Thursday, April 28, 2016

George Kennedy, R.I.P.

Veteran tough-guy actor in movies and television
for over fifty years, George Kennedy, took his
final bow on February 18, just ten days after his 91st
birthday. Kennedy appeared in many westerns, crime
dramas, a few comedies (The Naked Gun films with
Leslie Nielsen, the latter playing cluelessly goofy
police detective Frank Drebin), some mysteries,
and some heartwarming family films, usually playing
tough, strong, but often big-hearted men in a wide range
of stories put to celluloid.

Kennedy was also a military veteran, serving in the
U.S. Army for sixteen years, seeing combat in WWII
and the Korean War. He had a great love of country,
and was proud to serve; he might have made the military
his career rather than show business but for a back injury
which necessitated his leaving, mustering out a captain,
upon which he returned to the realm of entertainment.

Kennedy was a man of many interests and activities.
He owned and piloted a Cessna 210 and a Beechcraft
Bonanza, and also wrote three books; two murder
mysteries (each inspired by some of the mystery movies
he appeared in) and his autobiography, "Trust Me", which
was published in 2011.

During his long and storied acting career he worked with
the some of the biggest stars in the business, including
John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Barbara Eden, Cary Grant,
Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart, Lee Marvin, and
Ernest Borgnine. Quite fitting, as George Kennedy was
a big star in his own right. He was also a class act
away from the set; a loving husband and father,
a renaissance man of a sort, and a patriot. God bless
and Godspeed, George. R.I.P.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Internet Tax Freedom Act is Here to Stay!

Well, the House of Representatives has now passed
the Internet Tax Freedom Act bill, and it shall be sent
to President Obama to sign into law. Your elated Peasant
wanted to pass the happy news along to you, my great
and grand readers, as I know that you would be as thrilled
as I am!

The Internet Tax Freedom Act will become permanent
with Obama's signature. Here we have two things to be
grateful for: The passage of this legislation, and our
normally tax-happy President willing and soon to sign
it into law. The age of miracles has not passed!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Internet Tax Freedom is Won!

The U.S. Senate, after a lot of hemming and
hawing, passed a bill making the Internet Tax
Freedom Act permanent. This legislation means that
federal law will now protect Internet access services
and email from state and local governments taxing them
by imposing taxes on Internet use of any and all kinds.
After several short-term extensions of this ban since its
enactment in 1998, permanency has been granted to this
rule, and we have some surprising helpers in Washington
to thank.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell steered the bill
toward enactment as part of a larger customs bill. Senator
Ron Wyden (D-OR), who co-authored the original law,
has worked steadily to keep the ban in force. House Judiciary
Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
have been magnificent in keeping tax collectors from
getting their claws on the wallets of online consumers.
Although Senators Wyden and Thune along with Rep.
Goodlatte are to be commended for their efforts to make
this legislation law, it's good to see Sen. McConnell do
something helpful for a change! Kudos to all these legislators.

And this will make your eyes bug: President Obama is willing
to sign the bill! His reason is that he favors the larger customs
bill that included measures that he believes will help Congress
pass his Pacific trade pact later this year. I know; he is willing
to, in this instance, do the right thing for the wrong reason.
Your faithful Peasant will discuss the problems with this trade
agreement and others like it that have previously been enacted
at a later time, but for now let us be grateful that our president,
who heretofore has never met a tax he didn't like, is acting to
keep the Internet free of taxes.

With our nation's economy still sluggishly slogging along,
and the world economy not faring much better, this is most
welcome news. This is also a very strong, pro-investment
sign, and it could not have come at a better time!


UPDATE: The House was scheduled to vote on this legislation
today. Your faithful Peasant will keep you up to date on the
upshot of it and will of course provide commentary! (4/15/16)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Conservatism Wins Again in Wisconsin

Your joyful Peasant is pleased to announce that
the Wisconsin primary, and the general elections
for various local and statewide offices has produced
a bumper crop of victorious conservative candidates!
I'm spoiled for choices as to where to begin, but
I'll begin here:  Se. Ted Cruz won my state's primary
in grand fashion. Cruz crushed bellicose billionaire
Donald Trump 48.2 % to 35. 1 %, with hanger-on
Ohio Gov. John Kasich so far behind that he was a
non-factor. Trump has made countless controversial
remarks during the Republican caucuses and primaries
but truly outdid himself with his sore loser rant after
Cruz was declared the winner by an unqualified landslide.
Trump went on a tear, blaming all of the following:

*The Wisconsin Republican Party.

