Monthly Archives: March 2013

If You’re Taking Flak, You’re Over the Target

by Whitney Pitcher

A lot has already been written about the John Avlon piece at the Daily Beast that casts Governor Palin as some kind of hypocritical charlatan who exploits donors to her PAC. I don’t want to re-hash what has already been said too much.  Please just read here, here, and here.

I do want to make a few points though. Please excuse this atypical format. I’m writing after a long work day combined with overindulgence in caffeine. If it’s not too violence inciting, I just want to make a few bullet points. I’m italicizing my sarcasm to avoid confusion:

* John Avlon is the co-founder of No Labels, an organization that is supposedly centrist, but stands for nothing in particular. This No Labels organization is classified as a 501c4, which is not required to itemize their disbursements nor reveal their donors. While Avlon is decrying SarahPAC’s FEC report, he himself doesn’t even have to report anything specific. No labels, no transparency. (By the way, Avlon’s wife is Margaret Hoover, former staffer in the Bush White House and in Bush’s 2004 campaign, meaning she worked with the likes of Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace).

* Avlon also tries to conflate a PAC with a political campaign. When Governor Palin called for consultants to be fired and pollsters to be furloughed, she was referring to the types of overweight consultant schmucks who told her what to eat, micromanaged her every move, and suggested to her running mate that suspending his campaign was a good idea in 2008.  If you want to look at the kind of “consultants” Governor Palin hired, consider the following descriptions  The speechwriter she hired, that Avalon snarkily blasted, is as grassroots as you can get, yet could run circles around Peggy “Thousand Points of Spite” Noonan. This speech writer is a from far outside the beltway and started as #justablogger who started a site you may have heard of with a $10 domain name purchase. Other “consultants” the Governor hired include advance people. You know the people who ensure that all the logistics are worked out when she stumps for candidates. Yes, those are the real entrenched guys who corrupt the political process that the Governor called out–the guys who make sure that she gets from the airport to the stump, make sure her notes are on the podium, and usher the Governor through rope lines, among a lot of other tasks. But wait, weren’t we told earlier this week that the Governor never talks to the grassroots? Additionally, there are those who do things like assist with clerical and administrative things like websites and mailing lists, and of course, a treasurer. But, no, Palin should not pay a treasurer to make sure she’s in compliance with the oh-so-simple FEC regulations! She should just use TurboTax, just like that smart guy who used to be a Cabinet secretary. 

*Avlon also mentions that Governor Palin spent a chunk of change on postage for direct mailings. What’s that? A political figure sends out direct mailers. That never happens! It’s amazing that Governor Palin employed a government agency like the post office as a “consultant”! Shouldn’t the Left be praising the Governor for being so generous to an agency that is essentially bankrupt? Or are they saying that Governor Palin should hand deliver her mailings by snowmachine? This piece at RedState, written by a fellow Illinois conservative, goes into more details on specifics. Yes, I’m recommending a piece at RedState. They’re few and far between, but there are some good ones.

*Avlon also whines about the return on investment of Palin’s endorsements and the amount of overhead, but he fails to mention the limits that PACs have on giving. He’d rather take advantage of the fact that casual readers won’t know the FEC caps on giving. The maximum amount a PAC can give is $5,000 per election (general and primary are counted separately). Even if the Governor devoted one-third of her spending to candidates, she would have to give the maximum to both the primary and general elections to over 150 candidates, but even then I suppose she would be criticized for hiring any staff and not supporting 450 candidates.  She should have endorsed every GOP Congressional candidate! However, Palin is a force multiplier (h/t RefudiateGOPe). When Governor Palin gives an endorsement, the phone rings off the hook  for those candidates. Perhaps we should just ask Senator Dewhurst how effective Governor Palin’s endorsement? No? 

