Joe McGinniss

Nick Broomfield Palin film to debut in Toronto

I left Alaska before Nick Broomfield got there last year, but I’ve been in email contact with him and know he’s spoken to many of the friends I made there in 2010.

I also know the high quality of his work.

Thus, I’m delighted to learn that Nick’s Palin documentary will be a highlight of the Toronto Film Festival from September 8-18.

I couldn’t have a better opening act for THE ROGUE, which will be published on September 20.

Let me rephrase that: I don’t consider Nick Broomfield an opening act for anyone. He’s one of the best documentary filmmakers in the world, and I’m proud and happy to share September with him. Let’s hope his “Sarah Palin–You Betcha!” will receive national distribution throughout the U.S.

Regarding THE ROGUE, so much is happening in terms of national media bookings that my return to Alaska may have to be delayed.

Looks like there will be so many Lower Forty-Eight media appearances between mid-September and mid-October that I simply won’t have time to make the long–and longed-for–trek back to Lake Lucille and environs until after the first wave of fun and furor has subsided.

I’ll share details here as soon as I’m permitted to do so.

But for now, like the book itself, details of publicity appearances are embargoed.

To put things in perspective: My family

last spring that I had rented a house next to hers on Lake Lucille so I could watch her mow her lawn or peer into her daughters’ bedrooms, hundreds of her sick-o-fants sent me abusive and threatening emails.

I wasn’t bothered by the threats, nor was my wife, Nancy, who’d been with me in Alaska in 1976–when she was an award-winning reporter for the Anchorage Daily News–and who came back to join me on Lake Lucille last summer.

But I wasn’t going to subject the beautiful children pictured above to any sort of danger.

After a right-wing radio talk show host broadcast my personal email address, I had to open a new account.

And after Palin fanatics put my home phone number online, Nancy began to receive threatening phone calls.

One charming commenter on Andrew Breitbart’s website posted this:

“Joe’s lonely wife needs mail, phone calls and other assurances of concern and good will in Joe’s absence.”

Some psychos even went to my agent’s Facebook page and began to threaten his wife.

And one of my sons, the father of a very young child, was warned that because of my having moved next door to the Palins, his toddler might not be safe.

Then I got an email that said:

“hey, Joe, sleep with one eye open, you POS. can’t wait for your grandkids to show up and play in the woods and water.”

I’m sorry to say that after receiving that threat I canceled all plans to have my children and grandchildren visit me in Alaska last summer.

It’s too bad. The kids pictured above, who range from fourteen to four, are warm and wonderful and not only love and enjoy each other, but would have been quick to invite little kids from next door to come over and play in our yard.

But I wasn’t about to put my grandchildren in somebody’s crosshairs.

So we never had a great Alaska reunion last summer. Sarah’s bullies spoiled that.

But they couldn’t spoil this past weekend, when all seven grandkids and their parents–my children–were here, at our real home.

You want to talk family values, Sarah?

Mine against yours any day of the week, babe.

I’m blessed to have a family as enriched by true values, as inspired by love, and as giving and caring as any on the face of our sweet earth.

What a joy it’s been to have everyone here.

I especially enjoyed the comment from one of the kids, who said, “Grandpa, why did you waste all that time writing a book about a crazy lady nobody even remembers any more?”

Out of the mouths of babes, eh?

Will she in Waukee?

I don’t know who these nice folks are, but you can find them on the city of Waukee, Iowa home page.

Waukee is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state of Iowa. Think of it as Wasilla, with Des Moines as Anchorage.

Don’t these young Christian patriots look all set to welcome Sarah to their home town on September 3, when she’ll arrive to speak at a Labor Day weekend Tea Party rally?

Her kind of people, fer sure. “Rill” Americans with small town values, not the motley assortment of colors and creeds to be found in demon-infested cities. According to a 2004 special census, Waukee was more than 96 percent white. Just the sort of place, in other words, to provide the perfect backdrop for, say, the announcement of a presidential candidacy by a politician whose supporters are also more than 96 percent white?

