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Alaska, It’s Different (Book version of The Rogue Candidate)

March 2, 2011


Dear Sarah, You’re not Alaska.

November 16, 2010

Prince William Sound

Special note: This is a message to Sarah, that I sent to her via Facebook. Alaskans will get all the places, some of the references and some of the names. If you don’t get them, give it a Google, read (why aren’t you reading it already? What’re you a member of the Paliban?)

Or better yet, get your butt on the next flight up to Anchorage. Yes I know it’s November and it’s cold… that means flights should be cheap. Go to Spenard Roadhouse get the Bacon Jam and tell them I sent you.

Recently in one of much commented on Facebook notes you quoted Italian “race car great” Mario Andretti as saying, “If everything’s under control then you’re going too slow.”

Well personally I always liked this quote from the great American race car driver Richard Petty… “No one wants to

Sarah the Celeb

quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning.”
I think that might be the more appropriate quote for you, and I that I mean, I wish you’d quit (again).

But that’s beside the point. I just wanted to tell you, I’m sorry I missed your show. I’m sure that it will be great. But I’m busy working on my own little travelogue about Alaska. It’s called The Rogue Candidate: A State in Denial.

It used to have the subtitle “Sarah Palin’s REAL Alaska but I changed it because I’m starting to believe that like some creature in a horror film – you gain power by people mentioning your name. So I’ve decided to take you out of it.

I’m finding that it’s turning out to be a much more interesting story. Instead I’m talking about the story of the Alaskan people, people that have not only survived in harsh conditions but strived in them. Alaska is many things beautiful, extreme, complicated… But I’m sorry to say Sarah, Alaska is not you.


I looked quite a bit but I didn’t find you there. I did find some great people though. No one quite like you with the bumpet and the red suit jacket thing that you wore so often during the campaign.

You weren’t in Anchorage where I stayed with Shannyn Moore and Kelly Walters, or looking down on the mudflats with Jeanne Devon. The people in Anchorage didn’t seem to care for you much. I asked a young man at a gay pride march what he thought of you, he said “I’d [expletive deleted] cut her.” He then stared at me for a long while, he was serious. Don’t worry, he scared me too.

I flew over the Chuitna – didn’t see you there when I was talking to the Burnetts whose home was threaten by a coal mine. Funny thing too, they’re hunters just like you. I really expected to find you in those cool boots that you wore in Homer when you had that chat with a teacher maybe you’d be wearing a brand new pair of Carhartts that your show’s wardrobe picked up for you.

I even went to Whittier – through that long terrifying one way tunnel. Mike Bender of Lazy Otter took Shannyn, Jeanne and I out to see Prince William Sound. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, and I know I never will. The porpoises swam with our boat… I still can’t express that moment in proper words. It made me want to become a

Shannyn Moore looking over the Prince William Sound

fisherman, like you are. I’d probably go the dip net route though.


My friend Shannyn used to fish out there. She doesn’t anymore because Exxon spilled some oil out there. I’m not a praying man but I tried, hoping that we wouldn’t still find any 21 years later. It’s still there. I’ve got some of it, I can show it to you if you like.

I saw a bear, not a mama grizzly though. It was running along side of my car on Old Seward Highway… or maybe it was Rabbit Creek. Not sure but I remember the dog in the back seat, it’s hackles up and then seeing this brown blur to the right. That was interesting. Driving back to the place I was staying I went past a lynx and had to stop for a moose. That was interesting too. Didn’t even leave the city limits.

I was there for three months and I only saw you once… other than all the times you were on the TV, talking about how NYC (where I live) shouldn’t let some nice people build a community center. You called it a 9/11 mosque for some reason, not sure why since it has nothing to do with September 11th.

I even met the guy that has your old job, Mayor of Wasilla, Verne Rupright. He’s really turning Wasilla’s downtown into a happening place. I hope he beats your grandkids dad in the election next time around.

The moment wherein I shake Sarah Palin's Hand

We did eventually meet, however briefly.

I shook your hand at the Wasilla 9/11 Remembrance Rally – I might have stood out as I was the only person from New York City there. Your candidate Joe Miller was there, at the “non-partisan” event, along with the local Republican Party and the Tea Party folks… and a right to life group for some reason.

When we met I didn’t ask you any questions or try to bother you as I believe it would have been disrespectful to the event. I’m not that kind of journalist. I even kept a watchful eye on one of your kids while you signed autographs during the closing prayer. Later, I had to ask which one of them it was, as I didn’t know… I don’t care about your family. Again, I’m not that kind of journalist.

I do care though, about the effect that you’re having on a state that I’ve grown to love and call my second home. I consider some Alaskans members of my family, many more among my friends. And I’m sorry Sarah, I hate to be the one to break it to you… but Alaskans, are well… um… ashamed of you. When Alaskans used to go down to visit the lower 48 they used to get asked if they lived in an igloo (my little sister is still convinced), if they ever saw a polar bear, or what it was like to always have snow on the ground. Now everyone asks if they know Sarah Palin. They want the igloo questions back. A couple of them confide in me that they told people they were from Canada! Socialists! They’re

Joe Miller

embarrassed, because they know Alaska isn’t you.

