Sarah Palin conservatism into communism

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

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1 - 8 of 8 Comments Last updated Mar 28, 2013
Godless Swine

Ankeny, IA

#1 Mar 28, 2013
Godless Swine

Ankeny, IA

#2 Mar 28, 2013
Sarah Palin used her appearance before CPAC this month to make a not-so-veiled pitch for her old, Venezuela-style, oil tax called ACES -- Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share. The Alaska Senate was at the time in the midst of a heated debate as to whether taxes on the industry should be rolled back to encourage more oil production.
Former, half-term Alaska governor and failed Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin [3] appeared before the Conservative Political Action Committee [4] earlier this month, rolled out communism as the model for resource development, and all that the lamestream media seemed to notice was her Big Gulp.

Give the Wonder from Wasilla big marks for her prestidigitation, but then again, how hard is it distract the mainstream media? New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to outlaw big, sugary drinks to slow the epidemic of obesity is so fundamentally flawed that any journalistic moron could be led to focus on Palin's sight gag instead of listening to her speech, particularly given she seldom says anything of substance.

Alaska media might have been expected to do better, considering that Palin used her appearance before CPAC to make a not-so-veiled pitch for her old, Venezuela-style, oil tax called ACES -- Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share. The Alaska Senate was at the time in the midst of a heated debate as to whether taxes on the oil industry should be rolled back to encourage more oil production. But it appears Palin was so long ago written off as irrelevant here that no one, including this reporter, was paying attention.

I confess, all right? Only a lingering sense of responsibility forced me go get her speech off YouTube [5] and watch. And doggone if she didn't slip that plea for ACES in there. She never actually used the acronym for the massive tax scheme called "Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share," but Alaskans all know what she was talking about when she said this:

Read your Constitution Alaskans. Realize that the natural resources that God has created for mankind's use, are not owned by the big multi-national 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 for those resources to be developed for our use.

Whether the rest of America had a clue to what exactly she was babbling about is doubtful. So a quick summary of what is going on in the 49th state is probably necessary. State government is stinking rich up here thanks to the Palin-championed oil tax, but oil production has been steadily falling since her brief stint in office. Some now argue the ever-decreasing flow threatens to shorten the life of operation for the trans-Alaska oil pipeline -- the 800-mile conduit that carries crude from the Arctic oil fields to Prince William Sound, where the oil is transported on tanker ships to the Lower 48.

Continued pipeline operation is vital to the state because the taxes, royalties and fees on the crude flowing through the pipe fund about 90 percent of state government in Alaska, which likes to think of itself as the "owner state," as much of the oil sits on state lands.
Godless Swine

Ankeny, IA

#3 Mar 28, 2013
It is this "owner state" idea Palin flaunted before CPAC. It is a radical concept born of the Communist Manifesto, which argued that workers should own the means of production instead of being mere cogs in the machinery of businesses driven by individuals -- the so-called "bourgeoisie."

"By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour," Karl Marx and Frederick Engels [6] observed in 1848.

Back then, the "bourgeoisie" were what Palin now calls the "crony capitalists," the people with the financial resources and political connections to make things happen. The bourgeoisie/crony capitalists contrasted with the "proletariat," who Marx and Engels described simply as "the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live."

Palin now simply calls this class the "people."

As she told CPAC, "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 in these resource rich states like Alaska, my home state. Read your constitution, Alaskans. Realize that the natural resources that God has created for mankind's use are not owned by the big, multi-national conglomerates and the monopolies" and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Palin's view on resource ownership neatly outlines how the resource extraction system works in places like Venezuela, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and other countries with nationalized oil or mining industries. How things work in the United States, at least at this moment, is decidedly different.

Oil and mineral resources in this country are either owned by corporations or leased to them, the latter being a temporary form of ownership.

Crude in most cases in the U.S. is sold to oil companies at what are called "lease sales." The companies basically bid against each other for the rights to gamble on their ability to punch holes in the ground, find oil and earn a profit from the gamble. It is a costly and risky business. That the oil companies have been as successful as they have been at making money in such a risky business is a tribute to capitalism.
Godless Swine

Ankeny, IA

#4 Mar 28, 2013
The U.S. oil business is arguably the most efficient and cleanest in the world, which is not to say it's perfect. The oil companies do make a lot of money, and their employees and shareholders benefit from that far more than other Americans. And obviously, as Alaskans saw with the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill and the residents of the U.S. Gulf Coast saw with the Deepwater blowout in 2010, these companies sometimes cut costs to increase profits and thus increase the chances of accidents, which foul the environment with an ugly, black mess.

