book may have been at the centre of this dispute:
The Rev. Howard Bess, a liberal Christian preacher in the nearby town of Palmer, said the church Palin and her family attended until 2002, the Wasilla Assembly of God, was pushing to remove his book from local bookstores.

Emmons told him that year that several copies of "Pastor I Am Gay" had disappeared from the library shelves, Bess said.
That's book-banning and homophobia.
So far, Mrs Mooseblaster, you're on a roll.

Pastor Bess is now "retired": that is "retired" as in defenestrated via:
the threats, intimidation and his eventual forced retirement and his church's excommunication from the American Baptists over his stances on LGBT issues and that book.
Now David Talbot (the onlie true begetter of salon.com) has interviewed Bess and gives a full account (which, of course, should be read in full):
When it was published in 1995, Bess' book caused an immediate storm in the Mat-Su Valley, an evangelical stronghold dotted with storefront churches. Conservative ministers targeted the book, and the only bookstore in the valley that dared to stock it -- Shalom Christian Books and Gifts – soon dropped it after the owner was barraged with angry phone calls. The Frontiersman, the local newspaper that ran a column by Bess for seven years, fired him and ran a vicious cartoon that suggested even drooling child molesters would be welcomed by Bess' church.

And after she became mayor of Wasilla, according to Bess, Sarah Palin tried to get rid of his book from the local library. Palin now denies that she wanted to censor library books, but Bess insists that his book was on a "hit list" targeted by Palin. "I'm as certain of that as I am that I'm sitting here. This is a small town, we all know each other. People in city government have confirmed to me what Sarah was trying to do."
But it goes further than bigots bashing their Bibles over a book:
Soon after the book controversy, Bess found himself again at odds with Palin and her fellow evangelicals. In 1996, evangelical churches mounted a vigorous campaign to take over the local hospital's community board and ban abortion from the valley. When they succeeded, Bess and Dr. Susan Lemagie, a Palmer OB-GYN, fought back, filing suit on behalf of a local woman who had been forced to travel to Seattle for an abortion. The case was finally decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital must provide valley women with the abortion option.

At one point during the hospital battle, passions ran so hot that local antiabortion activists organized a boisterous picket line outside Dr. Lemagie's office, in an unassuming professional building across from Palmer's Little League field. According to Bess and another community activist, among the protesters trying to disrupt the physician's practice that day was Sarah Palin.
Mrs Mooseblaster's Wasilla, let us remind ourselves, is where women were expected to pay for the medical examination necessary in reporting a rape to the local police:
Despite denials by the Palin campaign, new evidence proves that as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin had a direct hand in imposing fees to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams conducted by the city to gather evidence...

Under Sarah Palin's administration, Wasilla cut funds that had previously paid for the medical exams and began charging victims or their health insurers the $500 to $1200 fees... Palin, as mayor, fired police chief Irl Stambaugh and replaced him with Charlie Fannon, who with Palin's knowledge, slashed the budget for the exams and began charging the city's victims of sexual assault. The city budget documents demonstrate Palin read and signed off on the new budget. A year later, alarmed Alaska lawmakers passed legislation outlawing the practice.
That leaves only the obvious:
Another valley activist, Philip Munger, says that Palin also helped push the evangelical drive to take over the Mat-Su Borough school board. "She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the board," said Munger, a music composer and teacher. "I bumped into her once after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God. I said, 'Sarah, how can you believe in creationism -- your father's a science teacher.' And she said, 'We don't have to agree on everything.'

"I pushed her on the earth's creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she'd seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them."

Munger also asked Palin if she truly believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. "She looked in my eyes and said, 'Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.'"
That same report carries a tit-bit, which suggests someone close to Mrs Mooseblaster is a student of the early career of the lifelong anti-Semite Tricky Dicky Nixon:
The mayor of Wasilla before Sarah Palin, John C. Stein, was also a Republican, though the office was and continues to be non-partisan. Mayor Stein was defeated by Sarah Palin in a campaign that brought in the NRA, Republican partisans, and a whisper campaign that Mayor Stein was Jewish (he is a Christian, but is "proud of such a reputation").
And the Seattle Times has a similar story:
... a TV station called her Wasilla's "first Christian mayor." This prompted a letter from Stein, saying: "Really?" He listed eight previous mayors, all Christian, and added: "With a name like 'Stein' some suspected that I must be a non-Christian, have non-Christian blood or at least have sympathized with a non-Christian sometime in my career. I'm proud of such a reputation but I, my family and forbearers are of the Christian persuasion, too."
Why it all matters:

Three of the four candidates (for President and Veep) have undergone years of national public scrutiny; and survived reasonably unscathed. By all accounts, and on the quantum of evidence available, they are honourable public respresentatives.

Mrs Mooseblaster came from nowhere. Therefore, she and her history deserve considerable investigation. What that investigation is exposing is not nice.


Malcolm has one excellent reason for distrusting anyone who is totally convinced about anything: there is always an element of doubt.

Not so, for the Mrs Mooseblasters of this world. They have this hot-line to the Ultimate Authority.

Mrs Mooseblaster and minions took over the town council and tried to use it to impose her prejudices on the local library. When that didn't quite work, she tried to boot the librarian. When that didn't work, she froze the library's budget (we are talking about the vast sum of $70,000 here).

The town of Wasilla went further into the mire with Mayor Mooseblaster's hockey-hall (a.k.a.Wasilla Multi-Use Sports Complex, though its main function seems to revolve around the Alaska Avalanche ice-hockey franchise). This is a 2,500-seater stadium, orignally for a town of no much more than twice that number. It was costed at some $14M, but went over-budget because Mayor Mooseblaster and her Council cocked up the ownership of the land on which it was erected. As a result, the library budget is still being squeezed so there will be no new stock (and, curiously, the local library blog-site has been taken off-line).

Then it was the turn of the local hospital. Again, fundamentalist pro-life views were preferred to any legalistic punctilio.

In passing, the local School Board got the treatment: we must have creationism on the curriculum! Except, of course, that would run against the writ of the Supreme Court. So, a quick snowshoe shuffle:
During a 2006 debate, she said she was a proponent of teaching both evolution and creationism in schools. She later clarified her stance in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, saying that she doesn't think creationism needed to be part of the curriculum and that she would not push the state Board of Education to add such alternatives to the state's required curriculum.
As Malcolm has discovered from recent threads on Slugger O'Toole (no, there's no debate: just blind obfuscation), creationism must be the total unquestioned truth because darwinism cannot explain everything ("D'oh!"). Certainty is all, sayeth the Lord's interpolators.

What these threads show is a total inability to accept scientific method. In this demi-monde of banality, human knowledge is finite; and cannot be expanded beyond the writing of Genesis 1.1:
Each new false religion of the post-Flood period has sought to detract from our Creator and from our responsibilities in this life; evolution's effect is no different and it (macro-evolution) continues to lack any scientific substance. Pray about this!
Then, it’s a small jump from saying "we don’t yet understand" to assuming "we won’t ever understand".

Malcolm recalls that there are too many good thinkers who ended up frying on religious bonfires (Giordano Bruno, for one notable example) because Mother Church extrapolated from don’t to won’t to shouldn’t try to understand. And that’s why he finds creationism is truly dangerous: after all,
if there can be no doubt about the origins of life,
the universe and everything,

we must stop people destroying their immortal souls
by looking for forbidden knowledge.

Over to you, Mrs Mooseblaster.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Subscribe with Bloglines International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites