Thursday, July 17, 2014

James Oberstar, R.I.P.

A unique and distinctive Democrat, a mindful
and dedicated public servant, and a friend from
long ago passed away recently. Former U.S.
Representative James Oberstar, from Minnesota,
left this world on May 3 at the age of 79.

The son of a miner in the Iron Range, the north-
eastern part of Minnesota, Oberstar attended the
University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul; my
alma mater as well. In fact, that is where we met,
on the occasion of his giving a speech there.
We got to chatting and discovered that we had
much in common politically despite our being
in opposing parties: pro-life, pro-preservation of
wilderness areas without making it difficult, if
not impossible, for people to access these areas
to enjoy camping, fishing, hunting, and snowmo-
biling, to name a few. And on topics where we
differed, the congressman was every bit as
courteous and cordial with me as when we were
in agreement on those topics where we had common
ground. We also were fellow Catholics, and the
desire to attend Saint Thomas which we both had
was based in part on the fact that we wanted to attend
a Catholic institution of higher learning.

After serving thirty-two years in the House of
Representatives, Oberstar lost in a stunning upset to
Tea Party-backed Republican Chip Craavak.
Oberstar represented Minnesota's Eighth
Congressional District, a district so overwhelmingly
Democratic that the few times when the
Republicans did bother to endorse and nominate
a candidate for any office in or from the district their
candidate was fortunate to receive 25% of the vote.
It was 2010, the year that the Tea Party came to the
forefront of the national political scene, and the
movement capitalized on the growing discontent with
President Obama's "Hope and Change", and many
Democrats, like Rep. Oberstar, felt the wrath of the
electorate.

But James Oberstar had some stands on some key issues
which set him apart from, and above, Obama and those
Democrats who rushed to sweep the country away in the
zeitgeist of Obama was the driving force. Most of his
constituents, however, did not think it was sufficient to
keep him in Washington to continue to serve their
interests. Still, Oberstar respected their decision to
bring him home, as he always listened to them and
tried his very best to represent them and their wishes,
their hopes, and their desires, never forgetting that they
the people of his home district were the bosses of him,
not his being their boss. That is a quality that too many
representatives and senators from both parties lack these
days, to the detriment of the country.

Rest in peace, my old friend. It was a pleasure and a joy
to know you.


MEM

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Good Man Who Can't Be Kept Down

News from your faithful Peasant's Badger State:
In Wisconsin Senate District 21, which includes
Racine, former Republican State Senator Van
Wangaard is running again for the seat he held
but lost in a controversial recall election in 2010,
which is referred to in my home state as The Year
of the Recall. This was the year in which several
state legislators from both parties, as well as Gov.
Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch were
subjected to recalls themselves. Democrats wanted
to recall Walker, Kleefisch, Wangaard, and other
GOP elected officials in Madison for passing
Act 10, the revolutionary budget reform act which
clipped the public employee unions' wings concern-
ing their impact on Wisconsin's budget and taxes;
Republicans wanted to recall key Democrats in the
capitol for fleeing the state to deny the GOP
majority a quorum in order to pass Act 10 and
related measures.

Today's post is about Van Wangaard and his campaign
to regain the seat in my state's Senate which he lost in
a heated recall election with some shenanigans along
the way. Wangaard, a former Racine police investigator
and a solid conservative, challenged incumbent Democrat
Jim Lehman for the District 21 Senate seat in 2010, the
big Republican year in which the party won both the
Assembly and the Senate in Wisconsin and Scott Walker
was elected governor, and the GOP won big in many other
state races around the country while also winning the
House of Representatives in Congress. The brutal battle
between Wangaard and Lehman ended with Wangaard
winning the seat in a close contest, taking 52.5% of the
vote. Lehman and the district's Dems would have none
of it; when they geared up to recall Walker et. al. they also
added Van Wangaard to their hit list, and nominated Lehman
to set up a rematch.

