Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sophia Petrillo Eats Corn on the Cob

Random post time. I was just going through some videos on my computer, and I found this one from a few summers ago. I have one of the most eccentric cats you'll ever meet. Here's a short clip of my cat Sophia Petrillo with her favorite food, corn on the cob. Everyone love random youtube clips of animals, right?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Governor Palin's Top 10 Policy and Political Statements of 2010

As it is the last week of 2010, in lieu of a "Governor Palin on the Issues" post this week, I'd like to compile a list of Governor Palin's Top 10 Policy and Political Statements of 2010. You can find the first two "Governor Palin on the Issues" posts on monetary policy here and on entitlement programs here. Perhaps this can serve as an easily digestible version of some of Governor Palin's policy stances for Charles Krauthammer, Dana Perino, Peggy Noonan and other Republicans ostriches who have willfully had their heads in the sands for the past two plus years. Through Facebook, op-eds that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and National Review among others publications, and speeches, Governor Palin has weighed in on many of the important policy issues facing America today. She has also been the most bold conservative voice in America--challenging Republicans to stand firmly on the planks of the Republican party. There are, of course, more than ten policy and politically focused areas Governor Palin has taken a stand on this year, but it is my hope that this will serve as a summary. The selection of these particular ten statements are merely the opinion of one ordinary barbarian. They are listed by title and are in no particular order.

1) The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
Following the 2010 Midterm elections, Governor Palin penned a piece at the National Review entitled "The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward". In this piece, Governor Palin provided 4 lessons that Republicans can learn:1) set the narrative 2) fight back the lies immediately and consistently 3) get out the mother of all GOTV efforts in 2012 and 4) a winning conservative message must always be carefully crafted. Here is an excerpt from this excellent piece:
The last, and possibly most important, lesson is that a winning conservative message must always be carefully crafted. If candidates are going to talk boldly on the campaign trail about entitlement reform and reducing the size of government, they must be prepared to word it in such a way as to minimize the inevitable fear-mongering accusations of “extremism.” We are quickly approaching a fiscal turning point where these crucial reform discussions will be mandatory. We need to speak about them in a way that the public will embrace. During his first run for the presidency in 1976, Ronald Reagan found out that election campaigns aren’t necessarily the best settings for quasi-academic discussions about issues like Social Security reform. So for his next campaign, he resolved to build his platform out of tried and tested policies like tax cuts. Successful candidates in the next election cycle will have to test and develop similar policy platforms that address the crucial issues of entitlement reform and shrinking government in a way that the voters will find pragmatic and even attractive.

2) Why I support the Ryan Roadmap
A few weeks ago, Governor Palin wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal expressing her support for Congressman Ryan's Roadmap to lead to a more financially stable nation through entitlement reforms, tax cuts, and spending cuts. Here is an excerpt:
Put simply: Our country is on the path toward bankruptcy. We must turn around before it's too late, and the Roadmap offers a clear plan for doing so. But it does more than just fend off disaster. CBO calculations show that the Roadmap would also help create a "much more favorable macroeconomic outlook" for the next half-century. The CBO estimates that under the Roadmap, by 2058 per-person GDP would be around 70% higher than the current trend.

Is Rep. Ryan's Roadmap perfect? Of course not—no government plan ever is. But it's the best plan on the table at a time when doing nothing is no longer an option.

Let's not settle for the big-government status quo, which is what the president's commission offers. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to make these tough decisions so that they might inherit a prosperous and strong America like the one we were given.
3)Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. "Enemy Centric Policy"
In June, Governor Palin gave a speech at Freedom Fest in Virginia where she spent a large portion of her time speaking critically of President Obama's foreign policy and his disdain for American exceptionalism. She later provided excerpts of this speech on her Facebook page. Here is a small part of that speech:
It’s not the only area where the Obama administration has failed our allies. They escalated a minor zoning issue in Jerusalem into a major dispute with our most important ally in the Middle East, Israel. They treated the Israeli Prime Minister shabbily in Washington. When a Turkish sponsored flotilla threatened to violate a legal Israeli blockade of Hamas-run Gaza, the Obama Administration was silent. When Israeli commandos were assaulted as they sought to prevent unmonitored cargoes from being delivered to Hamas terrorists, the Obama Administration sent signals it might allow a UN investigation into the matter – an investigation that would be sure to condemn our ally Israel and bemoan the plight of Hamas. Loyal NATO allies in central Europe were undermined by the cancellation of a missile defense program with virtually no warning. At the same time, Russia and China are given preferential treatment, while remaining silent on their human rights violations.
4)Bailouts Reward Bad Behavior
During her time as Governor, Governor Palin managed Alaska with such fiscal prudence that nearly bankrupt states like California, New York, Illinois, and Michigan would do well to study and learn from her how to budget and spend appropriately. She wrote a Facebook post highlighting what she did as Governor to help put Alaska on strong financial ground, and she suggests that struggling states who may seek a federal bailout to do the same. Here is a small part of the post:
It’s one thing to veto spending and reduce the size of government when your state is broke. I did it when my state was flush with revenue from a surplus – though I had to fight politicians who wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow. It’s not easy to tell people no and make them act fiscally responsible and cut spending when the money is rolling in and your state is only 50 years shy of being a territory and everyone is yelling at you to spend while the money is there to build. My point is, if I could fight this fight in Alaska at a time of surplus, then other governors can and should be able to do the same at a time when their states are facing bankruptcy and postponing this fight is no longer an option.

So, let’s not continue to reward irresponsible political behavior. Instead of handing out more federal dollars, let’s give the governors of these debt-ridden states some free advice. Shake off the pressure from public sector unions to cave on this issue. Put up with the full page newspaper attack ads, the hate-filled rhetoric, and the other union strong arm tactics that I, too, had to put up with while fighting those who don’t believe a state needs to live within its means. Stand up to the special interests that are bankrupting your states. You may not be elected Miss Congeniality for fighting to get your fiscal houses in order; but in the long run, the people who hired you to do the right thing will appreciate your prudence and fiscal conservatism.
5) Passing the Buck Doesn't "Plug the D#*! Hole"
Governor Palin was pointedly critical of the Obama administration's mismanagement of the oil spill in the Gulf this past Spring. As a governor of an energy producing state and as a former oil and gas commissioner, Governor Palin's opinion is particularly relevant. In May, Governor Palin posted a note on Facebook regarding this topic. Here is an excerpt:
The 1990 Oil Pollution Act was drafted in response to the Exxon-Valdez spill in my home state. It created new procedures for offshore cleanups, specifically putting the federal government in charge of such operations. The President should have used the authority granted by the OPA – immediately – to take control of the situation. That is a big part of what the OPA is for – to designate who is in charge so finger-pointing won’t disrupt efforts to just “plug the d#*! hole.” But instead of immediately engaging with this crisis, our President chose to spend precious time on political pet causes like haranguing the state of Arizona for doing what he himself was supposed to do – secure the nation’s border. He also spent much time fundraising and politicking for liberal candidates and causes while we waited for him to grasp the enormity of the Gulf spill.
6) Lies, Damned Lies-Obamacare 6 Months Later; It's Time to Take Back the 20!
In September, six months following the passage of Obamacare, Governor Palin coupled endorsements of 20 candidates up against Democrats who voted for Obamacare with a scathing rundown of all the ills of Obamacare. In November, 18 of these districts represented by Obamacare supporting Democrats elected conservatives to fill those seats. Here is a brief excerpt from that Facebook post:
So, yes, those rationing “death panels” are there, and so are the tax increases that the president also promised were “absolutely not” in his bill. (Aren’t you tiring of the untruths coming from this White House and the liberals in Congress?) When the state of Florida filed a challenge to Obamacare on the basis that the mandates in the bill are unconstitutional, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the suit by citing the Anti-Injunction Act, which blocks courts from interfering with the federal government’s ability to collect taxes. Yes, taxes! Once the bill was passed it was no longer politically inconvenient for the Obama administration to admit that it makes no difference whether the payment is a tax or a penalty because it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner.” The National Taxpayer Advocate has already warned that “Congress must provide sufficient funding” to allow the IRS to collect this new tax. Pretty soon we’ll be paying taxes just to make it possible for the IRS to collect all the additional taxes under Obamacare! Seems as if this is another surprise that the public found out about after the bill was rammed through.
7) Senate Republicans: Vote No on New START
Governor Palin wrote a piece for the National Review earlier this month outlining why the Senate should not ratify the START treaty with Russia. Many supporters of the treaty tried to claim that President Reagan would have supported the treaty, as one of his goals was reduction of nuclear arms. However, as Governor Palin points out, President Reagan increased not decreased missile defense as President Obama has done:
New START recognizes a link between offensive and defensive weapons – a position the Russians have sought for years. Russia claims the treaty constrains U.S. missile defenses and that they will withdraw from the treaty if we pursue missile defenses. This linkage virtually guarantees that either we limit our missile defenses or the Russians will withdraw from the treaty. The Obama administration claims that this is not the case; but if that is true, why agree to linking offensive and defensive weapons in the treaty? At the height of the Cold War, President Reagan pursued missile defense while also pursuing verifiable arms control with the then-Soviet Union. That position was right in the 1980’s, and it is still right today. We cannot and must not give up the right to missile defense to protect our population – whether the missiles that threaten us come from Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, or anywhere else. I fought the Obama administration’s plans to cut funds for missile defense in Alaska while I was Governor, and I will continue to speak out for missile defenses that will protect our people and our allies.
8 ) An Open Letter to Republican Freshman Members of Congress
In mid November, Governor Palin wrote an open letter to new Congressmen and women challenging them remain true to the principles they ran on and to remember that they are accountable to the voters. In this, Governor Palin also gave a great summary of her stances on the issues of Obamacare, spending, taxes, entitlement reforms, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, the START treaty, and border security among other issues. Here is a small excerpt:

