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Friday, January 28, 2022

Anchorage Tea Party Embraces Extremes

I decided to pop in and see what was happening over at the Anchorage Tea Party’s candidate forum Monday night, because (believe it or not) that is my idea of a good time. And also so you don’t have to go. You, after all, are a regular person and it is not your idea of a good time.

As I worked my way through the drizzly parking lot, I noticed that several candidates were advertising themselves on their cars. They ranged from the “so very Alaskan” duct taped model:

To the “OMG I’m a State Senator! Look at ME!” mobile:

On the way in, I noticed Democratic candidate Michelle Scannell, who is running against Republican Rep. Mia Costello, talking on camera to KTUU. She wasn’t invited to speak at the event, she said, but didn’t let the non-invitation deter her. She brought a little red step stool and addressed the crowd before the event started. You can read her account HERE.

The lobby was full of tables, and signs and buttons, and cookies. The room set up for the forum, which looked like it seated 110-120 people, was full with another 30 or so standing in the back.

As I was setting up my video camera, someone was giving an introduction to the event, brimming with rhetoric about the evilness of liberals and how they were going to ruin the country, and culminating with the directive, “If you can’t be like Andrew Breitbart, you may as well just sit on your hands.”  Because as we know,  Andrew Breitbart was all about working together and finding common ground on which we can build a foundation for better, stronger communities, right? It’s a shame that Tea Party is so keen on condemning “liberals” that they fail to realize that especially on issues of civil liberties, “liberals” have a lot more in common with them than they think. But, you have to stop being angry long enough to notice, and so far this crowd has given me no reason to think that’s going to happen any time soon.

I hunkered down, and the show began, but not until another announcement about how all the Democratic candidates were indeed invited, because the Tea Party is all-embracing like that. The candidates were divided into two panels, and they made sure to note that there were many candidates present and who wanted to participate, but for whom there was no room.

The first group up consisted of the following candidates: Jeff Landfield, Bob Bell, Gabrielle LeDoux, Kim Skipper, ?, Jimmy Crawford, Senator Cathy Giessel, Rep. Kevin Meyer, and Clint Hess.

First up for Panel A was a “lightning round” in which a question was asked, and candidates had to either raise a red paddle if they disagreed with the statement, or a green paddle if they agreed with the statement. Often, talk radio host Dave Stieren who was moderating the event was kind enough to tell the candidates how to vote. A couple times, I noticed a candidate carefully peek over to see how his/her fellow candidates were voting before choosing a paddle.

The first question right out of the chute was:

Do you agree with Governor Scott Walker regarding his actions curtailing collective bargaining?  All said yes.

The next question addressed was the third rail of Alaska politics, the thing you never… never EVER touch, the sacred cow, the sacrosanct and beloved Permanent Fund Dividend check. To talk about taking money out of this fund, or tinkering with it, or even looking at it funny, is to throw yourself off a political cliff. The voters will have none of it. Yes, Alaskans will decry socialism as they sit patiently waiting for automatic deposit day when their share of the state-owned oil resources comes home, and they can buy that plasma TV, or those airline tickets to Hawaii.

So when the moderator asked if the panel thought that the permanent fund system was “broken” and needed to be “fixed,” I thought to myself, “Trick question. Nobody in their right mind would ever say they wanted to mess around with the PFD.”  But, lo and behold… Senator Cathy Giessel raised that green paddle.

Good luck trying to get near our PFD checks (aka bowl of treats).

The best part of the lightning round was that if a candidate had to actually stop to consider their answer before raising the paddle in the air, they were “embarrassed” by a woman wielding a waffle. Yes. A waffle. A woman named Catherine Hicks, was the designated waffle-nazi, and when anyone paused, she would run over and shove an Eggo waffle down onto a spike in front of their seat. And thus, the candidate was labeled a “waffler” for not having an immediate knee-jerk response to the sometimes convoluted questions. That’ll teach ’em. Thoughtful, considered answers not allowed!

~The Waffle Lady… lurking behind Jeff Landfield and Bob Bell.

