Thursday, February 28, 2013

C. Everett Koop, R.I.P.

Dr. C. Everett Koop, U.S. Surgeon General during the Reagan
Administration, died on Monday, February 25. He was 96.

Koop, a pediatric surgeon, an avowed foe of abortion, and a
principled conservative, served in this post from 1982 until
1989, resigning in the early months of President George
H.W. Bush's presidency. During his tenure he played a
pivotal role in educating Americans about AIDS in the
pandemic which created an awareness of the deadly disease.
Koop authored a groundbreaking official report on AIDS
--- a plain-spoken 36-page document --- detailing how the
disease spread (through blood, needles, and sexual contact)
and how it did not spread (casual contact in homes, offices,
schools, and public places in general) as well as what people
could do for protection.

Most notable about Koop's report, he stressed that abstinence
and monogamy were the best means of protection from AIDS,
but that medical experts had a duty to inform sexually active
people how they could avoid the disease, even recommending
using condoms. Koop also advocated sex education for school-
children. Both of these ideas took liberals and conservatives by
surprise; gladdening the former while shocking the latter. But
Koop felt that his mission, as a doctor, was to save as many lives
as possible with preventative measures such as these.

"My position on AIDS was dictated by scientific integrity and
Christian compassion," Koop stated in the 1991 biography of
his noteworthy life and career Kopp: The Memoirs of America's
Family Doctor. "It is time to put self-defeating attitudes aside
and recognize that we are fighting a disease, not people."

Kopp also tackled other health issues, including smoking,
alcoholic consumption, pre-natal and post-natal care. In 1995,
he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

One of the highest-profile surgeons general in the history of
that post, Kopp was a man who thought outside of the box while
maintaining the principles which guided him throughout his
life. Would that we had politicians who function in this manner.
Godspeed, Doctor Koop. America will never have a finer family


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thoughts on President Obama's State of the Union Speech

Your favorite Peasant freely admits that I have not
paid much attention to President Obama's State of the
Union speeches, passing them over except for one or
two. I just cannot stand to listen to an odious chief whose
motto could easily be "Have teleprompter will lie" ---
actually he doesn't even need a teleprompter to do
this, but he sounds so much more smooth and polished
when he stands before one when he gives a speech ---
but I did make it a point to listen to his first State of
the Union delivery since starting his second term.
My observations on his address to the country are
as follows:

Obama spelled it all out for how he plans to govern
now that he is in his final term as president, and does
not have to hoodwink the electorate anymore. He was
as clear as Waterford crystal. He advocated more strongly
what he had done in his first term, hang the fact that
none of it worked as far as providing even slightly
palpable relief from the ravages of the deep and dark
recession we are in. Instead of talking about growth
opportunity, he talked of more regulation. Rather than
promoting corporate tax reform, including lowering
business tax rates from 35% to 25% for both large
AND smaller businesses to foster job creation, he
spoke of further government intervention, spending,
raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 per
hour to $9, and calling for creating more "green energy".
Oh, and another $50 billion for infrastructure. And
to put the cherry on top, more money for the education
unions, where compensation always climbs and grades
always fall. If any, let alone all, of these things had
succeeded in fostering growth in Obama's first term,
our economy would be in the biggest boom time since
the Reagan years; alas, there has been no such success,
and there could never have been with such measures.
It would be like trying to drink beer from a can of soda.

Furthermore, Obama spoke of creating a new Energy
Trust, to be funded by taxing oil and gas companies.
He shilled (again) for climate-change legislation, along
the lines of cap-and-trade (a/k/a "cap-and-tax"). And
the prez declared his undying love for the EPA and
his disdain, if not outright hatred, for the coal industry.
No mention was made about the Keystone Pipeline,
which would help us get oil from Canada's oil fields
and would mean thousands of new jobs for the buil-
ding and maintenance of the pipeline. Nothing forth-
coming on fracking for natural gas or high-tech drilling
either. Government growth, yes; economy and job
growth, no.

President Obama also played fast and loose with the
facts on gun control, playing up the terrible tragedy in
Connecticut where a gunman shot many schoolchildren
and some teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"Overwhelming majorities of Americans --- Americans
who believe in the Second Amendment --- have come
together around common-sense reform," Obama
crowed, "like background checks that will make it
harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun."
A majority of the American people, in fact, do want
to make it tougher for criminals to get arms and am-
munition --- but not their good, law-abiding selves!
They know, and Obama and his fellow Democrats
should know, that criminals by their very nature do
not obey laws; especially laws that restrict their access
to firearms and bullets! This is the fact that makes gun
control laws one-sided, ineffectual, and unfair. But
restricting access to guns and ammo isn't what Obama
and his chums are really after; it's increasing control over
us and what we do. Your faithful Peasant shall have more
to say on this subject in some postings in the near future.

On foreign policy and defense, Obama mostly bleated on
about Al-Qaeda and allied terrorist groups being on the
run and on the wane (they're not!). He had precious little
to say regarding Israel, our staunchest ally (and by now,
perhaps our only ally) in the middle east, whom he has
rather open contempt for. And he skirted around Benghazi
as if he were whistling past a graveyard (he might as well
have been!).

Since Obama cannot seek a third term because of term
limits on the presidency, he has become more than merely
cocky with his speeches; he has become quite arrogant,
very full of himself. And this is how he is going to govern,
mark my words. What a difference when a president isn't
going to try for another term! Obama can now be Obama,
meaning that he can be his unbound, radical left-wing,
super-statist self.