You’ve also got to be deadly serious about cutting the deficit. Despite what some would like us to believe, tax cuts didn’t get us into the mess we’re in. Government spending did. Tough decisions need to be made about reducing government spending. The longer we put them off, the worse it will get. We need to start by cutting non-essential spending. That includes stopping earmarks (because abuse of the earmark process created the "gateway-drug" that allowed backroom deals and bloated budgets), canceling all further spending on the failed Stimulus program, and rolling back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels. You can do more, but this would be a good start.

9)Domestic Drilling: Why We Can Still Believe
Governor Palin's forte has always been energy. As a wife of a former oil field worker, an Oil and Gas Commissioner, and Governor of Alaska, she has the perfect expertise to speak to how energy independence provides jobs and helps secure our nation. She also provides the perfect antithesis to President Obama's overregulation. Governor Palin is a firm supporter of industry oversight rather than industry regulation. This approach holds energy companies accountable to the people while giving them the freedom to produce and provide jobs. Following the Gulf oil spill, Governor Palin offered her continued support for drilling for oil to fuel America:
All responsible energy development must be accompanied by strict oversight, but even with the strictest oversight in the world, accidents still happen. No human endeavor is ever without risk – whether it’s sending a man to the moon or extracting the necessary resources to fuel our civilization. I repeat the slogan “drill here, drill now” not out of naiveté or disregard for the tragic consequences of oil spills – my family and my state and I know firsthand those consequences. How could I still believe in drilling America’s domestic supply of energy after having seen the devastation of the Exxon-Valdez spill? I continue to believe in it because increased domestic oil production will make us a more secure, prosperous, and peaceful nation.
10) Palin to Bernanke:' Cease and Desist'
Governor Palin warned of the hazardous effects of the second round of quantitative easing by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Printing money will inevitably lead to inflation and other effects that will not help an already severely hurting economy. The National Review Online published some of her remarks on this from a November speech in Arizona. Here is part of that excerpt:
We shouldn’t be playing around with inflation. It’s not for nothing Reagan called it “as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber, and as deadly as a hit man.” The Fed’s pump priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared, and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed’s proposals “clueless.” When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it’s time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist. We don’t want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings. We want a stable dollar combined with real economic reform. It’s the only way we can get our economy back on the right track.
Governor Palin wrote numerous Facebook posts and op-eds on a variety of subjects in 2010. This list only provides a small taste. In addition to what was listed Governor Palin wrote about the Bush tax cuts, border security, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the mosque at Ground Zero, among others. Many of these posts were endorsements of candidates who received a great boost from her support. Her 140 character tweets even spoke volumes. In 2010, Governor Palin spoke at various industry conferences, campaign rallies, pro-life events, conservative conferences, and the like. Not too shabby for someone whom, according the Elites, isn't serious about policy; wouldn't you say?

Have a blessed new year, everyone! While many of Americans will be eating black eyed peas to ring in the new year, I hope that the elites acquire a taste for a steady diet of crow in 2011.They'll certainly being eating quite a bit of it in the coming year.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Juan Williams, Exit Stage Left!

Yet another one of Governor Palin's Fox News colleagues attempted to perpetuate the "dumb" meme regarding Governor Palin. Appearing on Fox News Sunday today, Juan Williams stated:
There's nobody out there, except for Sarah Palin, who can absolutely dominate the stage, and she can't stand on the intellectual stage with Obama.

After all, according to Williams, Governor Palin is nothing but a centerfold for conservative men, right? What should we expect? How in the world could a state college educated female and former journalist carry a candle to a Ivy League educated male president?

However, perhaps this time Williams is right. Governor Palin and President Obama can't stand on the same stage. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post describing the difference between Governor Palin's intelligence and President Obama's intellectualism:
The critics of Governor Palin’s intelligence miss the distinct difference between intelligence and intellectualism. Intelligence involves the ability to process and apply information in a successful manner. By comparison, Thomas Sowell, an esteemed economist, author, and favorite of Governor Palin’s, describes intellectualism: “at the core of the notion of an intellectual is the dealer in ideas, as such–not the personal application of ideas”. In 2009, Sowell wrote a book entitled Intellectuals and Society where he highlights how the role of “intellectuals” have negatively influenced all aspects of society–from economics to law to the media. The common thread that runs through each aspect that Sowell covers in his book is that intellectuals feel that they are needed to dictate to the unwashed masses how they should conduct their lives. This is where you get the intellectual politicians who feel that they should control the economy through regulations, taxation, and the like, and this is also where you get the pontificating pundits who feel that they know best. After all, they have the Ivy League education and the self-declared credentials to do so, right?

In just under 2 years as president, Obama has ushered in the government takeover of the healthcare, college loan, banking, and internet industries, in addition to extending the extensive government involvement in the auto industry that he supported during President Bush's administration. President Obama has given further regulatory control to unelected agencies like the EPA, FCC, and FDA. He has added more to the national deficit in 2 years than his predecessors did in more than 200 years. His stimulus package led to over 10% unemployment, when it was promised to prevent unemployment from going over 8%. President Obama kowtowed (or as I like to call it, bowtowed) to both America's enemies and union bosses. He pushed for a treaty with Russia that allows Russia to continue to produce nuclear weapons while America must halt weapon production; all the while reducing funding for missile defense. He mishandled America's most destructive environmental disaster in history by blaming the previous administration for his own appointees' failures. He is joined with foreign nations in suing the state of Arizona for desiring to enforce federal border security and immigration laws.

As Governor, Sarah Palin put $5 billion in state savings and decreased state spending by more than 9%. She reduced earmark requests by 80%. She stands for smaller government and reduced intervention by unelected, appointed bureaucrats. She stood firmly against the stimulus package and called for President Obama to veto the bill. She stood against cuts to missile defense and called for the Senate to not verify the START treaty. She called for the President to turn away from his "enemy centric" foreign policy. She stood for oversight of the oil industry and federal responsibility in cleaning up the oil spill, rather than burdensome, job killing regulations and drilling moratoriums. She stood with Governor Brewer in a desire to secure the border.