* A final point. Social media is not the absolute barometer of what we loosely call the “conservative movement”, but it is a barometer. People who decried this news are the same ones who tongue lashed conservatives who were critical of Romney in 2012. They certainly didn’t have a problem when news came out weeks before the 2012 general election that Governor Romney’s campaign invested over a hundred million dollars in consulting firms owned by his senior staffers and he lost! No circular firing squads, they say! Unless they’re the ones who get to hold the gun. This is par for the course in the “conservative movement” though. When Governor Palin worked her butt off to try to get McCain elected generating more excitement in the GOP than had been there in over 25 years, she ultimately got blamed for the loss. When Governor Walker was getting hit with a recall, the GOP and “conservative movement” was eager to help, but when Governor Palin got inundated with dozens of frivolous ethics complaints, crickets. When Governor Palin was cast as accomplice to murder in Tucson, there were conservative bloggers and some media personality who defended her, yet again, overwhelming crickets from her own party machinery. However, when Ann Romney was told “she never worked a day in her life”, you couldn’t get Mr.overgrown college Republican and the RNC to calm down in demanding an apology.  Today, you certainly didn’t hear outrage when Marco Golden Boy spent over 90K of his PAC donors’ money on political consultants in just the month of February alone, did you?

I’m tired of this. Tired of the lies. Tired of the finger pointing and intellectual dishonesty. Tired of the attacks. However, as the World War II saying goes, “if you’re taking flak, you’re over the target”, which is good if you’re loaded for bear:



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The Blagobamajevich Sequester: Paper Cuts, Not Real Cuts

by Whitney Pitcher


In the Fall 2008, then Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich had to make cuts to attempt to balance the state’s budget. In doing so, Blagojevich decided to close numerous state parks and historic sites:

 Gov. Rod Blagojevich is closing the parks and historic sites to help balance the state budget. Never mind that some of the parks he is closing actually make money. Never mind that all of them bring in substantial tourist revenues that create and support jobs in nearby towns. Never mind that millions of visitors each year enjoy our Illinois parks.

Never mind that people all across America are getting ready to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday on February 12th of next year. Anyone planning to visit the Lincoln Log Cabin on Goosenest Prairie near Charleston, the last home of Lincoln’s parents, or the Vandalia Statehouse, where Lincoln served as a state legislator, will be locked out, too. Those potential visitors will have to find something else to do – along with the 450 employees whose jobs are being axed because of Blagojevich’s budget cuts.

In addition to the park closing and job cuts (mostly in southern and central Illinois), Blagojevich closed a prison in central Illinois.  At the time, southern Illinois Republican state senator, Dave Luechtefeld said, “I know he’s trying to make people feel the pain.” In short, rather than making better, prioritized cuts, Blagojevich made cuts that hurt people furthest away from his Chicago most.

Does this sound familiar? 

President Obama is using the same political tactic today with the sequester. In the past, President Obama has criticized Republicans for wanting to use a hatchet to cut spending while he wants to use a scalpel. Meanwhile, the President is currently making small paper cuts and adding salt to the wounds.

The White House is closed for tours, but open for business. Additionally, much like Governor Blagojevich, under President Obama, the National Park Service is making oddly prioritized cuts, as Anne Sorock at Legal Insurrection writes:

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk’s handling of the situation: freeze permanent hires, hire fewer seasonal employees, and delay plowing entrances to the park by two weeks, resulting in late openings. In response to Wenk’s decision, local business owners that would be hurt by the delayed opening (estimated loss at $250,000) banded together via the chambers of congress to provide equipment and personnel to facilitate plowing, reviewed in detail by Bill Croke at the American Spectator.

Yet what has been lost in this story is Wenk’s inability to make a different type of cut.

I spoke with a resident of Jackson, WY, a gateway community to Yellowstone, who mentioned the recent construction of a network of bike paths that go up into the park, each path afforded bridges to cross rivers. The use of park rangers to put forth environmental evangelization — is there room for a cut there, at least in order to save the communities $250,000 in lost business?

To be sure, both parties are responsible for the sequester happening at all and  for the massive spending that was the impetus for such legislation. A Republican majority House passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 that eventually triggered sequestration, and the Democratically controlled Senate and White House supported it too. However, the President has “flexibility” in how those cuts are made through apportionment, transfer authority, and reprogramming, which allow for agencies to shift money between accounts. For example, the Department of Interior could shift money into the National Park Service “account” or within that “account” to re-prioritize funding.  The American people have had to engage in such budget re-prioritization when the “fiscal cliff” deal allowed the payroll tax holiday to expire. Why can’t the federal government do the same? This tax holiday expiration is the equivalent of a 2% pay cut for most people, which interestingly, is the same percentage of cuts present in the first several months of the sequester.