Under Wisconsin law, the state's Government Accountability
Board (GAB) has 31 days to determine if enough valid sig-
natures have been submitted to mandate a recall election.
But with 1.9 million signatures to review for six recalls,
the GAB asked Judge Richard Niess of Dane County,
where capital city of Madison resides for an extension.
The judge granted the GAB an additional 30 days. Now,
the GAB has, for the last few years, been mostly made up
of Democrats appointed by the Gov. Walker's Democrat
predecessor Jim Doyle, and have long been accused of
acting in a partisan fashion on many issues. The state,
with a specially-created software, had workers scan the
petitions into computers and the software read the names,
then converted them into type. Next, a human operator
verified the name, correcting any errors before it was then
entered into the GAB database.

Wangaard filed a signature challenge on February 9, 2013,
eight months after the election. He questioned 7,491 of the
signatures, stating that they were either listed more than
once, or were illegible, or the signers were not of the legal
voting age (18), or otherwise ineligible to vote. Also note-
worthy, the recall election took place in the "old" district,
which was the district before the 2010 redistricting that
changed it from a 60-40 Democrat district to a 70-30
Republican one. This was ordered by a Democrat judge
(big surprise!) to be so conducted. Unofficial results had
Lehman winning by 779 votes, and Wangaard called for a
recount which added 40 more votes to Lehman's original
vote tally, giving him the election, thus returning him to
the Senate. But Van Wangaard is running again this year
and interestingly enough, John Lehman is giving up the
seat to seek a statewide office(!). While the Dems choose
a new nominee, John Stitz, a Republican businessman from
Racine, is challenging Wangaard for the Republican nod
to run for the 21st District Senate seat.

Both GOP candidates are accentuating economic issues in
their campaigns. Van Wangaard is the only one of the two
with public office experience, and has authored a solidly
conservative economic issues record of low taxes, private
sector growth and budget reduction while also backing
legislation helping communities to have safer environs.
One example of this is Wangaard's authoring the Castle
Doctrine Bill, which gives residents the right to attempt
defense of themselves, their families, and their property
if an intruder invades. In addition, Wangaard co-authored
the state's Concealed Carry Law, which was passed by
both houses and signed by Gov. Walker, making Wisconsin
the nation's 49th state to legalize concealing gun on one's
person while carrying the weapon. On abortion, Wangaard
is solidly pro-life and has proven himself to be a major
thorn in the side of Planned Parenthood, working to
prohibit receiving state health grants. For these stands and
others of this conservative vein Van Wangaard has received
the support of the Racine Tea Party PAC, and your discerning
Peasant congratulates the Racine Tea Partiers for making a
splendid choice!

Although Jonathan Stitz is a good candidate and an honorable
man, The Peasant endorses Van Wangaard for the Wisconsin
District 21 Republican State Senate nomination and election to
that office. He is experienced, savvy in the ways of Madison,
and is the best candidate to serve the interests and needs of
the people of this district as well as to be a most competent,
and reliable ally for Gov. Walker. I met Van Wangaard when
I attended the Wisconsin Republican Convention in Milwaukee
on May 2, and was impressed by his command of the issues
as well as his enthusiasm for running again for the seat that
he lost under questionable circumstances. Van Wangaard is
proof that you can't keep a good man down!


MEM

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Independence Day Thoughts

As we enjoy our nation's birthday, my fabulous readers,
let us remember the people who made it possible all of
those 238 years ago, and all the people who followed
that protected what was created for us, and those people
who this day are also protecting all that which was
made for and left to us. And let us do our part by being
the most aware, the most diligent, the most responsible,
the most active, and the most appreciative citizens we
are capable of being. Vote. Contact your elected repre-
sentatives when something is on your mind. Work on
a campaign for a candidate for elected office whom you
believe in. Work for a cause which you believe in.
Contribute money to these if you can. Run for office
yourself if you feel you can make a difference that way.
Did I mention vote?

