Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Memorial Day Thoughts

Friends, Memorial Day is drawing near again.
On this day, as you enjoy picnics, cookouts,
visiting family and friends, going to the beach,
perhaps going to a Memorial Day parade near you,
always remember your fellow Americans, past and
present, who made our country, our freedom, and
this special day possible. Tell a vet, be he or she a
family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker,
or a vet selling poppies to raise money to help vets,
thank you for your service and sacrifice. For it was
their standing up to assume such staggering duties
that has made our lives so rich, so bright, so free.

Thus The Peasant thanks all our vets for all you've done
for our dear country. I for one am forever in your debt.
God bless!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nat Hentoff, R.I.P.

Nat Hentoff was a ferocious champion of the First Amendment.
The political activist, journalist, author, jazz affecionado, pro-life
advocate, atheist, and liberal who often found common ground with
conservatives and libertarians, believed strongly in the right to
express oneself, no matter how unpopular, controversial, and
provocative one's opinions were. Hentoff defended people from
both sides of the political spectrum, pleasantly surprising and edifying
those on the right while confounding and dismaying those on the left.
A man of many talents, as well as many passions, Hentoff was
a true Renaissance Man in the realms of politics and the arts.

During his long life and career, Hentoff received many awards for
his work and his advocacy of civil liberties. Among the awards he
garnered were the American Bar Association (ABA) Silver Gavel
for his coverage of the law and criminal justice in his columns. He
was a columnist and was for over 50 years a staff writer of the
very left-wing newspaper The Village Voice. A firm opponent of
the death penalty, Hentoff was also vociferously opposed to abortion
on demand, further confounding as well as angering many on the left.
Hentoff stood for civil rights for all, regardless of color, creed, gender,
sexual orientation, already born or waiting to be born, with neither
compromise nor apology.

Hentoff was also on the advisory board of the Foundation for Indi-
vidual Rights in Education (FIRE), advocating for First Amendment
rights for students battling political correctness-grounded speech codes
on campuses. He could not abide even the slightest restriction on
speech in our society, and detested censorship of both the spoken and
the written word, making many friends as well as enemies on both
sides of the political spectrum. But whether one loved Nat Hentoff
or loathed him, one couldn't help but respect him for his scholarliness,
his determination, his rigorous examination of all of the facts, and his
balanced solutions to the disputes which he weighed in on.

Just a few days into 2017, Nat Hentoff took his rest from his tireless
advocational work which he dedicated most of his 91 years to. Rest
in peace, Nat, and may you receive a most pleasant surprise upon
having shed this mortal coil!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Oh Give Me a Home Where Uncle Sam Doesn't Roam ...

President Trump has recently undertaken the task of stopping
the grabbing and hoarding of land by the federal government.
He has begun by ordering a review of national monument
designations with this purpose in mind, to "end another
egregious use of government power" as he so aptly termed it.

His executive order directs the Interior Secretary to review all
national monuments of over 100,000 acres that have been
established since 1996. There is a federal law which limits
the size of national monuments to "the smallest area compatible
with the proper care and management of the objects to be
protected (the 1906 Antiquities Act)". The last two democrat
presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, stood this law on
its ear by establishing vast areas of land in order to block
resource development, such as timber, mining, farming and
ranching. They, in so doing, went against the wishes of the
local citizens, also running an end-around of environmental
review and public comment rules, both required in the public
land-use planning process.

Presidents may also reduce or expand the size of national
monuments; three past presidents have reduced Mount
Olympus, and just before leaving office President Obama
enlarged to nearly double the size of Cascade-Siskiyou
National Monument in Oregon just to impose further
restrictions on commercial timber harvesting. Such acts
are one reason for the tough times our country's lumber
industry is undergoing.

Here, President Trump has a golden opportunity to advance his
two-pronged agenda of growing the economy and shrinking
the size and scope of the federal government. After listening
to the concerns of the local stakeholders who have been
elbowed aside by liberal presidents he can return to them the power
to determine the best use of these lands to them and promote
greater prosperity in the process. Your hopeful Peasant believes
that the president will follow through, given his course which
he has set for himself and his administration. Now that would
be power to the people!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thoughts on President Trump's First 100 Days

Starting with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our presidents
have been graded for their performance in their initial 100 days,
this parcel of time having been that in which FDR had accom-
plished some of his major initiatives that he said he would do.
He of course went on to make many changes to the scope and
the functions of the federal government with his New Deal
programs during the recession of the 1930s. Ever since then,
the Rooseveltian benchmark has thus been the standard by which
all successive presidents have been judged for their hitting the
ground running once inaugurated. President Donald Trump has
not exactly been letting moss grow on his skin in his first hundred
days, the 100th day having been this past Saturday.

Here is but a partial list of the accomplishments of our 45th president
in this time frame:

*President Trump presented a tax reform proposal which, among other
things, would cut the top corporate tax rate from 35%, the highest such
rate in the entire world, to 15%. Such a rate will stanch the flow of U.S.
corporations moving some or all of their operations to countries with
lower rates of corporate taxation. This would, of course, keep U.S.
jobs in the U.S.

*Trump has begun discussions with the Canadian and Mexican
governments regarding renegotiating the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA). Many feel that this trade pact has been a far
better deal for Canada and Mexico than for the United States, among
them the president himself.

*Our 45th president became the first of our presidents since 1881 to
gain a Supreme Court nominee confirmation with the Senate giving
their yea to Judge Neil Gorsuch.

*He issued an executive order to establish a federal hiring freeze,
checking the growth of government in terms of employees.

*Trump gave his approval for the construction of the Keystone XL
and Dakota pipelines, both of which were stymied by President
Barack Obama, acting to placate his radical environmentalist
supporters. This move will help create more jobs in the private
sector. He also removed the crippling regulations Obama placed
on the coal industry, saving that industry and thousands of jobs
from eradication.

*The president also issued an executive order requiring that for
every new federal regulation created two regulations be eliminated.
A splendid way to eliminate extraneous red tape.

*Trump signed an executive order, "Enhancing Public Safety in the
Interior of the United States" to the Secretary of Homeland Security
and the U.S. Attorney General and their respective agencies to
increase the enforcement of immigration laws. The order contains
a proviso that "sanctuary jurisdictions", which include "sanctuary
cities" who do not comply with these laws will lose federal grants,
excepting those deemed necessary by the aforementioned officials
and their agencies.

*He also has requested an increase in defense spending, restoring
much of the cuts in same made by President Obama and the then-
Democrat controlled Congress, enabling our troops to better perform
their duties in the Middle East and Afghanistan among other needs.

Your greatly pleased Peasant could list many more accomplishments,
but time is not of such a generous disposition. I know, I was very
skeptical of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and thought that
if he got elected, he would not be able (or willing) to fulfill his many
boastful-sounding campaign promises. I have now been proven wrong
in my concerns regarding our president, and am overjoyed! President
Donald Trump may not be in the mold of the late, great conservative
president Ronald Reagan, but he is of a unique quality; a political
outsider, who had never run for even local office before, then runs
for and gets elected to the highest office in the land, bringing an
outsider's fresh view and sensibility to the job. President Trump just
might be the right person for this position at the right time, a time
when many people have had it with politics and politicians, the latter
making the former unpalatable with their pie crust promises, their
double-talking, their back-stabbing and backroom dealing, and of
course their interminable lies and hypocrisy. We as a nation could
use a fresh, new way of doing things in our governance, and Donald
Trump is providing that very way. Your grateful Peasant, admittedly
once a "Never Trumper", now stands with Trump and will continue
to do so as long as he stays his course.