Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Great Milestone and a Ton of Gratitude!

My fabulous readers, on this day, September 23,
we have reached a great and wonderful milestone
together. For it was on this very day, five years
ago that your beloved Peasant published his debut
post in launching "Peasant With A Pitchfork".
Your grateful Peasant thanks each and every one
of you for your readership, your support, and your
kind wishes!

Today, we shall pause from our usual activities
here at this blog to reflect on the time we spent
together, and to be thankful for it all. We must
always be grateful for the blessings that come to
us, and I am most grateful for being able to get
together with you all for our weekly visits!

I began this blog with the intention of providing
a place for my fellow conservatives to visit, to
closely examine the political and economic news
of the day, and to identify the good from the bad
and the ugly among the players on the scene.
And what a lot of stories we reviewed! What a
lot of newsmakers we focused on; some we
commended, some we condemned. The former
we gave our laurels of praise to; the latter we
poked with the prongs of this, our pitchfork!
All while having a wonderful time together!

I have endeavored to make this blog one which
would state my observations and opinions in
ways which would differ a bit from how other
commentators on the scene --- those on the broad-
cast media, those in print, and those in cyberspace
--- so comment. This is not only to make this blog
more enjoyable but also to better connect with
what we conservatives think and feel regarding
the actors on our political stage and the stories
that play out there. As you have seen, my grand
readers, I will term something (or someone) in
no uncertain terms without being nasty and mean-
spirited (we'll leave that rhetoric to our chums on
the Left) but without beating around the bush.
If something is black, your favorite Peasant
calls it black. If something is white, then I'll
call it white. No ifs, ands, buts, or apologies.
You get, and shall always get from me my
very sharpest, most concise, target-striking
commentary, with the chips falling where they
may!

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to publish
this blog for you, my conservative friends and
for my libertarian readers as well, and for the
few brave, hearty liberals who go where many
of their number fear to tread! You all mean more
to me than I can ever say with any words, and
I've been told by more than a few folks that I have
an extensive vocabulary! Thank you, my wonderful
friends, for five fantastic years! May we continue
to gather here for many more years to come!

God bless you all!


MEM

Thursday, September 18, 2014

One of Big Labor's Tentacles Get Bitten Off

Not only has Big Government gotten very intrusive
in our lives, but Big Labor has joined it in making
invasive mischief --- intruding into home life.
Consider a story from Illinois, where Pam Harris,
whose son suffers from a debilitating disease which
requires around-the-clock care and has chosen his
mother to be his caregiver, was informed by the SEIU
(Service Employees International Union) that as the
caregiver to her son, and with them receiving
payments from the state's medical coverage program
(your faithful Peasant doesn't know whether or not
they are or were also receiving payments from
Medicare of Medicaid), Illinois law required Harris
to pay some of the funds received for union
membership dues, in this case to the SEIU.
Never mind the fact that Harris is not an employee
of any health care organization; in fact she stays
home so that she can give her ailing son the con-
stant care he needs. But as far as the SEIU and
their chums in the Illinois state government is
concerned, this somehow makes Harris a state
health care employee in a big union shop state,
therefore the demand for union dues.

Not taking this lying down, Harris objected to
this political alchemy on the grounds that the
state of Illinois was violating her First Amendment
right of free association and to petition the govern-
ment for redress of grievances, and promptly sued.
The case went all the way to the Supreme Court,
which ruled 5-4 in Harris' favor. Justice Samuel
Alito, one of the five, drew a distinction between
traditional public employees and what he termed
"partial public employees" such as Harris, whom the
state pays to care for their own children. Personally,
I do not know how or why Harris should be at all
considered a public employee, even though her
own son has asked her to be his caregiver; she is
family, after all, and her son picked her over anyone
he could have hired from an agency or perhaps a
freelance nurse. The money they are getting is badly
needed, as Harris cannot earn money outside the home
because of her son's considerable care needs.
But Alioto and four of his fellow Supremes thus
ruled that Harris and others in her situation shall be
exempted from regulations that force them to pay
union dues against their will.

This is a tremendous victory for Pam Harris and her
son, as well as for others like them, because not only
are their constitutionally guaranteed right of free
association affirmed and protected, but they can thus
spend whatever payments they receive from the state
and/or federal governments on medical items for their
ailing relatives without having to scrimp on their
purchases in order to pay tribute to a grasping, clutching,
leeching union desperate for revenue as their disenchanted
rank and file exit, taking their dues monies with them.
All Big Labor has left to try to continue on with are
coercive measures to force workers to join and to
remain in their thrall.

And the union bosses wonder why unions have fallen out
of favor with the American public. The answer to their
question can be found in any mirror, if only they would
have the guts to take a peek.


