Okay, I've mostly kept mum on the whole Sarah Palin thing, partly because I haven't felt like anything needed saying that somebody wasn't already saying in the news and partly because the sheer volume of insane crap that comes out about her makes my head spin. Now that she's decided to come out and attack Obama for some of the people he's associated with, going so far as to say he "pals around with terrorists," I feel compelled to chime in and ask: do you really want to go there, ma'am? You sure about that?
Because y'know, some of the people you hang out with are scary-ass nutjobs, lady. Like, say, Thomas Muthee, the famed "witch-hunter" of Kenya who came to teeny-tiny Wasilla, Alaska, and prayed over you at your hometown church back in 2005. Muthee, for one thing, equates Islam and Buddhism with witchcraft and sorcery, and earlier this fall apparently exhorted members of the Wasilla Assembly of God to stomp on the necks of unbelievers. His primary claim to fame, by the way, is that he drove a supposed witch named "Mama Jane" out of Kiambu, Kenya, riling up the villagers to the point where angry townspeople were ready to stone the poor woman to death.
Things got so out of hand the local police had to intervene, and in the end, the "witch" fled the town. Palin's got this guy as one of her spiritual advisors, and she thinks Jeremiah Wright is too much? Hell, whatever you think of his politics, at least Wright operates in the same reality the rest of us do. And just to head off the naysayers who want to say Muthee's just a visitor who Palin didn't really deal with, it should be noted that Palin herself credits him with helping her get elected Governor.
Beyond Muthee, though, there's also Ed Kalnins, the pastor of the Wasilla Assembly of God church, who's just as scary in his own right. Why? Well, he thinks Alaska's going to be where all U.S. evangelicals will be able to take refuge when the "End of Days" comes. (Guess I'd better visit soon, then, before it gets real nuts up there...) He's okay that our world's currently being rocked by wars over oil, by the by, because he thinks that's a sign the end of the world (and the Rapture, naturally) is nigh.
He's also hinted that people who voted for Kerry back in 2004 or have criticized Dubya are headed for Hell and has claimed that God gives him sneaky secret information, John Edward (the psychic, not the candidate)-style. So he's an apocalyptic, Democrat-hating psychic who wants all his fellow Armageddonites to come hang out in Alaska and watch the world implode. I'm guessing the sermons are entertaining.
Keep in mind, as well, that this isn't just some church Palin attended for a few years -- it's the one she grew up in, and the one she attended full-time 'til 2002 or so, before switching to the more buttoned-down Wasilla Bible Church. The WBC's more low-key than the Assembly of God, certainly, but they're still an "End Times" church that's keeping its eyes on what they see as the coming Armageddon (and if that bit sounds familiar, it's because a certain recent President believes in the same general thing).
The church also recently had Jews for Jesus director David Brickner speak there, with Brickner blithely calling terrorist attacks in Israel God's "judgment of unbelief" for all those pesky Jews who haven't seen the supposed light and converted. Ah, fun. And this is the more mainstream of the two churches Palin's associated with, which says a lot about her and about mainstream Christianity in this country in general...
Freakier still are the right-wing, anti-government militia types who supported Palin's run for Mayor of Wasilla a few years back. She was so grateful for the help of one guy, Steven Stoll (nicknamed "Black Helicopter Steve" locally for his far-right paranoia) that he was one of the first appointments she tried to push through as Mayor. When she couldn't get him on the city planning commission, she then managed to fire the city museum director, a longtime enemy of Stoll's, seemingly as a friendly bit of political payback for Stoll's financial & organizational support.
Then there's fellow nutjob Mark Chryson, who's apparently known Palin for more than a decade, supported her political runs, and has heavy ties to the Alaskan Independence Party, which wants the state to secede from the rest of the U.S. and go it alone. (Palin's husband Todd also has ties to the AIP, registering as a member of the party for a while.) The AIP themselves are affiliated with the hard-right Constitution Party, which is a big booster of the militia movement and has been called a fascist organization. The AIP also hang out with other pro-secession groups, including a bunch that want to do fun things like, say, create an all-white nation or impose their own taxes on people who live in the western part of the state of Texas.
Granted, Palin wasn't an actual member of the AIP, no, but that sure as hell doesn't make it okay that she hangs out with these people. Obama may know Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground leader, but he sure as hell wasn't a member of the group himself, either. He wasn't around when Ayers was blowing up buildings -- he was 8 at the time -- but has only known the guy in his old age, 30 years after he did what he did. Palin's been hanging out with people who right now, at this moment, have as their stated goal that they want to split off from the U.S. We're not talked about quasi-reformed Klansmen here, but full-on militia whackos. And I sure haven't heard Palin denouncing Chryson and his buddies the way Obama's denounced Ayers' past actions.
And, of course, I can't forget Pat Buchanan, whose 2000 Presidential run Palin supported. Say what you want about Louis Farrakhan endorsing Obama -- Obama never helped raise money for the guy, and in fact rejected the endorsement. Palin supposedly helped out ol' Pat with cash and rallied the troops when he came through Wasilla.
So, there it is. My suggestion to the Obama campaign is to hammer these folks right back -- Palin's political and religious allies are a hell of a lot closer (and scarier) than any of Obama's supposed "skeletons." Oh, and this was a nice bit of rhetoric from Palin, here, speaking to William Kristol about Obama knowing Ayers:
She continued, "To me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."
Nice. She certainly doesn't want to bring up Wright unless McCain approves it. Oh, no -- that would be the height of rudeness. Unless, of course, she's having a friendly chat with a fucking reporter for the fucking New York Times. All that spinning got you dizzy yet, Ms. Palin?
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