In the meantime, enjoy the parades, the picnics, the games,
the concerts, the fireworks, and the warm summer weather!
And count your blessings, starting with the fact that you are
Americans! You live in the most free, the most prosperous,
the most secure, the most wonderful nation on this earth!
Yes, I know, believe me I know; the economy is still sickly,
the federal government is watching us all much more closely,
and the reigning regime in Washington is encouraging, if
not instructing, the IRS to harass citizens who don't agree
with the policies of the regime, businesses are being choked
to death with red tape galore with small businesses getting
the worst of it, people thinking about starting a business
seeing this and rethinking their plans, and our children being
taught in their schools that the United States is the cause
of the world's ills as well as a most unjust and unfair place
for those who live here, and that the Constitution is at best
an outdated piece of paper and at worst a giant shackle on
the rights of the people rather than a guarantor of those very
rights, and that certain amendments in the Constitution do
not say what it has long been acknowledged that they say
(the Second Amendment most notably). But we as a nation
have thrown out a king, beaten back Barbary pirates that
preyed upon our seafaring commerce, defeated again the
very nation which we had won our independence from
when they tried to snatch us back, fought, survived, and
healed our nation after a bloody civil war and ended slavery
in the process, fought and won two world wars, the second
in which we stopped an evil axis of thuggish dictators who
led (or misled) their nations into attempting to conquer the
world and vanquish freedom throughout it, put men on the
moon, and have been --- throughout it all --- the beacon of
hope for humanity, the ray of bright liberty and the bright
promise of a better life for the oppressed and downtrodden
people of the world, attracting them to our shores to build
and enjoy lives that they could only dream of doing in their
native countries. And we often faced, and had overcome
impossible odds along the way. We can turn around our
situation which we now face if we remember our heritage,
and if we believe in ourselves and each other.

Enjoy the Fourth! And save a hot dog or a burger for your
favorite Peasant!


MEM

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Thought for Parents

Your gimlet-eyed Peasant saw this message on
Facebook recently, and I want to share it with you,
my fabulous readers, especially those of you with
youngsters not yet through their teens. This wee
bit of wisdom will do much to bring about respect
for girls and women, as well as to revive true romance;
we as a society could only benefit from this knowledge.

WE NEED TO TEACH OUR DAUGHTERS TO KNOW
                   THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN:

A man who flatters her and a man who complements her,

A man who spends money on her and a man who invests
in her,

A man who views her as property and a man who views
her properly,

A man who lusts after her and a man who loves her,

A man who believes he's a gift to women, and a man
who believes she's a gift to him,

And then we need to teach our sons to be that kind of man.

I posted this piece on my Facebook page as soon as I saw
it. If all parents did this for their children, our families,
our communities, our society, and our country would be
so much less contentious and so much more civil, loving,
respectful, caring, kind, warm, and joyful.

Don't you think?


MEM

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Roadblocks on the Information Superhighway?

My friends, your troubled Peasant has recently learned
about a plan by President Obama to give away control
of the Internet to a United Nations committee. As he
believes that the United States should not be in any
position of authority, responsibility, or leadership of
any sort in the world, this is not at all surprising.
But the ramifications of this terrible idea are truly
frightening.

Throughout the entire time that Obama has occupied
the White House, he and his regime have been vexed
by the level of opposition to his ideas on governance
voiced online,  especially by conservative bloggers
such as your humble Peasant. Obama and his
cabinet, his "czars", and his advisers have hatched
several ideas for reining in the online opposition,
and this idea does two things that Team Obama favors:
It gives up American oversight and protection of
the Internet to the UN, a body that isn't known for its
admiration of and support for the U.S. in the realm
of world affairs. And two of its more influential
members, Russia and China, have long gritted their
teeth at the long-standing arrangement in which our
country has watched over and guarded online traffic
through a company known as ICANN; you see, the
Russians and the Chinese want more power to
regulate and censor the Internet, especially concerning
their own dissidents. And if they can crack down on
what Americans may say on the high-tech highway
concerning their governments' treatment of their people,
their threatening behavior toward their neighboring
countries, or their intentions toward the United States,
then that would be a feather in each of their caps.
Couple this with Obama, Democrat legislators in
Congress, and their left-wing allies here at home
doing same to opposing voices and you will have
a totalitarian nightmare worthy of a George Orwell
novel.