Once the waffle lady started, there was no stopping her. It was more fun to watch the indignation of those who got waffled than anything else. Gabrielle LeDoux looked like she was ready to clean the waffler’s clock after the third waffle got jammed on her spike. The waffle would sometimes appear out of nowhere, when no discernible amount of time had passed, and candidates would shrug and stare at each other in disbelief, like a pigeon had just flown over and made a deposit on their plate.

As the lightning round progressed, it was interesting to note that the Chair of the Education Committee (Kevin Meyer) doesn’t believe that school districts should have the right to lobby elected representatives.

All candidates support HB88 stating that Alaska should not recognize “foreign” (Sharia) law.

They all support Stand Your Ground legislation.

When asked if legislators should take a pay cut from $70k to $30k plus per diem, the two sitting legislators on the panel were at odds. Giessel said no, Meyer said yes.

Everyone wants an in-state gas line, but most don’t want the state to have any part in building it or owning it.

Everyone supports a road to Nome. Most support a railroad to Nome and SouthEast.

Then came a real jaw-dropper. “Do you support the complete privatization of Alaska’s school system?”  The moderator made sure to repeat that the question said “complete.”  Both sitting legislators raised their green paddles. Yes, Senator Cathy Giessel, and Senate Education Chair Kevin Meyer are on the record stating that Alaska ought to abolish public education, thus proving that I can still be surprised.

~While it may look like Cathy Giessel is scheming and plotting so hard to eliminate public education that her hair has actually begun to catch fire and smoke, that’s only the Aleution Islands on a large silver map of Alaska on the wall behind her.

The second part was questions from the audience that were either directed to the entire panel, or to a specific candidate. It was loosely structured so that if a particular person wanted to chime in, they were generally accommodated. Sometimes names were pulled from a jar, but if the moderator didn’t want to use the name he pulled, he’d simply pull another name, or finally just decide who he wanted to ask when it was clear he wasn’t going to draw their name.

Question for Rep. Kevin Meyer – As someone familiar with the oil industry what do you think of the governor’s plan to give away $2b in tax breaks without increased production guarantees? (And by “someone familiar with the oil industry” we mean “someone who actually gets his paycheck from ConocoPhillips.)

Meyer – “Yeah, great, thank you for that question. What you’re not hearing is that we’re not going to give any tax breaks or any changes to ACES without some promise or guarantee there will be more production. That’s the part you don’t hear. (You don’t hear that part because it’s not actually true. The only reason we haven’t yet is because the Senate bipartisan working group put a stop to the whole thing.) And when you have more production, then you’re not going to lose that $2 billion. In fact, in the long run we’re going to more than make up that money.  So none of us in the legislature want to make any changes to the oil taxes without some assurance there will be more production. 

Mr. Meyer is probably talking in a roundabout way about ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva who told an Anchorage audience that the top three oil companies – ConocoPhillips, Exxon and BP — would consider roughly $5 billion in additional investments on the North Slope should the governor’s oil tax proposal (HB 110) pass, generating up to 90,000 barrels of oil.

Under the state’s tax system, Alaska shoulders 60% of this investment through credits and deductions. So, in TruthLand, the oil companies’ share of the investment is an estimated $2 billion, while Alaska picks up $3 billion. So, even with Mr. Meyer’s nice little vague talking point scenario, Alaska would lose an estimated $10 billion under HB110 by the year 2020.

But wait… he’s not done.

“But what we do know right now is that we are not competitive in Alaska, and the investment is going elsewhere and until we make that change, we’re going to continue to see a decline in our oil production, and as was mentioned, next year’s budget which starts July 1, $105 is break even – we’re currently at $93, so that means we’re at a deficit. If we average $100, then we’re going to have an $8 million deficit.”

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin…  Even the governor (another Conoco man) has something to say about that.

The governor apparently thinks we’re competitive under the current system all the way to $60-$80 a barrel. You guys need to get your numbers straight. But apparently you’re mostly successful in convincing this crowd of Tea Party patriots that giant multinational corporations really do have their best interest at heart. (I wonder when they’re going to figure out that they don’t? You’d think it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.)