Does anybody remember September 3, 2008? Just three years ago? When a previously unknown governor of a state with only three electoral votes electrified a political convention with a speech that launched a thousand nightmares?

Sarah places great stock in symbolic dates. The third anniversary of her Republican convention speech comes only eight days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

So will Sarah seize the day?

Waukee, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Why my next book will be about Bruce Springsteen

No, I’m not happy about the concessions President Obama is making to the right wing in a last, desperate attempt to save us all from a constitutional and financial meltdown whose consequences most of us can’t even imagine.

The belligerent–and (though I think it’s juvenile to make fun of people’s names) boehnheaded Republican leadership represented by John Boehner (and cheered on from afar by newly-minted millionaire Sarah Palin, who wants to keep all she’s got) would be willing to sink the ship on which we all find ourselves in 2011 in order to drown the president in 2012.

There’s a word for that. The word is “treason.”

President Obama has been forced to abandon his hopes of moving us forward. Now it’s all hands on deck to save us from drowning.

Among those whom I’d guess are sickened by the way the Republican right has dragged us all into this Sargasso Sea of self-destructive selfishness is Bruce Springsteen.

It was my admiration for the way Springsteen has maintained his artistic integrity over forty years–even as he matured and came to see that rock and roll was not in and of itself a cure for the human condition– that first interested me in writing about him.
Not to mention my flat out love for his music, both with and without the E Street Band.

But what’s come to interest me about him more, the more I’ve learned, has been my growing awareness of his unwavering concern about the gap–now a chasm–between the glorious promise that America once offered and the sordid reality of 21st century capitalism and the blighted political system that supports it.

The extraordinary journalist/essayist Mikal Gilmore interviewed Springsteen almost twenty-five years ago for a story included in Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock & Roll.

Here’s what Bruce Springsteen said, in 1987:

“The idea of America as a family is naive, maybe sentimental or simplistic, but it’s a good idea. And if people are sick and hurting and lost, I guess it falls on everybody to address these problems in some fashion. Because injustice, and the price of that injustice, falls on everyone’s heads. The economic injustice falls on everyone’s head and steals everyone’s freedom. Your wife can’t walk down the street at night. People keep guns in their homes. They live with a greater sense of apprehension, anxiety, and fear than they would in a more just and open society. It’s not an accident, and it’s not simply that there are ‘bad’ people out there. It’s an inbred part of the way that we are all living. It’s a product of what we have accepted, what we have acceded to. And whether we mean it or not, our silence has spoken for us in some fashion.”

How much worse is it now, almost twenty-five years later?

Boehner says sink the ship and Sarah says reload.

And even those of us who can converse on the internet are not the real victims.

The real victims are those who cannot.

NYTimes update on Norwegian madman: Sarah, are you watching, listening or reading?

“OSLO, Norway — The Norwegian man charged Saturday with a pair of attacks in Oslo that killed at least 92 people left behind a detailed manifesto outlining his preparations and calling for a Christian civil war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination, according to Norwegian and American officials familiar with the investigation.

“As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II, a portrait began to emerge of the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, 32. The police identified him as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, while acquaintances described him as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.”

Calling Sarah Palin and Franklin Graham: can either or both of you demonstrate that this man’s beliefs differ from your own?

Will either or both of you do so?

Sarah, are you awake? Are you human? Can you feel?

Or do you think that, like Tucson, this has nothing to do with your rhetoric?

Can’t you see how much you’ve done to create a climate of intolerance and hate?

Well, maybe you can. Maybe you have. You’ve had nothing to say since the Norwegian catastrophe, but maybe you’ve at least Twittered about it, or had your Facebook ghostwriter draft a comment in your name?

Oops, guess not.

Here’s her most recent:

How about the rest of you “Christians?” Anything to say?

How come it’s racist, xenophobic, right wing “Christians” who go around murdering innocents in the name of their God?