Governor Palin has private sector experience as a journalist, fisherwoman, and small business owner in addition to nearly twenty years of political experience between the city council, mayor's office, Oil and Gas Regulator, and Governor. President Obama has experience as a community organizer, state senator, and US Senator. By the time President Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Governor Palin already had three times as much executive experience as President Obama currently has. She has had to balance a budget as a small business owner and a governor, and she has understood the importance of handling both prudently and responsibility. President Obama established a deficit commission after he signed legislation that added more than a trillion dollars to the deficit--willfully oblivious to the effects of his lack of executive experience.

If you juxtapose President Obama's experience, policies, and record against Governor Palin's experience, stances and record, then I suppose Williams is right. Governor Palin cannot stand on the "intellectual" stage with Obama, and rightfully so. While President Obama' s supposed intellect has made us a less secure nation in every sense of the word, Governor Palin's gubernatorial record and stances would lead America to a more financial stable and a more secure nation.

Governor Palin stands on the stage of common sense, practicality, and smart governance. Juan Williams and President Obama can exit stage left.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Reagan's 1981 Christmas Address

I ran across this Christmas address from Reagan's first Christmas as President in 1981. Reagan blends a spiritual and patriotic message into his optimistic address. It is my hope that at Christmas 2013, Lord willing, America will receive a similar presidential message from a President Palin. I would like to wish all who happen to stop by this little blog a wonderful Christmas. God bless.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Does Childhood Obesity Make America Less Secure?

On December 13th , President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger Free Act of 2010, a bill aimed at improving school lunch programs and government food assistance programs for families and children by increasing funding by $4.5 billion over the next 10 years. The Obama administration cites support from a group called Operation: Readiness (emphasis mine):
“On behalf of Mission: Readiness and over 100 retired generals and admirals who support child nutrition legislation as a matter of national security, we are very pleased that the nation has taken this important step in addressing the nation’s obesity epidemic. Being overweight or obese is the No. 1 medical reason why young men and women are unable to join the military. Research shows that up to 40 percent of what children consume every day takes place during school hours and that 80 percent of children who were overweight between the ages of 10 to 15 were obese by age 25. The final bill includes provisions that can get junk food out of schools, nourish more kids who need healthful meals and motivate them and their parents to adopt healthful eating and exercise habits. Military concerns about the fitness of American children are not new. When the National School Lunch Act was first passed in 1946, it was seen as a matter of national security. At the time many military leaders recognized that poor nutrition was a significant factor reducing the pool of qualified candidates for service. Our country is facing another serious health crisis. Obesity rates threaten the overall health of America and the future strength of our military. We must act, as we did after World War II, to ensure that our children can one day defend our country, if need be.”

In Mission: Readiness' statement, they discuss a study about childhood obesity and physical eligibility for military service. They present valid data about the problem of childhood obesity in America and how this affects the number of adolescents and young adults who are eligible for military service based upon their weight. In fact, 42.4% of Illinoisans aged 18-24, the age when most enter military service, are overweight or obese. There is a definite problem. There could be a whole host of ways to address the problem of childhood obesity. Mission: Readiness, however, suggests greater governmental intervention including having the Department of Agriculture implement Institute of Medicine standards, increasing funding for school lunch programs, ensuring that all students eligible for free or reduced fee lunches are signed up for the program, and increasing school funding for educational programs aimed at students and parents. All of these suggestions require greater governmental funding and intervention.

The study received funding from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Birth To Five Policy Alliance, The Grable Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts and Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center of the States.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, one of the funders of this study, has a progressive bent in its mission favoring large government initiatives for health care and employment. They led a consortium of non-profits in a study known as the Assessing the New Federalism which concluded that adequate income and child care can be ensured by larger governmental spending and bureaucracy.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is also another funder of this study. Started by W.K Kellogg, the cereal producer, its mission took a progressive turn following his death in 1951 and views America as inherently racist. Therefore, this must be addressed through the many organizations that receive their grants--such as the Tides Foundation, ACORN, La Raza, and the ACLU to name a few. This Foundation changed their framework in 2008 to reflect the following goal:
The new framework also recognizes that the active pursuit of racial equity, the eradication of structural racism, and the rigorous encouragement of civic and philanthropic engagement are essential to creating a social context in which all children can thrive, including the most vulnerable.

The results of the study prepared by Mission: Readiness may be truthful and sobering. However,if this organization receives funding from other organizations that have a progressive agenda, the recommendations and conclusions must be taken as such. How can they been taken as objective if their funding is subjective?

Mission: Readiness claims that childhood obesity is a threat to national security, an assertion echoed by First Lady Michelle Obama:

Mission: Readiness cites that the National School Lunch Act passed in 1946 also mentioned that implementing such a school lunch program is a national security issue. In this era, the problem was a lack of nutrition. During World War II, many recruits were too thin to be accepted into military service, so the Truman administration passed this bill to ensure that students received proper nutrition. Mission: Readiness states that today childhood obesity is a national security threat and a hindrance to eligibility for the military because of obesity. While this may be a problem on an individual level, all branches of the military either meet or exceed their recruitment goals. Can Mission: Readiness truthfully cite a "reduced pool" of recruits? Can the Obama administration make this claim if the military has a sufficient number of troops? Childhood obesity may be an individual and public health issue, can it rightly be called a national security threat?

Crossposted here.

Trying to Put Lipstick on a Death Panel

Governor Palin invoked the outrage of many on the Left with her now famous "death panel" assertion in August of 2009. They claimed that statement of government-controlled rationing was nothing but a hyperbolic lie. Since then, former White House budget adviser Peter Orszag has admitted that Obamacare would sacrifice quantity of care for quality and efficiency, in effect, rationing. New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman has twice admitted that death panels are present in Obamacare. Medicare Commissioner Donald Berwick is upfront with his support for rationing of healthcare. President Obama's deficit commission has suggested the Medicare rationing would be a means of reducing the national deficit.

Depending upon a decision to come today, the FDA may begin to implement a form of rationing by preventing a drug to treat late stage breast cancer, Avastin, from reaching the market based primarily upon cost. The drug was shown to prolong life by an average of 3.5 months, though some survived for years. It was set to be finally approved, but a panel struck down this approval with a 12-1 vote. The drug is rather expensive, but was shown to be effective. An editorial from the Washington Examiner states:
Doctors and patients were then stunned last summer when the ODAC ruled, by a vote of 12-1, that the drug did not produce clinically meaningful results. Why did the panel deny the obvious evidence of Avastin's effectiveness? One member of the FDA's panel, Jean Grem of the University of Nebraska, said, "We aren't supposed to talk about cost, but that's another issue." If the FDA follows through on the ODAC's finding and revokes Avastin's approval, both the government and private insurers will quickly cease paying for its use on breast cancer sufferers.


Government bean counters were never supposed to determine what your treatment options are, and patient advocacy groups are justifiably outraged. If Avastin and other expensive wonder drugs are denied approval because of costs, proponents of government-run health care will have to no choice but to admit "death panels" have gone from rhetoric to reality.
Sally Pipes writes in Forbes:
Despite all evidence to the contrary, the advisory committee claims its recommendation had nothing to do with Avastin's cost. The FDA's top brass will doubtlessly take the same line and claim that its decision to ratify that recommendation was based solely on the drug's medical efficiency.

The truth is that Avastin is expensive. A year-long supply for breast cancer treatment costs upwards of $80,000.

However, many American women are getting something priceless in return for those dollars: life and vitality. In one clinical trial, nearly 50% of patients receiving Avastin witnessed their tumors shrink. Another study found that patients receiving the drug in conjunction with chemotherapy lived "progression-free" twice as long as patients without it.


However, if the FDA revokes Avastin's approval, public insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare could decide to refuse coverage of the treatment. Many private insurers would likely do the same. Indeed, several major insurance companies--including Regence and HSCS--have already reacted to the FDA Avastin debate by restricting coverage for the drug in the treatment of breast cancer.