*Gov. Scott Walker (who endorsed Cruz).

*The Wisconsin media.

*Milwaukee conservative talk shows
 (Note: When on Vicki McKenna's radio
  show, after a stream of hardball questions
  from McKenna, Trump actually hung up
  on her! Gee, ol' Donald seems to have a difficult
  time getting along with female interviewers and
  debate moderators-- remember his battle with Fox's
  Megyn Kelly, in the first debate among the GOP
  candidates? And the nasty remark he made about her

*The voters (no blarney, Trump ripped Wisconsin's voters
  in his rant of blame!).

*Anyone who didn't demonstrate any love for the big-monied

Having heard some of Trump's tantrum, I could only laugh at
the thought of this megalomaniac thinking that the GOP
nomination should simply be handed to him (presumably on
a silver platter? Or perhaps a golden one?). Trump's juvenile
behavior illustrates that the larger the ego, the more fragile
it is.

Interim Justice Rebecca Bradley overcame a mud-slinging
campaign waged by her opponent, Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg,
to win election to a full term on the Wisconsin State Supreme
Court by a 52%-48% margin. Bradley's victory gives the Court's
conservatives a 5-2 majority, and will be certain to turn back
Democrat challenges to the legal standings of Gov. Walker's
reforms. Very good news for businesses, workers and people
seeking employment, and for taxpayers.

Two friends of The Peasant and readers of this blog won their
races to public office here in Milwaukee: Dan Sebring, whom
you, my great and wonderful readers know from my endorse-
ments of Dan when he was the Republican candidate for our
District 4 Congressional seat, unfortunately still held by very
liberal democrat Gwen Moore, was elected handily to be
Milwaukee County Supervisor in the 11th County District,
easily defeating his Democrat-backed opponent, while Dan
Borkowski, a former County Supervisor himself who was
later elected Alderman on Milwaukee's Common Council,
handily won re-election by a nearly 2-1 margin over his liberal
challenger. Congratulations to you both from your proud and
happy Peasant! You are the voices of conservatism and common
sense in a community which has a crying need for both!

Sadly, Alderman Bob Donovan lost his bid to become Milwaukee's
next mayor, losing in a landslide to incumbent Tom Barrett.
High hopes were held for Bob, who has served his ward in Milwaukee
ably and would have been a fine mayor for everyone in Milwaukee,
especially in regards to fighting the rising tide of crime. Here,
Mayor Barrett ran a mudslinging campaign in lieu of one in which
he would have touted his accomplishments over the 12 years he
has served as Milwaukee's mayor, except that he hasn't very many,
so he went the dirty route. Unlike Kloppenburg's effort, Barrett
succeeded. A bit of consolation though: Donovan also won re-election
to the Common Council, so he's still a presence in City Hall, and
will be bird-dogging Barrett and his pals as before, with renewed vigor.
It just proves the old adage that you can't keep a good man down!

Congratulations also go out to a high-school classmate and old friend,
Hannah C. Dugan, for her startling upset victory for the Milwaukee
Circuit Court Branch 31 judgeship, a huge win in terms of margin and
significance, especially considering that her opponent, conservative
Walker-appointee Judge Paul Rifelj, was predicted by observers
to win handily. Although we are on opposite sides of the political
divide, I am still happy for you and proud of you, my old Catholic
Memorial classmate and friend Hannah! Good on ya!

Many conservative candidates in local races around the state had
victorious evenings on Tuesday, making Wisconsin once again a
hotbed of and for conservatism. And we Badger Staters just might
have provided the pivotal point on which the contest for the GOP
presidential nomination will turn, opening up the route for the
nomination and election of a truly conservative, truly constitutional,
truly credible candidate for the nation's highest office. A grand day,
and a grand night to be sure!


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Thoughts on the Wisconsin Primary, the Milwaukee General Election, and Some Endorsements

My friends, your favorite Peasant's home state of
Wisconsin is having its presidential primary on
Tuesday April 5 --- and my hometown of Milwaukee
is having its general election that very day as well.
Furthermore, there is a statewide election for a seat
on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court to top off
the day.