If you look at the massiveness of federal spending, the spending cuts in the sequester are minimal. In 2013, the cuts actually amount to $44 billion, not the $85 billion usually reported. Additionally, FY2013 spending will ultimately be $20 billion higher than FY2012. The only cuts being made are those paper cuts affecting tourists to the White House and national parks and others throughout the country, like the non-government employee air traffic controllers whose towers will closed later this year. If the president truly wants to get surgical with his budgetary analogies, why is he augmenting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Authority while he is giving paper cuts to Americans? The answer is simple. The sequester is a not a budgetary tool; it is solely a myopic divisive political tool that the President is modeling a fellow Illinois corruptocrat.

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CPAC Infiltration and the Dirty Half-Dozen


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Governor Palin: What is America’s Leadership Thinking?

by Whitney Pitcher

On her Facebook page, Governor Palin shared this clip of President Obama’s ridiculous comparison of Palestinian-Israeli conflicts to American-Canadian disagreements:

She also writes:

Regarding this comparison, is he thinking it’s America or Canada that would be lobbing mortars across the other’s border to strike fear and kill innocents? And is he thinking that America is compared to Israel or Palestine? Or is it Canada that’s more like Israel or Palestine? Really, friends, if anyone else, ANYWHERE, had made such a claim, that person would be skewered and pilloried forever. Again, what is America’s leadership thinking?

She is absolutely right. Canada and America are allies. Our disagreements are based on issues like whether or not the Keystone pipeline should be built, and people certainly aren’t fearing for their lives over these disagreements. Also, since when has an American leader said the following about Canada,” I will never allow a even a single Canadian to live on American land”? Never! But that is exactly what Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said about Israelis in 2010. Disagreements over energy policy are one thing, but disagreements over a nation’s claim to its own land are another. Again, what was President Obama thinking with his ridiculous moral equivalency argument?


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Will ACES Be Discarded?

by Whitney Pitcher

During her CPAC speech last Saturday, Governor Palin included some Alaskan constitutional populism (emphasis added):

If Mrs. Thatcher were with us here today, she would remind us that there is a big difference between being pro-business and being pro-free market. On this there can be no mistake where conservatives stand. It’s time for “We the People” to break up the cronyism and put a stake through the heart of “too big to fail” once and for all.

That includes these resource-rich states like Alaska, my home state. Read your constitution, Alaskans. Realize that the natural resources that God has created for man’s use — they’re not owned by the big multinational conglomerates and the monopolies. They’re owned by the people. They don’t own them, so don’t let them own you. You have a right to those resources to be developed for our use.

Governor Palin rightfully notes two important issues in particular–1) the Alaskan constitution’s charge that development of resources for the good of the people 2) the warning that the people (and politicians) of Alaska  not allow themselves to be owned by the oil companies.

The Alaskan constitution notes that the state’s natural resources belong to the people and are to developed for their maximum benefit :

 The legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people.

Governor Palin’s point is especially salient and timely when it comes to Alaska’s natural resources. On Wednesday night, the Alaska state senate passed a bill that if passed in the House and signed by Governor Parnell would overhaul the oil tax reform plan, ACES, that Governor Palin signed into law in 2007. Unlike Governor Palin’s ACES, however, this bill was not discussed in a transparent and comprehensive manner:

 The newest version of the oil tax bill was introduced Thursday. In the hours before it passed there no public testimony. There was no testimony from Alaska’s independent oil explorers. The only industry testimony came from Alaska’s Big Three oil producers, which had been invited to testify.

“It was sort of striking that the oil industry gets a chance for public comment and the rest of Alaskans don’t,” Wielechowski said.

Many of the smaller independent players in Alaska’s oil patch are the beneficiaries of tax incentives aimed at new production from new fields, rather than the strategy pushed by Parnell and championed by legislative leaders of pumping oil, faster, from known fields.

Testimony from the Big Three acknowledged that the oil-tax changes proposed under SB 21 would make Alaska a more competitive tax environment. But they would not promise new production.

One of the positives of ACES is that smaller, independent oil companies have been able to develop in Alaska. In fact, the number of oil tax returns filed with Alaska has increased 383% since ACES was passed. Annual capital expenditures have nearly doubled since FY2007, meaning that producers are engaging in increased infrastructure development (i.e. more rigs) and the like. These expenditures are helping to lead to increased profits for even the major oil companies. For example, in 2012, 13% of Conoco Phillips’s oil and gas development occurred in Alaska, but Alaska contributed to 34% of their income. Additionally, according to Alaska’s own labor statistics, oil and gas jobs increased more than 15% between 2007 and 2012.