When’s the last time a Buddhist slaughtered innocent people?

When’s the last time a Jew did?

Agnostics don’t leave a trail of blood behind them.

How come it’s organized religion–whether Christianity or Islam–that inspires hatred and violence?

“Maybe it’ll be great, maybe it’ll be crap”: Kevin Drum in Mother Jones re THE ROGUE

Kevin Drum says THE ROGUE “may rekindle a momentary, if unflattering, last hurrah for Palin.”

I remember Kevin from when he started blogging as Calpundit back in 2003. He’s always thoughtful and sometimes entertaining: there could be worse epitaphs for any of us.

So I’d like to assure him that while others will decide whether THE ROGUE is “great,” it’s not “crap.”

Must all books be either/or?

Kevin can decide for himself in September, but I’d also issue a friendly warning: don’t fall into the conventional wisdom trap.
It’s all too easy right now to say that Sarah is finished.

How many times have we heard this before?

Do you really think she’s not preparing a late summer/fall p.r. blitz?

Do you really think her ego, and her “mantling” and “annointing” by her God will allow her to just fade silently into our memories?

I’m still inclined to think she’ll announce that she’s running for president.

Of course, she might wait until September and then announce that she’s not running, in the hope that such an announcement will reduce interest in and publicity for THE ROGUE.

No, I don’t really think Sarah has made me her top priority as she plans her future, but I know that she’d like to hurt me in any way she can.

And I’m ready for that, whatever form it takes.

Personal to Kevin: let me know what you think when you read THE ROGUE. Better yet, let all Mother Jones readers know.

Guns, Guns, Guns: They kill more people than nuclear weapons. UPDATE//Sarah’s record in Wasilla


Crazed gunman kills at least 80 teenagers at summer camp on island near Oslo.

Why is a deranged person able to assemble his own arsenal, anywhere in the world?

I’ll leave it to the Norwegian government to answer that question in their own terms, after they bury their innocents.

But I’ll tell you why it happens in the USA: because our politicians are cowed by the gun lobby and the GOP, and any
crazy person who wants one can have himself or herself a gun almost overnight. And that’s legally.

Every time an innocent person is gunned down by a lunatic with a gun, spatters from the blood fall on the hands of U.S. political figures who blindly shout about “the right to bear arms,” as if this was 1776, not 2011.

Naming names? Who has been more outspoken about this than Sarah Palin?

Is she directly to blame for the catastrophe in Norway? Of course not. No more than she was directly to blame for the near-assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson.

But do she and her followers, who preach the virtues of private citizens owning firearms, have at least metaphorical blood on their hands every time a new madman shoots innocent people, whether children or adults?

You bet they do.

Will the Norwegian catastrophe change attitudes in the USA?

Might it move Sarah to say that maybe private citizens should not be allowed to build their own arsenals?

You bet it won’t.

Sure, people kill people. But crazed people armed with guns are killing more and more, every day, every month, every year.

Who’ll stop the rain?
11 Who’ll Stop the Rain


As I write in the THE ROGUE, during Sarah’s first campaign for mayor of Wasilla, she was in favor of two things:  allowing Wasilla bars to stay open until 5 a.m., instead of closing at 2 a.m., and allowing concealed weapons to be carried in bars and banks and on school grounds.

During her first term as mayor, she signed an administrative order that permitted the open carrying of weapons in the town library and in city hall.

Just so it’s clear:  Sarah has been talking her gunslinger’s talk and walking her gunslinger’s walk right from the start.

Palin Family Friend Jeremy “The Rat” Morlock Starts Squealing on Buddies to Save His Own Ass

That’s Wasilla’s own Jeremy Morlock holding the firearm, gleefully celebrating the murder of yet another unarmed Afghan civilian.

Jeremy got out of his prison cell yesterday to rat his brains out (not that he has many) as part of his weaselly deal to serve only seven  years in military prison before returning to Wasilla to  be Grand Marshall of the Fourth of July parade in 2018.