Of course, doctors would still be able to prescribe the drug "off label." But because patients wouldn't have coverage, the only ones that could still use Avastin would be the small minority that can afford to pay its full price out-of-pocket.
This pending FDA decision is only further proof of a government panel making decisions that should be made by a doctor and his or her patient. People are beginning to admit the presence of "death panels" in Obama administration policy, but their presence has been seen for quite a while. Funding for "comparative effectiveness" health care research, determining what treatments are most effective for a given malady, was arguably the most under emphasized part of the stimulus bill. The general concept of "comparative effectiveness" appears benign. as most Americans want to make sure that the receive the best treatment for a disease and do not wish to receive unnecessary, ineffective treatment. Comparative effectiveness research is performed and presented in aggregate, but treatment is performed on individuals. When results are applied to decisions made by government panels, it is just another indication that further government intervention results in less freedom and volitional control to the individual. Last year, the U.S Preventative Services Task Force recommended reducing the frequency of mammograms and the age to begin the screening. The Task Force made this recommendation all while not soliciting the opinion of either a radiologist or an oncologist. While the recommendations were not further pushed by the Department of Health and Human Services, it provides an open door for government panels' recommendations to affect coverage and thus, potential early detection.

Once again, Governor Palin's prescient comment is vindicated. You can put lipstick on a death panel by calling it the FDA, comparative effectiveness research, or the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, but it's still a death panel.

Cross posted here and here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Governor Palin's Intelligence vs. President Obama's Intellectualism

" Credentialed ignorance is still ignorance" - Thomas Sowell

Another one of the memes that has been swirling about over the past two plus years is that Governor Palin is stupid and embraces anti-intellectualism. This meme was pushed especially hard last week. Barbara Walters twice brought up that people see Governor Palin as "uninformed" in her recent interview with Governor Palin. In this same interview, Walters asked the Governor what she reads, rehashing the tired and disrespectful question first asked by Katie Couric over two years ago. When Governor Palin answered that enjoys reading C.S. Lewis, some in the punditocracy as an indication that she was indeed some kind of rube only capable of reading children's books. In the minds of the punditocracy, this must mean that Governor Palin runs from intelligent, mature thought like President Obama runs from a post-meeting press conference, never mind that Lewis is a renowned Christian theologian and apologist.

The critics of Governor Palin's intelligence miss the distinct difference between intelligence and intellectualism. Intelligence involves the ability to process and apply information in a successful manner. By comparison, Thomas Sowell, an esteemed economist, author, and favorite of Governor Palin's, describes intellectualism: "at the core of the notion of an intellectual is the dealer in ideas, as such--not the personal application of ideas". In 2009, Sowell wrote a book entitled Intellectuals and Society where he highlights how the role of "intellectuals" have negatively influenced all aspects of society--from economics to law to the media. The common thread that runs through each aspect that Sowell covers in his book is that intellectuals feel that they are needed to dictate to the unwashed masses how they should conduct their lives. This is where you get the intellectual politicians who feel that they should control the economy through regulations, taxation, and the like, and this is also where you get the pontificating pundits who feel that they know best. After all, they have the Ivy League education and the self-declared credentials to do so, right?

If you'll excuse the personal anecdote, let me digress for a moment. My dad is a farmer turned city bus driver who has great mechanical skills. A good friend of mine received his degree in mechanical engineering and was one class away from having a second major in physics. My friend was fascinated by my dad's ability to fix cars and farm machinery. My friend could complete all the calculus and understood the physics behind the mechanics of a car's engine, but he could not change his oil much less fix a car. The intellectuals and pontificators of the world would likely gush over my friend's engineering background while they would likely poo poo my dad's high school education and career choices. However, my dad could fix a car while my friend couldn't. I don't say this to bash my friend, but to make a distinction between intellectualism and intelligence put into practice.

What does this have to do with politics? The two most recent presidents who were college professors at some point in their careers were Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama--two of the most liberal, big government presidents in our nation's history. By comparison, Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan, former presidents from similar eras in our history as the preceding example, were a farm boy and actor respectively who ushered in pro-growth, small government principles that lead to prosperous economic times. In the eyes of the intelligentsia, Wilson and Obama would be seen as the smart guys due to their educational and/or professional backgrounds. However, as in car mechanics, successful political policies don't lie in algorithms or theory. Car problems can't be fixed based solely upon calculation of engineering formulas in a controlled environment, nor can economies be improved through theory and central control.

The Obama administration has ushered in a lot of big government initiatives in the last nearly two years. They tried to stimulate the economy through a huge spending bill that attempted to implement a lot of green initiatives because the intellectuals told them that climate change was legitimate, settled science. This same bill included a lot of strings-attached programs that required states to adhere to federal regulations because the intellectuals in DC felt they needed the control. The Obama administration has, of course, also signed legislation that essentially led to far greater control over health care--1/6 of the American economy. With this legislation, the intellectual bureaucrats of the federal government will have greater control of health care in America through various Medicare panels and comparative effectiveness boards. Why did the Obama administration pass these massive bills that provided greater control to intellectuals and bureaucrats? Perhaps it is because the Obama administration has so many intellectuals/bureaucrats embedded in it. In fact, more than 90% of cabinet appointees have only public sector experiences. Because so many of his appointees have been involved in government so long, they feel that more governmental control is the answer to America's problems rather than individuals and private sector businesses. On the other hand, Governor Palin feels that including people with private sector backgrounds is necessary, as she stated in a recent interview with Jedediah Bila in describing an ideal 2012 Presidential candidate (emphasis mine):
“Someone who’s willing to take some risks in terms of bringing in people who aren’t the known bureaucrats, but people with private sector experience who know how to run a business, make payroll, balance a budget, and live within your means.” According to Palin, the candidate should also have “that steel spine, thick skin, not worrying about what it is that the adversaries are going say about you” and an understanding that “it is the people who hire you, who elect you, whom you are beholden to.”
In other words, Governor Palin advocates hiring individuals who have actually accomplished something in the real world, not people who haven't held a job outside the public sector. Perhaps this provides the perfect dichotomy between Governor Palin and President Obama. Governor Palin was intelligent enough to negotiate the largest private sector infrastructure in America's history. President Obama was intellectual enough to sign a bill that had the government essentially takeover 1/6 of the American economy. Governor Palin was intelligent enough to put $6 billion dollars into state savings. President Obama was intellectual enough to add more to the national deficit than all of his predecessors combined. Governor Palin was intelligent enough to re-vamp the public employee retirement system to make it more solvent. President Obama has been intellectual enough to appease the unions at every step.

I'll take intelligence over intellectualism any day.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Are the Founding Fathers a Good Marketing Tool?

I ran across this today on Twitter,and I don't necessarily intend to promote a certain company. However, I find it encouraging to see that the Founders can be used to sell a product. To me, this says that the ideas and words of the Founders are resonating with people. Microsoft highlights the functions of their product in a way that appeals to people. We'll see if they next use the Constitution to promote their Powerpoint or Publisher program.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Governor Palin on the Issues: Entitlements Programs

“I think if you want to expand your base, you have to get into policy even though it sounds dull.”
-Charles Krauthammer in regards to Governor Palin's 2012 Presidential potential (see beginning at the 2:18 mark of the following video)

This is the second in a series of posts outlining Governor Palin's stance on policy issues, and this one is dedicated to Charles Krauthammer who apparently hasn't been paying very close attention. Prepare to be bored! You can see the first "On the Issues" post on monetary policy here. This second post will address Governor Palin's stance on entitlement programs.

Governor Palin has recently emphasized the need to reform entitlements. In a recent interview with Time Magazine, she emphasized the need to address entitlements as a means to get America's fiscal house in order:
I'd also look for entitlement reform, as well as a system-wide audit of government spending with a goal to move us toward zero-based budgeting practices and ultimately a balanced budget. We need to start really living within our means. As any mother or father will tell you, you don't spend what you don't have. And if the argument against this is that the government is too big and unruly to even consider such an audit, then I say that that alone is all the proof you need that our government has grown completely out of control and desperately needs to be reined in.
She also expressed strong support for Congressman Ryan's "Roadmap for America" juxtaposed against President Obama's Debt Commission findings in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week. She discusses Ryan's solutions for Social Security and Medicare:
In my view, a better plan is the Roadmap for America's Future produced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.). The Roadmap offers a reliable path to long-term solvency for our entitlement programs, and it does so by encouraging personal responsibility and independence.