On April 23, the "Global Multistakeholder Meeting on
the Future of Internet Governance" took place in Brazil
for the purpose of initiating the transfer of control over
the Internet. Your gravely concerned Peasant does not
yet know exactly how far this process has gotten toward
fruition, but I do know that there is growing opposition
to this horror among the American citizenry, especially
by the Tea Party. I pray that our combined efforts are
not too little too late. Here are the consequences of UN
control of the information superhighway:

*Every oppressive government in the world will have
the power to censor and restrict what their countries'
people can see and transmit on the World Wide Web.
Tinpot dictators, runamok royalty, military martinets
and the like will be able to tighten their control over
their subjects all the more, preventing them from
sending and receiving ideas that would counter the
prevailing party lines and whatall being rammed down
their throats.

*The UN would be free to tax each and every transaction
that you would make on the Internet. You can expect to
be taxed for every purchase of any kind, every time you
send an e-mail to anyone, every time you would visit a
web site!

* You would be taxed by the UN just for regitering a
domain.

*UN officials and despots would also be able to spy on
you. Oh, yes, and they would do it in a nanosecond!

And none of this troubles our wayward president. ICANN
would be swallowed up by the UN and become an arm of
the organization. And the European Union will want a piece
of the action; they too will want to grab some of this
revenue booty from the U.S. and other countries. The UN
and other globalist organizations will waste no time in
scrubbing the Internet of all content critical of their agenda
and anything else that they and thier elitist pals, such as
currency trader and international meddler George Soros
would find troubling.

Your faithful Peasant shall comment further on this and
related news concerning the future of the Inernet and
the battle for control of it in the weeks and months to come.
These events will not only have an impact on bloggers
like myself, but on everyone who goes online for any
purpose at any time --- and these days that's just about
everyone.

Let us be vigilant.


MEM

Thursday, June 12, 2014

We Move Closer to the Truth About Benghazi

My friends, thanks to the House of Representatives
having created a panel to investigate the tragedy in
Benghazi, Libya where our Ambassador, Christopher
Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and CIA
operatives Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were
killed, we may at last be able to unravel the entire
story about what happened that fateful night.
We can get long elusive answers to important
questions such as:

*Why was there no military response to the events
on that night?

*Why was Ambassador Stevens' repeated requests
for military backup ignored?

*How many American personnel were injured in the
attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi?

*Was there an order, or multiple orders, for our
military personnel in the area to stand down, and
if so, who gave the order(s) and why?

*Were any military assets available to support the
ambassador and other personnel there when they
were under attack?

*Who authroized a $500 million arms transfer to
Al Qaeda?

These and other related questions require truthful
answers from all persons at all levels whose respon-
sibility it was to advise the President and the Secre-
tary of Defense during this avodable tragedy. But
to date, there have been stonewalling, ducking, and
very likely suppression of evidence by the Obama
regime, along with the exhibit of cavalier indiffer-
ence to the violent fates of the aforementioned four
Americans and the attempts to ascertain what exactly
happened that lead to their deaths. The process will
be not unlike pulling teeth, but The Peasant commends
the House for taking on the task. It's just a crying shame
that we have a president and administration that has
such a scandallously callous attitude toward our
personnel at our dipolmatic posts, even toward one
of our ambassadors!

Meanwhile, my grand readers, let your members of
the House know that you support the House panel
and their efforts to get to the bottom of the Benghazi
scandal. Call, write, e-mail, and if possible, stop by
their offices to show your support! And keep all of
this in mind if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
decides to run for the presidency; she was the person
whom Ambassador Stevens called to request assistance
when danger was imminent. Hold her, President Obama,
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and the rest of this
motley crew responsible for this horror. Make them
own it!

If we keep up the pressure, we will get the truth.
We require it, and our four deceased fellow Americans
deserve it, for we all need justice to be served.


MEM



Thursday, June 5, 2014

From Surviving a War to Surviving the VA

The latest scandal du jour to befall the Obama regime
is an especially sad and infuriating one. It involves our
military veterans and the Veterans Administration
system, from their hospitals to their offices.