Do you support a woman’s right to choose? Raise a green paddle if you support “abortion on demand,” (as opposed to abortion by request if someone else agrees?) and a red paddle if you don’t.

Not one supports a woman’s right to choose. No surprises there.

Group A was shuffled off, and the next panel took their places – Lisa Vaught, Chris Eichenlaub, Rep. Dan Saddler, Rep. Bob Lynn, Assemblyman Dick Traini, Barbara Bachmeier, Liz Vasquez, and Bob Roses.

And the lightning round begins for Panel B!  (My thoughts in red)

Will you support moving the capital to a more central location?
All yes.

Do you believe the state of Alaska will be forced to implement an income tax within the next five years given that the decline curve, according to Senator Paskvan is inevitable (he’s not here) and we will run out of money before we run out of government. Do you envision the need for a state income tax?

(I love the gratuitous swipe at a Democratic Senator from Fairbanks for not driving down to Anchorage to participate in the local Tea Party forum.)

Vaught – No.
Eichenlaub – No.
Saddler – No.
Lynn – No.
Traini – Yes
Bachmeier – Yes
Vasquez – Yes
Roses – Yes.

A brief exchange about how things are now, versus how the candidates would like them to be. Moderator Dave Stieren says teasingly, “That’s what we’re here for – hope and change!”

“Booooo!” says the crowd.  Booooo Hope!  Booooo Change! Ssssssssssss.

I’ll ask this panel the proverbial Scott Walker question since he’s a wee bit of a rockstar – Do you support the actions taken by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in regards to dealing with government employee unions?

Vaught – yes
Eichenlaub – yes
Saddler – yes
Lynn – no
Traini – no
Bachmeier – yes
Vasquez – yes
Roses – yes

Let me pause here for a minute by saying that I do secretly and not-so-secretly like a couple of people on this panel. I don’t often agree with them, but they are not the type to vote with the herd because they can’t defend their actual position. They are not afraid to HAVE an actual position, and they definitely are not the ones peeking to see what color everyone else’s paddle is. So, a little tip o’ the hat to Dick Traini and Bob Lynn.

Do you support term limits for Alaska legislators?
Lynn – No
Roman – Yes
Traini – Yes
Bachmeier – Yes
Vasquez – Yes
Roses – Yes

In an amusing exchange, Dick Traini almost makes Dave Stieren swallow his tongue. In one fell swoop he slams Dan Sullivan and explains that the only reason he rejoined the Republican party after decades of absence is because they have finally put a national candidate on the ticket he can support.  Here is the back and forth.

Would you join a bipartisan group similar to the one in the senate?
All no.

Do you support the ballot initiative on Coastal Zone Management?
All no.

Would you support making Alaska’s Attorney General an elected position?
Vaught – yes
Eichenlaub – yes
Saddler – no
Lynn – no
Romanovsky – no
Traini – yes
Bachmeier – yes
Vasquez – yes
Roses – no

This is an interesting question. Do you want an AG who is beholden to the governor? Or do you want one who is elected and can be bought by whomever has the most money to donate to their campaign?  I would have gotten a waffle on this one.

Do you support a school voucher or student scholarship system of education in Alaska?

All yes, except Dick Traini who says, “I like to see public education available to everybody. I worry if we go to a voucher system that you’re going to end up with segregated areas, and an education system that divides society. When every group has their own educational system, it doesn’t make our children understand each other, and I raised eight of them… I know what I’m talking about.”

This wish for understanding, and a bringing together of the next generation elicits an audible hiss from an audience member. And someone calls out “They’re already segregated.”

The next one cracked me up. A specific question was asked of Bob Roses about a bill sponsored by his opponent, Senator Bill Wielechowski.

Would you vote on your opponent’s bill to ban gasoline price gouging?

Roses – “First of all, my opponent, every time there’s an election comes out with an anti price gouging something-or-other. Last time it was natural gas, the time before it was something else. This time it’s going to be gasoline. And if we really had a situation where we had gouging, we have laws on the books right now. They just need to enforce them. And so, would I support the current bill that he has? No, I wouldn’t. Do I think we’re currently gouging people? You take a look at what’s happening with the prices and the way our prices are structured based on what it costs to bring it out of Seattle, I’d venture to guess you can do all the studies you want and you’re not going to find that anybody’s gouging. Do I like the prices the way they are? No, but doing another study and going after another energy company just because it’s an election year doesn’t make sense.”