In regards to the primary: your discerning Peasant
has decided on a presidential candidate to endorse,
and am urging my fellow Badger State conservatives
to vote for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. There are now just
three GOP candidates remaining in the race for the
party's nomination, after many of the gaggle of
hopefuls have dropped out, and Cruz is, in my
estimation, not only the best of the final three
but is the one true conservative of the three.
Donald Trump has to date shown little grasp of
the most pressing issues on the minds of the Ameri-
can voters, especially health care, the economy,
and foreign policy. Moreover, it has come out that
Trump is for certain not a serious presidential
candidate, as his communications director resigned
from his campaign team recently citing as evidence
of this his staff and he discussing not winning cam-
paign strategies but how to generate more publicity
for Trump, presumably so he can utilize it for
personal marketing purposes after the election,
which he seemingly has no intention of winning.
Now I have heard it said in some quarters that Trump
declared his presidential candidacy just for this purpose,
as well as to have a bit of a lark. I suppose that when one
have a vast fortune with never-ending waves of income,
then one can indulge in such activity for personal
amusement. Additionally, Trump has gotten into very
hot water this week for some ill-thought (or more likely
not-at-all-thought out) remarks about abortion, which is
costing him points in the polls in Wisconsin and else-
where. But there's still so many people around the country
who are steadfastly supporting Trump, and nothing short
of his committing mass murder and general mayhem
will change that -- and even then I'm not so sure that
all of Trump's fans will turn away from the bellicose
billionaire. Please, my fellow Wisconsin conservatives,
both in and out of the GOP, cast your votes for the one
true conservative still standing, the candidate whose
conservative Bona fides are well-established, who has
a thorough knowledge of the issues facing our country
and of importance to we conservatives, and who has been
battle-tested in Washington; We can win the White House
and restore constitutional governance, and repair the
damage done over the past seven years by the current
president with, and only with, Ted Cruz.

Next, we in Wisconsin have a state Supreme Court seat
to be filled in the election; Rebecca Bradley, appointed to
fill the remaining time of the term that was vacated upon
the death of the previous incumbent Justice N. Patrick
Crooks by Gov. Scott Walker, is being challenged by
left-wing state Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Judge Kloppenburg has, over the course of her long
judicial career, been perceived (quite rightly in your humble
Peasant's opinion) as being soft on crime, where Justice
Bradley has balanced preserving the rights of criminal case
defendants with caring about the victims of crime as
a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge, then later as a
state appellate court judge before being tapped by Gov. Walker
to be an interim justice on Wisconsin's highest court.
Moreover, as Judge Kloppenburg's record of accomplishments
are rather pale in contrast to that of Justice Bradley, the former
and her campaign team have resorted to low-blow attacks and
innuendo. With statewide polls from just last week showing
Bradley leading Kloppenburg, with the former moving ahead
at a brisk clip from the February primary, you can see just how
well this strategy is working; Wisconsin voters, all across the
political spectrum, aren't buying the challenger's hogwash.
For us conservatives, the choice is obvious: Bradley!

Finally, we focus on Milwaukee, where we have a contest to
determine who will be Mayor, either three-term incumbent
Thomas Barrett or Alderman Robert "Bob" Donovan. As you,
my long-time loyal readers remember, your beloved Peasant
wrote a severe criticism of Mayor Barrett back when he twice
challenged Republican Scott Walker for the governorship of
Wisconsin. With a rickety record as Milwaukee mayor, replete
with rising crime rates, rising taxes, and a deterioration of police
and other city services despite increasing tax revenue, and his
tightness with the city's wealthy liberal elite who love to fiddle
while the city, well ... he needs to finally be given his walking
papers. Donovan, on the other hand, is the lone conservative
on Milwaukee's Common Council, the lone voice for fiscal and
social sanity on a council dominated by Barrett-like liberals
whose policies have harmed Milwaukee in these and other ways,
the lone consistent voice of dissent to these council members and
the mayor, and an avid advocate for the people of Milwaukee's
South Side and their concerns being so for four terms. Donovan
would do the same for all Milwaukeeans as mayor, rather than
attend posh cocktail parties with glittery liberal establishment
elitists who couldn't give a flying whatever about the city, her
people, or the issues they face, congratulating each other on being
so "high-minded" and being of superior intellect compared to the
every-day Milwaukeeans who sweat and strain to make our city
work, making it the great city that it is and shall always be -- with
the right kind of leadership. That leadership can be supplied by
Bob Donovan, if we elect him on April 5.