On Social Security, as with Medicare, the Roadmap honors our commitments to those who are already receiving benefits by guaranteeing all existing rights to people over the age of 55. Those below that age are offered a choice: They can remain in the traditional government-run system or direct a portion of their payroll taxes to personal accounts, owned by them, managed by the Social Security Administration and guaranteed by the federal government. Under the Roadmap's proposals, they can pass these savings onto their heirs. The current Medicaid system, the majority of which is paid for by the federal government but administered by the states, would be replaced by a block-grant system that would reward economizing states.

Together these reforms help to secure our entitlement programs for the 21st century. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Roadmap would lead to lower deficits and a much lower federal debt. The CBO estimates that under current spending plans, our federal debt would rise to 87% of GDP by 2020, to 223% by 2040, and to 433% by 2060. Under Rep. Ryan's Roadmap, the CBO estimates that debt would rise much more slowly, peaking at 99% in 2040 and then dropping back to 77% by 2060.
In supporting Congressman Ryan's plan, Governor Palin advocates for reforms in Medicare and Social Security that give individuals greater control over their own money, as working Americans pay social security and medicare taxes, by giving them the option manage their own personal accounts. Governor Palin advocated another means of Medicare reform in the Fall of 2009 during health care reform discussions (emphasis mine):
Instead of poll-driven "solutions," let's talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let's give Americans control over their own health care.

This reform would give patients greater flexibility and would save American taxpayers money. Michael Cannon, whom Governor Palin referenced, said this regarding Medicare vouchers:
"Vouchers would not make seniors less secure, it would make them more secure," Cannon told ABC News. "Everyone agrees that Medicare cannot go on spending as much money as it does now. The voucher idea allows individual consumers to make their own decisions about what they need and what they don't need."

"Giving Medicare seniors a voucher is the most rational, the most humane way to contain Medicare spending," he added.
She also advocates a plan for Medicaid which incentivizes states to budget more frugally and efficiently as suggested in Ryan's plan . What effects would these reforms have? They would "lead to lower deficits and much lower federal debt". Governor Palin often refers to deficit, out -of-control spending and massive debt as generational theft. Borrowing from future in order to pay for today's entitlement is indeed stealing from our kids and grandkids. It's also the ultimate display of taxation without representation, as future Americans will be paying for past entitlements without having representation to approve this spending.

Governor Palin not only has opinions on entitlement policy; she also has a strong record on dealing efficiently with Medicaid on a state level. Medicaid is a program funded and managed on both a state and federal level. Due to federal restrictions, assessments to see if elderly patients qualified for Medicaid funded home health care assistance had to be taken over by the state as no other contractors could bid. The federal government stopped accepting new patients due to the backlog of individuals to be assessed for assistance. By FY2009, Governor Palin's administration had reduced the backlog of assessments from 30.5% in her predecessor's FY2005 and 4.5% in FY2008 during her administration.

The FY2011 budget is still being discussed in the Senate, but the FY2010 budget included $1.9 trillion dollars in non-discretionary (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) spending, which is equivalent to 55% of the federal budget. Through their taxes, people have paid into Medicare and Social Security over time. It is smart, as Congressman Ryan and Governor Palin have suggested, to allow for greater personal responsibility and flexibility for these programs. Additionally, these reforms would help decrease the national debt to help secure America's future and solvency.

I hope this was dull enough for you, Mr.Krauthammer.

Update: I neglected to previously include that Governor Palin strongly encouraged incoming members of Congress to address entitlement reform in a Facebook post last month:
In order to avert a fiscal disaster, we will also need to check the growth of spending on our entitlement programs. That will be a huge challenge, but it must be confronted head on. We must do it in a humane way that honors the government’s current commitments to our fellow Americans while also keeping faith with future generations. We cannot rob from our children and grandchildren’s tomorrow to pay for our unchecked spending today.

Crossposted here and here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Food Safety Enhancement or Government Overreach?-Updated

In August of 2009, the House of Representative passed a bill known as the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (HR 2749) in order to essentially amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act , which was passed in 1938 to first give authority to the Food and Drug Administration to oversee the food, drug, and cosmetic safety. This bill has since been amended on several occasions.

The House bill passed last year gives further regulatory power to the FDA and the Secretary of Health and Human Services with regards to food processing and food transport safety. It requires greater accountability and tracking by food manufacturers (with the exception of those under the regulation of the Department of Agriculture). It also requires further foodborne pathogen surveillance by the Center for Disease Control and Surveillance. It also increases fees and penalties to entities in violation of regulations.

The Senate version of the bill (S 510) is currently being discussed in the Senate during the current lame duck session and was introduced by Illinois Senator, Dick Durbin. The Senate bill introduces other components which include bringing the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security in the mix and will incur a cost of $3.4 billion to taxpayers between 2010 and 2015.

Here is a brief overview:

The amendments accompanying this bill are intended to protect small farms. One component of one amendment, the Manager's Amendment, states the following:
(d) SMALL ENTITY COMPLIANCE POLICY GUIDE.- Not later than 180 days after the issuance of the regulations promulgated under subsection (m) of section 418 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (as added by subsection (a)), the Secretary shall issue a small entity compliance policy guide setting forth in plain language the requirements of such section 418 and this section to assist small entities in complying with the hazard analysis and other activities required under such section 418 and this Section.

However, the language of the amendments leave the FDA and other government agencies room to define what small entities are or what "hazard analysis" entails. Additionally, another component regulates people who may be engaged in farming or gardening and may distribute their produce:
(2) USE OF OR EXPOSURE TO FOODS OF CONCERN.-If the Secretary believes that there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to an article of food, and any article of a food, that the Secretary reasonably believes is likely to be affected in a similar manner, will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, each person (excluding farms and restaurants) who manufactures, processes, packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports such article can be acted upon by the FDA.

Obviously, no one would knowingly share vegetables or food that may be contaminated. However, would such a bill component make individuals liable if something they brought to a church potluck made people sick or if vegetables they sold at the farmer's market contained salmonella? Should such nebulous regulatory power be extended to the FDA and other government departments and agencies?

As with any bill, its necessity must be viewed in the light of the Constitution. As the Senate discusses this bill during the week of Thanksgiving, we must consider the potential that the Department of Homeland Security and regulators at the FDA, who are unelected and thus unaccountable to the American people, may have the power to regulate the cranberry sauce and turkey at your dinner table? Do agencies and departments under the executive branch have the Constitutional authority to regulate and legislate?


On Tuesday, November 30th, S510 was passed by the Senate by a 73-25 margin with both of Illinois' Senators voting yes. However, due to the fact that part of this Senate bill outlines collection of revenue, it will likely be blocked by the House, as it is unconstitutional:

Section 107 of the bill includes a set of fees that are classified as revenue raisers, which are technically taxes under the Constitution. According to a House GOP leadership aide, that section has ruffled the feathers of Ways and Means Committee Democrats, who are expected to use the blue slip process to block completion of the bill.

Article 1 Section 7 states, " All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."

The bill can be re-written from scratch when the new session convenes in January, or it can be re- addressed by the Senate after the House passes a new bill. However, it would need unanimous approval to limit debate and pass the bill before the end of the year.

Crossposted here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ed Rollins Engages in "Green" Journalism against Governor Palin

We are all well aware of the numerous examples of yellow journalism that has been printed about Governor Palin over the past 2+ years, but following the midterm elections just a month ago, it seems that more and more liberal pseudoconservative political analysts have added another hue to their palate and engaged in "green" journalism. The "green" environmentalist adage of "reduce, reuse, recycle" has now become applicable to the numerous anti-Palin screeds that have come out over the past month. First, any arguments made against Governor Palin have been reduced to ad hominem attacks and non-substantive arguments about her political strategy and potential run for president, then these reduced attacks and arguments are reused by other psuedoconservatives and recycled by other news outlets. It has become nothing but a vicious cycle.

