Thursday, May 19, 2016

Facebook and the Right

It has been said by some, especially by conservatives
who have individual or political group Facebook
pages, that Facebook dislikes, slights, and harasses them
simply for posting politically conservative content.
Accusations have ranged from deleting some posts
to suspending accounts, with the latest being
omitting from their "trending stories" feature pieces
touting the conservative point of view on an issue
of interest. Just a few days ago the website Gizmodo
reported that Facebook employees jiggered FB's
section for trending stories which carries the most
liked and shared stories of the day, excluding stories
from conservative online outlets such as Red State
and Breitbart News. Anonymous ex-employees of
Facebook have revealed that they deleted said material
to Gizmodo. Moreover, according to Gizmodo,
Facebook also "injected" stories that were not receiving
as much attention into the FB trending column,
most notably a piece about the leftist racial group
Black Lives Matter after receiving complaints about
an alleged lack of representation. Selected stories
zoom to the top in shares and likes, as they get the
most attention.

Facebook has strongly denied the charges of such
disdain and favoritism, claiming that no evidence
of having done so has been discovered. The company
claims it takes such complaints "extremely seriously",
and that "There are rigorous guidelines in place for
the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality
... these guidelines do not permit the suppression of
political perspectives."

Now, Facebook is a media company and therefore is
not a public utility. It is certainly free to set its own
editorial standards. Yet they chose news stories through
a proprietary algorithm, after which a human staff member
makes news choices as to what will and will not be
touted by Facebook. To Facebook's credit, they do allow
conservative groups to have their own Facebook pages
where their members can gather online to share news items
and their opinions; your ubiquitous Peasant is a member
of a few such groups. But the administrators of some of
these sites have alerted their members that Facebook
has given them warnings about the content of some of
the material posted, and in some cases has stepped in to
censor the groups by deleting some pieces posted by them.
What could raise the ire of Facebook so that they would
resort to such action? Articles and opinions critical of
President Obama, certain race-themed political figures
and groups, radical Islamic individuals and groups and
such. Gee, haven't they gotten Hillary Clinton's message
from the Bush II era stating "dissent is patriotic"?

It should be noted, as an FYI, that Facebook founder and
CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave quite generously to both of
President Obama's presidential campaigns. Gee, do you
think that this might be impacting Facebook's company
policies?

Here's a way to end this brouhaha: Facebook should make
public a detailed look at its policies and standards. A news
distribution system such as Facebook's even suspected by
the public as being biased, especially to the point of being
censorious would lose the trust of the customers who make
the company's revenue possible with advertisement clicks.
Besides, if Facebook is not, after all, playing with content
to exclude conservatives, they would then have nothing to
hide by welcoming the public to study their standards and
how they adhere to them. I'd take a peek myself!

In the meantime, Zucky will host a sort of summit meeting
with some prominent conservatives to explain what Facebook's
content policy and related policies are, and that there is in fact
no attempt by Facebook to give short shrift in any way to
its conservative account holders. That's all very well, but he
had better follow it up with taking appropriate actions to ensure
that Facebook gives fair and honest treatment to the
conservatives who have Facebook pages, ferreting out and
disciplining its staff members who are not complying with
this standard.

Talk is cheap; action is a more valuable currency in the realm
of business interaction. Time for Facebook's honcho to pony up.


MEM



Thursday, May 12, 2016

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

Recently, two prominent figures of the political
left have made public statements on some topics
of import, sharing their wisdom, or what they have
that is trying desperately to pass for wisdom, with
we the Great Unwashed.