That’s right. Can you believe the nerve of the guy who keeps trying to protect Alaskans from being screwed? He just does it over and over again! Trying to prevent price gouging repeatedly, with no shame! What is WRONG with that guy? Clearly Alaskans who live near the resource, and live near the refinery should be paying $1.50 more at the pump than people in South Carolina, right? Bob Roses just bets that if you studied it, you wouldn’t find anything at all. Why are you just doing popular things for the people, and picking on the energy companies Bill Wielechowski? Why??

By the time he was done, I had to bite my cheeks to keep from laughing out loud, or making some kind of involuntary snorting noise.

Do you support amending the Alaska State Constitution to allow for parental choice in education?

Lynn – yes
Romanovski – yes
Traini – no
Bachmeier – yes
Vasquez – yes
Roses – yes

How do you feel about Agenda 21 and Title 21?
(Title 21, for those of you who don’t know,  has to do with zoning issues in Anchorage. We’ve been working on a rewrite of the 1969 code for almost ten years.  Since then, Anchorage’s population has more than doubled, and there are more cars than people. We are not growing by spreading out…since we already did that. Now we are growing by filling in. Title 21 is designed to reflect this new dynamic, and promote the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, and to put things like building and subdivision requirements, and the design of open space and trails into real concrete terms. It’s called “urban planning,” Tea Party. And it makes places nice to live.

Romanovski: For those of you here who don’t know what Agenda 21 is, it’s basically world government coming from the U.N. So, Title 21 is something that’s being implemented here on a local level that kind of mirrors the U.N’s Agenda 21. I want the local citizens to have as much say as possible in their society and not have central planning from the federal or world government.

World government? Really? Clearly Mr. Romanovski who is running for a state house office in Alaska is so busy worrying about World Government and the UN, that he doesn’t even know that Title 21 has been under exhaustive and extensive citizen review for well over six years, and yet our current mayor and his minion Dan Coffee (who’s got a nice $60k consulting contract) are busy dismantling the will of the people, and the things the public already says it WANTS. Whether we have some trees planted in vast swaths of asphalt surrounding box stores is not mirroring some diabolical plan from the federal or world government! It’s coming from people who attend community council meetings who want a beautiful city. The mind reels.

Would you support the removal of fluoride from Anchorage drinking water?
Vaught – no
Eichenlaub – yes
Saddler – no
Lynn – no
Romanovski – yes
Traini – No
Bachmeier – yes
Vasquez – yes
Roses – no

Would you support parents’ rights to opt out of vaccinations for their children?
All vote yes, except for Bob Lynn. Dan Saddler later changes to no, and gets a waffle.

Lynn – “I think we need to protect our children. Vaccinations have protected millions and millions of people. There could be certain cases where it’s medically not advised for some reason, but we need to protect our children, and vaccinations would do that. We need to protect our kids.”

Romanovski – “You know, vaccinations might protect some children, but it should be every parent’s choice if they want to vaccinate their child. An unvaccinated child is not a threat to a vaccinated child. So why do we need to require vaccinations?”

Stieren (Moderator): If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, the child gets sick, and the parents are not able to pay for the cost of the health care the child needs to recover from the illness. The cost then refers to the state or federal government. How do you deal with the long term impacts of parents making that decision and the possible consequences that now lie at the feet of the state or federal government?

Romanovski: That’s health care reform, and um… you know, you don’t want to be passing these costs on to the public but at the same time you can’t um… I mean… you know… I don’t know why we’re required to treat everyone. If it’s not a medical emergency, you go to the hospital… I mean if you’re going to die from measles, or mumps or whatever it is, because you didn’t get vaccinated, um… that’s too bad. But, I mean, parents need to be… they need to have the freedom. I mean you can’t… you could die from the vaccination itself.