But even given these flaws, the ownership and production of oil by the private sector seems to be doing a better job of sharing the wealth than the system of nationalization in Saudi Arabia, where the ruling princes get richer and richer and the rest the country struggles; or Russia, where the oligarchs are now doing well while others suffer; or in Venezuela, where the economy has basically gone to hell in a handbasket but a lot of people manage to survive at the poverty level thanks to handouts from the government.

Capitalism is far from perfect, either. Most Western democracies, including the U.S., have tried to smooth off its rough edges with various social programs, or what Palin calls "socialism." Whether she is willing to accept the idea of the government taxing citizens to pay for the costs of government services used by almost everyone is unclear, but she most certainly doesn't like the idea of government taxing the more successful among us to raise money to help some of the least successful.

As she told CPAC, "we are here to restore American and the rest is just theatrics. The rest is just sound and fury. It's just making noise, and that sums up the job President Obama does today.

"Now, he's considered a good politician, which is like saying Bernie Madoff was a good salesman, the difference being the President is using our money."

Palin doesn't like the president "using our money." This is easy enough to understand. She grew up in Alaska. Her politics were shaped by the 49th state, where the income tax was repealed in 1980. Palin was then a 16-year-old playing basketball in Wasilla. She would grow up to live in a state where one industry -- oil -- basically paid for all public services.

Obviously, in her eyes, it was a great system. By the time she rose to power, she fully understood how to expand the size of government without any damn Alaska conservatives getting upset with her -- grab the throat of the Golden Goose of oil, squeeze harder, and demand that sucker produce more golden eggs. Teamed with Alaska House Democrats, she conjured up some political wizardry to tax Big Oil to a degree it had never been taxed in America before.

Under ACES, oil didn't just pay the cost of government. Oh no. It also each year contributed to the state of Alaska billions of dollars more than the government cost to operate. The idea was Alaska would put the extra money in the bank in preparation for the day when the oil runs out, and Alaska becomes Cypress. This idea works better in theory than in principle. The problem is that politicians with access to money want to spend the money on programs desired by their constituents, and there's never an end to the "good" government can do with surplus cash.
Godless Swine

Ankeny, IA

#5 Mar 28, 2013
Alaska politicians were actually convinced to spend state money to "grow more moose," [7] even though there are now so many moose that people running into them with cars and trucks run up motor vehicle repair costs [8] of about $35 million per year. In Alaska, everyone fears adult moose on the highways year-round, and almost everyone loves cute-and-cuddly baby moose in their yard in the spring.

There is a disconnect between the cute-and-cuddly baby moose and the adult moose similar to the disconnect between Palin's concept of resources in the ground and how we get them out. Remember, she told CPAC, "you have a right for those resources to be developed for our use."

How exactly does that work? It would make sense if the U.S. had a national oil company like Pemex in Mexico. Then the politicians could simply tell the government employees working for the company to go get the oil owned by the citizens. But the U.S. has no national oil company. It relies on the greedy, entrepreneurial desires of those in the oil business to find oil, produce oil and earn profit. The U.S. government even encourages them to compete with each other to try to produce this oil and earn profits.

This is what is called a "free-market system." Conservatives supposedly like free markets. And yet there they were applauding Palin for proclaiming power to "the people" who "have a right for those resources to be developed for our use." Either the most conservative of American conservatives went way left -- left of a lot of Democrats -- when someone wasn't watching, or something else must be going on.

One can only guess that it is the latter. One can only surmise that they got so swept up in the celebrity of the woman in the boot-cut, denim jeans and camel-heel platform shoes channeling Karl Marx that they never bothered to listen to the words coming out of her mouth.

This is something that happens way too often in celebrity-fixated America these days.
Bushwhacker

Seattle, WA

#6 Mar 28, 2013
Poor clueless/godless... You guys are broke in SO MANY WAYS...
The Truth Squad

Rancho Mirage, CA

#7 Mar 28, 2013
Does anyone even care what Palin is saying these days? She so yesterday's news. She made her millions courtesy of Uncle Rupert and even he got bored with her and blew her off FOX. She is about as relevant as a dead mackerel.
Bushwhacker

Seattle, WA

#8 Mar 28, 2013
Hey, don't disparage mackerels...

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