Remarking on a commercial for Doritos chips that
appeared during the recent Super Bowl game, which
showed an unborn baby jumping out of his mother's
womb to grab some of the aforementioned chips to
snack on, long-ago feminist icon Gloria Steinem
castigated Frito-Lay, the makers of Doritos for
"humanizing the fetus" in their uniquely cute
advertisement. A longtime champion of legalized
abortion, the Doritos piece must have given her
major conniptions at even the humorous depiction
of a pre-born baby sensing a delicious snack just
outside of mummy's tummy, making a play for the
treat. Now anyone with even a scintilla of smarts
and sense knows that a baby in the mother's womb
cannot see or smell anything outside the womb,
much less burst forth to grab a food item; poor
Gloria must be losing it at her advanced age, or
perhaps the geriatric radical is simply so
ideologically glued to the idea that a not-yet-born
human baby is not human, is not living, is not capable
of much of anything that even a light-hearted commercial
taking a little humorous license sends her into fits.
Note to Gloria: One, the commercial was just an artistic,
humorous melding of entertainment and advertisement;
no more, no less. Two, you should lighten up and humanize
yourself!

Then, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright was
stumping for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, exhorting
women to vote for the wife of her old boss, President Bill
Clinton. Madeline Not-So-Bright admonished female voters
to turn out for Hillary because "there's a special place in hell
for women who don't help other women". Your falling-down-
laughing Peasant is spoiled for choices as to how to respond
to her bizarre statement, but I'll say this: Madeline dear,
your pal Hillary has been anything but a help to women,
especially those who had been preyed upon by her predatory
husband. She had, after all, headed up the team to respond to
hubby Bill's "bimbo eruptions", in which she savaged the
reputations of the women that Slick Willie tried to have his
way with, publicly pillorying each one of them, especially
those who threatened legal action against Billy boy. And
Hillary had the gall to claim in a speech that women who have
been mistreated by such men have a right to be heard and
believed (!). I suppose so, just as long as it wasn't Hill's Bill
who was doing the mistreating. And this is who you think
would make a fine president? I need to have a swig of
Pepto Bismol!

Why don't these two ageing, washed-up, elitist left-wing
has-beens just fade away? Their time on our political stage
is long up, and they should be long gone from it. Time,
as well as women and their aspirations, have passed them by,
and the more they try to speak for the members of their gender
the more they embarrass themselves, for they have ceased being
relevant to their fellow females as well as to our society
years ago.


MEM



Thursday, May 5, 2016

What Now?

After winning the Indiana Republican presidential primary
two days ago, Donald Trump supposedly now has at least
the required number of delegates amassed to clinch the
GOP nomination and thus head up their ticket in November.
Directly following the results of the Hoosier State's primary
Sen. Ted Cruz announced he was suspending his campaign
(this is the modern term for a candidate's packing it in).
Cruz was Trump's closest rival in delegates gathered, so
his gambits of choosing Carly Fiorina to be his running mate
well ahead of the Republican Convention in July and a pact
of cooperation with the other remaining GOP candidate,
Gov. John Kasich, have failed.

And so have my warnings to people about voting for Trump,
as he is an opportunistic player who is a newcomer to the
conservative/republican choir yet wanted to be the choirmaster;
damned if he didn't get what he was after! And now we
conservatives have to face some frightening possible
consequences of having the bellicose billionaire as the
standard bearer to face the likely Democrat nominee,
Hillary Clinton, in November.

Your mystified Peasant has given warnings about Trump on
this blog, in conversations with conservative friends both
in the Republican Party and not, and also voted for Ted Cruz
in my state's primary last month. When Cruz won Wisconsin's
GOP primary in a landslide, I was joyful and ecstatic because
it looked like the tide was turning for stopping Trump's march
to the GOP laurels, as Cruz also won a few other primaries
in smaller states but looked like he was catching fire; now his
campaign has crashed and burned, and Trump will quite likely
strut to Cleveland for the GOP confab, and what might have
been a brokered convention will become a mere formality.

Two golden opportunities has not just been blown, but blown up.
We not only passed on nominating a candidate who could
have beaten Clinton, winning over more women as well as
voters from various ethnic and racial groups to thwart the
Democrats and their candidate, we have also declined a
fantastic opportunity to build a conservative coalition, one
even bigger and more cohesive than the Reagan coalition
was, to ensure conservative victories in future presidential
races as well as maintaining control of both houses of Congress
guaranteeing mutual cooperation between the executive and
legislative branches of government, which would share the
goals of limiting government and restoring constitutional rule
of law. We could have, in other words, made it difficult, if
not impossible for another Barack Obama to be elected
president and given a Democrat-controlled Congress which
would give him carte blanche in how he would govern.
We could have had a government which would finally act
on halting the growth of both the national debt and the
budget deficit, and put us on the path to solvency, thus
ceasing to enslave our coming generations of fellow Americans
in debt, necessitating their paying ever-increasing taxes
to a government which would continue to spend revenue
faster than it could collect it, which we currently suffer.