MEM

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Government Business as Usual

The GAO (General Accounting Office) recently
launched a number of undercover investigations
to check Obamacare's infrastructure's capacity
and ability to spot and block phony applications.
In sixteen of eighteen such applications, GAO
staff successfully gained approval for ineligible
subsidies to assist in paying the premiums. This
discovery made it crystal clear to the GAO that
established Obamacare verification procedures
are shamefully inadequate, and are leading to
approvals of many fraudulent applications.

Gee, doesn't this sound familiar? Similar screwups
with other governmental assistance programs, i.e.
food stamps and welfare have had the same under-
pinnings. But then, considering the mania of the
current presidential administration to get as many
Americans onto the rolls of such programs, this
should not come as a surprise. The best way to
control a person, a community, or an entire country
is to establish a link between the wallet and the
governmental teat. The Regime understands this
simple truth all too well, and therefore don't look for
these folks to fix this problem with Obamacare
anytime soon, or ever.

On an unrelated matter, your increasingly harried
Peasant has had to post on some Tuesdays and
Wednesdays instead of on the usual Thursdays
in recent weeks, today being more of the same.
This is because of some firm, immovable
commitments that could not be rescheduled. But
fear not, all is well with your beloved Peasant.
In fact, things are getting better and better, and
I shall share with you about this in the weeks to
come! Thank you all for your continued support
and good wishes! If I have to reschedule my posts
for you I shall certainly so inform ahead of the fact.
Thank you all!


MEM

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Bagpipe Police Never Sleeps

Your bemused Peasant learned recently that our U.S.
Customs Service is working most diligently to protect
us from marauding bagpipes and their pipers; oh yes,
in this era of multitudinous threats to our country's
safety from near and far, our fearless customs people
are making sure that we all don't get blown away by
the screeching sounds of pipers attacking us with the
strains of "Amazing Grace" and "Highland Cathedral",
causing permanent deafness and perhaps a few nervous
breakdowns by pipers crossing our borders coming
or going!

Here's the story: As I was listening to conservative
columnist, guest contributor to National Review,
and occasional guest host for Rush Limbaugh
Mark Steyn host again for Rush a few days ago,
Steyn shared this account of the American customs
crew on the U.S.-Canadian border confiscating the
bagpipes belonging to two New Hampshire youths,
17-year-old Campbell Webster and Eryk Bean,
because their instruments were not valid for crossing
at this particular locale at the border. The boys had
to obtain a certain certificate in order to bring their
bagpipes into Quebec, Canada where they were to
perform at a Scottish Highland event, and the customs
staff informed them that while their paperwork and
certificate were indeed valid, the pipes were not allowed
to cross at that particular point along the border with
Canada(?!).

After some unreported period of time, the customs zealots
returned the bagpipes to the lads only after the incident
became international news and a PR black eye for the U.S.
Customs Service. As Steyn described it, " ... So, if you're
a piper in, say, Pittsburgh, New Hampshire and you want to
play in a competition in La Patrie, Quebec 20 minutes north,
you have to drive 4-5 hours south to Logan Airport in
Boston, fly to Montreal and drive two hours east to La Patrie."
Steyn went on to relate that anyone who wishes to take
bagpipes in or out of the country must still pay a $238 fee ---
each way --- for the privilege of doing so. If anyone still does
not believe that our federal government hasn't gotten way out
of control, that it isn't threatening our basic rights and freedoms,
that it still works to serve us rather than force us to serve it,
they should read this story. And some people wonder why there
is a Tea Party movement going on today!

The Peasant thanks the always brilliant, insightful, and witty
Mark Steyn www.steynonline.com/ for sharing this story on
Rush Limbaugh's radio show.


MEM






Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Good Time Was Had By All (Especially Me!)

The 2014 Milwaukee Irish Fest is now in the books.
And this year's fest was one for the books! The lineup
of entertainers was astounding as usual, especially with
my favorite band The High Kings playing there! All
the way from Ireland, The High Kings are Brian Dunphy,
Darren Holden, Martin Furrey, and Finbarr Clancy.
Finbarr happens to be my cousin!

Fine musicians and singers, The High Kings perform many
great Irish favorites, including "Fields of Athenry",
"Boulevogue", "I'll Tell Me Ma", "The Irish Rover",
and "Step It Out Mary" along with their own songs
which they themselves have written and recorded.
And with great gusto! Some of the songs they play at a
rollicking pace, such as "The Irish Rover" while those that
require a gentler touch certainly get that from the High Kings.