If you die from measles or mumps because your parents didn’t vaccinate you, that’s too bad.

Saddler: I raised the green on that, and I got a waffle for it. That raises… that puts two top issues comparing to each other. One is parents choice, which I do want to respect, and then there’s the public health. I’m a proud member of the Rotary Club and one of our international missions is eradicating polio. And if you don’t totally get every case of polio, it comes back. Yes, parents have the right to take care of their children, but if someone’s got smallpox on a ship, they quarantine that person until they’re sure they’re safe. I don’t know if that’s a really clear answer… I’m sorry but that’s why I would probably take it back and say no.

~No, Dan Saddler. Thinking better of things is not allowed! Every major decision you make must be instantaneous and irrevocable! Here comes a waffle!

What is holding up the legislation to shut down all the unconstitutional search and seizures when entering any state or federal building and the airport? (Stieren struggles with reading the question, and eventually gives up and just asks, “What are your thoughts on TSA?”)

Romanovski: I’m against unconstitutional search and seizures. You don’t start sticking your hands down someone’s pants and hope you find something. We’re so addicted to federal money that we’re willing to do anything for it including selling our sovereignty and our rights.

Eichenlaub – Talks about the privacy clause in the state constitution, which is designed to protect people from unreasonable searches and seizures.

And on this one, many of those dreaded “liberals” agree with you. The privacy clause also figured heavily in not only dismissing the state charges in the recent militia trial, but also in legalizing abortion in the state. Wonder if they know that?

And with that, the forum came to a close. I grabbed a peanut butter cookie to replenish myself, and hit the road. Below are a few photographic memories from the evening.

~Well, it just wouldn’t be a Tea Party without the Mayor’s “Party Planner!”

~Rep. Don Saddler, Rep. Bob Lynn, and Roman Romanovski

~Interesting. Candidate Barbara Bachmeier showed up at the Democracy for America Democratic Campaign Academy last fall. She attended all weekend, and  is now availing herself of that knowledge by running as a Republican and courting the Tea Party constituency. I’m sure we can expect that same level of integrity from her if she gets elected.

~Bob Roses, the man silly enough to run against “The Best Bill in Juneau,” Sen. Bill Wielechowski who cares about ridiculous things like how much Alaskans pay at the pump.

~Liz Vasquez stares as only she can, while she gets waffled.

~Dick Traini. He owns a cannon. I just thought that was interesting.



32 Responses to “Anchorage Tea Party Embraces Extremes”
  1. J Wilkes says:

    Looking over this site today….due to the DQ of Barbara Bachmeier GOP for residence issue.

    Your news review of the “great unwashed” is pretty cruel… it’s a bit too easy to cherry pick
    issues and candidates …..especially since you don’t allow them to respond.
    so the term “fair & balanced” doesn’t really apply to your branch of the drive by.
    Mudflats slate seems a little arrogant to common folk. .

    But….we did find it interesting that Bachmeier attended the Democratic academy. For someone running
    on GOP ticket . this appears out of line..

  2. francine Lastufka Taylor says:

    Jeanne Devon,
    One of the things that the tea Party has going for it is political theatre. It’s entertaining, funny, participatory, much more interesting than the demos and liberals get togethers. I have always marveled at how much entertainment is part of conservative churches and how skilled they are in producing TV weekly shows of dancing ,singing, plays, on and on. Jerry Prevo’s church is the best at these productions with the most sophisticated and expensive TV productions that enable them to acquire incredible amounts of money for their causes because they broadcast their sunday services on major TV networks to the entire community. Pretty smart.

    We know the Tea Party has linked arms with conservative evangelical churches and their practices. If you were uninformed about politics as a voter you can get sucked in to this frightening conformity ideology. Think about how exciting it can be to be a part of a movement like this where you don’t have to analyze anything, educate yourself on the ramifications of this political philosophy and how much fun it would be to be a part of this movement.

    We need to have more fun as progressives and still stay faithful to our values and philosophy. We might get more attention and participation from some of those independents out there if we didn’t take our selves so boringly serious.

