Friday, March 26, 2010

Something Socialistic This Way Comes (Part I)

NOTE: This is a multi-part essay on the recently passed national health care
legislation and its ramifications for our country.
--- Your faithful "Peasant"

Last weekend, a pall crept over our country; like an ominous shroud of
darkness, this pall has settled over every village, town, city, county, and
state. The forboding darkness is not one that is visible but rather one that
is palpable --- one that can be and is being felt in the hearts of everyone
who cherishes their freedoms, including their freedom of choice as consumers.
This pall, this darkness, is President Obama's so-called health care reform
legislation, "Obamacare", which in due course will place the health care
industry --- one-sixth of our economy --- under the control of the federal
What does this mean for us, the American people? It means that we will be
required to obtain health insurance for ourselves and our dependents whether
we want it or not. If we can't get it from our employers, this sweeping, unprec-
edented new legislation will mandate the creation of new marketplaces called
"exchanges" which will sell us the mandated medical coverage. We will all be
expected to have at least "minimal essential coverage" for our dependents and
ourselves by 2014. If one were to disobey this mandate by refusing to purchase
health insurance, one would then be assessed a tax penalty by Uncle Sam
amounting to $695 for each uninsured family member, up to a maximum
of $2,085 --- or 2.5% of household income, whichever is greater. Never mind
that there is no provision in the Constitution granting power to the federal
government to mandate us to buy any product or service! Certain people,
though, will be exempt from this mandate, these being folks with religious
objections, Native Americans, prisoners, and illegal immigrants. And if one
simply hasn't the means to buy the required insurance then our trusty Uncle
Sam will step in with subsidies. Since the money for the subsidies will come
from our taxes, we'll be paying for the coverage for ourselves and each other
The health"exchanges" would be "stores" to shop for health insurance.
They are supposed to inject "retail competition" into the marketplace,
so the Democrats tell us. These exchanges are supposed to help indivi-
duals and small businesses to come together and get greater variety in
health insurance coverage and get greater variety in health insurance
coverage along with better prices, like larger businesses negotiate for
their employees. The design of these exchanges would be left up to the
states, and they would be run either by a nonprofit organization or a
state government agency. The federal government would provide the
states with the money to establish the exchanges. Should a state refuse
to open one, Washington, will open one in that state. The people who
would be eligible to shop at these exchanges will be employees of small
businesses that do not offer, or have not offered, health insurance bene-
fits. The exchanges would ensure the compliance of all offered policies with Washington's standards. One would be able to buy health insurance
for yourself outside of these exchanges, but an insurer would have to
charge the same rates outside the exchange as it does inside it.
The reform in "Obamacare" will certainly take some time, what with the
writing of the regulations that will guide its functions. The best estimate
given by the Democrats is full implementation by 2014.
The reform, rather the remaking of the entire health care industry will cost
an estimated $940 billion over its first 10 years. There will be approximately
$40 billion in tax credits to be given to small businesses to assist with getting
their employees into the program, however, which in time will provide or
subsidize health insurance for presently uninsured people, the figure as to how
many still disputed and debated. The Congressional Budget Office claims that
the health care reform package will reduce the federal budget deficit over 10
years (sure --- and the sun will begin to rise in the west and set in the east!
Have you, my loyal readers, ever known ANY government program to actually
MAKE money, let alone reduce our nation's budget deficit?). The means to pay for this plan will come from new and higher taxes, fees on industries involved in
health care, along with cuts in projected spending growth for other govern-
ment programs including Medicare and Medicaid.
People making over $200,000 per annum and married couples making over
$250,000 per annum will bear much of the brunt of the increased/new taxes.
The Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate will rise by nine-tenths of
a percent to 2.35%. Also, a new tax of 3.8% on unearned income (i.e. dividends
and interest, etc.) will be assessed to these people in the aforementioned income
brackets. This will affect people's savings for their children's education, buying
age. This tax would come to 40% of the cost of the
plan which exceeds those dollar boundaries, and would take effect in 2018.
Drug manufacturers would have to pay $16 billion between 2011 and 2019,
with $47 billion due from health insurers in that time frame. Medical device
manufacturers will get a 2.9% excise tax on the sale of their goods starting
Jan. 1, 2013. This will impact innovation along with research and development
of new medicines and medical treatment devices (CATscans, etc.).
Medicare payments for home health care would be cut by $40 billion over 10
years. More than a few patients would lose their option to receive medical
treatment at home, in familiar enviorons with their families close at hand.
Next week we'll examine what "Obamacare" would mean to families and
children, to seniors, and to businesses.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forming Counterarguments 101

In January I had posted two articles regarding the visit to Milwaukee by Sister Helen Prejean,
the nun famous for her campaign to abolish capital punishment in the U.S. My first article
announced her then-pending visit; the second talked about it after it had taken place.
In these articles I stated my opposition to the death penalty, my moving from support to
opposition, and my reasons why. A few weeks later, I received a response to each of the postings
in question entered into the accompanying comment boxes, both from the same respondent.