Finbarr, who is the son of Bobby Clancy (of the Clancy
Brothers and Tommy Makem fame), invited me to a grand
party after the fest with many of the performers in attendance
along with the executive director of Irish Fest, many coordi-
nators, a few rank-and-file volunteers like myself, and family
members of same. Held at the Hyatt Regency a few blocks
from the festival, I brought along a friend and fellow member
of the Chuck Ward Celtic Song Circle which I founded in
2010 and have mentioned on this blog some time ago, and
we felt as if we died and ascended to heaven! We met
Dougie MacLean, a grand Scottish folk singer and composer;
Seamus Kennedy, a wonderful singer, songwriter and musician
who writes and sings wonderfully humorous songs that can
cause you to fall on the floor laughing; Gaelic Storm, a world-
renown band that shot to fame when appearing in the movie
The Titanic as the steerage band aboard the ill-fated ship;
and so many other luminaries of Irish and Celtic music.
Finbarr sat down with us at a table in the Hyatt's lobby bar
where we were congregated in joyful revel and we chatted about
many things: Irish music, The Beatles (we all are fans), Finbarr's
and your partially green Peasant's common ancestry, The High
Kings' life on the road, politics (Finbarr is a fellow
conservative! He is worried for our country with Obama
at the helm, and stated that Obamacare is a lousy program!
A kinsman AND a kindred spirit! Heavenly joy!), and we
even sang a song together! Finbarr, my song circle mate
and your musical Peasant sang a chorus of "Fields of
Athenry" there in the lobby bar, to the delight of those
close by. At least one of them took pictures of us with an
iPod! And Finbarr wants to join our humble song circle
for a session when he returns to town! What an event that
will be! Meanwhile, my friend and I were enjoying our
visit with my cousin Finbarr so m

A fabulous festival and a fabulous time! Your beloved Peasant's
cup overflows with heaven's blessings! I am grateful for my
illustrious cousin being in my family and clan, for his friendship
and hospitality, for my town's Irish Fest, my song circle, and
for you, my fantastic readers! If ever you are in Milwaukee
in mid-August, come to our Irish Fest for a unique and magical
good time. There's no telling what will happen, but all will be
such great fun!


MEM

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Pupil May Not Be Ready, But the Teacher Has Appeared

As our imperial president continues to trash the
Constitution in his quest to push the "change"
part of his "Hope and Change" scheme on us,
there are some constitutional truths that he
could --- and should --- take time to learn
and heed; indeed, these would only benefit him,
not to mention the rest of us.

Here is one:

UTILITARY AIR REGULATORY GROUP V. EPA
-Ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that was decided 7-2
with the majority stating "When an agency claims to
discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power
to regulate a significant portion of the American economy,
we typically greet its announcement with a measure of
skepticism."

This ruling is an overdue correction to MASSACHUSETTS V.
EPA, a 5-4 decision in 2007 which held greenhouse gases can
be "pollutants" under the clean air laws written decades before
the "carbon footprint" panic of today. It wrongly rewrote the
Clean Air Act from the 1970s. In order to obey the law as written,
the EPA estimated, permit applications under one program would
have zoomed to 6.1 million annually from the present level of
15,000. Congress intended for traditional byproducts like SOx
or ozone to be so regulated; the ceiling limits made no sense
where carbon is concerned. Any CO2 rule would thus reach
far beyond factories and power plants to millions of carbon
sources such as hospitals, grocery stores, farms, schools, and
churches, mandating penalties of $37.5 K per day.

The UAR Group v. EPA ruling from the Supreme Court backs
off the EPA from the temptation of claiming unprecedented
authority to order the states to create "cap-and-tax" programs
or otherwise ration energy usage. A less headstrong and power-
hungry administration would be more likely to heed the Supreme's
ruling, so don't hold your breath waiting for Obama and company
to become contrite on this.

The ruling states "An agency has no power to 'tailor' legislation to
bureaucratic policy goals by rewriting unambiguous statutory
terms. Would that King Barry and his regime, and agencies
comport themselves to these constitutional restrictions.
Our country would not be in quite such dire straits.


MEM



Monday, August 11, 2014

It's Milwaukee Irish Fest Time Again!

August 14 through 17 will be the dates for this year's
Milwaukee Irish Fest, and as always your green-striped
Peasant shall be on hand, working as a volunteer at the
music booth by the Aer Lingus Stage for the sixth
consecutive year! I received my 5-year pin last year,
and I am planning to be at that booth every year for
the rest of my life!

Now, the first day is a Thursday, as is the usual with
the festival. So that week, I shall post a day or two
before the day in question; you won't have to be
without your weekly dose of precise, hard-hitting,
insightful analysis and commentary on the political
and economic news of the day from your favorite
Peasant. And we shall gather together again on the
following Thursday, our regular meeting day.

If any of you, my great and wonderful readers, wish
to attend Milwaukee's Irish Fest, here's a link for the
information you'll need:

www.irishfest.com

And while you're there, stop by the Aer Lingus music
booth and say hello! Ask for Mark Minor at the booth,
I'll be on hand selling CDs and DVDs along with posters
and any other goodies brought by the bands playing on
the Aer Lingus stage, and coordinating the after-concert
autograph sessions with the performers. The Milwaukee
Irish Fest is the largest Irish festival in the United States,
and it is the closest thing to actually travelling to the
Emerald Isle itself! Come on over and see for yourselves!
You'll be so glad you did!


MEM