In a recent interview, Governor Palin answered a question posed by Chris Wallace regarding negative comments made by Karl Rove in reference to Governor Palin's travelogue show on TLC. In her response, Governor Palin made reference to the fact that President Reagan once had an acting career. This has become fodder for pseudoconservative analysts to run to their laptops and tap out the ridiculous argument that Governor Palin was disrespecting Reagan and his accomplished political career. These arguments was first screeched by Peggy Noonan, then parroted earlier this week by Joe Scarborough. Not to be outdone, CNN political analyst and former Huckabee campaign manager, Ed Rollins jumps on board the "green" journalism bandwagon and attacks Palin on her comments about Reagan and her potential 2012 presidential run.

Rollins attempts to begin his piece by using a nonsensical analogy of a marriage between the GOP and the Obama administration with the American people acting as parents hopeful that this marriage will work out. Then he make an abrupt 180 and uses this illogical example as a springboard to launch into a patronizing, misconceived advice column directed at Governor Palin. About Palin and Reagan, Rollins writes:
And quit comparing yourself to Ronald Reagan. To paraphrase the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's comments to Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate: I knew Ronald Reagan, and you're no Ronald Reagan.


And the Reagan comparisons aren't helping. You might as well compare yourself to Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt.

Before President Reagan was your age, he was an international movie and television star, the actor's union president and a spokesman for a major U.S. corporation.

I know you were only 2 when Ronald Reagan was elected by a landslide to the first of two terms as governor of California in 1966, but I would have hoped somewhere along the way through the five colleges you attended that you would have learned a little history. And I can tell you being governor of the most populous state is a lot tougher than being governor of one of the least populous ones.

The year you were born, Ronald Reagan picked up the torch of Barry Goldwater after the debacle of 1964 and carried it proudly forward. He rebuilt the Republican Party after Watergate, the resignation of Richard Nixon and the defeat of Gerald Ford in 1976.

He won two electoral landslides and made the presidency work again after several failed presidencies. He also never quit anything or any job before he was done. And he was a great communicator because he not only made great speeches, he wrote many of them because it was what he believed. People listened to them and were moved by them.

Does Governor Palin greatly respect and admire President Reagan? Yes.Does she often quote him and invoke the principles that he so strongly stood for? Yes. Does she compare herself to him or personally see herself as Reagan's political heiress? No! She simply brought up the fact that President Reagan was an actor that later went on to an accomplished political career.

One would have hoped that in his educational career, Rollins would have learned a little bit of geography and basic facts about America. In attempting to slap Governor Palin for what he misconceives as a lack of knowledge about Reagan's political career, Rollins seems to forget that the candidate he worked for in 2008 was once Governor of Arkansas-- not a populous state by any stretch of the imagination. It's also quite interesting that a former governor (Howard Dean) of the country's least populous state (Vermont) never seemed to be questioned about his potential presidential abilities as a governor of a small state, but I digress.

Beyond what appears to be an obsession with how young Governor Palin is and how old she was at different points in Reagan's political career, Rollins then drags out the "quitter" meme which he improperly addressed earlier in his piece when he implied that Governor Palin resigned to make money writing books and giving speeches rather than because it was best for the state of Alaska and also subsequently allowed her to be a strong voice for conservative ideals and candidates as Nicole brilliantly addressed earlier this week.

Rollins also tries to suggest, like so many others, that Governor Palin just can't hang with the boys:
You can be a contender for the Republican nomination in 2012, but you're a long way from being the nominee. You're going to have to beat some very formidable candidates with way more experience and far superior knowledge on issues foreign and domestic. And to rate your chances today, I would put them at "possible" but not "probable." It's an all-uphill battle.
Who are these "formidable candidates"? The man whose health care plan is bankrupting his state and served as a blue print for Obamacare? The man who raised taxes on his state and pardoned a cop killer? The man who has a misguided, flip flopping view of climate change? The man who would be supportive of a value added tax? The man who resigned due to small losses in the House and who has loads of personal baggage? Additionally, Rollins seems to imply that Governor Palin feels entitled to the GOP nomination. Completely false. She has not yet declared she is running and has always welcome competitive primaries. She's never presumed anything. S

Rollins then discusses how Reagan wrote many of the speeches that he delivered. This is something that Governor Palin has done also, including, as the recent New York Times magazine piece reports, writing her entire recent speech on quantitative easing. This leads into the next piece of advice that Rollins trumpets from his condescending high horse:
Ms. Palin, serious stuff needs to be accomplished in Washington.

If you want to be a player, go to school and learn the issues. Put smart people around you and listen to them. If you want to be taken seriously, be serious. You've already got your own forum. If you want to be a serious presidential candidate, get to work. If you want to be an imitator of Ronald Reagan, go learn something about him and respect his legacy.
Rollins says that Governor Palin needs to learn the issues, huh? Perhaps addressing the potentially pending Obama tax increases, wikileaks, quantitative easing, foreign policy (including defense spending, the war on terror, Afghanistan, relationships with our adversaries and allies), and Obamacare, just to name a few, fits the bill, Mr. Rollins? He advises for Governor Palin to put smart people around her. Governor Palin has done this if you take a look at the people who advise Governor Palin and are part of her staff, as the NYT magazine piece highlighted. Additionally, Governor Palin has shared that if elected President, she would surround herself with intelligent people, as she did as Governor. She shared in a recent interview with Jedediah Bila (emphasis mine):
To be a successful governor, you have to put obsessive partisanship aside, and you have to be a really good administrator, and you have to have a good team around you, and you have to make prudent decisions based on what is best for the people whom you are serving.


Someone who’s willing to take some risks in terms of bringing in people who aren’t the known bureaucrats, but people with private sector experience who know how to run a business, make payroll, balance a budget, and live within your means.

These "smart people" that Rollins suggests are likely not the same people whom a candidate Palin or President Palin would surround herself with. This is one of the things that separates Governor Palin from the political establishment. Governor Palin seems to be one of the few who realize what Reagan believed-- that not all the answers come from Washington D.C.. She knows Reagan's legacy. She knows his life story. Anecdotally, I can tell you that she knows even the number of lives that Ronald Reagan saved as a lifeguard working on the Rock River as a young man--an aspect of Reagan's life she spoke about at a speech in Washington, Illinois that I was fortunate enough to attendthis past April.

GOP political analysts, operatives, and consultants have been unleashing tripe about Governor Palin for more than two years, but following the midterm elections, the floodgates of unhinged political discourse have been gushing in reference to a potential Palin presidency. Never mind that there is a new class of Congressmen and Congresswomen who will be sworn in next month. Never mind that the House and Senate are trying to ram through a whole slate of lame duck agenda items in the coming weeks. Never mind the national security threats that have emerged in recent weeks. In the eyes of the political chatting class, those political, domestic, and foreign policy issues are of little consequence. In the eyes of these folks, the greatest threat to America is a President Palin.

Presidential candidacies are chosen by the candidates and their families,and party nominees and presidents are chosen by the voters, much to the dismay of the political analysts. An out-of-context and misinterpreted quote from Governor Palin has served as the basis for at least three Anti-Palin opinion pieces in the past month. That's the only "argument" they can attempt to build upon to paint Governor Palin's supposed disrespect of Reagan.They are grasping at bendy straws. They blatantly choose to ignore her reasons for resigning from the governorship, and their eyes are closed to the numerous times Governor Palin has addressed policy in speeches, TV appearances, op-eds, and Facebook posts. They can't address her on policy because she's right, so they ignore on substance and grab hold of recycled memes. As we have addressed here and here, they have no political arguments left.

To Rollins, Scarborough, Parker, Noonan, Gerson and the whole lot of pseudoconservative windbags, I think that most of us can say, " those voices don't speak for the rest of us".