I know that I said that I was going to take this week off, but I have
reconsidered and returned because there is so much at stake here in
Wisconsin, including something that not only affects my home city
and state but our country and I simply had to make comment and
recommendations to my fellow Wisconsin conservatives, and I hope
that my fellow Wisconsinites who are not conservatives will join
me in voting for the aforementioned and endorsed candidates.
There are other offices, including local judgeships, that will be
on the ballot April 5, but I wanted to make special mention of the
three races that I feel are of the most importance in terms of the
political consequences and their range of scope.

We'll get together here again soon. Be of good cheer!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Joy to You!

Your favorite Peasant is taking some time off to enjoy
Easter and the week following it. May you, my beloved
readers, have a joyful, blessed, and happy Easter with
your families and friends! I'll be with mine as well.

Do you know that you can cheese off a left-winger
by wishing him or her "Happy Easter" just as easily
as you can at Christmastime saying "Merry Christmas"?
Just an idea to help you to add some mirth to the holiday!

Easter love and joy to you!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Annual Discontent (and What We Can Do About It)

Many Americans have complained for years that our
tax code is too long, too complicated, and too harsh
on anyone who is financially successful, be it in
their jobs and careers, their businesses, or in their
investments. The Internal Revenue Code, as it is
officially titled, is 74,608 tortuous pages which
confound most people no end, while masking tax
increases and giving cover to political pocket-lining.

With the tax season here, the annual pain that we all
feel to varying degrees is upon us once again.

Alternatives to the sorry status quo have been brought
up many times over recent years; among them a flat tax,
which would levy a constant marginal rate on personal
and/or corporate income. A true flat tax would be
proportional, but implementations often have some degree
of progressivity. Other methods of implementation would
prove to be regressive, depending on the deductions and
exemptions in the tax base. Another idea is the Fair Tax,
which would replace all federal income taxes, payroll
taxes, gift taxes, and estate taxes with a single, broadly
implemented national consumption tax on retail sales.
This tax is designed to protect low-income earners from
higher income taxes by a large tax transfer program called
a "prebate". The prebate would give every such household
a cash transfer equal to the amount of tax that a family at
the poverty level would owe. However, here's the rub:
very high-income folks in fact spend but a fraction of
their income, while middle-income people spend a
larger portion of their earnings, and those at the bottom
section of the income hierarchy spend most, if not all
of what they make. So that makes the Fair Tax a huge
welfare program --- in truth, the largest welfare program
ever. Charts created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
bear this out.

An idea that came to light in the 1980s has long been a
favorite of The Peasant: have a flat tax, but not a perfectly flat
tax; have three marginal tax rates, one for the lower-income
earners, one for the middle-income makers, and one for the
high-income people. Set the rates at reasonable levels,
each appropriate to each income level group's ability to pay
without any financial discomfort imposed on them from
said rate, and make them known to all. Furthermore,
eliminate all deductions, tax credits, loopholes, and
exemptions for all individuals and organizations --- business,
political, educational, or what have you. This would, among
other benefits, eliminate political manipulation, such as that
done by the IRS to political groups which disagree openly
with the current president and his party. No more targeting
and bullying of such organizations and citizens. We could
file our tax reportings on a form the size of a post card!

Moreover, the IRS would be eliminated as well. With the
tax code so hugely simplified, the IRS would have no need
of so many examiners, collectors, filers, or account servicers.
We would be able to get rid of the Obamacare taxes (remember,
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Obama's Affordable Care Act
is a tax), as well as other onerous taxes which the Obama regime
relies on to fill government coffers, and save the $386 million
that the IRS spent on administering the payment process for
Obamacare alone! And the Washington big shots will be forever
restrained from siphoning astronomical amounts of our income
for their selfish purposes! Cronyism would wither and disappear!

The economy would certainly benefit, as many new businesses
would be started, existing businesses would grow, many jobs
would be created and current jobs would be secured, wages
and salaries would increase, and American exports would
be unshackled of burdensome, unnecessary taxes, and be more
attractive in the world markets. And we could, at long last,
shrink our national debt and replace our budget deficit with
a surplus, as this tax system would impose fiscal discipline
upon the federal government and make it balance the budget.

This is an idea which we should urge the Republican presidential
candidates to support, as well as all Republican congressional
candidates to get behind. We can have fiscal and financial healing
at last! We have nothing to lose and so much to gain. How about it?