    The Tea Party Forum sounded like a John Stewart or Steve Colbert political skit.

    francine lastufka taylor

  3. Charles says:

    I would like to point out what I believe is a factual error in the story:

    When Sentor Meyer reffered to the $93 per barrel price of oil he was reffering to the state’s budget. The state will deficit spend by roughly 800 million dollars if oil were to average at $100 per barrell in the next year at the projected TAPS throughput.

    The Govonor’s tweet however reffers to our state’s production tax percentage when oil prices are lower. What the Govonor was saying is that at lower prices he believes that the state’s percentage is a fair take. However, at current TAPS throughput the state would be in a deficit at those lower prices.

    Senator Meyer and the Govonor are in fact in agreement. They were quoted speaking about two different things.


  4. The Lawman says:

    Remember folks – more people then politicians – and the law is your light in the darkness of deceptions…

  5. Mike Bradner says:

    Congratulations to Jeanne Devon for excellent coverage and offering the public an interesting perspective on our elected and those seeking election.

    The waffle?

    American politics and Democracy is made up of waffling, if one wants to call it that. Another word for waffling is consensus making, the same thing our constitutional framers we’re doing in Philadelphia over 200 years ago.

    I’ve been involved in, and/or writing on Alaska politics for fifty years now, and I have never seen a forum quite like this. Diversity is what makes America what it is and the most important diversity is ‘intellectual diversity” and tolerance of the same.

    Mike Bradner –

  6. banjobailey says:

    I must say, this is the funniest reporting on one of the funniest only-in-America political meetings I have ever enjoyed. I have been laughing out loud all day long over the vision of the waffle lady dashing out and waffling these people, and with such enthusiasm. SMACK, goes the waffle on the spindle. Time after time. We can only hope the Tea Party takes the idea to Tampa and entertains the whole world with recording setting waffles.

  7. Joe Huber says:

    Great job, AKM. Thanks. Scary bunch.

  8. Mag the Mick says:

    Back in the bad old days when I was in the Peace Corps, there was an outbreak of diptheria in a village about 30 km. from me. As I was the closest boots on the ground and knew how to give injections, World Health delivered the vaccine and syringes to me, and I hitched a ride out on the Coca Cola truck to try and get the village vaccinated. I guess it was a success, but five babies or little kids died before we got any help to them. I remember riding a bus back to my town, along with a couple of the tiny coffins. It was so sad, and totally preventable. Obviously, I’ve never gotten over that one. I’ve been a huge advocate of childhood vaccination ever since, and hope it doesn’t take an outbreak in this country before people come to realize the value of immunizing their kids.

  9. zyxomma says:

    I know this isn’t an open thread, but after reading this, I feel compelled to share good news. The Supreme Court has declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional.

  10. Well done, AKM. I appreciate your risking your sanity so that those of us who can still think logically aren’t forced to suffer. Or be thrashed and thrown out by saying what we really think. Thanks you.


  11. AC says:

    Wow, what an extraordinary group of non-thinking, read-meat, say anything for a vote, ninnys!

    Working together = bad
    Public education = bad
    Decent pay = bad
    Taking a moment to think about what you are going to say = bad

    Spending billions of dollars to move the Capitol = good

    I wouldn’t let these ‘leaders’ walk my dog……

  12. Alaska Pi says:

    I’ve read this 3 times now and am more horrified with each read.
    So, no on bi-partisan working groups. Goody. Fools.
    So, yes on amending the state constitution to allow public monies to be spent on private education. I guess
    the part about equal opportunities and protection under the law and everyone having corresponding obligations to the people and the state needs to be fixed up for these folks.
    “Article 1 – Declaration of Rights§ 1. Inherent Rights
    This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the State.”
    I’m not sure” I want mine, go get your own if you can ” really fits the tone and tenor of our state constitution though.

    I would urge these folks to spend some time reading death certificates and statistics for the early 1900s before they shoot their mouths off about vaccinations. Add em up folks, just like I did after my dad told me he survived tetanus in the 30s when so many he knew did not.
    One of my great grandmothers had 12 live births. Six of those babies died within the first year of vaccine preventable illnesses, a seventh died as a young adult of a vaccine preventable illness. Good odds, folks. good odds. Pffft.