And on other topics mentioned in his speech, well, I won't
bore you, my grand readers, with any of that. It was all
standard Obama boilerplate hogwash. This was the most
uninspiring, frustrating, self-serving, hollow speeches I
have ever heard a president of our country give, especially
for a State of the Union speech. And as I alluded to before,
this speech is going to be a harbinger of what the next four
years will be like. It won't be a picnic.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Important Announcement From The Peasant

As the still new year of 2013 eases along, your favorite
Peasant is finding his work load increasing a little more
all the while. My changing schedule must adapt to these
developments, therefore I am sharing this relevant infor-
mation with you, my grand readers, so you will know
what to expect in the days and weeks ahead.

I posted my previous piece last week on Wednesday
rather than Thursday, the reason being that I am entirely
reliant upon public access computers; I have no computer
at home. One day this shall be rectified, when your out-
of-pocket Peasant has an easing on the financial front.
But for the present, I head off to one of two local libraries
to get together with you, my fantastic friends, to have our
weekly visits. Last week, Milwaukee had a forecast of
snow, and not just a little of it, to arrive on Thursday;
I therefore posted Wednesday, to keep our appointment.
Last winter was such a wimpy one that this was not a
problem, as we received very little snow in these parts,
but with this development having occurred and there
being a few more weeks of winter ahead, I want to
give you all a "heads up" as to the occasional need to
post a day or even two ahead of Thursdays whenever
such weather is looming large. In fact, tomorrow
is just such a Thursday --- Milwaukee is likely to
get freezing rain and sleet, so your cautious Peasant
is going to stay home and have a nice, easy day,
safe from falling on an icy sidewalk and getting
a severe injury, and am therefore posting this piece

And there may be some weeks when I won't be able
to be with you, as those weeks will be chock full of
unavoidable commitments for your busy Peasant. But
you know that I shall make it up to you soon after!
You all mean the world and the universe to me! We
shall never be apart for long, and we shall have the
most wonderful time when we do get together,
picking over the political and economic news of the
day, commending the heroes while condemning the
heels, comforting the afflicted while afflicting the
comfortable --- those who made themselves comfor-
table by afflicting others, and thinking up solutions
to problems, or at least putting out a call to action
for all those who care about our country and the
direction it is going in. Your grateful Peasant thanks
you all for your patience and understanding!

In the meantime, enjoy Valentine's Day, which is
tomorrow! Take some time to enjoy a quiet break
in your day with your sweethearts and indulge in
a heart-shaped box of candy, prepare or go out for
a special dinner, stay in and play a DVD of a movie
you'll both like. Your lovable Peasant will return


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ed Koch, R.I.P.

One of the greatest mayors of New York City,
or any American city, and a man that your
appreciative Peasant has long admired for his
honesty, integrity, and candor, Ed Koch,
has passed away at the age of 88 years.

One of a parade of colorful New York mayors
(a prerequisite for the job, it seems), Koch
distinguished himself with his fairness,
dedication, independence of thought and action,
and a lack of hesitation to reach across the
political divide to get important objectives
achieved; he even endorsed more than a few
Republicans for various offices when he found
the quality of the GOP candidates exceptional
and that of the Democrat candidates substandard.
And he always spoke his mind, never trying to
be confrontational but never holding back either.
Would that we had more politicians like Ed Koch!

Some examples of Koch's candor: As mayor of
the Big Apple he called welfare advocates
"poverty pimps" (keep in mind, the mayor was
a liberal Democrat!), told visiting schoolchildren
from the Soviet Union that their country's
government was "the pits", and that a crack-
smoking lawyer who murdered his daughter
"should be boiled in oil!". This is what made
your delighted Peasant a big fan of Hizzoner!
He still held some traditional liberal political
nostrums; Koch took the "choice" side on
the issue of abortion, and was squarely in favor
of gay rights; as mayor, he established a
school exclusively for gay students so that
they could receive an education in a safe and
accepting environment free of harassment.
But Koch was always open to good ideas
regardless of where on the political spectrum
they originated from; he was no ideologue.
Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax and a
long-time friend of the mayor paid tribute to
him, saying "He set an example for other
public figures when, again and again, he was
able to rise above party labels for the public
good." Contrast Mayor Koch to the elected
officials from the two major parties and how
they behave toward each other these days.

And Koch was an unabashed flag-waver,
showing New Yorkers and all Americans
that one does not have to be a Republican
or a conservative to be patriotic, to have
love and appreciation for our country. Your
appreciative Peasant will gladly put Ed
Koch's patriotism alongside that of any
conservative office holder or seeker, or
everyday citizen for a comparison anytime!

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Koch's
career took him from the New York City
Council to Congress to the Office of the Mayor
of his adopted city. A reformer, he sought to
increase efficiency, cost-savings, and trust-
worthiness in city government while cracking
down on the opposites of these virtues;
however, not everyone in his cabinet was on
the same page as the mayor. After several
successive terms as Mayor he was defeated
for re-election because of this unfortunate
development, but Koch remained a larger-
than-life figure in New York, both on its
political scene and its social scene, with his
many public appearances long after the end
of his mayoral administration.

Your mournful Peasant regrets never having
met Mayor Ed Koch, but is grateful that we
have had such a public servant, such a patriot,
such a man, in our midst. Ed Koch made New
York a better city, and our country a better
country, for the example he set in the political
arena. He would always ask everyone he passed
on the streets of New York "How'm I doing?",
his main method of soliciting feedback on how
his performance was. Your Honor, you did
beautifully! Enjoy your well-earned, most
perfect, most peaceful rest.