But most of the Trump voters never thought this through; oh, no,
they voted their anger instead of our possibilities for true
change (not the crapioca pudding for change that Obama
has been feeding us for nearly eight years!) which would result
in repairing our government, our nation's finances, and our
nation. With Trump at the top of the GOP ticket, the party
stands a realistic chance of not only losing to Clinton,
thus giving the Democrats their Phase 2 in their plans to
convert our country into a statist nightmare; one (or both)
chambers of Congress could revert to the Dems as well.
Moreover, there could also be considerable losses down
the ticket as well, with governorships and state legislatures
being lost. Trump has not built any working relationships
with any GOP officeholders in Washington, let alone at the
state levels; he has been too busy promoting himself and
his candidacy with his braggadoccio, his boasting, and his
bellicosity. And of course Trump never gave any specifics
as to his programs and plans for the economy, health care,
and national defense, only talk of building a wall between
Mexico and the United States to keep out illegal aliens,
making Mexico pay for its construction (how would Trump
make that happen?). Trump is for Trump, period. That is
not a good way to forge alliances and mutual cooperation
with people. But the Trump crowd was attracted to the verbal
roundhouse swinging on these issues (especially on illegal
immigration and immigrants) by their hero, and that's all that
they cared about. They could not, would not see past their
emotions and be guided by logic rather than rage. And we
may all be made the worse for it.

I'm angry too; I have become increasingly frustrated by the
steadily encroaching growth of the power and scope of the
government despite the promises of actual and supposed
conservatives to do something about it if we would but only
elect them. Some have been magnificent; others not. Some
have been faithful to their constituents by walking the walk;
others merely talked the talk, then threw in with the estab-
lishment after settling in following being elected. And the
Democrats have grown more arrogant, more cocky, more
self-righteous, more full of themselves, listening less and
less to the objections of the We the People to their escalating
taxing, spending, regulating, mandating, and running roughshod
over us and the Constitution. Some days I am so angry that I
can barely manage to be sociable with people. On days like
this I am not a lot of fun to be around. But I will never, ever,
sacrifice my thought and reason in choosing a course of
action to turn this situation around. And as you, my wonderful
readers know, I read and study most diligently the political
and economic news each and every day. I endeavor to inform
myself as to the events and the people behind them. All I am
doing is what any good, responsible citizen would do in order
to be an informed voter, to ensure that our representative form
of government, our republic will continue to operate with
efficiency, for our government in order to so work requires a
citizenry that takes the time to educate itself about these things.
This, too, is helpful in keeping one's emotions in check while
exercising one's reasoning abilities. While I share the Trump
supporters' anger, frustration, and outrage, I do not share their
enthusiasm for their chosen candidate.

What now must happen is to make Donald Trump realize that
if he is to win over the support of those of us who have been
at best skeptical, and at worst mistrusting of him, that he must
take more solid positions on the crucial issues which we face,
and to formulate specific courses of action, stating each step
in their implementation. And we must make it known that,
although he has been politically liberal in his past (recent past
included), if he is to be the Republican candidate for the highest
elected office in the land he must take a copy of our songbook,
learn the words therein, and sing in harmony with us. For we
are not joining with him; he is joining with us. After all, Trump
came over to the Republican Party and said "Me too!" to being
a Republican, following up with making conservative-ish
noises. We didn't seek Trump; he sought us. The aforementioned
is what he should do if he is serious about earning the support
of Republicans and conservatives, those in the party and those
who are not.

Will this transpire? Time will tell. But we haven't much time to
wait to find out.


MEM


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.


MEM

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!


MEM

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!


MEM


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
  afterward?).

*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
  blowhard.

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!


MEM