    Any waffle received for not playing shoot-from-the-hip-before-the-question-hits-your-brain might be considered a real prize and worthy of receipt.

    Did you keep a tally of waffle receipt totals AKM? It might be useful for voters come election time- much the same as the failing grades for legislators who don’t toe the oily line should be.

  13. thatcrowwoman says:

    hahahahacaw Caw CAW!
    Thank you for the Tea Party Virtual Field Trip, AKM.

    *taking away this pretty pebble to play with and to ponder*
    Can I make school board meetings and other “chores” My idea of a Good Time?
    hmmmm…a fresh perspective…

    but meanwhile, here’s an oldie but goody,
    “Vote Republican” by Roy Zimmerman

  14. AKblue says:

    I am in awe of your courage, AKM. Do you wear a foil hat at the meetings so the cacophony of muddled thinking doesn’t disrupt your brain waves?

  15. slipstream says:

    Always nice to see a photo of the party planner!

  16. Lacy Lady says:

    These people are Scarry!!!!!!!!!
    In fact, all the Reps in Washington are scary.
    I wrote Sen Grassley today, telling him that if the people in Washington can’t do the job they were sent to Washington to do, they should all resign.
    They have all sold out america to the highest bidder. And tomorrow we will see if the supreme court finishes the job.
    If we loose medicare—-I wonder if people who are on medicare will realize they have been asleep while the wolves killed all their sheep.
    And John is right about Germany after Hitler came into power.

  17. Andy Holleman says:

    Thank you for going and reporting back out. This leaves an awful lot to think about. Not “a great deal” but an “awful lot”.

  18. Jag24 says:

    Waffle Lady came– who is bringing a fish next time?

  19. Mo says:

    Aren’t you ever just a teensy, weensy bit tempted to surreptitiously set off a stink bomb in the midst of gatherings like these?

  20. John says:

    Thanks for this report. I noticed the Prudential sign in the background. I guess I know where I won’t be going next time I need an real estate agent.

    What did Bob Roses, the former teachers’ union president, say about unions and privatizing education?

    There is evil in this world and it sounds like a big hunk of it was at that meeting. I’m currently reading In The Garden of Beasts, which describes Germany just after Hitler rose to power. The similarities are frightening.

    • Jeanne Devon says:

      Prudential did not sponsor the event, but did rent out their conference room, I believe.

      Bob Roses stated that he had always supported public education, but felt that people should be able to decide whether there should be a constitutional amendment about school choice. I was surprised by that.

  21. tmm says:

    Great report, as always, AKM.

    I’ll be laughing about the waffles for days.

  22. InJuneau says:

    Oh, wow, just wow. Thank goodness I live in a place without that. And bravo to you for putting up with it for the good of your neighbors. I can’t imagine…

  23. cathie russell says:

    Just discovered your little gem the “Mudflats and really appreciate your time and effort to inform the public what’s going on–I of course would never attend this meeting but am glad that your ears and eyes were there to illuminate us–You communicate masterfully and I get to reap the rewards of info without having to muck up my boots–You go girl!

  24. Tele says:

    WOW. Waffles? Hissing “understanding”? Kids dying from preventable disease is “too bad”? Holy hell, you’re an amazing person, AKM – thanks for putting yourself out there and getting the stories.

    Me, I feel like bleaching my brain now, but will settle for heading out to sea for the next few weeks. Best wishes, Mudpups!

  25. “As I was setting up my video camera, someone was giving an introduction to the event, brimming with rhetoric about the evilness of liberals and how they were going to ruin the country, and culminating with the directive, “If you can’t be like Andrew Breitbart, you may as well just sit on your hands.”

    I’ll be the Ying to their Yang. Not only do I believe Conservatives are ruining the world, I think trying to work with them only empowers and emboldens them. They must be rejected and ejected from all seats of power. There is no other way,

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  1. […] of gray leads to inaction. Yet polarization is problematic during times of great change because it encourages us to act without thinking. Polarization is a consequence of hierarchical centralized control. Thinking for yourself is the […]