Last month, information was leaked stating that as many
as forty veterans had died while waiting for healthcare at
VA facilities in Phoenix. Several whistleblowers averred
that thousands of patients were put on a list by hospital
administrators, a list that they wanted to keep quiet, and
for good reason: hospital staff were falsifying data to
give the impression that vets' waiting times for medical
care had lessened. If patients died before they could get
to see a doctor, their names were quietly deleted from the
list. Worse, similar things have been taking place in other
VA facilities elsewhere as well.

What has our Commander-In-Chief had to say about this
shocking occurrence? He announced his anger over the
matter, while also claiming that he had only recently
learned of this fiasco through media reports. But once
again, President Obama plays with the truth; he knew of
the long delays vets face at VA hospitals and clinics all
the while he has been in the White House, and had been
briefed on the possibility that wait times were not
accurate in his first year as President. While it is true that
inexcusably lengthy wait-times at VA establishments did
not originate with Obama, his reaction to the news having
been broken about the Phoenix debacle demonstrates
once again that he is a butt-covering liar.

While President Obama was doing what he does best,
Democrats in the House and the Senate went about doing
damage control. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
went for the favorite tactic of her party and the President:
blame the previous president. She blamed President George
W. Bush and the two wars that we entered into on his watch,
and the prez added that "these are the fruits of a decade at
war." The fact of the matter is, and it's a most inconvenient
truth for Obama and his chums, is that the backlog that the
VA system has been experiencing is due to the increasing
reliance on that system by Korean and Vietnam War
veterans, not the veterans of the more recent wars. These
systemic problems were neglected for many years.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinsecki, who had only
a few days ago resigned his position in disgrace over the
scandal, was catching barbs from both sides of the aisle
in bot chambers of Congress for not showing strong
leadership or accountability. Shinsecki said he was proud
of the reduced backlog in benefit claims(!), and said this to
reporters: "As I testified before Congress on May 15, I take
any allegations about patient safety or employee misconduct
seriously. The reports of veterans' negative experiences
while seeking VA care are of great personal concern to me."
Oh, really?

And another factor in the burgeoning backlog is benefit claim
denials, which can take literally years to appeal. Many cases
involve simple errors such as erroneous diagnoses and impro-
perly filled out forms, while some involve missing medical
records and other more serious causes making claim denials
occur. There are tens of thousands of cases appealed to be
resolved, most having been filed by veterans of previous wars.
A simple appeals case can take an average of 1 1/2 years to
get straightened out, and that's an eternity to a vet who needs
life-saving medical treatment and therefore cannot wait for
even 1 1/2 months. President Obama promised, while on the
campaign trail in 2008, fulfilling a "moral obligation" to care
for our veterans, and apparently this is just another pie-crust
promise made for the sake of conning the electorate with
emotion-triggering political rhetoric.  He boasted not long ago
that he has a pen and a phone to make legislation happen, going 
around both Congress and the Constitution if need be, to have
what he wants done. Why won't he use these items to make
legislation benefitting our veterans that would clean up
this bureaucratic quagmire, and hold those responsible for
it accountable? Ah, but Barry O has no love for our military
personnel past or present. Remember what he did with the
veterans' memorials during the budget sequester?

And a lack of funding was not a factor in this sorry tale;
VA spending had doubled in the prior decade to $140 billion
in 2013, and has increased by a third during the Obama
presidency. And it was not a lack of personnel that caused
this horror either, as the VA is the largest government
employer after the Department of Defense, with the VA
employing over 300,000 staff. That's an army in and of itself!
So that leaves the bureaucracy. Warnings of the systemic
problems within have gone ignored and blasted as partisan
carping (the Republicans had given the warnings, you see).
Now, we as a nation are facing the very real and very scary
likelihood that this will be our future where medical care is
concerned; stringently rationed care, delay or denial of service,
and a lack of accountability are the rule rather than the exception
for our vets today, will this be everyone's reality tomorrow?
Talk about a brave new world! And your faithful Peasant must
say, that I am too big of a coward to live in such a world.


MEM