So, why is there a push for reforming ACES? Because of the very thing that Governor Palin warned against in her CPAC speech–being owned by the oil companies. In theory, the Senate bill is better for the oil companies because it flattens ACES’s tax rate and provides incentives for new oil. This sounds pro-business, right? That’s what Governor Palin warned about in her CPAC speech as well. There’s a difference between the invisible hand of the free market and the hand-in-hand “pro business” relationship between business and government. This “hand-in-hand” relationship is the very type of relationship that was the impetus for ACES being passed in the first place, as the Murkowski administration prior to Palin’s administration was shrouded in corruption due to the pay-to-play deals between the oil companies and lawmakers. Governor Parnell has not had that kind of relationship in his dealings, but he has had a revolving door relationship between the oil industry and politics. As I wrote nearly two years ago:

In the early and mid 1990s, Parnell served in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate. Following his time in the Senate, Parnell became director of government relations for ConoccoPhillips. He then went to work for Governor Murkowski as the director state division of oil and gas from 2003 to 2005. During part of this period time, Governor Palin had served as an oil and gas commissioner until she encountered unethical behavior from another commissioner and Alaska GOP chair,Randy Ruedrich, and she resigned and lodged a complaint against Ruedrich. Prior to running for Lt. Governor in 2006, Parnell worked at Patton Boggs, a law firm that represented ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil in the Exxon Valdex oil spill case.

Although the bill was passed in the Senate, it was proposed at the request of Governor Parnell. He found 11 allies in the Senate, and the bill passed 11-9. One Senator, Peter Micciche, who is also employed as a ConocoPhillips natural gas plant supervisor,  paid lip service support to ACES, indicating he would reject Governor Parnell’s proposal. However, Micciche ended up voting for the modified Senate bill that Governor Parnell applauded.

The Senate bill removed the capital expenditure credits that ACES has, which particularly benefited the smaller companies who were not given the opportunity to testify before the Senate. The credits gave companies breaks on infrastructure development and expansion (e.g. new rigs) and the like, which because of economies of scale, helped smaller companies (with their smaller budgets) be able to grow.  This was another thing Governor Palin noted during her CPAC speech, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”.  Such may be the case for these smaller companies who were not given a voice in these Senate debates.

ACES has not only helped boost Alaskan jobs and investments by oil companies, it has strengthen Alaska’s fiscal health. ACES has helped create $16.5+ billion in state savings and has contributed to Alaska being upgraded to a AAA credit rating by both Fitch and Standard and Poor’s in the past 14 months. As a House committee begins to discuss this bill today, one would hope that, rather than appeasing the oil companies for increased production that may or may not occur, legislators would look at the economic and overall fiscal benefits that ACES has brought to the state.


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Here’s to Liberty!: Governor Palin’s CPAC Prescription

by Whitney Pitcher

While the GOP issued a 2012 GOP “autopsy report” yesterday, Governor Palin played political apothecary on Saturday in her barn burner of a speech on Saturday at CPAC. Her prescription for the GOP and the conservative movement was not one of consultants, pandering, navel gazing, and restraint of principles, but a prescription of the grassroots, outreach,optimism, and liberty. If the energy from the ballroom where she gave her speech could be harnessed, America would be energy independent in no time.

Governor Palin realizes that the circumspection for the GOP post-2012 should be pretty simple: the GOP lost, and President Obama won. Rather than dwelling on the defeat, she opted for a positive, “tundraroots” message of looking to focusing on the people, rather than the politicians and consultants. In doing so, she lreferenced an op-ed penned by fellow Lady Liberty, Margaret Thatcher, after her party lost in England in the mid 1970s which in part read:

Politicians should not be either professional efficiency experts or amateur industrial consultants. Their concern is with people, and they must look at every problem from the grassroots, not from the top looking down. International interest rates must be thought of in terms of the young couple’s mortgage as well as of the balance of payments.

Her speech was a rhetorical Expo Eraser to the dry erase board wielding architects of the Republican party. She called out the architects of political destruction like Karl Rove and called for re-building the country rather than attempting to re-brand a party. She called for liberty in the political process and encouraged more everyday Americans to run for office free from the constraints of focus groups, pollsters, and the like that are nothing more than political pyramid schemes.