After all, he only murdered darkies, and they’re not real people anyway.

You think Wasilla won’t welcome The Rat home?

Before he went on his murder spree in Afghanistan, he’d already been charged with assault against his wife.

Maybe because she’d told him she didn’t want to go to bed with him at just the moment he threw a beer glass at her and pressed a lit cigarette against her chest?

In that case, he’d only been acting as a good Christian, according to the “thinking” expressed in a column published in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman.

Yes, Sarah’s hometown paper–the same one that said last summer that Todd or Sarah would be justified in killing me if, as a neighbor, I’d ever stepped across their property line (not that I even fired a shot over Todd’s head when he came barging into my yard to try to scare me off)–has just printed a column in defense of spousal rape.

As Amanda Coyne notes in the Alaska Dispatch, the columnist writes:

The truth is that God has given to us physical needs we commonly refer to as a “sex drive,” and he has designed for these to be met within the bounds of marriage. The trouble comes when one spouse or the other decides to exact retaliation against the other because of some offense and withholds him or herself from his or her mate. This is wickedness, and such is a violation of the spirit of marriage on the part of the withholder. Thus, if these allegations of spousal rape are due to the wife withholding herself in attempt to control or punish her husband, she is out of line with God. And it doesn’t matter how many laws are passed, it will just be another reason why God will not bless America.

So the recession is all your fault, ladies, because you don’t put out for your drunken, violent husbands, who are merely acting upon the “sex drive” that God gave them. If only you’d lie back and think of the Queen, God would bless America again, and unemployment, high health care costs, and all other social ills would disappear.

Except maybe for Palin family friend, Jeremy “The Rat” Morlock.

Working on my Bruce Springsteen book proposal

All quiet on the Sarah front, so I’m starting to develop the proposal I’ll soon send to my publisher regarding the book I’d like to write about Springsteen.

As a fan, I go back to the beginning of Bruce’s recording history. I was living near Philadelphia and listening to Philly radio stations like WMMR when they started to play songs from his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 1973.

We’re both in our sixties now, but both still going strong.  If you drained the Great Salt Lake in Utah, you could fill the basin to overflowing with the sweat Bruce has left behind on stage over forty years, giving his every audience every bit of himself.

After three years of Sarah, it’s a joy to contemplate writing a book about someone who’s made such a difference to America in such a positive way over so many decades. In his life, his recordings, and especially in his electrifying stage performances, Bruce has shown that America still can be the land of hope and dreams.

As more and more of us find ourselves, “ten years down the road, nowhere to run…nowhere to go”–as it becomes ever more clear that our economy will never again be what it was in the 20th Century, as joblessness rises along with the costs of health care, as corporate interests crush the common man as brutally (though perhaps with more polish and finesse) as in the Robber Baron era–the strength and clarity of Bruce Springsteen’s vision of democracy and celebration of individuality and of the sheer–if only occasionally realized–joy of being alive is perhaps more vital than ever.

More on Sarah and THE ROGUE as the need arises or as the impulse occurs, but right now I feel like a guy who’s spent three years in a dark cellar and is suddenly Blinded by The Light.

FYI: my CONDE NAST PORTFOLIO piece about Sarah and failed gas pipeline

I’ve gotten some queries about this, so for those of you who haven’t found it elsewhere on my website or on the internet, this is my March, 2009, cover story about Sarah and her failed attempt (which at the GOP convention in 2008 she claimed as a success) to create an Alaskan natural gas pipeline:

I think I recall that Sarah called it “yellow journalism,” or something equally felicitous.

I know I recall that when Todd and I had our face-to-face encounter in my back yard on Lake Lucille, on Monday, May 24, 2010, he called the story a “bunch of crap,” “a bunch of lies,” and “a bunch of bullshit.”

Those Palins sure have a way with words, don’t they?

By the way, Sarah, how’s that AGIA stuff workin’ for you now?