Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The First Amendment vs. Political Correctness

Recently in Houston, Texas, that city's
mayor had its municipal government
subpoena the sermons of several local
pastors in order to --- are you all sitting
down, my wonderful readers? --- examine
the contents for evidence of so-called
"hate speech". George Orwell, call your
office!

Here's what happened: Houston Mayor
Annise Parker and City Attorney David
Feldman wanted to see if the pastors in
their churches were trying to drum up
support for a petition drive to overturn
Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance.
This local law reiterates many federally
covered civil rights laws while also
allowing people to use the gender-
labeled public restroom of their choice, i.e
a man could thus use the women's
lavatory and a woman could use the
men's facility. Apparently, the pastors
are politically conservative as are most
of the congregants in their churches, and
have a huge problem with the rest room
provision. The pastors did not have copies
of the petition with them in their churches
to get their members to sign right there on
the spot, by the account from conservative
online publication Personal Liberty that
your favorite Peasant has read. But the
mayor and her legal beagle were sufficiently
incensed that anyone, especially clergy, would
oppose their cherished law and its politically
correct essence that they would demand to see
the notes and drafts of the pastors' sermons to
their flocks to investigate if they were inciting
hatred for the people who would choose to
step inside of the rest room of the gender opposite
of their own. This is political correctness at its
worst, and a grave threat to the First Amendment
of the Constitution.

Houston passed an anti-discrimination ordinance
in May, supporting a bill strongly favored by
the mayor, who is a lesbian. She described its
passage as being "the most satisfying and most
personally meaningful thing that I will do as mayor".
City Attorney Feldman stated publicly that he
had no qualms about the purpose or the scope of
the subpoenas, declaring "If they (the pastors)
choose to do this inside the church, choose to
do this from the pulpit, then they open the door to
the questions being asked." Chilling comments,
are they not? So much for the First Amendment,
and the Separation of Church and State that the
left-wingers love to spout when a person of the
cloth says something that they vehemently
disagree with; apparently they are not the least
bit troubled by the union of these two entities,
provided that the state gets to dictate to the church
regarding what it ought do and say and what it
ought not do and say.

A petition to hold a referendum on the law garnered
three times as many signatures as were required, but were
declared "invalid" by City Attorney Feldman. So much
for democracy. A voter lawsuit challenging Feldman's
action is currently pending. The battle lines are thus
drawn.

There are three things about the Separation of Church and
State that all Americans, public office holders and
everyday citizens should know: One, that it discourages
the state from establishing a state religion and
church, i.e. the Church of England, and the Russian
Orthodox Church, the latter having been infiltrated,
perverted, and co-opted by the Russian government in
the days of the Soviet Union and still under the thumb
of the state there. Two, it also discourages the state from
controlling the activities and words spoken in places
of worship. And three, it is not at all found in the
Constitution; it is, rather, a guide for establishing
mutually respectful behavior between the state and
houses of faith. Lefties such as Mayor Parker and
her hack Feldman do not have knowledge of this, nor
do they care; power and domination over the people
are what they concern themselves with. Equal rights
are all well and good; dragging clergy into court for
expressing convictions shared with their flocks are
neither well nor good. There are some churches that
your faithful Peasant does not attend and never will,
some being Catholic churches, as I am myself am a
Catholic. But although I disagree with some of what
is spoken, shared and taught in these churches I most
certainly do not want the government at any level
regulating what they say, share and teach. That flies
in the face of the principles of what this country was
founded on and stands for. A wonderful conservative
legal group, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF),
is representing five of the pastors and their churches in
their legal war with the city of Houston, and has filed
a legal brief questioning the constitutionality of
Houston's subpoena.

The gravamen of the ADF's case states that "City
Council members are supposed to be public servants,
not 'Big Brother" overlords who will tolerate no
dissent or challenge. In this case, they have embarked
upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to stop
it", according to ADF's Erik Stanley, the attorney
working on behalf of the plaintiffs. Your beloved
Peasant couldn't state it better himself. The ADF also
condemned the city's handling of the petition to hold
a referendum on the legislation.

It is the Age of Obama, my dear readers. The arrogant,
elitist, unconstitutional ideas of our commissar of a
president and his fellow Democrat party pols, and
and their lefty allies have now spilled out of our nation's
capitol and capital and into the states and municipalities
around our country. This is why elections matter, and
why our participation in them is vital.

And another election is coming on November 4.


MEM


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Couple of Endorsements

My friends, your faithful Peasant does not
make many endorsements of candidates. Not
because of a dearth of solid conservatives running
for public office, but because there are so many
offices across the land up for grabs at election time,
especially at national mid-term elections such as
the one coming up. The Peasant endorses candidates
in races where there is formidable competition,
and races whose results can have a great effect
on a district, or a state, or the nation as a whole.