As has been her bread and butter issue for her entire political career, she called out the cronyism of the permanent political class and called for embracing pro-free market principles. Again, she focused on liberty. The liberty that comes from opportunity of the invisible hand of the market, not the clenched fist of socialism or the hand-in-hand workings of crony ties between business and government.

One part of her speech that received the greatest crowd approval was Governor Palin’s recognition of the College Republicans. In doing so, she called for young conservatives to not only drink Sam Adams, but to think Sam Adams. Adams, of course, was one of the Founding Fathers and signer of the Declaration of Independence. His words more than 230 years ago were akin to Governor Palin’s speech when he said, “Nil desperandum, — Never Despair. That is a motto for you and me. All are not dead; and where there is a spark of patriotic fire, we will rekindle it.” That’s the patriotic optimism of Palin and Adams.

What received the largest response however, as shown in the clip above (H/T Ryan), was not what she said, but what she did. In our image driven, visual culture, a meme is worth a million words, such the Palin “Liberty Pose” that has gone viral over the last several days, so much so that my grandma even shared it on her Facebook page (with no prompting from me whatsoever). With a single swig, Governor Palin took a shot at the government overreach of the Bloombergs of the political world. One of her heroes, C.S.Lewis once said, “[o]f all the tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of the victim may be the most oppressive”, and Palin’s toast  brought that quote to life.

The media, who weeks before had written the Governor’s own “autopsy report” after she chose not to renew her contract with Fox, were all in attendance to document her supposed irrelevance. Here is just one section of the media covering her “irrelevance” during her speech:

If that wasn’t indication enough of her continued influence, here is the list of the topics trending on Twitter immediately following her speech:

It’s not just about media coverage though–legacy media or social media–nor is about Governor Palin herself. It is about re-building a country, as she stated in her speech. Whatever her future plans may be, she certainly has called to arms those who toast to liberty along side of her and are willing to fight for liberty and American exceptionalism. It’s what #sarahpalindoes.

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Incredibly Inspiring Photo: Sarah Palin as Lady Liberty

By Gary P Jackson

If you saw Sarah Palin’s speech at CPAC 2013 you know she took a jab at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his attempt to usurp New Yorker’s personal Liberty and Freedom. To make her point, Sarah took a sip of a Big Gulp.

When Sarah left the stage, she held up the cup of soda in a triumphant pose:

Sarah Palin CPAC 2013 Ovation

The lead photo was taken from behind Sarah and has already turned into quite the sensation. Sarah Palin standing there, in silhouette looks a lot like Lady Liberty herself in New York’s harbor. She truly looks magnificent in this pose.

Our friends at Organize4Palin took note and tweeted this:

This was followed up by a call for Conservatives to make their own Palin Liberty Pose:

As you can imagine, liberals everywhere are absolutely losing their minds over this, which makes it all the more delicious.

Tony Lee notes even left wing NY Magazine reports Sarah looks like Lady Liberty:

Readers are invited to post their own Liberty Pose in our comments section, as well as tweet them to AGU.

May we always be happy, and may our enemies always know it

~ Sarah Palin


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Video:Ted Cruz Closes CPAC 2013 with an Amazing Speech

By Gary P Jackson

This was well worth the wait on Saturday. Ted Cruz is the future of the GOP. An amazing speaker who does more than just talk. He walks the walk.

I am very proud to say this man is my Senator, a statement I have never been able to make about any of the others from Texas!


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Video: Phyllis Schlafly at CPAC 2013

schlafly, phyllis

By Gary P Jackson

Another great speech from CPAC 2013. Phyllis Schlafly is a strong Conservative woman. She pulls no punches here. Enjoy.

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Video: Sarah Palin Rocks the House at CPAC 2013

Sarah Palin CPAC 2013

By Gary P Jackson

Another incredible speech by Sarah Palin! Ted Cruz, who will be giving the keynote this afternoon, surprised the crowd by coming out to introduce her. Cruz gave huge credit to Sarah for his big win here in Texas, and for all of the other candidates who owe their wins to her.

Looking rested, and absolutely beautiful, She takes it to everyone: Obama, the corrupt GOP establishment, Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, Nanny Blooomberg, and so on.

Too many great lines to pull out all the quotes.


Sarah enjoyed a Big Gulp while hammering Bloomberg:

Sarah Palin CPAC2013 Big Gulp Closeup

As she triumphantly left the stage:

Sarah Palin CPAC 2013 Ovation


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