Crossposted here and here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Audacity of American Exceptionalism

Last night I finished reading Governor Palin's newest book, America by Heart. It was a wonderful, encouraging, challenging read. In fact, I fear I read it too quickly and didn't let everything sink in--kind of like when you regret eating a piece of dark chocolate too quickly. I will be re-reading it soon.

I found the book almost to be like an American took a theoretical journey similar to that of Alexis de Tocqueville when he traveled throughout all of America in the early 19th century observing American culture, politics, and Founding documents. In a sense, that's what Governor Palin did when she wrote this book. She viewed America's Founding documents, speeches by Presidents like Reagan, Kennedy, and Coolidge. She spoke of American work ethic and how great joy comes through the effort of hard work, not entitlement. She wrote of issues of race and feminism. She wrote of her personal experiences with family-- the birth of her children and her relationship with her husband. She wrote of her faith--how it is both deeply personal, but also very public.

Many politicians and political leaders write about such things, but there is something different about how Governor Palin presents the message. I think it has something to do with the title--America by Heart. It wasn't America by Mind or Thoughts on American Exceptionalism; it was America by Heart. The thoughts that she put down on paper were heart-felt. They were genuine. She didn't present a long dissertation on feminism or economics, but she did present well-reasoned, heart felt thoughts on those topics. You knew that she meant every word she wrote. Her words weren't focused group tested or written for the sake of political expediency; they were written because she meant them.

During the 2008 campaign, in the nascent days of my political awareness, I decided to read Obama's book, the Audacity of Hope, and McCain's book, Faith of my Fathers, prior to election day, hoping to get a first person perspective of the two men running for president. Prior to the 2008 campaign, I'd only really seen the term,"hope", as a religious term. Particularly, I always thought of hope as described by the writer of Hebrews in the New Testament: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". We hope for things in the future, and things not of this world, but of eternity. Without getting too theological, suffice it to say, hope to me, was looking ahead to something, rather than viewing things in light of the present or the past.

When Obama's campaign mantra was "hope and change", what I thought about was a forward focused hope in what the country could be changed to. This is what Obama said, even a fundamental transformation of America. What America is currently is not good. There is no American exceptionalism--at least exclusively. He was "bold" enough to hope though that America could and would be transformed to something "better". This is what separates President Obama and Governor Palin both in terms of their books and their ideology. Governor Palin's book outlines American Exceptionalism as America was in its founding and what it still is today. There isn't a hoping for a better America. That exceptional America is already here, if we choose to recognize who we are as a nation and what our Founders intended for America to be. This is why Governor Palin said at the Restoring Honor rally that we need to "fundamentally restore America".

Governor Palin sees that a great America is nothing to be hoped for because it is already here, if we choose to live like that is the truth--the audacity of American Exceptionalism.

Cross posted here and here.

Governor Palin on the Issues: Monetary Policy

A few weeks ago, C4P asked readers and commenters for suggestions for the site. One commenter (H/T Riley4Palin) suggested that we comprehensively highlight Governor Palin's stance on policy issues. Over the next few months, I will attempt to post on at least one issue per week. It is my hope that this project will help to show what many of us as Palin supporters already know--Governor Palin has a firm, intelligent grasp on the issues and a principled, yet pragmatic approach to policy. The likes of Karl Rove should know that gravitas is not defined as possession of XY chromosomes and an Ivy League education. It is defined as showing policy chops in such a way that resonates with the American people. Governor Palin does this exceedingly well.

Most recently, Governor Palin has been a leading voice on monetary policy. She also spoke out on the devaluing of the dollar more than a year ago. Governor Palin has effectively addressed the issue of a weakened dollar and its relationship to the rising U.S. debt and the policy of quantitative easing that contributes to inflation. She addresses these issues in the context of how policies affect the American people directly and what can be done to address these problems.

Regarding the devaluing of the dollar, Governor Palin recognized that out-of-control spending and debt both contribute to the problem, while cutting spending and reducing debt, in addition to becoming more energy independent help provide the solution. In October of 2009, Governor Palin said:
In fact, today a United Nations official called for a new global reserve currency to replace the dollar and end our “privilege” to run up huge deficits.[3] We can see the effect of this in the price of gold, which hit a record high today in response to fears about the weakened dollar.[4]

All of this is a result of our out-of-control debt. This is why we need to rein in spending, and this is also why we need energy independence. A weakened dollar means higher commodity prices. This will make it more difficult to pay our bills – including the bill to import oil.


We’re ignoring the looming crisis caused by our dependence on foreign oil. Because we’re dependent on foreign nations for our oil, we’re also at their mercy if they decide to dump the dollar as their trade currency. We can’t allow ourselves to be so vulnerable to the whims of foreign nations. That’s why we must develop our own domestic supplies of oil and gas.
Discussion of issues such as the price of gold, standard currencies, and the like are generally left to members of the banking industry and economists. Governor Palin distills these issues down to describe why they are important for everyday Americans-- governmental spending, national debt, energy independence,and commodity prices. Obviously, governmental spending and the national debt are related, but Governor Palin addresses why her signature issue of energy independence ties into value of the dollar, as it puts America at the mercy of foreign countries for both energy sources and potential changes in trade currency that would have far reaching ramifications. The increase in commodity prices ties into one of the problems that Governor Palin discusses with her recent discussions on Quantitative Easing--rising grocery prices. The National Review recently published an excerpt of a speech that she gave on this "priming of the pump" by Ben Bernanke:
I’m deeply concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plans to buy up anywhere from $600 billion to as much as $1 trillion of government securities. The technical term for it is “quantitative easing.” It means our government is pumping money into the banking system by buying up treasury bonds. And where, you may ask, are we getting the money to pay for all this? We’re printing it out of thin air.

The Fed hopes doing this may buy us a little temporary economic growth by supplying banks with extra cash which they could then lend out to businesses. But it’s far from certain this will even work. After all, the problem isn’t that banks don’t have enough cash on hand – it’s that they don’t want to lend it out, because they don’t trust the current economic climate.


All this pump priming will come at a serious price. And I mean that literally: everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher. And it’s not just groceries. Oil recently hit a six month high, at more than $87 a barrel. The weak dollar – a direct result of the Fed’s decision to dump more dollars onto the market – is pushing oil prices upwards. That’s like an extra tax on earnings. And the worst part of it: because the Obama White House refuses to open up our offshore and onshore oil reserves for exploration, most of that money will go directly to foreign regimes who don’t have America’s best interests at heart.
Governor Palin also does an excellent job of articulating the effects of Quantitative Easing on Judge Napolitano's show a couple of weeks ago. For the video, courtesy of the Right Scoop, go here.

A few quick facts about the Fed. It was established in 1913 by President Wilson to address banking crises, but its general goal was to provide stability to prices. The Fed is an independent entity, as its decisions do not have to be approved by the President prior to implementation, but it is under the oversight of Congress. In 1977, the Fed was forced to also met another mandate in addition to price stability: maximization of employment.The Fed's dual mandate often requires contradictory actions, and thus makes these goals difficult to simultaneously meet.

Governor Palin does a very effective job at addressing the earlier Fed mandate in her speech and in her appearance on Judge Napolitano's show by addressing impact of inflation on grocery prices while also addressing the fact that she first warned about a year ago--the direct relationship between energy independence and the value of the American dollar. She also discussed on Napolitano's show that QE2 could potentially put America in the same position as countries like Japan with such actions by the Fed. In a Facebook post following her QE2 speech, Governor Palin also addresses the second mandate of the Fed--unemployment (emphasis mine):
Will QE2 then at least boost domestic investment? No, again. As I explained in my speech in Phoenix, the reason banks aren’t lending and businesses aren’t investing isn’t because of insufficient access to credit. There’s plenty of money around, it’s just that no one’s willing to spend it. Big businesses especially have been hoarding cash. They’re not expanding or adding to their workforce because there’s just too much uncertainty created by a lot of big government experiments that aren’t working. It’s the President’s own policies that are creating this uncertainty.
Governor Palin understands and emphasizes the effect that the Fed's actions not only drive up inflation which increases grocery prices and other expenses for American families (i.e. their actions have not stabilized prices), it affects American businesses that provide jobs. Governor Palin stands firmly against the actions of the federal government in policies which simultaneously devalue our dollar, drive up our debt and leave us dependent on foreign sources of energy. She also stands against the actions of the Fed which inflate prices at a time when Americans are already on tight budgets and do nothing to aid employment.