This respondent was a Mr. Dudley Sharp, a person whose name was unfamiliar to me. In his
first response he snotilly admonished, "Fact checking would have helped your article. Start
here:" then gave out a bunch of links to pro-death penalty articles, some of which were written
by Sharp himself. In his second set of comments he just rattled off still more links to the same
bill of fare, this time without any snide remarks.

Being bemused rather than perturbed, I clicked on a few of the links and read some of the
articles. Then I did a Google search on Dudley Sharp and discovered that he is a fairly well-
known advocate of capital punishment, having not only written articles giving his point of
view but also having debated the topic on TV and radio in the United States and Great Britain,
the latter nation having abolished killing murderous convicted criminals quite some years ago.
I also learned that he leads a pro-death penalty group called "Justice Matters". Further, I
found that Sharp was once AGAINST the death penalty, though I have not learned why he
switched his view on it.

Next, I e-mailed Dudley Sharp a letter thanking him for his comments, such as they were,
re: my articles in question. I minded my manners even though he didn't mind his; your loyal
Peasant is a class act. I invited him to have a dialogue on our differences regarding capital
punishment, discussing our views in cyberspace, and perhaps even do so face-to-face should
Sharp ever find himself in Milwaukee or I should travel to Houston where Sharp is based.
I did this on February 8; over a month later I am still waiting for Sharp's reply. I would have
loved to have shared our conversation with you, my wonderful readers, but Dudley Sharp
seems to not have a taste for open discussion but rather for sniping from the bushes.

Hey, Dudley Sharp! A properly structured counterpoint with logic and reasoning, along with
some guts, would have helped your argument. Start here:

Now, one of the purposes of this blog is to generate open, honest discussion of the issues in
the political arena. Your faithful Peasant welcomes comments from those who disagree with
my ideas and opinions, from those who agree with same, and from those who haven't made
up their minds regarding the issues discussed but would like more information. I'm a big boy,
I can take the heat. I have a tough hide, a necessary attribute for one to possess if one is to
participate in politics. But what I won't tolerate from anyone are "drive-by" tactics, nor the
dumping of a bunch of links to articles to serve as the entire counterpoint to a point I make
on a topic. That is neither debate nor discussion; it is tantamount to a bratty child throwing
a snowball at someone then shouting "Nyah, nyah nyah nyah nyaaaaah!" while running off.
If all one can do is to make snide or snotty remarks, or simply dump a bunch of links to
articles without first presenting a structured argument in opposition to any of my articles,
then I have no time for you. I will not let anyone waste your time, my beloved readers, nor
mine. We have bigger fish to fry! We've got no time for cowards and punks!

That said, henceforth any further such "comments" posted in the comment box after subse-
quent postings will be deleted starightaway. Such behavior has no place in a forum, such as
this blog, that is dedicated to the frank and open exchange of ideas. In the meantime, thank
you, my terrific readers for your ongoing support of your favorite Peasant in my efforts to provide this forum. You're the greatest!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Hate Speech" and Double-Talk

In recent years, whenever we conservatives state our opinions on the political issues and
figures in our country, liberals accuse us of "hate speech" and hurl epithets such as "haters",
"racists", "rednecks", "sexists", and some much worse. But when these same liberals
state their opinions regarding these issues and conservative figures a mysterious double
standard appears, giving the left-wingers "carte blanche" to say whatever they like;
nothing is too fallacious, nothing is too vicious, nothing is too incendiary, nothing is out of
bounds nor beyond the pale.

How so? Since the Tea Party Movement emerged many talking heads in what is laughingly
termed the "mainstream media" have attacked in print and on air we participants in this
movement as being all of the deragatory things mentioned above along with some sexual
references too vile to relate in this blog (hey, your faithful Peasant runs a respectable
establishment! Besides, we've all heard these particular slurs already!). Among the worst
of the puppet media's mud-throwing brigade are MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Keith
Olbermann, with the former gleefully having predicted that "at some point point some-
body's going to jam a CO2 pellet into (conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's)
head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp", and the latter engaging in the aforemen-
tioned attacks while also comparing conservative columnist and occaisional Tea Party speaker
Michelle Malkin to "a mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it".

Oh, such loving sentiments! Such eviscerating wit! And all this from the side of our political
spectrum which, during the "Dubya" Bush years proclaimed "Dissent is patriotic!" and then
made a one-eighty upon Barack Obama's ascent to the White House, calling those who disagree
with his policies "racists", et. al. Rachel Maddow, who hosted a talk show on the failed "Air
America" left-wing radio circus called we Tea Partiers members of the Ku Klux Klan. If this
ditz ever bothered to attend one of our gatherings, or even view a videotape of one, she would
not only have found more than a few non-white faces in the crowd but may even have gotten
to listen to some of them addressing the crowd! But then the Left loves to confuse the issue
with the facts in an argument.