It’s made up of conservatives, anarchists, separatists, Democrats, Republicans liberals and even progressives. In the Senate election 65% of the people voted against Joe Miller. They voted against your candidate, even though he was the Republican, he was better financed and he had a great beard.*

Scott McAdams

This was a red flag, a sign from the electorate that they want you gone, they want you to step aside.

It’s time for you to step aside and let some of the great leaders you have shine. You’re not a leader, you’re a celebrity, a politician at best. Actually Shannyn Moore said it best, you’re not a leader, you’re a climber. If you really care for this state go back to Wasilla, take down that fence and retire. You’ve got a great view from your place enjoy it and let this state thrive. Let Alaska be Alaska. Let it return to it’s progressive roots, the only state that has a right to privacy written into it’s constitution, one of the first to become pro-choice and let’s people smoke weed. Even you admitted to partake.

Let these guys have a chance at running the state, without your meddling. Scott McAdams, the best person I have ever known that has stood for public office. I would have been not only an honor to vote for him, but something I would have told my grandkids about. Hollis French, ran the best and most true campaign I’ve seen. I had the privilege of following him around and photographing him on primary day – a great candidate and one of the guys that does the job for the people

Harry Crawford (left) and Hollis French (2nd from right)

and only for them. Harry Crawford ran a hell of a campaign against entrenched Congressman Don Young. Harry’s an old-school union guy – reminds me of DFA’s Jim Dean – but tougher (you’ve got to be tougher in Alaska). Vince Beltrami, real union. Alaska’s a union state, and a big reason is Vince.

So I’ll be returning soon to Alaska to meet with old friends, hopefully make it to Sitka to hang with Scott McAdams maybe up to Dillingham to see the Pebble Mine first hand and while I’m up there grab some salmon at Jon Corbetts Windmill Grill.

But it won’t be because of your show. It’ll be because I love the state, even if it is in denial.

*Actually it was a terrible beard. Steve Heimel of APRN has a great beard, and so does Roger “Bones” Ranch.

Roger Ranch

People please: will you support Shannyn Moore and Jeanne Devon of!? They put me up in their homes (even when 3 weeks turned into 3 months), showed me around and most importantly pointed at people and said “You need to interview them.”

Shannyn Moore: DONATE! The Mudflats: DONATE!

Please checkout in the coming weeks for details about the release of The Rogue Candidate: A State in Denial.

Greg Palast on Sarah Pac Tim Griffin’s Dirty Rovian Past

October 30, 2010

From the DVD The Election Files

Produced by Zach Roberts

There Ought to be a Law! The Chuitna Mine – a primer.

October 8, 2010

No mines through a salmon stream – there ought to be a law –

An excerpt from the upcoming documentary The Rogue Candidate: Sarah Palin’s REAL Alaska

They’re Not Saying BRUUUUUUUCE…. It’s BOOOO Sarah.

September 28, 2010

The Photo.

September 28, 2010

Club for Growth takes Alaska…

September 19, 2010

reposted from

by Zach Roberts
The Club for Growth has endorsed Joe ‘the beard’ Miller. Who, or What is “The Club for Growth?”

Personally, when I first heard about “The Club for Growth” years ago, I pictured a sunny country club where rich people went to grow their inner feelings – maybe gain respect for the little people. Maybe get a soul.

Sadly, the truth is nothing so kumbaya.

To put it bluntly, The Club for Growth is a corporate front group run by the former CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world. wrote this in 2006 “The Club for Growth, which shares an office with Americans for Limited Government, is an offshoot of the Cato Institute… which was founded by the Kochs. We’ve heard that name before haven’t we.

Yes, the same Kochs, the same astro-turfing billionaires from Joe Miller’s home state, Kansas. Linda Kellen-Biegel has already written up all the details and the Alaskan connections, so no need to leave the Flats.

But it’s not just the astro-turf/Kansas connection that makes this endorsement especially troubling. Their board includes real hardened corporate bastards. These are are guys that brought us into the mess that we’re in. They play dirty and really like to win, and they’re good at it. They’ve won more than 60% of their races against center right candidates according to Businessweek.

This is why they have even Republicans running scared. They love going after middle of the road Repubs and placing hard line conservatives in their place. Senator Lisa Murkowski scored an 82% on their 2009 scorecard, and they still went after her. Sounds like my mom – only A’s got put up on the fridge.

Joe Miller is the sort of candidate that they seem to like the most, an empty slate, something they can mold in their likeness. Other candidates that CFG has backed this year include Sharron Angle, Rand Paul and Jim DeMint. You can check out the full list here. Essentially it’s the yearbook of Crazytown High.

