Rusty over Jawa report has done a fine job of digging into the people behind the lastest supposedly “grassroots” video that smears Sarah Palin. It’s a grand opus, and Rusty’s investigation has been every bit as thorough as the ones he does against internet Jihadis. (E.G. rumor has it that Al Qaeda’s latest tape was released six days late partially due to his efforts.) I highly recommend that you read it in full, then stop back by here for some background on Joe Vogler and the AIP.
The professionally produced PR firm video attempts to tie Sarah Palin to the Alaskan Independence Party and Joe Vogler, and that was a real hoot since the ties are so weak, and since everyone in Alaska knows that the chances of AIP getting a secession vote are nil, nada, nyet, no way, not going to happen. Even the majority of AIP members (about 1% of Alaska’s miniscule population) also know that the secession is just political theater with a point.
With the exception of a few real dedicated, passionate nuballs most are just there for the humor and to vent about the Federal Bureaucracies that have locked up most Alaskan lands and thrown away the key. During the many boom and bust periods of Alaska’s economy AIP has floated many petitions, and there are very few Alaskans who haven’t signed one at one time or another. The ones I remember signing dealt with drilling in ANWR, and building a natural gas Pipeline.
I call them nutballs because some of the long term members occasionally expouse conspiracy theories where general government malaise and liberal environmental stasism are the real cause.
Some of them spout everything from the Trilateralists, to gold conspiracies, to Johnson had Kennedy shot; in other words they would fit right in at a Hollywood party, a troofer convention, or a John Birch meeting. (Few people realize how thin a barrier separates the Hollywood elite kooks from the Birchers and the deluded troofers, they are all tied together by a willingness to believe in the preposterous over reality when given the choice, witness people like Michael Moore and David Duke.)
I grew up in Alaska, and Joe Vogler as well as AIP are part of the background of some in the state, but you will find them mostly in Fairbanks Alaska. Joe’s a colorful character – ok character is too non descriptive… let’s call him a passionate nutball. However Joe’s one of the passionate nutballs who pioneered Alaska, and he was a patriot who worked and fought for his country. His beef with the US is more with the bureaucracies and the fact that they claim-jumped his mining stake, you would be hard pressed to find a more ardent defender of the US Constitution however. He just thinks modern Fed Bureaus do not follow it.
Think of Joe as an alcoholic Ron Paul without the baggage of past prejudices. Joe Vogler was always strongly in favor of the US Constitution, I know this because I’ve had a few conversations with him on the subject; a couple of times at Tommy’s Elbow room, and a couple of times at Bob’s Saw Shop, both in Fairbanks.
What he wasn’t in favor of was the extreme Federal lock up of land and resources in Alaska. The Secessionist movement has always had some stated goals, but they are more interested in achieving the same rights that other states enjoy when it comes to their natural resources. The parts of Alaska that aren’t federal preserve, parkland, military base, or owned by the Native corporations are few and far between, and the amount of land in private citizen hands is tiny. When you see the Lower 48 blocking development in Alaska ala stopping drilling in ANWR is when you will see the AIP membership rise. The people still vote R or D when they hit the booth however.
That’s Joe’s and AIP’s beef, and to Sarah Palin they are also constituents so it’s natural that she would send a video greeting to their convention.
AIP is mostly political theater – to paint it as much else is really preposterous. To paint Joe as some kind of malevolent anti-us dingbat is also bit off the mark, to be sure he has no love of the Park service, BLM, and the other federal agencies that keep Alaska in the 19th century. However he was a true patriot who loved the US constitution, and he was one of the few people who can say they helped fight off a foreign invasion of US soil. You can hear him at link number 5 on this page describing what it was like.
You will also see some of the conspiracy theories he believed, e.g. link number one, he’s on the same page as Pat Buchanan on WWII, and it’s idiocy to be certain. In Alaska there’s a saying that goes something like “We attract a lot of real winners, but we get our share of losers”. Where’s Joe on that spectrum? You decide.
UDPATE: Please Revisit Jawa Report for Updates: The sites and vids in question have been nuked but not forgotten, Rusty was smart enough to take their cyberprints.
Update II: We have a carefully crafted confession designed to protect the PR firm and Obama. More here.