So I have two endorsements, each for some great
Badger State conservatives, men with courage of
conviction and spines of steel, unlike too many
in the GOP these days: Gov. Scott Walker for
another term as Governor and Dan Sebring for
Congress from the Fourth District (encompasses
Milwaukee and some of her suburbs).

Gov. Walker was elected in 2010 in the GOP
tsunami and was re-elected by a larger margin
in the controversial recall election forced upon
him and his supporters (of which of course your
favorite Peasant is one) in 2012 by the Democrats
and their union chums. Walker's sweeping reform
legislation, Act 10, gave Wisconsinites a state budget
that will not strangle our financial health as individual
citizens nor as a state. The $3.6 billion deficit that
Walker inherited from his Democrat predecessor
has been transformed into a surplus, school districts
as well as municipal and county governments saw
money freed up for them to fund items that they couldn't
before because they were locked into paying out huge
benefit packages and wages to public union workers;
school districts can now hire and retain better quality
teachers, making room for them by firing those of lesser
quality; and guess what friends, although you'd NEVER
get him to admit it, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett used
Act 10 to find money to fund some items in his city's
budget --- and he campaigned vociferously against
Walker's initiative when he ran against him in the
2010 and 2012 gubernatorial races! He claimed that it
would hurt needed programs. Well, those programs and
others in Milwaukee's budget are doing quite nicely,
without any further raising of municipal taxes to burden
Milwaukee's citizens. Oh, and Gov. Walker created a
$280 million rainy day fund for unforeseen financial
circumstances.

Walker is being opposed by a limousine liberal who at
present holds her one and only elected office, that of
Dane County School Board member, who was Commerce
Secretary for Walker's Democrat gubernatorial predecessor
(who had chased many jobs out of Wisconsin and killed
off many jobs which would have been created here during
his two terms), and the Democrat candidate herself, one
Mary Burke, was an executive at Trek Bicycle, a bike
manufacturer founded and run by her family, and stood by
quietly when the firm transferred much of their manufacturing
functions to China where it could avail itself of super-cheap
(and non-union) labor. Furthermore, Burke has hampered herself
by plagiarism, taking ideas and statements from other Democrat
gubernatorial candidates in other states without attributing same
to their sources, and she has been vague to the point of slippery
about her ideas for governance re: the state's economy, taxes,
and jobs. Not a good recipe for changing hearts and minds in
a state with a governor that has made life in his state measurably
more livable by not taxing everything that moves and breathes!

Dan Sebring is running again for the seat in the House of Re-
presentatives in Congress currently held by Democrat Gwen
Moore, a reliable rubber stamp for President Obama. Sebring
has been able to chip away at Moore's percentage of the vote
between the last two elections in which they faced off,
especially with the 2010 redistricting which brought some
moderate-to-conservative suburban communities into
Wisconsin's Fourth District, long a Democrat stronghold.
Dan Sebring is pro-economic (read: job) growth; he is a
self-employed auto mechanic with a garage in Milwaukee.
He is also a foe of creating and raising taxes and a friend to
business folk, especially small business owners like himself,
and disdains excessive regulations on businesses large and
small. Socially conservative, Sebring is pro-life on abortion
and considers the effects on families by legislation which affects
their income, their standard of living, and their ability to raise
their children the way that they see fit without countering ideas
coming from their local schools and state and federal government
bureaucracies. Gwen Moore is reflexively the opposite on all
these issues, and is therefore an Obama proxy. Time to say
"No more!" to Gwen Moore!

Election Day is November 4. Mark your calendars, make arrange-
ments to get to the polls, bring your families, friends and
neighbors, and support these and other stoutly conservative
candidates! We have a great opportunity to take the Senate
and win a super-majority in the House, as well as to score resound-
ing victories in many statewide races. Let's make the most of these
races!


MEM

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Peasant Gets Some R&R

My friends, your beloved Peasant is going to take
a few days off in October to visit family, recharge
batteries, and catch up on some reading so that
I may be all the more knowledgeable on not only
the issues of the day but also the whys and wherefores
of our Constitution, our system of government, and
our economy. When I return to you I shall be "loaded
for bear", and in time for the November elections.
There will be a lot to take in and a lot to discuss,
and I want you to know that your favorite Peasant
shall be at his sharpest so as to be up to the measure!

In the meantime, here are some links to some wonderful
publications for you to click on for you to enjoy
more observations and commentary on the news from
a freedom perspective. And by the by, we shall be
observing and celebrating the fifth anniversary of our
gathering here every week to examine and discuss
the news, sticking the Pitchfork's prongs into
the backsides of those richly deserving of a good
jab while commending and supporting those who
are fighting the good fight for the preservation of
our wonderful country and the freedoms, the security,
and the prosperity we enjoy as its citizens! A good time
will be had by all!

National Review Online
www.nationalreview.com

Freedom Weekly
www.freedomweekly.com

Reason Magazine Online
www.reason.com

Newsmax
www.newsmax.com


See you upon my return! God bless!


MEM

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