The 30 pieces of silver doesn’t come without some caveats. Joe Miller has had to commit, among other things, to a federal hiring freeze and not to raise taxes. I wonder if the federal hiring freeze applies to the armed forces? We’ve got a couple of them up here in AK.

Unlike the Tea Party, which really does take at least some small donations and spend them on campaigns, the Club for Growth takes cash from big business pretty much exclusively. As the Chairman of the Club for Growth states “We have a lot of people with very big checkbooks.”

That’s an understatement. The Chairman himself could probably fund a campaign or two. Thomas L. ‘Dusty’ Rhodes spent 18 years working at Goldman Sachs. Dusty, as I’m guessing his friends call him, worked his way up the Goldman ladder, moving from lowly Vice President, to Vice Chairman to Partner – no doubt he made a couple of friends along the way. He also has been a trustee of the Manhattan Institute, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a trustee of the Heritage Foundation.

The Chairman is just the tip of the money-iceberg.

Richard Gilder, the Chairman Emeritus runs the brokerage firm Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co., which make their millions in short-selling, and aggressive trading. Mother Jones Magazine in 2001 described Gilder –

“Since the early 1980s, stockbroker Richard Gilder has been honing his influence among Republicans on Capitol Hill. He has cheered Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts, funded Newt Gingrich’s revolution, twice backed Steve Forbes for president, and attacked moderates in the GOP for their lack of free-market fervor. His web of influence encompasses pundit Robert Novak, whose money he manages; the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank he once chaired; and George W. Bush, whom Gilder joined as an investor in the Texas Rangers. His current political agenda features three policy proposals — privatizing Social Security, cutting federal income taxes, and providing public school vouchers — all of which Bush adopted as campaign promises.”

Not much has changed in the past decade – except maybe that he’s upped his donations – an increase from $288,000 in 2000, to $331,000 in 2008. In this midterm year he’s dropped $40k, mostly to the Club for Growth PAC and Florida Senate Candidate Marco Rubio. To be fair, $2400 was sent to Wall Street friend New York Senator Schumer. The more than $300,000 does not include the donations that come from his staff at his brokerage firm, who donated about $93,000 to Club for Growth and like minded Republicans.

Next down the list is former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. While he may not bring the cash, he brings the right wing conservative values (read: Rovian dirty tricks). As Secretary of State/Chief Elections Official/co-chair of the Committee to re-elect George W. Bush, Blackwell pushed the election in the right direction. Greg Palast reported:

“…Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s Secretary of State, told his State Senate President, “The possibility of a close election with punch cards as the state’s primary voting device invites a Florida-like calamity.” Blackwell, co-chair of Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, wasn’t warning his fellow Republican of disaster, but boasting of an opportunity to bring in Ohio for Team Bush no matter what the voters wanted. And most voters in Ohio wanted JFK, not GWB. But their choice won’t count because their votes won’t be counted.” (

But the crazy doesn’t stop there with Blackwell – he’s quite a multi-tasker. In 2004 he also led the successful push to amend the Ohio constitution to make it unconstitutional for the state to ever allow gays to marry or even have civil unions. That got him the attention of the Family Research Council which made him the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment.

OK, so why does all this matter? Well, unlike a lot of rich people these days they don’t mind opening their checkbooks (they just don’t like being taxed).

In 2004 they ran brutal campaign ads against Howard Dean calling him a “tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving left-wing freak” . More recently, they spent $1 million in New York’s 23rd district to back Sarah Palin’s Conservative Party insurgent candidate Doug Hoffman. Luckily, the Republican Party Candidate Dede Scozzafava stepped down and backed the Democrat who won. It’s important to note that the 23rd district has nearly the same population as the state of Alaska. It’s the first time in decades that the seat has been held by a Democrat.

The Club for Growth also has a history of spending big money in Alaska. In a state that you can run a statewide campaign for cheap national money makes a big difference. In 2008 they dropped $350,000 in the Republican Primary for U.S. Congress, running attack ads on incumbent Don Young – the King of Pork. The ads never mentioned his opponent Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (who lost by by a couple hundred votes) but either way, they pushed the election to a close finish.

If the Club decides to spend money in Alaska, and that seems very likely with Murkowski back in the race, we can expect to see even larger numbers. The write in candidate, Senator Lisa Murkowski will likely take the brunt of the attack, and the Club will no doubt go after every earmark that she’s had a hand in.

Joe Miller has said “It takes a lot of money to run a clean campaign,” and just recently Sen. Murkowski has said “the gloves are off.” It may be best if small town mayor Scott McAdams just stands back and rises above the fray, taking the hits about his so-called ’inexperience’ with stride.

With a little luck “The Beard” and the daughter of Daddy Murkowski will destroy themselves.

Zach Roberts is currently in Anchorage filming “The Rogue Candidate: Sarah Palin’s REAL Alaska.” He previously worked with BBC journalist Greg Palast as a researcher and producer. Follow him on twitter at zdroberts.