So when we conservatives take the lefties to task for doing to us what they falsely accuse us
of doing to them, they either ignore us altogether or they claim that their criticisms of us are
based on fact, proclaiming that we have no right to complain because we are, after all, (here
insert all of the aforementioned epithets).

Now, this is not to say that there aren't any people on the Right who put one (or both) feet
into their mouths and swallow; we have a few "loose cannons" among us. But we conser-
vatives exercise "quality control" by either bringing them into line or by disassociating
with them. Case in point: Tea Party groups have given wide berth to Dale Robertson, founder
of, for his attending a gathering holding aloft a sign with a racial slur printed on it.
True conservatives do not harbor such poisonous thoughts and attitudes, nor tolerate anyone
who does.

The question, then, is: While the Left is criticizing the Right for making what they perceive to
be hateful remarks about their own, who is exercising quality control on the Left regarding
their remarks about our side? Since, as a group, they fail to see the blatantly hypocritical
inconsistencies in their behavior, the resultant answer is no one.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Birthday Party for the Tea Party Movement!

On February 27, 2009, an updated version of a long-ago protest appeared
on the American political landscape; the first round of tea parties (inspired
greatly by the Tea Party of 1773 staged in Boston Harbor) took place in a
handful of cities across the country in protest of runaway government spending,
bailouts of corporations coupled with government purchases of stocks of some
of them, and an attempted takeover of the entire health care industry (one
sixth of our economy) by the government. Thousands and thousands of citizens
came together to tell their elected officials in both major political parties that
they will not tolerate such wild growth of their government and its scope, nor
will they tolerate being ignored, disrespected, and dictated to. Despite being
ridiculed by some of these elitist so-called leaders and the toadying media,
the Tea Party Movement activists have quickly and forcefully made their
presence felt! Today The Peasant is paying tribute and wishing a Happy
1st Birthday to the Tea Party Movement.

In just that single year, this nascent movement boasts achieving these stunning

*President Obama's health care "reform" plan has been stalled and/or stopped
many times. With each blockage this legislation has drifted farther and farther
away from coming to fruition.

*The "town hall" push where cavalier politicians were taken to task by their
angry constituents for their efforts to push the Obama health plan forward
over the opposition of the people, as well as for the pols' arrogance, elitism,
and corruption. Many of them never held another town hall meeting after
having been read the riot act by the cheesed-off voters in their districts and

*Congress has been thwarted in its attempts to pass the junk-science inspired,
governmental power-mongering, economy-killing monstrosity known as "Cap
and Trade".

*The sudden exits from Washington by some of President Obama's "czars" ---
his unofficial (and unconstitutional) cabinet members who purportedly
advise him on issues ranging from the enviornment to health care, most
notably Van Jones. He was Obama's "czar" for "sustainable energy" or some
such, and is also a self-admitted communist(!).

*The sudden exits from Congress by some of its most powerful members in
either house (not to mention state governors and legislators) thanks to the
bright hot light of scrutiny shined by the tea partiers. Bye-bye Byron Dorgan!
See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya, Christopher Dodd! These two prominent
members of the Senate are among the growing list of such politicians who
have found their re-election fortunes dwindling in the face of the Tea Party
Movement's activism.

*The historic election results in the governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia
along with the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts. In that Senate contest the
Bay State's Democratic Party establishment and the memory of Ted Kennedy,
the "Crown Prince" of the Kennedy family and political dynasty, were whipped
by a little-known upstart named Scott Brown. Brown was the favorite of the
Tea Party activists in Massachusetts for the Senate seat vacated with the pass-
ing of the late Sen. Kennedy, who held that seat for nearly half a century.
President Obama won electoral majorities in all three of these states just
over a year ago, by the way. I wonder what he'll face there come 2012?
I don't envy him!

*And, of course, the thousands of "Tea Party" rallies across the nation,
attracting great throngs of Americans, many of them having never been
politically active before except for voting, if that. They banded together to
challenge the Democrats and the Republicans over their failed and self-serving
policies along with their contempt for the everyday American citizen. All this
from a movement that has no recognized leadership, no organizational struc-
ture, and is NOT a political party!

This, my loyal readers, is participatory government in action! This is how
government used to work and how it is beginning to work again. One of the
many freedoms which we Americans enjoy is the right to petition the govern-
ment over grievances and have our elected officials listen to us, to work for
us; NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These gatherings are taking place only because many of our elected officials
have taken a paternalistic, condescending, elitist view of us. They snub and
ridicule us daily! They call us "angry mobs", "racists" (never mind that many
"people of color" attend and address the rallies!), "rednecks", "ignorant",
"know-nothings", "unintelligent", "uneducated", and "unsophisticated".
But believe your beloved Peasant when I say that these jerks, after the 2010
and 2012 elections, will have a name given them by the same electorate which
they so disdain --- "UNEMPLOYED"!!

So Happy Birthday to the Tea Party Movement, one year young! Let's party on!!