As an additional note, the Left,uber purists, and Paulbots often argue that Governor Palin supported the bailout in the Fall of 2008. However, it should be noted that such support can only be construed as support for her running mate, Senator McCain, and due to the limited information of the details of the plan at the time of the Senatorial vote. Any discussion of the bailouts following the campaign showed that Governor Palin did not support them. For example, in an interview with Human Events in December of 2008, Governor Palin said:
Of course, we saw [Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben] Bernanke and others appear to change the rules right away, it seemed like, after that initial rescue plan or bailout was given the green light, then everybody in the public, including me, started hearing that the rules were changing on where those dollars would go and what the criterion would be. Unfortunately, that leads to distrust of decisions our politicians make on our behalf and bureaucrats make on our behalf.
Governor Palin remains consistent in her belief that the reach of elected officials and appointed bureaucrats be short and the goal of any government action be done in concert with the will and the benefit of the people.

Thanks to Chicago's Conservative for his assistance.

Crossposted here and here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bonnie Erbe Plays a Bad Hand against Governor Palin

It has become customary over the past two-plus years for "journalists" and columnists to play a number of dog-eared cards from their deck of memes, slights, and misconceptions about Governor Palin in their articles and columns. A syndicated editorial piece by Bonnie Erbe (who is no friend to strong, out spoken conservative women as Michelle Malkin can attest to) published this weekend plays several of these cards against Governor Palin, her book, and her potential run for the presidency. Erbe begins by mocking Governor Palin's star power and her straightforward approach. Then, she goes on to provide her own off base, biased, mocking summary of Governor Palin's newest book by playing the racist and anti-feminist cards and mocking Governor Palin's unabashed conservatism:

In it, she blasts feminists (after once having called herself one) and waves the flag of racial division. She blasts Democrats as Socialists, bullies Republicans for being too weak-kneed on budget items and dares to tread where no man (or woman) in the national political spotlight has had little-enough common sense to tread before.
Ms.Erbe must have read a different book than scores of Americans and I are reading, but like many of her "journalist" counterparts, Erbe feels that insinuating that any conservative who opposes the President on any aspect of his progressive agenda is a racist. My challenge to Erbe, David Frum, and Richard Cohen is to read pages 23-33 of America by Heart, and then attempt to say Governor Palin "waves the flag of racial division". In this particular section of the book, Governor Palin briefly outlines the history of America and race from the Constitutional convention to to the Civil War to the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.. Governor Palin even praises candidate Obama's speech on race during the 2008 campaign. Governor Palin recognizes the errors of America's past while encouraging Americans to be unified around the exceptionalism that is America. When discussing academia's propensity to talk about slavery in light of America's birth, Governor Palin writes on pages 24-25:

It sometimes seems like slavery is all that liberal academia and the mainstream media wants to talk about when the topic is America's birth, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't acknowledge the contradiction that slavery represented to American principles. To do less is to denigrate the greatness of those principles. To love our country is to confront our history squarely and honestly. To love our fellow Americans is to admit that we have not always, as a nation, respected their God-given rights.
Governor Palin is definitely not waving a flag of "racial division"there, but instead a flag of American unity based upon a truthful understanding of our past and an optimistic outlook of our present and future.

Later in America by Heart, Governor Palin eschews the notion of liberal feminism based upon victimhood, big government, and pro-abortion stances. She does not bash feminism; she redefines it based upon the rugged individualism of the pioneering women of the West and the work of the earliest American women involved in American and Alaskan politics. Throughout the book, yes, Governor Palin does criticize liberal politicians and squishy Republicans. When the Democrats recent policies have resulted in trillions of dollars in new spending and greater government involvement in industries and Republicans behave more like liberals, then Governor Palin never hesitates to call a spade a spade.

Beyond the ideological cards, Erbe decides also to play the all-too-often used card of "polarization". Erbe references a recent CNN poll which shows Governor Palin to be unfavorable to the American people as a whole. Authors all too often ignore that many people are unfavorable of the caricature of Governor Palin that has been portrayed by the media, not the person herself. In August, I wrote something that still remains true today (with the exception of the fact that President Obama has maintained his negative double digit approval rating for more than 4 months now):

In spite of all the media attacks and frivolous ethics complaints levied at Governor Palin, and despite the misrepresentations of her stellar gubernatorial record over the past nearly two years, Governor Palin maintains a 44/47 favorable/unfavorable rating, a favorability index of -3, in the country. Contrast this with President Obama,whose approval index has stayed in the negative double digits for more than six weeks straight and for the vast majority of 2010 in spite of the fact that the President has a largely doting media supporting him. Despite what the media have done to support President Obama and trash Governor Palin, it seems that the country likes Governor Palin more than they approve of President Obama.
As Stacy recently highlighted, the polarization card is often played to marginalize Governor Palin. However, when Governor Palin is seen as more favorable than the President is seen approved, and the majority of American people see their views are more in line with Governor Palin's than President Obama's, the media (and the rest of us) have to ask themselves, who really is polarizing?

In addition to falsely stating that Governor Palin was disloyal to Senator McCain during the 2008 Presidential campaign and levying gratuitous knocks at Bristol Palin, Erbe closes her piece by playing a card often played by the likes of Meghan McCain:

The chaos never ends. And on one level her mastery of it is fascinating. Her ability to consume way more than her share of “ink” or media coverage is incredible as well. But as a stateswoman or seasoned politician there’s no there there.

The question for now is, has she become over-exposed? Will the media tire of her shortly? Will she just have to keep getting more and more outrageous to get attention?

I do not believe she could possibly win a general presidential election. But I also feel sorry for the Republican Party hierarchy because it will have absolutely no say in whether she runs for the nomination or not. Let us hope the media and the public tire of her increasingly predictable routine.
It is ironic how so often the likes of Bonnie Erbe and Meghan McCain complain about the amount of press Governor Palin receives by writing a editorial piece about Governor Palin themselves. Beyond that, Erbe attempts to diminish the Governor Palin as a purveyor of chaos who seeks to gain attention and as a tactless, wild woman of a politician who has no chance to win a Presidential election, but may very well defy the potential wishes of the anonymous hierarchy of the Republican party.

Governor Palin does not seek to gain attention for herself, but for a message that she has become the face of over the last two years: commonsense conservative ideas, clean, uncorrupted government, and a media that seeks to inform public opinion not give its own. Erbe is right. Governor Palin is not a seasoned politician; she is an experienced leader with character. She has twenty years of experience in politics. She has experience in the private and public sectors and involvement in negotiations between the private and public sectors. She has been a city council woman, mayor, oil and gas commissioner, governor, and vice presidential candidate. Stateswoman she is, contrary to Erbe's assertion. No one has endured such attacks on her family, herself, and her record of achievements as Governor Palin has, and yet has handled it with such grace. People with in her own party have repeatedly diminished and insulted her, yet she has always adhered to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment with grace.

The unnamed GOP hierarchy may continue to feel threatened by her potential presidential run, but no other potential candidates adheres to the principles of the Republican party better than Governor Palin. Should she seek office, her "Big Tent" will have its stakes firmly driven into the foundation of those core values of the Republican party--limited government, strong national defense, and the sanctity of life. Why should Erbe be "concerned" that a potential Republican candidate adheres to the planks of the party platform better than the party leadership does?

Erbe and the rest of the columnists and "journalists" who attempt to play from their deck of cards against Govenror Palin could learn a lesson from Kenny Rogers in his song , "The Gambler", "you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run". These "journalists" can choose to fold or walk away. They are playing with a bad hand.

(H/T Stacy and Dave C)

Crossposted here and here.